Lyon, France

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tornados passin' by

That French food looks way good, family!  Thanks for the pictures!  Thanks so much for the barrage of Dear Elders last night, it made life worth fighting for.  Also, thank you to mom and Grandpa and Grandma Lasson for the pants... They have been life savers.  Congratulations to Austin on getting called to South Korea!  That's the coolest.  He's going to be an awesome missionary.  Good luck to Gavin, who will be getting his mission call this week.  I know that wherever he gets assigned to serve will be inspired.
This week has been full of more radical learning experiences.  No prophet last week, but every time someone gets up on the pulpit at the MTC, the message they deliver is always inspired.  It has been New Mission President Seminar all this week, so general authorities have been coming and going.  I haven't seen any, personally, but President Roney loves to tell us all about them.  Us Lyoners got to chat with President and Sister Roney when they came in last week.  There are 11 of us, and we all sat in a room together and talked about how we're going to the greatest mission in the world, etc. etc.  President Roney is such a good man and he will make an awesome leader of that mission.  I look forward to the experiences.  So apparently, our group of 11 will be replacing a large group of 25 missionaries, so they'll have to close up the work in some spots and focus it where it is going to be needed.  So, chances are that us freshies are going to be thrown into the fire right from the "get-go" ;).  Should be epic.
So a little about the past week.  Elder Wilson and I have been more unified in our lessons and have been planning our lesson around commitments that we want to extend.  We've learned a lot about how to teach the Gospel together.  We had a really cool experience teaching one lesson.  We had planned a lesson about the Book of Mormon, etc. and we felt really prepared.  Then we get in there and started talking to Ben, after the opening prayer the Spirit directed us in a different direction that we had planned.  We talked to him about learning to recognize the Spirit and how we can receive an answer that the Book of Mormon is true if we just ask God for it.  I then felt prompted to promise that if he would get on his knees right there and then that he would receive an answer (yes, i realize that it's all just for pretend, but it still felt pretty cool).  Elder Wilson and I taught him how to pray and we got on our knees.  After the prayer, we remained on our knees and the Spirit was ultra strong.  I asked the investigator how he felt, then explained how what he was feeling was an answer from God.  It was a really neat experience.  We also had our first practice with contacting! That was fun.  We would take turns acting the part of missionary/investigator and do a little scene.  This was in English, just so that we could get a feel for it.  We'll be doing it in French this week.
One thing that I really like about the MTC is that there are so many cool people with different backgrounds, different perspectives, and different stories. One of my favorite things to do is just to CONVERSE!   Every meal time I'll try to get to know someone new.  I've met a bunch of really cool people from a lot of different places in the world, England, France, Brazil, Domican Republic, Utah, etc.  So many of them are so enthusiastic with their position in this work.  Some people come here with little or no English experience and leave more than prepared to teach the gospel in it.  I was talking to an Elder from Bordeaux, France (in my mission) and was amazed to find that in just 3 weeks had learned enough English to be able to hold a conversation with me in English.  And then we tried having one in French and it was a STRUGGLE.  A lot of people inspire me.  The language is coming, though.  I believe
I just wanted to quickly tell you something that I learned this week before the computer screams at me.  I've learned that the only way anyone is going to be converted unto the Lord is if they put forth the effort.  We, as missionaries, are here to aid them and to teach them what the Lord expects of them, and, hopefully, through the Spirit to convey the truth and the love contained in the message.  But in the end it is all up to them to decide.  It is up to them to be sincere in their relationship with their Father who has given them everything and who is willing to give them so much more.  I testify of the converting power of the Book of Mormon. Read it and found out for yourself if it's TRUE!
I love you family.  I love you so much.
Elder Kunzler
P.S.  Just found out L. Tom Perry is speaking tonight... RADICAL!
PPS.  I'll be in San Fran on Thursday, doin' Visa stuff.  Just thought you should know.  I'm gonna get an In N Out Burger.  Jealous?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Go Get 'Em

