Monday, July 25, 2011

Dearest Family,

This week Elder Bjerga had surgery for his ingrown toenail. Dis.Gus.Ting. If I ever get an ingrown toenail I think I would choose to just get it amputated and avoid the messy surgery. I've only looked at it once and that was more than enough for me. It's like all bloody and stitched up and demon like. So he's been on crutches all week/ keeping his foot elevated/ getting mothered by me/ still making me brownies. His surgery was on wednesday. It was literally a five minute surgery, and they kept us at the hospital for more than 11 hours. ELEVEN (insert your expletive) HOURS!! So that was sweet. At least we had a lot of time to feel sorry for his toe :)

So we stayed at home a lot this week but still got out and did some awesome things. Namely, we helped move a bunch of furniture to Berthe and Josée's house (Berthe is the member, Josée and her kids are the investigators). It was really really cool. The elders quorum got out in the cold and rain to take them all sorts of much needed furniture. Elder Bjerga stayed in the car the whole time but I got to get soaked and lift heavy wooden objects. It was actually really good and I really enjoyed it. The best part was the looks on their faces as they saw cupboard, after closet, after table being hauled into their barren apartment. Talking to one of the young boys, Berthe said "Do you know where all this comes from? Jesus." Unfortunately the family is going on vacation up to Belgium so we won't see them for a week. Oh well, they will come home to a well furnished house :)

Have you guys ever eaten rabbit? The french eat it all the time. It got served to us this week with garlic potatoes and salad. We also got served pork and pasta by a different lady, and taken to a restaurant by a really sweet member, and served beets and steak by another really sweet member. A lot of people took compassion on the gimp and I :)

Brandon was in Germany for a marathon this week so we haven't seen him, but we called him one night and he was so so happy to talk to us. We can't wait to see him again. I hope he won his marathon. Did you know that you can win like up to 100,000 euros for winning a marathon? Yuppers. The ward is really excited for his baptism on August 6th. So are we. Most of all, so is he :)

I LOVE MY COMPANION. I've had really good luck for the past while on my mission to be with such awesome people. Elder Bjerga is so loving and complimentary all the time. He knows everything about my family and friends. He actually really makes me miss Jordan because he acts like him so much and we play all the games together that Jordan and I played. Like... the animal game, the fish wiggle game, the talk in da voice game, the eep game, etc... So we're doing well :)

Speaking of Jordan- you saw Richie at efy?? Ugh. I miss him. Also it sounds like you were fully fashionable and smooth with the ladies. Good work.

Well, we have to go shopping. We literally have no food at our house. You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. No. Food.

Elder Coburn

Monday, July 18, 2011

What was the best part about this week? THE WHOLE THING.

Ok. Mirco-Brandon Fai has got to be the best ami of my mission. Brandon is a marathon runner from Camaroon that is currently qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London. He runs about 22 kilometers every morning and 15 kilometers everynight. He runs a marathon in 2 hr 10 min and a half marathon in 1 hour. That is about a 4:30 mile pace. He is trying to break the world record. He is a native english speaker and has been Christian his entire life. He is the most kind, sincere, and faithful 28 year old. When he first saw the Book of Mormon he lit up and told us that he has always loved listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He listens to it on youtube after everytime he runs. He has always told himself that he was going to find the Mormons when he went to America, but he didn't know that it is all over the world! We met him on Monday and had another rendez-vous with him on Tuesday morning. When we showed him the baptismal font he said "so what do I have to do to be baptized?" At this point we looked at each other and just didn't really know what to do. So we fixed a baptismal date (August 6th) and then taught the 1st lesson -in that order. He said he knows it is true and he believes. He came to church and Sunday and felt the Spirit. He said he is going to call his mom this week to tell her about everything and that she will be so happy. Brandon especially lit up when we told him that when he recieves the priesthood he will be able to baptize his whole family. He loves them (they are still in Camaroon). He is SO good. We saw him again this morning and I still just feel so good from being around him. He is so excited to be baptized. We are so excited for him to be baptized. We gave him a Mo-tab CD, a tie, and my old suit and he is eternally grateful. He said he hasn't worn a tie since high school :) He is going to Germany this week for a race and is taking his Book of Mormon.

Oh also, before he came to Europe, he was an African hunter. What does that mean? That means he outruns deer. Literally. He chases deer for 50 kilometers until they can't run anymore, and then he catches them and takes them home to the village, where the elders slaughter it. He also hunts rabbits, boars, and antelopes (also by outrunning them).

I can't wait to introduce you guys to him after my mission. I've got this idea churning in my head to do our vacation to France during the 2012 olympics (in August) so that we can also go up to London and watch him win the marathon :) Oh my oh my oh my. He is a blessing.

This week we also saw Berthe's daughter, Josée, and her children again. They are doing very well. We sang 'Be Stil My Soul' for them at the beginning of our rendez-vous (we also sang 'Where Can I Turn For Peace' during sacrament meeting this week) and it brought a wonderful spirit in. Josée and her three boys were also at church yesterday. She is amazing.

Unfortunately, our other ami with a baptismal date, Patrick, lost his phone this week and so we aren't really sure about that :(

Elder Bjerga and I are very excited to stay together another transfer (especially with our great amis). That will be 6 months that I am here!! Goodness gracious great balls of chocolate. There are times when I find myself wanting to leave and go live in a new city, but really there is no reason to! I am so happy here, the city is my favorite, and the people are the best! Reims Reims Reims. What a great place.

This morning Elder Bjerga and I tried to make a list of all the states and their capitals... we did pretty good... not. I don't remember very much at all. We got all the states after like 10 minutes (that dang Iowa!), but only like half of the capitals. Luckily I can name a lot of the regions in France and their capitals :)

Well. It's been a good week. Mom, that is awesome that you ran 6 miles. You're a babe. I love you. Dad, last night I wrote a list of about 20 specific reasons why I love you. Like when you would always come to my football games and track meets even though I insisted it wasn't worth it. You guys are awesome parents.

God bless America. and France.
Elder Coburn

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Woohoo!!!!! I'm staying in Reims again!!! Everything is working according to my plans. Elder Bjerga is staying too so we will keep eating well and singing. Originally I wanted to train next transfer but due to some of the biggest miracles on my mission (to be explained on monday), we called the assistants and told them that they could just leave us loosy goosy in Reims because we LOVE it. Good thing too because all the members had already started crying on my shoulder being sad about me leaving. Gee wizz. So I'll see ya monday. I'll just give you a little teaser about our big miracle: 2012 olympics. intensness. immersion.

Ok, let your minds play with that. ttyl. g2g. brb. lyl. rofl. ttfn. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dearest Family,

I am very happily living another day of my mission. Things have been going very well lately. Know that I am happy and just as in love with everything as always. Ok... actually I am like WAY happy. We have had some rockin' stuff happening:

We did end up going to see Berthe, her daughter Josée, and her three little boys. It was a very very nice rendez-vous. There was a very sweet spirit there the entire time (the kind that you get when a family is all together). At the beginning, the boys (baby, 3 yrs, and 5 yrs) were all very shy and wouldn't talk at all, but as the lesson went on little Matthieu (5 yrs) crawled over and snuggled right underneath Elder Bjerga's arm. Josée was especially touched by that. I think she recognized that her children could feel and respond to the Spirit. Josée said that after coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon, she will be baptized if she feels that it is true. It was also very cool to see Berthe testify to her daughter and grandkids about the happiness she has found in the church.

We also had another miracle... like the kind where you set a baptismal date 20 minutes after meeting someone and you really didn't have to do anything but be in the right place at the right time. We were in the tram when we heard a voice in front of us say "ça-va elder?" We looked up to see Patrick, a 19 year old boy from Congo. As we talked with him we found out that a few months ago he had been seeing the missionaries in Grenoble, and that he has now lived in Reims for about two months without any missionary contact. After he said that he feels like the missionaries are following him, we told him that maybe it was because God was trying to tell him something. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" we said (didn't translate to french very well). Then Patrick said that God was trying to tell him that he needs to be baptized. Annnd, we confirmed that. So we found a little spot and had a quick rendez-vous with him. He told us his his heartfelt story and we committed him to be baptized. He said in a resolute voice "Oui, j'accepte." So Patrick will be getting baptized on July 30th. We had a great rdv with him today and have another one set for tomorrow. He is so prepared. He feels and recognizes the Spirit and has told us so many times that he is ready to follow Christ for the rest of his life.

The miracle for me is how the Lord accomplishes His work in His way, and that we are so blessed to have even the smallest parts in that. We just happened to be about 30 minutes early to our other rendez-vous and we didn't know why, but it was the right place at the right time, and the Lord took care of the rest. The question posed in the scriptures is "what power can stay the hand of God?"

Humm... what else. Elder Bjerga has an ingrown toenail. We went to the doctor about it like two weeks ago, but it's just been getting worse and now it's like all inflamed and there is puss and blood and junk. I pretty much pass out just looking at it. So we're going back to the doc's office tonight. Yuck.

The transfer ends in about a week and a half. It went by so fast. Every transfer goes by way faster than the last one. Normally I will be leaving Reims this transfer, but we're not sure what is going to happen. I asked to stay in Reims to be a trainer next transfer so we'll see. We find out this weekend. It would be especially sad to leave though right before Patrick's baptism.

Well, peace and blessings. Also, Elder Bjerga says to say that he really loves our family even though he's never met you. I love you too. Lots.

Admiral Coburn

Monday, July 4, 2011

For starters, here is a little video of us that you need to download and watch umm. Self explanatory.

Yesterday we had a little miracle. The bus times here in Reims just changed, and so we didn't catch the right bus to make it to church on time. We thought about walking, but in the end we decided we would wait for the bus and just be ten minutes late to church. When we got on the bus there was an African lady that looked at me as I passed. I thought to myself, "she looks exactly like Mama Marcelle from Evry" So I turned around, pulled off my plaque and showed it to her. She nodded her head and said 'Yes, this is my church.' I sat down next to her and found out this women, Berthe, had been baptized in the South of France in November. She has been in Reims for over a month and has not been able to find the church. She told me that she has been to the neighborhood several times looking for it, but has never been able to find it. This morning, she was on her way once again to search for it. What a miracle for us to run into her! What a miracle for us to have missed the bus! It once again strengthened my testimony about acting on inspiration. So Berthe came to church with us where she was warmly greeted by everyone.

After church I went to ask her if we could pass by to see her this week and she was like "Ok. This is what we're gonna do: you are going to come to preach to my daughter at home... and her 3 kids."

"Not a problem!!" I said. So we have a rendez-vous with this wonderful woman and her daughter on Thursday.

We also had a great experience contacting a young man on the way to Paris. He told us that "because he was sincere, God would tell him if it were true... by the Holy Ghost" So we should also be seeing him soon.

Hmm. Lots of things have made me miss home this week. We met an American couple on a honeymoon. We assisted at a family reunion where everyone was so happy to be with each other. We ate at Subway. I miss you guys!!! You are so great. America is great too. We just barely realized it is the 4th of July. Happy Fireworks!! Woohoo! In France we'll get all our firework shows on the 14th. Bastille Day!!

You know how P-day is actually "P-most-of-the-day?" Well we did our missionary work this morning so that it really is P-day from here on out. We went to see a less active boy in the ward that we really want to go on a mission. He was really honest with us and it made me happy that he felt that comfortable. He really wants to go on a mission so we are praying. He also showed us all his cool stuff for recording music , which Elder Bjerga and I both loved.

You know the voice that Jordan and I talk in a lot? DA VOICE?? Welll... Ewder Bjerga and I have Stawrted tawking wike dat... and der are wots uvv times wenn I think dat I am actuawlly tawking to Jordan. Yeah. It's wike weally weally weird. Yeahhh. SOMETIMES WE STAWRT TAWKING WIKE DAT AND WE CAN NEVERR EVERR STOPP!!


Elder Benny