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Author Archives: Saul Marquez

About Saul Marquez

Writer, artist, web designer and blogger. Harry Potter nerd for life! I'm a Mormon. I enjoy writing and reading. And all sorts of other whatsnotsits. :)

Reconstruction

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From April 6, 2011 to April 4, 2013, I served full-time as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the France Paris Mission. During those two years, I consistently wrote weekly blog posts sharing my experiences with friends and family. In that time, this blog received visits from well over 10,500 people. I realize that many of these visitors are those who are searching for information regarding either the France Paris or France Lyon missions. A good deal of these people are newly-called missionaries who will be serving in France sometime in the near future.

Because I know many are wanting to know more about what it’s like to serve in the France Paris Mission, in the following months I’ll be organizing the blog posts on this site into categories so that finding information is easier. If you’re searching for miracle stories, they’ll all be grouped together for your reading pleasure. If you’re looking for an account concerning Revelation Through Church Attendance or even Revelation Through Reading the Book of Mormon, they’ll be organized accordingly for quick and easy access.

This is something I’ll be doing off and on as a side project after all my other responsibilities, so don’t expect anything over night. I’ll post again when things are ready. Hopefully the end result will be a cleaner, easier to navigate site for those searching for information.

– Saul

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Posted by on November 17, 2013 in Post-Mission, Site

 

Sunday the Fourteenth

Just a quick post to let you know that I will be speaking in the Preston Ward this Sunday (July 14th). So everyone who was in Preston ward who wanted to hear me last time but couldn’t can now hear me this Sunday! :)

The meeting starts at 9:00 am and is located at the following address:

6655 East Preston Street
MESA, ARIZONA 85215

Thank you!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Post-Mission

 

Sitely Update–SaulMarquez.com

Hello!  I am just writing this short post to inform you that this blog will no longer be accessible through the domain SaulMarquez.com.  I am currently in the process of bringing my old pre-mission blog back to life and so SaulMarquez.com will point to the new (or old…?) website within a day or two.

This blog will still always be available.  You’ll be able to reach it by pointing your browser to eldersaul.wordpress.com.

My new (oldish…) website will probably have book reviews on middle grade/YA novels, my experiences in writing, Harry Potter and the occasional moocow.  If for whatever reason that might interest you, feel free to head on over when it’s up!

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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Site

 

This Sunday

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This Sunday I will be speaking at the end of sacrament meeting and talking briefly about my experience as a missionary. Feel free to stop by if you have a chance! The address is:

19413 South Sossaman Road
QUEEN CREEK, ARIZONA 85142-7476
UNITED STATES

The meeting starts at 10am.

If for whatever reason you won’t be able to attend, I’ll be speaking in the Preston Ward in the Alta Mesa Stake in some weeks. I’ll post more details on that when I get them.

Thank you!
Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Post-Mission

 

New Beginnings Again

I’m left once again pondering on new beginnings. I think there must be chapters to life and I feel as though I am about to write the final words of a very significant chapter in my own life.

And I just want to say that this has been the greatest chapter of my life. I have loved my mission so very much. There are surely no words that one can employ to describe such an experience. It is unlike anything else in this world. I didn’t realize that my Heavenly Father loved me so much to the point that he would give me such a wonderful experience.

I didn’t expect what has happened. I really do understand what Elder Holland meant when he described the mission as a miracle. I feel like a new person. I’ve started over. I’m starting to understand that repentance is a beautiful thing. I’ve seen it in the lives of others and I’m seeing it in my own life.

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a message of new beginnings. I know that it is true. I know that Jesus Christ accomplished his mission on this Earth in atoning for our sins and defeating death. He is the Light, the Truth and the Way. I know that he loves us for we are all children of a Heavenly Father. I know that God and His Son appeared to a young boy of fourteen-years in answer to an honest and sincere prayer; and in so doing they accomplished prophecy. I know that today we live in the latter-days, the final dispensation. We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness. We are in the days that the prophets of old dreamed of. Have you ever thought about that? I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I read Mormon’s final words this morning. I know that those words were written for me and my family. What a blessing it is to have that book in my life.

I know that God is in this work and that Christ walks beside his righteous missionaries. I’m ending my service as a missionary. I’m so sad to leave. It’s harder to end your mission than it is to start it.

And so I’m off to the next beginning–another chapter. I just hope to live true to these last two years for the rest of my life and then after.

Love,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Mission

 

Where Are You? Where Are You Going?

This week was unlike any other. I feel like I’ve just taken a giant tour of France. I wasn’t even hardly in St. Nazaire.

So Tuesday I went on exchange with an elder in Nantes. It was a lot of fun. We did a lot of contacting and even found somebody they could teach. Nantes is just a cool place. :) And then I got back to St. Nazaire. We quickly taught a lesson and then we rushed all over the place! We went to the gare to buy tickets, we went to the Post to pay for Elder Visconti’s legality and then we quickly packed and left to the gare to catch a train.

That night we stayed in Angers with Elder Richer-Brulé and his companion. Zone Conference was the next morning and I had to be there early for a leadership training with Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy. There wasn’t a train from St. Nazaire to Paris that would get us to the conference on time so the assistants had asked us to stay in Angers so we did.

Thursday morning came and we woke up at FOUR IN THE MORNING! We were sooooo tired. We were in Paris about an hour and a half later. The leadership training was SO GOOD. We talked about many, many different things. I remember it ending and thinking, “The actual zone conference hasn’t even started yet! This is too good!”

Well, we had zone conference right after the training. Elder Richards spoke for most of it and it was just honestly too good. The Spirit was strong throughout the entire thing. It was clear that each and everyone of us was being taught something different by the Spirit. Elder Richards himself was just so great. I talked to him briefly after the conference and thanked him for coming. It was honestly one of the best zone conferences I’ve had and I felt very uplifted. I received a lot of revelation and instruction as a missionary and even for after.

That night we stayed in Paris because Elder Visconti had an interview in the US Embassy the next day to get his visa to go to Provo. We had the afternoon to ourselves and we decided to go CONTACTING! I don’t know why but we were SO HAPPY to be contacting. I remember turning to Elder Visconti and saying, “I”m so happy to be a missionary.” And we went out, got lost, talked to a bunch of people and found a couple really legit people to pass to the Paris equipes. One lady was like, “I believe in God but I’m scared of him.” And we said, “That’s because you don’t understand your relationship with him; You’re his daughter and he has a plan for you.”

We stayed with the Chinese-speaking missionaries that night. I got to see Elder Cheel, from way back in the MTC. He gave me a Chinese name.

Woke up on Friday and went to the embassy. Everything went well! Thank goodness!! I was so stressed. I had to do all the paperwork and it was complicated. But everything is good. The visa arrived at the mission home this morning. Elder Visconti is going to Provo. No worries. After his interview we got back to St. Nazaire and did some work with the few hours we had.

Saturday we were off to Rennes. Got on another train and got there at night. District Conference (like Stake Conference but for a district) was on Sunday and none of the members had space in their cars so we went to Rennes. I got to stay with the zone leaders, one being Elder Nielson, my old companion from Mantes. And then Sunday morning we had conference. The building was stuffed!

President and Soeur Poznanski were there since it’s the last district in France (the mission president is in charge of the districts in the mission). There was also an area general authority, Elder Sonny Donaldson from England. Just before he got up to address everyone, he turned to President Poznanski and said something really quick. Next thing I know, President is in front of everyone and says, “Elder Lerdahl and Elder Marquez, can you please come up here?”

I screamed in my head, I CAN’T TRANSLATE!!!!

We got up there and then Elder Donaldson whispered to us.

“Alright, here’s what we’re going to do. You have one minute,” he said. He looked at me. “You’re going to bear your testimony on the Restoration.” Then he turned to Elder Lerdahl. “And you’re going to bear your testimony on the Atonement. You have one minute. Let’s bring the Spirit in here, elders.”

So I did it. And then Elder Lerdahl did it. And then Elder Donaldson told us we could sit down and he said to the members, “I want you to remember that there were ordained ministers of the Lord among us today… And when they teach and testify, they do so with power and authority. You can trust your friends with them.”

WOAH!

And then he gave an incredible talk. One of the best I’ve ever heard. And I won’t go into detail, but essentially he asked these questions, “Where are you? And where are you going?” Where are we in our lives? In our progression? Where are we going?

“The Lord knows the end from the beginning.”

It was incredibly good. Everyone was on a spiritual high and I know I was after having heard from both Elder Richards and Elder Donaldson within a few days of each other.

I know personally that I am where I am meant to be. I love my mission so much. There’s still so much more to do and I intend to do it.

Since Elder Visconti now has his visa, his plane to Provo is April 1st which is next Monday. So that means my last day in St. Nazaire is this Saturday. From Sunday onward I’ll be in Angers.

Happy Easter,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Mission

 

And There Were More Calls (Part Two)

So he called again and said that he didn’t want to see us on Tuesday but said that I could call him on Wednesday to see if he was available later in the week.

So I called him on Wednesday but it went straight to his voice mail so I figured he blocked our number.

And then he called us on Saturday and said that his cellphone no longer worked, so he called from his home phone and wanted to see us that night.

So we went over that night and he wanted help moving some furniture around. He actually seemed really, really happy to have us over as we helped him out. Once we were finished, we sat down and had a lesson. He had questions over baptism. We started talking about the Gospel of Christ and our objective as missionaries. By the end he told us that he didn’t like the idea of repentance or baptism and that he didn’t want to pray, read or attend church.

Elder Visconti asked him, “What do you feel when you go to church or when we’re around.”

The investigator thought for a moment and then said, “I don’t feel good.” And he told us that he didn’t want to continue seeing us. So we testified and told him he was always welcome to come to church if he wanted.

Sunday came and we waited for our investigators to show up.

Guess who shows up? Yes. He came. I was shocked. Elder Visconti said he wasn’t. And now we have a rendez-vous with him for tomorrow night. We’re supposed to call him tonight to confirm.

I’m honestly not sure what the deal is. I think he feels the Spirit but is having a hard time coming to terms with it.

So tune in next week for Part Three!

No, in all seriousness, we’re really praying for him. I’m convinced that the Spirit is working inside of him, but like I said, I think he’s having trouble accepting it. Perhaps that should be expected from someone who hasn’t had much contact with God in the past? But there’s clearly something that keeps pulling him back. Even yesterday in Sunday School, he was participating a lot and seemed to really enjoy the lesson.

Speaking of Sunday School. The Gospel Principles teacher’s daughter got married Saturday night and so she wasn’t there for the class so I had to make up a lesson on the SPOT! I hate doing that! But it seemed to go well. We talked about Charity, Love and Service. The lesson seemed to really touch one of our amis. We’ve been meeting with her since the end of last transfer. She’s great! She really loves church and keeps all her commitments. After the lesson she came up to me and said, “I want you to meet my husband;” We were super happy to hear that because we had asked if we could meet him before but she had said no.

Well, we just had a rendez-vous with her and her husband. He is a super, super nice man. Very philosophical and not interested in reading the Book of Mormon and learning more, but still a great guy. We presented the message of the Restoration and talked about how the gospel blesses our lives and our families. He wasn’t too interested in the end, but again, he was a very kind man. Either way, it works out great that we could meet him because now he knows who we are and I think that will make it easier for her own personal progression. At least we hope!

Other good news. One of our investigators who we’ve been working with hasn’t wanted to be baptized because he doesn’t want to be in a different church while the rest of his family is in another. His family is currently in Africa and the church doesn’t exist in their country. Well, this last weekend he finally talked to his wife–he wouldn’t tell her he was seeing us at first. We gave him a blessing a couple weeks ago so that he would have the courage to talk to her and so he finally did. She said we’ll see. But he said that he got word that his family can come up to France soon! And so once they’re here, we can teach them all the gospel!

So great things are happening. Apart from that, it was kind of a difficult week. About ten rendez-vous that we had scheduled didn’t happen. And half of our amis were out of town so we couldn’t see them. So we taught a lot less than we had hoped to.

And we got a call on Tuesday that the zone conference had been cancelled. Snow in Paris made it impossible. So now we have conference this Thursday. And then Elder Visconti is going to the US Embassy on Friday. And then we have district conference in Rennes this weekend… And I have an exchange in Nantes tomorrow. So we really don’t have a lot of time this week. That’s why we took a rendez-vous on our P-Day.

Not to mention that I’m the one doing all the paper work for the visa… And that takes time and is confusing.

I feel like time is running out very very quickly and I just want to work the best I can. Our objective for these last couple of weeks of the transfer is to find those who will be baptized next transfer.

Le temps est très court et le jour déjà baisse, Venez, préparez du Seigneur le chemin. Prêchez l’Évangile, exhortez sans cesse: «Convertissez-vous, le divin règne vient! Convertissez-vous, le divin règne vient!»

Love,
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Mission