Tuesday, December 11, 2012

St Etienne 8

Ok, howdy-do everyone?  Good? Good.  I had a great week, and next week will be full of Gratin (it's food) so I'm sure that'll be good too.

So Getting on with the questions : 

Attention listening to St-Etienne radio, they play lots of songs in English, and they don’t bleep the swear words.  I know because they play the radio in the buses, I’m not going and listening to it T’inquiète. 

I have one pair of shoes that I cannot wear while it’s raining or snowing because my feet get wet .  The other pair works though, so I just switch depending on if it’s wet outside or not

I think that the days of Ted Johnson are gone.  He is in Maryland for the holidays, and with the Mission president in Lyon now, missionaries don’t spend much time with him anymore.  Probably for the best, he kinda makes missionaries trunky

I got a Christmas card from the Spencers, if you are reading this thank you !  If not, could you pass the thank you parents ?  I also saw your package at the mission office, but they are hiding it from me until this zone conference.  I think we are going to have some sort of special zone conference Christmas fun time thing.

Yes my new colleague is cool.  You say his name « lei (like the hawaiin necklasse) ah-ouu » so again « lei-ah-ouu ».  He is from New Caledonia an island just north of New Zealand .  It is a French Territory, so he is french and speaks french natively.  He understands English really well if you speak slowly, but we have just talked almost exclusively in French the past few days.  It is really great for my comprehension and such.  He has been a member all his life, his mother was a member all her life, and his father was a convert… is a convert.

Yes pizza hut is the same here as it is in America only smaller and more expensive. Quite a nice treat that I have only had once, ne vous en faites pas !

Ok,  what is a district leader ?  I am in charge of a district (bin évidement) and I do exchanges with all the other members of my district.  A district is several équipes of missionaries.  I have it easy because in my district, it is only us and the équipe at Clermont-Ferrand.  There is also the Couple missionaries, but I don’t do exchanges with them.  A zone is a group of several districts.  I do exchanges with the zone leaders as well.  I also make a lot of calls, and I lead the district meetings, of which there are two a transfer.  I also think there is some meeting before zone conferences I go to.  It really isn’t a lot of responsibility .  So yeah, that’s it as far as I know, I guess I’ll figure out more as I go .

Something really cool that happened this week, well two things.  First Melanie (a girl we are teaching) agreed to be baptized the 23 of December !  So that will be really fun.  It was really after just a miracle of a rdv.  I asked her what she thought of baptism, and she said that she had thought a lot about it and that she wanted to be baptized the 23rd, we (Elder Leau and I) had planned earlier to invite her to be baptized the 23rd, so yeah really cool.

The other big cool thing is I got a cool pacific islander french speaking colleague

The third big cool thing is that while I was in Lyon getting him, I was waiting at the office, and the office elders handed me my Swiss legality card.  I asked why they were giving it to me, they said I was going to need it .  I said that it expires in a few days so what’s the point, they said they just renewed if for the next year !  I wonder where I’ll be going !  I’m so excited !

I also was able to see Julie, Sephora, and Patricia loango while I was in Lyon.  They are the family that I taught who got baptized, really I couldn’t have asked for a better week !

Ok, I am out of time.  Love you all très fortement, keep the faith, it is much better that way, and much more fun.  I love you all again, have wonderful lives. I’ll send pics later bye.  Also, send me more pictures =)

St Etienne 7

Ok, here is the transfer news.  Elder Brady is by now on a train to Toulon to be collegues with elder Jackson who I knew in theMTC.  I am staying in St-Etienne, and getting a new blue.  I am also district leader now yeah!  I am actually in Lyon at the moment (writing you in the same internet café that I used when I first got here).  The new missionaries don't get in until Tuesday evening, and we'll go back to St- etienne Wednesday afternoon.  Cool schtuff.  I hear that about 3/4 of the new missionaries are frenchies or french speaking islanders, so I may get a new collegue who speaks better French than me.  Anyway, it will be fun.

Christmas,  We have already been invited by a member family for Christmas, the ward is also having a little christmas party the 15 Dec, and a new years party the 31st.  It think that we will be able to go to both of them because there will be amis there, and it could be really good.

The decorations are up.  In the centre ville there are little lights strung around, and whatnot.  Not to be negative, it isn't breathtaking.  It is fun though, people seem a bit nicer, but I haven't noticed much of a difference.  It honestly doesn't really feel like Christmas time.  It snowed yesterday and today, but it didn't stick.  IT is super cold super super super so so so so flippin cold, but not bad :). I bought an advent calander a while ago, but I already finished it ha ha.  I need to get another one.  DONT FREAK OUT MOTHER I am  still loosing weight.  I am a size 38 inch waist now just so you know.  There are some pants leftover from other missionaries in our appartement that fit except the legs are a little snug still.  It's my goal to fit into them in..; by the end of next transfer.

Yes I am doing well.  I am happy and loving the mission.  I am really tired today.  Maybe it's all the traveling, and I was in the train station for about six hours directing missionaries every which way.  I'm ready for a nap.

I have gotten the stake presidency letter, but if Dan Wells sent me a specific letter, I havn't gotten it yet.  

I am not sure what our altitude is, kinda high?  Higher than sea level I know that much.

No we didn't use rosetta stone at the MTC.  We used something called TLC... no... TALL that's it.  Something unique for the MTC.  They didn't bother too much with any non missionary vocab.  All our French study was for the missionary lessons.  I think Rosetta stone helped a little.  I didnt' use it as much as I would have liked.  maybe I'll try it right when i get back see if it's easy.  The first level was already really easy for me.

No I do not miss my boots.  One of my pairs of shooes thought has holes in them.  They still look good, just a big crack in the balll ofthe foot.  I wouldn't have space for my boots either, and There is really only a handful of villes where you might need them, and most of them are in switzerland which I no longer have legality for...

I do not have my old planner with me so I can't tell you what we didi specifically each day...  Sunday we had two baptisms, Djo and Childric.  Two people came who accepted rendez-vous this coming week, so two more amis yeah, then there was one of our converti recents in the train station at Lyon this morning with a friend who agreed to come to church and meet with us.  Also a woman we talked to on the street gave us her number and we have a rdv this week with her, so things are progressing.

