Monday, March 31, 2014


Well, (I think I always start my letters off with that) it was another kind of regular week. The highlights were great, but even as highlights, still kind of regular, if that makes sense. 

Monday ended kind of regularly, with some porting.

Tuesday was pretty busy between trying to finish our paper for the bible study class and our DMP meeting, a lesson with Mehdi, and a lesson with David, two of our recent converts. Frère Peron likes to take the lessons a little slower and longer than we usually do as missionaries (it's our mission goal to keep lessons to a half hour), so it ended up being a lot of teaching.

Wednesday I got to go on an exchange with Elder Tidwell. We had kind of a regular day right up until the end when we were porting and came across a really awesome, nice Catholic lady. (I have no idea how to spell her name...) It was a really inspired contact, as I was able to offer her a card at what I thought was going to be the end, which touched her, then Elder Tidwell asked if we could pray with her before going, which really touched her as well. At this point, where we were going to say goodbye, she decided to let us in! We were able to teach a kind of awkward standing up lesson in her kitchen, where we able to teach about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the Restoration. The Spirit was so strong as she talked about her kids who she worries about and we were able to testify of eternal families and how much God loves us. It was a really cool experience for both of us. 

The next day was pretty crazy too between our awesome district meeting, having the Zone Leaders over, the burrito fête after (easily the best one of my mission), and then right after that, meeting Louis and his wife and son at our church! They were super awesome, almost too awesome. At the beginning, with the way he talked, I even thought he was a member... But nope, he just knows a lot about our church and really wants to, as he said it, "get back on the path to baptism". His wife doesn't speak much French yet, so she asked me to speak English a few times, which was really odd for me. I hadn't heard myself bear my testimony in English since I got here, and I sounded totally different than I remembered. And when I gave the closing prayer at the end, only the second prayer I've given in English since I got to France, I honestly struggled a little to stay in English once or twice. It was an awesome evening with them all around, being able to testify to and meet new people who are truly interested. Their son even asked (in Russian) at the end if we could go home with them to play Legos. :)

Friday was a usual Friday, taken up a lot by weekly planning and then ward council that night. Kind of a longer one where we talked a lot about our recent converts and what we can do for them. Our Bishop here is SO awesome, he's helping us accomplish our goal of getting a soirée familiale with members every night the week leading up to Easter. It's gonna be super cool. :)

Saturday and Sunday were pretty regular with church and all that, but with Elder Tidwell a little sick, we've been going on some random exchanges and stuff. I wanted to let Elder Perry have the chance to teach a little more, so I let him go to the other lessons the other équipe had planned. Also, somehow, we got volunteered into a ward choir that includes the missionaries and 3 sisters... It's pretty interesting.

I was able to really feel the Spirit at church yesterday, which, surprising at it may be, doesn't happen a ton as missionaries. Church usually ends up being pretty crazy for us, not leaving much time to focus in on the foreign language enough to feel the Spirit. But when Isabelle got up to bear her testimony and said that when she recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost, she felt such a strong, reassuring warmth in her heart, I was felt such a strong confirmation in my heart that this work is true, and that it does change lives, as she testified.

I hope everything goes well again for you guys this week! Keep up the hard work and don't eat too much Easter candy. :)

Elder Bigler

Another Wonderful Song from the Missionaries as they Waited for Elder Christofferson.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Long, slow week

Elder Bigler in Brussels, Belgium

It feels like it's been forever since I've written anything to you guys! And it kind of has. Unfortunately, P-day got cut kind of short last week, but it was all for good stuff! We caught a train early Monday evening to Lille, and then a TGV to Bruxelles, Belgique a little after. It's crazy how much different your world can get here with just a 40 minute train ride. Suddenly people start reading English newspapers again, and speaking English, something I haven't really heard on the street in 6 months or so, then a few minutes later, half of the advertisements you see are in Dutch with everybody speaking French again. It really throws your brain for a loop. But anyway, once we finally got to Belgium and met up with the Zone Leaders there, we headed off to their apartment, which was HUGE. They've basically got it made up there. 

Elder and Sister Christofferson with the
Belgium and Lille, France Zones

So, the next morning we all got up and out the door pretty quick to go meet and hear from Elder Christofferson! Right after we got to the church, we got all set up in that nice arrangement I'm sure you already saw on facebook, and then sang for quite a while until he showed up. (See the links below to hear the missionaries singing as they waited for him to arrive.)

The Missionaries Waiting to Shake Hands
with Elder and Sister Christofferson

Right after the picture, we all had a chance to shake his hand (I didn't tell him I was from American Fork, but when his wife asked me where I was from, I said American Fork, and she said "Oh, did you know that my husband is from there?" to which I said, "Actually, I did" and we both kind of laughed. :) He did mainly a question and answer session with us, which was pretty cool. I didn't have anything specific in my head, so I let other people ask the questions. The general idea that I got out of the whole thing was to just be more active in improving myself. It was really spiritual, and he's really tuned into the Spirit. 

Q & A Session with Elder and Sister Christofferson

Even a couple times, people would ask a question and he would go "what you really want to ask by that is..." and just like, dig into what they really meant. It was really cool, that's pretty much all I can say to summarize it. Unfortunately, afterward to catch our train, we didn't even have enough time to buy a sandwich or waffles, so we left Belgium without tasting of it's delicious food...  But, ça va, it's alright. By the time we got home, it was super rainy and we were all tired so we just took the rest of our P-day time right then, and I wasn't able to get back and email. Sorry about that...

The next day, things just went back to normal. The only unusual thing about Wednesday was that we went with the other Elders to give a blessing to their ami, who was feeling pretty sick. She has a baptismal date coming up on the 5th of April. :)

The rest of the week pretty much went normally, aside from taking some time to plan a scripture study class that we're going to do at our church as a way to hopefully find some new people to teach. Calais has kind of flatlined at the moment, although we got a referral from the Church this week about a guy named Louis who we're going to visit this week. 

The Beach of Calais

Saturday I was on an exchange with Elder Baldwin, Elder Tidwell's companion, and we got to see some sweet sights around Calais, which is what most of the pictures I uploaded are of. Don't worry, I didn't go on a boat, just a really long pier. The ocean is super sweet!  Also, we've had some crazy fog lately, that I got a couple pictures of, and we started March Madness brackets in our apartment. :) Elder Tidwell's dad is sending him the results every week, and there's a jumbo Kinder Surprise on the line for the winner. Just kind of a fun little thing to take up a little more space on our wall. :) (See Photos Below.)

Beyond all that, life's pretty much going normally here in Calais. It's finally getting a bit warmer, and it really hasn't rained much at all in the last few weeks ( we like to say that Elder Perry brought the sun with him from Tahiti). 

Thanks so much for the letters! I really appreciate them. :)

Have a good week! 
Elder Bigler

P.S. No real advice for Brian's talk, but a good testimony is always good. Nephi has really good scriptures on Christ too, if that helps. Some of my favorites in there.

Additional Photos and Links to the Missionaries Singing while Waiting for
Elder Christofferson

Calais in the Fog

Adam with his March Madness Brackets on the Wall
Not going well?

P-day Bowling

Foggy Calais at Night

Waiting for Elder and Sister Christofferson to Arrive

Waiting to Shake Hands with
Elder and Sister Christofferson
(Adam's Companion, Elder Perry, is on Adam's Left)

Monday, March 17, 2014

No Time to Write

This was all Adam sent for this week. The follow up email never came....until the next week.

Hey everybody! I'm gonna have to be really short today because we have to catch a train to Bruxelles for our conference with Elder Christofferson tomorrow. Yep, in Belgium. :) It should be pretty sweet, although a lot of us are worried that it's because they're going to split the mission... We'll see how it goes! I'm looking forward to buying a meat triad (it's a sandwich) and some Belgian fries and Belgian waffles. :) I guess this is mostly to say that I'm still alive and doing well. :) We have to cut our P-day short today to be able to catch the train, so I'll probably ending up taking a little time on wednesday to send a better email to you guys. I love you all and I keep you in my prayers always. Talk to you soon!

Elder Bigler

Monday, March 10, 2014

Iaorana! (Tahitian for "Hello")

Elder Bigler Meeting His New Companion,
Elder Perry, for the First Time at Paris
(Visit "France Paris Mission Poznanski" on Facebook)

Hi everybody! I thought I'd send the email to the whole family this week just for fun. :) 

So, I guess you all saw who my new companion was on Facebook before I could even get here to tell you! :) That's pretty much the big news for the week, so I'll start there. :)

Elder Perry and Elder Bigler

Yes, my companion, my bleu, is Elder Perry, from Tahiti! Therefore, he speaks French! Boy was that a surprise. Literally the day before I was talking with the other Elders and I said "I'll definitely be training an English speaker, they always give francophone bleus (French Speaking New Missionaries) to francophone trainers." Should've knocked on wood on that one, right? :) No, but really, I'm super excited for the challenge, and the Lord has already blessed me. I suddenly feel really skilled in French, and I'm picking up on little things that I hadn't until now. It's crazy. I speak French with my companion pretty much all the time too, so it's probably going to shoot way up over the next 12 weeks too, and I feel like his English will too, being in an apartment with three English speakers. He already speaks it a little bit, which is a great start. He's an awesome missionary, and we have really similar goals and desires for our missions. He's a little shy, but much less shy than I was when I got here, so no worries there. :) He's already a really good teacher, and a hard worker. It's gonna be sweet, that's for sure. :)

Other than that, I don't really have much news from this week. Elder Tidwell and I kind of started a diet (his companion is from Georgia. Combine that Southern cooking with a Tahitian, and a diet was basically necessary. :) ). We're just doing a lot of finding right now, and struggling a little bit to actually find people, but we'll get there. We have some good ideas as an apartment, and it's gonna be a good couple transfers. 

Also, yesterday, we all gave talks at church, us 4 missionaries! As usual, pretty stressful, but it went well. I was feeling so confident with my French that I thought I'd just try writing down some notes and giving my talk off of that. Risky move, especially since I've never even done that before in English... But, it worked out really well in the end. :) So, I guess you could say my French is doing pretty good right now. They usually say that around 6 months in the country is where you start to feel comfortable with the language, and I've definitely hit that right now. I thought I was feeling pretty good about 3 months ago when Elder Evans left, but this last week I've felt super confident with it. It's cool to be able to watch myself progress like this. 

Well, that's really about it for this week. Not the most eventful in the world, but definitely a lot of big changes that happened.

Keep having fun back at home! Don't forget to read your scriptures and pray though! :)

Until next week!

P.S. I uploaded pictures from Isabelle's baptism, and one of me and Elder Perry at St. Merri. I wasn't sure which baptism picture was the best, so I just did all of them. :)

Here's All Four Photos from Isabelle's Baptism - Family and Friends Can Choose the Best for Themselves.
They All Look Great to Us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Super Pumped and Super Nervous

Elder Bigler at the Beach

Well, as you may have noticed, I didn't have time to write an email yesterday, the members were super nice and took us all around our area to show us cool tourist sites. We got to see the ocean, England, a rainbow, craters made from bombs from World War II, and a massive bunker where they kept a cannon that was meant for destroying ships. Super sweet stuff. (Photos Below)We also had two mangez-vous in the process, since the two French elders we have are leaving. I ate SO MUCH food yesterday. French meals are usually kind of a three course thing. But anyway, we actually had a pretty exciting week that I want to talk about!

Calais World War Museum

Well, really, the first half of the week was pretty regular. It got exciting around Thursday when we had district meeting and Elder Jones (my first district leader, now my zone leader, but not anymore cause of transfers) and I headed back to Calais on an exchange for the baptismal interview with Isabelle! We have to have someone who's never taught her before do the interview, to be unbiased and all that. So, not surprisingly at all, she was totally ready to be baptized! That was Friday, and Saturday was her baptism, which pretty much took up most of our day, between filling up the font (which takes forever) and talking to members afterwards. Well, we had a whole bunch of people show up, and two dunks later (cause the first one didn't quite make it) she was baptized! Super great day. :) She was so prepared for everything we taught, it was just great to see.

The next day we had church, and she got the gift of the Holy Ghost. I had the wonderful opportunity of being able to perform the ordinance, which was both awesome and SUPER stressful. It was in French, of course, so that didn't help. But I did it, and she seemed happy as could be afterward. :)

So, that was the start to our Sunday. After church, we got to eat with the Requillart's (again because Elder Perez is leaving) and that was super good, despite being kind of seafood-y. Then, it was Sunday afternoon, the last day of the transfer, which is the time where we anxiously await a call from the Assistants or Président telling us about leadership positions and stuff. And, since my companion had been district leader, I wasn't too suprised when I got a call from Elder Dussere, who was Elder Alexander's trainer. But, what he said surprised me. "Elder Bigler, there are a lot of new missionaries coming in this transfer. President has prayerfully pondered and fasted and feels that you should train one of the new missionaries coming in." Oh boy, was that surprising! I'm only starting my 5th transfer, and now I'm gonna be in charge of teaching another missionary how to be a good missionary here in the France Paris mission. So, that means that I'm going to stay in Calais for 12 more weeks, and that I'll be going back down to Paris tomorrow (Wednesday) to meet my new companion, mon bleu. I'm super pumped for the challenge, and super nervous too, but I think I'll be able to handle it. Elder Evans called me to congratulate me. :) So, that's the big news there. Elder Perez is going to Lorient to be in a trio, and Elder Tidwell is going to be our district leader. 

So, anyway, that's the news for the week! I'm sure next week will be pretty exciting, at least for my new collègue, who just got to France a few hours ago probably, but for me too. :) Thanks for all the love from home, and keep it coming. :)

Elder Bigler

Somewhere Off in the Distance is England

The Beach Near Calais

The Beach and Cliffs Near Calais

The Massive Cannon Bunker

Adam at the Cannon Bunker

Adam at the Beach Near Calais
England in the Background

A French Rainbow

The Hills Near Calais Scarred by
World War II Bombs