Lyon, France

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Il a tant aimé le monde

Dearest family,

I know that the Lord gives you sheaves when you work in his field.

I'll try my best to show you how I know it.

Even though Elder Emal and I only taught one lesson this week, we were able to find people to help come unto Christ.  Marie-Louise, Laurentine, Marie-Sophie, Sarah, are all either going through some tough moments or are very busy, so we were not able to see any of them.  But we found.

One day Elder Emal and I were walking through a park and we found a woman playing with her granddaughter.  She had a difficult time communicating with us in French, seeing as she was from Romania.  She told us that her husband was going to be entering the hospital soon and that she would be returning to Romania the following day.  She really felt the Spirit though and told us to go and visit her daughter.  She pointed in the general direction of where she lived and gave us her last name.  The next day, we were in the neighborhood, looking diligently for this person, but found nothing.  A few days later, we happened to be in the neighborhood and my companion pointed out a new street that we had not yet checked out.  We went and sure enought, there they were.  She greeted us kindly and told us that she would be very interested in the message that we have.  She just went through a divorce and some tough times, and has really been softened and prepared by the Lord.  We look forward to bringing her a message that can fill her life with joy and hope.

Yesterday, we were to catch a bus in the evening to go to visit a recent convert and teach her and her non-member daughter.  Unfortunately, we missed the bus.  It was the last bus. We were quite disappointed.  But then, as if from nowhere two people came up to us, one of them saying that he wanted to become a Mormon, he had talked to sister missionaries in the past, but had lost their coordonnées.  The other wanted to know if there is a God.  God led us to a couple of his children who are searching for him.

Alvine is doing very well.  She came to church and we taught her yesterday evening.  She knows that the church is true, but she just has quite a few fears.  She doesn't feel ready to be baptized.  She feels the spirit when she comes to church, when she reads the scriptures and prays, and she knows that she needs to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to have these feelings with her all the time.  But she's just having a hard time putting all of the pieces together.  She wants to know everything before she becomes a member of the church.  She doesn't understand that we continue to learn and progress and follow Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives and that we do not have to be perfect before baptism.  We're taking it step by step with her.  We're going to try to teach her in another family's home, to help her to feel the spirit and love of God.

God loves his children so much.  He loves us SO SO much.  I am so grateful to feel this love every single day for his children here in France.  It is so true that if we come closer unto Him, he will draw nearer unto us.  Let us all reach out to Him and show to Him our thankfulness and our desire to be a light for His children.  To share the same love that he showed to us in sending His Son.

I love you!

Avec amour,

Elder Kunzler

Monday, May 20, 2013

Si tu pouvais jusqu'à Kolob

Ma chère famille et mes chers amis,

Je pense que je vais cette lettre en français, si ça vous va. MUAAAHH.  Non.  Faisons-la en anglais.

I trust that you have a passed a wonderful week and that you are all preparing well for summer vacations!  For French people, vacation time is one of the most important parts of life.  Missionaries love vacation time because we get to work extra hard to find those families which are together and waiting for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Missionary work is really fun.  Like Elder Andersen said, it's not missionary work, it's missionary fun.  There is a woman in our ward who understands this principle pretty well.  She has been dating someone, who is not a member of our church.  She decided to give this man the Book of Mormon and a week or two ago she explained that ever since he received it he has not let go.  He flew right through Nephi.  She explained to him that there are full time missionaries in the church whose job it is to respond to questions and to help people to understand the teachings of the Book of Mormon.  He told her that he had some questions that the missionaries would never be able to answer.  This member decided to test us and we sat down this week with the both of them and discussed the finer things of the kingdom while munching on a raclette.  He had questions, some of them quite profound about the beginning of the Book of Mormon.  He was really quite interested.  He told us that he was going to continue to read and we invited him to prayer.  Its as simple as that.  My companion and I know firmly that this woman will be blessed to help this man come closer to Christ.  And that this man will be guided in his quest to the truth.  Missionary "work" always works best with the members, in their homes.

Alvine (remember, the one with the 2 daughters, whose mother has been a member for a few years now?  I showed her how to make a good pasta sauce? Yes.) well, she came to church.  She came to church!  This is such good news!  My companion and I have been working really hard for 7 weeks, teaching a lot of people about the restored gospel and inviting them, but we've been having a hard time really getting anyone to come to church.  Alvine came!  And boy did she love it.  Everything was just perfect.  The members showed her so much kindness, the gospel principles class was about the Holy Ghost and it was very edifying. Sacrament meeting was excellent.  She expressed to us afterwards how much she appreciated it and was touched by the Spirit.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon on her own and we'll keep you updated on her spiritual progress in the coming letters.

Marie-Louise is doing well, but very busy.  We were not able to teach her this week, and she has still not come to church.  She asked us if we could hold off seeing her for a couple of weeks while she finishes her job (she'll be quitting at the end of the month) and then she'll have a lot more time to give us and to really plunge into the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you could keep her in you prayers in the meantime, that would be wonderful.

All is well on the western front.  There are beautiful things on the horizon.  6 stakes have been formed in Europe and there are 6 more expected in the near future.  There is a missionary buzz in the air.  I don't know if you're catching it over there in the states, but if not I invite you to.  Give someone a Book of Mormon with your testimony in it.  Tell some one of the beautiful teachings of the Savior.  Invite them to meet some missionaries who you trust.  The Lord is hastening his work and he is right there on our side!  I love you and wish you the best!

