Monday, December 27, 2010

Well. I think we pretty much hammered out most of our nuts and bolts during our 2 and a half hour conversation on Christmas :) SO. GOOD. There's a good way to make you miss home. Even if it is a 'home' that you've only seen pictures of.

Here is the moral of the story: I LOVE it here. Let me just make you a little list of the things I love: the city of Brest, the ocean, our car, lighthouses, the 5 hour train ride here, the members, Christmas, Elder Huff, patisseries for breakfast, and else. You could say that I am the happiest I've been on my mission. Eek!

Our very first morning here Elder Huff(lepuff) and I drove out to Le Conquet. It is the furthest west penninsula in France and the closest that we're ever going to get to America. We could've swam. We just drove out there, walked around the beach and the lighthouse, ate patisseries and talked about everything we wanted to do during the transfer. We both took our family pictures and stuff out there so we could get to know each other. I like him a lot. Its been the best first week with a new companion so far.

Ok, Christmas. Seven hour long, seven course meal in the middle of the Bretagne country side. Chicken, escargo, vegetables, shrimp, scallops, salmon, cheeses, foie gras, ice cream, fruit, macarons, etc, etc. I gained like 2 kilos.

Christmas morning we opened presents and I was highly relieved to see that all my presents weren't 'thermal underwear' like mom had declared on the package. Phewww :)

There is a 'missionary grandma' here that gives us lunch every sunday afternoon named Mami-cia. She is like 85 and I just want to hug and kiss her. She had us over for Christmas eve and she treated us like kings. She reminds me a lot of my own grandma. Hah, everytime she would crack a joke she would turn to me with a great big smile and make sure I was laughing. She is the CUTEST.

On Wednesday I was alone for 8 hours while I was waiting for Elder Huff to get here. I was playing piano at the church all alone when a guy rung the doorbell. He asked me about some people that I didn't know, and where they were. I was like "franchment monsieur, j'ai aucune idée." I was about to turn him away when he told me his name was Frank. Frank?! I remembered his name from what the old missionaries in Brest had told me. We I invited him in and him and I sat down and had ourselves a little lesson. I played a song for him on piano too :) We mainly talked about families and Christmas, but it was way neat.

I gave a talk yesterday about L'amour du Christ. The love of Christ. It was the first talk I've actually given in France. It went way well. It was all about Christmas.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It has snowed almost every day this week. The problem is that Paris is just not equipped for snow and so it becomes a bit of a problem. For example, church was canceled yesterday because of 3 inches. Then it rained the rest of the day, then it snowed all night and now we have about 3 more fresh inches. Moral of the story is: bad weather puts a damper on missionary work. I guess its pretty though :)

We have a mini missionary with us this week. I have learned so much french being around him all the time. I want a french companion bad. Yesterday we tromped around outside all day delivering the gingerbread cookies that mom sent me the mix for. It worked out well that i got to say goodbye to a lot of people because there was no church.

Umm, we're in the middle of Paris right now because I wanted to come up for P day before getting shipped 600 kilometers away to Brest. Its pretty sloshy with all the snow.

Oh! We set a baptismal date with one of our amis! His name is Esaie. It is a 30 something year old black man that we found knocking doors during my first transfer. Well, we have been teaching him slowly and steadily ever since, and now he's going to get baptized just after I leave!He has come such a long way; He used to smoke two packs a day and now he only smokes one cigarette every other day. We have the goal for him to stop completely on Christmas day. We were in the rendez-vous talking about baptism a bit and i was like "Esaie, here's what we're going to do. We're going to pick a date, then we're all going to get down on our knees and you're going to pray about it. We're going to be especially attentive to what we feel and what the spirit tells us. After we finish praying I want you to tell me what you feel." So we picked January 15 and he prayed about it. As soon as he said "le quinze janvier" in his prayer I literally felt a sparkle come into my heart. Afterwards he said he felt good about it and the he wanted to do it. Woo!! :)

One last thing: for a long time I've been trying to get Elder Hann to tell me what he wrote about me on the confidential report to President that he writes once a transfer as a district leader. I thought it was because he had written something bad that he wouldn't tell me (because sometimes we haven't seen eye to eye). Well later while I was talking to someone at a train station he told the sisters what he had written. Sis McClaine said he had written that I was the reason why Evry has investigators and that I was the reason why Evry was doing so well. I thought it had been bad!

