Hello everyone! This first week of the transfer was great! To summarize it all, it was a week of service!
As you know, The Mont (Mont de Marsan) is small. We do some finding sometimes, but we are focusing on building up the branch. We are trying to help members keep in contact with the Branch. We have low visiting and home teaching in this branch, so Elder Douglas and I try to meet the members and give spiritual help.
We have been working with a few of our members and getting in contact with their friends. That's how we got our ami, Jean Louis who's getting baptized!
An update on Jean Louis, our engagé (person being baptized). He is getting baptized on October 3rd in the city of Pau. He has asked me to baptize him as well! He has made sure that I will be there for his baptism. He said he wants me to baptize him because his first day at church was my first week here in the Mont.
I'm very touched to know that he wants me to baptize him. It's really special for me for the fact that I was there when he first started to know about the church. I have gotten to see him progress, and taught him just about every time. I feel like he his truly my Ami!
We will baptize him before the start of General Conference on October 3rd.
So for the things that happened this week, I will start on Tuesday. To highlight the main events, we had dinner with the Krukrovisky family. They are the Ukrainians in the congregation. It was their daughter Olga's birthday. So we came to dinner at their apartment. We had Soviet food, and ate with their neighbors. There were Russians, a kid from Serbia, the Ukrainians, we two Americans and a lady from Nigeria came later.
While we ate the Ukrainian parents talked to their neighbors in Russian about what we as missionaries do. So we sat and smiled and played with the kids.
The lady from Nigeria spoke English so I talked with her about the Bible and we started to teach her about our church. By now the party was ending and the other families went back to their apartments. Natalie, the mother of the Ukrainian family bore her testimony on how she felt the spirit tell her the Book of Mormon was true.
It was great to have her help teach her neighbor. We got this lady's number and will try to contact her this week.
Wednesday we did some more weed pulling for Soeur Radrian. She has a last name from Madagascar so it's very long, and we all just call her Radrian for short. This lady is a walking history book. She survived bombings in World War II, met Bob Marley in Paris in a shoe store, and knows any fact you want to know. And she probably has met the person or been to the place.
We then went to the church to look up the addresses of less active members in the branch. The problem is that we can't reach them easily. We have a huge sector to work in. In a car, it would take probably 1 1/2 hours to drive across it. Same for up and down. Mont de Marsans the biggest city, so that's why we stay here, but we have people around the sector.
On Thursday we did service for Frere Riviere. We scooped up rocks in his front yard bushes and tore out the tarp. It took a few good hours. We then ate lunch with him and his less active wife. We taught them about charity and patience. The wife listened but we need to take it slow with her. It's great that Frere Riviere is having us over.
We then went to go teach our friends the Longies. While waiting for the bus we saw a guy with a cool hat on. I asked him about his hat, and then he asked me what I was doing here. So we to,d him we do service and share our message with people who want to listen. He said he would listen. The bus came right then, so we gave him our number and we got his. He plan to see him tomorrow.
We then taught the Longies more about the Bible, then taught them French. The wife then started to teach us Arabic. She gives us some letters and it’s very hard to pronounce them. I think I'll stick to French. That's very difficult already!
On Friday we cleaned the church with Paul, the father of the Ukrainian family. Frere Moulis was at the church doing his work as President of the Branch. Once we finished cleaning, we met with him and talked about the missionary work we were doing.
When we finished with that meeting, we had another meeting with the priesthood leaders. That lasted another hour. Then we had branch council. That was another hour. We talked about all the things we need to do in the branch.
It was a great meeting. We got a lot of things done.
On Saturday, Fr. Moulis picked Elder Douglas and me up early that morning and we went to Jean Louis's house. We went there to pick up a recliner for another member. While there, Fr. Moulis got a tour, and we sat down to talk. Jean Louis talked about his baptism, and chose me to baptize him, and we talked about the priesthood a little and answered some of his questions.
Then we drove across our sector to drop off the chair.
We then went to a store and got some food to eat later. We drove through the forests and went to a classic French cottage. We went to see a less active member and sat down with her and ate the food we brought.
We then did service for her. We pulled off ivy that was growing on the side of the house.
We needed a taller ladder, so we drove to her son’s house to get it and we picked up her grandson as well to help us.
While there the family gave us some bushels of grapes. They were really good!
We came back and ripped off the ivy. There were many spiders and bugs inside it. We had to take a hoe and scrape off the vines that were really stuck to the wall.
We finished and took the grandson back. We then took a small tour of the countryside. We visited small villages, and even visited a village with a huge church and beautiful courtyard.
We then returned home. It was a great day with our branch president doing service.
On Sunday, we had Jean Louis, Dominique, and even our other Ami, Gladness, come to church. That was a surprise! We taught them about how to feel the spirit. Jean Louis tried to explain to Gladness the feelings he had he first time he came to church. But he couldn't talk because it was too emotional. It is truly great to see a man converted by the spirit.
Before church started we found that a couple from America were visiting. They served as a couple in the mission in Mont de Marsan a few years ago. So it was cool to talk with them. They come from Olympia Washington and know my cousin! Small world!
After church we went home, and then we went to the Ukrainians apartment to give them the sacrament. They had a few kids sick so they didn't come to church. While we were there we talked and had a good time with them. We updated them about church, and then gave them the sacrament.
We then helped the Paul the father bless his sick daughters.
This family is one of my favorite families in the world. They have amazing kids, they are super strong in the gospel and are just fantastic. I would love to meet the missionaries who converted them!
Well, that's the summary of the week! It was pretty great! We have more things to do, and plan to help this branch the best we can!
The spiritual summary for week is, the Spirit is real. You can feel it and learn truth from it. I have seen it happen! A man who was atheist before and then who went to a chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints couldn't speak because he was overcome by the spirit after attending and is now getting baptized because of it.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
-Love Elder Race Acheson!