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!