Here are free resources about the Belgium Brussels Mission:
- Mission address and phone number
- Mission map
- Video interviews with returned missionaries
- Missionary blogs
- Facebook groups
- LDS Mission t-shirts and gifts
- List of past mission presidents
- Cultural articles written by returned missionaries
- Survey with RMs
Belgium Brussels Mission Address
Here’s a recent address for the Belgium Brussels Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the mission address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.
This mission does not currently exist.
Phone Number: N/A
Mission President: N/A
Belgium Brussels Mission Map
Here’s a link to the mission map for the Belgium Brussels Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the Belgium Brussels Mission
*Mission does not currently exist. (Browse LDS.org mission maps)
Videos with Belgium Brussels RMs
Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Belgium Brussels Mission. We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews. Coming soon..
LDS-Friendly Videos about Belgium
Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Belgium. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Belgium, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.
Belgium Brussels Missionary Blogs
Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Belgium Brussels Mission. This blog list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their mission blog was updated.
|Belgium Brussels RMs||lifey.org/belgium-brussels-mission||2017|
Belgium Brussels Mission Groups
Here are Belgium Brussels Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the mission.
- Belgium Brussels LDS Mission Alumni 1975-1977 Group (302 members)
- Belgium-Brussels Mission Arrigona Years Group (203 members)
- Belgium Brussels Mission – C. Steven Hatch, 1980-83 Group (123 members)
- Belgium Brussels Mission Group (118 members)
- Belgium Brussels Mission, Morris D. Gardner 1983-1985 Group (87 members)
- Belgium Brussels Mission Eccles Alumni Group (71 members)
- Belgium Brussels Mission 1988-1991, President Roueche Group (13 members)
- Belgium Brussels Mission Moms and Friends (LDS) Group (13 members)
Belgium Brussels Mission T-Shirts
Here are T-shirts for the Belgium Brussels Mission!
Shirt designs include Belgium Brussels Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL. The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.
*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Belgium Brussels missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.
Belgium Brussels Mission Presidents
Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Belgium Brussels LDS Mission.
- 2002, Belgium Brussels Mission renamed to Belgium Brussels/Netherlands Mission.
- 2000-2003, Ronald R. Harrison
- 1997-2000, H. Ray Hart
- 1994-1997, Justin Rich Eccles
- 1991-1994, Chris J. Frogley
- 1988-1991, Earl J. Roueche
- 1985-1988, G. Perrin Walker
- 1983-1985, Morris D. Gardner
- 1980-1983, C. Steven Hatch
- 1977-1980, James S. Arrigona
- 1975-1977, Virgil Parker
- 1974, Belgium Brussels Mission created.
Belgium LDS Statistics (2016)
- Church Membership: 6,756
- Congregations: 17
- Family History Centers: 8
Helpful Articles about Belgium
Belgium Brussels Missionary Survey
Here are survey responses from Belgium Brussels RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.
When did you serve?
- 1979-1981 (Jim)
- 1979-1981 (Gerard)
- 1981-1983 (Chris)
- 1987-1989 (Michael)
- 1988-89 (Alexandra)
- 1999-2001 (Joe)
- 1992-1994 (Todd)
- 1990-1992 (Greg)
- 1984-1986 (Erik)
- 1979-1981 (Ken)
- 1970-1972 (Jerry)
What areas did you serve in?
- Reims, Epinal, Charleroi, Dunkerque, Valenciennes, Tourcoing. (Jim)
- Served part time in Virginia Roanoke. (Julia)
- Boulogne s/mer; Bruay-en-Artois; Liege; Lille; Brussels; Mons (Chris)
- Liege, Lille (Loos), Lens, Epinal, Brussels, Belfort, Strasbourg (Michael)
- Soissons, Lille, Bruxelles, Amiens, Strasbourg (Alexandra)
- Charleville-Mezieres, Calais, Amiens, Metz, Charleroi. (Joe)
- Namur, Charleroi, Herstal (Belgium) Calais, Lille, Valenciennes (France). (Todd)
- North Eastern France. (Greg)
- Roubaix, France. Colmar, France. Amiens, France. Nivelles, Belgium. Tournai, Belgium. (Erik)
- Charleroi, Bruxelles, Lille, Cannes, Avignon, Nimes, Vichy, Monthey. (Ken)
- Mulhouse FR, Brussels BE, Namur BE, St Quentin FR, Épinal FR. (Jerry)
What were some favorite foods?
- Cous cous, Raclette, Quiche, Fromage. (Jim)
- Sans conteste, les frites et les gaufres de Bruxelles. (Gerard)
- Gaufres in France, hush puppies in Virginia! Never had either before my mission and now I adore them! 😉 (Julia)
- Côte D’Or chocolate, frites, baguettes, etc. (Chris)
- Gaufres, Frites and Gyros on the Grande Place in Brussels, those sandwiches with sausage and fries on a baguette. I also loved the artisan breads, baguettes and of course the pastries. (Michael)
- Beef fondue, Crêpes, Gaufres, Frites à la andelouse, Couscous. (Alexandra)
- Crepes, baguettes, pain au chocolat. (Joe)
- Baquette, Merguez (?) avec frites. Quiche Lorraine. (Todd)
- Breads and cheeses. Anything French. (Greg)
- Couscous. Yogurt. Les Baguettes. “Religieuse”. Alsatian Tarte (mirabelle, blueberry, cherry (watch out for the pits!). Favorite lunch: Merguez and Emmental on a baguette with Dijon mustard. (Erik)
- Belgian french fries, pain au chocolat, iles flottant. (Ken)
- Gaufres Liègoises (Liège style Belgian waffles) * .Belgian fries are the best anywhere in the world (if you live in the SLC area, check out Brugge Frites and Waffles) * Chocopasta (a chocolate spread along the lines of Nutella) * Couscous (in a can) * Nasi Goreng (in a can). (Jerry)
What was a funny experience?
- My green companion subtly made an obscene gesture towards the ground, even though I didn’t see it, a civilian saw him and called the police, half an hour later we were stopped by a paddy wagon. I asked the older officer what we were accused of doing. My comp then discreetly confessed his gesture to me. “Let me do the talking” I said. I denied that we had, and requested that the officer show us what the gesture was. He reluctantly did it fearing that someone would see him. Once he did I played it as a cultural difference and that the gesture is an innocent one in North America. He then ran a check on our I.D. cards while we sat in the back of the van with the younger cop. The younger cop asked why we’re missionaries in France and not in a third world country like his church? Before the older partner returned and we were let off the hook we had taught half of the first discussion to the younger one. Ironically, two weeks later we were tracting in the same neighborhood and tracted out the younger partner. He was busy, but invited us back. A few days later my two years were up and I went home before I could call back. (Jim)
- Frere Bastiens had asked us to watch over their house while they went on vacation, to water the plants and feed the animals. One time, we locked the door and left the key inside, so we had to climb the balcony up one floor to get in, and luckily we had left the balcony door slightly open. The animals had been anxious to be fed, but the neighbors were upset….(Gerard)
- Back in the day we used Franklin Planners and my companion and I were tracting in Virginia and had had a rough day. She tripped on an uneven sidewalk, dropped her planner and the contents went everywhere and continued to blow in the wind. We laughed and laughed as we chased those papers up and down the road! It was much needed stress relief! (Julia)
- My companion and me slipping on the ice at the same time while tracting one evening in Boulogne S/Mer. (Chris)
- In Epinal we were on the bus one day and it stopped in front of a College (Middle School). My companion and I looked at each other and just shook our heads, because we knew it was going to get crazy. So the driver opens the doors and the Middle School kids just start piling on the bus. As the driver shuts the door, one last boy tries to get on. He makes it through the doors at the back of the bus, but his back pack doesn’t, so he gets pinched against the doors on the inside, with his backpack on the outside. All his friends start laughing and he just starts screaming to the driver, “Hey, my bag is in the door!” the driver just takes off with this kid pinned to the door by his bag. Eventually he wiggles out of his backpack and turns around to look at it. The bus is driving down the road and his bag is just hanging there. His friends were laughing so hard and he kept yelling at the driver to stop, while he was pulling on the straps to his bag, trying to get it through the doors. Eventually the driver stopped and opened the door, with just a hint of a smile on his face. The boy, to the jeers of his friends, took his bag and stomped to a seat, red faced. (Michael)
