Monday, September 24, 2012

bonjour tout le monde!

hello! comment ça va? ici à Caen, ça va très bien. this week was an adventure if nothing else. we spent the whole weekend in paris and versailles. it was intense. so the beginning of the week, we didn't do anything to special. just a normal week, just preparing our amis for their baptism! stanley steve and augustine are all going to be baptized this saturday! crazy huh? so that's super exciting. this week is going to be really intense though with us trying to get everything ready, especially since we don't really have the help of the ward on this one.... the bishop isn't very happy because they are trying to get their papers, so they aren't legal in france yet, and it's possible that they never will be. and they don't speak french yet, although they are learning. so at first, he told us that he wouldn't even let them be baptized in his ward, but then we talked to president poznanski, et he talked to the stake president, and we got the approval, cause honestly, who are we to decide who gets salvation and who doesn't? if they meet the baptismal requirements, we have no right to tell them that they can't be baptized. so anyway that was an interesting experience we had with the bishop. but yeah, he's not really excited about that, and our ward mission leader is pretty much less active at the moment. he kinda just avoids our calls and never calls us back and doesn't reply to texts or anything. so it's pretty fun for us. he's the coolest guy in the world, he's just been dmp for forever and he's done with it. he's trying to get released i think. anyway, so it's an adverture. but we'll get it all worked out. at least we've both been around the block a little bit, so we'll be able to get it all worked out. we're just stressing to make sure everything gets done. it's good though.
so anyway, nothing really to report for the first of the week, but then the weekend we just spent partying in paris. on friday we woke up early to go to zone conference in paris. at the conference, we got to give a little training, and we had a nice little object lesson with mnms, so that was fun and we all had a good time. i also learned a lot. then after that conference, we went on exchanges with the assistants. and as usual, it was a terrific exchange. those two are just so good and they helped me a lot. i learned a lot about testifying of jesus christ more and really just increasing my testimony of him. so we saw some pretty cool things that night. we went out to this rdv with an ami, and we show up, and he isn't there. so we say bon, well let's go find the real reason we are here then. so we say a prayer, and we go out and start to knock doors. so that night, we honestly knocked like 10 doors, and we had about 7 of them open for us and 6 out of those 7 said to come back on sunday. talk about effective porting. so that was sweet. then the next day we went out and chased down some less actives with some cookies, but they ended up not being there, so we shoved them in their mail box with a little note :) and after that, we said a prayer to decide what to do, and we ended up walking out and on our way to the car we pass this house, and we decide to ring the bell, so we ring it and as it turns out, it's an american lady that we got to teach a little bit. she's not terrible interested, but it was still sweet to be guided right to her door. and elder gubbay bought a painting from her haha. random fact. her son in law was a killer artist though. anyway, so then that night we went to stake conference and sang in the choir. it was just precious. we had a missionary choir and we sang the mission song and then sang "peuple du monde, ecoutez donc" cantique #170, which i cannot remember what it is in english ha, but it was good. and stake conference was terrific. they talked the whole saturday night session about missionary work, so that was knarly. then the next day we went to stake conference again, on sunday, and after that we hopped on a train to go home. it was a long weekend, but it was really good. and to top it all off, i left our keys in versailles, so we had to call up a member to bring us the extra keys, and it was just a dumb experience. mais bon, c'est la vie. we'll get them back this week when we go up for district meeting. so voilà my week. sorry if it seems really random and not organized, i'm trying to hurry cause it's elder johnson's birthday today, and he has a package coming and we don't want to miss it. so voilà quoi. but bon, love you all and hope you have a terrific week! bisous!

Elder Meyers

Monday, September 17, 2012

starting another transfer

bonjour à tous!
herro everyone. well this week was really good. it was transfer week, so that was kind of an adventure helping everyone get all settled in for transfers. the biggest project for the week was really helping the sister missionaries get on their feet. sister pulupuna and sister mataalii both came in on wednesday night, and that was when it all started. we went and picked them up from he gare with a member, loaded everything into his car, and set off to eat at his house for their first mangez-vous. we dropped them off there and then we headed over to another families house to eat. just a little background on these two, soeur pulupuna is from tonga, and soeur mataalii is samoan haha. so we got in two islanders, and they are both great. soeur pulupuna is in about her fifth transfer, and she is just a bundle of love haha. the ward loves her and she is super funny and just really loves everyone in the ward. soeur mataalii is lost haha. she is a complete blue and this is her first city, so she is really just a typical blue. it's super funny to be around blues again, cause she is just so tired adn doesn't understand really and is always seems a little lost, but she has the fire and is excited to teach the gospel to the frenchies. so anyway, that night, the members both took us home in the same car, and as we got to the appartment, we showed them around, (we had spent forever the last transfer cleaning it because the elders that left didn't really clean at all.....) so we showed them around and got all their suitcases taken up to their rooms and everything, fixed some lightbulbs and everything then got home and said good luck, we can't help you tomorrow cause we'll be in paris all day, but good luck! we showed them where evrything is on the map and then let them go. so then the next day we went to paris, had zone council which was really good as usual, and then the next day we had dmp meeting (ward mission leader meeting) with them. we talked about all of our amis and everything and helped them figure out what was going on, then went to get them their bus passes. so we got those, and told them to meet us a little later at the church to go over their areabook so we can tell them about the ward and everything. so we do that, but they show up kinda late, and we have a rdv, so they decided to just go upstairs and do their weekly planning while we teach the rdv. well, june and judith show up, and also our member friend had also brought a friend. it was this little 16 year old girl, and the lesson that we had planned today was not really a beginners lesson ha... so elder johnson, out of pure inspiration, asks this girl if she would rather meet with the sisters for a bit instead of us. she says yes, so we take her up to the sisters and tell them surprise! they were terrified, but happy, and we went down to teach our lesson. so we taught our lesson, and in all honesty, it went terrible ha, but we got over, and went up to talk to the sisters, and they were so so happy. they had just had a terrific rdv with this girl and she's coming back next week and it was just great. soeur mataalii especially was just so excited and happy to have taught her first real french person, instead of just her mtc teachers. and it was just a nice reminder to see how happy they both were, and how that's how we should be after every lesson. it's interesting how you get used to doing things. cause we're teaching french people about jesus christ, that's kinda a big deal and not something that you do any old day haha. so that was super cool. it was good because our lesson was not really good at all, but that we were able to help these two to teach a good lesson, that was a lot better. i've realized lately that you can have joy that comes from you seeing miracles, but then there is the joy that comes from helping others see miracles, and that's so much better. i guess service to others really does give you a good feeling inside. it's funny cause before, when i had soeurs in my city, they were really experienced and we didn't really have to help them a lot, but with these two, we kinda just feel like their older brothers, out there to help them find people and just to protect them.

so that was mostly our week. a lot of helping other and being a zone leader instead of a missionary. it was really good. as to other things, don't worry about our friend in the ghetto, he was muslim anyway and not really interested, so we won't be seeing him again. so no worries there. our amis are all doing really well too. steve stanley and augustine are all just preparing themselves for their baptism for the 29th! sad part is that this next week is stake conference in Versailles, so they won't be able to go, but it's okay. our other amis are all doing well and everything is just peachy here.

other than that, i don't know what to talk about. everything is great, love you all, and hope you have the best week of ever. (and yes i realize that that is not proper english, i just wanted to say it. normally i would just leave it and not write this little note about how i know that it was wrong, but the problem is that i probably made like a million mistakes like that throughout this letter, and i'm forgetting how to speak english, so i just want you to know that that one there i did on purpose. okay cool) love you!

Elder Matthew Meyers
1 rue de la Délivrande
14000 Caen
La France

Monday, September 10, 2012

ça y est! je reste!


well, transfers came and went, and i am safely staying here in Caen with elder johnson! so that's good, i'm happy about that, especially after the week that we just had. as to changes that are happening, we are going to be having sisters coming into our city. weird huh? haha i swear i always have sisters around. but it's good, that's just what our ward needs cause there is a lot of sisters work here. and by that i mean a lot of single ladies that need to be visited that we can't due to their singleness. so that'll be way good. we'll see how the transition goes. it'll be good for the ward though. one of them is going to be a blue too so that'll be exciting. anyhow, this week was wayy good. guess how many lessons we taught? the most frustrating number in the world. 19. how lame is that huh?? i was so mad. one away from our goal of 20 lessons that we fixed at the beginning of the transfer. to have a 20 lesson week. but no, we had to be lame and only teach 19 haha. honestly it's really interesting how attitudes and expectations change over time. because anytime before this, i would just be exstatic to teach that many lessons, but now all i can think about is how many more we could teach and mostly the fact that it doesn't matter how many people we teach if we don't baptize anyone. so we really neeeed to find that person or those people who are going to be baptized this next transfer. we're working on it. we still have our two baptismal dates for the 29th, but we are going to find at least 2 more for this transfer. it'll be way good.

