Monday, May 8, 2017

Baptism Weeks - Weeks 99 and 100

Hello. Happy beginning of summer. (at least for school getting out)

Being in the big city of Lyon, you run into random groups of missionaries who just happen to come to the city. We were walking to the office on Tuesday to grab something and we run into some other guys who are from another city outside of Lyon. So of course we just took the occasion to go out to lunch with them. Turns out they lost their keys on the beach the day before and had to come up to Lyon to get their spare set. 

Later that night we took a train down to Gap because Elder Preator had to start his legality papers. The mission knows where to send missionaries because some of the city halls are harder to do legality in then others. But we got to go to Gap the night before and we had a couple of hours so we went and visited some old members from back in the day when I was there. Apparently the missionaries there haven't been able to see this certain family for a few months and they haven't been coming to church but we showed up and of course they were surprised to see us but they let us in and we talked for a bit. I forgot how small of a city Gap is. Being able to walk across it in 20 minutes makes it a lot different then Lyon. We also surprised the family that got baptized while I was there. It was the funniest to see their reaction when I just showed up on their doorstep. I'm still pretty sure that I'm the tallest person that they know. 

We got up the next morning and turned in Elder Preator's papers and then did what any other missionaries would do and went to the only Chinese buffet in town. We caught our train back to Lyon and I had forgotten how cool it is to take a train out of Gap since it's in the middle of the French Alps.

We went and visited this older couple in the ward this week to introduce them to my new comp. We shared a video about the Paris temple and of course they are excited to have one in France but they've actually served in the Switzerland Temple presidency three times so their temple will always be in Switzerland. They're just a really funny old couple who make fun of each other and right when we were about to leave they told us we couldn't leave yet since they made a bunch of crepes for us to eat. So of course we couldn't be rude so we ended up eating all of them.

The Clermont Elders came in for an exchange this week and so we called a bunch of extra people to try and fix extra rendez vous so that both companionships would be busy all day long. Well it turned out that every single one of them fell through. That's missionary life for ya. The Clermont guys left that night and Elder Preator and I went to another visit that we had scheduled and of course the only one where it was actually me and my actual comp, they were home. So it wasn't all bad. 

We had our P-day on Tuesday instead of Monday because every May 1st here in France is their labor day where literally everything is closed. No stores, no transport, nothin'. Since we knew everybody would be home, we just decided to walk around the entire city and visit them all instead which turned out pretty well. We even went and helped the Chinese Elders teach one of their Chinese members he told us about how he just went to the Paris Temple open house. Oh, and we ate a bunch of Chinese snacks. Yum! Which is definitely a lot different then American or French stuff. 

A lot of things are normally closed in France on Mondays so we were able to do things that we normally couldn't since we had P-day on Tuesday. There is this museum in Lyon called the Musée des Confluences, which the thing looks like a spaceship from the outside, and we ended up staying there for 3 hours looking at exhibits ranging from cultural history to the way death is seen around the world to everything you can think or know about venom. It's been a long time since I've learned that much new information so I had a headache afterwards from reading most of the things in there. The best part was that college kids get in for free and I had my BYU ID on me and they said that worked. Cool. 

We had a district meeting where we got this brilliant idea (or something like that) and decided to play the Newlywed Game but with each companionship. Basically the questions ranged from what Disney character would your comp date to what would your comp eat on a romantic night out. And surprisingly one of the companionship got the 2nd question right when they said cereal. Who knew. We ended up making some English food since we have three Brits around to do it and I ended up helping a bunch because of all the time I've been with English kids. 

A couple of our investigators got baptized on Saturday. It was pretty cool because they had invited a bunch of their family and they showed up early so we talked to them for a bit and one of them even came to church the next day. We had a pretty solid turnout of over 50 people there and our investigators even made food for everyone afterwards. 

We ate with one of the senior couples on Sunday. He has been a stake president and after eating and making the brownie mix that you sent, Mom, he told us their conversion story and how to better run the wards here in France. Apparently in his home stake, they have over a 90% retention rate. So we'll see what we can do. 

That's really it for the week. Talk ya soon. 

Elder BAW



Julie and her Mom that I taught and baptized in Gap


The District


The newest members of the church

Monday, April 24, 2017

And Loving Tahitian Food - Weeks 97 and 98

Hello. I never got around to doing a weekly email last week because I just didn't but here ya go. Only have three more of these to skip, uh I mean do. 

Speaking of which. This is the beginning of all the endings. Last transfer, last companion, last city, last everything. It's kind of a weird feeling that keeps setting in the longer the month goes on. Plus everyone makes jokes about me going home so that never helps out. 

Well just like you know, two weeks ago was transfer day and so I said goodbye to Elder Masters which is always weird when you've spent every day with someone for three months. That's a mission for ya. Since we are in Lyon though, we were at the train station pretty early so we saw a lot of people coming in and out of Lyon since it's one of the big hubs in the mission for transfers. We basically just help get missionaries to their trains on time with all their luggage. It might be a sight to see when you see like fifteen people with forty pieces of luggage wearing white shirts and ties and others wearing skirts in a big pack going to a train that leaves in four minutes and you have to shove all their luggage on the train. 

Since we still have the 2nd biggest apartment in Lyon, we house a lot of people in our place the night before a mission conference. Normally we have only two guys in our place and a year ago, there were four people living in the same apartment but we were able to fit nine guys in there. Literally, the entire floor of the apartment had mattresses on it. It's always funny when you're with a lot of people in the morning because everyone has their own alarm that they use to wake up and since they're not all perfectly synced, at around 6:30 am, there were about a dozen alarms with different sounds going off. Maybe a new idea for some new type of music? 

At the conference, since Sister Brown was in charge of a game, she did her normal thing and showed us some type of sports highlights/movie clip/whatever and somehow relates it to the gospel. This time she featured Cinderella. But the funny part of the whole thing was that the game we played was that we were in teams of two and one person was blindfolded and the other person took a shoe off and threw it in a pile. And it's not like there were just ten people, there were at least fifty people so not a bad amount of shoes there. Sister Brown said start and everyone ran to the pile of shoes and somehow my shoe got kicked and it flew into the air and right into the hands of my partner. So he grabbed it and we won! And we weren't just playing for nothing, we won some Lindt chocolate bunnies! And that's expensive chocolate for missionaries. We weren't joking around. Incidentally, I learned that Lindt here is different in America. It's much better here. No surprise there. 

But the whole idea of the conference was about the temple and how to use it more in our daily work. But what's been cool is that President Brown has wanted us to do our own family history work so that when the temple dedication comes around, we'll have found someone that we can do ordinances for sometime. 

After the conference we basically did a wild goose chase looking for a bag of one of the Elders in Bordeaux who was supposed to fly home that day but he couldn't find his bag with his passport in it so he couldn't fly back. Well long story short, the office Elders took it for some reason and didn't tell anyone and so it was in their apartment. 

We had a district meeting, which just turned into a zone meeting because both of the districts come to Lyon and we always eat together. Well since we have three Tahitians in our zone, we got them to make us some real Tahitian food. Basically just a lot of fish and vegetables and this thing called poé (a Tahitian fruit pudding) which is really good and someone should learn how to make it for me. Thanks. I've never really had Tahitian food before and that makes twice in two weeks

We visited one of the older couples in our ward this week and it was one of the funniest lunch appointments I've been to. He is a high councilor and the entire time he was making jokes and they were making fun of each other. He was making everything a lot more dramatic then it needed to be and would pound on the table for his wife when he wanted more food. Everything in a joking matter of course but when you're in your 70's and just make fun of each other in front of the missionaries, I think you've got a good relationship. 

We've got a couple of investigators who are getting baptized in a few weeks and we've had some really cool rendez vous' with them lately. We've been teaching them for a few months now and they've been talking about how they've already been baptized and all that stuff. Well they've slowly been changing that thought and I think a major reason why is that we've made the temple the end goal for them instead of baptism and they see that their decision of being baptized and going to the temple isn't just for them but for all of their ancestors and good stuff. We've found out that the videos that the church has produced has made a huge difference. I'm not sure if you've ever seen How Rare a Possession, a true story about guy in Italy who finds a copy of the Book of Mormon. Our investigator saw it and it changed her mind about being baptized because she thought she was too old and seeing this other guy in the movie change religions and getting baptized again really made her want to. Anyways, I'll keep you updated on that one too. 

After church yesterday, there was a rugby game, a soccer game and the presidential elections going on here so as we were walking about, we saw people wearing a lot of different colors for all the teams that were playing and people handing out pamphlets for different candidates. Every time someone tries to give us something, we just say we're Americans and they leave real quick. Funny how that happens.

Well. That's all folks. 

B.A.W.









Monday, April 10, 2017

Becoming a Tahitian - Week 96

This week was a pretty solid one. For some reason, the last week of the transfer, when we don't actually have any missionary meetings and just have plenty of time to do things, lots of stuff happened. 

And also at the end of every transfer, we go to President's house to hang out with everyone in the Lyon area and eat whatever American food Sister Brown cooks up. She always makes way too much and ends up just giving it to us as we are leaving. She also keeps a huge candy jar full and makes sure we have full pockets leaving. She's basically like that grandma that just spoils everyone. I did get to play basketball with Elders Wade and Zhu for like three hours so that was fun.

There is a less active member that we go and visit every week who is Chinese who also speaks English. Every time before we go over to see him, I have the Chinese Elders teach me funny things to say in Chinese. So every time I see a Chinese person, I break out my few lines of Chinese that I have learned and they always laugh. It probably doesn't help when they hear a tall white kid asking them "Am I tall?" when they're already having to strain their neck to look at me. But hey, it works out every time. 

Another member that we've been working with a ton lately has been less active for a few years and we've been able to get him to come back to church a lot lately and he's probably going to be coming to the temple dedication next month which will be sweet. He had us over to his place for a BBQ with one of his buddies. They both play professional rugby so when they do a BBQ, they mean it. Like at least 15 pounds of food and we ate all of it. It was pretty funny seeing these two huge islanders around this tiny BBQ with two American guys in white shirts listening to some Reggae music. Such is the life here sometimes. But the other guy is from New Zealand and his whole family is Mormon and he even has a couple cousins who play volleyball for BYU so that's sweet. We'll see what we can do with him.

The next day, the guys from Clermont came down and we did an exchange with them and I went with Elder Thomas who is in his first month on his mission. New missionaries are best. They're still trying to figure things out and if you're older in the mission, they just think you're the best missionary ever. Well, we took the car that they have and tried to go and visit a few people who live a little ways out. One of the people we tried to visit didn't answer their door and then she actually pulled up right when we were leaving and yelled at us and said "Hey, I know you. You're the Elders. I have to go now but come by some other time." We didn't have to say a word. Well at least she's interested. 

Later that night we went with all the Elders in Lyon that are in our zone and ordered some pizzas and we all slept at one person's apartment and played some card games and just had some fun. As much fun as missionaries can while going to bed at 10:30. And no we don't have parties every day, we had transfer calls the next morning. I am staying in Lyon for my last transfer and I get a new companion, Elder Preator.

After playing our usual basketball on Saturday morning, we went and visited a few people through out the day and then we had our Tahitian night with the ward. They went all out and made real Tahitian food and had real instruments from the islands and did real dances. And then that's where the missionaries come in We danced the Haka in our white shirts and ties. The ward was definitely entertained. Haha. 

That's about it. Have a good week. 



video
Practicing the Haka

Monday, April 3, 2017

Birthdays all Around! (and lots of pictures) - Weeks 94 and 95

Hello. Another quick update from the middle of France.

