Monday, April 25, 2016

Who Let the Homeless Guys in Here to Eat? - Week 46

It feels like it hasn’t been that long since I last did emails. I guess it was only four days ago and when you go on a seven day schedule, it makes a difference. But let’s actually see if I can remember that far back alright? 

Well I think I mentioned that my week had started last Sunday night when we had to head down to Aix for the night to give them their little table to cut their vegetables on. The guys down there are pretty fun and we ended up staying up that night just telling stories. I bet that’s exactly what my Mom wants to hear is that we were driving with even less sleep then normal. But don't worry Mom, nothing bad happened. The only reason we were down there is because we had to be over to Montauban by 2:00 on Monday. Which if you look at that same map that you looked at last week, you realize that Lyon and Montauban aren't too close. You can even throw Aix in there and it still doesn't really help the distance out. 

We were sitting around the apartment in Montauban having a maintenance guy check out the water heater and like a normal French person, he asked us what two Americans were doing in the middle of France. Well conveniently that always brings us to how we are missionaries and then we just bring up the Book of Mormon and teach him a lesson and give him one even though we are halfway across the country from where our actual area is. Gotta get those lessons in when you can. Since we also happened to be in Toulouse around dinner time, we happened to be able to go to this really widely known restaurant there. It’s called L'Entrecote and the thing about it is that it only serves one thing. Luckily that one thing is one of my most favorite things in the world, steak and fries. Well after feeling like a bunch of scrubs because we were dressed in our shorts and sweatshirts at this place, we stuffed ourselves and slept that night in Beziers.

The next day wasn't too exciting. We went to IKEA twice to buy stuff for the missionaries in Montpelier and we fixed some more stuff up. Little bit of a pattern, eh? After getting the stuff done there, we had some extra time and went to this small city right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea named Sete. Apparently it’s a decently famous place, but if you get the chance, I'd definitely look up some pictures of that place. It’s a rather nice looking place after seeing it firsthand. We spent that next night in Avignon and headed out that next morning to this place that is famous around the missionary world here in Lyon. It’s this Nike store in Valence that sells everything for like 80% off. So of course I had to benefit and I bought a new pair of shoes and a few other things. I'll have to find a way to get myself back there sometime.

The rest of the week was just spent in Lyon doing various things from organizing our storage rooms around town to fixing more stuff in the apartments here. Mostly Sisters' apartments but that's a conversation for later. Luckily though, we got to go to Zone Conference on Friday with the zones here in Lyon and also the zones from Switzerland came down for it. It was pretty cool having over half of the mission together in that one chapel. Somehow I’ve been able to be a part of a fair bit of conferences where most, if not all, of the mission has gotten together. It’s always fun to get together with people that I know. We also were given the task to purchase all the food and snacks for the Zone Conference. Good thing we have a car to haul it all back to the chapel!

I forgot to mention that on Wednesday this last week, we didn't get our P-day until then and neither did either of the other missionary companionships in our district for whatever reason, so we all decided to go and rent some bikes and ride them along the rivers here in Lyon. All I needed was a beret and a baguette under my arm and I could pass as a French man. Oh and take away about a foot of my height. 

We were in the office on Thursday and the other Elders here and the Senior Couples were talking about how they were going to go out to dinner all together on Saturday night later that week. Well since they're all so nice to us, they invited us to come along with them. They were wondering about a certain restaurant and if they should go there or not. Well once they told us that they were planning to go to L'Entrecote here in Lyon, they had the right guys to go with them. So yes, I did eat steak and fries two days this week for dinner. The best part about it all though is that we were looking at the desserts on the menu and then we saw a McDonald's across the street and just decided to go get ice cream there instead. I was even dressed nicely this time. 

That basically sums up my week. One of the senior couples invited us over for dinner last night and we got to sit and talk about mission stories for a while with them and that’s always fun. 

I hope everyone is enjoying their spring so far and I'll catch you all next week.

Much love!



First time at L'Entrecote






Sete


Zone Conference


Food for Zone Conference






P-day fun




Second time at L'Entrecote

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Golfing, Geneva, and Good Food - Week 45

On a scale of 1 to 10, how good was your week? If it's under a 7, that either means you just went through finals week or you're not eating enough fried chicken. Which, coincidentally, is what my week consisted of. But let me explain more important matters first.

And yes, today is Wednesday not Monday like P-days normally are but when you leave Lyon on Sunday night and go on a 4 day road trip around the mission fixing things, this is what happens. But let's look back
at what happened about a week and half ago on Monday.

