I am now in the last few days of my mission, and as I reflect on the multitude of experiences, both the difficult and the glorious, I am filled with immense gratitude for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. It has been such an incredible honor having the mantle of a missionary, being called by my Father in Heaven to preach this message of eternal happiness and peace to His children in France. I have been able to feel my Heavenly Father’s love for each person I have come into contact with and have come to a greater knowledge of the love that He has for me. As I have struggled and strived to be the best instrument I could be, my Savior carried me through the ups and the downs. I know, through the personal experiences I have had, and through the people that I have been able to teach and baptize, that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. It truly is. I still ask myself often how it is that still so many people would not come to take some time to learn and to accept this restored gospel when it can change their lives for the better. And for that, the mission will not stop here. I will still strive to be the best example that I can be and share the gospel for the rest of my life.
What an incredible week it was. I have been blessed with more and more beautiful experiences as I come to the final lap of my mission.
I am getting ready to head home, and while it might take some mental and spiritual preparation for the next phase of life, I am soaking up
every minute of this blessing I have to be a missionary.
to place it in the middle of Paris, and to have the 20 missionaries in our zone contact people about the Book of Mormon and to hand them out.
Well, this past week, this initiative was made a reality. A 2 meter live size “Livre de Mormon” was constructed and all the missionaries
in our zone met up for lunch, before heading out with a 100 Books of Mormon to give out. After a short prayer, asking Heavenly Father to
help place those who were ready for the gospel, we began.
hours, and I taught more than 10 people about how the Book of Mormon could respond to their personal questions. One of my favorite
experiences from this short activity was an Atheist man who had received the Book of Mormon from the missionaries at the beginning,
went to a McDonalds to have lunch, read 9 chapters of the Book of Mormon, and came back to my companion to tell him that he now believed
in God because he was really moved by the words in Lehi’s dream in Chapter 8 of 1 Nephi, and now wanted to be baptized. This conversion took just 30 minutes! There was even a man who I talked to who began saying that he was not interested, and then, after talking to him about his life goals and his personal spiritual experiences, he realized that he did indeed believe that God was there. We prayed with him and set an appointment to meet him again. So many incredible miracles happened during those few hours.
were President Babin’s grandchildren as well. It was great to be there because it reminded me so much of when I was in Evry during my
second transfer. We were invited to his home to eat, before he was called as mission president, and I remember that being one of the
turning points of my mission, because it was a difficult period of my mission, where I questioned whether the work I was putting in was
really helping anyone. In the end, being at his home, and seeing his wonderful family, made me realize that eternal families is the result
that we work for. We go out, presenting the Book of Mormon and talking about Jesus Christ because of the blessings that it brings for
the family, and for us individually. Yesterday was a great time of reflection and reminiscing. I am so grateful for the light that the
Babins are for the mission, and the examples that they are.
I know that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God, and that the blessings of the priesthood are here on earth again and that
they are real.
I love you all!!!
Je vous aime tous et je suis content et ravi de pouvoir vous voir encore. Passez une très belle semaine avec pleine de miracles!
– Elder Lam
For the first time in 60 years, the temperature in Paris got up to above 40 degrees Celsius, because of the winds from the Sahara that passed through this region in Europe. It was definitely the hottest weather I have ever been in, and in addition to the heat, the humidity made it an even greater challenge. We, nevertheless, continued missionary work as usual, taking a few precautions to stay hydrated, and taking a few minutes of refuge in the air-conditioning of supermarkets from time to time in the midst of long hours of contacting outside. In fact, this past week was one of my favorite weeks on my mission, because I felt like, during my exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and during my time with my companion, we really tried to push ourselves to see the miracles.
