I'm staying in Evry another transfer!! At first I was not happy at all. I wanted to leave so bad. Then Mama's baptism happened and I realized how much i would have been leaving behind and now I can't believe I ever wanted to leave. There is so much left for me to do here before I leave. Obviously Mama's family hasn't been baptized yet :)
It has been raining for the past 3 days straight. So what do I do? I go and buy an umbrella today. But then of course it stopped raining. It is a pretty umbrella though and I like how it looks when I stash it under my arm. French... sort of ;)
Mama's baptism was BEAUTIFUL. I could have a baptism every day. There were about 30 people there and 13 of them were nonmembers (woohoo!). She really likes the bishop so he was the one to baptize her. The sisters told me later that afterwards Mama was dancing in the bathroom drying her hair and singing praises to the heavens. Yessss. I love her in all her African-ness. There were 6 missionaries at the baptism and so we sang "C'est le Christ." Aka, "This is the Christ." The song that President Faust wrote the words for.
At church there were several members that gave her little gifts to welcome her. Elder Hann and I gave her a framed picture of all of us :)
Food. Mama and others made BUCKETS of African food for the baptism. Sometimes I forget I am white.
Mama's daughter Nadege came with her 6 children (the 5 usual plus the baby). Better yet, her husband came! Before, he had been the one that didn't want the kids to get baptized. Well, after a heavy dose of the Holy Gost and a few select members at the baptism he can't wait to have us over! I have a great feeling the family will be baptized in this next transfer. The kids and the mom all want too and now the dad is way open :) Good thing Elder Hann and I have at least 6 more weeks in Evry to help the work some magic. Speaking of Nadege... at the baptism we found out that before Mama had ever even met us, Nadege had had a dream of Mama meeting two "monsieurs" who would "lead her to the truth." Do miracles happen? Yes they do.
Side note: the man on the computer next to me knows I'm American so he is making an especially valiant effort to talk to himself in english. Haha.
Church yesterday was so good. It is better every week. I would have cried if I was getting transfered. Nadege and the kids came but the dad couldn't come this week. This ward is like my family now. It is the "Springboro" ward of southern Paris. I can't imagine leaving. It is a testimony to President Staheli being guided by revelation. I had told him how bad I wanted to leave and he knew to keep me here.
Mama's confirmation was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. The man who did it is the sweetest old man who is from the same country as Mama (Congo Brazzaville). He did half of the confirmation in French and half in KiCongo, their native language. As soon as he switched into their native tongue there was a power that came into his voice and ran through the circle of us. Only a few people in the congregation could understand the words, but everyone could understand the feeling. Frere Madzela who gave did the confrimation is one of my heros. Afterwards Nadege (who could understand the language) said that is was a "real" blessing. She was really touched.
There is a family that is moving into our ward from England. There two little kids are named Finley and Felicity and they are CUTE. Only the dad speaks French. I was telling Finley that all the girls will like him in the future because he'll be able to speak French and English perfectly. He almost threw up at the idea of girls liking him. The family gave us a ride home because it was raining and we are going to go help them paint later this week. Yes, there accents are rad.
Little miracle: a man named David walked into the church on Sunday and told us he had been looking for the "church of Christ" and had found us online. "Come on in!" we said. His favorite part was little 5 year old Felicity's testimony in English. One of her three sentences was I "I love Jesus." David clapped. Haha, hopefully we'll start teaching him soon.
Next item of business: this week we have at least 5 members having us over. I'm almost sure that is some kind of record for the Paris mission. We had to schedule some for the luch times so that we can have the evenings to teach.
Speaking of teaching. You know Didier who has been progressing really well? We are a pinkey's length away from having a baptismal date with him for the 27th of November. It always turns out to be a miracle when we go over to see him. We were talking about baptism and I suggested Saturday the 27th. He immediately looked at his brother and laughed in an "I can't believe is sort of way." Turns out that his birthday is the 28th and he had just promised his brother (who is a member) that starting on his birthday he was going to be a new person. Well, what a better way to do that than be baptized. He believes that us telling him the 27th was inspired by God. Frankly, it was :) He said he already knows the answer will be yes,but he is praying about it this weekend and will call us tomorrow.
This mornings adventure: tromping through a national forest in the rain with Africans and looking for mushrooms. Apparently these mushrooms are really expensive if you buy them, so there are several people that go and hunt down there own. It is kind of like a race to find them every time it rains. We went with two of my favorite members. They are brother and sister and apparently have been eating these 'shrooms for 20 years. HAH. Well, they are big mushrooms but we only found four. Also, it was freezing and wet. But way way fun. If nothing else I'll have a good dinner table story about mushrooms for when I'm an old man.
We eat crepes a lot. I like to fancy myself as a crepe master and a quiche master. I can make crepes that are about two dinner plates wide. Mmm. I wish I was French.
Well. Things are going well.
I love you. Thank you for every single little thing you do for me.
Love, Elder Ben Coburn