Contact Info

You can mail a letter to Elder Wilson in the PARIS FRANCE mission at dearelder.com or through the postal service:

Elder B. Stanton Wilson
49 Rue Marengo
72000 Le Mans
France

The mission home address is:
France-Paris Mission
23, rue du Onze Novembre
78110 Le Vesinet
France

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Finding Week

Hello Family!!

Hey, this past week went well. Even despite the fruging that happened, buh c'est la vie quoi.

This Tuesday we had Exchanges. I was with Elder Connelly this time, again in Alençon. Elder Connelly and Elder Miller were put in charge of making pies for our District Thanksgiving Meeting, so we made 3 pies and went out contacting. 

Wednesday was a rather tough day, it was all finding. But there was one guy that we stopped and talked with named Mr. Hocher. He was super cool and told us that he has a huge respect for Americans because of what the American soldiers did during World War II. He wasn't interested at all in learning about the Gospel, but he was super nice. It's nice to talk to kind people every now and again.

Thursday was THANKSGIVING!! Our District did Thanksgiving together. Elder Jenness and I were put in charge of the Turkey, but turkey is expensive so we had chicken for our Thanksgiving. :) It turned out really well. It wasn't quite like home, but everything was super great. After that, we all played a game called Loups-Garous (pronounced loo gar roo, it means Werewolf) all together as a district. I'll have to teach you all how to play it. It is super fun!

Friday was another finding day. Towards the end of the day we met this guy named Abu who is from Soudain. He is a non practicing muslim and is open to learning about other religions. We shared the Book of Mormon with him and then prayed with him in the street and set up a time to see him the next day. He gave us his phone number and address.

Saturday we went over to Abu's house and he asked us a couple of questions, that lead into the Plan of Salvation. We taught him about where we come from and the next time we see him we'll discuss the creation and what our goal on earth is.

This week we started doing Christmas Contacting and Christmas porting!! Yay!! :) Christmas contacting is just regular contacting, but we relate things to the Birth of Christ. We really focus in on Christmas. Christmas Porting is even better!! We knock on peoples' doors and ask them if we can sing them a song of Christmas and pray with them, to invite the true spirit of Christmas during this period of Christmas.

Last night we sang to and prayed with one person, an old lady named Bridgette. We sang "Douce Nuit, Sainte Nuit" (Silent Night). And then after the prayer we offered to come back later to share a message about the birth of Christ, sadly she refused, but it was still really cool that we got to sing with her.

Sorry this letter is so short, I really tried hard to write a lot, but I guess that's what happens in all finding weeks. I always try looking for miracles to share with you, though.

I love you all!! :)

-Elder B Stanton Wilson

P.s. Ricky told me that he is going to Snow with me. I'm pretty excited. As for the shoes and waterproofing, I haven't yet. I don't know of a place in Le Mans, and when I was in La Rochelle, the closest place was 30 minutes by bus. I will use that money to buy some new shoes. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!! :) I'll buy those new shoes during soldes (January - February) because it'll be less expensive.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Visit in Versailles from Elder Cook and Elder Texiera

November 24, 2014

Hello Family!

I'm glad that everything is going well. This week went by pretty quickly.

Tuesday, we had exchanges, I went over to Alençon with District Leader Elder Miller, who by the way is from Boise area and went to Valley View High School. He is also related to a Holmstead Family. His name is Alexander Holmstead Miller, I wonder if he's related to Uncle Stephen?

Our exchange was pretty cool. It was really neat to go and work with him, when he testifies of the Plan of Salvation, you know that he knows that it is true and you can feel his deep devotion and love for Heavenly Father. We taught one of their amis, named Charles, who is from Nigeria. Charles is a bouncer at a local night club, even though he looks frightful at first sight, he is a huge teddy bear and wants friendship and love from others. The lesson was super cool, you could feel the love, and I even felt love for Charles, even though that was the only time I had met him.

Thursday, Elder Quentin L. Cook came with Elder Texiera. Seriously, that was the coolest conference I have ever been to. First off, there was a musical number done by some younger missionaries (one of which is an Elder Wilson!! A different one though). The three of them did super well, it was an instrumental version done with a Violin, a Pipe of some sort (sounded like a SUPER expensive recorder flute) accompanied by a piano.

Elder Texiera exhorted us to use Preach my Gospel EVERYDAY as missionaries and promised that if we use it, we will become better missionaries.

Elder Cook talked about many things, but the things that stuck out to me was when he talked about 4 of the deciding factors in assigning missionaries to missions. These factors are impressions that they recieve from the spirit. Some of these impressions are if they feel like a missionary needs to be under a certain mission president, or go to a certain culture to learn from it, or learn a certain language to use it later in their life. So I am here in France because of one or more of these impressions. The effect of a mission is eternal, not just one those that get taught by the missionary, but also on the missionary himself.

He also talked about the 4 relationships on the mission, Elder Cook referred to them as 'The 4 Loves'. The first one he talked about was love of the mission president and his wife. We, as missionaries, need to learn how to love our mission presidents. The next one was love of the people. When we learn how to love the people as a whole, that is when we start having success. The next one is love of your companion. We need to love our companions, if there is contention, that empêche (blocks? Sorry, I forgot how to say the word in english) the spirit and we won't be able to do the Lord's work in His way. The last love is love of the Lord. We must love the Lord and be willing to do things in His way and in His time.

The conference was probably the best conference I've been to. The spirit was super strong and I felt very edified by the time we left.

Also, before it began, Elder Cook wanted to shake hands with each missionary. So we all shook hands with Elder Texiera and Elder Cook. Elder Cook is definitely an Apostle of the Lord. You can feel it in the way he talks and in just being in his presence. It was fantastic.

Friday, we had a meeting with out DMP and his wife. They brought these puff ball things that were super delicious and a champagne-like peach flavored drink. The sister missionaries in Le Mans gave Elder Jenness and I brownies that were super delicious as well. Elder Jenness made Break-up Brownies on top of that, as well, which is a layer of cookies, that you put oreos on top of, then you put brownie batter on top of that and cook it all together. It was super delicious.

And that was the week.

As for Google Hangout, yes, that will be fine.

I love you all!! :) Have a great week!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Oh, here is a picture of "Steve Carell" eating a break-up brownie, and then a picture of us at a bus stop catching the last bus after Porting on Friday night.



Transfer to Le Mans

November 17, 2014

Hey Famille!!

So to start off, Transfers went well. I had about 5ish hours of trains on Wednesday, but 7 hours of trains total for transfers...ha. We took a train from La Rochelle to Nantes Tuesday night (2 hours 15 minutes ish), then Nantes to Paris Wednesday morning (2 hours and 15 minutes) then I took a TER (the slowest of all trains) to Le Mans, which took 2.5 hours.

Cool miracle that happened, when I got off the train at Le Mans, I accidently left my shoulder bag on the train. I realized about an hour later when I couldn't find it as we were heading out after eating. We went to the gare and asked the SNCF workers if they had found it, they helped us get to where we needed to go to ask the right people. They said they hadn't found it, but they called up the train depot and they had it! I then recieved my bag about 2 hours later. With everything in it, including my camera. I am so thankful for kind SNCF workers. :) I'm super blessed!

My new comp is "Steve Carell." He's from Indianna and his name is actually Elder Jenness, but he looks like Steve Carell. I'll send pictures next week. :) He's 22 and he is in his 5th transfer. And he CAN SING!!! You know what that means right? Singing in the morning, no more of me carrying the tune and my comp trying to follow along but can't because he can't sing. Our first comp study, I got super excited when we sang. Also, Steve Carell (Elder Jenness) is pretty legit. He's a hard worker and ready to go out to go and find! He has a great desire to do his best and is very fun to work with. Elder Jenness likes to cook and also likes to get up at 6 to workout. So we've been getting up at 6 to workout, it's been tiring but great. And we eat very well.

Le Mans is pretty cool. There is a tram here, so basically public transportation here is going to be really great! :) Le Mans is a very beautiful ville and our appartement is very well placed.

Speaking of Primary Programs, the ward here in Le Mans had one this week!! It was super great and I was smiling during the whole thing. The little kids were adorable! And a couple of them even did some funny things ;)

So this week, we have a conference in Versailles, Elder Cook will be coming!! He's coming the day before my birthday, I'm pretty excited!

So here is my new address, bien que je vous aie dit de ne pas m'envoyer des colis. ;)

Elder B. Stanton Wilson
49 Rue Marengo 
72000 Le Mans
France

Speaking of sending me things, could you send me the recipe for Rolled Cookie Dough (the pillsbury recipe) and Yum Yum Cake? :) Thanks :)

I love you all! Have a great week! :)

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Pizza Delivery

November 10, 2014

Hey Famille!

This past week was pretty good. A little long, but also super great. Counting our two mangez vous that we have today, that will make seven mangez vous in seven days.

