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!