Bonjour Ma Famille,
I hope that you all had a wonderful week, I definitely did. I'm just so happy. I'm reminded of when Christ said, "Ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me...and for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy" (3 Nephi 28:9-10). That's honestly how I feel right now. Yeah, a mission is hard, blah blah blah. It's true. There are definitely days that are struggles. But, the bizarre part is, I can't really remember any of the hard stuff. Even when it's happening, it's kind of pushed to the back of my mind. I feel like I have a "fulness of joy" all the time. It's the greatest. Let me tell you what made me smile this week...
Talking to two, really old French ladies in the park after church on Sunday--hearing all about their lives. Two cute ladies who have been friends for 60 years and who gave us little "grandma talks".
Realizing that I don't have to save my boots for another winter so I can completely wear them out...getting there.
Finding out that Soeur Pagano has joined all of my previous companions in her love for taking hilarious pictures of me sleeping on trains...definitely felt like I had a stalker when I went through her camera.
Receiving a letter from the Philippines-- covered in stamps with the faces of the country's leaders and a postmark dated back two months ago.
Being super busy at church--teaching young womens, teaching Sunday School and then switching halfway through to primary, playing the piano and leading (not at the same time), speaking, sparking members, setting up rendez-vous and teaching a lesson to an ami afterwards... Oh, and finding out that they will be watching the general conference broadcasts in Besancon from now on.
Spending half of the week in Switzerland for exchanges and conferences.
Going to our beautiful Citadelle (another fancy French word for castle) for P-Day. So cool!
Sandrine telling us that her kids begged to come to church again all week after having come for general conference.
Being given the wrong train times and, as a result, missing our connecting train back to France after the conference in Switzerland (actually this part wasn't funny...wait for it...). Stuck in the Lausanne Gare-- there are no connecting trains that night, different currency, different cell phone services, we have no money, mission office is closed, etc, etc. Crazy stressfulness. Part that made me smile--turning around and watching Soeur Pagano carelessly wondering the gare singing, "I love to sing. I love to sing. I love to sing a song. Sing, sing, sing..." with an, "Oh, it's fine, Soeur Hulme will figure it out" mentality. Luckily, we did.
Listening to Christmas music. Thankfully, Josh Groban is approved.
Long, awesome conversations with people on public transport.
Realizing that the comment I made a couple weeks ago about The Lion King was profound. Turns out that the Citadelle had a huge zoo and we saw SImbas, Timons, Pumbas, Zahzoos, Rafikis.....and tigers (those are cool too).
Hearing an incredible, Taiwanese girl say her first ever prayer. So beautiful and sincere!
The elders from Tahiti doing tribal dances at zone conference.
Sitting at cute Soeur Pélot's house (an older lady in the ward) and drinking incredible hot chocolate (Real hot chocolate. Not powder. Real melted chocolate with milk.), using her adorable tea set--while discussing French art and Jesus.
The bus driver who was playing Michael Bublé.
Having incredible, lovingly bold moments with less-actives. Like, when you end a lesson and they ask, "And now you're going to tell me to come to church again, right?" Then, having a powerful moment of explaining our purpose as missionaries and expressing love. But, proclaiming that as personal representatives of the Savior, we will absolutely invite you to change and come to church at every chance we have.
Congrats on all of the wins this week (Ben, Mary, and the Cougars). Oh, and I'm sorry for Stanford's loss (still working on my repentance in that catagory...kind of). I love you all so much and am grateful for the love and support. Have a happy week!
Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme