Monday, February 29, 2016

A 6th transfer blue

I still feel kind of blue (new or inexperienced) in our lessons, but this week it's been a little harder than normal! I know there are a lot of things I need to improve on in the way I do things (I'm a good person I swear, but not perfect), but when your amis notice....yikes. I got cassé-ed (ummm chastised) pretty good by our amie for being bad at planning, so Elder Zhu and I have been trying harder at that the past few days and we have a much better week planned out! Hope to have good news on that later :)

So yeah this week we refixed a baptismal date for an amie which means we accomplished the goal of two new engagés per équipe! We're working with those two and some of our other amis pretty closely and hoping to be able to turn some of our new awesome potentials (who FREAK OUT when you play Jenga with them) into amis. We play a Chinese card game called 三国杀 ("san guo sha") every Saturday with our amis and potentials and then invite them to church the next day, plus also find out how interested they might be in religion. It's fun and effective :) recently we've been adding in Uno and Jenga which most of them have never played, it's awesome.

Happy Leap Day to all of you! It's fun for sure since it only happens every four years, but it also means that Elder Zhu's metro pass expired yesterday and the new monthly pass doesn't get activated until tomorrow. That was a bit of a surprise this morning, but we fed the machine about 50 loose coins and got him a day pass. We're back at the institute now, just went on a cool tour of the city with the Clermont-Ferrand équipe (Elder McKee whom I knew in Geneva Zone and Elder Terrell). We took the metro C which is up in the north of the city and was a great mystery to all of us. It was cool :)

We had Zone Training also! Went through some "General Authority Protocol" and talked about how we as a mission are going to prepare for Elder Christofferson and get the most out of this experience as possible. Can't wait! We were originally told that only the Lyon missionaries would get to attend, but President Brown pretty much wouldn't take no for an answer and somehow got permission to have all the missionaries in the south of France and Francophone Switzerland attend. Whatta guy.

I spoke at church on Sunday! And apparently so did my little sister, so little shoutout there. I'm sure her talk was longer and better than mine, I probably spoke for about three minutes. We had talks from all six younger missionaries in our ward and a beautiful song in English, Tahitian, and French by the Sweeney couple (Elder Sweeney served his mission in Tahiti like 45 years ago). We talked about missionary work in the different books of scripture and how it's been a thing since forever, so it's super super important and we need to keep doing it! Also Elder Zhu and I had a mangez-vous (dinner appointment) with a cool family and we brought our amie who wanted to know what church
members' lives are really like.

As my spiritual thought to you all, I invite you to go watch Elder Holland's talk from the October 2012 General Conference called "The First Great Commandment." We watched it for Zone Training and it was awesome as always!

江长老

Monday, February 22, 2016

Apostles, Engagés, and Temples oh my!

Item of business number 1: on March 15th we'll be having another mission conference! Everyone will be gathering in Lyon for a conference with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of he Quorum of the Twelve Apostles :D I looked on lds.org and read about his recent tour around the Pacific Islands, I'm excited to meet him and hear from him!

At he beginning of this year our mission set a goal to get 250 baptisms in 2016. In preparation for this conference, we were all asked to get one new engagé (person committed to baptism) per missionary, or 187 new engagés by March 15th. That's a lot. However, President Brown gave us a great scripture to go along with the challenge:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation." (D&C 6:8)

Since the challenge was issued we have one new engagée, and we're working hard to get another very soon! We have to be careful to be "bold but not overbearing" and allowing everyone their free agency, since taking away people's agency was Satan's plan in the first place! That would have been awful.

Also, we had several recent converts and other young adults in the ward go to the temple! YEEESSSS it was super awesome :) it would have been great to go with them, but sadly the Bern Temple is outside our mission boundaries, as is the Paris Temple which, may I remind you, will be finished this fall!! Woohoooooooo

My first week with Elder Zhu has been good :) I kind of feel like a blue again during the lessons because trying to understand two natives speaking Chinese together is tough. It's been good for me, and Elder Zhu is awesome :) He's been making me get up and go outside every morning to play basketball, albeit very badly (he's pretty darn good though), which is definitely a good thing.

