Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in northern France, southern Belgium and Luxembourg.

Monday, February 16, 2015


All right. This is the end of my first full week in the mission. Let me tell you all about it.
The first couple days were super tough. Hardest days so far, which I know isn't saying much, but still. We could not get any rendez-vous with anyone, or at least any that stuck, and we had 0 progressing amis. We worked really hard and did lots of contacting and prayed hard. But even after that we just kind of felt dead. Things would happen that we would be really excited for, but then no visible results would end up coming from it, and being let down from high hopes kind of just drained our energy.

Then! I went to my first zone conference, which was great and spiritual and good old President Babin loves this gospel so much that he will tear up while talking about anything, even progress records haha. That happened. I also got to see E. Rivas again and watch Meet The Mormons which were both kinda nice bonuses. But more importantly, the Spirit we felt at the conference--especially from President Babin's message--put the fire back in us (as Elder Wheatley would say) and after that...we started seeing miracles.

We had a first lesson with a rich white guy (which is a miracle on its own, rich white guys usually aren't interested in our message) and brought the Spirit into his home and he accepted our offer to come back! We're going to teach his whole family next time. Then came the coolest thing ever. We got home from that lesson with half an hour left in the day and we had a choice to make: either do some of the studies that we missed that morning because of zone conference, or go out and contact for half an hour. We decided to pray about it. Right afterward, Elder Wheatley was like "we definitely need to go contact." And I agreed, so we decided to pray again and this time ask where we needed to go. Elder Wheatley, who is a master at receiving and following promptings, felt that we needed to go to one specific place by our apartment. It was weird because no one is ever there at 8:30 at night, but we decided to go. Finally, we said a prayer right before we left the apartment, as we always do. I was saying it, and right in the middle, I got the distinct feeling that I needed to stop praying and just go. So I ended the prayer really abruptly and we left right away. We went to the spot we had designed to go, and after one rejection, we found the most awesome perfect golden contact I've had in my almost-a-whole-month on the mission. This would not have happened if I had been praying for much longer in my apartment. She believes in God but is still searching for the right religion. She asked all the right questions: "So what sets you guys apart from other Christians?" "Do you have any suggestions for specific chapters of the Book of Mormon I should read?" "Am I allowed to highlight and underline things in the book?" "When I come to your church, can I bring a friend?" YES YES YES! Super good. I'm really excited to meet with her soon. So that came from three prayers and three specific promptings followed. I also thought it was cool that Elder Wheatley and I both had to be in tune and follow the promptings we each got, or we would have totally missed this girl.
Yesterday we also taught the first lesson to an awesome family, the Senyigan family, who we found thanks to a recently converted member in our ward named Pierre. A whole family! That is the dream. The Spirit was the super strong, especially when we talked about the first vision. The father then testified of how much God loves us all, and he started crying right there. It was perfect. They invited us back next week! They told us their home is our home. Super sweet.
This next week is already booked almost solid! That's another miracle. I'm used to having blocks of three hours where we just go contacting or something. The miracles of this week are extending into the next, and I hope to have a lot of good things to talk about next week. Hopefully we can start adding to the list of progressing amis!
I've learned so much this week about the power of the Holy Ghost. Now that I'm more dedicated to following Christ more closely than ever before, now that I'm praying more fervently and reading more deeply and doing the things I should, it's like night and day. Spiritual promptings are there all the time and they can guide literally every aspect of our lives if we're just prepared for them. I wish I could have had this throughout my whole life up to this point. To everyone reading this, do everything you can to get this in your life! I'm not by any means perfect, but I'm experiencing this more than ever before in my life and even this difference is so worth it. Obedience to the gospel brings blessings beyond compare.

I want to write more but I don't have much time! Just came from the Eiffel Tower, which was cool and stuff. I'll send pictures. I also have a funny and weird experience that just occurred but I shall write about it next week!

Thanks to everyone that wrote to me! I read them all but didn't have the time to get back to everyone. I will next week!
Love you all! Hugs and prayers.

Elder Stanford

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