Monday, August 25, 2014

The Shortest Weekly Letter

Tennis anyone?
French Fact- The French members love missionaries. Did you know that? We just played tennis for free and then got free ice cream. I am so grateful for these people. They also call us and tell us when they're free so we can fix rdvs with them. Or just go contacting, whatever we want. 

Things are exploding here and I think it has something to do with this companionship and our hard work. Recently, President has sent out the new standards of excellence and Soeur Schreiber and I are doing literally everything we can to live them. That means a  lot of planning. And boy did we plan yesterday. 

As far as this past week goes, it was awesome. We finally started really teaching people. We met a man named Raphael who walked away, leaving us so disappointed. But ten minutes later he came running back down the street to fix a rdv. 

Since then, he's also come to our ward activity, which he loved. He's kind of in the same boat as our other ami, Colette for the moment. They are both wonderful, funny, loving people that can't wait to talk to us. They are openly opposed to joining a religion or taking official lessons. So we teach them a little differently. We discuss. We ask questions. We share scriptures seemingly at random and we respond to their confusion. And we testify. They are very spirit-led discussions and less organized and slowly, they are realizing all their complaints with organized religion are nullified chez nous and that this is exactly what they need. It's cool to see the spirit work in people. I

 love this gospel. The other highlight of the week was us returning to Lyon for Blues Conference. I literally acted like a crazy person. I have so much excitement and enthrousiasm for this work that I can't sit still in a room while people try to build our faith. Soeur Mod and I got to go on a mini exchange for a game and we also got to drop by Soeur Yvars and say hi. I love this work and I love Jesus Christ. I think if we all listened to him and followed his example, the world would be a much happier place. 

We have a new missionary that is French. His name is Elder Leterme. He's pretty cool. We have 17 lessons set up for this week and plenty of time Friday through Sunday. 

Let the games begin. 

Monday, August 18, 2014


Somehow I am not surprised that Sr Hutch is the
head of the table
French Fact today actually comes from Senegal. Because I've met so many people from there this past week that I don't actually remember anything about French culture. In Senegal, half the people are Muslim and half are Catholic, but all are wonderful. They speak French and also Woloff. Not sure how to spell that. But here are some phrases I've picked up: Nangadef? (to which they respond, mangafille. Kind of like a- you good? yeah, I'm good). Then, Notoodoo? (meaning, what is your name?) Then they laugh and ask if you have visited their home country. They also love talking about their native cuisine, which includes large fish. 

Mainly all I want to talk about this week is last Friday. We went out to visit a member who is a lonely woman with few friends and is starved for company. Although extremely delightful and a good missionary. Goldmines the Elders never bother to check. 

I then saw a kid about our age on a bike checking the times a phone store would be opened. So I contacted him. And he was atheist. Kind of. Never really met a full atheist, now that I think about it. But he was super cool and really open to the idea of there being a living prophet and was interested to know what he would say. Finally he said, Tell you what. You take my number and call me to set up a rdv and we'll talk more. By the way, my name's Jeremy. 

BACK STORY. Rewind to the night before in nightly planning, we set goals for various key indicators for the next day. And randomly, before I could even think the words in my mind, I said, Tomorrow, we're going to find a new ami! His name will be Jeremy.  Soeur Schreiber and I laughed about it for a while because it really was very random, but that isn't so out of character.  Anyhow, when he told us his name was Jeremy, we both started to smile the biggest smiles you've ever seen and tried not to laugh. What a crazy action-packed day just to meet this one kid and so God could tell us He's there.
Run down of the rest of the week- FHE with the Rodriguez family and Cedric, a ward missionary who's a little too fond of sister missionaries randomly showed up. 

The Tantely family is hooking us up with coordonnees and their less active friends. Due to a miscommunication, the gardening activity we set up with them fell through, but we did go home with fresh veggies! 

I dreamt I was at home and dad's counselor Pres Monson called me to be a ward missionary, gave me an iPhone, and told me I had to have 10 lessons a week. 

