Thursday, December 27, 2012

The skype on Christmas Day

AT 11:45 (Utah time) on Christmas Day, the computer buzzed and several gasps were heard around the room. And then there Lexi was... smiling and saying hello to everyone. True...she might have struggled for a few moments to keep her emotions in check as she saw the whole family gathered around the computer to talk to her. However, she proved that she was strong and visited with almost everyone in the family personally. She looks great and seems happy.
Her Christmas day was a great one. She finally made it to the Coast to see the ocean. Although the Sister Missionaries live only 15 minutes or so away from the ocean, they have not had the chance to see it until Christmas. This was something Lexi had wanted for some time. Then back to the Lucas family's home for dinner.
As stated above she had a chance to visit with almost everyone. It was so great to hear her laughing with siblings, and she especially enjoyed when Jordan held up Chica (her dog) for an attempted visit. Though Chica could hear her voice..she just did not get the computer thing.
We speculated on what the next transfer would mean for her. We learned alittle of Sister Alves , her companion who is from Tahiti, and she told us how happy she was for the Christmas tree we sent for her apartment. We learned of her small branch(about 30 active members) there in Quimper. She loves the members, they are very good to the Sisters. She had received (and appreciated) all gifts and cards sent to her during the last few weeks. She STILL loves letters and cards..(hint, hint) and hopes they don't come to a end with the end of the Christmas Season. She thinks she will stay in Quimper until about the 3rd week of January. (Mail takes about 8/9 days to get to her).
She is trying to figure out how best to charge her new camera.  We hope she figures it out soon...we would like to see more pictures of the Quimper area. It was a good conversation.  It was hard to say good-bye and hang-up the connection
May is not so far away..right?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A nap would be nice for Christmas

Bonjour tous!
This has been a trying week.  I've been sick, and now Soeur Alves is having some ear-aches, so our performance has been a little sub-par.  On Thursday we passed by a lady named Delphine, and talked with her outside and had a prayer.  The next day, she called us with a referral!!!  We invited her to the Soirée de Noel, and she was planning on coming, but had to cancel at the last minute due to her husband not wanting her to come.  We still believe it was a miracle that she called us.  Another miracle is that Soeur Bourdon brought her family to church again (except the husband, who is not active), and they've invited us over to eat with them next week.  I feel like they might be the reason that I'm here in Quimper.  The Soirée with the Branche was wonderful, and the lights are beautiful here in Quimper.  Soeur Alves and I are excited to talk to our families on Christmas, and hopefully, if we pray hard enough, we'll be able to take a nap sometime on Christmas Eve or Christmas.  The work is still progressing slowly here, but as long as we can be led by the spirit each day, we know we're doing our part. 
   I was reading about repentance the other day, and was thinking about how repentance is really just another word for change.  Funny, huh?  Yes, there are other aspects that go into it, remorse, faith, and wonderful things like that, but really, all those things are just ways to help us change.  When we repent, we try to change the things we've done wrong and try to improve ourselves.  I don't know, I just thought it was interesting. 
                  Well, bonne semaine tout le monde!
                                         Soeur Bracken

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Five month Mark

Lexi has a new Companion! Sister Alves.  (Lexi's dad says adjusting to new companions can be ....hmm....somewhat stressful).
And now from Lexi:
Soeur Alves is from Tahiti, from Papeete, she has 3 months left on her mission, which means she'll probably end here in Quimper (which means I'll probably leave in January).  Her parents are members, and she has a younger brother who should receive his call soon, and a sister who's about 9.  She's going to return here to France to study after her mission.  She's very very direct, which is cool.  She speaks english well enough, and helps me with my french.  However, she has lost her Tahitian accent, so that's too bad.  It's been very different this past week than what I've been used to, but I guess that's part of growing up and changing.  I really do believe we can have miracles this transfer if we work hard.  I'll try to send a picture next week.
 Yesterday, the Lucas family invited us to go to the coast with them the beginning of January.  I'm so excited!  They are one of my favorite families here.  Soeur Lucas just got back last week from spending 6 weeks in California with their daughter and her family who live there.
  This week's been a little hard, with so much change, but I'm hoping it will make me a better person. Today I was studying up on Faith, and it was just so amazing to read up on it again.  I read what it says in the Bible Dictionary, and really enjoyed it.  This life really really is all about Jesus Christ. I suggest reading it.  I love what it says about placing our confidence in the Lord without reservation.  Tomorrow we're teaching a woman named Amina.  Soeur Creager and I contacted her on the street last week.  I think she's the one.
                                                               Love da viken,
                                                               Soeur Bracken
(Da viken is breton for 'for always', it's not french.  Breton is the native language of Bretagne)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bonjour tout le monde!

  Oh, crazy week!  Soeur Creager has persevered to the end, and has yet to have a mental breakdown about going home this week.  She is a wonderful example.  We know that all good things must come to an end (except the gospel and families, of course).  So she is going to go home with her head high, but also kicking and screaming the entire way.  'Atta girl.  And with change comes more change!  Enter the scene:  Soeur Alves!  I'd expressed my desire for a native french speaker companion to Soeur Creager (so as to improve my french and accent).  There are only 7 francophones sisters in the mission, and two are going home this transfer, so I wasn't sure if I would have one for a while.  Wrong!  I will be spending at least my next six weeks with Soeur Alves, who is from Tahiti!  I'm SO excited.  With any luck, I'll be speaking like her after a while. 
     The work here seems to be like a rollercoaster, but we've signed up to ride it for 18 months, so hold on!  We visited a less active family this past week.  The wife, who's mom is in the branch, still loves the church, but her husband is done with it.  We stopped by and talked, not so much of the gospel, but more of just being friends.  It was really nice.  Sometimes the wife would come to church, but not usually anyone else.  But yesterday, Soeur Bourdon came, with three of her children.  It was wonderful!  We are still teaching Mary, and we have a lesson tonight with another woman that we are really excited about.
         Well, that's about it for me right now.  I appreciate your thoughts and prayers!
                Avec amour,
                  Soeur Bracken

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Elder Anderson parle comme les Soeurs Missionnaires"

 Bonjour Toutes!
I'm almost ready to wrap up my second transfer!  What the?!  And poor Soeur Creager, she's going stateside in just ten days!  She's trying to figure out a way to stay in France, but I think she's finally accepted the fact that even missions must come to an end (at least full time missions, that is).  I'll find out who my next companion will be on Saturday.
    This has been an interesting week.  Soeur Creager and I managed to have 13 lessons this week, which was quite an accomplishment!  We weren't able to fix a baptismal date yet, but we're working on it.  A family for Christmas!  The lights are being put up ALL OVER Quimper, I think it's going to be like our own personal 'Lights at Temple Square' here in Quimer.  Perhaps we'll call it 'Lights at St. Corentin'? 
    This was also a hard week for us.  The father of one of the Elders in our District was killed in a car accident this week, so he went home to be with his family.  It made for a more solemn Thanksgiving meeting this past Thursday.  Of course we still had fun (the football game was cancelled), but we were all just thinking of our friend.  For Thanksgiving, Soeur Creager and I made enchiladas, and that, combined with salad, chili, mashed potatos, and pizza from the other companionships in our District, made for an awesome meal.  We also had the expostion this past weekend.  It didn't go as well as hoped, but the Lord knows the effort that we, and especially the members, put into it. 
   A random story.  I realized the other day, whilst Soeur Creager and I were walking around, that my foot was wet.  Not drenched, but definitely wet.  This could not be possible.  I was wearing my boots I'd bought just 5 weeks earlier.  This could not be possible.  And yet, my foot was wet.  I'm still inspecting the matter, but it seems to me, that one of the seals along the seam of the boot has broken, and now they are not waterproof.  When I told Sandrine of the matter, she really felt for me.  In fact, she gave me one of her pairs of boots!  I tried to say that she didn't need to do that, but she said it was her pleasure.  So, now I have one of her pairs!  They're awesome.  They're a LITTLE small for me, so I think I'll mostly just wear them on days when I am driving a lot. Love you all!
                    Soeur Bracken
P.S.  The subject line of my email was inspired by Maina, the four year old daughter of Sandrine.  It translates to, "Elder Andersen speaks like the sister missionaries".  She said that after listening to Elder Andersen at the Conference in Angers last week.  Haha, I guess all of us Americans have similar accents.  Smart girl.  Soeur Creager and I decided to look at it in a good light, though- apparently we speak like a prophet of God!

driving a lot. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Thanksgiving Feast...upon the words of Christ

Bonjour all!
   I will try to make this snappy.  Ok, so this past week has been crazy, but great, as always.  We had an ENTIRE mission Conference in Versailles on Friday.  There was absolutely no time for any sight-seeing, of course, but that's ok.  The best sights to see anyway were those of my dear friends, none of whom I've been able to see in the past 2 months.  Soeur Mataalii and I almost cried when we finally saw each other.  I also got to see a lot of the missionaries again who came in this last transfer.  Elder Christensen (who is the cousin, on the other side of the family, of my cousin Reece (who is currently serving in Mexico)) and I were super excited to see each other.  In fact, we took a picture!  I feel bad that we technically broke the 'no single elder and sister' pictures, but not bad enough to delete the picture.  And of course, nothing could beat being able to listen to, see, and shake the hand of Elder Neil L. Andersen.  He is amazing.  He spoke to us mostly in English, but did tell one story in french, to prove he can still speak it.  He also speaks Spanish and Portugese.  He spoke of how our job is to invite others to come unto Christ, whether or not they are already members, of ever end up getting baptized.  Since Quimer is so far away, we spent the night before and after in Rennes, with Soeur Pymm and Soeur Rhondeau (Seour Pymm and my exchange went really well this past week).  Then, on Sunday morning, some members and us drove to Angers for a big combined Stake and District Conference where we got to listen to Elder Andersen...AGAIN!  It made for a very hectic weekend, and very early mornings (Friday we woke up at 4:45, Saturday at 5:30, and Sunday at 5:00).  
  This week we are having a Zone Turkey Bowl.  We will be the first to admit that there are better ways to spend that time, but I guess every zone is doing it.  So this Thursday we will go to Rennes, have District Meeting, have "dinner", and then play some football. :)  I don't know how we're supposed to play football with Elders, but I guess we'll see.    Well, I think that's about it for me, I love you all!
                                                                                    Soeur Bracken 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elder Anderson is coming to Town

