Monday, March 26, 2012

Well, this morning I recieved the dreaded "trunky papers." It's the letter that talks about release procedures and all that jazz. I seriously felt sick while reading it. It is the saddest I've yet felt about going home. So... the things I need you to email me are:
The name of our stake, stake president's name, stake president's address, and the closest airport(s) to our home.

So that's that. Anyway.. I just spent a lot of time on BYU stuff so I don't have a whole ton of time.

Jean's baptism and confirmation were so good. He is the happiest man I've ever met. I wish you could be next to him on a Sunday and see the smile on his face. He bore his testimony at the baptism and it was the sweetest testimony I've ever heard. Elder Murdock and I gave him a framed picture of us, a white shirt, and two ties. He is so thankful for everything. The ward is eating him up -they love him so much, and so do we. The actual ordinance went really smooth as well. It was a wonderful, spirit-filled day. I wish we had a baptism every day :) Pray a lot for Pascale this week too -her baptism is on Saturday in Lille. Mom, she got your package and was oh so happy about it. She said that she listens to the MoTab cd everyday in her car. She said that the first day she listened to it she cried all the way to work. She is in the middle of making a little film about her conversion.Sh e has already gone back and filmed the street where we contacted her and the little café where we had our very first rendez-vous and she bought us hot chocolate :) SO GOOD :) :) :)

Oh, I'm no longer district leader which is kind of a bummer. I was getting all ready to have our district theme be "Gotta Catch 'em All." Oh well, the new DL will be the new missionary coming to Nantes.

It is getting warm here :) We are going to the beach later. It's not a real beach though... it's on the river and it's not anywhere that anyone goes. It's basically a glorified strip of dirt... Ha.

I feel like I'm forgetting something. Hmm. Well, we'll leave it as a cliffhanger.

I love you so much.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Hello :) I started writing a song last night at the church about the feelings that I've been having about getting closer and closer to the end of my mission. It's about the two me's: the half that wants to stay and the half that is ready to go. But, the casual listener (haa) would think that it is about like a relationship. I just have the first two verses:

We've never been,
so far apart
Close to the end,
feet from the start

Who told this tale,
who wrote this song
Where time stands still,
till time is gone.

And now I'm too scared to keep writing until I'm back at the piano. Everything is almost ready for Jean's baptism. Pray that the next time I write you I will have baptism pictures to send you and that I will be full of smiles. It's always so scary the closer that you get to the baptism. You just start having all these crazy thoughts about what could go wrong and why the baptism wouldn't happen. Blech! Free agency is a bum sometimes and it scares me to death. Nothing will happen with Jean though. He is so prepared and so excited for his baptism. We already tried on baptismal clothes and made the program. He can't wait and neither can we :) Back in Lille, Pascale is still doing really well. She is becoming more and more prepared for her baptism one week after Jean's. I love them both. Isn't it great to have faces that define your mission? I guess I might not have realized it at the beginning, but the reason I came on my mission is to meet and love real people. Not just nameless people disguised as baptismal statistics (i think that is and Elder Holland quote). The individual people from my mission are what makes it fulfilling.

How is everything going for Caleb and Jessica? When is their date??? Jordan and I are the only two Coburn bachelors left. That's hot. Ha. It sounds like mom gave and extraordinary talk on Sunday, and that Jordan is a super missionary with all those babes. Oh! AND BRAD'S GOING TO THE MTC THIS WEEK!!!! He is going to be the most excellent missionary. I am genuinly proud of him and so impressed by who he is. I would love to be like him when I grow up :)

Oh man... my time on my account is almost up. I don't know what to say. I'm freaking out. Oh man oh man oh man. I hope you like the pictures I sent you this week? Hah. Is BYU in March Madness? I love sports so much. I miss having time to play them. I really liked all your letters this week. Ps, how are Josh and Shannon doing? I here from them less. Has Josh decided where he is going next for school?Is Shannon still the most sister-in-law? Our family is legit. I love you guys. I love all my friends too. I have been blessed with so many very good, very close friends. Life is so good. Heavenly Father loves us so much :)

Elder Ben

Monday, March 12, 2012

Good week, good work, good weather. Jean is still amazing. Everything is good for his baptism and he has asked me to baptism him. That will be the first time that I have actually baptised someone myself on my mission. It was all announced on Sunday. Dad, it is awesome that you did some research on Togo. I didn't know what it was before my mission either, but I have had a lot of investigators from there. Most of our other African investigators come from Congo, Ivory Coast, Camaroun, and Madagascar.

This week I did district meeting about grace and the atonement. I used a lot of the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. The goal was for us to better understand what our investigators need to understand in order for them to have true faith- the kind that will push them to act. It turned out really well and most everyone came and told me so afterwards. Isn't being a district leader so fun? Except I have no clue what to talk about for district meeting tomorrow. I spent most of my studies thinking about it and came up with only a few ideas.

Hahaha. So. You know how you guys were an hour late to church on sunday because of daylight savings? Well we made up for it because we were an hour early to church this sunday. Turns out that France doesn't make the time switch for two more weeks and the calendar in our apartment is American so... we sort of most some sleep on accident. Can you think of anything worse?

