Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last Transfer in Grenoble

May 2, 2016:
Sooo I talked to President on Saturday and I will be returning June 21st.. So I know you received the email for returning travel and everyone, but I am not sure when they are going to be able to purchase
my ticket or to reserve my seats with the other missionaries seeing as it should be a few weeks earlier than previewed. But now that we have the date we can move forward with planning out the surgery and plan out everything else that we will need to do over the summer to get everything situated and ready to go for the up coming school year. I would really like to live out of home, whether that be on campus in another housing or in a little house with some other roommates or whatever but I really feel like I need to move forward and get ready for life. That being said I will need a job. So if we could start looking around or asking around that would be awesome!

President Giles has probably just been very busy getting settled in but this coming week or maybe the week after I think it would be OK to contact him. His name is Jarom Giles and his wife is Isabelle. They live right across the street from the church right off of 45th behind Albertsons. So you can find out what you want to do about that or with that information.

So this past week we spent a lot of time focusing on Sihem and her progression to baptism. We had a calendar with all the lessons we needed to teach and on what days and what engagements we needed her to follow to make sure that she had made all the progression needed to be baptized. The only problem that we met this week was that she comes from a strong Muslim background and is living among a lot of people who potentially could become hostile towards her des soon to be baptized. She has accepted the fact that it is somethings she knows she needs to do and hasn't looked back! It's amazing to see her faith and trust that everything will be ok! But we were still a little uneasy with letting her just go straight to baptism so we called president to get some advice and ask him who he would like to interview her and he himself will be coming down from Lyon to give her, her baptismal interview and see the situation for himself. It's such a nice thing for him to do! I can't believe he offered to come down but he did and so tomorrow around 12 he will be interviewing her for her baptism. So everyone pray for her! And he is also going to talk to me more about the surgery and what we are going to do for that to make sure I can go home on June 21st and that my surgeries will all be taken care of.

So this week we had a funny/awkward missionary situation. So basically we didn't have anything to do until 4 or 4:30 so we called Sihem to see if we could see her and she didn't answer, so we went and were passing people and we didn't find anyone so we decided to go to the church and get some things done that we had to do for our ward list and updating it so we walked over there and got there a little late and right before one of our rdv's and as we turn the corner there is this old ami named Freddy waiting at the door.. So we let him in and there is a member there to clean the church and so he introduced himself and thought like we had a lesson set up with him, so we went with the flow and like sit down and as soon as we sit down Sihem just shows up to the door of the church! So we let her in and the member gets more confused and so we go and sit back down and then Maddelana (who we were actually waiting for) shows up and comes in and so we were all just there super awkwardly like trying to figure out what to do haha we had two Amis, a recent convert and a member all in the
church just confused as a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. We ended up teaching everyone together and then let Freddy go home, asked Sihem to go wait for us upstairs while we talked to Maddelana and then ended up teaching Sihem afterwards haha so we are pretty efficient I guess.

We also went on exchange this past week, I was with elder Kahn who is in Valance. He is from Utah and in his second transfer. We met up and went to play basketball with a member who ended up not being able to come so we balled with a couple kids who were there, and while we were playing we left our ball on the side of the court where two little girls were playing. And they grabbed our ball to play with and I didn't think anything about it. So we finish balling and walk over to our stuff to grab our ball and our bags and low and behold.... No ball... We got ripped off by some little girls!! Haha the ball wasn't very good anyway though.

We are all good for the FaceTime at 3:30 I think. And I never got the package! I think it is because on our mailbox it is written "les missionnaires" not "les elders" so they probably saw 'elder Schettler' and had no idea where it was supposed to go. Sorry I forgot to tell you that before! But yeah I will have my new and last transfer assignment by then! I will let you know all about it, I think I should probably be staying here and probably will be getting a new companion. 
Elder Schettler

May 9, 2016:
Yeah so I got my new companion yesterday and he is super sick! His name is Elder Tyndale-Biscoe. He was born in London but he has spent basically all of his life in Malaga Spain. He has actually been out for like 7 and a half months now so he isn't super old but he has a lot of stuff already figured out. We are gonna have a bunch of fun I feel like! He is super cool!

Our baptism was super cool though., I know a member has the pictures we took so once I get those I will send those as well to you! But as for now I only have super blurry ones that a member took on a different elders iPad... The older generations just can't seems to figure out how to take pictures on electronics or anything. Haha bless their hearts though for willing to do it for us. But everything went
pretty well, we had to wake up at 5 and be the the church at around 6:30 to print programs, print music sheets, make copies of papers, fill the font and just make sure everything would be ready right after church for her baptism. She came to church as normal and had a great time! Then just as soon as everything was done we started to realize (as every thing we do as missionaries something wasn't correct) the person who was supposed to be presiding had to change cause one of them is a police officer and got called in on emergency and the bishop couldn't stay so we were frantically searching for someone to replace him. We finally found the second counselor in a interview with someone like five minutes before it started and the DMP (who baptized her) had to conduct as well because the person who was supposed to conduct wasn't there either... Haha but after that things went smooth until we realized that there were more people than music sheets by a large number so Elder Warner had to rush out to print some more off and when he was gone we had to do the opening prayer without him (he was supposed to offer it) but everything with the baptism went great actually! No hitch there and when we waited we sang a compilation of songs that Sihem had picked for us to sing. We sang "I'm a Child of God", the day of my baptism and a few more. Then when she was done she
walked straight to the pulpit and started giving a testimony haha the bishop just looks at us and like shrugs and just let her finish, she gave a super good testimony though! She was so excited and you could tell she was like the happiest person ever at that moment! But afterwards we just had some cake a cookies and other little things people brought and everyone gave her the warmest welcome ever! It was a really good baptism though! Everything ended up ok haha but that's about it for this week.

