Friday, January 25, 2013

Neuchatel 2

Hey everyone;  so, I do not have much time, I am at a library computer, and I basically need to go when someone else comes here because i've already been logged on longer than I should.  I loved your emails.  The keyboard is different here in suisse, so i'm typing really slow; 
The appartement is really great, big and clean, Elder soarhitez (half french half american) and elder carré(french) our roomates are really awesome;  Elder Ihalmo (ee-hall-moe) is funny and finnish.  his French is great for someone who has only been speaking for a month and a half, but he wants to be perfect now. 
The trip here was crazy.  We had to run from the office to the trainstation with all our bags,  we just barely made the train to geneva.  I left my carte 12-25 in the mission office (something you need to be on the train) so I was freaking out;  I yent to talk to the guy and he said it was OK and checked me off so that was a nice blessing;  When we arrived at Geneva, we had no idea when or where our next train was.  While Elder Jensen and I were looking (we were travelling with him and his comp to Lausanne) Someone tried to steal Elder Jensen's bag with 600€ in it and almost did it.  Thankfully I saw the guy as he was bending down to grab it, and I yelled at him and he ran away (pretty cool right?) 
So then we find out E ihalmo's and my train is in four minutes.  Ye ran ran ran to the train with our six heavy bags and got on really a second or two before the doors shut.  We got to Neuchatel... no phone almost no money, people were speaking German or weird french, and the person who was supposed to pick us up wasn't therte.  After a 20 minute panick attack of what todo, he finally did arrive.  we got to the apparteéent to find out that we were sharing it with another equipe (I didn't know there was another equipe there).  I then asked the member some things about neuchatel, thinking he was our DMP.  I was soon informed that we weren't even assigned to work in neuchatel, but our real city is a place called Bienne, a thirty minute trainride to the east. What?
Really a big surprise;  I was even more surprised when I went to Bienne, and found out that everything, I mean everything is in German.  the city of Bienne is about 60% german speaking and less than 40% french,  It is actually shared with the Alpine Swiss mission.  There are german elders who live there and are assigned to the German ward.  We have a very small french branch of 30 or so, and it looks like lots less because we meet in the same building as the big german ward.  The memvers are reallzy great however, they have already introduced us to a bunch of people who we are teaching now;  There is one Gervain who already has a baptismal date.  It has been about a year since there were french missionaries in Bienne, and a few years since they had french missionaries dedicated to bienne;  It is fun;  It is much different.  ich nebeh dich buch van mormon and all that jazz,  I've already picked up a little german (very little) 
OKm I'm being kicked off now:  love you much;  We'll go someyhere else for emails next week so I am not as rushed. 
PS it is really really really expencive here;  77franks for the train ticket and 26 franks for the bus;  and that is every week.  They^ll get us a better pass soon;;; I hope:  love yzou

Neuchatel 1

Hello all, I don't have ... any time, I just read your emails, loved them.  I probably will get time to write latter, so I'll answer questions and tell you about life and all that soon.  In the mean time, mother you called it, I am transfered.  I am going to Neuchâtel and I will be training a new new missionary, so we'll both be new to the area, oh well we'll figure it out.  He will probably (he'll have to be) french or at least European because they aren't letting any more americans in switzerland (oh yeah, Neuchâtel is in switzerland!!!!!!) Except for me because I'm so cute.  I bought a new coat and look really good, so they had to let me in.  Love you à tout!
PS Do you realize that out of my 10 transfers on mission I have been trained or been training for seven of them?  Geeze that's a lot of time in the appartement studying, I guess I'm not bad at it, at least I put the impression upon President that I'm not bad at it.

Hey all, so I am in the mission office I don't have much time still but I'll tell you some things.  Lots of questions:

Elder Leau made the fireplace and the fire, but I colored it blue.... it was mostly him

I forgot why, but I wrote down to tell you about my pets in st Etienne.  There are two dogs that are in the back yard of our appartement building who I give my beef jerky to sometimes.  They'(re cute, I said goodbye to them today.  then there is a black and white cat that will come to me when I call him that lives in the building next  door.  But don't worry monte, there is no replacement for you!

