Friday, April 21, 2017

Week 72 - Title suffers when there is no time (from April 3)

Found my new favorite idiom this week! 
On n'a pas gardé les cochons ensemble.
Which translates literally to: we haven't guarded/raised pigs together. And it is used as sort of a, "Don't you be getting friendly there; we did not grow up on a farm raising pigs together" thing. It basically means we aren't that good of friends. 

Hello friends and family! (~Kinda the same thing sometimes) I did raise pigs together with some of you. Some of you I've met more recently though. That doesn't have any bearing on how happy I am to be able to write you this email and thank you for all the influence you've had on me. I hope this finds everyone in good health and spirits!

Thank goodness for train rides, they:
1) make me feel like a business man sometimes. I think wearing a suit all the time also contributes.
2) give me time to write this email and organize thoughts. I'm writing a solid chunk of this email on a train heading from Rennes to Paris after having interviews with the mission president. The most hardcore sudoku fan I've ever seen (he is as old as you probably imagine he is) is hard at work to my right. He's been figuring intensely his paper for about 6 minutes without adding a number. Maybe he's praying for inspiration? Though he is seriously so impassioned by sudoku-- he's brought multiple highlighters and special grid paper-- and how beautiful is that? You go old sudoku man! Do the thing you love!  

This week lasted as long as the flavor of a stick of juicy fruit bubblegum. It was full and exciting and quite busy! We had a Zone Conference is Rennes where all the missionaries from the surrounding area met up for conference and meal. On Tuesday we had interviews with the mission president and his wife-- to see how we are doing and ask questions and talk about everything.

This weekend we watched General Conference! Something that might be described as Mormon TED talks on steroids? If that helps anyone grasp the concept. There are 5 two hour sessions that are broadcast over the internet. Personally I think it's a way God talks to and answers the questions of all of us little lost people here on earth but at any rate it's at the very least incredibly inspiring and makes a very uplifting and direction filled weekend. Usually I think God isn't too big a fan of direct messages and burning bushes... that would be too easy and kind of defeat the whole purpose. As I was listening to the French translation of one of the speakers from this conference, he is the only native French speaker as well so it wasn't actually a translation but the only talk from the conference given in French, he told the story of a young man named Alex. That name has always resonated with me for some reason. And at this one point this young man Alex found it hard to go to church. The one I know had a hard time because he wasn't too sure about what he believed, and he didn't exactly feel comfortable there, and waking up early was kind of hard. A number of things made going to church hard. So Alex had a hard time going. And there was a bishop who helped him a lot. And they made him do all kinds of church things: like taking bread and water to old people at the old folks home who forgot him each time, like giving talks in church, like many other things... and than this Alex who had a very hard time going to church and didn't know if that was his thing left on a mission with excitement. In effect this French man that I've met once through worldwide broadcast was describing something that resembled uncannily my own life. I felt like the most special person in the world sitting there knowing that I was receiving an answer, summary, and validation for most of my life up until this point. This wasn't even a subtle message. It was literally my name. It was the biggest reassurance and confidence boast from one of the people who's opinions I value a lot. God. So that's how I was reminded I'm doing the right thing this week. That's how a 2 hour video of old men talking reduced me to nearly sobbing mess. 

In the spirit of the fast approaching Easter holiday I figured I'd write a little about important Easter things. Like candy and chocolate rabbits. Without further ado: Pear Jelly Beans are by far my favorite flavor of jelly beans. I hope it was already clear that I was talking about Jelly Belly brand jelly beans because those are the only jelly beans that exist and any copies are apostate heretics. The singular reason why? That is what my grandpa said his favorite flavor was when I was a kid. And I looked up to my grand-pappy so much that whatever he said his favorite flavor was my favorite flavor too. And since then I haven't ever decided to change favorite flavors and I still love pear jelly beans because they are my grandfather's favorite type. They also sometimes look like they are camouflaged with the little green splotches here and there. That doesn't hurt. This was mostly just an excuse to say I love my Grandpa and you better try your best to love yours too. 

Have a great week everyone! In the immortal words of Tiny Tim from the Muppets Christmas Carol (Maybe the original one too... I wouldn't know that well) "God bless us, everyone."

Elder Alex Hacker

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