So we just got transfer news, and I’m going to BRUSSELS. Going to the land of frites, waffles, chocolate, and all things fantastic. A lot of people call it the promised land of the mission. It’ll be quite the change going from fields and herds of goats to one of the largest cities in Europe with a subway system. I’ll miss Alsace and Lorraine though.
Thanks for video chatting yesterday, family! It was good to see all your bright, shining faces and brilliant smiles, even if you had to get up extra early to talk to me.
This week, we were out tracting in a little village close to Toul, and hardly anyone seemed to be home. As we were standing at a door, we heard someone yell from behind us: "Hey, you!" We turned around to see who was beckoning our attention. It was two older ladies walking some distance down the road. They continued, "Do you want to come and sing with us? We’re going to choir practice at the Catholic church!" With Elder Meissner having been in the Vienna Boys’ Choir and being an expert singer, he readily responded in the affirmative. If we couldn't convert them by knocking on doors, we were going to convert them with his angelic voice.
So, off to the Catholic church we went. We told the ladies a bit about ourselves and our church on the way, and they were really happy to have us. As we walked into the church, the old ladies of the choir started whispering: "Who invited the Jehovah's Witnesses? Why are they here? They're so young!" Since the old people were whispering at the volume of normal speech, I was able to hear their conversation and respond back, "Nope! We're Latter-day Saints!"
And so it was that we sat down in the choir and started learning to sing the Catholic songs. Choir practice only lasted a half hour, so at the end, Elder Meissner and I offered to sing them a song from OUR hymnbook to thank them for the evening. They were all excited and were in love with us.
Apparently they were a bit too excited, because one of the ladies grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me down to her level to give me bisous, which are the kisses on the cheeks that French people do. It's against mission rules for Elders to give bisous though, and Elder Meissner realized what was happening faster than I did. As she pulled me down, he jumped over and threw his arm between me and the lady. She was understandably confused, and we explained that we had some extra rules about kissing people.
After successfully backing out of that situation, we invited the whole Catholic choir to come to church with us next Sunday and sing with us in sacrament meeting. Success! Plus, they even took a picture with us at the end. We're going to go tracting there again to find all of our new friends.
For district meeting the next day, we went to a nearby city called Epinal. They're putting in a new set of missionaries on Wednesday, so we had to go and build all the furniture for them. Let's just say that after furnishing the apartment in Toul and in Epinal, I'm ready to work at IKEA.
I'll talk to you all next time from the land of Belgium!