Tuesday, February 14, 2012

France 6

Hello again!  I hope that all is going well, et vous n'avez pas trop fois!  Let's go right into the questions:
    I am sleeping alright.  I usually wake up a couple times a night but not for very long.

    yes the bathroom works, and yes we live right above a dry cleaners, we live on the 4th floor of that building.  Our apartment only has three rooms.  Kitchen, bathroom, and dining/living/bedroom.  The whole thing is maybe 230ish sq.ft.  However it is not the smallest apartment I have seen here.  I am very grateful that everything works and we usually have at least warm water every morning.

    I have borne my testimony twice in sacrament meeting, and Elder Bell and I teach one of the classes every week... and we also have several home teaching assignments, which we are technically not supposed to do either, but we are in France so...
    It is not even remotely difficult to know what I would eat after not eating for five weeks, because I crave this already.  A chille relleno with a large diet coke from La Costa.  There is no such thing as Mexican food here.  They do have "tortilla chips" and "salsa" and "diet coke" but they are all very weak imitations of the real thing.  I think one reason for that is because the French hate spicy food.  I have been told several times "attention! ça c'est picant!" (spicy) and never never has it even come close to being "picant" ... unless a Nigerian tells you that.  They know what is spicy and what isn't

    The only books we can read are the LDS cannon, Jesus the Christ, Our search for happiness, Our heritage, and leahonas and ensigns.  I already have all of those too.  In addition we don't really have much leisure reading time.

    So February 26th is going to be quite an amazing day!  Julie, Sephora, Patricia, Christoph, and Joy are all being baptized that day!  That is almost a quarter of our whole mission's monthly baptism goal! It is going to be so awesome, and all of them are progressing fabulously!  Also guess what?  We got a new ami named Pascal who was invited to church by a member.  He told us he loved coming to church, that it was something he had really never done before, and he wants to come every week.  He has come twice so far, and said the same thing the second time.  He hasn't accepted a date yet because we haven't had the opportunity to sit and have a formal lesson with him yet, but he seems like he has a lot of potential.  The other thing that makes him cool is he is actually French French!  It only took us 6 weeks, but we finally found a native Frenchman who  wants to listen to us ha ha.

    Speaking of 6 weeks, that means today is the start of my second transfer.  I only have 14 of those left... I hope it doesn't go by too quickly.  I am staying in Lyon with Elder Bell (not too much of a surprise) and I will most likely be staying here for the next transfer as well.  That means I'll probably get to know Lyon pretty well.  It has been named one of the more ugly areas to serve in, but The people are great.  Every one of the members who I have met with are all incredibly nice and helpful.  The general public does have that french aura of snooty rudeness, but it is not as bad as the stereotype in America.  In the transfers, only two missionaries got moved from our zone: Eder Bishop and Elder Garland.  They are both redheads from England, and they are both going to Northern Switzerland (Elder Bishop will technically be in France, but really right on the boarder.)  It is a little sad to see them go because they are both good missionaries and I got along very well with them.   There replacements should be getting in about now.  One is Elder Alan who is supposed to be really cool and incredibly goofy, and Elder Moo (his name really isn't that, but that's what everyone calls him because no one can pronounce/remember his real name)  He is from Tahiti and can only say "no speak English good" in English ha ha.  Elder Moo will be in our district, so maybe he'll help me learn a little better. 

    As far as French is coming:  Sometimes I really think I am doing pretty good, and I understand everything people are saying to me and I can respond semi-intelligently.  Sometimes, like today and yesterday, I have no idea if they are even speaking French or not.  Some people here really really slur the language so it sounds a little like they are speaking with a mouth full of water, but apparently they are speaking some sort of french because Elder Bell can understand them.  My goal is to be pretty good in the language by the time I go to my second ville.  What does pretty good mean you ask?  Just able to communicate smoothly really, and have all of the lessons sound natural in French.  I think it is very attainable, but it would also be nice to get your prayers for some help from above.  I can read the Book of Mormon in french, and I understand everything except for the weird vocabulary like breastplate and all that.  One thing that is interesting, is the BOM in French is written, not exactly how a book would be written today, but it isn't really like how it is written in English.  Like in English, you understand it, but it is not the same English that we use normally, and in French it is not like that.  It does use Car and Voici a lot, and just some phrasing you normally wouldn't hear, but many of the words are the same words that you would hear someone use on the street.  Just interesting.

