Man, life is crazy up here. I just want to say thank you guys so much for your support and encouragement. It meant a lot to me :) life up here in the north has been really good.
Dad - Yes, church was all in French. I am now the default branch pianist, and I'm probably going to be called as the second counselor. The branch president wasn't able to attend on Sunday (he works at the mines and sometimes can't make it out), so no calling yet, but it might be coming. Other than the missionaries, there's only 3 active Melchizedek priesthood holders, one of whom is our elder's quorum president. As far as English speakers, there are quite a few up here especially among the natives, but if you don't speak French, they don't really want to listen. I would say 70 percent of the population speaks only French, 20 percent speak both, and 10 percent speak only English. As far as companions go, the Tahitian actually had to stay down south and so Elder Hunter - the guy from England - and I have been figuring out this French thing. It's been a bit hard, because neither of us are native French speakers, and he's only been speaking for 7 weeks now, so I have to take the lead oftentimes with the language. It's been tricky to understand people and talk about the gospel, but I can honestly say I feel the Lord blessing me so much. My French has gotten a lot better this last week. I have such a testimony of the gift of tongues :) As far as the area, there's not much going on, but we do have a couple of eternal investigators. It won't be like that for long though. Haha, we're going to have so much fun.
The area I'm in covers two main cities called Rouyn (or Rouyn-Noranda) and Val d'Or. They're both mining towns about an hour and a half apart from each other with about 35 to 40 thousand people each. The branch is tiny, which is going to be a big change from working down south in all the huge wards. If you want to see my area, you can go onto LDS maps and look up the Abitibi Branch. We have church for 2 Sundays in each area. In Val d'Or we have a "chapel" which is really just 3 rooms of an office building, and in Rouyn we meet in the library.
Hadley - Things are going great up here Hadley :) Thanks for asking. Tell the groundhog to stop seeing his shadow so summer can come up here :) Haha, who are you planning on giving Valentines to?
Ellie - So we actually have an apartment in both the cities, so we move back and forth. We spend a few days in each one, which is cool. haha, for sure let me know when your thoughts on the boys change. Just don't like anyone until I get home, okay? Rhymes about Babe Ruth? You mean like a poem?
Mom - Ya, I think I'll probably finish out up here :) As far as the culture, honestly it seems a lot like France, but colder. In Montreal and the big cities in Quebec, I think they get more Canadian and American culture, but it's pretty untouched up here. It's just so far from everything else that the culture doesn't get watered down all that much :) The language has been fun. I actually had a pretty cool experience the other day. So, here's bit of background. This area has had a lot of struggles with the missionaries in the past, and for the last year there's just been a lot of trouble up here so President Shields is hoping to give it a fresh start. Therefore, on Sunday there was a mission wide fast for this branch that the work in the Abitibi Branch might go forward and that the French elders would be blessed. Man, that was cool. It was pretty amazing, honestly.
Hayden - Haha, no, the cold hasn't been too bad. Man, I had completely forgotten about the Superbowl :) That's kind of strange. I guess they don't care about it in Quebec. Pretty much all the news I get is from people on the street, but here the only thing I get updates on is Donald Trump. You gave a talk? That's pretty cool :) Good for you man.
Ashleigh - Haha, i had poutine like my first week in the mission. And it is good :) They sell it at McDonald's in Canada. Although it does taste better in Quebec. No, I haven't seen any igloos yet. Those are further north. As far as your "would you rather" question, if you talked like either of those examples, I'd probably just get back on the plane. But probably the second one, because you could at least get a job for sounding smart.
Anyways, that's pretty much all I got. It's been a great week up here. I'll give you quick update on the people we're working with.
Lise - been coming to church for years. Loves it. Some doctrinal concerns, but she's super awesome.
Vanessa - been taught for a long time. Believes everything, but just had to get married to her boyfriend. She's really awesome.
Skye - native tattoo artist. Really artistic. Super cool :)
Phillipe - Student at the university. Really wants to get baptized.
Benoit - Found him last week. He's really cool. likes music and Jesus.
Valida - Older lady who loves the missionaries. She's too old to come to church, but we do service for her sometimes.
Anyways, I love you guys! The church is true, the book is blue, and Jesus was a Mormon!