This time of year the anticipation of a certain someone coming to town in just a month or so gives rise to excitement, better behaving children, hopes of gifts under the tree, and possibly a "wonderful" surprise.
For missionaries, having a General Authority visit your Mission must be much the same.  The anticipation is tangible.  All are excited! Souer Bracken and Souer Creager are doing their best to be prepared to hear him . And like a gift, his presence and message will bring them happiness and inspire them to teach and contact better. Of course the "wonderful" surprise may be the results of that message as it is taken back into the field, and the effects it will generate.
Elder Neil Anderson is visiting the Paris, France Mission this coming Friday. This is a big deal! All missionaries will travel to Versailles for a massive conference and to listen to him speak.

Lexi's week is going to involve a bit of travel. First she and Sister Creager are going on Sister Exchanges mid-week with the Sister Missionaries in Rennes. Lexi and Sister Pymm from Idaho will travel back to Quimper for a couple of days. Sister Creager will be with Sister Rhondeau (who was in Lexi's BYU ward last year) in Rennes.  Then the 4 Sisters will meet up again in Rennes and travel to Versailles together.
Lexi ended her e-mail with something new...."Take Luck"
Am I the only one who has not heard this before??...

Monday, November 5, 2012

I think I've memorized the address of 12 Creperies

Hello everyone!
  Oh la la, what a week!  Last week we had our first District Meeting (and my first District Meeting where I was no longer the newest person).  Elder Price, a fantastic Elder whom I befriended in the MTC is now in my District.  My District Leader is Elder Gubbay.  That may not mean much to any of you, but to anyone in the mission, it's something.  Elder Gubbay has been one of the AP's for about the past six months.  He is going home at the end of this transfer, so our we think he wanted to go out with a bang, doing just normal everyday missionary stuff.  We're really excited.  Elder Gubby is also a mystery to everyone, his mom is from France (she's actually from Brest, here in Bretagne).  Rumor has it he was born in Australia.  He told us he was raised in Spain.  But we think his parents are currently living in Dubbai.  He has the same accent no matter what language he is speaking.  Needless to say, he is intriguing.  For Halloween I wore my orange shirt and brown skirt (I thought about wearing my black skirt, but thought it might be a little over the top as a missionary).
 Since Soeur Creager and I whitewashed Quimper, and she is going home at the end of this transfer, there is about a 99.5% chance that I will be here for Christmas.  In fact, Soeur Fauchi has already invited me (and whoever my companion will be) over for Christmas.  She said we will be having a 'Creole' Christmas, which makes sense since she is from Martinique (in the Carribean).  
 This week has been a week of miracles.  We actually had a mini-missionary stay with us (That is to say, she is a member of the church who wanted to have the mission experience for a few days so she could help decided if she wanted to serve a mission herself).  So from Tuesday to Friday, we had Soeur Calves as our third companion.  She was wonderful in all aspects of our mission.  She really helped us with our pronunciation of the language, and she gave great testimonies.  We, in turn, got to show her all the ins and outs of missionary life.  We also had some great lessons while she was with us.
 I think I have forgotten to tell you a few things.  One, ELDER ANDERSEN is coming to speak to our mission.  We are SO excited, of course.  That will be on the 16th.  On the 18th, he's speaking in a huge Conference in Angers, so hopefully we'll be going with our branch to listen to him again.  We are so excited and want to make sure we are spiritually prepared.  
     Tomorrow is Zone Conference, so we'll be going to Rennes.  I'm very excited.  Also, sometime this transfer I'll be doing Belgium legality, so I'll be getting together with my old friends from the MTC and heading to Belgium.
     Oh, also, I have to speak in church next week.  15 minutes in french!   Thank you so much for you love and support.                
      Soeur Bracken

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where did that car go?

I will just share a quick, interesting, expensive story.  This past week was the last week that we had the car, we were needing to give the car back to the Elders in Lorient, so we had planned lots of visits to members and. Well on Tuesday after district meeting we went home to do our companion study and then we quickly left the appartment for a lesson we had. We had to use the car so we walked over to the place just behind the train station where we normally park the car. As we were rounding the corner, I said, "This street looks so bare with out any cars parked on the side of the road." The wheels started turing in my head and I thought to myself, 'I really hope that we parked the car farther down the road because if not I dont think our car is here!" We kept walking down the road and my heart started beating faster and faster the farther we walked down the street. We realized that are car was NOT where we had parked it the night before. I quickly looked around and saw a sign that said,"NO PARKING ON TUESDAY-SPORTING EVENT: ALL CARS WILL BE TOWED!" Our car had been towed....we called the only person we could think of and that is Soeur Creager's buddy Elder Quinn in the office. After giving us some great advice, ie "Soeur Creager, calm down and call a member."  So we called Sandrine- our go to girl. She called the police and the police gave her all the information for us so that we could get our car back. The Quimper police had hired a private towing company who now had our car and we needed to get all of the information for the car out of the car and bring it to the police station so they could give us the right to go back and get our car from the company and then we had to pay the towing company... 119€ to get it. What an awful situation. We changed our plans for the night and Sandrine took us to the place that had our car. Of course it was closed and had really scary guard dogs. (thought that needed to be added).We finished our night outside trying to contact and talk to people but my stomach was in knots. The next morning we quickly took the bus up to the towing company to get all of the car information out of the car so we could go to the police station. Luckily, the people at the towing place were really nice and helpful.. and turns out that the dogs are really kind too, just as long as you are not alone with them.. that's another story for another time. Anywho, when we got all of the information out of the car we started to head back to the bus stop to catch another bus, when all of the sudden the tow man says, "Oh! Im going back into town to pick up another car! Ill take you too the police station! Hop in the truck." The first thought that came into my mind was 'this stupid truck towed our car!' And then the next thought that came into my mind was,"We cant do this! It's man! Totally against mission rules." We tried telling him that it was really ok, and that we could just take the bus but he was really insisitent (not in a creepy way, just a really kind and wanting to help way). So we got in... I repented later I promise. Turns out that he, Antoine, was the owner of the towing company. He is married and has a cute little young family. He had lots of questions about why we were in Quimper and once he found out we were 'mormons' he had even more questions. Good questions thought!  It was a fantastic missionary opportunity. By the time we got around to talking about the Book of Mormon we were at the Police Station. So we quickly got out of the tow truck and headed inside to get the papers we needed. Afterwards, we stopped back at the appartment to get a Book of Mormon and a family proclamation for him and his family. We went back to the bus stop to catch the next bus back up, when all of the sudden we see Antoine coming up the road with a huge line of cars behind him. We waved hello and he just stopped in the middle of the road and yelled at us to get back into the truck! haha. We quickly jumped inside and road back up with him to get the car. We had another great gosple converstation on the way back up and he was so interested! We gave him the things we had prepared for him and then told him thank you for all he had done to help us. We went inside the secretary's office to pay the towing charges and then went to get our car. The best part of the story is that when we got home our phone buzzed telling us that we had received a new message. It was from Antoine!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The text said, "merci pour le livre, je le lirai avec la plus grand attention. Antoine le dépanneur" direct translation "thank you for the book. I will read it with great attention. Antoine the tow man". hahaha best story EVER!!
    It was just such an odd turn of events.  Soeur Creager and I decided after that we really had no justification for riding with him, since it's against a rule, so we decided we'd be more careful, but still, a pretty great story, right?   I believe Antoine holds the record as being the most expensive potential investigator I'll probably ever have. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rennes, Rendez-vous and Rendered Service

Bonjour all,
      This has been a crazy week, to match nicely with every other week that I've experienced since becoming a resident of France. 
Soeur Creager and I had the opportunity this week to continue to help one of our members (Soeur Fauchi) get her apartment ready for moving.  We'd already helped with packing stuff up and moving stuff out, so this past week we were asked to come and help with the walls.  Now, I don't know if it's because it's in french, or if Seour Creager forgets to tell me details to things, but for some reason, I always feel like I have no idea what's going on.  All I knew was that Soeur Fauchi had asked us to come over, and Frère La Saux said we needed to be there from 2:30 to 4:30.  I thought we might be washing walls or something.  When we got there, though, we helped Soeur Fauchi remove some wall paper for about 20 minutes, and then Frère La Saux (who is a member of the branch who was helping Soeur Fauchi) came from the other room and asked for us to help him and Frère Lucas.  So we then proceeded to learn how to apply wall paper.  We did everything - measure, cut, apply, and do the finishing details.  It was such a odd skill to suddenly acquire.  I quote Soeur Creager, "If I ever decided to put up wall paper, you have permission to come and slap me."  Much fun was had amongst the five of us, although the biggest joke of the night was thinking we might actually leave at 4:30.  Hahaha... no.  They just kept having stuff to do, and when 7:45 finally rolled around, we decided to would probably be best to leave.  It may not have been proselyting like we're supposed to, but it was a wonderful way to help and get to know some of the members better. 
      One of our biggest challenges here in Quimper seems to be that no one is able to make their appointments.  We had 5 Rendez-vous (RDV) set up at the beginning of the week, and all 5 fell through.  If that's not discouraging, I don't know what is.  BUT, we always just make more.  And we have plenty set up for this week, so hopefully we'll be able to get to some of them. :)  We've been able to teach a lot of less active lessons, though, which is wonderful.  And we have some appointments set up this week with our favorite Claudine, as well as some other referrals.    Yesterday was our District Conference, so Saturday night we took a train to Rennes (2 1/2 hours), and stayed the night with a senior couple, The Harrises, who are actually finishing up their mission this week and heading back to Mesa.  We met some wonderful people.  I really like Rennes, they have lots of work going on there, and a strong ward.  We met Pierre, who knows Seour Pace, and some others.  I'm excited, because this transfer there are sisters coming in, so I might be able to serve here someday!  The Conference was splendid.  President Cadin, the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency, brought the friend of his daughter with him, so we got to sit by her and give her a Book of Mormon.  All of our Branch members were so happy to see us, and the entire district was ecstatic to see sister missionaries.  We heard talks from The District Presidency (including Frère Lucas, whom I adore- he's the 2nd Counselor), and the President and Sister Poznanski.  It was wonderful.  We came home with Sandrine, and had lunch and a quick lesson with her aunt and cousin, who are less active.
     This is the first week of my second transfer!  Oh goodness!  That means tomorrow is my last District meeting with my first District.  Six of us are staying (Soeur Creager et moi, Elders Beckstrand, Ensign, Hatch, and Dickson), and Elder Liao, our wonderful District Leader is going back to Paris for his last transfer, and Elder Burgess is going to be a District Leader in Angers.  We will miss them, but we are excited, because our new DL will be none other than Elder Gubbay, who has been an Assistant to the President for the past 6 months, but has come to be our District Leader for his very last transfer. 
    Other crazy news, we are getting a mini missionary in a few weeks!!!  She's from Vannes, and will be on vacation, and will be staying with us and helping us!  I'm so excited for her insight, love, and support, and help with the language!  It will only be for a few weeks, but it will be great. 
                   That's about all for me, but thanks for the love and support!
                           Soeur Bracken
Also, here is a picture of me- the orange thing is a slug.  One day we counted 16.  They're either orange or black.  Happy Halloween?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Happenin' Week

It doesn't take much to make Lexi happy....JUST:
Getting back missing stuff,
Receiving letters,
Having people to teach, and
Getting packages and tapes.
 Where to begin? At a District Meeting this last week the Zone Leaders brought a jacket and necklace that Lexi had left @ the Mission Home. Also 2 letters from friends from the MTC. For those of us who know and love Lexi...are you surprised she left her jacket and necklace? either.
 Soeur Bracken and Creager had a Sister exchange with Sisters McKay and Huntsman in Cholet. Lexi and Sister McKay stayed in Cholet, Sister Huntsman and Creager traveled back to Quimper.
In Lexi's words "It was fantastic!" Soeur McKay and Bracken set their goals and to their amazement the night filled up with contacts and visits. It seemed to Lexi rather miraculous and wonderful.
Back in Quimper they have a new contact...Patricia, a referral from one of the families in the branch.
Sounds like the language is coming along for Lexi...or at least she is getting braver in her teaching.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Florence, Felines and a Feeble French Conference...oh and slugs too.

Lexi was excited for conference this past weekend....however she did not get as much out of it as she might have was in FRENCH.
 From Lexi; " 6 months ago @ April Conference I posted on facebook that this was the last time I would be watching conference in English for a while. Several people replied that I would most assuredly watch it in English, but now we know I spoke the truth!"
They watched Conference at the church with a FEEBLE attendence. Most people can watch it in their homes on the internet. Lexi did however note that she rocked at listening to the songs.
This week Lexi and Sister Creager are on exchanges. Lexi will be a Sister McKay in Cholet, Wednesday and Thursday. ALSO...(drum roll here) they got their car. It is a Chevy Cruze. Lexi will be driving everywhere because foreign drivers license are only valid for a year and Soeur Creager has hit that mark. She is freaked out because the roads are skinny and many are just one you have to make sure no one is coming towards you before you head down the street. The entrance to the parking lot is 6 feet wide. Lexi holds her breath and Sister Creager says "Think skinny".
One night last week after parking the car they met FLORENCE. "She is kind and sweet and says we can come visit her". Yea. Also, they are working with Claudine who has 9 FELINES. That's right 9 cats. Souer Creager is allergic to cats. Hmmmm.
Last but not least.....from Lexi,"The slugs here are crazy! They are like 4 inches long and orange! Seriously, look them up on line!"

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I actually think Lexi HAS been to Moab and Arches. Isn't that where her and friends went last spring?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"The District"

Our own Sister Bracken had her first District Meeting. There are 8 Elders in the District. Any of these names sound familar?...Elders: Hatch, Liao, Beckstrand, Ensign, Burgess and Dickson. Apparently the other 2 don't count...she didn't mention their names.
Friends, I thought Lexi might be a bit down and frustrated this week...but surprise, surprise...she sounds pretty happy. A bit of stress in teaching a combined Relief Society/Priesthood lesson (and a Sunday School class too), but doing well. Perhaps it was because she visited her first Creperie. She says it was delicious!
And just to prove that it is a small world, the server at the Creperie had been to Utah. (Arches and Moab).
Lexi has not been to Arches and Moab. Also, a missionary who had previously served in the area came back to visit and is friends with a guy from Lexi's ward in Provo. His name is/was Elder Jeter.
I am looking (on behalf of Lexi) for successful ways to introduce yourself, or the Gospel to strangers. I know there are returned missionaries out there reading this blog. Got any great ideas for me to pass along?Of course, I gave her my brilliant plan.......but a general rule she rejects her mother's ideas.
Until next week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

And now the work begins...

From Lexi's e-mail: " So the branch here is tiny, about 30 active members from Quimper and all the surrounding areas(about 40 miles). This has been a kind of "baptism by fire" experience, seeing as we are whitewashing the area, we really have no progessing investigators, it's starting to get cold, and soon I'll have to be driving a stick shift up and down the hills of Quimper".
An explanation here...... they pulled the Elders that were serving in this area out and sent in Sister Creager and  Lexi.  Lexi asks for special prayers that they will find people to teach.
She finds it hard to approach people... but has had some success.
On a different note, Lexi was talking to a Sister missionary from Brisbane,Australia. Lexi told her, her dad was elk hunting. She had no idea what an elk was. The Sister then ask Lexi if she knew what a wombat was. Lexi ask if it was like a racoon. She had no idea what a racoon was. According to Lexi it was all quite funny.
Lexi requests that letters and such be sent to her addresss in Quimper, not to the Mission home. The Mission home is approx. 5.5 hours whatever is sent to the Mission home she will not get for about 6 weeks.
Thanks to all who love and support and keep Sister Bracken in your prayers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First e-mail from France

Folks, Soeur Bracken and company(13 in all) arrived Tues. Sept 11th in France. Seems they are increasing the volume of missionaries in the France, Paris Mission. We, as parents, are proud of her packing skills...she came in at 50 lbs. Good job, Lexi! They spent a day and a night at the mission home getting acquainted with President and Sister Poznanski; and had what to eat? might ask.... hamburgers and french fries in a restaurant that looked  like it belonged in Dallas, than Paris.
Wednesday, the trainers/companions arrive and off to their first location. Lexi is in Quimper, France (pronounced "Camp-eh"). Friends, she is very close to the ocean. She can wave to England. Of course, I had to immediately check the humidity. That would be 94%. Are you wondering how she will manage to stay warm this November and December? Me too. Lexi's anti-tights attitude may well be a thing of the past. She seems happy! Her companion is Sister Creager from Morgan/Mountain Green area. The apartment is across the street from the train station. The Branch is small, about 30 members.
Lexi did mention when she and Soeur Creager finally went to the store ...she managed to promptly pick out the hardest/worst baguette in the store. Love you, Lexi!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First area assignment

Soeur Bracken has arrived in France, met her Mission President, (President Poznznski) and his wife and is now in her first area. Here is her address:
Soeur Bracken
Les Missionnares
17 bis Ave de la Gare
29000 Quimper
Undoubtedly, the next few months will be interesting as she adjusts to her new environment, food, language and culture.
Her sense of humor may be honed (as if it's not already). A letter might be nice.
Also, there is a Mission Facebook page:
France Paris Mission Poznanski

Monday, September 10, 2012

2 and 1/2 minute talk

We waited and waited for Lexi to call from the airport. We still don't know what the hang up was; but finally around 4:05 the phone rang. So great to hear that voice on the other end! Her flight was at 4:50 so we kept it very brief...just long enough to have Jessica (her niece) say hi and I love you. Long enough for her to say her head was about to explode with the realness of it all. Long enough to say how good it was to hear her voice and that I saw Craig at the temple. Long enough to say our "I love You's"; then on to other family members waiting for a chance to say hi.
She's going to be a great missionary!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Friends, the time has come for Lexi to fly across the atlantic and find herself in France. Sept 10th, (sometime around 5 p.m.) she will board a plane along with her companions for the next chapter in her mission experience. Is she excited? Yes! Is she nervous? Yes! Does she still want more clothes? Yes!
Oddly, her opinion of the MTC has done a 180. Remember the words "This place is crazy". And "I hope the time goes by fast here". Well......
This from her last e-mail:  "I DON'T want to leave the MTC. I love it and I love my district and I LOVE my Zone, and just knowing that I'm not going to see so many of the Elders that are in my Zone and District(many are going to Montreal,Canada or Lyon, France) makes me sad. I am also going to miss the Sisters, although many of them are going to Paris with me.
And then she related this: "Soeur Mataalii and I thought about trying to run away and staying in America, but in the end I said, "Well, I guess we'll just have to move to France next week". "I then laughed, because it's not very often in life that someone gets to say that line. "I guess we'll just move to France next week".
Clearly, Lexi has made some lasting friendships during the last 8 weeks. Hopefully, we will get a chance to talk to her  prior to her boarding the plane. An update after that will be posted.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Here is the latest from Sister Bracken:

Lexi's best friend in the MTC is Sister Hermana Smith who entered the MTC the same day as Lexi.

Lexi on the airplane ride to San Fransico with Soeur Mataalii.

Elder Dalmer (Oregon) Elder Rigby (Sandy) and Elder Kendall (Texas) are all going to Paris as well. 

The next few pictures are from Lexi's adventures in San Fransisco.  Soeur Miller (Texas) is the girl with the dark hair next to the all silver man on the pier. While in San Fran, they ate at Boudin's where Lexi tried on the crab hat, naturally... Soeur Stapley (Smithfield) is with Lexi and the captain. While at the airport, Lexi ran into her friend Lindsey Sterling. Lindsey had just finished filming another music video. "She is a wicked awesome violinist, seriously- look her up."

