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Monday, December 28, 2015

Last email for 2015!!!

Dad!!!!

It was AWESOME seeing you on Christmas!!! It was really refreshing to see you all, and I too, wish that I could have just spoken with you for hours and hours. I love you all so much!!

Speaking of Sam, tell him to write me!! Sam and Kale both look really good. It’s still weirding me out that Kale has sideburns.. Puberty hit him like a train..

I’m glad that the quorums are doing well. That’s great to hear. It’s been interesting being out here, I have been in the fire and the Lord has been shaping me everyday. I asked for trials, hoping to be like Nephi, and they came, and they have been amazing. It may have been rash, but I will never regret asking for them, because what I have learned has changed me forever. Today, I was reading about faith in PMG and I came across this, “Faith in Him means that you trust Him and are confident that He loves you.” It really hit me and I reflected how everything in the gospel stems from the knowledge that God loves us and that we trust Him. Nephi didn’t know all things but when the Angel asked him, he did say that he knew that God loves his children, and that’s what leads us to learn more. If we know that He loves us, then we know that all the commandments are only going to help us. It means that the experiences that we have here are meant to help us. It means that we trust His plan and know that all will be okay. I think often we think of God as man who grades us in Heaven, but He is actually like the father of the prodigal son who runs to us and rejoices in us coming home. That’s all that He wants. He rejoices in our true happiness. And that’s why He sent Christ for us all. Some of the greatest experiences in my life have been going to the Savior and letting Him cleanse me. I know that the atonement is real because I have felt it. I feel it everyday as I repent and strive to be better. It’s amazing.

Here are some experiences:
·      Last Sunday, I started to talk with a woman at the bus stop, and her Boyfriend walked up, and he had the “back off” face on, but then I introduced myself to him and started talking to him way more than her to put him at ease. We were talking about church and I invited them to come. Yesterday they came and really liked it!! Oh yeah!!! It was sweet :)    
  
For district meeting, I felt prompted to have everyone in the District share their testimony about the Savior and it was extremely spiritual. It was very uplifting and encouraging to hear testimonies being born in English by people who are experiencing the same things. Then, on Christmas Eve, we had a district activity where we had a scavenger hunt throughout Amiens with conference talks to accomplish help with sharing the gospel. We also had a white elephant gift and secret Santa exchange amongst the district. It was like family away from family.

·      Franck, our most progressing investigator is out of town in Lyon until after the New Year :( but we will get him when we comes back)

·      Gerry: he ran into the Zone leaders while they were here in Arras and He was really interested and so we fixed a rendezvous with him, and he told us this story: he was born Catholic, but at 18, thought that if there wasn’t a God, then there weren’t restrictions, so he decided to leave God behind. But recently he has found that he isn’t happy at all, and he has started to search again. It was funny at the beginning of the rendezvous, because we were giving him a tour of the church, and we mentioned, “The Book of Mormon”, and he nervously asked if we were Mormon. Here in France, people are on colt alert and sometimes think that we are an active polygamist Practicing colt. It didn’t help that the youth were having a Star Wars marathon in one of the main rooms of the church... It was just awkward. But hey, we sorted it out, and even got one of the wannabe Jedi’s to teach with us. And then the lesson was great. We taught about Joseph Smith, and the member that we taught with is a return missionary who was able to give the Joseph Smith story. It was powerful. We promised him about God’s love and how he only wants us to be happy. It was really cool. We will be meeting with him again soon.

·      My comp lost his passport before I came here and so all transfer we have been going to Paris and since he has only been here for 2 months, and doesn’t understand everything, I am the one to sort it all out. And it’s been really cool to figure it all out! I’ve learned a lot about legality. The morning that we were going to go to Paris, we woke up early, and as I am showering, I hear Elder Tibbitts talking... And I was super confused because the phone hadn’t gone off, so I knew that he wasn’t on the phone, but he was talking.. And then I hear, “Oh my gosh!!!”. And he repeats it. And so finally I throw a towel around my body and look out in my half asleep-half shower Zen state (it was 6 or so in the morning) and he is holding his old passport. He had found it.. In a pocket of his side bag that he carried sigh him every hour of every day... So now he had two passports in the equation. It was interesting. So, long story short, we were in Paris for two days figuring out that crazy situation.

·      On Christmas after Skype, we went to visit a family with the Bishop and taught about charity. Christ was always thinking about others and never Himself, and we correlated that with charity. Even after the excruciating atonement, He heals a man’s ear. While suffering on the cross, He comforts His mother and the two thieves next to Him. I hope that I can be like my Savior, in thinking more of others. Dad, I love you. You’re amazing!

Love, Elder Jacob Lucas



Monday, December 14, 2015

Way Pumped!!!!

Christmas Conference

Dad!!

What’s going on??











I’m glad that you liked the excitement :) I am WAY PUMPED!!! The ward
is doing better and better each week. This last week, we weren’t in
Arras a ton, because we had an exchange in St. Quentin, then went to
Paris for Elder Tibbitts’ renewed passport, then on Friday we had the
Christmas conference. Crazy right?? But, we used our time to its
fullest and pumped out some work!!

