Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Week 35 - The Football Match and Hands

You might (incorrectly) think that the title of this entry refers to France's recent and heartbreaking loss to Portugal in the Euro tournament championship. But instead, it refers to one of those little joyous moments that we as missionaries sometimes get to experience.

On our p-day, ago after a long day of exploring the beaches, dunes, and forts of Dunkerque, we found ourselves near the home of a British member family. We were kicking around a soccer ball with their daughter and also a random French boy named David when a group of four children challenged us to a game of street soccer. I must say that children are much better at soccer in France than the teams I played on in youth soccer in Wyoming. Our opponents ranged from maybe 8-12 and had all sorts of coordination, fancy tricks, and super slangy French that I barely understood. We lost pretty badly, but it was a wonderful moment. All those missionaries in America who are stuck just joining in on pick-up basketball games don't know what they are missing.

The North of France is all kinds of unique. They have a port museum that  contains all the history of Dunkerque and what not— the corsair phase, the world war stuff, the fishing village, etc... And they also have a temporary exhibit on bananas, I guess because Dunkerque is one of the largest European importers of bananas. They also have banana samples at the exhibit. If you pay an extra fee, you are treated to a bonus rum sampling with bananas on the side. (We obviously did not go for that opportunity).  

Living so close to the harbor and the ocean continues to a novel experience for me.  Ocean birds are sometimes kind of noisy. It is super beautiful to be able to see the ocean from the harbor from the window of our apartment.. There is generally a solid amount of wind and the weather changes quickly— both of which are actually familiar things to me now that I think about it (Wyoming weather!).  I had some fresh mussels recently and they were super delicious.  My companion is a super happy and friendly guy and he's great to work with.

My companion and I in our apartment.  Photo taken by Brother and Sister Slaughter when they came to visit us.

The small branch here in Dunkerque continues to be awesome and a different experience for me, and I love it!  I gave a talk just last Sunday and we teach Gospel Principles class every week. My talk was mostly an extended analogy about hands. How we are permitted to walk hand in hand with our loved ones for eternity by washing those same hands that are so oft dirtied and hurt during this life. How the greatest feat ever done by hands- supporting the weight of our Savior on the cross-- ultimately allows our hands to be clean, for our sins to be washed away, for any numbness to be replaced with feeling. Then I talked about what good we could do with our own hands. Like knocking on doors as missionaries. Turning the pages of the scriptures.  Putting them together as we pray.  Reaching out (both literally and symbolically) to those in need.

So that's my challenge to you all.  There's a lot of evil done at the hands of people in this world, but there is so much greater good we can do with our own hands.  Don't let your hands sit idle, but instead find ways that they can be used to elevate your spirituality, your life, and the lives of others.

Love you all,

Elder Alex Hacker

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