Monday, December 26, 2011

Well, I don't have that much time to write so I attached lots of pictures, and we'll all be talking on the phone in a couple days anyway :) Christmas time has been very very nice here in Lille. We were invited over twice on Christmas Eve Day and once on Christmas. In France the tradition for Christmas is to eat lots of seafood, so lots of seafood we ate :) It was my first time eating oysters... that was fun :) I don't not like them, but it's kind of like slurping up a giant booger out of salt water. On top of that, the oyster is still alive! Now I understand why mom didn't really want to go to an oyster bar with me in New York. We also got to watch the first 30 minutes of Polar Exress in French which was a THRILL. President said we were allowed to watch Dinsey movies if it was a family tradition. That's the first time on my mission I've done anything like that. Far out, huh?

Let's see... we had a very lovely redndez vous with a lady named Pascale this week. We contacted her a while back and so this week she took us out to get hot chocolate and talk about the Book of Mormon. What a treat! All her children are grown up and she says that she is searching for something in her life. We have our second rdv with her in a few hours at the church and we've invited another member to come accompany us.

On Saturday we have the baptism of Grâce and Prudence. It will be New Years Eve Day. Prudence asked a member to baptize and confirm her and Grâce wants Elder Godfrey to baptize her and me to confirm her. We should have a good weekend :)

Well, I am glad you have had an amazing Christmas out at sea and I am thankful for the email that mom was able to send off to me. For our Christmas call on Wednesday, I was thinking that I could call you guys on the phone at about 7:00 pm my time. That would be... 1:00 in the afternoon for you guys? Would that work? Then I could be at home in my pajamas for the evening to talk to you. I am just going to buy a calling card. If you can try an send me an email sometime to confirm it, that would be great. I can't wait :)

I love you!!!
Elder Coburn

Monday, December 19, 2011

Joyeux Noël times a thousand. Things are going very well.

I have good news, I have bad news, and then I have more good news. The first good news is that when Josée in Reims found out that I was coming to her baptism she asked me to baptise her!!! But... the bad news is that in the end her husband kind of intervened a couple days before and said he needs to know more about the church before she can get baptised. Dang it :( That was hard for me. It was going to be the first time on my mission that I got in the water to baptise someone. It took a good day or two of thinking about it, but in the end I'm better because of it. It is just a challenge for me that I'll look back on and smile. She is still 100% getting baptised, it just won't be me that does it. And that's okay :) Our trip to Reims though was awesome. After picking up my new visa, we went out to eat with Pierre (the ward mission leader) and Adam, hung out with Adam some more, showed Elder Godfrey all around Reims, went and visited Guillaume ( a recent convert that Elder Pieper baptised), and then had a rendez-vous with Josée and her kids. We refixed her baptismal date for the end of the month. Also we went to go see the Christmas market at Reims, which apparently is the 3rd biggest one in France. It seriously was like breathtaking. Then we got back to Lille before bedtime. Good day :)

Anyway, the other good news is the Samuel got baptised on Saturday and there were about 20 nonmembers there!! Samuel's extended family from everywhere came, and we had a good number of our own investigators there. The church building felt like little Africa. It was really really legit. We did lots of missionary work and have some referrals to pass to other missionaries. I would be okay with having a baptism everyweek. After the baptism there was a ward open house, so all the non-members got to see these cool panels that the church put up about it's history in France, and then there was a film about it too, and a fireside later that evening. We were at the church this entire weekend. We snagged three free ward meals out of it. THREE WARD MEALS. This ward is the bee's knees.

More really good news is Grâce and Prudence. They are the 10 and 11 year old daughters of our ami Anne-Marie. It is a little family from the Ivory Coast that was referred by a member. They are all three going to get baptised. At the baptism on Saturday Anne-Marie was "ready to throw her daughters in the water to get them baptised then and there." Awesome. So we went over to their house and organized the baptism for the two daughters to be the 31st of Décember. Anne-Marie is hesistating a little bit for her own baptism, but the girls can't wait for theirs and I'm sure that it won't take Anne-Marie very long to follow their example. So we have a couple more baptisms coming up soon :)

Here's a fun topic: my shoes. Holy crap. I think today is the last day that I am going to were them. The soles of both my black pair and my brown pair are completely cracked in two and so my socks just kind of poke through and sponge up the water on the ground. I've been waiting until the after Christmas sales to buy some new ones, but I think today is the day. The ground is always wet here and so even if it's not raining my feet just get wet and stay wet. The big crack is right at the ball of my feet. When we went to Reims I put on socks, then garbage bags, then another pair of socks on the outside, but my feet still were wet all day :) It's gotten so embrassing that I never rest my foot up on my knee anymore because I don't want everyone to see my socks :) So... we'll see what the stores have to offer today.