    That is really all for this week.  The church is true!  Oh, and to everyone who wrote me a letter in the MTC, I accidentally left all of my envelopes in my classroom there, so if you want to hear a response from me, you have to send me an email, so I know how to contact you.  This isn't a ploy to get more mail I swear... Well actually in a way it is, but oh well.  By the way parents, we haven't checked the mail today because we have been out all day, but I'll tell you next week when I got you package, and thank you in advance! I am sure I'll love it!  Another by the way,  anyone who is not in my misson boundaries can send me mail, so you can post my address if you so desire. 

    I love all of you thanks for your prayers and support, the church is true!  How cool is it that we have the restored gospel here on earth today with the same authority that peter james and john had?  hyper chouette that' s how cool!

Bon journée jusc'à prochaine!

Monday, February 6, 2012

France 5a

Elder Bell, Zhune (pronounced june), and myself.  Zhune is one of the coolest people I know, he is a recent convert who just moved back to China.

France 5

Bonjour tout la monde! Comment été votre journée? Bien J'espère.  Things are going really good here, and hopefully getting even better!  First I would like to respond to all the questions... No, first I would like to say thank you to all who sent me a quick email,  even if it is just a quick sentence or two, I appreciate it!  Now questions:
    Do I like the mission president?  President and sister Murdoch are really some of the nicest people in the world.  He is really not a number-based leader, which I like, and is apparently just about the opposite of Elder Bell's last mission president.
Elder Bell is originally from the Toulouse mission. 
    How is Elder Bell?  He is doing fine.  It did take us a couple weeks to find our rythym, but we get along well and are working together well.  One thing I really like about him is he knows how to do missionary work very effectively.  To be honest, we have done very little contacting this last week which is something we need to improve on, but we have had pleanty of lessons every day and we are still finding new amis (last week we found four).  "But Elder Crossman, how do you find people to teach without contacting?"  That is done by the miracle of coordonnées (refferals) given to us by the ward.  President Hinkley himself has said that working through the ward is much more effective than knocking on hundreds doors.  I have come to see that that is very true.  Our goal is to teach 21 lessons a week, and we have almost got there (we got 17 last week)  This leads into one of the questions Dad asked: Do you have a ward or a branch, how many people?  I was pretty sure I answered this, but maybe it was in the email that got erased last week.  The Eccully ward is the biggest ward in France with approximatly 120ish members who come every week.  It is a real blessing that makes getting member coordonnées much easier, however it presents a special problem of not being easy to get members to come teach with us.  You would think that that wouldn't be a problem, but there is kind of the mentality that someone else will do it so it is pretty hard to get them to help us sometimes, but we are working on that!

Snow in Lyon?  It has snowed here once since I have been here, and only about 2cm.  It has mostly all melted now.  Snow is a pretty rare thing here so I am told, but this week winter decided to kick in.  I believe last week it didn't go above -5°C, and once the sun goes down it goes to about -13ish.  Also the humidity cuts through all of your clothes, but the worst part is the wind.  It will just howl some times and kill any piece of flesh that isn't covered.  During the Day it isn't too bad, but at night it gets pretty cold.  I know that it is probably nothing compared to where Travis is, but I will say I have never been somewhere so cold.

Bichon Frisés? Yes they are pretty common here, but they are all scraggly and kind of gross looking.  I did find out why there are so many dogs. It is because the government pays you to have them, like they would if you had a child (not as much money I hope)! So all the bums will walk around with like 5 chiens ha ha.

Have I seen MTC Friends?  Sœur Buchannan is in my district, and I usually see her once a week, sometimes more, then Sœur Klingaman is in my zone, so I see her on zone conference, which is once a mutation (6 weeks), but other than that no.
Well what else?  I feel like my French is getting a lot better, that is probably because I have actually been using it this week.  Suddenly all our amis who speak English have either moved, been dropped, or been baptized, so I am back to speaking almost only French toute la journée.  I always am wanting to improve though. 

