Monday, May 30, 2016

We walked a lot this week

Buongiorno, la mia famiglia e gli miei amici :)

Dad, I may well have seen your plane to Spain as it flew over this area! Toulouse is a big center of aviation for France so we see a ton of airplanes all the time, but maybe one was yours! Just don't get any ideas about taking a TGV or RENFE train or anything to come see me... hehehe

We found out last Monday night from a member that there will be/are crazy grèves (strikes) going on nationwide, affecting trains, buses, and even restricting gasoline sales which means even ordinary car-owners will feel the hurt. Among it all though, we are happy and safe :)

The night after we went to another member family's house for dinner, it was awesome. Their kids are really energetic and he told us cool stories from his mission in West Africa, like teaching an Institute class at a local university to 300 non-member students, all about the Book of Mormon. Just before he left he was able to baptize the first person converted thanks to that class, and he found out later that over time, more than a hundred followed. The Book of Mormon changes lives! You won't regret reading it, I promise :)

Wednesday was a super awesome day. We actually had both lunch and dinner with members (lot of member visits this week, thanks to a lot of talking to members after church on Sunday). For lunch we went down to Fonsorbes and visited an older Italian couple who made spaghetti for us. It was sooooo good. Also the Sœurs came with us and one of them is Italian, so it was fun to see a bit of the Italian culture (which I'm determined to integrate myself into a few years from now, somehow 🇮🇹). From there we went to Muret and had dinner with a really awesome family with three kids, one of whom is a boy like 2-3 weeks older than Carter. I played foot (soccer) with them in the backyard and taught them random words in Chinese, it was really fun!

Thursday we went to Muret again and taught our ami with one of his friends who was randomly there. He has some soucis with the Word of Wisdom, but he's improving slowly so we'll see what happens there. That night we were at the church planning because...

...Friday morning we had district meeting! Woohoo! We discussed how we can find two new amis per week and what we're going to do to accomplish that. It went pretty well I think, and the rest of the district seemed to think so too :) for lunch we had baguette pizzas and then went out and did Zone Finding Day. Essentially we just jumble collègues around and then go around the city talking to people and inviting them to follow Christ :) first I was with Elder Haskin from Georgia (who served with Elder Bleak in Lyon right before I got there). He's cool. After a couple hours we switched and I got Elder Steinbock from Illinois, but he was actually born in Clackamas and lived there for a while as a kid. Fun stuff. One of his favorite hobbies is studying Church doctrine, so I made sure to ask him about that and was rewarded with some great insights into the Gospel of Jesus Christ :) That night Elder Peron and I met a recent convert who's preparing to move to London, so he wanted us to speak English with him the whole time. I wasn't sure how that would go, but he spoke surprisingly well! He says he struggles with understanding the English accents, but he'll get by. Before heading home we met a Chinese less-active and just talked to her for a while, it was sooooo nice to be able to speak Chinese again! I don't get to as much anymore, ça me manquait. Busy day!

On Saturday I called some more Chinese people and fixed a rendez-vous with one girl, we're going to see her tomorrow! We also did more gardening at a less-active's house. It was warm and sunny when we arrived, but before long it got cloudy and rainy and thundery. It brightened back up pretty quick, but then that whole night there was pas mal de (a decent amount of) lightning and thunder.

I shall tell my spiritual thought in the form of a story that took place over the course of these past couple weeks, but sort of culminated yesterday. Remember that family that lives way far away in Montréjeau, whose son will be baptized in a couple weeks? Their car's engine is destroyed, so they have no way to get to church other than spending a boatload of money on train tickets to and from Toulouse every Sunday. There are a couple members that live down that way, so Elder Peron was the key actor in calling people to help. Finally, after many phone calls and some stressful moments and some prayers, one family brought one of the five children and the rest of the family went in another car. The thing is, the driver of that second car is an awesome Tahitian member who is working on coming back to church himself. He lives in St. Girons. If you look on a map, that means he has to go pretty far out of his way to pick them up, drive to Toulouse, and then drive them back to Montréjeau before going home. He brushes it off every time people try to thank him, but the truth is he was the difference between 1) a single mother feeling joy that her children are at church learning how to act and how to be, and 2) a single mother sitting tired and lonely at home on Sunday, simply because her car doesn't work. That's a big difference!

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)


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