Monday, November 24, 2014

Paris Mission Conference with Apostle Quentin L. Cook

Hey guys! 

So, looks like I'm writing back home but to two different destinations this week! It's crazy how easy technology makes communicating. I have part of my family in New York (Tyler and Dad with the American Fork Band for the Macy's Parade) and part of them in Utah (Mom, Kevin, and Brian), while I'm in Luxembourg, and you'll all be getting this letter in about 20 minutes when I'm done typing it. It's crazy!

Speaking of crazy, what a week it was here in the mission! And what a crazy Christmas season it's going to be. To give you a quick summary of what we have planned, this next week is Thanksgiving, which, in any other ward in our mission would be a normal day, but we have American members, so it's going to be pretty nice. :) Next week I'll be making a trip ALL the way back to Lorient to pick up my Titre de Sejour to be legal in France. That'll take a couple days. The week after is transfer week, and seeing how I've been with Elder Gomez for two transfers now, he'll probably be leaving. The week after is another conference in Paris with Elder Teixeira, our area president. And the week after that is Christmas! So, it's gonna go by really fast here on my end. 

For this week, if everything goes well, we'll be having three different Thanksgivings, on top of two exchanges and a visit to the international expo here in Lux with the stake single adults. I might be getting some Cap'n Crunch!!! The Christmas marché is up and running, and most of the lights are up too. This Sunday, Elder Gomez will be teaching the combined youth second hour at church, and the combined Relief Society and Priesthood third hour. In other words, we'll basically be taking over church. :) In other news, the Christmas tree we found in our apartment and set up a few weeks back is actually the ward Christmas tree so...we'll be losing a little bit of festivity.

Adam and Elder Gomez at Eiffel Tower
In Paris for Mission Conference with Elder Cook
So, to get to this week. It was pretty simple all the way up to Wednesday when we had to catch our train from Luxembourg to Paris. We had a 45 minute layover in Metz, so we grabbed kebabs quick and kept going. As is always the case, as we pulled in to Paris I just started to get really excited. It just feels like home going back there! That's where I started my mission and where I really fell in love with my mission. We were staying in Anthony for the night, just to the south of Paris, so we had enough time to swing by the Eiffel Tower on the way there for a couple quick photos. With the cool cloud cover, the sky was all lit up by the lights of it. Always a beautiful sight. Once we made it to the apartment there, without too many complications, we crashed so we could wake up at 5:30 to make it to the conference on time the next morning. 

The next day, Thursday, was CRAZY. Super spiritual with Elder Cook, so exciting to see all of my companions again, all on the same day, and super busy and tiring. Everything started off just like a normal day in Paris, with a crowded RER ride. We hopped on the metro and took it into Paris where we met up with some more missionaries and headed off to Versailles where the conference was taking place. Once we got there, we had a few minutes to talk before they wanted us all to settle down. Then Elder Cook came and spake to us. I took a whole bunch of notes, but the biggest part for me was the Apostolic blessing he left with us. He told us that what we're doing here is and will be a blessing for everyone that we love. The members here, our families, our future spouses, and our future children. We were able to really feel the spirit through that. Also, just the fact of having the entire mission together, singing like that, all 280 of us, was pretty powerful. I haven't felt that since the MTC. Overall, the whole thing was great, and we all learned a little bit more about the importance of what we're doing.

Eiffel Tower
After the conference itself, I was able to talk with all of my companions (except Elder Evans), Elder Alexander who I hadn't seen since February, Elder Perez, Elder Perry, who I hadn't seen since we separated, Elder Humphrey, and Elder Lloyd. Elder Tidwell and I talked a whole bunch too.It was so great to talk with all of these guys again! It's crazy how good of friends you can become with people in such a short time, and how much they can all grow in such a short time. To say the least, getting the entire mission together was a real experience. It felt like a big curtain call of sorts, but with the spirit that you can feel in the MTC when so many missionaries are gathered together. 

Unfortunately, however, we had left our phone at the Anthony apartment. so the adventure was gonna continue a little bit longer. To make the story shorter, we ended up taking a few hours to get our phone and got stuck in Paris until about 8 that night. We were able to work out the ticket situation and everything and, in the end, were able to get a Parisian crêpe before catching our train ride home. Needless to say, after such a long, busy day, we crashed pretty much right away when we got back to our apartment around 10:45.

Other than that, the rest of this week was pretty simple. We had a couple rendezvous here and there, and visit with our Stake President's family that was fun, and filling. :) These next few weeks should continue flying by, like I said, so I'll be back with more little stories before you know it!

Have a good time at the Statue of Liberty and everything Tyler and Dad, and have a good Thanksgiving back home everybody else! I got the package today, so I'll be having some good stuff myself. :)

Until next week,
Elder Bigler

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sacrament Meeting in Five Languages

Hey everyone!

It sounds like you all had a busy week, while Elder Gomez and I were pretty much just stuck in our apartment most of the week, until Thursday at least. We had been feeling bad off and on and eventually got well enough to meet one of our amis named Juan for a few minutes. While we were out, we met a couple from Draper who offered to buy us lunch! Of course, the one time when we're not feeling like eating anything at all, we get offered food... Unfortunately, we had to turn them down, but we really appreciated their offer.

Thursday we finally set back out to work and had a rendezvous with Du Wei, a member of our ward from Hong Kong. To our surprise, he had invited his dad, who's not a member, to the rendezvous! He had to translate everything that we said, but it ended up working really well!

Friday was pretty much normal until our rendezvous with Ramiro in the evening. We had worked it out so that he was coming to dinner with us to Miriam's house, a Spanish speaking member. As far as I could tell, the whole thing went pretty well, but it was all in Spanish, and I'm still not really up to par with my Spanish comprehension. He really likes what we have to teach, but we're worried that he's not really searching for a religion, but just knowledge that he can use to answer his questions. But we're always able to answer his questions and he's really open with us. He brought up the polygamy thing all on his own, and we were able to resolve his concerns about all that. 

Saturday was much the same thing. We ended up with Paco's family for dinner, and it pretty much all took place in Spanish, with some French when they felt like I looked like I felt left out... But I can't complain, the food was delicious, since Paco used to be a chef in Spain and all. :)

Then Sunday came along, with all the usual craziness. Ramiro showed up to church even before our bishop. Sacrament meeting went well, being done in a total of 5 languages this week. The Gospel Principles class turned out to pretty much just be us and Ramiro, with our teacher being absent, so we taught for the first few minutes until Paul showed up to replace us. Priesthood was the most normal of the three meetings, being held in French and all. :) During sacrament meeting, to our surprise, Du Wei showed up, again with his Dad! He seems really excited to share the Gospel with him right now, which is awesome! I'll have to keep you posted on how it goes with the translation and all... The day and the week all ended with a nice dinner with the Elenes family, from America, who even gave us American Reese's for dessert! A good way to end a week, that's for sure. :)

Well, I think I'll leave things at that. Life seems to have slowed down a little bit here in Luxembourg, for the moment. This week, however, we'll be headed into Paris to hear from Elder Cook! We're going to have the entire mission together, something that we haven't done for about 3 years, so it's gonna be a good time. :)

Until next week, and I'll try to start up the Frenchism's again Brian, or maybe some Lux version this time. :)

Elder Bigler

A Few Photos

Welcome to Germany
A Small Piece of Germany is in Adam's Luxembourg Area

Germany and a German Book of Mormon

Last Transfer Day Photo with the Metz District
Tenth Transfer for Adam

Monday, November 10, 2014

No Change at Transfers

Hey guys!

Yes Mom, you're right, it is already transfer week again! actually doesn't affect us. Elder Gomez and I are going to be staying together for the next transfer. And so continues his streak of doing two transfers with every comp. :)

Other than that, there aren't really any big changes that came with the transfer news. This transfer is going to be only 4 weeks long, because of Christmas and stuff, and the next one will be 8.

The week itself was kind of empty of major activities. We had a really good lesson with a lady named Patricia, who is usually difficult to work with and we had an awesome raclette dinner with Beatrice from our ward. Unfortunately, after that, and since then, we haven't been feeling great. We feel like it probably came from playing soccer out in the cold that morning with some members, but we aren't really sure. Also, that's kind of why this letter is so short too. We're just not feeling that well today. And I can't really think of much else to write right now, so I'll probably just have to leave it at that. I hope you guys have a good week, and a good opening to the play!

Elder Gomez and Elder Bigler

Until next week,
Elder Bigler


Additional information Dad found about the "Awesome Raclette Dinner". For those of us who didn't know.

Raclette is both a type of cheese and primarily a Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off the melted part.

Traditional Raclette Cheese
Modern Raclette Grill

Monday, November 3, 2014

Even the Hard Times Become Blessings

Hey everybody!

Sounds like everything went pretty great back home with the marching band! It's always sad to have a season come to an end, but it makes it a lot easier when you come off with a win! From the pictures, it looks like Tyler, you really had a pretty great experience with it all. You kind of got some of the best 4 years ever to be in the band.

The River Alzette, Luxembourg

As for my week, it was a pretty good one, but pretty normal overall. We took a little tour through the old part of Luxembourg city, in the bottom of the valley here last P-day, and were finally able to see some of the prettier parts of the city, but not all yet. We'll keep working on it. :)

Tuesday and Wednesday turned into some of the harder days of my mission. We had a bunch of rendez-vous set up, but, hour after hour, it seemed like everything kept falling through. We made our way an hour away to our evening rendez-vous on Tuesday night, and they ended up not being there. Since Tuesday was our last day showering at the Oliver's house, Wednesday we were finally able to go back to a normal morning schedule. Let me tell you, those few hours we have in the morning to get ready for the day make such a big difference. Like Tuesday, Wednesday started off great, with a lesson with a less-active member and his girlfriend, who were so nice. But, also like Tuesday, things went downhill from there. To make a long story short, we ended up stuck in France, around 9 at night, with our options being paying for a train to Metz and spending the night there, or walking to the nearest member's house and asking for a ride home, which would take over an hour out of her evening as she was trying to put her children to bed. In the end, we chose the member, who showed so much kindness to us and took us back home without even hesitating. Anyway, it was kind of a rough night for us, but in the end, it really helped Elder Gomez and I become closer and set some really good long term goals.

But, I don't really want to focus on the negative, so I'll move on to Thursday. We met Ramiro, and taught him (well, mostly Elder Gomez, since I still don't really speak Spanish). It went really well, and he really seems to feel like we're the path that he should take.

Friday, we met Lewis, our Elders Quorum president for lunch (italian pizza) and talked a lot about how we hope to help the ward progress and grow, specifically through home teaching. He's a really business oriented guy and we were able to set some really good plans for the ward that will hopefully come into play in the next few weeks. That evening, we saw our 9-year-old ami, Steven, who is just sweet. His family always feeds us SOOO much, but it's awesome. :)

Saturday we met with Daniel, the body builder guy, who just won the national competition here in Luxembourg. He's SUPER buff and just as nice. We talked a lot about how to get buff, and then talked about how to help him come to church. It was a really good talk, and we hope that he'll be able to make it soon. That even we had our rendez-vous fall through, so we ended up just doing some pass-backs to finish up the night.

And yesterday we spent most of the day with members. After church, we went to the Rodriguez' house, our Stake President, for lunch and his littlest son's birthday. Another crazy language experience as their kids spoke Spanish, French, Luxembourgeois, and German to each other. It still blows my mind every time I hear that... Then after that all finished up, we pretty much went straight to the Oliver's for dinner, so, needless to say, we were pretty full by the end of the night. A great way to end the week, at least from the perspective of an Elder. :)

And, that's pretty much it. It was a week full of ups and downs, a few more downs than usual, but that's alright. It's in the hard times that we learn. Lately I've been reviewing my day at the end of the night and trying to see if I've grown, and if not, what I can do better to make it. It's pretty simple, but it makes a big difference. Even the hard times become blessings.

Well, I'm about out of time, so, until next week! Keep workin' hard and havin' fun!

Elder Bigler