Strange that this should be the last week that I write you. It has been an adventure. But the adventure is not over yet!
Elder Palmer and I have 20 projected lessons for this upcoming week, using the excuse "this is my last week in France" has been a good trick for getting people to accept lessons with us. The ones that I am looking forward the most to are those with Hermeline, we have 3 planned so far.
This last week was a turning point in the conversion process of Hermeline. Hermeline up to this point, has been very willing to meet with us, follow our teachings, pray, read brochures, etc. The only things that she was having difficulty committing herself to do were reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church, which are two of, if the not THE most important things. Everything changed however when Hermeline decided to come to a baptism. It was the baptism of an investigator of another ward in Lyon, his name was Alexis. The service was really powerful, President Roney spoke on baptism and the baptisée gave a powerful testimony after the ordonance. Most importantly was the spirit that Hermeline felt and the power of God that was manifested in this sacred ordonance. She was well welcomed by members of the congregation. One of the members, Mama Constance, a wonderful african member, gave her a warm welcome and talked to her about her conversion story. Then she suggested that Hermeline go with us to visit Papa Daniel. I'm not going to lie. I LOVE AFRICAN CULTURE. I feel like it is similar for africans all over the world. It reminds of like Song of the South or Lion King. There comes a point in every young hero's journey that he must visit the wise/jolly preacher, Papa Daniel (Mustafa). Papa Daniel is a former Evangelical Preacher literally. He was converted to the true church and kingdom of God through the power of the Holy Ghost combined with the Book of Mormon. Yes. Hermeline visited Papa with us this last week. That was the turning point. After shedding a few tears and feeling the Spirit powerfully, she committed herself to read the Book of Mormon. Then she came to church for the first time. Then last night she told us that she wanted us to meet her whole family. Little signs of conversion. God is good.
Now I'm going to tell you about the tender mercies of the Lord. God really is good. So 2 weeks ago, at the train station in central Lyon, Elder Palmer and I were getting train tickets when something caught my eye. It was LACROSSE GEAR. There was a guy decked out in straight up LAX shorts, a LAX hat, and a LAX hoody. I stopped him and started talking to him. Come to find out that he is from Zurich, Switzerland and that he is on one of the only lacrosse players in ALL OF FRANCE. There are 4 teams in the whole country and only 1 in THE WHOLE MISSION. And it is located in Lyon. He explained to me that there are about 6 or so players that get together twice a week and practice. We exchanged numbers, etc. I got permission from the mission president to take some time out of my P-Day and play around with them, non-contact. Can you imagine?! 6 lacrosse players in the entire mission and I ran into one of them! So this last wednesday, I got to pick a lacrosse stick back up and do what I love the most (after the gospel). The guys were really cool, half of them were french and half were international (Ukraine, Australia). The skills levels were really varied. The guy who organized it was really good actually. Anyway, I could go on about this for a long time, but I just wanted to show to you the GOD IS GOOD. It turned out to be a great missionary opportunity, actually. The Australian kid expressed some interest and we're planning on inviting all of them to church for my last sunday here in Lyon.
Papa and Hermeline
So I'd actually just like to spend a minute or two in this letter to bear my testimony to all of you. I've been a missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ since May 2012. In one week it will have been two years since I entered into the MTC to start learning French and missionary skills. These last two years have been the best two years of my life. I don't want to get too sentimental, but I can't help because my mission has meant so much to me! I love this work. I love the Lord. I love these people. I love the missionaries here. I love the missionary routine. I love the members. I love the Book of Mormon. I love French. I love cheese. I love teaching investigators. I love watching people coming unto Jesus Christ. I love this mission. I testify that in order for this work to advance in all corners of the word, the members and missionaries of this church need to exercise faith. That is the key. Ether 12:16, Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after. 18; And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God. I have been able to see miracles EVERY SINGLE DAY of my mission. I know that this is the Lord's work. HE personally leads this work. He is the most powerful being in the Universe. He loves all of us. He wants to bless us. He can when we exercise faith in Him.
I love you family and I look forward to seeing you again! It will be a joyous reunion. God be with you till we meet again!