The Transfer schedule changed for next year for some reason, I am not fully sure why, all i know is it looks like I am ending my mission a week earlier then normal, so I could even be home for halloween!  Anyway it is interesting.  

In case you were wondering my temporary collegue is Elder Smith from Toulouse.  He is also going to be training, so we are haning out in Lyon together. 

Other than that, it was a pretty normal week.  We saw the same people and they are doing well.  

I am sorry this email is not very long, but I have no more time, I think I'm doing something with one of the equipes here, tomorrow, I'll just work in Lyon with Elder Smith.  I'd like to pass julie Loango who I taught who got baptised.  Then wednesday I'll get my new blue and run back to Saint Etienne.  

Love you all very much.  Have a wonderful week, and about travel plans, could I just talk to you about that when we do calls, or do you need to know asap?  October 29 is when the transfer ends now.  Have you looked at Gits?  they are supposedly the cheapest way to stay in Europe, and they are nice as well.  But I've never done any vacationing here so I really don't know what is "good" and what isn't. just look up French Gits on google.  They are people's houses that they rent out for a couple weeks while they are on vacaation.  Love you lots, ciao!

St Etienne 6

Hey everybody. It was really nice to hear about your trip, I hope you get home safely.  If you want to think of something fun, my flight to France was 8 hours, so when you land in salt lake, you can imagine being in the plane for another two hours;.. fun fun ha ha.  I remember it added up to 24 hours of travel time, and I was the most exausted I'd ever been.  I didn't sleep for a period of about 36 hours.
Anyway, I also liked your comments about prayer and thinking dad.  It reminds me of the quote by ... Ford "Thinking takes work, that's why many people don't do it"  something like that anyway.  We try to teach people simple things in the road like how to pray etc, so even if they don't take the lessons, they at least have learned something that will bring them closer to God.

No black friday doesn't exist here. They do not have thanksgiving either if you were wondering ha ha.  Mostly the only time they have big sales is in late January and August.   

For thanksgiving, we had a zone conference, so we ate thanksgiving lunch with the zone, I'll tell you more in the day to day

My hair is getting a little long, and with the humidity it curles on the sides, but I still try to look like a missionary, but I need a haircut soon.

Our amis are doing great, only they are all being baptised, so we don't have many left.  There will be two more baptisms this coming sunday Djo and Childric (sheild-rick).  After them, we don't really have any progressing amis, but we'll have pleanty of time to go looking for them.  

I haven't put on my baptism pants yet, but I figure they are too big like my other suit pants, but they will still work if I need to use them
I didn’t mention visiting the mine because we went that Monday after emails.  St Etienne used to be a big mining city for … charbon… what is that in english coal.
Thank you very much Burce and Robin for the tie, I really like it, it looks good with my coat =) 
(16 minutes left, let’s see if we can do it)
Monday :  Went to the museum of the mine, very fun, I actually understood everything the tour guide said so i twas also very educational and stuff.  Then FHE

Tuesday :  Saw Djo, Louisette, Childric, and Lisa, they are all doing well and progressing nicely.  We did pick up a new ami Morgan who has met with the missionaries before, but he has already dropped us. 

Wed :  Oh, this was the day we saw morgan, and then he dropped us the next day.  Then Frère samuel, and did some calls and passed some less actives .  No BIG miracles, but still not unenjoyable.

Thursday :   Went to Lyon for zone conference.  The president wasn’t there, but ça va, we had a great conference  and learned about this new game we are going to play with members to see who they knwo who needs the gospel.  Then for Thanksgiving lunch, we had Chickens (turkey is too expencive for 30 young people) , Yams, green bean cassorole, lemon cake, salad, stuffing made with baguettes (amazing !!!) and normal baguettes, and I made mashed potatos that everyone liked,  at least they told me they liked them.  Also we found gravy mix in our appartement which everyone loved because they don’t do gravy here.  It was an american mix that must have been sent in a package, probably for last thanksgivning
That evening we saw childric again.

Friday :  Helped the family Mejan move, or rather cleaned out thier new apartement.  Then saw David, Bila, Lisa, and the family Bertrand.  Had a kebab to celebrate thanksgivning with David because he wanted to.

Saturday :   passed a guy we found porting who told us to come back another day.  Passed a less active in the village next to us St jean bonnefonds.  Frère samuel, Sœur gadrasse, and then helped David again because he was having depression issues.

Sunday :  Great Sunday.  Lisa asked me to confirm her, so I was able to do that during sacrament
Narcisse came, but he saw the bouncer and didn’t come in and left after a couple minutes  Then we did weekly planning because we hadn’t had time to do it earlier.

Today will probably be spent looking for Christmas presents for you guys, so get ready !  That’s really all. 

PS if you want to email me pictures of you to that would be appreciated.
The lights are up, but they haven’t been lighting them yet, and honestly they don’t look ver impressive. Not to be a downer.  Maybe it is just because St Etienne isn’t a very touristy place… But there weren’t any lights in Lyon for what I saw.  But, if you come here around new years, Lyon does this light show that is INCREDIBLE  I saw videos of it from other missionaries and it is really spectacluldar.

Love all of you keep the faith  Stay groovy à next time !  

St Etienne 5

Que pasa tout le monde?  quesions:

I don't think it would be a very good idea to sing to newcomers in the ward... people already think we're a secte (cult) ha ha.  And don't you remember I am not in Avignon anymore mother?

The amis are doing great, yes Lisa got baptized yesterday.  It was really a great ceremony very touching.  She asked me to give a talk on the Saint-Esprit, and I think that went well. 

(there is some frustrated Moroccan yelling in Arabic right next to me, and it is rather unsettling ha ha.

Yes I am doing good with the weight mother T'inquiète!  

Yes we'll be able to skype for christmas, The family Bernardi invited us over for Christmas, I've already been to their house and they have a webcam and everything.  Also, don't worry about the cost, skype is free... the version we will use.

Yes we take the train to Lyon.  it is a little thing that takes about 40 minutes, but if there wasn't so much traffic in Lyon it would probably take 25 minutes.  I was able to really go around the ville again and talk to people because we had a lot of time for the Anderson thing, and I realized that Lyon is a huge city!  So many folies of people.