Elder Schettler

May 23, 2016:
Hey everyone., sorry I didn't have time to write at all last week! We had a bunch of stuff to do! I was in Lyon to go to missionary leadership council. It was a good time, I got to see all the people who I will be going home with this coming transfer. We talked a lot about what we need to do to help our mission and ourselves reach out to obtain our former goal of 91 baptisms! It was a really fun and good experience. But the week before that was my first week with Elder Tyndale from Spain, he is super cool! He is from Malaga and he loves to have fun like I do. We get along super well!

The first week we were together we went to lunch with a kid in the ward who was preparing to go on a mission to Canada! His name is Ryan and he is super awesome, he left last week and I am not sure how he is doing yet cause I haven't heard anything but I'm sure he is going to kill it out there in Montreal! We also had a rdv with a couple new Amis named Nowella and Pamela who are both from Congo, they came to a rdv together (we only knew Nowella) and we were able to teach them with a member and we had such a good lesson and invited them both to be baptized. Nowella said yes right away and Pamela asked a little more questions and said she would think about it. We were able to see
them again during the week and she said that she would prepare herself as best as she could for baptism on the 18th June!

This past week we were able to do a bunch of stuff as well, we got to do some service for a member and we got to teach a bunch of lessons to our Amis as well as zone training! So we started the week off with a lesson with Nowella and Pamela where we taught them both a bunch of the gospel and commandments which went super well. We also got to see Nell our 16 year old aim who is getting baptized soon and taught her like almost all the commandments in one lesson which was very
difficult believe it or not haha we did it super fast and got through the lesson in under 45 minutes... With little kids and everything! Nell is super cool and understands everything very well. I am excited
for her and hope she will be able to be baptized before I leave., there are a bunch of things that will be happening the following weekends and so it might be pushed until the week after I leave. 😔
But good news from this past week is that we have started to see our amie  Marie-France again! She is like 22 and super awesome! So this is super good news for us. We are going to see her with the Baret Family this week when we teach Nell. So I guess we will be doing a double lesson thingy.  This week we also got to help someone move a washer and pulled it down two stories and dumped it at a dump and then picked up the new one and dragged it up two flights again which wouldn't have been that bad if I didn't cut my hand carrying the first washer. I had blood just like running down my finger by the time we were done. Haha I hid it from the member so he wouldn't freak out but yeah I got
rocked.  The rest of the week was sort of just normal passes and looking for less actives and new Amis. Nothing too interesting to talk about.

Happy birthday to dad and to Brittany., it looks like both of them got little trips to go do what they wanted! I am super jealous of Brittany going to Mexico on a cruise! A cruise sounds so much fun! I want to either go on a cruise or go to Newport Beach or somewhere in Cali in general. I miss the waves and just seeing the ocean and being able to go in. 🏊🏼🏊🏼

Elder Schettler

Letter to Mom- May 30, 2016:
So our Amis this week were pretty on fire! They were showing up for rdv's and keeping engagements like it was their business! I was so pleased to see our Amis who had struggles to find time to see us, end up being able to find a little bit of time and coming to us and learning about wheat we had for them that day. We also hadn't seen Sihem the week before so this week we tried to see her a few times and finish off some of our new convert lessons! She loves talking about gospel stuff and having a good time. She has really come out of her shell since we have met her, at first she was pretty soft spoken and didn't want to interrupt or be loud. And now she will just butt in and testify to others and it is the coolest/funniest thing ever! She even got up this past week to give her testimony in fast and testimony meeting! She did such a good job too, I was so proud of her! It is amazing to see her progression from week to week. And we also had our Amie Pamella show up to church, she normally shows up in normal clothes but this past week they asked what they needed to wear so I explained that normally woman wear skirts to church, but it wasn’t something that is required to come to church, but she went out of her way and got all dressed up and showed up all by herself (she normally comes with her friend, but her friend couldn't come). We also went to see Louise Eyraud who is 79 and will be getting baptized at the end of this transfer. They are super cool, all of our Amis are doing pretty well and we are excited for them all! We should be having some success at the end of this transfer and at the beginning of next transfer so let's hope that everything goes as planned and there are no speed bumps or anything that make it so things don't roll out as planned!

As for how I feel at the end of my mission, I would say that for sure my confidence has gone up, mostly in the fact that the language isn’t really a barrier anymore and the fact that it has become somewhat normal to just talk to people that you don't know and try to get to know them. There are a lot of things you learn on a mission that give you a certain confidence that you aren't really aware of either. Like most of the changes in myself have been very slow forming and ruling over these two years and it would be hard for me to pick them out, as I have been watching them grow little by little everyday. The beginning of my mission it was obviously a challenge to speak with people and to get along with people because of the language but now that I am coming to the end I have found that no matter what language you speak or how well you speak all that matters is that the people know that you care about them and you want what is best for them. They can feel your love and that will take you a long way. At the beginning of my mission I feel like I was good at telling people the words I loved them but now as it has progressed I have learned how to show people I love them. It is something that comes naturally when you serve them. I think that is something that will help me throughout my life, and something I want to continue to develop cause I'm still not perfect, or even close. But I am getting better at it, and that's all that matters right?

