Monday, October 13, 2014

Raphael. That's all.

Family Photos are such fun!
French fact. They do, as per the stereotypes, carry baguettes around under their arms. Berets, no. Baguettes, yes. Also, the French stereotypes of Americans is baseball hats and chewing gum. Accurate. 

All I want to talk about this week is Raphael. I will also tell you our ami Toni has a baptismal date. Back to Raphael. 

I met him, stopped him from crossing the street and told him I had a one minute questionnaire. He agreed. I talked to him for 30 minutes, teaching him the first two lessons because he just kept asking questions. I asked if we could meet again and if we could pray with him. He said no. So I said, fine, at least take this BOM. He said ok and left. 

Ten minutes later, we were still there waiting for an ami to show up and Raphael literally comes running around the corner to see us. He said he would meet with us again. We fixed a time. 

A week later, Soeur Houasse and we went over to his house and despite the fact that he only kind of believed in God and only wanted to meet with us because we were delightful people, we had a great rdv. We talked about who God is in a way he could understand. The spirit was strong. He agreed to come to our ward activity. He said he didn't want to pray. But I convinced him. 

Halloween package minus most of the candy
The following Saturday he came and brought his 15 year old daughter. She spent the whole time with the little kids and he played basketball with the adults. We all ate barbequed sausages together. He told us this came at a good time in his life and he really liked the community. I told the bishop to talk to him (sometimes French people forget that they need to do that). The bishop invited him to church. 

He came to church. Only to the Sacrament. But he came. He even tried to wear a button down, but he burnt it while he was ironing it. Silly Raphael. He sat near us and sang and prayed. (And then bragged about it later, hehe). He said he really liked it and that although he didn't agree with all of the talks, it felt good. 

He was busy and we didn't see him until he came to church two weeks later. He came in a white shirt and suit and everything. Still kind of felt awkward amidst the crowd of people that knew each other, but that he didn't know. That was a crazy day. I had to find a ride home for Akima and her two kids, so I rushed around doing that really quick before everyone left, but by the time I was done, he was gone. I called him later to apologize and we fixed a rdv. 

He cancelled last minute because he had to go to a birthday party. 

We called the next week and fixed a rdv. We weren't sure what to expect because last we'd really checked in, he still wasn't interested in taking lessons. Only with being a part of our community because we were all friendly. So we tried to make it lighter, but he testified about the spirit at church and asked about baptism and a few other things. We told him about how we have a living prophet and general conference and stuff and he said he'd look at it and come to church. For the first time I felt like his heart was softened enough to really start getting down to business. 

So we wanted to get him to come to church earlier than the last hour. We therefore asked him to take Akima and her kids. He agreed to coming an hour earlier. This week we had our first Gospel Principles class ever. I taught it and Fr Perez made lots of comments. Meaning it was exactly what we wanted it to be. We had some extra members, some less actives, lots of amis and missionaries there. IT was awesome. 

Then in Sacrament meeting, a guy from the high council spoke all about missionary work and hastening it and it was so cool. Pumped up all of the ward. Everyone came over and talked to Raphael afterwards (with a little prompting). And Akima's kids were really attached to him and followed him around like little puppy dogs. He loved it. He told us afterwards that the class we had before Sacrament was awesome and if church was always like that, he'd have to come early every week. Yes, yes, you must. 

I love Raphael. He's just a good guy. He loves his family and he feels the spirit. He's so cool. If he was my friend at home, I would think to myself, he's so cool I wish he would come to church with me because we would have a good time. Anything is better when you're with people you like. It's funner. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Hutchinator, District Leader

No, I'm not the district leader. But that's what President and the assistants texted out as a joke. I laughed.

What a week. I love training, but the first week is always rough. Especially if you live far away from Lyon. Here's the down low. I went up to Lyon first thing Monday morning. I had pday in Lyon with Sœur Jenson and we bought a new strap for my Watch and a supply of cereal I could survive on for a few days. Also a coing. (French fact! This is a fruit. It grows here. People make Jelly with it.) Anyhow, it wasn't ripe, so the one bite I had was less than satisfying. That night I went to FHE with the JAs at Institute. I saw a lot of my favorite people. Including Sœur Luthi, who has now passed beyond the grave, may she rest in peace. Jokes, she's in Cali.

Tuesday, we went to the office to grab some supplies we'd bring back to our sectors and then the fiasco started. Several dying missionaries were prevented from boarding planes, whether due to plane strikes or lack of French legality (I still don't have mine, so here's praying). And all the new missionaries were stuck in London for several hours as well. Luckily, I  know the sector a bit. We helped out in the office doing as much as we could. 

We went to visit an ami in the hospital and did some contacting and area book cleaning for the sisters there. I hate being out of my sector for longer than necessary.

