Tuesday, March 29, 2011

OKAY. There is no where to start.

I have never ever been this busy. I love Reims. Here is some cool stuff that has happened this last week:

We had 16 lessons.
We set a baptismal date.
We went to Paris 3 times.
I went to Troyes 1 time, Elder Pieper went to Brussels 1 time.
I got a free baguette from a restaurant when all the bakeries were closed.
We used the baguette to eat swiss fondue.
We found a french 24 year old on the street and went to the church with him and had a first lesson.
The 24 year old prayed for the first time in his life.
We met an african 27 year old at a bus stop.
We told the 27 year old the Joseph Smith story in his apartment the next day.
My daily planner had disney princess stickers on it.
I got up and sat by a lady on a bus that was crying.
The lady has a rendez-vous scheduled for tomorrow to learn about God's plan for us.
We started an English Class
4 people came to the first class.
We've eaten with members two many times to count. No joke.
We had interviews with President and both of us begged him to leave us here another transfer.

So... you could say we're happy. Our baptismal date is with a man named Fred. He is African, 25 years old, he speaks perfect english, and he is studying computer science. We've only had 3 lessons with him, and we set his baptismal date in the 2nd. He is amazing. He came to church this week and loved it. He feels and recognizes the Spirit when he is with us and that has given him a desire to change. When we told him that we had prayed and chosen to 23 of April for his baptism, he said it was a miracle because that's his brothers birthday and his brother has always wanted him to change and be better. What a perfect birthday present. It's clear though that it is something he is doing for himself, not just his family.

The whole thing about sitting by the crying lady on the bus goes like this: I was on a bus in Troyes during exchanges for about a 30 minute ride across town. About 3 seats behind me there was a middle aged African lady that was crying. She was like, CRYING. She could hardly control herself and her sobs echoed throughout the bus. Everyone in that bus (even me) just kept looking at her. You could tell that everyone was getting annoyed and irritated and just wanted her to stop. But cried she did, and there was no stopping her. I wanted to help her, but what on earth could I do? As the bus ride went on I started thinking about Christ. I though a lot about Alma's words when he says "mourn with those who mourn; yea comfort those who stand in need of comfort." Is that what Christ would have done? Didn't I covenant to be like Christ when I decided to be baptized? So, after about 15 mintues I pulled a sticky note out of my planner and wrote in french "I don't speak french, but I know how to cry." My companion saw me writing it and was like "what are you doing?" I said "I'm about to do something I don't want to do." Then, as the whole bus watched me, I stood up and walked back to the African lady. I could literally feel the entire bus looking at me. I was scared to death and didn't know what to do, but I sat down by her, gave her the sticky note, and put my hand on hers. The rest of the bus then seemed to disappear and all that was left was me and her. She pulled out a pen and scribbled "my mom just died." I wrote back that I know she will see her again. I asked if I could call her later and through her tears she gave me her number. Then she got off the bus.

If my entire life has led me to the point where I could perform one single Christian act like that, it was worth it. If every sunday school class, every sacrament meeting, and every early morning seminary class is what it took for me to learn to be like Christ even for just a split second, they were all worth it. Jesus Christ was always the one to be counted on when everybody else backed down. Christ was the one to bear the burdens of others, even when he was spit of and rejected for doing so. Our mission now is so simple: Live like Christ.

As soon as we got back to the little apartment in Troyes I fell on my knees and thanked Heavenly Father for the experience he had given me, as one of his servants. I realized however, that there was one little part of the story that wasn't quite right. Back on the bus when I told my companion that "I was about to do something I didn't want to do," it was a lie. Of course it was something that I wanted to do! It is what I yearn for! Satan has such a way of holding us back everytime we are about to make a good decision. He is the author of fear and he will do anything he can to instill it in us. The only way to get rid of the fear is by turning to the author of light, Christ.

I did end up calling her during the weekend. We talked for several minutes and fixed a rendez-vous for the missionaries of Troyes to go teach her the Plan of Salvation this week. I pray that the Spirit will be there.

So... Is anyone else as excited for General Conference as I am?!? It is basically the equivelant of the super bowl for missionaries, only better. I don't even like the superbowl anyway.

I know that you guys are currently CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN WITHOUT ME, but: the weather here has been an absolute dream as well. 60s and 70s and sunny every single day. Not that we have much time to chill outside and enjoy it, but still. It's a dream.

I love you guys a lot. Even if you're getting tan on a cruise.

