Thursday, November 14, 2013

All It Does is Rain, Rain, Rain... No Matter What!

New friends in St Nazaire

Last P-Day in Paris
Last P-Day with Soeur Lefrandt
With my new companion, Soeur Huntsman.  We're soaked!

Lotsa rain in St Nazaire

Saying goodbye to my amis (friends)
Moving Day
Hello new amis!

Famille et Friends all around the world,

Whoa what a crazy week!

First off, I LOVE SAINT-NAZAIRE! Oh my, President is going to have a really hard time kicking me out of this ville! It is incredible! We live 2 blocks from the beach! (sorry pictures of St Nazaire to come next week, we were too busy doing missionary work). I LOVE the branch. I LOVE the people. I LOVE my companion. I LOVE everything about this place!

Well my week started off saying goodbye to all my beloved friends in Nogent. We visited tons of families and friends and it was a long 4 hour train ride to Saint-Nazaire. Luckily, Soeur Huntsman and I already know everything about each other so we were so pumped to just start the transfer hitting the ground running. We arrived in Saint-Nazaire after 3 ELDERS had to help us get all of our luggage to our main train. Yes, 3 elders and 2 sisters took our luggage on 2 metros and a train. Wow, that was quite a day..(both of Soeur Huntsman's bags were broken) When we arrived to the voie (the track) and were getting our luggage off the train, the people didn't see us trying to get our bags off and began SHUTTING the doors! Here I am with 2 of my bags and 1 of Soeur Huntsman's bags outside of the train and Soeur Huntsman is inside of the train with one of her bags and one of mine. Fear struck us both and I pushed with all my might to keep the doors open as Super Woman (my companion) somehow in 2 seconds flat had flung our bags out of the train and somehow managed to get out herself. Meanwhile a lovely French family standing nearby just watched us 2 Americans have a freak attack trying to get 5 pieces of luggage (well over 50 pounds each) off a train in about 5 seconds. It was quite a show folks. Sister Harris and Elder Harris (Senior Couple serving here in our branch) were standing far away trying to find us get off the train and saw the whole thing go down. They came running over just as Soeur Huntsman hopped out of the train and everyone was just so dumbfounded. We laughed for a good hour.

Saint-Nazaire! Ok, so we white-washed the Elders here out of the city. We also have their pea-sized apartment. We have 2 rooms: our kitchen and our bedroom/study room. Our shower is the smallest shower I've ever seen..but I LOVE it here so much I could care less. The members here are just incredible! When we arrived here we didn't have any food (other than the 2 frozen hamburgers in the freezer and 3 gallons of milk) and hardly any appliances. I have no idea how the elders lived here. So, the first thing we did was go get some food with our amazing new friends, the Harris couple. They drove us there and back and they're the sweetest. After that, we decided to go porting (door to door) The next day we got our bus passes and got some maps (since the elders didn't leave us anything haha) and we had a nice visit from 4 members (2 electricians to fix our broken outlet) and the other two helped us fix the broken radiators. We then went to the store AGAIN to get all of the appliances that were lacking in the apartment. That was really funny. We then visited the Relief Society President, Rachel and her 3 kids and surprised them with cookies. (halloween night) We thought we were so clever and then as we left their apartment we looked at our phones and saw she had already texted us to come over for pumpkin soup. These people are just too nice!

Friday we had an RDV (appt) with an incredible lady named Mirna and her daughter Jennifer. We had no information about them, but the elders had set an appointment with her. We went over and realized she had NEVER been taught so we got to know her and brought her some cookies and gave her a Book of Mormon. Her daughter, Jennifer, has so many questions about God because she really has no knowledge of who God is (she's 14 years old) Mirna is from Panama and has the biggest heart. They didn't come to church, but we are going to see them Friday and we are just so excited to get to know this family better. Right after we left Mirna (she lives RIGHT on the coast) there was a HUGE storm (felt like we were in a hurricane) and we sat at the bus stop for about 30 minutes in the freezing, rain storm only to realize that it was a holiday and the buses weren't running, so we had to have the Harris couple come save us (they are such a blessing!)

Saturday we met our ami named Esperance. The Harris couple went with us. Esperance has a date for November 23rd to be baptized and she has such a beautiful testimony. She has a little 4 year old boy named Anthony. We shared a quick message about Jesus Christ and His Atonement and got to know her. She is a cool lady and such a golden ami! We are so excited to help push her to be baptized hopefully this month. We also tried to pass by a member named Mata in our ward with her family. She is Tongan and doesn't speak much French. Her husband and kids aren't members but she LOVES church and she invited us over this week. Everyone says she is an incredible cook. After we got there and found out they weren't home, we decided to port the entire neighborhood. We didn't have much success, but we knocked on a man's door and he answered it and we said we wanted to share the Book of Mormon with him and he simply said, "Je l'ai" (I have it.) He returns a few minutes later with his own copy of the Book of Mormon! Whoa! He said he loves reading it and it makes him happy (he has some maladies) and he said he would love to get it in Portuguese since that is his language. We said of course, and he said he would try and come to church if it wasn't raining because he'd have to walk to church. (it ended up raining) He told us two elders came by and gave him the book but then never came back. It was such a miracle!

Sunday was incredible. Our church is held on the top floor of a building that looks like it was an old office building, but it's where they hold the church. The members are so nice. Everyone came up to us and just embraced us with so much love and would say, "FINALLY! We have sisters. Our branch is finally going to grow!" haha Sounds like missionary work here has been pretty rough. All of the women were just so excited to have sisters. Everyone was incredibly welcoming. These people already have such a special place in my heart.

There's no better place to be in the world right now than here in wonderful, rainy Saint-Nazaire serving my French brothers and sisters. I can't help but feel so much love for them, and I want so badly to bring them into the fold. My heart is full, my clothes are wet, and I couldn't be any happier!

Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

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