Week #16

Bonjour ma famille,

Thank you for all your wonderful emails as always.
You are the best!!!!!

Krystal, I am so happy as always that you are having the most amazing experiences and feeling love for those around you. I wish I could see your smiling face and hear your witty jokes all the times. You are a very very special person and I love you.

Mom and Dad, I am grateful for your hard work and your dedication to Krystal and I.
This week at church the talks were centered around seminary.
I am so grateful that you would wake me up early in the morning and drive me to seminary.
There is always a quote that I think of from a BYU devotional that I listened to before my mission.
The speaker talks about how he was raised by a single mother and how wonderfully she took care of their family.
He then becomes a father and ask his mother how she raised their family as a single parent.
He asked how she knew what to do to have a strong family full of love.
His reply to her son is the one I repeat many times to myself.
She told him that she really had no idea at all what she should do as a single parent.
She said that all she did was follow the plan that Heavenly Father presented for families. (family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening once a week, serving together as a family, attending church together, eating together………)
I am so grateful for your dedication to Krystal and I and making sacrifices for us.
I am grateful that we attended church together and rarely, rarely missing a Sunday.
I am grateful for how our family would always be giving service together, staying up into the wee hours of the night to wash dishes or clean the cultural halls of church and other events.
I really do believe that it is all these simple things that we do regularly which have the most impact on the strength and love of a family. I believe that it is daily family prayer, family home evening and all the simple things Heavenly Father invites us to do that will make our homes and families full of happiness and love.

As the scripture says “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass”.

Love,

Elder Ioannidis

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By Robert Suranyi

Week #15

Thank you so much for your emails, all of them.

Elder Snickers is awesome.
He is from Quebec and we speak french pretty much all the time.
He seems very quiet and shy but really he is the biggest goofball ever.
He pretty much makes me laugh all the time.
He has shown me different ways to do missionary work and we have seen miracles already.

We have been doing something a bit different this week.
We have been looking through binders and binders of people who were taught in the past and for one reason or another stopped.
We write down where they live on post-it notes and hit the streets.
The mission took away two cars this week (not sure why) and we were chosen to be the city to lose our car so we walk everywhere.
Finding all these former investigators is kinda like an adventure. We have our map and we have to find where each of them lives.
The miracle is that we found pretty much every single one, even if at first we thought we couldn’t find it.
We already made two appointments for this week, with people who were taught 5 years ago.

This Sunday at church was great. A young man named Jean asked the bishop if he could give a talk. He is super animated, funny and sincere. It was such an awesome talk and a great example for everyone. I was grinning from ear to ear as he spoke.

Love you loads,

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #14

Start out with some funny things that happened this week.

We were knocking on some doors trying to find an awesome family to teach.
An old man opened the door and walked down the pathway to the gate where we were standing.
He asked what he could do for us.
We said we were there to share a message about the importance of families, how to strengthen them and their eternal possibility.
He instantly replied “oooplaaah” as he waved us off and walked back up his pathway.
I love hearing people make up random, awesome words when they are not interested.
I am not sure if this is funny to you but to me the way he said it and his expression was priceless.

Another day we were also knocking on doors trying to find an awesome family to teach.
A lady opened up the window and said “C’est qui?” (who is it?)
I replied “Bon Soir!!!!!” (Good evening)
She told us to hold on a minute and said “He is coming”
Turns out she thought I said “Fran├žois” not “Bon Soir”
The man walked up to us and was like “Who’s Fran├žois?”
It was awesome and funny to me.
Again not sure if this is funny to you but it was awesome for me.

It is still pretty cold here in France. Normally around -5 most days.
I am glad I have my super awesome Gloverall coat to keep me warm.
I gave out two Book of Mormons out this week while talking to people on the street and metro.
It is always a super awesome feeling to do so and share my personal testimony with them.
I love just talking to everyone. We find some super awesome people.

Elder Wahlquist is being transferred to another ville.
We worked really well together and always had a good time.
We got really comfortable with one another and we laugh all the time.
He is really loved by everyone around him, especially the members and amis.
My new companion is Elder Snickers, like the chocolate bar.
He is from Quebec.
I am going to meet him for the first time today.
I am excited to learn new things and grow in new ways because I know Heavenly Father has something for me to learn from this Elder.

Oh by the way, I ate Raclette three times this week. It is a french cheese fondue. You melt cheese and pour it on top of meat and potatoes.
It was pretty funny how pretty much everyone made that for us this week, including us Elders in our apartment.

Oh and I gained a lot of weight.

Love,
Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #13

Yah it snowed this week!!!!!!!!!!!!

The snow makes everything 10x prettier.

We had interviews with our mission president this week and had a zone conference at the same time.
It was amazing to hear president’s wife give a talk to all of us missionaries.
She is the kind of person that doesn’t really need to say anything at all because you can see the Gospel shinning in her countenance.
She has an incredible way of making everybody feel special and cared about.
These are some of the qualities I wish to obtain.

Back to the snow!!!!

While we were out walking the streets of Toulouse we found a few snowmen.
One of the snowmen looked exactly like a missionary but was really a business man.
Maybe he was a missionary disguised as a business man.
He had a tie and a belt, and a shirt pocket but the shirt pocket looked like a missionary name tag.
It was awesome!!!!!!

We have been doing lots of door knocking and are trying to find families to teach.
It is super cold out and we haven’t had much success with knocking doors but we are always super happy as we do it.
Elder Wahlquist and I always are joking around as we walk between homes and wait for people to open their doors.
Even if people are not interested we seem to be very good at leaving people with a smile on their faces.

We had a super spiritual moment as we watched the restoration movie with one of our new amis.
I always feel the spirit strong as we watch that film and bear testimony of the restoration and Joseph Smith’s vision.
I do not know if I have talked about her son but he is super cute.
He likes us a lot and one time when we were over, he put on a suit jacket and tie and put on one of our names tags and started marching around the house. He is so awesome!!!!
I love reading my scriptures everyday!!!!! I love finding answers to questions that our amis have and making my own discoveries as well. I love finding ways to apply the scriptures into my own life and the lives of our amis.

Alright something really cool and also sad but funny happened.
I have been praying for our amis to have the desire to come to church.
My prayers were answered and they wanted to come but ……………………………………Church was cancelled because of the snow. What!!!!!!! A snowday!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So what do we awesome missionaries do? We had church at a members home.
At this members home there was 4 missionaries and the young couple.
We started with a hymn and a prayer. We then prepared the sacrament.
They didn’t have bread so we used crackers.
We used normal drinking glasses for the water.
We blessed the sacrament and did everything as reverently as possible with what we had.
The only thing thing was that he crackers were super crunchy and loud.
We tried to stay reverent but it was hard at times because it was funny as well.
After that we proceeded to teach a lesson to the young couple and then ended with a hymn and a prayer.
It was a super cool experience to have church with only 6 people. I know that their are many places and times when people really only had a handful of people at church and met in someone’s home for the service.

I am glad to hear everything is going well back home. I love you lots

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi