Monday, December 26, 2011

Well, I don't have that much time to write so I attached lots of pictures, and we'll all be talking on the phone in a couple days anyway :) Christmas time has been very very nice here in Lille. We were invited over twice on Christmas Eve Day and once on Christmas. In France the tradition for Christmas is to eat lots of seafood, so lots of seafood we ate :) It was my first time eating oysters... that was fun :) I don't not like them, but it's kind of like slurping up a giant booger out of salt water. On top of that, the oyster is still alive! Now I understand why mom didn't really want to go to an oyster bar with me in New York. We also got to watch the first 30 minutes of Polar Exress in French which was a THRILL. President said we were allowed to watch Dinsey movies if it was a family tradition. That's the first time on my mission I've done anything like that. Far out, huh?

Let's see... we had a very lovely redndez vous with a lady named Pascale this week. We contacted her a while back and so this week she took us out to get hot chocolate and talk about the Book of Mormon. What a treat! All her children are grown up and she says that she is searching for something in her life. We have our second rdv with her in a few hours at the church and we've invited another member to come accompany us.

On Saturday we have the baptism of Grâce and Prudence. It will be New Years Eve Day. Prudence asked a member to baptize and confirm her and Grâce wants Elder Godfrey to baptize her and me to confirm her. We should have a good weekend :)

Well, I am glad you have had an amazing Christmas out at sea and I am thankful for the email that mom was able to send off to me. For our Christmas call on Wednesday, I was thinking that I could call you guys on the phone at about 7:00 pm my time. That would be... 1:00 in the afternoon for you guys? Would that work? Then I could be at home in my pajamas for the evening to talk to you. I am just going to buy a calling card. If you can try an send me an email sometime to confirm it, that would be great. I can't wait :)

I love you!!!
Elder Coburn

Monday, December 19, 2011

Joyeux Noël times a thousand. Things are going very well.

I have good news, I have bad news, and then I have more good news. The first good news is that when Josée in Reims found out that I was coming to her baptism she asked me to baptise her!!! But... the bad news is that in the end her husband kind of intervened a couple days before and said he needs to know more about the church before she can get baptised. Dang it :( That was hard for me. It was going to be the first time on my mission that I got in the water to baptise someone. It took a good day or two of thinking about it, but in the end I'm better because of it. It is just a challenge for me that I'll look back on and smile. She is still 100% getting baptised, it just won't be me that does it. And that's okay :) Our trip to Reims though was awesome. After picking up my new visa, we went out to eat with Pierre (the ward mission leader) and Adam, hung out with Adam some more, showed Elder Godfrey all around Reims, went and visited Guillaume ( a recent convert that Elder Pieper baptised), and then had a rendez-vous with Josée and her kids. We refixed her baptismal date for the end of the month. Also we went to go see the Christmas market at Reims, which apparently is the 3rd biggest one in France. It seriously was like breathtaking. Then we got back to Lille before bedtime. Good day :)

Anyway, the other good news is the Samuel got baptised on Saturday and there were about 20 nonmembers there!! Samuel's extended family from everywhere came, and we had a good number of our own investigators there. The church building felt like little Africa. It was really really legit. We did lots of missionary work and have some referrals to pass to other missionaries. I would be okay with having a baptism everyweek. After the baptism there was a ward open house, so all the non-members got to see these cool panels that the church put up about it's history in France, and then there was a film about it too, and a fireside later that evening. We were at the church this entire weekend. We snagged three free ward meals out of it. THREE WARD MEALS. This ward is the bee's knees.

More really good news is Grâce and Prudence. They are the 10 and 11 year old daughters of our ami Anne-Marie. It is a little family from the Ivory Coast that was referred by a member. They are all three going to get baptised. At the baptism on Saturday Anne-Marie was "ready to throw her daughters in the water to get them baptised then and there." Awesome. So we went over to their house and organized the baptism for the two daughters to be the 31st of Décember. Anne-Marie is hesistating a little bit for her own baptism, but the girls can't wait for theirs and I'm sure that it won't take Anne-Marie very long to follow their example. So we have a couple more baptisms coming up soon :)

Here's a fun topic: my shoes. Holy crap. I think today is the last day that I am going to were them. The soles of both my black pair and my brown pair are completely cracked in two and so my socks just kind of poke through and sponge up the water on the ground. I've been waiting until the after Christmas sales to buy some new ones, but I think today is the day. The ground is always wet here and so even if it's not raining my feet just get wet and stay wet. The big crack is right at the ball of my feet. When we went to Reims I put on socks, then garbage bags, then another pair of socks on the outside, but my feet still were wet all day :) It's gotten so embrassing that I never rest my foot up on my knee anymore because I don't want everyone to see my socks :) So... we'll see what the stores have to offer today.

Hmm, what else. We are being well taken care of for Christmas. We have two places to go on the 24th, and we are going o the bishops house on the 25th. We have both recieved our Christmas packages (THANK YOU!! and no I haven't pilfered through the loot yet), so our presents are snug under the tree that we kidnapped off the side of the road. It is a real tree that is spraypainted white, and losing hundreds of pine needles daily. Stupid tree. But at least I managed to get another tree after leaving our masterpiece tree in Nancy.

Elder Wood is now "dead." He went home on Wednesday. Now it is just Elder Godfrey and I in our apartment staying warm for Christmas. We went to Paris this week for zone leader council (those things seem like they come around every single week instead of once a transfer). We went to Amiens and went to their district meeting. They have one of the biggest cathedrals in France. We also did a lot of kick trash power finding this week and should have a few new people to go teach right before Christmas. As of tomorrow Elder Godfrey and I officialy only have 6 months left. So we're going on the big ferris wheel tonight to celebrate with Elder Johnson (my mtc companion) who serving in the Lille suburbs. Good stuff.

Well, Merry Christmas. Jesus Christ lives. I love him. I thank Him for His sacrifice and love. I thank you for teaching me of Him. I love you

Elder Coburn

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ma chère famille,
Vous êtes incroyable!!! Je vous souhaite le meilleur noël depuis jamais!!

We have had a pretty good week. Still lookin' up apartments like crazy. We went into Paris this week for Christmas conference. I cried when I read the letters that you guys wrote me. Those Poznanski's are sneaky sneaky :) It was a really good conference. We did white elephant, ate food, sang, had a training, watched a movie, etc...

This next week is going to be one of those super crazy weeks. It's going to be good though. Here is the schedule:
Today, Pday,
Tuesday, go to Amiens (couple hours away) and do training in their district meeting, exchanges back in Lille
Wednesday, exchanges, switch back with Amien
Thursday, go to Paris for ZL conference, drop off Elder Wood at mission home (end of his mission)
Friday, GO TO REIMS!!! I'm going to pick up my new visa, and see the BAPTISM of Josée that Elder Bjerga and I found and taught!!
Saturday, we have our own baptism here in Lille for our investigator, Samuel. Then church open house/ ward meal
Sunday, church, another ward meal

CRAZY. Samuel, our baptism on Saturday is 16 years old. He is part of a recent convert family, and has finally decided he wants to get baptised after having gone to efy. Super sweet :) His family is from Camaroon. And then I am outside myself with joy about Josée getting baptised and about getting to be there. It was super super lucky for things to work out that I will be in Reims on that day :) Remember how she was going to get baptised when I was there but she had to get married? Well, she got married and so now she is getting baptized!! Her three children will follow her when they are old enough. And hopefully the husband too, but I don't know him yet. Reims is still my favorite city from my mission. I love that place.

