NOTE FROM DAD: This letter was mailed from France on October 1, 2013. I took just 3 days to get to Utah. Amazing!! During my mission to Rome, Italy years ago (long before email), my letters took an average of 2 weeks to get to my parents. Quite an improvement.
Bonjour Ma Famille! 9/30/13
Sorry that I couldn't write much in my email this week, or that I didn't really even write an actual “weekly update” sort of deal. I promise I have so much to tell you about, it’s just crazy reading through emails and trying to comprehend it while I write back to you guys and a couple friends and to my president (in French). It’s a very busy life as a missionary. To start this off, I thought I’d go over some lingo we have in our mission that I might occasionally use without thinking about it. First off, investigators are called “amis” (you know, French for friends). I’m a blue (or bleu). For some reason, new guys aren't called greenies or anything in France. It’s blue. Interesting. We to porting (Porte in French is door). We go to the gare, not the train station. We have a rendez-vous, not an appointment. All sorts of quasi French stuff like that. Franglais. Anyway, if I say anything weird like that, let me know and I will try to explain. Some things are already starting to be weird. Like last night we taught a family that speaks English from our ward. The family Lam-yam. The father has liver cancer and the mother is from Tennessee, and they have such strong faith. At the end of our lesson, I prayed in English for the first time in almost two months. Boy did that feel weird and according to Elder Evans, it sounded weird too. Praying in French is just easier now.
Anyway, now that I've rambled on for a page, I’ll get to the good stuff. First off, France is great! Beautiful sights to see here. Just the other day we went contacting up north a bit and all of a sudden just came across a HUGE castle, right in the middle of the city! It was nuts! There’s just so much to see here. The bread is amazing, for sure, and the pastries are way good. The people are pretty funny. Sassy, occasionally rude, but mostly nice. My first night here we talked to a man named Phillipe. We can’t teach him cause his wife kind of hates religion, but he loves the missionaries and what we do. But anyway, talking to him was surreal. It was a stereotypical French scene, only lacking an accordion in the background. He speaks English well, and likes speaking to us in English so we did that and he had a nice French accent going on (Zat is good), he was leaning on his front fence while smoking a cigarette, with a scarf on, surrounded by the grape vines of his front yard. Just a perfect French scene.
So, stories. I’ve already got some good ones. Funniest thing so gar: Getting robbed. Now don’t freak out Mom, it’s no big deal as you’ll see in about 30 seconds of reading. At the end of a young boy’s baptism in the ward, the family gave us a ton of leftover cake. Like half a strawberry sheet cake. On our walk home (about a 10 minute walk) a lady we passed jokingly said ”oh, looks good!” and we were all “do you want a piece?” and she said no so we said have a nice day and kept walking. About a minute later, we came across another lady. This is France for ya: She walked up to us, said “merci beaucoup” which is like thank you very much. Elder Evans said (in French) “Would you like a piece?” to which she replied “oui” and proceeded to grab the entire tray and walk off with our cake! Without turning around, she walked all the way down the street, at a normal pace. We watched her turn the corner, still in shock, and just busted up laughing, half out of confusion. Like . . . What?! Did that just happen?? But it did. Apparently in France if someone is holding something on the street you can just thank them for it and walk away and it’s yours . . . ? Hahaha it was so weird! (Sorry if you’re reading this out loud and you had to say hahaha . . . I realize that’s awkward.) So, needless to say, we had to buy ourselves another treat later to replace it. French ice cream is pretty good.
We’ve also committed three of our investigators (Alberto, Victor, and Domingos, From Cape Verde) to live the law of tithing which was the only thing keeping Alberto from being baptized! He does, however, want to wait until his girlfriend moves here so they can be married and baptized together. Just really amazing guys though. They all have so much faith. For whatever reason, Alberto thought that the law of chastity meant he couldn't be married, and he still committed to live it so he could be baptized. (We've since explained that we want him to get married. Don’t worry.)
French is hard, let me just say. I’m learning, but not as fast as I want. I understand, usually, but speaking is still slow. But it’s improving, that’s all that matters. J I’m hoping to be decent by Christmas when I Skype you guys. Anyway, I think that’s all I have time for now, so let me know if you guys have any questions. I love you all so much and thanks for all the support!
Elder Adam Bigler