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

Monday, April 4, 2016

On General Conference and sharing the gospel

I hope you all watched General Conference! If not, you can repent by watching it before next time I email. I loved it, of course. The two main themes that I noticed were 1) Worthiness to have the Spirit/Priesthood power, and 2) Family relationships. Which, you may have noticed, are two subjects that are very interlinked. My favourite talks so far (I haven't seen the Sunday Afternoon session due to time zones) were President Nelson's, and especially Elder Arnold's, who talked about rescuing people. If you don't remember it, please watch/listen to/read it again! The message is so true and touched my heart. 

This next part doesn't make sense in the flow of the email, but I wanted to put it near the top so no one would miss it out of boredom:

If you don't feel like there is anyone is your surroundings you can currently invite to a gospel activity, please ask the missionaries in your ward what you can do for their investigators! I would suggest 5 things: 1) Going with the missionaries to teach their ami, 2) Offering your home for a family home evening with the ami and the missionaries, 3) Inviting the ami to attend church and offering to pick them up, 4) Staying with them for Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School to answer their questions, and 5) Inviting them to a lunch or activity without the missionaries there. 

Do this and it will make a huge difference in the progress of the investigator, but not only will feel your own testimony being strengthened as well. Your family will see the joy it brings, and all of a sudden they'll want to make gospel things more of a priority in their lives. This is a direct promise I can extend to you as a representative of Jesus Christ. 

Allllllllllrightythen. This week. We got frouged a bunch. We are currently in the process of finding a thousand people to teach (one of Elder Carson's strongest skills) and then weeding out the ones that aren't solid. It's a tedious job at times, but our pool of solid people is growing! And the other ones willingly drop off the face of the earth. And as many missionaries have experienced: as bad as rejection can seem, it's so much better than a disinterested person leading you on. Revelation 3:15-16 describes flakey amis: 

15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

I would possibly show that scripture to them, if they would ever show up for our appointments. Heh. 

The goal of finding all these solid amis by our own efforts is actually to help our members share the gospel. If they can come with us to teaching appointments and bear their testimony to someone who has never heard experiences like that, they will see the good that sharing the restored gospel can do in the life of someone who's never had it. They will want to do it again. This idea comes directly from our own President Babin, who shared it with Elder Kearon of the first quorum of the 70, who shared it with all the stake presidents of France. 

In other news, the rule that we are to wear full suits from October General Conference to April General Conference has just, in a most timely manner, been extended to: wear suits until it's literally too hot to wear them. No missionary rejoiced to hear that, except possibly the soeurs.  Any hopes of taking these suits home were dashed. We're starting from scratch in 2017. 

I have more things to say but no time. I think I've gotten a couple of good points across, though...don't you?

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the only way to receive lasting peace in this life and true joy in the next. This is His church, organized only because He loves us. 

And I love you. 

Elder Stanford

Elder Stanford and other missionaries
 singing Mission song at Paris Mission council,
April 1st 2016

PS (in answer to our questions)
This ville is my favourite so far in part because of the experiences I've had here, which are in part due to my companions. My first transfer here, with Elder Smith, remains a competitor for the best transfer of my mission. I love it because there is plenty to do, the branch knows who we are (mostly because it's a branch), and our Africans refer other Africans every now and again which is a lot of fun. They have a lot of faith. Working on getting the French to share the gospel too. It'll come. 

I feel fine from the treatment. I'm slightly more tired than usual, but that's it. My doctor told me that if ever these things start to gène my normal activities, then he could possibly find another medicine to counteract the effects, but that doesn't sound ideal. As my elegant last companion would say, "That sounds like a bandaid fix." 

As for probiotics, I promise to look into that. I know you've been exhorting me to so for a couple of weeks, but I'm scared of the prices in French pharmacies. I'll get right to it. 

Hope Conference boosted everyone's spirits, on both sides of the ocean. 

Love you!

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