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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Blood pressure: maximum

Let me tell you all about my experience this Friday. 

So we woke up at 5:30 in Arras and caught our train to Paris for the Christmas conference. It was great, by the way. I got to see my last two companions, Elder Orton and Elder Dudfield, as well as many friends from my last two zones (Belgium and Strasbourg). 

So we had to leave early in order to catch the early train that would get us back to Amiens in time for Blessing's baptism that evening. This is what happened starting from the moment we arrived in Paris before the conference in our connection to Versailles. I will tell the story using all the misfortunes and miracles that happened. 

- Misfortune: we lost a sister missionary between two Paris metro stations. Miracle: the Sister Training Leaders happened to arrive right afterward and find her so she was okay. 
- Misfortune: on the way from Paris to Versailles, I accidentally got on the train without getting a ticket from the Paris zone leaders. Miracle: as the controllers went through checking everyone's tickets, they controlled everybody except me and I escaped the fine. 
- Misfortune: we left the Versailles chapel way too late to get to the train station on time. Miracle: we got a senior missionary couple to drive us I their car so we didn't miss our train from Versailles back to Paris. 
- Misfortune: as we sat in the train back to Paris, Elder Smith and I realized that we had BOTH left our in Versailles. (I haven't seen any miracle attached to this one yet.)
- Misfortune: we were 30 cents short of having enough change to buy tickets back to the right train station in Paris, and we had about 2 minutes to find some. Miracle: out of desperation we tried the tickets that we had already used, and somehow they worked again. We got to the correct train station with just a few minutes to spare. 
- Misfortune: we realized that my train tickets from Paris to Amiens were in my iPad case sitting in Versailles. Miracle: I was allowed to buy a new ticket when I was already sitting on the train, and Elder Smith and I found just enough cash to buy it. We got back to Amiens on time. 
- Misfortune: back in Amiens, the bus to take us to the chapel (which comes every 10 minutes) didn't show up for like half an hour. Miracle: because of that, we bumped into an old ami, who then came to church this Sunday. 
- Misfortune: we only have one white baptismal dress in our little chapel. Miracle: it fit Blessing almost perfectly. 
- Misfortune: a man came to the baptism that we've only met with one time, and he proceeded to take some paper from the library and use it to roll some cigars in the bathroom. Miracle: he suddenly had to leave and didn't smoke anything inside the church. All he left behind was a bunch of tobacco scattered around the bathroom. 
- Misfortune: the printer didn't have any ink and we weren't able to print out the programs for the baptism. Miracle: we were able to remember everything we had scheduled even without the program in front of us. 
- Misfortune: the branch president didn't show up (and you need a member of the branch presidency to come to authorize the baptism), nor did one of the people who was supposed to give a talk. Miracle: his one counsellor came last minute, and somehow everything went well anyway. 
- Misfortune: when Elder Smith and Blessing got into the font, they realized it was SUPER cold. Miracle: Blessing, African though she may be, found the courage to be baptized anyway. Only took two tries. 

As you can see, Satan tried everything to get this thing not to work. I can safely say that those rushed prayers I said all throughout that day were some of the most sincere and faithful I've ever said. And I was able to see the hand of God in so many ways making everything work out. Makes you think. Could I see that many miracles every day if I prayed like that every day as well?

I think everyone can stop relying on themselves so much. It makes things suuuuuper stressful. Because we're imperfect and can't take on everything at once. If we turn our situations over to God, then as long as we're still trying our best, everything will work out the way that is best for us. 

Love you all! Be good!

Elder Stanford


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