Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Holidays

bonjour tout le monde! comment ça va?

well, i've been sitting here for like 10 minutes now trying to convince myself that i want to write a letter at this point, but it's not really working haha. but here goes anyway. only cause i love you.

anyway, life here is great. we had a lot of cool experiences this week, had an exchange with elder szuch from the mtc, had christmas! called you guys, and new years is tonight! crazy stuff. packed weeks. so you're not going to get the whole week, but a couple of choice experiences.

so first off, we had a really cool porting experience. this was friday night, we were out doing some porting around the church, and we ported into this man. and it was kinda cold outside, so he invited us in for a couple of minutes. we ended up staying for about 30 and we had a really good talk with him. he was at his mother's house, and she had alzheimers. that's a scary disease. but he was a really nice man and he was singing to her and we got to help her out a little too. but this man was just such a great guy and was so genuine. he is from marseille in the south, and he has some friends that are mormon, he even went to one of their baptisms a couple of months back. but i don't really know why this experience touched me so much, cause we didn't teach any huge lesson or commit him to be baptized or anything, it was mostly just an experience that gave me hope for the world. cause we always hear about all the bad things in the world and how everyone is becoming wicked and yada yada (mike's favorite phrase), but to talk to this man who was there taking care of his dying mother just made me realize that are are still good people out there. i don't really know what it was, there was just a good spirit in the house and we came out feeling all warm and fuzzy. so i don't know if that experience is going to make any sense to you or not, cause i don't really know how to explain it, but it was cool in any case.

nextly, on the way home from that meeting with him, we were just walking home because it was about time to be home, and on the way home, this guy stopped us and asked us if we were the mormons. so we said you betcha, and normally when people do this, they are either looking to yell at your or are nice and drunk or both, but we stopped anyway to talk to him, and he was a really cool guy. turns out that he has an uncle that lives in colorado who has a business partner and friend who is mormon. so we went on about how much he respects him and the mormons and how we went over there and visited temple square and how he loved it and everything. he even told us that he had the contact info of the daughter of the mormon friend, and sure enough, he pulls a paper out of his wallet that is written in american girl handwriting, and guess where the address is? provo utah haha. she's studying at byu. small world. so anyway, we had a nice talk with this man and we got his number so that we could talk another day, and he was just super cool. it really went to show how much an example can do. that is one thing that we don't see very much in france, people who know mormons (seeing as there aren't as many here as there) but it was really interesting to realize how big of a thing an example is and how much that can change the outlook of a whole religion just by the acts of one person. soyez les bons exemples eh?

another exciting thing that happened this week was exchanging with elder szuch. we haven't served together since the mtc, and it was so funny to be with him again. it's amazing how much both of us have changed! me, i have gotten a lot more serious and learned better when not to make jokes and such, and he has loosened up so much haha. he was strung up so tight in the mtc (and that's exactly what i needed) but now he has learned how to have fun while working hard. it was really fun. but what was the weirdest part about it was that we did this exchange on our 18 month mark. so weird. so we were both together for our six month to sexy mark haha. (that's what they call in here. cause we have six months to start looking good again haha) it's amazing to see how much we have improved and changed for the better though. it was good.

last experience was last night. so yesterday we had a rdv at 5 o clock with two younger kids that we contacted the day before. so we get there and they don't show up, so we call them to see what's up, and they say they are on their way. but then a couple of minutes later they call us back, and elder christensen answers, and he doesn't understand what they are saying, and then they hang up. so i call them back and he answers and is just saying n'importe quoi. he just starts telling us that he wants us to stop harrassing him and calling him and says that he doesn't want to talk to us ever again and all this stuff. and it wasn't using the nicest language either. so i tell him okay we just wanted to know so we don't have to sit here, no worries, have a good day. so he continues to say les bêtises and then i hang up. so we figure from this call that they aren't coming anymore (this is just infering ha) so we decide to go home and eat. we leave the church with a prayer to find people on the way home, and in the end, it takes us two hours to walk home because we are talking with so many great people on the way home. it was terrific. but the highlight was this young couple that we contacted that got married in las vegas! haha what are the chances. but they are both french and they speak english pretty well, but they had gone over there to visit and everything and they didn't have the chance to go to SLC, but they wanted to, and so we testify to them about eternal families and it was a stellar contact. in the end, they invite us to come over on thursday to eat dinner and then after we can talk a little about that stuff haha. it was so great. so we are going to go eat at some new amis house and tell them all about mormons and then baptize them! so that was a really cool contact and experience.

so anyway, all in all, it was a pretty good week. i'm happy that the holidays are coming to an end and the work is started to pick up again. we didn't teach a ton of lessons this week, but we did get to teach a lot of people in the streets and find a lot of great people we will be teaching this week. ça va aller.

well, hope everything is going great chez vous (remember what this means?) and that you have a great new year! love you all!

