Bonjour tout le monde!
J'ai de bonne nouvelle! I remembered my planner and I brought my journal along for the ride to make up for last week's bombshell of an email! I'll probably have to fill in a bit from a few things that happened last weekend. I'll get right to that—
Saturday night we had a fireside that cropped up out of nowhere. We were told to bring as many people as we possibly could to it. Obviously something big was in the works because President Morin, the Stake Président, Président Pirlet, his counselor, Frère Fourtina, a high counselor, and Frère Ferland, the father of the family that came to visit the week before, all came. We weren't sure what to expect besides a meal and a fireside so we were excited. They all talked about the new vision that they have for Rimouski and the work that was going to happen here. It was absolutely amazing. We were so blessed to be a part of that meeting and to listen to these amazing men talk so highly about our area. The meeting sort of bled over into our sacrament meeting the next day where the branch presidency was reorganized. Now, my you, Président Dupont has served as branch president for 20 years. He's the only person in the branch who could have. We have next to no other priesthood holders. Président Morin called Frère Fourtina as the branch president and Frère Ferland as his counselor. They both live more than 3 hours away from the branch! But the change was absolutely inspired—we got to work right away and helped the branch get a little more organized. Président Fourtina has a very strong personality and really let it show in our first ever branch council meeting. The whole time I just kept thinking about that line from Remember the Titans, "Attitude reflects leadership, captain!" We were pumped! He pulled us over to the side after the meeting and told us very sternly—"You're my hands in Rimouski. (He lives in Montréal over 6 hours away...) I've said a lot and I need you to double your efforts to be able to show for it. Go find the next leader of Rimouski." You can imagine how fired up we were. Now—let's get to this week!
Monday! We did our normal missionary stuff, laundry, emails, writing letters, shopping. Then we had our first correlation meeting in Rimouski with our new branch mission leader, Frère Hébert! It was fun to have one of those again. It's amazing how much more motivated you feel when you report your work to someone. After that we had Soirée Familiale at the chapel and had a spiritual thought about Christ. Somehow the conversation got totally sidetracked for a few minutes about the color of his eyes and Elder Ruby and I were totally lost. Québecois get so off track so easily... I think there's something in the water... Oh! It was 8 month mark and I bought a donut to celebrate!
That's my hot face.
Tuesday! That morning we went over to Frère Hébert's apartment to help him paint. He wanted our help because he has a really bad back and couldn't paint for more than a few minutes at a time. We were glad to help! He is pretty much our best friend here! He comes to almost all of our lessons. He's retired and just watches TV all day so we try to get him to help us as much as he can. Afterwards we met Frère Lévesque at the church to help him set up the new computer and get MLS running. For all of the readers out there who have ever served as a clerk in the Church you'll love this: We went to help him restore the backup of all of the branch data onto the new computer and when we connected the USB drive the most recent backup was from May. 2012. He basically had a mental breakdown in front of us. There was nothing we could do! Poor guy. Public Service Announcement: "Always create a safe backup of valuable data!" Anyways... We went knocking after that and had an amazing day! We talked to a bunch of people that were really nice but didn't want anything to do with us. Then we talked to this really sour old lady (I mean, she was sweet and all, but her attitude... she could use some fresh air...) who just kept talking and talking and talking about how wrong we were. We just stood on her porch and kept listening until her phone rang—it was her son or brother (we still aren't sure...) and she told him that we were there and we heard him ask, "Are they mormons?" To which she answered, "Yes" and then he went on to give her his address and invited us over! So we left her and went over to his house! His name is Denis. He was really quite nice! In fact, his daughter went to Wyoming for a few months in 2000 and met mormon missionaries there and was going to be baptized until she had to come back to Québec suddenly. She never did get baptized but told her father all about it and so he said he had been waiting to meet missionaries for quite a while! We talked to him for a bit and shared a little bit about the restoration (http://www.lds.org/topics/restoration-of-the-gospel) and he invited us back. We were late to an appointment with Chantale so we had to skip dinner and head over to her apartment with Frère Hébert. She wanted some advice on how to help teach her daughter the gospel and so we taught a lesson about teaching! It went really well. She has been filled with faith ever since that last Sunday and is doing her best to get Yvan and Alisson excited about the Gospel so that they can all be sealed to each other one day. She rocks! Then when we were on our way back from taking Frère Hébert home we couldn't help but stop at the boardwalk and take a picture of the sunset.
Right after I took that picture we met the most amazing woman. Her name is Mercedes. We walked and talked with her for a while and she was really curious why we were in white shirts and ties at 8:30 at night walking on the board walk. She was pretty funny about it. Super concerned that we were going to get sick. Anyways, we walked and talked with her until we were standing right in front of the church. We started talking about our beliefs of who God is and what He is like. Then she said something absolutely amazing. She basically quoted word for word Lorenzo Snow's couplet and said that that is what she believes. She told us that she and her husband have searched for 40 years to find other people that believe that and was certain there was no one like them. We told her to wait where she was and then ran into the church, grabbed the Lorenzo Snow book, came back out and showed her the couplet. She just about cried and asked if she could keep the book. We told her she could as long as she came to church on Sunday to bring it back. (We didn't see her Sunday but we're still keeping faith that we'll meet her again soon. Pray that we will! She is special!)