So. You are departing into the watery depths of the Caribbean this week. Get tan. I wish I could get tan. I have been white white white for too too long.

So. I just barely got a call from Elder Bjerga. He misses you guys. Not that he has ever really even met you :) He remembers every detail about all of you. He even remembers about the last time you guys went on a cruise. He is super jealous that I am getting to go to Josée's baptism. We talked about how amazing it is to be able to bring someone to Christ like that. Dang it, I'm like about to cry. Missions are so good. How can anything be more worthwhile than bringing a family unto Christ? Elder Bjerga and I are always going to have that special connection because of that. The same with all my companions. Seeing two baptisms this week back to back will be something pretty new for me. They don't come around all that often. It will be amazing to see Samuel get baptized here in Lille, but even more than that I think it will be such a sweet experience to be at Josée's baptism. Her whole family coming unto the church started the one sunday morning in Reims when I felt like I should talk to a certain lady on the bus, who turned out to be Berthe, a recent convert that couldn't find the church since she had been in Reims, and then she introduced us to her daughter Josée and her shy little children, and then her other daughter Natalie and her children. Now Josée is getting baptised, the family comes to church, and the rest of her family is still being taught by the missionaries. I can't wait to see all the members in Reims too. This is one of those moments that the scriptures call "singing the song of redeeming love." We live for that :)

Well, Bon voyage! You are leaving America this week and Elder Wood is leaving our tripanionship and going home to America. Home to Farmington, Utah. Good little place.

Have fun! Go swimming for me :)

Love, Elder Benny Boo

Monday, December 5, 2011

CRAZY STUFF IS HAPPENING!!!! Okay, maybe a little less dramatic than that though. I am currently serving in a tripanionship. It is my first time since the mtc. Here is what happened: at the beginning of this transfer Lille received a second companionship of two Elders that are going home the week before Christmas. They were both going to stay for 3 weeks of power finding mode and then go home together. Well long story short- one of them, Elder Collette, had to go home on a seconds notice because he had to accompany another missionary home that was otherwise incapable of getting himself home. So like President called him at 5, he packed and got on a train for Paris at 8, flew to America the very next morning, and now Elder Wood is with Elder Godfrey and I for 1.5 weeks until he goes home for Christmas like originally planned. So that's kinda crazy. We are pretty sad about him leaving but we are having a good time as three.

Side note: at the internet café where I am there is currently a crazzzzy person yelling some African dialect at the top of his lungs inside one of the phone cabins. I wouldn't be surprised if he punches through the glass on the booth and comes to massacre us with glass shards. Anyway, now back to the show:

The Turkey Bowl turned out really good. A lot of our missionaries told us how much they liked the Brother of Jared training afterwards. The football was good, the touchdowns were many, and the meal was festive and filling. It was 20 missionaries, 4 of which were sisters (they made some good pumpkin pie. We were all super sore for at least three days after the turkey bowl. I am glad to here that BYU's season didn't turn out so bad after all. I'll be excited to hear about their bowl game.

As for mom's email... YOU ARE GOING ON ANOTHER CRUISE???!!??!!?!? Okay, I approve. Good job :) At least you being in the Caribbean will mean that we are a little bit closer to each other during Christmas time. And I have no problem with postponing our phone call to the 28th. It will give me something to look forward to even after Christmas is over. It is the epitomy of "saving the best for last." When are you guys going to open presents then? Before the cruise? After the cruise? On the cruise? Oh la la. Lille is a Christmas Fairytale. Holy Crap. Lights and adorable crap all over the city. So good.

We have been doing a lot of finding lately, but not your normal type of finding. We have been madly searching for apartments for the last couple days. There is a senior missionary couple coming to Lille in 8 days and they need somewhere for them to live... bad. So I am becoming a pro at researching, visiting, and renting apartments in French. It's a fun, new, and stressful experience. We are going to go visit a potential apartment in about an hour.

Mom, what events are you hosting at the house? That sounds chic! The house looks GORGEOUS with all the Christmas decorations. You are a pro. I love the little branches and stuff on the windows. I'm glad you guys got to go see Joseph and the Technicolored Dreamcoat. I closed my eyyyes, drew back the curtain, ah ahah... good one. One of the old ap's and I would always sing that together.

About going to the Olympics in London this summer, I sent Brandon an email to see if he has qualified yet. That would be really cool, but also would be kind of hard to organize so soon after my mission. We'll see how it plays out. Would you rather come to France this coming summer, or wait until like the next Spring? Or another time? It will be wonderful whenever we do it. I have lots of good ideas brainstormed ;)

Oh, and missionary work. AMAZING. Everything is amazing. It feels like we talk about baptism in every single rendez-vous that we have.

Hugs and Kisses,
Elder Coburn

Ps, this week I hit the famous "Six months to sexy." aka, six months to get ready for being back on the market. Hah.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Okay the new address is:

Elder Benny Boy Cute Coburn
Les Missionnaires
7 Rue Blanche, Apt. 34
59000 LILLE

All Christmas loot can be fowarded to that address. Speaking of that- homemade cookies would be an EXCELLENT addition to any Christmas package :) Just a thought I had this week...

Anyway, we're not actually celebrating Christmas yet, because today is the LILLE ZONE TURKEY BOWL!!! Frankly, it's been a bit of a nightmare to get organized, but it should be good. We are currently doing our emails at the church waiting for our 20 missionaries to show up to the church. We are going to do a spiritual thought/ training about our vision for the zone, then football, then frisbee, then EAT, then play this French game called Loups-garous. It is like the game Mafia. Elder Godfrey and I being the brave and fearless zone leaders that we are volunteered to provide the Turkey for the meal. We are actually going to by chicken instead though since turkey is pretty rare here. So later today we will be throwing down 55 euros on ten rotissery chickens. One for each companionship. Sweet :) Speaking of Turkey Bowl - Dad? You've really retired from ward turkey bowls? How about when I get back home you will start playing again... You're not even like that close to being old. Anyway. All I know is that there are going to be some mean 5 yard slant routes run today.

Are vision for the zone that we are sharing today is "Finding Your 16 Stones." It's all about figuring out what it is the Lord wants us to do to "light our boats," and then taking it to him so that he can touch it and put the magic in it. Like the Brother of Jared accepted to Lord's invitation to act and be creative, so should we. We have little sacks of 16 stones that we are giving to every companionship. We swindled the rocks from nature and then cut up some old sheets to make the bags. They're cute. There is actually a story behind getting the rocks... here is what Elder Godfrey told his family about it:

We are going to be giving a training today to the zone to get them really syked up about working and stuff so after much prayer and thinking and what we feel is inspiration we decided to use the ever so popular story of the brother of Jared and as a visual aide we need 16 stones in a small cloth sac for every team. Sl 1st problem no stones in our appartment. So while we are out we find a nice dirt patch with perfect stones that well work. The thing is that we need about 160. So we make a deal between Elder Coburn and myself. Ill carry all that he has in his bag if he will then fill his bag with these rocks for the object lesson. So pretty sweet deal. So we do it and then go to the RDV that we had in theh neighborhood. Well the ami had lots of questions to anwser and the lesson went a little long and now Elder Coburn had a very heavy bag and we found ourselves running to get back to the metro so that we could be back home on time. Elder Coburn certainly got the short end of the stick on that deal seeing as now he had to run home with his bag completely full of our object lessonfor our zone. But it was worth the sacrifice because things are going to be great.

