Sunday, May 29, 2011

Caen is Gorgeous

May 23, 2011

Where has this month gone? Sister Williams and I did our weekly planing the other day and were shocked to realize we were planning for the fifth (of six) week of the transfer. What the what?! Where did all that time go?!

Philomene is doing just a wonderfully as always. =) T-6 days until her baptism!!! Initially we were going to have it combined with two baptisms from the other Paris ward, but this week the other missionaries told us they need to postpone that date. We were so excited to have the help of the other ward in planning the service and food, but...oh well. Sister Williams and I just get to figure it out together now. As part of that planning, we need to have Philomene try on and pick out the dress she wants to wear. All of the baptismal clothes are kept in a cabinet at the church, but when I went to check in a bit ago, it was locked. I tried every key we own. No luck. I called the elders to see if they had a key to the lock. No luck. But the other day, we went to the church to meet an amis for a lesson and one of the ward members was there. She's in charge of the genealogy room. Well, while waiting for our amis, we got to talking to her about the upcoming baptism. She made a comment about how we'd need keys to get into the cabinet. Then she went to her desk, unlocked a drawer, and pulled out a mountain of keys to different parts of the church! Ha ha ha She looked through all of them and told us the key wasn't there, but she probably took it home. Ha ha that makes sense. You're in charge of genealogy, therefore you have the baptismal clothing cabinet key in your home. We have since been entrusted with those keys until the baptism is completed. ha ha

We had exchanges this week. I LOVE Caen. Normandy is flipping beautiful!!! The sky was bright blue. There was a soft breeze coming off of the ocean. The apartment is nestled in an adorable bookstore. And the sisters live -literally- right down the street from the ruins of a castle. So...all in all it was a good day. =) We had a rendez-vous while I was out there with a less active woman who has to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, women I've ever met in my life. When we walked in, she was slumped over in a chair in front of the TV. Sister Barros walked over, said hello, and when she didn't respond, said hello again. Again though, no response. Sister Barros, who was standing between me and the old woman, turned to me and said, "I promise she's not dead." I was fairly certain at the time that she had told me that to try and convince herself it was true. I found out later, I was right ha ha. That would have made for an interesting exchange -the very first person we try to see ends up dead. Pretty glad I didn't have to journal about that one. Luckily, Sister Barros was right. Old though she is, she's still alive and ticking. We finished the day, but walking through the ruins of the castle to get to the apartment. I LOVED IT! . The mote is full of rich green plants and purple flowers. Apparently they do theatre in the courtyard in the summer. Umm...pretty sure, I fully support that idea. It was just...wonderful! Words can't even explain.

Coming back from Caen, Sister Barros and I rode the train down with the whole Caen zone. We had leadership training in Paris that we all needed to be at. I love bonding with missionaries as is, but it was even better, we got put in a car on the train with, as they've been lovingly deemed, "Harry Potter rooms." (One of the cars with individual compartments of eight chairs.) Sounds like a minor experience, but we were highly entertained by it. AND it meant that we didn't have to sound over the chairs at each other, annoying everyone around us. I've definitely been sold on the idea. =)

Leadership training was wonderful. As always. I know I've said it before, but President Staheli is just amazing. That man is seriously inspired. There is no doubt about that in my mind.

As part of the training, we got to watch a semi-real world DVD. That was kind of weird. Momentarily, I didn't feel like a missionary any more. It was just so easy to loose myself in the story that it pulled me out of the world I live in. Maybe it's a REALLY good thing that we have as many rules as we do as missionaries. If it was that easy to loose focus, I can only imagine how bad it would be without the rules we have. They are definitely a blessing. This work would be impossible without them.

The Paris sisters had exchanges this week too. Poor Sister Smith has been SO worried about not having Sister Pearce with her for the day. We've been promising her for weeks that it would be just fine. Exchanges aren't as scary as you think. Nothing would go wrong, etc. Well, I think we cursed her. After having one of her longest most stressful days in the field, they made it back home exhausted, just in time to make a few phone calls. She called a recent convert to check on them, just to find out, they were suicidal. She took the phone in the bathroom to talk for a bit (none of us knowing what was going on.) The other three of us were just talking, when we heard Sister Smith, having just hung up, scream and come running out of the bathroom asking us what she's supposed to do with a suicidal member. She did a wonderful job talking to her and got her to meet them at the church house. Despite the fact that they'd be home late, they had more pressing matters to worry about. So after a long day, Sister Smith and Sister Edgerly (her comp for exchanges) headed back out the door to go see this member at the church.

