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

Monday, February 15, 2016

I got a date before Valentine's Day!

Hey all! Happy Valentine's Day or whatever. In France, Valentine's Day is just an excuse for people to glorify the "natural man" on every bus stop ad, shop window and grocery store product in sight. But we don't buy into it. My valentines will be my mother, my grandmothers, and the adorable 88-year-old lady living upstairs from us. And God. 

Transfers happened again. Are these going faster and faster for you guys too, or just me? I'm in transfer 10 now. Goodness. In a surprising turn of events, Elder Pumford was transferred out; he's going to my old équipe in Liège! One-and-done here, one-and-dead there. Some guy named Elder Carson will be my third companion in three transfers here in Amiens. He seems cool, from the little I've heard. 

This Saturday, I got a date! Her name is Getou (yes I know I spelled it wrong last time) and she agreed to set a baptismal date for the 9th of April. She wants us to meet her friends, and even brought her niece to church! So cool. 

And now, to close, allow me to demonstrate some Pidgin I've learned over the past transfer. 

I dey learnin' to talk Broken na, an' I fit talk'am small small. I no dey good befo'. Is bettah na. I for done write mo to una today, but I dey so busy. 

¿ Entiende ?  Probablement pas.  Et bah tant pis. We go talk in one week na. 

(Sorry that I don't have a lot of time today. Last p-day with Elder Pumford, we had to see all the attractions in Amiens. Which is basically just the cathedral. But it took some time). 

I love you all! Be good! Remember who you are! Love the world! 1 John 4. 

Elder Stanford
Mission française de Paris

Found by the cathedral 

Selfie with Elder Pumford and Larry

Monday, February 8, 2016


So we got a self-referral online from a masters student, and in the notes she said she wanted to see us in order to talk about transcendence. What does that mean, you may ask? We weren't too sure either. She met us at the chapel--younger than I thought she would be and super sympa--and ended up interviewing us about...everything. She turned on her voice recorder and asked us questions about our faith, what we did, what "rules" there are in our church, and most importantly, how we got our testimonies. It was really cool actually.
It turns out that by "transcendence" she just meant the idea of getting to a state of mind that's more peaceful and elevated than how we normally are. Basically she wanted to talk to us about feeling the Holy Ghost, though she didn't know that that's what it's called. We ended up talking for an hour and we got to testify about how we found that God was there and that our church was the right one to follow.
She asked me about my grandparents' conversions (shout-out to my awesome grandparents!), the relationship between my biology studies and my religion, etc. And now she'll use it for...something she's doing for school. It was an awesome experience that most people don't get to have.

We had an awesome discussion with Howard again. He's gotten real personal revelation through repentance, and felt the Spirit tell him he needs to move on from his past. This past week, he reflected that despite the fact that we ask for things in prayer, its main purpose is to align our will with God's. How cool is that?? This coming from a guy who said his one of his first vocal prayers ever when we first started teaching him. He is also a master of languages, as I mentioned last week, and we talked for a bit on the English language and how it was influenced by French rulers hundreds of years ago. It turns out the old English word for music was "dreamcraft," which was eventually overpowered by the French "musique." I'm calling it dreamcraft from here on out.

Jetu's doing well! Member referrals are the BEST. We will be giving her a baptismal date soon! Any prayers on her behalf are appreciated.

That's all for this week! Love you all! Be good.

Elder Stanford

Front and side views of the massive Amiens cathedral

Monday, February 1, 2016

Of dope amis and the Spirit

Bon. This week.

So we went to Versailles for exchanges on Thursday-Friday. I got to see my son, Elder Harris, there because he's in the Versailles ward as well. I also got to see the Paris temple under construction! The outer walls are up. It's beautiful. Here's what it will look like:

One of the missionaries in Versailles, Elder Martin, was in the US Navy before coming out on a mission, and he's going back when he's done. Needless to say, he is an advocate for working out hard in the mornings. He and his companion kept telling us about their ami, Phil, who meets them in the park to exercise in the mornings. So in the morning, we all got up at 6AM (all other missionaries get up at 6:30, but remember, US Navy) and ran to the park to go meet Phil. Turns out...Phil is just a gigantic log they had found prior. Like over 10ft tall, thicker than me, and wet. And we just worked out with his huge tree trunk in about a hundred different ways that I didn't even know were possible. Elder Martin was the only one able to pick the thing up with sheer man-strength and run around with it. So we returned home to Amiens with aching muscles and bruised shoulders to go with our slightly-wounded pride.

Have I told you guys about Howard? I don't think so. Howard is dope. He's from England. He's got a Ph.D. in philosophy, converted himself from agnosticism to Christianity by reading the Bible, and learned Greek and Hebrew in order to read it in the original languages in which it was written. And yet he still listens to us. How incredible is that??

Last week, we were set to teach him part three of the Plan of Salvation: what happens after death. But Elder Pumford felt really strongly that we needed to skip that and teach him the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith and repentance). I agreed with him because he's better at promptings than me. With Howard, we went through the etymology of the word "repentance," because he's into that, then talked about how repentance isn't what most people seem to think, but it's basically trying to align our will with Heavenly Father's by making any changes necessary to orient ourselves closer to the path that He's traced out for us. Seeking that change of heart. When we came back later in the week, he told us about the incredible experiences he'd had in prayer due to that discussion. He felt feelings that were almost difficult for him to describe. He said concerning them, "One drop of that is worth the whole world."

Our recent convert, Larry, brought a friend to church! Her name is Jetu and she's come three weeks in a row. She said she's sticking around because of what she felt during an amis' class: feelings that matched the description in Galatians 5:22. She met with her and Larry this week and it went well! Larry testified super hard. We're seeing them again this weekend.

That's all for this week! Things are looking up here in Amiens. People around us are doing good work too and just inspiring us to be better. So that's what we'll do.

Love you all! Be good! Latah now.

Elder Stanford