Alisa must have had time to write a hand written letter, because one arrived today! She has asked me to type it and add it to the blog.
Bonjour Ma Famillle-
Wow, the first week is already done. In a way I'm excited to hit this mark, but I'm also sad that part of my mission is already over. I have so little time and just want to make the most of it. I don't want to waste any of God's time.
Some cool information...We are here in the MTC until February 18th. That's only 5 1/2 weeks! We are the first group of missionaries to have the new MTC times applied. The crazy part is, we'll be leaving the same day as a group of elders who have already been here for a month! I hope that I can be ready in time, but I'm sure there's a reason for the change and that we won't be sent out unprepared. Another interesting fact, I'm the 7th youngest sister missionary to ever be at the MTC. They interviewed me for some article and everything. Cool, right?!
Just a little bit about my companions. Yes, I'm in a tri-companionship. It's interesting, but I really enjoy it. Sister Anderson is from Washington and is headed to the Paris France Mission. She's 21, is a student at BYU, and is planning on going to law school. She actually did an internship in Washington DC this last semester. Sister Anderson has had a lot of schooling in French so she has definitely been able to help me with the language. My other companion is Sister Bentley. She's almost 20 and surprisingly had her mission papers in before I did. She's from Aline, Ut and is going to BYU, planning on going to dental school. I love it because she's always so happy and laughs at anything I say that's even the least bit witty! It's great, and she's going to Lyon too!
The MTC is a crazy place. In less than 48 hours of being here, we were teaching a 30 minute lesson to an investigator (a teacher acting like one)...and we had to do it completely in French! Let's just say, it was not the smoothest and there's definitely room for improvement. Our days consist of studying in a classroom from 7am to 9pm with breaks for meals and gym. I don't think I've ever worked this hard in my entire life. There is so much to learn in so little time. It's incredible how quickly I'm able to pick things up, though. It's amazing to see how God works through his missionaries - you can see progress almost hourly. It's such a testimony that this is His work, I'm so grateful to be a part of it.
The Spirit here is absolutely amazing. Everyone just shines and is filled with so much joy. The Lord is definitely with those who He calls. One of the coolest things that I've experienced is being able to feel the Spirit in French. It's harder at times when you're reading responses or feel like you are only rattling off a memorized phrase. At one point, we were learning how to bear testimony.
After the lesson, we each got the opportunity to share ours in French. While I'm sure that many of my words were not conjugated right or put in the correct order, I was able to recall so much and the Spirit was very strong. It's humbling to not be able to speak well and be elaborate in speaking, but I think there's a certain power that comes with simplicity, especially when you have the Spirit.
Overall, this has been a great week. I wouldn't say it has been the easiest, but that's not what I signed up for. I have so much to improve on regarding teaching, the language, my testimony, and knowledge of the Gospel, and tons of personal shortcomings. I'm trying to put all of my efforts and energy into this work so that I can become the missionary that God desires and knows that I can be.
Without a doubt, I know that this Gospel is true. Honestly, I don't think anyone would be crazy enough to do this if it weren't. I know that God is with me and can strengthen me and make up the difference when I fall short. It's incredible to be His partner in this work.
I miss and love you all so much. Thank you for all of the letters, you have no idea the strength they've given me. Thanks for all of the support and have a great week!
Soeur Alisa Hulme
("Hulme" is pronounced "oom" - now the "H", "L", & "E" are silent...as though our name couldn't be more confusing)