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

Monday, August 1, 2016

A baptism plus a hundred other things

Wow. This was a week.

Last Monday, we played laser tag with a bunch of missionaries and Tahitian members, including our recent convert, Fred.  We played 3 teams of 5. Fred got first (he's a gamer) and I took second. Our team ended with 28,000 points and the other two teams got 5,000 each haha.
Not to brag or anything...

Tuesday, we had an activity where the whole zone came into Paris! We did an Amazing Race activity with them, where everyone had to make their way to three areas around Paris and complete a list of objectives (contact a runner, take selfies with three cool statues, give out two BoMs, etc) before making it back to the church. We aren't allowed to go to the big touristy spots, so we had to get creative...
Anyway, the first five companionships to make it back having completed all the challenges got to choose a prize, ranging from ridiculously fat ties to an origami pig collection to a poem written by yours truly. We also had missionary challenges for them to complete in the three weeks leading up to the event, and whoever did the best got head starts...not gonna lie, it was pretty elaborate. But really crazy and fun! At the end, we used a budget that we petitioned from President Babin to have a senior missionary couple make sloppy joes for everyone. Good times. Here are some pictures of people completing challenges:
"Take a picture of some cool nature"

"Action shot at the old gladiator arena"

"Statue selfie"

So yeah, that was fun. 

One morning, as we were scraping out our freezer in preparation for a cleaning check, we noticed we had enough snow to make a small snowman. One thing led to another, and before you knew it, we had a small demon in there. Don't worry, we cast him out. 

This day also marked a big milestone for me: the first time I've ever successfully contacted a white, French businessman in a suit and tie. He was hurrying between two interviews but still took a couple of minutes to talk and give me his number. 

Of course, the biggest event was Désiré's baptism! This dude's a stud. In the three months between talking to the missionaries in the street and being baptized, he's never once frouged us, and come to church for about two months straight now. 

He's still pretty shy and doesn't like pictures; this was the biggest smile we could get outta him. 

It's also the first time anyone has asked me to baptize them! I was honoured and overwhelmed. We had to do it twice because the first time his hand didn't go all the way under...classic. Aside from that the service went super well! And all his Ivory Coast homies in the Church came out of the woodwork and made awesome Ivoirienne food for afterward. Désiré will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost this next week in Sacrament Meeting. 

District pictures (Elder Ho's "dying" pictures because he goes home this Wednesday):

Can you believe I'm that old?? Just finished my 13th of 16 transfers. (Or 17--who knows?)

All throughout the week, I was needlessly stressed over the possibility of being transferred (didn't happen) and also the stupid transfer day solutions I mentioned last transfer (still had to do those). For those of you who are just joining us, they put it on our companionship to find ways for each of the 62 missionaries passing through Paris to get through the metro system from any one of eight train stations to another...while always being with at least one other missionary of the same gender...meeting up with their comp somewhere, who also can never be alone...with two enormous suitcases with all their possessions in them...all in time to catch their departing trains in another station to head to some far-away French ville. But it's okay! It's all over for now. Now we just need to feed all 26 new missionaries coming in (!!!) and their trainers the next couple of days. One more transfer of this, then I'm headed to some tranquil countryside French ville to finish my mission in peace. 

District finding day in St Ouen

I'm sure you're all bored, but allow me to show you the way we ended the week after the baptism: picnic by the Eiffel Tower with our Philippino friends. Unfortunately I completely forgot to get a picture of the people or the food, but here's a picture I got on the way back home: 

Never gets old. 

Well, that was my week. Hope you all had great weeks too! Thanks for your love and support! I love you!

Elder Stanford
La Mission Française de Paris

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