Tansfer 14, Week 2 ..... February 16, 2015

Dear Family,

This was a great week! We taught a lot this week! It was awesome! Lots of miracles seem to be happening around us, its really neat.

The week Elder Mataalii left we got back in contact with Yao, an old ami who had one point had a baptismal date. Well this week we taught him 4 times! Each one of them was great. And he came to church yesterday. It was fantastic! And he is coming to FHE tonight. He still follows all the commandments and loves it when we teach him. He always asks if we can read the scriptures with him. He knows baptism is important and is on the edge of making that decision. We're really praying he does.

Decahou accepted tithing and fast offerings very well, explaining to us how much he knows the Lord has blessed him in his life and how its nothing to simply to give back to the Lord something that was originally His. However he says that he doesn't want to get baptized until after May, because that is when his studies finish.

We taught both Jia and Lilian this week. They are both progressing slowly. But progressing :)
The word of this week is prayer! This week we've had to repeatedly invite all our amis to pray specifically to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I feel like a broken record. But we know from Preach My Gospel that we can only know spiritual truths through prayer! What an incredible gift we have! Do we use it fully? I know this week we had some challenging lessons and I really had to strengthen my testimony and keep that lifeline between Heavenly Father and myself open by praying often and fervently. Its so awesome how much it helps! And how real it is! If only everyone would simply try...

Elder Tomlinson is doing super well and is adjusting quite nicely. We taught a couple that he contacted this week. They are really protestant and the rdv was really fast paced. Haha it was interesting. How grateful I am for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the light it brings.

Sunday is always my favorite day of the week. We feel so much love at church, Its like a big family, and we've developed a lot of good relationships in the ward.
Every 3rd Sunday of the month we have two young adults go on splits with us and we go street contacting. I got to go with David, who is one of my good buddies. We spent about 30 minutes in Place Jaude- the center of downtown, when we found a man with a guitar and sat down with him and he played for us, then we taught him about a loving Heavenly Father, and the restoration of His plan for us. It was super neat. His name was Guillaime. We left him with a BOM and got his phone number. He told us at the end that what we had taught him made him want to change what he was doing and be better. It was a fun miracle.

I hope you all are doing well and know how much Heavenly Father loves you and wants so badly to bless you!

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Montgomery

Transfer 14, Week 1 In Lyon, with my son. .... February 9, 2015

Dear Family,

I spent nearly the entire week in Lyon. It was a blast. We got in on monday at 9 for Elder Mataalii to leave, returned Friday night with my blue, then left again Saturday afternoon to Lyon for stake conference and got back for good yesterday at 5pm.

Wednesday, we received our blues...(drumroll)...His name is Elder Tomlinson! He is from Medford, Oregon. He is a fun guy about my height, rather quiet and calculating. Really calm and collected. It was so much fun getting the assignment. I'll break it down for you. They set everything up in a way that we don't see the blues until the time that we get assigned. All the trainers get pulled into the chapel with the blues, who open up their first assignment letter and the trainer will then jump up and run over to hug them. Its really intense. But so much fun!

We then had to stay in Lyon until Friday for the blue's legality appt. 

The week was largely spent spending time with other mission buddies and contacting in Lyon. Got to spend lots of great time with Elder Taylor and Castillo.
Thursday we got the chance to test out a new questionnaire the mission might be releasing for us to use in our finding, in relation to the new family history push the mission is going to make this transfer. It was cool we spent almost all of Thursday talking to people on the streets about their families and seeing how they reacted...and its incredible! Just getting people to talk about and reflect on their families brings the Spirit into their heart and touches them. So neat!
Thursday night, we went to the train station in Lyon (really big) with all the trainers and blues (about 20 of us), and sang. In most bigger train stations they have public pianos that anyone can use. We had one trainer get on their and tickle the ivories while we sang all these hymns about the family, and sunshine. It was funny and neat how much it touched all the busy people stuck in their busy worlds. We had tons of people just stop and listen, and some come up and sing with us, and others talk to us about who we were. Haha 

It was really cold this week...

