Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Aix en Provence

Dear Family and friends,
As you can probably guess from the title of my email, I got moved to another ville! Aix is definitely one of the prettiest places I have ever been to. I am here opening another equipe with Sister Bowman, who is on her third transfer. The funny thing is that she is Soeur Moderstinzki's last companion and the one that she trained. Soeur Bowman comes straight from St Etiennne and she happens to be put with the only other sister missionary who has ever been there as well. She is great. She is sweet, likes naps during lunch (like me), and already knows a huge amount of french from her studies.  We are in a new apartment ( fun fact: I have been in more totally new apartments on my mission that older apartments:) ) and our electricity is currently not working so we have dinner and get dressed by flashlight. Because we don't have electricity, we have only been eating canned foods and fruits and vegtables that don't need to be refridgerated. And chips and nutella sandwiches. So we don't suffer too much. The apartment is great, we live next to one of the biggest and nicest parks I have ever seen and Aix is gorgeous.
Soeur Kupfer is still in Toulon with a new companion. Before I left Toulon, We got to teach a lesson with a man named Gilbert. Before we taught him, we thought his name was Gilibert ( I don't know why) so we would call him jilly bear. I still can't help but call him that. He is very special. He is totally harmless and he is not handicapped or crazy. He is just peculiar. He wears a tight fitting brown tuxedo every day (the same one everyday) and wears a sailors heat and sunglasses constantly and has a fanny pack all the time and wears high heeled men's boots. He loves talking about music, nature, america, prayer, and the second coming and he loves God. He is really excited for the second coming. I actually really enjoyed that lesson. It was one of a kind and Soeur Kupfer will get to teach him again next week.
It was funny, I just did an exchange in Aix at the beginning of this week. I didn't move too far away from Toulon and I already have been to a lot of areas in Aix. I gotta go soon, but I love you all. Have faith in God, trust Him! He knows what He is doing, even if we don't. I'm so excited to help the people of Aix. Missionary work is so important!
Dieu vous aime!
Je vous aime!
à la prochain semaine!
Soeur Russell

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nice, folding clothes and long train rides

Dear family and friends,
At the beginning of the transfer, Soeur Kupfer and I made the goal that we had to get a service project in once a week. This week, we were cutting it close, and we were worried that we wouldn't find any service to do. Then, we passed the church to check something and found that the RS needed help folding clothes that they were going to donate to charity and we got to help them. A really cool and unexpected experience. Its kinda wierd though. I never expected I would be folding clothes as service so ofetn in france. I didn't have to vaccum cat hair off of these ones though.  This week, we also did an exchange. Soeur Kupfer stayed in Toulon with a sister from Nice and I headed with another sister to Nice. The train ride was supposed to take 4 hours but ended up taking 6 hours, thanks to some heavy rain. We finally got there at midnight. But the next day was really cool. Everyone says that Nice is gorgeous and I had already been there a couple times for conferences. It didn't look much cooler than the rest of France then, but I hadn't seen the right parts. This last time I got to see roman ruins and darling squares out of movies and huge buildings and a castle in the distance. France really is beautiful. And so it just about everyplace, depending on how you look at it.
Ok, the internet cafe person is saying that they are randomly closing, so gotta go. Really quick, All of our amis are doing great and so is Soeur Kupfer. I love you all!
Je vous aime!
L'evangile est vrai!!!!!!
Soeur Russell

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

pizza by the sea, little islands and flamingoes

Dear family and friends,
This week, we had a great lesson with a guy named Tony, made cookies for the ward lunch (french people will endlessly thank you and love you if you make american cookies for them), went to pass less actives on a little island where the locals knew the names and houses and spouses and careers and maiden names of the people we were looking for, but not the name of the major street that they lived on, (which was the street that we were standing on when we asked them), got a marriage proposal from a old muslim guy missing a leg who zooms around in an automatic wheelchair (he was very disapointed when I told him that Ohio is not next to California, but still asked to marry me comme-meme), did a lot of contacting, went to a double tumbollo ( I think that is how it is spelt) for p-day, ate pizza by the sea, walked around an island for a few hours, had an awesome zone conference, ran into the muslim guy in his wheelchair again, he said he was catholic this time though, who proposed again (he is very persuasive, told me if that we got married, we could have children who were the children of children of God. He seemed pretty certain that this thinking would win me over), ate some good cheese, ate some not so good cheese. So, a pretty good week
Never forget that God loves us all and will empower us to complete His commands. He sees us as what we will become and will help us reach that point.
Love you all!!!!! God is always there for us!!!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Russell

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More octopi, general conferences and a fun miracle

Dear Family and Friends,
Right after my last email, Soeur Kupfer and I went to eat at a gigantic chinese fast food place and after went to the nicest Mcdonalds (the french call it Macdo) I have ever been to for ice cream cones. That in addition to visiting some cathdrals made it a pretty good pday. Thursday was the 6 month mark of my mission. Its hard to beleive that I've completed a third of my mission already. The weeks  fly and the days are long on a mission. On thursday, we taught english class while baking ( and burning some of them) cookies. Only one woman came to english class, but she spoke english very well. So we just sat in our chairs listening to her describe her travels around the world with lots of detail, all in english. On Friday, we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, which is always really exciting. We found some potential amis that day. One of them was a cool miracle.
 We were street boarding at some point (streetboarding is just contacting with a board display set up) In all that day we contacted 234 people (meaning we talked to 234 people about the gospel). One man I contacted, I started off talking about genealogy. He seemed interested about the church website and asked me what I was doing here. I told him we are here for proselyting and for service like our English class. He became extremely interested in our free english class, amazed that he wouldn't have to pay to attend. I gave him our card and he left promising to come to genealogy class and english class. He then came back 5 minutes later and cheerfully said, I already called the geneology class and they said they would find a spot for me. He then walked off with a smile on his face. Then 5 more minutes later he returned and asked me, pointing at the picture on the passalong card, where can I get this book? The picture was of a Book of Mormon. I smiled, said I had one right now in my bag and that he could have it. He smiled hugely and gave me his number to meet again later for a lesson. That is an example of a prepared person. Someone who only needs an invitation to become part of the fold of God. How many of those people pass by us everyday? How many are our friends or neighbors or that person we just barely met? If you had put that man in a line with 5 other people  I saw that day, I would not be able to point out which one was ready, prepared. I just had to invite the 5 others first before I found him.
 On saturday, we got to watch one session of General conference. And then on Sunday we watched two more and we watched the last one this morning. Our leaders are so inspired and their messages are powerful. I hope their words strengthened you as much as it strengthened me.
 This morning, for lunch, we went to a farmers market and bought some octupus stir fry over rice and some french pastries. The fun meals I get to eat here in France.
I love you all!
God loves you!
Give Him a place in your life!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Russell