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

Thanksgiving Week

bonjour tout le monde!
comment ça va cette semaine?? how are you? here in caen everything is going great. life is good and everyone is doing well and such. this week was a good week, we had a terrific experience with elder andersen, so that was fun. we had a really conference and we learned a lot. it was interesting though because in his talk he talked about so many different things. he just bounced from one experience to another and then another and he just touched on a bunch of different things briefly. he didn't really focus on one thing for a long time. it was interesting. he shared a lot of personal experiences and things that he saw when he was here as mission president of the bordeaux mission. and yes, he did speak french. not for the whole time, but he would throw french phrases in every so often and he told us a story in french. he speaks surprisingly well for it having been 20 years since he has spoken it. so that was a fun experience. we took a cute little picture together and everything so that should be on the facebook page. speaking of which, have you looked at that yet? they always take picture of us and they should be there so if you want to see all about our exciting adventures at zone conference and stuff, allez-y.

annnnnywho. i don't have a ton of experiences that i want to share with you this week and we are kinda hurried on time, so i'm going to talk a little about the coming week. it's going to be intense. so, on thursday of this week, we're having a zone turkey bowl! just like last year, we're all going to the city of Rouen, and we are going to have a nice turkey feast and turkey bowl! everyone is assigned to bring something different and it's byot (bring your own turkey, but since we are in france i think that it will be more so bring your own chicken) and then we will have a nice thanksgiving feast together. it's going to be radical. too bad that the football probably won't be too fun cause we're missionaries and we've learned to not go all out on things like this, but we have two kids in our zone who played college football as wide receivers, so we should have some exciting events. on verra. 

okay random side note, do you guys even know how to pronounce caen? i was thinking about that as i was writing rouen, cause as it turns out these names are pretty weird. anyway, if not, it's pronounced mostly the same way that you would say con as in pros and cons. as to rouen, it's kinda like.... roo-wan. voilà the french lesson for the day.

so the other lesson for the day is a life lesson. so yesterday we taught our amis class in church, and we figured since it was thanksgiving this week, why not talk about that? so we had a nice little lesson on gratitude. (also i was thinking about this, and i don't know how i'm ever going to manage when i don't have a companion. it would be so weird to teach a lesson by myself. hopefully i never get that call haha. jokes.) so anyway, we talked about gratitude and there were a couple of things that stood out to me as we were preparing our lesson. the first thing is that gratitude is not just being thankful for the big things that we are given. it's not just saying thanks when we recieve a huge gift or something like that. it's the act of really searching out these things that we are blessed with. because there are a lot of them. i've realized that the attitude of gratitude changes everything. if we look at the bad side, things will be bad. but if we look at the positive and look for all the blessings that we receive, it's wonderful. i've really learned how much i have to be grateful for ever since i've come here in france and i've been around so many people who really don't have anything. it's opened up my eyes. because i see a ton of people who don't have the everyday things that we take for granted. a house over our head, food to eat, not wanting in anything. you don't realize how great these things are until you don't have it or at least until you see someone who doesn't have these things. it also helps you realize the importance of the gospel. because these people that i am talking about don't have anything, but they have the gospel, and that is everything to them. it's crazy. let's give thanks.

anyway, that's about everything for this week. hope you are having a great week and you have a good thanksgiving! hugs and kisses! buy me something exciting on black friday!  watch out for people like this loves.

La Cuisine!

bonjour tout le monde!

alors aujourd'hui, j'ai décidé d’écrire toute cette lettre en français, et si vous voulez, vous pouvez la traduire. ça marche? chouette.

alors cette semaine s'est bien passée. nous avons vu les belle choses et nous étions bien bénis. c'est sûr que notre père céleste est là pour nous pendant chaque instant!

okay well i figure that you will be too lazy to translate, so i'll continue in english from here. this week was great. so as you can see from the title there, this week was a cuisine week. cooking! elder reed and i have been having a lot of fun trying out new recipes and trying to make them work with all the french stuff we have. it's gnarly. we use butter instead of shortening, and sometimes we really have to go searching for the right ingredients, but it's so fun. we made some really good sugar cookies the other day and since i've been here in caen i've made chocolate chip cookies like 200 times, so we're pretty much professional at that. and the ward loves us for it haha. they were asking for recipes and everything. go fight win! so yeah, we're probably going to be famous sometime and going to go work at a famous restaurant when we get home, but we'll see. so if you happen to have any more quick recipes that you want to sent me, that'd be greatly appreciated :)

so the highlight of the week was definitely the baptism this weekend. the sisters had a baptism of a lady named glory. she is from nigeria (by the end of our stay here we are going to have a nigerian branch started haha) but she has been here for a couple of years now and speaks french and everything. but she looooooves the sisters. so she was baptized this weekend, and guess who did the baptism?? this is the coolest thing ever. AUGUSTINE! our recent convert! cool huh?? we were so stoked. when we heard that she was getting baptized, we told the soeurs (sisters) that they should have augustine do it. and he did. he did so well too. it was so cool to see. reminds me of cedric all over again. too good. so that was amazing, and there were a lot of amis there at the baptism from the sisters and us, and it was just great. with the three baptisms that we have had here recently, it feels like the ward is finally getting excited about missionary work again. so that's good. we're just going to keep it up! and we have 2 baptisms schedules here, one of ours and one for the soeurs on december 1, so that'll be great.