One of the senior couples that works in the office are from Australia and they invited us over to eat with them last week. They actually had just come from serving in Chalon so they gave me a nice update of everyone and of everything that was going on up there. They're actually converts and they told us their whole story and I think the coolest part was when he told us his the story of when he was called as a Stake President. He had some pretty sweet experiences with some apostles and the things about the temple since the temple is in his area. Basically I think we need to take a trip down to Australia one day because they make it sound really cool. Not that it wasn't already. 


A few weeks ago, a member here was talking about how he had found some basketball hoops that were shorter then normal ones and he wanted to go play on them. And of course, being tall and being told of these said hoops that I could dunk on, I was down for it. We went and found the hoops on P-day and played for a few hours and since everyone was shorter then me, everyone on my team just threw the ball up in the air and I would go and get it and dunk it. Pretty awesome!

My birthday was on March 19th and I got pretty good at just kind of casually dropping the information to people that it was my birthday and not being that guy who just tells everyone they meet it's their birthday and it worked out pretty well for me. The weekend of my birthday was full of free food. Between eating with missionaries a few times, going out to lunch with some investigators and having a member from the other ward take us out, it turned out being pretty great. Even the Sister missionaries brought a cake to church to celebrate and made party hats to go along with it. And everyone who we have been working with came to church that day which almost never happens.
We also got to teach all the young men in the ward about what it's like to be a missionary. Being in France, there aren't as many people who go on missions and come back to the wards so it was pretty fun explaining to them what life is like as a missionary. "Yeah we get up at 6:30 am everyday." "No we don't get to take a Sunday nap." "Yeah we do go and talk to strangers all day on the street." 

My mission President's birthday was actually the day after mine and so he invited all the missionaries in Lyon to go to lunch on Monday. Before we all went to lunch, we went on a tour around the old part of Lyon by an older ward member and he explained the history of the area and took us through all these passages and tunnels through buildings. It was pretty cool. And then afterwards, we all had lunch and President even bought us ice cream. What a nice man. 

Later on in the week we had a Zone Conference and I had my interview with President Brown. I was able to ask him about how he decided what to study in college since that's basically what I've been thinking about lately. Sometimes you just think these people who have had a lot of success in life had it easy but usually it's the opposite. It's always enlightening talking to President.

The next day for Zone Conference was fun. Zone Conferences are always a good time to be with other people and friends that I don't get to see very often and just sit around and listen and talk for a while. We also had a District Meeting where we took a field trip out this place called the Confluence in Lyon. You could just look it up and see some of the pretty cool pictures I would imagine. That's where the Only Lyon sign and where all the pictures come from. We then went and made French toast (shout-out to Trevor for the best district meeting meal idea ever) and of course everyone loved it.

I thought my moving days were over but a counselor in the bishopric asked us to go and talk to this family who was moving and so we spent one morning packing this huge van for a family in our ward who is moving to Bordeaux. At least I was well practiced. It's always cool being in a small city in the French countryside. 


And of course we just watched General Conference all weekend. It's always funny since it's all the members are together watching it and then all the missionaries are usually sitting in some small room together all watching it in English. It's just not the same when it's not in the original language. 

Happy Spring!



Zone Conference






The District




Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...


President's birthday lunch and tour























Monday, March 20, 2017

Well, Here's Somewhat of an Update ... - Weeks 91, 92 and 93

I apologize for being really bad at sending weekly emails. It's honestly solely my fault. It's just more fun to talk with people instead of talking about the things I did during the week. Plus after doing 90+ of them, it sometimes feel like they're all the same! But here's a brief summary of my last few weeks. 

There is a less active that we visit basically every week. He's from China and has lived in France for a while but actually doesn't really speak any Chinese anymore. Once we were with him and the Chinese Elders at the church and they tried speaking Chinese with him and he couldn't remember the language and he really only speaks English. It's always interesting to me that someone who grew up speaking a certain language has almost completely lost it. But I guess that's how it is sometimes. It's funny because every time we go over he offers us chips, ice cream, colored drink (Kool-Aid) and herbal tea. Always in that order too. 