We are visiting a less active family who has two 13 year old boys, who
don’t understand at all the importance of church or spirituality. I
sat by them in church and talked to one about how just 6 years ago, I
was their age. I talked to them about how I read the BOM when I was
10, and how it changed my life. I talked with him about how to listen
in church, that it’s not just facts or information, but it’s how we
APPLY the info. We need to apply what we learn so we too, can have
spiritual experiences like those in the scriptures!! We then visited
them last night, and j had them act out the first couple of chapters

of the BOM so that they can learn the stories. We will act out next
week what they read during the week :)

I had an interesting exchange this week with an elder who doesn’t
really know why he is out here. I strived to follow the Holy Ghost to
know how to help him and we had a long talk about obedience and the
“why”. All in all, he is starting to change and I’m excited for him.
There was a moment on the exchange where a young girl, who looked
about 14, said that she was 19, came up and started to hit on him. He
has never had a girlfriend or really much contact with girls, and got
SUPER uncomfortable. We got out of it pretty well, but it was pretty
funny to watch haha.

We also had a miracle! While on the exchange, he was really lacking
the desire to go out, and it was frustrating. But, we prayed to know
exactly what to do, and the spirit told us to go contacting and where
to do it. We went down the road, and it was blasting rain on us, and
we talked with everyone we could. We finally found a young man who
asked a lot of questions about if God was there, then why all the hurt
and anger. We were able to explain the plan of salvation, and even
brought him back to the church, where there happened to be a member
who was able to teach with us. It was amazing!! Miracle!!

I was able to watch the talk by elder Uchdorf. Amazing!!


I also prayed like you asked me to, and Dad, I was filled with an
incredible amount of love and appreciation for Christ and the Father.
They live. I know it! Christ is our Elder brother, our friend, and our
teacher. I know that!!

Sorry this isn’t too detailed. We don’t have a ton of time. I made a
p-day activity for the district and we played that drawing game that
you love and pass it around and guess what it is. We did that with
Scripture stories and it was hilarious :)

Dad, I love you!! You are AMAZING. I pray for you often :)


Love, E J Lucas

Monday, December 7, 2015

Look to Christ and Live!

Dad!
The work here is going SOOO well!!! The ward here is about to explode
with missionary work. This last week we worked with a young man, who
is 17, and wants to serve a mission. We taught a less active with him,
and also taught him about sharing the gospel and prayed with him to
know who he could invite to a Christmas party in a couple of weeks. He
made a list of 4 friends and I asked him which of the four, he felt
prompted to invite, and he told me, without a pause, that he would
invite all of them!! Boo yeah!! We then visited a family that he home
teaches with him, and challenged them to make a list and pray about
which of the people of the list they could share the gospel with. We
have been doing similar challenges to many of the families in the
ward.

Our Ward Mission Leader has developed a way to have a Book Of Mormon given
out week by a different member. He has a stone and a little stick
that are passed around in priesthood opening and relief society. What
happens is that the person who has the stone or stick that week has to
give out a BOM. They keep the rock or stick in their pocket to remind
them of that responsibility that week. If they don’t do it, they have
to keep it for another week and give out two BOMs. If they do finish
the challenge, then they can pass it to another person. It works
great!!! The members are really striving to share the gospel and you
can literally feel the energy picking up at church to share the
gospel. In the ward, there are 6 or so, recently returned
missionaries, and they are all trying to share the gospel, and many
testimonies were given talking about how incredible it is to share the
gospel.

We had a man come to church!! His name is Franck Dogbe... I don’t know
how to pronounce his last name, but I don’t say it for fear of
accidentally pronouncing it “Dog”... He speaks English so... I don’t
want to mess it up ;)

But we actually we found him my second day here, just as we were
walking home. We started to talk to him about families and he was
totally interested to listen, so we invited him to church. Yesterday
was the second time we saw him and it went awesome! The ward really
reached out to him and welcomed him in. One of the return missionaries
taught the Sunday school class for investigators and we all talked
about the BOM. It went great :)

I read a great talk by James E. Faust from April 1996, called, “What I
Want My Son to Know before He Leaves on His Mission”. I highly
recommend that you read it with the boys. It is right on with the
advice. I especially like the analogy at the end with the apples and
seeds. Our job is to invite and work hard, and God will do His work in
His time:) success in the mission is also found in what the missionary
becomes as he works hard, not by the baptisms. I have learned that
sometimes baptisms are given to those, who may not have even worked
hard for them, to help them continue on the mission. And even if that
isn’t the case, the real reason isn’t as important as it is to know
that God loves each of us so much and will give us the experience that
we need to develop. If we work hard and smart and love Him, it will
all work out :)

Two years ago on this date, we won the state championship :O just
thought that I would “throw” that out there (sorry that was a really
lame pun) haha.

