This email will be kind of all over the place because a lot has happened these past couple of weeks. I'll try and hit the most important/coolest things though.
Sunday Sept 27. We spent a great day at church as always, and before we left, Sister Jordan, our less-active, invited us to play pétanque with her (kind of like bocce ball) after we ate lunch. So we went to a little park near our apartments (she lives literally 30 seconds away from us) and played for an hour or so with her. It was great to relax for a little bit, and build our relationship with her. Although, for an old lady (she's around 74) she's pretty dang competitive! Unfortunately for us, I kept knocking her balls closer to the target which just fueled her trash talk and pride haha :) After that was all said and done we only had about an hour or so before dinner which we take at 8 right before we come in for the night. So we were going to go do some porting, and I felt like we should head out on a bus about 20 minutes away from us, so we decided we'd just skip our dinner hour and work out there. Well we started knocking on some houses and the first 8 don't answer. Also, we're in a really Muslim part of town, so Elder Libby and I decided we should just go home. We hop on the bus and as we're walking on this young mom probably around 23 years old stops us and asks about our badges. So we start talking and she's super believing, she's even part of this weekly prayer group. We told her a little about our belief in living prophets, and she said we should come to her prayer group because it would interest her and her friends. So we exchanged numbers and said we will call her later in the week to fix something.
Monday Sept 28. Today we had a zone activity in Lille. Throughout the transfer we'd been having challenges from our ZL's to prepare us (like memorizing scripture mastery references, D&C 4 in French, Book of Mormon stories and French vocabulary, etc.). Then we get there and there are like 7 different stations where we competed against other companionships in games based on the weekly challenges. On one game we had to find Book of Mormon scripture mastery based on keywords then throw bean bags into holes on a cardboard Eiffel Tower. Elder Libby and I wrecked three companionships and then faced off against President and Soeur Babin....we crushed them too haha!! At the end the ZL's faced off against President and Soeur Babin in a BoM stories/donut eating contest. It was hilarious! I'm working on getting the video home haha :) Then we went to a park and did a Zombie Run. It was kind of a huge game of tag with about 30 missionaries in a giant park in downtown Lille....we got lots of weird looks. Even the Babins played with us. It was scary though because they both fell pretty hard at the beginning, but they dusted themselves off and kept playing while all the rest of us were freaking out haha! We finished off with a picnic in the park and made our way home. All in all, probably the best P-Day ever!
Tuesday Sept 29. Today for lunch we got invited over to Sister Foutrein's to eat with her and her non-member husband. It was totally out of the blue. It was super fun, and really delicious. They eat lamb and sheep over here quite often. And plus, we invited the husband to come to the branch activity the next day.
Wednesday Sept 30. HE CAME! Today we had our branch council/branch day. After our branch council and lunch we all went to the cathedral in Dunkerque and Sister Deslypper had a tour prepared so we got a free guided tour haha! It was super funny because almost all the members used to be Catholic so they were laughing about/making fun of all the weird stuff Catholics do. It was super funny when we were next to this rug thing (that clearly got walked on all the time) Brother Deslypper told all of us to be careful and walk around it. Then President Duez walked right on to it, turned to Elder Libby and I and said, "Ya we need to be careful it might be a flying carpet!" He then pretended he was flying on it! Hahaha Elder Libby and I were trying so hard to keep in our laughter because everything echoes in an old empty cathedral. After that we all went to the top of the bell tower in Dunkerque. We had to walk up some incredibly sketchy, steep, narrow stairs. But up on top we got some pretty sick pictures and videos. (You'll be getting those soon). But the funny part was before we went up on top we were inside with all the bells, talking about whether or not the bells were going to go off. It was like 3 minutes past the
hour so we all decided they only rang on weekends. But right as wewere about to start climbing the stairs they start ringing right above our heads! Sister Foutrein started freaking out! Haha It was so hilarious.
