Transfer 15, Week 1 .... March 23, 2015

Dear Family,

Lots of fun this week. We've been everywhere and back again. We're currently in Lyon. We got in Saturday evening and we'll be here until tomorrow for the Leadership council we'll be taking part of.

What a week!!! How neat!

We got to Marseille late monday evening. Fun facts about Marseille- its the largest city in our mission, it only has 2 missionaries in it, it used to have its own mission there. Its rather dangerous. Haha as we arrived I had the feeling that I was going into a ghost town. Its also had a mystical air in my eyes. So it was fun to get there and to set up camp in our apt, and tuesday we spent the day with the Marseille elders and having them kind of show us around and give us a break down of the area. We attempted to go to Chateau d'if, but we missed the ferry. Another day.

We spent the rest of the week on the road. Each evening returning home to sleep in Marseille and have regular study schedule the next morning before taking off again. We did an exchange with the zone leaders in Nice and in Aix-en-Provence, and also spent a day with the elders in Antibes. Really fun. It was neat to go back to Nice and see some old members I had known when I was there. I remembered the streets rather well for not having been there in a year and a half.

I spent my exchanges with Elder Andrew in Nice, Elder Nye in Aix, and Elder Martin in Antibes. Great guys. ITs fun having the chance to inspire and hopefully teach others.

One of the great blessings of the week was Saturday. Seeing that we needed to be in Lyon by Saturday night, we decided that we would go spend a few hours with the Elders in Clermont. We also got to attend Yao's baptism. It was such a huge blessing. It was really great closure for my chapter in Clermont. I got to see a lot of my members again and say a proper goodbye, and it was really special to see Yao be baptized by Elder Tomlinson. It was a really proud moment for me to see ElT step up to the plate like that.

Yesterday we attended the Ecully ward with President and his family. We also had our planning meeting for the zone conferences and the mission leadership council this week. It was neat.

My comps are awesome. Both elder palmer and elder huntsman(who is always rocking the sweater vests) are super humble, hardworkers, and really here for the right reasons. Its been so much fun to be with them and to learn from them. We've been having a blast together.

We haven't really been serving as conventional assistants. Our task is really to help train other missionaries, and the current set up is nice for us because we don't have to worry about a lot the little errands and other things the guys in Lyon have to, we just get to go out with missionaries.

I love it. I love serving the Savior. I love helping others feel His love. I love having His Gospel in my life. Its funny how truth feels so real and pure. Its a special thing which I will cherish forever.

I love you!

Elder Montgomery

Elder Martin and I on the coast of Antibes

On the road to Nice


After Yao's baptism

Fr. Obrecht and Fr. Villierme -two of my favorite people from Clermont

After Yao's baptism

Transfer 14, week 6 A big change... March 16, 2015

Dear Family,

What a week! On Wednesday, we got a call around 1pm from President, not expecting our transfer calls until Friday. He's asked me to be the next assistant! We packed up all my stuff and were in Lyon by Wednesday night, and I only got to say goodbye to a few people in Clermont.

So the mission is in an interesting situation at the moment. We've been doing a huge push on finding with family history, and this theme has been called Project Elijah. To really push this new project President called 6 assistants for a short time with one companionship in each of the old mission headquarters (when there used to be 3 missions here). So in my call with President he told me it was expected that I'd have this assignment for only one transfer after which I'd be a district leader. In our meeting at President's house on Thursday I got assigned with Elder Palmer (easily the best missionary in the mission and one who came into the mission with me) to go to serve over what was the old Marseille mission!
So we'll be living in Marseille and will be serving 4 zones of about 22 missionaries each. Including Nice, Aix, and the two Lyon zones.
Because neither Elder Palmer nor myself are legal to drive in France, we have a third man with us in our equipe, Elder Huntsman, he's in his 5th transfer. He'll be with us to work with us and drive and do exchanges with other missionaries. Really fun!
The other assistants are Elder Castillo and Dupre, and Elder Higham and Davis. I took Elder Taylor's spot.
It was great to see Elder Castillo again. Man its so much fun to be with him. He sends his love to you guys and is quite excited to meet you. I've got him going on all our humor.