The Arab seems to have calmed down, but he is still yelling into his telephone... no now he's worked up again.

Do I think it would be better to go home then come back or just have you come get me?  Well what I would prefer would be to come home and then go back.  The France is beautiful during the fall, but the Christmas lights are not up in any of the villes I have been in.  I would really like to be released if you come to get me, other than that, it wouldn't bother me too much, just know that right at the beginning of November, it is cold, and vacation has just ended, so there aren't a lot of tourists, but lots of things are closed too.  Still the thing I would prefer is to just come home and be home for a little season ha ha.  I'm sure we'll talk more about that during the skype call.  Plus, if you come and get me, and Travis goes home, I won't be able to see his homecoming!

Monday:  We had haircuts, shined shoes, and basically sat around the apartment.  I am learning... angels we have heard on high on the piano.  I can get the top hand, but not quite the bottom hand.  FHE was fun, and everybody got along.

Tuesday:  got to Lyon at 9 in the morning and then got to the chapel where the zone conference would be by 9h30... the conference started just after 2 o'clock, so we were a little early.  We, and other missionaries who were there, went to go get brunch. I had a brioche au jambon, basically a ham and cheese sandwich which was really good.  Zone conference was incredible. Elder Anderson just has an incredible spirit that just surrounds him.  He didn't give a very high energy "lets go get em boys" talk, it was very calm and quiet.  About the leadership of the church in France, and his time as a missionary and mission president in Bordeaux.  Then at the stake thing latter he gave another powerful, but very calm talk about first marriage, then about how he doesn't know why the church isn't growing as fast here than in other parts of the world, he doesn't know why we have trials sometimes, but he does know that the church is true, and that's all that really matters.  Lots about if you are discouraged, know the church is true, and know that that is all that really matters.  He gave the second talk in French, he spoke really well.

Wednesday:  We spent Tuesday night at one of the equipe's apartments with six other missionaries in a sleeping bag on the floor.  not the greatest night's sleep, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  I was starting and exchange with Elder Smith, so I went back to Clermont Ferrand instead of St Etienne.  A couple missionary equipe who are also at clermont drove us back.  Elder and sister Jeffries are wonderful incredibly nice people... who really... REALLY love castles.  Our originally 2 hour car ride turned into an over 4 hour road trip across the back country of Auvergne looking at a couple really beautiful striking chateau and castles.  I would have felt more guilty about taking that much time, but if we had taken the train it would have got us at clermont about a half hour later than we actually did get there, so I guess it did save time;.. and I'll admit it, I had a lot of fun.  I'll send you some pictures later today when we are at the church.  (I can't send them in the internet café)  Once we got to Clermont, we did some contacting, and then Had a dinner/lesson with a partial member family.  The lesson was actually one of the most spiritual I've ever been in.  Elder Smith is a really good teacher for only being in the field a couple months.  The one daughter who isn't a member is totally going to get baptised, it's only a matter of time.  For dinner we had pumpkin soup to start, followed by snails and froglegs (both incredibly good!)  Then a beef stew with rice for the main course.  Then we went home and slept... exhausted.

Thursday:  Elder Brady and Elder Smith's companion (Elder Turley... not tulley) got to clermont around 8h30ish.  Elder Smith and I went out contacting, and to get train tickets.  There were some crazy people setting off explosives in the road, nothing destructive, but it was really loud.  Tons and tons of people with flags and banners blasting music;.. it was quite frightening, but the police were there, so I guess it was something approved or surveillé. Anyway E Brady and I hopped on a train at 11H30 for St Etienne, getting back around 1H30. We ate, saw Childric who is progressing well. then cleaned the baptismal font, did some calls, and went home to eat again ha ha;

Friday:  Conti family, Louisette, Frere Samuel, Sr. Gadrasse, then making cookies for the baptism, full day running around the city

Saturday:  Went to the Bernardi's house, the people who invited us for Christmas.  A cute family, the parents are around 30 and they have three little boys who are really cute, and do everything their parents tell them not to ha ha.  Because of awkward bus times, and the distance, we have to spend most of the day there, but there is plenty of work to do.  We chopped and organized wood, made a chicken coop, found and caught the chickens to put into the coop, build a fence and at the same time catch the chickens again because they escaped, and other fun stuff like that.  Really just like any day on the farm ha ha;  For dinner we had... I forget it's name, but its a potato and carrot stew with a special kind of cheese.  Really good, then we had roast beef and potatoes and veggies... and more snails score!  Really really good.  Then we taught Melanie and went home

Sunday:  Good day at church, confirmed louisette, then after the baptism of Lisa!  Narcisse came to the baptism, but people caught him before he even came into the building and escorted him off... sigh  but other than that everything went well.  Lisa invited a ton of people, and all the members were running around placing book of Mormons.  really a good time.

So that's it.  Fun week!  I'm loving life here, the mission I also just got word that Didier who I taught in Avignon got baptized!  Le champ blanchit déjà pour la moisson (DandC 4)  I AM SO HAPPY.  I love you to parents and brother, and Bruce and Robin, have fun in Hawaii be safe, remember that this is the true church , and no sacrifice is too great.  Ne continuons nous donc pas dans une si grande cause?  Peace!!!!

St Etienne 4

Hello everyone, and welcome the Le GRAND COMPTE EN REMBOURSE!!!  So let's get going over to ze questions

The package came on Tuesday or ... Wednesday, I really don't remember, but it came, and I love everything in it!  I would say that the Salsa is my favorite thing in there.

I am getting better at piano, I can play the melodies of most hymns by sight reading, and I can play the whole top hand on a lot... I can also do the base hand... now if I could only do them at the same time ha ha.

The weight is going good, I found an old package of whey protein powder in the apartment, I had a protein shake for breakfast, and I am the same color and feeling alright, so I guess it hasn't spoiled.