Hmm, what else. We are being well taken care of for Christmas. We have two places to go on the 24th, and we are going o the bishops house on the 25th. We have both recieved our Christmas packages (THANK YOU!! and no I haven't pilfered through the loot yet), so our presents are snug under the tree that we kidnapped off the side of the road. It is a real tree that is spraypainted white, and losing hundreds of pine needles daily. Stupid tree. But at least I managed to get another tree after leaving our masterpiece tree in Nancy.

Elder Wood is now "dead." He went home on Wednesday. Now it is just Elder Godfrey and I in our apartment staying warm for Christmas. We went to Paris this week for zone leader council (those things seem like they come around every single week instead of once a transfer). We went to Amiens and went to their district meeting. They have one of the biggest cathedrals in France. We also did a lot of kick trash power finding this week and should have a few new people to go teach right before Christmas. As of tomorrow Elder Godfrey and I officialy only have 6 months left. So we're going on the big ferris wheel tonight to celebrate with Elder Johnson (my mtc companion) who serving in the Lille suburbs. Good stuff.

Well, Merry Christmas. Jesus Christ lives. I love him. I thank Him for His sacrifice and love. I thank you for teaching me of Him. I love you

Elder Coburn

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ma chère famille,
Vous êtes incroyable!!! Je vous souhaite le meilleur noël depuis jamais!!

We have had a pretty good week. Still lookin' up apartments like crazy. We went into Paris this week for Christmas conference. I cried when I read the letters that you guys wrote me. Those Poznanski's are sneaky sneaky :) It was a really good conference. We did white elephant, ate food, sang, had a training, watched a movie, etc...

This next week is going to be one of those super crazy weeks. It's going to be good though. Here is the schedule:
Today, Pday,
Tuesday, go to Amiens (couple hours away) and do training in their district meeting, exchanges back in Lille
Wednesday, exchanges, switch back with Amien
Thursday, go to Paris for ZL conference, drop off Elder Wood at mission home (end of his mission)
Friday, GO TO REIMS!!! I'm going to pick up my new visa, and see the BAPTISM of Josée that Elder Bjerga and I found and taught!!
Saturday, we have our own baptism here in Lille for our investigator, Samuel. Then church open house/ ward meal
Sunday, church, another ward meal

CRAZY. Samuel, our baptism on Saturday is 16 years old. He is part of a recent convert family, and has finally decided he wants to get baptised after having gone to efy. Super sweet :) His family is from Camaroon. And then I am outside myself with joy about Josée getting baptised and about getting to be there. It was super super lucky for things to work out that I will be in Reims on that day :) Remember how she was going to get baptised when I was there but she had to get married? Well, she got married and so now she is getting baptized!! Her three children will follow her when they are old enough. And hopefully the husband too, but I don't know him yet. Reims is still my favorite city from my mission. I love that place.

So. You are departing into the watery depths of the Caribbean this week. Get tan. I wish I could get tan. I have been white white white for too too long.

So. I just barely got a call from Elder Bjerga. He misses you guys. Not that he has ever really even met you :) He remembers every detail about all of you. He even remembers about the last time you guys went on a cruise. He is super jealous that I am getting to go to Josée's baptism. We talked about how amazing it is to be able to bring someone to Christ like that. Dang it, I'm like about to cry. Missions are so good. How can anything be more worthwhile than bringing a family unto Christ? Elder Bjerga and I are always going to have that special connection because of that. The same with all my companions. Seeing two baptisms this week back to back will be something pretty new for me. They don't come around all that often. It will be amazing to see Samuel get baptized here in Lille, but even more than that I think it will be such a sweet experience to be at Josée's baptism. Her whole family coming unto the church started the one sunday morning in Reims when I felt like I should talk to a certain lady on the bus, who turned out to be Berthe, a recent convert that couldn't find the church since she had been in Reims, and then she introduced us to her daughter Josée and her shy little children, and then her other daughter Natalie and her children. Now Josée is getting baptised, the family comes to church, and the rest of her family is still being taught by the missionaries. I can't wait to see all the members in Reims too. This is one of those moments that the scriptures call "singing the song of redeeming love." We live for that :)

Well, Bon voyage! You are leaving America this week and Elder Wood is leaving our tripanionship and going home to America. Home to Farmington, Utah. Good little place.

Have fun! Go swimming for me :)

Love, Elder Benny Boo

Monday, December 5, 2011

CRAZY STUFF IS HAPPENING!!!! Okay, maybe a little less dramatic than that though. I am currently serving in a tripanionship. It is my first time since the mtc. Here is what happened: at the beginning of this transfer Lille received a second companionship of two Elders that are going home the week before Christmas. They were both going to stay for 3 weeks of power finding mode and then go home together. Well long story short- one of them, Elder Collette, had to go home on a seconds notice because he had to accompany another missionary home that was otherwise incapable of getting himself home. So like President called him at 5, he packed and got on a train for Paris at 8, flew to America the very next morning, and now Elder Wood is with Elder Godfrey and I for 1.5 weeks until he goes home for Christmas like originally planned. So that's kinda crazy. We are pretty sad about him leaving but we are having a good time as three.

Side note: at the internet café where I am there is currently a crazzzzy person yelling some African dialect at the top of his lungs inside one of the phone cabins. I wouldn't be surprised if he punches through the glass on the booth and comes to massacre us with glass shards. Anyway, now back to the show:

The Turkey Bowl turned out really good. A lot of our missionaries told us how much they liked the Brother of Jared training afterwards. The football was good, the touchdowns were many, and the meal was festive and filling. It was 20 missionaries, 4 of which were sisters (they made some good pumpkin pie. We were all super sore for at least three days after the turkey bowl. I am glad to here that BYU's season didn't turn out so bad after all. I'll be excited to hear about their bowl game.

As for mom's email... YOU ARE GOING ON ANOTHER CRUISE???!!??!!?!? Okay, I approve. Good job :) At least you being in the Caribbean will mean that we are a little bit closer to each other during Christmas time. And I have no problem with postponing our phone call to the 28th. It will give me something to look forward to even after Christmas is over. It is the epitomy of "saving the best for last." When are you guys going to open presents then? Before the cruise? After the cruise? On the cruise? Oh la la. Lille is a Christmas Fairytale. Holy Crap. Lights and adorable crap all over the city. So good.

We have been doing a lot of finding lately, but not your normal type of finding. We have been madly searching for apartments for the last couple days. There is a senior missionary couple coming to Lille in 8 days and they need somewhere for them to live... bad. So I am becoming a pro at researching, visiting, and renting apartments in French. It's a fun, new, and stressful experience. We are going to go visit a potential apartment in about an hour.

Mom, what events are you hosting at the house? That sounds chic! The house looks GORGEOUS with all the Christmas decorations. You are a pro. I love the little branches and stuff on the windows. I'm glad you guys got to go see Joseph and the Technicolored Dreamcoat. I closed my eyyyes, drew back the curtain, ah ahah... good one. One of the old ap's and I would always sing that together.

About going to the Olympics in London this summer, I sent Brandon an email to see if he has qualified yet. That would be really cool, but also would be kind of hard to organize so soon after my mission. We'll see how it plays out. Would you rather come to France this coming summer, or wait until like the next Spring? Or another time? It will be wonderful whenever we do it. I have lots of good ideas brainstormed ;)

Oh, and missionary work. AMAZING. Everything is amazing. It feels like we talk about baptism in every single rendez-vous that we have.

Hugs and Kisses,
Elder Coburn

Ps, this week I hit the famous "Six months to sexy." aka, six months to get ready for being back on the market. Hah.