I have really learned while on the mission how true it is
that we find ourselves when we look to serve Christ. If we are lost,
we find ourselves by looking away from us. It can be compared to how
if lost in the forest, the only way to find yourself is to look around
yourself. If you are continually focused on you, then of course, you
will never get out of the forest because you aren’t looking to where
you need to go. As we focus on loving others, and seeing to their
needs, we in turn become capable to help them because we aren’t
focused on our own problems. It’s the same in sports. Focus on what
has to be accomplished instead of your own performance. If we focus on
ourselves, then we distract ourselves from success in any case in
life. I think that if Sam goes to Father, asking for help to see
himself as God sees him, and then strives to forget his own fears of
anxiety, and focuses on what he needs to do, he will find that he will
accomplish the task ad his confidence will grow :) it’s just a
thought.

I love Scotty so much :) Momma Farley wrote Brian and me today,
telling us how we received that “shoutout” in sacrament and how we are
expected to return home this year haha. :)

Thank you for your thought on discouragement. I loved it, and it has
been something that I am doing great with. I ask myself everyday, that
if today was my last, how would I go about it. As a missionary, it
doesn’t change necessarily what I do, because I am continually serving
and obeying, but it changes how I do it. I try to love every moment.
Love every person the way that they need it. Love and forget myself in
the love of others. I believe that we are commanded to love others
like that because it the true path to happiness. Loving God, and
loving others as Christ would. It’s spectacular:)

Don’t take this in the wrong way- I’m not trunky at all, or
distracted, but I am SO excited to see you all in 3 weeks :)))))) I
pray for you all almost daily and you are all so close to my heart. I
honestly can’t describe how much you all mean to me:)

Dad, I love you so much! You are absolutely amazing. Know that I know
with all my heart that Christ is at the head of this church and this
work. Our family is eternal, and this great work is work of God! Love
you all!!

Love, and BISOUS

Elder Jacob Lucas

Monday, November 30, 2015

The attitude of Thanksgiving

Brother Saint Germa-Nancy France
New companion - Elder Tibbits
L'homes Family- Nancy, France

Nancy Ward Mission Leader- Ronan


Mooommmmoooo!!! (I was singing that :)

So, the trip was well...
Interesting.. I rode by myself because my new son (companion) missed the train...
We had met up at Paris and I loaded my luggage on the train with
another missionary and he just didn’t get on in time... But it worked
out, we met up 3 hours or so later in Arras. It was interesting being
alone. I talked to a lot of people on the train and explained a lot
about the Restoration. Being a missionary is so much fun!!
My new apartment is not bad!! It’s way big for just two and I really
like it!! Arras is a super pretty little town. It’s a mix of the
Belgium brick architecture and the lighter French stonework. It
reminds me a bit of the eastern US, parts like DC and others like
Columbus.

So, I am trying to find stuff to buy you all for Christmas, but I’m
struggling.. I found a gift for you, Mother :), but we can’t go to any
Christmas markets or anything because we aren’t allowed with all the
scares going on right now. So, would Sam or Kale like a French sweater
or some thing like that? And what about Dad?? So if they do, I need to
know ASAP so I can send it by next p-day so it arrives on time.

Here is the address:
Elder Jacob Lucas
Les Missionaires
10 Rue Saint Maurice
62000 Arras, FRANCE

I am not going to lie, it’s weird coming back to the north! It’s been
a year! At times the town resembles Valenciennes, they aren’t too far
a part from one another actually. But honestly, I couldn’t be happier!!
The ward is AMAZING!! So many speak English! Our Mission ward leader
is getting the ward involved and they were all so kind and open to
talk to me. Speaking of which, do you have any info on where in France
some of our ancestors come from? And how far back are they? Some
members were wondering.

Thanksgiving for me was GREAT! It was my second day here and there is
an older couple in the ward, in which the wife is American and the
husband is French. They fed us an amazing Thanksgiving meal!! It was
so nice of them. I already love it here in Arras!!

Our goal is to really get working with the members and I think that
the work is about to take off! Yesterday, we visited a family who had
lived in the states for several years and the father already gave out
a BOM and is working with the sisters to have this lady taught. It was
so awesome! Also, the ward mission leader has two objects that are
passed around from week to week in priesthood and relief society, and
whoever receives the object for the week has to give out a BOM. This
last week, the young man who had it, have out 3 BOMs. The ward is
really functioning super well! It’s so great to come to a ward that is
ready to work with us :)

So, this week, I came to discover that Elder Tibbitts had lost his
passport and we had to run back to Paris to get him legal again for a
bit! It was quite the experience. We ended up navigating through Paris
and the Versailles area, based on a little help and what I remembered
from an exchange with the APs haha. But hey! He is legal now so all is
good :)

I have been thinking about gratitude lately. And I believe that
gratitude is so critical for anyone who is trying to become like Jesus
Christ. When we recognize what we have we are able to experience life
to its fullness. Also, I watched a Mormon Message that talks about a
young man, who was going to commit suicide and what helped him was
first recognizing what is around him and those who loved him. He had
to become grateful for those who were there for him, and realized that
he wasn’t alone. I feel like depression and stress can sometimes be
cured through the principle of gratitude. When we don’t express the
gratitude that we feel for others, it’s like wrapping a gift, but not
giving it. We need to show our gratitude by serving and loving
everyday. After all, the Lord asks us to live in gratitude daily :)

Momma, I love you soooo much!! You are the greatest!

Love, Elder Jacob Lucas