Church is really good, this coming Sunday will be the baptism of Lisa, and everyone is excited that a normal French girl is getting baptized.  The relief society president, Soeur Scotto is really on top of things (I'm thinking she is so excited to have another potential marriage partner for her son)

So, yeah, I think people come into the country with a visa or something, and then they try to get papers to stay longer than the 90 days, unfortunately that process takes a very long time, and they can't accept everybody because there are tons and tons of people trying to get in.It is a really sad situation, because for the most part (the people we are teaching are included in this group) if they return to their home countries they will most likely be killed.  There is a member here who is just about one of the nicest people in the world who is working with legality problems.  He is also trying to get his family here, but he hasn't heard from them in a while, and he doesn't know if they are still alive or not...I can't even imagine having to deal with problems like that.  There are some who try to get a job through the church, but there is really not much we can do, so the ones who aren't really interested in the message don't stay for very long.  We cannot baptize people who are illegal either because one of the requirements is that they honor obey and sustain the law.  It is really a sad sticky situation.

I don’t have a ton of time right now, because we have a rendez-vous in a bit, so if I don’t finish, I’ll try and finish later.  Also I’ll send pictures later as well. 

Elder Turley is finishing his mission in a few weeks, You are thinking of elder Tulley who was in the MTC with me.  Yeah, it’s not much difference, but Turley is a tall skinny white guy, and Tulley is a short buff Indian.; 

Frère Samuel is doing really well.  He is progressing slowly but surely, it has now been two weeks since he has gone to a bar or gambled, now we just need to get him some of that fake coffee stuff to replace the real  coffee, which he already agreed to.

Oh, quelquechose de cool, is that Elder Anderson will be doing a tour of our mission.  So tomorrow, I get to go to Lyon and see him for our zone conference, and then since we are in the Lyon stake, I get to stay to see the second dose of Elder Anderson at stake conference.  It will be really cool, and he is going to speak in French and everything.  I’ll be in Lyon From 8 in the morning to 9 in the morning the next day. 

Oh, Narcisse, Rita’s ex boyfriend… he came to church yesterday for the confirmation, but he had made some serious threats last week, so the Bishop had hired a vigil …   er I forget how you call them in English.  Maybe vigil?  Anyway, because of the threats, the bishop asked him to leave.  Narcisses seemed fairly calm, but all the members were scared, particularly Rita and her mother, and he really smelled of alcohol.  We tried to talk with him, but he just kept getting more frustrated, so the vigil actually had to drag him out of the building..; then the police came and he agreed to leave.  Luckly this all happened before the meetings actually started.  It is like the Wild West out here ha ha.  Not really, but definitely more excitement then I’ve seen in any other American (or French) ward.

Other than that, nothing really exciting this week, just rendez-vous and other schtuff.  Oh, on Tuesday, we went to soeur Galetti’s house to paint.  She has a freakin beautiful Frenched-out house.  I really wish I brought my camera so I could take a picture, and a picture of the meal we had!  Brioche with a pâte  with endives salad, then a simple rice dish with mushroom sauce and a “nice white fish”, but she must have put crack in it or something because it was soo good!  Then ice cream and applesauce for desert, which I thought an odd combination, but it turned out quite well.

I also did hear about the elections, They happened around 4am our time, and one of the converti recents kept texting us during the night to tell  us who was ahead and whatnot.  I am not terribly disappointed, I really think that things need to be changed in congress rather than the white house, but… I don’t know, I’ll talk about it when I get back.  Travis said it looks like we’ll have 4 more years of Barry in the white house… I think that’s quoting something, anyway it made me chuckle.

I love you all so much.  Things are going great here!  There should be another baptism this week, so I’ll try and get some pictures to you… with my face in it.
Keep the faith, stay strong, don’t freeze, sometimes it’s good to just roast by the fire for a while… My hands are numb, and I am still cold in the computer place with my coat on… ha ha Ciao!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

St Etienne 3

Hello family.  The internet place goes to lunch in Ten minutes, so  I hope I can get this all in.  It is quite a wonder, all of France totally shuts down for about two hours every afternoon ha ha. I even have seen a small café closed for lunch.. well it was more a boulangerie (bakery), but really… ha ha

Questions:  Yes there is day light savings in Europe, but ours is a week or so earlier than yours, so that already happened a little while ago.
No Elder Brady is not new here.  This is his third transfer in St-Etienne, I thought I had mentioned that.

There are about 75-80 active members here, we are in the same type of building as I was in Avignon, so we fill it up quite nicely.

Yes I still have the guitar.  There is also a small keyboard in our appartement, along with a “hymns made easy book” that has the guitar chords for a lot of the hymns.  I am also learning to play piano, I am getting better as well, I can sight read almost all the melodies, and sometimes the alto part. 

Ok, well the place is closing for lunch, and come to mention it, I am starving as well.  I’ll finish this later in the day.  There is a Pizza hut not far from here and the American stores are usually the only things open at this time. 

Do not freak out, I’ll email you again later today.  Yes we did get two baptisms by the way yesterday.  Louisette and Rita.  It was realy cool.  Tell you more later, the internet guy is kicking us out.  Love you à plus!

Ok, continuons with the questions:

Yes our amis are going well.  They all have almost no problems with testimonies or keeping commitments, but with them come other challenges.  Notably that many of them are here in France illegally, that's really a sticky situation, but we'll see what we can do, which isn't really a lot of things.

I wanted to mention Dad, that even when you get up at 6h30 every day, it is still difficult ha ha, even when you are getting eight hours of sleep a night, I still feel tired pretty much all the time ha ha.

Yes there are some Bichons here, ne vous inquiétez pas.

I would wait until after the next transfer til you send the christmas package, I will probably be here still, but with president Roney, you never really know.  Yes you have the right address, I got your halloween card the other day thank you!  YEs I could use some new white shirts.  There are a few left over here that I have been wearing, and I now wear a 16 1/2 inch collar.

As for other things I would like for Christmas;.. all I can really think of is shirts and maybe a couple ties.  I know you'll want to throw lots of goodies in there too, and I'm sure they will all be well appreciated.  Though I do know what I want for Christmas 2013, well this isn't all I want, but some things are a new set of scriptures in English, with the bible and book of Mormon separate.

Monday:Basically we hung out in the apartment, and then we went to family home evening, it went well

(this is going to be rather brief because I do not have tons of time to finish this email)

Tuesday:  Talked to Djo, he is awesome, and really ready for the gospel, but he is probably illegal... so we'll see.  After we saw Louisette, she is also awesome (and legal) just totally golden.  Then we had a bunch of raté-vous, but I remember we filled our time well doing something.

