We got our message on Saturday night about who is going to stay and who is going to leave. All of the Brest missionaries will be staying. Yay! But how is that possible? They don't usually leave a city with the same missionaries for 2 transfers straight. On Sunday night we heard from the elders that they received a call from President Staheli who said that Elder Ahlstrom will be training a bleu (or a greenie as they're called in English- a new brand new missionary in the field) and Elder Schroeder will be getting a companion which means 6 missionaries in Brest! But Elder Schroeder and his collegue Elder Kay will be leaving in 3 weeks because there's a massive transfer going on with all of the missionaries who are going back home for school. So there are three-some missionaries everywhere and many cities are going to have a huge change in missionaries in 3 weeks. Crazy!
But yes, Soeur Fricard and I are staying together- luckily! We asked President Staheli and we are assuming it's also the will of the Lord. But right when we heard that we started having major success and improvement with our amie Lilia. It's really important for missionaries to stay in the same area for a little while when they're working with amies because a change like that can offset the whole process! But we are so blessed to be teaching her and her children. They have so much faith, and we just love being over there.
To pique your appetite-
Me, Lilia, Elizabeth, Soeur Fricard, and MartinGraffiti in Landernau
Striking resemblance to the graffiti in Landernau (Martin).
Last P-day we also got to go to Brest 2008 where there were 2008 ships from all over the world. It was pretty awesome. There were all sorts of cultural opportunities (lots of selling things as well) but it was cool to see a glimpse of the beauty of sailing and the life of a sailor. It kind of made me fall in love with it. And it kind of made us exhausted, but we had a good time and we got in free or practically because Annie (creator of the Brest special) spoils us and gave us some extra tickets she had.
The boats leaving.
Round-about explored by us
Some other highlights:
- Being hit on by a 13 and 14 year old who thought I was 15. They were riding in the car with their dad and decided to meet me. Their eyes lit up when they found out I'm american. When I finally asked them how old they were, and they returned the question we both started laughing. They left really quickly. :)
- Also, ending up in the middle of a rond-point because the elders are slow and Soeur Fricard wanted to explore the forest within.
- Getting lost in the forest 3 times or so.
- Driving to Commana (40-50 minutes away) and then being rejected by a less active and instead talking with a woman for a long while about the gospel. She told us that believing in God is too simple. Uhhh... not quite!
- Porting a building where we hid in the hall because we were scared by a group of muslim men who were making a whole lot of raucous.
- But all in all we are seeing lots of things change, just little by little. I'm learning patience!
Send me soooome love. You know the address (or you can find it at the bottom of this page).
Hellllo. Not too many pictures today, but things are going well. Sadly appointments are being offset workwise with it being summertime = vacation time and everyone is à droite à gauche (everywhere- left and right). But we have been visiting with some less actives and recent converts, also trying to figure out times to meet with our amies (if they'll let us,) and we finally got to meet President Staheli. Sadly interviews lasted about 3 minutes because they scheduled Brest interviews last (we happen to live farthest away as well). Oh well, better planning next time. Transfer calls come this Saturday. Fingers crossed I'll stay with Soeur Fricard here, but nothing is definite.
We tracted into this little home. 'Bonjour, nous sommes missionaires de l'eglise de Jesus-Christ de Saint de Derniers Jours et nous avons un message par rapport de Dieu.' No response.
Two of the amis who are golden live in this quaint little ville. St. Renan. Soeur Fricard and I went porting there last Wednesday and met a 92 year old woman who wants us to come back today. So we're gonna.
This is a burrito fete that we had for samedi sports. Gooooood times!
Ok that's all for now. I love you all, take care!
Sometimes I wonder what exactly I wrote in the last post. "not many, but some" I don't even know what that means! But besides my franticness in writing blog posts, things are going well here in Brest. It's been raining and windy for the past week, which really puts motivation to a hault - people don't particularly like you contacting them in this sort of weather, you might get caught in a surprise hail storm when you can't see 5 feet in front of you, and you will end up -inevitably- soaked to the bone. It's colder here in Brest than it is anywhere else in France. It makes me quite happy that I'm here, you know how I love the heat.
We will get transfer calls in a week and a half. I can't believe it. Fingers crossed, I'll stay. I would like to be here another transfer. We've already started transfer trivia, which is trying to figure out what's going to happen with the 16 sisters for the next transfer. Mini-missionary = out, 2 new Soeurs should be arriving, which means two people will have to train. Soeur Fricard has already trained 2 1/2 times. She doesn't really hope to train again. But we really have no idea what will happen, especially with a new President, who I will be meeting on Friday.
