Photo from Bastiens baptism
Hello! This email will probably be all over the place so be patient with me! This past week was so good as Elder Menzel and I actually worked in our sector the whole week which felt incredible! Its been so nice to have things cool off the past 2 weeks and allow Elder Menzel and i to really work in our sector compared to like the last 2 months of conferences and exchanges. There is no place like home!
This past week was highlighted by the baptism of Bastien on Saturday! He lives with his grandma, Sister Ropiot, who has been less active for the past few years and so over the past few weeks she has been coming back to church and because of it, Bastien wanted to be baptized! He is such a good kid and it has been so humbling to work with him over her past few weeks. It's always such an amazing experience to teach someone that's younger because it's almost like they just get it! His answers and testimony have been so simple but so powerful and he has definitely strengthened my testimony.
Right before his baptism he was a little scared and nervous to get in the water and he looked at me and made me promise that I would be there for him and not let him drown :) as soon as he got out of the water we just looked at each other and smiled and gave each other the biggest hug. It was such a cool moment.
Also through Bastien and Sister Ropiot we have started teaching Sister Ropiots sister Nathalie who is really interested and has a sincere desire to learn and know if it is true. Elder Menzel and I have really been focusing our efforts on part member families and it has been a very good resource in which we have found a many people to teach.
I have learned so many things this year that it would be absolutely impossible for me to put all of my thoughts down in an organized way, but here's a little thought process on the year of 2016. Now due to time I will have to keep it shorter, but I think I could talk for an endless amount of time about this past year which was spent entirely on the Lords errand!
I spent the first month of this year in Ajaccio on the beautiful island of Corsica where I met some of the most humble and giving people on this whole entire planet. I feel like in Ajaccio I really grew up. For my first two transfers in Ajaccio, church was held at Hotel Castel Vecchio! One of my favorite memories is where we showed up at the hotel for church 2 days after Christmas and it was closed...and not only for that Sunday...but for 2 months haha!! So for the last transfer while I was there we had church in our apartment! Good times. I truly came to love that island and I would have never known that a little island south of France would mean so much to me. I learned a lot about hard work and persistency on Corsica as the work was so much different then normal places and as we were isolated from rest of the mission and were out knocking doors all day! Even with the fact that the work was different, we still experienced some great success with a few baptisms and réactivations.
Then I spent from February to July in Geneva! Haha honestly I don't even know where to begin in talking about Geneva. Ill never forget when President called me and told me I was being transferred to Geneva to serve with Elder Jarom Barnes!! (PS huge shout out on getting engaged :) i love you man and Ky you be good to him ;) ) It's not everyday that you serve 3 transfers on your mission with one of your best friends from high school. Geneva also came with the bright and beautiful light that lit up the whole city. I gave my absolute heart and soul to Geneva and bawled the morning I had to leave. For a few of the conferences we've had over the last few months I have been able to go back to Geneva and every time I go there I feel like I have gone home. I love that place so much!
Then from July to the end of 2016 I have spent it here in Ecully! It has been an amazing experience to be around President and Sister Brown. I love them so much. I feel like I could go on and on about the experiences that I have had here. Such as going on the mission tour with the Browns and laughing my head off with Sister Brown, or spending a week with Elder and Sister Sabin, haha or making a quick trip to Monaco with the Browns, or last minute exchanges to Switzerland, or finding miracle people, or picking up new blues from the airport, or saying goodbye to departing missionaries (so hard),and the list goes on and on. I wish I could just take a picture of some of my journal entries since I've been here. It's been amazing.
Anyways, I could go on and on about 2016 but I don't have enough time! What a year though. I think I can safely say that I learned more from 2016 than I did from the previous 18 years combined! As I look back on this year the scripture sticks out to me the most is Matthew 16:24-26. I have truly been able to find myself as I have spent this year losing myself. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that as we lose our life for his sake, He helps us find it. He is the source of all truth and happiness and I know it with all of my heart. Happy New Year!!
Matthew 16: 24-26
Eating cheese with sister Barachant!!
Exchange in Switzerland last week