On the subject of food, I've learned quite a bit about the human body during my mission. When I eat terribly, I feel terrible. When I eat well, I feel very well. When I eat way too much, no matter if it's healthy of not, I feel terrible. That's something that members in general don't understand about missionaries. They are just like normal humans. But members normally think that missionaries need to gorge themselves with food, so they give us giant portions expecting us to eat everything. But I have found that this can be rather handicapping at times....ha But despite that, I really am grateful for the members that really do take time to give us food to eat. It's great to get to know the members.

So, with this week being transfers, we kind of knew that I would leave, so we had a Rendez-vous with Mehdi one last time to find out why he stopped the lessons and also to say good bye and exchange info so we can stay in contact. Mehdi is seriously super cool!! It's sad to me that he stopped with the missionary lessons, but I am glad that he still wants to be our friends. He has super amazing standards and will go on to do great things.

The Fitt's did a little Tours trip to check the apartments there (that's where Elder Smith is at), and Tours is known for their giant Tours Religeuse. The Fitt's brought Elder Godfrey and I each our own Tours Religeuse, which still hasn't been eaten. We're hoping to finish them by tomorrow.

This week we taught a young, 20 year old guy, Richard, and his girlfriend. The way Richard was found was a complete miracle. A couple weeks ago, we were walking down a street at night and a pizza delivary guy asked us to use our phone because he forgot his. So we let him use it. After he gave the pizza to the person, he then gave us his number and told us that he had talked with the Elders in Togo, and that he'd like to talk with us sometime. When we had the rendez-vous, he brought his girlfriend with him. We taught them about the Restoration and they seemed like they really were touched. We set up a return rendez-vous with him.

So, here is the news, after six months, I'm leaving La Rochelle. I'll be going to Le Mans, which is just east of Angers. It's in the Tours Zone!! So Elder Smith will be my Zone Leader, how cool is that?

Today, the Fitt's fed us, they did a "birthday dinner" for me before I leave, even though I won't be here for my birthday. They also gave me an Apron for when I cook!! :) Sister Fitt has a super great memory. I've really appreciated getting to know them. They've basically become like another mother and father to me, out here in the mission field.

So, I have a question, I know there are many Wilson's, but are we, by chance, related to an Edward Donald Wilson who is married to a Lynn Ann? They are a new couple in the mission, I haven't met them yet, but I was just curious.

I love you all!! :)


-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Baptism

November 3, 2014

Hello Family!!

This week was a tough week, not gonna lie. But it was also such a rewarding week.

So, Wednesday, we had district meeting. One of the Sister Training Leaders gave a formation on using analogies and object lessons in our teachings. It was a pretty good teaching...even if we are encouraged not to use analogies nor object lessons because that can complicate teachings and sometimes, teach false doctrine. But it was a pretty fun formation nevertheless.

Thursday and Friday were all finding days. It was pretty tough. These past weeks have been rather finding weeks, which can be uplifting...but it rather tends to get a little discouraging. Sometimes. Friday night, both of us were feeling pretty down. We still had some time and had NO idea what to do. Then we prayed and felt like we should go pass by a non active member. I had to pee, so on the way, we found a place where I could do so. Then we went onward. As we were going to this member's house, we contacted a lady that was super believing and super into hearing more. She told us many times "It's so good what you're doing. Continue well. Don't get discouraged." That was exactly what I needed at that time to help me keep going. We talked with her for about 35 minutes and shared the Restoration with her and gave her a Book of Mormon and prayed with her in the Street. She actually lives over in a place called Cognac, which is more than an hour away from La Rochelle, and it is in Bordeaux Stake, which isn't in our mission. I hope that the missionaries in the Angoulême branch can make their way out there.

Thursday night, we went out to the Bishop's house with the Fitt Couple. We were going to go with Mehdi, but he decided that he doesn't want to get baptized, and so he declined the offer. But the Bishop still wanted us to come despite that. It was really neat to be their and talk with him and his family. For our spiritual thought, we focused on the children. We talked about Joseph Smith's story and had the kids explain what happened. It was pretty cool to hear the story in the words of children. Right before leaving, we discussed with the Bishop about his personal missionary work. We invited him to invite some of his friends to join them for a family home evening.

Saturday, was a finding day as well. But it seemed a little better than Friday. And then Saturday night, we ended up walking about an hour to go to someone's house to visit him. His name is Gendry and he is very, very much so evangelical. Which is great, but it makes teaching really tough. You need to know the bible super well to teach avid evangelists. He ended up asking us questions on some things, like authority, laying on of hands and stuff. He doesn't believe that you need the laying on of hands to recieve the Holy Ghost. Which is sort of true. You don't need the laying of hands to FEEL the Holy Ghost. But to receive the GIFT of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to have the Holy Ghost with us at all times as long as we are worthy of it, it must be given by the laying on of hands. Sadly, we didn't know scriptures to help him understand that, but now, we know some scriptures for future reference. Hebrews 6:1-2, Actes 8:14-17. It was a pretty cool rdv even with that. It was just awesome to be around people that really love the word of God.

Sunday, the day that made the whole week SO much better!! :) Kicked it off with a super missionary minute. Every Sunday we have a Minute Missionnaire (missionary minute) in Priesthood Meeting that we use to try to get members excited about missionary work. Normally, missionaries just share miracles that happened during the week, which is good, but I've learned during my mission that there is a block between missionaries and french members. First, we're missionaries, we're supposed to see miracles every week. It's expected. Second, normally we're American. So what we say automatically doesn't apply to them because they are French (just a little bit of the French mentality in general.) But I have learned that when we ask the members to share their experiences and encourage them to pray to have missionary experiences, they listen, they get excited, they apply it to themselves. This Sunday, three leaders shared their missionary experiences. The spirit was strong and the members seemed like they were actually listening to them. It was cool.

Then, after church was the Swanepoel's baptism. The spirit was so strong. Honestly, I got the same feelings that I used to get performing. But it felt better. It was super strong. Everything went well with their baptisms and confirmations. We then had a ward dinner after and ate and conversed. It was so awesome. That experience is probably the best experience I've had on my mission. Being able to be one of their missionaries. They were definitely prepared for this time. Bokke and Georget were both smiling from ear to ear after their baptisms and confirmations. We'll be starting with the New Member lessons for them this week. I'm so excited. :)

And that was the week. Hey, you finally got the package back!!! Haha. Elder Paitrault tried sending it to Cergy, but they never gave me a notice that I had a package...ha. The Post has some problems in France... I guess I'll benefit from that after my mission alors.

I hope Kaysen stops growing. ;) I gotta stay the biggest. :) He can have the biggest feet, but I need to be the tallest. How much does he weigh?

I love you all. Have a great week. :)


-Elder B. Stanton Wilson



Catholic Mass

October 28, 2014

Hey Family!!
 
I got your email. We had to change our P-day this week because of baptismal interviews with the Swanepoels.
 
So, this past week has been pretty long. But, it was still great nonetheless. It kicked off really well on Tuesday with Exchanges down in La Rochelle. I was with Elder Nielsen this time, Elder Godfrey was with Elder Tarbet. Elder Nielsen and I headed over to the church to meet someone for a rendez-vous, but we were frudg'd. He didn't show up, so we started walking back to the appartement to have dinner. As we were making our way back, an older gentleman pulled over and motioned for us to come over. So we came over and he unrolled his window...then was just silent. So I asked "Est-ce que vous cherchez quelques choses?" He replied "Vous êtes des Mormons, n'est-ce pas?" We replied in the affirmative, (which I normally don't reply that way. Usually I say that we are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that people nicknamed us the Mormons.) He then said "I was in contact with the Mormons 30-40 years ago. Here's my card. I live over in that building over there. Can you come over at 15h00 tomorrow?" So we looked at our schedule and we "squeezed" him in. (haha, kinda like in the Best Two Years.)
 
We went out porting that night and prayed with two different people. It was pretty cool and miraculous. We even gave a Book of Mormon to one of them. Sadly, they weren't interested to learn more though.
 
So then Wednesday, Elder Godfrey and I headed over to that guy's appartement. His name is Christian and he was baptized in Marseilles. He was ordained to a priest. He then went away from the church because of little things that bothered him (calling each other brother and sister and small stuff like that) and because of his work. He was in the French Navy basically since the age of the Dinosaures. He's moved around quite a bit. He saw us walking and decided that he'd try to come a sunday or two. He was a very nice guy and I hope that he comes...he lives a five minutes walk from the church. (Or, because I have read it recently, And it was a five minute walk for a Nephite.)
 
Wednesday night, we received permission from Président Babin to go to a Catholic Masse for a student ward in La Rochelle that we were invited to. The service itself was really confusing and didn't make too much sense to me. The "Father" (the priest) read some parable and "expounded" on it...but didn't really actually expound on it...and then there was one part when a bunch of the students just fell on their knees at the same time...Elder Godfrey and I had NO idea what to do. Ha. It was very interesting. I don't think I'll convert over to Cathotholism. I'll stay in The Church of Jesus Christ. Afterwards, there was a dinner for everyone, and many students insisted we go, so we did. It was really cool to speak with people our age. Real, believing young adults. It was a really neat experience.
 
