Bonjour tout le monde!
Hello from the Great White North of the Great White North! We had a another fantastic week in Rimouski. The sun finally came and out and "le fleuve" (the river) was flowing!
I hear that my family is up in Oregon for Spring Break (wait... what's Spring Break again?) with the coolest family ever: The Westovers. Capital T, capital W. (I'm pretty sure they're going to read this together once I send it and so I'm just going to keep brown nosing to get cool points—queue Big Brian's "Ow!" and thigh slap in trois... duex... un! Hi Westovers! A huge congratulations to Brittany on her mission call to Brazil!)
So as for this week!
Monday was marvelous! We got everything done that we needed to around the apartment and went shopping. Oh by the way, here's a sneak peek at what Elder Ruby and I go through in a week. Roughly 2.5 gallons of milk (which come in bags, by the way...) 2 cups of butter, 3 bags of pasta, 1 pack of bacon, 18 eggs, 2 large loaves of bread, a box of pancake mix, a jar of nutella, 5 sidekicks (pasta dinners), 1 bag of celery, 1 bag of carrots, 4 apples, two boxes of jello, a block of cheese, and a bottle of the most amazing thing in the world called spruce beer. It's like root beer but made out of Christmas trees! Anyways... That night we had family home evening with Annie, Eric, Catherine, and Frère Hébert. We gave a lesson about resurrection and used the glove and hand visual to help teach. It was a pretty fun lesson and for some reason they all had a really hard time visualizing. Afterwards we played Boggle, in French of course. It was really fun!
Tuesday was terrific! We have been helping the branch plan an Easter party and so we were running some errands around trying to invite everyone and give them something to help with. We took an activity book over to Frère Hébert to help him plan a spiritual thought and then invited him to Yvan's for a lesson. When we got there Yvan was so happy to see him—they've become really good friends. We have had to go really slow with Yvan for the past few weeks per orders of the last missionaries that were here. He really doesn't like it when we give him commitments but we have become good enough friends with him now where we felt comfortable in asking him to do things. We talked for a while about the importance of commitments and covenants and the blessings that come from them. He was very open and helped us understand what he had been taught by other missionaries. It was nice to be able to lay some foundation work with him so we could help him progress. Later that afternoon when we were knocking we met a cool guy named Guillaume. He was very excited to see us because missionaries came a little over a year ago and then never came back. He had a bunch of questions but things started to getting out of control because he would never let us give a complete answer before asking another question that was completely off topic. We weren't really getting anywhere when suddenly there was knock at the door. He opened it and it turned out to be two Jehovah's Witnesses. You can imagine we were both very shocked to see each other. We talked for a while and just tried to stay as diplomatic as possible. They were very nice and invited us to the same event that Marielle invited us to last week. We told them that we would be there and they were very excited. Guillaume had to leave once so we left him a copy of the Book of Mormon and said a prayer with him. That night we went out to the Jehovah's Witness building for their meeting. It was a very nice meeting. Everyone was very kind and welcoming to us. I had prepared a copy of the Book of Mormon with some references for Marielle to read. She was excited to read them and invited us to dinner next Tuesday (tomorrow night.) We saw the other two people that we had met earlier and talked to them for a bit. Elder Ruby got a little carried away and started to "Bible bash" and I had to step in and calm things down a bit. He's a funny guy. Not ashamed of what he knows to be true!
Wednesday was wonderful! We had district study over Google Hangout. It's always a bit weird doing it on the computer but it works! We talked a lot about our areas and what we can do to help the branches grow. We have two other companionships in our district: Alma and Chicoutimi. They are both in about the same situation as us as well. President Cannon has suggested that we start looking for "eagle-scout-type" projects that we can get the community involved in. We discussed a few ideas but didn't really make any progress. We're still considering what to do. Any ideas? The sun was shining outside for the first time in what feels like months! We were so excited to go knocking! We decided to knock along the coastline. Best. Decision. Ever. I finally realized why people live here. It's so beautiful! Everyone seemed to be a lot nicer mood and we talked to quite a few people. That night we met with Mathieu to study the scriptures with him. It was super tough because Gab and Pennelope were whack that night. It was nearly impossible to get anything done. But it was still good for him. Then Chantale called us and told us she had an emergency and we had to come over. We rushed over to their apartment and she just unloaded this huge story of how stressed she is about her upcoming course. All we could really do was just sit and listen. Sometimes she just needs someone to listen. Yvan apparently wasn't giving her enough attention and so she called us. She's a really funny person and takes good care of us here. We told her everything would be alright and she basically said, "You really think so? Okay, then it will be!"
We knocked on this street all day. Gorgeous, eh?
That is the sub from the movie Red 19 (that's the French title) It has Sean Conery in it.
Thursday was... th... th... I give up. It was a good day. We went to this place called the Friperie which is basically the same thing as the DI. We helped them for about an hour loading a semi full of garbage bags of old clothes. It was fun. I was starting to get sick but Mathieu needed our help to prime some of the walls in their new apartment they're moving into. I don't know why he wanted to paint over the walls, though! The color was great and he said that he just wanted everything to be white. I mean, don't get me wrong, sometimes the best color is no color at all, but not in that apartment! I was a bit confused but willing to prime anyways. So we helped with that until noon and then did a bunch of knocking. I was feeling pretty horrible by the dinner and had lost my voice. I guess it was sort of a blessing for Elder Ruby, though because he got to take the reins and got some good French practice in. We were able to give away two copies of the Book of Mormon that night but sadly both of the people were just visiting friends and are going back to Montréal today. Something funny happened that night while we were knocking. Sometime last week the Catholic Church sent about a bunch of newsletters and flyers about a big fundraising project because they are about to close a few more churches and want to save them. Everyone thinks that we are working for them when they open the doors and tell us that they aren't going to give us any money and they are glad to see the churches closing (harsh!) One guy was especially sharp to us that night when we walked into the hallway. He walked into his apartment and we ended up talking to his neighbor for a while and forgot about him. After we had finished we started knocking again. I knocked on his door and he opened it in his underwear and was absolutely livid. We booked it out of there and he chased us down the stairs we got in the truck and drove away. It reminded me of the good ol' days knocking in the great and spacious buildings in downtown Montréal trying to avoid the concierge teams...
Friday was fantastic! We had our weekly planning session and got a few of the details for the Easter party ironed out and then passed by a few of the people we met on Wednesday. The weather was really nice again and there were a bunch of people walking down on the boardwalks. I'm still not sure if we're allowed to get that close to the water so we didn't do any contacting down there. I'll have to ask President Cannon about that because it would be such a great place to contact! We knocked almost all day and got yelled at a few times. It was great.
We saw this Cathedral and I thought it kinda looked like the Manti temple
Saturday was splendid! We had a pretty good turnout to the branch Easter party. We had activities planned, an Easter egg hunt for the kids, a meal, and spiritual thought. There were a few less active members that came out for the first time and the husband of a member who has always had hard feelings towards the church. He is an electrical engineer and as soon as I found that out we talked for almost the rest of the night! He invited us over for dinner next week and wants to practice English with us! Julie brought Boggle and we played a few rounds of that with everyone. Later that night Chantale wanted us to come say hi to Yvan and check out his new bike shop that he had set up in one the spare rooms in the basement of their apartment building. He is a brilliant guy! But maybe a little too brilliant... He accidentally set off the fire alarm because he was smoking so much one day while working down there so he decided to "fix" it. He took an old ice cream bucket and cut a hole in the lid and glued it to the ceiling around the smoke detector and attached the bucket to cover it up. He was pretty proud of it and was showing it off to us. We'll have to change that pretty soon... He had also made a bunch of custom grips and machines to help him fix up his bikes.
This is a perfect picture! It describes everyone so well.
Sunday was super! Mathieu brought one of his friends to church. When she walked in we both recognized each other right off the bat. We had knocked on her house a little over a week ago and she was really nice to us. She even remember my name! (Sadly, I can't remember hers...) We only had Sacrament meeting at church. She really liked the hymns which was good because for some reason or another Frère Lévesque decided that he was going to give a 45 minute talk and not mention Christ once at all! I was getting super worried because he just stood up there and talked about everything bad that is around us in the world. He made some pretty off the wall comments and I was this close to standing up and thanking him for his talk and inviting him to sit down. Mathieu friend still enjoyed it anyways and asked about the next meeting. We told her all about General Conference and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (which was extremely difficult because "tabernacle" is just about the most offensive swear word in the book in Québecois.) She is planning on coming to church to watch it with us on Saturday. I'm so excited for Conference! I just watched some of the videos that the Church has put out recently to get ready for it. I really liked this one: https://www.lds.org/youth/video/standing-in-holy-places?cid=HP000024&lang=eng
That night while we were knocking we met the funniest little family. They were very excited to meet us and "finally talk with the mormons." They were a very politically-fiery group and voiced quite a few concerns about our citizenship status. Needless to say, they don't like America. Oh and Dad, Luc (the son who is about your same age) wanted to me to tell you that he is very very disappointed with you and your decision to buy a gun. I promised him I would pass that on to you. He was a funny guy.. They had a lot of questions about the Church and what we believe. We left them with a copy of The Living Christ and a Book of Mormon. We're going back to see them sometime next week.
I'm out of time! Love you all! Thanks for your love and support! I'll be getting mail this week for the first time since I left Montréal! Can't wait to see all of the lovely packages you've sent me! :) Including my fresh bottle of J Dawgs sauce that I'm sure someone sent me!