Bonjour Ma Famille,
This week has been amazing! It's crazy to think, but in less than three weeks I will be halfway across the world in France. It's an exciting and scary thought. I thought I'd start by telling you a little more about my district. It is very small, with only the three of us and a companionship of elders. Elder Hatch and Elder Clarke are the two elders in our district. They are both freshman at BYU. Elder Hatch is headed to the Congo and is absolutely hilarious. Elder Clarke is going to Paris with Sister Anderson and is an amazing people-person. Our district is very dynamic and I am learning so much from each of them. It's very nice to have such a small district too. There is a lot more individual attention when it comes to the language, which is much needed and appreciated. We were actually chosen as one of the new groups to be the testers of the program they are planning on instituting througout the whole MTC in a matter of weeks. It's a different format in teaching languages in a shorter amount of time. They actually have had one of the heads of the language department coming in all week and teaching us lessons while they film the whole thing. Crazy stuff being the start of the big changes! Just to give you a perspective of the changes being made... Just in our zone, my district of 5 missionaries came in 3 weeks ago, the next week no one came, then five, and next week we will be getting 45 missionaries followed by another 48 in the following two weeks. It's absolutely insane. They are adding an extra set of bunkbeds to all of the rooms tomorrow. They are also considering moving all of the weekly devotionals to the Marriot Center by the summer because there will be so many missionaries. It's such an incredible time to serve!
A couple funny stories from this week...
One morning as we were sitting at breakfast, someone asked me what random things that I missed the most while being here. I said something like, "Wearing jeans, the clicking sound of wearing heels, and my long blonde hair. Oh, and I really would just love grilled chicken and steamed vegetables." Yeah, I know. It was very random. I was so excited when I walked into the cafeteria that night to realize that they were serving grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. They hadn't had anything like that since we arrived. What a wonderful little tender mercy. It was delicious!
Next story...On Saturday night we were all back in our rooms getting ready for bed when the fire alarm went off. Usually that's a false alarm, but we walked out into the hall to a ton of smoke. So basically everyone freaked out and ran out of the building. We all gathered in the central building--girls were standing around in pajamas, with shampoo in their hair, with face cleansing foam on their faces, barefoot, etc. It was absolutely hilarious. Obviously the building did not burn to the ground, otherwise this would not be under the funny story section. Someone had burnt popcorn. I have no idea how there was that much smoke, but we had firemen in the building and fans going all night to clear it out. It was all worth it though, just for the story!
It was fun to hear that you guys were able to go and see Les Miserables again this week. What an incredible story (and not just because it's French). I actually have had a phrase from one of those songs in my head quite a bit since I've been here. In the song, "Who Am I?", he proclaims, "My soul belongs to God, I know. I made that bargain long ago. He gave me hope when hope was gone. He gave me strength to journey on." What an amazing message. As members of the church, we have made a commitment to God. He is always there for us, keeping up His side of the bargain. What are we doing? It reminds me of one of the devotionals that we went to this week. The speaker was talking about how we often look up to the pioneers and others who have given so much for the Gospel. While we should honor them, it is more important to emulate them. They're amazing for what they've done, but what are we doing?
I have loved my time here at the MTC. I am learning so much and the language is gradually coming. My companions are great and I can truly feel the Spirit here. It has also been fun to see so many familiar faces from Alta, Murray, and BYU. I have loved running every day, it definitely has been a great stress reliever. I'm just so happy, life is great. Thank you all for everything that you've all done for me. I can feel your love and prayers. Because I missed Ben's birthday and didn't get to say why I love him around the dinner table, I thought I'd do it here... Ben, I love how dedicated you are. When you really put your mind to something, such as football or school, you give it 100% effort and are never satisfied with anything less than your best. I think that's awesome. I miss the fun chats that we have and how we just seem to get each other. I hope you had a great birthday! I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week!
Je t'aime,Soeur Alisa Hulme