So that was fun. We have been SO BUSY this week. I love Lille because there is already work going on here! That is a good feeling :) There is a young man in the ward who will be getting baptized in a couple weeks. And then there is this kick butt family (a mom and her two daughters) that will hopefully be getting baptized this transfer too. Good good stuff is here.

EN PLUS (translation: whats more)!! Lille is a fairy tale city. Really. Christmas lights everywhere, ferris wheel, cobblestones, never ending, lots of pedestrian streets, cute little houses everywhere, etc. It is really close to Belgium so the architecture is a lot different than everywhere else that I've been in France. It kind of looks like Amsterdam, or Bruge (which Dad is actually not in our mission. It is in the non-french part unfortunately. Yes I remember our vacation there).

Leaving Nancy was sad. We did secret santa all together before we left since we aren't going to be together for Christmas. Elder Hales had my name and got me a pair of pink cargo shorts. It was way fun.

To celebrate the real Thanksgiving on thursday we bought four slices of the cheapest turkey we could find. It was gross.

It sounds like you have a pretty good bishop in the new ward up there. You all seem to like him a lot. About playing the organ like you guys asked: I'm not proffesional. I am kind of lame with my feet, but other than that it is the same thing as piano basically.

Cool. I love you. I will probably have a chance later on today to check my email again real quick. PS, talk to you IN LESS THAN A MONTH!

Elder Coburn

Monday, November 21, 2011

Well... Thanksgiving and Christmas won't be in Nancy this year. I'm being transferred on wednesday to be zone leader up in Lille with Elder Godfrey -which is super awesome- but I'm pretty sad about leaving Nancy so soon. I guess I shouldn't have finished my presidents letter last week with the phrase "do with me whatever the Lord needs." Hahah. All four of us here were counting on staying for Christmas together. SADDDDD!!!!! We were super sad when President called us to tell us. So sad that I guess I forgot to send you an email telling you about transfers :) Even more crazy than me leaving is that poor Elder Hales is being transferred to be secretary in the office (which isn't all bad. I mean, Christmas in the mission home certainly has a nice ring). We have too much good stuff going on to just "whitewash" us both out of Nancy at the same time, so Elder Hales will stay in Nancy for 3 more weeks as a tripanionship with the two new zone leaders to introduce them to our investigators, etc... Parting is such sweet sorrow. Not even really that sweet though if you think about it... :) This is the first time that I'm not really "ready" to be transferred. But anyway: IF I am being transferred (and I guess I am), there is nowhere I'd rather be than in Lille with Elder Godfrey. Lille? It's the 4th biggest city in France, and is riggght up on the north tippy top. Practically in England. Everyone says that it is like a miny Paris (it even has it's own underground metro!). Also, the people up there are supposed to be the nicest people in France :) Our zone over there is more compact and close together so that might mean a littttle less traveling :) My district leader will be Elder Johnson, my mtc companion -so that's sweet. Ok. As for Elder Godfrey? In the mtc there were 3 of us that were ridiculously good friends (and still are). Me, Elder Hales, and Elder Godfrey. In the mtc we always talked about how lucky the others would be if two of us ever got to serve together. Well, guess what? Elder Hales and Elder Godfrey already spent two transfers together, and I just spent two transfers with Elder Hales, so now the triangle will be complete with me going up to be with Elder Godfrey. CRAZY. How in the world does that even happen in a mission of 180 missionaries? We must be doing something right :) I have had the best companions EVERRR on my mission. The last 4 have been dreams. 4 sweet comps, 3 sweet cities. So Thanksgiving and Christmas in Lille will be about as good as I could wish for.

This morning in my studies I was reading in 1 Nephi 17 about Lehi's family arriving in Bountiful and starting to build the ship. He chose to call the land bountiful because of all the fruit and honey that was there. Nephi explains two times why they decided to call it bountiful. It is exactly the same for missionaries. We choose whether or not to call our areas "bountiful." We choose our attitude and outlook toward the missionary work in every new city that we go to. Next, Nephi asks the Lord where to go to get stuff to build the ship. Once in "bountiful," do missionaries still need to ask the Lord where to go to do his work? Then Nephi finishes by saying that he was led in his work because he kept the commandements of God, and that he knew that he would be guided if he did. They called on me this morning for the spiritual thought during the ZL conference call, so that is what I shared. So being transferred on wednesday will be leaving bountiful and going to bountiful. I guess I'm not even really being transferred??

This week we had an incredible lesson with Erasto and fixed a baptismal date. He is amazzzing. The Spirit was very strong that evening. I told him that I didn't even see it anymore as him "waiting for his answer," but that he was in the middle of getting his answer. We talked about how we have been meeting him for 3 months and he has only had good feelings during the three months. Elder Montigné (who was on exchange with me) told him that he thinks that God has already told him that it's true, and that his prayers should now be to help him realize that. For Erasto, fixing a baptismal date is the "real intent" that it talks about in Moroni 10. He is my favorite ami here after all is said and done. I will be really sad to leave him. I pray that his baptism will go through :)

I was talking to the missionaries in Evry yesterday and they said that they are really close to fixing a baptismal date with Sony. Remember Sony?? Elder Riley and I contacted him at the end of my first transfer. He is amazing. I've always been sure that he will be baptized. Go Evry.

It is about 50 percent possible that Lille will be my last city on my mission. I have 5 transfers left now and it's not unheard of to stay 5 in a city. I wouldn't mind that. I bet though that President will put me as a district leader in one last city somewhere for a couple transfers at the end. He likes to do that with the zone leaders so that they can then "train" new zone leaders by being their district leaders. I have never been a district leader or a trainer on my mission. Only zone leader. I would really like to be a district leader/trainer to finish off my mission. Speaking of that... it is coming reallllllly fast. And that's all we'll say for the moment.

So next time I write I'll be up in Lille. Weird. It is the first time on my mission I've really broken the east-west line. I've always stayed basically on a flat line with Paris -all the way across France.

Lots of traveling love,
Elder Coburn


Monday, November 14, 2011

This morning i whipped up a big bowl of crêpe batter. Mmmm. Vanilla, sugar, milk, flour, eggs... the works. So then I make a crêpe. It turns out perfect. Second crêpe? Perfect. Then for the third crêpe I invite Elder Stepheson (the British one) into the kitchen to make his first ever crêpe. His first, ever, crêpe. So he makes it. Perfect. Then this: crêpe slides off the pan onto plate, pan slams into batter bowl, batter bowl spills all over kitchen floor, batter seeps under oven and shelves, first ever crêpe becomes last ever crêpe. So three of us had a crêpe and then we all helped clean up. We couldn't stop laughing. I didn't care whatsoever that it was gone. Maybe we'll try again tomorrow. We all get along so well here. I cant' remember the last time I got mad on my mission. It doesn't accomplish anything. But on the other hand... neither does spilt crêpe mix :)

Our week was great. We had four amis at church yesterday. One was Georges, a french man that we are working with for baptism, one was the daughter of a member that we are going to go see for fhe tomorrow night, and the other two were a mother and her daughter that we started teaching this week. They were my favorite ones. She is a middle aged woman and she has a 13 year old handicapped daughter that is deaf. Ten minutes through sacrament meeting I got a call from her saying that their tire had burst on the way to church. So a member of the bishopric and I high tailed it out of there to go pick her up. I was so proud of the effort she had made to get to church. We picked her up and got back right before the intermediate musical number -which was me and Elder Hales (lucky that we got back on time). We did another organ-piano duet. This time I was on the organ and Elder Hales played piano. We did an arrangement of Away in a Manger and Angels We Have Heard on High. Yes we are pumped for Christmas, yes I was wearing a Christmas tie, and yes we bought and decorated our Christmas tree last Pday. Anyway. So church was good and the ward was really helpful with her daughter. Then afterward Elder Hales and I drove back to her car with a different member and changed her tire for her (in our suits in the freeeezing cold foggy morning). I think she was really touched by all our help. It was perfect because earlier that week I had told her that, as James tells us, " Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction." time). She just happens to be a widow. I had told her that the fulfilling of this scripture was something that she was going to see at church, and we sure had the chance to fulfill it :) So that was good.

This week we went into Paris twice. Once for zone conference with Elder Kopischke, and then again two days later for zone leader council with Elder Kopischke. Elder Kopischke is the man. He is SUCH a good teacher. Instead of just making me feel good and happy he just showed me how much more good and happy I can be. He teaches in nothing but parables, scriptures, and stories. He talked a lot about dreams, desire, and faith. They were the kind of meetings that you wish all your friends and family could have been at because they were so good. I have a lot of new things and fresh perspectives I am trying out now. And no dad, I didn't say anything about how "President Monson and I are super tight." :)

Erasto is really good. We are reading a chain of scriptures with him this week and fasting with him on tuesday.

Transfer email comes out this saturday. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY MISSION?!?! Transfers come and go so fast now. We are really really scared about Elder Hales getting transferred. He has been here 3 transfers, and we have been together for 2. Normally he should stay at least 4 transfers, but not many people ever do 3 transfers together. I really really want him to be here for Christmas. I mean, president has to leave him, we already picked our secret santa names!!! Well, we'll pray for that and we'll see this saturday.

It was a good eventful week. Next week will be even better :)
Love you loads!!

Elder Coburn (mom's snuggly wuggly little baby Ben)

Monday, November 7, 2011


My last few emails have been
really long. I guess I just miss you. Happy BNY anniversary and

Congratulations to Brad getting his mission call!!! Woohoo Peru! That's
sweet. Granted, he won't be speaking French, but still sweet.

This week was super crazy. I only spent about 3 days
at home. I spent two days in Versailles on exchange with the Portuguese
AP, and then two days in Mulhouse, with Elder Meyers from American
Fork, Utah. Both beautiful places and good exchanges. There is a place
in Versailles that the mission calls Consecration Hill. It is up by an
old chateau that overlooks Paris and it is where all the missionaries go
on their first morning in the mission to 'consecrate' themselves to the
work that they will be doing for two years in this country. I went
there last August and wrote in my journal everything that I wanted to do
during my mission. After tracting, getting let in and teaching a first
lesson in Versailles, Elder Duarte and I drove back to consecration hill
and looked at Paris in the dark night sky. It was one of those magical
moments. The entire city was lit up (hence the appropriate name 'city of
lights'), and the spotlight on top of the Eiffel Tower was spinning
around over the whole city. We sat underneath the stars on the cold
steps of the chateau for about fifteen minutes. I am going to miss
France. There are good and bad things, but it really has become a
second home. I get frustrated with the french people all the time but
when all is said and done I truly do love them. What a place to serve a
mission, huh?

Our zone (the twenty missionaries) had a really
great week. We more than doubled our baptismal dates and had twice as
many investigators at church this week than last week. Good week. The
whole mission has been progressing pretty consistently as a whole these
last couple months.

This week Elder Kopischke, the area authority
president of the European region is coming to our mission. He will be at
zone conference in Paris on Thursday, and then at a zone leader council
on Saturday again in Paris. So... we'll be rubbin' some big shoulders
this week ;)

Last Monday for Halloween we really wanted to do
something cool, so we got ourselves all pumped up to go to the circus.
but it was full... so then we moped around until we found a cool fair,
but it closed right when we got there...then we walked home and ate
cereal. Kind of lame Halloween but still fun. We saw some tigers, some
elephants, and a camel at the circus.

Anyway, I don't have a lot of cool stuff to talk
about this week. It was kind of hard to be away from Nancy for so long.
We didn't get a whole lot done with our amis, and a lot of them are
pretty uninterested lately. Remember Francoise our old baptismal date? I
called her yesterday for the first time in about a month and she hung
up on me when I asked if we could ever come see her. Yikes. It was one
of those weeks that I spent a lot of time contimplating the state of the
world today. I've thought a lot about how similair it is to certain
periods of time in the Book of Mormon. Blech. Let's all come unto
Christ. I've been reading a lot of his paraboles in the bible lately. I
love that :)

We did get invited over to a really cool couple's
house last night for dinner. That was very enjoyable. The man is an
interior designer and furniture fabricator. He had a sweet house :)

Ok, I've got to run. I love you and miss you. :)
Elder Benny Boy

Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAYS!!! Jordan is SEVENTEEN today. Holy cow. What a champion. Also Jordan, good call on going to Chipotle for the birthday. I've actually been talking about Chipotle a lot this week. I miss it so much! You just go ahead and stick a candle in that burrito. And then eat an extra on for me. And mother, really? Another birthday? How do you do it? One could never tell. You don't look a day older than the day I left.

In response to mom's question: for Christmas... socks and ties? Probably not. I'm drowning in ties and I just bought a bunch of new socks. In all it's reality and ungloriousness, money in the account is definitely the most attractive option. You see, I am quite a fan of all this whole french clothing thing, and well... the big sales are right after Christmas/before I come home. So that is kind of where my heart is lying. Although I would definitely appreciate a little package of cheap American candy and doo dads to open on Christmas morning :)

Answer to dad's question: Luxembourg is RICCHHHH. Holy cow. BUT, really really pretty and I don't think that the people there are very proud about their wealth. The people are apparently a lot nicer than french people. It is a very cool place to go. I highly recommend it. Especially at night. Sounds like the football world is spinning just like it always has. I love your updates.

Josh, way to go snagging those iphone 4's. I've got my mind set on one for when I get home (hint to the parents). Everyone and there dog in France has an iphone 4. And everyyyybody has a dog.

Well, we set a baptismal date this week. We were just passing by a few people's addresses out of the area book, and we stumbled upon a cool guy named Georges. During our rendez-vous I was like, we can totally set a date with him. Then the Spirit confirmed that when he said "I have everything I want, but I don't have what I need. Something is missing in my life." So we explained about baptism and why we set dates as goals with people, and then he chose his own date and he prayed about it himself at the end of the lesson. He is really cool. We will probably end up pushing back the date because he will have to get married in the meantime, but I have a lot of faith in him. He sent us a text the other day to tell us that he had already started reading the Book of Mormon. He even put a smiley face in the text :)We have a member of the bishopric that doesn't live far away that is going to come start teaching with us. Good stuff.

We are also teaching an incredible man named Jean-Michel. He has a house, a mini-van, two little girls, and a wife. He is one of the most soft, kind people I've ever met. He took notes during our lesson this week about how his family can be together forever. He is amazing. We hope to see him with a different member of the bishopric. When I asked him the "will you be baptized if you find out that it's true?" question, he answered with "yes" before I had even finished my sentence.

We didn't get to see Kevin this week, but he seems to be doing well and we hope to see him soon. We had a good lesson with Erasto about the Sabbath day, but then he still didn't come to church :( and we saw a good number of other people around town too. We have been doing a lot of contacting lately and it is paying off with new people to see every week.

