Monday, March 28, 2016

Mission Concierge - Week 42

Now I know you're probably scratching your head at what you just read for the title of this email. Let me explain the rest of the week before I get to that. It's going to be a shorter one this week because I've got some stuff to do here in a sec but we'll see what I can say.

This last Monday, all the missionaries around Lyon went to President's house and spent our P-day there. President and Sister Brown did a BBQ for us and we basically just hung out for the day. You can never complain about that. Every time we go there, Sister Brown tries to make the most American things she can. I'm not complaining. I ended up staying in Lyon that night because I was going on an exchange with one of the Mandarin speaking Elders Tuesday.

It's always really interesting doing Chinese missionary work since they don't really have a base of God or Jesus in their lives because apparently they just learn basics about a bunch of different religions in school. So in order to teach them the missionary lessons, we basically just have to tell a big long story to them.  Apparently it works out pretty well though. Also with Chinese missionary work, to do contacting, we just seek out all the Chinese people we can find on the metro. We ride back and forth for a while until we see a Chinese person and pretend we aren't racial profiling them. But we all know the truth.

Thursday was district meeting in Lyon and the Zone Leaders came back with us to Chalon that night so we could get transfer calls together in the morning. After visiting some members that night, we got back to the apartment and made a huge bed on the floor. So normally for transfer calls, President Brown starts on the west side and sweeps east and just calls people across the mission and is normally done by around 9:15 am. Well apparently he decided to make a change and start with the Switzerland people and then go back to Bordeaux. So guess which zone got their calls last? Yup, us. 10:00 am rolls around and we still hadn't heard anything. The ZL's had to go catch their train back to Lyon and we had to head off to a rendez vous about an hour away with an investigator and the Snows. We finally got there and started talking for a while and then our investigator conveniently got a knock on the door that she answered and at the same moment, we got a call from President Brown. Not bad timing.

But it turns out I'm being transferred down to Lyon to the moving companionship, or what is being coined as the Mission Concierge. Basically we drive around the mission and fix things in apartments that get broken, deliver any needed items and help do some moving. The best part about it is I'm with one of my good friends Elder Carlson who was in the MTC with me. I will also be helping in the mission office doing whatever things they need us to do. I'm heading up to Switzerland in the morning to deliver a dryer and refrigerator. Chocolate anyone?

But that about wraps it up for the week. This new transfer should make for some fun stories so stay tuned. 

Take care everyone!

Elder Wilson

In honor of my 20th birthday last week on March 19th.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Miss France 2016 - Week 41

Glad to see we all made it through the first week of March Madness alive. It's the best week in sports but at times it's the most frustrating because of how messed up your brackets get because of upsets. Middle Tennessee State got me in this year. Better luck next year I guess. But now to the week!

Monday came rolling around and we had to take yet another trip down to Lyon to do a baptismal interview for one of the companionships in our district who had a baptism this last week. Then we ended up
getting some more BK with the moving guys and we headed back home on a train to meet up with a few other guys who were staying at our apartment because of the mission conference the next morning. The Snows invited us all over to eat at their house that night. Nothing like 8 American missionaries eating hamburgers the American way in the middle of France. Since we had to try and fit 6 guys into our apartment to sleep that night, we basically threw all of our mattresses on the ground and made a massive floor bed. Remember that dream that we all had as a kid to have our floors made of mattresses and be able to jump around everywhere? Dream fulfilled.

We woke up early on Tuesday to take a train down to our mission conference in Lyon with Elder Christofferson. We all were able to shake his hand and then both President Brown and his wife gave a talk and then Elder and Sister Dyches from the Seventy talked and then Sister Christofferson spoke and then Elder Christofferson. But I think the thing that I was most impressed with was that we did a Q and A type of thing with Elder Christofferson and every single answer each gave to each question asked he pulled straight out of the Book of Mormon. Like every answer. And the fact is that he knew exactly where all of those answers were was pretty cool. I mean it helps that you're an apostle and all but still. Maybe one day I'll be up to his level. Probably not but I can try. After that, all the missionaries just stayed at the chapel for a few hours talking and catching up with everyone.

A few days later we were just doing some missionary work and one of the members texted us inviting us over to dinner that night with one of our investigators and a less active. Basically whenever we go over to their house, they try and make us American food but with the most French twist they possibly can. But as part of the deal we were supposed to make some American cookies for them. Since neither of us really had a recipe, we just threw a bunch of stuff together and put it into the oven. For some reason they turn out great every time. Well not for American standards but French people love them. That's all that matters right? But I guess cookies just taste better when they're made by Americans.

Saturday rolled around and we had gotten this flyer from a store that said they were having a party of sorts at their store and were having a sale. On the back of it they said that you would have the possibility of taking pictures with the Miss Bourgogne 2015 who would be there some time during the day. Well naturally we knew we had to try and get a picture especially since it was my birthday and all. Well we walked in and asked the management about it and they went and got her for us to take a picture. So yeah. That was a good birthday present. We even talked with her about us being missionaries. Justifiable right? Anyways, basically she is like the equivalent of a Miss Utah in France. I'm rooting for her for Miss France 2016.

That about wraps it up for the week. Hope you had a great week and I'll see you guys next week!


The rugby guys from the previous blog post. I don't look that tall with these guys!

Burger King!

The mission at the Christofferson Conference

The MTC group back together again

The City of Chalon, no filter

Miss France 2016 (maybe?)

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Week 40

(editor's note: I will include a few explanations as Blake has thrown in a few Frenchie words and descriptions. He is thinking and speaking in French, y'all!)

This week made me think that I'm actually serving in Lyon. Now let me explain a little bit. 

