Monday, August 13, 2012

Avignon 8

Sigh, so the computer decided to kick me off while I was writing your email, luckily I just started, but ... let's cut to the chase.  Elder Call's parents are also doing some snooping, and reading my blog, so make sure you delete all of the bad stuff I say about him before putting in on the blog.  I am only kidding Mr. and Mrs. Call! 
Elder Call is great and getting better every day, I am lucky to have him!
I don't know if you can bargain at the markets (I haven't shopped at one yet, thought i see them all the time), but things already seem to be really cheap like 2 euro shoes or hats or ties.  pretty cool.  I couldn't tell you about the quality however.

    Quansah is a certified holder of the aaronic priesthood, and normally he will bless the sacrament this coming Sunday!  He is so great!

    No signs of Fall... hot hot hot, and humid, and hot, and really warm at times, but usually hot.

    I sleep really well, and I usually have great dreams too, a few days ago I was in Paris (in my dream) at a café listening to ... Edith Piaf?  I think that is her name... anyway, I guess that means I have really turned into a Frenchman.

    Train rides are still really fun.  I love the train stations,
because it makes me feel like I am in Star Trek, I'll show you what I mean when you guys are here..; if I remember.

    We decide to go to the pontet the same way as we decide to go anywhere, if there are people to pass by, if we just want to get out of Avignon, if an ami lives there etc.

    It depends how long missionaries are blue, for example officially they are no longer blue after their first two transfers of being trained, some say that it is after thier first collegue and first ville, others say it is more... something you just feel.  Elder Call is really really not blue, the only thing is his French which is progressing great.  He already seems like he knows what he is doing. Me for example, I feel fairly blue still and just pretend like I know what I am doing, and somehow things seem to work out.

    LYON!!!!!!!!! It was amazing!  I didn't realise how much I missed it until I was there. Giant city, folies of people everywhere!  It was great.  The conference itself was amazing as well.  Very inspirational, with some good tips and encouragement.  I did not get to see any amis unfortunatley, but I did get to sing in a missionary choir in the middle of Bellcour place, and do some contacting.  It was also great because I could actually understand people this time

    OK, well this week was a little long as well.  We did find a new ami whose name is Gun... yeah gun.  He is really athiest and gave us some athiest book, but he is also really interested in learning about us, so we will see how that goes.  We saw him yesterday, and we are seeing him again Thursday.

    That was our only lesson with an ami however...But we are seeing Casstien (whose name is really Christien, I just missheard it) this week, and 6 or 7 other Rdvs have already been fixed for this week, so it looks like things are starting to pick up which is really really good, and is definitley all because of the Lord.  Also unfortunately that family we found in Carpentras gave us a fake number and a fake
address...  I wish people would just tell us they are not interested instead of lying.  So that was a big dissappointment, but we are still getting a lot of tender mercies and miracles every day.

    Elder Call and I have been working at getting to know the members a lot better, and it is going really well.  I love the members here at Avignon!  They really have such a strong faith and a ... I don't know how to describe it.  Being a member here is a lot different in being a member in the states, or rather Utah, or other heavily Mormon populated areas.  They do a lot of sacrificing already and then us
Americans come in and tell them to do just a little more and they do it!  There are reallly some special people here.

    Well I love you all!  I love getting your emails too just so you know.  I miss you all very much, but don't worry, if the mission just keeps passing quicker and quicker (which I hear it does) I'll be home in maybe a month... or at least it will feel like that.  Keep the faith, go to the temple, can you believe it is only a 5 minute drive away from our house! Then there is another one 15 minutes away, and like four more within an hour of our house.  It takes about 7 hours to get to the temple here, and that isn't the longest distance people travel.  Anyway, yes I have been writing in my journal every day.  I
will send pictures soon, as well as some goodies maybe.  I can't send them over the internet, because it is really slow... K love you bye!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Avignon 7