as to all of our amis, steve and stanley are both doing good. they are both in a really hard situation, but they are both dealing with it well. hopefully they can get their papers one of these days... on va voir. we also have june and judith, who are both 7th day adventists. everything is going along well with them, they are having some blocks about the bible and book of mormon and stuff, but we've planned a really good lesson for next time that will hopefully clear up a lot of their questions, and i can see them both getting baptized this next transfer. we'll see. they are both super cool though and we always have fun lessons with them. next we have olga, who is a russian psychologist. she is pretty intense. but we have been talking about the plan of salvation lately and she's been really enjoying it. then we have shery and philip. shery is the american lady and philip is her french husband. i think i told you this already, but her son and his wife (who are both strong members from america, they live in missouri i think) came this last week and will be there for about 5 weeks, so they are going to come to church for the next 4 weeks, (seeing as they already came this week and had a way good time. :) she is honestly ready to be baptized, we just have to help philip feel the spirit and then they will both go together. hopefully we can even do it before her son leaves, cause then he could baptise them. that'd be sweet. they are good though, we're going over there this week and we'll get to teach philip for the first time, so that'll be good. as to other people, we have the family bamélé. leo and sylvie and their nephew brandon. he is from togo and she is french, and they are both about 50ish i'd say. they are super good, we've been teaching them for a long time, but they came to church for the second time this week, and it was great. so hopefully we can get them in the habit to come to church and then after that, i think they will get baptized too. they are super nice and they always agree with everything we teach, they just need to decide that they are ready to make the commitment. also, exciting note, this week we had 8 amis at church. honestly it was the best week ever. 19 lessons which is a record for me and then 8 at church which is also suppppper good. missionary work is so fun. i luv it. i wuv france.

this week we also had our exchange with the APs. and that was really good too. i went with elder saguibo, and it was so fun. he is just a really fun loving guy that really easy to talk to and just to have fun with. we honestly had the best time just contacting people. he really reminds me of elder andrus and how we used to contact. cause elder johnson is a really good worker and everything, but he's pretty intense in his contacting. it's kinda just straight down to business. but me and elder saguibo just had the funnest time joking with people and talking to them about the gospel. that's how missionary work should always be. but it was good, we taught a couple of people and we had a lot of fun and i learned a lot. i really enjoy going on AP exchanges and just absorbing everything. c'est bien.

okay so intense experience that we had on sunday night. so we went out to teach someone in an area of caen called grace de dieu. honestly it's just so ghetto. it was intense. it's where alllll the poor people live. and all the africans and muslims that are trying to get legality for france. just really desperate people. so anyway, we go to teach this person, and he meets us at the tram stop and then we walk to his apartment. it's about a 5 minute walk, and we get there. as we are walking along, he's telling us how this place isn't a very safe place, and we believe him haha. there is music blaring and just a lot of shady people walking around. just people who would do anything to get out of their situation. so we walk into his apartment building and it's just shady. we start walking up to his apartment, and we walk up the first round of stairs, and we get to the top of that flight, and on the top there is just something that looks like red paint all over the ground. we walk over it and as we are walking up the rest of the stairs our friend there looks back and said "blood." it was a puddle of blood! crazy huh?? so we taught him quickly and got out of there as fast as possible and are not going back anytime soon. so that was a nice reality check. it's funny how things like that don't even really make us scared though as a missionary. we felt like we should get out of there, so we followed the prompting, and it's just cool because we know that as we follow those promptings we don't have anything to worry about. at least if we're not stupid. so that's what we did, and everything was good. a lesson learned. also, another contributer to not being scared could be that my comp is 6 foot 5, 280 pounds. he eats people haha.

well, that's about everything that i did this week. we taught a lot of people and had a lot of fun. i hope everything is going well there in the states! also, i just barely tried to type with an american keyboard again, and it's terrible. i can't anymore. completely forgot. so i'm probably going to have to use a french one for forever cause i'll be too lazy to switch back and get used to it haha. well, i love you all and hope you have a great week! hugs and kisses.