There are lots of fun 'firsts' for new missionaries that I got to experience with Elder Tomlinson. His first train ride was the 2.5 hour train back to Clermont Friday night. The train station was incredibly busy that evening and Elder T and I had to push our way with his bags over to our track. 
Saturday afternoon at 1230 we left with the famille Blateron, an older couple in the ward who drove us to Lyon. They are funny and we had a good time during the 2 hour drive through the snowy mountains. 
Yesterday was stake conference, it was awesome. The stake president was released and they called a new one. It was held in a big conference center in downtown Lyon. There was a member of the region 70 presidency there, Elder Dykes, and Elder Buttoile an area 70. I met Elder Buttoile in Gex after a ward conference. After the conference Sunday I got another chance to talk to him, and he actually gave me referral of a family for us to teach in Clermont! 
The other miracle of the day is that Decahou came all the way up to Lyon with a few members to attend stake conference! It was great for him to see and everything. We drove back with him, Berengere, and Lisa (2 young adult members), and got back last night.

Needless to say we're happy to be back home. The sun is shining today, even though it is cold. The week should be fun, excited to get back into work mode with Elder Tomlinson.

I love you all!!!

Elder Montgomery
Elder Tomlinson and I after contacting in downtown Lyon

Beautiful bridge spotted on the way home

Us in the back seat...poor Elder T was attacked by the time change...

Transfer 13, week 8 ..... February 2, 2015

Dear Family,

What a week. Seriously fantastic.
First things first. I'll be staying in Clermont Ferrand, and training a new missionary. I'm currently in Lyon, sitting next to Elder Castillo, waiting until tomorrow when the new missionaries get in! Very exciting to get a new shot, to start a new life with this missionary. How cool!

I'm so sad to see Elder Mataalii go, he was one of my favorite companions and we did so much great work in Clermont Ferrand. 

This week was a crazy ending. 

Monday. We delivered a BOM to a man who had told us he had lost his in a move a couple years ago. We met him in the mall and after giving him the book he asked if there was anything he could do for us, and naturally we responded, can we have 30 minutes to explain the book. So we sat down with him at a cafe and taught him about the restoration and he was intrigued. He is a converted Jew, also a Free mason, interesting man named Christian. We'll see what happens. Interesting how many free masons I've met on my mission (and the way the shake our hands!). Monday night we had a our FHE with the young adults and we had an ami Matthew come with one of his friends Melyssa. The lesson was on prayer and it was super powerful and the whole experience was wonderful. They both are going to FHE tonight even though we won't be there (matthew just called me and asked if he could bring a cake he made!). And melyssa came up to us after and asked how she could learn more about God and the church and all and we set up a rdv with her right there.

Wednesday, we got a chance to see a less active man from Palestine (born in bethlehem!) who had gotten baptized 5 years ago and struggles to find transport to church. It was cool because we've been trying to get in contact with him for the whole transfer and we finally met him at the end. He was so happy to see us. His family situation is a bit weird, but he is more than happy to have us over again.

Thursday, we met another less active who had been baptized 5 years ago who had been rejecting any contact with the church for years, and then we knocked on his door. He was blown away that it was us and he was so so happy to see us. His new job in security required rough hours and stopped him from coming to church and that led to his following drop off into drugs and alcohol (which was evident on the coffee table). But it was cool that we knocked on his door at the one part of the week where he wasn't elsewhere in the country on a security job. He is now open to us returning!

Wednesday night we had a huge meal with the Beaulieu family, then again Thursday night we had a huge meal with the other Beaulieu family (one of the married sons.) Both awesome families. Anyways. Thursday night was a long one for us as we fell victim to a nasty stomach bug that ended up keeping us in Friday and Saturday. 

Sunday was then huge as we had Decahou, jia, and Lilian come to church to hear Elder Mataalii's goodbye testimony and everything. The members did a great job and they felt so much love. We ended up teaching both of them right after, separately. Jia prayed!!! It didn't result in big things right away but its a huge first step for her. Lilian on the other hand feels the Spirit and knows what we are saying is true, she is just worried to be baptized and then go back to China and forget it all, but told us that is willing to keep meeting with us more regularly. Both huge miracles.

Here I am in Lyon, I've spent the day here seeing old friends, I've had the great pleasure of hanging with Elder Castillo and Elder Higham all day. Two of my favorite friends in the mission. I saw Elder Ambursley who is doing super well and is going to be a zone leader in Geneva. I'm so proud of him. It's been such a blessing to be here. I'm excited to see what the future brings. This transfer is looking way up. We have so many people interested in the Gospel right now! The Lord is blessing us in incredble ways! I will stay in Lyon until Friday to finish the legality of my blue, then head home. Should be a fun week!

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Montgomery

From the top of the cathedral

One of the cathedrals in Clermont made of lava rock!

Transfer 13, Week 7 .... January 26, 2015

Chere famille,

Nothing big happened this week. 
We worked hard, and found a lot of really cool people who are interested in the Gospel. The Lord's work continues to move forward.

On Tuesday we had a day of tracting ahead of us, when we had David text us and told us he was free today to help us, and so we called around and were able to visit a less active member named Sr. Nolot, out in the middle of nowhere countryside of france. She hadn't been able to come to church because of how far away it is and was more than happy to see us. It was about an hour drive. She let us in and talked straight for 2 hours. She loves the gospel so much and told us how much she helped with missionary work before she moved away from the city. It was really funny. 

Thursday we had district meeting here in Clermont, all of our Lyon district came out here, and afterward we had a big exchange. I was with Elder Smith and Haws. IT was a bit odd being the oldest on the exchange, but not being the 'leader'. We had a good time and found a really cool young french couple that had met missionaries when they were younger and are really interested and they both speak great english, their names are Edgar and Juliette (hoping they'll be kingdom builders). We are hoping to see them this week.

Saturday we got visit one of the Peruvian families in our ward, the Estradas, they are hilarious, but their half french half spanish can be hard to follow sometime- guess I'll need to learn spanish when I get home. We just spent an hour with them, but they gladly caught on to our idea to have a lunch with their less active sister and non member brother in law. Really fun!
Afterwards we had Samedi sportif, our saturday sports session with the young adults and their friends, Elder Montgomery went 7-0 on the ping pong table. #stillgotit #MCC2015

Yesterday was an interesting day. The first two hours of church were dedicated to discussing how to avoid and protect aganst pornagraphy. We discussed the principles and the doctrinal importance of chastity and it was super intriguing.
We ended up teaching two lessons in the evening one to David an old investigator who is still hanging around and Jia. (which was somewhat of a miracle seeing has how lessons are somewhat hard to come by at the moment). She understands everything we are teaching her but just won't pray to ask. All of our lessons go back to how praying is the key to knowing all spiritual truths.

THis is the last week of the transfer. We're shooting to have a ' monster week', where we just go all out, exciting. Not sure what the transfer roulette has in store for me, have a weird feeling I'm leaving...

Love you all! Remember how much the Lord loves you and how much He values you!!!
A few gems from President Benson's teachings: 'A sad face has never won a battle in war or in love.' 'We must learn again and again that it is only in accepting and living the Gospel of love as the Master taught it, and by doing His will that we can break the cords of ignorance and doubt that hinder us.'

Elder Montgomery

Transfer 13, Week 6 ..... January 19, 2015

Dear Family,

This week just flew by. Lots of interesting stuff happened.
On Tuesday, We ran into the man who was one of the founders of the Euro project- those who created the money. He took us to a road side cafe and talked to us for 30 min, but wasn't super interested in learning more about the restored Gospel. He was really neat though.
We got invited by a potential ami to the opening of his restaurant on Friday. It turned out being more of a high school hangout, with some of him and his friends, with karoake and alcohol. So we made the best of the situation and became good friends with some of his friends and two of them want to meet with us. After that we bailed on the party politely as to avoid any uncomely behavior. Haha. 

We taught Decahou twice this week. Once with a member family here- the Rapinats. They are a cute older small couple, both very smart and rather french. They just ate up Decahou and we had a great night with them and taught about the Plan of Salvation. On Saturday we taught him again with Franck a young Ivorian member here. We finished teaching the Plan of salvation. We had drawn it up on the chalkboard for him to see. He understood it all and at the end told us, "I've never seen this before, it is new to me, but just by seeing this I know how much God loves me." It was a great moment and he is making great progression. He came to church for the 3rd time yesterday and came to the Sisters' baptism on Saturday. He just is hesitant to accept a baptismal date...

President Roney's daughter moved into our ward last week with her husband, and yesterday we taught Jia with them. Jia is super outgoing and loud and funny and they became quick friends. We spent our entire lesson talking about prayer and how to pray and the importance of prayer. Its been her biggest block, because she reads the BOM and asks really good questions and really wants to know the truth but has just been struggling to pray. But she commited yesterday to pray this week which is exciting. 

As far as the ward goes, we've been doing a great job of building trust. Its been fantastic. I feel like for the first time I'm doing everything we should do to build confidence and to bless the ward. We got to teach the lesson in Priesthood yesterday on Prayer again. It went really well and Fr. Obrecht, Elders quorum president was really grateful. The Elders quorum averages about 15 on Sunday. 

There were equally a lot of downs this week as always. We had a couple days where 2 or 3 rdvs fell through and lots of cool potential amis didn't show up. Grrr, but the work moves forward. Miracles still happen and God still loves us! God wants the best of us, and expects us to do all we can, but He knows that 'all we can' never means perfection. Sometimes we just need to trust Him and keep going and be happy. I'm so grateful for the Savior, if we follow what He says we'll be happier. Thats all there is to it. It suffices to try! How wonderful!

I love you all!!

Elder Montgomery

our trip up the Puy de dome. With David an awesome recent convert.

our trip up the Puy de dome. With David an awesome recent convert.

Elder Mataalii with our dear Fr. Saez, a 90 yr old member from Espana!

Transfer 13, Week 5 ..... January 12, 2015

Chére famille,

This week went well. 
About the terrorist attacks, Don't worry we're doing fine. I had a lady yell at me in the tram the other day because of the terrorist attacks but thats it. Yesterday there was a huge march in hommage to the deaths here in Clermont Ferrand. Over 70,000 people marched with signs and everything. It was cool and sad!

Another week in the service of the Lord.
We taught Decahou this week our Ivorian ami, and he is awesome, totally down to keep Learning and commit to the Church and the gospel, thus far. He came to Church for a second time yesterday and really liked it. He told us he knows baptism is important and he will get baptized soon, but doesnt want to set a date yet.

We taught Jia again yesterday and had a wonderful lesson with her and David a recent convert here in Clermont. It was long. But really powerful I think. And last night we got a text from Jia asking about peace we recieve from the gospel and about what we receive in Heaven. She is still struggling to prayer. She says its too ceremonial for her, she doesn't feel like she's able. But hey we can only know spiritual truths through prayer. I'm just really glad that her interest level is still there and that she is asking questions, that means she's thinking about it all.
When we taught her about the Atonement, she asked, "He did that for everyone? Is that possible? Everyone in the whole world? I don't know if I can believe it." After it sunk in though it was really cool. She was really quiet and reflective. A lot of the challenge is just teaching her everything, even all the little détails that usually christian people know.

I gave my talk yesterday in Church and it went really well. I was really pleased. I talked about choosing first to obey God and what He asks us to do, but then we must be proactive in creating our future by our choices today. It was really fun, I love giving talks.

We had zone interviews this Thursday in Lyon. I had my favorite interview yet with President. It was weird when he asked me about what I was planning to do after my mission. I never thought that question would come. We had a great discussion about changing the world in Clermont and laying a foundation of work that future missionaries could build off of. He is so cool.
I told this to President, and he told me it was a good idea. I'm considering changing my major to math/economics instead of Polisci/economics. What do you think?

Today we are going to hike the Puy de Dome, the big volcano that overlooks the valley. Have a great week!

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Montgomery
We got a little bit of snow

Zone Conference last one for Elder Beyer and Elder Crawley

Some Ping pong with the Young adults and their friends

The big march yesterday - because of the Paris Shootings

Transfer 13, Week 4 A week of quiet diligence sprinkled with miracles .... January 05, 2015

Dear Family,
This week we saw a lot of progress! We have found so many people to teach! Its incredible how much the Lord is guiding us to find people to teach. We have a lot of potential right now. This week was a good start to the New Year.
We taught Jia twice. Its moving really slowly with her. Who knew teaching faith would be so difficult? We taught from Alma 32 and it answered a lot of her questions and she seems to be keeping her interest. Although it is hard for her to believe or to picture God. The conclusion was that she had to pray, and she accepted the invitation to do so.