Traditionally, the STLs try to keep the trainers and blues out of contact for as long as possible. I kind of do what I want. So when they finally got in to Lyon, I said hi and told them stories and introduced myself and stuff. We went to breakfast together. I sat with the Elders, another tradition. Then we had a trainer's meeting. Which felt kind of repetitive after every trainer in that room had already asked me for advice. We ate lunch together. Then, the assistants asked for volunteers to help so I volunteered. Also Elder Joyce. I ended up teaching the blues how to teach because both they and the assistants were so tired that it was terrible. We had some fun with it. And somehow I ended up having to go to President's house. Where I then played petanque and volleyball with Elder Joyce, the office Elder's and all the new missionaries. Then I made some other trainers come get me so I could have a companion and leave and we went and ate dinner with Pascale Stefani. I like her. She is a good human. She was baptized when I started in Annecy and moved to Lyon.

The next day we had our conference where we got our companions. Did I mention I have two daughters and a niece also training? Literally the mother of all missionaries. Gross. 

As per usual, I cheered as loud as I could. President loves it. He says it teaches them that missions are fun right off the bat. I got to sit with him at lunch. Everyone else wanted to sit with me too, but I have favorites. 

My new daughter is named Sœur Staples. She hails from Virginia. When we were finally done, we ate dinner at the office and then did some contacting.

I was then able to see all the second transfer blues come in for blues conference. So I got to see Sœur Caldwell. Nice. 

Finally, we took our train back to Cannes. Met with a couple members. Went to a few general conference sessions. Tried to weekly plan, but it took a really long time and we're not done because I have to explain a lot more than usual. But hey. We're hitting the ground running and by running I mean sprinting. Hope you are too. Love.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wake up the Giant

French Fact: I'm running out of these. Instead of saying goose bumps, you call it chicken skin. There you go. And people eat roquefort. I always get talked into it and I always hate it. Like hiking.  

Well. As per usual, I don't reallly feel like writing after a long train ride, mais voila. So transfer news, I'm training. Again. I already have all of 12 weeks and the district memorized, so it'll be cake. Soeur Schreiber is out to Angouleme by Bordeaux. Fun fun. And I will have two grandchildren since my two older daughters are both training! 

So last week I didn't write on Monday because I was trapped in the mountains with my DMP. I hate hiking but somehow always get sucked in. And I go and I'm excited and then I start and it' s just awful. Although I will give a shoutout to my Scoutmaster and my parents that helped see me get my Eagle Scout because I could read a map better than anyone there. They really would have been lost in the mountains otherwise. 

But I digress. We hiked into the mountains and played some team building games and had a serious missionary meeting in which we discussed problems and solutions far from prying eyes. Also apparently our DMP can't work with people until he knows them (aka drags them uphill with no shoes on in the snow for hours). I had a good time. And my knees didn't hurt til the way down. 

We came home and met with a less active family, the Carpios, who are Filipino. They are delightful and had a friend, Toni, with them. We had an FHE on the Retablissement and Toni was so excited to get a BOM. The next day we went back to give her one in English and she said, It's an honor to have this book. That's right it is! 

We also met a sweet African security guard who is full of energy. He's so cool. He always works right by the Carpio's house and so after we meet with them, he gets off work and we teach him right quick.

Tuesday was a crazy day of running back and forth. We met with Patricia Rodriguez in the morning and her cat almost threw up on me, but I narrowly avoided it. Still got the reflexes. 

We also saw the Monier family who painstakingly agreed to do some missionary work with their neighbors. Sheesh, we're not going to bite them! We're just going to love them. 

Wednesday too was a running day. Soeur Fily, a less active, agreed to come to church. David the evangelical tried to convert us. As if. Soeur Schreiber was impressed with my lack of arguing. But I wanted to Bible bash the whole time. Instead I just testified. Color me patient. We saw Colette, our lovely ami. Taught her the plan of salvation and her favorite part was the spirit world. First time I'd heard that. We took Akima's visiting teachers to see her and her kids and they totally took over getting her a ride to the activity and brought toys for the kids and it was exactly how VTs should be I think. I was so proud. 

Thursday we had a district meeting with our whole zone (because the other district leader broke his back...). And we had real hamburgers for lunch. It's been too long. We met with the Goncalo family and ate lunch. Also Soeur Giaccardi, a super cool less active with two kids. She also speaks english because she went to BYU Hawaii. 

We went to a combined RS/YW activity where we made parfaits and sewed birds. While the YM did gardening. My head hurt after that.

 But we also met our delightful neighbor, Christophe. He's got the best behaved children in the world. His 13 year old son bought pasta on the way home from school and said I'm making dinner tonight! Anyhow, the first time we met, he found out we could be transferred, so he told us to let him know the news. The next night, we dropped by to tell him and he immediately dished us up some dinner. Then invited us over to dinner the next day. When he cooked us real steak and some provencial things and I made pumpkin bread for dessert. Then I cut Soeur Schreiber"s hair. She wasn't expecting anything much, but told me afterwards it looked professional. Hehe. Well I was trained by a professional hair cutter. And Voila. Here I am in Lyon. Already fixed rdvs with all the people I love.