Elder Matthew Meyers
1 rue de la Délivrande
14000 Caen
La France

Monday, September 3, 2012

the chronicles of caen

well, everything is terrific. how goes it at the home? i sent some pictures home so you can see all the exciting things that i'm doing here in the beautiful city of caen! i'm loving life here. everything is going great. this week was really a terrific week with the members. we gave a training this week about working with members and loving them and our amis, and it was super good. so this week we've really been trying to apply the things that we taught. first off, we went to visit a couple members. we went to the family lefoyer, and it was super good. we read a talk that is called the case study of sister susan fulcher, and it was super good. it really talks about how to work with members and how this missionary completely turned a ward around and just lit it on fire. you can prolly find it on the internet if you want. but anyway, the biggest thing that i took from it was attitude. having a positive attitude about missionary work towards the members and just telling them how much we love it. cause honestly, i've had some companions that just try to be the martyr and talk about how hard missionary work is and how hard it is to be away from home and everything like that, but honestly i love it, and it brings me so much happiness. just the simple fact of telling people that changes them completely. we shared a spiritual thought just about how happy we are on missions and how just the fact to share the gospel makes us so happy, then told them it's not just us that can feel this, but you guys can too! you can have this joy too. it just simply comes from sharing the gospel. so that was really good, and the members seemed really inspired and excited to do missionary work too. so that was sweet. then sunday was stellar too. what we did is that we made a calendar to pass around to the members during relief society (cause it's obviously the women who are going to invite us over since the men always just say idk i'll have to ask my wife haha) that had a couple of scriptures on it and a message from us about how we'd really like to come over and really get to know them so we could all work together and such. so we passed that around, and it actually came back to us really filled out. we have about 3 rdvs with members each week for the next month or so. so that was stellar. and hopefully we can get them all excited about missionary work too. then after, we had testimony meeting, and it was great. we had about half of the testimonies that were about missionary work. about how teaching with the missionaries has blessed them and how we all have to help the missionaries and invite them to eat and such haha. it was super good. kinda awkward to translate since it was all talking about how great our missionaries are and such, so that was weird to say back in english, but it's fine. oh also, i don't know if i ever told you, but we do an english translation in our ward. there are often americans that come to see the normandy beaches and we have some amis who speak english, so that's fun. it's super super hard though. i had no idea how hard translating was until i had to do it. and it was killer. by the end of sacrament meeting i'm just pooped. it's great. so that was great seeing the members getting at least a little excited about missionary work. 
hmm. i can't really think of any other things going on here. all of our amis are doing great. we had a sweet rdv with stanley the other day, he's just super funny and he finally really opened up to us and we joked around and it was sweet. the poor guy though is in a sticky situation... he's from nigeria and he's here in france trying to get legality, but he's not in the system yet, so he's half living on the street... he sometimes sleeps at his friends house, but sometimes he sleeps in the train station.. it's super sad. there are honestly a ton of africans here that are trying to get legality but it takes forever and it's really hard because while the try they have almost literally nothing... it's really really humbling seeing people like this who don't really have anything and see how happy they are. turns out happiness doesn't come from having everything after all. that's one lesson i've learned. happiness comes from being happy with what you have. one of my favorite talks is the one from elder uchtdorf in relief society, forget me not. the part about charlie and the chocolate factory is golden. i'm a fan. so there's the sad note for the day. the worst part is that we can't do anything for them. mais bon..

anyway, to end on a good note, we have a bunch of great people that we are teaching right now. we are teaching this american lady, i don't know if i've told you, but her son is a member in the states, and he's coming up for the next 5 weeks, so they will all be coming to church for the next 5 weeks! so that'll be super great. cause the problem isn't the american lady, but it's her husband, who is a french guy who we don't get to see that often but who we're working on all together. cause she would love to get baptized, but she won't until her husband will. so this is our chance to have them all at the church and for them to have just a terrific experience. we're excited. also, mother, thank you for your testimony in one of your recent-ish letters about how things always go better when you put scripture reading and prayers and just heavenly father first. i shared it with this lady last week and she really enjoyed it. so thanks! thanks for all the support and everything that you do! love you all! have a terrific week! à plus!

Elder Matthew Meyers
1 rue de la Délivrande
14000 Caen
La France


it's been forever since i've sent photos! so here you go. hopefully it works. explanation is as follows.
me elder andrus, elder whatcott and elder johnson in the car in mantes la jolie!

 typical normandy


juno beach

tea party!

the basilisk of lisieux

the everyday meal here in caen! wraps :)

the package opening