Guess who I went on an exchange with this week?! Elder Decker!! After 21 months of not serving anywhere near each other, we finally got our first exchange in. He (being my zone leader) came down to Nantes. We spent a hunk of a beautiful day in the boondocks of France on some lake with the most gorgeous view. We went swimming, did some boating, and other stuff like that. Not really though- no watersports. We did service for some members by diggin this big old whole up against the house so that they can put in a basement window. They fed us Filipino food. Delish. We spent most of the exchange talking about BYU memories. It seems like it was so long ago.

Here is a miracle that Caled will like: on Sunday after church a lot of the ward was mingling out in front of the chapel when a chinese family walking by stopped and started talking to everyone. There was a mom, dad, 11 yr old, and a baby. They have been in Nantes for 3 weeks (in France for a year and a half) and were on a walk looking for a church. What? The members were like "Elders get out here RIGHT NOW!!" When they lived in China (Shanghai) they were christian but they had to hold church at their home in secret or something like that. The ward just engulfed them. It was cool to tell them about Caleb serving in China. I also got to use my chinese skills on them. "Wǒ shì chuánjiào shì." It took me like ten tries before they understood. I've been working on that stupid phrase my whole mission. It means I'm a missionary. Luckily the dad speaks really good english because of his job (he is a programmer). They live right close to the church and we are going to see them this week. Pray for them please?

One more thing. This week we took a rainy afternoon to do a little bit of what we like to call "middle of nowhere porting." So we took a bus out into the middle of... well, nowhere. Somehow we ended up walked through a lot of fields and pastures n' junk. We passed by a members house (after finally finding it), shared a thought, and then did some knocking around. People seem to be so much nicer out in the country. Also it was such a breath of fresh air (no pun intended) to go out into the country side. I miss it so much. I am a hundred and fifty thousand percent sure that I will raise my family out in the country. We got let into a really big, really nice house by a french couple that are both massage therapists. They were super nice and most of what they believe is the exact same as us, but they just call it something different. Not too interested all around, but we had a great little rendez-vous. When we were leaving they told us to come back if we missed the bus and they would drive us into town. Luckily we caught the last bus of the night by about 3 minutes. Phew!!

I think that's about all I can think of to say. It was a good week. Probably our best yet. We are so blessed :)

I love you all so much.

Elder Ben

Monday, March 5, 2012


So many things to say! First of all before I forget, I am getting huge. It's not even real. Elder Burke and I have been working out hard core every morning with the bench press and other assorted equipment. I almost look like Caleb! ... not. But seriously.

This week was amazing. We met Jean. He is the best referral I've ever received. He is from Togo, and has a really good Togolais friend that referred him and told him that through the church he could find everything he is looking for in life. So Elder Murdock finally had a solid chance to test out those "first lesson teaching skills" that we've been so diligently practicing every morning. Even more exciting, is that Elder Murdock had a chance to try out that good old baptismal invitation that we have also been diligently practicing. In our first rendez-vous we fixed his baptismal date for the 24th of March. Then we had a second rdv and taught the Plan of Salvation, and then he got to church early on Sunday and stayed for all three hours (that is especially impressive because he lives an hour away on the tram). He is going through some difficulties with his family and it is so sad, but also so inspiring to see him fight for what is right. He has two kids (ages 5 and 7) and a wife. He is so so humble and only wants to follow Christ. We gave him a calendar that he is following until his baptism with scriptures to read everyday. He is 42. So that was a huge blessing and miracle this week. It is humbling to be the one that the Lord trusts with such a person. He has inspired both of us greatly.

Next subject: Elder Murdock. Such a winner. I LOVE being his companion. Last night we made crêpes for his first time. After I made him a ham, cheese, and egg crêpe, he said that he was pretty full with the dinner crêpes, and was probably ready to move on to the dessert crêpes. He then proceeded to fill his "already full stomach" with no less than 6 more crêpes oozing with jam, cream, nutella, and honey. He is amazing :) Another funny thing happened when he made his first phone call this week. It was a call from an english speaking african who was asking for us to pray for her so that her job interview would go well. Elder Murdock didn't understand and was like "hang on one second I need to talk to my companion." Then with the phone in his hand he says to me "i can't understand her!!!" So i picked up the phone and assured her that we would :) Elder Murdock is definitely one of my favorite companions. We have fun together :)

Remember how our district is "Welcome to the Jungle" this transfer? Well, the Nantes 2 equipe just earned themselves a pizza by finding 5 new amis this week! They chose the Crazy Carnivore pizza. For district meeting tomorrow I'm working on making a lesson using 7 or 8 little matchbox cars that I found this week. I haven't quite figured out how they can relate to the gospel yet though, and still give us a good excuse to play with them.

This week I traveled twice. Once to Angers for zone conference, and once to Cholet for exchanges. I brought Elder Blackham back to Nantes with me where we had a miracle filled day full of teaching and porte à porte. We met some really nice people. Zone conference was good too and I got to see all my favorite people. Elder Pieper, Elder Stephenson, Elder Barker... lots of Elder. (This also seems like a good time to throw in a little shout-out to my man Mark Stephenson. Your son is amazing).

Okay. I love you so much and am thankful for all your support and love. And emails.

Elder Ben