Monday, December 16, 2013

Mangez-Vous et Rendez-Vous a Rouen!

Bonjour!  I hope you all are having a great day and enjoying the winter weather that it seems a lot of you are having.  In Rouen it's still just cold with the occasional rain, but no snow yet.  We're hoping to get some for Christmas!  Our week here has been awesome and I just want to share a few of the amazing miracles we've seen!

First category this week:  Mangez-vous!
This week we have been spoiled with mangez-vous!  On Monday we had a mangez-vous with a member in our branch.  I'd heard stories from my brother, Randy, about raw French meat and I got to experience that this week!  We had frites, and then steak hache, or a ground beef patty that was cooked for 30 seconds on each side, and I have to say it was good!  Oh dear!  We finished with a salad which he said was fruit, but we thought that was odd since it had carrots in it, but I took a big helping and then later found out it was fruits de la mer (fruits of the sea) but it was still delicious and so nice of him!
Our second mangez-vous was with a new amis.   He is a referral from the soeurs.  We had to take a train to a little ville called Pavilly.   The first train was canceled so we had to wait about an hour.  We went to his house and after the lesson he told us he had some great fish soup to start with.  After making it through the fish soup we had the next course of some sort of meat in a gelatin.  "Eat it with bread," he said.  So, we tried it and found out it was like a spam.  Finally, dessert...a buche de noel.  This is a three chocolate ice cream cake that was delicious and quickly left our plates!
Our third and final mangez-vous was with a family from our branch.  We arrived and sat down to appetizers. Sausages, nuts and bread.  Shortly after we had a salad, which was a pain de poisson, or fish with cucumbers and tomatoes.  It was delicious and the presentations was amazing.  We had the main course next which consisted of steamed squash and veggies and then a big roast stuffed with French cheeses and ham. Oh was amazing.  The next course was a first for me and made me feel like I was really in France. It was the cheese course, a large platter with 5 or 6 different types of French cheese and of course fresh bread. By this point we were both stuffed but then came the dessert.  An almond pear tart that was delicious and they let us take the rest home!  To say the least we have been taken good care of this week and I can hardly wait for Christmas with all the good food!!!

Second category:  Ezechias
Ezechias is amazing and the most prepared person I have ever met.  We taught him last Tuesday.  We had given him a Plan of Salvation brochure that he had read and answered all the extra study questions in the back.  He wanted to ask a couple more questions...Wow...OK!  Thursday we decided to teach the Evangile of Jesus Christ.  At the beginning of the lesson we asked if he had any questions and he asked, "How do you do your baptism in this church?"  As we started to explain he pulled out a sheet with references of baptism he had printed off  He wanted to read them together.  We did and than we moved to repentance, and then the sacrament.  He asked why we don't use wine.  We introduced the Word of Wisdom.  He told us that he and his brother had a father who was a drunk and so they promised they would never drink, smoke, or do drugs and they never have.  Oh man!!!  As we finished the lesson we opened up the baptismal font to show him.  He looked so happy and then walking back to our chairs, he said, "I have one more question.  How long does a person have to meet with you to be baptized?"  We told him that you are ready after a couple more lessons and we usually have baptisms on Saturdays.  He asked, "Will the 21st of December work?"  So this coming Saturday Ezechias will be baptized and on Sunday be confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!  He described the experience to the members yesterday and to us again this morning.  He told us he has seen the truth come into his life with so much light and happiness.  His testimony is amazing to hear and I'm so thankful for him and how prepared by the Lord he is!

Third category:  Henri
It was the 31st of July, 2013 when I was on an exchange with Elder Wilson.  While on the tram we saw a new development and felt like we should go port there.  At the first door we met the Sonan Family.  Henri, Caroline, Yanik and Julie.  Henri had just gotten home from Chicago and was jet lagged.  Elder Daivs and I came back a week later.  We learned that he had just become a US Citizen, was a professor for BioChem research at the University in Chicago and was flying back and forth to work and be with his family.  As we taught them they were interested and had seen something about the MTC on the TV and wanted to learn more.  After three lessons with them Henri told us he had to go back to Chicago for the semester and would return in December.  We asked if missionaries could come and see him in Chicago and he said, "Yes."  We took all his information and sent it the the missionaries there.
I called Elder Eldredge to see if my Belge license had come yet.  He said, "No, but I have to tell you this. Last Sunday we had just come out of DMP meeting and we saw a man standing there.  He came up and asked for Elder Davis and Elder Player.  Elder Eldredge explained that we had left but they were the missionaries there now.  He said, "I'm Henri!"  Elder Eldredge thought for a minute and then remembered passing by to see Caroline and the kids and see if they wanted to come to church.  Henri was now back in Belgium and explained, "I just wanted to show these pictures to Elder Davis and Elder Player of my baptism and thank them for introducing me to the gospel."  Holy Cow!!!  Coolest thing I've ever heard.  He is now baptized and an active member.  His family is probably moving to Chicago with him soon.  His wife is being taught up in Belgium right now!  I was in shock and so excited to email him today and see the pictures of his baptism.

Fourth and Final Category:  Miracles and Misc.
We got to teach some amazing people the gospel this week including:
Fatumada, who said she can feel peace and let her problems go when she is able to talk about the gospel and read the Book of Mormon with us.
Christonvie who we made the 1 hour journey by bus to Neuf Chatel to teach him.  We had an awesome lesson and he wants to be baptized but needs to talk to his parents first...understandable.
Thereza and Augusto.  When we taught Thereza we left a Book of Mormon.  When Augusto saw his mom's Book of Mormon he asked if  he could have one and then stayed and participated in the lesson and offered a prayer when we were finished...awesome!
Last door last night we got in to teach Quentin.  He is 25 and a graphic designer.  He was never taught about God growing up and has been searching for a knowledge lately.  He loved talking with us and we are going back this week.  (To get to his apartment you enter a gate, climb up all these stairs, go through several reminded us of waiting to get on a ride in Disneyland!)
Also, we got to run to catch trains and then find out they were canceled, sing Christmas songs with the Soeurs (We have a new soeur, Soeur Castillo from Canada...she's great) and of course got to serve and see more of Rouen!

It has been a great week with miracles happening in Rouen.  Tomorrow we are off to Paris for the day for Zone Conference.  It's with 80 missionaries from 4 zones!  It will be awesome to get to see people from the MTC and Strombeek..  I hope you all have a great week, especially my dad!  Happy Birthday tomorrow, Dad! Thanks for all of your love and support and I hope you are all ready for Christmas next week!!!

Love you all-Bisous!
Elder Player
Elder Cramer and me at the place we email each week!

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