Our amis are doing good, and we've been trying to get super organized so we should have awesome news coming up later this transfer! I love you all and always read your scriptures! I keep finding things I had no idea were there, no matter how many times I feel like I've read that passage.

Make it a good one! Byyyeeeeee

江长老Apostles, Engagés, and Temples oh my!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

地地道道的中国人

Helllooooooo world!

Holy cow has some stuff been going on. It's been crazy. We had a normalish first part of the week, but the second half was crazy. On Wednesday we went back up to Fourvière to do some research for district meeting, which went well.

Thursday we had district meeting! We've been prepping for it for weeks. Due to the weather we weren't able to do it at the Roman amphitheater like we wanted, but we still had a great meeting in the chapel all about the Apostasy, particularly within our mission. We learned stuff about the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Cathars, and why Notre Dame de Fourvière (the basilica overlooking Lyon) was built. Super interesting stuff! At the end of the meeting we played a game simulating the Crusades. It involved gummy crocodiles and we made the point that breaking commandments in the name of God only drives you farther away from Him if you're not actually acting under His authority. Then we testified about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know that this church is true! Yes all the apostles were killed after Christ went back to heaven and the authority Christ gave them was lost, but we have it on the earth again! Call up the missionaries in your area and they can tell you all about it, whether you're hearing this for the first time or just want a refresher on the details.

Thursday night we went to the Sweeneys' house (incredible senior couple serving in the mission office here in Lyon) with several amis and had an amazing American meal of homemade meatloaf and peanut butter bars. Yum yum. After dinner we all had a big gospelly discussion during which the Spirit was present, and when that's true you know you're doing something right :)

Friday we got TRANSFER CALLS!! All of us were sure that Elder Bleak was leaving, including Elder Bleak. We were right! I thought he would go be Geneva Zone Leader, but instead he went all the way to Bordeaux to be Talence Zone Leader. I was 100% sure I would be getting Elder Léon (also a Chinese missionary) as my new companion, but instead I got Elder Zhu! In case you don't remember, Elder Zhu (pronounced "Jew") was in the MTC with me 8 months ago and we both knew that we would be companions one day. That day has arrived! He's been serving in Béziers recently learning French, and he teaches really well :) it's going to be fun! We were super busy yesterday so didn't get to email, but ça va.

I know that this church is true! I already said that in this email, but let that illustrate this point:

"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." -Alma 26:16

Love y'all!

江长老

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pics: Sunday School Class

Picture sent to us from Sister Corinne Walker, a long-time family friend who is now serving in the same area with her husband!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pics: Lucus' baptism

More pictures from Sister Walker from a recent baptismal service for Lucus!









Monday, February 8, 2016

Video: Wind!

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江长老




China is cool

大家好!我希望你们的生活还很棒。而且,我想祝你们新年快乐!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! *\(^o^)/*

So yeah, I hope you all have an awesome start to the New Year (Year of the Monkey) and have much prosperity, health, and good fortune :)

Last Monday, Elder Bleak and I laid on the floor. Then we saw lions and deer and emus at this awesome park/zoo thing pretty nearby.

Tuesday there was a nice sunrise and Elder Hansen and Elder Tomlinson wore matching outfits. Also we taught a bunch of lessons that day! I love it when people accept the commandments without a problem. Especially when it's a Chinese person giving up tea without a fight... holy cow. Talk about miracles.

Wednesday Elder Bleak showed me exactly how the Bible shows that Jesus is Jehovah. It was really interesting, send me an email if you're curious and I'll show you! For lunch we went to an Indian buffet with a bunch of Chinese people and got sooooooo stuffed, I'm amazed we were both able to keep it down. I think that was the day we had another Word of Wisdom lesson that didn't go so hot, but ça va. She's still a friend and down to keep taking the lessons, and we can't force anybody to give up alcohol if they don't want to.

On Thursday we prepped for this upcoming district meeting by reading about specific apostasy in France, including places in our mission like Lyon, Geneva, Cluny, Albi, Carcassonne, etc. Suuuuuuper interesting! This Thursday will be incredible.