- Street contacting a guy who was peeing on a wall in an alley, teaching him a first discussion, then finding out he had already been baptized. (Joe)
- One day working at a rest home, a nurse put her hand on my shoulder and started to feel my shoulders and arms and told me I would make a good nude male model. (Todd)
- First night in the field and going to a birthday party and having the little kids laugh at you because they can speak French better than you. (Greg)
- Too many… I’ll just say that the Alsace in a hot summer leads to nakedness, even when answering your front door. It was hard not to laugh at those who took no thought at all to opening their doors while not adequately attired! (Erik)
- Knocking on a door and having a small child, 3 or 4 years old back away slowly after opening the door calling out “Maman, Maman there are giants at the door.” (Ken)
- We four Elders were walking along the bank of the Reine River, one slipped on some moss and fell in. (Jerry)
What was a crazy experience?
- Once at 2 in the morning we could hear someone trying to break into our apartment. It sounded like a gang was checking all the doors on our level. Visions of persecution mobs ensued, (Hey I was really green at the time). Back then, Only Zone Leaders had phones. We were standing on the balcony when the police arrived (one of the neighbors had called)/ When they arrived on our floor they found the culprit passed out, drunk and lying on the floor. He had pushed the wrong button in the elevator and when he couldn’t open the door that he thought was his, he tried all the others. (Jim)
- Driving a mission car that did not work with the night lights on, and getting chased by semi-trucks which did not see us driving home next to a water canal. (Gerard)
- One night in France there was a storm coming, very windy! My companion and I had just taught a discussion and we’re getting ready to leave in our little Le Car. We were parked in front of an office building that had floor to ceiling glass windows. Just as my companion put the car into reverse, we lurched backward insanely quickly. She looked at me and said “My foot wasn’t on the gas!” At that moment the glass windows shattered and blew towards us. If we hadn’t “moved” the glass would’ve hit our car. The Lord definitely watches over his missionaries! (Julia)
- My companion setting off a firework which made some French youth mad. They let us know how upset they were. We apologized. (Chris)
- I was riding my bike down the street in Liege and a woman opened the door to her Renault 5,(car) as I was going past. It crunched the door in, and I went flying down the road, trying not to hit my head or get hit by a car. Ruined the car door and I had to replace the forks on my bike. (Michael)
- My companion and I were riding our bikes single file and this guy came up on a scooter really close and reached out grabbing at her. Since she was behind me, I didn’t see him, but she yelled and I turned just as she swung her arm out to block him. He road off a little which allowed me to circle around next to her. The rest of the way home we rode side by side and I stayed on the outside. For the next week or so we’d cringe a little every time we heard a scooter speed past us. (Alexandra)
- Having stuff thrown at me from 13 story apartment buildings. (Joe)
- Having a knife pulled on me once. Being surrounded by dozens of Muslims on a train and them cussing at us and trying to start a fight. Being stoned (people threw rocks at us). (Todd)
- Being asked to stay indoors for a few days when the first Gulf War started. (Greg)
- Elder Warnock and I were standing at the corner of an intersection waiting on members to meet with us and go caroling. A big Citroen T-boned a BMW running the stop sign and the BMW careened about 3 feet in front of us before it slammed into the stone facade of the building next to us. We were very fortunate and I know very blessed that day. (Erik)
- Helping a farmer in Avignon with his greenhouses in a storm. (Ken)
What was a spiritual experience?
