Monday, June 29, 2015

WEEK #3 IN MONT DE MARSAN, FRANCE

Bonjour Cher Famille et Amis,

It was a great week here in Mont de Marsan, France! We had a good amount of lessons, and did some good work! We are now officially half way through this transfer. My companion Elder Fritz has half a transfer left of his mission, and I am half way through my 4th Transfer! :) 
Elder Acheson "HOT" in Mont de Marsan

It was very hot this week, and it's only going to get hotter I hear. This Wednesday it will be 104F degrees, or 41C. So very hot... 

To go backwards a little, we had a cool experience and miracle yesterday at church. We had a Ukrainian family arrive at church. The family doesn’t speak French. None of the members could speak English, so they all were freaking out trying to get us out of our class with our investigators so we could talk with the family! 

The members of the family were already members, and were escaping the conflict in Ukraine. The father was the branch president back in Ukraine! They have 3 girls, and 1 boy. Ages 8-2:) it should be great for Mont de Marsan for them to be here! They also live in the same building as our other investigator family who also speak English. 

Alright! Now for the week. 

Tuesday: we did some porting, but nothing came from it. We had an hour of free time because of the service we did yesterday and we went to a sculpture museum in centreville. Then we did some more pass backs. Then we walked to the park to massage our feet. They were very sore from all the walking. While we were sitting down, there were these people playing lawn bowling where you have a small ball and aim other balls at it, but the people playing were very good! The best I've seen! 
On an exchange with Elder Huntsman

We got up and continued to walk. We ported a small road, and talked to two people, but they weren't that interested about our questionnaire. :/  We had to leave and wait at the Gare for our Zone Leaders to come in. Elder Kirkpatrick and Elder Huntsman came off the train, and we separated to do an hour of work. I was with Elder Huntsman, and we ported a small neighborhood. I don’t know Elder Huntsman super well. So it was a great opportunity to get to know him! His father is the new President of the Washington D.C. South Mission, so it was cool to get more information about Mission Presidents. 

We came home and planned and then we all crashed for the night.

Wednesday: Elder Huntsman and I went porting before lunch. No one was home, but it was a great chance to talk about things to improve as a missionary. 
Doing Service!

We returned and ate lunch, then went out to port a small road. No one answered. We then had to return home and change into service clothes. We walked a good distance to a member’s home. We waited in the hot sun for Frere Moulis to drive up. We then entered the member’s home and lifted a really heavy washing machine downstairs into Frere Moulis's car. We then went to the dump to drop it off. Then drove to another person’s home to pick up a new washer. Then drove back to the members home to lift it up the stairs and install it! Super heavy stuff.... 

We finished that, and got dropped off at home, and we changed out of our work clothes, and met the other missionaries at the Gare. We all said goodbye. Frere Moulis, Elder Fritz and I went to go teach Marie Claude. We mostly answered her random questions that she had. She seems like she's ready for her Baptism! We plan to have it on the 4th of July! 
"Hungry Like a Wolf"--our amis' cat

Thursday: we woke up and changed into our service clothes and got picked up by a member. Frere Rivère. We went to his house and shoveled gravel from his garden, and moved it in a wheelbarrow to his neighbor’s driveway. The neighbor was very nice. She also had the nicest Rottweiler dog I have ever met. Frere Rivère is so cool, he is the member that brought his friend and wife to church. He also talked to this lady, and got us a day to do service for her! So next this week we will cut wood for her. 
The castle-like church

After we finished his service, we all drove to Jean-Louis's house for lunch. Jean-Louis and Dominique (his wife) gave us a tour of their little house. It was the old Poste in the super small village. They live right across the street from a castle-like church. 

After the tour of the house, we all sat down and ate some very French food. We then taught them the Plan of Salvation. They seemed to really understand it! 

This couple is very special. They lost their faith from another church, and the husband said that he pretty much decided to be atheist, until he came to church my first week here.

We had to leave, but we scheduled later that week to do service for them. 

We came home and went to the church to do language study. 

Friday: we walked to a park with a lot of animals in it to teach a lesson to our ami Florence. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is Buddhist, but she is accepting the ideas. We gave her the assignment to read 2 Nephi 2. Not only did she read the chapter, she read the chapters around it as well! So that's good news! She's too busy to go to church though, and that's what is the most important. We will keep working with her!

We walked back into town after the lesson, and taught Marie Claude in the park. We went over the things for her Baptism next this week. So we went over those details. 

After our talk, Elder Fritz and I got kebabs and then went home to do weekly planning. 