David is a member, but a fairly recent convert who needs support a lot.  We brought food to his place and made it.  Burritos yum.

i didn't get the package, hopefully the other elders are there when the factor comes so they can sign for it, because if not, it is going to be a pain to get, if it is possible.

yes i would like you to send pics from time to time.

yes monopoly was in french

So I spent the whole day today in the gare and at the mission office talkking to the missioinaries who are going home.  It is weird because I have known lots of these missionaaries for my whole misisonand it is kinda hard to see them go, but it's not like thye'( dying or anything.  I haven't even eaten today... I am really hungry.  We are going to stop by bellcour to look for a suit for Elder Handset (my temporary comp) and then eat something and probably just do some contacting.

In Neuchatel, we are oppening a second equipe, so there will be other missionaries there.  I am not the district leader anymore, which I'm not bummed about.  It is not that I didn't enjoy it, but it is just more things to do, and more phone calls to make, and I prefere to just work; Also apparently my equipe will do exchanges with the elders in Bien or some other city that is actually in a different mission.  They are a german speaking equipe, but there are lots of french speakers in the ville, and there are lots of german speakers in Neuchatel, so we do switches often.  Maybe I'll learn a little bit of german, that could be fun =)

Uh, like usual at the beginnin of a new transfer I don't have my planner to give you the day to day.  I bought a new coat... I already told you that though, it is brown grey, i'm not really sure what, but I have been getting compliments all day about it.

Also elder Sorhitze who I will be with (not as collegues, but he'll be in the appartement as well) He goes running in the mornning all the time, so I'm going to make him take me along, so I can get back into the weight loosing mode too.

I am really excited.  I've been in the Rhone Alpes and Provence my whole mission, so I'm really excited to see not just a new country but a new area, it is so diverse in this corner of the world.

I am so lucky to be here.  I LOVE THE LORD  I have been thinking about how I have changed since the beginning of my mission, and I don't think I have been giving myself enought credit.  I have grown and changed so much, I've found out that the atonement is a tool to use to find happyness and awesomness and not just something that happened a long time ago.  My testimony has become Inébranlable because I see miracles every day, and in exercizing my faith, the lord blesses me.

 i hope there was some sense to that.  I really need to go now.  Sorry it's a short email. I'll write a better one next week love you.

St-Etienne 12

hello, questions:

Non, I havn't gotten the package yet, but Elder Leau just got one.  A camera from his older sister.  Very nice.  

What did we do for New years?  Well we were at a ward party for a little bit, but we had to be in our appartements early to avoid drunks and such.  So we were in our appartement from 9H00 onward.  It was still fun, we had a bottle of sparkling cider, and played monopoly.  We stayed up until midnight, and our neighboors made lots and lots of noise.  I ate a chocolate.

I feel like I have been in France... all my life really.  It is funny, it feels like I have always been a missionary and my life before is just a dream I had one time.  At the same time, it feels like I will be a missionary forever, and that there is no time left.  If I think about it.  I only have six transfers left, and that ... transfers pass by really really quick now.  So yeah, it is better to just not think about it and work.  Time is really weird on a mission.

Well there were a few cool miracles.  We just got another coordonee from the internet, so we'll see if that goes anywhere.  Then I was talking to a member at church, and he said that he had a neighboor who was asking questions about our church and wanted a book of mormon.  He also said he would see about fixing a rdv with us, so that would be awesome.  The work progresses here, and I'm happy and all that, loosing weight and stuff etc heay! 

I am right now at David's house, we are making lunch for him for letting us use his computer, and so there is lots of noise and smells that are kind of distracting.

Yes I got the card from the buckwalters, could you pass the thankyou for me?

My favorite french food is tartiflette, it is sliced baked potatoes, with bacon bits, melted cheese, a cream sauce and more cheese on top.  quite a heavy plate, but soo so soososo good!  But there are so many other good things.  Elder Leau... he likes vegitables, which I guess is a good thing.  He really eats everything.  

Elder Leau has never been to the US, he went to the MTC in Madrid, for theree weeks because he already speaks french pretty well.  He is going to go the BYU hawaii, so he'll be in the USA before long.

Papa, I would be delighted to have a job at sinet.  Really anything, If I could get a job that is a little bit better than Fry cook, I'll be happy. Have I told you my goal?  Well I'll tell you again.  I want to be 100% autonomic within two years after getting home.  So I'll try to stop beeing a leech on your accounts ha ha.  So yeah, a job at sinet would really be a dream come true.