Last night Elder Hales and I went to Catholic mass in the Nancy cathedral. It is the second time I've been to a mass on my mission. Very cool. Last time was in Evry so all the Africans were pretty evangelical about it, and this time was almost all elderly french people and it stayed pretty calm. I think it is a really good experience to go to mass. Practically everyone we teach and invite to church is Catholic so it's good to know what they are used to. Elder Hales and I also got some good harmonies going on during their hymns and stuff. It enthralls me how much their is a cut off in religious belief between the old generation and the young generation in France. It is like black and white. Nobody knows what is going to happen to the Catholic church because in 20 years there will not be a whole lot of people filling the cathedrals. Nine out of ten young people that we talk to were baptised Catholic as a baby, no longer believe in God, and don't plan on giving their children any sort of a religious experience. Kind of sad. Hmm.

Guess where I got to go this week??? REIMS!!!! I got to go back for a day because I had to do some stuff to update my visa and that is where all of my legal work is being done. I ADORE that city. Nancy is good but Reims still feels like home. Dang I love that place. I was smiling the entire day long. I even ran into Yiping (our old investigator) on the street! I also got to go see Guillaume, the most awesome recent convert. Oh Reims. So so good. Elder Hales seemed to quite enjoy the tour of my old city too. I am going to have to go back one more time in a month or two, so then I will have seen it in every season :)

This week I will not be in Nancy very much. Tomorrow and Wednesday I am going on an exchange in Versailles with one of the AP's (from Portugal). I am way excited about that. Versailles is gorgeous. Then when Elder Hales and I are reunited we are going down to city of Mulhouse to do a training for their district and then we are both staying there for exchanges until Friday. Crazy. Next week we have two more trips to Paris too.

Happy happy Halloween. The Nancy zone leader companionship is sporting matching orange ties to celebrate the occasion. All four of us in Nancy are going to a big scary cemetery tonight and we might go to the town fair before that :) Want to here one of my new favorite Halloween jokes?? How many vampires does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. Vampires like the dark. ha. ha. haaa. My kind of humor :)

Well, that's about it for this week. Love you loads. Happy Halloween (and birthdays!) It's funny... I remember emailing you two about your bdays one whole year ago :)

Avec tout mon amour,
Elder Ben Coburn
Dear Coburn Clan... and guests.

What do you want to know about? What I did this week? What I'm wearing right now? The weather in Nancy? Well I'm wearing a white shirt and tie (obvious), and it's pretty dang cold outside. We've had a heavy winter week have been wearing coats and scarves everyday. I cut my hair last night. I ate chocolate chip granola for breakfast this morning. I still haven't found any mittens to buy for this winter (but a member tipped me off to where I can find some). Umm, I went on exchanges in Luxembourg this week. I made chocolate chip cookies this week and they're all gone. And... did lots of other enjoyable stuff.

In the missionary area, we did a lot of door knocking this week and we taught a lot of cool students. We taught a Venezualan named Jesus, an Iranian named Mamod, an African named Duran, an Enlish guy named Vaughan, and talked to and met a lot of other cool students. There are so many foreigners in France. As irony would have it, our best new ami out of everyone is Jesus. Our rendez-vous went super well. Most of the others though we are probably not going to be seeing again. We had nice lessons with all of them, but they weren't incredibly interested. Oh and a bonus: last night we went out porting (knocking) and we kept saying "man, we just need to find another person like Jesus!" and then the first door we hit was another Venezualan and we're going to go see him tomorrow :) I need to learn Spanish. Speaking of Spanish, I did actually teach a lesson in Sanish this week. It was during my exchange in Luxembourg with Elder Canonica (a swiss missionary) who was called Spanish speaking. We taught a midgit from Peru, so that was kinda weird. I picked up most everything being said when he was speaking, but most of what the peruvian lady said went over my head. I got a few sentences in here and there. Yo soy Elder Coburn. Tengo hambre.

We saw Kevin this week again; but only once. It was good. He is changing so much. He was happy, smiling, and laughing. He has started to pray on his own now and is hopefully going down to the temple in Switzerland this week for the mariage of Josselyn's brother. That would be cool. Erasto is also really cool as always. He is progressing. We had a great lesson where we taught the Gospel of Christ trying to show how the Bible and Book of Mormon work together. It went really well. The Bible and Book of Mormon complete each other.

Oh, another cool thing. Two weeks ago on the way home from Paris I talked to a guy in the train named Charlie. He is a GI in the french army with a wife and kids. We talked about the Book of Mormon a lot, and the conversation ended in him promising to read it, and that I could call him in two weeks to see what he thought. So I called him this week and asked if he had been able to read it at all. He said he was about halfway through it. Halfway WHAT? "Have you already read about when Christ comes?" I said? "Yeah, I already am passed that." he replied. Mirrracle!!! Remember how we spend all day everyday trying to get people to read even one little chapter of the Book of Mormon? Yeah. He said that in one more week he will have finished it and we can set up a rendez-vous to talk about it. He lives in Strasbourg, so that rendez-vous might not be with us, but it's okay. Go Charlie.

There was a funeral in our ward this friday. It was for a sister that I never met, but I know her children pretty well. They are my age. Hard hard hard. I didn't think I would cry at all, but that was a futile attempt. Thank goodness for the Plan of Salvation. I don't know how people do funerals without knowing that they are going to see the person again.
On Sunday Elder Hales and I did a special musical number for sacrement meeting. We did a piano/organ duet of Nearer My God to Thee that we have been arranging for the last several weeks. I played piano with lots of little twiddle dees and dums and Elder Hales powered through on the organ. It was realllly cool. I think it was the first time the organ had been used in like 3 years. We got lots of thank yous and such and there were a couple people crying afterward too. I wish you could've been there :) We are going to try and do another one before we get transferred. Sometimes when Elder Hales and I are just messing around on the organ and we play songs with hard bass lines, we sit side by side and he does the hands and I do the feet. That's fun.

I love you a lot. The missionary work here is getting better and better. Thank you for your prayers.

Elder Benjamin
Ps, I think I want to name one my my kids Hayden James Coburn. Yes? No? Wait to run it by the wifey?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Well yesterday marks... (drumroll)... 16 MONTHS. Sixteen hard cold months. One month for every year that Jordan is old. 42 months. 1.33333 years.

So that's kinda weird.

We had once again a great week. We've been on a roll. I'm starting to become more "satisfied" with the work in Nancy the longer I'm here and this past week was definitely our best. We had several occasions to teach lessons with members present and a good number of other lessons too. We're starting to work really well with certain members and gaining a lot of confidence from the ward.