Photos of France

Joyeux Noel!

bonjour tout le monde!
joyeux noël!

can you believe it's already christmas again? oh là. i hope everyone is doing just great and is feeling the great spirit of christmas that is in the air. here in compiègne life is going well. the work is kind of slow at the moment, but should be okay. we are currently still working with about no one, but we're still building and it's really challenging at the moment with all the holidays. there are just so many other things that are going on that we couldn't fix rdvs with anyone last week or this week cause they were too busy preparing for christmas and new years. but we have a list of people a mile long that we need to contact after the holidays, so i think that things should take off again at that point. it's hard because we don't have any solid investigators yet, so no one that is used to us teaching them or knows us, and this time of year isn't really the time of year for strangers, so they don't really let us come teach them at the moment. but it's okay, everything should go fine eventually. patience i suppose. i feel like patience sometimes is an excuse though ha. mais bon, we keep trecking along teaching who will listen.

on the good side of things though, we taught these two guys from kenya who are just so great. they are here for a race that they are running in, they do cross country and they flew out here to run in a race in paris, so that's kind of fun. but they are just so open and so ready to receive the gospel. on the bad side, they went home to kenya this last weekend, but we did give them a book of mormon in swahili and took their numbers and such to give to the missionaries in kenya, so that should be good. they should be coming back in like 3ish months for another race so they said they would call us then.

so on another bright side, the world didn't end on friday! so that's a plus. nothing too exciting happened out here though, we did have a bunch of people tell us about all the crazy things that were going on in the states though. from what i hear, a lot of people made a lot of money selling bunkers and things like that ha. they french wouldn't stop telling us about how funny some americans are. twas a good day.

we also had our christmas conference this week. at the conference, we watched excerpt from a movie that is called Iron Will. i would recommend watching it, cause after our conference that's all i wanted to do. it's about this kid who does everything that it takes to win a sled race and how he does it. you'll have to watch it and tell me what you think. they related it to missionary work and there were a lot of golden things. it talks a lot about how if we really want something then nothing can hold us back from it. it all depends on the desire though. if we don't want it enough then we probably won't get it. there were also a lot of other great things and quotes, but i think you would like it a lot. we have a good president and he has a good wife.

oh also, as to our christmas party where we were supposed to do something, we decided to play and sing o holy night cause we couldn't think of anything else to do, so we got that all ready, did some practicing in any off time that we had waiting for rdvs or something and finally got it ready, at least mostly, and then we go to the party to perform and such. so we go through the whole night, and as it turns out, no one who we had told that we were doing something had ever told anyone else i guess, so we didn't do anything haha. raté. but on the other hand, we did have some good food. and also, the next day, the ward gave us both huge christmas presents filled with candy and yums and such. we have soooo much junk food in the apartment. especially since elder christensen got like 7 packages this week. so we're gonna be fat. at least we do ab ripper X in the morning so we're fine. maybe.

well, as to other things, there is a letter in the mail for you mom and dad, and as to christmas presents, you'll have to wait everyone. sorry but hopefully you still love me. me and elder christensen are putting together a joint package that we will send home someday here to either you or his parents and then you will be forced to go eat dinner with them or something to go retrieve your things. anyways, i'm going to talk to you tomorrow, so you can have a more detailed report of the week then.

love you and have a merry christmas! Unto us is born this day in the city of david a Savior which is Christ the Lord. remember the reason!