Wednesday:  Did some work in the Area book, looking up old amis we'd like to pass as well as less actives etc...  Then we saw Childric, I like him a lot, he really wants to know the truth and the doctrine of the church.  Then we passed a bunch of the less actives and the old amis we looked up earlier.  Then we saw Bila a recent convert, then had the baptismal interviews for Rita and Louisette, and all went well.

Thursday:  Exchange with Elder Turley (our district leader)  we taught Frère Samuel, he is doing really well.  So far this week he hasn't gone into a bar, and he hasn't drank, he hasn't gambled, and he has been praying when thoughts about women come into his head.  (as far as I know, he is still holding strong)  Really a big miracle.  He is a cool guy, but still kinda has a lot of progress to make before he can be baptized, but he really wants to be baptized.  The other equipe (elder Brady and Elder Smith) went and saw Lisa, who is also still golden and accepted the word of wisdom without any hesitation.

Friday:  We got a Kebab to celebrate my year mark then taught a whole bunch of lessons, to Djo and some other people.  Really busy day, but I really didn't write what we did, so I don't remember.

Saturday:  First day on my mission where every single rendez vous actually happened.  Well there have been days where we have had one rendez vous planned and it happened, but this day we had five rendez vous fixed and we ended up having six!  Rita, then Fr samuel, then Collette (converti recent), Childric, André (less active), and then David (a member)/  Probably the most mentally tiring day of my life, but it was really cool how everything just worked.  Really gereat

Sunday:  Good church service.  Rita and Louisette were baptized without problems.  The bishop baptized Rita, and Elder Brady baptized Louisette.  After the baptisms were over a former member called Narcisse came by.  His situation is a little special.  He was  dating Rita and actually introduced her to the church, and then he kinda went insane.  He is convinced that Rita is possessed, he came looking for Rita and he was incredibly angry because Rita broke up with him and He blames it on the church.  Anyway, we had to take him outside and calm him down while the members snuck Rita out the back.  Quite a stressful .... rencontre (I don't know what to say in english) but he eventually left fairly peacefully, at least without throwing any punches.  However, he apparently has come back to the church several times again looking for Rita, so the bishop has asked all of us to avoid the chapel for the rest of the week. 

Ok, I really need to go now.  I love you all very much.  I am staying safe and loving life.  Have a good day!

St Etienne 2

Ok, wonderful week, possibly one of the best weeks on my mission.  The weather is a lot colder here... a lot colder. It snowed a little, none of it stuck though. I think the high the past two days was about 5 celcius ( 45ish Farenheit), it was -10 this morning...  our appartement has good heating, but it is kinda big and old so it doesn't hold the heat well, so I just wear my coat almost all the time.  Yes it is the one you discribed mother.
THis face reading thing sound kinda funny... make sure they don't put you in some sort of transe mother and just leave if they start talking about bank information ha ha.

other questions:
Saint Etienne (saant aytee letter N) or saant ATN (just say the letter names) for the pronunciation, it is paradis here franchement.  So many miracles, tons of amis and cool members, I am so happy here.

Elder Brady is really cool too.  His dad works for the FBI so I think I have to watch what I say around him or I could get into some trouble lha ha.  Our amis are also really really cool.  I'll tell you about them in the day by day

I didn't hear corsica was open, but Elder Brady confirmed it.  I think they will only send actual French missionaries there because there is kinda a lot of anti american stuff in that place, but that is really cool to hear, I hope there is lots of success there.  I know the Elders at Nice taught a few people over the phone that were in corsica, so missionaries there should make it easier.

Elder Brady is in his third transfer, so he is no longer blue (he was never blue really), and that means no trip to Lyon, but zone conference and Stake conference will all be in Lyon.  Neal A Anderson is coming to talk to our stake, in french de plus!, so that will be really cool.  He is coming the 13 november.  My fingers are going numb because they are so cold ha ha.

No I won't burn my robe don't worry, It is really warm.

I would like to Serve with Elder Jackson who was in my MTC group, or Elder Uluave, or Emal, people in the same "age group" have been put together before, usually in zone leader equipes, the president woudl just tell us who is the first collegue if that happened.
Honestly, I don’t think being first collegue makes any difference, especially in that case.  I try to make everything 50 50, even when I was with blue collegues, for sure I help them, but .. ; yeah. 
ALso, Elder Brady already speaks French almost as well as me, he studied it before the mission, and he just isn’t really blue to begin with.
Monday : said goodbye to everyone, and went to St Etienne, got a few groceries, emailed you and went to the ward FHE.
Tuesday : Got bus pass, Saw our ami (who is getting baptised this coming Sunday) Louisette, she is really cool, a nice woman from the Congo, but who has lived in France most of her life. Then we did some contacting and I got a feel for the ville, and we looked through our ami sheets so I could see who was who and whatnot
Wednesday : Taught Djo (JO) for the first time, he (and louisette) were both introduced to us by a converti recent Frank, all of them are originally form the Congo.  Djo is really awesome, and has been coming to church for the past couple months, but we were finally able to set a rdv with him.  He is totally goldlen and already believes everything he has been taught is true, he’ll be baptised in November probably.  Then we had a couple other Rdvs with the help of David (a converti recent from paris) the rendez vous fell through, so we taught David, and I got to know him, he is really nice and loves helping the missionaries and does so very often.  Then we saw our DMP… Dirigeant mission de paroisse, I don’t know what it is in English.  His name is Frère Professo, he is a sicilian at the base, so talks a lot has a big family, and loves life in general.

Thursday : Had another tombez-vous, then we saw Colette, yet another converti recent from the congo (where am I ha ha ?)  She is great and has a very strong testimony, she would be at church every Sunday, but has a very handicapped little daughter that makes it difficult, she still comes every other week so I’ve been told.  We taught Colette with David, and then had another rdv with Lisa a very nice French college student who contacted us (who is going to be baptised the 18 November).  We taught her with David, she is pretty golden as well.