One more last thing: remember Sony? the golden golden investigator we had that dropped off the face of the earth? We started teaching him again!!! He is just as golden as ever. That is a good thing to leave Evry on :) I'm sure he will get baptized soon.

Christmas love,
Elder Coburn

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ohkay. I love being a missionary. You can't really describe the lifestyle, but it is SO FUN. You live in a place for a while, move to a different place, become an expert on whatever city you live in, have the BEST people around you, and love love love it. I love France and I love Paris. I live all the missionaries.

First things first, I'M GETTING TRANSFERED TO BREST :) It is the very North Eastern penninsula of France (the closest I'm ever going to get to the U.S. on my mission). Apparently it is gorgeous, like my mother. It is a 6 hour train ride from Paris. Talk about a big mission. So... we are on the coast out there, we have a car, and the branch is about 30 members. We are whitewashing Brest, which means my companion and I are both going to be new there and the old elders are out. So, we kind of have our work cut out. I like that. Basically I've heard nothing but good things.

I will be sad to leave Evry, but I have wanted a change for a while. Elder Hann will be staying here for Christmas to claim our 4 dinner appointments (I don't know how its going to go in Brest with such a small branch). Elder Hann will be training a new elder here in Evry. Evry must be getting sick of "bleu" missionaries. Hah, at least the bleu will have lots of Christmas love to welcome him :)

I went to Versailles twice this week. Once for mission conference, and once for a stake christmas concert.

Mission Conference. Best day of my life. I was literally smiling the entire day. 150 missionaries from all over France and Belgium in the same room. The whole mission only gets together like once a year, if that. It is so expensive to get the hundreds of train tickets that the mission has to get permission from the Area Presidency (its like 150 euros for an average missionary to get there. do the math). Anyhow, it was the best. We talked a lot about how as missionaries we were forordained. We talked about the chances of being one of 150 "brave and noble ones" in the Paris mission, out of a world of billions of other people who don't yet have the call that we are blessed with. I think this is going to be the best Christmas I've ever had :) I have never felt so tangibly the love that the Savior has for me than I did while sitting in the middle of that room listening to the Spirit. That is the meaning of Christmas. I have a goal to give out a Book Of Mormon everyday until the end of the year as a Christmas present to someone on the street, in a train station, or anywhere. It's working really well so far.

On Friday night Elder Hann and I made tacos. Good, normal, tacos. Well, after I put the emmental cheese on my taco, I noticed that itwas actually a little moldy. Like, blue and fuzzy. Well, I've been in France for a while and I like to think I'm not scared of moldy cheese anymore, so I pulled off the bigger blue parts, said "to heck with it," and ate it. FAIL. I woke up a stinking two in the morning and threw it up. I haven't thrown up since I was like in junior high. Eww, eww, eww. I guess there are some types of cheese that aren't supposed to be eaten moldy.

One of our dinner appointments this week was with a beautiful French family. We had tartiflette (best thing of my life). Thats beside the point though. They have a 2 year old and a 4 year old girl. Of course we played barbies the whole time. Victoria, the 2 year old ran around the whole night yelling "missionaire!!" whenever she wanted me. Then she would always laugh and act embarassed. When we were leaving Victoria tried to bisous me on the cheeks. I died on the inside because I wasn't allowed. A few days later I had a dream that I bisoused her and it was the best. At church Victoria kept running down the isle to me during sacrament meeting loudly wispering "missionaire!" I told her parents about the dream then they tried to tell me missionaries were allowed to bisous if it was little children! Ugh ugh ugh! Well, somebody might be getting a bisous next week before I leave Evry.

One more thing. Elder Schwind just became the an Assistant. He was my zone leader before and I've been on several exchanges with him. Yesterday at the Christmas concert he told me about when the decision was made to send me to Brest. He said they were talking about where to send me and he told President "Elder Coburn has the ability to talk to someone on the street, and have them immediately like them." Then President said "Brest." That really touched me.