Monday:  Did our shopping and cleaned and such, helped decorate for the party and then ate really fast, said hello to everyone, goodbye to everyone, and then went home.

Tuesday:  Went to Soeur Galetti's house for the first, it was really good because there was a less active, and his non-member wife, who live far away.  It was really good to be able to talk to them and get to know them.  That took pretty much the whole day

Wednesday:  saw Samuel again, Louissette, and then taught English class.  We started English class again, and we have a good number of people who come, including a non-member family, so we are conspiring to start teaching her etc.  That brings up somthing.  JJ asked me what my favorite thing was, and I think it is actually to teach English, it is so much fun.  Maybe an idea for the future, but I think that it would have to be teaching English as a second language.  it would be really fun to go to New calledonia, hang out with Elder Leau, and teach English there.  But yah, just an idea I had this week.

thursday:  saw David, helped him with something, then samuel, this is a different samuel, he is a member from Africa.  He wants to learn the piano, so we started teaching him.  Again it's really fun to teach that, even though it is Elder LEau who does most, because i've already taught him pretty much all I know about music.

Friday:  Saw samuel our ami, then Salvator which was a real miracle lesson, because he thought that he was well informed on mormons, and that ... voila it was done.  At the end of the rdv, in following the spirit, he was touched and agreed to come again to church and to keep seeing us to appy our message etc.*

Saturday:  Saw Alain who is a less active kid of 15 years.  He came to church this week.  He is cool and likes all the video games I played before the mission, and listens to all the same music, so we get along really well.  He's a good kid, he wants to get the priesthood this year and go to the temple.  those are his resolutions, so that's really great!

Sunday:  great day at church.  Almost all of the converti recents were done, then we did our planning, and did some less-active passbacks.  All of them that we passed had moved... clear them off the list.  However we did get a ride  from a nice musilm guy.  I thought what you would say mother if you saw me getting into a car with a stranger in the evening when it's dark outside.  Don't worry we're protected, and he was very nice and saved us a lot of time finding the addresses.  he wasn't interested to learn more tough. Oh well, he'll be blessed.*

Love you all very much.  Soyez sage. We are going to eat burritos, but I think I'll be able to send some pictures.  Ciao.

St- Etienne 11

Howdy y'all.  So this week was pretty crazy for us too.  Lots of travelling and sickness etc, we only were able to actually work one day of the week ... well work in St Etienne one day.  But furst, like normal, let's get to the questions:

Yes, it gets dark here about 6 in the evening and we are still out til 9 every night, so it's dark when we get home.

No new amis yet, but some cool progress that I'll tell you about in the day-to-day

No I have not sung at church, but the word is out that I play guitar and sing, and so Soeur Grail (the ward music directrisse) has asked Elder Leau to think about doing something in the future.

I would say that member families here are... well every family is different.  They are French, and that makes a difference, but obviously the gospel is the same.  In some ways they are similar, some ways they are a little ... pessimistic (that's the french side showing) and in some ways they are incredible workers and wonderful people.  President Rony said he loves french members so much because they already do so much to first off stay active, secondly share the gospel with others, and then us americans in our assez cushy lives come and ask them to just give a little more.  They are great on the whole.  It is very inspiring to be around these people.  Somehow they make happy families with good values in a place of the world that, while it might not be third world, is rather difficult to raise a family.

I think that May 2014 sounds like a winner.  I'll leave you to work out the rest of the details about that.

Monday:Kinda, the same old same old for P-days.  IN the evening we had a dinner for all the people who would have to spend Christmas alone, and a few others.  It was really good and fun.  We had lots of various salads and fondu which failed, but still tasted good, and lots of bûches for dessert (like a roll cake thing that's really good and the traditional desert this time of the year.).

Tuesday:  I got to talk with some people on skype that I hadn't seen in a while.  It really was a joy to see you all again, and little monte.  It was too bad I didn't get to see max, but maybe it's better his smelly warty goitery old self stays in memory ha ha., Tell him that I love him too and that all dogs go to heaven, even ones that pee on the floor.  It was fun to catch up with you.  You know what's weird?  I'll be there with you for the next Christmas? Wow, and it will be here before you know it.  The transfers here feel like long weeks honestly and I only have six left after this coming one.  Hélas, There is still much work to be done and much to be learned here in Frog country.  After calls, the same familly just thought it would be easier if we sayed for dinner, so we had round two of deliciouse food.  Mostly Sushi and other rice dishes, thankfully much lighter than the lunch, but still deliciouse!  I know I have said this before, but I want to say it again.  The food here is sooooo so good!  THat doesn't even begin to describe it, it is like magic really ah I love it!

