Week #12

You guys are awesome.

Elder Wahlquist and I are contacting machines.
We talk to pretty much everyone.
When I started here in Toulouse contacting was hard, especially in the a Metro car.
Now we contact all the time everywhere, even when it is super awkward.
I love that! I love being scared to do something and then I just do it.
Now it is weird not to talk to someone if I pass by them or spot them.

We meet so many cool people, it is awesome.
I had a super awesome experience last week when I just started talking to a guy walking down the street.
We talked for a bit and I explained the restoration to him.
He said that it made sense that a restoration would be necessary.
I presented the book of Mormon to him and explained it was the evidence of this restoration.
I explained to him what it was and what it contained.
I then had him read the invitation in the 2nd last paragraph of the introduction.
I testified that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that
the Book of Mormon testifies of our savior Jesus Christ.
I then explained that he could know for himself too.
I explained he could read the book of Mormon and then ask God if it is true.
If he earnestly sought for an answer with real intent, the holy ghost would let him know of its truthfulness.
It was an awesome contact.
He accepted the invitation and said that what I had explained made sense to him.
He is from Spain and I invited him to meet with missionaries when he got back home.

I love giving this wonderful Book to others and express my testimony of it.
I love explaining to people that they do not have to take my word for it and just believe me, but that they can ask God themselves.

We are trying to work more with the members here and we as missionaries gave the lesson for the joint Relief Society and Priesthood class.
We talked about why we did missionary work and how we could help our members do missionary work.
It was wonderful and many members expressed their ideas and their concerns.
After church we already noticed a difference.
One of our members invited one of our families we are teaching over for dinner.
We made at least 3 dinner appointments and are going to teach one of our Amis at a members home tomorrow.
We hope that this will change the way missionaries and members work together, as well as strengthen the ward.

Love,
Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #11

Dear Fam Jam,

Elder Wahlquist and I gave the lesson this Sunday in Gospel principles class. We started the lesson by doing a skit where we talked on the phone to each other but I wouldn’t let elder Wahlquist
get a single word in. I would cut him off each time he would try to respond. I hung up the phone before he could say anything in response. We then presented that we were going to talk about prayer. We explained that many times in our prayers we do not let Heavenly Father give answers to our prayers and do not listen enough. We say a quick prayer, ask for direction and then say Amen, without even listening and feeling the holy ghost. To close the lesson we also ended with a skit. This time I knelt down on my knees, bowed my head and offered a prayer. Elder Wahlquist, as I was praying, acted as Heavenly Father and would respond to the things I was praying about as I would pause and listen for a response. We did this skit in a very reverent manner and I hope it was a powerful object lesson. When we practiced this skit during our companion study, it was a powerful experience for us. I hope this lesson helped our Amis understand that prayer is really a two way communication with our Heavenly Father who loves us.

Many times during my personal studies each day, I get a very strong feeling of gratitude for the gospel. I imagine my life down the road as I continue to follow Jesus Christ and the gospel. I imagine my eternal family, with my parents and sister and hopefully my own future family as well. I have really seen that the spirit is the one that changes people. I have seen our Amis make changes in their lives which have brought joy and happiness. They are more motivated in their day to day activities. They meet new people and form wonderful friendships. I see the light of the gospel shinning in their lives; casting out the darkness that occurs in various moments of our lives. I know that the commandments of God are there because our Heavenly Father loves us so much. I know that as we keep those commandments, we are protected from both physical and spiritual damage. As we come to see the light and joy that comes into our lives, we have a greater desire to keep God’s commandments. Even though I know this is true, nobody is perfect and we all fall short. The Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to overcome our faults and be forgiven for mistakes. It not only covers our mistakes but any pains, sickness or struggles we may encounter in our lives. I love Alma 7 verse 11, because it doesn’t mention the word sin once as it explains how the atonement can bless our lives.

I love you all,

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #10

Dear Friends,

I love the Elders that live in our apartment. We just have a blast all the time. We work hard but during morning work outs, lunch and dinner, we just are 4 goof balls. We just love life and are always singing. I cannot explain how awesome it is to live with 3 other missionaries who are hard working and awesome people. When the four of us sing together it is just wonderful. Elder Wahlquist is wonderful and is always doing something to serve one of the other elders. I have followed suit and we do little things like fold the other companionship’s clothes, make their beds when they are to busy to do so, wash the dishes for everyone and make meals for everyone. They are our Zone Leaders and have a lot to do so we try to do little things to help them out.

I love getting up at 6:10 everyday and working out. I love eating a healthy breakfast (I eat like a tank) and then doing our studies for the day. I have had some super spiritual personal and companionship studies this week. I love having that time to myself to read the Book of Mormon and feel the spirit fill me with you. I love my language study as well. It is always super gratifying when you are doing a work book and are getting the answers right. Maybe that is one of the reasons I love math so much. I had a funny thought today. Every Monday we clean our apartment. I was thinking, where else would you find 4 young guys cleaning their apartment at 6:30 in the morning? I think it is so awesome how we have such purpose and drive. We really live life to its fullest and always serving others. We have super awesome experiences talking with everyone everywhere. We meet some of the nicest people and have the opportunity to teach them and become their friends. I love seeing the smile on the faces of our Amis as they open the door to invite us in. They do not want us to leave at the end of our visit. We as missionaries know that when we visit them we invite the spirit into their homes. I am not sure how many of our amis recognize it as that but they usually wish we would stay longer.

I love Elder Wahlquist. I love talking about gospel subjects with him and serving with him. I love doing things for other people with him. The other day he was backing me up (missionary rule when we drive in reverse) and he got backed up into a bush. I continued to drive backwards and he pretended like he was getting squished between the car and bush. I laughed so hard as he made the funniest faces. We do really silly things like that all the time. Anyone that knows me, knows that I really like hugs and playing with people arms. Elder Wahlquist is super lucky because everyday, many times a day, I attack him with hugs and play with his arms (I do not know how to explain this but if I have ever played with your arm you know what it is).

I gotta go
Love you all,

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #9

Dear Family & Friends,

Thank you so much for your emails. I always enjoy reading them and hearing updates about what is going on back home. I appreciate your dedication you put towards your work, callings and fellow man. I know as you learn to do and be out of love you will find great joy in all your service. Life is a test and all our difficulties, pains and trials really only have one purpose: to help us progress and become like our heavenly father. As we follow the Savior and turn to him for help, our difficult times become opportunities to bring us closer to him and improve. I truly believe we can learn great things and change in many ways through our trials.

Elder Peart and Elder Cattin were transferred to another area. I absolutely loved having them in the apartment. They would always make me laugh and we would have wonderful times together. Elder Wahlquist and I would be praying together and from the other room, we could hear them making fun of each other and laughing and we couldn’t help but start laughing too.

We now have the Zone Leaders in our apartment, Elder Grossen and Elder Frandsen. Elder Frandsen is so goofy and awesome. He is always doing something bizarre and funny. We have started to sing together each morning and it is incredible. It is like a barber shop quartet. It is so amazing to be able to have people to sing with. Elder Grossen has a lovely voice and we sing harmonies and goof around with solo lines. Elder Wahlquist holds down the base line like the stud that he is.

I love the missionary life. I love waking up early and working out first thing in the morning. I love the hours of study I get to do each day, specifically personal study and language study. Oh btw Elder Wahlquist and I speak french 95% the time now. It is absolutely awesome. Elder Wahlquist is a very loved missionary and I love spending time discussing gospel topics with him.

Love you all,

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi