Hello everybody! I hope this last week was a good experience for you all. You are the best! Everyone of you!
I am feeling great right now. I wish that you all feel likewise! It has been a lovely week in Dunkerque. I talked with a lot of people and some of them even wanted to listen to me.
After discovering that myself and my companion were to stay in Dunkerque, and that we were to tragically lose Elder Shenkal and Elder Lamothe [from our District], we started off with some planning. We reflected on what we had seen over these past 6 weeks together: what worked, what didn't work, a bit of shameless self-flattering, what we sucked at doing, etc... And then set about creating a vision of where we wanted to be in 6 weeks. Now I have never been much of a planner dude. The free ones gifted me during high school and junior high would have been better served heating freezing orphans then waiting in the recesses of my backpack. Planning had it's value for me but I was pro-spontaneity at the time. Still am. I never really took time to plan. So here on the mission I have really been able to recognize the value of planning and setting goals. And then doing them after. I think the passage of time should always be accompanied with goal setting of sorts. With a planning and responsibility for who you are and what you want to become. These ideas help us ride all the numerous types of waves that one can confront. Those people and events that push us up can push us up even more. Those that may chop us down... Those things that wound and scar can be used to strengthen and teach us.
I would have loved being a cartographer. The drawing of maps would have been cool enough. Whenever I started a book as a dashing youngin' I would spend ages regarding the fictional maps at the beginning. The most marvelous thing is someone who is in over their head. A fish out of water. Someone who has bit off more than they can chew. Whatever other colloquialisms that vaguely describe someone in an overwhelming situation. If I had been given an accurate description of what these two years in France consisted off before making the choice to leave, I do not think I would have had the courage to go. The desire to help people would have been there but the fear and doubts may have easily squashed it to the point that I would not have embarked. Since embarking, since jumping into the pool not knowing how to swim, trusting my Heavenly Father would catch me, I have experienced a spurt of personal growth I could not have imagined. I have had more fun than I imagined. I have found a love of other people that exceeds anything I thought myself capable of. I love it!
The is not the happiest country. Everyone living here recognizes it too. There is a lot of searching for happiness and not many seem to have found much of it. My 20 years of experience don't exactly qualify me as an expert on the subject, but I guess I have a few ideas to share/think. French children seem to grow up too fast. The family doesn't really exist— a nuclear one or a family that forms through friendships. A man sporting a lovely French mustache on the street described his country as a world were everyone looks out for themselves. As a consuming liquid society (If I correctly understood his vocabulary). People try to fill their lives by trying things: they try each other, they try books, they try passions, they try classes, they try to fill up by eating stuff. Though eating things doesn't fill us up I don't think. And this random French dude didn't either. It is rather in giving ourselves to something that we filled. When give ourselves to a study, to a hobby, to a movie or book, to another person, to a question, then we get something out of it. Then people are filled. Then we really find out who we are! And what an incredible process that is! It is just about the meaning of life. This applies very specifically with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It does nothing if you don't look for it. If you aren't willing to give.
Fix some goal this week everybody. That is the weekly engagement. Either find, or redefine, what path you want your life to take. Write down a dream! Decide to live one of those dreams! Inspiring words!
Thank you anyone who took the time to read my ramblings. I do really appreciate your time. I love each and every one of you guys.
I will see you next week!
Captain Elder Alex Hacker