Monday, September 19, 2016

Buckle Up for a Long One - Weeks 66 and 67

Well howdy y'all. I guess having a companion from Texas will make me you do that kind of thing. But since I have to get through two week’s worth of stuff, this will basically be a summary of everything that happened. Let’s throw it all the way back to September 6th. Which happens to be my Dad's birthday. Look at that. 

After having a rather uneventful P-day that Monday, we were invited to go out to lunch to get some Indian food by the American family in our branch. The whole thing is pretty funny because they had texted us the week before asking who the missionaries even were since they had been in another city for the last 2 months. It's still us! We actually had gone to that same Indian food restaurant with them a while ago and so, after texting back and forth a bit, I jokingly asked if they ended up eating more curry after our last lunch and they said they were actually going to go there the next week and invited us along. After eating and talking for a bit, they grabbed a menu again and were going to order more food for dinner to take with them and then they asked if we wanted anything so we didn't have to cook dinner. We tried to get out of it a little bit since they already bought lunch but we ended up walking out with dinner AND they gave us American mac and cheese and Reese's candy. Just in case anyone doesn't know, those items are almost impossible to find in France. You have to love Americans who know what the good stuff is. 

Thursday night we headed to Manosque for an exchange and so we could get our transfer calls together with the Elders down there. We woke up on Friday morning and we had to go over to the new apartment that they are going to move into so the French agency could check it out and then we ended up just sitting in an empty apartment waiting for President to call to tell us what’s happening next transfer. I learned I'll be staying in Gap for another transfer and Aitchison is going to Nimes, a city not too far away and he gets to be with another Brit so he is pretty excited to get his accent back. Also, I will be getting a new companion fresh off the plane and I will now be District Leader. Trainer, DL, the only counselor in the Branch Presidency and I am the Executive Secretary. It should make for a good time. It was a little bit of a weird feeling knowing that after almost 5 months together, Aithchison and I would be in different places. Gotta love that Brit. For the rest of the day we helped the Manosque guys with some rendezvous and taught a couple of their amis. Later that night, their ward had an activity planned to play indoor soccer but somehow we ended up outside and since the town is in the middle of the desert kind of, we were literally getting eaten by mosquitos for a few hours. I woke up the next morning with bites everywhere. One of the members counted and I ended up with like 70 or so bites. 

We got back to Gap the next day and Aitchison packed up all of his stuff for part of the day and it was his request that we went to this fried chicken restaurant in town. We had become friends with everyone who works there and whenever they see us in the city, they come and talk to us. While we were in line to order our food, the people in front of us ordered chicken strips and they were told that they didn't have any left so when we got up to the front, we just ordered a bucket of wings. When the food was brought out to us, the owner said they had made some strips just for us and gave us some extras and also gave us a discount. Another one of the workers came and talked to us for a while and gave us some free ice cream. Well I guess being a missionary has its perks. But it was really interesting because he had talked to us about how a few years ago he had leukemia and through his whole recovery process, his thought process changed. I would imagine being on the edge of death would do that to you but it changed him to make him want to go and do good and not to judge others and help others a lot. It just made me think about how it was really similar to how the gospel teaches. I'm glad I haven't had to have an experience like that in life and I've just been able to learn it from the gospel. 

After church on Sunday we had to hustle over to the train station, since we live so far from everything else, we had to go down the night before to catch our trains in the morning for transfers. 

Monday morning, I took a train to Lyon to spend the next few days there waiting for the new missionaries to come from America. I got there in the morning and I split my time between helping to get people to the office who were going home and helping out in the office to aid other people catch trains at the station. I was able to fit in eating some Burger King and then I was able to hang out with a lot of other missionaries at the institute building in Lyon. There's something special about just being with a bunch of missionaries for a while. 

Tuesday morning, we got up and headed over to the institute again just to eat and then, since there was almost thirty missionaries together with not much to do for a few hours, what do we do? Go contacting around the whole city for the afternoon of course! We ended up in this really cool park in the city where there is a zoo in the middle of it. We all met back up at the institute building and had a conference of how to help and train new missionaries. 

I'm not really sure how other missions are but here whenever new missionaries come in, it's almost like a second mission call opening. We hid in the basement of the chapel while they were all upstairs being taught some stuff about the mission and then after a little while, we all went up and sat on one side of the chapel. The new people all get called up one by one and get a letter that they read off that says where their first area is and who will be their companion. It’s a pretty cool thing that they do. My new companion if named Elder Pistole straight out of Texas. And you know he's actually from Texas because when people ask where he's from he doesn't say the United States, he says Texas. Every French person dreams of going to Texas. They think that is the stereotypical USA experience. But we'll have fun together and get some work going in Gap. Then we had to get everyone over to the institute building to set up their new iPads and since I was one of the only people who knew how to get around Lyon, they had me take half of the missionaries. Now have you ever seen when a shepherd takes care of his sheep and they all follow him around? Basically the same idea here going on buses and through the metro. But once we got there, the office guys had given everything out and they were trying to help everyone set up their iPads. Well I'm good friends with one of them and had done the iPads stuff before so once they remembered that, they were basically like, "Okay Elder Wilson is in charge and if you have any problems setting up your iPad, ask him." It was pretty fun running around for the next hour trying to explain things in a few different languages. After, we headed back to the apartment in Lyon and called it a night. 

The next morning, we had to get all the new missionaries to the office to do French legality. Just picture the same thing as before with me in the front trying to get everyone together but luckily, there wasn't as many. After getting all of that done, my comp and I took a train back down to Gap and he got to unpack a little bit before the Walkers took us out to dinner so they could meet the new missionary and just figure out some other things with us. 