Three weeks ago was the first week of the transfer and the trainers came to Lyon for a few days to wait for the new missionaries to come. Some of the trainers are good friends of mine from around the mission so we were able to spend all day on P-day with them and we showed them around for a few days because the new guys got their flights delayed and didn't get until a day afterwards. Poor kids. I remember thinking how long the voyage was to come over and they had an extra day of travel because of delays. 

The Mahaffeys finished their mission last week so all the missionaries in Lyon got together and had a little going away party for them. What was funny though was the guys in the office got all the missionaries in the mission to send pictures and messages that they put together in a movie type of thing that they showed to the Mahaffeys while they were there. I was helping out at the very end getting it together and they saw me doing it and thought I put it together. It wasn't me who put it together but I did do something so I'll take it. Somehow I get roped into helping out with a lot of things. 

There is this family in the ward who is famous/infamous for feeding the missionaries. They're famous because they make really good food and invite us over often but infamous because they make so much of it and want us to eat it all. And on top of that, they make these beignets, basically a French donut kind of a thing, that they make and it's always a challenge of who can eat the most after already stuffing yourself. I'm proud to say that every time I've had at least double digit beignets and won every time so far. 

Last week, the Chinese members in the other ward invited us to go to this restaurant that one of them works at. Surprise Surprise, it was a Chinese restaurant. We got there and it turns out they actually decided to invite the missionaries from their ward this time. We all sat down and of course I put myself next to all the Chinese people and it ended up with all the Chinese people (and me) on one side of the table and then everyone else on the other. The Chinese members are just talking to each other in Chinese and the other side started to order their food and one of the Chinese members turns to me and in English asked if I want them to order. Now I don't know about you but I trust a Chinese person to order good food at a Chinese restaurant. They ended up getting a ton of food and I can proudly say I was the only non-Chinese person to only use chopsticks. Basically I'm one of them now. 

We did a district meeting this week and I was trying to figure out how to make sure everyone wasn't just sitting there for two hours straight and since we were talking about the gathering of Israel, Elder Zhu and I figured out a game for everyone to play "gather Israel". Basically we hid clues around the five story church for them to try and find and collect all of the "lost tribes" (candy) the fastest. It ended up being pretty funny watching a bunch of missionaries run up and down the stairs. At least they'll never forget that district meeting. It actually worked out pretty well too. Afterwards, we took a road trip to Clermont with the Elders in their car since it takes over 2 1/2 hours to get there to go and do a baptismal interview. Turns out that the guy we did it for actually plays American football for a French. I heard there were teams here but I didn't think it was a real thing since I never saw any of them. You already know I had a nice time talking football with him because you hardly ever find a French person who can hold their own while talking football. Maybe if college doesn't work out, I can just come and coach French people playing football.

Well that about wraps it up. Talk to you soon(ish).

Blake



Finally, the matching coats photo WITH Carlson

Monday, February 27, 2017

Overview - Weeks 89 and 90

Brief review for the past couple of weeks:
  • Visited a giant Catholic basilica that's super famous in Lyon for P-day and took some pictures. 
  • Went on an exchange with the Elders from Clermont and they have a car so I got to go drive around all day trying to find less actives that live far away. 
  • We had an open house for our new chapel here and the ward asked all the American missionaries to make a collective 1,000 cookies. Yup 1,000! (They really don't have cookies here so French people love American cookies.)
  • Sat at the church all day and gave tours and presentations and handed out cookies to people who came and visited the church. 
  • The Mahaffeys are leaving to go home this week so the ward had a testimony meeting kind of thing where everyone basically professed their love for them.
  • Since it was the last week of the transfer, we spent last P-day at President's house eating tacos with about 30 or so missionaries and played basketball and a bunch of other fun American stuff.
  • Also on a side note, there is a sister missionary named Sister Wilson and we've started up a joke where we're cousins and we've convinced a few people so we'll see how long it goes.
  • We had a member of our ward teach us how to do genealogy and cool stuff to do with it so we can use it better for missionary work. 
  • We made some sushi with a bunch of Chinese members and some missionaries. I have to say I've learned to really like it on my mission. 
  • We played basketball with almost a dozen missionaries and it felt good to actually play real basketball. It's been a while.
  • The Walkers went home yesterday so they invited us to dinner with some other missionaries and young adults they taught in Lyon. 
  • We went out to visit a couple of less actives who live a 30 minute train ride away. We saw the first one and helped him learn English for his new job and the second one, who is a professional rugby player, said we could at first see him but had to wait a bit so we went and grabbed lunch at McDonald's. He then canceled while we were eating so he could go to a water spa resort thing with his teammates so Elder Masters bought another meal to eat. 