I had one of the best exchanges of my mission this past Wednesday with Elder Ricks. Elder Ricks, as I mentioned in earlier emails, is one of the missionaries who I would have loved to serve with during my mission. He is a great example of constant diligence, someone who has always kept his mind on the work, while keeping a positive attitude. Wednesday was forecasted to be the hottest day of the week and when one of our appointments fell through and we were left with 4 hours of street finding planned for the day, I was more than excited that those hours would be spent working with him. Those 4 hours churned out lots of miracles. We talked to everyone we came into contact with – on the train, on the road, on the bus and many people took the time to listen. We got to teach 5 lessons in the space of those 4 hours, gave out 3 Books of Mormon, found a new family to teach, met George, an old ami whose phone number we never got a chance to take, and had a great time in the heat. There was, an experience during this exchange that taught me an important lesson about the blessings that come from following he plan and sticking it out to the end, despite opposition. At about 5:30pm,
the heat got a little unbearable at one point and with hungry stomachs, we considered heading home a little bit early to take dinner. But during our planning earlier that day, we felt that there was someone important to find and talk to, so we decided to stick it out, and follow the plan. As we walked and talked to people, it seemed that there was no one who was really receptive. Somewhere during those 30 minutes, I got a call from the office about some train ticket problems and had to advise Sister Seaman, one of the office couple missionaries, about how she could resolve it. A lady and her children walked past on the other side of the street just as I was talking to Sister Seaman, and I felt that we needed to head over to the other side of the street and talk to her. Elder Ricks had the same feeling. I told Sister Seaman later that I would call her back later, and we crossed the street to talk to the lady.
It was incredible, because we told her that we just felt like we should talk to her and introduced ourselves, she smiled and said that she was actually very interested in knowing what we share. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon, and gave her a copy in the 5 minutes that she had time to spare. She was really happy to have spoken to us, and to have been able to find someone who was ready to listen really made a great difference. I knew that if we had decided to diverge off from our original plan and head back, we would not have met her. We will be seeing her sometime this week.
There were also many other experiences during this exchange that made me simply excited to work and to be a missionary. I am 16 days to the end, and there is still a lot that will need to be done, but I am savouring every moment and enjoying the rigour and rythmn of the mission. One thing I am sure I will miss will be to be able to be a missionary 24/7, to have my mind completely focused on this great work. All things will come to an end, but there is one important principle: “To live in the Now”
I love you all, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that the Priesthood power has been restored to the earth, with the power to bind our families together for eternity.
Passez une tres bonne semaine!
Compared to the last few transfer weeks as Assistant, this past
transfer was a lot calmer and less stressful. Elder Hall and I have
now gotten used to the grind of multitude of tasks that happen in
these short 5 days, and it definitely helps greatly that we make a
good team. I am so grateful for my companion, Elder Hall, who is able
to balance the rigor of our calling with a couple of good jokes and
laughs. A laugh or two definitely helps lighten the load – after all,
Heavenly Father sent us here to live a happy life, so we might as well
have fun going through the trials and difficulties of our daily lives.
new missionaries. As I have most probably mentioned in earlier
emails, seeing the new “bleus” always reignites my faith and fire to
be a better missionary. This group of 7 missionaries was by far one
of my favorite groups of new missionaries, mainly because of the pure
faith and strong desire to be do the work of the Lord. One of the
sister missionaries in this group, in particular, was really
incredible. She is the only member from her family and came on her
mission because she had a burning testimony of the gospel. She
actually first got to know the church from her high school friends in
California. She told me that she had always felt good around her
friends and strongly felt the joy that each of them illuminated, and
knew that it was because of the way that they had been living their
lives. She began taking missionary lessons, and decided to be
baptized, and though she had to wait until her parents approved of her
decision, she remained faithful and eventually did after her birthday.
To think that she would come on a mission even though she had not much
family support really made me reflect on how wonderful missionaries
really are. While we may all be from different backgrounds, and have
had different lives, sometimes, very different lives, we all have the
same goal – to bring others to the knowledge of the gospel. When I
first asked this sister if her family members believed in God, she
smiled and we said with great enthusiasm, “not yet, but they will!”
She reminded me of my very own dad, who, although being the only
member of the church in his family, decided to go on a mission.
Reflecting on my life and the life of my family, I know that his
decision to go on a mission really blessed our lives for the
eternities. Thanks dad!
council was indeed a very monumental one as well, because it is the
first time the we will be introducing iPads to the entire mission.