Wednesday! (I'm going to have to hurry, that took way too long!) We had our district study and I gave a training on "Finding through our own efforts." We went to see a former investigator, Stephan, but he was super mad that we came back to his apartment. There must've been a miscommunication when we saw him last. We found a few nice people in his apartment building and gave a few copies of the Book of Mormon away. We met with Eric Leblond to see how he was doing after the split between he and Annie. While we were talking I had the hardest time focusing. I kept drifting back to the talk that my brother, Austin, gave at his homecoming (my lovely mother sent me the audio! No I did not sneak home, sit in the crowd, and totally get away unnoticed........!) Then I remembered something that he said and it hit me—we needed to start reading the Book of Mormon with him. From page one; one chapter a day; every day. And so we started! Thanks for the idea Aust! We finished the day by knocking.
Thursday! We decided that since the weather is getting a little warmer we should start running in the morning! It was so nice to be running again! I haven't gone since the MTC with Elder Keenan! I was still in pretty good shape but Elder Ruby took it pretty rough. He's a trooper! We had our normal weekly service à la Friperie! It was great! I had so much more energy and we did more loads than ever before! I love doing service there! Everyone is so nice and they think it's funny when we sing. We went and read with Eric again after lunch. We called Denis to see if we could still come over like we had planned but he didn't sound good at all. He was pretty sick and so we're going to go see him later this week. We did a bunch of knocking and then I got this crazy idea to go see a less active named Israel. I can't go into too much detail because I'd take up the rest of the day... but when we left we thought we had a made a huge mistake. It felt like we woke up a sleeping dragon. A really angry sleeping dragon. The last thing we heard as the door was shutting was "Mark my words! I will be at church on Sunday!" That sounds like we did a wonderful thing but trust me. At the time we thought we had just wrecked the branch. Luckily with the help of Frère Ferland we got everything straightened out and it turned into something good!
Friday! We did our studies and weekly planning comme d'habitude! And then we went to pick up Frère Hébert to take him to see Shirley Woods with us. I love the drive out to her house.
She lives in the country side deep in the woods. It's funny because her name is Shirley Woods and she lives in the woods. Did you see what I did th... En tout cas. We watched a General Conference talk with her and she loved it! We just have to motivate her somehow to come to church on Sundays. She has a testimony, a strong one!, but there is something that is holding her back!
I love that painting. Her house is very nicely decorated.
After Shirley we drove back to Rimouski to go read with Eric. He was excited to see us! The Book of Mormon is already helping him and we can see it! After Eric we did a bunch of knocking in a small neighborhood by the fleuve. We finally got to see the ferry that we'll be taking one day to do splits with Chicoutimi across the river!
Saturday! We had a bunch of appointments and they all canceled on us within like 20 minutes of each other. Not cool. But it actually freed up the whole day so that we could knock an area that we've always wanted to spend some time in. We met a bunch of kids about our age who were next to impossible to read. One time I actually asked one of them if they were still paying attention. He didn't respond... We went to see André Soucy later that night and ended up just talking with him and his son while they ate dinner. They had completely forgotten about our appointment and were adamant about us staying while they ate. That night we got our transfer calls! Drumroll please............ WE'RE STAYING FOR ANOTHER SIX WEEKS!! Woop woop! I'm actually pretty stoked. Rimouski, even with all of it's weird quirks and flaws, is actually a really nice little corner of the planet!
Sunday! Yesterday! It feels like a week ago already... I got one of the best surprises in the world! After church Frère Ferland told us that he had some stuff in his car from the zone leaders. We were expecting our zone orders and some extra supplies. We were right! And then some! We got mail!!
I heard from my siblin's! They're the best!
This is what my little brother, Matt, calls me... I feel loved!
My favorite candy bars from my favorite Montréal-er! Caitlin!
And some magic and happy wishes from Disneyland! Made my week!!
Church was great! We had some great talks and a wonderful lesson in Elder's Quorum. We taught primary again... We spent most of the day afterwards knocking. We called Sister Hedge and told her about church—we'll be doing that every Sunday night now since they're back from their vacation. They live about 5 hours from Rimouski and so coming to church is a bit of a trip for them. We went over to Chantale and Yvan's and watched the restoration DVD with him. We had a great discussion afterwards and he said that he wants to be baptized! He just can't commit to a date because he lives from day to day and can't put anything on a calendar. He's close, though! We have a lot of hope for him!
Anyways! That was our week! Rimouski is doing wonderful and we're loving it! Thanks for all of the prayers and support that I get from all of you back at home! Oh hey one last thing—my mom is the coolest and here's the proof!
She made that last week and I am very proud of her! She's passed me up by a long shot! Just look for chalk art in my video collection and compare and contrast!