And then the rest of the week we went our searching for people who'll listen to us. We saw this guy on a bench playing guitar, so we went and listened to him. After he finished his song, he asked us who we are and what we're doing and stuff. We ended up teaching him the Restoration right there. He then let me play a couple songs with his guitar, it was pretty cool. We set up a return rendez-vous with him for this Thursday.
 
Yesterday was quite the stressful day. The Swanepoel's let us know that Bokke would be playing Rugby the sunday after their baptism, which means they wouldn't be able to come to get confirmed (we do all our baptisms in La Rochelle on sundays, so that all the ward members can be there). So we called up the bishop to explain the situation, he then told us that if we got permission from the mission president, we could do it all the same day. So after a 15 minute call with the mission president, we called the bishop letting him know that we received permission to do so. Then we called the Swanepoel's back and let them know that, they then asked if we could do the interview Wednesday instead...so we asked if it was at all possible for them to do it today, and they pushed back the interviews about an hour. It was pretty stressful, but everything with that went really well. :)
 
On another great note, I am now officially legal for my second year in France. I'm legal until the 13 of September in 2015.
 
About Halloween. The French don't really celebrate it. Last Halloween I think I saw 5 kids dressed up. If that. Halloween isn't big at all. Especially those that are part of the Jehovah's Witness. But that religion doesn't celebrate like any holidays. Some French find it rather atrocious, others think it's super weird, others would love to celebrate it, but don't want to alone, and then others don't care and celebrate it themselves.
 
Sorry this week is so short. We don't have too much time. :P
 
I love you all and hope everything is going well! I'm glad that you're having fun showing everyone my "frost-bitten" feet. Here's a quote for you, if you get it "His feet have the black!!" :)
 
-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Zone Conference in Angers

October 20, 2014

Hey Everyone!!

First off, so I don't forget, I hope Dad's birthday went well a couple weeks ago. And also KAYSEN!!! (pretend like I'm singing at the top of my lungs and being a super, awkward creeper.) "15 Years ago you were born, yeah that's right it's your special day (on sunday). So have a happy birthday!!! Happy birthday!!"

Bon, buh this week went pretty well. We taught Mehdi (the ami) about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week. He is such a smart guy. He understands everything perfectly. He's been such an example to me. Any time he has some kind of issue that comes up, he prays about it. And then he feels at peace. And then later he talks to us about it. And it's pretty cool. He resolves his own concerns. Most of his concerns tend to be more moral things, as in "a group of people that I was with started drinking and they started to get rather agressive, so I left. But they aggressed someone in the group that was drinking. Should I have stayed and helped out the person out? Or did I act well in leaving?" And he's noticing that he's changing as he's getting closer to Christ and Heavenly Father. He says that they've been really good changes. After our very first rendez-vous, he stopped drinking and smoking completely. He said he didn't smoke or drink very often as is, but he decided that doing those things didn't help him at all, so he decided to stop them completely.

Thursday we had Zone Conference in Angers. I love going to Angers it is probably the Utah of France, on a cleanliness level. Seriously, you could eat off the streets in Angers. All the formations (France-Paris Missionary lingo for presentations) were really good. The Zone Leaders' formation was about having a "Friendly Exchange" meaning making the most out of exchanges. And in the end the goal is to make every day a "Friendly Exchange".

The Babin's did a scripture chase with us to emphasize the importance of knowing scriptures. Reminded me of a game we used to play in Seminary. It was very fun and very instructive. :) Then the interviews went really well. The interviews were basically just nice, loving conversations. It didn't feel like an interview at all. :)

The Fitt couple rented a car to drive down in (because their car is, as they say, sick and needs to go to the doctor.) and they took us down, but we got to take a train back, because they needed to do appartement checks and so they were staying overnight in Angers. Our train left from Angers at 17h00. We had a correspondance in Tours, then took a train from Tours to Poitiers (which isn't in the Paris Mission...but it's okay. Missionnaires don't directly order tickets, we command them through an office couple, then they order the tickets for us. So I've been outside the mission boundaries twice now...once when I came to La Rochelle, and then this last trip.) Poitiers looks like a super cool ville. Elder Godfrey and I took pictures so we'll always remember our trip. Ha.

Sunday, I played the piano for sacrement meeting. We sang Because I Have Been Given Much, C'est Sur La Croix (don't remember what that one is in English), A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and Love One Another. It's been a great experience to play the piano for the ward. And my piano skills are improving. It's been pretty cool.

That was the week this past week. I'm glad you had a great laugh about my foot "disease." ;) I'll see if I can get some water proofing stuff. We're gonna go look for new shoes for Elder Godfrey today (he really, REALLY needs new shoes...) and the place we're going to will have some stuff I could possibly get.

Well I love you all!!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Missing Letters

Here are a few weeks that hadn't been posted yet:

September 29, 2014

Hello Family,

So, this past week passed really well.

Monday, during our P day, we headed over to a store called Lidl to go and buy some juice...now, Lidl is like one of the cheapest stores ever...it's kind of like Ross, but for produce/food. BUT Lidl has THEE best juices ever. So on our way, our ami José saw us and stopped in his car to talk to us. Turns out he needed some help getting a website for his work online, so he asked us if we could help him. We said we could try, he ended up being able to get it up himself later though. But it was really cool to be in the right place at the right time.

Then later Monday night, we went to the Razamadraibe's house so that I'd be able to say goodbye to them, since it was a high possibility of me leaving. It was really fun. By the way, the game Cranium is very, very difficult in French. :)

Tuesday we had our last District meeting of the transfer. It was pretty good. It was mostly just a discussion on the Spirit and promptings from the spirit. We ate our lunch together afterwards, and then took some district photos. I forgot to bring my camera to emails today...so no photos for you. :/ Désolé.

Wednesday we met with the Swanepoel's at the Church in La Rochelle and taught them with Frère Forbes, who is a Rugby player for La Rochelle's team. Even though the Swanepoel's boys were screaming the whole time, Frère Forbes bore a powerful testimony on the truthfulness of the church and of Joseph Smith. It was really great. The Swanepoel's both talked about how they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. They are definitely getting more and more ready for their baptisms.

Thursday morning, I had a rendez-vous for my second year legality in France. The RDV went really well...except, remember a year ago...the whole Afgahn thing? That came up again. Apparently I've been an Afgahn the whole past year. Bahaha!! The lady that was going through my papers and stuff was very kind and was able to change my nationality from Afgahn to American. So, I think I'll stay American for the rest of my life. :)

That evening we had a rdv with our ami Mehdi. We shared with him the First Vision and bore testimony on it. He said that what we told him really spoke to him. He also said that we are both smart and know our stuff, then he added, "It's not an intelligence from the brain, it's like...an intelligence from the heart. Like you've really reflected on this and pondered it, and that you know without a doubt it is true." That really was a cool compliment to receive. If our testimonies come off strong like that, it's not only because of us and our experiences we've lived, it's because of the spirit. The spirit was so strong during the lesson. Mehdi accepted the soft invite to baptism. He invited an invitation to come to church as well. He also had brought his guitar, because he wanted to hear me sing, and then he asked  for some help on a song that he's working on. It's in english, so he asked us if he is pronouncing everything correctly. He's pretty good. He held his engagement to come on sunday. :)

Friday, we met the less active Mehdi. We were originally going to meet at his house, but 10 minutes before the RDV he asked if we could just meet at the Chapelle, which was a GENIOUS idea! It was the first time he had walked into a church in the last 5 years. That was a really big step for him. We talked with him in the Sacrement room where he expressed his feelings that he had being there. He even came to church this sunday for the first time in 5 years!! The ward was SO great at welcoming him in. :)

Saturday we went to Niort to teach Christian, then to do a Samedi Sport with Josué, one of the Razamadraibe sons. During our lesson with Christian, he called us telling us that he had a music event and we'd need to push back basketball a bit, he then invited us to come and told me to come and play a couple songs. We came and I was able to play a couple songs. (I guess this was a rather musical week...haha) Then basketball ended up falling through. Josué's friends weren't able to come and play.

Transfers, we received a rather surprising call Saturday Morning from Président Babin, guess who is going to Tours as a Zone Leader? Elder Smith and I weren't expecting that, but he'll do a great job. So, it appears that I'll be staying at least 6 months in La Rochelle. We totally thought I would be leaving, but the Lord has higher ways and still has more for me to do and learn here in La Rochelle. I'll be welcoming in Elder Godfrey, who was at the MTC with me. He's pretty chill, so I'm excited. He is a beast of an Athlete. Or at least, he was in the MTC, let's hope a year on the mission hasn't changed that. ;)

With Elder Smith parting to Tours, I've accepted a new calling as the Ward Pianist. It's not really a calling, because we're not set apart for it, but I'll be taking over for Elder Smith. We trained each other. For two transfers, he was training me to become the Pianist of the La Rochelle ward and I was training him to become Zone Leader. (that's just the joke he and I have been cracking ever since we received that call.)

I'm pretty excited for this new transfer, the news was rather surprising, but it's gonna be great. It'll be sad to say goodbye to Elder Smith, he and I have become pretty good friends over these past 12 weeks.

Don't worry for you, I'll look for you at GC. Look for Elder Tripp during the Priesthood Session!!! He's going to be in the MTC Choir!!

Also, we just recently were given a Crock Pot, so could you send me some awesome crock pot recipes that you've already tried? I'd love to use it more. Elder Smith and I make Café Rio Pork last week and it turned out SUPER! We used a recipe that I got from an Elder in the mission. (I didn't want to try the one you sent me because the Salsa in France is gross. Tastes more like a very sweet, chili-powder jelly...ha) Also, could you send me the recipe for Rolled Sugar Cookie Dough? The pillsbury recipe. :) Thanks!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Stay Fly!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson


September 15, 2014

Hello Family!

It's good to hear that most all is going well. It's too bad to hear that momma was/is sick. Reposes-toi bien maman!

Last P day we went Bowling with the Fitt's. Guess who got over 100? :) I know that's not too high, but hey, for not bowling for QUITE some time, I'd say that bowling a 104 isn't too bad. I'll send you some pictures.

Buh, this week was a different week. The Fitt's went on a Tour de France all week, so it was rather odd being in La Rochelle with out a couple missionary. By the way, when I say Tour de France, I mean appartement checks in Bretagne. They seriously went through all of Bretagne in like 5 days. Bless their souls, that's TONS of driving. They were a little wiped out from their trip.

Meanwhile, In La Rochelle, Elder Smith and I had double exchanges (meaning that both équipes work in the same secteur) Tuesday/Wednesday with the District leader and his Comp in La Rochelle. I was with the DL, Elder Nielsen, from Tremonton. The exchange went well. It's very interesting how much the plans that are made, that may seem inspired at the moment they are planned, can change so fast.

After Dinner, we were going to go somewhere to do some porting, but as we started approaching the area on the bus, I felt like we should pass by Geni (the ami that got super offended when I was with Elder Rigby). So we did. He happened to be there, invited us in to talk and to eat dinner with him and his wife. He did mention that he was still offended at "Collin" (he likes to know our first names, then he likes to call us by them. Lucky for me, he can't remember mine to save his life!!) about not being able to come in our appartement, which being interpreted means, he is still offended at the missionary rules and doesn't understand them. He was very nice though!! We shared a scripture with him, something along the lines of "come unto Christ" (the one in Moroni 10 near the end of the chapter) and invited him to church. He said he might come, it depends on his sick mother. He did not attend church this week.

Even though Geni is still offended, he did seem happy to see us. I do feel like that impression to visit him was from the Spirit. It is SO important that we follow the spirit every time he prompts us.

Wednesday, we finished the exchange and sent the Elders back off to Nantes.

Thursday we went and printed off a picture of the Paris Temple (what it is supposed to look like) to go give it to a Less Active member, who, a few weeks ago, we had promised to bring her a picture of it after she talked about her experience when she was 15 in doing baptisms for the dead at the Geneva temple. When we gave it to her, her face lit up. It was pretty cool. I hope she will soon get the desire to come back to church.

Friday we finally were able to see the Swanepoel's!!! Yay!!!!!! We got to take a train to Niort, then a bus to Fontenay, then waited a bit for Bokke to come pick us up. They fed us lunch, which was a SUPER delicious spaghetti, and a millefeuille for desert. We then shared with them Moroni 7:13 and invited them to continue to pray about the Book of Mormon. Bokke says he hasn't really received an answer yet, and that he feels like it's more of a story than some kind of biblical record, but he agreed to continue to pray about it. Georget though, she said she has recieved her answer. Before they received the BoM in their native language (Afrikaans) they had it in English. They sat down together to read it after we talked about it, they struggled for 15 minutes trying to read one page. And didn't understand any of it (now, they speak english very well, but when it comes to reading Old English, it's a little harder). Georget prayed for something for God to give her a reason to keep reading the Book of Mormon. The next RDV, we gave them Books of Mormon (or is it Book of Mormons? *insert winky face here*) in Afrikaans. Georget said that that was her answer.

Interesting information on that, we could have given them the Books of Mormon in Afrikaans before they had their experience, but when the Fitt's asked us if we should give them to the Swanepoel's, we both said, hmmm, maybe, we'll see. Then at the last minute we decided not to, for some odd reason.

We also re-fixed baptismal dates. November 2nd! We've almost finished all of the lessons with them. It's been super great to teach them!!

Friday night, Sister Rigby invited us over to eat with her and her husband Allen, who isn't a member. Allen is SUCH a hoot!! He switches accents a lot and it is hilarious. At one point, Sister Rigby was talking about all the apostles that Allen has heard in person, and she mentioned Spencer W. Kimball. Allen then said in his American accent, "I had heard he was quite the Kimball Wizard." Elder Smith and I laughed pretty hard. :) Our spiritual thought we shared was Moses 1:39.

Saturday we took a train to Niort to visit Christian. We finished the Restoration with him. His youngest son was there, so we were able to teach him with Christian. It was pretty cool.

We were supposed to have another rdv with a potential ami, but he apparently was working. So since we had time, we passed by a member that lives not far from the Gare and talked with them for a couple minutes before catching our train.

Well, that was the week! I hope you enjoy the pictures. I also included a picture that we took while we were in Niort.

Have a great week!

Cheers!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Comparison of Enseigner and le Seigneur

October 13, 2014

Hello family!!

It seems like all went well this past week.

For us here in La Rochelle, the week zoomed by!! Elder Godfrey and I were talking yesterday about how crazy it was. It was probably the fastest week in our missions.

Tuesday, we were supposed to do exchanges in La Rochelle after district meeting. Our district leader requested all the train tickets for us without first looking, so the total trajet time would have been about 4-5 hours for a trip that should only be 2 hours...so we stayed in Nantes for the exchange instead.

It's very interesting doing an exchange without a new pair of undies, a toothbrush, D.O. for the B.O., and a new pair of socks. We ended up buying new toothbrushes to use for the exchange. I was with Elder Tarbet, who is Elder Nielson's bleu. He was pretty cool and even though he had only been in Nantes for a week, we managed not to get lossed! That is a win! We ended up meeting someone in the street named Daniel and taught him about the Book of Mormon and prayed with him. It was pretty cool. And it was pretty cool to be with a new missionary to learn from him. Something I noticed about him was his humble willingness. He was so willing to go out and talk with people, even though proselyting by contacting and porting isn't the most efficient way to work, and he kept a great attitude despite the rejections.

Thursday was a pretty good day. Very interesting. So the Fitt's car broke down...and normally they would have taken us to the Swanepoel's...but they couldn't, so we ended up getting to buy last minute train tickets. We taught the Swanepoel's and that went very well. Elder Godfrey and I are super stoked for their baptism coming up. We taught them the last thing on the teaching record, fasting and honoring the law. After we talked about how there is opposition in all things and that opposition arises as we get closer to making covenants with God. We talked about that because they had been confronted by some anti-Mormon things online and were really concerned. We resolved their concerns then talked about opposition. Georgette said "the tallest trees catch the most wind." So true. I'm very thankful for the opportunity I've had to be in their lives and help them towards baptism and towards the temple.

Later we taught Mehdi about the Plan of Salvation. We just went through the Pre-earth life until the fall of Adam and Eve. Mehdi is a STUD! Seriously, one of the most intelligent people I've been privileged to meet and teach. He is progressing very well towards baptism. His sincerity to learn has really touched me. Also, he used to not really believe in Christ as the Savior of the world, but since we've been teaching him, he has grown a testimony of Christ. The Holy Ghost really does teach us truths.

That makes me think of back to Seminary, when I was going to early morning seminary with my friends back during sophomore year. Brother Baker always used many different names for Christ and for the Holy Ghost, one of which is Teacher. I find it really interesting in French, the word to teach is 'enseigner'. The Lord in French is le Seigneur. Very close to enseigneur. Cool right?

Back to Thursday. After our lesson with Mehdi we passed by Mbuta. Remember him? Elder Smith and I invited him to baptism and his first question was "Will I be naked?" Well, this rdv was very interesting as well. He let us in, plopped down on his coach, layed down, put his hands behind his head and confessed "J'ai fait la fête hier." as he groaned. (I partied last night.) We talked about Faith and repentance with him, and he was not really focused during the lesson because of his hangover. At the end, we asked him to pray, he started to pray, and then went to TOWN! He prayed for like 10 minutes. After the prayer, he jumped right up and was like "dang, that felt SO good!! I feel so much better now! When are you coming back, you coming back tomorrow night?" It was super interesting...ha.

