Monday, February 27, 2012

Hi! I'm starting to freak out about byu stuff. I'm not sure what to do about where to live. I emailed a friend from freshman year to talk about maybe rooming together, but overall I just feel helpless. Isn't the whole housing rush kind of going on right now? Probably I'm just going to have to trust you (mom) and hope for the best. My main thing is living close to campus. I'm also kind of scared about ending up in a ward full of really old people. So... Let me know what to do about all that. You are the best :)

I've been talking to Pascale from time to time and she likes to send me little text messages :) She is one of the biggest reasons that I love my mission. If all goes well she should be sending a letter to mom very shortly. This week she told me how much, and why, she loves me. She said that for her I am the replacement for one of her sons that died very young. She has had all this love stored up for so long that she wasn't able to give to him, and so that is why she has so much to give to me. And then in addition to all that she expressed thanks for me helping her come back to church after a point where she thought she was finished with religion in her life. I have it all written in my journal. Anne-Marie in Lille got baptized this weekend (yay!!!!) and at the baptism Pascale decided on a date (March 31) and asked Elder Godfrey to baptise her :) I'm so sad I'll miss it, but mainly just happy that it is happening.

Okay, now back to real life in Nantes: we had one of those teeth-grittin' weeks where everything keeps falling through and you just have to keep working through disappointment. We had a lot of rdv's fixed with new people, but it seems like the majority didn't go through. Our little family that we found last week told us that they weren't interested anymore after we told them that the church couldn't buy them a train ticket to belgium. We met a really cool guy on the tram that said he would come to church, then didn't, then fixed a rdv, then didn't show up. We fixed another rdv with a different guy, but when we showed up there were just a bunch of his hippie friends smoking and listening to loud music, and then for 15 minutes one of them gave us the "alma the younger sales pitch" telling us to eat, drink, and party and that god understand because we're 'only humans.' We fixed another rdv with a guy that lives about 30 away, and right before we got on the train to go see him he called and canceled it. We had a different rdv with a less active girl and she called to cancel it right as we got to the bottom of her apartment building. Blech, blech, BLECH!! So, we didn't have any new amis this week, which is just about the only thing that we need. It's a good thing I have Elder Murdock here. He is hilarious and makes everything seem better.

Being a trainer is teaching me so much about how I'm actually going to raise my real children. It's all about leading by example. Elder Murdock follows me like white on rice. I sneak a cookie out of the fridge at church? He sneaks a cookie out of the fridge at church. I start my studies a little late? He starts his studies a little late (not that I ever do that). It's amazing to me how much I'm learning. I can't expect him (or my future kids) to do anything that I don't do. I'm realizing how dang good my own parents are! It also helping me realize everytime I do something that I think only affects me, but that Heavenly Father sees. I mean that if I notice how much imperfect stuff I do because of Elder Murdock innocently following my example, then how many of my imperfections does Heavenly Father see, and then forgive me of. Thank goodness that we believe in a merciful Father :) How can one not be filled with a love for God when he thinks of that?

This morning we went to the Museum of Naturel History with the other companionship. It was so cool. They had tons of dead animals, fossils, skeletons, shiny rocks and minerals, and a live snake exhibit. I felt slightly queezy while watching videos of snakes striking, strangling, and eating rats. Those things are scary. I also know can tell the difference in between venemous and non-venemous snakes. At the museum there was also an exhibit called "très toucher." It was a giant hands on exhibit. I layed on a bed of nails, among other things.

Well, that's about all for now. It has been exceptionally beautiful weather here. I think that the first few days of warmth are when people are the happiest during the entire year. Yesterday I didn't even were my coat! What a scandal!

I love you!
Elder Coburn

Monday, February 20, 2012

My dear family,

Well here I am in the gorgeous city of Nantes. It is a lot warmer here than Lille and has been beautiful beautiful weather since we got here. My new companion? Elder Timothy Wade Murdock. Where is he from? OOO-HHHI-OOOO!!!! I have seriously been praying for this my whole mission. His family actually moved to Iowa a few months ago, but most of the latter half of his life was spent in Milford, Ohio. AKA, Cincinnati. We lived like 40 minutes away from each other. What a craze. So that has given us plenty to talk about. In Paris on Wednesday we went to the Eiffel tower to take pictures before taking the train out to Nantes. We went with Elder Godfrey and his blue. While at the eiffel tower I saw part of an asian girls ear mufffall off so I went and gave it to her. They were Japanese and freaked out when I said konnichiha. They like started jumping up and down and screaming just like those two asian cars in the movie Cars. They seriously did that after everything I said:

"I'm American"
"My parents lived in Japan."
HEHEHEHEHe!!!!! HEHEHEHE!!!!!!!!!!
"They lived in Kobe."
"I like to eat tempura."

It was awesome. Then they asked for pictures. You better believe I threw up a peace sign. So that was basically the first impression Elder Murdock had of me. Then we had to take our bags all the way across Paris through the metro. It was... well, hell. I had my two suitcases and my cargo back pack, and he had three suitcases and a back pack that kept slipping off his shoulders. We we're hauling these things up and down endless staircases under ground while sweating and soaking wet because we are wearing our winter coats. On person helped us once. Then the wheel on Elder Murdock's biggest suitcase breaks. Since he was having a really hard time and is a little smaller than me I took his big bag (which also had the smaller suitcase attached), gave him my small one, and started draggin' these things through the never ending metros. We no joke walked miles in these things. So at this point I have two full sized suitcases, a carry on suitcase, and a cargo backpack. The one full sized suitcase was being dragged across the pavement and seriously couldn't have created more friction if it had wanted to. One time I went to take the suitcases up an escalater but they were too wide and got jammed together at the entrance to the escalater. So I was holding onto the two handles down behind me trying to budge them free as I walked backwards down the moving stairs and a mass crowd of angry looking people stared at me. Finally this big black guy came up and kicked on free for us. We looked soooo pathetic. Whe even tries to take that much crap through the metro? And so we finally got to the train station, and of course our seats were at the verrry far end of the train, so we tacked on a good 600 meter sprint at the end. My back is hurting all over again just thinking about it.

Anyway. I really like Elder Murdock and he gives me compliments nonstop about how good I am and I never know what to say. I hope I am being a pretty good trainer. In Dad's email he said ""How do you like your new area? How do you like your bleu?
Are you giving him the old "karate chop to the open hand / this is how it is buddy" training? "" Annnd, yes I have definitely given him the karate chop to the open palm thing. But just as a joke. Sort of. I told him about how my dad is so cool and that's how he taught me and so that's how we're gonna be. We have had a lot of miracles here already together. In between getting here on Wednesday night and Saturday, we found a young couple, and took a member with us to go teach them. They are cool and have a baby girl. We also have taught a few other people and found several new people that we will start teaching soon. Being with Elder Murdock is making me feel like a new missionary all over again. It feels like I'm in France for the first time and that I have all the enthousiasm possible. I like it. It is going to be a really good transfer.

I am district leader and so the theme for our district is going to "Welcome to the Jungle." At district meeting tomorrow we are going to do a district unity activity where we all act like animals of our choice and interact for 60 seconds. Then we are going to talk about how we need to be "beasts" in finding people to teach. Then we will read Joel 2:22, "Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength." So basically saying that God has prepared people for us to find. Then I will announce that any time a companionship finds 5 or more new amis in one week this transfer, I will make for them one of the following homemade pizzas: Wild Lion Chorizo, Crazy Carnivore, or the Dingo Deluxe. They will recieve their pizza at the next district meeting. Then we will do some practice contacting with some new "beastly" ideas. It will be awesome.

Okay, I have to go. Have a wonderful week! And yes mom I agree, Jordan is a lady's man.

Love Elder Coburn

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well, I'm going to Nantes and training on wednesday!! I'm really excited to go and really sad to leave. Pascale is good. She gave me a big bag of food and a tie and stuff yesterday at church, and she is taking us to that really nice restaurant again tonight to say goodbye :) I love her. She is awesome. Anne-Marie has officially decided to be baptized and I will miss her baptism by a week and a half :( It's okay though. I will see pictures. She is the mother of the two girls that we baptised last transfer :) Completing the family!

Well, I'm going to go pack my bags and hop on a train! Next time I talk to you I'll have my baby blue and be living on the west coast of France.

Love you!!!

Elder Coburn

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Transferred :( I am sad that I only got to stay two transfers in a city again. I am sad to leave Pascale and the ward. But,

I'M GOING TO BE A DADDY!!!! I am going to be a trainer in the city of Nantes. Nantes is actually a really sweet city. I passed through once when I was out in Brest and I've always thought it would be sweet to serve there. Once again, I have a monster transfer to get there. It will probably be about 4 hours of train riding on the TGV (fastest passenger train in europe). Nantes is on the west coast of France. I will once again be in a four man apartment. I am going to be district leader which will be a first, and my "blue" and I will be whitewashing.

