So this week has definitely been crazy. I may have moved to Carcassonne on Monday, but I was not there most of the week. We were up in Geneva Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday doing Soeur Fairchild's legality. She was illegal in both France and Switzerland at the time. Let's just say that I was glad that no one at the boarder control stopped us because I would not have a companion anymore. Haha, we may have been teaching people in jail right now (just like Aaron...and about a billion other people in the scriptures). It was beautiful and they had amazing chocolate. We also got to do some contacting, which was super cool because we stopped people that spoke about ten different languages. On the way back down to the south, we stopped in Lyon for two days for a conference. It was for all of the new missionaries starting their second transfer. It was great, I got to see all of my friends from the MTC including Soeur Bentley. They are all doing wonderful and it was amazing to see their growth after just a few weeks in the field. It's nice to finally be back to my sector, but I'm not going to be here for long. We're traveling to Montpellier for a zone conference and Toulouse for stake conference this coming week. Haha, it sounds like I'm on vacation traveling around Europe, but I promise that it is work. It's cool seeing the different places, though. Even though I probably won't ever serve in most of them, at least I can say that I have been there. I seriously have been called to the coolest mission ever!
Next off...General Conference! I have always absolutely loved General Conference, but it was a little different this time. I only got to see two sessions in English and still haven't seen the Sunday afternoon one (so if Elder Holland was insanely incredible, don't tell me. I want to read it myself). Also, I watched the first session in French...which was definitely interesting. If there was some crazy announcement made (like sister missionaries are now allowed to extend and serve for two years), please tell me because I didn't catch that but definitely think that it would be an inspired moved. It was cool to watch a session in French. I was able to understand most of it--except translation is always a little funny, especially when the speaker deviates from his original script for the talk. Haha, like when Elder Ballard was making a joke about President Packer at the beginning of his talk. The translator was going on fine but then was like, "Uh....um.....thanks for your talk President Packer." Everyone in the Conference Center was laughing, but none of the French people understood why. It was also interesting every now and then when I could catch a little of the English that was dimmly being played in the background. Let's just say that I'm excited to read that session to make sure that I understand exactly what the speakers intended to be said.
I still thoroughly enjoyed Conference, as usual. It was super interesting to look back and picture myself just six months ago during the last sessions of Conference. I've always tended to use General Conference as my time to make new resolutions, rather than making them "New Year's Resolutions" like most people. It made more sense to me because I could renew my goals twice a year and I was always more inspired after hours of hearing the words of God than I was after a long New Year's Eve party with tons of games and food. Imagine that? But, besides being on the other side of the world, it has been cool to see my own spiritual growth in the last few months. Just six months ago I didn't know that a mission would be possible and now I'm about to start my fourth month of this crazy adventure. I am so grateful for the gift of modern revelation. We are so blessed to have servants of the Lord on the earth today who can be His mouthpieces. Likewise, we are able to receive our own personal revelation. Obviously God wants to talk to us and direct us in our lives. Why not take advantage of that? I hope that I can continue to improve and find myself in an even better place by the time that the next General Conference rolls around.
One thing that I have been working on lately is my testimony of the Book of Mormon. For me, the Book of Mormon has always been true. I can honestly say that there has never been a doubt in my mind of its truthfulness. It is just one of those things in the Gospel that I have been blessed to know with certainty. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon has always been so logical to me. Prophets of old recorded the words of God, the record was barried in a hillside for centuries after the destruction of the people, it was brought forth and delivered by the power of God through an angel to an unschooled young man, and was then translated through the power and guidance of God. Even though the history may sound crazy to some, it didn't to me. I have also had many experiences where I have been reading from its pages and have had questions answered, revelation received, and comfort granted through the words on the page and the spirit that accompanies it. The Book of Mormon is true. Lately however, for some reason, I have felt like I needed a stronger testimony of its truthfulness. At first I was confused, I knew it was true. But, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to have a more powerful testimony, as I testify of its truthfulness daily here. I came to realize that I had never really taken Moroni's challenge. I had never really prayed to know that it was true. I decided that if that was what we were challenging our investigators to do, I should probably do that myself. So I did. It has been amazing to me to see how the testimony that I didn't previously believe could be stronger could be strengthened even more. We can always be improving our testimonies. Even if you are a lifelong member of the church who knows that it's true, you can always strengthen that conviction. That could be by praying for that assurance, more thoroughly studying the topic, or by choosing to live more fully according the things that you already know. You can always become more converted. That's what this life is all about.
It has been a great week. I'm very excited to be serving with Soeur Fairchild in Carcassonne. We are going to see miracles here. It is an area that they seriously considered taking missionaries out of last transfer, but we are going to turn it around. We are God's hands here and we are entitled to inspiration for what we can do to strengthen this sector.
I hope that you are all doing wonderful. I am sorry that I am so bad at writing you all back but I really appreciate all of the support that you give me. I love you all and feel so blessed for the amazing people that I have in my life. Also, happy birthday Mom! You are truly one of the greatest blessings in my life. You inspire me, you direct me, you listen to me, you love me, you make me laugh, you obsess over Christmas with me, you forced me to take piano lessons (definitely helpful now), and you are always there for me. But, more than anything, you are one of my very best friends. Thank you for all that you do. I love you! I hope you have an incredible day!
Soeur Alisa Hulme