And that was the week. It's interesting that it passed by so fast, because it was rather more of a finding week. Normally finding weeks seem to drag on, but this one just slipped by.

I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well. I love you all!! Have a great week!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

P.s. Dad, could you please send me my line of authority? Thanks :)

Also, this year, while it's on my mind and since it's coming up soon-ish, for my birthday and Christmas, I don't really want any packages. I just want letters and money. It's fun to receive food and stuff, but I would prefer letters. :) The money is to replace shoes and such that have been ruined because of all the rain. See picture below. :)



An Instrument in His Hands

October 6, 2014

Salut la Famille!!

So, this past week was pretty cool.

Tuesday, we went and saw the Swanepoel's for Elder Smith to be able to get a picture and say good bye before he parted for Tours. They fed us a DELICIOUS lunch!! Seriously, it was so good. And I guess now I like butternut squash. Georgette made some...and it was SUPER great! We reviewed the Plan du Salut with them. They remembered it pretty well.

Wednesday, the Fitt couple picked us up around 7 and we went and dropped Elder Smith off at the gare. I then hung out with the Fitt's all day until my comp showed up. Sister Fitt made Pancakes for breakfast, she made around 15-20 pancakes. She at two, Elder Fitt at three...and they had me eat all the rest. We then went to the Church to help a lady clean the church. We got it done in an hour and 15 minutes, verses the 3 hours it would have taken her if she tried by herself. The Fitt's and I then went to a place called Celle-Sur-Bel which is east of Niort, to visit an ami. We taught him the first part of the Plan of Salvation, it went very well.

Elder Godfrey got in to La Rochelle around 15h30. We then took his stuff to the apartment and dropped it off, then went out contacting. Elder Godfrey had some incredible energy coming into La Rochelle. We contacted this old lady named Christian and shared some of the Restoration with her, then prayed with her. She didn't really want to learn more, though. But she did keep saying, "there's something different about you two. You're not like the rest of the youth. Your face just glows." It was a cool tender mercy to have met her. I hope we will have the opportunity to cross paths again.

Thursday, we taught our ami Mehdi. We talked about the Book of Mormon and invited him to read, he accepted. We gave him a baptismal date and he accepted as well. I really am so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to teach Mehdi. He is very sincere in his demarche to learn about the restored gospel. He came to General Conference this Sunday, many of his concerns were resolved in listening to the apostles and Prophet, as well as talking to the members of the ward. Mehdi definitely has been prepared.

We also taught the Less Active Mehdi. We talked about how he felt when he was at church. And we shared Helaman 5:12. It was a pretty great discussion. Mehdi is definitely coming back to church, every sunday he can.

Sunday was pretty great. So, for the schedule on General Conference, Saturday evening at 6 PM we watch the Saturday Morning Session live. Then Sunday Morning at 11, we watch the Priesthood session. 14h00 we watch Saturday Afternoon, then at 18h00 we watch the Sunday Morning session live. Then we are to fend for ourselves to watch the Sunday evening session.

Generale Conference was really cool this year. I saw Sister Potter, Sister and Brother Jensen, Tori Fawson, Breanna Eyre, Brother Dangerfield, my freshman photography teacher (Sister Autry), my calculus teacher (Brother Mouritsen), Sister Christensen (Anna's mom), Brother Bradfield, an old Swim coach (Kevin), Bishop, and you two!! Wow. And I have forgotten some others as well...but that was so cool to see you all on the télé!

I feel like General Conference just gets better and better each time. This time I really felt like the emphasis was on personal spirituality/testimony. It was a super great conference and afterwards, Elder Godfrey and I felt the spiritual power that came from it. As we worked for the last hour of the day, we were blessed.

We saw a guy in the street and contacted him. We were both overcome by the Spirit and were compelled to testify. The Spirit really took over, and we were as an instrument in His hands. We testified how He would have had us. Our contact wasn't too interested though. We both felt super great after that contact nonetheless. Because we had done our best. It was a really spiritual contact. Every contact should be like that.

We then started porting. We decided to just knock on the doors with lights on inside, since it was 20h00. We ended up frapping the port of a 19 year old Catholic, studying in La Rochelle. He let us in to show him how we pray and then to show us how he prays. We explained to him how we pray and then prayed. After he thanked us and said that was really cool. He then explained how catholics pray and then proceeded to recite 'Our Father in Heaven' and then did Mary's prayer (which is sung). It was really interesting. I am grateful for our knowledge of continued revelation though. I'm very glad I can express myself when I pray.

Well, I love you all! Thank you for the recipes!! :)


-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Toilettes Episode 2

September 22, 2014

Hello Family!

This past week was a miracle week!! It was very difficult, but so worth everything.

The tone was first set last monday en faisant du Coeur-à-coeur (President Babin said that calling it Port-à-port is pessimistic, we should call it coeur-à-coeur which means heart to heart.) le soir. We "coeur'd" our way around this small town JUST outside of La Rochelle called Périgny. We ended up "coeur-ing" into this guy named José. He is from the Martinique and he is NORMAL!!! (inside joke with the Elders from Nantes. To explain, they have an ami named José...who has quite some problems/addictions that the Elders are helping with...and he kind of calls them 4+ times a day and asks rather bizarre questions. He's an interesting fellow.) So anyways, our José from the Martinique was rather skeptical of us and what we were doing, but agreed to pray with us. After the prayer, we asked him if we could share with him our message unique about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, so he agreed and allowed us to come back the next afternoon. We passed by and he opened right up and let us in. We shared with him the Rétablissement until after the First Vision and invited him to pray about the First Vision. We also invited him to baptism. He told us that he isn't ready to be baptized and he assured him that we will help him prepare to be ready, we also assured him that he won't be baptized this week or next, but that over time, as he comes to know this is true, he'll be prepared to be baptized. He accepted the "soft invite." We are definitely blessed to have been led to José.

Tuesday, before we went to José's we passed by Waka (remember her?) because we hadn't seen her for quite some time. Well, I'll just say that Waka is so open that she's closed...the lesson didn't go super well. She asked us first if there is a modernized version of the Book of Mormon, and we just kind of gave her a blank stare, not really understanding what she was asking. Then she brought out her bible, which happens to be a modernized version of the bible. She said it's easier for her to read. Cool thing, Waka believes that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but then she also stated that she wants to know if there are more books like that from other people and then she started talking about how every religion is good and is of God...we shared with her Ephesians 4:5 (in her modernized Bible) and asked her what her thoughts were. She answered that she didn't know. She then said that maybe it means that we need to become as one through our faith with God, then she added that it can mean anything though and we can't know what it really means because we are not the writer. That's the first time either of us have recieved an answer like that to such a franche scripture...we both just felt like the best thing to do would be to close the lesson with a prayer and leave in hopes that maybe someday, another set of missionaries will be able to help her.

Wednesday we had district meeting. It went kind of short. It was great!! That reminds me of a quote Elder Fitt shared with us a while ago, that is "Brevity is charm. That which is good, if short, is doubly good. That which is bad, if short, is not so bad." Think of that in the sense of duration of talks/meetings/etc. Although, despite the meeting itself being short, the meal was rather strange. An équipe brought cereal, another brought beef stroganouf, we brought kool-aid (something that one cannot find in Europe), another brought a green salad, and there was dessert as well. Cereal and noodles are definitely a weird combo together.

Friday a miracle happened as we were walking to go to a less active members house to pass by. As we were walking, a potential ami that had contacted us on a bus (haha, that rhymes!) named Mehdi crossed paths with us. He asked us if we had time to talk right now, so we found a bench and started to talk. We found out about his beliefs and did some How To Begin Teaching (see chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel. Kaysen, get familiar with that, you'll use it with everyone you meet!!) Mehdi is one of our younger amis, he's 27. He is also in a Country/Folk band. After we got to know him a little bit better, he asked us some questions about us and what we'll do after our missions. I told him I'm going to study music and that I have a voice scholarship. He asked if I could play him something the next time we meet and I told him if he brings his guitar, I'll show him a couple of songs. I feel super blessed to be able to have this occasion to do that. It's not very often that I get to play music. It's my dream, you know, to help someone get interested in the Gospel through music. We set up a follow up rdv with him for this week.

Saturday in doing some more Coeur-à-coeur we found a guy named Thierry who is from Calais, which is up north, even further north than Cherbourg. He let us in to pray with him and agreed to let us come back to share our unique message about Christ and the family unit. He'll be leaving back to Calais this Thursday, so maybe while he's there, he could possibly meet with the Elders up there. That would definitely be a tender mercy for them.

Sunday, after church, we felt like we needed to pass by a non active member named Mehdi. We've had no luck getting in contact with him for about the past six weeks, but we felt like we needed to pass by him again. So we did. And he was there!! Mehdi has some changes to make in his life, we shared with him Alma 7:11-13 and that really set the tone. The spirit was so strong and all that could be felt was His love. We let Mehdi know that we love him and that we're all waiting for him to come to church. And that the bishop can help him through the repentance process, and above all, that Christ and Heavenly Father are there for him. We set up another rdv with him for this Friday, we'll come by with the Ward Mission Leader so that Mehdi has a friend at church this sunday.

