So, after last week's lecture, I figured y'all would want some stories. Nothing mission-changing, at least not yet, but some cool stuff happened nonetheless!
Number one: A story about porting and following the Spirit.
We had an hour before dinner appointment with the wonderful Vandermosten family that I love. So we decided to go knocking on some doors in their area. We picked a street, prayed to know if it was the right one, and pretty instantly got a feeling that it wasn't, that we needed to move on to another. So we walked and walked until we got tired of walking, and finally decided "since we're not getting any other feelings, let's just go knock as many doors as we can before our appointment." Started down the next street we came across. Knocked one door: nothing; another door: as old a lady as I've ever seen; another door: girl opens and calls her mom. Mom comes up, I say, "Hi, we're here to share a message about the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Just a side note: if you ever decide to go knock on people's doors to share the gospel in the near future, never, EVER say the word "message." It turns people right off. It may have worked in the past but it doesn't work nowadays...that is, except in this case. Without missing a beat, she said "Entrez."
That is when we met a lovely congolaise family: a father, his wife Lafoi, and his children: Âgé, Bénédicte, Christmas (no, not Noël, but Christmas) and Sapphire. How cool are those names?? The father is a Protestant pastor. Normally, pastors are pretty comfortable with their knowledge and don't want any more, but the great thing about this guy was that his belief in the Apostasy (a true belief) caused him to recognize that he may not know all there is to know. They listened attentively to the message of the Restoration of the gospel, actually understood it (!!!) and we returned later in the week to drop off copies of the Book of Mormon to them. (Like any missionary would, we had the copies with us the first time, but felt prompted to use it as a cliffhanger instead to get them to invite us back.) The next lesson, they committed to read 3 Nephi 11. We'll see them this next Thursday.
Number two: Another story about porting and following the Spirit. Also involving congolais homies.
So we went knocking on doors again a few days later. We prayed and picked a street. We knocked the doors and freaking nobody was home. (Where do all of these people go? You buy homes and don't even use them!) With one house, there was seemingly no way to get to the door to ring the doorbell. Don't ask how, it was just a weird house, okay? So we walked on by—de toute façon, apparently nobody in this neighbourhood enjoyed being at home with their families on a Saturday evening anyway. But then we felt to go back. We walked around the house and what did we see? Even better than popcorn popping: three congolais men chilling in the back yard, eating peanuts and talking about life.
We approached them, and they pulled out extra chairs so we could sit with them. Then one of them looked at us and started humming "Called To Serve." Hahahaha what?? He said he knew MoTab, and "One thing I like about Mormons is that they sing really well. That choir knows how to worship the Lord."
So we explained the Restoration and they actually understood it (!!!) and invited us back this next Saturday to drop off an additional Book of Mormon and a MoTab CD. (Enough missionaries have lived in this apartment that we have plenty of both of those.) One of them in particular is excited to know exactly what was lost that was brought back in the Restoration.
|Elder Schow is such a compulsive flosser |
that he fell asleep with it still in his mouth.
with the Liège elders to the train station in Brussels (we went for a training
from the zone leaders). |
Famous independence arch thing.
No explanation needed.
Aside from all that...and aside from an awesome lesson we gave in Sunday School that pumped everyone up to come teaching with us; delicious Mexican food and American football at our bishop's house; me playing chess against a 61-year-old Libertarian Belgian chess player that we ported into (and losing soundly but learning a lot); a ravaging sinus sickness thing that has infected most of the district and kept Elder Schow and me out of the game for a full day each; and a pipe leaking somewhere in our walls and letting water through our downstairs neighbours' ceiling...it was a pretty normal week.
Virginie is still doing really well. We taught her twice this week, and the Plan of Salvation especially interests her. She's progressing nicely, and even brings her children to church with her when she can come herself (every other week). We have a great Primary so her kids are learning, too. (: Rana and Merry are also doing well. No complaints. The rest are showing various degrees of flakiness, but hey...if this teaching relationship doesn't work out, we can always go find some more people. No worries with that.
As usual, I have written too much. Congratulations, dear reader, for making it to the end of this email. Bet you can't make it to the end of the Book of Mormon too!
Elder Jordan Stanford
Mission française de Paris