Aside from that I am sad to have left Clermont so quickly without even being able to say goodbye to the members on Sunday (I attended one of the Lyon wards for church on Sunday). Yao's baptism is fixed for this Saturday. I'm trying to find a way for us to be working in the area at the time to go to see it. What a bummer to have left so early, especially right before his baptism!
I really count myself lucky and blessed to have served in Clermont. I think I really did my best missionary work there and although I didn't accomplish all the goals I had set, I think I made a difference. I began to reach my potential there, it was a huge blessing and in retrospect an answer to many prayers. The work is really accelerating there and we were seeing miracles daily!
I was also sad to leave Elder Tomlinson. I never thought that this week would turn out like it did. He is a great man, and I'm excited to see what he does in the future. The elder coming into to replace me was an assistant about 4 transfers ago, and so I know he'll take good care of ElT and Clermont.

We are in Lyon right now and will take off for Marseille today after we finish our emails. An exciting new life of travelling and exchanges awaits. We'll seeing and serving lots of different people which will be lots of fun. What a challenge and a blessing it will be for this next transfer!

New Address:

La mission francaise de Lyon
Lyon Business Centre
59 rue de L'Abondance
Lyon France 69000

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Montgomery
Goodbye to Yao

David came to see me off at the gare!

Final Goodbye to ElT

At a members home in Lyon for dinner

The new team-E. Palmer, me, E. Huntsman
Gotta get those apples

Transfer 14, Week 5 .... March 9, 2015

Dear Family,

Another week on the horse. Nothing super crazy happened this week until yesterday.

The teaching pool continues to cycle around. We taught 3 new potential amis this week, and didn't get to see 3 of our current amis. But we had some cool experiences.

Tuesday we got to teach the lifelong best friend of one of our good member buddies whose name is Franck. He is from Ivory Coast. He invited us to teach a lesson about the family with one of his buddies named Jean marc. He is a really cool guy, and really solid catholic with an awesome family. At the conclusion of our little lesson about the family, he asked us about the foundation of the church, so we had the chance to teach a 15 minute lesson about the Restoration (The Restoration of the truth is still happening and we can play an active part in it!), and gave him a book of Mormon and challenged him to read and pray about it. The Spirit was really strong and I think he felt that there was something different in what we were saying. He accepted it with slight hesitation. We followed up on Franck and apparently Jean Marc was super interested but we have yet to fix a return rdv with him. 

We taught another new ami who is also a student here, but he is from Chad! Not everyday you meet someone from Chad. His name is Marcelin and he is super chill and really smart. We taught him the Restoration and part of the Plan of Salvation and he came to church yesterday. He's doing well and seems to like it all. He is super humble. Excited for his progress.

Thursday we went to Lyon and had district meeting there. Had a fun time, it was a really good, Elder Haws our district leader has come a long way, and has become one of my favorite district leaders on my mission. Its odd how close we become with friends in such a short time.

Friday we took a 2 hour drive up to the big city in our sector, named Moulins, with David a young adult here. He's awesome. (Our sector, or ward boundaries, are ginormous, we probably touch 25 percent of the population in our daily work) We went up there to teach a less active recent convert who is living in a depression clinic at the moment. It was an interesting rdv, but I like going on special missions like this. We as missionaries get called to do so many crazy things, its awesome.
The recent converts name is Christopher and he has some problems to work out, and we'll have to work closely with the bishop to get him ready again.

Sunday was a miracle day. We had only Marcelin with us during our first hour of church, and then during Gospel principles class, we had another young student that we had taught this week named Ismael come and he brought a friend with him named Gino. (They came in as we were listening to a lesson on the temple very inappropriate...Grrr I would go on to have a talk with our ward mission leader to make sure that that doesn't get taught again.) But it was a huge miracle because Gino just came to support his buddy but would later figure out that his aunt is member of the church and she used to attend the church here in Clermont and all the members here know her. He is Peruvian and hit it off with the peruvian freres we have in the ward. We set up a lunch on Tuesday with one of them and Gino. Money. Then Sunday afternoon we had lunch with another Peruvian family, the Estradas and their non member sister and brother in law and their 2 sons. The brother in law's name is Jean michel and he is french french. But super fun. It was a huge success. I felt like dad, being the crowd favorite cracking all these Seinfeld-esque jokes. It was awesome. We shared a bomb message about things of eternal worth, and as we were leaving (final 3 minutes, clutch time) even set up a time to come to their house and show them how to make american cookies (I'll have to prepare for that). But that's kind of one of our strategies, just to find an excuse to see them again, and we pulled it off.
Then we spent the evening eating a crepe dinner with the Castelao family who had an American son in law in town. Really fun really family.

ElT has made huge strides this week in all aspects of his work and energy level, and we are beginning to work with more and more unity which is exciting.
The smell of transfers is in the air, never sure what will happen, but it sure is fun to be with ElT for his first one. I think we'll both stay together. 

The restored Gospel continues to roll forth, what a blast and a blessing to be a part of the Restoration of the truth! 

Much love,

Elder Montgomery
Elder Sommer and I- one of my favorite German elders in the mission

The sunset from our apt.

Our lunch at Fr. Luisi's home- Tomato farci (?)
Our District meeting lunch in the Institute center in Lyon.

Transfer 14, Week 4 .... March 2, 2015

Dear Family,

What a fun week!
We actually spent all week in Clermont and made rather good use of our time. We had some really cool potentials come into the game and are looking forward to this coming week.

First, the weather is getting sunnier is just wonderful. Everybody's happier!

A quick update on the amis:
Yao is doing great. He came to church again yesterday, and we taught him after. (we saw him 4 times this week). As we reviewed the scripture we had left with him he told us how he feels peace and joy when he reads it and is even beginning to feel what we've been describing as the Holy Ghost, a warm particular feeling within him. It was awesome! And he's excited to have a calling. Really promising.
We saw Matthew once this week. He's super busy with work. However he read in the Book of Mormon and liked it. He's had a rough past and is still trying to shake some old habits, but tells us constantly that he's been thinking more and more about having a family and how he wants to be a father. Really good, but he has a long way to go to be ready.
We weren't able to see Jia this week, she doesn't seem to be progressing too well. She struggles to pray.
Decahou is just awesome, comes to church for all 3 hours, participates, has accepted all the commitments. Just still feels to overwhelmed by work and school for baptism.

We got to teach a funny potential this week by the name of Sylvain. He is from the Ivory Coast as well. We gave a tour of the church and he loved it and then suggested that we go to his friends house to have a discussion (it was just next to the church building). We go to this big apt. building and into this apt. where there are two smiley african men watching tv and two woman, one of whom was doing the weave in the other's hair. Elder Tomlinson was a bit thrown off. haha we sat down with them and turned off the tv and taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel. THey are all christian and it was really fun. They weren't totally convinced, but they enjoyed our company and asked plenty of questions. We left them two BOMs. They told us they'd come to church on Sunday seeing as how it was next door, and they said we were always welcome to come back. Haha its always fun to teach multiple people about the Restoration of truth which is still happening on the earth.

Now. Buckle up. Thursday we had planned a rdv with a man by the name of Alexandre, and we had planned to meet him in place Jaude, the big open square in the middle of downtown. Well he was late and we were left standing for about 30 min. As we were standing ElT noticed a camera in an upstairs window of an apt overlooking the place and it was pointing at us. AFter standing for a little bit we decided to move, so just as moved about 15 ft. we saw a woman walk right by us and two guys start harrassing her. We didn't know what was happening until they had made it to the tram stop which was about 30 meters away from us. We were on the tips of our toes ready to go stop it if something happened, but other people around them soon broke it up and another camerman ran into the scene. We thought it was a movie at first, but then one of the 'harrassers' ran up to us and asked if we'd seen what had happened and if we'd be willing to answer a few questions about it in front of the camera. Sooooooo we said yes. Just then Alexandre shows up. Haha We figure out it was actually a psychology experiment about how public reacts to others in danger. Well, a big burly professor man comes over and stands by us, and the camera comes out and we get asked a few questions about when did we feel teh danger, what stopped us from acting, etc. Then they zoomed in on our nametags and asked us if our beliefs influenced us in how we would've reacted. AND so we taught them about the love of Christ and our responsability and blessing to love and serve others. (looking back I wish I wouldve taken better advantage of the sitch but my blood was pumping.) After the camera got put away the interviewer tells us this will be a documentary aired on national french public television in 3 weeks. Woahhhhh. 
We said thanks and as we walked away I called president to tell what just happened. We figured that there wasn't much we could do, he would later text us saying "hope you didnt embarrass the church :)" hahaha Then we went and taught Alexandre which went well.