Our big miracle this week was the following: For several weeks now we've been working with a less active named Josselyn who has recently been coming to church a lot more. He is 19 years old. This week we had a rendez-vous set with him, and then he canceled it the day of (which has been a bit of a trend in the past). I told him I was kind of bothered that he kept doing that, and then we set a rendez-vous for the next day with him promising me that he'd be there. The next day we were at the church waiting for him and I kind of was getting bugged again because it was 30 minutes past the hour and he still hadn't showed up. So I kept playing piano, etc, etc. Then the doorbell rings and it is Josselyn and his friend Kevin. Kevin is the kind of kid that I just want to reach out to and hug. He was dressed in all black, a little bit shy, and had his head hanging down underneath his long hair. He is also 19 years old. His family situation is a disaster and he had came to Josselyn, an old friend, needing help. That is why Josselyn had canceled the rendez-vous the day before. Josselyn, also a shy person, felt that the gospel of Jesus Christ was the only real cure for Kevin's situation. Through tears and embarrasment Kevin told us about his problems and how he has never believed in God. He told us that he was about as far as anyone could ever be from having faith and that he felt more alone than ever. What do you say to that? We taught him about his worth and we taught him about God. We said everything that we felt like we should. In the end it was a spiritual rendez-vous and Kevin and Josselyn walked back out of the church into the cold afternoon. After that I didn't really think we were going to see Kevin again. But, low and behold, guess who shows up on Sunday wearing a suit? I think it was the first time in Kevin's life that he had put one on. It was Josselyn's dad's suit. He was at church for all three hours. During priesthood we took him out and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was one of those times when it all just makes perfect sense. Kevin had changed since the first time we had seen him. He had a little bit of light shining in his face. He said that as he had listened to Josselyn's prayers throughout the week, he had started to think or believe that maybe there actually was something there. Josselyn said that it was like we were in a dark room and he had grabbed Kevin's hand and put it on the iron rod. Kevin also said that ever since the first time he walked into the church that good things had started happening in his life. He sang all the hymns with us too. We are going to see Kevin tomorrow to teach him about the Restoration. Please pray for him :) I'll attach a picture of us three.

We recieved our new missionary this week. Elder Stephenson from England! He is from Sheffield. We really really like him and are having a great time. It is his first transfer and he is super excited about the work which is awesome. Oh happy chuffin' days.

Erasto is doing well but couldn't come to church this week. Umm... we are going to Luxembourg again this week. Wish us luck ;)

okay I've got to go. I pray for you and love you. Keep having fun over there :)

Love, Elder Coburn

Monday, October 10, 2011

What time is it?? Summer time! Time for vacations! What time is it?? Family timme! It's time for e-mails! ....just a little treat for all you high school musical junkies out there.

WELL. It seems like I'm always starting off emails with that word. Well it rained almost all week here. Cold cold rain. I had my winter coat pulled out a few times. Looks like Ohio has been pawning off all it's crappy weather over to France. I also have a pretty nasty cold because of it. Sore throat and stuffy stuffy nose. Blech. Snot is like my arch-nemesis. Oh well, we still had a good week. Once again we ended up on a lot of trains. On wednesday we did exchanges with the assistants so I had to ride an hour and a half into Paris, trade companions, and then ride and hour and a half back to Nancy. The next day I rode an hour and a half into Paris, switched back companions and rode back to Nancy again. The next day we had to ride an hour and a half to Strasbourg, do a baptismal interview, and then ride an hour and a half home. Those pesky hours start adding up pretty quick. So far this week we only have one trip to Strasbourg planned for district meeting on Thursday. I love that place. We may have to go there as a family. It is def the prettiest city I've ever seen (search pictures if you want). On Tuesday this week we are going over to the Salway's apartment (the senior missionary couple here) and having a goodbye brunch for Elder Burke. He is going up to Normandy. Getting the transfer email this week was really exciting. Elder Hales and I are obviously ecstatic to stay together, we didn't at all expect to be separated. Elder Bise is going to have so much fun training his bleu this transfer. I love being in a 4 man apartment with them. Nancy is the first time I've been in a 4 man.

There is one American family that lives in Nancy, and this morning we helped him move :( . They are moving to Germany. Sad day. Their parents came out for a few weeks to help them move and stuff. It was really cool to hang out with a bunch of Americans. The dad is a big farmer from Idaho and Elder Bise and I kept cracking up over his American humor. So funny. We were also really amused by all his expressions like "chip off the old block" and "that's why they pay me the big bucks." I miss Americans. I was amazed at how smoothly this move went compared to the french people we helped move this last friday. Haha, the Americans had it all planned out and it was super efficient, and the french family was just kinda like joy riding around in the moving truck with mirrors and cabinets and crap smashing around in the back. We had some good laughs with them. The french people are actually a really good situation though. They are part of 3 inactive families we just found that are all related, and two of the husbands aren't members. Sweet. Those families also led us to another lady that we met. We saw her up in her attic like apartment and mainly just sang her a few hymns. There was like 8 years worth of spider-webby nic-nacs piled up everywhere and a cat was running around shedding all over the place. Mmmm.

Remember Erasto that I told you about last week? We had a muuchh better lesson with him this week. He is really cool. We talked about the restoration and he said he would read and pray and that he really just wanted to know for himself if it was true. He doesn't want to know for his mormon girlfriend, but for himself. We are seeing him tomorrow. Cross your fingers and pray! Every sunday at the beginning of priesthood meeting we do a "missionary miracle minute," and so for this week we talked about Erasto and invited everyone to pray for him with us. The members here are great.

I really love my mtc group. There are 18 of us in a mission of 180. Holy cow. It's cool to see everyone grow and progress. Eight of the sixteen zone leaders this transfer are from our group. Sweeeeet (like how dad says it). Speaking of how dad does stuff, I've been copying his way of recieving compliments. Like how he puckers his lips, squints his eyes, and nods his head up and down. Hahahahha. "Good shootin' tex" says dad.
And, "hey cool ben, can you run grab my scriptures upstairs?"
"Why me?"
"Cause you're the fastest one."
"Oh yeah, sweet. Okay" *as I pucker my lips, squint my eyes, and run upstairs.

I just emailed Brandon from Reims. I think he is currently in Ethiopia for a marathon. I love him. Also, Josée from Reims has a new baptismal date for December.

Umm... i finally got the letter today from the Springboro primary. They were so CUTE. my favorite was Julia Bruun. She told me that she likes to sing :) Me too.

Okayyyy. I have to go. I love you. Keep writing me ;)

Elder Ben

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wow. Six weeks goes by so fast huh? Elder Hales and I are both staying in Nancy another transfer :) :)
The other companionship that lives with us is changing though. Elder Burke is leaving and and Elder Bise is staying to train a new missionary. NO JOKES WILL BE PLAYED ON HIM... none. We think he will be French.
So all four of us are hoping to stay another transfer after that and be in Nancy for Christmas. Elder Bise (who I ADORE) and his bleu are basically for sure staying for Christmas because of a new two transfer training system. Elder Hales and I would be going three transfers together if he stays for Christmas and we are just okay with that. Elder Decker (Sean, my roommate) just became zone leader in Belgium. I love him.
It has gotten really really cold and wet here lately. Yuk. How is Cleveland? Good I hope. The trees here are so pretty. One of my favorite parts of this region are all the hills and mountains and the colorful trees all over them :)
K. That's my two cents. Love you!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Alors. Bonjour encore! Il fait plaisir de parler avec sa famille. Surtout quand tu as la mienne.

Ok. Conference is SO GOOD. I said it once and I'll say it again -general conference is like the super bowl for missionaries. Except better. This time I got to watch most of it in English while sitting on couches and eating in the Young Adults Center. J'adore ça. My favorite talks?? All of them. But seriously. Most especially though I loved:
Elder Packer's about the youth of the church being raised in enemy territory and about repentance.
Elder Holland's about missionaries being the "recruits in war."
Carl B. Cook about "it's better to look up."
(Inside my head right now is like "dang it I loved them all!" continuing...)
Elder Christopherson about relative standards vs. God's standards
Elder Hales about trials and suffering
Tad R. Callister just dominated all around. He talked about the Book of Mormon.
And then obviously all three of the First Presidency. President Monson was getting pretty wild up at that podium :)

We don't really get to watch the Sunday evening session so I have no idea about those talks yet. The main four themes that stuck out to me all around were: Missionary work, Repentance, The Book of Mormon, and being in the world but not of the world.