Wednesday:  Went to Lyon for an exchange with the zone leaders.  now those are some hard working msissionaries as in contacting every living thing that they see.  It was a good learning experience.  Not quite the way I work, but then again I still have a lot to learn.  I do talk to lots of people in the road, but ... I don't know, it was a good experience.

Thursday:  We stayed in Lyon that night because we had a zone training the next day.  This is something new that prez started a couple transfers ago.  It is basically the same thing as a district meeting only with the whole zone.  Usually zone conference lasts until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, this only goes until noon.  It wasn't fun, because the night I spent in Lyon i was up all night throwing up and doing other things in the bathroom.  I had a bad fever and terrible stomach pains.  i couldn't consentrate during the conference thing, and I spent most of that in the bathroom as well.  What was worse is I had fasted the day before, so I wasn't throwing up food, just stomach acid, any way not good.  A couple missionary gave me some french meds which stopped my body from killing itself, but like most french meds, it put me out of it pretty bad.  Everyone was asking me if I was ok because i was yellow ha ha.  Anyway getting home was not fun, and the walk from the gare to the appartement was really really difficult.  i was cold and tired and in pain, so I just undressed and went to bed around 5 that afternoon.  

Friday:  I woke up around 9 the next morning, feeling a lot better, but still sick.This whole day was spent in the appartement sleeping and playing monopoly and cards and running to the bathroom.

Saturday:  I felt almost 100% magically, still slept in until 8ish.  We saw Salvator who had a really good lesson.  He agreed to baptism, not with a date, but when he knows it's true he said he'll be baptised.  THen we saw Samuel who was going throught depression because of the holidays (acting kinof like a child honestly).  After that I was feeling really dizzy and out of it so we went home and straight to bed for me... no I took a bath, first bath on my mission (the tub was too small I'm in Europe and everything is so small!) then I went to bed.

Sunday:  Woke up and felt great, good day at church.  Had lunch whith Soeur Grail, her mother, Soeur Galetti and her nice, and a couple other members from other wards.  It was really un dégustation incroyable!  foie gras, bisque aux omars, I felt like I had stepped into France in the fifties, really, it was magical.  soeur galetti's nice is going to get married soon, and since the missionaries were the only male influence there... lots of girl talk about her dress and about how he proposed, it was like a romcom.  Still really fun.  We had to run from that lunch party over to a dinner party at soeur allard's place where we were fed very well also.  Spinach, greenbeans, porkchops, bûche again, and brioche avec confiture d'orange.  Really I hope I can learn to make this stuff for you because it is to die for!  That dinner was much different.  THe last one was a fifties very proper tea party feel, this one... well she is a single mother (a tomboy as well) with three boys, lots of talk about movies and guns, and all that good guy stuff.  It was a fun experience to go between the two extremes like that ha ha.

Now today we are invited  to lunch with a member, and tomorrow lunch with another member... so lots of eating;  Elder LEau and I are going to start running in the mornings.  Ok, I need to go.  I love you all so much Even after all that eating, I still lost 8 pounds after my sickness, ha ha , so still loosing weight.   Je vous aime de tout mon coeur
Je vous embrace fortement!
Elder Luke Crossman missionnaire extrordinaire!  Not really. lol

St-Etienne 10 Christmas

Hi everyone!  So again, we are at the ward doing emails.   Elder Leau is making a paper... tree thing to use in a lesson we'll teach the family Bernardi (the family who invited us for Christmas).  So here is the lowdown for tomorrow.  I think that the bus for coming home from the bernardi house is at about 5h45 in the evening, so I'll probably do the call around 4 o'clock here.  That's about 8 in the moring your time, but it is also likely I could do it earlier than that... so Reveillez-vous!  

