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.
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|