Monday, May 30, 2011

HERE'S BENJAMMINNNN!!!! Guess where I was a couple hours ago? Visiting the CHAMAGNE CELLARS. We live literally right next to one of the world's biggest champagne producers. They sell 5 million bottles a year. And so what did we do when they offered us our free glass of champagne? We had white grape juice..... it was alright I guess. Then we had a little lesson with Fred by the cathedral, then we bought train tickets, then we renewed our bus passes for June, then we came to talk to our FAMMMMILIES :) I love you guys. I am sure missing a lot of good stuff back there. Making it world famous in the Cleveland magazine?? Riding trains across the states? MULCHING THE FRONT YARD??? I'm missin' big time. Oh Well. One year and seventeen day will be gone way too soon I'm sure. All though it's true like you said, it does seem like forever ago that I left. But then again it has gone soooo fast. That's cool that the Cleveland magazine said that you have a son on a mission in France. Dang right you have a son on a mission in France!! He is working his skinny little butt off. Speaking of "skinny" though, I have gained about 15 pounds on my mission. JUST KIDDING. Of course I haven't. I haven't gained or lost an ounce since I've been a missionary. Thanks for giving me an agreeable metabolism.

This week I got to go on an exchange with Elder Hales and Elder Godfrey in Amiens (cool cool city up north). Elder Hales, Elder Godfrey, and I were all in the same mtc group and us three would always day dream about getting to serve in a tripanionship when we were *gasp* actually in France. And so last week a lot of crazy stuff happened that resulted in us three going on an exchange. What are the odds. We made a traditional french Tartiflette for dinner to celebrate... except maybe it wasn't all too traditional because we like tripled the amounts of bacon and cheese. We're missionaries :) So it was a way fun exchange but I am happy as a clam to be back in my favorite city with my favorite companion. Unfortunately we've probably only got another week and a half left as companions because we've been together for two transfers and it's about time for Elder Pieper to leave his blue ville (he's been here for 6 months).

So remember those glory days when we lived in Fulmer, England for a couple years? Well since then I had never met anyone that knows about the little village of Fulmer -until this week, and I met two of them! One day we were walking up a little cobblestone road in between our house and the bus stop and I heard some British people speaking English. "Oh boy!" I though to my self. So I put on my most thoroughly convincing British accent and asked the blokes whereabouts they were from. "England!" they said. "Brilliant!! I replied. "I live in Windsor!" "So do we!" They said. I was like "Do you know the village of Fulmer?!" And of course they did so I had to regress back into my blunt American accent and tell them that I wasn't really British so that they didn't start asking me questions. They told me they never would've know though. Hmp. So proud of myself. And then also there is an Irish boy in Reims for a couple weeks and Windsor was his first area on his mission (Slough Ward). Soooo, yes.

I am currently exchanging emails with Jordan. I miss him. Our conversation is... well... yes. AND JORDAN FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON IN LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS!!! Okayyyyyy: confession time... After 6 weeks I am still only in 3 Nephi. I've been in 3 Nephi for about 2 weeks. We got really busy there for a while and then I never went back and made up everything I missed, and then I just kind of got discouraged, and now I'm chugging along at a less than stellar speed. Just goes to show that the youngest children really are all that and a bag of chips. I will finish soon though :) Speaking of the Book of Mormon. We were in a rendez-vous with a girl the other day and she was telling us how much she likes "well-being books." So we said well "here is one well-being book to rule them all." ...or something like that.

This is week 6 of the transfer. We are on pace to get 100 lessons for the whole transfer, but it's going to have to be a busy week. It feels so good when there is missionary work to do! Hurrah for Israel! Also, watch this

I love you to the sun and back.

Love Benny Boy Elder Coburn

ps: don't drink champagne. just grape juice.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My dearest family. You are busy! Let's see Let's see. This week
rocked. Especially thursday because we leadership conference in Paris.
Conferences in Paris are one of my favorite things on my mission. It
is awesome to see like 50 other missionaries and have president tell
us how proud he is of us. It makes me feel SO good. It's so easy to
fell really lonely when you're out in your city for a long time all
alone. But then when you see that there a so many other missionaries
that are working with you and having good and bad experiences just
like you, it really builds your testimony of the divinity of this
work. I usually conduct the music at mission conferences and then I
play the piano for the mission song. It's fun. Also I always make sure
to steal a couple minutes with the mission presidents wife to talk
about how good our lives our. She always asks about my family and
tells me how great it is that I love my area and my companion. It is
great. On thursday president talked about FOD - foreign object debris.
It is a airplane term (as I'm sure Josh knows) and it refers to all
the little stuff that gets sucked into airplane engines and costs
billions of dollars. We all have fod is our lives. But how much is it
costing us? In our case right now it seems to be costing our mission
almost 50% of our normal baptisms. Wow! It really has made me look
again at my missionary efforts to find the places where fod is getting
into my engines, and then get rid of it. Thats metaphorical of course.

Remember when I told you about our ami Alexis? The college one that is
like my best friend? Well he is amazing. This week he told us that the
more he has started to pray, the more he feels like there is actually
someone there. He said that he has started to actually think about
what he says because he know he's not just talking to the air. Also
when we were teaching the Plan of Salvation this week, he pointed the
the paper I was drawing it on and almost shouted "That's it! That
makes sense!" One of the pictures I sent is us with Alexis.

Hmm... so I hear that our Armenian friend Adam has been talking to
Jordan and Mom? Adam is sweet. He recently referred two of his
Armenian friends that he knows in a little champagne city twenty
minutes away, so we went there and taught one of them with him.
Armenia is the new France.

Lee sent me a little message and told me that 5 of the young men from
Springboro recently got ordained elders! I love everyone of them and
remember sharing great experiences with them around Springboro and in
Young Mens. I've reflected a lot on my mission about the influence
that we have on others- and especially the influence that young people
have on others. So often when I was younger I was only concerned about
myself. I was concerned about being cool, about fitting in, about
having everything I wanted, etc... But how much more value do we have
in Heavenly Father's eyes when we are concerned not about ourselves,
but about others? The power of example is immense. How many people
look at us even when we are only 16 years old? A lot. Especially in
missionary work, youthfulness or even inexperience can be huge
advantages. You just have to be you, but you have to be the best you
possible. The example of Christ is sure to shine through. That goes
for grownups too :)

Well, time to be going. I love you.

Elder C

ps, I got the pants for my new suit loosened up so it's not quite so
strangling anymore ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I love my family. I love my family. I love my family. I love my
family. I love my family. I love my family. I love my family. I love
my family. I love my family. I love my family. I love my family. I
love my family. I love my family. I love my family. I love my family.
I love my family. I love my family. I love my family. I love my
family. I love my family. I love my family.

My life since our mothers day phone call? Bliss. I loved talking to
each one of you, and besides making me ridiculously home sick it
really really motivated me to be a better missionary. What a blessing
it is to grow up in a family that is 'steadfast and immovable' in the
things that we know are true. So thank you. We had a lesson last night
with one of our college amis, Alexis, and we talked a lot about the
divinity of the family. It was perfect and set an incredible
foundation for our rendez-vous. Elder Pieper and I also decided that
it is probably best that we don't get to call our families very much,
because now we just miss them so much more. Oh la la.

Last night after Alexis we went to a different rendez-vous, but our
ami wasn't there. So, we started talking to a few of the college kids
hanging out in the hallway and we now have 4 new kids our age that are
going to meet with us. So I guess it was kind of a miracle that our
ami wasn't there in the first place. God works in mysterious ways huh?
And then after that we met back up with Alexis again and went on an
evening run all across Reims and along the canal.

Our missionary adventures this last week have taken us many a time out
intro the countryside. It. is. a. dream. We have played in the
vinyards, driven through farms, visited old villages, played around
the Marne River, had a picnic, and saw the place where champagne was
invented... by a catholic monk ironically. I really do love it here.
If my life ever finds me living in France it will def have to be in
the country.

Hmm. Quoi d'autre...