On Friday we met a Chinese girl from Inner Mongolia on the metro and got to explain some stuff about the Apostasy to her, it was really cool :) then she came to play cards with us the next day! I'm still super awful at our Chinese card game【三国杀】but it's a great way to get to know new people, so no worries (^_^)

Sunday we were a little late to church... I know, awful. But in our defense, as we were walking there with our amie, it started pouring rain and got crazy windy, and we only had my small umbrella for the three of us. Since Elder Bleak and I were both in suits that we didn't want to ruin, we ducked into the foyer of an apartment building and hid for a little bit. Then we decided that we'd just have to go for it, so we met another amie under a bus stop abri, let them use the big umbrellas the second one had brought, and we jogged the rest of the way. We were wet and exhausted, but we were only a couple minutes late and still got to take the sacrament!

Dear all you lovely people,
Go to church! I promise it's important. It may seem sometimes like it's not a big deal to miss a day, but that's one extra week you'll be going without that spiritual boost that we get from attending meetings that God has said He will bless us for going to. Granted, sleeping through church kind of nullifies that reason for going, but getting into a habit of going and taking the sacrament will help you feel closer to a God because every week you have a reminder that you have a personal relationship with Him, and He loves you. He wants you to come back and the moment you decide to change yourself and commit to doing anything necessary to live with Him again, He will help you. You will see miracles! I see them all the time, and it's because we try every day to do the Lord's will and help others do the same. Try it, it works :)

江长老

Monday, February 1, 2016

Video: Swan

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Video: Pad Thai

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Obedience brings blessings

Howdy y'all.

On Tuesday I had chestnut ice cream! It was super good, and the only reason I knew it was chestnut is because the ice cream dude in Vieux Lyon spoke really good English. That night we walked down by the river with some of our amis and it was sooooo pretty. I love being by the river in the evenings.

Wednesday Elder Tomlinson made phad thai that was soooooo good. A lot better than the last attempt, hehehe. After that we found out that Elder Bleak is really good at cutting hair.

On Thursday Elder Tomlinson made an incredibly beautiful spicy stir fry dish. It's been "Chinese Week" in the apartment, so we wear fun Asian hats and eat Chinese food and everything.

On Friday, we had Zone Conference! It was us (Lyon Zone) and Ecully and then part of Toulouse Zone whose train down to Bayonne had been canceled, so they missed their conference and had to come all the way up here for the next one. We all had a great meeting about not teaching the Restoration without the Apostasy, because you're blowing the climax of the story without telling why it's necessary! It's widely known that Europeans aren't very receptive to the Gospel, and our job is to agree with them. Southern and Western Europe (of which France is a huge part) have a long history of terrible terrible events all related to religion, and it's all a testament to the Apostasy. Our job is to help these people realize that they're 100% correct and praise them for recognizing that religion in their country went downhill well over a thousand years ago. But then we absolutely have to testify to them that the Apostasy is over!

We met after lunch all together in the Roman amphitheater up by Fourvière. The amphitheater was built before Christ was born. We sat in a place that saw the state of apostasy before Christ, the rise of His true church, and the Great Apostasy that occurred afterward. Now it has seen the return of Christ's church! The history in France is incredible, and President Brown's testimony of this work and how important it is is even better. He's an inspired man, no doubt about it. Thanks to Président, Elder Bleak and I recognized some things we need to change about the work we've been doing, and the moment we made the commitment to change we saw miracles. An ami that Elder Bleak has been working with since September is getting baptized in two weeks! That's what happens when you make sacrifices to better follow the rules that Heavenly Father has set for you.

I know this Church is true! We live in a time when lots of people say "religion's just not my thing." If they're talking about religion as created by men, I wholeheartedly agree. But this church, the blessings and miracles we see, the Book of Mormon, all of it comes straight from God. God doesn't make mistakes. Sometimes hard things happen. We forget that God knows everything and can't believe that He would allow us to be so miserable. If you will find the strength to do as Nephi did in the Book of Mormon and say "Thy ways are just" no matter what happens, I promise you'll receive greater blessings than you could ever have imagined. Ask God to help you and He will! He loves you!

江长老