Another killer week at the MTC.  First of all, before I forget... Jacob, yes I did get your dearelder last week and mom and dad,  I have received a notification that I have received yours, but I won't be able to read them until tonight.  I'm way stoked to hear from you though.  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD!  You should be expecting something in the mail, but be patient because the people who work in the mail room at the MTC are actually turtles, not humans.  A couple of slugs there in the mix as well.
I want to start by telling you something that I'm really excited about!  The french language is coming!  Its so cool.  It's required a lot of patience, and I didn't feel like I could really express myself in our lessons and I was really reliant on notes... but I'm getting more and more comfy!  I feel like I can express myself (VERY basically), I am off notes, and I have the first vision memorized.  Elder Wilson and I have 2 new progressing investigators and they are doing swell.  One of my favorite things about the MTC is watching my teachers try to act.  Jacob, I'm sure you were an excellent actor when playing a PI, but Frere Weed and Frere Magre... well let's just say they struggle.  Haha.  But they're trying to help us to be great missionaries, and I've learned a lot about how to teach from them.
Another thing that is pretty radical here... the Devotionals and Firesides!  I don't know if I've already talked about the ones that I've gone to in the past couple of weeks, but they're all incredible.  My favorite so far was just on Sunday (PS. there's a rumor floating around that the prophet is here and that he will be speaking at the devo tonight... we'll see...  PPS. I'm in the choir and we're signing Lead, Kindly Light.  Cool, huh?)  It was Sheri Dew, the CEO of Desert Book and the lady who does the Mormon Channel Conversations with general authorities.  She is honestly my favorite woman on the PLANET (besides a few noble women who are related to me, of course).  She spoke on overcoming distractions/become more hope-minded/receiving gifts form God/remembering all that he has given us/how to have more meaningful prayer.  It was honestly EVERYTHING I wanted to hear about and more.  She spoke with so much power that you could've heard a pin drop during the silent portions when she allowed the Spirit to touch our hearts.  I was so impressed with her, that I went up and shook her hand afterward.  I thanked her for her testimony and told her to keep being awesome (or something nervous like that) and she smiled and asked me where I was going.  I told her France and she said, "Go get 'em."  I intend to.
One thing that I've been thinking about a lot since I've been in the MTC is why God calls 19-year-old boys (the weak, despised things of the world) to go and do his most important work.  I've thought about this a ton.  I've come to realize that He has many excellent reasons, being the perfect and all-wise father that He is.  One thing that I've realized since I've been here, though, is that he calls us in weakness that we might be moved to totally really on Him.  If we are humble and recognize that EVERYTHING that will make us happy/successful/good missionaries will come to us only as a gift from Him.  Once we learn to rely on Him for everything and ask for the things that we desire, he will give it to us.  He will give us His spirit, which will direct us in every aspect of the work, he will help us in our language studies, he will help us in our companionships, etc.  He will make us weak things strong in His eyes.  He calls the unleared and despised to thrash the nations by the power of His Spirit.  I have learned to trust in Him and his wisdom and his methods of fulfilling his purposes.
I love this work with all my heart and am so humbled to be apart of it.  Keep being the incredible people that you all are.  I love you with all my heart.
"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so, all is well.  Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?"
Elder Kunzler
PS.  I could use some new slacks (34x34).  I wear the exact same pair EVERYDAY and I am worried that people will notice and ask me to go home.
PPS.  If anyone is wanting to get me a really, really cool 4th of July gift, but have no idea where to start, some gold gel pens would be ultra cool.
PPPS.  Tornado's passin' by. I wanna hear from you, James.  Muahahahaha

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nous sommes les missionnaires du prochaine nouveau!

Another fun and exciting week at the MTC!  I have so much to tell you guys, and so little time!  First off, I'd like to thank Manita SO MUCH for the package... It made my day yesterday.  Honestly, since I hadn't heard anything from any of you guys, people in my district were starting to wonder if I even had a family or if I was just one of the Three Nephites or something.  But honestly, they gummy worms were so good.  We all shared them in class and even our instructor (Frere Weed) would come grab a handful between lessons.  And the scarf is awesome, I won't need it for a while, but I love it.  Thanks for the updates, Dad and Manita!  As for the rest of you, I'd kinda like to hear WTHeck's goin' on.  JK, you're all busy with the moves and finals and stuff.  Bonne chance with it all!
So the highlight of this week was finishing our first teaching experience with our first fake investigator, who is actually now our 2nd French teacher.  It had an epic conclusion.  Elder Wilson and I were praying about what to teach him and we decided to teach about the Holy Ghost and it's role in gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  Our lesson went really well and at the end I felt prompted to ask if he would commit to be baptised.... so I did it... in French.  After an ultra long pause,he nodded his head yes!  It was pretty exciting.  But then after that we had NO IDEA what to do. It was pretty funny.  But afterwards he told us that we were the first companionship to ever commit him to baptism in the first week at the MTC since he'd been working there (like a year).  It was cool.
Another thing that E-Wil and I did this week was sing "A Child's Prayer" as the musical number in Sacrament meeting... in French.  We did it with Soeur Gardner (who I knew from BYU, we had a class together) and Soeur Harris.  It sounded pretty good, I thought.  Even though we were probably way off with the pronunciations and stuff.  Elder Wilson is such a help with the language.  He took 3 years in high school.  In fact, I'm like one of the only guys in my district who didn't have any French experience before the MTC.  But it's coming! I'm catching up!  It's crazy to me how fast you can learn at the MTC and how all the information which you take in everyday (which is A LOT) just kind of sticks.  It probably helps that we're basically doing the EXACT same thing everyday and that the spirit is so strong here.  And also that it is the most important preparatory work being done on the earth today, so God is probably kinda blessing us.
I also wanted to answer some of dad's questions...  Is the MTC different from Disneyland in that there are no lines?  NO.  There are lines for everything.  Even though they try to make the schedules as effective as possible, there always seem to be lines in the Dining Hall.  But it is also like Disneyland in that there are fast passes.  There's a little secret cereal area that not many people know about that has my favorite kinds of cereal (raisin bran, cheerios and life) and there is never a line.  It's also like Disneyland in that the Aladdin show, firework parade and Waterworld (the firesides and devotionals) always have a super long line just to get in (20-30 min.) but they are ALWAYS worth the wait (unlike the Aladdin show).  Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy spoke last Tuesday about being the best missionary by following the spirit and opening your mouth.  Something that I really loved about his talk is that, instead of just reading the tele-prompter (like almost all the other speakers do), he just had a little note with a few random thoughts on it and he just completely followed the spirit.  It was powerful.  There is going to be another killer devo tonight.  BTW, the prophet and all of the apostles will be here in a couple of weeks.  The MTC will be on fire.  I'll keep you updated.
I just want to conclude this email (the freaky timere just turned red) by telling you guys how much I love being here.  I wouldn't rather be doing anything else with my life.  I have the best job in the world.  All I do all day is prepare myself to be able to help others come unto Christ.  I am filled with the Spirit everyday.  It's really, really hard, but it's the most rewarding work.  Thanks so much for the prayers.  I can honestly say I feel them working.  I love you guys so much!  Keep up the good work!  Hurrah for Israel!
Much love,
Elder Kunzler
P.S.  No camera's on the computers here.  I'll have to send you guys my little data chip at the end of my stay here at the MTC.  Or whenever I have a satisfactory amount of pictures. Don't worry, I'm getting some good ones!
P.P.S. Yes, my P-Day is Tuesday