Avec amour,

Elder Kunzler

PS.  Que votre coeur ne se trouble point et ne s'alarme point. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ce fut un plaisir.

Dearest family

It was such a pleasure to see your smiling faces yesterday!  I don't know if I already did, but mom, I wish you a very happy mother's day!  You are wonderful I love you so much.

So I only have a couple minutes to write today, it is transfer day and, as usual, I will be spending all of it at the train station helping arriving and departing missionaries in and out of their trains.  Elder Emal and I, thank heavens, get to spend another transfer together!  There will be another équipe of coming into our ward, which is something that the ward is super excited about!  At least 6 more weeks in Bordeaux... YES.

So a couple of cool stories before I must bounce.  I told you, family, a little about how Marie-Louise is progressing, she is doing REALLY welling, reading, praying and taking her engagement for baptism pretty seriously.  She was very touched by the film of the Restoration and she told us that she knows that it is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.  She is doing very well.  Other than that, it has been difficult getting to teach some of our other amis, since it is vacation time right now and many of them have been out of town.  But we got to do some cool missionary work nonetheless.

On Saturday evening, we paid a visit to a recent convert originally from El Salvador to do some missionary work with her.  She took a phone call from her daughter in Paris about halfway though the visit.  She decided to give me the phone and told me to introduce myself (since I am still fairly new and hadn't talked to her before).  She was very kind and we talked for a couple minutes and got to know each other.  Then I invited her to meet the missionaries in Paris.  I told her that they are really cool and really nice and that they would be able to teach her about things that would change her life forever.  She said that she was pretty busy with work and school, but said that she would have some time on the weekends, and that that would be fine.  Radical!  The recent convert was SO excited!  She said that it was one step closer to her family being eternal!  It was a cool experience to help someone who I've seen or met in person, on the other side of the country to come a little bit closer to Christ by accepting to met his representatives.

I must be going, but I love you family and I wish you a wonderful week in may.  Dieu soit avec vous jusqu'au revoir!

Avec amour,

Elder Kunzler

Monday, May 6, 2013

Que tous ceux qui aiment Dieu...

Dearest family and friends,

About 7 months ago an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ came to Bordeaux, France.  He said in his French (with a really thick American accent), "que tous ceux qui aiment Dieu et veulent faire alliance avec lui viennent et nous trouvent" or "that all those who love God and want to make covenants with Him come and find us".  And how this apostalic calling is being realized.

There is a woman who loves God very much.  Her name is Marie-Sophie.  She has a lot of difficulties in her life.  Her children are rebellous.  Her husband passed away.  She just lost a grandson of 3 years old this last week.  But she might be one of the happiest women on the planet.  She is full of faith and hope.  Real hope.  She comes home every evening and prays to God, thanking him for all of her blessings and asking for forgiveness for all the small mistakes that she made throughout the day.  Elder Emal and I met her a few weeks ago on a tram.  This last week we taught her about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  One of the most amazing things to me about missionary work is how the Spirit is always the same when we recount the First Vision as it was recounted by Joseph Smith himself.  That day I was on an exchange with a younger missionary, who is still struggling a little bit on his French, but when he recounted the First Vision in French as he learned it in the MTC, the Spirit moved tears the eyes of the member who was there to teach with us.  With much faith, Marie-Sophie told us that she would be reading the Book of Mormon and praying to God to know if it's true.  Those who love God are coming and finding us.

Hanane grew up in the Islam country of Morocco.  Religion has always been a very important aspect of her life.  She, also, prays often and sees her Heavenly Father as her best friend, her support, her father.  When we sat down with her in the chapel here in Bordeaux, we asked her the question "What role has religion played in your life?"  As she shared her honest testimony and her sincere witness of the things that are the most dear to her, the Spirit brought tears to her eyes.  God is bringing the children who truly love him in.  To listen and to learn.  It is truly building my testimony.  To have the chance to teach these quality of people, not only builds my confidence in the divine calling of his chosen servants here on the earth, but the fact that we live in a world with so much goodness.  Although there will always be evil, poverty, wickedness, selfishness, war and sadness, there will always be light and those who follow it and help others to follow it.

Sarah is doing very well.  Although she is still kept from being baptized because of her mother, she is reading and staying close to the Spirit.  She reads from the Book of Mormon on her phone and she told us that she has finished Alma.  Endurance.  The entire ward gathered together in fast and prayer yesterday that the heart of her mother would be softened.

Marie-Louise and Laurentine are also progressing well.  We haven't been able to see them too often, seeing that is spring break and they are very busy (yes, I know how illogical that sounds).  We have a very good week set for us!  We get to teach the family of a member family!  Whoa!  That's the way missionary work should be.  We literally went and tracted into this member's friend and set up a lesson together right there and then!  I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday, when I see you all on Mother's Day!  It is truly a pleasure to work in a ward in which the members are so dedicated to sharing the gospel.  It really helps the Lord to hasten his work.

I love you family and wish you a wonderful week!  You're in my prayers, and if I could please ask you to keep Sarah and Marie-Sophie in yours.  Thank you and God bless.

Avec amour, 

Elder Kunzler