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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Orange

It’s orange everywhere!!!! Saturday when we went to the famous Brussels arches (Parc Cinquantenaire) to play football I was totally shocked by how all the trees were just orange. Obviously we get that back in Arizona but this place is just so much more green (or orange and yellow now) that I was stunned. It is so cool and beautiful. I guess I hadn’t experienced a real fall until now haha.

Speaking of which, yesterday was my first daylight savings!!! Wooo!!!! It made no difference in my life.

Well, my birthday was pretty great. Saturday when we went to play football, one of the sisters brought me a CAKE! She made it completely homemade. It was SO GOOD. And the best was that it was shaped and fashioned into a golden snitch from Harry Potter. It was so awesome. I forgot to take a picture of it. But she said she took a picture of it. So I’ll have to get it from her so you can all see. It was super cool. That was super super nice of her. I know it took her a lot of time. Thank you, Soeur Turney. :)

Then Saturday night we had the ward Halloween Party which was a ton of fun. I ate a hanging donut with no hands. I failed but it made for a good laugh anyway hahaha. It was nice getting to talk and hang out with the members. Unfortunately none of our recent converts, less actives or investigators showed up. We’ll just have to keep working with them.

Yesterday (the day of my actual birthday) at church, one of the members went to the American base and gave us a bunch of American groceries!!!! That was so nice of her and so just that made my day. And then we had a good dinner with one of our investigators last night.

So no complaints. Pretty simple and fun. Still did some work.

I have to say thanks to my family (especially Uncle Robbie’s and Aunt Lorie’s family) for deciding to throw a birthday party back home without me. HAHAHAHAA. But I was super happy to get all of your email messages and the video this morning. It means a lot to me and I miss you all. I was also happy to get all the Facebook comments forwarded to me. I sure miss my friends–thanks for thinking of me. :) And, of course, thanks to my parents and grandparents for their packages.

I’m twenty years old now! That’s weird. I kept getting asked yesterday if I feel any different?

Nope. Haha. Big changes don’t seem to come all in one instant, but they seem to be more gradual. But since starting my mission, I think I have changed slightly. I’m still the same person, of course, but my testimony has grown so much more. I thought I had a strong testimony before my mission. I was so wrong. It just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I had no idea that it could keep growing. Testimonies are eternal and infinite. They last forever and they continue to grow forever. There’s something great about this work. I can’t explain it. But it’s just good. It’s tiring, it hurts, it’s hard, it’s frustrating, it’s happy one moment and sad the next. It’s a mix of emotions. It’s a big test. But it seems to be that when we put our testimony and weaknesses to that test, that’s when those trials become experience and those weakness become our strengths. :)

“Testimony is as elusive as a moonbeam; it’s as fragile as an orchid; you have to recapture it every morning of your life” (Harold B. Lee). President Staheli shared that one with us before he left.
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Mission

 

Get Your Pop-Tarts Out of My Tintin!

Nothing incredibly crazy happened this week. We got a few lessons in and we just continue to work with our investigators. A couple of them are slowly progressing and others are, well… They at least meet with us from time to time.

This weekend was fun, though. One of the elders, Elder Helvey, who finished his mission a couple of weeks ago, came back to visit us with his parents and brother. They’re all suuuupppeer awesome. They brought me Pop-Tarts!!!!! :D You can imagine the joy of a poor American-deprived European missionary who misses good old American food and drinks (like Root Beer!!!!!). So thank you, Helvey family.

This weekend was also the PREMIER OF THE TINTIN MOVIE!!!!!! The red carpet was out, Steven Spielberg was in the neighborhood and a giant Tintin parade graced downtown Brussels.

I didn’t go. But that’s what happened. I went there a few hours after it was over. The place was loaded with Tintin posters. (In case you didn’t know, Tintin was created here in Belgium).

So that’s mostly it. Sorry for the lame blog post this week. Life is just work as usual.

I foresee lots of contacting, area book work and birthday cake this upcoming week.
Elder Saul Marquez

P.S.  I, Elder Marquez’ mom, looked up Tintin because I had no idea what he was writing about.  It is a classic comic book created by the Belgian artist Georges Remi that will be in theaters I think this December.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Mission

 

Miracles

I watched a movie. In a movie theater.

It was awesome. It. Was. A. Miracle.

So one of the members in our ward is into film making and I guess did the French subtitles for the pioneer movie 17 Miracles by T.C. Christensen (I think he did Errand of Angels…?) Anyway, he rented out a whole theater so the entire ward and their friends could watch the movie with the French subtitles. Being part of the ward we were invited, but we, of course, used it as an opportunity to invite some of our investigators and less actives to a ward activity. None of the less actives who said they would come came, but thankfully one of our good investigators showed up along with her nephew and niece. Yay! :D

So I got to watch a movie. In a movie theater. Legit. :) Not that we don’t watch movies at all. The First Presidency gave all the missionaries DVD players, but we get tired of watching The Testaments and Legacy all the time. You know it’s bad when you’ve got the church-produced movies memorized. “That’s my son, Johnny!” “The Messiah has come, stay here!” “You are a specter from the gods!” “And there is no… [dramatic] MESSIAH!” I even know it in French, “Et n’il y a PAS… [dramatic] MESSIE!”

Uhhh.

But 17 Miracles was AMAZING! It’s already been out and available for some time back home in the States so I don’t know if everyone has seen it yet or not. But is follows the story of the Willie handcart company and some of the truly amazing miracles that happened along the trail. Seriously, some of those stories are amazing. We couldn’t stop talking about them afterward. Not only that, but I also felt that old appreciation for the pioneers that I hadn’t felt since the Pioneer Trek I did back in 2007. It was very cool and very inspiring. Also very sad (pretty much every member admitted to crying haha). But super super cool. If you get the chance, make sure you see it.

I’ve thought a lot about miracles. I’ve seen many both small and large here on the mission and I’ve heard of many back home. They exist in deeds, words, people and circumstances. They are true blessings from our Heavenly Father.

The thing that was interesting about that day was that I just happened to be, by coincidence, reading about miracles in Jesus the Christ during my personal study some hours before the movie. James E. Talmage began by discussing the miracle that Christ performed at the wedding and then went on to discuss the possibility of miracles. He said something very interesting.

“In the contemplation of the miracles wrought by Christ, we must of necessity recognize the operation of a power transcending our present human understanding. In this field, science has not yet advanced far enough to analyze and explain. To deny the actuality of miracles on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious, is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be, and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ p. 149).

:D
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Mission

 

Letter From Sis and Bro: Miss You!

Jacqueline wrote: Mundo and I have missed you, so we thought we’d join you on your quest to find those in need of the gospel so we went to Paris and looked for you there but then we realized you weren’t in Paris, you were in Belgium, so we turned back around and walked home again.

Saulito wrote: You two are so weird. Hahaha.

 

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Mission

 

RIP Steve Jobs

RIP Steve Jobs. Thanks for the iPod. You were my marketing hero. :(

Friday was pretty legit. The Zone Leader’s investigator was baptized and we were all there to see it. It was very cool and he was very happy! Yesterday before church, we were waiting in front when that investigator, one of our investigators and her nephew, a less active member we taught and then our investigator who was baptized all walked in at once. It was pretty cool to see the “fruits of our labor” all come in at once. And then during sacrament meeting the two investigators who were baptized were confirmed. :D

Apart from that, this past week marked my SIX MONTHS!! It’s really weird. I’m a quarter of the way done. It feels slow in the moment but then when I look back at what I’ve done it feels like it’s gone by fast. It’s a weird feeling. Sometimes it feels like this mission is going to go by soooo fast and other times it feels like it’s going to be soooo slow. But whether or not it goes fast or slow, it goes. And now I’m entering into my fourth transfer. I’m staying here in Brussels with Elder Garica, yay! Unfortunately, though, a lot of the other people here in Brussels are leaving. One elder, for example, is dying this transfer. He’s awesome and we’re already missing him even though he’s still here for another couple days. Some of the Soeurs(Sister/lady missionaries) are leaving too. So it’s going to be a bit different next transfer.

I’ve really come to like Brussels. I remember one missionaries in my first transfer saying that when you’re in Brussels, it’s like being part of a big family, whereas the Paris missionaries are more like good friends. Well, having been in the Paris area and now being in Brussels, I feel the same way! These people are awesome and I’m going to miss them loads! I’m sure I’ll see some of them again eventually. But then again our mission is HUGE.

So we’ll see how this transfer goes. President Poznanski has changed a lot of things in the mission. Like, BIG changes. No Soeurs(sister missionaries) in Paris, for example. It’s weird to imagine Paris without the sisters. And a bunch of other changes in zones and districts. People younger in the mission than me are training this transfer and some who are barely older then me are shooting up to district leader and zone leader. Things are definitely being run a lot differently from when we had President Staheli. I’m sure all will work out in the end though.

And that’s the rest of the story!
Elder Saul Marquez

Tell Grandma and Grandpa I say hi and that I miss the Halloween decorations.  Those decorations are always my favorite part of Halloween, going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house with the family.  It’s the best!

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Mission

 

President Monson, You Tease!

 

President Monson spent FOREVER talking and talking about temples and then he finally got around to the temple announcements. It was agony. And then, of course, he reaches the end and he doesn’t announce the Paris temple! Instead, he throws in a quick “And we’re working on the temple in Paris.”

Oh well. That’s old news to us. A month or two ago the Church bought property near Versailles for the temple. One of the French newspapers caught wind of it and announced that the Church was working on building a temple there. This got a lot of the members super excited. This happened once before some decades ago but nothing came from it. This time seemed promising, though. So for the last while we’ve all been looking forward to this conference, hoping for the official announcement. Still not there. Of course, I understand that after the press got everyone’s attention President Monson couldn’t just go without saying something. But oh well. I hear the members in France are pretty sad but maybe this is all just a good lesson in patience. Considering the Church’s history with trying to build a temple in France, this could be one of the most anticipated temples ever.

Either way, conference happened and it was GREAT! I was SOOO excited all week long and when it ended I was super sad. I don’t know why it means so much more now that I’m on my mission but it did and it was SO MUCH FUN! However Saturday was pretty hectic. We got ready in the morning, went to the church and printed off programs for the baptism that we were planning on having later that day. After that we went to pick up our ami (investigator) who was getting baptized and took her to the OTHER church in Brussels. We got there to find members waiting outside for the broadcast of the Relief Society session. For some reason nobody had come to set it up. We got inside and found the projector ready but we had no idea how to turn it on or tune into the satellite broadcast. Someone figured it out eventually but the picture was terrible. Either way, they sat through it.

As Relief Society Session was going on, we were rehearsing a musical number, preparing the fount, setting up chairs, etc etc. And then I remembered that Relief Society Session was an hour and a half. This was a problem because the Relief Society Session started at 4 and then they would do a live broadcast of Saturday Morning session at 6. So we had a half hour for the baptism. And then I had a feeling that the bishop wouldn’t show up. So I called him up.

“Oh, yeah, I’m out of town.”

Thank goodness one of the members of the bishopric showed up just in time. But then we started late because everyone wanted to take pictures! So then we had twenty minutes. Then right after the baptism, I ran into the chapel because conference was about to start. An ami was there and I told her that there was something wrong with the video.

“Well then I’m not watching!” What?! (She ended up staying in the end).

And since nobody was there to fix anything, we were trying to get it to work. And then I was like, “Wait, there’s still a baptism going on!” So I went back and caught the talk of the Holy Ghost and the closing prayer.

In the end, we were a bit late for Saturday Morning’s Session but I got there in time to catch the second half of Elder Scott’s talk. And by then someone in the ward had fixed the video so it was all good.

It was pretty hectic and crazy but it was all fun. After Saturday Morning’s session we went home. Got up Sunday morning and went back at 11 and watched Priesthood Session. Then at 2 we watched Saturday Afternoon and then a live broadcast of Sunday Morning at 6. I have yet to see Sunday Afternoon.

I took loads of notes during conference and learned a lot. There were some great talks of encouragement, instruction and warning. A common theme I noticed was standing up for our church, even, at times, defending it. Between Broadway musicals to Presidential Elections, the press, media and public continue to become more and more aware of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Considering what has happened in the last six months, it only makes sense that the general authorities would encourage us to stand up for our church.

It’s something that we, as missionaries, have talked about a lot. As missionaries in France and Belgium (althoughI imagine that this must be the same for many other European missions), we are often confused with members of a different and very prominent faith. I’m not going to say what the church is, but you’ve heard of it. People don’t even know that we’re members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even with our plaques. They mistake us as something else. Some people have never even heard of a Mormon! And those who have already have crazy ideas about who we are–ideas that are almost always wrong.

It’s important that people know who we are. And it’s important that they know what we believe; especially that we believe and follow Jesus Christ.

So speak up. Every member a missionary. Like President Monson, even if you feel alone, know that you’re not. Besides, there are at the very least 52,000 of us out on the streets doing the same thing. The sister, who was baptized, was found through members.

We are all enlisted!
Elder Saul Marquez

Tell Andie I said hi and Happy Birthday.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Mission