Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Raccoons, steaks and nuts, and cake the size of a workout mat

Dear Family and friends,
This week, We started out by going to Montpeiller for en exchange, which was lots of fun, where I ate lunch in an old manor filled with old paintings and statues and chickens in the back yard ( It looked like it came from a period movie) and later, ate nuts with a french couple that lived right next to the beach. Not a bad exchange.
Then, we came back to aix, made cookies with an asian member and a muslim potential, got an awesome valentine's day banner from my mom, had district meeting, where we ate burgers, taught Jacqueline ( she says she will be baptized, she wants to talk about it with her kids first before she chooses a date) and our new ami Nihat.
 Nihat is really cool. He has been praying for the first time ever this week, and he says that he feels a huge sense of peace and relief in his life. He also has had huge miracles falling out of the sky this week for him ( more chances to work, a loan offered for him to start building his own house) and he says that everything he has read in the Book of Mormon seems to be truth. He is sooooooo cool. It is a little hard teaching him though, because we have to be extremely simple and he has a really hard time understanding our accents ( and we have a hard time understanding his), but already his life is changing so much because of the gospel. later, We gave cookies to about 7 people, did a lot of member visits. We visited one recent convert who lives out ville. We went to her place and she was showing us pictures in some of her nature/ traveling books. In one of hte pictures, there was a fuzzy little racoon, bouncing through some leaves. I have never seen a racoon here in france, and most french people don't see racoons either. So our member, Suzanne, is looking at the sweet little racoon, when soeur Robison leans over and exclaimes, " Il est une mechant!" ( she probably meant to say they(racoons) are evil, but instead what she said meant He is a villian) Suzanne and I looked at the cute little fuzzy racoon/ the villian and started laughing so hard. Especially Suzanne, who probably isn't too used to wild racoons. ( I kinda understood ( they can be evil) but villians were the last thing on my mind) Ever since, Suzanne has been texting us random Racoon facts and threatening to buy a racoon pet. :) Later, we had a baptism for member in the ward who just turned eight. There was a cake the width of a large table and a mini crepe maker, as well as twenty other desserts and hot chocolate. That I what I call a french baptism. Then we taught Nihat again 5 he gives us nuts and fanta every time we go over). Then we had church on sunday, where I sang a song and started it accidentally in english ( that is the second time I have done that on my mission), after we had a geneology activity and then we taught jacqueline ( we showed her the church website, she was soooooo excited about it and started watching like 20 videos right there), and after, went to Nihats and ate dinner. He made like 50 steaks ( ok only 12, but there were four of us) and Luckily, we had to run out ( to meet some other missionaries to grab our keys) after only eating 3. ( 3 steaks! Big ones!) And we were running late, so we stared running ( with 3 steaks in my stomach!) It was not a pleasant feeling.
Je vous aime comme tout!!!
et dieu vous aime plus!
Soeur Russell

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow and Burnt Cookies and Flying Squirrels

Dear family and friends,
This email might be a little short, because I am exhausted. This morning, we climbed up to the top of the Sainte Victoire with most of our zone. I think one of the only reasons that I got up to the top at the same time as everyone else is because halfway up, we started walking through snow and ice and that slowed everyone down, so I got a chance to rest. It was so beautiful. The reason that we did it is because President Roney told us to bless the ville (kinda rededicate it). So this was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The way down was covered with ice, so at one point, I just sat down and slide for like 5 minutes straight. At point, I slipped and started tumbling down part of the way down, but I caught myself quickly and I just have a couple small bruises. Because of that, I now have the nickname flying squirrel. ( it doesn't really make sense to me either) And we have just come from that, so I feel very drained. Otherwise this week has been good. We taught Jacqueline twice. Before one of our lessons with her, we tried to make cookies for her, but bothe times we put a tray of cookies in the oven, we forgot about them and they got burnt. We told jacqueline that we burned our cookies that we made for her twice and she laughed and laughed.She then lectured us on how to use the stove and was saying " put it on a lower tempature and then get a chair and sit in front of the stove with a book of mormon to read" I love her so much and she has progressed a lot since we met her. I'm gonna reposer for a moment, but I love you all. Je sais que l'evangile est retabli et je sais que Dieu parle avec ses enfants toujours. Je vous aime!!!!
Soeur Russell

fingers, blind dates, and turkish people

Dear Family and friends,
This week we got another new ami and we got to do a lot of finding activities. Our entire zone got together on doing a game sort of thing and we got to see some really cool experiences because of it. We contacted almost 300 people in one day and The other sisters contacted 1000 people in one day. I didn't even know that was possible. Soeur Robison has a pretty good wardrobe now, so everything is good there. We've been finding lots of potentials ( Soeur Robison is amazing at that) and we are working on helping them become amis. Funny story, Soeur Robison contacted a guy who just so happened to be waiting for a blind date. Of course he thinks the girl coming up to talk to him is his date and starts greeting her as his date with an almost biz. Thankfully she was able to avoid it and even , after explaining that we were missionaries and what we do and that she is not his date, got his cordonees and ended the contact right before his real date showed up. We laughed a lot about that one. :) Our new ami is named Nihat. He is from Turkey and he has really hard time understanding our accents. He is so nice though. He has a muslim backround, but he has never been practicing and he says that he beleives in Christ. He might not understand truely why Christ is important, but that is so huge that he beleives in him. We are going to have to teach very very very simply for him, because he doesn't speak or understand too well and he doesn't have a christian backround. But I'm excited to see how he progresses. 
This week I also lost my planner, thankfully all the numbers I took down were written down elsewhere too, but I have been feeling so lost without my old planner. I've just started a new one. Its kinda funny thinking about how before my mission, I never wanted a planner, and now on my mission I feel lost without one. 
Tonight, we are taking a train to Montpellier to do an exchange with the Sister training leaders. So I'll get to see Soeur Modersitzki ( I still have trouble spelling that) and I always like visiting other places in the mission. 
Oh and this week, I sprained my finger. The missionaries have a saturday sport activity (samedi sportif) that they do every week to invite potentials and amis and members to and we played basketball ( the first time I have played basketball in about a year). And of course I sprained my finger. :) it doesn't hurt when it is bandaged up though. and it looks really wierd and for some reason it amuses me to see how wierd looking it is ( as long as it is temporary) 
Yeah, that's it for this week, mais à la semaine prochain!!!
Je vous aime et Dieu vous aime!!!!!
Avec amour,
Soeur Russell

Hickory, Chocolate Cake and Crazy Amounts of Food

Dear family and friends,
the SLC story was really cool! The Lord really is creating missionary oppurtunities for our family left and right.
This week, on tuesday, we did geneology with one of the sisters in our ward and that was really fun. after that we had a lesson with an old man named Antoin who was very nice, but he certainly likes talking and discussing. We're thinking he will need a much more structured and focused Lesson this week. The next day we saw another member named Soeur Tennoun and had hot chocolate and a spiritual thought with her. On thursday we had a language study with another member, where she gave us a wierd drink ( it was like hickory something or other). it made us nice and warm, but it tasted unpleasant. On Saturday, we had an awesome zone conference. The members came and prepared food for all the missionaries and just about stuffed us to death. right after the conference, we did a lesson for the other sister's ami, Michel, and he brought some small gateaux. It is about the best cake I have ever tasted. It was chocolate and smooth and crunchy too and with chocolate mousse. So good!!! The lesson went well. We taught with a sister in the ward who is about our age( we started with her because our original member was late), an older sister in the ward( the original member who was late), and the Au pair of the Roney kids ( she randomly  jumped in at some point). So it was 5 women and this one really kind old man. It was kinda a funny picture. after that we taught a recent convert, who is amazing. And then we had church on sunday and afterwards wome members forced us to eat the left overs of the conference meal. It was very yummy. But one elder, our zone leader, who is as skinny as a twig, ate four plates of salad and tuna, three plates of chicken currey and rice, another plate of ham and rice, three cookies and a big chocolate cake drowning in vanilla sauce and an entire baguette.Unbeleivable. one of the members there is from tahiti and she said she has only seen islanders eat that much. I can't imagine that. And today is Soeur Robison's birthday!!!! But we are celebrating it next week, because that will be easier.
Well my times up, but I hope you all know I love you! and I know that God loves you and He always will!
Je vous aime!!!
Soeur Russell