All my love,
Elder Benjamin Quinn

Monday, December 6, 2010

First of all. I GOT MY CHRISTMAS PACKAGE :) Best day of my life. Mom, you said that that Christmas tree of love was an inspired idea, and I am here to say it was. I cried when I was reading it. Not too much though, I am a man remember. The Christmas tree is now up on my wall, with all the wrapped presents below it. It is our only tree :)

WE GET TO TALK ON THE PHONE IN 19 DAYS!!!! I don't have a countdown or anything though. Yesterday we had a lesson about Elder Ballards talk. It was the one when he talked about the relationship between fathers and sons. If anything has made me miss home lately more than that, I don't know what it was. I have a good dad ya know. Le meilleure, je dirais.

The other morning I was on exchanges in a town named Torcy with the zone leaders. When I came out of the shower there were two 'dead' elders lying on the floor with ketchup all over their white shirts and frothing from their mouths. Then the third elder turned the corner and held me at gun point. Cap gun point that is. Then the ketchup zombies started chasing me so I spent ten minutes running around the apartment not trying to get ketchup on me.

Fontainebleau in the snow last week was probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I couldn't have lived there though. Napoleons bed was too short for me.

We had family home evening with the Kamande family (just the dad is a member). I brought paper and markers and then me and all the kids drew the plan of salvation for our lesson. We sang hymns and played games too. Then we had a fab dinner with them. Like, FAB. We're doing the same thing tonight.

I don't know how long mom waited this year to turn the heat on, but we just barely got our radiators to work this week. It has been FREEZING. Sometimes we would open the front door and use a fan to blow in warm air from the hallway. Well, a guy from the ward came, fiddled with sonething, cleaned a filter, and now we're warm.

So far we have 4 Christmas invites from members. The bummer is that transfers are on the 22nd. I may not even be here to reap the bounty. Oh well.

I am having a 1/4 life crisis. I'm just a boy still, why do I keep growing up? I want to stay this age forever. Or at least for like 5 more years. I feel like I know everything, but I hardly know anything. Do all kids go through that? I remember thinking the same thing when I was 15.

At church yesterday we had a Christmas meal after all the meetings. Why did I come to France for my mission? Food.

Speaking of, we had a second lesson with the Kamandes later in the week, but we didn't want them to feed us because they have so much lately. We told them that we could only stay an hour, then we had to go. Then we walked by the kitchen and saw dinner cooking. Fail. Then at the end she told us she had made something for us. She ran into the kitchen and came back out with a chocolate cake. A WHOLE CHOCOLATE CAKE. It was huge.

I got to skidaddle.

Elder Benny Boy C
In a bit of a rush today. We are doing emails then running off to Fontainebleau while there is still snow on the ground :) Fontainebleau was Napoleon's crib a few hundred years ago. Cool yeah? Today is the first day of snow this year too- we have about an inch. Elder Hann is peeing himself.

Well, its been another fab week. We had our zone turkey bowl on Friday so I still got a taste of Thanksgiving despite being in France. Our team was the 'Stem of Jesse' and we played the 'Golden Calves.' I hate to brag, but I had three touchdowns down the length of the field, intercepted a few, and threw the game winner touchdown in the "next point wins" stage. But I don't wanna brag. Ohkay...

To go back to Evry afterwards we had to go through Paris, but there weren't any trains there for over an hour. Well... friday night date night anyone? Paris is BRILLIANT during Christmas.

This week we saw one less active man for the first time. He is 57 and lives all alone. We just sat there and listened to him for 2 hours. He cried a couple times. There were a lot of times we could've said something to "help" him, but mainly we just listened. At the end he told us that it was the best meeting he has had with missionaries in 15 years. He said "You know what? I'm going to come to church on Sunday." And he did.

This week after English class it was POURING. Well, we didn't have any umbrellas so Sis McClaine and I wore trashbags with little holes for our faces. I don't think French people do that much, because they sure looked at us funny.

On Saturday we helped an old lady move basically all day long. I guess I need to excercise more because I could barely move on Sunday. She had so much stuff. So. Much. Stuff. I'm more than a little bit glad I'm not there to help with our move. Good luck!!

Oh, also yesterday I almost threw up at a lunch appointment with some Africans. I kind of wanted to throw up because I thought it would be a good story, but I didn't. But eww. I used to love African meals. We've got another one tonight though so I'm holding my breath.

We got two referrals at church yesterday. Straight up, cold, hard referrals. That was a new experience :)

Well, sorry this is really rushed. I love you. Off into the snow! :)

Elder Coburn