Sacré-Cœur cathedral in Paris
A castle in Angers called Château d’Angers
Notre Dame in Paris
The army museum Hotel des Invalides in Paris
I served in the France Paris Mission. I left on 5 August 2013 and returned on 24 July 2015. Those two years in France really changed my life and my perspective on how the gospel blesses the lives of people. It was an eye-opening experience as it was my first time in Europe and the culture was very different.
In France, bread and cheese are the staple foods. It is inexpensive and filling. There is a huge variety of cheeses from mild cheeses to stronger cheeses. It did take a little getting used to as it is a different diet but it wasn’t too difficult. My favourite cheese is Compté. It is slightly more expensive than other cheeses but has a distinct after taste.
People were friendly yet closed off to religion.
As a missionary, morning personal study is part of the routine and I can testify that my testimony and understanding of the Book of Mormon has deepened exponentially. Before my mission, reading the scriptures on a regular basis was never really my strong suit but now I understand its importance and it really does change the spirit of the entire day. That is probably why scripture study is always done first thing in the morning after breakfast - so that we can be physically and spiritually charged for the day. Good studies usually lead to a good day. It pays to be obedient.
I was a Mandarin speaking missionary and so I spent the first half of my mission preaching mostly in Mandarin and the other half in French. I technically had to learn French and Mandarin at the same time and it was not easy. It required a lot of prayer, fasting and faith that God would help me and indeed I saw the hand of God in my life as I taught the gospel in those foreign languages. In fact, learning French has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I love the language and I hope to be able to put it to good use and continue blessing the lives of the people around me.
On my mission, I had the opportunity to teach a Chinese lady who had been an investigator for a really long time. Many missionaries had taught her and felt that she was just not worth the time but we continued to see her and to share spiritual thoughts with her. We did all that we could but she just didn’t seem to be progressing. Then one night we received a call from her and she started to tear up and she told us that she wanted to be baptized. I was so surprised and filled with so much joy. I asked her why the sudden change of heart and she told me that she had felt the spirit. After that night, she had changed. Her countenance was different and she was a lot happier. This is an experience that I will never forget. It made me realize the importance of the Holy Ghost when teaching and that it was the spirit that converts people. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:15, it talks about the joy of bringing someone to the knowledge of the true gospel and on my mission I have felt that joy. It is something that cannot be explained. One has to experience it for oneself to be able to fully understand the joy and happiness that comes from doing missionary work.