Monday, April 28, 2014


Hey! I hope everybody had a good week! It seems to go by faster and faster every time I sit down to write this email. :)

Honestly, I don't really have much to say this week. Elder Perry's been pretty sick, so we've been stuck in the apartment a bunch. That, on top of our DMP getting sick too, and our recent converts being kind of off the map for this week, made for a pretty slow week. We were finally able to catch up to one of our recent converts at the end of the week and sit down and talk with him for a little. Apparently, his girlfriend (who the other équipe had been teaching) pretty harshly left him. He was really down when we went over there. We ended up kind of just having a bro moment together, us two missionaries and him, talking about how tricky girls are and how another one will come along and all that stuff. It was pretty tender. :) He's kind of a goofy dude, but really heartfelt, so it was both a funny moment, and a really spiritual one.

Missionary Crêpes
Other than that, we really weren't able to do a whole lot. We made some crêpes, and ate some crêpes. Elder Perry's like a pro at them. Friday night, we got a call from our 1st counselor in the Bishopric asking us if we could prepare a couple 10 minute talks for Sunday. Always a stressful challenge. :) Somehow though, the next evening (when I finally was able to get around to it) I prepared a pretty good talk about repentance, all in French. I'm working on just going off of notes for talks, which is something I pretty much never would have done before my mission. It's hard, especially since everything is in French, but boy, does the Spirit help. :)

Last evening, Elder Perry and I ended up having a really nice long chat about life and how missions are hard and how far away our families are and basically all the usual mission worries at once. It was a special moment for me, both cause I was able to fulfill my role as a trainer and try to be there for him and boost him and simply help him, and also because I realized how close we've become in the last 8 weeks. Our Président was truly inspired putting us together, despite my initial thoughts otherwise. Putting a francophone with young, still kind of bleu himself Elder Bigler seemed to me like a crazy idea. But he's helped me so much through 1 and a half pretty hard transfers, and I feel like I've been able to help him too when he needs it. I'm definitely gonna have to go visit Tahiti someday. ;)

Well, other than that, I don't really have much else to add for this week. Missions have a lot of ups and downs, and this one was kind of a down. Not really sad or anything, just kind of where not much happened, and there was nothing we could do about it. But, Elder Perry and I have big plans for this week! :) Assuming that he gets better quick, we're ready to hit the pavement and find some new people to teach. :)

Keep enjoying all those sugary treats, and try not to get rained on too much. :) Peace out! ;)

Elder Bagel

Additional Photos

"I can't read these Comics. They are in English."
Easter Basket Arrives - 4 Days Late
Captain America comes to Calais and
Abe Pays a Visit

Easter Jelly Bellys Properly Sorted

Elder Perry had a Crêpes Incident

"French" Fries

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Que pensez-vous quand on parle de la Pâques?"

Title Translation: What do you think of when talking about Easter?

Kind of a crazy week this week, but definitely a good one!

I realized Monday night that I forgot to even mention the news about exchanges to you guys. Not surprisingly, Elder Perry and I are still together here in Calais. However, it's only us now. The other Calais équipe, Elder Tidwell and Elder Baldwin, both got shipped off to Valenciennes and Évry respectively. That was kind of a surprise for us. As a result, Elder Perry and I have spent a good chunk of time reorganizing the apartment, now that we only need one of the two bunk-beds, and 2 of the 4 desks. Now that we've gotten those taken apart and put in our big closet, the apartment feels a lot bigger. It was pretty cramped with 4 guys. Much better now, and I'd say that the Spirit is stronger there. It makes a big difference to have a tidy and clean apartment.

We had a goal as a mission to have a Soirée Familiale (Family Night) each night of this last week, the week leading up to Easter, where the members could invite their friends and neighbors and we could give a message about Christ and the Resurrection and invite them to church for Easter Sunday. A really awesome goal, but a tough one. Despite our very best efforts, in the end we were only able to have 3 soirées planned, and only one of them had an ami there, who we invited ourselves. Kind of a let down in that sense, but we did our best. Our ward is small, and vacances started again this weekend, so a lot of people were getting ready for that.

