Lyon, France

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nicolas' baptism

Dearest family and friends!

Yet another week passes by in the history of time and the Kingdom of God is truly on the earth.

Some pretty amazing things happened this week in Nice.  First of all, there was a baptism!  A man named Nicolas, made his first covenant with his Heavenly Father.  To be 100% honest with you, these are the most joyful experiences of the mission... even if you are on crutches and have 5 stitches on your foot.  So it was the sister missionaries that found and taught Nicolas.  The way he was found was pretty miraculous.  One of the sisters had the impression in her morning prayer about 3 or 4 months ago that she needed to help a "Nicolas" that day, even though she had no idea who that would be.  So they were surprised when they contacted him and at the end of the contact asked if by chance his name was Nicolas.  He freaked out a bit and said it was!  I had the opportunity to do the baptismal interview with him and got to feel of his meek and humble spirit.  He had read the entire gospel principles manual and a good portion of the Book of Mormon.  He had even gone to the local library and researched more about the prophet Joseph Smith.  He had a strong testimony that he was a prophet of God.  I felt very honored when Nicolas asked if I would perform the ordinance.  I arrived in Nice at about the time that he first started getting taught, so we've been able to get to know each other a bit since I've been here.  It was a wonderful service and when we were in the changing room after just having gotten out of the warm waters, I got to talk to him a bit and he told me that he felt like he was starting a new life.  He really is.

Kisky is on fire.  It's ironic that I say that because one of the issues that he is having is that he believes that he has already been baptized by fire.  He thinks that he already has the gift of the Holy Ghost.  He knows the Bible like the back of his hand and he believes that, like Cornelius (who actually only had a manifestation of the Spirit)  some people are baptized by fire before being baptized by water.  But he is on fire nonetheless.  He is ready the Book of Mormon between all of our visits and is truly "feasting on the words of Christ" like Nephi invites us to.  It's funny because he just read that chapter and loved it.  He progresses very well and has promised us that he will be coming to church this sunday since he does not work.  Yes!  This week he accepted to live the Word of Wisdom without asking any questions whatsoever.  This is a really sign of conversion because before he used to question many of the teachings, but now he is having much more confidence in them.  The only real problem is coffee, which he drinks to keep himself awake because he works in security and it is always the night shift.  But he has agreed to live this commandment!  Joy!

A pretty cool miracle happened actually right after our last appointment with Kisky, I was crutching my way over to the tram stop with Elder Behling when we began talking with a big man with a Detroit hat and a salt and pepper (mostly salty) beard.  He looked like an American truck driver.  We came to find out that he knows the church very well.  We did a little more investigating and came to find out that he was actually the person who introduced someone who was baptized into the ward a few years ago to the missionaries!  He told us that there was one thing that he had never done and that he would like to do and that was to be baptized by water for a remission of his sins.  Wowee!  We told him that he had met the right people, that we had the authority of God to do so.  He knew that there was a disciplined preparation for baptism and we told him that we would love to start helping him to get prepared right away.  We are planning on seeing him this week and pray that he is truly ready to make this covenant with God!  It was a pretty cool experience.

Dearests, the mission is the greatest!  The sun is shining here in Nice and there are people who are waiting to come to a knowledge of the truth!  I will be off crutches this week, I get the stitches out on Tuesday and I'll be walking and running like normal in no time.  Thank you for all the prayers and support.  Apparently the photo of my foot has become the internet phenomenon of the mission.  I've heard that is you google "France Lyon Mission",  on Google Images, a picture of my foot is the first thing that comes up.  Yes.  I will always have a beautiful scar that will remind me of Christ, my master, for whom I suffered!  May we all remind him, keep his commandments and truly take his name upon us as his disciples!  I love you much!

Avec amour, Elder Kunzler

"It was.... SOAP POISONING!"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dieu vitesse le droit

Dearest family and friends,

The operation went well.  I have six stitches in my foot.  I think that it was the first time that my french surgeon had seen a size thirteen foot.

Remember how I told you about the business professor that was brought to church by our Elder's Quorum President?  Before digging into more about what happened last week, I'd just like to go into a bit more detail about what happened last sunday.  So he came to church and really had a good experience.  After church, he went home and really did some reflecting.  He then decided to say a prayer sometime that evening.  In his prayer, he poured out his soul to God and had a very strong spiritual experience.  He told us that he felt a warmth that came into his chest that brought peace to his soul, like someone was saying to him that everything was going to be alright.  He then responded by asking God what he should do and he felt like the answer that he received was that he should continue to come to church and that this was the path that he ought to take.  It was at this point that he called Tahiana and he fixed a first appointment with us.

The first appointment went well.  He is an incredible person who is going through a bit of emotional torment at this point in his life.  He is a bit ruled by his emotions, he let them take him a bit too far and now he is separated from his girlfriend and he doesn't get to see his daughter as often as would like.  He is also feeling remorse for some other things that he has done in his life.  We taught him, for these reasons, about the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that he might now to what source to look to for a remission of his sins.  I don't know if it is good to publish other people's personal and spiritual experiences like I am, but I hope that these stories that I tell you serve you in some way.  The people who I teach have a big influence on me.  I will never be able to capture these experiences with just a few words in the time that I am given.  I love these people.  I am grateful for their humility and their sincerity.  Sometimes I only teach them once, with other people it is several lessons.  However many times it is, I am grateful for every teaching experience that I have.

