I'm going to start out this letter by giving a shout-out to Jonah, my little brother who loves beautiful cars! Yesterday, on our way home to the apartment from the church we were crossed a bridge that went over the freeway and we heard an engine roaring like a lion in the distance. We look and see this Ferrari approaching top speed, switching lanes and zooming around other cars, showing off it's utter power. Not very legal, but it was epic! Love you Jonah!
This last week was stellar. I was able to live some very humbling experiences that have strengthened my testimony in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'd actually like to start by talking about a pretty unique experience. So this last week I was able to do an exchange with a missionary working in St. Etienne. This is a little town in France named after the early Christian martyr Stephen, who saw in vision Christ on the right hand of God the Father just before being stoned to death. This city carries it's name very well. Many mormon missionaries have been stoned in the past in this city. Haha, no just kidding. But actually, recently there was a terrible accident in which a 5 year old boy in the ward there was playing out the street, didn't see a car approach and was actually hit by the car and was run over under the tire in the groin area. On my visit to St. Etienne, I had the opportunity to go to visit this boy and give him a blessing. I think that he has been in the clinic for over a month. What was incredible and impressive to me in this experience was this little boy's attitude. Even in his unfortunate state, he never stopped smiling, laughing and goofing with us. He has seen amazing progress, at first they weren't sure if he was ever going to be able to use his legs again, but now he has total control over the left and the right is being restored to use! Members and missionaries have been keeping him in their prayers and they've been working! It was very humbling to see how someone so small could go through such a tragic accident or trial and keep a smile on their face. He's a very good example.
Something else radical that happened was that I got to see Alex L'Homel, formerly Elder L'Homel. A good friend who I served with in Dijon, where he finished his missionary service. On Saturday there was a Mega Saturday activity for the Young Adults in the region and he showed up! We were there for the Spiritual Thought with an investigator and it was insane to see him again, in non-missionary form. He got called to High Council in his stake right after finishing his mission. Haha. A little tendre miséricorde to see him.
We have some really cool investigators right now. People here in Lyon are awesome. The ward here is celestial, the missionary work here is on fire. There are baptisms in Lyon just about every other week! France is honestly the next Brazil or Chile.
One of our new investigators is actually someone who was passed to us from other companionship on the other side of the river in Lyon, he's been taught 4 or 5 times, but he lives in our sector. His name is Réginal and he comes from Haiti. He is an epic person. He is ultra smiley and really enthusiastic about LIFE. Really a pleasure to teach him the restored gospel. When we taught him, we asked him how his reading of the Book of Mormon was going and he recounted to us 1 Nephi 3-6, about Nephi getting the brass plates, but from an epic Réginal perspective. He LOVED it. He knows that the Book of Mormon is true, he has already received an answer. He said that he would be baptized once he knows more about the church. No doubt that he will do so!
Oh, and also a cool little miracle! This last week I found out that someone who Elder Emal and I taught in Bordeaux last summer was baptized here in Lyon! He was in Bordeaux visiting some family and we got to meet and teach him, then we passed his information to the missionaries here at the time. He'd already received the Book of Mormon and when he came back to Lyon, he continued to meet with the missionaries and eventually entered into the waters of baptism! And now he is preparing to serve a mission! Another tender mercy :)
I could keep adding to this list, but I will not have the time. As the wise Gandalf once said, "All we must do is decide what to do with the time that is given us." Indeed.
Family. Friends. Je vous aime. I love you. Enjoy General Conference. Go in with a question! Have a great week! God bless you :)
PS I'm including an old picture that was taken amongst the olives trees in the hills of Nice. It was sent to me by a member this week. One love!