Here is my new address,

Les Missionnaires
Elder Benjamin Coburn
8, rue Lamoricière-Villa Lamoricière
44100 NANTES

I love you!!! I will email you again on monday. Transfers are Wednesday

BENJI !!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mom just sent me a really good email about the final sprint of my mission. It was really good. It has been kind of hard these last few weeks to keep going at 100 percent in the cold and snow. It is colllld. We have been sitting around negative 6° Celsius. It also has been challenging living with two missionaries that are going home in a week. I hate being with dying missionaries. This last week one of them got the chicken pox! So they have literally just been in the apartment 24/7. Them being there is just like a magnet for us to come and waste time. Ha, I've actually been really scared that I am going to catch the chicken pox too. I don't remember ever having them and everyone tells me that even if I've gotten the shot I can still easily get them... but so far so good. It's been about 4 days. We got about 4 inches of snow the other day and you'd of thought that it was 5 feet. Everything shut down, they threw wayyyy too much salt on the ground, and only like half of the ward made it to church on sunday (which was a whole two days after the snow fell). They just don't really have much to plow it or anything. So many people are falling left and right (including myself during an intense snowball fight on the first night). One lady slipped in the train station and came straight down on her wrist and then let out a blood curdling scream. I felt so bad for her. I think she broke it. On the other side though, there are a lot of people falling and it is just wayyy too funny. On Saturday, all of centre-ville was just an ice rink because they had put down salt, but it was too cold to melt it all to water so it just stayed in a sluchy slippy form all over the paved tile-like pathways.

Pascale was one of those people that made it through the snow to come to church. She drove 20 kilometers to do it too. She is a saint. She lives out in the country where they don't clear the roads at all. She told us on Saturday that she might not be able to make it, but then she once again surprised us in her quiet humble little way. She was in church building chatting it up with the bishop and other members before we even got there. She is kind of claiming us as her children. She bought Elder Godfrey a coat this week because he needed one, and she is trying to buy my new shoes and a butt load of other stuff but I am begging her not to. I made her some cookies this week and when she returned the plate yesterday there were all sorts of chocolates and goodies on it. Earlier in the week she had told us that on Sunday she would have decided for baptism or not. She decided on baptism, but is really concerned that Elder Godfrey or I might not be there (transfers are in a week and a half). We are going to see her this afternoon to talk about it more, but for now we have decided on the 24th of March. It's a little bit far away, but she will be going through radio therapy for her cancer soon and so there wasn't a lot of choice for the date. She one of the biggest blessings of my mission. We love her :)

Okay, I have about run out of time for today :) I love you!

Elder Ben-jammin

Last Week:


Everything is good. I love Pascale. She took us to the most unrealistically good restaurant (i had ribs and salmon) on Saturday and then she came to church yesterday. We have talked a lot and everything just feels good again. We are going to see her this afternoon :) She is so like... motherly to us, and we love it. After she had told us all the reasons that she had called us again, she put the cherry on top when she was like "and also, you guys are adorable." She is like all I've been thinking about lately. Everyone is pulling for her.

I went to Versailles on exchange again this week. It was with the Portugese assistant. We had a really good time. He finishes his mission in two weeks. I finish mine in not that much time either :/ I probably think about it a little too much. There are days when it seems more exciting that anything else, and other days when I am scared to death of leaving. I love my mission so much. During interviews a couple weeks ago I talked to President Poznanski about extending my mission. I probably will not do it but, I have spent a lot of time thinking about it as a possibility. Besides, I couldn't leave Jordan all alone for an extra 6 weeks :)

Well, it is now about half an hour later than when I just wrote the lest paragraph. I just spent a lot of time looking at BYU stuff online. Wow. I have forgotten everything. I am going to call an adviser or someone this week. I remember that before I left I made a list of classes I knew I wanted to take when I got back. It should be with all the important papers and stuff I left. Could you find that and send it to me somehow? (just a photocopy). Also what should I do for housing and when does that whole rush start? Oh man. That stuff scares me to death.

Well, sorry this is kind of short. I always just want to talk to you in person and tell you about the 6 or so other people we are teaching, but emails just don't always do the trick. So, I'll tell you everything this summer. Well, I am going to work hard this week. I love you.