Saturday Oct 3. Anna got back from her trip to the Sardines yesterday and we wanted to visit her and invite her to conference, but our day was completely packed. So, she happened to get on a bus we were taking and come talk to us. She was super happy to see us, and said she was going to come to a session of conference Sunday morning. Today we also visited Sister Allaert so that we could do some service. There were a lot of weeds in her driveway because she hasn't been able to do anything for the last 4-5 months, so we spent about 25 minutes clearing them all out. When we came back into her house we saw her quickly put out a cigarette. It was so sad. The last time we came she asked me to give her a blessing because she was getting very disheartened. In the blessing I gave I promised her that in the measure she kept the commandments she would feel the love of theSavior and find healing...so to see that completely crushed me. The saddest thing I see as a missionary is when people live below their promised blessings. Fortunately, after we left we went to the church to watch the Saturday morning session of conference. The Spirit was there so strongly even though it was just Elder Libby and I. The only problem was the streaming was lagging so much that it took us over 3 hours to finish the session haha.
Sunday Oct 4. ANNA CAME! Sister Foutrein, Anna, and us all watched the Saturday afternoon session together, and said she really liked it. We were able to explain a little bit about the church organization and all that jazz. Then Elder Libby and I stayed and watched the priesthood and Sunday morning sessions. They were amazing as always.It was so powerful watching President Monson give EVERYTHING he could to finish his talk. I love that man and I hope we are all praying for him often.
Tuesday Oct. 6. Today we taught Anna, and it was great! She is almost done reading 1st Nephi, and she asked us questions and is remembering a lot. She also made the connection between the iron rod in Lehi's dtream and the iron rod that one of the speakers at conference was talking about. It was super cool. Then we taught the first third of he plan of salvation, and she completely understood it and was pretty much finishing our sentences. We are both sure that she's going to start progressing really well. And she's getting to be good friends with Sister Foutrein.
Wednesday Oct 7. So this morning we had district meeting in Calais, and then tonight we took a train into...PARIS!!! More specifically Versailles. Because I'm almost to my year mark in France I needed to start my papers for my second year legality, and there's an office near Versailles that's really easy to work with and Paris is a central location when I need to go pick up my legality card, so we went and did it there. We slept over with the Elders in Versailles and it was super cool because we could see the Eiffel Tower from their window!
Thursday Oct. 8. So we get to the legality place and while we were waiting for them to open, guess who walks up, the Elders from Metz! One of them had to do the same thing as me so we chilled with them for the rest of the day. We did the legality thing and it all went well, then because we all had like 5 hours until our trains left we went and visited the temple construction site, the Eiffel Tower, and got paninis and crepes at this famous joint for missionaries near Notre Dame. It was extra fun because the Metz elders have a French elder who's waiting for his visa to go to the US. And this Elder is from Amiens (where our ZL's are from) and I actually taught with his fiancée on an exchange :) haha
Friday Oct. 9. So today we went to...AMIENS!! To do one last exchange with our awesome ZL's. It was super sick for dinner we got invited over to a member's house with: their family, the four missionaries, a recent convert, a person who was getting baptized the next day, an American member that just got to town, and another investigator. It was TONS of fun, and the food was super good as well haha :)
Saturday Oct 10. We got back from our exchange and then got ready for our...MULTI-BRANCH PARTY!! So for this last transfer our district has been planning a big party with all of our branches, and it went off without a hitch! We had about 35 people there including the less-active daughters (who live in Dunkerque) of a member in St. Omer, Anna, and a non-member neighbor of Brother Price! We had card games, ping pong, basketball, and after a spiritual thought, we finished off with bobbing for apples! Haha. It was a ton of fun because French people don't know about bobbing for apples, so it was super funny to see them trying it.
Sunday Oct 11. Today was our branch conference, so we had amazing lessons and talks by the stake leaders, and an incredibly productive branch council meeting, followed by a meal together. I also gave my going away testimony because...
I'm going to Le Havre!!! It's another port town, down the coast from Dunkerque. I'll be the District Leader there which means I get to do exchanges in 5 different cities including Paris.
I love you guys, and again sorry I didn't get this out sooner :)