Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 21 - Remember Who You Are Week

Hello! I wish you all a good day! I hope the work/birthday/funeral/lunch/week/conference went well.

I do love writing these emails, and I again regret the few weeks there without much heard from me. I am alive and well! Caen is still lovely and it is starting to warm up a little. My new companion, Elder Sherren, and I are doing well. Picture Batman and Robin only with two equally handsome Batmans. More white shirts too. He is nearly done with his mission as in he will die here in Caen. It is a pleasant shift from the youngest possible companion to the oldest possible companion. A different learning paradigm that's for sure.   Unfortunately he is from Texas. That's the only downside. (I'm only joking, of course).  Our senses of humor go together very well.

By the way, this was my first experience with getting a new companion, so I learned how it happens first hand.  Everyone getting new companions or moving cities convenes toward Paris and then they have some logistical nightmare play out complete with train switching, gare (train station) switching, escorts, etc... where everyone ends up where they are supposed to be. I just waited a bit in a train station while until my companion showed up.

As part of our P-day shopping, we stopped by a local game store and met the owner, who was very interested in  visiting with us, including showing us how to play Warhammer 40K (the game on the table in front of us)

This week was wonderful. We met a lovely fellow on the tram today. We asked him how to say "super power" in French. And then a bit later he was telling us about how he isn't practicing religion anymore but wants to. We planned an American themed Ward activity-- designed so that members can invite their friends to taste the artery clogging delicacies of my home land, and perhaps taste of some eternal salvation on the side. We revised the ward mission plan and have been doing a lot of work with the members here in Caen.  We are off to Paris again tomorrow for district meeting and interviews with President Babin

While at the train station we bumped into a fellow named Marc. He is from Thailand originally and then moved to England and then moved here to France. Shortly after meeting him he told us he was a Catholic Priest and a millionaire. And that he owned 4 houses, 2 apartments, a hotel, and a Thai massage parlor. And that he had a bullet lodged in his shoulder. And that he had four wives. As many as he had houses. And that he had nine kids. He joyfully explained how he hadn't payed taxes in three years. Then a group of Albanian youngsters wandered by and Marc gave them his keys-- explaining he let refugees stay with him. So we give him a card and tell him to call us if he is interested. He gives us his card which is a hand written note with his name, address, email, phone number, and a friendly message on the bottom. A few days and a tram ride later we meet Marc at his house. His wife was a bit too full of death threats, insanity, and alcohol—long story short, we had to stealthily text the other missionaries to call us so we could escape. Worst rendez-vous to date.

We are still teaching our awesome Russian ami, although we also remain somewhat impeded by language. We met a nice guy named S. on a team the other day. He has been doing awesomely.  There are many Africans who are happy to speak to us: they are practically culturally obligated to say yes when we ask to share a message about Jesus Christ, although the transition from that point to having them be interested enough to keep commitments is tough.  In terms of service projects, we helped Nicholas build some on his house and we are going to help someone move Wednesday this week.

The mystery of the cheesy title of the email now unfolds. I would like to take a moment to remind everyone about who they are. And if you don't know how you are, I'd invite you to reflect and go figure it out. This has got to be the most reiterated message in all of this church. And I don't think that is an accident, I think that is because it is the most important message. You, whoever you are and whatever you've done or haven't done, are a child of God. You are the most important glorious creation ever. You are more than just a pretty radical combination of matter working together in complex ways. You have something special that all the other stars and planets and oceans and beautiful things lack. You are divinity breathed into matter. You and all your imperfections, are the most perfect thing to exist. And as a child you get certain perks. You have the right to be loved. And
you are so very loved. As a child you are allowed to mess up. You will most certainly get lost. But. You are afforded an infinity of chances. You can fall off that bike over and over again and there is no one but yourself who will ever tell you not to get back on again. All those scraped knees will heal. As a child you have a lot left to learn. Every one of you. And you have the great blessing of exploring and learning up until you die. As a child you have the right to speak with your Dad. You can speak to a wise and a loving father at any point in your life at any moment of the day. You are more than a brain. More than the most incredible biological computer. You are more than a sum total of your past choices. You are more than you imagine. You are the child of God. You are made of some crazy cool stuff. The same atoms that form mountains and roaring oceans and burning stars. And that's pretty rad. But that is not even the cool part! You are literally children of omniscience, omnipotence, and all other omni-words. You rule. Everyone of you is the most special and important person. And everything we do in this life, and this gospel, is to further our conviction and understanding of that simple fact. When you know who you are the rest of your life, and anything to come after, will fall into place. So how do you better learn who you are? You can start by asking. By asking friends, family, and God himself. You won't get a face-in-clouds Lion King experience but I can promise if you do it sincerely you will get something. Of all the titles one can attribute to deity, to God, we use Father. Heavenly Father. I think that is in part to remind us that we are the Heavenly Children.

And that is all she wrote for today. Maybe next week will have some better content! Have a good week everyone. Take some time to do something fun this week if you can. And if you can't do that, find some fun in whatever you have to do!

With love,

Elder Alex Hacker

Make yourself at home.

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