- In the last months of my mission, a mission with few baptisms, we taught and baptized a young couple with a 3 year old daughter. (Jim)
- Visiting an inactive branch president in a small branch who was tired and spiritually exhausted. We did not judge, but just shared our love and talked a bit. After that, he came back the next Sunday. All he needed was to feel loved too. (Gerard)
- I wish I could say some of the most spiritual experiences I had were while teaching but they were usually at mission meetings. In Virginia they would have conferences for just the Sisters and those were amazing! (Julia)
- Finding, teaching and the baptizing of the Blondeau family in Lille, France. Many more spiritual moments while teaching. (Chris)
- So many! Seeing someone you’ve taught walk out of the font after being baptized. Seeing the light change in someone’s eyes/visage as they begin to make changes because of the gospel. I was at the end of my mission and my companion and I were knocking on doors, the gentleman let us in, he told us that he had investigated before but decided to go to another church. As we talked, he would express opinions and reasons why he went another way. Every time he’d say something contrary (not contentious) or an excuse, a scripture would come to me and I would share it, this went back and forth for a while and it became obvious that these excuses were covering up a desire to not take on the responsibility of faith, that he chose the easy path. We ended our visit and left him with a gentle warning that as he knew the things we said were true, he was responsible for that knowledge. After we left and got on our bikes, my companion was amazed and all excited because of the warning I’d given. I was in awe and moved because all of my mission I wanted to be able to teach from the scriptures and that was just what I had done. A question was raised and I was given a scripture to turn to to teach the principle over and over again. I feel like I could have done that for hours, I was guided by the Holy Ghost given in each moment the words that man needed to hear. (Alexandra)
- Teaching investigators to pray for the first time. (Joe)
- Seeing someone change their life through the gospel. That’s the greatest experience I had. (Todd)
- Having the right scriptures come to mind in a discussion when the sister committed to being baptized. (Greg)
- Three Ghananian men were being taught by my companion and I. One night, unannounced, we dropped by the government housing apartment to see them. One of them was carrying on a loud conversation with other apartment dwellers whom we did not know. He had apparently been drinking. When we entered, he made a big deal about my companion and I being representatives of God and that we had power. He pointed to a man next to him who he said was sick and he wanted us to cure him by the power of God. We distinctly felt the inappropriateness of such a request and declined. We found Gabriel and Stephen in another room and they looked almost afraid. We were impressed with an understanding that they were fearful that Francois’ behavior would disqualify them from continuing with their lessons and learning of the gospel. After we assured them that we understood and that of course they could continue, they looked relieved. We continued to teach them, but Francois never did take any further lessons. Gabriel and Stephen were baptized. Sometimes it is what we don’t do that is faith promoting. (Erik)
- Listening to converts bear their testimonies of how the Holy Ghost had directly influenced their lives. (Ken)
What are some interesting facts about the Belgium Brussels Mission?