Well, let's get this thing started. There are a lot of photos I will be showing you. Be prepared!
Loic took us to Huelgoat, which is a forest outside of Brest and a little ways from Quimper. It was beautiful. There is a stream that runs through it with huge rocks all over the place. We went for a little hike, and we got our feet wet. At the beginning of the trailhead there was a man playing a bagpipe like instrument. We felt like at any moment we might see a fairy pop out.
If you've seen Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley you might recall the Liz on top of the world scene. This was it. Absolutely beautiful. We almost blew away though; it was so windy! I have a video of it, but this will suffice for now. (Also with Loic)
This is the church that isn't far from Loic's parents' home. It's a beautiful little town.
This is at the home of two of the Elders' amis, Sylvie and Bernard, who are golden. They visited Bernard's sister in Utah, who is married to a man who served in the Paris mission several years ago and who he actually converted- I think). When they visited them, they took them to the temple visitors center in St. George. They loved it and a referral came right to the elders. They're wonderful. Soeur Fricard and I got a chance to teach them last Thursday. We're going to porte in their ville tonight.
Soeur Fricard and me doing what we do... wearing the same clothing. We cut up an old dress for our Soiree Tahienne. It was such a fun night. 11 amies total showed up and a less active. We ate poison cru which is uncooked fish- it was delicious which was in coconut milk with lemon juice squeezed on it and with fruits and vegetables. Seriously so good. I also ate some squid, I think. Not as good. But man oh man, it was fun. We learned a tahitian dance and got to watch all the men try to dance. Lovely.
One of the floats in the parade before Le Tour de France which started in Brest. Yes, la vache qui rit or laughing cow cheese.
Elder Schroeder, Soeur Fricard, me, and Elder Ahlstrom waiting for the bicycles to pass. Sadly this event, the actual passing of the bicycles, only lasts for about 20 seconds, and I only have it on video.
The cars before the bicycles. Le Tour de France passed right in front of the church, so we went to check it out. I'll show you the video when I get home. It takes too much time to load on here.
This little devil is named Martin. He is 3, Armenian so he speaks half Armenian, half French. And he always demands that we sing hymns. Chantez, Chantez! He says when we come over. I was playing with him while Soeur Fricard talked to Lilia. At one point he started kissing my arm and then my back. Laisse-moi, Martin! Oh man. I've got a three year old admirer.
Well, we got a new mission president- President Staheli and I am really excited to meet him (again- once at the MTC) next Friday. This should be an awesome year with him. Yeah, only a year remains. I can't believe it. But, sorry I don't have much time. Tomorrow for preparation day we're visiting some cool spots with our Branch Mission Leader and then we are going to his parents' house in Quimper for crepes. Things are going well here. We have Le Tour de France which starts this week and then Brest 2008 - the big parade of boats. Hopefully lots of people will be out and happy and willing to hear the gospel! They need it.
Here are just a few photos from this week-
Plouzanec (I think- I kind of forgot the name... but the Querel family lives there and they were so sweet as to entertain us for the day, take us to the beach and through some gardens. This is Frere Querel, he is an angel.)
Just dipping our feet in. The water was freezy.
But I love you all, and I hope you'll write in some form. Take care. Bisous (those are the cheek to cheek kisses everyone does- they're kind of adorable)!
This is the result of spinning a million times in 2 minutes with a broom stick.
Yes, Elder Bentz's shorts can fit both Soeur Fricard and me. At our D.M.B. (Loic)'s apartment.
sadly Elder Bentz got midnighted, that means he left half way through the transfer. He received a lot of desperate calls from Soeur Fabiano and me when we opened. We will miss him. Good times.
I'm sorry that I haven't written in ages, but here... I'm gonna give you so many pictures you won't know what to do with yourself.
For Mom. The lighthouse at Le Conquet.
Crozon. This is on the opposite side of the Harbor of Brest. The sweet Ma'A family (Tahitians the husband is the one who served at Maupiti) lives there.
The district as it was 3 weeks ago before the move. Soeur Fabiano, Elder Bentz, me (very burnt), Elder Runyon, Elder Schroeder, and Elder Hales. I got a strike, I'll have you know.
Arlette and Maryvonne in the countryside. The ocean is just in front of us. Seriously, Bretagne is gorgeous. I think this is Plougastel?
This is Soeur Fricard. She's absolutely amazing. We hope we'll stay at least another transfer together. She's a shepherdess. And just so sweet and encouraging and French. Ah! I love it. But here we were doing yard work at a member's home and she found a bunch of branches we cut down- like a regular hillbilly.
Our last meeting with the Mission President, President Pond, and Sister Pond. They are so wonderful. I feel priveleged to have them for the short 3 1/2 months in the field. (June 18, 2008 at St. Brieuc).
We've been learning how to drive stick this past weekend because we have a car every 3 weeks. Some people end up driving a good hour to get to church. So there is need to have a car, and also knowing how to drive it. Voilà, there is a lot of jolting in the car, lots of scary moments in the middle of round points when there are about 10 cars behind me and I stall out the car. It's magical when I can't get the car to go when the light finally turns green and we're on a hill. But, I have had more experience driving than Soeur Fabiano, so I'll probably be driving. Here's a photo of Elder Schroeder teaching us how to drive in a parking garage. Notice the driving hat.
On Sunday, there were two fantastic rainbows. They stretched across the entire sky. It's been raining a lot in Brest- which means my hair is a poofball and my nylons are covered in mud.
But we're working hard- or trying to. The work here is a little hard- people are not dedicating themselves to finding out, but I guess we better improve our method.
We did exchanges this past week. Soeur Fricard (from the Southern France) and Soeur Soutmont (from Belgium) came from Versaille. This is Soeur Fricard's favorite place she served and when she found out they were opening it to sisters again she nearly died, but President Pond asked her to train in Versaille (she's been there 5 transfers! = 7 months). So when she found out she was doing exchanges in Brest she nearly died. We had a ton of fun. Both of them want to learn English (Soeur Fricard speaks really well and Soeur Soutmont is going to learn really well because most of the companions that remain are Americans) - so we were switching off and on the whole time.
(In front of the Train Station to send the sisters home on their 5 hour trainride.)
And lastly- the cake that the sweetest investigator made- Lilia is her name. She's from Armenia and she is a doll; but she's facing opposition from her husband and she's a refugee here. Things are complicated for her in getting baptized and it's been several months since she's met with the missionaries, but she is amazing! Her family needs the gospel. Her kids will ask me to teach them about Joseph Smith and we sung hymns last Sunday. On Monday when we met with them, so Soeur Fricard could see them again, she made us this lovely thing. You know how I love chocolate. Next time I'll have a photo with this cute family.
à la prochaine!
(That's Annie in the background)
Oh and the birthday was really, really nice. We were planning on doing a passback when the Elders called us and said we should show up at MamiCia's, a convert of 3 years who is so, so wonderful. She had prepared a whole lovely meal and shared it with us, she said it was to celebrate my birthday. I was very, very content with this birthday. :)
Chateau in Vanne with Soeur Fabiano with the relief society.
Morlaix Bridge- Morlaix is our new favorite city. It's a half an hour train ride from Brest, and it is perfectly preserved with adorable little cobblestone streets and ancient homes everywhere.
Elders Schroeder and Bentz and Soeur Fabiano and me in Morlaix.
My delicious birthday surprise. This was tasty, tasty. I didn't connect the dots from questions Elder Bentz was asking yesterday about my favorite fruit and my birthday being the next day. But look at this little baby. They were also making very smoky smells in the kitchen while I wrote emails, and I thought it must be food they were burning. No, they were trying to light the candles. They did not succeed but I blew them out anyway.
I haven't yet eaten the famous Brest Special yet- crepes that make you vomit, but here are a few photos detailing just what's happened.
First Day in chapel, April 30- KILLED my baguette in the microwave. Apparently it was set to 900 degrees. I left it in for 1.5 minutes and it was gonnnne. It smelled for several hours. Whoops!
Soeur Fabiano and Me
View of Brest from our church above the supermarket Lidl.
Les réligeuses mangent les réligieuses.
Nuns are called réligieuses in French. People think we are réligieuses. This patisserie also resembles a réligieuse and is thus called a réligeuse. We are essentially eating ourselves.
The traditional pizza kebab. Every bleu (newbie) must eat it. Sorry it's sideways. I don't have time to flip it. Apparently the owners of this restaurant are being taught by the missionaries. On Paris P-day, when everyone is allowed to go to Paris there were a good 20 or more of us in the restaurant. Good times. March 24- je crois.
This is at the Exposition about a 30 second walk from the Pompidou. It is good times, let me tell you. It's in the gay quartier/neighborhood. Fun times. No- I really love the Expo, we get a chance to show what our church is about and find references that way. It's also good to see other missionaries so regularly, I'm not gonna lie. You need some support from other people, who know you really aren't a crazy religious fanatic. It helps that there are 160 of us.
This is me today - the Seine is too the right. The Hotel de Ville of Paris is right behind me.