Sorry for the generic title.
This week was SO. GOOD.
So it was announced a while ago that St. Nazaire would be receiving a pair of couple missionaries. The branch has been pretty excited since then as have we. Well, I got a call last weekend from the secretary telling me that they would be coming in on Friday and she asked me and my companion to go to Nantes to pick them up. We said ok and didn’t think too much of it after that.
Tuesday came and I got a call from a random number. I immediately recognized the voice, though. It was Elder Metcalf, one of the older missionaries who had been serving up in Lille back when I was in Valenciennes. He told me that he and his wife had been in St. Nazaire since Monday preparing the new apartment for the new missionaries. He asked if we would have a little time to help them on Wednesday and I said sure. We got there the next day. They had bought plenty of furniture but it was all furniture that had to be put together yourself. There was a lot of it. They asked us to put together a desk and so we went at it. Sometime during our conversations I mentioned that we were picking up the couple Friday afternoon.
“What?” they said. “We thought they were coming in APRIL!”
“No, the secretary said that I’m supposed to pick them up on Friday,” I said.
There was no way they would finish putting everything together before then! When we finished the desk, we went out to teach a lesson and then we sent out a mass text to the members asking if there would be any available the next day to help us. About five came the next day! We spent a good deal of the afternoon with the members putting everything together. Thankfully we got it all done!!
Friday afternoon cam soon enough and we headed out to Nantes to find the new couple. We met Elder and Soeur Harris. They come from Utah and they’re really, really wonderful. Both served here in France forty years ago. We took them to St. Nazaire and there Elder Metcalf and a member helped them into their apartment. Saturday we showed them around the city a bit. We showed them how the buses work and took them to the chapel. That night there was a mini branch meal to welcome them. The members seem to really like them.
Now here’s a super super cool experience. We were walking home from the branch meal. It was dark and we decided to try contacting. There was a guy a ways off and I didn’t notice him but Elder Visconti did and he said, “Let’s go contact him!” So we started going toward the guy and he started coming toward us. As we got closer I made out the details of his face. It was an inactive member that I had seen once in my first transfer. Every time we tried to meet with him he canceled our rendez-vous! But that’s not even the cool part. As we got closer, the member and Elder Visconti freak out! Before I knew what was going on, they were hugging and practically crying!
And then I remembered that the inactive member came from Pau–the city that Elder Visconti comes from! Turns out that he used to LIVE with Elder Visconti’s family. But then he left the church and moved and nobody from Pau had ever heard from him again.
Well what a coincidence. (We know better).
It was very touching and very very cool. Elder Visconti was so touched by it–especially since he’s only just started his mission and it hadn’t been planned for him to come here in the first place.
The member came to church yesterday and says he’s coming again. We have a rendez-vous with him for tomorrow. The recent convert that we baptized a few weeks ago even invited him over to his home Thursday night as well as a few other members. Too good!!!
The district presidency was at church yesterday to call a new branch president. They’re really pushing to turn the branch into a ward here and the district into a stake as it’s the last in France. They called one of the members as the president. Elder Harris was called as the second counselor! And then they had Elder and Sister Harris bear their testimonies. When Elder Harris started speaking, the Spirit flooded the room. Nearly everyone was crying. Even our ami who attended church had tears in his eyes!! The Spirit was SO strong. And after that the rest of the meeting was incredibly spiritual. It was certainly one of the best Sunday I’ve ever had in my life. We were all really touched by the testimonies of Elder and Sister Harris.
And so that’s just a glimpse as to what my week was like. A lot of other great things happened as well but this email will be too long if I tell you everything. But we’re happy here and work is going along great. Life is good. :)
Elder Saul Marquez