To Nice and back again ... June 16, 2014

Dear family,

Its weird to think about all that we've done in the past week. Just the vast quantity of things we've accomplished. As we walked home last night, Elder Castillo and I were both marveling that we hadn't fainted from exhaustion yet.

This week was filled with incredible experiences for better or for worse.

First, I'll briefly tell you about our experience presenting to the stake. It didn't necessarily go as planned. We really wanted to impress upon the leadership just how powerful Preach my Gospel is, how much it can help them and the families of their wards improve their testimonies and missionary work and to emphasize the invitation from Elder Ballard in general conference (an apostle of the Lord). We were told that we were going to have 15 minutes to present which really isn't a ton of time to cover the important subject we had. As these meetings often go, after sideways comments and questions, we ended up only having 5 minutes to present. We got up and speedily hit some of the big points that we wanted to, then really bore our testimonies about it. Unfortunately as we discussed missionary work with just us vs. missionary work with members and missionaries as a team, we kind of got some kick back from the certain people, which was sad and annoying. We felt like a lot of the good energy that was building up at the beginning of the meeting really fell apart as we were up there and we left with our testimonies of missionary work and PMG, but we left in a rather tense atmosphere. Like I said we were both sad and frustrated. We really felt like this was the venue to coordinate with the stake leadership, and get them on the same page as us. (The current set up of the current ward structure doesn't give us a lot of leeway to coordinate with the leadership- which we've found is a big problem for missionary work.) But we'll have to continue to push. Thats really our task here is to help everyone (train them, teach them, encourage them, love them) do missionary work, not just us. It goes a lot better when 125 people are doing it than just 2.

The better side of the email period was our trip to Nice. Really just a wonderful miracle that everything went smoothly. Elder Castillo and I were really pleased at how well we all behaved and how well the hotel situation went and everything. We were on a bus all day monday. Left BDX at 830 and got to Nice way early at 630 (Gerald our bus driver was the man). Tuesday we had the conference. It was an odd mixture of emotions all day. Seeing Nice again during the day brought back a lot of memories. I got to see some of my good young adult friends from the Nice ward who were helping out with translating. The conference itself was just incredible. 

We heard from President and Sister Roney, Elder and Sister Kearon, and Elder and Sister Andersen. Elder Andersen served here as a missionary and mission president. He actually started his mission in Perigueux- that was fun to hear). The entire 2 hours were just an magnificent spiritual experience. Elder Castillo and I couldn't talk for 30 minutes afterwards, we both felt really spiritually overwhelmed. It was wonderful. We really absolutely loved hearing from the Kearons, they have quickly moved up our favorites list. They were both just so powerful. 

The major message of the day was faith. haha very simple. Elder Andersen got a mike and walked through the crowd teaching us from the scriptures and answering questions. The cool quote he gave us, "Building the church in France is interesting, however this mission is not more difficult than others- in fact no mission is more difficult than others, they just have different challenges. However you do need more faith to serve in France than you do in most other missions." I really liked that. He really expressed his love and the love of all the brethren, and strongly admonished us to generate more faith and find more success, that it is possible. Really really great experience.
And just like that we returned. Wednesday afternoon we helped all the missionaries grab their trains despite the 3day strike that was going on. And we returned to our apartment pooped from the past two weeks.
But we can never stop. Because the work will never stop, the Lord will always need us. Everyone needs to at least know that Jesus is the Christ and that through this great plan of happiness we can find peace and direction. This quest is not a quest of two weeks or of two years but of lifetimes and eternities. To loosely quote Elder Andersen and to more accurately quote my great movie hero Maximus, 

"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."

I love you all! Have a great week!
Beacoup d'amour,
Elder Montgomery

Elder Montgomery and Elder Castilla at Neil A Anderson Training

A tired bus of Missionaries returning from Nice

Un Peu Partout ... June 7, 2014

Dear Family,
We were everywhere this week.

Monday and Tuesday in Lyon which was a blur- we ate with an american member family, the Heras family and the dad was super impressed that I had done IB, very funny to see that following me to Europe.
We woke up at 4am to catch our flight home on Wednesday. We taught Mama Recordeau again about the Plan of Salvation wednesday afternoon. (she is the old lady in the nursing home I told you about last week).

Then we spent much of Wednesday and Thursday setting up, preparing for, and planning zone training, which was all in preparation for the Elder Andersen conference. This will be a really intereesting trip, seeing that both Bordeaux zones are going on the same bus and its only us 4 zone leaders there as supervision on our 13 hour ride to Nice. I really really want it to reach its potential and be a wonderful experience for all of the missionaries.

And this afternoon Elder Castillo and I are going to present to the Stake leaders of the Southwest of France about the importance of PMG! I think this might be one of those events that I will remember for the rest of my life. We are both very excited for it. and nervous.

We set off for Nice Monday morning. We wont be writing emails until next monday. I hope you all had a wonderful week and have one again this week. The work will move on, its simply a matter of whether we want to push it forward or not. 
Beaucoup d'amour,
Elder Montgomery

the castle by the vineyard...where we had our missionary meeting with our Ward mission leader (he lives just next to it)

Look who I saw at Zone training (he is in the other Bordeaux zone)

Need to put an accent on certain things ... June 2, 2014

Chere famille,

We're back in Lyon for Leadership conference today and tomorrow! Flew in this morning, still odd to fly.

The week was fun! As a mission we're getting ready for our journey to Nice next week to hear from Elder Andersen and Elder Kearon. Its really exciting!

Before that however on Saturday, Elder Castillo and I have been asked by the Stake Presidency to present in the Bordeaux Stake leadership on Preach my Gospel, and using it in the home. Which is a great topic because both Elder Castillo and I have these huge testimonies of Preach my Gospel being scripture, and if everybody knew PMG, sharing the gospel with others would be so much easier, and false doctrine would be completely weeded out in the church. We're really stoked for it because we think its a great opportunity to get the members on track to do the work of the Lord.

This week we taught primary for the 4th week in a row. The primary kids are harsh on my accent haha, but they absolutely love having us teach them. The ward is great!

We are currently teaching (we taught her for the second time on monday) the 93 year old mother of a recent convert living in a nursing home, completely french and rather hard of hearing, and she really struggles with our accents as well. Well mostly mine, Elder Castillo's is really good. The french accent is really difficult, it takes a lot of muscle memory change, but it makes for some good laughs as well.

On Saturday we were asked to go help with a stakewide primary acitivity, with a bunch of families from our stake including the Denadiers from Perigueux and Sr. Denadier was stoked to see Elder McBeth and I.

And on Thursday I did my first baptismal interview for the Elders in talence. I interviewed a 20ish yr old woman and she was great and everything went well, and she was baptized on Saturday after the primary activity.

We've got Leadership council, Zone Training, Stake Leadership meeting, then the Elder Andersen conference here in the next week. Its going to be really quite busy and exciting. I'm just so ready to hear from Elder Andersen.

I love being out and having the opportunity to help these people. Elder Castillo and I talk about this frequently, but as PMG declares, the gospel is really just the universal cure for the world. France needs it so much. Its an honor, but such a big responsibility to be called to share the Gospel with the world.   
i read this in my personal study this week,

 "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

The Lord "chooses" us as we show our faith in Him unto obedience and then He GIVES US Power to deliver to ourselves. He wants us badly for each of us find this deliverance. Keep putting your faith in the Lord and being obedient, and find this deliverance! The world needs this so badly!

I love you all,

Elder Will

We got to see Sr. Denadier from Perigueux at a stake primary activity this week!! We were too excited!

dinner with our Cameroonian member on sunday!

Her name is Sr. Founkeu! And this is Fr. Aura who always comes and helps us out!

A little Bordeaux beauty