Saturday: Jean Louis picked us up in his car. We went to his house again, and cut his grass, and did some yard work for him. It was misting rain a little and felt very nice. After we finished working, he had us sit down and talk with him while he cut potatoes for lunch. 
Fois Gras

His wife Dominique cooked steak while we talked, and then we all sat down and ate. Jean Louis makes homemade foie gras. For those that don't know what it is, you make it by feeding a duck too much food. It eats so much that the liver explodes. You then take that, put it in a jar, cool it down, and spread it on bread. It didn't turn out too bad! 

We ate that, and then steak and fries. We then answered their questions on the Book of Mormon, and basic doctrine. Jean Louis is really loving the Book of Mormon. He gets so into the book that he has to tell his wife to stop asking him questions while he reads! 

We showed them the restoration video, and let them keep the DVD. 

After that, we got dropped off by Jean Louis. We then showered, and went to the church to make the Baptismal Program for Marie Claude. 

Sunday: we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ in investigators class. Then like I said at the start of this letter, we had the Ukrainian family show up. 

After church, we ate and studied for a bit. Then we stopped by the Ukrainian family to say hello, and get to know them better. We showed a video in Ukrainian, and then scheduled a time we can help teach French. 

After that we went upstairs to our other investigators. 

We answered many questions during that lesson. The wife is very interested, and wants to try and find the truth. So we discussed prophets, Joseph Smith, why we are serving missions, telling them that we only have 1 wife, telling them that we are not forced to be married, telling them that we still love people who decide that they don't want to be members. It was a great lesson and we sorted out a lot of things they had! They are so kind and it humbles me to see their condition. 

We finished with a prayer, and we went home. 

Elder Fritz and I started to not feel super well. We decided it was something we both ate... So pray that we feel better! 

That's what this week was like! Hope you all enjoy the weather! It will be a desert this week! 

I love you all, and know that Heavenly Father loves you all! 

Love Elder Acheson!

A sneak Peak at this coming week!

Monday: since it was preparation day today we cleaned the apartment. We then went shopping. There is a shopping event two times a year called Soldes. There are lots of discounts on things. So Elder Fritz wanted to get a suit before he left home. So we got him a suit, and then we walked and looked at the other stores. We went into a big mall, and I bought four packs of Mentos candy. They were less than a euro per pack. So of course I had to buy them!? Then we went to the church to write our families. 









Monday, June 22, 2015

WEEK #2 IN MONT DE MARSAN, FRANCE


 Monday June 22, 2015
Saying Goodbye to President and Sister Roney
This week has been a really good week! It was long but quick at the
same time! Before I get to my week, my parents went to the new Mission
President, President Brown, at his farewell talk at his ward.
My New Mission President, Scott Brown with my parents

My mom told me that she met two young men who will be entering the MTC on July 22. They both read my blog!  So here's a special shout out to those Elders! Can't wait to meet you!



with the Roney boys


So! Last Monday, after we wrote letters at the church we went to the train station and we caught a train to Bordeaux to go to our last mission conference with President Roney.

We had to go a day early because it's hard to get trains that would get us there on time in the same day. So we stayed the night in Bordeaux. I got to stay the night with a missionary I came in with, Elder Engel! One of my best friends in the mission. He is companions with Elder Steadman.

Tuesday: we walked to the church and were greeted by President Roney and all the other missionaries. It was a multi zone conference, so I got to see all my friends! 
An amazing painting by my friend J. Kirk Richards

It was a great conference. President Roney gave us his contact info so we can all stay in touch after. He also gave us a great painting of Christ washing the feet of the Apostles. The artist who painted it was from my home ward! It's amazing how his work is now in France! We were given this painting to remind us to always be servants to others and always focus on serving others.

After the conference we took a train home and crashed for the night.

WednesdayOn Wednesday, Elder Fritz and I tried to speak French to each other as much we could. It was really hard. We walked to the church to help a member do something on the computer and then we came back home to eat. We then went out and tried to pass people. We contacted some people, but no one interested. 

Later that day, we taught our ami who is getting baptized soon, Marie Claude, with the Branch President Frere Moulis. It was a great lesson. We talked about some of the small questions she had. Marie Claude is a super sweet lady. She loves to feed us. There is a shop that makes really good cake with cream inside and she bought two slices for us. If you have the chance to come here to Mont de Marsan, you need to get this cake! 

After the lesson, we were dropped off home. 




Thursday: this day was great! We spent the whole day with Frere Moulis! We did our studies, then took a bus to a ville some ways out. We were picked up by Frere Moulis, and then we visited with a less active member named Francois. We checked up on him, and taught him about the importance of scripture study. 

We then drove to another small ville to give the sacrament to a lady who is sick. She is partially paralyzed, so she can't come to church. It was a great experience to help give her the sacrament to renew her baptismal covenants. She was very thankful that we came. 

We then went to another less active member who is trying hard to become more active. Since she wasn't home, we had to wait outside her house. But once she came, we taught her about the temple and genealogy. She already knows these things, but just needs a reminder. She then fed us. That's always a great thing! 

We then came home. It was a long day, but lots done!

FridayFriday rained a bit, so we had to cancel some rendezvous in the park. We went out and tried to pass some people. We also helped the Mailau family rip some paper off the walls. It was a quick hour because we had to go teach another person. 

We were dropped off by Frere Mailau and then we were picked up by another member to go teach an Ami. We  had to make the lesson quick, so we read out of the Book of Mormon a bit, and then we invited her to read it. The lady we taught had to go pick up her kids, so the member we were with offered to drive us all. Once we got to the school were the kids were at, we said goodbye and went to go find another pass back. The member stayed and drove our ami back to her house with her kids. He is a great member! 

We couldn't get anyone to the door at our pass backs. We then went to go teach our English speaking Amis. They are here to escape a war in their home country. They are very kind and have gone through very hard things. They are happy to see us because we teach the Plan of Salvation. The wife started to break down in tears. It was moving to see the sacrifices that people make for God. These people were living well in their home country, but now having nothing. I hope I can be as dedicated as they are! 

After the great lesson with them, we returned home and planned for the next week.

Saturday: We went to the church to print off an article, and then we went to go find a potential ami. They weren't home. Elder Fritz and I spoke in French so I could practice Passé Compose. It's what you use to tell stories. 

We then taught Marie Claude in the nice park we always go to. 

After that, we went by more people, and walked a lot to find other people. It all blurred by so fast.

Sunday: we had the friend of a member come again, and he was dressed up for church this time, and he brought his wife! He is golden! We only taught him the Restoration last week in church! He has read this Book of Mormon this week, and is already to 2 Nephi 15! That's really far for one week! 

We taught the restoration in more detail and showed a video. That was great! We then had sacrament, and then we went home to change. We ate lunch, and passed by a few people. We then came home and studied. 

Monday: Today we helped Marie Claude move some things to a hotel because her apartment is under construction. We then helped the Mailaus move all their things into a truck. We were with a lot of Polynesians. They are all buff rugby players. It was really cool to be with them all! Frere Mailau is going to play for the National Team of Tonga for the World Rugby Competition. It's really cool to know him! 

That's all so far here in Mont de Marsan! I hope you all have a great week! 

My brother Chase comes home real soon! Love you Frere! 

Love Elder Race Acheson!


Monday, June 15, 2015

WEEK #1 IN MONT DE MARSAN, FRANCE

Monday June 15, 2015

Dear Family and Friends.

So what has happened this week? Lots of stuff! Life in The Mont (Mont-de-Marsan) is pretty different! The whole region is like the state of Washington. It is super old and beautiful. You won't find a place like it. The Branch of members here are amazing. The Branch President is a Saint and is the coolest person! There are a lot of Great things here! It would be a great place to serve for a while! 

The apartment is air tight. When you open the door you hear all the air rush inside. The beds are comfy and we have a great view. 

So this is how the week went down. 

On Wednesday, Elder Fritz and I went in our P-day clothes to go scrape wall paper off at a members home. This member is from New Zealand and Plays I the Rugby team. He is going to a new team farther south. The service took some time, so we didn't have a chance to teach his family. 

We then had to walk back home, and we changed into our regular clothes. We then S\started to walk and find some of our old Amis. No one was home, so we kept walking finding others. We later went and visited an ami who speaks English. He and his family come from one of the counties in the Middle East. They speak no French, so we have to do simple English. It's weird to say prayers in English. The rendez-vous was quick, and we scheduled another one for Saturday.  After that, we then had to walk home. 

Thursday: Today rained SUPER hard! To start off, we walked to the Gare to pick upsurge tickets to go to Zone Conference in Bordeaux. After that we took a bus to an outer ville to go see a less active. We got off the bus, and waited for the Branch President to come pick us up. Our Presidents name is Frere Moulis.  We visited a member who is trying to become more active. We did a lesson on the Word of Wisdom. It went very well! This member knows all the things about the church, but just wants us to come help her remember everything. She is progressing well! 

After the lesson, we invited her to church, and she said she would come! Then the President dropped us off outside of Mont-de-Marsan so we could find an old ami. They weren't there, so we started to walk to Centreville to get our bearings. Once we got there, we saw huge dark clouds coming into the city. It started to rain a little, so we started to walk home to go get an umbrella. We were walking for about 5 minutes when it started to rain the hardest I have ever seen. We were still a far away from our apartment, so we had to walk in it. We got completely soaked. I got to a point where I didn't care how wet I was! I saw people look at us through the windows of buildings, so I waved at them, and they would smile and wave back! It was funny. 

We came home and took a picture of how wet we were. Then we put everyone in the dryer. Our shoes had puddles in them. We did some weekly planning after that.

Friday: today was a lot drier. We went over to the Milaus house to each lunch. They are the Rugby players who are leaving. We ate and talked about their past with the missionaries. They told us the funny experiences with missionaries in the past.  We then shared a I'm A Mormon video about a New Zealand Rugby player. We then bore our testimonies of the Restored Gospel. This family is so cool! I am really sad that they are leaving! I have only known them for a week!

After lunch, we tired to pass people, but then we changed into our service clothes.  We then walked a long distance to a member to do some gardening. While we were passing some houses, a dog saw us from a yard, and started running around the house. The yard of the house has mounds of dirt dug out in the ground from the dog running so much. Kind of like motor cross, where you have the grooves to turn? It was strange. 

We then got to the member. We clipped her bushes down. This sister member is so awesome. She lived during WW2, and she was telling us these great stories, and she even knew some members from my ward in Vitrolles! 

We only did service for a bit, and then had to walk home quickly to make it in on time.

Saturday:
Today we did some porting before we had lunch. Porting is Door-to-door knocking. Sorry for the French Missionary slang... 
No one answered or wasn't interested. It's cool to be back in the very French countryside. Way different than Vitrolles!

We ate, and then did some more pass backs. I think that's what we only really do! It gives us a chance to walk and try to find people. We decided to do some more porting. We got no people from that. I feel less awkward though doing it! So it's alright with me! 

After porting, we started walking back to Centreville when the Milaus pulled up next to us. They asked if we wanted cake, and we said "why not?" So we got some great cake! It made our day! 

We decided we wanted to make calls. We walked across town to a really nice park. It even had a drinking fountain! France NEVER has drinking fountains! There were so many different trees and plants. We found some rock ruins that was sat under (because it was raining again). We started to call people to see if we could get Rendez-Vous with anyone. I called a lady and I actually scheduled a meeting! After lots of calls, we went to the Longies. We taught the father in English about the Plan of Salvation. He has political conflicts in his wife's family. So the Plan of Salvation was perfect for him. He loved the idea that we really can live with our families forever after this life! 
(It's very true by the way!) he had a super hyper son that was causing a lot of distractions. So I showed him my iPad. This kid only speaks Arabic, and knows how to say Ça (that). I then went to the camera. He took some funny pictures. He was able to be quiet so we could teach the father. 

The lesson turned out great! We then left, and didn't feel like cooking dinner. So we got a Kebab. It was pretty good! We took it home and we are there. I suggest getting a Kebab when you come to France. They are great! 

Sunday: it was my first day at church here in Mont-de-Marsan, so I was nervous. Turns out the branch is super cool. We had a member bring a friend! We taught him, the less active me beer who came, and our Ami who is getting baptized soon. We taught the Restoration, and the friend of the member understood it! He had a catholic background, but decided that he didn't agree. He says that the Restoration made senses. Hopefully he comes next week!

During sacrament, I have my testimony and introduced myself. After church, we had a branch lunch together. Everyone brought really good food. It was true French food. They even had watermelon! I haven't had that for months. There was cold soup, bread, a really good tuna fish, egg, and peach dish. I had a great chance to talk to the members and make them smile. I showed my family picture book. They seemed to love knowing more about the U.S. 

After the meal, they gave us a bunch of fruit to take home. 

We walked home on a beautiful road, and then changed. We tried to pass some potential people, but they weren't home. We then returned and studied. 

Monday: so far we have shopped and went to a mall to get a haircut for elder Fritz. We have our last zone conference with the Roneys tomorrow in Bordeaux. Since we live in of middle of nowhere, we are going to Bordeaux tonight! Hopefully that all goes well. 

I love you all, and pray for the success of the missionaries. If you know any missionaries, feed them once in a while if you can! They will love you!


Love, Elder Race Acheson II









Tuesday, June 9, 2015

WEEK #6 IN VITROLLES, FRANCE AND A TRANSFER TO MONT DE MARSAN, FRANCE

Tuesday June 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,


Well, I am leaving Vitrolles and going to Mont-de-Marson. It was a very hot transfer here in the south!

