Monday, September 10, 2012

Donald and the gangsters

In addition to our weekly email this week we were also lucky to receive a good old fashioned snail mail letter from our missionary. (whom we have been know to refer to as "Frenchy" on occasion)  We knew that he had written us but we weren't sure when it would come.  It took about 2 weeks in case you were wondering.  :)
Here is some of what he shared in his email.......

Dear Mom,
Not much new going on here.  Just doing the work ya know? Time is flying by.  I just have one more week till the end of this transfer....what's up with that craziness? I hope you didn't post that picture of me under that big sign.  (I did) Because it says hugo balzac. Haha I'm still a 19 year old boy ya know.  (I'm so naive ....I didn't even notice that.  oh boy. ;) That's Ry for ya.  )
Yesterday I went to a members house and had crepes....heck favorite!
Contacting new people is really hard here.  The french are really tough on the outside so it's hard for them to open up, but we work really hard.  We haven't had another lesson with Mireille....the forest lady....we think she is avoiding us.  haha
We had a baptism this week!  His name is Zhang Jia Jun but I just call him by his english name, Donald, and no, I didn't choose that for him.  I of course wanted optimus prime, but he wouldn't go for that.  He choose Donald because he likes Donald Duck.  :)  I got to baptize him.  It was such an awesome experience.  He is 18 years old and wants to serve a mission.  Isn't that awesome?  If I don't do anything else on my mission, I have already done a lot because he will serve a mission and baptize someone who will serve a mission and so on and so on.  I made a dent in the space time continuum.  . Haha.  That was pretty amazing so look for those pictures.  
We went to zone conference and Elder Teixiera and his wife spoke.  He is a seventy.  It was pretty sweet!  His wife told me to tell you that she loved you all and to read the book of mormon everyday.  :)
.........well I love you so much.  It's been kind of a slow week so not too many note worthy stories.  I taught Elder Han the ghostbusters song.  Donald took us to KFC...the only place in Europe with free refills....and it's freaking Pepsi.  haha (we're a diet coke family)

Here is something he wrote his dad..... is always stressful...that's why the french are really smart and everyone here during the summer gets 5 weeks off.  The men in the ward are just starting to go back to work.  :) I thought you would like that way of thinking.  I know I would.  

Here are some pictures we received. 
 ( I am so grateful for modern technology)

Now....if I still have your attention......Here are parts of his hand written letter.

.......We went "street bording" (just when we go stand on a corner with a's only in the France Lyon Mission.....for now) and we met this young man named Max.  He is from Peru.  We stopped him and talked a little and he ended up inviting us to come to his house to teach more.  So awesome.  
Grenoble is a really tough city to find new investigators in.  The people are kind of rich and they always say, "no, your church is for the poor."  haha Don't they recognize "money bags jags"?  ( this is what we used to call Ry ...inside family joke)

Here is a cool fun France they don't call missionaries green when they are new.  They call them blue.  haha oh silly french...always trying to be hipsters.
In "Preach my Gospel" it says to talk to everyone in it.  Well they need to put ..."talk to everyone except Arabian men with yamika caps and ladies in full ninja suits....because they will freak out at you".  Ha Ha. 
The members here are great!  Some of the hardest working, most spiritual people I have ever met.  They are so great to us.  There is this little girl in the ward who has a crush on me.  She is adorable.....I can't understand what she says but adorable! :)  She always comes up to me and says in french .."ask me my name" I do and then she says "Emily" and runs away.  Ha ha 
People here don't really shake hands....they give the double cheek kiss.  It's really funny....all I can think about is how Jordan would hate it.  Ha Ha  Speaking of kissing....people are always making out in waiting for the train and bizarre. I'm kind of used to it now. 
It's strange how fast the days go by when you are busy. 
The food here is aweome.  I don't know if I can come back home.  I mean I love getting fresh bread and eating it when I want.  I can't go back to "grandma sycamores" .  It's not the same.  ( a brand of bread he used to eat up at school)
One day I was finishing up my etude en equipe (companion study)
and I didn't really want to do my language study so I thought i'd just read my scriptures.  While I was reading in Judges 12 I read verses 5 & 6.....Go read them now before you continue or you won't get it....

(here are the verses.........
5 and the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay 
6 then said they unto him, say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right.  Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at the time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.)

