Monday, January 14, 2013

What do you get when you put a Colombian, Brasilian, American and Canadian in the same apartment?

Dear Toutes,
The answer to the question (in the subject line of the email):  The Sisters missionaries serving in the areas of Torcy and Nogent.  This past Saturday was the ever-so-anticipated 'Transfer E-mail' Day.  It was then that Soeur Alves and I discovered many things.  First, we found out that she would be staying here in Quimper, and that her companion would be Soeur Paxton, a wonderful sister with whom I spent a couple of weeks in the MTC.  We then searched the repetoire for my name and found that  I would be serving in Nogent, which is just on the edge of Paris.  Crazy!  Luckily, after having spent a day or two in Paris this past week (I'll recount the story in a few minutes), I'd decided that serving in/near Paris could be cool.  So yes, I will be heading to Nogent.  When we first looked to see who my companion would be, both Soeur Alves and I were surprised.  "Soeur Thibault?  Who in the world is Soeur Thibault?  Is she a french sister who will be waiting for her visa to serve in the US?  It took us a good couple of minutes before we realized that Soeur Thibault was one of the two sisters who arrived in the mission this past transfer (she came in a few days after the transfer, so we didn't have the chance to meet her 6 weeks ago).  She was being trained by Soeur Alley in Nogent, but for this transfer, they switched Soeur Alley to Caen, and me to Nogent!  And since missionaries are 'trained' for two transfers, that means that now, I have the awesome priviledge of completing Soeur Thibault's training!  What the?!  In mission terms, I will be her step-mother (Soeur Alley being her mom).  I'm SOOOO excited!  I'm so excited to work with Soeur Thibault and learn and grow with her!  I know it's going to be a great transfer.  She is from Canada (Soeur Pace, I heard you know her really well!  Is it true that she lived with your family?), and already speaks french, so that's a bonus.  Another thing I realized on Saturday is that the sisters of Nogent and Torcy are the only sisters in the entire mission that live together.  So....enter the picture: Soeur Barrero and Soeur Soares.  I love Soeur Barrero.  She is originally from Colombia, but moved to France about 5 years ago.  She came into the mission the same time as me, and I really like her.  I don't know Soeur Soares very well, but I know this is her last transfer, and that she is from Brazil.  And so, you have an American, Canadian, Colombian, and Brasilian, all living together in France.  What a world.  I'll let you know how everything goes!  On Wednesday, Soeur Alves and I will take my last (probably) 5 hour train ride to Paris, and meet everyone there.Now, I am sure you are wondering, "But why in the world were you in Paris this past week?"  The short answer: Legality.  The longer answer:  Soeur Alves and I received a phonecall last Wednesday stating that I hade an appointment in Bruxelles (Brussells, Belgium) on Friday in order to do my legality papers in case I am ever called to serve in Belgium.  I was told I was to be at the North Gare in Paris at 9:15 am.  So, Thursday afternoon, Soeur Alves and I took a train to Paris (there was an accident on the railroad, so we were at a standstill for 1 hour and 15 minutes, making for a 6 hour train ride), and spent the night at Evry, which is another area in the Paris region.  Then Friday, we went to the Gare, met up with everyone, and Soeur Mataalii, Elder Hammons (from Garland, Ut), and Elder Johnson, and I took the train to Bruxelles.  There we met up with almost everyone else from our group at the MTC.  It was SO great.  Honestly, it was a blast.  We talked (Elder Hammons and I spoke a lot in French to each other, which was great), and laughed, and had some famous Belgium french fries and gauffres (waffles), and saw the famous statue 'mannakin-pis' (or something like that), which is the famous statue of the little boy peeing.  You'll recognize it.  Then we went and signed three papers, and headed back to Paris.  Needless to say, it was an interesting way to celebrate our 6-month mark! :)  After spending Friday night in Evry again, we returned to Quimper.  It was hard to say goodbye to everyone yesterday, but I know Soeur Paxton will be a great contribution to the work here.  The daughter of the Diévals lives in Nogent with her family, so obviously, Soeur Diéval was super excited for me.  The members of the branche also told me that I shouldn't be surprised if the members are so close to each other in Nogent.  Because our Branche here is so small, it really is like a family.  I'm also going to be bummed to leave the tranquility of Quimper (not to mention that there aren't very many creepy men here).  But I'm so excited to work with a ward, and to be in the same District as Elder Johnson (who was at the MTC with me), Elder Wallace (who was in the MTC with me for 3 weeks), and Elder Beckstrand (who was in my first District here in the field), and Elder Horton (who also served here in Quimper).
   So, Soeur Alves and I are going to keep working hard, and helping the members, and trying to find new investigators.  The famille Lucas are taking us to the beach one more time today.  We've been able to teach the sister of Soeur Fauchi again, which has been awesome, as well as help the less active in our Branche.  It's been a great week.
  I hope all is going well for you all, and that you keep working towards becoming the best person you can be.  I've definitley realized a lot of 'faibless' that I have since I arrived in France, but I've also realized that I have the best help I could ever ask for in order to change myself, The Atonement.  Every chance I have to bear my testimony to someone, I feel the spirit more and more in my life.  I encourage you all to continue to look for opportunities to do the same. 
             Have a great week!
                 Avec amour,
                      Soeur Bracken

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