Lyon, France

Monday, April 29, 2013

For All Those Who Love God...

A French Burger and "French" Fries

Dearest family and friends,

Fun fact:  the title of my email today comes from the Apostolic Blessing that Elder Andersen gave when he was here in border, over 6 months ago.  He blessed this land that "all those who love God will be led into our chapels to discover the truth."  I know that the promises of the Lord and of his servants are true and good.  Let me show you how I know.

This week was special.  It was likely the busiest week of my mission, with back-to-back rendez-vous throughout the week and many joyous activities to be a part of.  We were able to accomplish some cool things with the time that was given to us this week.

So on Sunday last week, we set up a RDV to go and eat at a lovely elderly couples home on Wednesday.  Tuesday morning, this member calls me at 8:15 in the morning, during studies and asks if we could come half an hour earlier to the spot where they were going to pick me us up to take us over to their home.  I said that would be fine, but asked if it was today, or if we were still going to do it on Wednesday like we had fixed it on Sunday.  He said that it was always going to be Tuesday, and that we'd see him that evening.  Alrighty.  So at 6 that evening we were at the spot where they were supposed to be waiting to be picked up.  We waited 5 minutes.  We waited 10 minutes.  15 minutes.  I decided to call their home phone to see if he had already left.  His wife answered and told me that we were mistaken, that it was Wednesday that we were supposed to meet them.  I told her about her husband's call that morning.  She said it was a mistake, sorry, that she'd see us the following day.  So, with the remainder of our time, we decided to just do contacting.  While we were at that same spot, however, there was a woman with two young little boys who was looking at me.  I decided to go and talk to her.  She said that she was taking her son to Judo practice, but if we wanted, we could accompany her and discuss while she was waiting for him to finish.  To make a long story short, she is a woman who loves God and was looking for something more.  We explained to her that in the restored church of Christ she could make covenants with God that would bring her much closer to her and be a blessing for a long time.  She said that she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to know if these things were true.  We will be seeing her this week.  I do not know why this old man called me 8:15 in the morning to tell the missionaries to be at so and so a place at so and so a time.  But I know that it is not by chance.
This book is true!

Next miracle.  A few weeks ago, Elder Emal gave a pass along card (something that we hand out to people. it has our number, a website and the church address) to a woman named Josephine.  Josephine's sister, last week, told Josephine that she wanted to learn English.  This reminded her of 2 young American men who she had met a few weeks ago.  She went, found the card, gave it to her sister and told her to call the number, saying that they might be able to help.  At the beginning of the week I received a call from Josephine's sister, Marie Louise.  She told me about her situation and asked if we might be able to help her to learn English.  I told her that we would, but that we would ONLY talk about Jesus.  She accepted and told me in English, "I love Jesus".  Cool.  So yesterday, we met with her for the first time in the chapel.  We told her that for the first meeting we were only going to speak to her in French, and that in the following meetings we could use a little more English.  She said that would be fine.  We taught her about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She said that she was going to do all that was necessary to find out for herself that it is true.  She told us that she would prepare to be baptized on the 1st of June.

Those who love God and His Son are being brought into his flock.  In France.  In Brazil.  In the United States.  Everywhere in the world.  Isn't it an amazing place in time that we have the pleasure to live in.  The most exciting, in my opinion.  The Lord is hastening his work!  Let's not miss out on it!

Avec amour,

Elder Kunzler

Whoa. Superstar, superstar. erah erah reh reh uh superstar.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Any publicity is good publicity.

Dearest family and friends,

Happy Day!  I hope that all is well on the Western Front.  I have some good news and I have some bad news.  The good news is that the missionary work is going incredibly well in Bordeaux, France.  I will tell you how in more detail momentarily.  The bad news is that I have not been able to record any of photographically and will not be able record any of it for a while.  I broke my camera.  Unfortunately, as I was handing my camera to my companion to have him take a picture of me standing next to a statue of a kneeling down to get liked in the face by a dog (who would have ever missed this opportunity)  I let go of the camera too soon and it shattered on the ground.  I shall never forget Dax, France, the location where this took place.  Luckily I got the warranty and sent it home.  But unfortunately, no more pics of France for a while, sorry.

