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New Beginnings

We got to see conference in Versailles this last weekend. It was sooo good. I just love listening to the words of the prophet and the apostles. The Spirit is always so strong and there’s always a feeling of unity when we, as a world, come together to learn together. President Monson said:

“How blessed we are to have come to earth at such a time as this—a marvelous time in the long history of the world. We can’t all be together under one roof, but we now have the ability to partake of the proceedings of this conference through the wonders of television, radio, cable, satellite transmission, and the Internet—even on mobile devices. We come together as one, speaking many languages, living in many lands, but all of one faith and one doctrine and one purpose.”

That, of course, got me thinking of how far away I am from my family and friends back home! Just a year ago tomorrow, I sat in the living room surrounded by my entire family. We shared words and testimonies of the Church, missionary work and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By the end of the next night, I was set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Two days later I said goodbye and entered the MTC.

Naturally, I’ve been thinking about those days leading up to my beginning as a missionary a lot! Not just because at the end of the week I’ll be hitting my year mark, but also because Elder Sorenson and I are training a new missionary who just started his mission! He’s visa waiting (he’s from Bordeaux and was called to the Utah Ogden Mission) and hasn’t yet gone into the MTC (Mission Training Center). He came to us nearly directly from his family. It’s interesting to see his beginning and contrast that with what was my own.

And so I’m left thinking about beginnings. Beginnings are tough and they always have been. But they’re composed of those initial steps that bring us closer to fulfilling our full potential.

And for me, these couple of weeks have been filled with new beginnings. In fact, to me the date, April 6, is symbolic of just that. Wasn’t this the day that the Church was restored on Earth? This was my new beginning as a missionary. And I even think back to President Hinckley’s wife who passed away on April 6, 2004–to which President Hinckley wrote, concerning death, “‘Tis not the end, but genesis / Of better worlds and greater light.”

Didn’t April 6 usher the Savior, Jesus Christ, into this world, beginning his mortal life and ministry? Even more so, April 6 falls on Easter weekend this year, the moment in which we remember Christ’s triumph over death and the new beginning and gift that is the Resurrection.

Yesterday, on our way to the mission home for some legality business, we passed by a huge church not far from Versailles. We recognized the church and we hopped out. We walked a little ways until we found ourselves at the edge of a huge hill. Running at the edge of the hill was an intricate iron fence. Beyond the fence was the Sein and beyond that, Paris. Yards from us was the Pavilion Henri IV. Here, Louis XIV, the Sun King, was born.

President Staheli had taken us here our first day in France. We, as missionaries, call it Consecration Hill. I recall beginning my mission in France on this hill and writing my thoughts and feelings down on a piece of paper. This was where I had truly started my mission last June. It was a funny chance to come back to the same spot when I was so close to my year mark. It was like renewing the promises I made to myself and the Lord when I first started my mission.

I can’t help but think of all these things, these new beginnings, as I approach April 6. The week has been tough. We lost nearly all of our investigators in one week. But we’re still excited to keep going. We’re starting over. We’ll find new people. And we’ll help them toward Christ. It’s our new beginning here in Mantes.

It’s true. Time is fast. I still have yet another year ahead of me. It’ll get faster. But this isn’t easy. It’s like every week proves to be harder. But I know this work is true and so that’s why I’m here.

Our message is one of hope through faith and repentance through Jesus Christ. It’s the message of Spring and Easter, of New Beginnings to “better worlds and greater light.”

“In this fast-paced life do we ever pause for moments of meditation—even thoughts of timeless truths?” President Thomas S. Monson.
Elder Saul Marquez

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

NEW ADDRESS!!

Bonjour mes amis. J’ai une nouvelle adresse!!

Les Missionnaires
Elder Saul Marquez
106, Ave. Marechal Joffre
1190 FOREST
BELGIUM/BELGIQUE

Merci! :)
Elder Marquez

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

In One Day: Provo, San Francisco, Vegas and Salt Lake!

SO MUCH has happened this week. There’s no possible way I can fit it all into one email–especially considering that I only have twenty minutes left to write. So I’ll just go over the largest event of the week: Our trip to San Francisco.

We had to wake up extremely early in the morning. Normally we wake up around six but on Tuesday we had to wake up at four. We were at the MTC Travel Office by five and on the way to the airport by 5:30. One of the sister missionaries accompanied us because she’s also serving in France. She was in charge of the group because she was the oldest. We were basically all on our own–it was cool! It was also interesting because we were heading to the airport with all the elders who were just leaving the MTC to enter the field. I guess we got an early preview of what it’ll be like in about eight weeks!

Anyway, our plane left a couple hours later. We were flying Delta (in a super small plane!) so we had assigned seating. Before we left, some of the sister missionaries gave us Book of Mormons to try and place during our trip. I had one of them and so I kept hoping to give it to someone. Well, the guy I was sitting next to had his iPad out the entire time and his earphones over his ears. He pretty much ignored me the entire time. He was watching The Fighter the entire time. When the pilot announced that we were descending, he finally decided to take off his earphones–that’s when I got to speak to him. He asked about my mission and then mentioned that he had gone on one to Nicaragua. He didn’t say much about it, though, other than that it was “cool.”

When we arrived in San Francisco, we got picked up by a chauffeur who I guess has been driving the French missionaries around San Francisco for years. He took us straight to the French consulate where we had to hand them over our visa papers and passports. They filled them out, got our fingerprints, took our picture and then sent us on our way. They kept our passports and paperwork so it sounds like they’ll be processing it all and then sending the visas to the MTC Travel Office.

After we finished there, out driver took us to Pier 39 to get lunch. It was a weird experience. A huge group of Mormon Missionaries in San Francisco = a lot of angry stares. All the attention was on us. Some of us found it funny that people seem to think we can’t hear them talking about us when we’re about five feet away. Either way, we ignored them and headed off to a pizza place. (Pam–if you’re reading this, I totally saw a sign that said SAUSALITO!!! hahaha). When we were done at Pier 39, we headed over to the Golden Gate Bridge where we took loads of pictures! It was so much fun! :D

We then rushed back to the airport to catch our plane. We had a layover in Las Vegas. (San Francisco and Las Vegas… the two worst places a Mormon missionary could be in? haha)

The Las Vegas airport was funny because they have slot machines IN THe AIRPORT. It’s pretty ridiculous, really. I guess some people just can’t wait.

Anyway, I was going to pick up some postcards from Las Vegas but then I got really really sick suddenly. It pretty much ruined my whole day. Thankfully, one of the elders was able to find some medicine so I took that and started feeling better.

Something cool did happen while we were at the LV airport, though. A memebr from the church (I think her name was Sister Bollinger) got all of our mom’s numbers and called them up for us. We couldn’t talk to our moms but she did for us! She let them know we were doing alright (well, i wasn’t at the moment, to be honest–haha) and that we were on our way back to Provo.

From there we hopped on the plane and flew to Salt Lake. It was raining when we got back (YES!) and so the day ended pretty well.

It was a crazy day! haha. Unfortunately, I never did get around to placing that Book of Mormon. The other guys I sat next to on my second flight didn’t want to talk after I broguht up the church and my third flight I ended up sitting next to one of the other elders. :( I’ll pass it on to the next set of missionaries who go to SF.

I can’t type much because I’m just about out of time but here’s a few things I wanna share from this week really really quick:

– BYU Men’s Choir came Sunday night. They were AWESOME and so much fun!
– We taught a mock investigator everyday up until yesterday–in FRENCH. it was very cool. he’s now our teachers.
– The French is coming along. Unfortunately, I feel I’m forgetting some Spanish. However, a few other French missionaries speak Spanish too so I like to talk with them!

And I got asked this a lot. The other elders in my district are from:
– Elder Hunter, Paradise, California
– Elder Russo, St. Louis, Missouri
– Elder Zollinger, Bountiful, Utah
– Elder Cushing, Kansas
– Elder Cheel, Oregon but originally Taiwan
– Elder Turnbow, Tampa, Florida
– Elder Jensen, Queen Creek!

Hope you’re all doing well! Write me! :)

~ Elder Marquez

P.S. – They’ve figured out I like Harry Potter
P.P.S. – Someone send me an ELDER WAND so I can complete my full “Elder” experience.
P.P.P.S. – The sister missionaries like Harry Potter too. :)

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in MTC, Uncategorized