November 04, 2013

Pre-Blessed Food! (double pre-blessed!) - Week 63

A transfer day, a baptism, two broken cars and four trips to the airport later, the week is over! Don't worry; even though I'm the only driver for the mission office, I wasn't the one that damaged either of the cars.

It started off with last week, when we went with the three other office Elders and Elder Prince to play a game of boules at the boulodrome (or pétonc if you're from the south). It's just a popular French game that involves throwing heavy metal balls across a dirt field. Elder Prince claims to be a boules master. We were all pretty confident that we would play well and easily humble him. I mean, come on. We're young and strong and have good eyesight, right? Well, let's just say that Elder Prince took our boules confidence, broke it in two, smashed it in the ground, and tossed it into a river. No mercy.

Once we gained back our self-esteem, Elder Clarke (my old comp) and I drove over to the good ol' Charles de Gaulle airport to pick up all the luggage for the new missionaries. It was really fun to be on the other side of the whole process: I remember exactly all the missionaries who came to pick me up from the airport. We got to be the ones to give them all their first pastries and tell them how lucky they are to be in the Paris mission. 

Next, I again got to be the lucky one to drive the van full to the brim with luggage through the center of the city and back again, going through the Arc de Triomphe. Quel adventure! A 12-lane roundabout, and not a scratch. I'll call that a success.

Thursday morning involved taking the luggage to the airport for all the missionaries going home. We got all the missionaries going to the US on their planes, then got a call from a Sister going back to Australia. She had to board her flight in an hour, the airline company wanted to charge her almost 700 euros for her bags, and she had no way to pay it. It was an adrenaline spike, but a very nice worker at the airport went leaps and bounds to cut us some breaks and get her on the plane.

We took a third trip on Friday morning to drop off another Elder who was going home, then again this morning to drop off a French Sister who waited for her visa en route to the Temple Square Mission. It's a pretty fun job. Meanwhile, we've been without a car as the van has an electronic problem that is taking four days to fix, and our backup Chevy Cruise has a non-functioning instrument panel. Luckily, President has been letting us use his car because it's a long walk to the airport.

In between airport runs, Elder Hill (my new comp) and I somehow found the time to organize a baptism. We had the interview, organized the talks, printed the programs, found a violin for the musical number, and made enough apple crisp for the whole ward. Luckily, with all the preparation, the baptism went really smoothly. I got to be the lucky one to baptize Betty, and now the ward has another whole family with two young, fantastic children! She was really nervous, but she bore a testimony at the end too. Her husband has basically stated it as fact that their children are going on missions so they can be "men and women of God like you."

After the baptism, we served the apple crisp to the ward. Elder Hill put it all on tiny plates, then laid all the plates on a big table. I walked in and everyone was gathered around the table just staring at it, so I shrugged and decided to be the first to take one so everyone else would be comfortable to do so as well. As I was relishing in the moment and giving myself a pat on the back for the 25 apples I peeled the night before, a lady said, "Elder Wilson! It's not blessed! What are you doing?!" Suddenly, the roomful of people whipped around to look at me with a mouth full of un-blessed dessert. I took a second to swallow, then chocked out, "Uh ... don't worry. I blessed it already." With that, everyone rushed the table and the 40 plates were reduced to 3 plates in a matter of seconds. At least they all enjoyed it.

As if the week wasn't busy enough, Elder Hill and I also got a new apartment and moved all of our furniture, food and personal belongings to our new place. Luckily it was just next door, but it's a much nicer and cleaner apartment then our last one. We found an executive chess board and set it out on the kitchen table, so we're probably the classiest Elders in the mission.

And thus ends the transfer week! It's a bit more exciting when you're in the middle of all of it. "Hey, buy us train tickets!" "Hey, get us a new phone!" "Hey, you need to go back to the airport!" "Hey, don't forget you have a baptism on Sunday!" "Hey, our iron is broken!" "Hey, guess what! You're moving today!" "Help! My companion is gone!"

It's a good life. Hope you're enjoying yours as well.

Elder Wilson

Our game of boules

Betty, the newest member of the church in France. (awkward missionary pose)

These next photos are from the mission Facebook page. Thanks Sister Poznanski!

Trevor (red circle) getting ready to load all 24 new missionaries and their
luggage into the van.

Preparing all the luggage. Trevor's the only one without a jacket.

Handing out the French pastries, pain au chocolat, a mission tradition.

Helping with transfers.

Elder and Sister Prince, the office senior couple.