- Historically it has been a strategic area of the world (Hundred Years War, Napoleonic Battles as well as WWI & WWII In Church History, the first missionaries in the continent of Europe came here first. (Jim)
- People don’t care to hear about American way of being, well unless they ask. Typically, the tough part of a mission life is to separate the culture from the gospel. But when you do, they become more open and ready to listen. Much of the travelling was on a bike. Learn to ride a bike and ride long rides, steep hills too. You won’t regret that one bit. (Gerard)
- Both missions are now technically no longer…the boundaries and names have been changed but at the time the mission home for the Belgium Brussels mission (French speaking) wasn’t even in our mission boundaries. It was in the Belgium Brussels mission (Dutch speaking). The funniest thing would be running into missionaries in Belgium that we didn’t even know because they were serving in the Dutch mission! Also the Belgium Brussels mission was really just a small piece at the bottom of Belgium and almost all of northern France. (Julia)
- It took in three countries. Most of our teaching was with French Africans living, working, going to college in our mission boundaries. The Battle of the Bulge (World War II battle) happened in our mission boundaries. I believe the surrender signing was signed in our mission as well (Amiens?) (Chris)
- It covered French speaking Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France. It was filled with history, from ancient castles and cathedrals to bunkers from World War II. (Michael)
- There is so much history that has occurred in this area reaching back to the days of Henry V to famous, or rather infamous battles during WW1 & WW2. It covers 3 countries, and has cultural diversity in the Alsace region due to the frequent German occupation and incursions during times of conflict. (Alexandra)
- It spanned the border between France and Germany and thus experienced lots of warfare in WWI and WWII. (Joe)
- Not really sure. Our mission shrunk from over 200 missionaries to less than 150 in the two years. The Elders served for 25 months and Sisters served for 17 months. My group was the last to serve 25 months. (Todd)
- Second highest baptizing mission in Europe. (Greg)
- I met the greatest missionaries in the world on my mission. My mission was the greatest mission. (Erik)
- I was fortunate enough to be able to serve in 2 different missions where the tone of the Mission Presidents were almost diametrically opposed to one another. (Ken)
What was the weather like?
- Although rainy and cold in the Winter & Spring it wasn’t as cold as this Canadian boy had seen. Summers were great. (Jim)
- Wet, humid at time, cold in the winter, warm and nice in the summer. (Gerard)
- Cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer! (Both missions) Being from Utah I didn’t really know how to deal with wet cold and humid heat. That was rough! But the spring in Virginia was amazing! The Dogwood and Magnolia trees bloom and the air is perfumed and scented! (Julia)
- Warm, humid summers; very cold winters. Very nice spring and fall weather. A lot of rain. (Chris)
- Much like Utah and Idaho. Cold in the winter, though more humid, and warm in the Spring and Summer. (Michael)
- I was told not to expect much sunshine, that overcast skies were the norm. This wasn’t my experience! I experienced a healthy mix of all 4 seasons. (Alexandra)
- Temperate. Often hot and humid in the summer. Cold and rainy or snowy in the winter. Plenty of good, mild days. (Joe)
- Humid, mostly mild temperatures except for a heat wave one summer, quite a bit of rain. (Todd)
- Temperate. Often hot and humid in the summer. Cold and rainy or snowy in the winter. Plenty of good, mild days. (Greg)
- Sometimes, in Belgium, the rain turned into mist. It seemed that the mist could go through, under, around, or in any coat you could buy. Nothing kept you from getting thoroughly soaked head to toe. Colmar was nice and hot in the summer. (Erik)
- The weather in Belgium was great in the summer and cold and very damp in winter – it was miserable on a bicycle. In the Switzerland Geneva Mission, I served in 3 very distinct climate zones, hot summers and mild winters in the south, damp and cold in the central mountains, and a classical winter with lots of snow and gorgeous wonderful spring in the Rhone River Valley of Switzerland. (Ken)
- A lot of overcast and rainy days. Moderate summers and no snow in winter. (Jerry)
Any things you really like about the area/people?
- The French are much friendlier than their reputation. I have made friendships with members and non-members that have lasted 35 years. (Jim)
- My winter experience about driving in the snow paid dividends when the Liege people by the other elder’s apartment up a hill got snowed and we helped them navigate in the treacherous snow. After that event, the entire street welcomed us as benefactors, and we got good teaching opportunities. (Gerard)
- The culture, food, history. There were many humble people and a few proud scattered among them. (Chris)
- The French people were very warm and friendly as a rule. I loved to see them laugh and enjoyed hearing them speak French. (Michael)
- I love France, I love the beautiful country, the part it has played in history, slower lifestyle and the food! When you truly serve someone, or a group of someones, you can’t help but learn to love them. I loved serving in the smaller towns, the tiny branches, it allowed me to truly experience french culture and people. (Alexandra)
- I loved the history. I visited sites from Roman ruins to medieval castles to WWI and WWII battlegrounds. The people were reserved on the exterior, but warm and generous once they got to know you. (Joe)
- I loved the people, their strength for being such a minority and being considered a sect. (Todd)
- All were friendly and kind. (Greg)
- The warmth of the people. The fact that, at the time, they spent a great deal of time with their families. Parents would take walks with their kids in parks or even in the ZUP. Grandparents were involved many times weekly for Sunday dinner and visit. Their belief in love and hopefulness of better days. The wonderful Arab people, mostly from North Africa. The most beautiful Arab children in the world. The kindness of the Muslim neighbors. (Erik)
- The people in Switzerland were almost universally wonderful, even if they were not interested in the gospel they are polite and kind. The people of France had a very different culture, and are much more likely to be suspicious and distrusting. American humor does NOT translate at all and is not well accepted. They are much less likely either to commit to anything OR to follow through on commitments. (Ken)
- Visiting châteaux, learning of local history and of course Waterloo Battlefield. (Jerry)
Any packing/clothing advice?
