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

Monday, June 20, 2016


Hey everyone!

First of all, happy Fathers Day to my father! Thank you for everything you've done for me. I couldn't express it if I tried. You're the best, and I love you.

So most missionaries know that whenever you have a baptismal service, something has to go wrong. Nobody knows why; it's just a rule.

This Saturday we had the baptismal service of our friend Fred. I don't know if I've talked about Fred very much...he already had a baptismal date when I got into the sector. He's a homie. He actually reminds me a lot of my old roommate Osvaldo, just a Tahitian version. He was brought to church by a friend and was taught the gospel principally by Elder Rivas and the missionary I replaced, Elder Stolk.

So we got to the service and everything seemed fine: the font was filled, the water was warm, the food was prepared, the talks were ready...and then Fred went to change into his white baptismal clothes.
We expected him to have the pants. He expected us to have them.

With no options of going all the way home to get them, we looked through the closet in Versailles to find some replacement pants. Now Fred is not a small man, and all the clothes in that closet were just unrealistically small. No way he was going to fit into any of them, even for a two-minute ordinance. We didn't know what other options we had. I started thinking, it's not so bad to baptize someone who's not wearing full white, right?

When Elder Rivas held up a white dress for women's baptisms, commenting "This will have to do," I truly thought he was joking.

That's the type of guy he is. But he was totally straight-faced. Then Fred took the dress, equally straight-faced, and went into the bathroom to change. He wasn't going to let something as small as a dress stop him from the most important act of his life.

 Luckily, Tahitians can pull this type of thing off. He rocked it. 

                                   He gave a great testimony at his service (his first time talking from the pulpit), 
                                 drove our ami home for us, and went to go buy a suit for his confirmation the next day. 

So missionaries aren't allowed to gather in a central location for transfer days anymore, nor are they allowed to be in Paris for very long...which means that over a hundred missionaries now have train tickets to Paris that give them about an hour in the city before they leave to their next area. An hour to find their new companion, travel through the metro from one of seven Paris train stations to another, with two gigantic suitcases. Now the thing is, no missionary is allowed to be alone, and an elder can't be alone with a sister. And who was it up to to create the solution to this hellish algorithm? Us. Central Paris. This is what a portion of our plans looked like:

On a sadder note, Elder Rivas is being transferred to Rennes this Wednesday. I was hoping we could stay more than one transfer together. My new companion, Elder Walton, was in my last zone and I was able to do a couple of exchanges with him; he's a hard worker and I have no doubt we'll do great together, but anything is a change from Elder Rivas. I'll miss that guy.

Just like you, we've done the lesson on Scriptures, the last two weeks for some reason. The second time was by our recent RM quorum president, who made this point: if any of us traveled for three days and realized we needed to go back home because we didn't have the scriptures, would we do it? Like Nephi did. Then he showed the difference between the Nephites and the Mulekites, whose largest difference was the presence or absence of scriptures. He said "I hope today we can all study the scriptures a little more than yesterday and a little less than tomorrow."

Et cetera. 

Lots of other things happened, including two finding days, a reporter asking to shadow us for a day, an awesome YSA activity, and us setting a baptismal date with another ami, but that'll all have to wait until next week. Or maybe you'll just have to see it in my journal. If I ever decide to update it more frequently than I update you guys.

If you made it to the bottom of this overly-long email, congrats. Love you guys. Be good!

Elder Stanford 
Mission Française de Paris


  1. So very pleased with my son Jordan for all of his dedicated service to and hard work among the people of France and Belgium! I love you Jordan. Also want to give a big, overdue shout out to my amazing wife and Jordan's wonderful mother for the dozens of hours and TLC that she puts into updating and maintaining this blog!

  2. I truly enjoy his blog! I am originally from Dunkerque France, now I live in Strathmore AB just outside Calgary!