Monday, December 19, 2016

Crunchy Peanut Butter is Best - Week 80

Pretty busy today so this is going to be a relatively short one, just some highlights of the week.

On Thursday this last week, we went to Lyon with about 75% of the mission to have a Zone Conference with one of the members of the Europe Area Presidency, Elder Sabin. Usually with missionary conferences like this, we have a general meeting for about 2 hours then have lunch and then have another 2 hours of the conference with the guest speaker. But usually they're a little shorter when important people like Elder Sabin come to them. I was expecting pretty much the same thing this time because you know how those General Authorities are, busy. Turned out I was wrong and Elder Sabin ended up talking to us for close to 3 hours. Yeah that’s about the same amount you spent in church in a given week. And I don't know how he did it but he kept it really interesting (at least for me, some other people dozed off a little) the whole time by telling stories about his life and different lessons he learned. At the end of the whole thing, he let some missionaries ask him some questions. Luckily I was one of them. I asked him if he could give advice to himself when he was our age, after all the successful business ventures he's had and being a general authority and all, what would it be. He told us that he wished he took the scriptures more seriously. He gave some really interesting insight about it afterwards and said that someone once asked him what he can attribute his success in business to and he said the Book of Mormon. Basically it was one of those you had to be there kind of thing but I thought it was really interesting and insightful. General Authorities are the coolest.

On Saturday we had a ward party where every auxiliary, i.e. Primary, Relief Society, etc. did a little skit/song thing. The Priesthood took the easy way out and just stood up front and sang a couple of hymns of course. My comp and I found ourselves at the table with all the other English speakers and we got to enjoy our entire night in English. My comp was pretty grateful since his French is still coming along. 

Funny little experience for the week. Today we were doing our grocery shopping at the store and this elderly lady came up behind us right when we were checking out and she was holding three decent sized bags and so I decided to help her with them. See mom, I did listen to you. She pulled out this little jar of Skippy Peanut Butter from one of the bags and I commented how it’s hard to find real peanut butter here in France and that it's usually expensive. I was really impressed because she even knew there was a difference between crunchy and creamy peanut butter. She preferred crunchy of course. Like a normal French person, she said to us the few English words she knew and said she had seen our plaques (name tags) before. Anyways, I didn't think much of it afterwards and we wished her a Merry Christmas as we were leaving. We'd probably then walked 20 feet or so when she yelled to us and tried to run (more of a shuffle) over to us and handed us the peanut butter and said, "This for Christmas. Happy Christmas!" and then she turned back to pay for her stuff. I love nice people.

This week is going to be a little crazy since we'll be between five different cities and doing exchanges and zone training but at least we'll be spending Christmas and Christmas Eve with some English speakers.

Talk to you guys on Christmas!

Love you!

Elder Wilson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Remember Me? Elder Wilson? - Weeks 75, 76, 77, 78 and 79

Well I thought I would actually update you guys as to what I have been doing lately. Sorry it’s been a while.

We had a baptism this week for the Bishop’s daughter and so  Elder Bott and I volunteered to clean out the font because it doesn’t get used often and rust gets built up and turns the water red. That’s what happens when you're in an old country like France where everything is still built out of concrete and the pipes haven't been changed in a long time. We successfully cleanined that out with whatever stuff we could find in the cleaning closet at the church. The baptism was great! Little kids getting baptized is always the coolest.

That night we were invited over to a member’s house. She is Canadian and they only speak English at home so that’s a nice change and they just sent off their oldest son on a mission not too long ago so every time we are over there, they update us on all the funny stuff that happens to him. She was especially proud of how she bought him an Avengers blanket for Christmas and how the other missionaries want it. But apparently they're one of the families in France like the Causses and Babins who just know a bunch of General Authorities and Members of the Twelve. Soeur Tavella was Elder Anderson's secretary when he was the mission president in Bordeaux so they have some close ties.

We had some new missionaries come in from Lyon to live with us here in Valence and we had to pick them up from the train station of course to show them how to get to the apartment. The only problem was they got sent to the wrong train station and so we had to take a 20-minute bus ride out there to wait for them. It wouldn’t have been too bad but we were already in an outer city when we were told when they were coming in. Long story short, we got over to the station in time but their train was an hour late so I ended up beating Bott in foosball for awhile. Thanks, France, for conveniently having foosball tables for us to play with while we are waiting.

Thursday we went to this city called Romans, which apparently is the shoe capital of France and a couple members work there and they teach people how to make shoes. Our ward mission leader lives there also. I think I already mentioned this but he plays professional rugby here and is super cool. He ended up telling us some of his life story and how he ended up here and I explained to him how football works. Fair trade off I guess.

The super cool American family (where we had Thanksgiving), well the mom is American and everyone but the dad speaks English, invited us to come down to their place on Friday night because they were going to be having a Christmas party with some members and a bunch of their neighbors who aren't members. We got down there a little early to do a little bit of service for them and help get everything ready and it ended up being really cool because we talked to a lot of the non-members there and explained who we are what we do as missionaries. Don't worry it wasn't just like a random Christmas party that we went to. We still did missionary work.

After church on Sunday, that same half-ish American family invited a bunch of members down to their house to go caroling and to have dinner on Sunday night (after having already made us food to eat for lunch). There was a lot of miscommunication that went on so my comp and I got stranded in Valence (they live like a 40-minute drive south) 20 minutes before it started but luckily some people missed some exits on the freeway and so we were able to take a later train and get there and still sing. Now we are going to go back this week and knock on all those doors to see if anybody is interested in meeting with us.

Yesterday this guy came in the church right before church started and right when I saw him I knew he was an American. Turns out he's a BYU Professor who was a missionary here 25 years ago back when it was a little branch and now it’s a ward with its own chapel. We ended up talking to him for a little bit and he wanted to help us teach some people but since we had p-day today it didn't work out. But what did happen was this morning, Elder Bott and I went on a hike up to this ruined chateau, Château de Crussol, and no joke, 5 seconds after we started walking up the hill, this same American BYU professor turned up and gave us a ride to the top. Apparently he had just done that same hike and was on his way back down. This hike started in the middle of this small city a little distance outside of Valence and there he was! What are the odds? Pretty cool.

Excited to talk to my family next week on Christmas!

Love you all,

Elder Wilson

Zone Conference


Working at the food pantry

Hike to the Château de Crussol