I will catch all of you up on my last week of the transfer. 
The location of Mont de Marsan, France

On Monday we had an evening with the  Bishop and his family. We went over the family booklet and we shared stories about our families. They took it very well. We even got a name of a person we could talk to about the booklet. After the lesson we ate with them, and then got a ride home. 

Tuesday: we went to Martigues and went around trying to find less active members of the church. It was very hard to find one of the members because the map was out of date. We ended up walking  on a big road and we contacted a lady and we talked to her about the church. She was familiar with our faith, but she didn't really know that much, so we corrected her on some of her misconceptions. 


After that little lesson, we continued to try and find this less active. We went down a small road and got lost in a lot of apartment buildings. We decided to search another day, because we had to go meet up with our recent convert Julie. 

So we took a bus back to Centreville and met up with Julie. She even brought us water and cookies. They were sorely needed. It was super hot that day. 

After we saw Julie we went to the park to sit down and make a paper for the ward council. While Elder Arts was doing that, I sat next to a man on a bench and started talking to him. He was from Pakistan, and I talked to him in English because he didn't speak French. I told him a little about our message on the family. 

He was Muslim, so it was hard to get him interested in a rendez-vous. But at least he new a little more about the church! After that we caught the bus back to vitrolles. We went to the church to go to the council meeting. Before it started, I was talking to one of the older sister members, and we started talking about my last name. A British man told me that Acheson is a Scottish translation to "Son of the Sword". So when I told her that, the translation was "Fils de L'épée". We had the council, and when we left , the same member said "Thanks for all you do fils de L'épée!"

After we got home, I did potential investigator calls for the first time! Some people were very kind, and others just hung up... Sorry... 

Wednesday: we had district meeting in Marseille. So Elder Arts and I made it to Marseille and waited in the metro for all the other elders to show up. We made a lot of Crepes for the meal after. 

When we started the meeting I was asked to bare my testimony of the Savior. 

I told an analogy that I saw a while ago. I said, " I picture myself walking next to Jesus was on a pathway. The pathway leads to eternal life. But while going along the path, there are side paths that lead away from eternal life. On these side paths you would have distractions and other things that distract you from the end goal. I know that I'm not perfect, and there have been times where I have left the side of the Savior to go down some of these paths. Every time, I reach a point and decide I want to turn back. I get scared to think that Christ has left me and continued farther down the path to eternal life without me. But EVERY SINGLE TIME, I find Jesus Christ standing at the exact same spot where I left him. He always then says to me, "There you are! I have been waiting for you this whole time! Now, are you ready to continue forward?"

I know that Christ loves us, and that he died for all of us. All we have to do is continue down the path with him. When we get side tracked, he will wait for us, and when we repent, we can then move forward again.  This is the unique message of our church. Jesus Christ will never leave our side. 

For the District meeting, we talked about iPads and how to use them.  Then we are the crepes and left for the Gare. I went to Avignon with Elder Lietchy for an exchange. 


We went from Marseille straight to the village of Orange. We went there to go see a family with a less active son. We played Uno and the ate some really good Tuna spread on bread. We then showed a few Bible Videos about Christ. We want to try and build the faith of Christ so the people who are less active will see the importance of coming to church. 

After the dinner, we took a train back to Avignon. We then settled for the night. 

Thursday: we went on another train to a small beautiful ville. We went there to do some service for a less active member. There was a river running through the the whole town. It was very hot, and the water looked very refreshing. There were lots of cool little waterfalls throughout all the ville as well. 
We walked along the river until we got to the members home. They live in a castle like house, it was pretty cool!

We changed out of our church clothes and into our service clothes. We then helped put up a bed. We had to screw it together and try to fix some of the broken pieces.  It made me feel like I was back in my old job before the mission. It took a while. It took the whole afternoon. We all then had to hurry back to the Gare to make the train. Elder Liectchy and I then took another train to Vitrolles to finish the exchange. 

I met up with Elder Arts, and then we made it home and then we got ready for the night. 

Friday: we went running for exercise that morning, and then we started studies. President Roney then called us for the Transfer Calls. He said I was going to Mont-de-Marsan with Elder Fritz. I will be killing him. ( I will be his last companion on the mission). I packed a little bit after that, and then we went to send our reimbursements to the office. The. We went to the church to look up the addresses of less active members. 

The youth came into the church for seminary, and I dropped the sad news to them that I was being transferred.

After we left, I packed a little more and got ready for bed. 

Saturday: we went to Martigues for the last day of work. Before we went, I began my fast. The first Sunday of the new month is called Fast Sunday. You go 2 meals without food or water, and you pray to have special blessings given to you. For example, I fasted so that I could learn French better, and be a better missionary. 

We went to Martigues and walked all over. It was very hot and sweaty. We went to some apartment complexes to try and find less actives. The problem was that all the names in the doors were wrong. So those members must have moved. 

We then searched harder for the less active that we tried to pass last time. We found his apartment, and we were able to go inside and talk with him and his family. We showed the family booklet and talked about it for a bit. We then prayed and tried to catch her bus back to vitrolles.

We missed the bus by s few minutes, so we went to the park to try and find an ami who is always there. We found her and sat next to her. I am trying harder to talk by myself, so Elder Arts sat there quietly. There was a 21 year old guy next to the lady, so I talked to him too. I told him I was 19, and he put out his hand, and we did the "Bro Hand Clasp" that men do. Instant bonding is what you could call it. 

He had to leave after a few minuets of talking.  So I continued to talk to the lady. I asked her if we could come by another day with a member and talk to her more about our message. She said sure! (I think...) 

We had to leave and catch our bus. So we said goodbye, and we walked for the last time, to the bus stop. 

We got home, and then I packed a little more, and we went to bed. 

Sunday: it was my last day at church. I said hello to the members who came in early. Then we had classes. I went with our ami Francesco and Raph. (The Italian speaker) and we taught about the Plan of Salvation. We talked about the things that happen after this life. We talked about how you can live in the presence of our Heavenly Father if you try to do the best you can to be like Jesus Christ.  

It went great. After the lesson, we had Sacrament Meeting. Since it was fast Sunday, people gave their testimonies. I was asked then to give mine. I thanked them all for their work' and their kindness to me. I couldn't really speak... But after church, I took some photos with the members. Then we did Ward choir. It was great . We sang "A child's Prayer". 

We then returned home and I finished packing.

Monday: we went to Marseille, and waited at the gare. I got a bunch of grease all over my shirt! I don't even know how. 

We rode trains all day, and I met up with my new companion Elder Fritz. He is from Ogden,Utah, and he dies at the end of this transfer! 

We got off the train in a little city called Agen, and took a bus to Mont-de-Marsan. 

We got to the apartment. Our apartment is known as a very very nice apartment. I have my own room to change in, and have all my things! There is AC, and we live pretty much in a forest. 

Here in Mond-de-Marsan, it is a lot like Washington State! It is super green and feels great! It can get hot, but who cares. 

I love you all, and look forward to writing you all next week!

I love you all!

Love, Elder Race Acheson

Monday, June 1, 2015

WEEK #5 IN VITROLLES, FRANCE

Hello everyone! 



All the missionaries in our mission now have iPads! It's a cool new thing we can use to spread the gospel to everyone!

I want to do something a little different this week with my letter. I want to go a little bit more in detail of the week of a missionary in France. 

To start out, France is a very beautiful country. The food is great, and the places are historic. One thing that I love is the people here. Here in the south of France, you have people who are from around the world. Many come here for different reasons. One reason I think people come here, is to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the people don't even know that's why they came in the first place!

Let me add more perspective on my opinion. Every day, I walk in the streets in the city's in my sector. These include Martigues, (a nice mix of Venice Italy, and L.A. California), Salon de Provence, a small French city, and Vitrolles. (There are mostly houses here). But anyway, I walk in the street in these city's and try to talk to people about the family. We have. Questionnaire that we use that tries to get people to open up about their favorite memories with their family.  


We usually ask "Quel membre de votre famille a fait le plus grand sacrifice pour vous?"
Or in other words, which member of your family has made the biggest sacrifice for you? 

We ask these questions to try and get what we call in the mission "The Spirit of Elijah". For those who are curious of the name, think back to the Bible. Elijah is the Prophet responsible for the Keys to keep the family connected for eternity. In essence, he is the master of the family. When we talk about people's family, it invites his presence into the conversation. That way, the people we talk to can feel the spirit. 

We then show a booklet called My Family. In there you can keep the precious stories that you have with the members of your family.

We want to give this booklet to everyone for free! The main purpose for this booklet is to have people realize how important the family is. To give some background info on the churches stance on the family, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints is that we know that the family is a gift from God. We have our families to have joy. I know that there are many people who have felt that joy here in France! I just want the people to know that it's because of the love of God we have our families. 

Our goal for the mission is to have everyone come closer to Christ. this includes all our families! When you look at the plan of God, the doctrine of the church, and the message of the family, you will see the family at the center! 

When we are talking to people, I can see a lot of things that a strong family could have helped with. We talk to people who get sad when they talk about their families. They say that they didn't have a great experience. That is a sad thing to see. But the amazing thing of the Doctrine of Christ is that you can make that change and create an atmosphere that you want. 

I know that to have a perfect family, you must have the family centered on Christ. Then message of Christ has all the love a family would want. When you feel like your family is doing fine, take a look at all the things Christ taught, and I know you will find new things to use to achieve that goal of a perfect family! 

There are people who say to us as we walk by trying to contact them "I'm happy, my family's fine, I don't need Christ in my life." 

Thanks to our Heavenly Father, we have the choice to decide things for ourselves. The thing these people we talk to don't understand, is that God has given already all the things we need to have that joy, and love in our lives! They just need to know where to find it.

After those people who say they are fine pass me, I think to my self, "yes you may be fine, but the question you should be asking is, 'do I have joy, peace, hope and real love in my life? Am I really doing everything possible to improve my family?'" 

Take a second to ponder on those words. Joy, peace, hope, and real love. People sometimes think that money, prestige, pleasure, and other things create those things. The fact is that Christ and his teachings is what give those feelings! If anyone has questions on how to get those feelings, feel free to send me a email, or just talk to the missionaries in your area! 

So that sums up some of the things that we experience every week as a missionary! It's fun, but also very hard!

To now give some more details about the events this week. 

Monday: It is P-Day so we cleaned the apartment and went shopping. We have no money because there are 5 weeks we really have to pay for. (Bienvenu á la vie come une missionaire!) 

Elder Arts and I took a picture for President Roney. He leaves soon so we gave him a picture to remember us. We then went to the church and wrote to our friends and family. The rest of the evening was working in the area book to get it reorganized. 

Tuesday: The day we got iPads! 

We had zone training where we pretty much just did setup for the iPads. We then ate lunch and personalized the iPads. 

Elder Spencer from Marseille came with me back to Vitrolles for am exchange. The day passed quickly. We took a bus to Salon. We had a meeting with our member Marc, but he had to cancel last second. So we went contacting instead! I already gave a summary of what we do for contacting usually. To sum it,  no one was interested. We were able to talk to people though! 

After Salon, we came home and went to Ward Mission Council. I am trying hard to speak more French, so I tried to be brave and talk about the people we were working with. It was an ok attempt to talk, we will keep it at that. After the council we returned home and got ready for the night. 

Wednesday
Elder Spencer and I did the usual routine. But there was a twist in it! At the end of the morning, we took a bus to most dangerous city in Europe! (Marseille, also my favorite city)

I had another doctors appointment for my elbow. Don't fall off a ladder before your mission, it's hard to see a doctor a lot.

We did my favorite thing to get to the doctor, we rode the Metro! For people who want to know things that make me super happy, it is Castles, Metro/Subway rides, blue water with a sun shining above you, and alternative music. I have all those things except one. 

We got to the doctor and he took a look at my X-ray. He says that the fracture isn't fully healed and it might have healed in a wrong way just a bit. It still hurts and is hard to fully extend my left elbow. So the doctor ordered another test. They want to inject my elbow with a circulation fluid that can tell if there is a block in the bones or something? It sounds painful, and it might be, but I love all the Medical TV shows. So I'm prepared I hope! 

After the appointment I met back up with Elder Arts and we took a bus back to Vitrolles. The night before, I had a great plan for the day, but all our plans fell threw. So the only thing we were able to do was contact in Salon. 

We had some good conversations and talked about the Family Booklet withstood people. After an hour and half of that, we had to take the bus back home. 

When we got home I did some language study. I am trying to pray extra hard to try to get the gift of tongues. 

Later we planned and ate. 

Thursday: we went to the church to do companionship study.  We had to watch some videos about the iPads and how to use them in the right way. After that we went back home and did language study and ate.  We then wanted to go to Martigues. We wanted to go see our Ami (investigator) Wallace. We talked to him about the Baptism this last Saturday. Then we talked about the sacrament. We want him to understand the importance of it.  We take it so that we can be cleansed from the mistakes me make each week.  That's the beauty of the sacrament, and of Christs sacrifice! Each week, we can go to church, be forgiven of our mistakes, try better the next week, and then do it again! It's amazing that we have that opportunity for redemption! 

I think Wallace liked the message. 

After Wallace we wanted to take a bus to Martigues, but the bus we took back was late, so we missed the bus we wanted.  We tried to pass a less active member, but he wasn't home. We were walking past a store that fixes watches, and we went inside because my watch' battery died. He said to come back next week and he would be able to switch it out.  We then started talking about why I was here. I told him I was a missionary and am a volunteer for 2 years.  He was surprised that I wanted to give up 2 two years of my life for service. He was surprised that I gave up other things too. 

It was a good conversation. After that we were able to get the next bus to Martigues. 

When we got there we decided to do some contacting. Elder Arts is trying to have me do more of the talking. I think it's a good idea! It's just super hard! We walked around the small streets that seem like Italy. We tried to talk to people, but no one stopped, or walked away after the 3 questions. It's depressing sometimes. Then you look around and realize you are walking above a canal with boats and a bridge. Then you feel a little better about getting rejected. I contacted another man and he said, "you're American I can tell!" In decent English. We talked to him in English and he told us he is happy with out God in his life. We told him why we're are here and he respected us. It was a good conversation, but I wanted to be able to share more gospel information.

We walked through the a park and then along the shore. I contacted this man and he asked where I was from. I said America. He stated talking about all the political problems going on at the moment. First, I'm not my brother Chase. So I don't know know all the details about politics. But we started to talk about religion. He said he was Islamic. I told him we were Mormon missionaries. We started to laugh because he didn't recognize us as them. It was really funny! I even clasped the mans shoulder because we were cracking jokes! I love it when you start talking to a stranger, and then a while after you can slap each other's backs and have it be perfectly acceptable! We gave him a card with info about the church. Then we continued our walk. 

We then stopped this younger guy and we did the questionnaire with him. We started talking about soccer, and then back to gospel. I don't know how we pulled that off? I told him about the Book of Mormon, and I asked if he would take it for free. He said pourquoi pas? (Why not?). We then had to catch our bus. He said he would walk with us to the stop. While we walked he talked more about soccer. He didn't speak English at all, but he knew the national anthem and even the Netherlands Anthem. Elder Arts was impressed. He's from the Netherlands. The bus came and we said good bye. Hopefully he reads and calls us! 

We then took the bus home. We were going to catch the bus that takes is to our apartment perfectly. But there was a detour, so we had to wait for 10 minutes while the driver figured out how to get back. We ended up missing the second bus. So we had to walk home. We got home late, planned until 10:12 and we didn't have time to eat anything for dinner. So yeah! We also have little food left. Yay!:) 

Friday: this day was mostly weekly planning. We ended up going to the church, and they had seminary going on with the youth. So we talked with them after and stole some of their pizza. Then we missed the bus so we walked home.  Half way through the walk, a random car stopped us. Turns out that it was an ancient investigator! We were able to talk to them and they said that they would like to see us! There's another good thing!

Saturday: we went to church at 11 in the morning, because there was a course for the ward about self-reliance. So we sat in on the course. After that we all ate and talked. Then we caught a bus to go to salon. 

We taught our recent convert Marc in the park. We want to reteach the lessons again, and we want to do them in French. It will be good for both Marc and me because we both need to practice French. After that, we caught the bus back to Vitrolles and then came home. 

Sunday: we had a cool thing happen! We have a less active member who has a really hard time coming to church. So calls us all the time to tell us she has decided to come, and then calls later that day to say she can't. She does this many times a week. But it's ok. It gives me a great chance to stay happy and keep encouraging her! She speaks English too, so it's easy to talk to her. But anyway, we got her to come to the 1st hour of church! I think she liked being back. It was her 1st time at church since over a year ago! When we walked to pick her up, she even had a bag of food for us! We needed it....
it was great, so even said she wants to come next week. Let's see how that goes! 

After church we ate the food in the kitchen, and then we went home to study. Then we went out to try and find a young members non-member mom to try and get a Rendez-vous. She wasn't home, so we came back home, and that was that! Work dies on Sunday because no one is outside and there are no buses anywhere...  

Oh well. Let's pray I get called to Marseille or another big city! But it's ok, I'm happy right here for the moment. It's good to learn things from smaller villes. This is smaller than Périgueux in lots of ways. Everything is more spread out. I think it is prettier here though in different ways too. Périgueux is VERY French. Here is more Mediterranean. There is a lake that when the sun shines just right, it looks like the water in the "Rio" music video by Duran Duran. Or in other words, very blue! 

I already mentioned it in a previous email, but there are some days where there is strong wind all day! I love it! I don't know how it's possible! I feel like walking into a wall. It feels super great, because you still get a tan while not having to sweat! One downside is all the dust that gets in your lungs and eyes. 

There's a little more background info on the life in Vitrolles and as a missionary!   


Love,

Elder Acheson  II