Monthly Archives: March 2012

We’re Pregnant.

So there are some things that you should know:

The missionary that trains you is called your father. And you are his son. Your second companion in the field is your step-father. The missionary who takes you contacting your first day before you get a companion is your mother. So we all have parents in the mission. Sorry Mom and Dad.

Extract from the Book of Marquez:

1 And we, being a good and wholesome people, followed the traditions of our fathers.

2 And it came to pass that here in Mantes, being in a trio (that is to say departing from the normal companionship and working as three), we pondered over the changes that would be made to our area. For never had it been seen of a trio to last more than one transfer.

3 And this was the way of our thought.

4 And behold, Elder Sorensen did cry out with a loud voice and declared, Surely it is I who shall leave, for I have been here longest! And it seems to me that you, Elder Marquez and Elder Nielson, shall continue to work for the Lord here in Mantes.

5 But I, Elder Marquez, being much wiser, smarter and all around better, did say unto him: You cannot possibly know the way of our mission president, nay even God who is your Father. For behold, I have a tinkling in my toes that thou shalt stay yet another here in Mantes.

6 And the week past and it became Friday.

7 Now, the tradition of our mission was that the Assistants and President should call all the new district leaders, zone leaders and trainers throughout the land. And this I knew, and my companions did know it too.

8 And it came to pass that while we knocked doors, our portable telephone device did cry from Elder Soreneon’s pocket. And behold he did answer and I did learn that it was my step-father on the other end of the phone, that is to say Elder Nelson, who was one of the two Assitants to the President.

9 And behold, we did listen intently, for Elder Nelson did speak many strange things unto us, insomuch that we did wonder in stupor.

10 And these were his words: Ok, I need to talk to Elder Sorenson and Elder Marquez. Alright, we have a special situation for you two. You will both be staying in Mantes as a trio. However, your new companion will be a new missionary, so you’ll both be trainers. He is visa waiting to start his mission in the States–he’s French and he’s from Bordeaux. He hasn’t even entered the MTC yet so he’ll be with you two for five weeks and then he’ll go to the States to go to the MTC. And he’s the son of one of President Poznanski’s good friends so don’t mess up!

11 And it was so.

12 And we did find this strange, for we knew that this was a strange thing to be had. For this missionary would have two fathers. And behold, normal this is not.

13 And it came to pass that Saturday came and we learned that our companion, Elder Nielson, would be sent to Saint-Quentin. And we did weep with him.

14 I write these things on a Monday, and so we have not yet met this new companion. And thus we shall continue to mourn for Elder Nielson and eat many burritos in his honour.

15 And, indeed, I write these things that ye may know that we are pregnant.
Elder Saul Marquez

Wish us luck!

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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Mission


The Plan of Happiness

It’s been about a week since we visited a referral we received from a member and met him for the first time. He’s probably in his forties and one of the first things you’d recognize is that the right side of his body is slightly paralyzed. He told us about how he had a stroke about a year ago and how since then he’s been working to recover.

We visited him a few times during this past week and had the opportunity to begin teaching the Plan of Salvation. We taught him about the Pre-Existence and how there was purpose to this life. We talked a lot about how God’s plan is a plan of happiness and how we strive to return to live with him again.

It was really cool to see the change in him. When we explained those principles, his face lighted up. He told us about how even though he has faith in God, he’s often wondered in the last year if there really is happiness in this life; and if there is, where is it?

We were more than happy to tell him that it does exist and that it’s within living the gospel principles of Jesus Christ.

I’ve been studying a lot in 2 Nephi lately and reading a ton about Isaiah’s and Nephi’s prophecies. A theme that seems to be common in those chapters is how the Lord will sustain those who place their trust in him. For me, I’m so happy to have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation in my life. I know where I came from and I know where I’m going. It broadens my perspective, and with that, I can truly see how my trials and burdens are only a “small moment.” At the end of the road there’s a light. And beyond that light there’s a road of peace and joy that has no end because it is eternal. :)

With that in mind, I understand why we sometimes call it the Plan of Happiness rather than the Plan of Salvation. The greatest joy is seeing others discover that for themselves. And I think our new investigator felt that the other day. Thankfully, we’ll get to see him a few times this upcoming week. And, in fact, he’s said he’ll be baptized April 21st!

That’s probably been the best experience of the week, and it was certainly something that I’ve reflected on the last few days. So I’ll leave you with that. And can you believe that conference will be here so soon? Where does the time go?!

“Time flies on wings of lightning; we cannot call it back.”
Elder Saul Marquez

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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Mission


Cartwheels for Baptism

Saturday was the day of the baptism and things were already pretty hectic. The day before, the office elders came to our apartment, picked us up and took us out to IKEA to FINALLY buy furniture for our apartment. Remember, we’re a group of three. And one of us was sleeping on the floor all these weeks, another was without a desk and I was without a closet and have thus been living out of my suitcase these last four weeks. And so our apartment was messy with cardboard boxes and instruction manuals come Saturday morning.

But we were off! We left early to get into Paris. Unfortunately, we weren’t given permission to just drive the car to Versailles (where the chapel with the baptismal font is), so we had to take the train. We had just enough time for a quick lunch in Paris. We got lunch, passed by Notre Dame to catch the metro (which was cool because I finally decided to stop and take pictures this time. I always pass it and say, “I’ll do it next time”) and then got to Versailles. I haven’t seen much of Versailles, so it was cool to see more of it.

It’s definitely a nice place to be.

Passed by the Château on the way to the bus stop. It’s also very nice. Kind of ridiculous how luxurious it is.

Got on the bus. Somehow ended up teaching half the first lesson to the controllers (eh, security?) on the bus. Then the bus broke down. So we hopped off, took out the GPS that we had brought with us from our car and walked the rest of the way there. Thank goodness it was only a six minute walk. In the end, we got there in time to fill the font up. It wasn’t cold! (That always seems to be a problem) and people started showing up.

There was a good amount of members in attendance. I think it was great for the parents to see all the support that she has from the ward (because, remember, the parents aren’t members and it was the baptism of a nine-year-old girl who’s been coming to church on her own).

In the end, it all worked out. The spirit was strong and the girl was so so so happy. It was such a good experience.

The Lord’s been blessing us since.

We’ve honestly just been knocking doors and walking streets for the last four weeks, hardly teaching. But somehow, we ended up with a referral and met with this man last night. He said that he wanted to learn more about the Church and that he believed that our message could help him. We taught just a bit of the first lesson and will be seeing him again tomorrow. We left him with a Book of Mormon and he was indredibly happy by the end. He even said he might be baptized. Apart from that, some old investigators that we had dropped have decided to start coming back to Church and keep commitments. They’re progressing as of right now.

Our week is still full of nothing but finding. It’s honestly the only thing we’ve been doing. But we know that the Lord is mindful of us, and we see that through all of these small miracles, whether it be through a baptism, a new investigator or people progressing. It reminds me of that old phrase that I’ve come to love so much, “waiting on the Lord.”

Of course, it’s been said before, the greatest part of the work is seeing the joy the Gospel brings to people. I’ve been blessed to see it so much already.

In fact, that little girl was literally doing cartwheels after her baptism.

Elder Saul Marquez

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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Mission


God is Good

I already know that I’ll be doing injustice this week in trying to possibly relate everything that has happened. Because there’s been a lot. And I’m happy to say that they’re good things. :)

It started a week ago at church. A nine-year-old girl has been walking to church every Sunday for the last year or so. She wanted to get baptized a while ago but her parents hadn’t given the permission. Well, that Sunday the bishop turned to her and said, “How’d you feel about being baptized in fifteen days?” Her eyes grew huge and she waid, “WHAT?!” He then told her to talk to her parents about it.

Last week we got a call from her Mom. She wanted to talk to us. She’s known the bishop and the church for a while, ever since her daughter started attending but she goes to a different church. We talked with her and the father for a while. In the end, they gave her permission to be baptized. The whole time she was begging like any little girl would beg for a toy in a toy shop. We visited them last night with the bishop and the stake president of Paris, answered some concerns and got the written permission. So it looks like it’ll be happening. :)

The baptism is this Saturday in the Versailles chapel (we don’t have a fount in our small building). So we’re excited for that to happen. She is super excited and we know that her choice can make the largest difference in her and her family’s lives.

We’re, of course, still finding, finding, finding, though. But, at long last, we finally found someone who wants to meet with us. After a good three weeks of knocking doors and contacting, we finally found SOMEONE! A couple weeks ago, we contacted a Philipino girl who just moved to France. She didn’t know her phone number so we just gave her our card, our hopes kind of low. Thankfully, though, she gave us an email. We emailed her last week asking if she wanted to see us and asked her to contact us if she did. Saturday night we got a call from her. She wants to meet us tomorrow with a friend. :)

As for that Spanish girl who walked into church last week, the story isn’t over. We found out that she lives on the other side of Paris where they’re just happening to start a Spanish branch. So we passed her. But she came all the way to our church last Saturday night to a ward activity (a talent show, I played the piano haha). Talking to her, I found out that she used to go to church in Spain. She loved it and wanted to be baptized but her mom didn’t let her because the mom lives in Africa and doesn’t know the church. Well, she said that her mom should be visiting sometime this month, and so she’s going to bring her to church to see. She also said she wants to serve a mission someday. :) Anyway, she doesnt live in our area, but she comes into Mantes for the weekends and has an aunt who lives by the church. We’re crossing our fingers.

Our ward was only recently a branch. It became a ward last December. So yesterday was its first Ward Conference. I thought about how cool it was that we got to be part of that, their FIRST conference. More so, in the context of the Paris temple, how blessed I am to be here to witness the Church growing in France. It’s honestly a blessing to be part of such an amazing work.

I think the biggest blessing comes from seeing the change people make when they decide to make that covenant with the Lord and be baptized.

Today I opened my emails to see the mission newsletter. There’s a part where it shows a list of the past weekend’s baptisms.

I saw the names of the two people Elder Smith and I taught in Brussels under that list. The family that dropped their baptism just the night before. They got baptized this past weekend. It makes me so happy.

I remember the mother would always say, after we would finish teaching something, “Dieu est bon.” God is good.

That is so true.

When you consider the simplicity and beauty behind the gospel, how can you ever say that it is not true?

Elder Saul Marquez

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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Mission