Week #24

Hello my wonderful family and friends,

It is great to hear from you all and to know you are all doing swimmingly.

Over the last 2 weeks there has been a miracle brewing which was harvested yesterday.
Our 2nd day here in Saint-Etienne, Elder Russo contacted a man and gave him a Book of Mormon.
I wrote down his number and address and tried phoning him.
Turns out the number didn’t work, probably a fake number, so we planned on passing by his apartment.
We passed by his apartment a few weeks later.
We couldn’t find his name on the intercom system, so we ended up buzzing everybody.
The last person I buzzed we didn’t get an answer so I started to walk away.
As we were walking away I hear a “Bonjour?”
I jumped back to the intercom and asked if Alberto was there.
It was Alberto’s kid, who then called him to talk with me over the intercom system.
Turns out I wrote down his phone number wrong when he gave it to us a few weeks early.
I thought he wasn’t interested because of the fake number but it turns out I wrote it down wrong.
He gave me the number again and I called him back a few days later and invited him to church.
He came to church and absolutely loved it.
He said “So, same time next week?”
We fixed a rendez-vous (appointment) with him for this week and he is super happy to meet with us.
He explained how grateful he was for us helping him to set foot in a church again.
I am grateful for this miracle that really shows that Heavenly Father is aware of his children.
I was given a second chance to find this person after I had made a human error in taking his number down wrong.
I even thought that he may have given me a fake number but we still ended up passing his house.
They answered just as we were walking away.
Super super awesome miracle!!!!!!!

I haven’t been speaking as much French as I would like to but I know if I make an effort I can change that.
My reading and comprehension is going very well. I do my personal study of the scriptures and other materials in French as well.

I love you lots,

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #23

This week we had a baptism in Saint Etienne!!!!!!

(Refer to the Pictures)
Sydney comes from Congo Brassaville and was invited to the baptism of his friend who was baptized in January.
Now Sydney just got baptized the 15th April 2012.
He is 16 years old and works in construction with our Ward Mission Leader who is his boss.
His boss was the one to baptize him and his friend gave the talk about the holy ghost.
Elder Overstreet and Russo were the witnesses and I gave a special musical number.
He invited 4 friends to his baptism and he was very happy.
One of his friends thanked us missionaries for taking such good care of him.
He told us that Sydney is really happy.
The members here in Saint Etienne are incredible and they take such good care of each other and visitors as well.
Sydney commented during his testimony about how kind everyone is.
We had a lot of members present at his baptism and during his teaching process.
It is really the perfect example of how a simple invitation from a friend can lead to a miracle.

We had 10 non-members at church this week which is absolutely incredible.
Our medium sized chapel was packed and it was lovely.
This week Elder Russo and I introduced ourselves during the sacrament meeting, even though we have been here 3 weeks.
I really feel at home here in Saint Etienne. I love the members, they are so kind and welcoming.
The members really take care of recent converts and less actives.
For a primary activity the children sang over the phone to Two less actives, it was awesome.

We went on an awesome hike today. It is April but in the mountains it was snowing like crazy.
We went hiking with an awesome family here in Saint Etienne who have 5 boys.
Two of the boys were really cold and tired so we took turn carrying them on our shoulders.
It was so much fun.
We had a bunch of snowball fights along the way and rolled huge snowballs down the mountain side.

Love you all
Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi

Week #21

Saint Etienne is awesome.

I love how there are hills everywhere.
It is a lot more tiring but it is really nice to have a change of scenery.

We go for a run every other day and there is a hill that is so deadly to run up.
On the off days of running we do strength training.
I am doing a navy seal work out which is pretty awesome.

I love the members here in Saint Etienne.
They are super super sweet and so generous.
There are a handful of young families and maybe 3 young adults.

I have made a wonderful friend.
He is 14 years old and has a disability of some kind.
He is super energetic and I enjoyed speaking with him all Sunday.
He is very intelligent and very goofy.
I love the way he interacts with the other members and his nieces.
He always has a huge smile on his face.

We watched conference in English but I might get a copy of conference to watch during language study, which would be in french.

Elder Overstreet and Elder Russo are great.
They are so kind to me.
They always complement me in our companionship as well as in front of the members.
It is really amazing how they do that and it is something I appreciate.
It really is powerful to be complimented more then to be critiqued.
I believe this is true with parents and children as well.
Parents should compliment there children more then they critique them.
It is always easy to find the faults in others but it is much better to see the strengths.
Our Heavenly Father blesses us the most he can and see the best of us when he looks at us.
They are also 2 big goof balls.
We always have some joke going on.

We hold a weekly family home evening at the church for some of our members and hopefully our amis.
It is pretty wonderful even though it does not run smoothly at all hahahaha.
I find moments to just laugh at how things didn’t go as planned.
In the end I know that there was love there and that they appreciated the time spent together.

Love you all,

Elder Ioannidis

By Robert Suranyi