Talking to Mom made me remember singing and dancing with her in the
kitchen on summer afternoons after work.
Talking to Dad made me remember football in the backyard, home
teaching, and sunday naps.
Talking to Josh and Shannon made me remember snowboarding at Brighton.
Talking to Caleb made me remember BYU together, ultimate frisbee, and
trying to get dates.
Talking to Jordan made me remember how ridiculous we are together,
playing piano, playing bunny rabbit, and DA VOICE.

Told you that all I can think about is family :)

Side note: I just barely got a text from our ami Fred. We haven't
been able to see him in a long time and so he just said "If you think
missing me is hard, don't try missing you. It's worse! Have a good day
youngsters. in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN." Fred is sweet.

Well, we the work must go on and I must get out of this library. Have
a great week.

Love, Elder Coburn

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hi!! Guess what Sunday is?!?! MOTHERS DAY!!!!! HOT DIGGITY MOTHERS DAY!! YOU CAN HERE MY SWEET VOICE!! What better way to celebrate a holiday! I certainly can't think of anything better. I haven't seen you guys for almost a whole year. Are we even still related? Different sides of the earth, different languages, different time zones... luckily those are about our only differences. Similarities? Good looks, good humor, good tastes, and just overall goodness. I love our family. Count your blessings though that I'm still alive: we basically got stoned this week. Ok well, not stoned stoned. We were walking through an extra unsavory neighborhood one day when a group of ghetto kids on the other side of the road starting yelling "Jesus-this and Jesus-that" at us. So we just kept walking like the innocent little Americans that we are, and then when they were about 50 meters behind us, a baseball size rock came flying about 3 feet over our left shoulders and smashed into the sidewalk in front of our feet. So we picked it up and hurled it back along with some choice words from the french language. Then we booked it out of there. JUST KIDDING. That last part was a lie. We left the rock on the sidewalk and just kept walking away to safety. But Samuel the Lamanite much? Miracles much? Also, on the same subject of danger (as if mom's heart isn't beating hard enough already), President told us not to wear our missionary plaques today because of Osama Bin Laden being killed. So that's weird. I keep freaking out that it's not on my chest where it's supposed to be. OTHER THAN THAT WE ARE SAFE AND SOUND :)

We had a pretty good week. Lots of lessons, lots of dissappointments, and very tired as always. We started teaching a few new sweet people. One is named Trésor. Aka, Treasure... sweet name huh? A lot of Africans have cool names like that. One time I knew a 'Prince Good Luck.' Our English class has been flourishing lately too. We teach english for an hour every tuesday night and then we do a half hour spiritual section. It has been working really well and we've gotten some really good new amis from it. There are a lot of Chinese girls that have started coming too. We usually have 6 or 7 students there. Of course I am always reminded of mom teaching english class to japanese men and making them believe that her name was Miss Gorgeous. People in France know English way too well to pull that one over on them.

This week during fast sunday i decided the first meal I want to have when I get home. Home made hamburgers, grilled on the deck, warm summer night, spicy pepperjack cheese, avocado slices, bacon, and then all the normal stuff. Did you know that bacon doesn't exist in France? Talk about trials..

I wish that you guys could be with Elder Pieper and I during some of scripture conversations in the morningtimes. It's cool because we always read the same twenty pages of the Book of Mormon during personal study, then for companionship study we go through it and try to apply it to us and our investigators. So most of the scriptures that we use with amis during the daytime come from the 20 pages we read in the morning. Right now we're at the Sons of Mosiah missionary section. Oh, and I always make sure to sing Scripture Scouts to him. Take my favorites for example: or

Good thing you raised me right.

This week I also bought a french suit. Oh. La. Vache. Mom, you'd be proud to have birthed this. Normally I was waiting till the end of my mission to buy a suit, BUT seeing as my favorite clothing store is having a liquidation sale in Reims, I decided that getting a 200 euro suit for 60 euros was a pretty slick deal. Huh? Huh? I'll send a picture eventually. The pants are really skinny. It rawks.

Well... I can't wait to talk to you on Sunday. I'll work on my English before then.

Heavenly Father is blessing us.

Elder Benjamin Quinn Coburn

ps, another one of the amis in Evry that I started teaching is getting baptized in 2 weeks. I'm probably going to go to the baptism. It's Didier, if you remember him :)