That's really it. Staying in Lyon again for the next six weeks at least. 

Love, Elder Wilson

















Monday, February 13, 2017

No, I Don't Play Professional Rugby - Week 88

Well at the beginning of the week it seemed like it was going to be a promising week but 12 rendezvous that fell through later, it still ended up pretty solid.

We had Zone Conference this week and in the past I have had an interview with President Brown every 3 months but things have changed and now we have an interview every month and a half. So on Tuesday we were supposed to be at the church for interviews at 8ish but we got a call at 4:00 and they were like, "Hey you have an hour to get changed and come to the office for your interview." That changed our day a little bit. We later found out they moved them up so our mission President could take the new office couples out to dinner. I guess it was for a good reason at least. 

One of the sister missionaries in our ward has been sick all week so we've been helping them out by doing different things. They hadn't done any shopping for the week, so after Zone Conference they called us and asked if we could help them out and do it for them. We went over to their apartment and grabbed their list and this little rolling caddy thing that only old people use, and now us, to grab things. Luckily there is a big grocery store right next to their apartment. 

Here in France, rugby is one of the most popular sports so there are a lot of islanders from the Pacific who come to play here and since there are so many members who live there, there happens to be members who play rugby professionally. There is a less active in our ward who plays in a city not too far away. He has been coming to church the past few weeks which apparently hasn't happened for a while and last Sunday he was wearing these super cool shoes that I liked and so I complimented him on them. Then on Wednesday we visited him and talked for a bit and as we were leaving I saw those shoes and said they were sweet and so he told me to try them on and I told him I can't take his shoes of course so he then proceeds to grab them and put them in a bag and hands them to me. Well I don't know if you've ever tried to say no to a huge rugby player but it doesn't work so well. 

I'm not sure how many of you are well versed in your "I'm a Mormon" videos but there is one about a French guy who flies airplanes. Turns out he's in our ward here and we went and ate lunch with him this week. That was pretty cool.

We played more basketball on Saturday morning and people don't like playing with me because I'm so tall. So, looks like nothing has changed, but later that night we got a call from one of the Chinese members in the other ward asking us if we wanted to come and eat with his friends and some other members that night since they were eating Chinese food. Somehow whenever Chinese food is involved, we get an invite. This time we surprisingly ended up eating chili with these little rice ball things with sesame seeds inside. The more I eat Chinese food, the more I realize how westernized I am in terms of food that I think is weird. It was pretty good none the less.

That's about it for now. Have a good one!

Elder W.



video







Monday, February 6, 2017

Chinese New Year X 3 - Weeks 86 and 87

Good Morning!

Let's go all the way back to last Tuesday where we had the Elders from Clermont come in and we had an exchange. Luckily they have a car and my comp, Elder Masters, and one of them were able to take it out and go and visit some people who live in the country while I went with a British Elder. I was able to bring out all my English lingo that I learned from my time with Aitchison. 

We have Sister missionaries in our ward, since that's what usually happens when you are in a big city with a decent sized ward, and they wanted to do a Valentine's thing for all the ward members. We had FHE together and we put together these bags of candy with cut out hearts for every family in the ward. Can't say I can take credit for that one. We're still in the process of handing them out. 

There is this restaurant here in Lyon that is famous among the missionaries. It is called Master Tacos and missionaries have been going there for years and all the people who work there always know the missionaries. They have this food challenge where they make this burrito, and by burrito I mean French burrito which is just French fries, meat, sauce and cheese for the most part, but the challenge is they make this burrito that's about the same size as the length between your elbow and about the middle of your hand. Or about the same size as Shaq’s shoes. Or a little bigger than a $5 foot long at Subway. Anyways, you get the picture. Basically if you finish one of those by yourself, you have bragging rights among the missionaries. My comp and one of the other guys actually did eat one and didn't move until the next morning once we got home. 

That Wednesday we had the missionary broadcast which was fun. The changes didn't really affect our mission. Not sure how much you have read about the changes. At least President bought pizza for us. Just another advantage of being in Lyon. 

Way back in my first stint in Lyon, we were with the Chinese Elders often and so we became friends with the Chinese members who are here in Lyon. Of course they still remember me and so last week we got a call from one of them inviting us over to make dumplings for Chinese New Year, which was last week for all of those who didn't know. We basically only learned how to make them so we could help about 50 young adults learn how to make about 200 of them. So that's what we did last Friday night. We went to the store and helped them get everything they needed to make them and all night long we learned how to make the dough and cook them in boiled water and all that good stuff. 

Saturday morning, the Sisters called us and asked us to go and buy some things for them because one of them was sick and needed medicine and tissues and chocolate of course. We ran by their place and gave them everything they wanted and needed! After that, we headed over to the church to start preparing things to make the 200+ dumplings for later that night. Basically long story short, we got them all made after a while and then one of the Chinese Elders and I sat and cooked them all for a while in boiling water as the power kept going out in the building. Woooooohhhh! Chinese New Year! 

Now for this week ...

We had another exchange on Tuesday here in Lyon. Wednesday we got a call from the same Chinese member inviting us over to his house that night to eat something called hot pot. You'll only know about it if you really know your Chinese culture. Basically they cook meat and vegetables in water for a few hours and then take it out and then they boil the water and you cook a lot of different foods in the water and eat it. The funny thing was, while we were eating they wouldn't tell us what it was we were eating and by the end of the night I had it all figured out. Between just regular beef and cow stomach and octopus and lettuce and other Chinese things, it ended up being pretty good. Apparently it's a pain to set up so that was super nice of them to invite us over. Funny how the Chinese members who aren't even in our ward keep inviting us to eat and do things and not the actual Chinese Elders. 

The next day we had district meeting which was all good of course. They changed the schedule up recently and so now we only have two missionary meetings a transfer instead of the six we had before. Well, we only ever had four but Trevor in his mission had six. I feel bad for the people out in the small cities because sometimes just getting out of the city for part of the day is what helped out at the beginning of my mission. 
Besides that, we've been trying to get out and visit members so I can actually meet then and find out who they are. It's not like the branches I'm used to where I can meet everyone the first Sunday I’m there. It's an actual ward. 

We did end up playing basketball for a few hours on Saturday with some members and other Elders and man, it's been almost a year since the last time I played and honestly I'm still a little sore all over my body. Now I understand when Dad says he's sore after doing sports like five times a week. But we got it up and going where we'll play every Saturday. Maybe I'll get back into decent shape in the next few months. 

Also I'm not sure I mentioned this before but I do the translating for one of the senior couples in the ward. The church is so fancy that I have a microphone and they wear headphones and I just sit towards the back and translate everything for them, but since only they can hear I make jokes every once and while and so they turn around and laugh at me sometimes. You have to keep sacrament interesting right? 

Hope you have a great week!

Blake



Master Tacos


Snow!






Dumplings anyone?








Elder Zhu, Carlson and myself were all in the MTC together, served in Lyon together the first time and Elder Zhu and I are back together again in Lyon (we miss Carlson). Funny thing, we all have the exact same jacket that we bought separately in different cities without each of us knowing! I guess it's the great minds thinking alike thing.




View from the back balcony of my Lyon apartment. It looks over a soccer field that is in the middle of all the apartments. It's like a Central Park kind of thing.