Il rugit commes des lionceaux, il gronde et saisit sa proie
Baptism of Isabelle and Olivier!
Dearest family and friends,
Lyon is the BEST. At first it was difficult to not see the palm trees and the ocean, but Lyon is the BEST. It is a huge city, by far the largest city that I have ever worked in. The ward is huge, by far the biggest ward I've ever served in (over 200 members, mostly families). The work here is killer, it is a big area, one of three in Lyon and it includes mostly the western and northwestern parts of the city. There are lots of families and just lots of students, and just lots of people in general.
There were two baptisms here in our ward just yesterday. The assistants baptized a french woman named Isabelle, who is very kind. My companion and I, who are the ZLs here in Lyon, baptized an african man named Olivier. Olivier was taught for a long time before deciding to be baptized. He met the missionaries over 6 months ago and received all the lessons before baptism. Then, the missionaries stopped teaching him for a while. He kept coming to church every week, however. Then just a few sundays ago there was a baptism that he attended here. He was very touched by the spirit that was felt at the service and he decided that he was ready to get baptized himself. In his testimony after the ordinance yesterday, he said that he knew that it was the right time because it was then that he was ready, that the decision came from himself and from no one else. He also bore his testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel and the sacred nature of the covenant that he chose to contract with Heavenly Father. It was a very great service!
The man whose baptism Olivier attended was a name named Calif. Calif was baptized just before I arrived and he has a pretty incredible story that I'd like to share with you. Calif comes from Congo in Africa, where he was a devout Catholic. He left his family for a certain time to come to France and find some work. One day he walked past the Mormon chapel here in Lyon and, being curious, wanted to take a look inside. Finding it locked up, he decided to leave his name and phone number on a piece of paper that he attached to the building door. Later, he got a call from the missionaries, began meeting with them, accepted the restored gospel without hesitation and has been faithful to it ever since. It's amazing to see how truly prepared some of God's children are to receive the fulness of the gospel truthes. These truthseekers always seem to be people who already have a deep love for God and for his word. Just the other day, my companion and I were talking to an evangelical pastor, someone with a sincere love for our Savior Jesus Christ. He was actually at the church for a marriage that took place there this week. He wanted to know what kind of a church it was and when we told him that it was a Mormon church, he immediately began blasting us with questions about the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the proof it is of the Restoration and the Divinity of this work. We were able to give him he Book of Mormon and invite him to meet the missionaries where he was from in Sens.
Another pretty amazing miracle took place this last week! We found a family to teach!! Just last week we got a call from the mission office who had a referral for us. It came from a member in another ward near Switzerland. The referral was for this woman's daughter, who was pregnant and having some health problems, she wanted us to give her a blessing. So we gave her a call and she agreed to meet with us at the chapel with her husband. We gave them a tour of the chapel and then got to share a little lesson with them. It was a wonderful french family. The father is a very kind and humble Catholic man and the wife knows the church very well, but has never been baptized. She has even read the Book of Mormon twice and followed all of the missionary lessons several times. She said that she just wasn't ready and had not yet received the confirmation from God that it was all true. However, she LOVES the church and very much supports her mothers membership. We engaged the family to pray together and read a brochure on the Restoration. We will be meeting with them this week to follow up and they also agreed to come to church this upcoming sunday. We then gave her a priesthood blessing and the Spirit was very strong. I have high hopes for this family! I think that the fact that they are starting a family together might help them to see that the restored gospel is a blessing for families!
Some cool things on the horizon and I'm feeling very happy! I would like to share with you a little scripture that I discovered on my mission. It is found in Matthew 19, verse 29. Jesus says, "Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." I feel like I've already received the hundredfold in spiritual blessings. I've learned things here that I will be able to take with me through the rest of this life and even hereafter. Radical!
I love you family and friends! Passez une bonne semaine et sachez que je vous aime!