Elder Behling and I are pleased to announce that we will be staying together here in Nice!   The best city in France, the perfect ward, the greatest people!  The conditions are perfect.  Baptisms are soon to follow.  Did you know that Joseph Fielding Smith did not have a single baptism on his mission to England?  I think that this interesting.

Kisky is the coolest investigator on this side of the Mississippi.  He knows the Bible like the back of his hand and reads the Book of Mormon vigarously, like a thirsty panther on the jungle floor.  He is seeking.  We taught him about the plan of salvation this last week and think that that is exactly what he needed.  He understand it perfectly and he asked the perfect questions.  He needs the testimony that Joseph Smith is truly a prophet and revelator.  And it will come.  He also needs to come to church.  And he will come.

This is the greatest work, the best two years.  I love every minute.  God speed the right!

Avec amour,

Elder Kunzler

Monday, January 13, 2014

D'un Jour Meilleur l'Aurore Luit

This delightful woman that we contacted yesterday let me borrow her hat!

Dearest family and families,

As some of you have already heard from the mission office this last, I confirm that my foot will be operated on this afternoon!  Last week, we did a bit more investigating (with an ultrasound) and found that there is still a 2.1 cm long sliver of wood still hanging out underneath my skin.  This explains why my foot has been ejecting puss nearly nonstop for the last 5 or so months.  The operation should be quite simple and the recovery is not really going to affect the work, which is huge blessing as we are seeing many miracles in this area at this time.

This last week we were to teach 10 lessons, the most I've taught since I've been here in Nice and we have 4 new investigators.  As I explained last week, some of our investigators who had previously been showing progression or potential have been either difficult to contact or have not been show sincere desire.  That is why it is really cool that the Lord has been willing to bless us with sheaves on our backs right when we thought we were losing investigators!

I would like to start by sharing some really cool experiences that we have had very recently in aiding in the member missionary efforts.

First, on Saturday night, our awesome, young Elder's Quorum President, Tahiana gave me a call and told me that his former business management professor would be coming to church the following morning and that he would like me to be the one to welcome him to church, because, according to him, he was JUST like me.  So, I wasn't very surprised when a beautiful, intelligent, funny and incredibly nice man showed up to sacrament meeting with a huge smile on his face.  Hehe.  After the hymn that we sung, he said that he felt very relaxed and at ease.  After the meeting, Tahiana and I were able to chat with him.  He had a ton of questions and we had an epic conversation.  He is Christian, but he has lots of doubts about things like the creation and Adam and Eve.  He is just a very good person who is searching for something that will bring him peace and solace in this world.  My companion and I had to go in the middle of the conversation, but Tahiana called me later and told me that after I had left he met the bishop and they stayed and chatted for a while.  After leaving, Yannick (Tahiana's friend) called him and told him that he had been reflecting and he thinks that this is the path that he ought to take.  We will be teaching him on Wednesday!  Member missionary work is the best!

Tahiana's brother, Tanjona, our former WML comes with us to play basketball on Saturdays with some of his friends and another member's friends.  During basketball this week, Tanjona explained to us that one of his friends who was there had received a Book of Mormon and had come to a few Young Adult activities in the past.  He asked us to do a follow-up with him.  So after the games, we were able to walk out of the courts with him and get to know him a little better.  He's a really cool Christian who doesn't really go to church, but lives better values than a lot of people who do.  He lives the Word of Wisdom à fond.  We invited him to church and he said he would come!  Then he showed up at 8:45, 15 minutes before the meetings even started!  Tanjona was so stoked to see him there.  He loved church and we will be doing an FHE with him tomorrow evening.  Some cool potential.

We are also now teaching a solid young man from the Congo.  His name is Kisky.  Yeah, it sounds like a rapper name.  He knows the Bible better than any one I've ever taught on my mission.  He was actually contacted and passed to us by the sisters here.  He is originally Catholic, but he converted to an Evangelical church a few a years ago, but he doesn't really practice that any more.  He has a super huge desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  He told us that he was going to read and deeply study whatever we gave him to read between appointments and seek divine help in determining if it is true.  He read 3 Nephi 11 after our first meeting and loved it.  He is fun to teach, because he understands the magnitude of EVERYTHING we teach and he understands why we are there, to help him to prepare to be baptized once he gets an answer.  He said that he would be baptized if he receives his answer that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet!  Cool.

A few other cool other investigators I will not have the time to tell you about, Michel, a 20 year old Brazilian and Lilian a delightful French woman who is looking for truth.

Nice is the best.  Miracles are happening everywhere.  In Cannes, there was a baptism on Saturday.  Someone who had been coming to church and receiving the lessons for the last 2 years (even has an institute diploma).  He just up and decided that he was ready.  Joy!

