Already Monday? .... April 28, 2014


This was among the shortest weeks of my life. Just flew by.

We spent Monday and Tuesday in Lyon, got back Wednesday morning. Did groceries and planned for zone training. Thursday was my first zone presentation. Elder Castillo and I presented to the zone certain training that the Assistants and President gave to us in Lyon. I got kind of nervous right before, but as we started it became really natural and fun.

Then we had our exchange with the assistants thursday night and friday which was a blast, and Saturday we got to play some soccer with members from the three Bordeaux wards, before celebrating Elder McBeths birthday Saturday night. Now despite all this we had some cool missionary experiences and got some good missionary work done.

Wednesday after returning from the Talence chapel where we had prepared for zone training the next day we saw an absolute miracle. We were on the tram ride back and there is this African man standing next me on the phone speaking in his Nigerian language. When he gets off the phone he looks at me and I say bonjour, ca va? with a big smile. He looks uninterested and says, "you speak english right?" I laughed and said yes. He then inspected my plaque and railed on the fact that I was an "elder", telling me that the Bible says you cant be an elder unless you are older than 40, married and have kids. I just kinda took it in my stride and let him explain himself for about 3 minutes (how he made that explanation longer than 30 seconds beats me, people seem to have a way of talking a lot, but not really saying much #poorwordefficiency) before responding, "you believe in the bible? thats great so do we!" He then asked if we had a church in the area and i said yes, then he asked if we had time to give him a tour now, and I looked at Elder Castillo with big, joyful missionary eyes, and then said yes.

So we talked until the uncomfortably long tram ride dropped us off at the church stop. His name is, wait for it ...  VICTOR HUGO BENJAMIN. I type it in all caps to express the gusto with which he exclaimed it. We gave him a tour of the church and after sitting in silence in the chapel for 10 minutes, we said a prayer hand in hand (he gave us his evangelical amens and hallelujahs during it). After that he said thank you and that this is the reason he met us. He gave us his number proactively so we could call him. He did not come to church yesterday that stinker (as mom would say). But I'm excited to see what happens.  So we will see. Believe.

We have a member that we got to see this week, his name is Fr. Darguence, he just had a huge operation last week so we went by to check up on him. He was a personal bodyguard of Charles De Gaulle (leader of the french resistance during WWII and the first president of France-he is worshiped here) at 18 years old and then several other  big french political figures. He was special forces police and also a bounty hunter. He showed us his house and his souvenir room and all his lifes accomplishments. This guy was huge. I mean huge. He sings like an angel and is Spanish Basque but speaks perfect French. He his old now and soo cool still rocks the big mustache. He is on my picture to do list so I can show you.

Quickly I will lay out the organization of the wards and sectors here so you are no longer confused. 
In Bordeaux there are 3 wards. Eysines, Talence, and Lormont. Eysines and Talence meet in the Talence chapel and Lormont meets in the Lormont chapel. The missionaries in the Eysines ward are part of the Bordeaux zone. The missionaries in the Lormont and Talence wards are in the Talence zone. Elder Castillo and I are the Talence Zone leaders, but serve in the Lormont ward. Bordeaux itself is split into 3 sectors, 1 for each ward and the Lormont ward is the eastern third of Bordeaux and out into the countryside with a million little villes. 

All in all it was a fun week. I'm excited to settle down and work in our zone and our sector. Our zone is so great. The missionaries are wonderful. The mission is really the best experience ever.

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder William Montgomery

Pic of us contacting

The cake we made during dinner for Elder McBeths Bday

Maybe one of my favorite comp pics yet

Week one on the coast ..... April 21, 2014

Chére famille,

Its great being in a big city again. Summer is around the corner, its getting a little toasty in Bordeaux. 

We are currently in Lyon, for our leadership council tomorrow. Just some more fun mission adventures!

Our sector is really cool, its the east side of Bordeaux, the smaller part. But we're definitely in a big city again, lots of people walking around drunk and dog poop and trams and buses everywhere.
Attendance at church yesterday was about 100. The ward is really cool, but has some funny ones like everywhere. We are teaching 3 or 4 amis at the moment, with one lady who was baptized the day before I got here, that we saw this week.

This will be an interesting new chapter in my mission adventure. I'm with a solid companion in a big ville with lots of potential, but that seems to have a different vibe than other areas I've been in. Maybe thats just my first week effect rubbing off.

Anyways, I don't have a ton of time, but in honor of easter, I wanted to share this video with everyone.

Because of Him and all He did, its all possible. All of it. 
Its interesting being on a mission and meeting and talking to and delving into the lives of thousands of people and seeing all sorts of different challenges and problems and difficulties. And to think that because of the complete and total consecration of His life to help everyone that has ever struggled, and yet He was so alone.
He can solve all the problems that we see everyday on the streets, and that may be the hardest part as a missionary- seeing people turn down His divine help.
We can do it because of Him!

I love you all!

Beaucoup d'amour, 

Elder Montgomery
Elder Castillo and I on the bridge in Bordeaux.
plane ride to Lyon

From the Alps to the Atlantic ... April 15, 2014

Ma chère famille,

First things first, I've been transferred back across the country of France to Bordeaux to serve in the Lormont secteur. I'm now serving with Elder Castillo from Bountiful, Utah as a Zone leader of the Talence zone, which is basically the southern half of Bordeaux to the Spanish border. Very exciting stuff! Elder Castillo is the man and is really easy to work alongside. I'm super super stoked for this transfer and new part of my mission adventure but also very humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve others more fully.

This past week was super fun in Gex and I was very sad to leave such a wonderful place and my comp Elder Ambursley. We had a chance to play soccer with LDS GENEVE the local church team, and Frere Gaggini gave us some team ties. We also went and did a service project with the young men of the stake at Frere Gagginis home. It took me back to my young men days and it was really cool to be the missionaries there and have all the leaders saying things like," young men we want you to be just like these missionaries in a few years" We were the examples it was so cool, and it really is true that after being on a mission things seem to clear up in life. We also taught a really cool Polish family that we've trying to teach for a month now, and they are totally in! However I won't see them cause I'm leaving, but I'm excited for them anyways.

I just love being a missionary. I really do feel so empowered, and the more I believe in this cause, the greater that feeling of empowerment becomes.

I also love testifying. I guess thats really what we are as missionaries is witnesses of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bearing my testimony to the Gex ward that I love so much on Sunday brought me so much joy.

I'm excited to be here. Bordeaux is a big city (we have the bottom half of it as our secteur), much different from Gex. But I'm mostly excited to be with Elder Castillo. He is the man. I'm excited to serve with him because he seems super chill and hard working and very christlike at the same time. I'm excited to be with a missionary of a similar work ethic and personal maturity as myself.

Anyways I love you all! Bonne Semaine!

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder William Montgomery
Elder A and I with our LDS GENEVE FC ties on. Too Legit to quit

Us four elders with Fr. Gaggini at a stake young mens service activity. We made a bridge with the young men, just like old times. I kept turning my head around expecting some advice from brother Breiding.

THe cool young couples of the Gex ward!

The family Thiesset, one of my favorite families Ive yet to meet on my mission

Is there anything better? .... April 7, 2014

Dear Fam,

I have to say, I love general conference. Among my favorite parts of being a missionary. Maybe its different as a missionary but boy how incredible it is.

I hope you guys had the chance to watch a few sessions if not all of it this weekend. Because of the time difference we don't get to see the last session. Our ward is in the stake of Geneva, so we went up to Geneva to watch it, and it was so wonderful.
Elder Ambursley and I decided to fast before hand and go into it with personal questions that we had. Each question that I had was answered in a specific and powerful way. I'm so grateful for it.

This week we had some fun stuff. We went on an exchange with the zone leaders, which meant I went to Lausanne in Swiss. I forgot what its like to be in a big city! It was so cool and there are so many people to talk to! Everybody needs the Gospel!

Right now our work in Gex is requiring some active patience. We have a lot of potential that will be ready next week, and until then we have been having to go back to the drawing board with a lot of stuff. But General Conference was such a perfect way to recharge our batteries.
I wanted to leave you a scripture cited in the Sunday Morning session by one of the Sister speakers (Jean A. something), its from Doctrine and Covenants 62:3. It applies to me so much as a missionary but in a grander sense to how each one of us live our lives as a testimony of our beliefs:

3 Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is crecorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your dsins are forgiven you.
There are angels round about us holding us up, rejoicing over every single tiny correct decision we make.
President Monson said something to the effect of: Courage to do the right is no less noble simply because there are no crowds applauding or cheering our name.
And the reality of it is, there are crowds of angels and family members cheering our name every time we make that right decision.
I love you so very much! have a great week!
Beaucoup d'amour,
Elder Montgomery
An antique wooden hand that a potential ami bought

Curveball, its actually a seat!

Exchange with the zone leader, in Lausanne!

First real burger ive had in a while at Holy Cow- legit fast food restaurant in Lausanne

That Refiner's Fire .... March 31, 2014

My dear Family,
I love you all so very much. I really do miss you. In our weekly mission email a couple weeks ago, President Roney sent out a message about we should make sure our families and loved ones make us better missionaries. Let me tell you that you motivate me to be better, and I strive every day to become more like the Savior with you my mind, hoping to make you proud.

This week had lots of cool moments. With that being said, I will share a quote from Elder Maxwell,"Moments are the molecules that make up eternity."

I know that time is different (or doesnt exist at all) in the eternities, but its so true that our lives are lived and spent and enjoyed one moment and one decision at a time. And that really affected me this week, as I feel like these past couple weeks have been weeks of great personal change and development.

First we had a big zone conference this week with Elder and Sister Lund of the Quorum of the 70 (and personal friend of President Roney) spoke. And guess where they served as mission presidents from 2002-2005? ATLANTA, Georgia! Shout out! haha That was exciting for me to hear and some of the experiences they shared with us were very familar to me. I said douglasville and they knew exactly where I was from Haha. But Zone conference, was so incredibly inspiring and spiritual. Just fantastic.

On our ami front, its always an adventure. But we have one ami that we found by a miracle my 3rd week in Gex, that we passed this week. Her name is Anne-Marie. The second time we saw her after she "looked us up" on the internet, she looked me right in the eyes and told me, "but you won't convert me." In our last rendezvous, she told us how after reading the Book of Mormon, she felt energized and refreshed, and she has been consistent in her reading. This week she didnt have time for us to teach her, but when we passed she told us that she is really excited to come to church and that she wanted to talk to the member that we had taught with last time, Sr. Aubin (The importance of members cannot be overstated), about fixing a ride and everything. She is busy for the next two weeks because she is singing in the Easter Choir for the city, but after that she is really excited to learn more. That was quite refreshing for me. Her desire to learn more and her eagerness to engage herself were a reminder and inspiration for me to keep going.

Here was a cool quote from president Hinckley that I found today, 

"It is not so much the major events as the small day to day decissions that map the course of our living-our lives are, in reality, the sum total of our seemingly unimportant decisions and of our capacity to live by those decisions." 

In this talk I read it said something like: when we present ourselves before God, we wont be showing our trophy shelf and business awards, but rather our real heavenly resumes, ourselves! Work to become better!

I love you so much! Make lots of good little decisions this week!

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Montgomery

Good to see my brother Elder Moeller who is Corsica right now

This is Elder Ardeche, he's french and came in the same missionary group as me. He is crazy hilarious