Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Satan is not going to control the Internet

So, picture this: You're in a mission wide conference, with the 250+ missionaries of the France Paris mission. A member of the First Quorum of the Seventy gets up and addresses you about the importance of using tools to get a job done better and how in the end it can make you stronger. He's using pictures to do this and shows you a picture an illustration of a man who just finished digging a big canal and who know has bigger muscles than before and says, "You can see here that his muscles have grown, that he's become...oh, what was that new word that sister missionary taught me...oh yeah! He's swoll!"

Mom and Dad, hopefully, if you didn't get that, the brothers can explain it to you. :) Honestly, it was the funniest thing, especially coming from Elder Kearon with his British accent.

Obviously, the big news is the iPad conference yesterday! The big let down is that they had a problem with the shipping and we actually didn't get the iPads themselves yesterday... So that was kind of disappointing, but other than that, it was a really great conference. We were able to hear from Elders Kearon and Nielsen, who are both really awesome. They honestly presented the iPads and the whole "modern era of missionary work" thing in such a great way. I don't really know how to explain it all, it was quite a bit of information, but, for me, the overall theme was how the goal with the iPads, in the end, is to really help us to better accomplish our purpose as missionaries and to help us be better able to conquer the temptations that come with technology. Elder Nielsen said that the church has taken a stand and decided that "Satan is not going to control the internet". He talked about how the temptations in the world today are going to always be there, that we need to be honest with ourselves and accept that they are always going to be there in our pockets. That's just the world we live in. It was really interesting to me to see that the church has moved from focusing on putting internet filters on computers and things like that to simply teaching people how to overcome temptations when they do come. It's a principle that can be applied in all aspects of our lives, and for the rest of our lives. We talked about creating a plan to overcome temptation, so that we're ready when it comes. 

At one point, Elder Nielsen shared the story of what happened last year to the missionaries in the Philippines, when he was there. The part that hit me the most was the story of 10 sister missionaries. As he told it, they were all gathered in their apartment when the 200 mph storm was coming in. The building was sturdy enough that they weren't going to have any problems, but the storm brought with it a tidal wave. They quickly ran upstairs to the second floor as the water came in, but it kept rising. All the could do was climb out and onto the roof to avoid drowning. Out, exposed, into the open, powerful typhoon. Together, all ten of these sisters clung on to each other on the roof of their apartment building as the storm passed directly over them and bodies floated past them in the water of the wave. But, together, they survived. They made it through the storm.

And that's exactly how it has to be for us. If we don't all support each other in the fight against temptation, and Satan, we won't be able to make it. It makes me think of the famous Helaman 5:12. (And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall).Your foundation, the thing that keeps you rooted when the shafts in the whirlwinds come, can, and I'd even say should be, in part, your family and your friends. Sometimes, the "rock" of Christ can be those around you.

I don't really have a whole lot to say about the iPads, seeing how we won't be getting them for a little while longer (they didn't say how much, but probably a few weeks). But with what they've told us and the ideas that we've already got flowing in our apartment alone, they are really going to be effective tools for the work and for helping us as missionaries and members of the church to be better equipped and prepared to combat against the difficulties of the world we live in. It's a really exciting time to be a missionary, that's for sure!

Elder Sumsion and Elder Blais
with Andy at His Baptism
Just to end with a little spiritual experience, this week I was able to do the baptismal interview for Andy, from China, who got baptized this last weekend. I got to see how much his testimony and relationship with God has grown. At the end of the interview, I asked him to say the closing prayer, and what he said really touched me. He said: "Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the time that Elder Bigler has taken today to help me. Please bless him. And as I take this big step in my life, please be with me as well Father. I know that this is not going to be an easy path, but that it IS your path. I ask you to be with me, hand in hand, as I start this journey. I know it is possible with you. Father, we love you. And we say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." As he finished this prayer, I knew in my heart, through the confirmation of the Holy Ghost, that he was ready for baptism. Before his baptism, he had no real belief in God, or anything, but during his prayer, I could feel the connection that he has created with his Father in Heaven.

It was a really good week, and I'm looking forward to another one this week! Elder Baldwin, who I lived with in Calais, will be moving into the apartment, replacing Elder Sumsion who is moving to Caen. Other than that though, transfers didn't affect us too much. :)

Keep up the good work back home, and the prayers! Dad, thanks for the help with my questions, it's such a great blessing to have such support from home. Make it a great week and I'll talk to you guys in 6 days!

Elder Bigler

There was also an additional email from Adam asking the following

Well, we had that big iPad conference yesterday. (I'll talk about that in my email) It was honestly a really spiritual conference, and one that got me thinking and reflecting more than in a while. As we left, I was really thinking about how close I am to the end of my mission, and how much more I want to accomplish before I leave. I worry that I might not have accomplished enough when my time comes. A few missionaries in our mission right now are extending their missions, and it's really got me thinking about whether I do that as well. I feel like, this is a once in a lifetime chance, and it's the greatest work on earth. Why not serve the Lord as much as I can and put in a little more effort? Since I start school 39 days after my current release date, I wouldn't have enough time to stay for all 42 days of an extra transfer, but I could do an extra 4 weeks, with approval from Président Babin of course. But that would put me home exactly 11 days before the semester starts, which is really close. But, on the other hand, it's for the Work, and for the Lord, and I feel like he could bless me and help me accomplish whatever I need to in that time. It's just something I've been thinking about a lot, and a decision that's hard to make because neither side is a bad decision. I'd just kind of like your input on it.

What do Parents say to that?  Stay tuned.....


Pink Flowered Tree and Adam

Andy's Birthday with the Missionaries and Friends

Monday, April 20, 2015

Teaching to Recognize the Spirit

Hey everyone!

Elder Bigler at Le Mont Saint Michel
Gotta keep it super short this week, thanks to our trip to Le Mont Saint Michel, which took up most of the day. It was really beautiful, and just a marvel to get close to. The view from the outside of it is the best. As you look up at this big island/castle, it's hard to believe it's real. But it is! It kind of blew the Vianden castle out of the water... Anyway, I hope the pictures show a little bit of the beauty of it all. (More Photos Below.)

This week for us wasn't anything super special, but not bad either. Just good, I would say. :) Nothing nearly as busy as yours back home with all of the crazy comings and goings of the Bigler family. But it was still good. We had a lot of the good things that we had planned fall through, unfortunately, but we were able to have a few good lessons throughout anyway. One of the people that we met on the street last Sunday night, that I mentioned last week, named Marc, agreed to meet with us again at the church this Saturday. He's a really cool college guy, who actually lives in Saint-Malo, where we went a few weeks ago, and is just finishing up the semester here in Rennes, so we won't be able to see him again for a while. When we met with him, after giving a tour of the church, we sat down to talk about why we're here as missionaries, and what our message was. During our discussion, he said, "You know, I've crossed paths with religious people like you before, but I never agreed to meet with them. But the reason I decided to meet with you again was because when I was with you guys before I felt..." and he trailed off. For the first time in our conversation, he struggled for words, trying to describe the way he felt with us. As far as I could tell, he was trying to describe the Spirit. We kind of made eye contact as he was trying to find his words and we both just kind of knew that the other person understood. We went on to teach about the Spirit and the role it plays in giving us answers to our prayers. Like I said, we won't be able to meet with him for a while, but I know that understood how he can find his answer someday, when he's ready.

Next week, I'll be emailing on Tuesday because we have a big mission conference on Monday (iPads!). So, until then, have a great week everybody, and keep up the good work!

Elder Bigler

Frenchism: There's no "and sign" on French keyboards for some reason...

More Photos of Mont Saint Michel

Batman at Mont Saint Michel

View Looking Up to Mont Saint Michel

Cathedral at Mont Saint Michel

Interior of the Cathedral

With Adam in the Front You Can
See the Size of the Cathedral

Beautiful Architecture

Looking Down from Near the Top of
Mont Saint Michel

The Historic (Tourist) District

Fireplace Large Enough to Roast Missionaries

Batman - Always Vigilant

Monday, April 13, 2015

Such a Simple Act of Service

Hey guys!

Once again, already running out of time, so I'm gonna be a little short again.

For P-day, since there are 4 of us in the apartment, we divide up the chores, Elder Kelley and I do groceries and Elder Sumsion and Elder Blais do the cleaning. Which is fine with me, but it's a little hard considering that we have to carry all of that food home in bags, all of that food being enough food to feed 4 guys for a week. Then, on top of that, we decide, for example, that next week we're going to go to Mont Saint-Michel (yeah, it makes Vianden look a little sad), so to save time, we shop for 2 weeks in one. Meaning Elder Kelley and I are now in charge of carrying, in one trip, enough food to feed 4 missionaries for 2 weeks. Talk about a lot of food.

Things like this are not something that I really expected to be doing as a missionary, nor are they something that you probably think about me doing when you imagine me as a missionary. But they're a part of the life of a missionary, and, yes, even shopping can help us grow (in Elder Kelley's and my case, physically, in the shoulder and fore-arm areas. :) ). On our way back to the apartment today, after doing that. We entered into the building, and started to take everything upstairs to where ours is. Of course, we had a little too much to heft all the way up there in one load, so we went up with what we could carry. But as we turned back around to go and get the rest, here came our neighbor hauling what was the heaviest part of all the groceries. He was currently in the process of cleaning his car, vacuum and everything downstairs, but he saw that we were a little tired and needed some help, and jumped in to do it. It was such a simple act of service, something that he really didn't even seem to think much of, but something that really hit me. People aren't always nice to the missionaries, believe it or not, and when someone does something like that, especially for their weird white-shirt-wearing American neighbors, just to help, it means a lot. The last couple weeks in Rennes have been kind of hard, as we've worked just o find a few people to teach, but I know that God watches over us and is thankful for the work that we do, and that he can show his love to us through others.

A Lot of Missionary Shoes with a Lot of Miles on Them
This last week, we set a goal to have 10 lessons with random people in the street. For us, that was a pretty high goal. But the week went pretty well, and as we got to Sunday evening we had made it to 8. But, it wasn't 10. We had an hour and a half left in the evening, and honestly, I don't think either of us thought we were going to be able to accomplish our goal. But we said we'd do our best. And, surprise surprise, the Church is true, and within speaking to 5 people, we got our last two lessons! It came, but only after the trial of our faith, after a few hours of getting rained on without umbrellas throughout the week, a few mean words yelled at us, and a few days of sore feet. It just took that extra little push to get there, to reach the point where miracles happen.

Things are starting to pick up here, and I really feel so great! My feet have hurt more than in a long time when I go to bed at night, and I'm more tired when I wake up than I can remember, but I feel happier than I've ever felt on my mission. I'm really trying to do my best to make these last few months the best that they can be! It's a lot of work, but it's all worth it.

En Mission pour le Seigneur,
Elder Bigler


A Giant Kinder Egg
320 Grams of Chocolate

Elder Bigler with His Kinder Egg
Inside was a Giant Kinder Toy from the Avengers

Elder Kelley and Elder Bigler
Legal Visit to Paris
The Iconic Eiffel Tower
126 Years Old

Monday, April 6, 2015

Conference and Easter Weekend

Hello family!

Interior of a Cathedral in Rennes
So, I'm kind of already out of time this week, but I want to try to get something good written out. Conference weekend was amazing, and we got to learn so much from everyone that spoke. I honestly never thought I would get that much out of it before. I remember being a kid and just wanting to play my Pokémon game on my Gameboy Color instead of listening to President Hinckley. You guys made me come sit down and put it down for a minute before I had time to save to listen to what he had to say. I don't remember at all what he said that day, but I do remember, on the other hand, that after he had spoken, my Gameboy, without saving, was dead! I really loved conference as a kid...

But I can see how much I've grown since those days. I really appreciate the opportunity we have to listen to such inspired, wise people. It's really such a powerful time. 

To keep things brief, I just wanted to explain the video I uploaded to dropbox. It kind of explains itself as I give a really awkward dialogue through the whole thing. It was last week at Saint Malo, the castle/city we went to. Right before the video, Elder Kelley had just run all the way back to the other side without me, leaving me stranded. We were all kind of panicking, the Zone Leaders even turned around halfway through the run across and went back, because the tide was coming in so fast. Needless to say, I got a little wet on the way back across. I wish I had taken a picture of myself, but I totally didn't think about it. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy it, although it's not quite as good as a nice long letter. :)  (The Video is posted along with the Facebook post for this letter.)

Mom, I really liked your letter this week! It honestly brought such a big smile to my face to hear your testimony of the Book of Mormon like that. I'm so thankful for all the blessings that our Heavenly Father gives us through our obedience. They don't always come in the way we expect them, but they always come. That's what I've really learned on my mission. How everything is predicated on this, the first law of heaven. I feel so happy when I'm obedient because I know that God is happy with me and that he will show that to me through blessing me and you guys, my family. It means so much to see his deep, infinite love, and know how much he wants to bless me, and each one of us. Easter has been such a wonderful time to reflect on that and feel his presence around me.

Well, I've really gotta get going. Hopefully I'll have a little more time next week to tell you about what I'm up to. :)

Thanks so much for all that you guys do for me! It's so wonderful to have a loving family back home supporting me. It's not something every missionary has, and something I don't thank you enough for. Tyler and Kevin, sorry I haven't really been able to reply to your emails very well lately, I'm just getting so busy! I hope you guys know how much I love you. You too Brian. :)

Okay, for real this time, I'm saying goodbye. :)

A la prochaine!
Elder Bigler


New Member, Leena
Adam did the Baptismal Interview

P-Day Haircuts