I'm not sure how many of you have thought about missionary work really in depth. No, not the part where you talk about the restored gospel to everyone, but more the behind the scenes type of stuff. I mean where everyone lives and the money side of things. And if you're familiar with missions, the number of missionaries in a given mission changes every 6 weeks which means you might not need some apartments or you would need more apartments  depending on the transfer. Well in our mission, all the furniture gets stored in Lyon from the old apartments and this last week we ran out of space so we went to go rent more storage space. Well after walking into the storage company at 10:00 am, we finally walked out at 2:00 pm with some keys in our hands. Now that would have probably been the worst P-day ever but luckily things were looking up for the rest of the day. We had received a call from some of the other missionaries in Lyon wondering if we wanted to go golfing with them for a bit. Knowing we really couldn't play a full 9 holes, we just went and hit some golf balls for an hour. Gotta say, that's a nice way to get some stress off ya. Hitting little balls as hard as you possibly can. Also the day before, the Stake President's wife, who happens to be in my ward, asked all the missionaries to come over and eat dinner Monday night and have FHE with their family. What missionary would say no to that offer? To make things better, the entire family is American. Almost felt like we were in America except that we were in the middle of the French countryside eating Italian style pizza. It's the thought that counts right?

Most of Tuesday we ran some errands for people in the office and had some meetings to plan out what we were going to do for the week. After getting all that stuff done and loading our car up for our trip back up to Switzerland, we headed to my old stomping grounds in Chalon for a district meeting the next day. Basically for district meeting, we talked a lot about how to try and be successful at getting people to church. That's usually one of the biggest struggles here in France because of the huge area that the branches and wards cover. For example, in Chalon, from where the church is located, you have to travel over an hour and a half to get to the edge of the boundaries on either side. That's sometimes a lot to ask people. It's interesting to look at it from their side sometimes though. But for the rest of the day, we made it up to Lausanne in Switzerland and ate dinner with the guys there and then slept down in Geneva that night. Pretty sure I've spent almost as many nights in Geneva as I have in my own apartment.

That next day basically consisted of us driving in and out of Geneva, both on the French and Swiss sides, with washers and dryers and delivering them to different apartments. We also had to deliver some old phones to a church office so they could be sent to Africa to be used down there. We gave the guys in Annemasse a new washer and then went out to eat with them afterwards. It's a pretty cool perk of this job that I get to go and see and talk to a ton of missionaries and get to know them a little bit. You learn how cool the people are in this mission.

Friday I spent the day in Lyon and helped check off some of the office to do list. That was an all day thing.

Saturday morning we went with the Chinese missionaries
and helped a less active member in our ward move. More good practice right? I think it is funny that French people like to move from small city to small city like a half an hour away from each other. Such is the case here. But as we were leaving, she gave us some money to go and buy some McDonald's. French people just think that Americans live there I swear. But instead of actually going there, we decided to be more creative and go to an even more American place. KFC. After the five of us put down three buckets of chicken, we headed back home to change and then headed to the local institute to do a finding activity with all the missionaries in Lyon. Felt pretty nice to get back into normal missionary work and talk to people out on the street for the day.

Last week at church, a couple of the African members invited us over to eat "real" African food, as they put it, with them and their friends on Sunday. As one of them said, "We’re making you real African food so you can tell your kids in a few years." I enjoyed it all so I'm not complaining. Right afterwards, we had to head out because we spent the night in Aix. And that's about where the week ended. I'll continue everything next week!

Also I forgot to mention that on Tuesday we actually got to teach our one investigator that we have. It was my first time meeting with him but it was pretty good and we're hoping to actually get things going with him.

That about wraps up last week. I hope everyone, especially all the kids going through finals, had a great week.

Love you all!

Elder Wilson



Some golf ...




... some FHE ...


... some Switzerland ...






... some American food ...






... some finding activity ...


 ... and some African food!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vegetables? Eeh. Where's the Beef? - Week 44

It's already Monday again? I guess all this driving makes it go so fast. Ha get it? Fast and driving? Well at least now the ice is broken so I can actually start talking about my week.

I'm not sure how many of you here have actually been to France and walked around the streets for a while, but you quickly realize all the small cafes that are around. Well I never had actually been to one and felt that I needed that French experience, as real as it can get without smoking, drinking wine and wearing a beret. But you get the gist of it. Well we met up with a bunch of other missionaries for P-day last week and were going to all go and eat together. Thirty minutes later, we were in three different groups going to three different restaurants. Luckily I ended up with some of the guys from Ecully and were eating at a small French cafe. Probably the best decision I made all week.

As part of this whole "moving equipe," that's French for, we drive around France giving people shelves and breaking old bed frames along the way, we don't actually know what we will be doing until we have our weekly meeting at the beginning of the week with the rest of the office staff. Well this week consisted of Marseille, Montauban, Toulouse, Pau and Bordeaux. Now if you were to look at a map, because I know not many of you even know where those places are, you would realize that none of those places are really that close together. Now throw in the fact that we hit all those places in two days, driving for twenty hours and making it back to Lyon in between. That's a lot of driving in case you didn't know. But it was fun to drive around basically the whole mission, talking to a few missionaries I didn't know and just generally seeing what France has to offer. Well, at least from the freeway. Everyone decided that a lot of their stuff was broken all at the same time so we only had to make a big circle around.

