Monday, February 25, 2013


Bonjour Ma Famille,

I guess I haven't sent home an update in two weeks so this might be a little long...

So last Sunday we performed our song in sacrament meeting.  It went very well and it was definitely fun.  The Spirit was so strong as all of the departing missionaries were able to share their testimonies through song.  Haha, it was quite a bit of work to teach a group of 10 elders their parts, however.  I guess it was good practice.  The funny part was, after practicing the song tirelessly all week (I guess as much as we could have while still maintaining the rigorous studying schedule at the MTC), the song was not all that I had to do in sacrament.  Every week they pick two missionaries from the whole branch to give talks, you don't know about it beforehand, they just randomly pick you.  Yeah, you guessed it.  I gave a talk too.  It was pretty intimidating, especially as the entire thing had to be in French...and I had only outlined it (because that's how I'd normally do it in English and I assumed that they wouldn't have me do a talk and the musical number).  I was definitely wrong with that one.  But, I think that it went well, it was probably more heartfelt because it wasn't all planned.  There was definitely some poor grammar in there, but I was happy with it.  It was actually a very cool experience to talk about the Gospel and share my testimony in French my last day of the MTC.  I am in no way fluent in French, but it was a nice blessing to see how far I had come and to be able to share that testimony with others.  And...I cried.  I would not consider myself an emotional person.  I do not cry often, didn't cry at my farewell talk, haven't cried from missing people while I've been here (even though I do), etc.  But, for some reason, I just feel the Spirit so strong when I'm speaking in French.  This mission has broken me.  Hopefully I can pull it together when I get home, but it really is amazing to feel the Spirit so strongly and to get to share my testimony with others.

I loved my time at the MTC, but it is fun to finally be here in France.  It's definitely different.  I have two great trainers.  That's right, I'm in a tripanionship again.  I guess that God knows that I need a lot of help because I've had four companions in the last 6 weeks to teach me.  My trainers are Soeur Pfost and Soeur Hyrkas.  Soeur Pfost is 22, is from Ogden, UT and is at Utah State studying elementary education.  Soeur Hyrkas is from Finland, is 24 years old, and is studying finance.  I'm definitely the young one.  I'm the first 19 year old sister to come into this mission.  And, as far as I know, the youngest sister to come to France as a whole.  I've already learned so much from my trainers and am anxiously trying to gain all of the knowledge that I possibly can (but I'm not writing down every word that comes out of their mouths...if you get that reference).  We have so many new sisters coming into the mission in the coming transfers that we have to be prepared to train after the first two transfers (three months).  That is super intimidating and I hope that I will have more time than that, but I have to be prepared.  I absolutely love President Roney, I already feel like we are very close.  It didn't hurt that he chose "Angels We Have Heard on High" as our mission song.  How perfect, I would have a Christmas song as a theme song for the next year and a half.  He also did something really cool the first night that we were here.  He took each of the new missionaries to his office and polished their shoes.  It was symbolic in so many ways.  It made me excited to have the opportunity to start serving others 24 hours a day.

I am serving in Lyon.  All of the other new missionaries got sent to different places in Southern France, but they kept me right here in the middle of the big city-- tons of big buildings, public transportation, and endless, very confusing streets.  It's definitely something that I am not used to.  But, it's great.  I'm starting to get it all down.  Oh, and I brought the snow with me.  No one has seen this much snow here in forever, and it's almost spring!  I guess I can't escape winter.  As far as the language goes...hmm...  I'm definitely still learning.  I can maybe understand about 5% of what the people say (if they say it slow, repeat it several times, and my companions translate for me).  It's an adventure.  I am seeing progress, but they said that it usually takes a few transfers before you feel really comfortable with the language.  I figure that the only way to learn is to just put myself out there, which is exactly what I'm doing.  I can't wait until I will be able to talk to these people more.  Surprise, surprise-- I actually spoke in church this last Sunday too...and taught the Sunday School lesson.  Crazy stuff.  But, they're just throwing me in.  I really love the ward that I am getting to serve in.  It's incredible to be in a place where there are not many members and being able to see how those who do have the Gospel are truly converted.  They give everything they have to the church and supporting the missionary efforts.  I have also come to love the couple investigators that I have had the privilege to teach lessons to.  It has been amazing to see people in the way that Christ does as I have been acting as His representative in this city.

