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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Welcome to New Nigeria!

When I stepped off the train into Amiens, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I stepped into an explosion of African-ness. On another note, the missionary work here is really prospering.
Correlation does not equal causation, am I right?

So this Saturday was the first day I got to do real work in my sector.
First stop - an African store. I mean literally a store called "Gloire Exotique" that only sells things that Africans like. Wigs and weaves, weird-looking vegetables, you name it. We taught the owner of the store, Fideline, from Nigeria. She walked up to me and said "Hello my bruddah. You are welcome." We taught her about Jesus, and then at the end she offered to give us some food from her store. We declined, and she looked at us and said "If you don't take this food, I'm not letting you come preach to me anymore." So we left with a bottle of Coke, some African peanut butter and a bag of chicken. One rendez-vous down, many more to go.

Then we went to a member's house, Olive, from Nigeria. I introduced myself and she said "You are welcome bruddah. You are welcome." We were there to teach an investigator, Lawrence, from Nigeria. He was late so she called him and said "What is wrong witt you? The missionaries are here waiting." Lawrence got there, I introduced myself and he said "Hello my bruddah. You are welcome." We taught him about Jesus. He's dope, by the way. He has a baptismal date for January.

After that we went to another member's house, Evelyn, from Nigeria.
Her friend was there - an investigator, Blessing, also from Nigeria. I introduced myself and they said "Hello my bruddah. You are welcome."
We taught her about Jesus. She's dope, by the way. She has a baptismal date for two weeks from now. At the end, they gave us four meat pies.

So we left their apartment eating these African meat pies and realized we were late for the bus. We saw it stopped at a red light and ran to it, and the bus driver kindly let us in. Two white guys in suits running with African food. The bus driver was, of course, African.
This story gets funnier in a bit. Stay tuned.

After that we taught our investigator Georges, from Congo, with a member from Madagascar. I got a little flashback of Paris with that one. We taught him about Jesus. I apparently wasn't as welcome this time.

So after this rendez-vous, we walked toward the bus and remembered about the extra meat pies we had in our bag. We took them out and ate them as we were waiting. Then came the bus, and we got on, still holding this African food...and make awkward eye contact with who else but the very same African bus driver. I'm just imagining what this guy was thinking...after seeing the same white guys in suits, an hour and a half later on the other side of town, still eating the same African food. What does he even think missionaries do? The world may never know.

Then we went and taught Williams, a recent convert from Nigeria. We taught him about Jesus. He was invited to church for the first time by a different recent convert, Valentine, from Nigeria. Now this guy's got a crazy story.

Williams converted from Islam to Christianity in Nigeria. As he was running for an office in the student body presidency, he became a target due to his change in religion. One time he visited his family for a few days, then came back to find his classroom bombed and his roommates dead in his apartment. Another time he was shopping, bent down to tie his shoe, and a sniper bullet passed through where his head had just been. Knowing that staying in the same place would get him killed, as would running away, he ran toward the sniper, pulled him out of the tree, and fought him until the police arrived.
...then he decided it might be a good idea to move away. He came to France, met the restored church of Jesus Christ, as voilà. The rest is history.

We have more investigators but I'll tell you about them next time, lest I bore you with an email which would be, as the French say, "hyper long."

Love you all! Bisous!

Elder Stanford

No comments:

Post a Comment