Thursday we had a zone training in Lyon where we talked about how to accomplish a new goal that our mission President has set for us for this transfer. That goal is to have 91 baptisms for our mission by the end of the transfer which is in about 4 weeks. Now to put things into perspective for you, the whole mission all of last year had a little under 200 baptisms. So to be able to get those 91 in a month, it'll be a fun goal to try for. More on that to come. But for the rest of the day we basically did little things around Lyon for people.

As part of the office staff, we've basically been trying to find all the summer tires for a lot of the mission cars. So for that we've been going and looking in all the missionary garages for the tires to give to other people with cars. Well one of the ones we went to was the Assistant's garage. Long story short, we found a bunch of tires in there and cleaned the entire thing out that day. Just learning more life skills here or something. But later that night, one of the Senior couples invited us and the other office Elders over for dinner that night. And what do you get when you put a bunch of Americans together? Eating one of the most French things that you can of course. We enjoyed a nice dinner of potatoes and meats covered fancy French cheeses. I always love raclette.

There is this member in one of the wards here in Lyon who wanted to teach us how to eat healthier. Well she just so happens to be a vegan too and so she taught us how to cook an entire meal using fruits and vegetables and nuts. She took us to the street markets around town and told us what is good to get all that stuff. After eating and enjoying the fruit smoothies that she made, we helped clean up and left looking for some real food to eat. I don't think I've had more of a desire to eat fried chicken in my life then after that one. The vegan life isn't for me. Give me more raclette!

Besides that, it's been a fun week and I've just have been around everywhere. Heading back up to Switzerland tomorrow! Thanks for all you do and eat some extra American food for me this week alright?

Blake


Mmmm, raclette!


Mmmm, KFC!


Hmmm, tires?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Missionaries or Tourists? - Week 43

Man what a week it's been. Normally when you think of missionary work you think of talking to people about Jesus Christ on the street all day right? Well, take that and think the opposite of it. That's basically what I've been doing this week. After getting to my new area of Lyon on Monday and getting everything together, Carlson, my new comp, whose nickname is still pending, and I threw all my stuff into our apartment and headed over to the other office Elder's apartment. They needed our help in the morning taking some of the missionaries who were going home, to the train station so they could take a train to the airport. Did I mention that we left at 2:30 in the morning? Yeah, not much sleeping went on there. Especially since we were talking all night with the guys who were going home. Anyways, later we picked up the Sisters across town, dropped them off where they needed to go and took a nap before heading up to Yverdon in Switzerland to take the Sisters up there some new stuff for their apartment.

After getting all that squared away, we went down to stay in Geneva that night with the guys there. Luckily we even had a few hours to check out Geneva before the guys got home to let us into their apartment. Consequently, Lake Geneva was just a 10 minute drive from where we were. After walking around for a bit, feeling completely under dressed because of how expensive that place is and taking a few pictures, we decided to head back to the Geneva apartment to sleep. Well on the way back, we took a wrong turn and ended up right in front of the UN building. Pretty sweet place if you have the chance to visit it. Also side note, apparently there is a super famous fountain thing, more like a giant jet of water in Lake Geneva, that I got some pictures of. I'm sure more cultured people would appreciate it more than I did.

We got up Wednesday morning and headed back down to Lyon to teach some lessons for the day. Who knew we would get real missionary work in? Anyways, we got this referral from the Zone Leaders that we went and visited. Well it turns out, after talking with him for a few minutes, he told us how he got baptized. And how he was already a member in the Zone Leader’s ward. Whoops. We still talked with him for a while and he turned out being super cool.

We got a call on Wednesday saying that up at that Yverdon apartment, they had a storage unit full of old stuff from an old apartment in Switzerland. We had nothing else to do so we headed back up there Thursday morning to clear that out. After driving up through Annecy and dropping some stuff to the Sisters there and seeing that place for a sec, which is also another really cool place to visit if you enjoy mountains next to lakes, we made it up to Yverdon. After clearing out the storage and miraculously fitting everything into our car, literally completely full and a little bit of a miracle, we learned the Geneva guys wouldn't be home until later that night so we had a few hours to look at some castles, go to Lake Geneva again in Lausanne, which honestly is probably one of the coolest places I've been to and if you've got a little bit of extra time when you happen to be around Switzerland, I'd give that place a look. Pretty cool city that's on the side of a hill. We just skipped some rocks and took some more pictures of course, and then stayed down in Geneva again.

The Chinese Elders needed some help with some rendez vous that night and luckily we were free and could help them out. Nothing like having everyone speaking Chinese around you and then they turn to you and say something in English for a sec and then just keep going on. Can't say my knowledge of like half a dozen Chinese words really helped me out there.

Besides that, we just watched General Conference with twenty other missionaries and President and Sister Brown all day Saturday and Sunday. Not sure what my week has in store, but check back next week and maybe I'll have some new places for you to visit. Maybe not. Guess you'll have to find out next week.

Love you all!

EBW



The Snows in Chalon. They are the best!


Last night in Chalon


Switzerland


   

Lake Geneva