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Monday, August 10, 2015

What it means to be a missionary in hot sweaty France!


This week has been really interesting :) I have really been thinking a lot about what it means to be a missionary and how to act. I was thinking back to when I was home and what I wanted from the missionaries. I definitely wanted them to be much more confident and bold with the spirit when teaching. What's interesting is that I thought that also a lot of the missionaries were really not very good at relating to us at dinner. Like they didn't always seem comfortable. And they were talking in English haha!! But I have been trying to figure out to better connect with the members and serve them to their needs and become like their family. It's a hard balance because they may feel your spirit, but here in France the culture is different and they typically want to know who you are more than that, meaning it's not just the message but really who you are. So they like talking about real life.. If that makes any sense haha. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts... I want to be the most spiritually powerful missionary possible, but also make them feel like my family which is super hard in just like an hour. For some reason there is a culture here in the mission that we have to be super serious to be a missionary and I really feel like I have a personality for a reason and I am going to try to use it more.  So how do I show my spiritually strong side and also get on a fun and family level. Ugh, it's an interesting balance.. Any thoughts?

This week I had an amazing experience. My companion and I are the leaders of a zone, meaning we help different missionaries who are in the cities around Nancy. We had a special zone activity on Thursday. We brought in all the missionaries from the neighboring cities who are in our zone. 

In France, everyone uses the trains, and so a couple of missionaries had gotten in, and they were waiting at the train station for the others and my comp and I to get there. When we arrived we saw that we had some extra time, so I grabbed one of the other missionaries and asked him to come with me so we could use our time to teach someone. We talked to a lady who was sitting outside of the train station. She was really kind and really impressed that we had given up two years to come to France and talk to people about God. She then asked how we knew that God was there. I told her my experience of the first time that I felt the spirit when I was younger and how from that moment on, I knew with all my heart that God existed. My experience was actually when I was young, and mom was teaching me about Nephi and she shared how she knew that God was there and that we needed to do what we could here to be obedient, and I truly felt the spirit tell me that it was true. And this feeling only grew as I prayed and read the Book of Mormon. I was able to use that experience and testify to this lady how I knew, and she was ready because she wanted to to know as well. She needed to hear that message. 

 When all the missionaries arrived we went to the church and had the zone activity.  We just told one another miracles that we had seen during our missions. Elder Edmunds and I had felt like many of the missionaries had lost perspective that it's possible to see miracles. And we wanted them to have a renewal of faith. And it went super well!! It might even impress you to know that we planned it all out- the lesson, the meal, the contacting activity after-the whole shibang! 😏 it was cool, and made me miss having a smart phone because we had to walk everywhere, like walk to Pizza Hut to preorder everything instead of just calling.. Haha! But it was great to see all the miracles! And it seemed to boost every one's faith! It was sweet! 

On the funny side, in preparation for another meeting, we both know that I sweat A LOT....well...it is SUPER hot here and there are no AC's anywhere! And...barely any wind and no cold water! I get out of the shower in the morning and I'm already sweaty! hahah And so my comp and I are walking to the bus stop to catch a bus for district meeting and we see that it is about to leave. But we are on the other side of the street! And there's a ton of traffic in between us and the evil bus! Noooo! So right as soon as we get a chance, we bolt across the street (I'm wearing a backpack and carrying a bag of food for district meeting...and I'm already a walking shower of sweat, haha, and right as we get to the bus, it leaves! I'm pretty sure the driver saw us and was busting a gut with laughter....so what do we do? WE sprint to the next stop to try to make it there on time, And THE SAME THING HAPPENS! Right when we get there, the bus guy leaves! I mean come on!! And I'm drenched!! Swampy gross!! But, in our determination, we decided that we would not loose...and sprinted a third time!! Let me just say that the third time is not the charm! He pulled away as soon as we got there! So ...it was already hotter than that fourth kingdom that we don't like to reference at the end of the plan of salvation, and we had a long walk of straight incline to the church! hahaha We were late and I was a sweaty monster! I don't know why no one wanted to sit by me during the meeting...weird.....hahah! 

Miracle! So we were supposed to pass by a less active family's house and unfortunately we had the correct address, but the wrong city. But while there, we decided to talk to the people there with the time we had. I had a feeling to talk to a lady who was approaching us with her dog. I stopped her and she quickly told us that she really wasn't interested in a Christian message that she had lost hope for God. Before she could get away, I quickly asked her as to why she felt that way. Surprised that I hadn't started to immediately disagree with her, she stopped to talk and explain. She explained how she had lost many people in her family and she felt like If God was there, He wouldn't do that to her. It was then that I was able to tell her how we actually aren't just here to share a simple Christian message, but to field that question specially. I explained how we all ask similar questions sometimes and that the reason we are there was to help people find peace and understand that actually there is plan so that we can have our families after this life. She told us that she would give anything to have her mom just for another day. I promised her that she could. The conversation went from there and at the end of it, she was asking us for our number and a website. She hasn't yet contacted us, but I feel at peace knowing that we gave her the opportunity to know that death is not the end. God DOES love us. And that is why I am here in France. People live in such hurt and pain, and they don't need to. The knowledge of the plan of salvation can truly change everything. It was a miracle. Seeing the relief on her face made it all enough. Even if I just came to France for that one conversation, and that's it, it would be worth it. These people are too precious to God for us to just let them go and not know His love. It was incredible. I know that God loves and that His plan of happiness, with Christ being the center of it, is real. It is. It is. It is:) 

The Webbs will be amazing!! I am sad that they won't be in Farmington, but it will be what's best for them. They will be amazing at the temple. (Perry and Cindi Webb are moving to ABQ to serve in the temple presidency)

Alright funny story!! (There is a funny one in Kale's too☺️) well it's not a funny story, but it's a funny moment that you can imagine. So to start out, let's just say that you are so lucky to not have to wear a collared shirt everyday. Let me explain. First off you get a tan line. Second off, every time you turn your head to smile at someone, your neck skin piles up on your collar making this quadruple chin thing! Heyyyyy fatty smiling over here! Cheesing!!! Hahaha it's awful hahaha! So count your blessings!! 

I love you so much momma!! Thanks for everything and for helping me through everything😘 you are the greatest! And to Dad: 

Voilà!! J'espère que vous sachiez combien je t'aime bien mon chère papa! C'est toujours une grande bénédiction, sachant que je suis votre fils. Je porte les deux noms si important: Jésus-Christ et Lucas:) je t'aime!!

Love, Jacob

Elder Lucas and Edmunds

Guillaume Olivier and the crazy zone leaders!

Messing around, cuz we like that!

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