The idea of using iPads as a tool for missionary work was first
introduced a few months before my mission, and after 2 years, iPads
have finally become a reality. We now have 2 hours of online
proselyting time each day, and have access to using Facebook as a way
to talk to people about the gospel. Honestly, we are all pretty
clueless as to how we might best do missionary work through the
Internet, but we are going forth with faith anyway and trying all we
can to use this inspired tool that our Heavenly Father has inspired
men to create. I’ll let you know when I find my first ami online.
Also, because we need to keep the mission focused on their missionary
objective, to remember to remained focused on their proselyting areas,
we won’t be able to add family and friends from home on Facebook for
the time being.
yesterday for the strength to finish my mission really strong, and it
turned out to be pretty challenging. We had initially planned to head
to visit our ami, brother Staikovski just an hour before we would
return home for dinner. Unfortunately, because regular buses were not
in operation on Sunday, we had to find different directions and
different buses to take, and because of the unfamiliarity of the
journey, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves totally lost. In
long sleeves and under the surprisingly scorching sun, we trekked the
streets of St. Germain trying to look for this precious bus stop. We
eventually found it, but were about 30 minutes behind schedule. I
just remember thinking to myself, “well, I guess I won’t be eating
Mormon to brother Staikovski, and while it initially started like a
normal lesson, halfway through, both brother and sister Staikovski
broke down in tears telling us how difficult it was for them to handle
Soeur Staikovski’s terminal illness. A scripture from the Book of
Mormon from my personal studies a few weeks ago came to mind, and it
was such a tender experience seeing the scriptures comfort them. I
was grateful that I was able to be there for them at a difficult time
in their lives and see the power of the scriptures manifest in their
lives. I was grateful to have fasted just so that I was able to be
more sensitive to the promptings of spirit so that I could find the
words to help some of Heavenly Father’s children in need.
gospel truly blesses families and can bring anybody peace in any
Je sais que Dieu vit et qu’il nous aime. A la semaine prochaine!
– Elder Lam
So, I guess this is where the time on the mission starts feeling short. I am now in my 16th transfer on my mission, the very last one before heading home, and it is a little weird to imagine that I have already spent that much time on a mission, because being a missionary is no longer something that comes simply with wearing a plaque, it is practically who I am today. What jogged my mind to this reflection was seeing my Stake President from back when I was in the Stanford 1st Ward. President Wilson was the Stake President who did my interview before I submitted my mission papers. He used to live here about 20 years ago, and attended the Versailles ward – the ward that I am now serving in. President Wilson showed up last year when I was serving in the Paris St. Merri ward, and to have him here again was a great blessing. It reminded me of all the blessings and the progression that I have seen in myself since coming on my mission. Missions are great not merely because of the change you see in others, but also the changes that one sees in himself – a change to become more like Christ.
Many ups and downs this week. Elder Hall and I did exchanges with the Caen, Angers and Paris Zone Leaders, and as always, it was edifying being with some of the best missionaries in the mission. The mission is definitely a time of learning and reflection, and the most interesting part is that on a mission, one improves his relationships with our Heavenly Father, with others, and most of all, himself. I have learnt so many life lessons on my mission, and I can testify to the fact that there is no better way to learn that except being on a mission. I love the mission.
Elder Hall and I had the chance to go on 3 zone leader exchanges this week with one in Lille, one in Strasbourg, and one here in Paris with the elders in the Paris Lilas Zone. They were all very marking for very different reasons, but all enjoyable nonetheless.
There is so much to recount to everyone from what has happened over the last few weeks. We saw blessings come in so many different ways, and in so many different facets of the work that we do – with the amis that we teach, with mission conference with Elder Nielson and Elder Kearon from the seventy, and with transfer week.
This week was a great week! A lot happened. We went on exchanges with the Paris Sud, Paris Est and Rennes Zone leaders, had zone conferences with the Rennes and Paris Sud Zones, and saw some really great miracles both during our exchanges and in our sectors.