Monday, April 18, 2011

Greetings from Reims. You guys are the best.

This week's awesomeness didn't exactly measure up to last week's awesomeness, but we're we're still breathing. We had to push back both of our baptismal dates. Fred is pushed back 3 weeks and we're not sure about Ivan. It's super frustrating. It's super humbling.

However. Why was it a great week? Lot's of reasons.

-Elder Pieper, Adam (recent convert), and I are all going to read the Book of Mormon in 4 weeks. Today is day one. I'm excited.
-The tram in Reims opened this weekend. It is way neat. There were lots of creepy entertainers on stilts all over town. We laughed so much. In the evening we watched the fireworks from our balcony.
-I found a Pokémon card in the street.
-We celebrated my 10 month mark
-Even when we had really bad days we could just look at each other and laugh about it.
-We had a rendez-vous with a man that referred himself to the church.
-We both tasted champagne for the first time. Just kidding.
-My testimony was strengthened.

So... you know that little rule that says missionaries aren't allowed to have pets? Well. I accidently bought a goldfish at an open market last Pday. It was only 2 euros. I named it Schtroumpfie ("smurf" in french) and put it in an old pretzel container with a bunch of shells and stuff. So Schtroumpfie chilled on top of the fridge all week. Awesome right? No- no no no. Schtroumpfie was bad news bears. From the moment we got him everything started going wrong. Like, everything. So by the time friday rolled around we decided to get rid of him. We called Guillaume, a recent convert, and asked if he likes goldfish. He does. So the next morning Schtroumpfie found a new home. And wouldn't you know it? As soon as we gave away that stupid fish the week started getting better again. And that's where we are now. Devil fish.

I don't think I'll ever have a goldfish again in my life.

We've talked a lot this week about trials and adversity. I think that this week was necessary for us. It led us to reconsecrate our efforts. Even though everything kept falling through this week, I think we got the tiniest taste of the dissappointment that Christ feels when we choose not to follow him. We love our amis so much and it literally hurts us when they make bad decisions that push them further from Christ and baptism.

I also learned that miracles come into our lives when we believe and act, not just when we expect. The moment we become casual in our work, miracles can cease. I think that is a becoming a problem in our mission. We want to be great, but we expect it to come for free.

I love Reims. I love Elder Pieper. This may be are last full week together if he gets transfered. We're praying that he doesn't. This transfer has gone by faster than anything. ever.

I love you.
I smile when I think about our family.

Elder Benny Boy C.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I never ever ever ever want to leave the moment I'm in right now. This has been the most MIND BLOWING WEEK. True or False: La vie est trop belle...... TRUUUUE!!!!!

I had a VERY happy birthday. Why? I didn't have a single second to think about myself. All the plans and fun stuff I wanted to do got completely pushed aside because we had SIX lessons in one day. We are pooped, sunburned, and smiling. I still haven't even had time go to a french restaurant for my birthday... maybe I'll have time next week.

Before I came to Reims I had only ever had 10 lessons in one week. I found this is one of my old emails: "I don't even know where to start. Let's get the big picture first: This whole transfer the zone of Bretagne has been trying to get all the companionships to have 10 lessons a week. Impossible right? We're in France and nobody believes in God, right? We had ten lessons last week! We are teaching more than I have been my whole mission."

Well that was a month ago in Brest. This past week we had... 22 Lessons. We don't have time to breath. Next week we are going for 30. We have two amis that are getting baptised in two weeks on April 23. First, Fred. He is the African student that speaks english. He has changed his life more than anyone I have ever personally seen. He has come so far. He signed a paper for us telling us that he is never going to smoke or drink again. Then there is Ivan. A 25 year old student from Russia. He has been an ami for a long time and we invited him to baptized a couple weeks ago. At first we weren't sure if he was serious, but after this week we see that he definitely is. So, in two weeks they will both be getting baptized at the same baptismal service. IF THAT DOESN'T MAKE ONE HAPPY, then I got another phone call from Michel in Brest this week, and he set his baptismal for May 8. I'm thinking about going out to Brest for that but I'm not sure if I want to spend that much of my personal money on train tickets. Then you remember Sony from Evry? He is apparently getting really close to baptism.

I LOVE IT. God has a direct hand in this work. I bore my testimony at church yesterday about that. I told the ward that I have never seen as many miracles as I have seen here. I said that NOW is the time that Heavenly Father invites us to take part in His work. NOW is the time to take hold of his mercy and stretch a hand out to others. I said "Behold, Reims is white, already to harvest..."

Otherwise, we had an fabulous first lesson with Yiping, a young Taiwanese single mother who knows a member. She gave me chocolate for my birthday. The better birthday present though was when she said she "wants the life the we have in the church." We gave our ami Sinclair a priesthood blessing in his little apartment because he was really sick. The next day he was completely better after being bed-ridden for a week. He know has a testimony of the Priesthood. We played basketball saturday morning with Ivan and Fred so they could meet each other and we could talk about their baptisms. We found a note in the church mailbox that said "My name is François, I'm interested in your church. How can I be taught?" So he is driving from his home in Epernay (30 minutes away) again to see us on thursday night. I really feel like he'll get baptized soon just from talking to him.


The sun is shining, and it's been GORGEOUS for two weeks straight. Reims is a beautiful city. I'm twenty years old. We made a pizza last night. The COOLEST PERSON is in this ward. His name is Adam. He is going to go on a mission soon. I assoshiate with him. We slept out on our balcony last night. We have more food than we know what to do with. Last week was touché week. The tram in Reims opens this week. The cathedral is celebrating its 800th birthday in a couple weeks. Elder Pieper is one of my best friends ever. The church is true. I'm in France.

I love you. I really really do.

Elder Ben

Monday, April 4, 2011

Alors. Elle est belle, la vie. On se lêve, on travaille, on se couche. Tu répètes. Donc, c'est poulet blanc et blanc poulet. Il ne faut pas chercher midi à quatorze heure.

Last week was like a New Years Eve Party... This week was like a hangover.

Well, actually no, I was just sick for half of it. NO FUN. It was like a sore throat on day, and feverish stuff the next few days. One night I was teaching English class and I almost passed out while writing on the board. I had to go sit down. It was the first time I've really been sick on my mission. The thing is, is that even though I was sick I just felt like a worthless piece of crap sleeping around in the apartment, so for the most part I kept up our hectic schedule. We had another sweet week with tons of lessons and tons of success, but it was just really hard at the beginning of it. But, I'm all better now.

Some funny things this week:

Elder Pieper and I both chose 6 apostles for our "general conference fantasy team."
The bishop tried to give us the tithing records when we asked for a ward list. "just close your eyes" he said.
April Fools Day. Period.
We gave Fred a Snow White sticker. It relates to his baptism because of the scripture "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
A african woman came up to us at a bus stop and kept whispering in our ears "I have a secret!" She wouldn't tell us though. She told us she wanted us to call the prophet so she could tell him.

General Conference rocked. It never fails to lift me up. It also never fails to make me really miss home :)

This week we taught Fred the Word of Wisdom in preparation for his baptism. We were kind of scared because he is a young college kid, so obviously he is probably not going to be perfect on the whole "don't drink, don't smoke" thing. Well, we taught it and he told us that it was something he really wanted to do. The next night he called me and told me that he had resisted going to the party with all his friends because he knew there was going to be drugs and alcohol there. Fred! He said "I want to see you guys like as much as possible because everytime I do it gives me so much strength to be better." He is legitly one of my heros.

I remember when I was back in Evry I would always be jealous of the sisters because they had so many people to teach. I said to myself "If I could have so many people to teach, I would be SO happy." Well, right now on my mission I AM that happy. We teach so much! It's exhausting but I'm infinitely more satisfied than I ever was in Evry. Next week we are going to try to have 20 lessons.

One reason why Elder Pieper and I are a good companionship is because we are both huge optimists. For us, everything in the world is "awesome," "sweet," or "chouette." We're like two guys from the South and everything we see is "peachy, just peachy." As if that's not enough we actaully do speak with Southern accents. I don't know why, but his accent brings out my southern accent and we just have a peachy old time.

Oh! I got a phone call this week from Michel in Brest. He finally talked to his advisors and he will be getting baptized in a couple weeks :) That makes me feel like everything in Brest was worth it :)

Our Heavenly Father is watching us. He loves us. He has sent angels to be all around us. The world may change and degrade as it will, but His work with go on unhindered. That is something I have come to now. I love you guys. Sorry this email is kind of scatterbrained. I hope you have a sweet action week :) You're the best :)

Elder Coburn