Elder Brown in Montauban

Elder Brown in Montauban

Monday, November 28, 2011

First sighting of Pierrick - November 28, 2011

Bonjour to all of you turkey-trotters and non-turkey-trotters!

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed an excellent thanksgiving weekend! Here in the Lyon mission President Murdock gave special permission for every district to get together for a thanksgiving meal! Luckily for us, there are only two districts in our zone and both are based here in Toulouse, so we got to bring the whole zone (Albi and Montauban Elders included) over to the Young Adults Center for a delicious thanksgiving lunch prepared by Sister Larson. I made sweet potatos! They actually rather stupendous; could've been better with brown sugar rather than white sugar, but brown sugar doesn't just grow on trees around here. Nor white sugar, come to think of it, but there sure is a lot more of the white stuff in the stores. Anyway, everybody liked my sweet potatos.
I'm glad to hear that Kendra made it safely in spite of the car trouble, and that Drew didn't injure his surgery-weakened body with all of the extreme sports he's been doing. Trevor, good work in the turkey trot--you're looking good in the foosball picture. Steph, ne t'inquiète pas, you'll be getting a letter soon enough. And si, yo comprendo espagnol. Es muy aimabla de su parte. Dad, j'espère que tu ne seras pas noyé dans tout ce que tu as à faire avec Itron et Zaycon. Tu as du pain sur la planche! Mom, I do have the stories you sent me about Stephen Hopkins, as well as "The Great Tomato Harvest." Make's for good reading! As far as french cantiques...I don't really know which ones you'd need to practice, since we sing pretty much all of them. I'd say practice the ones for which you know the tunes. Thanks a million for your prayers.
This week was rather interesting, and I have to admit that at times we felt pretty dumb! First, I'll tell you about something awesome that happenned last week. Elder Frandsen and I were heading from the Compans Caffarelli metro stop to the Young Adults Center to teach our amie, Aurore. I glanced at the McDonalds (yes even in France you can find McDonalds) next to the metro. Something behind the window caught my eye; it was Sergei Bubka! There was a big poster of him pole vaulting! I turned to Elder Frandsen and said "regardez! C'est Sergei Bubka, le meilleur sauteur à la perche du monde!" He turned to look and as I looked back I saw a young man standing next to the Macdonalds, waiting for someone. I went up to him and said "Bonjour, nous sommes missionnaires de l’Église de Jésus Christ des saints des derniers jours. Nous présentons un message sur le Plan de Dieu, qui enseigne d'où nous venons pourquoi nous sommes sur terre, et où nous irons après cette vie. Est-ce qu'il vous est arrivé de vous poser ces questions?" Pierrick (that's his name) responded that yes, he often wondered where he came from, why he was on earth, and what would happen to him after this life. We briefly taught him about the Plan of Salvation, which answers these questions, and invited him to learn more. So we set up an appointment, and we taught him one week later on Thanksqiving day! Pierrick had read the entire "Plan du Salut" brochure that we'd given him, and accepted to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if it's true! Well be teaching him again tomorrow!
As for Pélagie, she's been busy this entire week with quests (Angelo's family) We weren't able to teach her, but we stayed in contact. On morning we were in the metro. I was at one end talking to people, and Elder Frandsen was at the other end where he ran into Pélagie and her mom, Angel! We all got off at Jolimont (the metro stop), and we walked part of the way home with them! Pélagie said she's having trouble receiving an answer to her prayers. Angel, who had been up until then a little distant with us, was very impressed by the fact that we were talking to everybody in the metro! She said "ça se voit que le Seigneur est avec vous, parce que cela ne doit pas être facile de parler avec tout le monde comme vous le faites!" I'm sure that the Lord put us on the right path to end up on the same metro car as Pélagie and Angel that morning!
Alright, I gotta go! I have more to tell you but not enough time! God bless you! Tell the whole world that the gospel is restored, because it is!
Je vous aime tous!
-Elder Brown

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cinquieme mutation a TOULOUSE!!! - November 21. 2011

And just so you know, that almost never happens!  I'm referring to the subject line above, which reads "Fifth transfer in TOULOUSE!!!!!"  Just to let all of you know how transfers go, the sixth friday of every transfer is the day we recieve "transfer calls." That is to say, President Murdock calls all of the missionaries who are being transferred to tell them where they're going.  He always begins with the zone leaders, but he doesn't call at all if there's no change in the companionship.  Having already spent 4 wonderful transfers here in Toulouse, I was dreading a transfer call that I (and the rest of the zone) thought would surely come.  Spending five transfers in an area is almost unheard of.  But the call didn't come at 7h30, like it normally did for the last three transfers at Toulouse!  I was hoping against hope that President Murdock had not merely skipped over us accidently, and that I was really going to stay.  Then he called at 8h20 and I answered.  President Murdock said,"Elder Brown? Yes, hello Elder Brown, I can't find the number for Elder Gubbay and Elder Workman.  Can you pass the phone to them?  And yes, by the way--you and Elder Frandsen are staying." 
Never hath the ears of man heard sweeter words than these!  I literally shouted for joy!!!  The only problem was that I forgot to hold the cell-phone away from my mouth when I did it.  I'm sure President's ears were seriously damaged, but he said calmly enough, "can you pass the phone to Elder Gubbay?"
So, long story short, I get to stay another six weeks in Toulouse!  I've been pleading with God to let me stay, because I really feel that Pélagie is special.  She needs to be baptized, and I want to help her get there!  We need a miracle, but God is a God of miracles.  If we act in faith He can make it happen.
And yes, Elder Barton is on his way to Albi even as I write!  I feel sad for him because he'll miss Christmas in Cannes, but we're going to love having him here in our zone!
Mom, to answer you're questions, the weather is excruciatingly mild.  The wind makes it a bit chilly sometimes, but other than that it feels like walking around in a giant air-conditioned room.  Angelo still refuses to speak with us, but the Lord will provide a way.  My ankle is doing swell.  I've gone running three times!  After the first time, Elder Frandsen refused to come again (you'd think he was the one who hadn't been able to run for six weeks!), so I ran with Elder Workman.  We were gonna do some hill repeats this morning but Elder Workman had to get back to the apartment a bit early to make sure all of his suitcases were ready. 
Last week, I contacted a womn named Evelyne.  She told us that she's a practicing catholique, but that she'd be willing to listen to our message before she went back home to Cannes two days later.  So we fixed an appointment and met her on Wednseday morning with Brigitte Berchel.  It was one of the most wonderful first lessons i've ever seen!  We explained to Evelyne the importance of the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ, and how this message would bless her life.  I don't really remember much of what she said, but I know the Spirit was there!  Soeur Berchel shared a beautiful story of how she found the church and how it changed her life.  Evelyne seemed overwhelmed and so excited to read the Book of Mormon!  We're excited for her too.  She's planning to contact the missionaries in Cannes and to go to church with them.  I hope it all turns out well, because if the missionaries get to start teaching her she'll be baptized!
Alright, we'll have to get going soon.  We have to shepherd all of the missionaries who are coming and going, including those passing through Toulouse.  There were a lot of things that I wanted to tell you, but not enough time!  Oh, by the way, Jean-François is doing extraordinarily well!  He's already been on his first few home-teaching visits.  In sunday school the other day he shared a scripture in the Bible Ezechiel 37:16-20) which prophesies of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.  So cool!
Please pray with all of your heart for Pélagie and Angelo, because we need a miracle.  I'm hoping to see it happen within the next six weeks.
I love you all!  The Book of Mormon is true!  So is all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and all that He will yet reveal!  Have a great week and happy Thanksgiving!
Love, Elder Brown