Monday, June 18, 2012

Behold, I am Elder Coburn, missionary among the français. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of this country. And thus I close mine blog.
Well, this is it! You know your mission is finishing when everyone sends you emails with titles such as:

Congratulations on a super amazing fanastic mission!!!
Hippity - hoppity
Wait... you are *freaking* coming home?!?!

I guess I'm coming home! First hug is for mom :) And juuuust in case it hasn't been clear or you had forgotten (haha yeah right), I get into Cleveland International at 6:46 pm. But I am coming in off a connection flight from Detroit. After a horrendous four hour layover there. I'm going to die. Good thing I've still got a couple old dollars in my wallet to blow. Am I getting released that night? I guess I'll find out soon enough. Oh man oh man. Everyone has been telling me that the transition at the end of the mission is way harder than the one at the beginning. I obviously have not, as of yet, experienced the one, but I definitely am expecting it to be harder. At the beginning of your mission you can put all your energy and excitement into missionary work and learning which in turn makes you all the happier. But it's kind of blurry as to what you can put your energy and time into when you get back home. You can invest in a percieved "freedom" but I'm willing to bet that most of the time the that's not going to render the same end results feelings on your spirit. Not that it's bad, it's just kind of there. I don't know. I guess the best is to invest (ryhme) on the same foundation as before - Christ. We will soon discover the milkshake of feelings that is coming home.

We finished the transfer on a really good week. A couple new people to teach, and plenty of lessons and appointments to keep us busy. Definitely an above average week. That is a calming feeling and a blessing for me. To be able to be so content with my efforts until the very end. My favorite story from this week is Santiago. He is french/spanish/peruvian. We met him in the tram this week, had two appointments, and then he came to church. He is 43, and just got back to France after living in Columbia for a few years. He is philosopher/writer/reporter type guy. So cool and so nice. He reads the Book of Mormon and prays every morning when he wakes up. We are going to see him on Tuesday night one last time and then I pass him over to the next missionary. It's good to be able to leave a "work of worth" behind to the next missionary. Speaking of the next missionary, it will be Elder Argyle, who replaces me and will be with Elder Dunn. Since my mtc group is so big (there are 20 of us leaving the mission) they had to close some teams. Two out of four of us are leaving Nantes to go home so they just combined the two that are staying here. They are going to have a lot of work and be really busy. Two missionaries for the 6th biggest city in France. Anyhow.

Thank you infinitely for all the emails and letters that you have all sent me for two years. There were so many nights when I would lay in bed re-reading emails off of my camera screen over and over again. On many an occasion it was in your emails that I found the comfort or determination to be a happy missionary. Communication is kind of a gift without price. You can't love someone very well without communicating. Just like faith without works is dead, love without works doesn't make it too far either. So an enormous thank you :)

à bientôt mes chers!

Elder Coburn
Well, this is getting kind of crazy. I can count the days on my fingers. 

I actually have no clue what to say...

Our week was good, but I always just talk about what we did during the week. All in all this week we did a lot of finding and a lot of teaching. It was really good though. Lots of miracles. 

Oh, here is something out of the ordinary. We met a group of ten students from India that were playing cricket and we're totally going to go play with them this week and they are all going to become new investigators and get baptised :) Well, maybe not baptised... not sure yet. We're super stoked. They are all wayyy nice and speak way good english. We talked to most of them about church and God and they are very open about it. We just saw them playing from a ways off, watched them for a while, and then went and started talking to them. One of the senior missionarie sisters in Nantes is super stoked because she served a mission in India. She is going to come with us when we go play with them.

It is raining today. I am wearing my 2 year old gray suit. I will probably bring it home. It has held up pretty well. I don't have my black one anymore. Not for like a year. I don't have too many ties left on my "to wear rack." I feel pretty trunky writing this email. I'm usually only like... 50% trunky, but right now it's at least at 100. 

We ate at a pizza restaurant this morning. Pretty good, but definitely not as good as mom's pizza though. Oh man. Mom, I am going to eat everything you can put in front of me. 

Okay, well I'll have a lot of cool stories n' such but I'll just wait and tell them to you in person.

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

Elder Coburn

Monday, June 4, 2012

Phweww!! Finally The reassurance of a happy marriage. All weak I had just been imagining Jessica running away in her wedding dress and hiding away in Mexico or something. Then Caleb was never going to want to talk to a girl again in his life, etc, etc... I must've seen too many movies. Good to know that everything went so well :) Jessica sounds like a winner and I can't wait to meet her. Annnnd, the official count on the Coburn bachelors is down to two. Fifty percent. It's like 4 granny smiths, minus 2 granny smiths, and you're left with 2 granny smiths. Or if you have 4 lions, add a few zebras, then subtract a few zebras and 2 lions and you're left with only two lions. Fierce, ferocious, lions.

I don't know if you guys had ever looked at it like that...

So time is moving really fast now. My tie racks are looking pretty bare. We had a zone conference in Paris this week and I gave my "dying testimony." I didn't want to make it really long so I talked about Christ has increased my capacity to love and to work. I said that during the first year of my mission is when I learned the most about how to love. It was then that my heart was still hurting from "being plucked out and left in Ohio," but that it was Christ who took that heart and enlarged it to fit so many that were desperately in need of love. The second year of my mission is when I learned the most about work, because that is when it actually became hard to do. For the first year I was so high on mission life that it was easy. I could contact and knock doors all day. But when the working got hard is when I learned the most about the working. And I know that it is because of Jesus Christ. He gave me strength to work until my muscles cried for relief, and then he gave me strength to continue. I also got to bear my testimony right after Elder Decker so I said a little bit about receiving our mission calls together and how good it is now to find each other on the other side. And just like Alma, what adds more to my joy, is that we are still "brethren in the Lord." What a cool experience to do the whole thing right beside a really good friend and see the changes in each other. 

The zone conference was really cool because Elder Teixieira of the seventy was there. He is Portugese. We learned a lot about personal change and repentance so that we can get to the "miracle zone." He had it all graphed out, with like the "line of the average missionary" and attitude was one axis, and effort was the other. It was really cool. In large part thanks to this conference, the mission found 115 new amis this week, which as far as I know is the most in one week since I've been here. Pretty cool.

Yesterday was mothers day in France so I'll just go ahead and wish mom a JOYEUSE FETE DES MERES!! Donc, voila quoi. The ward handed out roses for the mothers and then gave us a couple left overs to deliver to our amis. We gave one to Rita and Marvy, and are giving another to Rebecca this afternoon. 

A lot of our amis are kind of stagnating. The challenge for me is to put all the work in on them, knowing full well that I'll be gone here in a couple weeks. I am going to miss doing it though. I know I will. I cried a lot during this last zone conference. There were so many of the most important people there- everyone that I love and have relied on for so long. I was conducting the closing hymn and then made eye contact with Elder Bjerga and couldn't sing anymore. I was pretty pathetic really. I just stood there waving my hand and mouthing the words for like 3 whole verses. On the last verse though I sang as strong and as well as I could. Then it finished and I cried some more, then I went around saying goodbye to everyone and cried some more. I kind of like crying though. It lets me know that I'm alive. For the last who knows how long on my mission I've just felt really un-alive and that my life was in a stand still. So it is good when things change. Michael says it best- "I'm gonna make a change, for once in my life, it's gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right..." Well, I'm not sure if that is exactly what I was going for. Mainly I just meant to say it's good to cry once in a while.

So I love you, I pray for you, I can't wait to see you. I still haven't counted the days though. 

Elder Coburn