Friday : Weekly planning, saw the Conti family (the husband is less active and the wife is catholic)  They are again very nice people.  Not as engaged as our congolais friends, but still they are progressing little by little.  Then we saw Bila… a converti recent from, guess where, yeah that’s right the Congo, again another rock solid conversion, he is cool and has a great sense of style.  He also looks like Snoop Dog.  His wife and kid(s) are coming to France this winter, and he keeps telling us we need to baptise them. Ha ha.  That night we had a lesson with somebody we met in the road.  He showed up and is actually really cool and interested.  His name is Childric, and where does he come from ?  yes the Congo, I love black people !
Saturday :  went to the Chalala’s a less active family.  It is a father and a son, guess where they are from… no, not the congo this time, they are from Cuba.  The father is less active because he is handicapped and the son doesn’t have a way of getting to church (though the members set up a ride for him and he came this Sunday !)  They are nice… the father is really hard to understand because he basically only speaks spanish, but we get the idea of what he is saying … some times.
After we saw Frère Samuel (he is an ami, but he likes us to call him Frère)  He is a Frenchman who has a big problem with pornography.  You are right dad, it really is a destructive thing, he is getting a lot better, he threw out all of it that was in his house, and he stopped seeing all of his … nightly visiters, but he still is struggling with the side affects of his addiction.  He is a really sweet man , and wants to be better… He is also not quite 100 percent there mentally, but enough to understand and hold a conversation.  After him, we taught Louisette again, everything went well and she accepted everything without hesitation.  Then we saw André a less active French man. He is really nice as well… I think he is pretty doped up from all the medications his doctors give him for his « sicknesses ».  I’ll have to talk to you about the French medical system when I get back, because they ask us to not talk negatively about our area.  It is really something though that I have no respect for, and I never ever want to see a French doctor.  Now I generalising I know, I bet there are pleanty of good doctors in France but… on en parlera plus tard.
Sunday :  Eight amis at church !  (Louisette, Rita, Lisa, Frère Samuel, Childric, Djo, Jiovanah, and Pilar)  The members here are awesome !  It was a great service.
Later that day we saw Louisette again, again no problems.  Then Lisa later in the day where we had a wonderful rendez-vous.   She even sent us a text last night thanking us again for the beautiful message, probably one of the most powerful lessons I’ve been in.  I love being a missionary !

Well that is all for this week.  Long email.  You are welcome. 
For The package, my requests are these :  SD Reader (my camera can’t use a cable, must be reader thingy), Beef Jerky, Soup, Gum, and classical music (must be at least 100 years old, that’s the rule)

I love you all very much, I know that I have said that I’ll send a package a few times, but I’ll really try to get one out to you before Christmas.  I have got pleanty of fun trucs (things) to send to you !  Saint etienne is beautiful… Freezing but beautiful.  Love you all !!!!!!

St Etienne 1

Ok, so just because I don't feel like keeping it a secret.  I got transferred to St-Etienne!  It is really close to Lyon and reminds me a lot of Lyon actually.  My new colleague is Elder Brady, he is on his third transfer, He is from all over the states, but Oregon was where he was living when he left.

The interview went really well I thought.  Bollène is small small, but really cute.  The reporter asked a lot about Mitt Romney, all I really said was he was practicing Mormon and he is a candidate for the presidency, and also more people know us missionaries as Mormons because of him. Nothing too interesting.

Yes I have my robe, but I think I am going to burn it ... we'll see
There are a few big stores here.  No Wall-mart, but their version is Carrefour, it is basically the same, only more expensive, but not ridiculous.  

Macdo tasted exactly the same as it does in the states, only they have a few different things on the menu (like the mc Baguette lol)  Really it isn't worth it because there is so much better fresh food you can get for the same price.

Soccer is the most popular sport here, I actually might watch a couple matches when I get home.  Another sport they really like is boules, or Bachi ball in English. It is like horseshoes but with balls, and all the old people play it all the time.

I wasn't able to talk to Stephan again, but this last week at Avignon was a week of miracles!  We had a lesson with an ami (laticia) her son and her Uncle in law were there, and they are both interested to know more!  Then the next day these three guys working at a pizza place stopped us and said they saw us all the time and wondered what we were doing.  They all wanted to know more and we are teaching them!  THen Dider (one of our other amis), is introducing us to his secratary who wants to come to church and know more, then the elders in Aix contacted a family and another person who all live in Avignon and wanted to be taught.  So lots and lots of good things are happening in Avignon.  Really it was like Super awesome cool week!  

Sorry, since it is a new transfer, I don't have my old planner and I can't give you a day-by day.  That was really all the interesting things that happened anyway.  Really outside of the miracles, daily life is very repetitive as a missionary.  I am loving it thought and I am really excited to be here in St Etienne.  They have about five people preparing for baptisms in the next few weeks, so it looks like all I have to do is not mess things up.  They also have an ami who only speaks Armenian and Russian, so I'll get to use my Russian skills, which are non-existant.  

Elder Arrington is going to be companions with Elder Adams, the same missionary who I replaced at Avignon, so he is going back there.  That was interesting, President Roney sure knows how to throw us curve balls, I have not had a transfer pass without at least a little bit of surprising news since he... came into power?  

Also, the apartment here is awesome!  it is a little smaller than my room and the game room area, but our bedroom is actually in a different room than the kitchen, and we even have another room for our desks.  It is a good thing we don't have a dryer or that would be just too much, i am so spoiled.  

St-Etienne is really neat, lots of hills, so I'll probably go back to loosing weight at a good rate because we walk a lot here.  It is also pretty chilly.  During the day we can wear just our shirts, but in the mornings and evenings you need a jacket.  

I am excited to get to work and to really be un instrument entre les mains de dieu.  Je vous aime!  Ciao, see you next week stay safe!

P.S. for Christmas, or just a package... the beef jerky and gum is starting to be missed, my camera seems to be back to normal for the moment, but the adapter would be nice.Also good American Salsa, but other than that I don't really need anything.  Love you lots!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10-15-12 Avignon 16

Hi everyone, I actually have a question for you first maman, What is face reading?
Now answers:

  Still beeing a good dog with the guitar, I've learned silent night a cool classical version (we really just took the hymn book version and learned how to play it on guitar) Getting ready for Christmas carnivale fun!

For the sink, Nothing has been done at the moment… I understand the office is really busy and it is hard to find a good place to live even if you had the time to look at it.  It is still being held up by cardboard, our bathroom floor is breaking and warped, ,and the mold I think is gaining a mind of its own ha ha.  It really isn’t terrible though, although, the cockroaches are back, and that is where I draw the line.

