The next morning, after Elder Beaverton and I had done our usual personal study and companion study, we set off to go out tracting. As usual, no one wanted to let us in. To break up the tedium and frustration of it, we played little games to vary our door approach such as picking a particular word we'd have to work into our opening line somehow.
The whole morning the only person who let us in to talk was an old guy who mistook us for the Amish. We would get this problem all the time because in the French version of the movie Witness, the word "Amish" was mistranslated as "Mormon". So a lot of times people would ask us about how we always drive around in a horse-and-buggy back home or some other crazy thing that of course we don't do. Still, it was better than getting mistaken for the Témoins de Jéhovah [Jehovah's Witnesses].
After grabbing a sandwich for lunch, we decided to spend the afternoon street contacting along rue Sainte Catherine, the main pedestrian drag that spans the whole length of the urban center of Bordeaux from the Place de la Comédie in the north to the Place de la Victoire in the far south. Rue Sainte Catherine and the main east-west pedestrian road rue de la Porte Dijeaux were good places to meet people because they were always crowded. Most people were on their way somewhere of course, but there were always a certain number of people who were just wandering around bored and were willing to stop and chat.
We were looking around for likely prospects when all of the sudden I heard a girl's voice say, "Hey, isn't that Spencer Hobbs?" I looked up and saw three girls walking towards us.
"God, Tanya, you're not going to make us talk to the Mormon missionaries here on vacation, are you?" said the shortest of the three.
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When they got close enough to read our name-tags, the first one said "It is, it's Sam Hobbs' brother! Here he is, just like Jared said he would be." So I'd graduated from being "Matt's little brother" to being "Sam's big brother" without skipping a beat. I should have known I'd have to get used to that after the four-page letter my mom had written me about how Sam had heroically scored the winning touchdown in the championship game...
Walking right up to me, the first girl pointed at my name tag and said "Elder Hobbs, huh? You wouldn't by chance be from Orem, Utah and have a little brother named Sam, would you?" The short girl looked annoyed.
I smiled. "How'd you know?"
"We're from Orem too."
"In a manner of speaking," added the tall girl on her other side.
"So you're friends with my brother Sam?"
"Here, let's sit down in a sidewalk café and have a drink," said the girl. "I'll treat you guys to a glass of... whatever the hell it is you guys are allowed to drink." She laughed. Her small friend looked more irritated than ever.
"We're not supposed to be hanging out in sidewalk cafés," said Elder Beaverton.
"What? Why not?" asked the girl. "We won't make you drink beer if you don't want to."
"It's not that," said Elder Beaverton. "The Mission President thinks it doesn't present a good image for missionaries to be seen hanging out in a sidewalk café."
"Not even for a referral?" asked the tall girl.
"You have a referral for us?" asked Beaverton, showing some interest for the first time.
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