Monday, August 31, 2015

Transfer calls are scary...

Hola everyone!

The mission is still good! We ate some more with members this week and they're hilarious, especially the people last night. I didn't realize central missionaries are in strengthening the ward by visiting recent converts, less actives, and doing their best to unite families. It's a fine goal, to be sure :)

We had district meeting on Thursday which was actually zone meeting because it's a small zone, so we can all get together relatively easily. That was super fun, we played loup-garou again and I ate a ton of bread. The next day was transfer calls which come later for Geneva Zone, so it was super hard to focus on studies that morning. We thought at first that I'd be staying in St-Genis, but after an exceedingly (long?) phone call from one of the other Chinese missionaries, we suspected I'd be leaving for Lyon to do Chinese work là-bas. Finally Président called and told us that the Lord was very happy with our work in St-Genis so far and that we'd both be staying right where we were. Muchly stressful, but I'm happy to still be here for a number of reasons! There's still a bunch of stuff I haven't done yet in Suisse (almost none of the missionaries actually say Switzerland, still Franglais all the time), (but) also we actually have people to teach! We taught one of our amies the Rétablissement (Restoration) and she accepted baptism! :D We set it for two days before the next transfer so we're really going to work to keep them on track just in case one of us gets transferred out. Super exciting :)

I'm in Geneva right now at the Institute and have pretty much (been) in this city all day, we went to the Reformer's Wall, played giant chess (like 2 foot-tall pieces), saw the Botanical Gardens, and finally went to the United Nations! It was really cool, reminded me of going to Washington DC. They have a lot of assembly rooms where some really important talks have happened, it's fun to see that and imagine the history. Hoping some day to go to "real Switzerland" because apparently Geneva doesn't count. A ton of people here aren't even Swiss, they've just lived here their whole lives because their parents work for the UN or CERN, so a ton of people speak perfect English along with perfect French and often German or Italian too just for kicks. A lot of signs are in English too, it's a little disorienting after being in France most of the time.

To answer some questions about my work here: I do all my proselyting work in St-Genis and the surrounding area, so Sergy, Thoiry, Pouilly, et cetera. If you go up towards Gex and Cessy, that's the other Elders' sector whose apartment we stay at on Saturday nights because they live right next to the church. I've been corrected, Americans actually can proselyte in Suisse but just aren't allowed to live there. There are Americans in our zone who do all their work in Geneva, there are (is) a Spanish ward and an English ward there. The way we've explained it to people is that I'm in this area to work on my French before I go to start Chinese work elsewhere, but honestly I don't know yet why I got assigned here. I trust there's a reason though! Elder Pien does speak Chinese, he got called French-speaking but he is of Chinese origin and lived in Taiwan for six years when he was younger.

Today at UN and at the gare (train station) in Geneva we spoke a little Chinese, we try to almost every time we see a Chinese person. We've contacted a couple in St-Genis, but for the most part they're not interested. Oh well, guess I'll be working on French for the next six weeks too! We ate at our apartment mostly, but we're trying to eat dinner with members as much as possible. It's nice to get that variety because for lunch before we head out proselyting it's always a choice between pasta or couscous, but nothing else. Elder Pien is good at making sauce though, so it's not a problem :) he's super cool, been playing piano and cooking since he was six. Really helpful for meals and for the branch because they need piano players. There's about 70 active members in the branch, we meet in the same building as the Gex ward.

This Thursday evening Elder Pien and I head to Lyon for Blues Conference which should be super fun, I'll get to see the people I entered the MTC with way back in June. Greenies are called blues here because they just are. It's the French term for someone that's new at something, or so I've heard. Some things I just have to get used to and not question too much, there's a ton of inside jokes I'm not in on yet because I haven't seen the restoration video in French :P

I went on exchanges for the first time on Wednesday which was awesome! I was with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Lister from Idaho. He's super cool and it's great to see how he and Elder Pien are very different but both good missionaries. It is possible to be a missionary and still be yourself, you just have to find the balance. While I was with Elder Lister, we found an awesome guy from Comoros who says he's not interested in changing religions, but he seems to really like what we have to say so we're meeting with him again this week. On the bus we met a physicist from Turkey, super nice guy with whom I traded a temple card for a business card, and we also had a good conversation with a guy from Crete. You meet all kinds of people on the bus because they all work at CERN and good scientists come from all over the world. My kind of place :)

I have to finish up now but I love you all and the Church is true! If you have the chance, go watch an old Church-made movie called "How Rare a Possession," the two main stories are both great reminders of the power of the Book of Mormon. Having grown up with it it seems normal to me, but I have to remind myself that it's truly life-changing. If you pay attention to it and let it change your life, you will truly understand that God loves His children, He wants what's best for them, and He will never leave you. I know that's true and I invite you all to read it and pray about it, whether for the first time or the hundredth.

Ōuzhōu hên bàng,

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