Dearest compatriots known as family,
Well, yes. Yes, yes, yes. I am more than excited for this transfer. I remember Dad told me a story about how on his mission he had a really good friend at the mtc and they always played basketball together or something... They thought that they would never get to serve together, and then at the very end of their missions they got put together and got a lot of great stuff done. Well... welcome to the exact same story of my mission (except I'm not at the end yet). Elder Hales and I met at BYU when we figured out that we were both going to serve in Paris. So Sean (Elder Decker) and I invited him over a lot for hamburgers and stuff and we all got really excited for our missions. Then in the mtc Elder Hales and I got really close and would talk and sing and play piano all the time. I remember one night at the mtc we were walking around in the rain just talking and we were like "I'm sorry, but if we ever serve together, all of France will get baptized." Maybe ALL of France is a bit of a stretch, but we hope to get some things done. Moral of the story, I really really love Elder Hales.
I've been saying all my goodbyes in Reims the last few days... it's never easy for a whale to leave it's pod. Or for a lion to leave the pride... or for buffalos and herds...or tigers and prowls? A gaggle of geese? Last night we had a little goodbye party with waffles with the Dominault couple, tomorrow we're eating lunch with Soer Bluzat, and tommorow night we're going to McDonald's with Berthe and her daughters. Leaving a city always seems to be a good way to get people to manifest their love. I know that I am really sad to leave, but my excitement for going to Nancy is kind of blinding me to that fact. One person I'm especially sad to leave though is Adam (the one that emailed you guys and all). I will miss him. He is a very very good friend. I hope he gets to go on a mission soon too.
This past week Elder Bjerga and I went to Rennes, which is basically on the other side of France. It was kind of ridiculous. We had to go for Elder Bjerga's visa and stuff. The french system of becoming a legal resident is kind of silly. Elder Bjerga is going to have to make the trip one more time in a couple weeks (a 4 hour trip one way and several hundred euros). Anyway, so last week we had prayed a lot to be able to find a young family that we could teach. So we had been doing finding, finding, finding, and hadn't found anyone all week. Then on the train to Rennes we met a 17 year old girl named Océane, her mom, and her aunt. Océane had just gotten back from a one month trip to Utah with some American friends and she had gone to church, girl's camp, and everything. She is so so awesome. She like showed us her jounal and pictures and stuff too. The bummer is that they live at St. Malo where there is no church. The mom (also a big fan of the church) said "not yet there's not a church!" We got to give the Aunt a Book of Mormon, and we gave them all a bunch of stuff to read for the rest of the train ride. Haha, they even invited Elder Bjerga and I to come stay with them for several days which was SO hard to have to say no to. Especially seeing as they live in the most awesome little city on the ocean. It was raining really hard in the night time when we got off the train at Rennes and they continued to St. Malo. I remember them all smiling and waving as the train pulled away through the wetness. And... even if we're not the missionaries where they live, we realized that Heavenly Father answered our prayers to find a new family this week :)
Apparently there is a great ward in Nancy. I can't wait. I leave wednesday morning. In the mean time I'll be packing my vast collection of white shirts and ties, saying goodbye to as many members and amis as possible, and cleaning up the apartment a little bit for my predecessor :)
Benjamin Quinn Coburn, Elder