Ma chère famille,
What a week, what a weird feeling!
It feels like going home seems really normal, and that I'll get home and everything will be exactly the same as I left it.
As far as this week, we have been busy. Having a trio has been fun, recharging, and rather stressful.
Monday we went with Fr. Girard to see a suffering friend of another member. The friends name is Denise, and when her member friend told her about blessings she asked for one. So we went over and explained what blessings are and then pronounced one of health upon her. There was a strong spirit there and the life auxiliary who was there asked us if she could come to church to understand more...haha it was wonderful!
Tuesday we got to teach Emmanuelle and Steve the friends of the Stake President's family that I told you about. They are a super fun young couple. They love the USA haha. They are both really open to the idea of becoming members of the church. But are understandably feeling some doubt and nervousness about it. Emmanuelle is traditionally catholic and is a bit more nervous to make the change. They asked President Lepore to do a marriage service for them because the catholic church won't do because Emmanuelle has already been married and divorced. But they both love us. Steve is really cool and open and wants to learn more. So we'll be going back to see them on Thursday.
Wednesday we took the hour and a half train up to Chalon sur Saone to do our exchange with Elder Lapointe and Elder Brill. I spent the day with Elder Brill and it was a blast.
We came back down to Lyon Thursday morning for district meeting which we held at the Ecully chapel in Lyon. (not our normal chapel). We held it there in order to have enough room for Elder Dupre's and Elder Elvidge's districts to be there as well, so we could all have lunch together. IT was so much fun. District meeting went incredibly well. My last great sermon. I taught all of my favorite doctrines that I felt were the most influential on my mission according to the direction of the spirit. District meetings are 2 hours and I have 10 other members in my district that attended plus one of the zone leaders. It was wonderful and I loved it. Elder Elvidge and Elder Dupre are two of my closest friends in the mission field and they will be finishing with me next week. And they were both former Assistants, so it was fun to have 3 district meetings being done with my friends who I look up to so much.
After that I did a day exchange with Elder Thorne in my district, he is awesome.
Friday we had a day exchange with the Zone leaders I was with Elder Barnes.
Yesterday at church was the first official missionary sacrament meeting. The bishop asked us to choose 3 speakers to speak on missionary work. He asked me to join him on the stand for the sacrament meeting to introduce the theme and the speaker. The members were super kind as word spread that Elder Ardeche and I would be finishing next week and we received several invitations this week.
As the continued comments and questions about returning home, I've come to respond that I'm excited to go home and excited to finish strong. But as this week went on I had several moments when I felt the Spirit very strongly and my thoughts turned to not having the nametag anymore. I can not and could not escape the fact that I am sad to leave this glorious position and responsibility that the Lord has granted to me. As I have written to you so many times, I do LOVE being a missionary. I LOVE being a messenger of the Lord. I LOVE helping others feel and recognize the Spirit and in effect the Love of the Lord. There is no better feeling than knowing that someone has been profoundly changed because the Lord used me as an instrument, there is no greater satisfaction than knowing that I hastily and faithfully followed a prompting and receiving the confirming witness of the Spirit that the Lord is smiling on us as we complete what He would do if He were in our place.
I LOVE the Gospel, I LOVE my Heavenly Father, and my Savior Jesus Christ. I LOVE being in their service, I've never felt a joy so real as the joy of serving and helping and loving those around me as children of God. I know these things are real.
An eternal thank you for all you have done for me and for the numerous prayers on my behalf you have given in the past two years. I LOVE you all.
A très bientôt,
Elder William Montgomery
|Elder Ardeche is really French...haha|
|Elder brill and I on exchange in Chalon|
|At the train station with elder brill|
|The Confluence district|
|Elder elvidge and elder dupre|
|With elder haws one of the zone leaders in Lyon|
|Elder thorne and I eating pastries|
|The ami board in our apt.|
|The big map by our apt|
Ma chère famille,
Lots of interesting stuff to tell you about. To give a quick overview of the week. It was extremely hot. We were sitting at 40 degrees C almost all week and even during the night it was suffocating. And France doesn't believe in air conditioning...haha I think that should be a requirement for a first world country. Nevertheless, we chugged along and had a great week. We're doing a lot of teaching right now. I feel like we have more people to teach than we do time, its almost frustrating! It is a great feeling though to be teaching so much, and we have some really solid amis right now so I'm hoping that won't change in the next two weeks.
There have been some interesting happenings though. Two weeks ago we had a less active family that we've been visiting, the family Chassain, take us to go see a friend named michelle who is suffering from cancer, she's undergoing the treatments right now. We got to go see her again this past week. Its hilarious to me. Fr Chassain is the only member and he has some twisted views on doctrine, but both he and his wife love the missionaries and they feel the spirit really strongly when we visit them. Its incredible to me that This less active man has such faith in us and in the Lord to introduce us so naturally to his suffering friend, and then since he's introduced us to a family member and told us about a neighbor that he wants us to go visit with him. Both times we have visited Michelle she has been so grateful and excited for our visit. We've shared thoughts from the BOM both times and explained what it is, and she was so touched when we offered it to her. I love it when we get to see others exercise faith to help those around them feel the Lord's amazing grace.
In other news we ran into a man named Dan a couple weeks ago and taught him twice this past week. He has been taught several times by missionaries in the past. He is an american and a biblical scholar and a bit too entrenched in his own viewpoints and logic to accept anything else. About as close to bashing as we can get and still call it teaching...
We also been teaching Lianna on a regular basis. She accepted a BOM in Russian this week and was so touched. She has had trouble with her faith and is super open to the idea of reading from the BOM, which is super exciting.
Sarah didn't make it to church yesterday which was bummer. But we were able to teach her once this past week about the Plan of Salvation, which we really liked. She is actually a bit hung up on baptism which she was open with us about because she has already been baptized twice in her life. So she wants to make she gets this one right. She knows that she needs to keep searching for herself to know, which is great.
Friday I did an exchange with E. Hutchinson- a Welsh elder in my district, went really well, its always fun to have a little change up and to get to know someone new.
Saturday there was a baptism in one of the other lyon wards and after the missionaries threw a 4th of July BBQ which was fun.
This past week there was a group of Elders in Martigny Suisse that had to get emergency transferred because of legal issues. So the Assistants called last night and asked us to take one of those missionaries into our equipe. His name is Elder Ardeche. He is from Nantes, France. He came in with me and will finish with me in two weeks and I've actually done 2 exchanges with him back in my Bordeaux days. He is super energy and a bit crazy sometimes. It will be fun to have a french elder with us though! That should bring a fun shift in status quo to the equipe.
This week is already looking really busy. We will go to Chalon sur Soane on Wednesday and do a blitz there and then come back up for Thursday district meeting and do an exchange after. Then Friday we'll have an exchange with the Zone Leaders. Too much to do, not enough time! the Lord is so merciful to us!
I love you all!!
|4th of July bbq|
|The Boughton family that I became such good friends with in Perigueux were at church on Sunday for one of their children is in our ward...things come full circle|
|The missionaries who were present in our ward on Sunday|
Happy Birthday to RANNNN!!!!
What a week we've had. Reallly exhausting. haha wow we're tired. But we saw lots of incredible miracles and the Lord has been really merciful to us.
Sadly, Mavis and Henry have both been MIA all week. We haven't been able to get a hold of Mavis and Henry just keeps setting rdvs but not coming to them. Haha but those goes the missionary carousel...We'll keep trying.
Another Nigerian ami of ours, Collins, accepted a baptismal date of August 8th. Great news! but we'll have to go really slow with him to make sure he understands everything.
The good news is that our dark horse ami Sarah has really stepped up. The reason I say dark horse ami is because we weren't really sure about how things would go with her at first, but we've taught her three times and they have all been great rdvs. She is from Cameroon but is really cool and timid. Sunday would prove to be a huge miracle.
We had invited her to church on Sunday and she said she'd come. It was 1h30 (when our church starts) and we were standing by the metro waiting for her. She wasn't answering her phone. Collins arrived and so after waiting another 15 minutes we went to church. After the first hour, who comes out of relief society but Sarah! Super happy. She told us that she at met a member on the metro who had walked with her to church and then into Relief society. But wait the miracle gets better. I talked to the member later, her name is Alicia, she is a cool young adult. She always takes the bus to church on sunday and is there early, but this sunday she was running late and had to take the metro. She was on the same metro car as Sarah, and was READING her Book of Mormon...haha. So Sarah approaches her and asks her if she's going to church and she says yes and they walk there together. It was huge. The Lord really knows each one of us and He is incredibly aware of each one of our needs. Sarah had a wonderful time at church, the members ate her up and we'll be seeing her again on Tuesday.
Along with that we are now teaching Lianna three times a week. She is russian and has struggles with her past. We teach her english for 45 minutes then have 15 minute lesson for right now, because she hasn't jumped onto the idea of coming to church and everything. But she wants and needs the Gospel in her life. She keeps asking us why we are so happy all the time. And she doesn't fully understand why the Savior is important yet. We'll work on that.
Today we spent the last P-day at presidents house with President and sr Roney. It was so much fun. President Brown will be arriving tomorrow night.
We had a wonderful dinner visit with the Bishop's family, the family Chupin. Really cool young family, with two young kids. Had a bbq, with duck shish kebabs...so good...I'm a big duck fan after my mission.
Looking forward to another week of work.Time is speeding by, but also the next three weeks seem monstrous in front of me. Go big and THEN go home!
I love you all!
|Mid ward council with Fr Girard...|
|Final presidents pday!|
Another week down! things are speeding up!
We spent a lot of today at President's home, it was really great.
Friday we had our last zone conference with him and sr roney. It was so wonderful. They have become some of my best friends and greatest role models. All President teaches about is faith in the Savior. He only teaches about the Savior all the time. He left us with the scripture in John 13:14-17 about happiness. That the Savior taught us the key to happiness, to follow Him. It was really special. I'm so grateful for the chance I've had to be with them. When Elder Kearon came last time he talked about how as missionaries we are not only called to specific missions but also to specific mission presidents, I definitely feel like I was called to serve with the Roneys.
We took a trip to Grenoble to do Elder Mauss's legality renewal...its so pretty!
We saw Mavis once, he's doing well but has yet to come to church, which is sad, thats our next step.
Monday we had a cool miracle. We were walking to do groceries and were passing the institute center in Lyon. We saw an African couple that was just smiling like nobody's business at us and we stopped and talked to them. The girlfriends name is Progress (nigerians often name their children christlike qualities) and told us that she had met missionaries a year ago but was pregnant at the time and didnt act on the invitation, but that she had always hoped to find missionaries again to have the chance to talk to us and come to church. So we got her number and saw them on Wednesday! really cool Nigerian couple.
Saturday we taught Lianna. A 25 yr old friend of our russian ami olga. Lianna is also Russian/armenian. She asked us to teach her english, so we had made it 40 minutes into our really basic english lesson, when we asked if she had any other questions and then she asked in broken english, using the principles we had just taught her, Why is life so hard? Haha it was a beautiful moment. We ended up having a wonderful gospel discussion about the love of Heavenly Father and she was just amazed. We taught her how to pray and she was super touched. She told us how she feels that she has never been loved by anyone. She wants to learn english more regularly so we will be teaching half english half gospel here coming up this week.
We're really hitting our rhythm right now. The ami carousel continues and we find new people every day. Lyon is such a wonderful city. Miracles at every turn!
A thought from my studies this week: Moroni teaches us in Mormon 9 about a God that never changes and that is and will always be a God of miracles. I think the God like quality of consistency is essential. The great test of this mortal state is to see if we can consistently make righteous exercise of our agency. Faith is really shown over long periods of time. As pmg puts it genuine repentance is best demonstrated by righteous actiosn over a period of time. God is the master of this! I don't think its just automatic for Him, He really has mastered it. And how consistently we use our agency will determine our destiny.
I love you all so much!!!
|Elder Tomlinson looks so great!|
|Pday at presidents|
|Goodbye picture with president and sr Roney|
|The boys! Elder bollard, dupre and elvidge|
This has been a great week. We did a lot of good work. Things really seem to be ramping up! We taught 10 lessons! which was huge! a great improvement from last week and a really important step towards our week 4 goal of 20 lessons taught. I thought a lot about this this past week. Obviously the success doesn't simply come from the number. The number merely represents people and their progression, the higher the number the more people progressed in the gospel this week and it gives me a really fun and simple thing to focus on. And it requires extraordinary effort on our part. However I may be more gung ho for this goal than Elder mauss...haha
I'd like to throw a huge shoutout to Nate whose birthday was yesterday!
Mavis continues to progress well, we saw him twice this week. However I'm nervous for him because at the moment he lives in a rehab clinic for his leg that isn't in our sector, so I'm not sure if he'll end up being in our ward or not...
He's really great though and told us at the end of our lesson how badly he wants to be a servant of God.
We met an ami named Henry this week, a big Congolais man that is friends with a member that we actually met through the area book last week. He's met the missionaries a couple of times. He committed to a baptismal date of July 11 as well, however his understanding of that doesn't seem to be too real. But thats cool nonetheless!
This week was the worst week of pollen of the year so far according to the pharmacist that we visited to buy some medecine. Haha that killed me wednesday to Friday.
Yesterday was Stake Conference. Elder Mauss and I translated it into english for those at the stake center. It was really good, just really really awesome. Fr Lepore, the stake president is really money and his family is golden. He is a man that I feel like I've been best friends with for a long time. THey are going to the Utah for the next month and half to get his visa, so they'll miss me going which will be sad. He paid us one of the highest compliments this week. He has two friends, a couple that are planning on getting married in the fall and have asked him, knowing he was a bishop at the time, to give them a marriage prep class. He has been doing that along with teaching them about the plan of salvation and they love and are really excited to learn more. They had been taught by the sisters a few times, but with the recent transfer of one of the sisters out of the ward, He asked us if our equipe could keep on teaching them while they are in the US for the next month and a half. Really cool! Thats exciting!
So the work continues, we were at President's house today for a little pday action. He only has 2 pdays, left which is sad. We'll have our final zone conference with him on Friday.
I'm trying to squeeze as much enjoyment as I can out of these last few weeks of wonderful missionary service.
I love you all so very much! make it a wonderful week!
|and a big lightning storm Friday|
|Elder mauss and I translating stake conference|
|Us with the Lepore fam after conference|
|I ran into David from Clermont at Stake conference aand he got his mission call to Tahiti! too great! It was a huge blessing to see him!|
We've had a weird week. But things are advancing nicely. This is a weird day for me. The group that I came in with from the MTC is leaving, they've finished. Its weird to know this is the end. I feel a lot of pressure to finish strong. This last transfer will be great.
We had a miracle day Tuesday where we taught a lesson and found several potentials throughout the day and had a great visit with a member family.
Wednesday was our district meeting. The first time I've run a district meeting. It was really fun! I love doing things like that, and our district is awesome so there was a great spirit and great participation and we all learned a lot. We focused a lot on obedience and using ipads effectively in our work and then on teaching skills. Was really great. Afterwards we went to Chalon sur Saone. A smaller city north of Lyon to do an exchange with Elder Brill and Elder Lapointe. I went with Elder Brill and it was lots of fun. Exchanges are always nice.
We had a odd ending to the week as one of the office elders in my district that takes care of closing apartments hurt his ankle and couldn't go out. But they had to go to Dijon and close an apt this week. So Friday and Saturday I spent mostly in the apt with Elder Johnson icing his leg. haha needless to say it was nice to get out.
Transfers came this Friday and Elder Mauss and I will be staying together!
A lot of my thoughts this week have been turned to this last transfer. I really want to have a week when we teach 20 lessons. It will be nice to have Elder Mauss for this last one because he knows what he's doing, and so we can go hard. We have the people, we've worked hard this transfer but haven't quite seen any real fruits yet, so I'm excited to make this transfer the best last transfer ever.
I certainly feel like I've still got work to do here and the Lord needs me to stay. There are still things waiting for me out there.
I love you all very much!!!
|Elder mauss and I on our way back from Chalon|
|The Lyon missionaries at one of the go to fast food places: Master Tacos|
|Elder Fisk and I rocking the sister sweater vests at district meeting|
|The panorama of our district meeting lunch with the other Lyon district|