Mama Gentil forcefed us three popsicles. I visited a LA with the bishop and Rs pres. And by that I mean that the bishop and I taught the LA and my comp and the RS pres didn't say much. But it was a super powerful lesson. 

We had a picnic where I played some foot ball and had a blast. 

We had a super powerful lesson on the Atonement with Colette, on prayer with Adelina, on the restored church with Ishmael, on the word of wisdom with Akima, a LA. The Church is true. And here on the cote d'azur, the sea is really blue. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Forgotten Oil Lamps

Frenchie Fact: BBQs in France means sausages, not burgers and hotdogs. I went to a ward BBQ last week, which consisted of the Rutilly family and friends, a less active woman and her son, and six missionaries. We had fun and almost won the ping pong tournament. Vive la France.

To Montpellier we went, exchanging with the STLs there. And by STLs I mean Soeur JONES and O'Conner. Our train was stuck in Avignon for a few hours, so we explored and met the missionaries there. Then we got into Montpellier late late late. On our exchange, we had a solid chat as per usual about how to fix all the problems in our mission. Still waiting on our call as Sississtants 2014. Jokes. 

Frog Legs
We met with a sweet recent convert named Fany. She lived on the streets age 14-19, and was one of those hoboes with dread locks and scary dogs. She's still friends with all the hoboes. She also got into extreme self-defense at this time. Then she married a Muslim and converted (veiled and everything!) and they had a child together. That lasted four years before they divorced. She moved in with a friend who is a high-class prostitute and joined the work force for a year. Then she met the missionaries and is currently the most Christlike and most anxiously engaged person I've ever met. If you think you are active in the church, you are nothing compared to this woman. She has done more in the last week than I've probably done my whole life. Yikes. I also owe her a debt of thanks for personally carrying Soeur Jones to the hospital when her leg swelled up and got infected. 

Later, while contacting we met two guys and had a great discussion which ended with the African man awkwardly telling us he didn't approve of us. About ten minutes later, we met an amie, Gopali at the bus stop and she was talking to the African man! Turns out they were collegues. He asked us tons of questions and was extremely satisfied with our answers. Occasionnally he spoke in english when he didn't know the French words. Before he got off the bus, he said You know if I speak in English, that means I want to see you again. Done, my friend. 

Escargot= snails
New friends at a playground
The Cannes Elders were late to district meeting because they had to go back to their house and get the dessert they made. Or as Elder Pettingill said, they forgot their oil lamps. The desserts they brought were banana bars and cheesecakes. They gave us all huge pieces of both and we were all concerned that we would start sweating out frosting. 

We then visited Soeur Lapierre, a wonderful less active, who is such a rock for her crazy children. She came to the activity Saturday. When we got back, I had to make some phone calls, so Soeur Schreiber contacted people in the Gare. After a few people, she started to feel uncomfortable about it, so she just stood next to me as I was calling a bunch of members and amis. Then a guy across from us started to ask questions and we had a lovely discussion with him. I like changing people's pre composed assumptions about Mormons. They have a really rough reputation here. 

We visited another less active, Soeur El Klai, who doesn't really remember what Mormons are, let alone that she is one. But she's nice. And promised she'd start reading the BOM again. On the way back, another guy came up to us and started asking us questions. He found out we were Mormons, and he said well, maybe I don't have so many questions...But then we told him what Mormons actually are and he lit right up and said oh man! You have to come over and explain this to my brother and I! Done. 

That night, we went to Valloris, which is technically red zoned, but well, we can go. You have to call the bus in advance and reserve a spot. We know the substitute bus driver pretty well, so we can also call him and tell him we're going to be late and he waits for us. Which is nice. We went to the Turner's house for dinner, where her son had prepared us a delicious meal of snails and frogs. That's right. Moi, je suis française, moi. And it was delicious. 


Sunday, we had to contact two more people to meet our weekly goal, so we went out to do that and we were able to teach lessons on the street from it. Miracles. The church is true.