Also, ever since the talk about looking up instead of down I have really just been trying to do that. Physically and spiritually. It totally works. No wonder President Monson is always so happy!

We had a pretty good week this week. We found three new amis to teach! One is a way cool Malagasy guy named Erasto. He is currently engaged to a girl from Utah and planning on going out there in December. So... we're talking about why she wants to be married in a temple, etc... He has a lot of deep questions. Like about baptisms for the dead and the 2nd coming happening in America...? Our lesson was pretttty messy but this weeks will be good. Another new ami is a 40 year old single man that says he believes in God, but he doesn't want to go further than that. We are trying to tell him that if we have true faith in God, then we are pushed to act on that faith. The very fact to 'believe' in God and Christ but not do anything is sort of contradictory in itself. The other new ami is a 60 year old woman from Africa with really short bleached yellow hair that takes care of aged people. She's hilarious. She supposed to be reading the Book of Mormon this week and we see her again tomorrow morning.

So in between all that we basically had the most out of control week of my life. We went to five different cities and two different countries. Zone leadering = drainnning. Tuesday we went to Strasbourg for our district meeting, Wednesday we went up to Luxembourg to give our training in their district meeting, wednesday and thursday we did exchanges with the Elders up in Metz, and then Friday we went into Paris for another zone leader conference in the mission home. Which led us back to home sweet home in Nancy for the weekend. And then somehow it was still our most productive week this transfer. Cool. Going to Luxembourg was my first time leaving France so far (a lot of other missionaries serve in Belgium). In Luxembourg there is an elder and a sister equipe (one of which is Sis. McClaine that was in the mtc and Evry with me. She goes home next transfer.) Anyway, so we get to Luxembourg, and the elders that were supposed to meet us on our train weren't there (they had missed the train up to Luxembourg). That's when the chaos started. How 'bout we just call them to find out where they are? Oh. Our phone can't make calls in Luxembourg. How 'bout we just ask 20 random people to borrow their phones? Oh. None of the calls worked. How 'bout we just walk around, try and find an internet cafe, search the church address and get there by ourselves? Oh. No internet cafés in the area. ON TOP OF ALL THAT EVERYBODY WAS SPEAKING LIKE A TWENTY CRAZY LANGUAGES AND LOOKING AT US WEIRD FOR SPEAKING FRENCH TO THEM. I was scared to death. Not really, but I was like highly flustered. All the trains, buses, languages, people, EVERYTHING was foreign to us, and we had zero communication with anyone. How 'bout we go into a Best Western Hotel and ask for help? Good idea. A cute little worker got us the church address (which was on the other side of the city/country) and told us which bus to get on. So poor Elder Hales and Elder Coburn book their little rear-ends across town to go buy tickets and catch the bus. By now we were a good hour late for district meeting. Then the other missionaries called. "Hey where are you guys??" WHERE DO YOU THINK WE ARE?!?! We were having to practice our charity big time. I was so so so frustrated. So then we get to the church, listen attentively to the district leader training, and then he calls on me for the closing prayer. I say "are Elder Hales and I not doing our training?" Oops. That part had somehow been forgotten. So we did our training in 5 minutes, ate some food, talked to some people, and went back to Nancy.

Other than that Luxembourg is gourgeous. Like, really, really gourgeous. And it's a good district, the communication part just kind of failed. We laugh about it now... sort of :)

Ok, I must be going. Luckily it is a very calm week this week. I love you and pray for you :)

Elder Coburn

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the leafy tree tops the birds say good morning. Good Morning! Well, not the hottest week this week. Francoise, our baptismal date has taken a 180 degree turn right back to where she was. It's weird. She has been saying stuff on the phone that is completely opposite of what she was saying in our rdv's last week. I feel like after such a long time of missionary life I am kind of getting dulled to feeling pain when investigators take a turn for the worst. It's like I'm starting to just accept it and think that it is normal. I don't think that it's a good habit to be falling into. I think that I dull myself to it because I don't want to invest my whole self in an investigator and then be so torn up when that person goes south. I hate feeling sad! But what I'm discovering is that if I don't invest myself in these people, then I end up feeling like an uncommitted and complacent missionary. And nobody likes those. It's exactly like someone that doesn't put their wholeself into a relationship because they don't want to get hurt when they break up (except I'm far from being in love with anyone here). In the end I think it comes back to the fact that this life is designed to be like that. To have highs, life has to have lows. When I choose to not invest my wholeself in someone, I may skip over some of the heartbreak if that person goes south, but I don't think I would fully experience the joy of that person progressing either. It comes down to simply not caring for my brothers and sisters as much as I could. Not reaching my possibility. Also, it is ridiculously selfish to try to keep all of myself to myself. After 6 baptismal dates now that haven't happened (I should probably stop keeping the running tally, right?), I feel like I am starting to pull back more and more into my shell. I don't want to keep being hurt! That's natural right? But was Christ not hurt already for me? The Christ invested His wholeself into us with a love unselfish and unfeigned. Who are we to try and treat each other with anything less than that love? After putting his whole being into our salvation He felt a pain undulled and undeserved. Is that not the same exact pain I feel on a much smaller scale every time that someone rejects His message? So then I'm left asking myself when the storm will be calmed and the waves will settle down. If a low exists, then there must be a high out there somewhere. It has to come eventually right? For Christ it came three days after His atoning sacrifice. He rose again to lead the way for us to rise again -but aside from our personal resurrections, I think there is a key application on a much smaller scale as well. The coldest part of the night is right before the sun rises, and so it can be in our day to day struggles and sufferings. To experience the sunrises of this mortal experience, we are often called to go through cold nights. They can be frighteningly cold. We know however, that no matter what the suffering, Jesus Christ will be there with "everlasting mercy to gather us." That is where we experience the sunrise, the calm sea, or the long worked for baptism. Nothing good has ever come without the investment of one's self and perseverance. I am thankful for the challenges of my mission and for the endless opportunities I am given to give of myself to others. I am thankful for the opportunity to invest myself in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. I love you guys. SO MUCH.

Love, Elder Coburn

Monday, September 19, 2011


One more week, one more email, and we're all a little bit older. This week... hmm... Ok. Story: Last P-day right after I emailed you guys Elder Hales and I decided to go shopping and look for stylish, faddish clothing. The kind that young people wear. Like... us. Well, just like every week it turns out that it is all too expensive so we decide to mosy on home. While walking home I randomly said hi to an African lady that was walking past us with a stroller and two little kids walking along. Good idea. After she was about 10 meters behind me I heard her say "merci." So we were like "woahhh horsey," and we turned around to go talk to her. It went something like "We're missionaries. We talk about Jesus Christ! Oh you love Jesus too?! Here is a book about His visit to America! We can really come talk to you about it tomorrow?" So we went to see Françoise the next day in her little house and had one of the most wonderful lessons. We taught the first lesson up until the Great Apostasy, and then I asked her "how would you feel to be in an apostasy?" She said that we basically were already in one. She said that everyone in the world was kind of lost and didn't know what to believe anymore. "Françoise, our message to the world is that we are no longer in a state of apostasy and that the true church of Christ has been restored." The Spirit entered the room at that moment. I stopped everything I was saying and just told her that I could feel the Spirit at that moment. Clutching her heart and with tears coming to her eyes she said that she had never felt a warmth inside her like that before. We invited her to be baptized when she knew it was true and she said that she already did. We set a baptismal date with her for October 8th. After teaching her more about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon later that week, she once again confirmed that she knew it was true. "There are only good things in this book" she said while holding the Book of Mormon. Then she said "You know, when Christ was on the earth himself, nobody believed his message or accepted Him as the truth that we was. It's the exact same with opposition to the church in our day. I know that it's true. I know there will be trials and challenges, but I'm ready." At least that was the general idea of what she said. She is wonderful.