But as I said earlier, the work here in our area is progression incredibly fast, mostly thanks to the members.  On Saturday, we had a talent show activity (which was a huge succes, probably the best one I've ever been too... unfortunately I took NO pictures) and a wonderful family invited a friend.  It was this friend's first time at the chapel and she had lots of questions.  After the activity, she threw question after question at us... "Where do you come from?" "How long will you be here?" "What are you doing exactly?" "Why do you do it?"  We did not have sufficient time to respond to all of her questions, so we told her that we'd try to set up a dinner with the family so that she could ask her questions and we could teach her more about what we believe.

Then the following day, at church, the bishop's wife came up to us and told us to expect her friend at church.  Her friend was Brazilian and had already, apparently, been in contact with the church.  Unfortunately, she never came, but we'll be coordonnating with this family to fix something up later.  Then, after church, another family came up to us and told us about the missionary efforts of their daughter.  They said that she had given a Book of Mormon to one of her friends and then they showed us a text from her saying that ever since he gave it to him he hasn't put it down.  The members are litterally on fire.  And we all know that the best way to do missionary work is with the members. :)

Another really cool miracle happened this week.  At the beginning of a week, a really cool recent convert, Julie, texted us and asked if we could fix a RDV to teach her friend Sarah on Wednesday.  We gladly accepted.  Sarah is special.  I will tell you about her.  So Sarah is 17 years old and she comes from a family that immegrated from Algeria and is traditionally in the Islam religion.  About a year ago, Sarah, however, decided that her religion wasn't enough for her.  She began to search around into other religions.  She had a Catholic friend, and she went to a few masses, but had a difficult time understanding the doctrine of the trinity, so she gave up.  She had another Evangelical friend, and she enjoyed the ambiance at her church.  But she kept searching.  Then she saw a program on the television about the Mormons.  You must know that the TV programs in France about the Mormons are ridiculous.  It shows Amish looking people in traditional clothes walking around with their 40 wives.  People here are very misinformed.  But she was touched by our doctrine, that we do not drink alcohol or smoke and we obey the law of chastity.  She holds similar values.  She decided to research a little more into it.  She looked on the internet and found that their was the LDS church and then the fundamentalist Mormons, who practice polygamy, and she read about how they are often confused.  She then got on the churches website and began chatting with missionaries on the internet.  She began reading the Book of Mormon just from the computer.  Eventually, she found that there was a chapel not to far from where she lives and she came to church on her own.  Apparently this has been going on for a while now.  She goes to activities and has lots of friends in the church.  Eventually, after reading much the Book of Mormon, she gained a spiritual witness of its veracity.  As she was explaining all of this to us, she told us that she wants to be baptized.  The only problem is that she is still a minor and seeing that her mother is a Muslim, she does not at all want her to change religions.  My companion and I have been praying and fasting that the heart of her mother will be softened.  We'll be seeing Sarah again this week, and we'll see.  She is a very smart and mature girl, who is going to make an awesome missionary, just because of the strength of her testimony!

Miracles are taking place, the Lord is gathering his elect in all corners of the world.  It is very exciting to be a part of it.  Thank you so much for your prayers on my behalf.  I love you all very much and wish you all an extraordinary week!

Avec amour, 

Elder Kunzler (celui qui sert en France)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bordeaux, I love you so


I must tell you something.  I am so lucky to be here at this place and time.  Like I explained to you, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ came to this land and left it an apostolic blessing.  He blessed the members, he blessed the missionaries and he blessed the people of this wonderful land.  Then in conference he told us that just as the surely as the Lord is increasing the number of his missionaries, he is also preparing the hearts of good and honest people to receive our teachings.  Dearest family, these are inspired men of the Lord and they can see further than the rest of us can.  The things that you say are true.

Elder Emal and I saw a lot of miracles this week.  Our mission president told us that he didn't know why he wanted the two of us together (a couple of geeks) but that it was for a good reason.  We have seen a lot of cool things together.  This week we found 6 new amis, that is the most I've ever seen on my mission.  We prayed for incredible things to happen, we've really been concecrating ourselves to our fullest potential, and then giving it even a little bit more, we've been trying to show great love to all of God's children, especially those who want to have nothing to do with us.  We persisted in these things and were able to accomplish miracles through faith.