Wow, lots of questions this week, hope I can remember all of them
    Gap is not in our area (mine and elder call's) I went there for exchanges in the past because I was with the district leader, and gap is in our district.  It is a really small town made up of retired old people and middle school students. Yes it is in the Alps, and it is very pretty.  There is an equipe of elders there, and a branch of about 20 active members.  We talk on the phone with our district leader to know when we are doing exchanges, then we can buy the train tickets ourselves or call the mission office who will buy them online and we can pick them up in the gare... er trainstation.  Normally we only stay for 24 hours, and one night, so we just carry some extra clothing and toothbrush in a bag with us.
    French hot dogs are nothing compared to american ones.  There is only one brand (that I have seen) and they are all the really cheap small ones, but ça va.  I think it is the heat here, but I really haven't been eating as much.  i am not sick or anything, I am eating don't worry, but I rather would just eat a little salad and water than hotdogs or a sandwich or something. I am back on the loosing weight track, down to 230ish pounds!
    No I am not district leader, it has now gone to the Gap elders... that will make exchanges interesting, because Gap is about a three hour train ride from every other ville in our district.
    We got lost once yesterday, but that actually led to a cool miracle that I'll tell you about in the day to day
    Yes we have a "lecture CD" and I love the CDs!  They came just in time because Elder Call has no music unlike all my other compagnons, and it is great to listen to during lunch and dinner etc.
    Quansah is amazing!  He is getting the priesthood next week, and normally should be blessing the sacrament for the first time the week after!  We taught him about temples recently and he really wants to go!  Really he is the most prepared person I have ever met, he is so Awesome, I hope you get to meet him some day.
     I got Elder Call hooked up with a KEbab his first day here ha ha.  Though, I think I might be done with them for a while.  As I mentioned above, I don't feel like eating heavy stuff like that.
     The theatre festivale is done, and there is practically no one in the streets anymore.  I guess avignon is still a pretty bussling city, kind of, but compared to the festivale, it feels pretty empty now.  Thank goodness they got some people to cut down all the flyers from everywhere, I was worried they were just going to be left up until they rotted off, but they are mostly all gone now.
 Day by day
Monday:we walked around centre ville, and got Elder call moved in.  Then all our rdvs fell throgh, so we ported for three hours... fun
Tuesday:  Spent the morning studying (new missionaries take an additional hour of companion study and an hour of language study, that makes four hours of study a day... lots) with a break to talk to a morrocan who loves america, but was happy being muslim.  Then we saw Fr. Jeunehomme.  I think he is ready to come back to church, now we just need someone to take him, but everyone is on vacation... it make s things very frustrating at times.
Wednesday:  Study, porteing, saw Olivier, who said he would come to church this week (he didn't), taught english class and taught Quansah about the temple and priesthood afterward.  He is so great!
Thursday:  Took a trip to Carpentras (mark that one off the map, it is just east and a little north of avignon)  We worked there from 1h30 in the afternoon, to 7h25... with no success at all the whole day until 7h15 when we talked to one last family on the road who just so happened to want to see us again, and they gave us their number and address, and they come to the city where our church is often, so they already know where it is!  Miracles only come to pass after a trial of your faith.  that was a really hard day, but the end made it worth it
Friday:  Passed Olivier (a different one than the one before, but also a less active)  he answered the door, and we chatted, but he didn't invite us in..; sad.  then was our great day of less active passbacks, we passed about 8 less actives... and none of them answered. . . another ver long day, but I called an old ami and she set up a rdv with us for today (monday) so that was cool and our miracle for the day.
Saturday:  We worked a lot in the pontet again... nothing... lots of porting and nothing.. long hard day
Sunday:  Church was awesome, Elder Merservy, who had just finished his mission a week ago, came to our branch with his family as they were visiting the mission etc. I was able to translate for half of his family and a british couple (he translated for the rest of his family).  Elder Merservy's family is really cool, and we talked with them a bit after church.  He served here in Avignon a year ago, his dad served in Avignon 31 years ago, and there was another visiter who served in Avignon 20 years ago.  Like a little reunion or something.  I realized that talking with Americans is different than talking with French people, obviously it was in english and not in french, but I don't know...  there was something else.  Anyway that was interesting.
    Later that day we got lost while looking for another less active.  We had just passed another one (not there) and we were trying to knock on at least 10 doors before going to the next one.  We did the 10 (nothing)  Then I suggested we shoudl finish the block because there were only two houses left.  The guy at the first door lets us in, and brings his 12 year old son into the room, and tells us they were just talking about the mormons yesterday.  This guy Casstien has had quite a few tragedies in his life recently, and also he has some weird ideas about God, but he is very sincere and cool.  It was a really cool spiritual experience, and he wants us to come again, so we'll see where that goes.  He also humbled me in my French, because he was using tons of vocabulary I had never heard of before ha ha.
    So this week has probably been the hardest on the mission, but we had some really cool miracles.  I am still happy and still ready to work... we just have no amis, they have all gone and gotten baptised!  anyway, I love you all.  I'm glad the family reunion went well.  It is crazy the next transfer I will pass my year mark!  It literally only feels like I have been in France a couple months.  It is just shooting by, even this week which was really 'long' has gone by incredibly fast.  I am trying to cherish every moment. 
    It is wierd mixed feelings I have now, because I LOVE my mission, but it is pretty dang hard, so at the same time, I am glad it is going by fast, but I also don't want it to end.  GRR  I'll just live every moment I'm here the best I can, and then when I come home, I'll live every moment the best I can over there.
One last thing, I really would perfer If I cam home before we all went to France, that way i could be released and everyting.  Elder Merservy's stake president wouldn't release him fully , but he still could wear normal clothes and go swimming and stuff... I don't know, it is a weird inbetween state he is in, and he said he wouldn't wish it on any missionary ha ha.
I love you all again! keep the faith! go to the temple.  Did you see the new batman movie?  I heard about the shooting in the theater in colorado, that is really a shame, has it scared you away from going?  See you ;;... talk to you next week!

