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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Stressful Calming Baptism

I had a pretty bad headache all of Saturday. I don’t know why, but I get super stressed before baptisms. I’m like a rabbit trapped in a little box. But I’ve survived. And most importantly, the baptism happened and it was a wonderful experience!

We’ve been teaching this 19-year-old girl for two months now. She’s from Guinea-Bissau and she used to be Catholic. She was very active in her church back when she lived in Portugal but she lost a lot of that faith when she moved here in France. She went through many, many trials and felt that she needed more of God in her life, but she wasn’t finding it where she was.

About a week before I arrived in St. Nazaire, Elder Fuller, my companion, contacted her when getting off of a bus. He said that she hardly said anything during that first contact, but that her interest was apparent. They taught her once and the rendez-vous went really well. I arrived in St. Nazaire the next week. The first rendez-vous that I was in with her, the Spirit was so incredibly strong. She came to church the next day, we talked to her afterwards and set a baptismal date.

Since then we’ve been working with her a lot to prepare for the baptism. The zone leaders came down on exchanges Thursday night. We met with her for her baptismal interview. She brought her father with her. Turns out he was baptized six years ago but left the church when he decided he wanted to be Catholic so that the family would be unified in their faith. Well, Elder Fuller and one of the zone leaders talked to him as the zone leader I was with interviewed her. The father is okay with the baptism, but he’s not interested in coming back himself.

The baptism had to be in Nantes which is a good hour away. We got on the train and the members helped bring her and her family to the chapel. One of the members who was supposed to give the talk on baptism had an emergency just before and said she couldn’t come anymore. She told us that she’d give her talk to her husband and then we could have someone read it at the baptism. When her husband got there, we asked for the talk. He forgot it!

So I gave the talk off the top of my head. I had given a talk in Valenciennes on baptism just a few months ago, so I mostly did the same one again. But it was still really different.

Then we had the baptism. Elder Fuller baptized her. It was wonderful. After the service, she was really, really happy. There was just a good feeling. Everything was calm.

Sunday morning came. She asked me to do the confirmation. I had never done one before. I was pretty nervous. And then to make things better, the branch president asked us just a few minutes before to give talks during sacrament meeting. Guess who got to give on a talk on the spot again? And then I had to play the piano. I always stress out when I play the piano.

When the time came, I laid my hands on her head. As soon as I began talking, it was like my mind went empty. All that stress that I had just vanished instantly. I was calm. All I could hear and focus on were the words that were coming out of my mouth. It was very special. I’ve not really had an experience like that. Even when giving blessings… This one was just different.

She was so happy after church. She’s normally very quiet and shy. She was shooting the breeze with the members after it was all over. She left the chapel saying “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”

I’m so glad to be on a mission. This is the best experience in the entire world. I just know you can’t understand what I mean unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Words do not describe this. I love my mission. I hope this never ends.

There are many good things coming in the next weeks. Time is so short, I hope to make the most of it while I still can.

Love,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Mission

 

Week in 537 Words

This last week was crazy!

It started out with the woman who called us last Monday morning, asking to meet with us. Well, we were supposed to see her Tuesday morning, but then she called us asking to see us later in the day. We said okay and then called the member who was supposed to go with us. We told him that the time was changing–and unfortunately, he couldn’t go at that time! And nobody else in the branch was available. We tried to call her but she didn’t answer so we sent her some texts but there was still no answer. We ended up meeting her where we said we’d find her and explained that we couldn’t visit her alone without a member. So we rescheduled for Thursday morning.

Wednesday night. We’re minding our own business, working, when a phone call comes. It’s the elder that was the district leader last transfer.

“Hey, did the zone leaders call you with the announcements?” he asked.

I said no. (I’m the new district leader now, by the way).

“Okay, well there’s a super mission council tomorrow morning in Paris and you and the rest of the mission leaders have to be there,” he said.

WHAT?! So we got a hold of the zone leaders. Turns out they forgot to tell me. So we bought tickets to go to Paris the next morning. Buuuuttt, that lady’s appointment was for that morning too! We tried calling but she didn’t pick up so we sent her a text and proposed seeing her Saturday. She didn’t respond.

We woke up early the next morning and hopped on a train to Paris. It takes a good three hours from St. Nazaire to Paris. D:

When we got there, we got a hold of the lady and she said she couldn’t do Saturday and that she’d come to church.

Well. She didn’t come to church. NOOOO!!!!

Sad. That happens. But she still wants to see us so we are hoping to see her this week.

And speaking of this week, we’re pretty busy! But it’s a good busy. We have a baptism this weekend. It’s the baptism of that 19-year-old girl. We’re super excited and the branch members are excited too. There has not been many baptisms here lately and we currently have two investigators with dates, so things are looking really good. This last transfer we taught a ton with members as well. Elder Fuller is really good at having doing that. And so since they’ve been teaching with us, they’re getting more and more excited. A couple members invited their friends to church and a church activity this last week. We talked to the members afterwards and they were so happy because their friend loved church and said he’s come back every week! We’re happy for them.

And so that’s mostly the biggest news of this last week. We’re seeing good things here in St. Nazaire. There was even snow on Thursday but it’s gone now. It doesn’t snow much here. I hear it was crazy up North, so I guess it’s good that I’m not in Valenciennes for that! Haha.

Hope everyone else is doing good.

Love,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Mission

 

“Why Am I Calling You?”

That start of another transfer…. again! Yay! But, just because we need a little variety, this transfer is five weeks rather than the normal six! It’s actually because the MTC is now on a new schedule since the flood of new missionaries are just starting their missions. So to coordinate better with them, this transfer is five weeks long.

I’m staying in St. Nazaire with Elder Fuller. We’re excited because there are currently two people we’re working with who have said they’ll be baptized. Lucky us, we’ll both be here for the baptisms. As far as other aspects of the work go, we’re still finding people, but a lot of the people we’ve found lately have seen us once or twice and then just disappear. But that happens a lot so I guess I should be used to it by now.

We had one small experience, though. This last Thursday during district meeting we talked a lot about our desire to help others come unto Christ. That night when Elder Fuller and I went porting, we decided to knock doors in an apartment building. Before starting, we said a prayer. I was the one saying the prayer, and as I was saying it, I felt impressed that we would be let in by someone there. The third door we knocked on let us in! We taught a man who used to be very believing and practicing until recently. He has a family too. The others in the family said they weren’t interested, but they sat there eavesdropping on the lesson. So hopefully those are good signs for the future.

Also had a cool experience this morning. Our phone is really soft to hear and as we were cleaning the apartment, I was listening to some general conference talks. Over the audio, I barely made out the sound of the phone. I saw that we had a private number calling us. I picked it up and a woman replied from the other line.

“Hi, I talked to you guys in the grocery store once and you gave me your card and…. I don’t really know why I’m calling you.”

“Do you want to talk to us? We can set up a rendez-vous,” I asked.

“Yes. I want to do that. I’ve been having nightmares lately.”

So we set it up for tomorrow. Not sure what to make of it exactly. She’ll either be super cool or super interesting. Haha. We’ll see what happens. I just thought is was cool and funny. “I don’t really know why I’m calling you.” I do!

And last night I was just thinking about all the people I’ve met on my mission and all the people who I’ve gotten to teach. I thought a lot of those who’ve been baptized too. I’m so lucky to get to serve here in the France Paris mission. My mission has been perfect thus far and I expect it will be to the end. I just love being here. :)

Love,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Mission