Sunday, December 16, 2012



well we made it!! we're safe and sound here in compiègne, and everything is just going dandy. where to start though....

so, as to the work in compiègne, when we got here, there had been a recent baptism of about 6 months of this kid who had seen the book of mormon musical and decided he wanted to be baptized haha. too good. he's a 14 year old kid who watched the musical somehow and then looked up the hours of church online and then from there he came to church and was baptized about a month later haha. too good. but other than this kid, there hasn't been really anything going on for the last little while. it was time for a whitewash. not cause they were bad missionaries or anything, it was just cause they had been here for a bit and they had already told themselves that nothing works and yada yada so voilà we're here! and honestly, it's soooooo good. i love it here. so many things to report though. hmm. maybe i'll just go day by day.

so wednesday, we got here into compiègne around 3-4, and from there we got to find our appartment. the other elders had drawn us a little map and elder reed had a little explained it to me before leaving, so we found it easy enough, but it was still quite a challenge to get all of our stuff there. here's the thing. so one of my suitcases has broken already (the duffel bag looking one) but there was an old suitcase in our appartment in caen that wasn't it terrible shape, so i did a little surgery on it and got it ready to go. oh ps, you know the vacuum bag things that you can use to pack and stuff? i wish i had those here. so we actually went out to look for them the other day, but couldn't find anything so guess what we used instead which worked actually surprisingly really well? just garbage bags haha. stuffed everything in them and sucked the air out and voilà. works like a charm. anyway, back to story. so i get all backed, and we leave the appartment in caen. we walk out the door, walk about 10 meters, and guess what breaks? the handle on this suitcase haha. and that wasn't even what i repaired. (which means my repair job was terrific btw). so it now no longer has a long handle for pulling it and the short handle is already broken, so all there is is a small handle on the side. but, on the bright side, this suitcase is one of those 4 wheel ones, the only problem is that it only has 3 left haha. but, what we did is we tied my scarf around the handle on the side and we pulled it around like that the whole day haha. it was so ridiculous. de plus it had only 3 wheels so it fell over all the time and everything. it was gnarly. but finally in the end we made it there. we'll see if i decide to buy a new one or not. probably too much work. and i should probably only move like once more so it's probably not worth it to waste money on something that will be convient for like 2 days. anyway we'll see. so back on the story, so we get to the appartment, and it was pretty bad... dishes in the sink still and pretty dirty, so that had been our project for any extra time that we have had over the last week. in the mornings or nights or dinner time we just clean. but anyway, so we get home, set down our bags, and get out finding people. that night, we had a terrific night. we fixed about 5 rdvs and got like 7 numbers in the hour or two that we had. also we contacted this girl that i will tell you about later. then later, we get a call from a member and she says, did the other missionaries tell you? tell us what? that you are coming to eat here tonight. nope. well come! okay. haha so we ended up going to the bishops house that night and that was great. it was good to be able to get to grips a little with everything with them. so that was pretty much our day on wednesday.

thurday we had a nice trip down to melun to start doing district leader responsibilities. i did a baptismal interview down there and of course i don't really know paris that well, so we took the train that takes like like 1h15 minutes instead of the one that takes 30 minutes to get out to melun. it was an adventure. but we got it all done and this man william was baptized this weekend. hooray! so anyway, we get home, and then we do a lot of finding for the rest of the day. that's mostly our plans for quite some time here until we get the teaching pool built up. but we're already making a ton of progress. we've fixed a ton of rdvs and not all of them have gone through, but by the time we are done here, this place is gonna be paradise.

friday, we had some cool things happen, did some contacting, taught a lesson on the street, got a new ami, that kinds of stuff. nothing too exciting to report on.

saturday, the money day. okay so here is the thing. here in compiègne, we have a car. but the thing is that at the moment, we can't really drive it. i am too old to be able to drive, until i go to belgium and switch the license, and elder christensen can't drive a stick haha. we found that out today. we got all of the papers ready and did everything so that we would be able to use the car today, and then we get the car, and we first go to the church parking lot to see how his driving skills are. and in the parking lot he did fine, but then we took it out on the road, and that was quite the experience. he has only driven stick once in his life though so it's completely normal. but let's just say that after killing the car about a hundred times and people all around us honking and the car smoking quite nicely, we made it back to the church and left the car there. she's probably going to stay there at the church until i figure out how to get a license cause he doesn't want to drive at all and the car doesn't want him to either haha. so that was an adventure. on the bright side, both of our coats and the inside of the car smell nicely of smoke and unhealthy car haha. oops. ça va aller. but anyway, so we are there at the church, and as we are about to walk out, a family drives up. members. the family azika-eros. she is russian and he is from congo. they have 3 kids and they are just super cute. anyway, so they come up to do the cleaning at the church, and they were kinda hurried we could tell so we offered to help them. at first they said no it's okay but then we said we are going to help you, and they said okay. so we stayed there and helped them clean for about an hour and they were really grateful. their kids also love us so that's pretty good too. so as they were leaving, we told them that we were planning to do some porting in the area, and asked if they had any suggestions on where to go. they said to go in a certain direction and so off we went. to the road right next to the church where you would think that the missionaries had already ported a million times. but not so. so we ported down this road and we met this lady that told us that she would like to come to church one day but not this week. so we're gonna pass by her again later. but then we kept going and got to natalie. and natalie is a champion. she is a lady in about her 50s who has a couple of older daughters and 3 granddaughters. so we talked a little over the intercom, but then she said to come up. so she came down to let us in, we went up, and we had about a 10-15 minute talk with her about god and prayer and everything. she knows there is soemthing there, but she doesn't like giving it a name. so we taught her a little and just had a nice time with her and at the end we asked her what she was doing tomorrow. she said nothing much, so we invited her to church and told her how great it was going to be. so she said okay we'll see how i'm feeling when i wake up tomorrow and we told her okay we'll see you tomorrow. and she laughed and we said bye. now, this brings us to sunday.

sunday was so great. so we show up to church at 9 o clock, the first ones there, and wait for the members to show up. they start filing in and we start greeting them and introducing ourselves and such and they all seem great. then, out of nowhere comes natalie. she shows up and tells us that when she woke up this morning she just couldn't not come today, she just had the feeling she should, and so there she was! so we start talking to her and then comes the best part, a member come up and just pounces on her! she starts talking and tells her about relief society and how the girls are all together and then whisks her away into the room. and then this member for the rest of the day is just her best friend and sits with her everywhere and is just too good. sr. malca. so all in all, by the end of the day, she has had a great time and talks to us about how she would like to maybe bring her daughter and granddaughter next time. soo great. so we are going to see her on friday to answer her question about what is the difference between our church and the catholic. so that'll be great.  it was just so sweet to teach someone the night before and have her come to church the next day. especially when we have nothing going right now. the ward loved it too. speaking of which, the ward loves us. honestly they are so on board. i don't think the relationships with the members and missionaries has been super good before now, but we went all out on member relationships and they are so great. we were just really excited to be there and they have caught the excitement and we already feel like we've been here for a long time cause we are already really great friends with them all. i've discovered that it's all about asking them for things. as you ask them to make sacrifices, they feel the spirit and they want to help more and they feel good about being able to help. it's like that quote by joseph smith about sacrifice. hopefully you know which one i'm talking about. anyway, so that ward is great, the city is great, and life is great.

now as to elder christensen, he is a super good young missionary in his 4th transfer. he's from salt lake area from a little town called i don't remember haha. he just tells people salt lake. i think maybe like east milcreek or something. who knows. anyway, so he's a really young missionary and he reminds me a lot of me when i was his age in the mission. i got put with elder andrus and i just ate up everything that he did. and also beat myself up about how i wasn't as good. so he is kinda beating himself up that he isn't good at anything right now, but he really is and he's learning a lot so that's good. he's a good kid. i feel a lot like elder andrus must have when he got me. hopefully i can help him as much as he did for me.

it's weird for me to be a senior companion for once. this is really the first time that i have been the "senior comp" cause every other time before that we've been co-comps. the only other time was with elder andrus baby, but we were both just as lost as eachother so that was pretty much co comps too haha. so it's fun i guess. the ward loves us and the work is started already to take off, so hopefully we do well. we'll see.

anyway, voilà sur moi. i don't know what else to say and i'm sick of being on a computer, so i love you all and hope you have a great day! a plus!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Turkey Bowl

Off to Compiegne!