Elder Coburn

Monday, March 21, 2011


Reims is my favorite city, Elder Pieper is my favorite companion, and we have my new favorite investigators. The past four days have been literal bliss. We have been working our tails off and having SO MUCH FUN. Elder Pieper basically a mix of Richie and Kirby. He is from Kentucky and also went to BYU. We talk nonstop.

Our lives are basically running in between lessons, buying patisseries, eating at members houses. Reims has a ward of about 70 people. It's kind of sad though because in this city there used to be 400 members, and 10 missionaries. I'm not really sure what happened, but it is starting to look better again. They just had two baptisms here the week before I came.

We found a new investigator this week named Fred. He is African and speaks English. He reminds me a lot of Sony who we found back in Evry (who is getting ready to get baptized!!). We had our first lesson with Fred two days ago. It was one of the most spiritual lessons on my mission. I cried during the rendez-vous for no apparent reason. It was just that good. He sent us a text afterwards thanking us for everything he felt, and then he ended it with a african-like, "Be Blessed." We found another new ami this week who is in college to be a blacksmith. Hah, yeah. His little apartment is full of swords and midevil stuff. There are lots of other amazing people here too.

Once again: can I tell you how much I love life? IT IS SO GOOD. And if that's not enough, it has been warm beautiful spring weather all week. There are flowers blooming everywhere. Reims is the champagne capital of the world so it is surrounded by grape vinyards. The are going to be GORGEOUS when they all start getting leaves here soon.

For district meeting we go into Paris every week. We have sisters in our district which just makes everything better. The elders are just more.. mature. Our district is sweet.

Well, don't you dare worry about me. Life rawks. Reims rawks.

Elder Benjamin Coburn

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Well the transfer email came today and I am leaving Brest!

I am going to Reims!!! It is in between Paris and Belgium. It's really hard to pronounce. Its kind of like "ramce" and you don't pronounce the m.

Umm... I've never been there but I'm reallllllly excited. Apparently it is huge and has one of the prettiest cathedrals in France. Look it up.

I'm am going senior companion! I'm excited/scared, but mainly excited. My companion is Elder Pieper (pronounced piper). He is going into his 3rd transfer. I can't wait to meet him. I heard he is exactly like me. He is from Kentucky (closer to home than anyone else in the mission) and went to BYU. Yesssss :)

I'll be sad to leave a lot of specific things in Brest, but I wanted to go and Elder Huff wanted to stay, so we're all happy :)

I leave on wednesday. I'm sooooo excited.

My new address is

Elder Benjamin Coburn
Les Missionaires
135 Boulevard Pommery
51100 REIMS

Love you!!!!

Elder Ben Coburn

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crazy week. We went to Angers again for another conference. This time we drove our car to Rennes (about 3.5 hours) and then rode trains to Angers (about 2 hours). Our mission is gigantic. It is going to expand again in June to include Nancy and Strasbourg. So... basically it's over 8 hours to get across the mission on the world's fastest train. Apparently it's about the equivalent of driving from Salt Lake City to Vancouver. Yeah...

This week we had two really neat lessons with an African named Mounmom (almost like Mormon, huh?) He lives an hour away from us so we saw him on the way to, and on the way back from Rennes. He is single with 3 grown up kids. We actually had one rendez-vous with him a few weeks ago but didn't think he was going to go anywhere. But so this week we saw him again and spent almost our entire lesson on prayer. He said that he couldn't pray. He is a lifelong long Christian, he just has never been able to pray in his life. He says that the words don't come as soon as he opens his mouth. SO, that rendez-vous passed without him praying and us telling him we wanted him to pray next time we saw him.

The next time we saw him we had one of the most spiritual lessons I've had on my mission. We could see him changing during the lesson as he began to feel the Spirit. At the beginning he was closed and stuck on his ways, but he just slowly opened up the whole time and by the end we were all almost crying. It came time for the closing prayer and I said "well, have you succeeded in your prayers since last time?" Then he was just like "let's pray." And... he said a prayer for the first time in his life. It was one of the best I've ever heard.

During weekly planning last week I made the goal to be able to play the mission song on piano by zone conference. And well, zone conference came and I hopped my little self up on that piano bench and pounded out my own little rendition of our mission song complete with key slides down the piano and everything :) Shannon was kinda my inspiration for that one because I remember her playing it one time for the Columbus mission's song. Our's is better though ;)

There's a ton more stuff that I should tell you but I don't really have time. Time is a funny thing. It's kinda frustrating. I just want to talk to you guys for real. Speaking of talking however... phone call in two months!

I miss you guys. You are the best family ever. I like to brag about you.

Love, Elder Coburn... the 4th?