Yes they have halloween here.  It used to be a lot different from how we celebrated it in the states, but it has been well americanized now. I think there are more just costume parties than trick-or-treating.

One new ami !  His name is Stéphan, he is a practicing catholic, and he is really quite a miracle.  Elder Arrington and I went out praying to find someone interested in the restoration.  We went to Villeneuve and walked for quite a long time.  Then we felt good about this one road, and the third door we knocked on was him.  We were able to teach a quick restoration lesson and give him a book of mormon.  We were not able to fix another rdv, but he did say Au plaisir, which leaves room to come back and say hi and all that.  Hopefully things go well with him. Really nice guy.

I am thin, I am looking good, but last week I didn’t really eat well. We went to McDonald’s for lunch today (i know mother I am sorry !) It was way good though.  The MacDo (as they call it here) is really classy… and really expensive.  It comes out to around 8-9 dollars for a large bigmac meal (that is the cheapest thing on the menu) .  I don’t think I’ll have anything like that for a while, there is much better food to eat here anyway.

Lessons in the presence are a lesson with an ami de l’église with a member there to testify.  It is generally wanted that you have a member at all the rdvs you can so that they know the amis when they come to church, to welcome the amis, to show the amis that not all the members are weird like the missionaries, etc…  It is hard here though, because there are two active families in Avignon, and they both work during the day.  So that is what president said he doesn’t really care
about.  We no longer do « discussions » that’s what they called lessons back in the day of memorized stuff (which I find funny because the word discussion seems to imply a dialogue… oh well)

That’s cool Bryce is home, Tell him I say hello ! Where did he serve his mission ?  Texas ?  No… I have no idea.

Oh, and yes dad, you did a great job of translating my french.
Cet-à-dire que je devrais ecrire les chose plus difficiles !

I also heard from the Aix elders (Elder Tulley and Kunsler) that the Duffins dropped by.  It would have been fun to have seen them, but I am glad to hear that the Other elders are saying good things about me ha h… Not that there would be any reason for them not to… (there really is no reason, I am just joking =)

On Tuesday we went to Sorgue again to see the Delplanches.  They are a fun couple that got baptised about six months ago… more like seven or eight now.  English class went well.  We started talking about the D&C’s with Quansah and got him all nice and confused.  I think he understood things by the end, but may be it is a sign to stick with the first principles and ordonnances for a little longer.  He is still doing amazing, he has such a strong faith.  I love seeing him after English class to hear what his miracle was for the week.  The Spirit like has conversations with this guy, (not really, but he does have
lots of promptings like change the radio station randomly to hear something about the church on a station he never listens to)  He is great.  I want to send you guys a picture of him and of avignon, but I couldn’t find an adaptor to put my SD card into the USB port, So… package ?

Also my camera has gotten into the bad habit of draining my batteries (the last pair of batteries lasted about four days…)  So I wonder what’s up with that.  Yeah…
Then we had district meeting on Thursday which was fun, nothing crazy or new this time.
Sunday we had a lunch n’ lesson with the Guillon family.  The lunch was CRAZY good, best thing I have had on my mission (I have the recepie, so I’ll make it for you guys some day)  Like a fruit salad with shrimp, apples, mango, peach, red onion, ginger, and some other stuff.  Really simple to make too.

Also something fun, A journalist in Bolène wants to do an article about us.  The church publicity people have been calling us all week telling us what we can say and what we shouldn’t ha ha.  We will be interviewed this Friday, so I am basically going to be famous in a local paper that goes around all of Provence… not too shabby ha ha.
It is cool, everyone suddenly seems to know that we are mormon, before they would guess Jehova’s witness or Seventh day evangelists before mormon, but recently they have been getting it on the first guess.

Well I think I will close things here for now.  Thank you so much for your emails, I really enjoy getting them.  J’ai eu un rêve que nous étions (papa, maman, JJ, et moi) à Euro Disney.  Pour n’importe quel raison, j’avais du mal à comprendre les gens.  Je ne pouvais non plus m’exprimer, alors que papa était complètement courrant en français.
J’admets, j’étais un peu jalou, mais bon.  Je vous aime en touts cas, même si papa est plus fort que moi dans le français après mes deuxans.  Au revoir !