Yes I got the packages, and yes I've opened them, and yes I love them.  THank you for the slippers and the salsa, I'm having chips and salsa for lunch =) I loved everything you put in them, and yes I remember it all =)

We have gone caroling, not with the guitar because it is too cold, and I can't move my fingers fast enough when it's cold.  I have played for several members though, and they enjoy it.  BTW, I have learned how to play when the saints go marching  in on harmonica ha ha.

The baptism of Melanie went well, it was in Clermont Ferrand, so I wasn't able to be there (her family lives in Clermont) however, she was very happy to be baptised, so yah that's cool!

Geneve is about ... well it's 40 min to Lyon from here, and then about 2 and a half hours to Geneve.  It isn't the TGV (really fast train) but it's a nice one.
It was fun and refreshing to spend the day in Geneva.  The ward building is even bigger than the one chez-nous (our ward building)  and it even has a drinking fountain, it's really like paradise.

LUndi:  id emails, cleaned and made a roll cake for FHE, then went to FHE

Mardi:  Saw Djo in the morning who is doing much better so that makes me happy:
we also saw Salvator who had so me really good questions and thinks like a JW, but he is sympa
That evening we left for LYon and stayed the night on the hard wood floors of the Gerland equipe's apartement

Mercredi:  Woke up at 4H20 to go to geneva, got to geneva at 8H30.  I noticed switzerland is so much cleaner than France, and much more expencive. For a bus ticket it was 3.50CHF whereas here it is €1.30.  The conference was really really incredible.  President and soeur Roney are both so spiritual and fun.  Just great people!  I have seen videos of other zone conferences while I was at the MTC or on the training videos they have here, and maybe it is just because it is a video, or maybe they take all the good parts out, but they are honestly really boring ha ha.  We are so lucky to have a mission president like President Roney.
THen we left for Lyon and then St Etienne around 5h30 getting home at 9h00

Jeudi:  saw Rita at David's house.  We watched president Monson's address at the Christmas devotional.  However we played it in Russian so she would understand.  I understood the word for Brothers and Sisters, and then I recognized they were talking about a girl at some point, but that's all I've got.  We are going to watch it in french tonight at our little reveillon party (christmas eve).  Later that day we saw Lisa who is doing very well, she wants to serve a mission now, so that will be really exciting!

Vendredi:  Planning for the week, and then we headed out to a little place called Sorbier, so you can check that off on the map.  We were passing a refferal there, it is the good address, but he wasn't there.  So we did some porting, and no one was really interested, but it was a very pretty little town in the hills.  The lady at the Office du tourisme was very nice and gave us a free map of the ville.

Samedi:  Hiked up a mountain to pass this guy we talked to a couple weeks ago, who said to come again, but wasn't there sigh, oh well, good exercize.  THen we saw Collette who is doing well.  her and her daughter.  Latter we passed by David's because he is feeling depressed about his broken cheville... ankel that's it.  THen mostly contacting.  

Dimanche:  Good church service.  Salvator came and I think he was really touched, he was smiling at least, and that's a change h aha .

THen we did studies and our meeting with Frère proffesso.  and yeah, good sunday.  

Ok, well i am totally stoaked to see you guys tomorrow!  Je vous kiff! keep it real.  Have a good holiday.  Elder Leau and I made a paper fireplace in our appartement, so it's nice and warm and homey.  we have also become party planners, to organize this thing for tonight.  I hope it goes well.  Love you lots bye!

St-Etienne 9

Hello.  SO yah, we have to do our emails at the church because the email place is closed for the next couple weeks.  No big, there is only one computer, so we just bring other things to do while one of us is doing emails.  I just learned how to play Le Christ est réssuscité on guitar.  Ok, lots of questions, let's get to them;

Yes I am still physically strong mentally awake and morally straight.  I do weight workouts usually every other day, or on days where I just feel like sitting.  

Yes I got the package you sent to the appart, I wasn't there when they delivered it par contre, so we have to go get it from the post today.  I'm sure I'll love it, so thank you all ahead of time!  I have gotten one card from you for Christmas.  I have also gotten a card from the West's, pleas pass le thankyyou pelase?

Our ward christmas party was last Satuday (two days ago)  It was fun.  The Primary did a little presentation on the reason why we have all of these christmas traditions like a tree and ornaments and such.  They also said it was a tradition in the US to put all fo the cards you recieve on the walls of your home.  I guess the door to the basement counts to, so to show my american pride, I went home and put up the two or three cards I've gotten up on our walls.