Anyways Saturday we had another ping pong session with the young adults and one of them brought a family to tour the church building and play ping pong with us. (This family as well lived just next door to the church but had always thought it was cult so they never entered, but were completely surprised when they took the tour. It was a middle aged man named Christophe, his two sons and his father. Christophe is absolutely hilarious and kept telling us how much he loves American movies. HE is also a super competitive ping ponger. So my reputation preceding me, I got nominated to play against him. It was fun, and I won, and left him feeling excited to come back again next week. But it was a super fun visit and we're excited for their potential to see if we can teach them about the Gospel. What a blessing!

So things keep rolling here. Elder Tomlinson and I are doing well. His french is picking up nicely, still working on teaching unity. The Lord keeps opening up new avenues for us. He is so concious of us because this is His work. Its so wonderful the blessings we receive everyday. Faith precedes the miracle. Its so great to be a missionary.

I love you!

Elder Montgomery
We were happy to have the visit from the Assistants, and we got say goodbye to Elder Taylor

Little lunch before our missionary meeting with Fr. Garon.

Ping Pong with Christophe

Transfer 14, Week 3 ..... February 23, 2015

Dear Family,
Things keep rolling along. Its surprising how time just doesn't stop.

This week we continued to see lots of fruits of our work, all really exciting stuff.

The biggest news is that we had 3 amis commit to a baptismal date this week!

Yao and Matthew both agreed to the 21st of March, and Jia agreed to the 28th. Very neat! Sunday we had 4 amis come to church. Yao, Decahou, and this super funny couple that we had met last week named Guy and Monica. What a story.

We met Guy and Monica last week at a tram stop. After we said Bonjour as they walked by Guy turned around and exclaimed, Vous etes des Mormons! You are the Mormons! Haha. He is a really funny french man (ex-banker) and Monica(lawyer) is an awesome brazilian lady. They got married about a year ago, and are both in their late 50's. They invited us over for Friday. Guy LOVES speaking english, so we spoke half really slow english, half french. We were a bit scared that it would simply turn into a friend zone relationship, but Monica expressed some really sincere interest in our message, so we explained the Restoration simply and went through the Book of Mormon. They told us they would read together and come to church to see how it goes. Sunday they showed up with about 45 minutes left of Sacrament meeting., but we'll take it. And the members did a great job of loving them. They invited us over to eat lunch with them. We got to talk about our families and the Plan of Happiness God has created for our families to be together forever. Guy, who is the more skeptical one and isn't sure what he believes, got emotional as he talked about his family situation. At the end, Guy decided that instead of watching a movie that night, he was going to read in the Book of Mormon. It was neat. The rdv still took a long time, and we'll have to play our cards right to make sure our meetings are purposeful and effective. Its obvious from what we learned that the Gospel can really help them. Elder Tomlinson's closing prayer left tears in Guy's eyes.

Both Decahou and Yao are on route for baptism. Decahou just wants to wait for later on. Yao is doing super well and has now come to church two weeks in a row and is coming to FHE tonight, adn bringing sushi.

Yao had us over this week for the Chinese New Year with the Sisters, and fed us this really spicy chinese shrimp. Really yummy but hyper spicy.

Wednesday we had an awesome zone conference in Lyon. Talked all about the power of the Spirit of Elijah and the family. We got to watch Meet the Mormons, which was a real treat, and at the end got to hear Elder Taylor's dying testimony, who is one of my really good mission buddies (also trained by Elder Uluave). It was really sad.

Thursday I went on exchange with Elder Arts, our dutch zone leader who started his mission here. That was fun, then thursday night went back to Lyon to pick back up El T. I hit 10 hours in train this week!

I have been impressed lately in my studies about the cleansing power of the Gospel. Preach my Gospel teaches us that that is the whole purpose of the Gospel, to cleanse us of our sins through Jesus Christ in preparation to live with Heavenly Father after this life. But I've pondered a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ can cleanse us of our deepest regrets and our darkest shames. Its wonderful that as we begin to live a life of humility and patience and obedience, our personal power increases.

And our past errors are erased by that power of the Atonement. Its incredible!

I love you so much!

Bonne Semaine!

Elder Montgomery

1. El T and I in front of the Lyon train station

2. IN front of an old catholic church

5. Eating shrimp at Yaos

3. Elder Taylor, Castillo and I- Some of my best friends

4. The late night grind