December 19, 2013

Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. - Week 69

Well, this has been the all-time busiest week and a half of my mission. I had to spend a few minutes thinking about the last time I wrote an email and what has happened since then. Here goes nothin'.

We started off last week going to the airport to pick up all the new missionaries coming in. There were three different groups coming in at three different terminals, so we had to coordinate who went where. The lot fell on us to wait for an Elder coming in from Canada and, after waiting an hour and a half after his flight landed, we started to think that he somehow slipped out under the radar and was wandering the streets of Paris. We jogged through the terminal a few times, then found out from one of the workers that he missed his connection in London and would be coming in a few hours later. We breathed a sigh of relief that we hadn't lost him after his first few seconds in the country, then went to load up all the luggage of the 24 missionaries. We gave them all pastries, then shoved their half-asleep selves on a train to Paris while we waited for the Canadian Elder to come on his later flight. 

As usual, we drove to the chapel in Paris, dropped off the luggage, rounded up the new missionaries and herded the flock to the hotel, then got a nap in before transfers the next day. That took more suitcase moving, driving, and running through the metros to get people through the city to different train stations to meet their companions.

Thursday was the dying day for the old missionaries going home, so we got permission to sleep in all the way until 3:30 AM, allowing us to jump out of bed fully rested and ready to tackle the bright, sunshiny challenges of a wondrous new day full opportunity. Either that, or we were completely dead. I can't remember. Kinda foggy. Anyway, two of the Elders had 7 AM flights, so we took the advance team to the airport and then came back for the others. Luckily, Sister Poznanski packed us a cute little sack breakfast for the road. Merci!

Elder Hill and I consequently were zombies for a good chunk of the day, and I decided to take on every problem at once by getting sick on the same day. Such is the life.

The next two days (Friday and Saturday), Elder Hill and I fell back into our normal routine (Ha. As if we had one.) and went to IKEA to equip a handful of 2 person apartments with everything they needed to be 4 person apartments. We went to a few places in Paris, Troyes, and Orléans (Old Orléans, not New Orleans).

That brings us to this week, where we put on a Christmas conference for 100 missionaries on Monday, 100 on Tuesday, and 100 on Wednesday. Sister Prince planned to give everyone a cup of wassail and a pastry. We were in charge of getting the 300 pastries and baguettes for the meal, so we went to the grocery store a week early to order it. We talked to the manager of the store, and she said, "Yeah, yeah, it'll be done" and grabbed the list out of our hands. We went back a few days later to make sure it was still good, and she said something like," Yeah, of course it'll be ready." So, with complete confidence, we marched into the bakery of the store and asked for our 300 pastries and baguettes. The poor lady working behind the counter almost lost her eyeballs as she freaked out, saying that no one ever said anything about an order. Nevertheless, she scrounged around and found what we needed for the day. Wohoo!

And thus it was that we went to an awesome Christmas conference complete with a meal, gifts, surprise letters from our families, Santa hats, and songs. It was fantastic. We helped out with the food and tables and translating for the meeting, then shuttled people back and forth between train stations. 

The next day, we had the second Christmas conference complete with a meal, gifts, surprise letters from our families, Santa hats, and songs. We helped out with the food and tables and translating for the meeting, then shuttled people back and forth between train stations. 

The next day, we had the third Christmas conference complete with a meal, gifts, surprise letters from our families, Santa hats, and songs. We helped out with the food and tables and translating for the meeting, then shuttled people back and forth between train stations.

This morning, I woke up with Groundhog Day syndrome and swore I would be living the same day for the rest of my life. It was just funny to translate the same things and do the same activities three times in a row. By the third day, I started translating the stories in advance on accident. It really was fun though, mostly because I got to see all my friends who are now spread out across the country. 

(editor's note: Groundhog Day is one of Trevor's favorite movies. Bet he never thought he would ever live it!)

On the second day, I saw Elder Player, who told me a cool story. Back when we were in Brussels together, we went on an exchange in July and were companions for a day. During the exchange, we were riding on a tram and felt the need to get off and knock on a few specific buildings. We did so, and the first door we knocked on was an American guy named Henry with his Belgian wife and family. Their family was taught two or three times, then he went back to Chicago for a few months. His information got passed to the Elders in Chicago. Fast forward. A few weeks ago, the missionaries in Brussels were having a meeting with the ward mission leader when Henry came into the church looking for the missionaries. He wanted to show them the pictures from his baptism and thank them (me) for knocking on his door and teaching him. Success!

Sorry. This email is a long one. Go ahead and take a break. Play some soothing music and recover.

Ready? Too bad.

In the last email, I briefly mentioned an Elder who stood on a toilet seat and broke it while falling into the toilet. For the conference, Elder Prince ended up finding an old toilet seat and rigged the white elephant gift exchange so the box ended up in the perpetrator's hands. He opened it up, and after he realized what it was, tears started coming down his face when he realized the joke. 

Two nights ago, we got a phone call from the couple in Brussels and got the assignment to pick up a sister missionary from the train station and take her to urgent care in the American Hospital of Paris. We waited with her companion in the hospital for a handful of hours and ended up making it back home close to midnight after dropping them off in the mission home. Then, last night, we got another call informing us we would be housing two missionaries for the evening, then dropping them off at the airport in the morning. We got up early again this morning to do so, then got back to write emails. Now you're all caught up.

Okay, now I'm stopping to breathe.

I feel like the week could be characterized by what Sister Stahly told us last night:

Soeur Stahly: "Does anyone ever tell you that you guys work too much?"
Us: "Uh, not specifically ..."
Soeur Stahly: "Well, you don't. Get back to work."

She's actually really nice, not abrasive, and totally joking, but I suppose we could have squeezed in an extra phone call or two in between tasks.

Anyway. Life is great. Love you all. Merry Christmas. TTYL.

Elder Wilson

Translating for the new missionaries 

Some of my MTC group