Monday, November 17, 2014

First letter from Grant in the mission field

So we get off the plane in Lyon, we all have been awake for 36 hours depending on how much sleep you could get on the plane, and we throw our suit casses in a van that hauled them off to the mission office. We start walking towards the train station and there is this incredibly tall man, probably 6,7 and just big. He has two beer bottles in his hand and starts waving one of them at us and yelling, in French, and the only word that I understand is "mormon" and "hell". I later learned that he was damning us all to hell and explaining to us how we get to burn in satan's layer or something. Great first impression of France :D
Fast Forward past a lot of sleeping and a little sight seeing and I got to meet my trainer elder P! He is pretty much the coolest guy ever. We connect really well! He plays guitar(he has one in our apartment) likes to work out, speaks French, he is pretty good looking, you know all the important stuff ;) ! 
I am currently serving in a city called chalon! it is a fairly nice city I think! It has been overcast every single day and that makes the city nice and cool! The people are great! They all keep to themselves but after about two or three questions or a compliment they open right up and just start talking! once you break the ice you can ask them most anything! What we do most of the time for tracting is we carry around a little questionnaire and ask people if they want to participate. Surprisingly, if you compliment someone on their clothes or a scarf they almost always say yes. So it looks like I am going to have to improve my fashion game and learn my expensive clothing brands. If anyone wants to send me a list or some pictures of highend fashion items it would be greatly appreciated! Its also good that I watched that runway show with my mom! That will definately come in handy!
Day three in France, first miracle. We were jumping cities to renew elder perrys visa( he just hit his year mark) when we had a train layover. Our layover was about 24 minutes. We decided to try and talk to people and get some numbers! The first guy we asked was sitting on the edge of a fountain and was just the coolest guy ever! We ended up teaching a quick lesson on the restoration and got his number! we checked our watched and realized that we had 3 minutes to get to our train! We thanked him and ran off! We hustled up to the platform train. We asked a conductor looking guy with a wicked mustache where the train was and he said it had left. 
We ran down to check train times for the next train headed to gernoble. We had 4 hours and elder Perry would miss his appointment. While we walked over to the ticket line we bumped into mustache conductor man and he said that the train came in onto the wrong platform due to delays! It was still in the station!!!! We made the train! we both felt like God had blessed us with making the train because we went out and tried to find people! wonderful experience!
I love France, the food is great! the people are interesting! and I am in LOVE with missionary work! The language is coming, I usually understand what people are talking about and I understand more when they speak slower then normal! We ran into an old fisher french man and his accent was different. Elder P said that he had to strain to understand what he was saying because he was from the deep south of france and their accent changes! 
Love you all! excuse my spelling. These French keyboards have extra letters and crap on them and spell check doesnt work. 

Elder Keller

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More of Grant

 Pictures that were posted on the Mission Blog today.  They are of Grant's arrival in France and meeting his companion and mission assignment.  Fun to see him, even though he is making goofy faces in some of the pictures - (like the last one...  hmmm, not paying attention?)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Grant Arrived in France yesterday

Sister Keller,

We just got back from the training session where they were assigned their companions.  

Elder Keller will be serving with Elder Perry in Chalon.  
Their address is 21 rue au Change  
71100 Chalon-sur-Saône.

I am attaching a picture below.

Sister Clark
France Lyon Mission Secretary

Dear Family of Elder Keller,
This is just a quick note and photo to inform you that YOUR MISSIONARY HAS ARRIVED IN LYON FRANCE! We are so excited to have them in this mission. We love them and we view them with the same care and concern as we would our own children.  They looked pretty good even though they were surely very tired. They will be doing some legal work for their visa and some training and interviewing. By their preparation day (Monday) they will be able to tell you their companion’s name and where they live. Thank you so much for sharing your missionary with The Lord and with this mission. In many ways, this is truly the most wonderful mission in the world and they will make it even better.
Thank you,
President and Sister Roney
France Lyon Mission

Monday, November 10, 2014

letter and phone call from grant

Just thought I'd give a little update on Grant.  He did get a calling card, but couldn't get it to work.  So he borrowed some guys in the airport.  Thank you to that very nice guy!  It made my day to hear from Elder Keller.  He sounds great.  We chatted about our family visit to Victor and I think that made him feel a lot better about leaving.  He's been worried about how things were going, so it was good to have a minute to talk about it.  Grant was the lucky one who went with Troy when they took Victor to Wilderness this summer and he came with us when we picked V up and took him to Vista.  So he's been a part of some of the crazy.  We were just able to chat for a bit about the MTC and heading off to France.  I said, " You don't even sound homesick, you sound so excited." He confirmed that : )  After that first week, he settled in and he is ready to get to work.  I thought I'd be teary-eyed talking to him, but he was my happy, ready for an adventure, Grant.  I couldn't help but smile right along with him.   Love that kid.  His Mission Presidents wife emailed to say that they'll send us pictures tomorrow after they pick him up, so I'll post tomorrow or wednesday, some pictures of Grant/Elder Keller.  And hopefully his new address.

So Saturday we got this letter from Grant and were able to write back and forth for about 30 minutes.  We'll Troy wrote back and forth.  Nothing earth shattering.  More like information about calling cards, that he got the last package, the pants fit, etc.  For future missionary moms: nerf toys are banned at the MTC.  I had a mom tell me she would send nerf guns to her boys so I sent a set and they were confiscated.  Lesson learned.  Everything else in the packages was eaten and appreciated!

So we have some time to do laundry before we leave on the air plane tomorrow! Fun right!?! 

I have sort of been recapping this MTC experience! I would say it was good! Probably could have studied more and eaten fewer doughnuts but hey! Say la vie, this is life. I hope everyone is doing well! 

Everyone at the MTC has been passing out journals and asking us if we would write something and sign it. Well eventually the French elders brought theirs around and I figured "they really don't know who I am and after two years who is going to remember an Elder Keller?" So in each of the 4 French elders "good bye journals" I wrote nursery rhymes, In Mary had a little lamb I added some of my own versus, and signed my name as cursivey and loopy as I could! I heard them reading it out in the hall later that night! Way too funny! They read the cow jumped over the moon and one of the elders said "What is this? There is not a cow that could jump over the moon!?" and we just wouldn't;'t contain ourselves! The French Elders in their French accents are just so FUNNY! 

Yesterday in class was incredibly spiritual! All of the missionaries bore their testimony about Jesus Christ in French and it really hit home! I didn't realize how deep everyone's testimony went!  So in class today Frere Pistourius showed us all of his mission photos! He told us that yesterday was spiritual and today was going to get us excited for the mission! So he told wonderful stories about the people he met and the many miracles he saw just in his first month! 

I got this wonderful quote from Frere Pistorious when he was explaining a French grammar concept!
"French express feelings more in the way that they say things, rather then by the feeling of which they are said in." This was interesting because it explains that the French express the way they feel by the words they use and in the way they conjugate a verb. In English this concept is similar, where you can tell by the tone of voice the meaning be hind a phrase the french change the meaning by the way that they conjugate something. Sorry, that was a very poor way of explaining it.

I can not wait to get to the field! Two days!!!! I love you all and wish you a happy holidays! :D

Elder Keller

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Family visit with Victor

 Victor is at a school called Vista in Magna Utah.  He is doing well.  Catching up on school work and working on relationships.  (We wanted a small school and close so we can see him often and also do therapy with him.  Troy and I go weekly to work with him, but this was the first time the kids have been able to spend time with him since this summer. So it was really great for all of the siblings).  So we had a chance to have a Family day visit with him.  We spent most of the day Saturday with him and it went really well.  He is adjusting and doing better also.  It was good to see him and have some positive time with him.

They have goats a field away from the property and the kids and Troy were highly entertained by them.  We also threw the boomerang and football around, played soccer with some of the other boys there, made no bake cookies and left stuff so Victor could make them for the boys at school with him, we made m&m turkeys for all the staff and boys, watched a movie, played Truco, played some instruments, met their pet bearded dragon and just hung out with Victor.  It was a really good day.  Victor even let Ana sit by him a couple times, which was probably the highlight of her time there... or it could have been the goats.  Tanya and Ana both had to do a little showing off, but it was all reasonable.  Victor's behavior has brought out some of the attachment issues with the girls and so we were prepared and it was all ok.  Fears and boundaries are funny things.  You don't realize how much they play a part in our lives until they turn your life upside down.  Just glad we have found great counselors to help us this round : ).  Love these kids and crazy family of ours.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

For entertainment we give Elder D weird challenges. Usually with ingesting large quantities of citrus. He was challenged to eat two oranges in seven bites WITHOUT peeling off the skin. He made it.
below: Elder S effectively using his pillow tie.

Grant and Elder B at the doctors office
below: is Grant's district and teachers.

Looks like the weeks of salads and soup has paid off.  Whew, I don't have to find him bigger pants!  I was getting worried.

So I am SUPER excited to leave for France! We have travel plans and everything! 11:35 We board the flight from Salt lake to Georgia. (I'll probably call home when we land in Georgia) We spend an hour and a half layover in Atlanta and then fly to Paris. We have a two hour layover in Paris then fly to Lyon!
This being our last week we get another P-day of sorts. We can send out Emails one more time and then do laundry and stuffs. 

Elder B and I have now taught Z three lessons! (Dad, he said he would try to email you last night or later today!) Z has lots of interesting questions about being a missionary. Like, why all the missionaries are here. What we do here. He was shocked to learn that B and I had never learned French before getting to the MTC. He doesn't know much about any religion really so we get to explain lots of the bible and other basic "christian concepts" like Baptism, Sacrament, and even who Jesus was! I think my favorite experience with Z was probably having him pray for the first time! It kinda went like this "God, hi this is Z, thanks for school and my family, and these missionaries, ill talk to you later. Amen, I mean Jesus Christ Amen". We explained why we close our eyes during prayers but he continues to watch us during prayers! It's kinda silly but I love him all the more for it!

Our last meeting with Z was even better! Earlier that day we learned about soft and hard invites during zone conference. A soft invite is a commitment that isn't so straight forward like "if you come to know these things are true will you..." So we used that with Z! We were having a conversation about praying and feeling the holy ghost when we asked him if after he read the Book of Mormon he prayed. He told us about how he felt more comfortable praying alone and he said that after his prayer he felt kind of comforted and that he felt peaceful! Six months of Mission Prep prepared me for that exact moment! I bore testimony to him about how, even though he might not know it yet, that what he felt was the spirit comforting him and that as he continues to pray he will be able to feel like that more often and recognize those feelings! He sat back in his chair and cocked his head and said "okay...." after a little silence Elder B read a scripture that talked about how the spirit works! It was amazing! I hope he could feel what Elder B and I felt at that exact moment! Later that lesson we used the "soft invite" to ask Z that "if he came to know these things if he would be baptized!" Again he sat back in his chair and said "yeah, I think that would be nice. I really like what you guys believe! It seems like a nice way to live!" My smile was just huge! I felt SOOOOOO happy that he wanted that! Elder B bore his testimony on revelation by the spirit and I used the classic "I know what my companion said is true" line and bore testimony of the same thing. That was an awesome lesson! It just felt great to help Z learn about the gospel and even better that he accepted it!

Sunday was EXCELLENT! Our MTC mission president, President Merril, was a lawyer his whole life! About ten years ago he was asked to teach institute at BYU and let me tell you, He is the COOOLEST~! Last Sunday he gave us a portion of his institute lesson on the godhead. Mind blown, God isn't who I thought he was, the church is true, and my concept of the godhead is totally different! I have two and a half pages of Awesome notes! He speaks hebrew and so he reads the Bible completely differently! I won't try and cram everything I learned into this email but ill put in some things that were WAYY cool were 
1: In Hebrew Elo means god and IM is how to make something plural. so Elohim, in hebrew, means Gods. And evidence in the hebrew bible suggests that God's real name is closer to Ahman. like ahman and diamoand(sorry spell check didn't help with that one)? but we won't for sure know that for a while. 
2: In MSH 15 in the first five or so verses it talks about dual aspects of Jesus. Man, and god; Flesh, and spirit; Son and Father. Then President Merrill asked us "what would Jesus be the father of" and no one really had a good answer. After a minute or so of more bad answers he pointed out that Jesus is the Father of our world, and our Spiritual lives! When we are baptized we "take upon us the name of christ" which I thought I understood but President Merrill explained that Baptism is like a form of adoption and that we literally get adopted into Christ's spiritual family. Therefore making him our Father.
3: Often the scriptures sound like god is speaking and then we have a jump and then Christ is speaking. President Merril explained that Christ is a "Divine Investigator of Authority" which states Christ can say something and it has just as much power as if God himself said it. That is why the scriptures sometimes sound like Jesus or God is talking and then they switch.

So elder B got an ear infection around Thursday. Infact, Elder B has been more silly than usual but you know what I have not been even the littlest bit annoyed or angry or felt any negative feelings for him. I have felt only love for Elder B. When he said that we needed to walk a half mile to get him medicine I was almost happy to go! Something changed this week. I love Elder B with all of his quirks and silly pieces. And it feels wonderful! I don't know what changed but something did! And it feels great! :)

Elder Keller

As of this week Troy hasn't received an email from Z, but we are hopeful.  So exciting to see these young men have missionary experiences before they are in France trying to share the gospel in another language.  What great preparation.  Love to see their perspectives change and the growth in their testimonies.  

Friday, October 31, 2014


Morgan had a Choir Concert and an Orchestra Concert at the beginning of the week.  Very exciting because she made 2nd chair for the Violas and is a Sophomore.  I guess some summer practicing paid off for her.  Congrats babe! Love you tons.
 Tanya became someone from Dr. Suess at the ward Halloween party, she was lovely!  Morgan dress up like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's -- Holly Golightly?  She was just lovely too!  Ana and Ethan had a Halloween Party instead of trick or treating this year.  Ethan was a Taco and Ana was herself.  I guess she really is a teenager now.