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

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