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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Consecrate Thine Attitude

Monday, Feb 29, 2016
Hey all! Our P-day was eaten up by a service project, and also by me getting stuck in a tiny stairwell in an African home while people tried to get a desk unstuck that was, in hindsight, just slightly too big for the stairwell itself. I feel it justified to write emails to you tomorrow on the train to St. Omer and email them afterward. Talk to you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
So President Babin has instituted a thing called "Consecration Days."
En gros, this transfer, each ville has a day where the whole district comes and dedicates the entire day to finding people for those missionaries to teach.

We've only had one so far, in Calais. Let me tell you about this ville. Calais is one of those cities that goes around in missionary folklore as a "difficult" city. They say that it's just a bunch of old white people alongside a camp of desperate immigrants, and that nobody wants to listen. Missionaries will joke about their companions being banished to a place like Calais if they start being disobedient.

Elder Carson and I, knowing that 1) The cities around Calais (St. Omer and Dunkerque) have the exact same reputation as Calais, 2) That the missionaries in all three villes weren't happy to be there, and 3) That we'd all be together for this Consecration Day...we decided that it was up to us to show the missionaries a thing or two about good attitudes. So we came into the ville with the faith that God would use us to find people for Calais to teach if we had the right attitude and followed the Holy Ghost.

On the walk from the train station to the church building, where we'd meet the other missionaries, we were stopped in the street by a young French guy asking how he could find peace after the death of his friend. Talk about a question every missionary wants to hear! He agreed to meet with us later, and the missionaries in Calais are seeing him multiple times per week now. The missionaries were amazed that we already had someone for them to teach. But it was only the beginning.

In total, due to train times and a district meeting, we only had three hours to find people that evening in Calais. We decided to find a poor-looking apartment building and knock on all the doors, because poor = humble = ready to accept the gospel, right? Well, joke was on us, because behind each door was rude white person in a cloud of questionably-legal smoke. The night wore on and we started to think that maybe Calais really was just a "dead" ville that couldn't be resurrected for the moment.

The turning point came from Elder Carson, who decided that we needed to pray and ask God where He wanted us to go. We felt after the prayer that it would be useless to stay in that bâtiment. We went back toward centreville through nearly-empty streets, our enthusiasm having taking a couple of hits but some hope and determination still remaining. The Spirit pushed us to get on a bus, where Elder Carson talked to an awesome guy from Côte d'Ivoire. We got off at the same stop as him, got his phone number and even prayed with him right there. He afterward expressed how much it touched him. The missionaries will be meeting with him soon.

We had 45 minutes left, and we knew that there were more people out there. So we prayed again, and the Lord blessed us by putting us on the path of three more people who agreed to hear the message of the restored gospel: a woman with a kid, a kind Eritrean man, and a dope young student.

As always, the mission can be compared to life. Are you faced with a situation where it seems like you're destined for disappointment and failure? Do the odds overshadow your abilities? Do you feel that the powers that be have condemned you to a certain set of circumstances that squash your divine potential as a son or daughter of God? Elder Carson and I would recommend three things to you:

1) Have a positive attitude! "Those who say they can, and those who say they can't, are both usually right."
2) Seek and follow the Spirit! "The Holy Ghost...will show unto you all things what ye should do."
3) Have faith! Trust in the Lord. An all-powerful, transcendent Being knows you personally and loves you. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."

 Much love and prayer,

Elder Stanford

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