Bonjour Ma Famille,
So much to write about this week, where do I begin? Maybe with a couple funny, odd, different experiences...
We stopped this cute girl on the road the other day. She wasn't super interested in our message, but I complimented her on her earrings at the end of the contact (because I still wanted to make her smile and they actually were really cute). She was like, "Oh, you can have them. I got them in Marseille and have another pair." Haha, she took them off and gave them to me. I really like them. Word to future missionaries, compliment jewelry...but be careful what else you compliment because people might just give it to you.
Breaking news... I ate my first crepe in France this week. It was fantastic, funny that it took me this long to have one.
I translated in church yesterday for visitors from Belgium and Switzerland. That was crazy, translating is so much harder than I thought it would be.
The elders decided that we should do something to endear the ward this week (AKA: public relations). They wanted us all to make cookies. Cool, right? I've got this. Hmmm, not really. The elders that lived in our appartment before thought that it would be the best idea ever to buy a microwave that was also an oven. Not the coolest idea ever. It's tiny and, for some strange reason, I don't feel like cookies should EVER be baked in a microwave. Oh well. So, we baked about 3 dozen cookies in a bundt cake pan (the only pan that would fit), and could only do about four at a time. That was an adventure. Then, when it came to bringing the cookies to the church, the only paper plates that we had were the American flag ones that my mom sent in a package for the 4th of July. Haha, the members had fun with that one.
Someone went off this week during a contact about how we were criminals because all major wars were started by religion. That was funny. I'm definitely grateful for the fact that I don't get offended very easily. Maybe it's bad, but when people are crazy and mean on the street, I just end up laughing (not to their face, of course).
There you go, now on to some of the miracles...
So we had zone conference this week, wonderful as always. The best part-- I got to talk to Soeur Fairchild and get caught up on Carcassonne. Oh my gosh, I was so happy that I started crying in the middle of the conference. That's embarrassing. The ward and area are doing so well. New amis are popping up everywhere, they are teaching so many people. When I got there about four months ago, the average church attendance was 65 people. It has been gradually improving until this last week when they were in the mid-90's. Best of all, most of that increase is coming from reactivations and investigators at church. There were also several incredible families that just moved in. Everything that is going on there is such a miracle when you look and see where the ward has progressed from. People have no idea. Also, Carcassonne had a BAPTISM last week! Wait, what? In Carcassonne? Yes, apparently that happens. They haven't seen a baptism in forever and any that can be remembered have fallen inactive and off the face of the earth. His name is Isaac, he is wonderful. He has awesome faith and understands that gospel so simple yet perfectly. I was able to get to know him a little bit before I left. Miracle-- he asked Frere Martin, the fantastic bishop, to baptize him. Let's be honest, that's where I lost it and started crying in the conversation. He has worked endlessly for this ward for years and he is finally seeing change. I am so happy for him to be able to realize these results. There is a family from Brazil that is lined up to be baptized there in the near future and lots of amis right on their tails. I am so happy. It's like I said in previous letters, while I was there, the ward was not ready. God was not going to give amis and new members to a ward that could not support them and help them continue to progress. As the ward has improved, missionary work has exploded in a way that they have not seen in forever. I am so grateful for the chance to be part of this miracle.
This week we had an awesome miracle ourselves. Well, to start, our only ami here in Aix left us a message during zone conference saying that she was dropping us. That was rough. But, we just picked ourselves back up and went back to work looking for more people. Sunday night we had several member rendez-vous fall through. Miracle-- the member's house that we tried to stop by was right next to the pizza shop where we met that guy the other week. Remember him? Turns out that he is the owner and we found him sitting outside with one of his employees as we walked by. We asked him how the wedding went, one thing led to another, and we ended up teaching him and his employee for about an hour. So cool! We have another rendez-vous with both of them scheduled for later this week, they both have copies of the Book of Mormon (which they're so excited about and referred to as a "precious gift"...Wait, what? When does that happen?), and they're both very interested in coming to church. Honestly, that was probably one of the best lessons that I have had my entire mission. Everything that was said was so inspired, not one thing that left my mouth came from myself. I have never explained things so clearly in my life. The entire lesson I just kept praying, "Heavenly Father, dont let me be the one to mess this up." And, He didn't let me. These guys, especially that shop owner, are so elect. God has prepared him, I know it. He asked tons of questions--- we covered everything from the virgin Mary to the three kingdoms of glory to the apostacy, Book of Mormon, church services, free agency, goal of life, eternal families, prophets, role of Christ. It was crazy. I am so excited to see where that contact takes us, God has blessed us with two new amis.
A couple more awesome notes from church... There is this inactive lady that the missionaries in the ward have been working with lately. She took the sacrament for the first time since coming back yesterday and started crying. She said that she has never felt so clean. Isn't that how that Atonement should be? Also, the four sister missionaries in the ward did a special musical number. The Spirit was so strong. One of the members came up to us afterwards and said that the beginning was pretty but that there was a point in the song when there was more than just us up there testifying. She said that she had only seen that one other time in her life. God touches people through His missionaries and I am so blessed to be one.
I love being here in Aix! Our zone is on fire right now and is blowing everyone else in the misison out of the water with our numbers. It is so amazing and humbling to see what God can do through us. I hope that you all have a great week and I love you! I love being a missionary.
Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme