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Monday, May 30, 2016

Administering vs Ministering

President Uchdorf in Belgium

Les Missionnaires at the Uchdorf conference.


Elders Lucas and Taylor at a rendez-vous. 


Elder Lucas and Elder Taylor!

Roommates!

Fast French cuisine.

The Elders and their ami. 

Beautiful Belgium.

Hello :)


Things are going really really well with Elder Taylor!! We are getting
along great and I'm really enjoying myself. He's fun :) this next week
we have a lot going. On Friday we are having an activity for members
and their friends in watching Meet the Mormons. So we are trying to
visit as many members are possible to encourage them to invite all
their friends to come! We are also going to visit a lot of less
actives to invite them as well. It's a fun goal. It's going to be an
awesome week!!

This morning I was studying about love and how to love people. And there is a difference in 
Administering and Ministering. We are called to minister and I feel
that maybe at times, I felt I was there more to administer and messed
it up a bit. Administering is good, but not very productive unless we
truly love the people with whom we are with. I'm searching for how to
be a more effective minister to our friends, my companion, and the
other missionaries. God is teaching me how to use my strengths
-especially my personality and humor-to connect with them. It's fun.
It's coming along :) Your love for the sisters is so incredible.
Farmington would be hard... I don't know if the missionaries feel very
supported there. But honestly, you can change their lives!! Too often,
we just think of them as "missionaries" instead of people, because
they will leave in a few months. But honestly, we, as missionaries,
are put where we are to be friends eternally with the members-if we
choose. You are going to help them so much!! That's so awesome :)) I
hope that I can be friends with these members-real friends- for
forever :)

Bisous!
Elder Lucas

Monday, May 23, 2016

Miracle!!!

Hello everyone!!!

Well this week has been one of the most interesting of the mission... I don’t have a ton to say because my companion has been sick for the whole week and so he slept for about a week. I studied a lot and cleaned the apartment a ton! It wasn’t in the greatest situation before, and well, I got to work!! It’s starting to become more of a home to say the least. But all the same, here are the top 10 condensed into 4!!

1. Alright so we had a sweet miracle this week!! Although, we were

practically in the apartment for the entire week, we had a new investigator!! My companion and his old companion had taught a man on the street before I got here. This man was Muslim turned Protestant, and seemed really interested. They gave him a card and that was it.. UNTIL he called this last week and we set up a rendez-vous! And actually today, we had the opportunity to teach him! We taught him the message of the Restoration and of the Book of Mormon, and the spirit was amazing!! We explained that because it was Christ’s church restored that he had to be baptized again, and we asked him that when he knew that it was true, if he will follow this example of Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God. He said that he would!! We are teaching him tomorrow and will hopefully be setting a date for baptism this week!! Sweeeet!!

2.This might be actually numbers 2-8 or so, because this might be alot.

I had a SUPER cool study session this week from the Book of

Mormon. So I read the second chapter of Alma this last week, and it was super touching. So, ultimately, I realized that this chapter is a lot like a part of the plan of Salvation! And unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of time, but you can see that there was a debate in this chapter and one people left, just like there was a conflict before this life to be the leader between Christ and Satan. Satan ultimately was not chosen and left with his followers, and they started a war against all those who follow God. Now I found a lot, but what is important is this part: verses 30-34. Alma is symbolic of the Savior in this story. We see that in verse 30, his motivation is solely on love. He wants to help his people. And it’s that charity that gives him the strength to risk his life for them. We understand that charity is the power and the pure love of Christ-and is the strongest attribute that we can have. And with this, Christ was able to perform the atonement. Also like Alma, Christ asked for help when performing the atonement, and was strengthened. Christ had two hurdles. They were death and sin, and we could say that the two evil leaders represent the two of them. He overcomes both of them, but then in verse 34, He clears the ground and throws the bodies of the Lamanites into the river. Christ has cleared the ground for us. He literally threw our sins out of the way into the river so that we could have a chance against our enemies. Alma needed His army, and Christ needs us. His sacrifice means nothing unless we use it. So go and fight! Run across your rivers! Don’t let sin or temptation hold you down. Hurdle fear. Christ is preparing the way. I promise you :) and like it says in 37, we will slay and drive back our obstacles. It will all work out with Him!!

3. It’s not a top ten because it’s fun information but it gives you an idea of what’s been going on. There are two companionships that are in our ward. My companion was sick all week, and in the other companionship, one of the elders was sick as well. In fact, yesterday, we had to take him to the hospital and discovered that he has an ulcer in his stomach and has internal bleeding... So he stayed in the hospital last night, and his companion stayed with me and my companion (well technically we stayed with him at his apartment). It’s just been quite the week here...

4. Sorry, this letter was a bit different than others, but all in all, know that I know that Christ is there. This is His work! He is on our side and He loves us! Go and fight for Him. He’s fighting for you!



Have. Great week my friends!!
Elder Jacob Lucas


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Belgium is AWESOME!!

Hello to all of my wonderful friends!!


This last week has been long!! And really tiring! Not in a bad way
though!! It’s been fantastic :) must a lot has happened. So my top ten
are more or less in chronological order, so here’s the breakdown.

1. Leaving Arras was sad. I really love the people and I really want

to keep contact with all of them. It’s so weird being a missionary.
Sometimes it’s like we have different lives because of all the drastic
changes that happen. It’s hard to mesh it all together in my head
sometimes.

2. However, the night before I left Arras, we went up to Brussels and

listened to Elder Ucthdorf!! He came to comfort the saints there
because of the attacks, and it was AMAZING! Here are some of the
highlights for me. He talked about principles that are sooo simple but
so powerful. Sometimes we make the gospel much too complicated. For
example, he spoke about how the plan that God has created is the plan
of happiness. But do we allow the gospel to fill us with this
happiness? Do we live the gospel every day?? He also talked about
positivity. We need to be optimistic and happy!! We can make a huge
difference!! The world is changed by people who take time with people
in their everyday lives. By showing love to others with whom I see and
speak everyday, I can change the world! Do we recognize that? One life
CAN make a difference. Be that life! Let out the light!! It’s all
inside of you :) He talked about how God has not given us the spirit
of fear but of power and of love. God WANTS us to be confident. So be
confident in who you are as a child of God and go and change the world
:) you CAN do it. That’s why YOU are here!!

3. So from Arras I went to Paris, and actually then stayed in

Versailles for a couple of days. I stayed with Elder McBride-the old
Assistant-because he and I are now both the district leaders in
Belgium and are technically both the zone leaders as well (there
aren’t any zone leaders), and for that, we were invited to the Mission
Council in Paris, on Friday. And let me just say that Versailles is
BEAUTIFUL!! And while there, guess what?!? I was able to listen to
Elder Uchtdorf AGAIN! He visited the people in Paris as well. And this
time, he shared something that really touched me. Something that he
didn’t share the other time. He said that when you listen to the
spirit, listen to your heart. The spirit will touch you in your heart.
And that was needed for me. Too often, we try to think through the
gospel. But the things of the spirit can only be learned by the
spirit. We will FEEL that the gospel is true. If we try to just think
it all out, or think which religion is right, we may or may not find
an answer, because it’s not just mental learning. God will tell us in
our hearts. We may not be able to mentally understand everything now
in this life. I know that I sure don’t. But that’s okay. What I do
know is that this is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and
Redeemer of the world! And this is His church, and Joseph Smith saw
what he said that he saw. I know it in my heart. It’s true. And you
can know it too :) open your heart and ask.

 

4. Mission council was fantastic! I really loved it. I feel that most

of all the problems in the mission- and in life- can be answered when
we understand the “why”. We need to ask ourselves, “Why do we do the
things that we do?”. It will really open our eyes. It’s not so much
always the how that needs answering, but the why. For we can figure
out the how when we understand the why. Missionaries need to know WHY
they are here, and then the HOW in what they do changes. It’s
interesting. Ask yourself why you do what you do :)

 

5. Alright, and let me just say that Belgium is AWESOME!! I had a

Belgium waffle and they are all that they are cracked up to be!! ..why
do I always find myself talking about food in these things haha??

 

6. While waiting for a train in a Brussels, I talked to a lot of

people, and found some amazing people from Côte d’Ivoire who were
really open and interested!! It was really touching. Never hesitate to
open that mouth about the gospel! God is preparing people my friends!!

7. When I got to Nivelles, my companion was at the Bishop’s home, and

they fed me an amazing meal. It was such a nice first night :)

 

8. I don’t know what was going on, but one of the nights here there

was some crazy rock show or some thing blasting around the time when
we were going to bed. The people here like to have fun it seems haha!!

 

9. On Saturday, my companion said that we were going to play sports

with some investigators... And we’ll it turned out to be this prank
that is pulled on all the missionaries when they get here... We were
actually doing service-and it was cleaning out horse poop and hay out
of horse stables.. Well there you go... It was for a member and so I
was happy to help :)

 

10. I presented myself to the ward, and let me just say, the ward is

SO nice!! I have had old companions who served here before. In fact
Elder Oldham was here at the same time when Elder Young was here and
on his first Sunday (all missionaries give a testimony when they
come), told everyone that he was Elder Oldham, and said that in
English that translates to “Old ham”. Everyone laughed. And then Elder
Young (who I trained over a year ago) got up and said that he was
Elder Young, and that “young” in English means, “beautiful man”. So
when I got there, j reminded them of that experience but told them
that I was the one who trained Elder Young, or in mission terms, I was
his father. So if they were wondering who was the real “handsome
man”... It was pretty funny.

11. All in all, it was been a great week!! My friends have a great

week! Love you all :)

1.   Leaving Arras... Sad... Really love the people...
2.   Seeing Elder Uctdorf!! AMAZING!! We can change the world!!
3.   Versailles. BEAUTIFUL! Learned a lot from Elder McBride. And Elder
      Uchtdorf again!! Listen to your heart!!
4.   Mission Council
5.   Belgium waffles
6.   Finding awesome couple from Côte d’Ivoire in the Belgium Train
      Station. Kendra.
7.   Bishop’s family took me in!!
8.   Getting told that it was Saturday sports and it was poop cleaning...
9.   Crazy rock concert thing one night...
10.  Presenting myself to the ward.. It was fun!
11.  Self reliance. I LOVED it! Using what I know for the future :)
12.  Priorities and doing what we need to do.
13.  The work here is about the explode!! :)) God is sending Angels now
       and preparing the way!!



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dad's letter

Daddo!!

I’m glad that I still have my social capacities :) that’s a relief ;)
My experience here in Arras has been really enlightening- even when it
didn’t seem like it haha! I have really learned a lot about myself and
it’s been really inspiring to see how the Lord is creating me into a
palace when I just wanted to be a little cottage. At times I was
tempted to worry and think that I was being cut down- but sometimes we
need to be cut down so that we can create something even better. He
had to knock down some cottage walls so that he could rebuild some
beautiful foundations for this palace. I’ve learned to not judge
myself by the reactions of others but rather by my efforts. I’ve
learned to better control my OCD tendencies and let them go. I’ve
learned to become confident in my abilities to speak confidently and
be social in French and English. I’ve learned to become a better
leader and be bold in speaking in front of others. All in all, it’s
been an amazing refiner’s Fire and it’s helped me become more of what
God sees in me. My confidence is becoming great in the Lord.
I actually just received a call from Elder McBride, the assistant, who
will be transferred to become the other district leader in Belgium.
There are no zone leaders there right now, (from the attacks) and I
just found out that I will be a type of zone leader in coordination
with him for the Belgium zone while also being district leader.
Interesting haha. What I’m really excited about is that I get to go to
the Mission Council and learn more of what President sees for this
transfer!! I have the best of both world because I get to have the
whole vision like a zone leader, but I get to work personally with
specific missionaries as a district leader. That’s amazing!! I’m soooo
excited!! I love getting to be close to President in that way because
it’s a wonderful learning experience.
Dad, I really love this people!! I have sooo many friends here and I
want to keep close to them for life. Yesterday, I said goodbye to
Brother and Sister Demette. Sister Demette expressed her appreciation
for my kindness and it was so touching because she is normally closed
because of potential social phobias. In fact, yesterday in the
rendezvous, I had the distinct impression that her daughter was there
with us, and was there to learn. That her daughter would be learning
at the same time as her mother. The miracle was that Sister Demette
really showed sincere interest in learning to really pray as she
learned that she could ask Heavenly Father if her daughter was okay.
We taught her that she would have the answer from the spirit-by
thoughts or feelings- or sow times through others in her life. She was
touched and committed to do it. We will be either texting or calling
her today to (today is Tuesday-we are finishing pday today because we
only had a part of it yesterday) remind her to do it/potentially see
how it went. We taught we her about the temple and how we can be
sealed!! Through the priesthood it IS possible! First through Christ’s
atonement, and second through the restoration of the priesthood. How
amazing!!
I read this morning in 1Nephi 10, and it really touched me how
incredible the prophecies were that Lehi had about the Savior. Christ
felt ALL the sins of the whole world. That is just unfathomable for us
to comprehend. But he did it, and it’s so sad to see that he was
killed right after-but what’s even more touching was that He felt the
pains of the men that killed him, and then asked the Father to forgive
them. I love that. What also hit me was that it specifically says that
Lehi had this experience while living in a tent. Humility. It brought
me back to think about Sam, and how being humbled-like Lehi- can lead
to experiences that can change our lives-like the visions that Lehi
had. If we come to our Savior when humble, He will make our weaknesses
strong (Ether 12:27)
I loved what you said about having balance. I really liked your goals
and I will set some goals for the rest of my mission.
I love you dad. Thank you for all that you do and for your example!!
Talk to you next week :)

Love, Elder Jacob Lucas

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Belgium and President Uchdorf!

Hello everyone!!! I hope that life is treating you all well!!!

Sorry about the last couple of weeks. Email time has been interesting.
And sorry to everyone that has written me and I still haven’t written
back. I’m doing my best :)

So, for those of you that don’t know, we had a baptism last week!! So
I will include in the top ten a couple of experiences from the last
weeks as well :)

1.Alright, so the baptism!! One of the most spiritual baptisms that I

have ever attended. Brother Demette (our ami) was really happy and
really prepared. I had a wonderful experience baptizing him. I must
admit, the water could have been warmer.. Frere Demette was walking
into the water pretty slow- I don’t know if it was the cold if he just
wanted to savor the experience.. So there was the Arctic present, and
because of it, I don’t know if he really wanted to go all the way
under the water. It was like slow motion!! Just slowly going. In
addition to that, I didn’t step wide enough, and he didn’t bend his
knees a lot, so I wasn’t totally centered as I was lowering him.. In a
moment of terror I thought that I was going to go Alma style and
baptize myself too!! Luckily I did sports before and was athletic
enough to save myself from a falling embarrassment,  and no one else
even knew. So he’s still going down in slow motion and the water
starts to cover his face. And it’s about to get his nose, and he
stops.. I think that he is under the impression that he is all the way
under and wants to come up.. Oh no!! Sorry my friend, I have to
baptize you all the way!! And so I keep pushing him down!! Finally the
nose goes under, and I’m hoping that he’s not going to be gasping for
air from being under the water for so Long, and I cried to find out
that his foot came up.. Noooo!! Hahahaha so we redid it. The second
time was great. While getting out of the font, it Really hit me
exactly what had taken place. This man had made a promise to follow
his Savior and had entered the door that leads to the path to
returning to God. With the gift of the spirit, he was completely
clean. How incredible! Repentance is a miracle. And it’s a miracle
that we get live everyday :) the amount of love that I felt from this
baptism was indescribable. It was amazing. That is truly a saving
ordinance and God’s love is made manifest in it. I am soooo happy that
was I able to be a part of that :) ... Unfortunately for our dear
friend Brother Demette, his daughter passed away the Thursday after
the baptism. And the faith that he has demonstrated has been
incredible. He told me that if God has decided to take his daughter,
then he knows that she is in a better place. He is still going strong
in his belief that God has a plan for us. May we all have that same
conviction for all situations in life. May we live the gospel and
experience it and not just talk about it in church.

