Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving in Paris

Bonjour à tous!

Thanks so much for the weekly updates as usual! They were pretty great this week. Poor, poor Cooper... :) Cracked me up. (This is Adam's Blog but we don't think he'd mind sharing these photos of our dog.)

Cooper Before
Cooper After
So, this is week 12 here in France. That means the end of my second transfer (of 16), the end of my "training" (so in other words, after this week I'm supposed to know what I'm doing...), and probably my last week with Elder Evans, who I've become quite good friends with. After this week, I'm going to have to be a "trainer" of sorts and explain to my new companion everything about this area. The ward members, our amis, how we get around (still a bit confused with buses, but I'm basically a master with the metro), and all that good stuff. So, wish me luck as I prepare for that this week. Next week I'll be able to tell you who my new companion is (though I won't meet him til Wednesday). 

Also, Elder Evans and I are speaking strictly French this week, aside from our one hour of companion study, and even that we're trying French as much as possible. So, hopefully my French improves quite a bit this week. I've been praying only in French since I got here, and we pray a lot as missionaries. Last night, I tried to pray in English and I seriously couldn't do it! That was a little weird for me. So I may be trying to pray in English more often just so I don't completely forget how to do it...

So, let's see if I can type out this weekly summary pretty quick here...

Monday-Musée de l'armée. Really cool stuff we got to see for P-day! The Army Museum and Napoleon's tomb. Way sweet stuff. Elder Evans, since he plans on becoming a History professor, was nerding out pretty hardcore. :) It was really cool stuff. There was so much armor there. Brian would've loved it, with all the cool knights and stuff. Samurai armor too. Made me think of the Cavaliers (the Drum Corps, not the basketball team). Got some cool pictures of cannons and stuff, and the WWII exhibit was way cool. Napoleon's Tomb, if you ask me, was a LITTLE bit offensive, in that it's inside a church, and they place basically as much value on his tomb as on the whole big thing with Christ. Slightly blasphemous, but the French people really love Napoleon... Really cool though. I got a coin from there too! There's apparently money you can get from all the cool exhibits. They're 2 euro pieces, and they're pretty cool. I'll try to send some pictures soon, but we're still at the internet café this week. Just trying to cram in a lot of stuff before Elder Evans leaves.

We ended the night with a visit to the Family Lethuair, who are just awesome. I think I've talked about them before. They've got 4 kids, who are all really sweet. We had a great evening with them talking about faith. Their son is currently trying to gain his own testimony, so we talked a lot about how that can come about through prayer and study and all that, and it was really spiritual. His dad texted us later that night saying "Lanvin (his son) told me that he enormously felt the spirit tonight." It's really cool to get a message like that, to hear that we made a positive influence on someone. It's not all about baptizing. It's about converting, changing hearts, helping people to become better. That's what we do as missionaries. I hope that people know that that's why I'm out here. I'm not just trying to make people be Mormons. Not at all. I'm here because I know that, first off, this message is true, and second, that is has blessed my life in ways I can't even describe, and I want others to have these same blessings. 

Anyway, sorry for the random testimony thrown in there, but I really wanted to say that. 

So, Tuesday-kind of a regular day. We had salmon for dinner at the Lam-Yam's. Still not fond of fish at all, but it was so well made it was almost good. :) Haha no, it was good, isn't my favorite. But I got to have a fancy dinner on Dad's birthday too! :) Kind of a regular day other than that though.

Wednesday-We went and visited Monsieur Moretti, our Italian, Buddhist, Catholic friend again, and he kind of told us that he wasn't really interested in our message. Kind of sad, but he was so nice about it. And he offered to help us with French occasionally, an offer we gladly accepted. We think it could soften his heart (while helping us) and someday open him to the Gospel. That evening we visited Alberto, Victor, and Domingos. Just awesome as usual. Victor was doing great, much better than recently. They're just such awesome, awesome guys. And we got invited over for dinner on Saturday! I was really doing well with French that evening, and I was able to teach really clearly and effectively.

Thursday was our Thanksgiving P-day! Nothing super exciting happened really, but I'll give you a quick run down. It was at our church, so Elder Evans and I headed over early to open it up and all that. We had district meeting first, at 10, then it was a free day until 6 that night, with food in between. Turkeys are pretty hard to come by here, so we went to the local marché (market) which takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and bought 6 rotisserie chickens (which really threw the guy selling them for a loop). Between the 18 missionaries, we pretty much finished them off, and they were quite good! I caught up in my journal (I've written a whole page for practically every single day since the middle of October. It's gonna be a really great little treasure after my mission if I keep it up) and just kind of hung out and talked with the other missionaries for the rest of the day. Oh yeah, our meal was pretty American, except for the obligatory baguettes and fancy French cheese on the table. :) It was kind of funny. Like a lot of our interactions with each other as missionaries, it was a bit "franglais" (French plus English, pronounced fronglay). We had a really cool rendez-vous with a couple new portuguese speaking amis who live with one of our members. It was a bit weird because the member hardly speaks any French, so our amis were the ones translating for him! Backwards from what we're used to. One of them was kind of going to town on a bottle of wine for the whole lesson, so we're defintely going to be talking about the word of wisdom soon...

Friday we went and visited Makhlouf, who has decided to go back to Islam, so we kind of said goodbye to him, but on the way out he offered to take us to lunch! He took us to get some kebab sandwiches and there was American football on the TV! It was kind of a weird little experience. That night we went to a rendez-vous with another portuguese family who just moved into the ward! They don't really speak much French yet, so Frère Mourier did pretty much the whole lesson...It was really cool though. They're only part member, so we now have two more (4 total for the week) new portuguese amis to teach! 

Saturday we got to help someone move a little bit, and had a long English conversation with our half American member Frère Mathias while we waited for that to start. That was kind of cool. He works for BMW too! Apparently like 4 members of our ward do. Then we had a quick lesson with Yannick that evening right before heading to Alberto and Domingos for dinner! They served us a really good meatloaf sort of thing and you could really tell that they went all out for us. We learned that Alberto really likes nature shows, Domingos is doing great keeping the word of wisdom (even avoiding coffee shops to avoid temptation) and Alberto played the guitar for us a little bit! Just a great spirit there that night.

Sunday was kind of normal. We set our date with Yannick for his baptism! We feel pretty good about it. It's super exciting! He's kind of negative when it comes to saying how he feels and stuff (always saying "it was okay..." and stuff when we ask how his day was) but last night we finally got him to say that he felt something with us, which was a big step! 

Anyway, sorry it got kind of cut short at the end, but it really was a good week! I'll let you know how the French goes and all that. Keep Cooper warm! And I'd really love to have some music soon, so keep Tyler on that for me! :) I hope Kevin and Brian are doing well too. Still haven't sent Dad's present yet, I'm working on it...but happy birthday anyway! 

I'm thankful for you all and all the support I have from home. I can't express how much I appreciate it. I love you!

Elder Bigler

Adam and his companion finally got settled into their new apartment after the switch with the Sisters

My new address is 

Elder Adam Bigler
33 rue Maximilien Robespierre
94120 Fontenay sous Bois

We're in sort of a complex, so you probably can't see us as well as before. I'll get you pictures of it all when I can. It's not as quaint as before, but it's a lot more useful for us to get on the metro and stuff from here. It's been a big help.  Click Here to See It: Google Map Street View

And yes, if you ever don't have my address or anything and really need to send something, the mission home address works. You send it there, the APs give it to the Zone Leaders, who give it to the District Leaders, who bring it to district meeting which we have every week. So, I may get things a couple days later if they're sent to it, but I still get them pretty quick. Packages only take about a week to get here, unless there's a strike going on...but usually just about a week. We're pretty well connected with the US as far as mail goes. There's hardly ever a problem like that. And I really would like to have it (his portable speaker)...I wish I had just brought it originally, but I didn't think much about it. Stuff doesn't often get lost, especially big packages. Damaged, possibly, but as long as you wrap it up good I'd feel pretty confident about it.

Thanks so much!

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