10-8-12 Avignon 15

Hello everyone,  So let’s get right to the questions :
Yeah I am still loosing weight, slowly but surely.
We have three nice heaters in our apartement, but it is still too hot to use them, I usually don’t sleep with the covers on still. It is cooling down though, and feels quite nice.
I wouldn’t say it is fall quite yet, there aren’t a lot of changes
except it gets dark around 8 o’clock now.  But with the cooler
weather, it is much nicer to be outside.  Avignon and provence is really an incredible part of the world, I can’t wait to show you guys!
Quansah’s kids are still great, I think the mother is actually French because Quansah is dark black and his kids are not so dark, she lives about an hour away.  He only has the kids every other weekend.
Yes Zone conference is in Aix.
Genevieve (the ami with mental problems) disappeared, we have been considering passing by her house, but it is difficult to find a member who can come with us because many of them live far away. OK, here is how General conference goes down:  The times are fixed here, all the members have to do is plug the projector in and then plug in to the satellite and it is ready to go, no recording or anything else on our part.  Saturday evening was the relief society thing followed by Saturday morning session (starting at 6 o’clock
france time)  Elder Arrington and I watched that in French and we were actually a little late, so I didn’t hear about the age change for missionaries until I talked with the members after, that was cool to hear about though, Elder Arrington has a couple friends who are going in a few weeks now instead of a few months.
Sunday Morning at 11 we watch priesthood (I saw this and all the rest in English because the branch president was really nice and set it up for us in another room).  Then Saturday evening session starts at 2 oclock.  After Sunday morning session starts at 6 o’clock, and we just have to wait for the liahona to come out to see Sunday afternoon session.  I guess we could watch it at the internet place, but that
would cost a pretty penny. We had a good 20ish members there which was more than I thought, because most members watch it at home on the internet.  IT was cool to
see all the people there.  In between Priesthood and the Saturday afternoon session Elder Arrington and I brought lunch, as well as the other members there, it was like a pick-up picnic, fun fun fun!
I thought all of the talks which I heard were wonderful.  I really liked Elder Anderson’s “ask the missionaries” talk, really funny.
This week wasn’t too eventful, Zone conference which was really good as usual, it was interview zone conference (meaning every three transfers, the mission president just has a quick interview to see how things are going)  I mentioned that the branch isn’t unhelpful when it
comes to missionary work, it is just hard when the closest member who could help us is a half hour drive away.  He told me that he doesn’t really care about us getting lessons in the presence as long as we are keeping the rules.  I really love president Roney, he is like a funny Yoda of wisdom.  He really makes everyone he talks to feel like they are loved and special. Unfortunatley, Elder Arrington and I must have eaten something funny, and we were both out for a couple days.  Probably the worst food poisoning I have had, but it went by fast and we were able to get out by Friday.  We did lots of service for a couple member families, and had a lesson with our jehova’s witness friend Fabien!  Over all, aside from getting sick, this was a really good week.  It seemed to only
last a couple days though… really the time just goes by too fast. Sorry I don’t have a day-to-day, I hope this is a good email.  I am doing well and I am happy, Elder Arrington and I get along really well, he Is really funny and has taught me lots of new vocabulary like MAKING BIG PLAYS.  That’s what we say when we have a good contact or lesson or something cool.
J’espère que tout va bien chez-vous, que vous êtes dans la bonne santé et tout ça.  J’aime bien la langue française, maintenant j’essaye de faire tout en français, y compris mon journal personal.
Have a wonderful week, stay strong.  Conference weekend is really like Christmas here, and the best thing is it comes twice a year!  I love the gospel and the chance I have to be a missionary.  As far as numbers go, There haven’t been huge changes yet (there was only one baptism this week), but I have noticed a difference in the way I am working.  I feel better and really have the spirit with me all the time when I do what I am told to ha ha.
Encore, je vous aime.  JJ, as-tu une petite copine déjà?  Ton horloge approche sa fin, si tu ne t’es pas marié avant moi, je vais te donner un coup de poignet !  Au revoir tout le monde !

10-1-12 Avignon 14

Lame, ok, I am doing a copy paste word document because the internet here is really shoddy
Do you know the Mcknight’s?  They came to our branch yesterday, apparently they were in the 13th ward with us.
Also are the Cole’s new to the ward?  They wrote me a letter recently.
Answers:  The women’s conf will be shown here this Saturday
Yes I have my coat and robe My hippie bag looks alright still, the missionary life is wearing it down though.  I sewed the little desk French flag on the front of it.
I think the French get a kick out of it.  It is kinda strange, the
only places you see French flags here are outside of government buildings;  There isn’t a lot of country pride.
I am a good dog with the guitar, I am learning the Christmas songs now for caroling this Christmas!
The new appartement situation is progressing slowly, they are still looking though.
General conf will be this Sunday;  We watch the Pristhood meeting Sunday morning, then Saturday day session, followed by the Sunday morning session.  We have to wait for the printed version to see the Sunday afternoon one.  Or we could watch it online on P-day.  Maybe Elder Arrington and I will be able to see it in English in the office of the church building.  If not, it looks like we’ll just have to watch it in French, which I can understand, but I just like it better
in English, and that would be better for E;  Arrington as well.
Money Monday, After emails, we practiced guitar, cleaned the
appartement, and then saw Prince, he was really cool, though he was sick so we didn’t really teach him too much, but got into to the Plan du salut, er the … what is it in English?  Plan of salvation that’s it.
Taco Tuesday:Went to Montfavet, nothing much going on there.  Then had a ward mission council meeting thing that I don’t know the name of in English with Sylvain.  It was really cool, he wants to do some big things as DMB… ward mission leader (dirigeant de mission de branch).
Then we ran away from some muslim kids who were yelling at us. Nothing serious, and we didn’t really have to run away, they were just being rude.  We also made scrumptious tacos for dinner!
Windy Wednesday:  Saw Dawn and helped her put a cone thing on one of her cats.  That was fun.  She is going to England this week, that will be good for here to get away and actually be able to sleep at night and not fret about her cats.  Then we taught English class, then Quansah afterwards;  He is still awesome just so you know.
Thonner thursday:  Had a raté-vous, and then two more raté vous, and did lots of porte a porte.
Wunderbar Vendredi:  Weekly planning! Then we made a huge list of old amis that we though had some potential, and started contacting them, no luck so far;  Went to Les angles for a change of scenery.  Talked to lots of nice people, but no one really interested.
Super Saturday:  Had an amazing Lunch at Frère lascols’s house. Tomato salad, some cheese and nut salad, green salad, quiche, potatoes, and chicken.  Also a raspberry cake to finish it off and a plate of various cheeses to remind us that we are in France.  I loved it!  Then we worked in Centre ville, and talked to Prince again, he didn’t have a lot of time, so it was very brief, but I do love those African people, they are so chill.
Sabbath Sunday:  had church.  We did fast Sunday for general conference next week.  I had to be a translator for the McKnights, that was fun.  Sister McKnight actually got up to bear her testimony, so I went with her to translate it for the branch.  It was a lot of fun, I doubt I would like to be a real translater though, that stuff hurts your brain doing it for multiple hours ha ha.  Then we went out looking for miracles and didn’t find anything… until I called someone that me and Elder Call talked to who said she would like to meet us
sometime at the end of the week, score!

Ok, love y’all guys.  This one isn’t as long as the last one, but the internet freaked out and deleted it about a quarter of the way through… sigh, I have learned my lesson though, and only use Microsoft word for writing.
Oh, we saw our JW friend again this morning.  He was really nice, and we had a great discussion on the plan of Salvation.  He gave us the jevhova witness point of view, but he let us talk and explain, and it went really well.  I think he is trying to convert us, which is a little interesting. It is fun though.  He really knows his bible, luckily the lord reminds me of stuff I have studied to share with him to support our point of view.
En tout cas, je vous aime tous!  Je sais que nous avons raison, etc’est vraiment notre église qui est dirigé par Jésus-Christ.  J’aime ma mission et tous les gens que j’avais rencontré ici.  You forgot to tell me if you translate what i say in French.  Love you all verymuch;  Have a good week.
Bonne semaine!