Bright was confirmed yesterday, he asked us if he should dress up because he noticed everyone does at church.  Until then he had just been coming in jeans and a sweater, and we told him we are asked to wear our nicest clothes like a suit to show our respect etc etc, so he came yesterday in a shining blue suit that he was married in!  Bright is so cool ha ha! He really has a strong testimony and one very nice suit.

Today might be the first day we actually get a real P-day. the past two weeks we have been really busy and only had time for emails on Monday, but we are planning to go to a free art exhibit thing this afternoon, and have Dinner with Ted.  It will be nice to get a couple hours off.  Well, not off, but not full of meetings and lessons and the usual stuff.

OH! yesterday We had dinner at la famille Kussling's house.  It was my first classic mission experience where they just force you to eat and eat and eat.  I tried to tell them that I wasn't hungry anymore, but if you weren't talking, you should be eating, and I still am not good enough at French to fill three hours of conversation.  I was incredibly sick when we got home... So there is a motivater to learn to talk because they invited us to dinner next week.  Don't worry though mother, I am still loosing weight.  In fact, I am wearing that suit Ted gave me that was too tight a couple weeks ago.  It fits nicely now.

Well I think that is all.  Give Monte and Max a belly rub from me and tell them they are special.  Everyone is still welcome to send me a letter or an email if you want.  I love you all, and I just checked an hour ago, and the church is still true!  Have a wonderful week! 

ADIOS...wait that doesn't sound right...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

France 4

Well I wrote you this whole big email, and then the internet decided to stop working before I sent it.  Now I only have about 10 minutes

I am good and well.  Bright got baptized yesterday! so cool!  I was late with my email last week because we were helping somebody move most of the day and rendez-vous the rest.

My french is ... it could be better, honestly I have been using a lot of english this week because of our amis, but we have about 5 new amis who all speak french so that's good.

France is still cool, it is cold, but I am still enjoying myself

I enjoy reading your emails

Je vous aime, toute la monde!  Je sais que l'église est vrais.  Vous me manquez, et J’écrirai beaucoup plus le semein prochaine (I spelled that wrong, it means next week)

je vais essayer à vous donner les photos.

Here are some action shots:
Elder Bell

France 3

OK, before I forget, I'll answer the questions:  P-day is almost the whole day.  We have to do our studies like normal, and we have to proselyte for three hours.  Yesterday was a little different though.  Obviously you noticed that I am a day late on the email, I'll explain that latter.
    There are 5 équipes (companionship's) in Lyon.  All of them are in a half hour of us by metro.  Elder Bell is the Diregeant de la district (district leader), and there are only two other équipes in our district... well and a senior couple. 

     Now lets take care of the temporal wants ha ha.  I could still use some recipes for lunch and dinner items.  Breakfast is taken care of, that's the easy meal. 

    As for how things are going here, pretty much a million times better than I could have hoped for!  Bright's baptism is this sunday, he is excited and super prepared!  Then we found this lovely mother of two qui s'appelle Julie.  She and her children are very open to the gospel, and they have accepted the 12th of February to be baptized!  AND THEN there is an awesome guy qui s'appelle vénancio who we taught for the first time yesterday.  A member named Alicia (just about the coolest person in the world) actually found him and set up the rendez-vous, all we had to do was show up.  And guess what?  He is preparing to be baptised on the 26th of February!  So cool!  Just so you know, Bright is Nigerian, Julie is from the Congo, and Vénancio is from Angolia.  I actually don't think I have taught a native Frenchman who isn't already a member, but there was a native Frenchwoman who was baptised like the week before I got here, and one of her friends has a baptisimal date coming up, so apparently it does happen ever once and a while ha ha.

    That is actually interesting to think about, because I have taught people from Nigeria, Anglolia, Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Spain, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Georgea (the country), Venezuela, Brazil, and USA, but nobody borne in France ha ha! 

    Have I told you about Ted yet?  I do not think I have.  Ted isn't a member, and he is not really an ami either.  He is just a lonely rich american who buys the missionaries dinner every week.  We believe that he is a spy, because we don't know exactly what he does for work.  He does work for interpol though.  He is very fun to talk to and has some interesting ideas.  Anyway, we were having dinner with him last night, and he is about my size, so he tells me to come look at something.  He then showed me a nice dark blue two pant suit.  Then he says that he bought it a couple days ago, but he didn't realize the pants were pleated, so he doesn't want it.  Then he hands it to me and says I can have it!  The coat is about a 50L and the pants have about a 40inch waist, so it is just a tad snug, but I think it will fit me very nice in about 8-10kg.  By the way, that just shows you how much I have lost if that is close to fitting me!

    I don't have much time left... Soldes is going good, Elder Bell bought a shiny slick new suit for €40 ($65ish).  I haven't got anything yet because things get steadily cheaper as Soldes continues.  It goes to February something.  OK Really got to go now!  Love you all! Write me! BYE THE GOSPEL IS AWESOME!

France 2

Hello famille and les autres!  I am typing once again on a French keyboard, so nothing is in the right place.  OK, answering the questions real quick:  The brown tie was the ugly one.  My favorite part of the apartment is my pillow, it is sooooo much better than the mtc one.  Yes we have... warm showers.  You can't take long or hot showers here, because mold will grow everywhere if you do.  Elder Bell is a much better cook than me...although I really haven't made anything yet because I do not know how to make stuff that I am OK to eat. Non, my sheets were not broken during the voyage =P.  Parts of Lyon are really cool.  Every day I get to walk down a road that's at least several hundred years old.  I also usually pass by a huge Cathedral and a basilisque that are about that old too.  It is very cool, but there are cigarette butts everywhere! In addition there are beaucoup de dogs here, and they and their owners will just go to the bathroom on the side of the road....pee stains everywhere... il est dégoutante!  I have not yet seen the Lyon Lion statue yet, nor do I know where it is, but I do have lots of pictures.  I had trouble getting them on the computer last time, and by trouble I mean that I could not get them on the computer.  Yes I exercize, I eat good things, I am still loosing weight (last time i checked, I weighed 128kg (you'll have to do the conversion yourself), and yes I wear the shirts you gave me.

    It would be cool to get ideas from you for what I could cook, because it is hard to eat well... and it is hard to shop.  I had a slice of cheese and 4 kiwi fruits for lunch. Then I had some granola for breakfast.  Another cool thing is that I found out that anyone who is not in my mission boundaries can email me!  So there is no excuse that letters are too expencive or chose comme ça! 

     You can find my email address on My facebook account, if my parents do it, or maybe they won't post it, but you can always ask them directly and i'm sure they'd be more than willing to think about it.  also you can ask them for my physical address, because you are allowed to have that too, and physical letters (or packages) are still appreciated.

    So what new has been happening?  Well... we were supposed to get a baptism this coming weekend, but the guy (Derek) is having trouble getting into the country (it's a long story)  So we may not see him for a few months...  But there is another ami de l'église (I like "friend of the church" so much better than investigator) Qui s'appelle Bright who is just Amazing!  He should be getting baptized the weekend after next!! Hooray right?  Of course right.  Bright is also telling alll of his friends about us, and he is really the reason we have a good chunck of our amis.  Bright is Nigerian, and all his friends he has introduced us to are Nigerian, and we also already had a Nigerian or two we were meeting, and they all speak English... I really don't see why they are having me learn French since more than half of the people we teach know less French than me!  I find it entertaining. 

    The language is coming along.  I really am not as good as you think I am, I cannot understand anyone... well that used to be the case, I can understand them when they slow down.  I have also been told that I do take some time to think of what to say, but I make very few mistakes, and so people think I know French so they start zipping off, and I totally get lost.

    I did my first bit of Port à port a couple days ago.  that's knocking on doors.  I thought it was surprisingly fruitful, after an hour and a half or so, we had two SNAPs (Set-up-rendez-vous, Name, Address, Phone number)  one guy was from a different area,  so we passed his info on to another missionaire équipe, and the second one bailed on us for the rendez-vous... that seems to happen a lot.  Although, there was a girl who just showed up to church yesterday, and said she had a lot of questions about our church and the book of Mormon.  My companion and I had never seen her before, and no one said they invited her... i think that can go into the miracle folder!  We should be seeing her either tomorrow or Wednesday.  I can't remember, I'll tell you about it next week!

