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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Transfer 17: Not Évry-thing goes as planned

Well then. Everything I had projected for the very last part of my mission has been changed. Somebody Else's plans were quite different from my own. 

For the final two weeks of my mission, I will be transferred back to France! My new area is called Évry. It's in the suburbs of Paris. I leave earlier than early on Wednesday morning. What I know about Évry is that it's a nice big ward with three équipes, Président and Sœur Babin went there before being called as mission president, and there are lots of African people who live around there. We'll see how it goes. Of course, I do love Africans, and even Parisians to a certain extent, but I'll really miss the  Belgian people. 

To be honest, I'm not sure what the reason for my transfer is. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to help my companion or one of my roommates, or if they're supposed to help me somehow; or if there's an ami that needs to hear things a little differently; or if there's someone that the Lord knows I'll find before I leave; or if I need to convince a teenager in the Évry Ward to serve a mission; or if I'll find my future wife there... Somebody knows, but not me. 

(I promise not to search for a wife in the Évry Ward hahaha don't worry Mom.)

I do know, however, that the Lord Himself directs this work and that He knows way better than we do what is best for His children. During church, while we were teaching the gospel principles class for investigators, we started talking about commandments and especially the Word of Wisdom. We shared that just like earthly parents are the ones who make the rules and call the shots for the safety and happiness of their children, our Heavenly Father makes the commandments and calls the shots for the eternal benefit of His children—us. Why don't the children invent the rules and make the decisions? Well, they have a very limited vision and little experience, and they simply don't fully know what's best. Same thing. 

Elder Schow will be training a new missionary! He is the next district leader as well. I'm excited for him. In fact, all of the five companionships in our district will be training ._. so that'll be fun. Also, my zone leaders will be in Antony from now on, so I may get to do exchanges in my birthplace! That would be cool. Like a full circle type thing. 

Church was sad. This may be the ward that I'll miss the most. I told everyone from the pulpit that I'd come back this May to visit them (hint, Mom and Dad). The most touching experience was right after Sacrament Meeting, when a shy Primary-aged boy named William came up to me. I asked him, "Ça va?" and he shook his head. I said "Pourquoi?" And without saying anything, he just burst into tears and hugged me for a long time. I'm told he hasn't done that for anyone else. At the end of church, right before leaving, the same thing happened. But he was comforted to know that we'd see each other again in the Spring. 

District meeting! At the last district meeting of a missionary's last (full) transfer, it is customary for a "dying" missionary to be "killed" by his companion. 

What a cute district I have. 

Ami update: Virginie is still amazing. We were worried that she may not be reading the Book of Mormon on her own...this week we found out she's at 2 Nephi already. She reads other Church literature as well. No problem there. I'll be sad to leave her. Rana and Merry are solid too and came to church once again. Our other amis, who I don't think I've ever told you about—Marcel and Jean-Gilbert, Adelard and Lafoi, Rachel, Alfred, Jason, Elisabeth and Dems, Christophe, Suzette—are also doing pretty well. 

Other stuff happened (such as moving our favourite members to their new home, who happen to be mild hoarders, so we moved boxes and furniture from 8:30 AM until 7:00 PM) but we won't bore you with any details. 

I still have a mission left. In my homeland of Paris Sud. It's not over till it's over.  (So try not to make me too trunky with all your emails haha.)

Love you all! Onward and upward!

Gros bisous,

Elder Stanford
Mission française de Paris

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