This week Elder Hales and I also traveled down into the Southern Alsace Region of France. We went to the far reach of our zone to do a training for the district. It is GORGEOUS. Just like mom. But holy cow. Like mountains and castle ruins on all the tip tops and green and lots of rivers. Also, we could see Germany from there (you can see the mountains). It was nice, but our training only turned out okay. We didn't really feel like we captured the attention of those 6 missionaries. Afterwards I went on an exchange with Elder Harevaa, the Tahitian in our zone. He is sweet. Like the type of guy that has killed sharks with his bare hands and goes fishing with a spear gun. He doesn"t speak any English yet. He's been out about 4 transfers but it seems like he really misses Tahiti. Who wouldn't? We were in the city of Colmar. It's in the part of france (still Alsace) where all the houses have the timber framing and cute little disneyland colors.

This week we did a lot of stuff for the Young Single Adult weekend. They transformed the church into the plan of salvation, and Elder Hales and I were "missionaries in the Spirit World." Every room in the church was a different stage of the Plan of Salvation. It was neat. At the end, there was a talk by a temple sealer that made me want to go to the temple again sooo bad. I haven't been for over a year. Ca fait longtemps!

Other than that.... hmm. President didn't quite seem to make it for our weekly Sunday brunch. Our work has continued to get bigger. In fact, our numbers have doubled every week this transfer. I'm not sure how long that can last though... the digits start getting pretty big pretty fast :) Hmm. Yup, that seems like it's about it for this week. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gives me, Ben Coburn, a chance to take part in His work. It is amazing to see how He works. I love you guys :)

Elder Ben

Monday, September 12, 2011

Family! I'm trying something new. I decided to write my family email before I read all of yours and then hopefully my brain won't be so distracted as I write this.

So. It's P-day. All the same, we had a rendez-vous this morning with a great new woman we contacted in the street a few days ago. Her name is Florence. We talked to her in the street... Gave her a Book of Mormon... asked if we could come over to talk about it... went over and talked about it. It is one of the first people that we have really been able to find ourselves and start teaching since I've been here. This week was Stake Conference. It was good. We sang in the young single adults choir. President and Sister Poznanski came out to the Nancy Stake for the weekend which was sweet. And... guess what??? We invited them over to our apartment to come eat with us and they totally did. It was actually pretty lucky seeing as there are 180 missionaries and three countries in our mission (France, Belgium, Luxembourg). Our apartment had never looked so clean as it did when they came. They said it was the first time that they had ever eaten at a missionary apartment... natural. It was way fun. They came over for lunch on sunday and I cooked. It was a grated carrot salad with a vinagerette (very french) for starters, and then we had a cool creamy vegetable pasta afterwards... then ice cream and cake. I feel so comfortable around President Poznanski. He isn't scared to show us his human side, but at the same time it is so clear that he is a very inspired man. So we got lots of brownie points this weekend... just kidding. But really.

One day this week I had a really stupid idea to go contacting in this really big park that I found on the map. After looking at the map I was imagining like a nicely manicured park with like a cool chateau in it. Well, when we got there we found an overgrown mexican-like forest park with horse trails and a "chateau" that had like 1 of 4 walls left. Then... we kind of got lost in the mexican forest... walked like 3 miles... tried to descend a few really steep forested hills... failed... rested... walked... got out of that wretched weed patch like 3 hours later. Good time usage.

Last night we went to eat at some really awesome members' house. Guillaume and Marine. They are brother and sister and have only been members for 2 yrs and 6 months respectively, and they are both our age. They are SO cool. They remind us of BYU students. It is cool to be with young people. The chapel here has a young single adults center that is brand new and really nice. There is a senior missionary couple that runs it and we are really trying to find a lot of young people to help them fill it up. Oh- also I figured out this weekend that the Nancy chapel is the biggest chapel in all of Europe. It's pretty big :) The largeness of the gym has led us to invent a new game. All four missionaries run around and try to kick/throw/head butt volleyballs at each other. There are no rules. It's called Freeball. No injuries yet.

There is a construction site right across from our 12th story apartment. Every morning we all huddle along the window and watch the construction progress. We have names for all the workers, but mainly we just refer to them as the squabbies. They keep making really cool cranes. Those things are huge. Wealways talk in our british accents and relate the whole construction site to our little imaginary story: Pirates of the Crane-ibbean. For example, there is the Black Crane, the Interceptor Crane... and "It's a shilling to tie up your crane at the dock!.....What do you say to 3 shillings and we forget the crane?" and.... "there's no crane as can match the interceptor for speed.....I've heard of one. It's supposed to be very fast, nie uncatchable. The Black Crane.......Well, theres no real crane, as can match the interceptor."


I love you a lot. I'm excited to read your emails. Love Love Love.

Elder Coburn

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dear family!

Well, here I am in the lovely city of Nancy. My new address is a winner... plenty of random letters, numbers, and slashes. Here it is:

Elder Benjamin Coburn

Les Missionnaires

B.P. 614d 13/15, Blvd. Joffre

54000 NANCY


I really love this city already. That was kind of to be expected though, it's Nancy! It's one of the cities that a lot of missionaries want to go to. It's also a brand new addition to the mission so it's all mysterious n' such. On Friday Elder Hales and I went to the mission home for a zone leader conference. The mission home is reallllly nice. It was the first time I had been back to the mission home in more than a year!! It was so cool. We all sat around the big dining room table and discussed the 'finer matters of the mission.' I felt like dad in a fancy business conference setting. It was all in french which was really cool. I feel so comfortable around President Poznanski. He is kind of like... dominating. Everything in the mission is getting streamlined and whipped into shape. I love it. President Poznanski and his wife will be out here in Nancy this weekend for stake conference and we (the four elders in Nancy) are trying to get them to come over to our apartment for dinner. That would be sweet... I'd be the one cooking :) Our apartment is smack dab in the center of Nancy. We live on the 12th story of a big building right across from the train station. That is way convenient because we take trains multiple times each week to get to other cities and other missionaries. Because we're zone leaders we will soon be visiting the three districts in our zone to give trainings. We are going to be talking about "being a consecrated missionary." We want to discuss how Heavenly Father will always keep his promises if we keep ours too. If we are consecrated missionaries, Heavenly Father will grant us the miracles and the baptisms that we are seeking. We will also be leading a training for the whole zone during interviews and we will be talking about "spiritual finding." Relying on our faith to find new people to teach, instead of relying on ourselves. We want each companionship to be able to find a young new family to teach this transfer.

The work in Nancy seems pretty slow right now. It's a huge change after Reims. This week we had a whopping 1 lesson, and it was with a lady that we found in a park one afternoon (it was actually a really really great lesson though). The ward is about the same size as Reims, but a lot more lively. Nancy is the stake center and it is the biggest chapel I've ever seen in France. There is even a gym there! What a luxury!!

Okay, I've got to go. We're going to the church to play 4 square with the other Nancy team tonight. Sweet.

Sounds like all is going well on the home front. I love you guys.


Elder Coburn