Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 64 "THE BEACH"

La Havre with the Elders

Now elder Jones.... What kind of title is that?  'well it's a pretty good one, considering we went to the beach at La Havre this week.
   I have the great responsibility to give a training every week to a district of hard-working, solid missionaries.  Any one of them could easily be telling me what to do, but I guess this is what God wants me doing right now.  Anyways, I gave a training with the subject as, 'How we can grow closer to Christ' We set a goal to grow that relationship by praying more often throughout the day, and I will say that I saw the fruits of doing so.  That night we went to Le Havre on an exchange, and I was looking forward to it because it's, of course, on the coast.  However, I was feeling apprehensive toward contacting there because I knew the work was going a little slower.  Surprise surprise we had a whole afternoon and evening of contacting ahead of us, so I just 'girded up my loins' (haha) as the scriptures say and went out.  This is where the praying a lot came in handy.  Contacting all night is definitely something that requires good physical and moral stamina, and the prayers we offered during the day definitely helped us hold that.  I will also say that passing by the beach and touching the water also helped - I had always wanted to do that.
Elder Jones at the Beach

Unfortunately the dramatic cloudscape wasn't just for show, and we got poured on right after we took pictures. But hey it was okay; by the end of the night, we had taught quite a few lessons!  Just goes to show you that everything impossible with prayer and actually going out and acting on your prayers really works.  Pretty cool huh?  So pray and your long days will go by much better.
La Havre

     The following day we got lost in an isolated beach town.  Took a train that left at the exact same time as our train to Mantes, where we take a bus to Cergy.  So we saw the beach again!  We did not get home until evening, but good thing we finally got home because we had an appointment at the bishop's house!  We shared a good spiritual thought and they fed us Raclette in return.  Raclette is a self-serve cheese melting, meat-cooking grill, which when added to baked potatoes, makes an amazing dinner. Before we arrived at the bishops we were talking to people on the street and a man abruptly approached us to tell us we need only faith, and no works to be saved.  He was in a bible bashing mood, so we chose to just tell him we had to go, rather than argue.  Good decision.  Past that....the bishop of our ward, Frere Leger, is so cool! He's full of fire and good will.  He really wants us to be natural about sharing the gospel, and work a lot
through members. Will do, bishop.
     Rouen visited us in Cergy on Thursday.  We had another long afternoon of contacting, but not without cool miracles to accompany it.  For example, as we walked around one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of our sector talking to people, a lady walked down the road toward us, she definitely displayed the quality of a golden investigator in a financial sense more than anything else.  So, we stop her, and she seems really curious in our beliefs; in the end we explain the entire restoration of our church to her, and she really understood our beliefs.  Though she admitted to being dedicated to her current church, I felt really happy to meet someone who was so open to hear about our beliefs.  At the end of our conversation, she said, "I don't believe in coincidence.  I decided to take a walk because I'm waiting to pick my kids up from school, and look at that, I met you two!" We invited her to pray and left it at that.  wow!
Pontoise at night!

     The crowning event of the week was the baptism of Rotimi, an investigator that elder Harris had taught before coming here. Battling family and friend opposition, he stuck through and after a series of miraculous events he was baptized last Saturday.  The baptism was great, I got to see Elder Gunn my last companion since the baptism took place in his chapel.  I got to play piano for the service, and by the time everything was over we were looking to return home very late.  We hopped on the RER, and as we are sitting there, pretty tired, as it's 8:45 pm, a lady sitting across from us mentions our church's name while on her phone.  As soon as she hangs up we ask her how she knows the church and she tells us about some friends in her homeland who are members. She unexpectedly hopped off at La Defense and all we had time to do was give her our card.  Okay, no problem; moments later a younger couple starts staring at our badges, and then the wife asks us if we're working for a religion. "Kind of..." and that started things off.  She was catholic and her husband doesn't believe in anything, but they both felt interested in learning more about our religion and we exchanged numbers quickly before they too jumped off the train. Woo!  Well, 'jamais deux sans trois' as the French say (never two without three.) A half-minute later a black man right behind where the couple sat said, "so that guy didn't believe in God, eh? How is that possible?"  That started our third conversation. I think we were supposed to be on that train.  Even though he wasn't interested to learn more, I felt pretty blown away at all the people who just talked to us on the train.  God will put people in our path as missionaries, honestly; I could recount two or three other instances from this week where we ran into people we had contacted before, and these people are becoming more our friends than just some person we talk to on the road.

     Well in preparation for General Conference I would just tell you all that first, General Conference, for everyone who doesn't know, is a time when we receive God's direction and guidance through someone called a Prophet.  It's not his advice, it's God's direction to each of us.  Just pray that you'll be guided and humble enough to receive the answers to any questions you have.  If you prepare for conference with questions it's sure you'll receive answers.  I did this last conference and I got some great responses.  So go ahead and that'll
help you out a lot!
Love you and have a great week!

Elder Jones

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