Monday, November 4, 2013

Bienvenue a Rouen!

Welcome to Rouen
Sunny day in Rouen
Centre Ville de Rouen
In memory of Joan of Arc
My new companion - Elder Cramer
Joan of Arc Cathedral

This is where Joan of Arc
was burnt at the stake
Last Tuesday was a tough day in Brussels.  After packing and getting ready for my transfer the next day we went to say goodbye to Kingsley and Marsella.  Marsella wasn't there but I left a picture and explained that I was leaving for a new area.  They were pretty shocked, since I've been there so long, but I know that Elder Eldredge and his new companion will take good care of them.  Then we went to see Sylvestre and Elana.  As we walked in the door Sylvestre asked right away, "What's the news?"  I replied, "I'm off to Rouen!"  He asked why they take us away so fast and was not happy about the news.  Eleana fixed us a delicious dinner and then I said my goodbyes...not too fun.  I told them we'll stay in contact for sure.

Wednesday was the big day....Transfer day!  We woke up early to catch our train to Paris at 7:13.  We made our way to Saint Marie and I waited for my new companion.  I got to see tons of people from my group at the MTC.  It has been months since I've seen them and it was fun to catch up with them and talk to the new missionaries, who were waiting to see who their trainer was!  Finally, I met Elder Cramer.  He is awesome, from Sandy, Utah and went to Brighton High School.  I'm excited to work with him for the next little while.  We talked for a bit, grabbed a delicious French baguette for lunch and then we were off to Rouen.  We arrived in Rouen and went straight to Frere Andersons house for a Young Men's Activity.  I still had my luggage with me and I can tell you my luggage was super heavy!  After the activity we made our way to our apartment and I must say it is quite the change from our apartment in Strombeek.   We finished the night by doing a little tour of the city and contacting.  I'm in one of the prettiest places ever!  France is sure different from Belgium.  It is full of awesome old architecture, cathedrals and lots of pastries everywhere!

Thursday was the first full day here and we were off to work.  During the afternoon we went and did service for a less active amis and pulled wall paper down and then put new wall paper back up.  It turned out pretty good!  We did some porting to finish the day and talked to a lot of people.  But no one really seemed interested.

Friday and Saturday that changed a lot!  On Friday I met our Branch Mission Leader and he is awesome! We skyped with the Branch President and had a great meeting.  They are so excited and involved in the work here in Rouen.  It is awesome!  I know with the help of them we can find a family before Christmas to be baptized.  Even more!  When I first got here Elder Cramer said, "We will be doing a  lot of finding because they really haven't had very many amis or potentials.  First thing on Saturday morning we were out contacting in Centre-Ville and we met some amazing people.  The first lady we contacted was Noticia.  She has two girls, age l1 and 12.  We asked if she would talk to us for 5 or 10 minutes and she said yes!  We looked at each other in shock and said, "We'll be right over.  We taught a lot of the restoration and gave them all Book of Mormons.  As she read the intro you could see that it was touching her.  We finished by asking if one of them would say a closing prayer.  One of the girls asked, "What is a prayer?"  We explained to her about prayer and then she said a very simple first prayer.  You could see how happy she was after that!  I'm excited to teach them again tonight and see how they are doing on their reading.  As the day continued we continued to have more success.  We found two other families and in the next 3 hours set up some rendez-vous for the weekend and this week.  Elder Cramer and I agreed it was one of the best days of our mission so far!

Yesterday was my first Sunday here.  It was all in French.  In Brussels there was always English of some sort but now, "no games".  Rouen is a branch with about 50-60 members.  But with all the people who are ready to hear the gospel that won't last for long.  Church was filled with introductions, talking with people and singing in the choir.  During the second hour, Sunday School, the Branch President taught.  The lesson was about our goal to find and baptize a family before Christmas and the member are going to find a family too. It was cool to see how involved they are and how much they want for us to succeed!  After church we went contacting and had an awesome lesson with one of the families we met on Friday.  We taught her the next day, Saturday, and she had already researched everything about us. by Sunday.  She was asking questions about the Word of Wisdom, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and even Chastity.  It was so amazing.  After watching the restoration video we were about to bring up the Book of Mormon and bam!  She said, "Is there someway I can get that book?"  We pulled one out of our bag and gave it to her.  She has been searching for a church for years but has never found one.  I think she has now and I can't wait to continue teaching her and her children.  Marvine is is 14 and Marie-Orlande will be 8 on November 9th.

Today we were able to go see where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, do some grocery shopping in Centre-Ville and grab a pastry.  Now we're off to teach Noticia and her girls.  I'm so excited to be here in Rouen and to see the miracles come.  There are people here waiting for the gospel and I know we are here to find them and bring them to Christ.  Thanks for all your support and love from back home.  I hope you all have a great week!

Love - Elder Player

Bedroom in Rouen
Work space in Rouen

Kitchen in Rouen

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