Monday, June 17, 2013

In Carcassonne

4 Carcassonne Soeurs and Elder Phelps (They're teaching his grandfather)

Zone Conference, Mexican Food, and Exchanges

My dear family and friends,
What an interesting week. So Monday, the most memorable thing that happened was that we listened to the old lady that lives downstairs rant for an hour. I didnt understand most of it, but I could tell she was mad at the new people that moved in, ( probably because she started hollering up the stairs at one point) and she thought we were nice. ( because she would calm down when she would mention the missionaries) She has an intense french accent and speaks absurdly fast, so I can't understand  most of what she says. So I spent an hour politely listening to an old lady yell in some language that wasnt really the same language I learned. But it was worth it because she seemed really grateful afterwards. Tuesday, we spent 6 hours on trains to get to a town next to Aixes en provence, where we are having our conference and spent the night in an apartment usually inhabited by two elders with 12 sisters. The next morning was interesting getting ready. We went to the church building for our tri-zone conference with Elder Richards and it was really awesome. I wish I could tell you everything he said, but that would take four hours so believe me when I say it was awesome. It was so great to see some the missionaries from the MTC again. We had some fun story telling and we got to talk to Elder Phelps, whose grandpa we are teaching. He was so excited and told us he would be praying for us every night. I am really looking forward to the moment when his grandpa finally opens up.
That night we went to a mexican place that is really only famous among the missionaries because it might be one of the only places with mexican food in France. The other sisters were just about crying with joy. And it was pretty good. The next day, we spent another six hours on trains to get back to Carcassonne. Not much else happened. On friday, I went on exchange to Toulouse. Toulouse is absurdly bigger than Carcassonne. So it was interesting to always be on Metros and buses and trains instead of walking. The Sister I was with is so awesome. Her name is Soeur Bayles and she has an obsession with seafood. We had long conversations about seafood on that transfer. I have probably never talked about seafood so much in my life. So it was a fun transfer. Before we went to an appointment, we had huge subway sandwichs and arrived with bulging bellies to a really spunky young woman who made us an African meal. It was yummy, but difficult to walk afterwards. But that appointment was great. Another young african woman came and we spent most of the time laughing. I love africans, I can understand most of what they say.
Saturday, I came back to Carcassonne and started another exchange with Soeur Hulme. It was interesting because I see her everyday, but we have never had the oppurtunity to talk, just the two of us. She is so easy to get along with and to like. We were still on exchanges on Sunday which was interesting. Both companionships did spiritual thoughts in different auxilary meetings and S Hulme and I taught Sundayy school on the Word of wisdom ( I learned some fun vocab for that) and then all four of us gave five minute talks in sacrament meeting and then we went to a meeting about the culture night this next week. The ward is really getting to know us, whether they want to or not. ( most of them want to, they are very nice)
And that night we watched a drunk man lay in the middle of the road and until the paramedics came and he argued with them until the police came and arrested him. Before that though, we thought he might be dead. That was intersting to watch.
This next week will be very interesting too, so expect another big email. And next week I'll know whats happening next transfer. Exciting!
I love you all!
God answers all you prayers!!! And miracles really do happen, I see them constantly! ( Look up Miracle in the bible dictionary, its very interesting)
Je vous aime!!!!!
Soeur Russell

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weird Statues

Cher Famille et amis
This week, Isaac chose a baptism date!!!!!! I wasn't there for it, I was on exchange. But it is so exciting. He just took to the gospel like a duck does to water. Like butter to toast. Like a teenage girl to chocolate. He is just awesome. During church, in class, one of the eternal amis here in carcassonne went off about how we need to be skeptical of everything, even the word of God. As soon as he was done, Isaac and said, God is is perfect, duh. Like I said the gospel and him are like Minnie and Micky mouse. Wang is leaving for China this week. She will be back in a few months, but S FC will be done by then and I probably wont be here. But we will make she gets contacted as soon as she gets back. Last week we did the entire Plan of Salvation with her and she kept saying, its clear, it makes sense. Her and Isaac take every gospel  and soak it in, its so cool. She prayed for the first time in our lesson last week. How would feel to have never prayed before and finally to communicate with your heavenly father for the first time? Afterwards she said she felt a great peace. I hope I get to see her again before the end of my mission.
Last week we started teaching 4 new amis! One is a man named Eric and the other three are a young family. Eric is interested and he believes in a universal power, but he is hung up on the idea that God has a physical body. We are having another lesson with him this week. The family is from Brazil and they have a little nine year-old boy. They are so kind and speak french very well. One cool thing is that, last lesson we had with them, we taught with our ward mission leader, Sensei. The family was looking for a place for karate lessons and sensei happens to be a championship karate instructor. Too cool.
Carcassonne has been booming, SFC and I went from having 0 progressing amis at the begining of the transfer to having six. There hasn't been six amis for at least 4 transfers, if not more. And this week we contacted 352 people, which is huge for Carcassonne. That also hasn't happened for a while. S Luthi and S Hulme though contacted 700 people this week. That is unheard of for Carcassonne. So Carcassonne is exploding with gospel awsomeness.
We had two mangez-vous this week. The first one was with an older couple who the husband isnt a memeber but the wife is. their grandson is even currently serving in this mission. We are hoping that will touch the grandfathers heart a little. they are bothe very nice ane they fed us a lot of food and sent us home with sausage, babybell cheese, and two giant jars of nutella. Yum. We had lunch yesterday with two members of the ward. They are both mildmannered and getting married this month. The both go to a mental clinic as well. So, yes. I did have lunch with two offically insane people. But they are very mild and lunch turned out well. It was just a little awkward.
In answer to Zach's question, the coolest building I have seen in france has got to be the Chateau. It is really just huge and makes for a pretty veiw out of our window. We are planning on going back there today. Fun! But I have also seen some weird artwork here too. The other day, by the bridge, we saw the top half of a giant man  resting on the ground woven out of sticks. and there were two giant hands next too it. It kinda looked like a man made of sticks was drowning in the grass. Lately they have put the arms onto the man and made him bigger and put a heart woven out of red sticks inside of him. We will be passing by the statue today when we head to the castle, so I'll get to see what they have done next.
A pigeon ran into my head today. It was one the strangest sensations I have ever had and I would rather not experience it again. I think the bird was fine but I found a feather in my hair later. I don't recommend it. Just in case you wanted to try to have a bird fly into your cheek.
I can't beleive this transfer is almost over. I'm feeling a little nervous about next transfer because, I will almost certainly be put with someone who has as much experience as me with the language and so on, because anyone with more experince will be training. I can't even contact without S FC's help and I will need to be able to teach lessons and make phone calls in French. I'm hoping for gift of tongues big time for the upcoming weeks. My French has been getting a lot better, but I still have a long ways to go. But the Lord wouldn't send me to do this if I wasn't able to.
This week we will be having a huge conference for the missionaries this week because an area seventy will be coming to speak to us. So I'm looking forward to a great week.
I love you all!
God loves you!!
Thank for your letters!
Don't let birds run into your head!
Je vous aime!!!!
Soeur Russell

Monday, June 3, 2013

Carcassonne address

Here's Soeur Russell's address while she serves in Carcassonne:

Soeur Russell
49, rue Marceau Perrutel
F-11000 Carcassonne

Pinnochio, African Peppers, and Pigs in a Blanket 6/3/13

Family and friends,
Carcassonne is actually warm and not rainy today! I actually got people apologizing to me while contacting for the weather. I didn't mind it too much. Ohio has a lot of rain too, so I'm used to it. But its nice to see the sun.
 All the sisters say thank you for the hairties mommy :) (including me)
The other day, while we were contacting, we came across a man doing recycling. We talked a little bit about how he is buddist and loves everyone and loves that we are sharing our religon, while his hands were cavered in broken glass from recycling and suddenly he turns to me and says I look like Pinnochio. Beleive it or not, I have never had that compliment before. ( I'm taking it as a compliment)
My french, especially my comprehension is getting better everyday. everyonce and a while we will talk to someone with a really thick french accent and I have a really hard time understanding them, but I can ussually understand an idea of want someone is meaning to say. My speaking french is moving a little more slowly. The other day we were teaching a couple of members, I asked a question and I glanced up the members confused faces, glanced at my compaions confused face and thought about how confused my face must look like because I couldn't even make sense of what I just said or even meant to say and I glance at one of the other sisters and we just laughed. Later she told me it it was the first time that she couldn't guess what a missionary was trying to say. thank fully that has only happened once and it can only get better.
We just got done and hour ago teaching a lesson with a chinese girl named Linken. She is one of the sweetest and cutest people I have ever met. right from the moment we met her, she treated us like we were friends. I can't wait to teach her again.
We had our first Mangez-vous this week. ( a meal at a members house) We had pigs in a blanket. really. It was really good and fancy pigs in a blanket, but it made me smile when they brought it out. They used fancy sausage and put goat cheese inside the flakey pastery they used. So still very french some how. The sisters in my apartment have been putting those african peppers in everything. So my tongue is currently about ready to fall off. But it makes them happy and its funny to see them all smiling with tears streaming down their faces as they eat.
We have a beautiful veiw from our apartment. A lot of our windows give a nice veiw of the castle and if you stand on you tiptoes at one window, you can sometimes see the mountains. Its all very pretty. We were cleaning the apartment today and we had the windows open because S Fairchild is allergic to cleaning supplies and suddenly, our picture of Jesus flies out the window. we had to sprint down four stairs  and run around the street in our pajammas trying to catch the picture. We made a funny sight but thankfully the street never has many people or cars on it.
I love the gospel! I know its true more and more everyday.
I love you all! Go hug someone today!
Miss you!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Russell