The next morning, Sister Williams and I got a phone call from the senior couple that works at the church asking us what we'd done with the church keys. We explained we hadn't even been there the day before, but the Paris sister had. We passed them the phone. Sister Smith explained that they'd met up with someone the night before, but locked the church and put the keys away in the locked compartment where they are always stored. This couple was very worried that someone had stolen the keys though, and/or gotten the code to the compartment where we store them, since they weren't there when they went to get them in the morning. After getting off the phone with us, they proceeded to call all of the missionaries in Paris. All of the zone leaders were tasked with calling their zone to try and locate these lost keys. Knowing she'd put them away, but just wanting to make certain again at this point, Sister Smith checked her purse. She pulled out a set of keys and said, "Okay, so these are the keys to our apartment." After a momentary pause, Sister Williams and I busted up laughing. They were the church keys! Upon hearing that, Sister Smith screamed and through the keys on the floor like they were hot coals. As if she wasn't embarrassed enough for taking them home as it was, now all three Paris zones were in an uproar searching for the missing keys. Oh dear ha ha, poor girl. Everything that could go wrong, that we'd promised her wouldn't happen...happened. She's never look forward to exchanges again at this rate.

Friday was Sister Williams seven month mark! We were able to meet up with some friends from her home ward who took us out for Italian. Which was so sweet of them. They really seem to be wonderful people. Marking her seven month mark though, made me realize, this coming week will be Reuben's year mark. And then the week following will be my six month mark. in the world did that happen?! I'm almost 100% certain I was just barely home, and it feels like Reuben left yesterday. Flip, time is just slipping through my fingers. Craziness! Does it feel like it's been that long to you or is it just something about actually being the one that's gone?

It finally happened. I had to give a talk in church yesterday. That was not an experience I was looking forward to. But, somehow, I made it through. =) But if I ever needed a reason to not spend the rest of my life in a country where the main language is something other than English, having the constant possibility of being asked to speak in church is plenty and enough of an excuse! ha ha I don't think I've had to try so hard nor been so nervous about any other talk in my life. ha ha

We met with Edinton and Anbu yesterday after church. Just when we thought they couldn't get any cooler, they invited ANOTHER friend to church! In our rendez-vous we asked if they'd read from the Book of Mormon. They said they had and opened the book. We had given them 3 Nephi 11 to read, but Edinton opened to Alma 18. Rather confused as to why he went there, we questioned him a little bit. Turns out, rather than reading 3 Nephi 11, he just started at the beginning...and is in Alma 18! That's over 320 pages in Tamil!!! In one week! At this rate they'll be done with the whole book well before they're baptised. Oh! And that's the other exciting news about them! They've now got baptismal dates for the 19th of June! =)

This is kind of random, but I found it cool. We had an elder here, Elder Horne, who just got deported for not doing his legality while he was here. President was really hoping he'd get reassigned to Canada or Washington DC so that he could continue to use French. But, no such luck. Denver Colorado. I've heard Denver is lovely, but to go from Paris to Denver...he wasn't terribly thrilled. However, we just got the word that he's teaching a family there now that is from Africa and only speaks French. Proof again, that as always, God knows what he's doing. Had Elder Horne not gone to Denver, none of the missionaries there every would have been able to help this family.

I have repeatedly forgotten to tell you, I've discovered one of my top top top favorite French pastries. And, apparently they have it at that French bakery that Lisha told us about in Salt Lake City. It's called a Kouing Amann. If you ever stop by, you have to try it and let me know what you think. The shop is caled Les Madeleines. I could be totally wrong, but if I remember correctly LIsha said it was on 300 east and 300 south (if that's the same shop), but you could ask her to be certain.

Well, that's about it for the week. It's been a rather busy one -as always, but it's been good. Have a wonderful week. I love you.