Monday, April 21, 2014

Hold out both hands. Now take away eight fingers.

Today's French Fact comes straight to you from my new collègue, Soeur Hulme: The French are very dramatic. You can tell by looking at a French keyboard, where you have to press the shift button to get a period, but not the exclamation point. Go figure. Also, I'm currently listening to dubstep pirates. What. Up. Can't beat French internet cafes. 

Emmanuel and SR. Meyer
Well I don't know where I left off last time, but let me start over. Left Lyon last Monday on a four hour train ride to Toulouse. During this train ride, Elder Ardesch was hitting me with a paper and telling me that every guy that passed was my future husband. Then all the other missionaries ate all my food. Then I waited an hour and took another long ride to Bordeaux. Where I saw Soeur Jones and Soeur Hulme. And they gave me a giant sugary macaroon for my birthday. Then we spent the night with them because we didn't have any electricity. Partially because they were hitting our lights with a hammer, but that's besides the point. End day 1.

all my black men
 Day 2, we went to the only bircolage store in France for about three hours or so in order to find the best and cheapest way to fix our light. We finally got it figured out and then paid for it with our blue card. For those of you who don't know what a blue card is, it's essentially magic. It has unlimited money on it and is granted only unto ZLs. But STLs are pretty much mega zone leaders because we have to take care of three zones of people. So, I snagged the last one of these magic cards before leaving Lyon. Now we don't have to pay for all the train tickets and extra food from personal supplies. Ca coute cher. We had a rdv with our ami, Jerely and his girlfriend, Mathilde, who's deja a member. Meanwhile, we did leave the ZLs to fix our light for us with all the stuff we bought, Wednesday.

We met with another ami, Pierre with a member named Soeur Martin. They're both a little out there. It started getting really crazy when we started talking about the feelings of the Holy Ghost. Yeah, had to reign that lesson back in. We also found a 20 euro bill on the street. Last time this happened, I was with my best friend in the whole world, Lauren, and we went to the farmer's market and bought ice cream and temptations. And a hamburger. This time, with the permission of our ZLs, we bought delicious French patisseries. 
Suin Jo and Sr Meyer

I got to meet a bunch of members throughout the week, which is good because my comp and I will rarely be together again for the rest of the transfer. We're back up to doing 10 exchanges a transfer. One of the aforementioned members, is a little old woman named Sr Petit. I saw her picture in our member book and was terrified. After assuring me that it really was just a terrible picture, I consented to venture over to chez-elle. Bad idea. She's way scarier in real life. So nice and a concert pianist, but I just almost jump every time I see her. Oh yeah. Then we took the only bus out to this tiny ville near Salle. It was a ghost town essentially. The member we were meeting there totally bailed on us and there wasn't a bus back. Ever. So we wondered around in the desert for a few hours. Eventually, found a toilet and some snacks. A little later, another member picked us up and brought us to their house for lunch. They happened to have had the Elders over au meme temp. So we all got a ride back together and had to cancel some rdvs because we were planning on being back a lot sooner. 

Does it look like Sr. Hutchins is holding
these girls hostage?
Church was cool. I'm really impressed at my ability to remember people's names. It's like leaving that half of the mission just cleared out my brain. It's nice. I can recall that information if need be. So we have more members than my whole mission put together so far. I already got me some creds with the kids and the men. Women I'm less worried about. But if you want to get into member's homes, the kids and the men will convince their wives.  That's the game plan, anyhow. Oh yeah, here's a quote from the lesson on PH: The PH is like a meal. The Aaronic is preparatory, like the entrée and the Melchezidek is like the plat de résistance. Thanks, Fred.
Frere Vincent

Soeur Hulme bio. She's 20, from Draper, UT, and likes basketball. We run every morning. I fell twice because I don't wear contacts and the cobblestone is rough. She likes to wear colors. And she's super chill. We get along. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Est Tefeuse

French Facts: They definitely don't plan on having twenty missionaries with two huge suitcases a piece take the railway system. There is no luggage space, as Elder Johnson kept reminding me.

Last P day, we got to hang out at President's. It was fun. I like President. We ate lunch and talked about general conference. Then all the sportif men played basketball and everyone else that I could convince played volleyball with me. It was...well, I've played better games. But it didn't even look like the basketball game was too fun. The worst part was when Soeur Povar came out to bring everyone ice cream sandwiches (keep reading...) and decided she couldn't walk the last fifteen feet to the basketball court, so she made me deliver them. Soeur Povar was clueless to that level of humiliation. Haha. I'm over it though.

 I was designated to collect everyone and present a card that our ZLs made for President. Which was awkward for everyone because I didn't know what it was for and they just didn't want to do it. We all took a picture together and President said And then they all got transferred...We chuckled nervously. Then we finally were able to do our Villeurbanne exchange and Soeur Bentley was shipped off to Grenoble to do her Legalite. I told her not to come back until it's done. Good news is I had a bit of limbo time during which I got to eat cookies and watch conference talks. I chose Elder Oaks talk about the PH and then another guy Sunday night that sounded like a muppet. 

The exchange was over des que possible. As fast as possible, aka 24 hours later. Soeur Bentley was back, legality in hand, and we had spent the day contacting, having lessons, and partying like rock stars. We did have an awkward experience with a potential ami who "fancies" Soeur Crowley (from England). Yikes. We met with Frere Léporé and planned the new genealogy activity, which people are actually excited for, so that's really nice. Then we got a last minute call from Soeur LeRoux asking for help, so all day Thursday, we were over at her house out in Bourgoin Jailleu. I didn't realize the Elders were also there painting upstairs with Frere Vanlaquer. I had to go upstairs to drop off a paint bucket, and I saw them and kind of screamed a little I guess. Soeur LeRoux thought I was dying or something, but Soeur Bentley just started laughing. I was just not expecting to see them. We all ate and kept fixing up her house to sell. We did get back in time for Promise, who is doing so well. He's wonderful. 

Friday, we got transfer calls when we were at the Hares' for Soeur Bentley's butt shot. This transfer is full of interesting companions. That's the only word to describe it. Every companionship will be...interesting together. I'll be okay though. I'm moving to Talence, Bordeaux to be an STL with Soeur Hulmes. It's weird because I was not expecting to move for a long time and I'm actually leaving my little corner of France. I'm going all the way out west near the ocean where it's insufferably hot and sunny. Yay! Ca change! Bad news was that I just bought groceries and that I had to spend all of p day on a train. But Soeur Jones lives in the same ville as me again, so ca va. I packed. Taught Suin Jo. And went to a young adult activity with Promise. We watched a video on geneology by Elder Anderson with a really cheesy music video which you can download and may or may not be called I'm Gonna Find my Cousins. Yikes. 

Saturday we ate with Chanta and it was all Asian and I even used chop sticks. She made fun of me for my technique, but guess who picked up a single grain of rice the fastest without even cheating? Booyah! It was really awkward though because I can never think of anything to say. Soeur Bentley is good at talking, par contre, so maybe it was only awkward for me. We had a lesson with Soeur Yvars and Christian Albert. Then teased Soeur Yvars afterwards about her marrying him. HAHAHA. Missionary matchmaking. Then we, Soeur Musquet, Elders Du Pre and Johnson all met at Frere Girard's for some Guadaloupian food. It was delicious, comme d'hab. We also drank delicious guava drank and taught Frere Girard to say This juice is cash money. Haha. 

Then on Sunday we had a historic meeting where, for the first time in all of France, four wards were established in the same city. It worked out well because Suin Jo and her future husband are still in the same ward. Pas des soucis. Then everyone gave us free lunch and I ate dinner with my favorite people-the Meyer family and all the soeurs of Lyon. Then I took eight hours of trains to Bordeaux and it was the worst. But it's a party here! Woot woot! 
Here's the address: 
135 Jean Jaures
334400 Talence 

Dad doesn't sit on the stand. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

School of the Prophets

French Fact: French people don't actually live in France. Not sure where they are, but they're rather difficult to find with all the various ethnicities here. But it's great and challenging. I keep trying to learn all their languages and cultures at the same time. 

Most of you have recently heard that on both sides of my family tree we have some killers and lawbreakers that were forced to flee the country and change their names. This explains a few things. But mostly it explains why everyone here is terrified of me. I'm genetically aggressive. But, hey, I'm ok with them cowering in fear as long as they have enough sense to listen to what I'm saying.

 It's funny that I learned that this week when we had a family history activity again. Honestly, at the beginning, I was seriously doubting ever doing this activity again. But it turned into a huge success with limited effort. We just set up the institute with various things to make it look friendly and threw some markers and blank pedigrees on all the tables. Then we had a pro piano player going at it. And Elder Kunzler scaring people away from the door. He is another scary one, but he speaks like a French man, so he gets some creds. Frere Léporé was giddy and got a chance to testify. It was actually a bummer when we had to end it. But we had a lesson, so we had to get out of there. Speaking of the Léporés, we actually got to have an FHE at their house this week! It was sweet because we got to watch parts of conference (women's broadcast) with them. We also got to do the missionary relay race, which was a huge hit. They loved it so much. They bequeathed us with a multiplicity of gifts. And Charlie said, "I can't sit on you, but I can sit next to you!" He is the cutest little boy ever. They all love the missionaries.
After our district meeting this week, we went out to an all you can eat Korean BBQ. It was good, but also really expensive. It's been a while on the Asian food. We went to Grenoble to pick up Sr Bentley's legality. We got to the prefecture and found out it would be a 309 minute wait. Yikes! So we worked on a baptismal program and visited a less active, Poekiva, and an ami, Marie, that Sr Bentley worked with when she was there. Unfortunately, it closed before the 309 minute wait was up, so we wasted time. We also saw some pirates. I was scared for my life. 

Promise's Baptism
We had some baptismal interviews for Promise. Some misunderstandings too. I hate it when someone says girlfriend and you hear gay friend. End of story, Promise got dunked. And it was sweet. He said he felt the power. He's been so happy ever since. We're working on not waiting three weeks to get him the Holy Ghost as well. With GC and various other ward-splitting meetings, that looks like the earliest feasible date. Little do they know, feasibility is not really important to me. #roguemissionary I do what I want. And what the Spirit directs. Speaking of which, our ami and a reactivated JA are now officially dating. Suin loves coming to the young adult activities and learning from us and was really touched by conference and is making time for us despite her exams. Also making time for Gael, who is a wonderful teacher. I can tell he was a really good missionary.We got to spend conference with Suin and then we ate dinner at the Clark's house with Promise and Sr Povar and watched it again there. 

After that full summary of my week, there remains one rendez-vous that deserves some explanation. Namely, that of Christian Albert. If you recall, he's this super elect guy that felt the spirit really strong last week. Well, the rdv starts and the door bell is ringing off the hook. Random members from random wards keep showing up. By the time all ten of us have chairs and are gathered around the table, Christian is almost hyperventilating. His head is pounding and he's just having a rough time. We pray and he starts telling us about his week. He said he had a vision. VISION: First off, there's Sr Bentley, Sr Yvars, and I. We are angelic, glowy, majestic, shiny, joyous, the works. There are various other people of a similar nature, which he attributed to the other random members who had joined us that day. He tries to come towards us and is blocked by some kind of Satanic force. He is oppressed in every manner of the word. At some point, he decides to push with all his might against this force and finds he can actually move rather easily. END VISION. He said it was very real and even his arms hurt afterwards. Anyways, he decides the interpretation of this vision is that he needs to stop telling us white lies. He is a member. A full-on member. He was super strong and active for a few years. Like had the PH, went to the temple, member. Was not expecting that. Honestly, I didn't believe him until he started singing We Thank Thee, Oh God, For A Prophet. I was literally in shock and afterwards my voice remained about three octaves higher than usual for quite some time. Anyhow, he apparently never really bonded with the BOM because he doesn't know too much from it. Essentially, he has this inner war between coming back or not. I told him what he need to do. Then, Fr Girard, a recent convert himself, says, Wait a second. Let me get this straight. This guy abandoned the church? Oh! That makes so much sense now. No wonder he has so many trials! That's toooootally normal. Thank you, peanut gallery. Let it be known, Christian has the full support of Fr Girard to come back into activity. He is awesome. And loving the PMG we gave him. Loving it. 

 General Conference. I only saw a bit of it, but it was awesome. Elder Ballard's talk on follow-up was especially appreciated here because we've all been focusing more on that. This seemed like the message to me: Be bold in sharing the gospel. Be courteous in your interactions, in word and deed. Sacrifice joyfully for the Lord and for others. Pray too much. Establish and maintain your integrity. And also, write to tell your missionary friends what you've learned in Preach My Gospel. I'm expecting a lot of letters. Love.