- Keep some of your clothing money to get a suit in Europe. You will blend a little bit better and not stick out so much as an American. (Gerard)
- Layers!!! And don’t buy anything fancy! My first area in France was Lille, an industrial town. I had all these fancy dresses from ZCMI and I sent them home within the first month and went to the thrift shop and bought wool skirts, boots and lots of tights because I was so cold and all my fancy clothes had soot residue on them! (I left the MTC the day after Christmas) (Julia)
- I didn’t buy warm clothes in advance. Take warm clothes if going in the winter. Take what you need but try to pack as light as possible. (Chris)
- Plan for Cold Winters and hot summers. Be sure and buy some pants at the “Marche” in the different cities you live in. (Michael)
- For sisters: 1-Comfortable shoes with good support and a thicker sole. Flat and flimsy ballet type shoes will not give your feet enough cushion to walk on cobblestones. 2-Avoid straight skirts, A-line or wider because you’ll be on a bicycle and you need freedom to move. 3-Layers! It can be cold and misty in the morning but hot and sunny within a couple hours or vise versa. 4-Good full length rain coat with a liner verses a heavy winter coat because you may get more rain than snow depending on where you are during the colder months. (Alexandra)
- Short sleeve shirts for summer. Long sleeve shorts, a couple sweaters, and a good coat for winter. A good rain jacket for wet days. Long underwear for exceptionally cold days. Bring some jeans, shorts, and t-shorts for preparation day, athletics and service. People like to see pictures that show your family and where you’re from. Most missionaries, in my day, would carry a small photo album containing these pictures (called BRT books) to show people they met. Anything you forget can be easily bought or mailed. (Joe)
- Pack no more than 1 suit. I and it seemed multiple others, lost so much weight we didn’t fit in our suits. Bring a few pants though. Have a nice warm, water proof coat. (Todd)
- Good shoes and buy a raincoat in France. (Greg)
- Layers. Good idea. (Erik)
- Layers, get suitcases that stand out, either by their color or because you personalize them with stickers and straps. This helps to prevent thefts. Good quality comfortable shoes and plenty of socks is a must. Budget to replace shoes and socks, as well as shirts halfway through your mission. (Ken)
What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?