speaking of the baptism on december 1st, raphael is doing really well. he came to church this week, and it was way good. he stayed for all three hours, and he had a good time i think. we had a couple of interesting talks in sacrament meeting, but i don't think he took them the wrong way and he seemed to have a good time. what was even better is that we had a young adult meeting after, and someone told raphael to go to it too, so he said okay and he was there for it and we talked about fhe for tomorrow and all that and he exchanged phone numbers with some people and voilà! it was sweet. he can't come to fhe this week though because he has classes until late, but next week should be good. he's a good kid and our ward is doing a good job. that's honestly exactly what they need here too. cause we have a lot of young single sisters in the ward so we're gonna get him hitched with one of them haha. it'll be great.

oh so i don't know if i have told you yet, but guess what's happening this week on friday?? we have a conference in versailles for all of the missionaries, and guess who's coming and speaking??? Elder Andersen! cool huh??? so we're going to get to hear a real live apostle speak to us, maybe even in french, cause he served his mission here, and was a mission president here, so that'll be so cool. we're excited. i'll tell you what he tell us next week. it'll be stellar i'm sure.

another exciting event of the week was our trip to IKEA. that place is ridiculous. it's soooooo big. it was like a maze. we found what we wanted, and then like 3 hours later we had finally bought it because we had to go through the rest of the maze, and then we had to find what we wanted downstairs and it was just la galère. okay maybe i exagerated a tiny bit, but it was still pretty crazy. honestly that place kills me. i have a hard enough time making decisions like that when there are only a couple of choices, but there are like 300 different choices for each piece of furniture there. i would've died if i didn't know what i was getting beforehand. but on the bright side, we now have some nice new desks for our appartment and we threw out the old dead ones that only stood up when we pinned it against the wall with another desk haha. fun stuff.

so here's the question of the week, how do you help an alcoholic?? so i don't know if i told you about quentin last week, but he was a kid that we a couple of weeks ago and had a rdv with him for last saturday, but then he didn't show up and he didn't answer his phone and we thought he blocked our number and all. so anyway, he called us last monday. he called and said hey i'm at the church, can i see you. haha so we said okay and ran there to the church and talked with him. he's a really good guy and he wants to change, he just hasn't yet. he is 27 years old and he has been an alcoholic for 10 years now. he drinks about 10 bottles a day. so our first couple of rdvs, he was still half drunk, but mostly there, and honestly, when you drink that much, i don't think that you are ever not at least a little drunk. poor guy. so anyway, we started off by telling him about the atonement and stuff, but i'm almost sure that that won't be enough. we need to figure out how to help him temporally too. but i don't know what to do about it. we lost contact with him again this weekend, because he told us that whenever he gets too drunk he doesn't leave his appartment and he definitely doesn't want to come to the church and disrespect it and all, that's why he missed our first rdv. so yeah, that's his situation at the moment, but i don't really know what to do to help him. they don't have any church programs here in france for helping with these kinds of things, and i don't know enough about it to be able to tell him what to do. telling him to stop cold turkey will probably send his body through withdrawals and such so i don't know exactly what to do. so that's our dilemna at the moment. we'll see though.

okay so just to close, this week we had a really cool experience going to visit this member that goes to the coutance branch. we have a member that comes to caen that lives out there, so we went to eat at his house and then after we went to visit this person. so his story, he is an older man who just lost his wife about a month ago, and he's still getting used to life alone. he is such a good man though and has such a strong testimony. we got to go over and visit him and he was just so happy and told us about his life and everything. then he started talking about his wife, and you could just feel the love in his words. so we got to talk about the blessings of the gospel and how we know that we will see them again, and i shared a scripture in Alma 28:12, that is such a good scripture about death, the whole chapter is good. and then he gave us some counsel. he said "Find the right one, and love her with all your strength, and she will give you back that love" gotta love getting marriage advice on the mission haha. but it was so sincere and i just realized again why i am on a mission. to tell people about this great news that life isn't meaningly. there is more after death, and we will be able to see our loved ones again. what greater message is there?

well, anyway, that's about all for the week. hope everything is going good chez vous! i love you all and hope you have a great week!