............I will never skip language study again.  :)
My french is getting really good actually.  The members tell me so.  I can understand a lot and it becomes so daily.  I even tell some jokes in french. So Ouais!  We went to a family night tonight with some members of the ward and it was so great.  They are a family of Islanders....So Gentil.  I love the people!
Don't get me started on the suits! Can you say classy? 
The people here are so classy.  When you go to their house, they always ask you if you want a drink and they bring out tiny glasses of juice or sparkling water on a freaking silver platter! Why isn't America classy like that?  Shoot! We gotta step up our game....silver platter status.  
They have this stuff here called Sirop. You mix it with water or sparkling water or milk and it is so delicious! I will bring it to America and become rich.  haha
Some good news....I lost some weight.  I weigh 73 kilograms....too bad I don't know who much that is.  ;) 
Oh and one last funny story.  There is this "guy" (a pimp) and he always comes up to us at the bus stop trying to sell his "wares" or "goods" ...that's what we'll call we decided to sell him our "goods"...the Book of Mormon.  It is so funny.  He is like "no, no never" and we do the same thing to him.  haha He is really nice thought and says he is looking out for us and will give us protection.  Also the mafia really like missionaries too.....all the gangsters love us. :)

So I know that was a lot to read.  I just wanted to share with you what made me smile.  :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

We got some pretty great letters from the boy this week. One for me, one for dad and one for Jordan.  We, of course all share our letters with each other so when ya put them all together it made for a great one.  Here are some of the things he shared with me in my letter......

"We have been teaching so many lessons here. I love it.  All of the people seem to really accept our message. It's great!.  We found 2 new amies (friends - hope you remembered that from last letter....there will be a quiz later)  that are so cool.  They are totally normal and  they don't smoke. :)  I love when we find people that don't smoke.  I really love the scripture D&C 128: 22.  It's about having courage and continually looking forward to victory and never looking back.  Read it!.
 I need to go look for a new suit today because the gray one i bought doesn't fit.  I got too skinny.  It was perfect in the MTC but now it looks like i'm wearing my daddy's suit.  It's that bad.  
It's so nice to hear that I have the support of the members of the ward.  I'm so glad that you guys raised me the way you raised me and I'm happy for all the times I listened to you and didn't listen to you, believe it or not.  All the mistakes I have made in my past have made me a better missionary.....don't tell Trevor that.  Haha Pass my love on to everyone in the ward and tell them "you're welcome" because I pray for them every night. I love you so much and can't wait to hear all the cool stories next week.  I will keep on teaching and you keep on perseverer jusqu'a la fin. (Endure to the end)

Here's a fun story from his letter to his sister Jordan......

I have a cool story for you.  We were walking down the street and these teenage punks were yelling at us from a skate park.  So what do I do?  I went and said hi and told them we're the missionaries for the church.  I told them we weren't Jehovah witnesses.  They said they were sorry.........everyone here thinks we are "jehovah witnesses"  Anyways....they were skating and stunk really bad so I asked them what that thing was that they were doing and they laughed really hard and said " a skateboard".  I told them it looked really cool and wished I could try.  They laughed really hard and I said if I could do it that they would have to listen to a lesson from us and if not then I would have to give them all a euro each.  They laughed and gave me shoes and a skateboard.  Elder Han just laughed.....he knows what's up.  I showed them up.  I was riding the bowl like they had never seen.  They thought I was a professional.  It was hillarious.  They wouldn't listen to a lesson because they said I had cheated but now they will show the missionaries some respect.  Pretty cool huh?  I love it here and I miss you.  Just keep looking forward and everything will work out.  Read D&C 128:22 and look forward to victory. Haha.  I love you and I will have more funny stories for you next week.  

...And here are some snippets from his letter to his dad...

I'm jealous that I missed the wedding (His cousin Emily was sealed in the Logan temple a couple weeks ago) It sounds like you had a lot of fun...but then again...I am in France getting fed all the time.  We call them mangez-vous (you eat) instead of rendez-vous (appointment).  Hahaha   The members here are so nice.  They always want to feed us.  It's so funny, they'll always say "I'll make american food for you"..........I've had cheeseburgers for 19 years..give me something french like duck liver or something....sheesh!   :)
We had such a cool experience this week.  After we had finished fishing, we went to have lunch in the forest.  We saw this lady sitting there so we decided to talk to her.  She was really interested in my plaque (this word translates to be "plate" but Tim informs me that it's probably his name tag)....she was done we told her what we did and gave her a cool little forest lesson and set up another rendez-vous for the next day.  Guess what?  She was really there and she liked our second lesson too.  What an awesome miracle!
there are these little kids that every time they see us they come to get a sticker.  I'm cool like that and I bought stickers for random children haha.  Maybe they will always remember that those guys in the white shirts gave me free stuff as a kid so maybe they will let future missionaries in one day.  So cool.  
I love you pops.  I'm sending some snail mail today so look for that.  I love you and you're awesome. 

Here's a couple pictures he sent.  

We were happy to hear from our missionary.  We are so proud.  

P.S.  Is anyone reading this blog?  :)