Elder Leau is doing great.  French is his first language, and he is very gregarious.  I have never even heard of McHale's Navy, nor elder Leau.

Our Christmas zone conference, or Zone christmas conference will be in Geneva!  i have no idea why, i've heard that president just wants to shake things up, that it makes things easier to distribute our secret christmas gifts (there will be three zones combineds meaning less traveling and lugging presents for everyone)  and I"ve also heard that president has something up his sleeves, but we'll see.  That's this Tuesday.  Again we have zone conferences every mutation which is a six week period, so every six weeks.

So far so good with Melanie, she needs to do a lot this week (see us at least one more time, have her baptismal interview, organize the baptism etc) She is also busy with normal people life stuff, so it is getting to be a nail-biting situation.  Lots of stuff to do in not a lot of time.  Having baptisms is really the most difficult... no most stressful time on your mission, at least for me, because satan does evrery thing he can to make things difficult.  I've had baptisms go very smoothly, but still, it is lots of stress ha ha, and there ahve been a lot of baptisms lately so ;.. lots of stress.  Melanie has been taught here since agust.  I did start teaching Djo and Childric who got baptised a couple weeks ago, so yeah, but everyone else was already being taught when I got here.

Yes, we are still good for Skype the 23rd. The member's house to whom we are going has skype and unlimited overseas calling, so I'll probably give you a call right before I get on skype like the last time, but have the computer on with skype fired up anyway so that it will tell you I'm calling.  I'll probably do it about 4 or 5 in the afternoon here, so that means 8 to 9 in the moring for you guys.  Have your questions ready and you christmas pyjams on!

Monday:  Did some shopping for Elder LEau to get him some new shoes, because he only brought one old pair with him.  Then we cleaned and went to FHE where there were some angry members, but everything seemed to be resolved by the end.  it's a long and boring story.

Tuesday:  Went to Rive de Gier to go looking for a person who had asked to see the missionaries through our website.  We spent the better part of the day and didn't find the address, and he wasn't responding to our calls.  Just as we were waiting for the last bus to take us back, he called us back and we fixed a rdv for that coming thursday.  That evening we passed André a less active who really wasn't all there.  He was talking about how the CNN was mentioning him for setting up the internet in Africa, how he had found how to watch China through his TV, and that he would be gone for a couple weeks in meetings across DC and Bejing.  So yah, we invited him to come to chruch and talked about service and asked him to do service.  He said he does and he diffused the film Finding Faith in Christ to everyone on the internet, so look for that the next time you are on teh internet.

Wednesday:  Saw Djo, who is doing well.  He lost his sister recently and so we talked with him about the plan of salvation and jsut tried to help him out.  THen Rita, we had a good rdv about prayer. After Frère samuel who is making progress little by little.

Thursday:   District meeting.  It apperently went well.  We talked about  Working with members and blah blah blah other good stuff.  Later we went to Rive de Gier again to see our new ami Salvator.  He is a middle aged italian catholic non-practicing and studied (studies?) with the jehova's witnesses.  H thought it was cool how we had a prophet and 12 apostles and wanted to know more about Joseph Smith.  He didn't seem very willing to do much efforts except read and listen, but he is very egar to learn, so I think he can progress well when he gets the spirit kicked in.*

Friday:  Went to Soeur Galetti's house to paint and move wood and other random services.  She had a friend from Mexico with her who was very fun to talk to.  I was able to practice my spanish, then I realized I don't speak spanish at all. soy missionaro de la iglesia de Jesuschristos de los saintos de los ultimos dias, or something like that.  That evening we saw Lisa who is doing awesome and wants to serve a mission.  She says that there are lots of things, most everything in her life telling her not to, but htat she still has a very strong desire to go on a mission.  She is so cool.

Satuday:  Helped wardies decorate for the ward party, did some contacting, and then went to the ward party voilà c'est tout.

Sunday:  Djo was confirmed, that went really well for him.  Then we saw frère samuel again because he left his umbrella at the church, so we sang with him and talked about what we learned at church with him.  Not a bad way to end the week.

I love you all ver veryu  much.  Passez une très très bonne journée!  Que Dieu vous bénisse, et que tous vos shouaits se réalises!  Je vous aime ciao!