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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Joy

Saturday morning we were up and busy.  Elder Kendall, who loves to bake, put together some sugar cookies.  I worked on the baptismal programs and we both got ready and headed out for our train in Lille.  We got to the chapel in time to clean the baptismal font and start the water while the wards in Lille turned the chapel into a haunted mansion.  No stress.  Which was nice.  Everything pretty much went according to order!  Yaaayyyyy!!!!!

We were only worried for a moment.  The baptism was supposed to start at two in the afternoon.  When the clock hit two, hardly any of the members were there, including the bishop.  But then my companion reminded me that we were Mormon and that as Mormons we conform to Mormon Standard Time.  I wasn’t so sure that applied to France.  After all, we’re on the other side of the world.

I was wrong.  He was right.  Everyone showed up twenty minutes late.  Mormon Standard Time exists in France too.

We started the service.  The two girls who got baptized had asked their parents to give the opening and closing prayers and Elder Kendall and I to give the talks on Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  I did the talk on Baptism.

In my talk I told the members about a very special baptism that I had attended.  It was the baptism of my sister, Jacqueline.  I can’t remember too many of the details of her baptism, except that I cried the whole time!  I just remember crying and crying and crying.  And I remember people asking me why I was crying.  At the time I wasn’t too sure why I was crying either!  All I knew was that I was happy and proud of my sweet sister who had chosen to be baptized.

Looking back on that event now and remembering the feelings that I felt that day, I know that it was one of the first times I truly felt the Spirit and the joy that comes from others celebrating in the Gospel.  Which, in my head, makes sense, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness.  And when you take a look at the five principles of that gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end), you see how it’s designed to make us happy–particularly in repentance and baptism.

Repentance is a gift, as Elder D. Todd Christofferson put it.  And it’s there so that we might have joy.  Baptism is part of that process of repentance.  Without it, our repentance is incomplete.  And so through repentance and baptism we find that we have safe passage back to our father in heaven.  And it’s for this reason that we rejoice in the plan that God created for us.

How wonderful it was to feel those feelings of joy again this last Saturday.  The baptism was wonderful.  The father baptized the two daughters and it was a beautiful sight.  Even yesterday, I felt so happy again as I watched that family take the sacrament together right after the two girls had been baptized.

This last week we got interviewed by some students who’re doing a report on Mormons.  They asked if we like what we do.  We, of course, said YES.  And I do!  I enjoy being a missionary.  The greatest blessing is to see those you love partake of the blessings of the Gospel.  I know that’s true because I’ve felt it over and over again.

One more thing before I finsih this email.

Saturday night I got back home to find a couple of packages.  And I was happy to find cards and all sorts of goods.  But I was especially happy to find a photo album with a bunch of people holding signs saying: HAPPY BIRTHDAY 21st BIRTHDAY ELDER MARQUEZ!  Got to be one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten.

Happy Halloween,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Mission

 

NE MANGE PAS PIERRE!!

We’ve really been struggling lately to teach people, particularly investigators. We meet people through contacting or porting and they setup rendez-vous with us or give us their numbers and then they’re not there for their rendez-vous or never pick up their phone or just ignore us or… they just go missing…

?

Either way, we had a good week. I enjoyed it, at least. And today marks the beginning of yet another transfer. Time is faassst. We spent nearly all of Saturday doing service with some members. WE TOOK DOWN TREES!!! Okay, us elders didn’t really take down the trees. We mostly piled up the newly made logs and tore twigs of branches and put them in piles to be shredded. Haha. It was fun.

Yesterday was especially fun. We got to organize a family home evening with one of the families in the ward. They have a couple of really young children so we weren’t entirely sure what we should do for an activity. So we thought for a while and said, why not “Don’t Eat Pete!?” So we drew up a “Don’t Eat Pete” chart, except we called it, “NE MANGE PAS PIERRE!” We explained the game to them and I’m not so sure they got the point of it right away. But after a couple of rounds we were all laughing and having a good time yelling, “NE MANGE PAS PIERRE!!” Hahahaha!

I don’t know why “Don’t Eat Pete” is fun. But it is.

And we’re excited for this Saturday. We’re having another baptism here in Valenciennes! It’s the baptism of the two girls of one of the recent convert families! We’re super excited!! Baptisms are the best and everyone is always happy afterwards.

Hope your day is awesome,
Elder Saul Marquez

P.S. – I have to be careful what I write on here now because the members here in Valenciennes somehow found my blog and are now carefully watching everything I write. Ils comprennent l’anglais.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Mission

 

Je vous aime!

I don’t have much to say this week. i just wanted to say thank you to those who have expressed their love toward me and my family while I’ve been away on my mission. I didn’t say that enough before I left.

I remember being in the MTC (Mission Training Center) and having a general authority visit us for a fireside on a Sunday night. He showed us old Mormon commercials that used to air on TV. I remember hardly any of those commercials or what they said. Haha. But I do remember one with a tagline which said something to the affect of: you need to tell those you love that you love them because they can’t hear what’s in your heart.

On my mission I’ve realized that I have a very hard time vocalizing the words I LOVE YOU. Albeit, it’s easier to type those words here on this blog when I know that this is toward a more general audience and not one specific person. Otherwise, I have a hard time telling people that. So if I’ve ever told you that I love you, you should know that I meant it. But I want to do better at that and I’ll work toward doing such.

But I’m grateful for those who have expressed those words toward me and my family through word, letter or deed. It means so much and I’m so very blessed to know you–thank you so much for the love and support you’ve shown me on my mission and toward my family as well.

So thank you. (And I love you).
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Mission

 

I’m a Mormon!

I’m a Mormon. I know it! I live it! I LOVE IT!

Sincerely,
Elder Saul Marquez

Here is a link to Elder Marquez’ mormon.org profile page. If it doesn’t link you right to the page go to mormon.org and type his name in the search area and you will find him:

http://mormon.org/me/74G6/SaulMarquez

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Mission

 

Lessons of the Week

The Lord taught me a couple of things this week.

First, I surprised myself on Friday. Months ago when they said that J.K. Rowling was releasing her new book, I said, “I will not read it, but I will buy it the day it comes out! I always buy her books on the first day!” That Tuesday I saw the signs. Bright red and yellow. There are several book stores in Valenciennes that we pass by often and so I couldn’t miss it. Une Place a Prendre is the name in French. And, of course, my initial thought was, “Yup. I won’t read it or anything, but I will buy it!” Even if it was in French. It’d be cool to read in French after the mission.

Well, Friday came and there it was. I saw that book everywhere. Every book store had it in its windows and every book store had its doors wide open. But I didn’t go in and, in fact, I didn’t even want to. And I don’t want to. I was actually surprised. I realized that… deep down…. I don’t… really… care… about that book. Or Harry Potter.

Gasp!

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still care. I just don’t care. There are a lot better things to care about right now. I’ll read those books and I’ll watch those movies when I get home. I still love it and all. It’s still my favorite book (next to Preach My Gospel! Hehe). I still love Harry Potter, talking about Harry Potter, reading books and what not. It’s not that my love for reading died or diminished. It’s just that it’s not my number one priority right now. And I don’t want it to be. Because there are better and happier things in the world.

Like helping others.

But I was even having a hard time with helping others last Friday. You see, when we got to Friday I wasn’t in the best of moods. We had scheduled several rendez-vous for the day and all of them, save one, fell through. And so I was annoyed. We had planning that Friday and Elder Kendall and I were going to get some contacting in afterwards in hopes of finding someone to teach.

Well, that morning the phone rang. It was a sister in the ward. She needed help moving a huge china cabinet. She asked if we could go over later that day. Of course, I said yes. But my initial thought was, No! We need to go contacting! No sooner had I thought that when my mind shot back to the prayer I had given that morning and even the night before. And then I realized that I hadn’t just prayed for this that morning and the night before. Rather, I pray for this every single day. I always ask the Lord to give me the opportunity to help others.

And now here was someone asking for our help. And I was complaining inside? I realized that I was in the wrong. I pictured my mother giving me a good talking to (“Saulito, I am so disappointed in you! You know better than that! I taught you better! Go pick up the dog poop!”) and I changed my attitude.

We couldn’t move that stinking china cabinet. It was HUGE. And so she said, “I’ll go get the neighbor!” She left for thirty seconds and came right back in. But she didn’t have her neighbor. No, she had seen a kid our age walk past her house and asked if he could help. He said yes and he came inside and helped us move the cabinet out of her house.

When the work was over he asked who we were. We told him we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And then he asked if we were the ones giving out the short bibles. We made sure he was talking about us and not another religion and when we established that he was, we told him we were, indeed, the missionaries that hand out the shorter bibles, but that the “shorter bible” is actually the Book of Mormon. And we gave one to him and explained what it was and the history behind it. He wasn’t interested in fixing a rendez-vous or anything. But he did take the book and our number.

Perhaps he’s not a new investigator or anything, but one never knows what a simple contact with the missionaries can do some years later. I’ve seen baptisms come from what would appear to be an insignificant contact. None of it is actually insignificant. The Lord wanted us there rather than on the road contacting that day.

A few things were reinforced as I reflected on that experience. First, the Lord does, indeed, give us the opportunities to obtain our righteous desires. Second, we need to be humble enough to recognize those opportunities when they come. Third, count your blessings.

Because I hadn’t actually counted my blessings. Had I forgotten that week that we had a baptism scheduled for Saturday?!

And, indeed, we did have the baptism. And it was absolutely wonderful. It was the highlight of my week. This weekend I thought of how lucky I really actually am. SO WHAT IF our rendez-vous fell through? We got to see someone make that sacred first covenant with the Lord. What a blessing. And what a blessing to the ward she’ll be. It was great to see her join the rest of her family in the gospel. We love that family. They’re wonderful!

We even fixed two new baptismal dates with the young girls in that other family that I’ve talked about. Those will be the 27th of October.

So all in all, a great week. And I think a great week comes from a great attitude.

Love,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Mission