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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Living the life in Liège

Hey guys! Not a lot of time here. But I'm in Belgium!! It's honestly amazing here. The people are very open, I'm actually teaching white people sometimes, the branch is amazing, the fries are amazing, there are these things called mitraillettes that are just a heart attack inside a baguette, and our days are filled with lessons! All good things. We've got an awesome guy named Roger who's preparing for baptism in about a month. Elder Wheatley left this place in pretty good shape.

Coolest experience of the week: we met with a Korean guy this week, and he understood better than anyone the whole "pray to know if this is all true" thing. So at the end of the lesson he prayed and asked God to tell him if this is the true church. Then he came to church with us yesterday--all three hours! At the end he looked at me and said "While we were sitting in the lesson, I felt the Spirit of God. I know that means that this is the true church." And I got to tell him that yes, yes it is.

You guys. How cool is that!!

On another note, the branch here is awesome, and members actually participate in the work. If you're reading this, go talk to the missionaries about helping them!

Love you all! Bises! (But just one, because I'm in Belgium.)

Elder Stanford

PS My new address:

Elder Stanford
Les missionnaires
16-2 Rue Carlier
4000 Liège

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tell everybody I'm on my way

You guys.
So the announcements for the transfer happened and I'm going to...Belgium! It's a city called Liège. Elder Wheatley, my trainer, has been there for the last three months; he's leaving and I'm replacing him! I know we'll have awesome people to teach because he is one of the most diligent missionaries I know. As for him, he was called to be a zone leader in the middle of Paris, which is also really cool.
As for this week in Antony, the biggest news is that Maria, the awesome Haitian woman found by Elder Harris, is going strong. She's been to church the last two Sundays, we see her and her family at least twice a week, and last night she fed us Haitian food! Flashbacks of 2011 for sure. In one of our lessons this week, Elder Harris spoke up and pointed out the Spirit that was in the room. He asked the whole family if they could feel it. Silence followed for a few seconds, then Maria just looked around, raised her hand and was like "I can feel it. Not sure about them." Haha. She's great. We're working with her husband and son as well, but she's definitely progressing the fastest.
Also, a cool miracle: so we got a call from a lady in a hospital in our sector. She's a member of the church from Tahiti who came to France just because of the more advanced medical care here. She's been suffering from an illness that's kept her confined to her room in that hospital for the past 4 months, and when we got there she told us that she didn't know when she'd be able to go back home and see her family. The reason she called was for a blessing of healing, which we were able to give. A week later we returned to give her the Sacrament, and guess what? "My health has improved, and I'm doing well enough to fly back to Tahiti in 4 days." Stop and think about that. Four months in a bed without knowing when she can go back home -> Priesthood blessing -> flying out 12 days later. Thanks to her huge faith and the power of the Priesthood, this devoted disciple of Christ can see her family again.

Anyway, this email is kinda short but next week will be full of a bunch of new experiences! Stay tuned.

Elder Stanford
I saw the Arc the Triomphe on my last P-day in Paris.


Hey family!

Thanks, Mom, for the letter! I got it this week. I love to get letters and I definitely get the most out of any missionary I know. It wasn't zone conference (which is when I normally get mail), but luckily I live with ZLs, who stop by the mission office every now and then.
Dad, you're in Japan, is there anywhere you haven't been? Good Gandhi. I predict the next LNG meeting will be in Istanbul. I know you've got a lot to get done, but don't work too hard!
The girls have always been ready to do anything we've done. Mowing? Calaway? Stampede? Rugby? I'm sure if we owned a ranch they'd be castrating the calves along with the rest of us. Go you, Little Girls! (That will always be your title. Until you have little girls of your own. Or you castrate a calf.)

Hannah, don't worry about talking too fast during your talk; it happens to everyone, including me. When you give a talk, just remember to pause slightly more frequently/for slightly longer than you think you have to. That usually does the trick. The reason you don't feel like you're talking that fast is because when you're in front of people, your brain is going a million miles an hour and your mouth just wants to keep up. And everything seems slower because your brain is going fast. (Same reason everything goes faster in the morning--because your brain is slow.) #science.
Emma, don't worry too much about your wisdom teeth! I know that doesn't sound like much, but I'll pray for you too. If you're anything like me, you'll recover pretty quick. And you have the same parents as me so like...genes and stuff...yeah. #science. But when it's over, I can definitely see this being a blessing so worth the small period of suck. (PS don't suck anything after the teeth are pulled. That makes everything go wrong.) It's a lot like the revelation to Joseph Smith in D+C 121 --

7 [Emma], peace be unto thy [mouth]; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, [your mouth and jaw will be in considerably better shape]; thou shalt triumph over all thy [teefs].

Pretty sure that's scripture.
Also, I'm so happy to hear you worked with that girl and with the missionaries! Keep doing that. Nothing would make me happier than to hear that you guys are all helping the missionaries in your area. They absolutely need your help, so offer to do anything they need you to! 

Love you all!

District pictures of my fourth transfer in Antony

Monday, July 13, 2015

Just a week in the grind

Hey guys! Not really feeling a whole big blog email but here goes anyway.
This week was one of those that just flew by with no incredible stories. Just a week in the grind. When I was in Elder Harris's place (one week away from Transfer 3), we had just had Lony's baptism. Crazy to think it's been three months.
We reconnected with an old ami, Albert, and had two great lessons with him. He's always tired because he works a night job plus a part-time day job. He promised to be at church, and prayed at the end of the lesson that God would grant us a car so we wouldn't have to take transport everywhere. Haha.
Maria, the one Elder Harris found by doing service, came to church! All three hours! That night we met with her and her family, and got her to say her first non-recited prayer out loud. She's coming back next week!
Bishop has asked us to stop talking to Christian about baptism because his parents are being butts about this. It's sad. He turns 18 in like 7 months though.
That's pretty much all the news from this week. Love you all!

Elder Stanford

Boubous, Round 2

Monday, July 6, 2015

I am so hot

Seriously though. It is so hot here. I don't really know how I have survived long enough to write this email to you guys.
This Wednesday, the 1st of July, it got to FORTY DEGREES Celsius. There is also no air conditioning in this lovely country. So yeah, for Canada Day this year I celebrated by putting on a shirt and tie with full-length slacks and hiking through the hottest day in France in this the 21st century. (Seriously though--it broke the record that was set in 2003.) It's hovered above 35 degrees for the past few days. Even the Africans are saying this is the hottest they've ever been, because in Paris there is no wind, plus lot of roads and pollution and such. But at least I'm getting a tan--from my elbows to my hands, that is, and on the part of my neck that the collar doesn't cover.
Even the clouds were burning this week!
Funny experience: we contacted a guy on a bus about a month ago, he turned out to be super Muslim, but still asked for our number. He actually called us up this week to set up a rdv and talk about we gave him a shot. Super nice guy, didn't want to bash at all, which was nice. His name is Mohammed. But anyway, we were talking with Mohammed in this park, where there was this festival thing going on. We had chosen a spot away from the festivities. As we were discussing, we heard this jazz music start to play, and I started thinking "great, can you guys please turn your speakers down?" Then it started getting louder. And louder. And then the marching jazz group rounded the corner and started walking down the path toward us. It got to a point where we couldn't hear each other, so we just sat there and waited for them to pass...and they didn't. They stationed themselves 20 feet away from us and proceeded to stand there and play jazz renditions of popular songs for about 10 minutes as two white Mormons and a black Muslim looked on. At one point the trumpet player had this solo thing, and he rocked out and fell to his knees and everything. I couldn't do anything except laugh. That was one situation I never expected to find myself in.
Today I also witnessed my first public transit fight. They shoved each other, cussed, one guy got kicked was great. Afterward, this African lady was like "Stuff like this doesn't happen in Africa" and then this white guy was like "Shut up, nobody cares about Africa!" and then this third guy jumped in and yelled "Hey, there are children on this bus!" and a whole 'nother fight started.

Finally, a cool actual missionary experience: we found a dope new ami, super sincere, who asked all the right questions. "What is the true church?" "How do I get the spirit in me? What does it feel like?" "How did you guys gain your testimonies?" "What's this baptism thing all about?" SO COOL. He said he's never felt the Spirit in his life before, but he's willing to give the Book of Mormon and prayer a shot. Great lesson.
Love you all! Be good!

Elder Stanford

The street we live on

Back in Chartres

A lovely place called Parc de Sceaux
A lovely place called France

I call this one: "African men on a sleepy afternoon"