I know that this work is the most rewarding of all and I encourage you all to join in the greatest of all causes!  I testify of the fulfilling feeling that God grants us as we engage in the same cause to which He himself consecrates all his time and energy (even though he lives in eternity and has a resurrected body), "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man".

God speed the right!

Avec amour,


Monday, January 6, 2014

Israel, Israel, Dieu t'appelle

Stella's Christmas gift, Das Buch Mormon!

Dearest friends, family, acquintances, kinsfolk, and strangers,

The time has come.  The Lord is gathering in his sheep.  He is gathering them from the four corners of the earth (I've never really understood this expression, because the earth doesn't have any corners), from the northern countries.  The first shall be the last and the last shall be the first.  The Lord's work is being accomplised even in the city of Nice, France.  Where there are 10 full time missionaries bringing in the harvest this beautiful month of January.

Over a month and a half ago I gave the Book of Mormon to a Jewish man named Izak, who was about to leave to go the Holy Land, the country of Israel.  I told him that I would contact him upon his return.  Now this man has come to church three times in a row, and yesterday he committed to be baptised at the end of the month.  This is someone who did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.  A man who used to worship God in synangogues.  He is someone who has taken time and energy to teach and help understand, but who has little by little progressed and received testimonies.  He loves to do missionary work.  Have already met over half a dozen of his friends and been able to teach about half of them.  He is excited to be able to share "l'église Mormon" with his friends.  Good example.

High on the Mountaintop, a Banner is Unfurled (over Nice)

Let me tell you about a few of his friends that we teach.

First there is Stella.  Stella is a wonderful German woman who is only staying in Nice for a few months.  She came to France on a bit of a spiritual journey and she met us her first week and has read from the German Book of Mormon that we gave her nearly every day since Christmas.  She is afraid to go come to church, however, because she doesn't want members getting the idea that she Izak's wife.  Hehe.  She already has a very strong testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and she is loving the things that she is learning with us.  A wonderful woman who will stay here until the end of February and is progressing in her study of the restored gospel.

Then there is Alain.  Alain owns a shop that is just a couple blocks from our apartment.  We actually just ran into him on the way to come do our emails.  He is an evangelical christian convert, he was born catholic, but he considers himself a true convert of only a few years.  He, however, has kept some of the catholic doctrines that pleased him, one's that are not found in his current church, while rejecting others.  We will be teaching him for the third time this evening and will be sharing the Plan of Salvation, which he has many questions about.  Teach the gospel to friends of investigators is really cool.  Almost as good as teaching the friends of members :).

Des cuisses de grenouilles! Frog legs!

Unfortunately, we have been unable to get into contact with a few of our other investigators.  Mina and Moise are sure to get into contact with us very soon.  Keep them in your prayers, please.  The last time I talked to Mina, she was going through some family difficulties.

Happy New Year, one and all!  2014 is sure to be a wonderful year!  Let us be committed to serve the Lord this year in whatever capacity or situation God has given us!

Avec amour,


Christmas morning- Did a spiritual thought with some radical latter-day saints!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Maître, La Tempête Lance...

Dear family and friends,

It was radical to see you all and to enjoy your presence on Christmas day!  James might be the classest missionary east of the Mississippi.  It was awesome to be with you for a while!

So, I got to talk with you about the pretty cool Christmas miracles that Elder Behling and I saw... but I'd like to go into a bit more detail so that all can hear!

Stella is a German woman who met the missionaries the first week that she came here to Nice.  She doesn't speak French, but fairly good English.  She was introduced to us by Franco, our rich Jewish investigator, who has given us 6 referrals since the time that we started teaching him (we are currently teaching 2 of these referrals).  Stella came to France to change.  She is retired, has two children and was looking for an adventure.  She is Catholic and has great faith in Jesus Christ.  She came to the ward meal at the church on Christmas Day, and we gave her the Book of Mormon as a Christmas gift.  We taught her again yesterday and we were able to show her a church film in German and she was very touched by the Spirit.  She said a beautiful German prayer at the end of the lesson.  There is a wonderful Austrian couple here in our ward that has been helping us to fellowship and teach her.  Everything just kind of fell into place and she is now a progressing investigator with a lot of potential!  She told us yesterday that she wants us to teach her on a daily basis, so we will be going back in just a couple of hours to reveal more of God's truths to her.  God works in mysterious ways!

Mina is super cool.  We gave the Book of Mormon to her when she came to church last sunday and she has already read 12 chapters in.  She tells us that she is Buddhist and Catholic, that she has 2 religions already and that she isn't sure if she wants a third, so we're doing our best to help her to see that this is between her and God.  She didn't understand that at first.  She just thought that we were spiritual masters called to just give her spiritual comfort in a time of need (she is going through a divorce), but we are helping her to see that we are representatives of the Lord, there to help her to come to Him.  She loves Jesus Christ, but she doesn't know Him very well.  We have complete confidence that God will guide her as she continues to place her confidence in Him.  She has already had some incredible experiences with prayer, and she is sure to see more miracles.

Meilleurs Voeux et Bonne Année!

Avec amour,

Elder Kunzler