Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Breaking news (no puns intended), both of the wheels are broken." 9/23/2013

Bonjour Ma Famille!

Wow, the end of another crazy week of being a missionary.  After the rush of last week, I'm excited to settle down and start working.  Here's a little bit of how last week went...

I left Aix.  Before continuing to tell you about the insane travel schedule that ensued, let me give a disclaimer that will make it more comical.  Remember my beautiful, purple, snakeskin suitcase that I love?  Yes, the one that Dad said not to buy because it wouldn't have good enough wheels?  Breaking news (no pun intended), both of the wheels are broken...and have been since getting of the airplane in France.  And, the fact that I've been to four villes in eight months has not helped.  So now, I carry nearly everything (approximately 90 lbs.) in the good suitcase and get to drag the limpy one carrying my lighter clothes across the rough cobblestone.  Now that you can truly picture this, back to the story... Normally you can take one and at the most two trains to get anywhere.  For some reason, the office thought that they would make my trip more fun.

I took a train from Aix to Marseille, Marseille to Lyon, and Lyon to Dijon on Monday.  At this point, I didn't have my new companion nor was I in my new ville.  I spent several days in Dijon with the sisters there.  It was wonderful...but freezing!  I showed up in a short-sleeved shirt, all dressed for the Provence sun.  That mentality was quickly changed as I was adorned in my large winter coat, a sweater, a scarf, and tights the very next day.  

(Note from Jen: I so was not stalking her!)
On Wednesday, they sent me back down to Lyon (snakeskin suitcase and all).  There, I picked up my wonderful new bleue, Soeur Pagano.  Love her!  She's from New Mexico, was studying elementary education at BYU-I, loves cats, smiles a lot, and is obsessed with taco bell mild sauce.  There you go, my new companion.  She is an absolute delight to be around.  President Roney was excited becuase we are going to be quite a sight walking the streets--her hair is even longer and blonder than mine.  I'm excited.  Funny story about Soeur Pagano...appartently Mom has been stalking her.  Several weeks ago she was in San Fransisco getting her visa for France.  While sitting in the airport with all of the other missionaries, this cute missionary mom spotted them and ran over to see where they were going.  Turns out her daughter was in the same mission they were headed to.  They chatted and Soeur Pagano was left with the name of her future trainer on a piece of a wripped airplane ticket.  Thanks Mom, your new friend says "hi".

"My beautiful French kingdom"
After some fun in Lyon, we took a train to Dijon and then another one over to Besancon.  Yes, if you have been keeping track, me and my luggage took six trains before getting to my ville.  It has taken a little bit to get organized, to figure out where things are and everything, but I think I'll finally be able to sleep well this coming week.  This ville is absolutely beautiful, I love it and can't wait to serve here.  Our first Sunday ended up being a little crazy.  One, we're basically the new young womens president(s...?).  We taught that class, but there is only one active girl in the ward.  It's so small!  Two, we had a crazy day for amis at church.  Out of the 31 people in sacrament meeting, 8 were non-members!  Who would have thought that we would have had the mission's weekly record our first week here in one of the smallest branches?  Haha, God sure loves us because we didn't do anything.  It was totally out of the blue, they've had maybe an average of one non-member each week for months.  There were a couple people that we met on the street that came and several members invited people.  So great, I can't wait for work to explode here.  It's been one of the more struggling areas for the last little while.  We are stoked to work with all of these people.

One example from yesterday...  One of the members in the branch has been working to invite one of her friends to church for a while now.  She has come to church several times but her husband has never come.  They've also tried to set things up with the missionaries, but it has never really worked out.  Yesterday, the member felt this prompting to invite her friend again.  She and her husband came and they were totally sparked by the fact that the branch had sister missionaries.  Maybe this is what they needed, God's timing.  We should start working with them this week.

So basically everything (except my suitcases) are doing great.  I'm sorry that I've been so bad at writing you all back.  If all goes as planned, I should get mail this week (everything you've sent since the end of July), and be able to start responding.  Sorry about that.  I still love you and appreciate the support. 

Congrats Liv on your baptism!  I'm positive that you were absolutely beautiful and that it was a great day.  I was thinking of you...and figuring out in my head how I could count it as one of "my baptisms".

Oh, one last thing...  My darling MTC companion, Soeur Bentley, recently went home for medical reasons.  They are hoping that she will soon be able to come back out, but please pray for her.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme
"All the streets are lined with Sycamore trees"

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