Monthly Archives: May 2012

Breaking Windows

Amongst the pigeons we have several other enemies here in Mantes. There are the thugs. And then there is our GPS.

The GPS’s name is Jezzebel. She’s evil. She always tries to lead us down the wrong roads, or down one way roads or can’t find an address. And she has a funny robot voice.

As for the thugs, they like causing anyone who has the name JESUS CHRIST pinned to their shirt trouble.

We decided to pass by quickly in the worst part of our area. We were going to be in there quick and we were. But not quick enough. We left the building that we were in and walked to our car to find that the driver’s window had been broken open with a rock.

Poor Oprah the Silver Fox (that’s the name of the car).

They took Jezzebel, even though we hid her. They knew she was there.

So we were looking around when these two guys across the street said, “Is this your car?”

“Yup. Did you see it happen?”

“Yeah,” they said. “Some guy broke in! A man tried to stop him but he got away and the man starting chasing after him. But he already called the police, they should be coming. They probably got your car because of the license plate. You’re from out of town!”

“Yeah, but we live here,” I said.

He had a worried look on his face. I pulled out the phone to call the mission office.

“Well, we’re leaving,” said one of the guy as he got into his big white van. “Good luck!”

He drove away.

We started cleaning up the window pieces when this old Muslim man came up to us. He was out of breath and you could tell he was distressed.

“Is this your car?!” he asked.

“Yup,” said Elder Andrus.

“Two guys got in and took something and I tried to stop them! I held onto them but they were too strong for me!” And he walked away looking very defeated. Poor old guy.

We went back to the apartment, called the office, setup an appointment to fix the window, bought a Jezzebel the Second and so and and so forth. It basically ruined the whole day. We were bummed so we bought some pizza and ice cream to cheer us up.

On the way back from the store, a big van pulled up next to us. The driver was one of the two guys we saw earlier. He had a freaked out look on his face, but I didn’t notice it or even pay much attention to it.

That night as we were getting ready for bed, it all hit me.

THE TWO GUYS IN THE VAN WERE THE THIEVES!! The old man never called the cops. They just didn’t want us to. They also said there was one thief. The old guy said two. The guy got super nervous when I said we lived there. He thought he’d never see us again. That’s why he was surprised when we were next to him on the road later that day. He peaced out the second I got the phone out.

So. Yeah.

That’s Mantes for you.

On the up side, this week has been one of the better weeks I’ve had in a long time. We were blessed to find two new investigators and teach a couple of new people along the way. We hope things will continue to get better.

Until then, we’ve got our eyes peeled.

Oprah will be avenged.
Elder Saul Marquez

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Mission


Frantic in Paris

Last Wednesday was transfer day! We headed down to Paris to found our new companions. It was very exhausting. I helped Elder Sorensen get to his new apartment in Paris and then we went to Gare de Lyon to find my new companion, Elder Andrus. But we couldn’t find him. So we went back to the visitor’s center (where most missionaries meet up with their new companions).

I was pretty worried because I wasn’t able to find my new companion. And I knew that he didn’t know Paris at all and that he had no phone. President Poznanski was there and he asked me where my companion was. I said, “somewhere in Paris!!” He just patted me on the back and said, “Good luck!”

Thanks, President.

Well, it turned out that their train hit somebody and so it was running late. He and another elder that he came down with found their way to the visitor’s center, though. So in the end, it all worked out.

Elder Andrus is a cool kid. He says that he liked to skateboard before the mission. He’s from Lindon(?), Utah. And he’s served in Mulhouse his whole mission thus far (he’s been out for six months).

So we’re having a good time here in Mantes. Yesterday we went porting and we ended up setting, like, five rendez-vous for this Wednesday with people who are interested. And we got let into a house the other day! :)

Apart from that, calls home were great. I was so happy to talk to my family (and Aunt Nancy!!!) And I even got to talk to my dad in Spanish which was fun haha. I have one more call to make on my mission….

And thus time goes by fast.
Elder Saul Marquez

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Mission


Concerning Pigeons

Dear Concerned Reader,

I feel the need to explain something that I have not yet explained to you.

We have a problem here in Mantes.

A big problem.

Pigeons are taking over the city.

They’re in the train station. They’re in the Church. They’re all over our apartment building. You can hardly walk outside without getting pooped on. They’re everywhere. Little, dirty savages. The sparrows are on our side but they’re not strong enough to take on the pigeons. Especially when the pigeons breed like rats. They just had babies.

There’s one pigeon in particular. He’s all white and he sits at the top of our apartment building. All the other pigeons fly around him as if he were the sun and he held some sort of gravitational pull over them. They worship him. He is LORDPIGEON. He is evil. He has two demi-gods who are half white, half grey. They do most of the dirty work. They’re the ones who watch over the grunt-pigeons.

One day we went contacting downtown. We were minding our own business, talking to people, when the all of the sudden the white pigeon swooped down in front of us. He gave us the stink eye but we didn’t let that get in our way from doing our work. But you can see how this is starting to become a problem. He’s getting stronger by the day.

Finally, last Friday evening, we returned to our apartment, thinking that everything was normal. Until we found a feather on the floor. We searched the apartment. Suddenly, from behind one of the chairs, a pigeon flew at us and then headed toward the window. But the window was mostly closed and so he hit his head and fell to the ground. Then he did it again. And again. And one last time before he finally found the narrow opening that he must have had come in through.

He left presents on the floor.

I’m writing this letter in hopes of getting help. I have not yet seen a pigeon infestation of this kind and I fear that if we wait any longer to act, it will be too late. Indeed, I am convinced that the pigeons intend to take over all of Mantes, then Paris, then France. Europe. Then the world. Global Warming. (It’s a conspiracy. Something about hotdogs).

We don’t have much time to act.

I’ll await your response.

With all due respect,
Elder Scared-For-His-Life

P.S. We already tried feeding them rice. It didn’t work.

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in MTC


Transfers and Elections Made Sure

France had its Presidential elections last night.

We were in the the sketchiest part of our area–it’s the worst place to be in our area. We were going through the ward list looking to see if some members still existed (yes, I said that). I was helping Elder Sorensen back the car and all of the sudden in the large tower next to us I heard some screams and I thought, Are they killing someone up there? Then in the apartment building in front of us I heard more. And then I heard cheers and screams of excitement to the left. And people ran out on the streets and car horns started honking.

Elder Sorensen parked the car and I told him, “Let’s be quick because something’s going on!!”

I figured that a super popular soccer team had just won a very important match or the election had been decided.

“Get in the car, we’re getting out of here!!” he said. So I hopped in the car and we drove home. Thankfully it was the last thing we had to do yesterday because we were able to go back home and just finish up the night with some area book work.

We called our Ward Mission Leader.(who is a local member of the church):

“We were in the… and everyone went crazy!”

“Were they happy or sad?” he asked.

“Very, very, very happy.”

“Yeah…. But I’m sad.”


They do things quick here. Elder Fourtina explained that now since he’s been elected, he should be in office within the week.

With that done and said, it’s transfer time once again and the news is in. I’m staying in Mantes! I’ve done a good enough job surviving two transfers so why not another one? Elder Sorensen will be leaving me and heading off to Paris-même (by that I mean, Paris, Paris). And I’ll be getting a new companion named Elder Andrus (there are two in the mission, this is the younger one).

The last week of the transfer was a lot better. After going through an entire transfer teaching honestly nobody, we got a new investigator. He speaks fast. Wish me luck. But we also did a bit of member work and we ended up teaching an entire family through a member. They said we can go back in a couple weeks. And apparently the investigator who had a baptismal date but disappeared is coming back this Friday. Yay!

I think the coolest thing about this week, though, was one family in particular. We had the opportunity to visit them several times throughout the transfer which would not have happened at all had we been teaching investigators. We found out that our visits had helped their family a lot and that we had brought the Spirit into their home which had made a big difference for them. I’ll leave the details at that.

But it was nice to hear that from them after going through an entire transfer with nothing, we saw that we had, indeed, helped someone somewhere. Heavenly Father had wanted us there. And as we thought back on this incredibly hard transfer, we found peace in that thought. Because our calling is to invite others to come unto Christ. And we had done that in one way or another.

Elder Saul Marquez

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Mission