bonjour tout le monde!
well, ça y est. i'm leaving caen. off to bigger and better things. off to the city of compiegne! i'm pretty excited. i'm mostly just excited about whitewashing. it should be super fun. so as to details, my area is actually the department of oise. if you type in oise france in google maps it'll show you my area. also, i think we take care of the branch in soissons, so we may be visiting them too. so as it turns out, compiègne is elder reed's blue ville, so he's been telling me a little about it. they have a smaller ward there, but a lot of good people. i think around 50-60 people each week. what is kind of exciting, is the fact that we have a car? weird huh. i'm not sure what i think about it. i think that we'll probably just not use it that often, cause i'd rather walk and bus and stuff but we'll see. we just have to make sure not to fall into the car trap and use it for everything. cause then we never talk to anyone. also with the car, i might be getting an international license. cause as of now, i can't drive the car cause i'm too old, after a year in france, you can't drive anymore cause of laws and such unless you switch your license for an international one. but i'm not sure how that will work when i have to come home... we'll see. but yeah, so we will be whitewashing in, me and elder christensen, and it's going to be a blast. apparently elder christensen is in his 4th transfer, so pretty blue still, but he has a ton of fire. he's from salt lake i think, but as to other details, i have no idea yet. i've talked to him like once before, but i don't know a ton. but we're going to do some great stuff out there. i think that we are probably going to start with ward relations. really get them on our side, cause i hear we have a great ward, and then from there we will have them help us find our family to baptise :) i'm honestly really excited though. it is going to be kinda weird though not being a zone leader anymore. i've been it for a year now, and i feel like i'm going to find myself with a lot of extra time. weird. it'll just take a little time to adjust though and then it'll be fine. i'm excited to be a district leader though. that should be really fun. in my district, there are 3 equipes, sisters in melun, elders in troyes, and us in compiègne. we're in the zone and stake of paris est (east) and guess who my zone leader is? elder szuch, my mtc comp. haha so that'll be fun to work with him. as to how the work was going up there before, i don't have any idea. often it's because it's not going that well that they whitewash it, but not always. we'll just have to see when we get there. i don't really mind if it is though cause it'll be fun to start from scratch and rebuild. just like villeneuve d'ascq all over again. it'll be fun. and it's a beautiful region apparently, so that'll be gnarly to take nice drives through the countryside. mais bon, so that's about all i know about the coming transfer. i'll keep you posted when i know more

anyway, about this week. it was a way good week to leave caen. we had a lot of good stuff happen and so it was a good note. guess what? at church this week, we had 5 families there with us and the sisters! one was a couple that us and the soeurs are teaching, sherry and philippe, she's american, he's french. another was ely and his wife odile and their two kids. another was a muslim man with his french wife that we are teaching and their two kids. then the last two were two mothers, one a recent convert that the sisters baptised, and the other they are teaching. glory has one kid, and abbee has 2. so it was terrific. it really was cool to see all the families coming to church and the power of this goal that we fixed. so yeah, that was so great. normally we only teach ely, but our rdv with him saturday i told him i was leaving and that i hadn't met his family yet so he had to bring them to church! so he said okay and voilà! i love playing that card. if you're going to have to leave, you might as well make the most out of it right? haha

as to the rest of church, it was kinda weird. i realized yesterday just how much people don't listen in church. it was pretty depressing. so i got up in priesthood and announced to everyone that i was leaving. there weren't very many people there though cause it was the beginning of the first hour, so it was fast and testimony meeting so i bore my testimony one last time to tell them i'm leaving and stuff too. and honestly, it was ridiculous. not even the people that were there in priesthood understood that i was leaving. i talked to so many people after that were telling us to have a good week and such and we'll see you next week and all and i had to tell them actually no and then they were all surprised and wondered why i hadn't told them. ridiculous. mais bon, i think that at least most of them realized what was going on by the end. but yeah, it was kinda sad to leave. it really was a bitter sweet feeling, cause after being with these people for 6 months, i had gotten really close with them, so it was hard to leave, but at the same time, i'm now kinda excited to go and to see new things. 6 months is a long time to stay in one place. so it'll be good in the end. i think it'll be just what i need to switch things up and make things exciting again.

oh so another thing that was kinda exciting this week was that we took a trip to lille! elder reed had to go there for his legality, so i went with and we had a jolly old party there in lille. i talked to the couple up there, and they invited us over for dinner, and they also invited cedric and gregory! gregory couldn't come cause he had work, but i did get to see cedric and talk with him a bit. it was so good. he's doing really well. he is now the elders quorom president and he is currently looking for his wife haha. he's doing terrific though and it was good to see him again. also we went to our favorite patiserrie out there and got some yum yums. so all in all a great trip. even if it was 8 hours of train for 4 hours there.

anyway, i'm getting bored of being on the computer and i still have to write president. so ima stop there and wish you all a happy week. christmas is coming soon! hopefully santa comes to the french too! love you! also, at the bottom there, that's my new address! cool cool. loves

Photos of our Conference with Elder Anderson