Now, I don't want to say that these evenings with these families didn't turn out well, it was really exactly the opposite. Wednesday evening was with the Sigrist's, the bishop and his family, and it was great! A little crazy as usual, with their five kids all under the age of eight running around, but lots fun and a good opportunity to share the message of Christ's Resurrection simply.

Thursday's SF was with the Gressier's, David, and Alexi again. It went about how they usually do with the Gressier's; lots of food, even more talking, and a few moments where we can interject with the lesson we had planned. :) No worries though, we were able to teach the Restoration to Alexi pretty well, and he seemed to like it, understand it, and most importantly, feel something.

No Bake Cookies
Friday we had to do it a little bit differently. We have a LOT of single sisters in our ward, which is pretty hard for us missionaries, because we have to have another male with us to be able to go visit them. So, to work that out, we organized to have a bunch of sisters come to the church and we'd just do a soiréé familiale there. As long as at least three of them came, we could do it. Fortunately, that's exactly how many showed up! It was a little hectic, because they LOVE to talk, but it was honestly one of the most fun moments of the week. They're some funny ladies, who have strong testimonies as well. Elder Perry and I made some no-bake cookies to take with us, using Speculoos instead of peanut butter cause that stuff is EXPENSIVE here. Some of the words they used to describe our cookies were "fantastic" and "little delights". :) We were pretty happy about that, and they seemed to be too.

Basically training to become professional chefs this week, Elder Perry and I started off the next day (after studies of course) by making a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies (the Nestle recipe!) for the baptism of the Bishop's daughter that afternoon. It was a super awesome service, with all their family there and lots of treats at the end. Little Becca was so excited to be baptized. :) She even played "When I am Baptized" on her flute as a musical number. 

Adam Finds an Easter Egg 
This week just got better and better every day, peaking with Easter! It was a beautiful day here in Calais. Church was great, despite having no amis there. It did allow us to go to Sunday school for once, which was pretty fun, but it would've been more fun to teach our amis. After a quick choir practice after Sacrament meeting (the "choir" consisting of only us two Elders and 2 sisters from the ward), we were invited to the Bishop's house with his family for lunch! 6 courses later, we headed off with his family to a little nature reserve right down the road, which was really pretty, and honestly kind of a spiritual thing to do the day of Easter. We were able to see a few little baby animals and think about the renewal of life and how Christ gave us all the chance to have that. Well, at least I did, I think the kids were mostly occupied looking for eggs. :) It was a really nice afternoon. Hanging out with their family a little and all their kids really made me feel at home, a lot like our little Sunday gatherings at Grandma's. :)

Just to finish up, like I told Dad, I saw that "Because of Him" video the church made. It's really super well done, and one of my favorites. Being a missionary around Easter is really such a blessing. We get to talk about the Resurrection of Christ right around the time that helps people think about it the most. We get to share the message of hope and new beginnings that is the Gospel, all while receiving our own new beginning each day thanks to his Atonement. I hope that we can all truly realize how much he has done for us and be thankful for each day "because of Him".

I miss you all and pray for you everyday. Keep working hard in school and work (or both if you're Mom :) ). And keep in mind that Mother's day is in 3 weeks!


Additional Pictures from Adam taken on Easter Sunday

At the Nature Reserve Easter Sunday
Searching for Contacts or Eggs
Adam Enjoying a Beautiful Easter Sunday

Watching for Wildlife


Beautiful Countryside Near Calais

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring is Here!

Hey! Sounds like Spring Break went pretty well in good ol' AF, with a thunderstorm and everything to keeps things lively. :) The week here was kind of like that, except minus the thunderstorm and really minus any change in the weather at all. So actually not like that. ;) It's been really beautiful weather in Calais since Elder Perry got here. It's like he brought the sun with him from Tahiti, as we always say to the members. :) Seriously though, it's only rained 1 days this whole transfer, a veritable drought compared to the 40 days it rained last transfer. Calais has started to brighten up, with flowers a lot more common, a lot more people outside, and many less days spent wearing big black coats as the French do. 

Train Ride to Boulogne 
This week, although still tough, as Calais is, was a lot like the weather. We were able to officially start teaching Alexi, David's son, who is really awesome! He's seriously super prepared, and is just dying to get taught by us. :) Wednesday we were able to make a short trip down south to Boulogne to visit Louis (he had said that he would be busy that day, but we felt like we should go anyway. Surprise, surprise, we called when we got there and he came right away to pick us up!) Super awesome dude. He's gonna be a little trickier to work with because he isn't married to his "wife" and he wants to get baptized as a family, despite the fact that she isn't super interested in the religious aspect of our religion (confusing to me...), just the way we feel about families. 

Thursday we had a soirée familiale with the Gressier's, David, and his son. Super great evening! Some highlight quotes from Alexi (roughly translated into English): "Back in September when my dad started meeting with you guys is when everything started to go better for him", "So, should I stop drinking coffee now?", "I already decided that I don't want to date until I'm 16", and a bunch of sweet stuff like that! He's 15, remember. So awesome. 

Friday was a boring day. :)

Saturday we had the Soirée Orientale (Ward Party), which was a surprisingly large success considering that no one even knew what time it started... We, the missionaries, did a "talent". For that, we chose to perform THE HAKA, taught to us by Elder Perry. Yep. Don't worry, we think a member got a video of it, so you might be able to see it. :) It was a pretty fun night overall. We had to leave before it over, which was good considering that it went on until 11:30!

Sunday was pretty relaxing, as far as a missionary Sunday goes. It was really pretty outside and Elder Perry and I stopped as the sun was going down to get some pretty cool pictures. :)

Sunset in Calais

I'm a little short for time today, so I'll have to say goodbye for now. I love you all and hope you have a good week going back into the final stretch of school! Work hard and have fun!


Additional Photos from Adam this Week

Let Your Light Shine
Taking in the Sunset in Calais

The View from the Train Going to Boulogne

The Train Station in Boulogne

Monday, April 7, 2014

Burgers, Football, and General Conference

Hey everybody!

I hope you're all enjoying Spring Break back at home. :) It's always a good chance to catch up on things and maybe relax a little in between all of that. 

Well, lets see if I can summarize all the high points of this week. It was a pretty good one overall, culminating in the awesome general conference yesterday. :)

Tuesday was a regular unique day, if that makes any sense. I'd say we've got regular days as missionaries, and then "unique days" that we have so many of that they kind of become normally unique. Then there are more unique days and just generally crazy experiences that happen too to spice it all up. :) So, anyway, Tuesday was supposed to start off with a lesson with our recent convert Mehdi, but he ended up being late, then not answering his phone, then not showing up at all. Kind of a bummer, but it happens. Afterwards, and after lunch, we made a whole bunch of calls from our ward list, really trying to find some families, or even just people to reactivate. It's pretty sad to see how many less active people there are on our ward list, and we'd like to fix that a little. The evening was spent out porting, which was pretty fun actually. Elder Perry and I are starting to be pretty good friends, and we work really well together. He's really an awesome missionary already, although he never seems to believe me when I tell him... We were able to teach a lesson to a lady who was smoking, just leaning out her window. It was kind of goofy, but fun. :) We stopped off quick at the McDo we found while out and about and got little ice cream cones, saw an Audi R8 on the way out, and finished the night up.

Wednesday was district meeting, where we played conference jeopardy and, due to a late train time, were able to just talk to some other missionaries about sports and mission stories and stuff for a while. By the time we got back, we had barely enough time for a little bit of porting.

Thursday, not much happened, Elder Perry was feeling pretty sick. I went running that morning with Elder Baldwin, which is always nice. It really just starts the day off well to get moving like that. 

Friday was a pretty normal day, with some good planning and all that. It got exciting however after dinner when we went to visit David, our recent convert. His son has recently decided to live with his dad instead of his mom, so he's now there when we teach, although not really in the room exactly. During our lesson, David informed us that he was going with us after the lesson to the mangez-vous we had planned with the Savasta's (two somewhat-older sisters in our ward). AND, he was bringing his son! So, off we go after teaching about prophets and general conference. His son, during the evening, made a few interesting comments. I don't really remember much; as far as French goes, I was having kind of an off night and didn't really get as much as I usually do. Anyway, first he pointed out how usually he's pretty shy and that it was weird that he was able to talk so openly with us. Second, he said that he kind of listens in to our lessons when we come over, and then proceeded to tell us what we had talked about that night (woooohoo!). He also told his dad that he wanted to come to church with him on Sunday so he could hear what these prophet guys were gonna talk about! Oh, and he's 15. So, in summary, that was awesome! The food and all that was good too, but seeing a youth be interested like that was just super sweet.

Elder Perry and Elder Bigler
Birthday Dinner for Elder Tidwell at "The Sixties"

Saturday was another great day! It was Elder Tidwell's birthday, so we went to this pretty fancy restaurant here in Calais called "The Sixties" which claims to be authentically American. And aside from the prices, the fine wines on the menu, and all the people around us speaking French, it kind of was! The burgers were super good, and big, and we had some good times there. And of course, we're full time missionaries, so we got to talk to this SUPER nice family sitting next to us, with, believe me, the happiest mom I have seen in all of Calais, possibly all of France. We all wanted them to have the Gospel so bad, they were just awesome. So before we left we gave them a plan of salvation brochure and our card, which the husband kindly accepted.

Then the day gets even better than American burgers and missionary work...FOOTBALL!!! BUT, the European one! Our DMP's son, Matthieu, had helped us set up a chance to go play football with some of his friends. Super awesome of him, actually doing some missionary work as he prepares for his mission. Turned out though that only one of his friends was able to come, named Nicolas. But that was fine, we got to play 3 on 3 soccer for a little, and then taught them how to play American football too, which...they honestly were not very good at. :) About halfway through, six other guys came up and asked if we wanted to play against them. Kind of terrifying, considering that they had bags and cleats and shinguards and all that, but we said yes. Let me tell you, SO MUCH FUN to play soccer again. It's been a while. Believe it or not, we actually held our own for most of our little game. Unfortunately however, they had to leave really quick at the end, so we weren't able to teach any of them or really even talk much at all. But, Nicolas was hanging around and we were able to teach him a little bit before heading home. He didn't really say yes or no yet to the lessons, but he'll be coming to the Soirée Orientale we're having at our church this week, so we'll get to talk to him again. Once we finally made it back to our apartment, a bunch of stiff, out of shape missionaries, we changed quick, not even having time to shower, and went to the church to watch conference. 

Watching General Conference
So, to answer some questions, we watch the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions live. All the others are rebroadcasts, and I haven't had a chance to watch the Sunday afternoon session yet.  It was really good from what we did get to see though. Some really good quotes and promptings came out of it. Elder Uchtdorf's talks were some of my favorites. He's just awesome. I could go through all my notes and tell you about what I liked, but that would take a little while.

Sunday pretty much consisted of conference. 3 sessions of Conference+Missionaries means that there are about as many snacks and side commentaries as in a football game. It's really pretty fun to watch conference with those guys. We had the Elders from Saint Omer over at our church too cause their branch is too small and they don't show conference at the church. It was like a spiritual, respectful party, if those words can go together. A really good day overall, and a great way to end a great week. :)

I hope my letter wasn't too long this week, I feel like I typed a whole lot. I just had a lot to say. :) I love you all and love hearing about and seeing you. I appreciate all the emails, prayers, and love sent my way. Have a good spring break and don't pick too many weeds/shovel too much snow; I never know what to say for Utah. :) Until next week!

Elder Adam Bigler

P.S. Today marks 8 months, 1/3 of my mission!

P.P.S. No, we still don't have iPads, unfortunately, that was just my April Fool's joke for you all. :)