With all of the new things to learn, there is no way that I could do it without the Savior.  When it's frustrating not know the people, the language, the culture, the city, etc., it's nice to remind myself that Christ is fluent in France.  Christ knows these people absolutely perfectly.  He knows everything and knows how he can best help me to accomplish everything that he has in store during this mission.  If it were in the plans, He could make me fluent in French right now.  He could make all of the stresses and worries go away.  He could give everyone the Gospel.  But, that's not part of the plan.  That is not the way that it is supposed to work.  I'm so excited to see what He has in store for me and the people that I am going to meet here in France.  One scripture that I found this week was in Mosiah 5:13 where it asks, "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?"  I thought that was an awesome question.  I have found that I have come closer to the Savior in these past 7 weeks than I have at any other time.  It's such an amazing time to focus on bringing others closer to the Savior through service and in turn receiving a closer relationship to Him myself.

Thank you all for your love and prayers.  I can truly feel them.  It is so incredible to feel that extra strength as I'm walking down the freezing streets, teaching a lesson in broken French, or contacting random people on the street who can't understand what I am saying.  I can really feel of your stength and the help of the Lord.  This mission is truly amazing.  I am loving it, it is the most amazing experience that I have ever had.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be.  Je peux faire les chose difficile avec Dieu.  I love you all!

Je t'aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In San Francisco getting her Visa

2/19/2013 Lyon


Finally in Lyon with President and Sister Roney.  She spent the first day enjoying some French food, filling out paperwork, having a personal interview with the President, and enjoying dinner with the other missionaries who are new to Lyon.  Let's hope she got some sleep on the long plane ride.  Day two will include meeting her new companion and trainer, having a short training with President Roney and the Assistnats to the President, and leaving to go to her first area.  What an exciting time.

Monday, February 18, 2013

2/18/2013 Flying to France!

Salt Lake City Airport with Sister Bentley.  

Enjoying the last Cafe Rio they will eat in 18 months (at 6:30am).  A father of Alisa's highschool friend passed by, saw them, took a picture, and posted it of Facebook.  Now we have the memory forever.
Thank you friend. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2/12/13 Last Week in the MTC!

Bonjour Ma Famille,                                                                                 
Three very happy sisters with their travel plans!

This week has been phenomenal...I'm pretty sure that I say that every single week, though.  I am just absolutely loving it, I can't believe that this is the last email that I will send you from the MTC.  I leave for France on Monday and am so stoked!  We got our travel plans this week and it's crazy how excited we all got.  Holding the flight information in my hands made it all seem so real.  I will be living in France and get to share the Gospel with all of the people there.  What could be better than that?!  I am the luckiest girl in the world.  I went to the temple for the last time in a year and a half today.  I absolutely love the temple and it was such a cool experience.  There is nothing like sitting in a session with tons of missionaries anxiously waiting to serve the Lord.  While it was sad to realize that I would not get that opportunity again for a while, I left with a total sense of urgency to spread the Gospel so that others can experience the joy that I do.  I want everyone to be this blessed.  I don't know how I was able to be so blessed, but I know that God has entrusted me with a lot because of it and has high expectations for me.  I hope that I can live up to the incredible blessings that He has given me and live up to my full potential.  I am so excited to bring others unto Him.

A mission definitely has a way of stretching people.  So this coming Sunday, everyone that is leaving is doing a special musical number in church.  While we were practicing, I offered to play the different parts on the piano so everyone could learn their sections.  At one point, they all had the "brilliant" idea that I should accompany the peice and do an entire verse as a duet with Elder Clarke who will be playing the violin.  I am the girl who refused to ever tell anyone that I played the piano.  I did not play once in seminary and only played a couple times in young womens when forced.  Now I am playing in a musical number in sacrament meeting.  I didn't think I'd be having to utilize this talent so quickly, but I'm actually kind of excited (Mom, I know you definitely have a smile on your face right now.)  It should be good, I'll let you know.
One thing that I have been studying a lot this week is charity.  We had a great devotional from Elder Clark, of the Seventy, that I really enjoyed this week.  His talk really got me thinking about how important it is for me to love the people that I will be serving and teaching.  Christ is the ultimate example of charity, as charity is the pure love of Christ.  If I am to become like Him and be His hands in this work, I truly need to more fully develop this attribute.  Christ loves everyone and He loves them all equally.  This made me think of all of the incredible people in my life, those in my family and my close friends who I absolutely love.  If Christ loves them as much as the people of France that I'm about to teach, how cool would it be if I were to try and feel the same?  I know that it is so important for me to love these people as Christ does, this is how I will be able to teach with sincerity and invite the Spirit into my lessons.  Elder Clark also said, "If you start worrying about somebody else's, God will help somebody start worrying about yours."  I know that if I can truly lose myself in this work, those who I love and worry about will be blessed as well.  I am so excited to have this opportunity and am already receiving the blessings.

Another thing that I have loved this week has been my nightly runs.  Every night Sister Anderson and I go to the track and run about five miles.  But, that's not the cool part.  We have awesome, deep Gospel conversations as we run.  We discuss our goals and what we have been studying.  It is the greatest.  People give us really weird looks, especially when we're having the conversations in French, but it is always one of the highlights of my day.  I really have learned so much from both of my companions and feel so blessed to have gotten to have them.

Just a little bit of information before I leave...

I will most likely call home between 9:30 and 11:00 AM on Monday while I am at the airport.  

I am so excited to talk to you all!

I will be sending one of my suitcases home...I brought way too much stuff!  The way that works is that I will send it to a place in Provo called Postmart, they will call you, and you can go pick it up whenever.  If you do it within the first couple days it is free.

Lastly, obviously you will need to start sending mail to my address in France.  But, if you would like to send any letters to me beforehand, I wouldn't send them any later than 

Thursday--otherwise I probably won't get them. 

Thank you all for everything.  I have truly felt your support and love as I have been serving my mission.  I love and miss you all so much, but there's no where else I'd rather be....except for maybe France.  Have a great week!

Je t'aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

A nice surprise for Alisa... Josh Powell returned
to the MTC for a few days before heading to Spain.
It was also fun to see David McNamara and so many
others from our ward.

A little bored with the menu, Alisa started  to eat
according to food color.  This day was orange
and green.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Bonjour Ma Famille-

This week has been amazing, everything is going so well! I'm slowly being able to speak more and more French. We've even had several PVL days (parler votre langue jours, AKA: speak your language days). Yes, they are exactly what they sound like, absolutely no English. Wow, they really are crazy and hard. By the end of the first day of doing them my brain was absolutely fried. I couldn't speak French or English....or formulate a thought for that matter. It's crazy how much French is taking over, I literally conjugate verbs into different tenses in my sleep. It has been interesting for me to get to this point where I just let go and speak. The first week or two it was difficult because I didn't want to say things wrong, sound dumb, or stumble over words. I'd always study hard and could unterstand it, read it, and write it for the most part, but speaking was a whole different story. I had faith that God would help me learn the language, but I wasn't progressing as fast as I wanted because I wasn't willing to speak it as much as I could have. I studied faith a lot this week and learned that faith is very much an action word. I realized then that I would be able to progress much faster in the language if I just opened my mouth and demonstrated my faith in God. I think that it's important to show our faith through action. I was able to grow so much more in French this week because I was willing to act on my faith rather than just profess it, "...for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" Ether 12:6.

Speaking of French, funny story... Included in our array of language mistakes, we had a great one during one of our first lessons. We were praying for God to bless us with His power... "S'il vous plait, benisson nous avec votre force." But, because "bless" is a false cognate in French, we said, "S'il vous plait, blessons nous avec votre force." Essentually, we asked God to "hit/stirke" us with His force. Great times, I think God sometimes cracks a smile when us missionaries are learning a new language.

Another thing that I've learned this week is that there is truly something to be said of "BECOMING a missionary". I feel like when I came here, I thought that I could just will myself to be the perfect missionary. I thought that if I worked hard enough, had enough faith, and through the help of the Lord, I would quickly be able to take on the image of a missionary. While those things can eventually get me to that point, it is definitely a process. Having my will completely aligned with God's, not being distracted by things at home, constantly having the Spirit with me and being able to recognize its promptings, being a good teacher, loving those who I teach, having a posititve attitude, being teachable, having an incredible testimony, always having productive, meaningful study, etc.--there are so many things to be constantly improving on. I think that the process of becoming the perfect missionary is a lot like life and our progression to be like God. It takes time. Once you've done all that you can do, Christ's Atonement steps in and make you closer to the person who God wants you to be. I have definitely felt this as a missionary. It has been incredible for me this week to see little glimpses of the missionary that the Lord is making me into. I've learned the importance of patience and that change is rarely ever immediate. It's a gradual process that strengthens you each day as you are slowly and carefully molded by His hands.

Later on this week, I had the best surprise. Elder Josh Powell came back to the MTC to get his passport for Spain after spending a month in Texas. We got to see each other quite a bit this last week and it was great to have such a close friend here. He told me tons of stories and gave me advice for being out in the field. It made me so excited to get out to France. We had a great time...although it was always quite interesting when we'd be speaking in a mesh of French, Spanish, and English. That got a little crazy.

I am loving my time here and am trying to take advantage of every minute that I have. A year and a half really is not that long, sometimes I just think that I never want to go home (Mom, don't worry, I will). It's an incredible opporunity and I'm so grateful to have it. Thank you all for your love and support. I hope you have a great week, I love you all!

Je t'aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme