Friday, August 28, 2015

Charlie's last post from France
 La famille Jardon
La famille Jaquier
Hello everyone! It has been a great week :) Time has once again flown by. We started off by doing an exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Willits (my MTC comp) came to Gex and we had a great exchange. He is such a good person. It was fun to finally do an exchange with him. We went to Ferney-Voltaire and talked to a ton of people. We found someone who knew the missionaries in Tahiti and she was going to be baptized over there but moved to France! Her name is Maeva and we hope to see her soon! After the exchange, a member from the Branch in St Genis offered to take my comp and I out to lunch to get some kebabs. His name is Ruben and he is from Puebla, Mexico :) We talked about real Mexican food and I made him homesick, haha. Afterwards, we did service for the Jardons. It was so hot that day, haha. I love frère Jardon so much, he is such a sweet man. Then we had Ward Council where I talked about a new project that the mission is doing where we will talking about temples much more in our contacting and teaching. I LOVE it. In the Church we share the message that families can be together forever and TEMPLES are how families can be sealed together for eternity. I am personally so grateful for this knowledge and I love being able to teach others about how they can be sealed with their loved ones forever and not just "'til death do we part." 
After Ward Council, we went to the Thiesset's for dinner and talked about relying on the testimonies that we already have. I talked about Alma 5:26 and talked about how it should be own goal to always answer in the affirmative this question, "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"
The next day we had a Zone Finding Day in the beautiful city of Annecy!  It is paradise. It is a beautiful French city build next to a crystal blue lake surrounded by the famous Alps. We talked to many people and taught about the family and the Restoration to tons of people. The next day, we had another great day in Ferney and visited some Less Actives - one of which came to our ward hike on Saturday. We hiked through the Juras with the ward and about 20+ members came. 

Okay, miracle time. So later on Saturday, I made a cheesecake and we brought it over to Anthony and Christelle's hoping that they would be home. Well, they were and they were so happy to see us. When we walked in, the dad called his 14-yr old son on the phone and told him to come home to hear us because he really wanted to meet us. Their daughter was there too and we had such a great time with them. The mother has started reading the Book of Mormon daily and she is filling out her "My Family" booklet for her family history. It is almost too good to be true. But it is true!  They are taking the lessons now and we are going over this week and they are going to make me a traditional French plate that I haven't had yet on my mission before I leave. We are going to invite them to church this week. 

Yesterday was such a great day. One of the most bitter/sweet experiences of my mission. We went to Lyon for a multi-zone conference and I bore my final testimony. I never thought that the moment would come. I had to say goodbye to so many good friends. I bore testimony on how it is only by and through our Savior Jesus Christ that we can return home to our loving Father in Heaven and be with our family again. It has finally started to hit me that my service as a full-time is coming to an end but I am so happy for all that I have learned out here. I have one more week left in the field to show the Lord that I love him and I plan on giving it my all. I will be sending my last email next Monday. I love you all and I will talk to you soon - and the best part about it is - it's all true :)


Monday, August 3, 2015

Bonjour everyone!
You all sound so great, thanks for writing me this last week :) So this past week has truly been heaven sent. At the start of last week I was a little bit nervous about how my comp and I were going to achieve the goals that we fixed for the sector but the Lord provided as He always does.

We started off with an exchange with the Saint Genis elders. I went to their sector and was with Elder Pien, a Chinese Canadian with a ton of energy. We started of by painting a gate for the Zinsius family and Fr. Zinsuis was on one. Afterwards, we passed some old Amis in the centre ville of Saint Genis. We talked to everyone in sight and we got several phone numbers and fixed a good amount of rdvs. We ran into a man from Tanzania who lives in our sector and Elder Loosle and I are going to see him tonight. After our exchange, we met back up in Gex and passed some potential Amis, Anthony and Christelle. They are the parents of a family of four. They were home and invited us in. We told them that we had some family booklets that we wanted to give them before and so we brought them and explained what we do. While we were showing them the family booklets I had the impression to ask the wife about her mother. I asked her about what her mom was like and what she liked to do. She talked about a very sacred experience that happened with her mother and her two kids before her mother passed away at the hospital. There were tears in her eyes as she felt the Spirit. She wrote down the story in her family booklet and promised to fill out the rest. Then the father asked, "what makes you so different than all of the other religions that come to our door?" I looked at Elder Loosle and we taught them the Restoration. When we told him that the Church has been restored he looked at us and said "c'est la bonne nouvelle ça" :) They loved every bit of it. The husband asked for a Book of Mormon before we even offered and we fixed another rdv with them this week.

The message of the Restoration really is such a great example of the Love of God.

After that awesome rdv, we went to the Zinsius's for dinner and I said good bye to them for maybe a very long time because they are going on vacation for two weeks and I may not be able to see them before they get back. He said he would drive to Lyon to say goodbye to me though, haha. The next day, Elder Loosle and I did some work in a ville called Ornex. We passed a single Peruvian sister there who invited us in. She had two of her nephews from Albania over and so we came in a sat down. So here is the fun part.

The two nephews ,who are about 27 and 23, only speak Albanian and Italian and the sister we visited only speaks Spanish and Italian so I taught them by speaking in Spanish and a little bit of the Italian that I learned from Sara in Toulouse. Holy guacamoles it was funny haha. We watched "Because He Lives" in Albanian. Then later that night we taught Aurore. We shared Elder Bednar's talk "Converted Unto the Lord" with her and talked about how there is a difference between having a testimony and truly being converted to the gospel. She was really touched by what we said and is starting to really make changes in her life. While studying this, I thought about how our testimonies are gifts from God given to us through the Holy Spirit and how our conversion is something that only we can give to the Lord through our own diligence and obedience in truly living the Gospel. After Aurore, we went to the Jardons and ate a classic Swiss meal. They gave us some amazing raclette and a great dessert with meringues and Gruyere cream.

The next day we went to Geneva for Zone Training. Afterwards, we went to the Thias for dinner and taught about the hope that comes through Christ.

The next day we blitzed a new ville called Chambéry. It is south of Geneva in France and guess who is serving there? Elder Spencer (my son (trainee)) and Elder Beck (from St Genis). I was with Elder Spencer and we had a great exchange. We got invited to a soirée with some really cool young people who we played soccer with. We had a bbq that night and answered a lot of questions about the Church. The next day we went to French class in Chambéry and then took a bus back to Gex. Time is flying by so fast. We just had a Zone P-day in Geneva where I played volleyball with Elders Schalk, Willits, and Pederson. It was like an MTC reunion!

I am so grateful for choosing to go on a mission. I have come to understand the Savior and His Atonement so much more. I am so grateful for this Gospel which helps me become a better person on a daily basis. I am confident that the Lord will always provide what we need and will help us to progress and develop our talents. It's a blast :) Have a great week everyone!
Elder Charlie Bollard
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