- Greater testimony. The French language that has come in handy even when traveling in Japan. Even got me into my first career. (Jim)
- I learn to trust the Lord, and not just to love him, but to seek him in all I do, and serve in the way he wanted me to serve and be blessed with his welcoming acceptance and love. (Gerard)
- I can’t begin to explain how my testimony changed. Not only that, my priorities. As a theater major, my biggest goal in life was Broadway. On my mission I realized that having and raising a family should be my goal. I have that family (with my oldest on a mission in Canada) and I’ve never regretted it or looked back. Best decision I’ve ever made! (Julia)
- A strong testimony of the gospel; lasting friendships and memories and learned a foreign language, etc. (Chris)
- It was during my mission I really learned to trust in Heavenly Father. I learned to pray and listen to answers to those prayers. I also realized there are amazing people all over the world, many who don’t know a thing about the gospel, but need its blessings in their lives. (Michael)
- Many. Fluency, deeper understanding of the gospel and the responsibilities of active membership, not just to attend my meetings but to support the different activities and organizations. The need to have home and visiting teachers who don’t just go for a visit but who engage with their families or sisters they visit. Welcoming some one new, absorbing them into the ward family as someone important and valued. (Alexandra)
- Too many to mention. A firmer testimony, a better understanding of cultures and people, and a love of that part of the world for starters. (Joe)
- Grew closer to the Lord and learned to rely on him for everything in my life. (Todd)
- Stronger testimony. Self reliance. Ability to communicate with all kinds of people. (Greg)
- Too many to list. Love for others. At least some beginning of understanding of the plight of others. That we all are children of Heavenly Parents and we are loved. That the Lord is in charge of His work and that I can trust Him and His timetable. That if I work hard, without guile or selfishness, I can be part of the “moissoneurs” even though I surely was the least talented of the missionaries. That serving others is joyful. That God has a place for me to serve. (Erik)
- I built a couple of lifelong friendships and strengthened my testimony that God knows and loves us as individuals. (Ken)
- Spiritual growth. (Jerry)
What are some skills you gained?
- Cooking, the ability to talk to strangers. (Jim)
- Recognizing the Spirit from my own voice and acting on its promptings ASAP, not in five minutes or so. I learned that success or failure can be the difference between staying with an issue just a little longer than what I was comfortable with. (Gerard)
- I speak enough French to get around Paris now 😉 (Julia)
- French speaking…reading speaking, writing. This allowed me to test out of French while in college (16 hours of straight A’s). I became better with people skills, working and living with different people, public speaking; I learned to find happiness while doing things that are hard. (Chris)
- Speaking French and getting to know people. (Michael)
- Language/fluency in French. Teaching. How to cooperate. How to lead. Humility. (Alexandra)
- Better social skills. Teaching skills. Language skills. A greater sense of autonomy. (Joe)
- Speaking French. Learning how to deal with adversity. (Todd)
- Ease of travel. Confidence in communication. (Greg)
- How to recognize that I am annoying my companion. How to speak French (with a Texas accent). How to pray. How to love my companion more than myself. How to love strangers. How to recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost. (Erik)
- French – I worked on becoming fluent by doing a lot of reading, and have used the language professionally most of the 34 years since my mission. (Ken)
- Speaking better French. (Jerry)
What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?
- I wish I had a better understanding of what I was to do and had a greater vision of the work. (Jim)
- I really wish I had prepared more. I really wish I had served more diligently. I wish I had made the most of EVERY day, not just most days. But that’s pretty hard to do in the moment. If I could do it again, I’d try to remember more that it’s not about me. It’s all about the Lord. (Julia)
- I wish I would’ve had some French in school before going. I wish I could have saved more money. More scripture studying. (Chris)
- Looking back, I wish I understood more about French/Belgian geography. When I got on a train, traveling to my first city, I had no idea where I was going. (Michael)
- How hard it was going to be when I had to leave and go home. (Alexandra)
- I wish I had been more outgoing and more willing to experiment. I also wish I hadn’t let failures disappoint me as much. (Joe)
- French. I also wish I would have been less arrogant/more humble prior to my mission. (Todd)
- Nothing really. I loved learning on the job. (Greg)
- I wish I had already known French. I wish I had had more confidence that the Lord had confidence in me. I wish I had known how to pray and recognize the Spirit more effectively. I wish that I had better organizational talent/skill. (Erik)
- Learn to wash and care for your clothes. Pink garments due to washing with a pair of red socks early on your mission is embarrassing.
- Almost everyone says the same thing: Cela ne m’interesse pas. (Jerry)
Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Belgium Brussels?