Lilian, her friend, has been much simpler to teach. She has an incredible faith already. We taught about the doctrine of Christ, at the end when we invited her to baptism she responded, "how could I deny an offer like that?" Haha we asked ourselves...does that mean yes? She is super down to read and learn and act.
These two weeks will be difficult for both Jia and Lilian because exams are starting this week at the universities, so we're hoping to be able to see them still.
We had a super great experience this week. Tuesday morning we called Loris, this young journalist here in Clermont which we had met the week before who is super interested by "the mormons" and he happily agreed to have us over that night. We showed up at his apt at 630 like planned and I think he forgot, because as we walked in he said to us in english, "sorry we're smoking" and we entered to the dimly lighted apt where him and another guy and girl were smoking some suspicious substances and there was beer and wine on the table. It was a bit alarming at first, but as we started talking the three seemed to be all sober so it was fine. They were impressed that we just came in and were willing to talk even in the environment and be chill. They asked questions of course and it turned out to be awesome. None of the three were really believing at all, but we taught the Restoration of the gospel in 5 minutes and had the chance to testify of the love of our Heavenly Father. And they were just blown away. The conversation turned to how cool it was to be believing and what a good thing it was. Even in the circumstances the Spirit seemed to touch their hearts, and Loris wants to introduce us to his gf who is believing. Afterwards we talked about there was almost a tangible light coming from us in the dark room. We could feel in their eyes the difference.
On New Years eve we taught an Ivorian man named Decahou, who is here studying and comes from a Evangelical background. We had given him a BOM on the tram when we met him and he came to our rdv having read to 1 Nephi 5 and corrected Elder Mataalii when he misspoke and said Mormon was the last prophet in the BOM. It was awesome. He accepted the baptismal invitation, and came to church on yesterday and really liked it.
We spent New Year's eve in Lyon, because we had a district meeting the next day.
The bishop pulled us into his office yesterday and assigned me to give a talk next week on moral agency. We had this great 40 min convo with him about the direction of the missionary work in CLermont and how the goal is to have a stake here eventually. The idea right now is to make church more attractive and just to get our name out there! Advertise the truth! It was neat and I felt like it was definitely a boost in trust between the bishop and us.
We have our interviews with President this week. Excited for it. We're making January the month of miracles. I have all these goals flying around in my head. Its weird to be setting goals for this year knowing that I'll be home before the end of this year.
Have you set your New Year goals???

I love you so very much!
Elder Montgomery

Transfer 13, Week 3 "We're all still single..." ..... December 29, 2014

Dear family,

Wow what a week! So many miracles! And I got to talk with you! 
A special shoutout to Ran who's one liner from Skype is the subject line today. It was so much fun talking to you all and both bizarre and relieving to know that next Christmas I'll be with you again!

Well last week within all the people we had found, we managed to teach one of them. Her name is Jia, she is a chinese student, who has been in France for two years now. She agreed to meet with us because she had no knowledge about God and it intrigued her to know more. She is really fun and smiley, but also skeptical. We taught her on Tuesday last week, in a park. During the lesson a Young man sitting nearby asked if he could join our conversation. We let him but after a while he wouldn't stop talking so E. mataalii decided to go teach him and let me teach Jia by myself #clutchmove. The lesson with Jia went well enough, the Young arab guy didnt really lead to much. We got to see Jia again on Friday and she brought a friend with her named Lilian, also Chinese and also interested but who speaks much better English than chinese. So we taught both of them in the park again. E. Mataalii taught Lilian and I taught Jia. And both are super interested. They both should be coming to FHE tonight. Its interesting teaching them, because they have no Christian or religious background really, so we start from scratch. Teaching prayer has been difficult. But it was cool because on Friday I had to teach Jia who the Savior was and why He is important. She had trouble believing it, but will come around I think. She later asked about the Bible and how we knew which Church to join if there are so many Christian churches. That of course is a great door for our message. It struck me that I was getting a chance to just teach pure Christianity! Thats what I was teaching and thats what Jia was understanding it as. So often we're known as the Mormon missionaries or the mormons, for better or for worse. It was just a cool moment to realize that we were getting to teach the restored Gospel of Christ from ground 0.

Now to share with you some of the Christmas festivities: We ate so much food. Too much.

We spent Christmas eve with the Garon family (fr Garon is the ward mission leader and has so much respect for us missionaries) We had escargo (snail) and salmon and turkey and cheese and foie gras. They had some non member family over which was really fun.

Christmas Day we spent the afternoon with the Begani's and ate raclette (the cheese and potato dish I explained to you over Skype). We then went to the Beaulieu's home the evening and skyped :) then ate Gratinee- french onion soup, really good and lots of foie gras and escargos

Then Friday at noon we ate with the Castelao's who fed us jumbo shrimp and frog legs!
It was so good. Escargos (snail), Foie gras(liver fat from a duck usually on bread with a Jelly), and cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs) are the classic french Christmas dishes.

Yesterday we saw the first snow of the year! Just a lot of flurries. It was really cold and the heating system in the Church building was broken so all three hours of Church was spent in one room with two box heaters and the 50 members who came. 

Now with Christmas passed us, we're trying to put our focus back on the new year and really doing more, especially has I come around the six month turn here pretty soon. This month of January is going to be huge. I'm stoked to see what happens.

I love you so much! Enjoy the pictures! Happy new years!
Remember the spiritual thought I shared and make some new year's résolutions!

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Montgomery
With Fr. Garon during the Christmas eve taboo game

Escargo for dinner!

These cheese plate- this happens at every meal not just Christmas

Christmas morning!

Escargo for dinner!

Christmas Day Skype! ...... December 25, 2014

Mom gets her kiss!