Avignon 6

Yo everyone!  hurry on to the questions:
    Yes a transfer is 6 weeks  Vedène really feels like a suburb, because it is mostly all houses, but every other village I have been to is it's own thing.  It is cool because every ville no matter how small it is has its own little downtown center, and such.  Villeneuve is probably 5 thousand people, but it is quite different than avignon which is just across the river.
    OK, here are the places I have been that I remember since the beginning of my mission
Geneva, Lyon, Pierre d'Or, Aix-en-Provence, Salon-en-Provence, Vitrolles, Martigue, Gap, St. Cannan, Avignon, Les Angles, Villeneuve, Vedène, Le Pontet, Orange, Le Thor, Mont Favet, Sourge, Livron  ... That's all I got for now.
    We take a bus to villeneuve and Vedène.  Vedene is the farthest out the busses go from here..; pretty much, for the rest we take the train.
    Vitrolles Elders have a car because their area is huge and very spread out, and Vitrolles itself isn't a big ville like Avignon or Aix etc.
    Yes district meeting is in Aix, we take the TGV train that goes about 300km/hr (230ish mph) and it takes us Twenty minutes.  The area we work in in Avignon goes as far north as Orange, and as south as Arles, so it is really big.
    It has not rained (at least not during the day) since I have been in Avignon.
    I did not get a suit, but I did get two pairs of slacks.  Both black, one is nylon poliester, and very good looking, the other is Linen and pretty shiny I look hot in both of them.
    I think it would be best if Bruce and Robin give you a check, and I rip up the one I have. Tell them thank you very much from me, and that I love them!
    So I am still in Avignon, if you couldn't have guessed.  However something did happen that is exciting, Elder Hamilton got moved to Fribourg in Switzerland, and I am finishing training Elder Call!  This makes his second transfer in the field.  It is crazy that I am already senior companion and training, but there are lots of older missionaries finishing, and a lot of new guys coming in.  He rolled into Avignon this morning around 10 oclock.  We'll have fun Trying to figure out what to do together ha ha.  He comes from some small town in Nevada in between Vegas and St George.  he is really nice, and does everything I tell him, so he's a good blue ha ha.  Really he is great.
   Well I do not have last week's planner, so I can't tell you really what we did each day, sorry.  However, Saturday Quansah did get baptised, and he asked me to confirm him yesterday.  It was really an amazing experience!  He was so so so prepared, we didn't do anything.  He then bore an awesome testimony after his baptism... yeah he is great.  Elder Hamilton baptised him, he did it on the first try, but he had a little trouble getting him out of the water because he is so big.  I'll try to send some pictures soon! 
   Another cool bit of news is because this is Elder Call's second transfer, I will get to go to Lyon for his blue's conference!  I really hope we have a little bit of time where I can visit Julie Loango (remember her?) and Ted the spy.  Berongère would also be fun to see... maybe I'll even understand her now ha ha.  I would like to see bright, but he has moved about an hour outside of Lyon, so I don't think I'll be able to see him.  I am way excited, plus a bunch of Elders from my MTC district will be there as well, and Elder Hamilton because he is finishing training.
   Nothing much else this week.  We went to Gap for exchanges, so we were gone for about half the week.  It is a 2 and a half hour train ride there (we left from Aix after district meeting) and we had a 4 hour train ride back to Avignon directly... lots of fun. We were on a little slow clanky train for those rides.  Gap is very pretty, and it was great to see the mountains again.  They had a baptism last week too.  Fun fun;
I love you all very much.  Thank you for the prayers and packages and everything!  Keep the faith, go to church and the temple.  Are the missionaries still trying to get you to work on the Cherninkos?  Missionary work is unique because it is one of the only things  where the more joy and love you share, the more you have.  The church is true, also in French!  Vive La France!  Pourquoi tu n'es pas heureur pour moi?  Je suis heureur pour toi, car tu es heureur, mais je suis triste, car je sais que ton bonheure ne peut pas durer.  Dans ton nouveau royaume, je ne peux pas être ton père, mais où que tu aille, tu seras toujours mon fils!  ça c'est un citation du film Les Temoignes!  C'est trop bon!