Just so you know, this is the warmest, most celestial ward I have ever had the pleasure of serving in.  Yesterday, I received a warmer welcome than I ever have in the past. It was most likely just because the missionaries here before me did such a great job of winning their confidence, endearing them and loving them.  There is a recent convert who gave us both a plate of muffins and a big Bordeaux tour guide.  In my first two weeks here, I've been invited to go to members homes more than in an entire transfer!  And what's best is that they adore the Savior and his work.  Many of the members here know Elder Andersen well and worked closely with him when he was a mission president.  They understand missionary work and they love it.

Yesterday we accomplished a secret little plan.  There is a wonderful soul in our ward who was converted to the gospel just a few years ago.  Now she wants her family to taste the same joy.  We created a secret Iittle plan to be able to meet them, serve them and invite them to learn more about the incredible plan that God has for his children.  Seeing that I've become "quite the cook" (as dad would say) since I've been on my mission, I made a little pasta thing to bring over.  We ate it all together, with this woman's family and they (her daughter and 20 and 13 year old granddaughters) LOVED it.  Since time was running short before we had an interview with President, I made a proposition that we could fix another RDV to show them how to make it (I told them it was a secret recipe) if they would listen to the things that we had to tell them about God's wondeful plan for the family.  They accepted my proposition.  I found it amusing being a bit like Ammon; harmless.

I have more miracles to tell you.  So much is in the process.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord in this time and in this area, when the Lord is truly "hastening his work" and amazing things are in the works.  I know that Christ lives and that knowledge is the most precious knowledge that I have.  No one can take that from me.  It is something that I had to seek after myself.  There are many people around us every single day who are looking for this truth but are simply kept from it "because they know not where to find it."  Our most important work is to testify of the truth in love!  I get to do it full time for 2 years.  And then without a badge for the rest of my life!  I invite you to share your testimony with someone this week, I know that you will feels God's love and approval in doing so.

je vous aime tous, passez une bonne semaine!

avec amour

Elder Kunzler

PS  I have an ultra cool photo with all of my companions that I took this week at ZL council.  I forgot my cord, so I'll send it next week!


Dear friends and family,

First of all I need to get out all of the excitement that is in my soul right now because of the incredible announcement that my little brother will be going to serve in the Brazil Curtiba mission!  YESSSS!  Everyone in this little internet cafe knows it and can feel the missionary excitement in the air!  Ah, get ready, Brazil for Elder Kunzler #2.  You had your fun for a little interim, but his brother is coming back to fight off evil and call all unto Christ! I am SOOOO proud and happy for you James!

Well, it was a wonderful first week in Bordeaux that culminated with the joyful opportunity of listening to the words of living prophets.  On the streets on Saturday and Sunday, we went around asking people if they would be interested in hearing the words of a living prophet.  Although most people rejected, simply because they did not understand the significance, WE did and we had it in our hearts the entire time.  It was amazing to hear so many incredible messages for our day:  a missionary day!  Isn't it amazing that the Lord is hastening his work and that we as members of his church have the opportunity to be involved in such a marvelous work and a wonder?  I was especially touched by the missionary message of Elder Andersen... it was extra special knowing that he was a missionary in Bordeaux, a mission president in Bordeaux, then I saw him at a conference in Bordeaux just a few months ago, and now I am here, serving as a missionary in Bordeaux, listening to him confirm my testimony that there are MIRACLES going around us ALL the time.  We must just have the eyes to see them and allow our faith to overcome our doubts!

For example, I would like to share with you a few miracles that Elder Emal and have seen since we've been here in together, just this last week.  You're going to love this Jacob and James, you Brazilians.  So, Elder Emal and I were out knocking doors one evening and we came across a house where a Portuguese man told us to come back the another evening, and they would accept us in.  The following day, my companion and I were in the neighborhood and we contacted a woman with her stroller who told us to go visit her family another evening and that she would accept us.  Noticing that she had a bit of an accent, we asked her where she was from and she told us Portugal!  Whoa!  We asked her her family name and she told us Bravo, the same name that the man held!  We had found a family in which the husband and the wife were both interested in the restored gospel!  Since we were busy throughout the week, we passed them yesterday, just between sessions of conference.  Unfortunately the husband was sleeping, but we offered them Book of Mormons in Portuguese, and we set up an appointment in the week to begin teaching them as a family!  Miracles!