Here are some pictures of her district.
Back Row: 
Elder Lopez (red tie, Orem)
Elder Smith (black tie, Provo) (They are companions and played soccer together growing up... just a little side note.) 
Elder Brinkman (Riverton, whistles like an angel and makes Lexi laugh frequently. He also took 3rd in state sewing while in high school.) 
Elder Lanning (Yellow tie, california, and apparently as a laugh as contagious has Lexi's... Lexi was concerned about sounding a bit prideful with that comment...)
Elder Mortenson (Orange tie, Oregon, always happy and quick to laugh.)
Bottom Row:
Elder Ritchie (light purple tie, Michigan, very funny, very smart, and plays football for SUU.)
Elder Frank (dark purple tie, Southern California, runds a mile in 4:10!)
S. Mataalii (Southern California)
S. Jensen (South Carolina)
With some other sisters...

Random Picures
The dog she is holding is named Lexi and was in the mailroom at the MTC so they let human Lexi hold dog Lexi.
 Lexi and her roommates, Sister Tesch (Liberty, curly blonde hair and white shirt) and Sister Jensen (Logan, blue skirt, brown hair), both Sister Tesch and Sister Jensen left to the Philippines a few weeks ago. Lexi's room got a new "solo" sister (only sister in her district so when she isn't with her district, she is with Lexi.) Solo sister's name is S. Kailipani (Hawaii, in the middle with blue/white shirt, going to Vanuatu by New Zealand.

S. Miller (Texas, blue shirt) and S. Stapley (Smithfield, white shirt) and random boxes. They (the sisters, not the boxes) are going to Paris with Lexi.

Some pictures with sisters in Lexi's zone before most of them left. One of of her favorite sisters is S. Weller from Kamas. She was in the MTC 12 weeks because she had to learn French and Tahitian. (I don't know which one S. Weller is... sorry!) Also a picture with S. Johnson (Perry!).


Here is Lexi with a Sister Allison Long. They were friends at Dixie! Sister Long left a couple weeks ago to Japan.

Some Elders were photo bombing the picture, so they invited them to be in the actual picture. "Best. Decision. Ever."

And of course, a few pictures with Elder Sullivan. Sometimes they remembered the "no pictures with just one sister and elder" rule, and sometimes they didn't....

And now for a short story (in Lexi's words": Last Monday at 6:30 am the fire alarm went off. S. Mataalii had literally just started taking a shower. It was quite amusing to see her come back into the room with her lava-lava and saying "no. way. no no non no no no. Heck no." There was a little bit of smoke as she and I rand down the stairs but it was a false alarm. Turns out, a sister had burnt some popcorn and it had started to smoke. All I could say to myself after that was "Who in the world has the time, or desire, to have popcorn at 6:40 in the morning?!"

Lexi leaves the MTC on Monday, September 10th and is very excited!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Clothes and Squirrels

A week after Lexi arrived in the MTC she wrote to say she must have been the only Sister missionary who did not get the memo that 6-8 outfits really meant 10-12. Hence, would I please buy her more clothes?
(Sigh. A mothers work is never done. :) )  Tacy, Julie, Stephanie and I met up at Fashion Place Mall to do what we could. Not to be boastful...but we are excellent shoppers with excellent taste. Two days later Lexi recieved a mini-Christmas of sorts with some new clothes. She seems pleased.
In practicing her French, Lexi was ask by a fellow Elder, "What are you doing?" Her response (or so she thought) was "I am going to the park to feed the squirrels". The Elder exclaimed "What?". What she had actually said was " I am going to the park to eat squirrels".
Two more weeks and Lexi leaves for France. We think around the 10th of Sept.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Elders...

There are seven Elders in Lexi's MTC district.  Elder Lopez is from Orem. Elder Smith from Provo. Elder Ritchie hails from Michigan. Elders Fronk and Lanning from California. Elder Mortenson from Oregon and Elder Brinkman from Riverton. Lexi has bonded with these guys the last 5 weeks over a variety of things.....mostly laughing. However, there is also common interests in skiing/snowboarding, Brian Regan, a love of going to the Dentist office, lima beans, peas, and spinach. Most of them are going to Africa to serve. Lexi is happy as many of them will be going to BYU when they they hope to run into each other again in the future.
Sister Jensen is on the mend, thankfully. Also, Lexi has come to the conclusion that as long as she can say 'toilette' and 'baguette' she will be fine in France.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

One month down.....

It is Lexi's hump day in the MTC. My how the time flies when you're having fun. A month or so from today, Lexi will jump on a airplane and head off to France. From her e-mails, I have a hunch she will have her bags packed, passport in hand and be standing at the front of the line. She might miss the food @ the MTC, the missionaries in her district, her french teacher @ the MTC, and the mountains of Provo.....maybe not much else. Speaking of Provo. Lexi finds it odd to be "in Provo"....but not really "in Provo". Poor thing. Speaking of jumping on airplanes...cousin Reece who has been in the MTC with Lexi heads out for Mexico Monday morning. Good Luck Reece. Lexi has loved being there with you. We love you too.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

#2 Ashamed or Proud?

Lexi is in a threesome. Soeur(Sister) Jensen has had a tough time. In fact she developed an upper respiratory infection which is now pneumonia. Lexi and Soeur Mataalii took Soeur Jensen to the Doctor. They went with a group of Elders. When they enter the Dr's waiting room the Olympics were on the TV. In Lexi's words
"One of the more pure Elders stated he was torn between not watching TV or watching the Olympics. I promptly replied, "I don't know about you, but I'm sitting in a waiting room, my companion is sick and the Olympics are on. I'm watching the Olympics."
Lexi mentioned she still wasn't sure if she should be ashamed or proud.
However their favorite line while watching the Olympics, "The cyclists are down to their last 25 miles".
Lexi loves the food. And, loves the gym time. However with Soeur Jensen sick...they have been rotating so someone is with her.
Lexi has become great friends with Soeurs Miller and Stapley (from Texas and Smithfield respectively). They found out there are only 10 sisters missionaries in the France-Paris mission. They are excited as they know they will be likely be serving with each other in the coming months.

Two recaps #1

The MTC is crazy. Lexi sometimes thinks she is going to bolt and run for her life...but it is getting much better. "Definitely the first week is the hardest."
The missionaries going to France must make a side trip to San Fransico to the French Consulate. They have made that jaunt. Both flights were delayed, but all worked fine in the end.
And Lexi wished me luck cleaning her it turned out...I needed much more than luck. She is a pack rat. Wonder how that's going to work when it's time to come home from France.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just babies

Recap of Lexi's e-mail from Tues.
Most of you have figured out that this is Liz....Lexi's mom...(.not Lexi )posting. And I have no idea how to change that it is I posting (at the bottom of this page) let's move on.
Lexi loves her district! She dislikes French. P-days are the most blessed days of the entire week. Did I know that they are allowed to take a small nap during personal time? A NAP!! If only they could sleep in than life would be complete.
In her words " French is killing me. I don't know how I am going to do it, but I guess the Lord has a way. It's funny to me that all the new missionaries (myself included) look up to all the missionaries who have been here longer..but then I stop and think about it and I'm like...wait....these missionaries are STILL in the MTC. They are just babies like me."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recap of Lexi's first letter from MTC:
Hmm...  she think the place is really. In her words: "They really do plan every activity for you with about 5 minutes between each class, just enough time to get where you need to go. "
Her companions...she has two are: Soeur Jensen from Columbia S.C., and Soeur Matagli from L.A. Calif.
Lexi has also ran into several people she knows...for instance: Reece Sullivan(cousin) , Jen Moore, Nikole Smith, Katie Robinson, Bryan Perrenard(sp) Danny Olsen, Kyle Braithwaite, a friend Allison Lang from Dixie and a friend Connor Peck from BYU.
Typical of Lexi and I say this with all the love in my heart, she left me a list of things she wants sent that she might have forgot to pack.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 11th!

Prior to Lexi entering the MTC most of the Bracken family met for lunch at Carrabba's (per Lexi's request.) Lexi reported that she slept just fine Tuesday night and 7:15 came a little early. Hopefully she is adjusting to the early mornings! 

Here are a few pictures from lunch.
 Lexi happily showing her cleaned plate.. "I would rather eat all my food and be slightly uncomfortably full then suffer through the thought of someone else enjoying my leftovers."

As far as the drop off at the MTC goes, here is Liz's report:
  Les and I drove her to the MTC. Gave her a hug, said we'd see her in 18 months and sent her on her way. I did shed a few tears...after I shut the door. A few seconds later we honked at her as we drove off past her and she smiled that great Lexi there you have it. Lexi did want me to tell everyone thank you for your love and support.

We are anxiously awaiting her first letter! Thank you everyone for your love and support!

She would love to hear from you!
Sister Lexi Beth Bracken
MTC Mailbox # 183
FRA-PAR 0911
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

By the way, here is my MTC address, I'll let you know what my mission field address is when the time comes!

Sister Lexi Beth Bracken
MTC Mailbox # 183
FRA-PAR 0911
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793
Lexi leaping in the air on 'Leap Day'- the day her mission call came.

Hello everyone!  So this is the actual Sister Bracken.  I leave for the MTC tomorrow and I'm just trying to get everything set up for my mom.  Man, what a crazy day!  My friend Nikole Smith and I went to the Bountiful Temple this morning (she's entering the MTC tomorrow also, going to Chicago Illinois, spanish speaking).  Then a trip to the Distribution Center and to Wally-World.  Then I had to say good-bye to Craig, and then I got set apart!  I'd packed a little earlier, but now we're in the hard-core stage.  I'll be entering the MTC tomorrow around 12:40, and then the REAL adventure begins!  Luckily for me, the MTC will be chock-full of people I know.  My cousin Reece, my friend Allison Long, Nikole, and my other two friends who are also entering tomorrow, Jen Moore and Katie Robinson.  I might even see a few familiar faces amongst the employees (from my year at BYU).  I'm not going to lie, I've cried a few times today, I'm sure from a healthy mix of being tired, overwhelmed, and having to say goodbye to people.  Hopefully it will get better!  Wish me luck!