Monday, June 30, 2014

Answers to Prayers and Prayers for Answers

Breaking News!!

Alexis, the young guy we were teaching in Calais before I left just got baptized! These pictures made me so, so happy, I just wanted to share them with you guys. :) They're now also teaching his other two sons, and his son's girlfriend. It's so beautiful!

Alexis and Elder Perry at His Baptism in Calais

Alexis and His Family at His Baptism

Regular Letter

As usual, a pretty crazy week in Lorient (and Brest and St. Brieuc and Hennebont). 

P-day finished up pretty simply with portin', honestly kind of a boring little session. Not many people were home, and it was just kind of a quiet night.

Tuesday on the other hand...

It all started off pretty normally with District Meeting. Elder Humphrey talked about diligence and the sÅ“urs made peanut butter chicken for the meal, which was delicious. After that, I started my exchange with Elder Karl of Pittsburg. HILARIOUS guy. He's pretty young in the mission and started in Belgium, in the ward that's full of Americans, so his French is still pretty basic, and he knows it. But he doesn't care and he just tries his best. It makes for some really fun times. :) We taught a lesson to Thierry, our recent convert, which went pretty much like normal, with him really teaching us cause he's so awesome. After that, Elder Karl and I had a little time for some contacting before dinner, and then we headed out porting. I learned pretty quickly that Elder Karl is just kind of a magnet for English speakers. We had a lady tell us that we shouldn't be wearing ties, it was way too hot (all in English) and then another girl joined in and spoke really well. We happened to be getting on the same bus as her, so we talked to her all the way to Hennebont when she got off to go to work. We kept going a little farther. I was really trying to find a place that missionaries hadn't been to much, to change things up. We found our spot finally, and got off the bus with an hour and half of time before the second to last bus. After contacting a guy holding a scythe, getting rubbed up on by a cat, scaring a lady on accident, and walking up a really big, steep hill, we headed back to the bus stop and waited for the bus. And waited. And then waited for the next bus. And waited some more. never came. So, at about 9:15 at night, we were about a 2 and a half hour walk from home. 

So we started walking. We followed the bus path through all of Hennebont, bought ourselves some drinks from a random pizza place because we were super thirsty, followed the highway for a while, and just kept walking. About an hour into our walk, as it started to get dark, we were talking about trying to hitchhike, when all of a sudden a car pulls over and stops and the driver says (in English) "Hello, where are you going?" "Lorient, where are you going?" "Lanester, but it's okay, get in!" Looking back, probably not our smartest idea, but we got in.

Chi-chi Saves the Elders from a Long Walk
This man, named Chi-chi, isn't a member of our church or anything, just a super nice guy. He spoke English really well, and he knows a lot about who we are and respects us. He drove us all the way back to Lorient, saving us over an hour, and dropped us off near to our apartment (where I got that picture). It was totally a miracle that he showed up! The chances of someone pulling over like that, at night, in France, as Chi-chi said, are impossible. It would never happen. But it did! :)

Wednesday morning the Brest Elders headed back home while we had our cleaning check from the Fullmer couple, who are awesome. They said it was a lot cleaner than last time, which I'm sure you'd be proud of Mom. ;) Once we finally got out to Brest (it's about a 2 hour train ride, sometimes longer with correspondance) we ate quick and I headed out with Elder Ricks to the lesson with David, who actually just got baptized (in the ocean) yesterday! Really cool lesson with someone who was really ready for baptism. That pretty much finished up the day.

Thursday morning I went out contacting, with Elder Ricks again, to the United States! Yes, I actually stepped on U.S. soil last week. There's a monument in Brest that is owned by America, and is recognized as American ground.

Brest, like Lorient, was destroyed during WWII, and the monument is there to mark that the U.S. took it back from Germany. After that, we once again went to the chinese buffet. They really don't seem to like us there...we eat probably two or three times as much food as the average French person that goes in there. :) With full bellies, Elder Humphrey and I hurried to catch a bus to the gare for our train, but hurried a little too much and went in the wrong direction and missed our train as a result...There was another a little later, which went through the town of St. Brieuc, so we took that and got home at the end of the day.

Friday was a regular day, which includes weekly planning. We had nothing planned for that evening, so we went out porting. Again, we were trying to find somewhere new, so we just got on a bus and went, doing our best to follow the Spirit. We finally got off and started into the neighborhood, wandering a little, until we found a street we liked. As we started porting, there didn't really seem to be anybody home and we were thinking about changing streets or even areas. But at the top of the street we knocked on the door of Michelle. She answered and Elder Humphrey introduced himself and said "we're here to pray with you" to which she replied, with tears in her eyes, "I just got back home from losing my father." Neither of us knew what to say, and I'm pretty sure we kind of looked at each other like "uhh..." but we were prepared and the spirit was with us. I started to talk about eternal families and how much God loves us. I felt impressed to tell her that her father was happy and with her mother (whom she had also lost a few years back). We testified to her of the fact that she can find her family again and asked if we could leave her with a prayer. Elder Humphrey prayed and blessed her and her family to feel peace, and she was almost smiling through her tears at the end. She said, because of the funeral and everything, she was really busy at the moment, but if we ever came back, she'd welcome us. We walked away from her house so overcome with the Spirit, having truly answered her prayers.

Saturday came and went really quickly, with a lot of contacting in the rain, and a baptism for the Vannes Elders which took place at our chapel. Awesome little service, and a good chance to see a baptism and just be reminded how happy it makes people.

Sunday was a great day! At church, we were able to have some really good conversations with some members, a whole bunch of less-active members came, and I was able to bless the sacrament, which doesn't happen very often. After, we made a man-quiche for lunch and headed out porting. Really quickly, we ran into Didier. At first, he wasn't interested at all, so we asked "do you know anyone else who could be interested then?" and then somehow we went from that to him saying "you want to come in for 5 minutes?" We decided it was the Spirit. :) 5 minutes however, quickly turned into 2 ours of a philosophical, religious, political, and familial discussion. This man has almost, by himself, single-handedly, figured out how it all works. Almost everything he said was in line with what we believe. He explained the Spirit better than I feel like I really can, just using slightly different vocabulary. He believes in sending one's kids to foreign countries to learn and grow and help others. He doesn't drink and doesn't smoke. He's really such a wise person. Anyway, after our cool discussion with him, we left him a Book of Mormon and he invited us to come back whenever we want to talk. 
After all of that, all we really had time for was a quick dinner before bed.

So, there you go, that's yet another crazy week! And, I realized with Elder Humphrey this week, another 1% of my mission finished up. It goes fast! It sounds like you guys had a pretty good week back at home. I hope nobody got too sunburned. :) I'll let you know next week how things go for our 4th of July and with the new President, who we'll be meeting on Thursday.

Thanks so much for everything!
Elder Bigler

Frenchism: It's really rare to find a store that's not a bar open after 8 PM here, a big change from America...

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