Monday, March 23, 2015

New City - Rennes, France

Bonjour mes chers amis!

I don't have a ton of time this week (I don't know if I've ever written an email that didn't say that in it somewhere), but I'm gonna do my best to explain my move across the country (out of the country, actually) and everything that's come along with it.

Righteous Graffiti - "Mission for the Lord"
First off, my last couple days in L√ętzebuerg were great! I got to say goodbye to the young adults, go eat a nice big burger with some members and Sarah, our neighbor/amie. We had a lesson with Du Wei and Diana, so I said goodbye to them there. I got to stop in at the Olivers' place one last time, and then I finished it all off with one last visit with the Oates. I was so sad to have so many "lasts" in one day, but I'm so thankful for the opportunity I had to serve these people. It was an amazing ride, and one I'll never forget.

Tuesday night I was up pretty late packing (I didn't have any time before that), and we woke up at 5 to catch our TGV. Really short night, so it was nice to have a chance to sleep on the train. Once I got to Paris, I said goodbye to Elder Jenness (he's training this transfer, so he had to go to a meeting to get his blue), but then realized that I still had the phone, so I had to run up above ground to give it to him. I got to talk to Elder Stucki before he went home, and see a couple other mission friends. It's always fun to navigate Paris again, and realize how much I've grown, even if it's just in navigational skills. I talked to Elder Perry for a good half hour or so (we had a really big layover between trains), and it was awesome to see what kind of missionary he's becoming. He wasn't super fond of some of the rules at the beginning of his mission, but he's becoming a really good example for the missionaries he works with. He even helped me a little with some of the questions I've been having. He's one of my best friends, that Tahitian guy. :)

Anyway, once it was about time to catch our train, Elder Kelley and I headed over to the other side of Paris (the Montparnasse gare) and made it just in time. After a really short train ride to Rennes (short because I slept through it all), we get out and find out that a big strike of the bus system is going on! We catch one of the few running buses, which was the one that should have been going to our apartment, but it takes a different route and starts driving in the opposite direction! After a few minutes of that, it hits major traffic and essentially stops a few minutes later. The driver was attempting to take a route around the centreville so that we could avoid the strike, but apparently so was everyone else, so literally no one was moving. The police even couldn't get through, so they finally got out of their cars and started running to whatever was happening! It was a really warm welcome to Rennes. :)

Eventually, we came to the conclusion that it would be faster to walk, so we just got out and started dragging all of my luggage across the entire city of Rennes (we were now on the opposite side of where we lived). Special shout out to Kipp for getting me the good luggage, otherwise I don't know if we would have made it. Eventually we were able to make it home and I was able to drop off my stuff just long enough to head off to the young adults activity here in Rennes, which was a lot different than the one in Lux, mostly because it was in French, and fast French too! For a minute (or six months maybe) I forgot how fast the French really speak. It took me a little bit of work to focus in and really understand what they were saying, but then replying became the next challenge... But I feel like my French is back up to par, thanks to just the last couple days. I had a lot of practice since I got here, probably more than I would've had in two or three weeks in Lux. So, it's been good.

The next day, work started just like normal. The Zone Leaders kind of want me to take charge with Ward Council, since they're often gone and everything, so I got sent in there my second evening, before I even knew anything about the ward or anyone. I was acting as the representative of their √©quipe and ours, so I was pretty stressed, but in the end, my time in the business-y world of Lux helped out and I was able to present what I needed to without any problems. 

The day after, we had a really cool lesson with an ami named Alex. He's just started believing in God and is so sincere in everything that he talks about. We taught him the Restoration and invited him to pray at the end and during his prayer he said "I know I haven't talked to you much, it's only been two weeks that I believe in you, but I really feel you in my life right now. I hope that you can bless me to continue to feel this way and teach me that this is all true" It was one of the most sincere and heart-felt prayers I've heard in a long time. I'm really excited to keep helping him grow.

Spring in Rennes, France
Beyond that, it was just the usual weekend, church and everything. I should probably tell you about the other aspects of my life before I have to finish, so Mom doesn't have to ask me the same questions every week for two months. :) So, I'm in a four-man apartment now, like I told you, and Elder Kelley and I live with Elders Sumsion and Blais. Elder Kelley is from Arizona and is a super fun guy! He knows how to do missionary work really well, and he's working really hard to learn French. He's only been here 7 weeks so far, but you can hardly tell. Elder Sumsion is from Kaysville and Elder Blais is from Canada, so he's a francophone. That makes for lots of fun half-french, half-english conversations in our apartment. They're both super good missionaries, and they'll be awesome to live with. The apartment is super nice (for a missionary apartment) too! Located in a really nice area, but I doubt google maps can get you there through street view, so I'll probably have to send you some pictures. The ward is great, just like Elder Evans said! They're a little bit smaller than Luxembourg, but still a pretty good size. I'm doing my best to try to get to know them as fast as I can. I have big plans for my time here, and knowing them well is a key part of that. I'm really excited to be here, and loving life so far! It's scary to think that I have a real deadline in this ville, but I'm gonna do my best to leave a good mark before that day comes. 

I hope you guys make it a great week and I'll talk to you soon!
Elder Bigler

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