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The MTC is like Disneyland

It's been one week since I last saw you all and so much has happened since then!  I am officially a missionary now and life is good.  My companion's name is Elder Wilson, from Colorado Springs.  We get along great.  He took years of French in high school, so he helps a lot with the language.  The MTC is really intense.  From day 1, the teacher spoke nothing but French.  Thank you, Manita for the French audio CD's.  I was able to say "Je ne comprende pas le Fran├žais".  My teacher giggled.  I've already taught 3 lessons to a fake investigator... in French.  It is struggly.  But we're definitely improving.  In one of our lessons Elder Wilson bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and then asked if we could close with a prayer.  He then turned to me and me, having no idea what was going on, bore my testimony of prophets.  The guy is going to be baptized soon.  You're all invited.

Our district is really awesome, we all get along well, and we're super unified.  G-g-great group o' guys.  Elder Ferguson snores like a sick rhinocerous, though.  So I've been using the ear plugs to their full potential. Thanks mom.  In fact they work too well.  The second or third night I wore them and apparently I slept through the alarm. I guess that Elder Wilbur shook me like a dog to try to wake me up, but I wouldn't budge.  I then Elder Wilson came up merely touched me on the thigh and I shot straight up.  It strengthed my testimony of the deep and often misunderstood power between companions.  Rofl.

I love the MTC.  Honestly I've never felt the spirit more in my life.  My instructor is awesome, he served in Paris.  Every day I get more excited for the field than the day before.  I see Elder Rhoton and Nelson Elder (formerly, Jake Nelson) all the time.  We like to laugh together.  Sorry I'm so all over the place, I have a little timer thing at the top of my screen.  It's really intimidating.  But I just want to tell you guys basically what I said in the title.... that the MTC is like Disneyland!  It's so much fun here and it is the happiest place on earth.  Honestly there is no place that I would rather be on the planet than right here right now.

I just want you guys to know that I love being a missionary and I love all of you.  I love this work and the good people that are always around me.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to work full time for Him in bringing His sheep unto Him.  My preparation for this work is going great!  I've never worked harder and felt more blessed in my life.


Elder Kunzler

P.S.  I haven't craved anything from the outside world yet......... except for gummy worms.  Elder Malone and I get so desperate sometimes that we go and steal the gummy worms from the top of the "cups of dirt" in the cafeteria.

P.P.S.  I don't know if you guys have recieved my letter yet, but Dear Elder me rather than e-mail me, please.  It's way more convenient.  It's easier for you and me.  Merci beaucoups.

P.P.S.  I don't think that the MTC computer's support pictures, but I have some good ones... um which kind of stinks.  But you will see them in two months at the latest.

Entering the MTC!

I entered the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

Right before reporting to the MTC, with my grandparents who are also full-time missionaries in the Family History Center of the BYU library

Leaving Oregon for the MTC

Left to right: my brother Jacob, me, my brother James, my dad,  and my brothers Jonah and Jaden

With my parents, brothers, aunt, uncle, and cousins; all bidding me a fond farewell

Set Apart as a Full-time Missionary

First stop after being officially set apart as a missionary--Five Guys

Endowment in the Salt Lake Temple

With my Grandpa Lasson, my uncle Jim, me, my mom, my brother Jacob, and my friend Jacob Mortensen (left to right)

Called to Serve!

Called to Lyon, France, right after the wisdom teeth were pulled