Monday, June 13, 2011

Guess what is this Thursday?? My ONE YEAR MARK!!! Holy cow. It feels like right about where I should be though... I have a letter that I wrote to myself at the beginning of my mission that I'm pretty excited to open and read for Thursday. I don't remember anything I wrote in it.

Elder Bjerga rocks. We are having a lot of fun. He is way more musical than me and way more full of charity than me. He kind of treats me like his child when we are around the apartment together. For example, at 6:30 this morning he was in the kitchen making pancakes for his little benny-boo. Then we had a picnic on my blanket for breakfast. He has been out for like 8 months but he has been transferred way more than me. He's hoping to stay in Reims for a while though. It's a pretty good place :)

It was sad to leave Elder Pieper to go to Nogent, but I think everything is turning out just fine. He sounds happy in the city of Nogent. Although, as he says, "it's no Reims."

Today we have been pretty busy for a pday. We woke up, did pancakes, did a huge outdoor market that is the length of Reims with a new member, we helped a lady move, and now it's 1 o' clock and we are doing some quick emails before we head off to help a DIFFERENT lady move.

Remember how I copy and pasted last week the things that I sent to the assistants? Well, here are the things that Elder Pieper said about our last two transfers. I think that you'll find them interesting:

Focus Your Efforts
We must find until we find where the success is, and then there, you
must focus your finding. If you do that, you will find success. In
Reims over the past two transfers we have found where the success is,
and we have really focused there. Now, maybe its not the same for all
areas, but from what we have seen, the success really lies in the
younger age group. We all know about Elder Perry's vision of how the
success of the church in Europe lies in the youth ages 18-30. And we
are starting to see his vision be realized. There is a student housing
building, very close to the Reims apartment. Missionaries have had
quite a few amis who lived there in the past. We had one ami there
that we were teaching, but we had no idea how golden the building was.
But then we realized that this building, and the student age group is
where the success lies. So we ported and contacted in and around the
building, and really focused our finding efforts there. We invited the
YSAs of the ward to come teach with us. We invited those we found to
activities at the church (movie night,english class, institute). And
once our amis started becoming friends with the YSAs, missionary work
becomes a whole lot easier. We started with one ami, and at the end of
our second transfer we had about 15. Looking back on the last two
transfers, about a third of our total lessons were taught in that

Find When You Teach
We actually haven't had very much time to really do a lot of
contacting or porting these last two transfers, because we have really
been busy teaching. Yes, we must use the time that we aren't teaching
to find more people to teach, but what we've found, is that we find
more people during Rdv's than when we do more common forms of finding.
Especially when focusing on the younger generation, its really simple
to find people when you teach. Sometimes friends would be in the
apartment of our ami when we show up for a rdv. Sometimes someone
would show up halfway through, then come in, sit down and listen. Then
at the end of rdvs we asked them if they were interested in starting
taking the lessons. All it took was courage to ask. One thing we
believe is that if we are spending the vast majority of our time
teaching, and don't have much time to do finding, God will bless us by
putting people in our way, whether by being a friend of one of our
amis, or by being on the bus the same time as us from one rdv to
another, there is always finding to be done. Once you find, teach,
then while you teach, find.

Give People a Chance to Get Interested
As a missionary normally when we contact, the people really aren't
interested in talking about god, or having a rdv with us. And we do
get rejected a lot. But one thing we've learned is, that most people
aren't ready the first time we contact them, but we must give them a
chance to become interested. Invite them to activities, or invite them
to english class. Many people are interested in learning english from
native speakers. In coming to these activities people can start to get
comfortable with us and the church, as well as meet members and other
amis. And oftentimes this leads to them becoming interested and
eventually wanting to receive lessons. But one thing we did this last
transfer that really speeded up the process, was after every english
class, we had a 30 minute spiritual message in french. We made sure
people knew it was not obligatory to stay, but it gave us a good
opportunity to explain our purpose as missionaries, how we are here,
yes to help people with everyday things such as English, but our main
purpose here in France is to help people come unto Christ and progress
spiritually. For the most part, the students at english class chose to
stay for the spiritual thought. Then they heard us, or other members
bare testimony about Jesus Christ or the Book of Mormon, and then the
next week they stay again, and eventually they trust us and want to
learn more. Then it just takes the courage to ask if they would like
to start meeting with us regularly. We found alot of amis through
english class, and saw people who at first were not at all willing to
talk about god, become very good progressing amis.

Ok. Ben again. I have to bounce though. I love you much. Mom, the gardening at the new house is looking LOVELY. You are a professional. You can do my house too... when I get one.


Elder Coburn

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