This week started out like any normal week. Us waking up in our apartment in Chalon, eating some nice French cereal in the morning, aka some regular cereal but with a bunch of nice European chocolate in it, and we headed out to catch our train to go to Lyon for the day. What we had planned with the rest of the Zone was going to explore this one really old part of Lyon called Vieux Lyon which apparently has a bunch of caves and tunnels underneath that part of the city. Well we did at least go out and explore them for a while and really only found a couple. One in particular that went down under the street into this old abandoned storage room that hadn't been touched in years. Plus the lights didn't work so that just added to the experience with all the cobwebs and all that good stuff around. And it wouldn't be complete without empty bottles of wine sitting around. Then you know you're in France. 

Normally in missions, the Mission President does interviews with all missionaries every other transfer and generally in person. But with President Brown, we've been doing Skype interviews. I feel bad for him because since he has almost 200 people to Skype and he does them for like 10 minutes each. If you do the math ... a long time. He takes likes 3 weeks to do them all. Anyway, mine happened this week and I'm always surprised at how inspired Mission Presidents are with just things they say and things they ask.

Now Wednesday came rolling around and we had planned on helping the moving equipe (companionship), the guys who drive around the mission fixing apartments and never have time to do real missionary work, work in their sector (area) for a few days. So they came to Chalon Wednesday night and then we drove down to Lyon the next morning. Basically all day Thursday and Friday we tried to pass (contact) old investigators to see if we could give any of them baptismal dates to try and reach the mission goal for the  (Elder) Christofferson conference tomorrow. It's always fun to spend some days in Lyon. We also drove by the ghetto in Lyon because we were nearby. Pretty sure we were the only white guys around. 

So now that means that we basically had a 4 day long sleepover with the moving equipe who happen to have two of my good friends in it, Elder Keller (childhood bud) and Elder Carlson (MTC bud). But within the last 7 days, I've been in Lyon 5 times including right now. Fancy that. 

Now can we just stop for a second and talk about how wonderful March Madness is? Just the first weekend, you get to watch basketball literally all day long because there are 50 games on. Waiting from Selection Sunday for the games to start for me is like a little kid the night before Christmas. Yes, it's that good. Anyways, I hope lucky punks enjoy it enough for me this year.

Well that about wraps up the week. We're having a bunch of guys over tonight so we can all go back down to Lyon for the conference tomorrow morning. Besides that, things are going good, France is still together and I'm taking Michigan State in the Tournament. Here's to being 20! (Blake's birthday is Saturday!

Love you all!

Just the "buds"

Just the Zone

Just a church

Just a park

Monday, March 7, 2016

Plig Rigs and Rugby Players - Week 39

I'm not sure how much you guys are familiar with missions, but every 6 weeks new missionaries come in and old ones leave. I've realized a lot recently how young all these young bucks are coming in to the mission and how old it makes me look. I mean they are just fresh out of high school and I've got a year of college and almost a year of a mission under my belt but still, I hope I didn't look that young when I came in. Now on to the real stuff this week.

We've finally been seeing things come around with all the work that we have done so far here. Had at least 2 rendez vous every day and finally getting some people progressing. Finally. But early on this week, we did an exchange with some of the guys down in Lyon. They came up on Tuesday around noon and none of us had eaten lunch yet and so decided to go try this place that sold these things called bazookas. Now you're thinking to yourself, what the heck is that? Well let me explain. So here in Europe there are these things called kebabs. Imagine a baguette stuffed with meat, French fries, various vegetables and all smothered in sauce. Well a normal one is probably 6ish inches or so to eat. Now these bazookas were actually three tortillas put next to each other with all that good stuff inside it. Basically the size of your elbow to your fingertips. Happy to say I put that thing down pretty easily. Not sure if it was the best decisions afterwards, but at the time it seemed smart. After the four of us had pounded down those behemoths, Lindsey headed down to Lyon and I stayed around with Burton for the day.

As we were walking around talking to some people, I got this call from a less active I hadn't met who lives in a small town about an hour away. He said he was in town and was wondering if we had a bible we could give him. So luckily we happened to be right next to the church and met up with him. Well he kind of explained himself a little bit and turns out his whole life is kind of a miracle. His mom lives in Africa and apparently the town he is from still does human sacrifices and somehow he made it out alive and now lives in France. The rest of his life story was pretty crazy. Somehow he ended up burning his last bible for a reason unknown to us and needed a new one so he could get married. Don't know all the details on that one but we're meeting with him this week. More to follow.

Here in Chalon, there usually is a rugby team that one of the less actives plays on and coaches. But this season the team went bankrupt because the president of the team left because the coach signed a lifetime contract and apparently he wasn't very good and nobody liked him so the only way to get him out was to give him money to leave. Well now all these rugby players are without jobs and so the less active asked if he could do a lunch at the church and invited all his rugby friends and then asked us to come and talk with everyone. Now I don't know if you've ever seen a rugby player in real life but these dudes were massive. Like they made me feel insignificant with how big they are. Guess I just have to get more yoked. But we ended up just doing a little meeting with them and a couple of the guys said they wanted to come to church so hopefully things pan out. Also basically none of the guys on the team are French so I ended up talking to a few guys from South Africa, Ireland, England, Australia, Tonga and New Zealand. Typical rugby places I know.

Saturday rolled around and we helped this member out with moving into his new house. It consisted of us moving some couches and some washing machines through some windows and out of some old houses in the French countryside. That's always fun to just drive around the countryside in a Mormon plig rig but French edition. Basically it was the biggest van I've seen in France so far. Not too bad.

Besides that, not too much has happened. I got my churro from last week and carnival is still in full swing until the end of the week. 

Love you all and see you next week!


Behemoth Bazooka

Just da boy'z

My arch enemy, The Feline