    Well that's about all that's new with me,  I am going to do some soldes shopping now.  Apparently they don't have sales in France except for a couple weeks in the winter and in the summer.  It is called Soldes, and everything is rediculousley cheap, it is like it's own holiday here.  I think I am going to get one of those man purses that are so popular here, and maybe a couple ties, and another scarf (I've already turned into a European ha ha).  I think I'll wait for the summer soldes to buy a new suit though, once I have lost some more weight.  Wait? what's that you say? You don't care?  Oh ok.

   Je vous aime toujours!!! Je sais que l'évangile de Jésus-Christ est hyper cool et hyper vrais!  Je veux vous rendir mon temoignage que cette évangile peux changer et amilliorer (not sure how that one is spelled) la vie de toutes la monde!  Encore, Je vous aime PAIX!

France 1

Hello everyone!  OK, before I forget your questions I'll try to remember them all.  Yes we sleep in bunk-beds.  I am lucky and got the bottom one.  Probably the hardest beds in existence, however,I have slept soundly through the night every night.  Elder Bell is from the San Francisco California area.  I told Elder Smith that I read some of his blog, and he reacted like he had heard that a lot.  I think that I have adjusted very well to the time change, I am just tired all the time ha ha.  Also the apartment has cook wear and utensils.  I mostly eat a lot of fruit and carrots.  Also soup, I am trying to stay away from the carbs, and Elder bell is really helping me with that, but it is kind if difficult because we usually only have an hour for our meals. 

    Today is my first in-field P-day!  We decided to go with the Soeurs and the ZLs to some ancient Roman ruins... no big deal or anything.  It was amazing!  Two amphitheaters that I believe they still use, and some other crumbled walls.  I'll see if I can attach some photos, but no promises.  After that, Elder Bell took me to get my first Kebab (K-baab).  It is kind of like a Gyro, it is shaved meat...I am not sure what kind... and i am not sure that anyone really knows, they are pretty notorious for making you sick, so you have to make sure you find a good one, that basically means don't buy any under 5 euro.  Anyway, it is that and lettuce, tomatos, onion, and a sauce of your choice.  I picked samurai, which I can't really describe how it tasted, but it was good.  Then we went and taught a lesson to an ami named Albert (he is originally from Nigeria, so he speaks English...well Nigerian English which you can usually understand if you're American) He was nice and receptive.  We were a little pressed for time unfortunately, so we didn't get everything in that we wanted, but he agreed to meet with us again on Thursday so that's great!

   Last week was a little difficult, Thursday, all of our rendez-vous fell through, and then two more on Friday.  Friday night, though we taught Zhune who is a recent convert originally from China.  He also speaks English and is just about the funniest guy you'll ever meet.  We really want to see if he would want to go on a mission, just from talking to him that once, and in church, I think that he would do very well.  Then right after we gave a spiritual thought to soeur Berongère, a less active member.  She has a very ... strong personality.  She spoke only French, and incredibly fast, so I didn't understand the words she was saying, but she was so expressive with her face and actions that you could understand what she is saying if you were deaf.  I did understand one of the first things she said to me thought.  She said something like, "That is a hideous tie! Not even my grandfather would wear that!"  ... Like a said, a very strong personality, but I personally found it amusing, because she was so expressive, and also she is about 4'6" tall, just tiny!  She also told me later that I was very nice and, "it is cute when you speak french", so I guess I got a compliment out of her.  Elder Bell said she didn't say anything nice to him until their 4th or 5th rendez-vous.

   We didn't have that many rendez-vous last week, but we have already taught one today, and we already have 7 meetings with a member present fixed!  That's good for this area apparently, the goal is to try to get 6 with a member present.  You asked can I understand people.  The answer is usually not ha ha, people were easier to understand in switzerland, but here, people talk so dang fast!  There are also a ton on immigrants, so there are beaucoup des different accents.  I think my french is getting worse ha ha, but I know that the Lord wants me to speak French, and so I will learn it little by little. 

   Well, I think that's all, I'll try to throw some pictures on here.  I love you all very much, and please write as much as you want!, I have an hour for email, and then 30 min on lds.org, mormon.orgm but I can also use that for email.  OH! also, go to Mormon.org, look under "our people" at the top of the page, then "I am a mormon"  and look for the video on Mattieu.  He is the guy with the helmet on in his picture.  He is my steak president, so that's pretty cool.  Also Brandon is the lead singer for the Killers.  He has a video on there.  He isn't in our ward, but I really like his video.