Elder Schettler

Letter to Dad- 
This week was a pretty good week, we did our usual things we went to see Louise Eyraud who is 79 and will be getting baptized at the end of this transfer, we went and saw our other Amies who are doing great, we had great lessons with them and were able to get a bunch of questions cleared up like what they need to wear to church they both were wondering why everyone wears skirts and all the men wear suits haha so we got to explain that to them and when they came to church they had skirts on! Haha it was so cool to see, cause the first few times they just came in like pants and stuff, which is fine, but they made the extra effort this week to look really good and it showed! We should be having some success at the end of this transfer and at the beginning of next transfer so let's hope that everything goes as planned and there are no speed bumps or anything that make it so things don't roll out as planned! I will be able to explain all of this more in depth when I see you guys in a few weeks., this coming week will probably be my last real update on what's going down out here, then the week after that will mostly just be a coming home email haha so let's make this coming week an email to remember? Ya! It has been a long time that I have been waiting for success like this and it is finally coming,mot is awesome to see what happens when people wait and keep pushing forward through the tough things and the hard times, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just for some of us the tunnels are longer. 

I love and appreciate everyone you do for me! Let me know if you have any questions or anything you need to know from me before I get home. We should have a lot of stuff to do that first week I get back.. Ha so let's maybe start planning out what our priorities are and then we can attack those things first. 

Elder Schettler

June 7, 2016: 
Wow, I would just like to start this letter with my condolences to
Mathew Sneiders family and friends. I never got to know him too well,
but to have your life end early in such a manner is tragic for anyone
and for any family. I am glad that we have the knowledge that there is
a life after this life. That can bring so much comfort especially in
moment of difficulty such as that.

So to reply to your questions for this week related to my return
1. The day I get back I would love to go out to eat with you guys, go
be release preferably as soon as schedule would permit and then to end
the night we could go home and maybe play some family games or just
spend some time together... (And now that we have a hot tub, I already
told some people they could come hot tub that night) haha so I might
have some people coming over later that night for a bit to hot tub..
Haha I hope that is ok! But I really really want to hot tub. I think
the temple might be a little too time consuming and if we are going
the next day that will work for me. (We could maybe just go to the
temple grounds as the whole family?)
2. I think I answered that in number one. Haha
3. Things before surgery that I wrote down were, cell phone, boating,
shopping for clothes, a movie night, go to breakfast, I wanted to also
go on a hike, I want to go see my friends (norm, the Dunn family, Jake
Flynn etc.) but aside from those few things we should be pretty free.
I would be ok with doing maybe some day trips to place like park city
or something with the fam. I will unpack when I find time haha I
shouldn't have too much cause I just sent a box home full of books and
stuff, 7kg to be exact.
4. I always preferred the food to be right after Sacrament Meeting
back at our place, and I would love some crêpes or maybe some
Baguettes and cheese with fruit. Just good old French stuff haha those
are just some ideas, if you can think of anything else I would love to
hear them! Or croissants maybe?? Mostly stuff we could buy ready to

This week was a good week though, we had a bunch of stuff that we got
done. We were able to see a bunch of our Amis and even got one of them
over to a members house to have dinner with us all! It was so much
fun. Tuesday night we had a rdv with our Amie Marie-France who is 22
years old and super awesome! She is studying pharmacy, so she is
pretty smart. The second councilor in the bishopric asked us to invite
her to his house to eat and have a little lesson so that is exactly
what we did! It went sooo well. He is the coolest guy everM his name
is Élie Baret and he is legit like a comedian. He is a gendarme which
is basically the equivalent to SWAT in America so you would hunk he is
super serious, but no. Haha we had fajitas and they were super good!
We also had lessons with Pamella and Mmd. Eyraud who are both too
cool! Pamella was sick most of the week, and so we offered to give her
a blessing and she wanted us to so we did and it was a cool experience
to be able to bless her and see her thankfulness for the blessing. She
is making good progress and we are happy with how she is doing and
everything. Then Mmd Eyraud our old lady amie, is still going strong.
Haha she comes every week and is just counting down the days till her
baptism! It is down to 12 days! She will be in the water soon enough,
she is so excited! We are going to do her baptismal interview tomorrow
so pray that everything goes well. Siham our recent convert, is doing
super well as well! She comes every week and to like almost every
activities there is to come to at the church every week. She is at
English class, family home evenings and institute every week. It is
crazy! I do t know how she does it. She is at the church more than we
are some days haha. We are in the process of helping her commence her
genealogy so she can take family names to the temple this coming
temple trip in a few months!

Grenoble is a beautiful place, my favorite thing is the mountains for
sure,mi love just looking around at the mountains and it makes me feel
like I am at home a little bit. Something I will never get over is the
beauty of mountains and the forests. I love the beach and sun, but
something about the mountains makes me feel right at home. And aside
from that I really like the city itself, it is super cool looking with
a bunch of old buildings but it is still a more modern French city
than Marseille for example. So it has the best of both worlds,
classique French style and modern art flares. Haha but my comp is such
a cool kid, this transfer he has really been teaching me the
importance of family. He loves his family more than anything else and
it is just s good example that I have to learn how a man should treat
his family. I thought I treated you guys pretty good but I can always
do better. Ha but as for things I have developed on the mission is
probably the habit of waking up early. That was not me at all before
the mission especially during summer! But now I can't sleep in even if
I try! I woke up at 5:30 this morning and I don't even know why, I
guess my body thought that I had had enough sleep for the night...
Cause I def could not go back to sleep. That and I can sort of grow a
small beard now. Haha but aside from that it is just personality
traits I feel like I have developed, but I don't even know what they
are. You'll have to wait and then tell me what you see.

