Bonjour Ma Famille,
I guess I will start with three things that I learned this week...
We are often told the importance of being prepared for emergancies by having a decent amount of food storage. I never realized, until this week, that this counsel was also relevant for missionaries. Remember those 180 euros that weren't reimbursed last week? Well, we literally went through the entire last week without money because the reimbursements hadn't come in (pray that they come in today). Completely broke. We had to live off of the odds and ends in the appartment. Guess who has been living on a diet of herbal tea and oranges? Haha, oh well. At least I am not in the Philippines eating frogs.
Spanish accents are really hard to understand. Why do they roll their "r's" and make their "j's" sound like "y's"? Oh the fun adventures of meeting with recent converts from Honduras. I'm glad I'm learning French. I'm convinced that my ability to do any other accent besides a French one has been ruined for the rest of my life. Even when I'm reading out loud in English it sounds wrong.
Be a missionary with a firm handshake. Please. So many sisters and even elders don't know how to give a good handshake. Disappointing. I'm determined to change this. When I give handshakes to all of the little primary kids on Sundays, if they give a weak one, I keep shaking their hand saying, "plus fort, plus fort" until it's a strong one. They laugh. Dad, no joke, you should do a workshop or something with the youth in our ward before they go out on their missions.
There are so many incredible experiences that you have as a missionary. I think that some of my favorites are the small ones where you know that God placed you in someone's path just to brighten their day for Him. For example, we were walking through a park and saw this cute old lady sitting on a bench. So, naturally, we went over and talked to her. Turns out, she had spent the entire day in the hospital. Her husband of 55 years has alzheimer's disease and was down to the last days of his life. She was with him all day but he couldn't remember her at all. So hard. We just sat and talked with her, obviously bore testimony of the plan of salvation, left her with the Book of Mormon, etc. But, more than anything else, it was wonderful just to be there for her and be someone to listen. That is what the Savior would have done. Those moments are the ones that stick out to me the most.
With all of the changes in missionary work coming about, our mission is putting a lot of emphasis on working with the members. This week we were able to do a lot of that, it was great. We helped several ladies with visiting teaching (awesome, two in one), shared lots of messages, and did service. It's so important to build up the members here and build thier trust in us. They do so much. We as missionaries are here for 1 1/2 or 2 years and leave, but the members are the workforce that is always here. I love the members in Aix. Every time we meet with a family I can't stop talking about them all day.
It has also been wonderful to be able to be teaching several amis right now. It's so cool to have amis because they really become your focus. You're constantly worrying about them. Seriously, I feel like a mom... "Is he making friends?" "Is he making the right choices when he's not with us?" "Have we taught him what he needs to know?" "What else can we do?" There were several cool experiences this week where we were able to help certain amis in difficult situations. It's still an ongoing process. But, there's nothing like feeling the peace when you know that you have said what the Lord wanted said or when you handled the situation with His child the way He would have. It's truly incredible. I love being a missionary.
Have a great week, I love and pray for you. Thank you for all of your support, it means so much! I have the best family and friends in the world. Haha, speaking of, I'm beginning to see a pattern in a lot of the letters that I am receiving. The line, "Sorry for my grammar and spelling mistakes" shows up in a good portion of them. Let's be honest, I don't notice. Haha, I can't even remember how to spell in English. I plan out these weekly letters and look up big words I plan on using in the dictionary beforehand because there is no spellcheck on this computer. Oh well, thanks for the love.
Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme