Back (To)ulouse! Transfer 12? .... November 10, 2014

Dear Family,

Just had an incredibly crazy week. To start things off Elder Bollard and I are staying together in Toulouse, very exciting we're both stoked to be together and want to make this transfer golden.

So this week there have been riots in Toulouse off and on. This weekend was also Stake Conference. So we had all of the missionaries in our zone and the Montpellier zone (45 missionaries) come in while these riots were peaking Saturday evening. Haha it was pretty crazy. As we walked through the ville earlier in the day we saw armored police everywhere. We had a very difficult time getting everyone to their apts because all of the metros and busses were down. We saw several miracles happen that evening, including a missionary senior couple that was in town from Beziers appeared out of nowhere and offered to drive all the sisters home. And then the metros came back on just at the end of the night as we had finished sending everyone their way. It was a lot.
Because the Stakes are so big and they don't neccessarily have big stake centers nor do they broadcast out the conference, here in France for Stake conference they usually rent out a conference center. It was huge, really cool and we had around 500 people there. President Roney was there and spoke. During his talk he called Elder Bollard and I up to share a 3 minute thought about the Savior. It was awesome! We got to teach this huge crowd about the Atonement and the Restoration of the Gospel! How cool! It was such a fun experience. And the Spirit was so strong.

We had our staple amis there. Margot who is so excited to be baptized and absolutely loved general conference, is still struggling to stop drinking coffee. We are really praying that she will stop before her interview. Her baptism is scheduled for the 22nd. Marie Antoinette is completely ready and already living the gospel but is just struggling to be excited for her baptism. She's had problems in the past with commitment and she keeps telling us that she is willing to be baptized in Decemeber (6th) but would prefer it in the summer. Roxanna, our romanian miracle from a couple weeks ago came and has become best friends with the young adults and now lives with one.

We returned home after Stake Conference and attempted to feed all the missionaries we had only to find that our refrigerator had stopped working and all of our food was going to waste. Haha it was funny and sad at the same time.

We were walking home last night after sending in our zone's numbers and were just exhausted. I was reflecting over the past week and notably the past 2 days and crazy they were. I never thought I'd be capable of handling so many things at one time. The Lord has blessed us immensely, but its been hard and we still have such a long way to go before we attain our potential. But during this moment of reflection I just had the most profound impression spread in my spirit and this sentence came into my head. "And the Gospel is true". THis thought was followed by some incredible joy and energy that I can't really explain. I simply picked my head up and said to Elder Bollard, The gospel is true. It was a beautiful thing to have a spiritual confirmation of what we are doing, and knowing that it really is the Lord's work, for the happiness and salvation of everyone on the earth. And recognizing that by small and simple means He will accomplish this work. 

I love you so very much,

Elder Montgomery
A William Sighting from FFFLM Website - Zone Conference

Week 5 .... November 3, 2014

Dear Family,

What an adventure this week! Brief outline: We had an exchange Tuesday with the Castres Elders then went to Bordeaux on Wedensday for our big zone conference with 5 zones where Elder and Sister Kearon spoke it was so cool, we then drove to Lyon Wednesday night with the office elders and some other zone leaders, and then Thursday went to Geneva and Friday had our leadership conference withe Elder Kearon, and returned all the way to Toulouse Friday night on train. Lots of travel and we returned home exhausted.

So first and foremost, our star player of the week is Margot, our wonderful ami who is progressing very nicely and stilll has a wonderful desire to be baptized. She is struggling to overcome coffee and to drop some more catholic habits. (she told us that she was praying to Joseph Smith and we had to clarify who prophets are and that we only pray to God) We saw Tuesday and Sunday, and both times she showed signs of spiritual progression. She even thanked Heavenly Father in her closing prayer for the two boys that He had sent to help her with things that are eternal when they could be doing so many other things. That really touched me.
We had another moment as we were teaching about Thomas S Monson being a modern day Prophet that was special. I testified that he was a prophet and one proof of that was my call to serve in France and to be teaching her the Gospel and how it was meant to be me. And she agreed saying that we would say things that she was already thinking and she had no idea how we knew them. It was special.

The conference in Bordeaux was excellent. The Kearons are just awesome. (the zone leaders and sister training leaders got to meet with them privately before hand...) I was equally impressed by both of them and would've liked to hear them speak all day. The talked about our diligence and how we must attack our mornings. They quoted Elder Holland who said, Your mission will be determined by every morning of your life. and went on to discuss the importance of focus and true conversion for now and into the future. President and Sr. Roney taught equally powerfully. President talked about how we can change our future families for the better by changing now. He discussed our actions and integrity and diligence will directly affect our current families and bless our future families. It was really awesome. 

Then on Friday in Geneva we had a much smaller meeting with the Zone leaders and sister training leaders and Elder Kearon and the Roneys. It was much more intimate setting where Elder Kearon was a bit more casual but just as powerful and it was really a big discussion of things we had learned and how we could teach them to others in our circles of influence. He is a convert from England. He was baptized when he was 26 and his wife is from CA. Just an incredible couple.

Saturday and Sunday were booked as well. Saturday we got to spend lunchtime with the family Serrano-Milone. They are among my favorite families in the world. I love teaching in their home. Fr. SM is a hero of mine. He is the stake high councilman over missionary work and is so motivated. We work with him often. He is the man.
Sunday we got a surprise invite to eat lunch with the family Frau after church and then went from rdv to rdv and didnt come home until 930 Sunday night. Our week was very full. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. We were moving and learning and teaching at every moment. Fun and exhausting. I've never had such a fast 6 weeks in my life.

As I reviewed my conference notes I was really hit by the importance of conversion. They didn't really use that word exactly but that was the message that I took from it. And Elder Bollard and I have had good open conversations about our strengths and weaknesses since in order to really improve and change. I'm excited and looking forward with faith. How much we need the Gospel in our lives. How much we need our Savior in our lives. How much the world needs the Savior.

I love you so much!

Elder Montgomery
Elder Bollard and I at the chapel in Geneva

Overlooking Geneva was really sunny!

Geneva downtown

Week 4 ..... October 27, 2014

Dear Family,

I love you a lot. We had a great week. The coming week will be even better. We did 3 exchanges this week, attended 2 district meetings, and got to see all of the missionaries in our zone. Really fun, and tiring.

Tuesday. We went up to Castres, a medium sized city with 5 or so members in it. I was with Elder Amerjan on exchange. He is a 3rd transfer missionary from Fresno, CA. He is hilarious and I was blown away by his faith and love for everyone. Nothing phased him. 

Wednesday. Sat in on the Rodez District meeting in Albi. 

Thursday. District meeting with the Concorde district (the other Toulouse ward.) After wards I went on exchange with Elder Haskin, a blue missionary from Georgia! Haha we had a good time going out to St. Guadens, a tiny ville out near the Spanish border where we taught a lady at her doorstep who had been taught by missionaries over 15 years ago, but had lost contact with them. Elder Haskin led the lesson and already speaks great french. Really fun little adventure

Friday. Started another exchange with some of the Concorde Elders whose sector is just the other side of the Garonne (which divides Toulouse in half). I was with Elder Rellaford, who is from American Fork, UT. A stellar 3rd transfer missionary. Really fun we talked to tons of people. Despite both of our teaching appts falling through we set up new teaching appts with 2 new people for next week. One of which was a french student who had just returned from living in Texas for 6 years and the other a retired Colonel from the french national gaurd. 

Saturday. We planned, and planned. How important planning is. We spent the evening with Utile an awesome JA, who invited 2 of her friends along with Roxana the girl we met last week and one of her friends, for a Family home evening. So we ate really good Burundian food and then Elder Bollard and I shared the mormon message Mountains to Climb with this incredibly diverse group of student aged people. It was awesome there was an incredible spirit, and it was fun and wonderful to have the chance to testify of the truth being restored to the earth and of the peace and purpose it gives to us. It was thrilling and refreshing.

This week was in fact incredibly full. I was gone from our sector for most of it. But Marie Antoinette, who was at first hesitant with her baptismal date is now excited for it. Margot, she is progressing super well, comes to church every week and we're praying will give up coffee for good this week. Kevin will miss is date as he didnt come to church this week. His commitment is lacking and we aren't seeing a ton of progression. So we'll see with Kevin. 

As for the lactose intolerance, its been up and down. I have decided that I am not lactose intolerant, and just ate dairy for the last couple days of the week. I've been fine. I think it may just be that my diet has not been steady enough and lots of other things mixed in. 

This week. Wow. We are going to Bordeaux on Wednesday for a multi zone conference with Elder Kearon of the 70. Then we are going straight to Geneva for a special leadership conference with Elder Kearon on Friday with the mission leaderhsip. Really exciting and awesome. I hope I can take sufficient advantage of this incredible opportunity.

I'm worried that maybe I'm plateauing in my missionary skills and I don't like it. I want this week to be a motivation for the rest of my mission. I want to do more. I feel stressed, but I have a great desire to change. And you are a great motivation for me.

I love you all!

Elder Montgomery 
Elder Amerjan and I at a service project

Elder Bollard and I in Castres

The tiny ville of St. Gaudens

Elder Rellaford and I in the metro