First week in the Paris Mission, and I have seen miracles everyday this week. Being a missionary never really hits until you are outside the MTC, because the moment you leave, you realize that the preparation is over, and the work begins.
I arrived in Paris on Tuesday afternoon after a 10 hour plane ride. Our plane ride was great. Although we couldn’t watch any of the movies on the plane, we had a good time studying our scriptures, talking to passengers sitting next to us on the plane, and sleeping. We were invited warmly by our Mission and Area Présidents and we received our first ever Pain de Chocolat! The rumors are true – Bread is better in France. Soon after, we were given a chance to hand out our first ever Book of Mormon to anybody on the train. I spoke to an old lady, and after speaking some French, she asked me to speak because she wanted to practice her English. It was an interesting first contact. We talked about our beliefs, she read a little from the Book of Mormon and although she agreed with everything in the Book of Mormon, she felt that she didn’t need to read it. Although she didn’t end up accepting the Book of Mormon, we had a good conversation and I did my job as a missionary – “To invite others to come unto Christ through the restored gospel…”
You are probably excited to hear who my trainer is too. Elder Hall. He comes from St. George, Utah, has a French mother, and was sent here on a spanish – french speaking mission. He is a great missionary, and I have learnt a lot from him from French words, to contacting people on the street to “Porte-a-Porte”ing (knocking doors). We have had a really great last few days and I am grateful that he is my “Dad” (we call our trainers our mission dads). We have been called to serve in the Evry area, just 45 minutes by train from Paris. The interesting part is that my companion lived here when he was younger and attended the ward too, and so do his grandparents! It is a wonderful way to end a mission – serving in you old ward.
One thing I have learnt in my past week is that there people are prepared to receive the gospel, everywhere we go. Of course, not everyone we talk to is willing to have a conversation with us: Some are aetheist who do not believe that a God even exists. The interesting part is when we ask them what they think their purpose in life is and where they feel they are going after they die. Their reply: “It’s just game over.” Others are already religious but are not “practising.” We get a whole range of responses – many don’t like the rules of their churches, some just don’t care and others feel that it is enough for them to know God. Nevertheless, amongst the many we speak to each day, there are the select few who we meet who are prepared. We met a man from Africa – Jephet – just as we were walking by a bus stop near our apartment. When we started talking to him, introducing ourselves as missionaries who had a message about Heavenly Father and the restored gospel, he said that he had been praying for a long time for someone to bring him to Church. We taught him the message of the restoration and he came to Church with us last Sunday. It was a great testimony to me that the “Field is White, Already to Harvest.” We will be working with Jephet and two new investigators we found this past few days. It is going to be wonderful.
Also, today being P-day, we headed into Paris for a short trip to the Arc de Triomphe and went to the top of the great monument. Preparation days in Paris are epic.
Well, I’ll end here for now. The Church is true. There is a living prophet today, and the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
Have a fulfilling week!