2.Brother Demette received the priesthood yesterday!!! He asked me to

give it to him and I was sooo honored. I had to memorize how to do it
I’m French which was an experience in and of itself, but I did well,
and it was truly incredible. The spirit that was there truly testified
of the truth and reality of the priesthood. I know it’s true. He then
blessed the sacrament as a priest and it was truly an amazing blessing
to be able to witness that.

3.Life lesson: when life is hard and you want to groan, learn to to

laugh!! Today a 3 year old kid wasn’t feeling super good and barfed
all over the floor at the train station... Where did he choose to do
that? Right in front of the door... Haha one could groan or one could
laugh at the odds of out of all the places to puke, it would be in
front of the entrance.. “Hmmm here is good spot... Everyone gets to
see what I created!” ...yeah laughing makes it much better than
groaning..

4.News!! I am going to Belgium!! A town called Nivelles. And

apparently, it is one of the best wards in the mission!! I am soooo
excited. Because I a, leaving, members wanted to invite me over to
make me my favorite French-mech dish which is tartiflette!! So today, we
are blessed enough  to be eating tartiflette for lunch and dinner at
different member’s homes. It’s a bunch of cheesy potatoes with bacon
bits essentially... And it puts you in this nice coma of satisfaction
after you eat it :) you all have to try it!

5.Speaking of food, we ate Iranian food again! Our Iranian friends

had us over and it was amazing!! They also invited another friend from
Iran over who lives in Lille (a nearby city) and she wants to be
taught!!!

6.Let me just say that I absolutely love the members in this ward of

Arras. It has been incredible being here and I believe that many of
them will be my friends for life. I have learned so much while being
here and a part of my heart will stay.

7.Miracle!! We found this new couple while contacting by the train

station!! And they are SO cool! Both in 20s and he is Catholic and she
is originally Japanese, but was adopted by French people when little.
They are soooo cool!! She is polytheistic, but is super open and he is
awesome too! We had brought them cookies because we had extra and the
second time they made us cake :) blessings :) but more important than
that was that we testified of how because of Christ, we will live
again, and the spirit  was sooo strong. I know that He lives. I am a
missionary, called of God to testify of my Savior. How lucky I am!!

8.President Uchtdorf is coming to Brussels tomorrow to speak to the

members here and I get to go!!

9.Did some sweet service this week. For an older couple, we

demolished an older building in their back yard so they can use the
space to build more onto their house. Brought back memories to lifting
weights. I’m a little afraid that Sam, my little brother will be a
little-a lot- bigger than me when I get home, but we will see what
happens. We also helped a member who is probably around his nineties
dig a hole and then work in his garden. While there, I had the
pleasure to talk with him, and let me just say, if you want to be
happy, go and make a new friend. Go and find someone to help :) like
Michael Jackson said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror!!”

10.In leaving my ward family, I was able to share my testimony, and

it’s interesting because I was thinking about what to say, and it hit
me the most important thing that I could ever do and say and leave
behind-didn’t have to do with me. It had to do with my Savior. The
most important was the most simple. It was to testify of Him. And I’m
telling  you, that out of everything in this letter, the most
important thing that I hope that you remember is that Christ lives.
God lives. God loves you. He wants you home. He is always there for
you. This is His church. I know it :)
Have a wonderful week my friends!!