Since I wasn't able to go into much detail about my new area and my companion in my mail last week, maybe I'll introduce you all to Elder Emal and Bordeaux.  So Bordeaux is HUGE!  It is like the 4th or 5th biggest city in France.  Yes people LOVE wine here and once you get out into the countryside, it's vineyards and vineyards, but it does not at all look like it did in Provence.  It is very regal here, the people speak French very uniquely and beautifully.  The Garonne (same river that runs through Toulouse) runs through it and it is very beautiful on the river.  We are not too far from the ocean and it is pretty overcast this time of year.  There are 3 wards here in Bordeaux and 2 chapels.  I am in the Lormont ward, which is on the side of the river without all the students, cultural sites and pressure.  My companion and I are peacefully working close to the members in the suburbs, it's actually reall fun.  Elder Emal is a stud.  He and I have had a really fun time serving together so far.  My first impressions of him are Matt... he pretty much has the same sense of humor.  I can tell we are going to have tons of fun together.  He is a very concecrated and concentrated missionary.  He truly loves the Lord and shows it in the way he is obedient and always cheery and loving.  He also speaks better French than anyone I've ever served with.  I really look forward to this transfer!

So, I wish you all a wonderful week!  Continue to review the things that you learned in conference, download the talks and go over them again!  I'm sure you'll continue to get answers and be ultra edified! I love you and wish you happiness and peace.  CONGRATS AGAIN JAMES, YOURE THE MAN!

Avec Amour,

Elder Kunzler

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Greetings from Bordeaux!

Dearest friends and family,

Perhaps you question the significance of the title of this e-mail?  Fear not, for I have safely arrived in Bordeaux.  Yes, after nearly 6 months of working in the wonderful city of Toulouse, I have been called to serve in Bordeaux with Elder Emal from Riverton, UT (he's the MAN, I'll show you a pic later on).  I arrived here early this afternoon and my first impressions are that IT IS HUGE.  I believe that it is one of the largest cities in France, there are 3 wards here (I will be in the Lormont) and there are many, many students.  I am so excited for the opportunity that I have to serve here and look forward to the experiences that we will have this transfer.
Elsa and David - They are celestial

For those who aren't familiar with missionary work it is important to know that it is very fun getting moved to new city and meeting new people, but it is tough to say goodbye to all the friends made in the last area.  Saying goodbye to the friends I've made in Toulouse over the last few months has been TOUGH!  I really grew to love these people and I will always cherish the relationships that I made.  Last night an angelic family that I really grew to love here invited the missionaries over for a raclette (which is a type of cheese that you stick in little oven to let melt and then you throw it on a potatoe with some veggies and meats... a French specialty!).  This particular family is one that we've been working with lately to help them to do missionary work with those in their entourage (the best way to do missionary work is through the members!)  They felt inspired to invite their neighbor over, so I got to spend my last night in Toulouse eating at a members home, and sharing a message about the Resurrection of the Savior and the incredible Easter message in the presence of a non-member!  It was the best way to spend Easter holiday, helping others to come one step closer to the Savior.
So are they

Another incredible experience that took place this last week was that Elder Uluave and I were able to teach the Indian princess again!  Even though she was going to be returning to India that weekend, she took some time out of her week to learn a little bit more about God's restored truths.  At the end of the lesson, she took a couple of minutes to express to us her thanks for being able to come a little bit closer to God.  It was one of those really cool missionary experiences that I'm never going to forget.
Elder Emal, $THE MAN$

A little update on everyone, before I go and begin my Bordeaux adventures.  Tracey is still in Martinique. Last I heard she was sharing the Book of Mormon with her sisters.  Alexis is going to institute up in Paris and making some friends.  Utile, Elsa and David all came to the train station this morning to say "au revoir"... I will miss them dearly.  Elsa and David gave me a magical golden coin as a parting gift, something that will bring me much luck.  They're the COOLEST.  Iris went back to China and is going to accept the restored gospel in a heartbeat once the missionfield opens over there (James).  Jhonny is still helping his ex-wife and children to come unto Christ.  My former bishop still looks like Will Ferrell. Man, I'm going to miss this people!
The Haas family, celebrating Easter by doing missionary work!

Well, my loves!  I wish you the happiest of Easters!  Admist all the chocolate and giant bunnies, try to remember we set this day apart.  He changed the world coming back into it.  Use the Easter season to "renew" ourselves by bringing ourselves one step closer to Him.  Prepare well for conference, go in with a question, a notepad and a pen and I promise you'll get an answer.  I love you all so much.

Avec amour,
Elder Kunzler

Me and my islander bros