Thursday, December 17, 2015

Week 4 - Snowman, Teaching Practice, and the Difference Between Death and Love

Salut tout le monde!

I hope that this email finds all of you in good health and cheer. I hope that you're having a happy holiday season full of capitalism and maybe a wee bit of family affection too. Happy holidays! I'm now past the halfway point in my sojourn here at the MTC. The food has grown a little less exciting I sadly concede. The general atmosphere of spirituality and fun is still here in full force. Increased if anything. It feels bizarre to say that it's approaching rapidly a months time. I am blessed to have this opportunity.

A fair distance from the temple this morning we decided to build a snowman then dress him up all missionary for a nice photo. Included is that photo. There may or may not have been several throaty renditions of the Frozen classic, "Do you want to build a snowman?". I cannot confirm this. Elder Dunoskovic had never built a snowman before-- he was raised on hyper masculinity and testosterone ;-)  Even he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We had a change in how classroom time is used. Now we teach other pairs of missionaries in their respective investigator personas 4 times a week. (I tried to name mine both Javert and Jean ValJean but ultimately decided that it was difficult to seriously ask, "Javert, will you commit to reading and praying to know the Livre de Mormon is true?") We also teach two french-speaking church members, in person here or via Skype in France, on Wednesday. We teach "Quentin", the lovely train conductor who has a curious heart of gold once a week. And we teach "Totokura", a poor smoker who can barely afford food and struggles with an unhealthy alcoholic cohabitant. It's quite the spectrum of practice. It's always a lot of fun to share such a message.

I ran into Elder Mark Kim twice this week! It was a nice surprise to see a familiar face. It felt very unnatural to refer to him as Elder Kim though.

The next French speaking group will arrive this week. We are now officially the oldest French speaking trainees now. The former seniors just left yesterday: Mostly to French speaking islands.

I had the chance to welcome senior couples to the MTC but not the young missionaries. It was a wonderful opportunity and a lot of fun. They probably cry a fair bit less too.

Speaking about the language: on Monday we spoke only French. It was difficult and a grammatical catastrophe but very good practice. Additionally, the words for:
'the love'---> l'amour
'the death'---> la mort
Because the French loath clear communication these are pronounced very similarly. The only difference is with 'the love' you make a make a slightly different nasal sound. we were teaching a lesson and my companion and I are bearing testimony about the love of God and Jesus Christ. As one can guess we were not saying the right word.

Which leads to the obligatory-but-thoroughly-enjoyable-testimony part of this email. What kind of missionary would I be if I didn't include it? As the Christmas season dawns with bright colored bows and whatnot, I'd like to take a moment and reflect on love. I love my family. I love my friends. I love the wonderful gospel that is put on the earth. I love the ability to progress and overcome weaknesses. I love forgiveness. I love Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice he performed for us. I love my Father in Heaven. And whether you love all those same things or not, I know that season is a time for loving others. It's a time to reflect a minute amount of the love our creator has for us, outward. Turn not in but outward this season. Lose yourself in the wonder of other people. Love strangers, family, and friends. I promise that if you do this you'll find yourself going closer to Christ whether you wanted to or not. I challenge the readers this season to make a conscious effort to love other people. And to kneel in prayer and give thanks for all those you love. In doing so you will feel the peace and love of God in turn. Je dis ces choses au le nom de J├ęsus-Christ, amen. 

And that's all she wrote. Thank you for your continued love and support.

Included is the attempt by the souers to take a photo of them all jumping.

Avec la mort-
Elder Hacker

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