HEY MOOOMMMMMMM!!!! I'm still alive and well. :) Charleroi is great. Thank you so much for telling me about all that stuff, that was a great email! Okay so I'm going to try and respond to all your questions really quick so I don't forget any of them:
- What did we do well as a family? Well, I think one of the best things was environment, keeping a good home that was like a castle against the evils of the rest of the world. I also think the fact that you stayed home and were always with us was a score. Teaching us the commandments was a good one, too. I also think just the relationships we had with you and Dad and how much we loved each other. :D We had a great home to grow up in, I'm pretty lucky.
- Thanks sooooo much for sending that package! SOOO MUCH! Oh man those are worth their weight in gold over here. Wow even a little package from To From Us? That sounds awesome!! I'm so excited, thank you all so much!
- My apologies for the Franglais (English French). "Porting" means going door to door. Just for future information, to avoid further confusion (sorry about that!!), collégue means companion, famille means family, église means church, chouette means awesome. Woohoo means woohoo. :D If I put any more in that don't make sense, just ask me, it's really easy for me to clarify! Haha we definitely have an interesting vocabulary out here.
- Yeah, I was really excited to dream in French, too! It was cool.
- WOOHOOOO!!! That's so sweet that Zack Stanger got his mission call! Yeah, yeah, Nate Bezzant is going to taiwan! Sorry I didn't reply, he emailed me, too, so I already knew. Thanks a lot though, keep me updated with the calls for sure:! I don't know if you know, but Adriana McFarland got her call to London England! That's pretty cool, huh?
- Thanks so much for the pictures! I love little Zia and Brielle! [Adam's two little nieces, one who is brand new.]
- The "bleu" or greenie, new missionary [in Adam's apartment], is Elder Smith. Sorry, his mom doesn't have a Facebook or anything. He's a great guy though, comes from Vermont, he actually new one of the sister missionaries in our MTC District, Soeur Ladd, who was also from Vermont. I believe they are from neighboring stakes.
- Normally, for exercise, I do a few pushups, a few crunches, sometimes thinks like squats. I also do wall sits and pullups sometimes. I'll be honest, I haven't been very good at exercising a full 30 minutes lately, but I think it's good to focus on getting everything done in the morning and being on time to studies first. :D
- We like to eat together as a foursome at the apartment when we can, but lots of times, we can only do that for breakfast, or for breakfast and one other meal, if we have appointments at differing times. Elder Baldwin cooks for us four when we're all together, and usually Elder Harris and Elder Smith help. I help sometimes, I should be better. Elder Badlwin really likes to make desserts, too. Breakfast is every elder for himself. But we like to eat together when we can. It's really fun to be together, I really like the little bit of night time we have together, that's really fun. We got into a huge towel whipping war the other night. It was pretty fun. But then our neighbor asked us to keep it down so we're being gyood kyids now.
- Okay, I'll remember to tell you at least one story every week from a lesson or from meeting somebody. Alexi and Geraldine didn't make it to church, but we're going to try and visit them again.
- Yay that you have time to catch up on emails!
- By the way, just so you know, depending on where you sent the package, it may be a few weeks longer than it would normally. If you sent it to the mission home, they give it to the zone leaders, who then give it to us the next time they see Elder Badlwin, the district leader. But for sure, I will let you know when I get them! I'm so excited!
So to give some missionary stories, because I think that's a good way to start off, let me give you a couple:
- This week, I got to go on another exchange with Elder Harris! That's always fun. He's a great guy. We wanted to get some good work out of our contacting, so we set a pretty high goal for lessons. We ended up tying his record for "other" lessons taught in a day (in other words, for lessons that were held without a member, lots of them here are from contacting on the street). We got SEVEN! It was awesome! We didn't quite get our goal of 10 but 7 is pretty good! We felt really blessed, there seemed to be an unusually high number of people who were willing to talk to us a little bit that day. We even got the Charleroi 2 Ward a new "ami", which means investigator. Plus we got a recent convert lesson in, too! And then we met this excommunicated member and that wasn't as uplifting...he wasn't rude, just yucky feeling. but it's okay. That was for sure the most lessons I've taught in one day. :D So it was sweet!
- Amazing how the Lord takes care of us. I was feeling down yesterday, largely due to how much I focus on myself sometimes, or how ilfe could be better, and then there were a bunch of things on Sunday at church that I could tell were there from the Lord to help me feel better! Every week when I play for the Primary kids, I love it because it's a joy to help them with thepiano. That helped, I think. Then in sacrament meeting, we sang "Nearer, My God, to Thee," but in French of course, and there was one line in particular in there that touched me, that reminded me that it'll be all right, no matter how down I might feel. Even when people are unworthy, the Atonement and repentance fix it. Sure, they may not make life the way it was, but they fix us. So that was cool. Then there was another great hymn, called "Be Still My Soul," that was comforting as well, THEN there was the second counselor, Frère Gisonda, a French brother, a very, very good guy, with a great heart, stood and gave a great talk. There was a very cool part in there when he said, "I see people like______ who come to church without their parents every week," and he named off several people and named good things about them. Then he said, "I could do that with every one of you, but it would take a while, so just know that each one of you are useful to the Savior, that you're all doing good here, that you're loved, that the Savior is taking care of you." THat's how I took it, anyways.
- We met a new investigator, a new ami, at night doing contacting this week, I believe it was WEdnesday night, and we scheduled another rendez vous, which means appointment, with him right then! We talked to him for just a few minutes, but Elder Baldwin has been trying a new inspired system of contacting: if you use the same rote phrases all the time, they get meaningless, so he challenged everyone in the district to make three meaningful, personal phrases to use in contacting, and like that the Spirit can prompt us which one to use, and they can help us have better contacting experiences, or even better experiences going door to door. So he did that last week, and he used one of his personal lines, about how God can help us through trials, I believe, and we talked to the guy a little about how he was divorced, I believe he had a couple kids, and I tried to express sympathy and concern for him, and Elder Badlwin was actually able to relate to him as well, because there was a divorce in his family, too. it was a Spirit guided contact. It came to me sometime this week that sometimes, for people who the Lord wants us to meet, if we go out, He's going to make sure we get to meet them, although it is also our job to search for that revelation, as one of our APs, Elder Lamm, has pointed out.
There you go! I hope that helps you all smile and have a great week. Listen to uplifting music, write in your journal, do things that help you feel better! Another cool truth I came across this morning was that we each need to repeat the process of the gospel (faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) many, many times throughout our lives! Pretty cool, huh? It's not just a one time circle, it's actually a pattern of life.
We had some good moments together this week, us four in the Charleroi apartment. Elder Baldwin fried some chicken in a pan the other night, that was pretty good. We also got to visit a member's house in the Charleroi 2 ward, which was fun. I keep relearning the importance of some of the rules. It's hard, sometimes, for example, to avoid wordly entertainment, but it's something I need to make a better effort effort to do. Love you all so much! I hope you've had fun hanging out with petite Brielle! I might write a little poem in French for her sometime, just because she's so cute and little and precious. Have a great week, everyone! Don't be afraid to have missionary opportunities. You only blow it if you don't try. That would be a good thing to frame, actually, haha!
We're looking forward to the awesome General conference this weekend! Everyone go, invite friends, write down a question or two beforehand, and go expecting to hear the word of the Lord, not just what you want to hear. That way, you know where you stand with the Lord, you know the things you need to work on for the next six omnths, and you'll be ready for the next one in October. God bless! Until next week!
P.S. Oh yeah, and the guy we met on the metro last week, we didn't get out tohis house like we planned. We went to the gare, missed the bus that we thought was the right one, then really missed the right one, and then gave up and decided to try another time. I guess that seems kind of stupid, now, but we'll trym him out this week. His name is Anvian, or something like that.
We also had a cool experience talking to an atheist man, Eddy, and we might visit him sometime, too.