Anyway, I love you guys so much! I will write you next week with my
final email and everything. Hope all is well and stays well!

Elder Schettler

June 13, 2016
So this past week seriously flew by! We had a bunch of stuff we had to
do, we had to do two exchanges before the transfer was over and we
barely squeezed them in this past week haha. Things on the mission
seem to just get busier and busier as you are here longer, I swear at
the beginning I would have never imagined how fast time would be going
and how much stuff you do at the end. It is crazy! That being said I
am trying to appreciate the moments, take in everything and as we say
in French "j'en profite" which means I'm just trying to make every
moment worth it. I was able to be in Lyon twice this week and I also
go to spend a bit in valance. It is always a good time to return to
cities where you have already been and know some of the people there.
When I go back to Lyon it is funny to see which people still remember
me even though i haven't seen them in over a year! It is such a good

So this week we started it off with an exchange with the Ecully elders
so one of them could come interview our amie to be baptized. So we
decided to take advantage of the moment we had and do an exchange
cause we both had pretty busy days. So I show up in Lyon and we call
the Amis who they were going to see and only one of them confirms...
Classique.. Haha I swear this happens every exchange. It's become sort
of the norm that things never ever ever go as planned on exchanges. So
we went and saw the ami we had to see and ate lunch with him and
taught him. He is from Mexico and is getting baptized is next week!
Elder spoors is borrowing my white pants for his baptism( I won't need
those anymore...) so that is going to be awesome! And afterwards we
just went out and found some old Amis and talked to some people cause
no one else could see us. It was a good fun day though, elder spoors
is from London area so we got to talk a little about his home and what
England is like. Sounds like a pretty cool place. We might have to go
out there! Haha but now Madame Eyraud our amie is for sure getting
baptized this coming week! I will send you pictures of it! She is
super cool and counting down the days till her baptism. We are
currently at 5.

Aside from that we also had an exchange in valance this week where we
went and did a big move, so we brought all four missionaries and tried
to just get it done as fast as possible, it took us about half an hour
to get everything out of their apartment and maybe another half hour
to get everything back in the new one! Seriously one of the fastest
moves I've ever been a part of. French people normally are not up to
par with their moving skills, but this one was well organized and we
got it done in a jiffy! Such a change of pace from the four hour five
hour moves I've seen my whole mission! But we then went out to find
some people at a park (look at pics) which is probably the only cool
thing in valance to be honest.. But we just chatted with people and
stuff. I also got to see some members I knew when I was in valance for
a couple weeks and so we caught up and got to chat a bit. That was
super cool!

The highlight of the week though was stake conference in Lyon. So I
was there Saturday and Sunday for conference and it was a blast! We
got to see a bunch of missionaries and tons of members I knew in
Confluence. There is a member Frère Girard, who saw me and just came
over and gave me the biggest hug! He has since my depart, been married
and sealed in the temple! He told me that with the biggest smile ever
on his face and I could help but smile right back at him. I also got
to talk to the always awesome Leporé family! Seriously my favorite
members in all of France. Roland is the stake president now and he did
a great job, he gave a talk on examples of faith in history and how we
should do the same. His wife as well have a talk in French which was
pretty dang good considering she's American. It was all around a great
conference in Lyon.

Ok now for like my last email type stuff... I guess I should maybe
explain a little bit of what I have learned and what not during my
mission and how I have grown personally, spiritually and in all areas
of my life. I am not positive however exactly how to explain it. It
took me two years to learn and I guarantee that it is not all there
yet, but what I would like to express is my love to each and everyone
of you who have been there with my the whole way. It has meant a lot
to me to hear your support and love no matter how consistent or
profound our contact, I appreciate it. I also know that no matter what
we sacrifice for the lord he will give us back ten fold what we have
offered unto him. And I feel as though I have come to appreciate the
small things in life deeper and to be able to experience things with a
more clear vision of who I am and what role I play. I have come to
understand the gospel on a deeper more personal level and it has
become something real for me, something worth sharing with everyone.
So if you want to get to know more about the changes in my life I
would like to invite you to spend time with me, and see for yourself
what has changed. Cause frankly I have no idea, there are too many
things for me to notice.

I will tell you all about my week when I get home 😊 I am unbelievably
excited to see, hug and talk to each one of you!

As for my questions
1. What time will we be going to the temple?
2. How many times can we go boating before surgery? And can I bring friends..?
3. Any requests of things you want me to bring back?? Chocolat? Haha
4. What is the topic of my homecoming talk? 😬

Elder Schettler

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Grenoble France

April 11, 2016: 
This week wasn't super busy with seeing people and other rdv's so we had a lot of time to go explore a little while looking for members trying to bring them little treats to try and spark them up or
something. I explained a little bit of our goal as a mission this transfer to dad but just to bring you up to speed, president has asked us to get 91 baptisms this coming transfer... On the whole year so far
we have 36. So we have to essentially triple that number! It sounds insane! But I think things are looking bright here in Grenoble and we should be able to do our part to contribute to the numbers of baptisms that president has felt inspired to challenge us to have. This past week I learned how much I like to be up to date with everything. Being new in a place is always odd at first, so I have to ask a lot of questions to get what I need to know. At the beginning of my mission I was really laid back and didn't mind really knowing what we were doing or when we had a rdv or what members names were or anything, but now I need to know. Haha I have become way more organized in my mind as far
as planning and everything. It's funny to me that that is something I have developed. But this coming week we are going to district meeting, it will be in valance so I will be going back there again! But aside from that we have a couple people that have invited over to eat at their house and we have some lessons set up with Amis. But we will see what holds and what falls through the cracks.. Most the time everything falls through the cracks and our days get pretty empty pretty fast. But that's what you get sometimes. There wasn't anything too funny that happened this past week, except that I had to explain to my dear sweet, innocent new companion what a baked potato is. Apparently he has never had a potato cooked in the oven, covered in chili and sour cream... Like I thought that was a normal thing... But I guess not? He's from Washington as well! Like they export the most potatoes in the whole USA! But that was sort of a funny experience.

April 18, 2016: Letter to Mom-
It's crazy to see all the things that are going down in your guys life from this far away! I can see a ton of growth in all of you in many aspects of your lives and I bet you guys feel like everything is just
going as normal. It is only when we take a step back and look at things from a different perspective that we start to realize all the hints that are changing or have developed that weren't even there before. I am sure the same has happened with me but I am not super good at noticing it yet. Haha that's why I have companions and family to help me realize the efforts I make and to encourage me to keep
going with things that are making me better in one way or another. A good example that comes to mind is learning French.. I haven't noticed but little by little my French has been coming and becoming better and better throughout the mission even though sometimes I don't realize it at all. I even get annoyed sometimes cause there are things I don't know or expressions I don't understand but in reality I have made way more progress than I notice right up front. There are plenty of other things like that in our life but I just wanted to use that as an example really fast.

Anyway dad will be able to share some stories or experiences that we had this week, but something else I would like to share is that there is this convert here in Grenoble who is super awesome her name is Maddelana and has been a member for just over a year, well anyway she got her mission call this past week! And she is going to serve in the Athens, Greece mission! She opened her call at church with everyone around because her family are all in Italy, where is is normally from.. But it was a really cool experience to have another one of those mission opening things happen! It brought back so many memories of when I opened my call and found out I would be coming here to France and all the emotions and thoughts that flooded my head. Then all the peace and comfort as well, knowing that it is the right place for me. There is no experience like opening a mission call! It has been over two years since I have opened my call and I am so thankful for everything that has come from my decision to serve a mission andto sacrifice these two years to bless other people in whatever way I can. I have found my talents and my weaknesses out here and I don't know if I would have had the same life changing experience anywhere else. So I am just thankful to you all as well for supporting me and everything else you do for me! Anyway, love you all! Talk to you soon

Letter to Dad-
This week was a little slow actually which was too bad. We had so many people cancel on us! Haha it had a few days this week were it was just pouring rain and so being outside and contacting people wasn't really the most effective thing to do so we decided to go around and try to pass some less active or old Amis that haven't seen the missionaries in a while. We were able to see a few less actives and that was actually pretty cool! We got some corned beef given to us by one of them cause she didn't want to leave us out in the rain with no food or something like that. My morale is ok. 

This week we ended up playing basketball with a bunch of people by our house in these courts that are pretty nice. I heard that missionaries used to go there and play a bunch of basketball with people and then start teaching them afterwards cause people would ask them why they were there. So that is what we started to do! It was so much fun to actually, me and one of the other elders played while my comp and one other elder sat on the sides and talked to the people and got their numbers and stuff. We set up a time to play with them again this coming week. Most of them speak English too, they are from China, India, Iowa and two from France. I like playing basketball, I am not the best but I can hold my own against these dudes and it gives me a little time to get my energy out. The members here are super cool! We are going to a few peoples houses this week to eat and to see their families. I am really liking them and it has only been like two weeks I've been here. Ha there is a lot of stuff to but sometimes we still end up scratching for stuff because we have three people not show up to our rdv's. Best spiritual experience this past week, was probably at district meeting. We just have the chance to share our testimonies and we were talking about the importance of getting our Amis to church and it was a really cool experience this week.

April 25, 2016
The Annecy Amis are doing super well actually! There are a lot of them that are still ready and preparing for baptism. There should be one in the coming two weeks which president brown said I could actually return and watch. It is the one for Julien, the super cool one who looks like Tom Cruise! He got married two days ago to his girlfriend who is already a member and now we are just waiting to find out when he is free to be baptized. George is doing very well, but they are still waiting for his wife to be ready so they can baptize both at the same time. And there is Halbert who I engaged to baptism while I was in valance for a few weeks but he lived in annecy, from what I have heard he has made complete 360 turn and is now going super strong rather than struggling like how he was when I we first engaged him! Elder Wilkey is taking really good care of our Amis over there haha I
actually got to see elder Wilkey this past week at zone conference! It was combined with Lyon, Geneva, Lausanne, and Ecully zones.

Mother's Day skype will work just fine for me at 3:30. I should be free around then and I'm sure that Elder Warner won't mind doing it around the same time or maybe a little bit later cause his family is
an hour behind.. But whatever. I will plan on doing that so you do not have to worry about getting to church on time. Make sure everyone is awake though haha it will be the last time I talk to you guys before I am back so we gotta make it a good one!

As for recipes I actually need a recipe for a cake! Any kind of cake, but there is a member that loves cooking and wants me to bring her a recipe for an American cake so she can make it for a bunch of people. Already me and my comp buy about 2kg of apples a week and a kilo of bananas and oranges, with a few bags of frozen and fresh vegis... So like we eat pretty well. I am just in the situation where I don't know what to make with all these ingredients that I have haha so any like quesadilla things or any like healthy dinner options would be awesome! Otherwise I will continue to eat just plain carrots haha.

So this past week we had a bunch of stuff going on, even though through out the week I felt like we almost weren't doing anything. It was raining and wasn't super beautiful outside so people weren't
really outside either. Contacting people in conditions like that is always super hard, so we didn't have much success in terms of contacting and finding new people this week. That being said, we have
had some super awesome miracles this week as well! I was on an exchange with Elder Berry (the same one who I lived with when I started in Lyon) and we had a great time! We taught our ami Sihem who we have been teaching for about two weeks. She came to our rdv like an hour early and we were busy cooking an apple tart for a dinner appointment we had later that night, but we finished really fast and got straight to teaching her. I kid you not, first thing she says is 'I want to be baptized' so the lesson progressed from there haha we taught her and set her date for the 7th of May! Such a miracle!! So we have seen her a few times and she literally knows everything we teach already! She has read most of the gospel principles book and is sooo ready for baptism. She has been to church three times now, and the members love her.

As for another cool blessing or miracle actually is there is that 14 year old girl I think I told you about who suddenly decided she wanted to be baptized? Well anyway she got back from a two week vacation and she said it is still good to go! So we will be teaching her a few times and she will be getting baptized in the very near future! It is cool to see how these people are just getting so prepared so fast! When I heard that our goal as a mission was 91 baptisms in this transfer I thought there was no way, but things are going very well I think there are maybe 20 baptisms that have already happened and we should be having many more May 7th! There are a few children being baptized his week and that will be good practice for us to watch and figure everything out wi how to work the font for our baptism that will happen in a few weeks.

This week was a pretty good well though! I love Grenoble, it is a beautiful place with really cool people and a super awesome ward!

April 26, 2016 Letter to Dad:
Hey sorry we didn't have a lot of time for emails yesterday, I am therefore taking my time today to finish my emails. We had a bunch of home teaching visits to do with a member and so we cut our p day short and just went to do that. It wasn't the most interesting thing but it was pretty fun to go see a few families. Today as well we had the chance to go do service for an older couple that aren't members, but they are friends of some members that live in a summer home in a little village about an hour outside of Grenoble, it was so beautiful and they fed us an amazing meal! Like all French people usually do
👌🏼. But I think it was a really good thing to do, they want to keep contact with us and took our emails and they have our phone number and want us to come back to eat and go on a hike with them and just talk about 'good stuff' which we can do! So I hope I'll get the chance to go back and have that experience again soon! We also had a less active come with us and it was really cool to see him participate in the discussion we were having, he was explaining all the things he liked about the church and how things worked as well, which I think did him a lot of good even if he didn't really think anything of it.

I want pictures of the boat the second you get it! Maybe even videos showing me all the cool new features haha I am super excited for you guys! That thing is gonna be getting used so much this coming summer I already know it.

As for things out here, there are some pretty cool things happening actually! Even though I didn't really notice it until the end of the week, we have had so many miracles this past week that just sort of happen and then we cruised by them an moved on to the next one. The first one is that one of our Amis basically engaged herself to baptism and has decided to be baptized next Saturday! She has really come out of her she'll since we have started talking abut baptism and has been making some huge, big time efforts to be ready on May 7th for her baptism. She was a practicing Muslim before, but now she feels like Jesus Christ is the way for her and that it is bringing her more than her prior religion. She is sooo cool! Her name is Sihem and the ward has fallen in love with her, and she has fallen in love with the ward as well! She keeps all the commandments without having to be asked twice and has just been sprinting towards the baptismal font ever since. We have a few more Amis who should be getting baptized but one is set on the 18 June, and that is set in stone. She is 72 years old and super funny. She calls us her grandkids haha so I guess I have another grandma now...? But she is seriously such a sweet lady. She loves rugby and football (soccer) and she could talk to anyone about it for hours on end. But we should be going to see our other ami who is getting baptized soon, to fix the actual date. So if all works out as it is right now and I finish my mission here (which I hope I do) I will have baptized more people here than the rest of my mission combined. So let's hope I can stay!!

As for the companion... It's going ok.. Like there are more elders here in Grenoble so I try and spend as much time with them as possible. Haha they are pretty cool people and so when we are all together we have a pretty good time. We slept at their house like 5 times last week. They have a huge apartment that is right by the church so whenever we are going to be late instead of going home we just go tot their house and sleep there so we aren't late. I don't think my companion really likes sleepovers that much, but idk it is one of the only things keeping me as sane as I am so I justify it a bit I guess. The zone leaders and district leader are all aware of what he is like and so they feel and understand me haha sorta helps that I have basically served with all of them... But they have my back and do what they can to help the situation. The other day he almost cried cause one of the other elders told him that Han Solo dies in the new Star Wars. Idk how to comfort someone like that yet.. Maybe it's something I need to learn how to do. But yeah it's a little straining sometimes.

That's super funny about David's sister though! Ha I get to see him more often than before now that he is AP and comes to all of our zone conferences and so we get to catch up and talk every now and then but it's good to know I am not quiet forgotten back home! Ha my emails sometimes are pretty empty. But yeah there was my week! It was good and everything is going well! I will see you guys soon though so I can explain everything a little bit better on Mother's Day! Love you!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

March in Valence, France

Letter to Dad: March 7, 2016
Things are going well out here! Valence is a lot different from Annecy
but it still pretty good! We have had to come here and learn a whole
new bus system again  and a whole bunch of members less actives and
everything which is always an interesting thing to adjust to an area
like that and especially with a blue, it's sorta like we are white
washing and I'm training still haha but it's cool. But this week was
pretty cool, something funny that happened this week that I think you
will appreciate is that we had a member who is named cheefy come and
invite us fir food one day and wanted us to come over to the church to
eat it so us not wanting to deny a free opportunity to eat some good
food because he is a pretty good cook, accepted and showed up. We had
a nice slow cooked meat meal with vegetables and everything with this
grape juice that was very good as well. The grape juice here is super
good btw! Haha but we left not thinking much of it, cause cheefy will
feed the missionaries pretty often and it's never anything weird or
out of the ordinary. But the next day elder Wilkey goes to the
bathroom and comes out and tells us all that he was peeing green...
And like half an hour later another elder goes to the bathroom and he
had he same thing!! So we started like laughing and just thinking
about all the things we could have eaten to make us that way because
we had no idea! And I went a couple hours later and then we found out
that I was peeing green as well as elder Steadman! So like we were all
just wonder what the heck was going on.. And so we called a couple
other missionaries in Grenoble and asked them what was going on with
them. And they didn't have it and we could not figure out what on
earth did this to us! But a day later we got a random call from cheefy
and he was just busting up laughing and asked us how everything was
and if our pee was a different color! He had put some chemical in the
trap juice and used it to dye our pee green!! Hahahaha he got us sooo
good! It was a classic joke and got all us just wondering what was
going down! But all said and done Valence ain't Annecy.... Haha I miss

But we only have three more weeks until transfer calls! But I talked
to president and asked him I could have three weeks early for hand
surgery before school started that would put my return right around
July 10-13 somewhere around there! He said he would seriously consider
it just because it is medical and he normally won't let anyone go home
unless it is medical so we should be finding out what his thoughts
are. That would only be a few days before I would normally be
returning anyway.


Playing a little basketball at Pres. Brown's home.

Letter to Mom March 14, 2016
I am super excited to hear about the new boat! That is going to be so
much fun! I am super jealous that you guys will have it for a couple
months before I will be able to come back and use it with all of you,
but maybe you will just have film some of it so I can feel like I am
there with you guys haha it isn't worldly at all though! I am glad
that we are able to go boating and spend time together as a family, it
is one of the things I have been able to look back on and remember all
the fun morning trips, lake Powell trips and Monday nights where we
would spend time together on the boat.

As for water, I am no longer near even a little bit of water. I guess
there is a river that runs by a city that is sorta close to valence
but not really! It's weird to think that this is one of the only times
that they haven't put me by the water. Valence isn't that big of a
city, and so I'm pretty sure that I've already seen everyone there.
There are some cool things, like a fountain and one park that is
pretty cool I guess. There isn't a whole lot to see there and there
are tons of high school kids, so like we don't have anyone to really
contact when high school is in cause they are all super young. But
whatever. The ward is pretty cool. And the Annecy Amis are doing well
we call them a few times a week so we still have contact with them and
things are going pretty well, but it's not the same as actually being
there and everything. So our friend we met in the park is from the
reunion islands and he is doing well, his name is Mustafa and we have
been seeing him like almost every day. Haha it's pretty awesome

This week we have had a bunch of stuff to do though we went on. A
bunch of exchanges and everything, it's always tiring to take a bunch
of trains but I'm learning to like it. Haha trains are pretty cool, I
stayed in valence for all the exchanges and Elder Wilkey was out in
the other cities. But we taught a couple lessons over Skype to our
Amis and they were pretty good, except for the fact that my front
camera on my new iPad isn't working so we couldn't really see them at
all haha we had to use the back camera and so yeah it was sorta odd.
But whatever it was fun to teach them and see how they were doing. So
this week we actually have a visit from Elder Christopherson so we
spent all of p day here in Lyon again we just sorta wandered around
and took pictures of stuff. It was a zone p day type of thing which
only a handful of people showed up to... But this week was pretty calm
otherwise not too much crazy stuff went down.

Love you all have a good week!

Elder Palani Thangaraj 

Letter to Dad: March 21, 2016
Sounds like the temple dedication was success! I am excited to go see
the Provo temple once I get back, it will the first time for me, I
didn't even see it under construction really. But I definitely didn't
recognize any those Jazz player except for my man Okur! Haha he's an
oldie but the other two I had no idea. I had to ask Elder Kahn here in
the apartment who is in his first transfer to explain to me who they
were and if they good or whatever. Haha I am so out of the loop I
don't even recognize the Jazz players anymore! It's crazy! It hasn't
even been that long since I have been gone and already there are a ton
of new faces! I can only imagine everything else that has changed and
I'm gonna have to get used to all over again! But the trip to Maui
sounds like it will probably be super fun! I am jealous of the sun and
beach time that you are gonna be getting! I wanna have some time to
chill on the beach and everything, but I will have my time soon enough
I'm sure. But once I get back me and Nate are gonna go exercise at the
sports mall or in our basement so he can be the best lacrosse player!
I wanna see him do super well and he's gonna have to start now if he
wants to be super good by the time he is in high school. 

But as I explained to mom this week wasn't super eventful, because I got sick
and wasn't really able tom,eave the house at all during a few days!
The coolest thing this week was our mission conference with Elder D
Todd Christopherson who came to visit and speak to our whole mission!
I got to see a bunch of old friends and listen to an apostle answer
all of our questions, even though a lot of them were pretty lame. Haha
sometimes I am not positive what is going through people's heads and
how they under stand everything but whatever, it makes for funny
stories later right?! Haha But aside from being sick this week things
are going well here, it is the last week of the transfer!! So we will
see what happens, I do t think I am wanting to stay here in balance
for much longer. It is too small and I need a change already. Haha I
only have three more transfers so I think is the next city will
probably be the last one! Hopefully that is! It's weird to think that
I might be finishing in the next place I get called to, but also
reassuring cause I don't really like moving around too much. I have
done pretty good amount of times in my cities and I'm proud of that.
But I am doing well after the Annecy attack haha I just don't like
being in communities with a lot of Arab people, or homeless people or
Eastern Europeans anymore, and buses are still odd but it's getting
better! In 5 months I won't have to ever take a bus again in my life I
don't think so it will all be good. I am not positive what has
happened we are still waiting for our lawyer to call and tell us a
little bit of what happened. I will let you know as soon as I find out
what happened to them. Love you hope you have a good week!


Letter to Mom: March 21, 2016
Sounds like you guys will be having the most fun week in a long time! One that you have earned from the sounds of it! I am super jealous it seems like you guys just keep popping around the USA for vacations haha and all my comps are always jealous of you guys! But I am also jealous you got to watch the temple dedication of the Provo temple! I have seen a bunch of pictures of it and it looks like an amazing temple. I will have to go see it with you guys once I get home! I am super excited to actually go to the temple and not just talk to people about it. That is one thing that I am missing out here. It is strange to be not allowed to go to the temple during these two years, but I will appreciate it more once I get back. But as for the boat you could ask the Giles family that just moved back to America this week haha they were the family in Annecy, and I know they love boating! 

This week started really eventful and ended pretty eventful but in between it didn't really get to busy. I was sick with the flu and it quickly turned into super bad intestinal stuff and had bad diarrhea and what not for a few days. We went to Lyon on Monday and spent p day out there just sorta looking around and having a good time with the other missionaries that we could find. And that night we stayed with Elder Huntsman and Elder Haws and that was super fun! They are two of my favorites. We were there because he next day we had a mission conference with Elder D Todd Christopherson who came to speak to our mission. It was a super cool experience to have an apostle come and speak to us, he did a question and answer thingy and frankly a lot of dumb questions were asked. Haha but whatever. Sometimes people just don't put things full circle in their heads before they come out and it is so obvious hahaha but they have good intentions so you can't blame them too much for trying! But that night we went back to valence and that is when I started to be sorta sick and I went to bed the second we got home. I slept from 6-6:30 the next morning! Straight 12 hours of sleep! It was AWESOME 😏 first time I've ever had so much sleep! But the next day I just stayed home cause I was really sick and spent a lot of time in bed just like reading and sleeping. And the next day I tried to stay in bed as long as I could cause I was still sick but we had a rdv with our dmp so I got up and we went to eat at his house and have a meeting, I tried to not eat too much but he is Tongan so like avoiding eating at his house is like avoiding fire as a fireman. Tongans and food just coexist and compliment each other. He is super cool, he is professional rugby player and HUGE! He invited us to his game this coming Saturday so I will send you videos and pictures from that! But we directly went to another mangez-vous with a recent convert and ate again!! Now the last thing you wanna do when you have stomach issues is eat, but as a missionary sometimes you just gotta bite the bit and go for it so I ate again! The next day was super rough and I couldn't even move probably from the event of the preceding day and so I spent another day in bed, but another elder in our apartment was also sick so we stayed together and Elder Wilkey and Elder Steadman went out and worked for both of our sectors which was cool of them. Then Saturday I was feeling better and we got invited to go play basketball with seta who is another professional rugby player in our ward and his rugby friends at the church so we showed up and played ball with them for a couple hours, they loved it! They are all super good athletes, but basketball is not their sport... Haha we had to explain that you have to dribble the ball and can't just run with it and like taught some of them how to shoot. But they are solid muscles so they could just run through us small white boys. (They were all islanders) 

But as for Mustafa, he is doing well Elder Wilkey taught him on exchange this week and he is making good progress! The other investigators I haven't really seen or talked to this past week, we did one skype with our ami George and he has been keeping the word of wisdom which is super sick!! I'm stoked to hear he is doing so well even without us there to be on him. I was looking at Nate's scar pictures and his scar looks relatively small. Is there a reason it is not half way up his arm like mine is? Haha mine is like 6 inches and I wanna know if my second one will be like Nate's or if it will be another 6 inch scar.