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

Monday, June 15, 2015

The struggle

So first of all, P-day was cool today. We visited Le Pantheon, which has got a bunch of tombs of famous French people. My favourite, of course, was Marie and Pierre Curie, but we also saw Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Louis Braille, Alexandre Dumas, and a bunch of others. Forgot my camera, so no pictures, sorry!
This week was kinda hard. We're really focusing on finding new amis, because those we have are really not progressing and they've been meeting with us less and less. Every week we have around 9 people promise to come to church with us, and every week we have around 2 or 3 actually show up. We've called roughly a thousand old amis and stopped by about 346 more, with only one or two visible results. But we'll keep going.

Other ways that it's been hard:
- Our bishopric made a new rule that we can only baptize on Sundays at 4.
- Our Relief Society President won't assign visiting teachers to our less-active member until she starts consistently coming to church for all three hours.
- I've been yelled at by strangers twice this week, once for talking to people about God, and the other for "following Paul instead of God."
I will tell you about one miracle though. In contacting, we felt prompted beforehand to go down a specific street. While on that street, we walked by a lady at a bus stop. I felt like I should talk to her, but then I ignored the feeling. As I walked past, the feeling got stronger, so I turned around to say something. Since we had already walked past her and since I'm just overall an awkward person, I decided to go for the "hey I'm not from here and I need you to confirm that this bus goes where I want" approach. And the conversation went nowhere, she wasn't at all interested. Then the bus came, and since I didn't want her to know that I didn't actually have any need to get on that bus, we got on with her. THEN! I ditched the awkward conversation with her, and complimented the shoes of another guy on the bus, who ended up being a South American who spoke English, knew a lot about the church, and was down for us to stop by and give him a Spanish Book of Mormon! Hopefully we'll see him this week.
Another miracle is that Elder Harris managed to convince an atheist in a park to meet with us again and hear our message. It was in English, but still, pretty impressive. This will be my first lesson with someone who doesn't already believe in something.
That's all for this week! Love you all! Be good.

Elder Stanford

PS "In the name of Jesus Christ"

I've been thinking a lot about that phrase lately.
As members of the church, we use it quite a bit--after prayers, talks, lessons and testimonies. But do we ever stop to think about what it means? Or is it just a way to end our speaking time?
I think that "In the name of Jesus Christ" means we affirm that the things we just said are things that the Lord would approve, or even things He would say if He were there in person. It means that He is happy we spoke them. (I've also learned recently that it's actually much better to end testimonies and prayers in His name than talks or lessons. If you'll notice, people in General Conference never say "I leave you this talk in the name..." but always end with a testimony.) As for prayers, praying in the name of Jesus Christ means we are doing our best to align our will with his.
I think that all of us could afford to reflect a little more on the things were members of the church use so often. When we finish with the Saviour's name, do we make sure the things we said beforehand are really in line with His will? Do we understand the significance of saying something in His name? Or are we just going through the motions? We know the dance steps...but can we hear the music?

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