- Laugh, work hard and Obey, Obey, Obey. (Jim)
- Order the Liahona in both English and French: the same articles are present in both languages so easier to read and translate, plus you will find awesome equivalent translations and expressions to use. Find a French native, and read with them your favorite book. Let them correct your pronunciation with as much pickiness they can. You will never regret the many hours spent there. I did this with my son Matthew who served in the mission de Lyon, and his initial comment was: I speak better than all the missionaries but I have no clue what they are saying. In time, he did. And just because he has a French speaking Swiss father did not mean he learned the language growing up. He did not. But he started a year before going on a mission. We read the Book of Mormon together every day. I would help him read a verse and translate it. I supplied whatever translation he needed, so we never used a dictionary. After a year, he could read like a native, and translate what he read back into English, He could not though understand speech easily. There was not enough French spoken around for that, but he got his fair share of practice in the field to help. (Gerard)
- Go to the temple as often as possible before you leave. Read the entire Book of Mormon multiple times before you go. Don’t think you’ll learn it all when you get in the mission field. Have that testimony of and relationship with the Savior before you go. Also, read The Infinite Atonement by Tad R Callister. Brilliant piece of work that gave me so many a-ha moments. Wish it had been around when I went. (Julia)
- Learn to teach with the spirit before going. Speak the language at all times when communicating with the native people. It helps the language learning and shows respect which they appreciate. (Chris)
- Study the gospel and know its key principles. The language will come very quickly once you get to the mission. Make sure you can bear your testimony and take time while you are there to really get to know the people and enjoy the sites when you have free time. (Michael)
- Work hard and play hard, have balance. Take your preparation days and go have fun! Explore this beautiful country, celebrate it’s culture but always remember to take a Book of Mormon with you, you never know…you may meet someone searching and you’ll feel pretty bad if you can’t hand them a book. (Alexandra)
- The culture isn’t very friendly or open in relation to religion. Don’t let that get you down. You’re there to minister to the one, not to baptize the masses. (Joe)
- Follow the Spirit and work as hard as you can. (Todd)
- Trust the testimony that you have. It will grow. (Greg)
- Be true. Be honest with the Lord. Work. Follow the guidance of your Mission President, exactly and with cheerfulness. Joy will fill your heart and soul if you work and obey. The Lord is with us when we follow. (Erik)
- Build your personal relationship with God – this is the ONLY thing that will get you past some of the really tough times and rejection that you will go through. Learn Geography – you will work with people from all over the Middle East and Africa, likely more than with Belgian, French or Swiss people. (Ken)
What was a funny language mistake?
- The word for saint is close to the word for blood. I would tell people we were from the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Blood” Sounds gruesome, no wonder we didn’t have much success. (Jim)
- Using Swiss numbers when counting and paying at the cash register: septante, huitante, nonante, etc (Gerard)
- When I first got to France I struggled with the language like most do. We were teaching a discussion and my companion said something to me and I thought she had asked me to say the prayer so I bowed my head and prayed and when I looked up my companion and the investigator were just staring at me like I was insane! We weren’t even close to being ready to end. I was soooo embarrassed! (Julia)
- My companion accused me of speaking some French incorrectly but he was wrong. I studied very hard, really working on my vocabulary and just happened to know more than him. It paid to carry a note book with me that I would write words in during the day that I didn’t know. I would look them up later. It served me well. (Chris)
- Many French people would say “ce n’est pas le pain”, which is a way of saying, it is not worth the pain for me to talk to you, or it is not worth my time. I always thought they were saying, “pas lapin” which would be no rabbit. I remember one day early on asking my companion, why they keep saying “no rabbit” whenever we try and talk to them. He had no idea! (Michael)
- I made the mistake of saying: Je suis chau, instead of J’ai chau. Basically saying I’m hot looking instead of I’m feeling the heat! At least I was among friends! (Alexandra)
- One of my companions called the 2000 Stripling warriors, 2000 young women. (Todd)
- Le mort and L’amour….don’t confuse the two. (Erik)
- Calling the rocks that the brother of Jared made boulders (rochers) instead of cailloux (small rocks). (Ken)