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Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Adventure Continues…

I still haven’t been shot! Miracles do happen!!

Hey, do you want to hear a real miracle?

We spent the entire two weeks just contacting and knocking on doors. We got a handful of numbers (not the miracle). None of the numbers worked (Also not the miracle). So now we’re going to be smarter about gaining numbers so we don’t get our time wasted with fake numbers. :P

Here’s the miracle.

After a two weeks of basically nothing, something pretty cool happened yesterday at church. Two girls randomly showed up in church. One was seventeen and the other fourteen. They said that they were walking home and the seventeen-year-old saw the name, “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” and wanted to see what it was like inside. So they came in and stayed all three hours.

After talking to them for a while, we found out that the seventeen-year-old was from Spain. Legit. Spanish. And that she knows a close friend who is in the church and that’s what made her curious to go in in the first place. We also found out that she’s been to a temple open house in Spain. So we got their phone numbers and we’re hoping to see them sometime this week.

Boom. Miracle. The only downside to this is that they could be out of our area. But if they are, that’s not bad anyway, we’d just pass them to some other missionaries. It’s still pretty cool.

Aside from that, not much new has been going on. The last thing I guess I wanted to add was how much I noticed I’ve been blessed in my life. We visited a member this last week and they have an OK apartment and everything, but they have no furniture or anything and they’re going through a very hard time paying for their food and all they have. And yet when we went over to see them, the father’s first thought was to give us juice that he had just barely bought. He kept saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t have bigger cups for you.” But when you think about it, just his simple act of giving three elders some juice when he’s struggling to pay for it, means a lot more than even an entire bottle of juice. It suddenly means the world.

With all due respect,
Elder Saul Marquez

P.S: NatLar, thanks for the moment of silence in my honor haha. This place has no movie posters so I have yet to see the posters, but everyone else in the mission has seen them and they say it looks AMAZING!!! I hope it’s awesome. But I still doubt it’ll be as cool as July 15th was. Haha. And you’ll get a letter from me soooooon. :D May the Odds Be Forever In Your Favor. – Elder Saul  (This is for a couple of Saul’s friends who took a moment to remember Saul because he can’t see the Hunger Games movie…He loves movies especially where he has read the books)

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in MTC

 

I’m Still Alive

Yup, I heard right. Mantes-La-Jolie is not the prettiest place on the
block, despite its name. Rather than the streets being filled with
pastry, flower and chocolate shops, it is instead loaded with dumps,
rundown houses, dirt roads, dead rats, dead bodies, and gunshots that
riddle the air.

Ok, no, it’s not that bad.

But it really isn’t the happiest place on Earth (that’s to the East of
Paris back where I used to work when I was in Meaux: Disneyland
Paris!!). It’s got some nice and decent places and then there really
are the dumps. From what I understand we’re not allowed in certain
areas at all unless we’re teaching someone. But we have a car so we
don’t have to worry too much about getting mugged on the streets. And
the places we do walk around and contact are clean and alright.

The thing about our area is that it’s HUGE. Mantes itself is very
small. Our area is loaded with countryside and little French
villages. We decided to take the GPS out and “port” (tract) some of
these small villages that are about thirty minutes out of Mantes.
It’s honestly GORGEOUS out there. The way the meadows shine of soft
greens and yellows in the sunlight is amazing. Better yet is when
thick, dark clouds are draped over the countryside and fog looms off
the hills. It’s amazing.

Little French villages are pretty cool too. Most are basically
composed of houses and maybe a church and that’s about it. I don’t
know where they do their shopping. I guess they go into town for
that. But it’s sometimes surreal when you’re knocking on those doors
and you think, “I’m in France!” all the while when a grumpy old bald
man is furious and screaming from his window that you dared knock on
his door when the sun is down. I don’t even know what he was saying,
really. It was something like,
“GRAAAGGGHAHGGAGHHGARARGHGHARGHGGHGARRHGHG!!! VOILA!!!!”

No, I don’t dare drive the car. That’s my worst nightmare, driving in France.

But all in all it’s been pretty good. It’s a lot of getting used to.
Being in a trio is certainly something different. And it’s harder to
get people to stop and talk to you here than it was in Brussels. The
few numbers we’ve gotten haven’t worked or when we call they decided
that they’re not interested. So right now we’re basically just
finding!

(Rebecca Black: Finding! Finding! Got to get out for Finding!
Everybody’s looking forward to Finding! Finding! Finding! Got to get
out for Finding! Everybody’s looking forward to Finding! Finding and
Finding and Yeah! Finding and Finding and Yeah! Fun fun fun fun.
Looking forward to some finding!)

Wish us luck. We need people to teach!
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Mission

 

Amongst the Whirlwind of Things

The last week has, indeed, been very tiring and exhausting. SO much
has happened. I guess it starts with us preparing our investigators
for baptism.

We taught them the last few thing Monday night and then made an effort
to see them every night leading up to the baptism. The mother was
feeling good about the Church and everything we’ve taught her, however
she was still on the fence abut the baptism. She hadn’t said no, but
she hadn’t said yes either. She’s been baptized twice already, so
she’s been hesitant to do it again. We’ve explained it all to her and
she understood it and didn’t really object it. She just wanted a
confirmation.

So Thursday came and we all decided to fast for her confirmation.
That night we went over and talked. She was still unsure. Before
leaving, Elder Smith suggested praying there to get a confirmation.
We knelt down in a circle and then each said a prayer. Elder Smith
started, then I did one, then the daughter did one and finally the
mother. It felt like a heavy blanket was draped over our hearts. We
knew it was the Spirit.

There was peace and then quiet.

“What do you think?” asked Elder Smith.

She thought for a moment.

“I’m going to do it,” she said. “I just don’t know when.”

She got the confirmation, but then she wanted to wait for her sister
who is being taught by a different set of missionaries in Nivelles
(just outside of Brussels). But she decided that she still wanted a
baptismal interview, just in case she changed her mind and decided to
go through with it on Saturday.

As for the daughter, she told us that she was two-hundred percent sure
that she would be baptized. So we planned for one baptism on
Saturday.

Friday night came and we did an exchange with the zone leaders so they
could do the interviews. I went with Elder Hoopes to their house and
there he did both their interviews. The daughter was super excited
for the baptism the next day and both she and her mom did just fine on
the interviews. We left the house telling them when they should be at
the church and what to bring, etc, etc.

And then on the way home I got a call from the daughter. She said
that she wanted to change the day. She wants to be baptized with her
mom–she wants to do it as a family. Elder Smith talked to her and
they said they would pray that night and tell us Saturday morning.

Saturday came and they had their answer. They would wait, for how
long they weren’t so sure, but they would wait.

We were a bit sad to see that happen, but we, at least, know they WILL
be baptized. They said it themselves. It’s just a matter of when.
However, we feel strongly that it’ll be soon. They honestly are an
amazing family, and Elder Smith and I have been beyond blessed to have
seen them grow and change. Especially the daughter. She’s
thirteen-years-old and her faith is incredible.

And amongst the whirlwind of things, Saturday I found out that I’ll be
leaving Brussels. I’m going to a place called Mantes la Jolie (or
something like that). It’s North of Paris. And from what I hear…
It’s a bit… ghetto… But so it is! And I’ll be in a trio–I’ll
have two companions. One I already know, Elder Sorenson. He’s a
group below me, he’s a really good kid. The other is Elder Nielson
who is still pretty new in the field from what I understand.

As for Elder Smith, this is where he finishes his mission. So neither
of us will be here for when our investigators get baptized. It’s
weird to think that in two days two completely new missionaries will
be teaching all the people we’ve spent time with.

For me, I’m especially sad. My time in Brussels has been very
precious to me. I’ve now spent six months here. That’s an entire
quarter of my mission! I remember leaving Meaux and how sad I was to
say goodbye. Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m crushed to be leaving.

Brussels has been something else for me. Here I’ve experienced some
of the most challenging moments of my life. I’ve made friends that I
will hold onto eternally. I watched my French progress (slightly!
Still getting there, haha!), and I defied my own faith and somehow
taught in Spanish after forgetting it. Here I witnessed miracles and
truly gained a testimony that miracles do exist. Within the Lord,
nothing is impossible.

When I think of Brussels, I think of trials, growth and happiness.
This place will hold a very special place in my heart.

It all hit me yesterday as I went up to the pulpit to give my parting
testimony. I’m very sad to say goodbye to the ward and the wonderful
people I met here. This ward really is amazing! And the Belge are
awesome!!!!! Haha. :)

But I’m happy to be moving on. It’s time to go. I’ve been here for a
while and I’m ready to see the rest. With the Lord by my side, I know
that I’ll make it through the months ahead.

So here begins Chapter Five of my mission!

All is well.
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in MTC

 

So Cold

It’s been so cold lately. It snowed again and it was just DEATH!! It was -10° C the other day. I was dying. I just can’t handle the cold! I’ve never realized how nice Arizona actually is! I bought myself a beanie but everyone told me that I looked like a robber thug… Oh well. I found it in the Euro store.

This last week was good, although basically every single rendez-vous that we setup fell through. People just not showing up or answering their phones. :( That and then Elder Smith went to the hospital the other day to get his ankle checked. He hurt it a couple weeks ago playing basketball. They didn’t tell him what was wrong with it but instead gave him some medicine for whoknowswhat. And then I had Leadership Training in Paris. It was a long, long day. I ended up carrying two giant boxes of Book of Mormons from the church to the metro to the train station. They were so heavy. I about died at least ten times. People kept looking at me saying, “Bon courage!” which is a lot like, “Good luck!” Oh boy.

But the zone leaders had another baptism this last week. We were all rushing to get it setup last second… It was cold water. Curse the European heating systems! But in the end it all somehow worked out. Elder Smith and I have our two baptisms this upcoming week. We’re very excited!!! We’re hoping it’ll go smoother than this last one did haha.

Ah, and then we’ll be reaching the end of the transfer again. Time goes by so fast. I keep telling myself I’m staying here. But then something tells me no. So we’ll see. Either way, it’s been a good six months here in Brussels. And I’ve been blessed to see so many miracles here.

“HEY NOW! HEY NOW! THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF!!”
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Mission