Hopefully you can distinguish the sarcasm seeping through the computer right now.
People ask us all the time if the world is ending or why we think the world is ending. We answer back that they only need to worry if they reject us, because everyone who talks to the missionaries and reads the Book of Mormon will be saved and won't die from the Apocalypse this week.
Just kidding, of course we don't say that. We calmly tell them that we don't think the world is going to end. However, I wonder if the above method would give us more success ...
We had a good week despite the panicked people asking us about the end of the world. It was a bit disappointing, because we had 20 lessons fixed (almost three times the mission average for this week) and half of them fell through, which is really abnormal. It's common to have a few fall through, but not 50%. Most of our investigators could get close to baptism if we can have enough lessons with them during the week, and the only hindrance to having more lessons during the week is finding members to teach single women with us. We spent three hours on Friday calling members to teach with us, and all of them rejected us. Eventually, we had to have a less-active skip institute so we could teach our investigator. Technically, we're not even supposed to call any members to teach with us. We're SUPPOSED to just tell our DMP when we have lessons, and he's supposed to schedule members to come. However, seeing as we don't have a DMP (ward mission leader) we do the work of the missionaries and of the DMP, including going to his meetings. Still, we have 6 investigators who are closer to getting baptized every week. We have a list of 250 less-actives or so we could go and visit in Strasbourg, as compared to the 80 'actives.' It's the same story for all of France though. I think that even though there's like 30000 or so members in France, less than 8000 are considered active. The few hundred missionaries make a big difference when that is considered. Regardless, we have plenty of things to keep us happy.
First of all, we had a bit of a ridiculous day on Tuesday. Every Tuesday morning, we get on a train to Nancy for district meeting. This Tuesday, we got up and went to the train station as usual and got on the usual train, despite running a few minutes late. Elder Dunn and I were exchanging looks of success for barely making it through the train doors before they closed when the train started moving out of the station. Our looks of success may have turned into looks of horror when we noticed that the train was moving the wrong direction.
As it turns out, the train going to Nancy was a few minutes late, so we had accidentally gotten onto the train going to Bâle. We were really afraid for a few minutes when we thought that the train had taken us across the border into Germany and out of our mission, but we got off in a French town named Selestat and bought tickets back to Strasbourg. We basically wasted a few hours on the train, but we thought it was funny afterwards when we had to explain to the Zone leaders why we wouldn't be at district meeting.
The next day, we taught a lesson to a couple while knocking doors in an apartment building. Upon finding out that we were American, they immediately offered to make us cheeseburgers and fries and brought out their American flag to hang on the wall. They're fascinated with all things American, and it's their dream to go to the United States. Actually, this is a fairly common thing in France. French people want to go and visit the United States much more than Americans want to come and visit Paris ... and that's saying a lot.
Another example of this happened yesterday, when a French person told me how awesome their few weeks in Wyoming were and how cool it was to see 'real cowboys' and gigantic American cars. Also, when we don't want French people to understand us when we speak English, we just talk in southern accents. They have no chance at understanding any English in a southern accent.
If you didn't know, missionaries knock on a lot of doors (and I have had the good fortune of only having three doors slammed in my face in the last 2 months of being here.) In France, a lot of the tracting we do takes place through the intercoms situated at the door of apartment buildings. Instead of knocking, we often just push buttons. Anyway, people say funny things through these intercoms. After we had people say they believe in aliens or that they only speak Alsacian, we rang an intercom last week that was particularly funny. It went something like this:
(Elder Dunn) Hello, we're representatives of the Church of Je---
After which, he was cut off by the lady at the intercom:
(Lady): Oh, you're missionaries? no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no!
And she continued saying "no" over and over again for another 20 seconds, after which Elder Dunn decided to join in for some reason:
(Elder Dunn): no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no? no?
I'm not sure why we thought it was so funny, but anyone from the sidewalk was probably intrigued by two people yelling "no" at each other through an intercom.
We get to go to Paris this week for Zone conference! Hopefully I'll see something besides the metro this time; cross your fingers.
That's all the news from here in France. I hope you all have a fantastic week. And by the way, I wasn't kidding when I told you to do some service and shovel a driveway for the Elderly. Yes, you.
Talk to you next week (since the world isn't ending.) And hopefully we can talk a member into letting us come to their house on Christmas day so that I can Skype with the family!