Monday, September 1, 2014

The Storm is Coming

French Fact: Some people come to the azure coast to vacation. Of the people that live here, half of the people are kind of like tourists in that they like going to the beach and worrying about superficial things. (Half are most likely illegal immigrants.) 

The other half are wonderful French people that don't like the tourists or the superficial people and they just somehow ended up living here. Case in point, Fabrice, and his two daughters Claire and Clemence. They asked us what we were doing here and so we explained a bit and the whole family was really involved asking questions and explaining their values, what they disagree with in the Catholic church they attend. It is always refreshing to talk to people with similar values. We gave him a BOM and he kept repeating, I will keep it preciously. I don't think that translates the same into English, but you get the idea. 

On another note, so many people on the Azure coast use cars that they are the best stick shift drivers I've ever ridden with. Second only to Bishop Kitley. I'm planning on lessons btw. 

This week was insanely tiring. It started off with a challenge from Elder Peterson to get 30 lessons this week, and it all kind of spitballed from there. It was cool because literally ALL of our 15+ ami lessons fell through, so we had to do some scrambling to replace them. Our contacting increased in energy and focus and we really tried to teach people on the streets rather than just plan another time to do that same thing. We'd try to get them to sit down with us for a minute and listen to us and we met so many cool people! 

Let it be known, these are not all people that will be seeing us again soon, but judging once again on the number of tears shed by these people, I am fairly confident that we did some good work and faith building. We also are living all of the controllable standards of excellence, meaning we saw three members and five less actives this week. 

One of those is Akima, who actually recently decided that she doesn't like us visiting. Probably because we call her to repentance. Par contre, her children love us. And whenever we go over, they beg their mom to let us come over tomorrow. That's the secret. Get in with the children. 

We visited the friend of a member this week, Christine Dion. She's really old, but really loved our message and agreed to let us come back. So that's cool. 

We taught Ismael in the parking lot of a Muslim mosque. He chose the venue. That being said, he only comes from a Muslim background and is searching elsewhere for the truth. We met Uric, a self-proclaimed hobo reporter who speaks impeccable english and has lived in Australia, Turkey, Lebanon, and India. He's 25 and due to his revealing reportages and various angry groups, he's already taken two bullets. He also spends his whole day going out of his way to make other people happy. What a delightful soul. 

Adelito and Antunes are both Portuguese Catholics that have already met the church in Portugal and are willing to act to find out more. 

Here's Soeur Schreiber's favorite story of the week. We saw three black guys sitting on the steps of a building, so I go up and start talking to them. They're Catholics from Cape Verde and somehow related. One of them is older, the others are 31 and 25. The old guy just keeps saying over and over again that he doesn't understand english, but he speaks French and he speaks better Portuguese. He probably said that 300 times. 

So I ignored him and let Soeur Schreiber listen to him while I started trying to teach the other two the Retab. After charming them with my limited knowledge of Brazilian Portuguese, they listened a bit. I showed them a Portuguese Retab pamphlet we had and we talked about the Book of Mormon and the first vision. This is all pretty spiritual, while being interrupted by the old man. 

So eventually, I just get one of the kids to calm him down and read to him out of the brochure. He listens like a little child. The other young guy gets a phone call and his friends ask him to come meet them at the bus stop, so he's trying to get us to all go walk down there together. Anyways, Danny, the 25 year old reading the brochure to the old man, says, Wow. I really like this message, I would like to learn more. So we exchange numbers so we can meet him without the old man yelling the same things over and over like a crazy guy. 

The other guy, Tavares; 31yrs, decides he also wants to exchange numbers. But he says, No, I don't want the missionary number, I want YOUR number. I laughed and said haha, yeah right. You can have the missionary number and only if you really want to learn more about Jesus Christ. Then the crazy old man yells NO! HE WANTS TO MARRY YOU! And starts trying to convince me it's a good idea. He's alone, you're alone...Please. Eventually I just yelled NO ONE IS GETTING MARRIED HERE TONIGHT. To which they all laughed and we ran away telling Danny we'd call him.

In other news, Raphael came to church and loved it despite the fact that he disagreed with some things. So that was cool. And we ended up with 26 well-earned lessons and my brain is so tired. We are rewarding ourselves with ice cream. Then we're gonna do it again.  

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.