The next morning, we actually got to do real missionary work for a change. We went and visited a few members and less actives and did some contacting for my comp's first real experience in France. I was trying to remember what it was like when I first got to France and I just remember being lost because of the accents and trying to understand as much as I could. He's probably doing better than I was so he should be great. 

The next morning, the Walkers took us to Marseille so I could attend the Stake Priesthood Ledership meeting and so we could all go to the adult session of Stake Conference. Since the Walkers realize we live in France and they want us to take every opportunity to enjoy the French experience, they wanted to go down a little early and look around and take some pictures and eat lunch right on the sea coast. I mean I couldn't tell a nice old couple no so we went along with them and had a nice time. 

I'm not sure how many of you know that my brother went on his mission to Paris a few years ago and one of his favorite companions actually lives in my mission and so before I left, he told me that I had to find this companion of his sometime during my mission. Well there I was sitting in Stake Conference with basically only the name of this guy because I honestly had no idea what he looked like and there was this younger guy conducting the music on the stand. Well for some reason he just stuck out to me and it made me think of my brother's mission companion but for a second I thought it would be weird to go and just ask his name but then I realized I'm a missionary and literally do that all day long. So after all the meetings, I went up to him and asked him if he served in the Paris mission. He said no but his brother did and he said his brother was in the back. So I went and found him and showed him my plaque (name tag) and asked if it reminded him of anyone and of course he asked if the other Elder Wilson was my brother. It was pretty cool finding his old companion and talking for a bit. I can check that one off the list now. 

The next morning, we went to this conference center for the actual Stake Conference and I got to see some old mission friends that I haven't seen in a while and got to catch up for a bit. The General Authority that was there was Alan Phillips who is a newly called Seventy from just last April and let me tell you, I put a bet on him that he'll be an apostle one day. He was unreal good. Especially since he's from England and had to get everything translated so he could only say half of what he wanted. Afterward, we headed back up to Gap with the Walkers and that pretty much wraps up the week. 

Love y'all. Have a great week. 

Elder Wilson

The last photo with Aitchison. So sad : (  Man am I going to miss him.

 Meeting up with old friends

 All the trainers waiting for our bleus

 Cruising around Lyon

 Elder Pistole, my new companion, heading back to Gap

 Hangin' in Marseille

 The Mediterranean

The Stake Conference group

The office guys back together 

THE Elder Dussere 

Throw back to 3 years ago and Trevor with Elder Dussere

Monday, September 5, 2016

Citadels in Sisteron - Week 65

Another week comes and goes here in land of wine and cheese. I have eaten plenty of cheese so far but can't say I've tried some wine. 

This week starts very similarly as it did the last. We were asked by the Walkers to help move some stuff into their apartment but this time some of the guys from Lyon came down with a bunch of the Walker's stuff in a van. After getting it all unloaded, Sister Walker was kind enough to cook us lunch. That's makes three times in one week that they've fed us. You have to love having a senior couple around.

The next day we were pretty open and so we decided to take the train up to this town right in the middle of the alps. It's about 20 miles away from Italy too. There are a couple of members who live up there but nobody was available so we ended up visiting some old investigators and doing some contacting around the city. It's a really pretty city. It's right on the coast of this super blue lake surrounded by mountains. You can't find this many other places. After getting back to Gap, we went and helped the Walkers translate some stuff and taught English class.

We were down in Manosque the night before our district meeting to help the Elders out with some rendez vous that they had. We were waiting just outside one of the apartments all talking together and this lady came over to us and said, "You guys must be Mormons because of how happy you look." Turns out she's 99 years old and had met Mormons a while ago.

After district meeting on Thursday, we got a ride back to Gap with the Walkers. About halfway between Manosque and Gap there is this city called Sisteron that has this big citadel castle looking thing in the middle of the city on top of the hill. Right before we were going to pass it they asked us if we had ever been to it before and we told them no. Then they said, "Well good. Looks like today would be a great time to do it." So we stopped and walked around and explored it for a while. In part of it, there was this staircase that went down into the base of a hill and so naturally we decided to run down it just for the heck of it. At the bottom there was just this really dark room but all along the staircase, there were places where there used to be cannons for warfare. For some reason, we had this brilliant idea to run up all 256 stairs to the top. I was going pretty well until I hit about stair 200 and started slowing down. That's what a mission will do to ya. Apparently the citadel got bombed during WWII and was partially destroyed and it was rebuilt a while back ans some Polish Prince was held captive there. The Walkers even bought us some ice cream too. What nice people.

For the rest of the week we basically just visited a bunch of people around the city. We went and talked to this less active member and she told us how she's been in the church forever and she said back when she was about 16 years old, she was up in Paris when President McKay came and had meetings with all of the members around. She told us that he greeted every single person there and as he got to her, he knew that she had a question for him, which she did. She asked him if he had seen Heavenly Father and he told her no but that he has heard him. Awesome! Anyways, if you ask a member who has been around a while a little bit about their life, they also seem to have pretty cool stories about the church.

There was some holiday or festival or something going on last weekend and for part of it, they shot off some fireworks not too far away from our apartment. Luckily someone had told us about it so we knew to look for them but this time if we stood on some chairs on our balcony we could see over the other balcony and see like the upper half of the fireworks. At least it's an upgrade from last time.

That about wraps up the week. I have to give a shout-out to my dad whose birthday is this week. Another year older and another year closer to when he can't beat me at sports. Happy birthday!

Elder Wils



In honor of my team playing their first game this weekend. Go Cougs! 
(even my tie has a Y on it!)