This week, we were truly blessed by the Lord. You know, Elder Smith said something the other night that really hit me hard. It was saturday night and he talked about how amazing the feeling was when we prayed with Thierry, I stated that I didn't really feel that same way. And he described why he felt that way. He said, "It feels good to play in a basketball game for me, and I'd love to play basketball, or even watch an NBA game. For you, you'd love to play music or soccer. These things all end though. But what we are doing now is eternal." That is so true. A song ends, a concert ends, a game ends, a sport season ends, school ends, and even a mission ends. But this work is Eternal. What we do here will have an Eternal effect.

So you may be wondering about the toilet thing for this week. Well, one night this week, after I was done pee-ing, I went to open up the bathroom door, as I moved my leg, it hit the toilet seat...and broke the hinge...so there is another one of Elder Wilson's Toilette Adventures. We have a new toilette seat now, just FYI. :) I may send you pictures next week, don't worry, the toilette is very clean. I am a professional toilette cleaner. :D

Well, I hope this next week goes well. This is our last week of the Transfer. We'll find out the deets this Saturday.

I love you all!!


-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Elder Wilson vs. la Toilette

September 8, 2014

Hello Family,

So first off, for the scripture. No, I don't want that scripture. That's not my favorite one. Could you put Alma 26:27,31? Or if not, just verse 27?

This past week went by pretty well. It was rather long, but it was still super great. :) Tuesday we had a nice big zone conference in Angers. It was pretty cool. Everything was all about teaching and was directed at helping us improve our teaching. It was supposed to end at 3 but went 40 minutes over...but it went by pretty well.

Not too much happened during the week...until FRIDAY!! We just had a super magical day. We combined forces with the Lyon mission. We did an all finding day, with the goal to find 1000 new amis/leçons. We were instructed to stop every 30 minutes to do a prayer with our companions. It made finding a lot more spiritual and uplifting than it usually is. It was rather great! Friday seemed to fly by SO fast!! I was actually rather amazed. Usually an all finding day seems to go by a little longer than normal. We did have to opportunity that day to stop finding for a bit to help our ami, Sonia, move. It ended up taking 2 hours, but it was so rewarding. She was so grateful and then she even gave us the phone number of her little brother to "go and pray with him and share with him our message." So we have a potential ami thanks to the service opportunity that was given.

I have learned that some of the best missionary work we can do, members and missionaries alike, is service. Service really is the way to open one's heart. It not only opens those whom have been served, but those equally that are serving. As we serve each other, our hearts open to one another creating new, lasting friendships that are founded on a base of charitable love. Ammon is a super great example of this in the Book of Mormon.

Saturday, we had a rdv scheduled with Anne, but she texted and told us that she was sick. We offered to give her a blessing and she accepted. We went over there with a member named Pierre Nicolas. We explained what a blessing is and how it is performed. And then asked her what was the reason of the blessing. She explained to us what had happened, and all I will let you know is that she was wronged very maliciously by a friend. She then chose Pierre Nicolas to do the anointing and I to do the blessing. After the blessing she said she felt better. We then talked to her about her smoking problem and proposed to talk about the stop smoking program we have. She agreed to read over it and expressed that she has a desire to stop. We then let her know we would put into initiation the program the next time, and she agreed to that.

We were able to see Raphael this week as well, we shared with him Alma 34:32 and then ended up talking about the atonement and how that can help us in our lives. He still hasn't been able to give up his last 1.5 cigarettes yet, and I think we found out why. He expressed that he said it was him who had started smoking and who continues to smoke, so it must be him who stops. And that Christ can't be the one who makes him stop. We testified to him about the Atonement and the healing power it has to help us over come temptations and addictions in our life. And then we ended with a prayer (comme d'hab). I do honestly feel like the reason he hasn't been able to make this last step is pride. He seems to feel like it's all up to him. Which, in a sense is correct, it's up to him to choose. He can choose to rely on Christ and come to the realization that he can't quit without His help, or he can continue to struggle through this like he is. We are hoping we can help him through this.

So Church yesterday went pretty well. Although, during Sacrament meeting, the microphone was having troubles, so l'épiscopat just turned it off. Well, even though the microphone was off, almost everyone that came up and bore their testimony still adjusted the mic. Finally, a member came up to bare his testimony and started off by saying how funny it was that despite the fact that the microphone was off, everyone was still adjusting it. After, people still adjusted the mic, then would realize that it was off and would stop touching it. It was rather funny. I thought certain among you might enjoy that little experience there. :) 

So, I had quite an interesting experience yesterday. We went to the gare to check out train times to be able to plan when we can go to Niort this week (the Fitt couple will be in Britagne all week doing apartement checks...so we're on our own this week.) and to find train times to go see the Swanepoels. Well, while we were there, I had to go...pretty bad. And they have this bathroom that is in the corner. It basically looks like a big wooden box. I had never used it before though. So since I had to go so bad, I decided to try it out. I walked in and locked the door, found a place to hang my bag when I started to notice. This bathroom stinks. But not like a bathroom...It smelled like a very clean chicken coop. Then I realized there wasn't a place to wash my hands...and then I looked in the toilet. The bowl was a plastic bag that had cedar chips in it...then I saw a dispenser that had cedar chips and a scooper to use. I wasn't sure if I should still use it or not...so I did anyways. I sat down, then I saw a sign that explained what in the world this odd toilet is. It's a dry toilet!! Made to save water. These toilets save 20,000 liters of water per year. What you do is, you do your buiseness, then you scoop enough cedar chips to cover your mess and leave it clean for the next person. Luckily, after I was done, I did see a hand santizer dispenser and used it. Very odd experience. I'll include the pictures I took. :) Just so you can really get the jist of this experience. :)






And that was basically the week here in La Rochelle. As for transfers, they were 3 weeks ago. So the next one will be in 3 weeks. The Wednesday right before General Conference. Elder Smith and I both think that I'll be transferred away...since there have been no missionaries in our mission that have served more than 2 transfers together. But we will find out in 3 weeks. Ha.

I love you all!! :)

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

By the way, quick note, I got word from the Pettitt Family in Cergy. Dominique got her mission call!! She's going to Frankfurt!! How cool is that?

An Inspired Question

September 1, 2014

Salut, la famille!!

I'm glad that everyone is doing well. :) It's always great to hear good news from everyone. Bah, quoi de neuf?

This past week passed very well. Tuesday was district meeting. Our new district leader is Elder Nielson, from Tremonton. He came from being in the office for six months. Whew, I'm glad that wasn't me. He gave really great formation. At the beginning he had us teach someone a principle of the gospel, using only clay. It was rather tough. It was really cool though!

We then did exchanges with Elder Nielson and his comp Elder Cutshall in Nantes. I was with Elder Cutshall. We ended up having quite some bad luck haha, but it's all good. We went to someone's appartment for a rendez-vous we were supposed to have, but they weren't there. So we had a ratez-vous. (the verb rater [pronounced like rat-ay] means to miss. Ratez-vous isn't really a French term, it's an old missionary term that Elder Smith and I are trying to get other people to use as well. We heard it from someone who served in the Paris mission about 30 years ago.) Then for our second rendez-vous we were supposed to have, we got on the wrong tram to get there and would have gotten to the guy's house too late, so they rescheduled for the next day.

I was quite thankful that Elder Smith is my companion though. And I was also quite happy to get back to our own secteur to work. :)

Thursday, we went and saw the Swanepoel family. Things are rather difficult with them. Bokke has quite the crazy schedule with rugby and won't be able to come to church for a while, and since they only have one car, Georget isn't able to come with the kids to church. Although they are still progressing! We asked how quitting coffee was going, Georget is having troubles, Bokke said that it's no problem for him and then looked at Georget and said, "it'll be a lot easier for her once all our coffee is gone, because we will not buy anymore." with a super sly grin. When we go to see them this week, the coffee should be all done with, so that's super great!! :) We will be fixing a baptismal date with them this week.

There is this other ami that we were miraculously able to get in contact with a couple weeks ago, her name is Sonia. She is African. She will be moving to Orléans, which is the last area Elder Smith served in. We saw her yesterday and actually fixed a baptismal date with her. She will be getting baptized in Orléans though. It's been super great to have been able to meet with her. She has such great faith, and she doesn't forget about the commitments we give her. :)

We met with Raphael on Friday and talked about the Divinity. He kind of understood...his big problem is he feels like to believe that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three different beings is like being polytheistic. We assured him that we are monotheistic and then we read in the Guide des écritures about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. I think that helped him understand a lot better. We then shared with him Mathew 3:13-19 (I think it's to 19). It's when Christ gets baptized and the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove. And God the Father says "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." His eyes lit up after reading those verses. We then asked him about more concerns he has, and apparently, he has a concern about the law of Chastity. He said that it's against human nature. He also doesn't like that fact that people can get excommunicated, he feels like that's against the love of Christ. He also stated that he didn't agree with excommunication nor the law of chastity in the Catholic church either. But good news is, he is still trying to quit smoking. He still can't seem to give up that last one and a half, but he claims he is making efforts. If only he wasn't so stubborn, and just follow the 7 day program, he'd have quit already.

We went porting last night and we ported into an old couple. At first, the wife talked for a bit but wasn't interested, then she started talking about her family, then she told us again she wasn't really interested to pray with us. Then, Elder Smith asked her, "we were wondering what there is to do around La Rochelle, could you give some ideas of some things we can do tomorrow?" She went into her house, door still opened, to look for something, then let us come in. She offered us each a beer, to which we replied that water would be fine. Her husband then came and started talking to us. We talked with them (or, rather, listened to them) for about an hour. Then before we left we asked if we could leave them with a prayer and they both agreed. It was super cool. I strongly feel like Elder Smith's question, though not really missionary nor gospel related, was inspired.

And that was our week this week. :) I hope you all have a great week!

I love you all!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Parables: A Lesson in Taking Good Notes in Seminary

August 25, 2014

Hello family!

This week went pretty well. It was a little long, but it was still pretty great.

Good news!! This week nobody was sick! Yay!! Although, not too much happened this week...sorta.

We taught Raphael with a member this week and talked about making decisions, because he's been taught everything...he just needs to make a decision. We'll that's what we thought. He opened up quite a bit and told us some of his concerns. Apparently, he's still having troubles with the Book of Mormon. He has studied TONS of history, and apparently nowhere else is there any record of people in Jeruselam going to the America's. But his biggest concern is the Divinity. He was born Catholic, so he believes in the trinity...he has troubles understanding how God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost can be three different beings, to him, that sounds like multiple gods. So we found out that we have some great work to do. I'm just super glad that he opened up that much. Also, his smoking hasn't gotten worse, but it's been hard for him.

We taught the Swanepoel's twice last week. On Tuesday, we talked about tithing. Cool miracle with that, they were definitely prepared!! The night before they read in the bible about tithing. They accepted everything very well. And we went over the Word of Wisdom again with them because they drink coffee. They committed to stop, so they're on the way of stopping. It's easy for Bokke, but for Georget, she really enjoys her coffee. It was always a family thing that she did growing up, and so it's tough for her to break the habit. But she said she'll work on it.

Then Saturday, we taught them with the bishop and his wife. Elder Smith and I got to do a Tour de France to get to the Swanepoel's home. The Fitt couple wasn't available to come with us, so we ended up taking a 45 minute train to Niort, then a 45 minute bus to Fontenay. We talked about the 10 commandments and obedience. They accepted everything very well. Then after the bishop and his wife took Elder Smith and I to McDo. Haha! It was pretty great. They then dropped us off at Luçon so we could take a train from there back to La Rochelle. I think that was the most I've been around my area during my whole mission.

Speaking of areas, fun fact, the La Rochelle ward is 3,000 square miles! Not kilometers, but miles. WOW!! :)

Saturday night we went to visit Anne. She told us that she was too tired...and we just kinda looked at her like we weren't going to take that for an answer...then she let us know that she had been drinking and drank too much. And she was holding a cigarette behind her, trying to hide it from us...so I guess we have some work with her to do. I hope we can be the missionaries Father in Heaven would have us be so that we can help her out.

Sunday, a visiting member brought a non member to church!! And she is super interested in learning about the "mormon" church. She lives about 1 hour away from La Rochelle. She really enjoyed church though and the Word of Wisdom in Amis' class didn't scare her away either!! In fact, she's willing to stop drinking tea and coffee!! I feel so blessed to be here right now.

After church, the Fitt's had invited us over because...it was ELDER SMITH'S BIRTHDAY!!! He's 20 now, dang he's old. I think he might kick the bucket soon!! ;) I made him buttermilk pancakes for breakfast that morning (just for dad, POOF, he's pancakes!) Sister Fitt made Chicken Parmesan with Marinara sauce. And a salad with choices of Ranch or Italian dressings!!!!! (Unheard of in France!!) And for desert, a no-bake cheese cake that was SO good!!! I definitely profited from Elder Smith's birfday. He said that his birthday was one of the best he's ever had, too! (He received a SUPER gift from his family but the thing that was the best for him was that his father had asked almost every family in the ward to write something to him, and they put all of that in the package with quite a bit of other stuff.) It was really cool to see Elder Smith that happy. I felt happy just seeing how happy he was, it was a nice change.

Sunday right after church (before we got to the Fitt's apartment) I was asked to give a talk in church of "La force des paraboles dans les écritures, en particulier, celles du Christ." (Vous avez tout compris?) Or in English: "The strength of Parables in the scriptures, in particular, those of Christ." Luckily, I'll be giving the talk on the 14th so I have time to prepare. So I'm going to be reading Christ's parables for the next little while to be able to do this talk. I'm so thankful for seminary and the notes that I took in my scriptures!! I definitely will profit from them for life. I was reading over the Parable of the Sower in Matt 13 this morning, and the notes I took will definitely help me with this talk.

Later, we taught this guy named Mbata, who is basically an eternal investigator (he's met with missionaries back even when he lived in the Congo...he's been in France since about 2006), but he does have potential. We talked to him about baptism and authority and he asked some questions to us to make sure he understood everything. One of the things he asked us was how is the baptism done. So we explained that it is done by immersion, meaning going all the way under water, then coming back up. He then asked, "Will I be naked?" Elder Smith and I had to use our poker faces there...bahaha!!! We let him know that he would be wearing all white clothes, and that he would not be naked. It was pretty funny.

And that's the week. :)

Thank you so much for the Sheet music!! I'm very glad you liked the letter.

I love you all!!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

P.s.

Kaysen to get the music from the iPod to the computer, first you need to put the iPod in the computer, then after that, pull up the files like you would for a USB drive (it can't be done through iTunes). Then you need to make hidden folders/files shown (you can search on the microsoft website on how to do that). Then copy the folder iPod_control onto the computer and voila, you have the music on the computer. I can't believe I still remember all that. Oh là là!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The District

August 18, 2014

Hello Family!!

I'm not going to lie, I'm a little jealous of your trip. I'm glad you all had a great time out there. :)

So for this past week, remember how Elder Smith was sick on Sunday? Guess who got sick Monday night? haha...I started feeling sick around 3ish on Monday and thought to myself, "I'll prolly throw up tonight..." Turns out, I was right! Right as we got to the area that we wanted to work, I was feeling worse...got clammy hands and told Elder Smith to wait because I was going to vomit. And then, about 2ish minutes later, I threw up...and got it all over my shoes and a little bit on my pants...haha. Don't worry though, I cleaned them. They are wearable again!! Tuesday morning, I woke up and felt better at first, but then about after 5 minutes I felt super achy all over my body, to the point that it hurt to stand up. It even hurt to sit down...and lay down even. And then I went to the bathroom about 6 times in the space of an hour. So we ended up not getting any work down Monday nor Tuesday...but the good news is that we are both healthy now! Yay!!

Wednesday morning I woke up and felt so much better. I am SO grateful for the Fitt couple here because Tuesday night, they brought us homemade chicken noodle soup, crackers, apple juice, and coke. The chicken noodle soup reminded me of yours, mom! It was SO good! I definitely blessed to have the Fitt couple here.

But good things did happen this week. :)

With the family Swanepoel, we were able to see them Thursday. We talked about keeping the Sabbath Day holy because they haven't been coming to church. It went very well and they recommitted to coming to church. At the start of priesthood meeting, they hadn't come. And they still hadn't come by the beginning of the second class...but after that one ended, I walked out of the class room, and there was their 6 year old daughter. I feel like I haven't ever been happier. It was so great to see them there.

Later we talked to the DMP (ward mission leader) about the Swanepoel's and we came to a decision that they need to wait a couple more weeks before they get baptized. So we'll be planning now for the 7th of September for them. I'm still super excited. :)

Raphael is doing very well. A miracle happened with him. Now, when he smokes, he isn't able to finish the cigarette because it starts to taste really bad about half-way through. He is now down to 1 and a halfish cigarettes a day. He's made so much progress. He does have one problem though other than that. Family problems. His parents and rest of his family are not okay with him coming to the "Mormon" church. Nor do they understand why he needs to get baptized again (he's been baptized once. Catholic, no need for a 2nd baptism...). And so baptism is a rather touchy subject with him. He said he can't get baptized yet. And that he can't live one commandment and break another. If he did get baptized, he "wouldn't be honoring his parents." So that's our new concern with Raphael. I know that he knows these things we've taught him are true, and I know he's felt the spirit testify to him, we just don't know what to do now that we've finished all the missionary lessons with him.

Christian, on the other hand, is doing super great! He and his girlfriend (who was baptized in May in Poitiers) are thinking about marriage. They are looking forward to going to the temple with each other. They aren't looking forward to waiting a whole year though. It's been such a great blessing for me during my mission to be able to be one of "his" missionaries. He definitely is a miracle and tender mercy from the Lord.

We also have another ami named Anne. And she is progressing very well. She has a smoking problem, so for our 3rd rendez-vous we had with her, we taught the Word of Wisdom. And she just accepted it all and has already cut down her smoking in half! We were teaching her with a member...but we thought that we should teach with this member on occasion...for two funny things that happened during the lessons. After we taught the Word of Wisdom, Anne asked us if we eat meat. And we answered yes, she then stated how she is vegetarian. Our member then stated how he thinks that during that millennium, we'll all be vegetarians anyway...let's just say Elder Smith and I had a great laugh about that afterwards.

The next rendez-vous we had with her, we were hoping to create an environment that the spirit could testify well to her so we could lance the baptismal invite. During the beginning when we did a suivi (follow-up) on the WoW, our member proudly stated how he had never smoked in his life right after Anne stated how hard it had been for her to cut down on her smoking...Elder Smith and I had a great laugh about that as well. We weren't able to give her the baptismal invite at this rdv. But at the one after, when we taught with the Fitt couple, we did. And Anne got super excited and asked when she'll get baptized. We hadn't prayed for a date yet, so we told her that we'll talk about that in the next rdv. And at church she told many people that she was going to get baptized, but that she didn't know when. It was pretty cool to see how excited she got about getting baptized. :)

So President Babin has started something new. Now instead of getting our transfer repertoire on Monday, it comes out on Saturday! So Saturday we had a look at the repertoire to see if one of us would be leaving. Elder Smith and I will be companions for another six weeks! Sweet! :) We went and had some McDo after to "celebrate". :)

Also, here is a photo of the district. I've loved being apart of this district. Elder Louis has been such a great District leader. He's gonna do some great work out in the real world. (this was his last transfer, number 16).

Even though the week was off to a rough start, it was a super great week and flew by so fast!

I love you all so much! :)


-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

Eternal Families

August 11, 2014

Hello Family!

I'm glad that all is going well for you.

This past week was rather long...but I guess that's what happens when you have about 4 or 5 straight finding days in a row...BUT despite that, it was still a great week.

We were able to teach Raphael this week...he still is having difficulties with his smoking problem. But, he is making an immense effort. I'm very glad that he is trying so hard. Saturday he only smoked one! That is some huge progress from his normal 5 he was doing. And cool little miracle. We were waiting at the bus station for our bus to go visit a non-active member, and as we were waiting, Raphael was walking towards the station. He had to wait for a bus to go do some grocery shopping somewhere. He told us that right as he had envie (sorry, I don't know if that makes sense...I don't really know how to say that in english. The phrase in french is "quelqu'un a envie à faire quelque chose.") to smoke, we were there to remind him not to. I let him know that it was a sign from God. He replied "Je sais."

Oh, it just makes me so happy. All of the little miracles that happen. Like seriously, right now as I'm typing this, I'm smiling so big!! :)

So about Christian, yes we're still teaching the new member lessons. There are some new rules that came out by the First Presidency about two weeks ago that establish some things about amis and recent converts. For amis, we are now obligated to teach all 5 lessons, not just the 4 and then slightly mention the 5th like in the past. And with recent converts, it says that we need to keep seeing them for the 3 to 4 months after their baptism and then keep in regular contact for at least one year, or more. So we still go to see him. He is doing very well. We talked about missionary work...and he is a STUD!! He's already talking to others about the Gospel. He is NOT shy at all that he is a member of l'église Mormon, comme il le disait. :)

The Swanepoel family is doing well. We taught them about the Book of Mormon on Tuesday, because they told us they didn't quite understand it. I think they understand the Book of Mormon a little better, but the Fitt couple decided to buy them Book of Mormons in their native language, Africans, because it appeared like they had trouble understanding the old english pronouns. They invited us to eat lunch with them on Friday. They invited some other friends to come, who ended up not being able to go, but we still were able to go and teach them. They had asked us to talk about something simple (not the Book of Mormon...apparently the Book of Mormon isn't very simple...but I don't have any idea what it's like because I grew up with it.) for their friends, so we decided to talk about how families are eternal and are the most important unit in God's eyes. We still decided to share that simple thought with them, and they loved it. They had already been taught the plan of salvation, but they love Eternal Families. They weren't able to come to church this week and we'll find out why tomorrow. I'm rather starting to feel like Sister Voyles from the district when she talks about her ami Ofelia. "JUST COME TO CHURCH!"

In talking about Eternal Families and seeing the Swanepoel's children, I think I got kinda trunky. Trunky in the fact that I'm very excited to get married and start a family. And I started thinking quite a bit about families and how I really want to have an eternal family and get married in the temple, when that time comes. It's interesting to see how much I've changed since the beginning of my mission. I had so many things that I wanted to do musically, but now, I still have those dreams and I feel like I could go through with them, but I have a greater desire to get married and have a family. I guess that happens when you're with a man 24/7. Ha, don't worry though, I'm not legitly trunky. :) In thinking all this, it was very spiritual and I really am starting to see how important a family really is.

Well, that's all I got for this week. Except yesterday, Elder Smith was sick. He was able to make it through church but after that, he was out like a fat kid in dodge ball!! I haven't seen someone get sacked out that fast...but today he is doing TONS better!! Which is great news. We'll be able to work! Yay!! :)

I love you all so much!


-Elder B. Stanton Wilson

A Year

August 4, 2014

Hello Family!

Kaysen, j'ai hâte que tu prendras les cours de français. Le français c'est le meilleur langue du monde! Bon courage en l'apprenant. :)

Well, this last week was pretty good. We're working hard to find new people to teach and to continue teaching our current amis.

Tuesday we had a double exchange, c'est à dire, the Elders from Nantes came to La Rochelle and both équips stayed in La Rochelle to work. I was with a cool Elder named Elder Louis. He is a STUD! We did some great work and saw some pretty awesome miracles. I also learned quite a bit.

One of the things that Elder Louis said during the exchange was "If you look for the bad, you'll find the bad. If you look for the good, you'll find the good." It's super true. And that's why I think it's so important that we look for our blessings each day. As we true to actively search for the miracles or blessings that we have, we will be happy, and we won't complain when trials come our way because we'll be looking for the good.

Thursday we had Zone Conference and interviews with Président Babin. I could definitely feel the love that he has for me as a missionary serving in this mission. I've been so blessed to have the two most wonderful mission presidents ever!

Hey dad, there's an Elder Ericson in my zone that is Canadian. Guess where from? Saskatchiwan!! Cool beans right? Did you happen to serve in a ville called Saskatoon during your mission? That's where he's from.

This week we were able to meet with Raphael and Christian. Raphael is doing well and today is supposed to be the day that he is no longer a smoker! We've been following up each day to make sure he's following the program and that he's doing well. I have faith that he's done smoking.

Christian is doing well too. We helped him start up on his family history. He's pretty excited to do his family history and then to take the names to the temple to do ordonances for them.

The Swanepoel's, we weren't able to see them this passed week, but we'll be seeing them this week. Bokke got a new job, which is what they've been hoping for. :) I'm pretty excited to go and see them this week.

And that was the whole week. We've also been trying to hunt down less active members to find out if they're even still in La Rochelle. We've had success in finding a few of them :)

Wow, my year mark is this Thursday. Pretty crazy right? I've been out for one year. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned on the mission is probably come what may and enjoy it. It's super important to strive to enjoy the things in life. There is opposition in all things, but that doesn't mean we can't search for the things to enjoy in life. I also have strengthened my testimony probably in most aspects of the gospel, but the aspect that sticks out the most to me is prayer. I definitely know that when I pray, I am talking with my Heavenly Father. I know that He loves me and I love Him. I know that He hears and answers my prayers in His perfect way.

I also have learned the importance of understanding. I now am a strong believer that one of the biggest causes of contention is misunderstanding. We get frustrated with those that don't understand us. We get frustrated with those that we don't understand. But if we can take a couple seconds to breath, think, and pray, we can try to better understand each other before we break out in anger towards one another.

It's been a tough year. But it has been worth every difficulty. With every difficulty that comes, the Lord prepares a way to overcome it and to get through it. This next year I really want to focus on love and charity. Because I feel like love and charity are some of the most important things I could develop while on my mission. I do love the people here, though. I just feel like I need to take it to the next level and strive to love as Christ did. I also have some language goals for my mission. I'd love to go from at least from (I'd like to start now, but it rather depends on the companion I am with...) transfer 10 'til the end of my mission only speaking French. :)

I love you all so much! I'm glad you're all doing very well! Thank you so much for all the support you give me!

-Elder B. Stanton Wilson