Monday, November 25, 2013

"I got to work with my "granddaughter", Sister Bragg" 11/25/13

Bonjour Ma Famille!

Crazy, crazy week.  I ended up only being in Besancon for about three days of it.  We had two exchanges in Lyon, so basically I lived there.  Cool part-- one of the exchanges was with Soeur Luthi's companionship.  Loved it!  One, two of my bleues worked together for a day.  Cool, right?  Two, I got to work with my "granddaughter", Soeur Bragg (meaning that Soeur bleue: AKA her trainer).  Confusing family ties.  But, to put it simply, I had a fun week with most of my mission posterity.  Basically, they're all clones of me.  Aren't they lucky? (not prideful...just a joke)  

Random moment from one of the exchanges... So I was working in my first ward of the mission and we got to do service at the bishop's house.  It was cool that I could officially meet him as a somewhat more capable French speaker.  The project: Scrubbing and chipping paint off of the walls and floors of their house.  They recently moved in and the painter did probably the worst job I've ever seen in my life.  I definitely could have done better at the age of eight.  Anyway, we spent hours scrubbing all of the extra paint off of the doorframes and tile.  Interesting experience...maybe next time they'll just ask the missionaries to paint the house from the start.

My beautiful ville of Besancon welcomed it's first snow this week.  Oh my goodness, so incredible.  Seriously, a winter wonderland with all of the trees twinkling with the freshly fallen snow.  And, to add to that, they've turned on all of the Christmas lights in town...the giant tree, the city hall that is wrapped in a huge, red ribbon, and the snowflakes and wreaths hanging between the streets.  Cutest thing that I've ever seen.  Don't worry, Mom, I'll be sure to film myself walking down the cobblestone streets so you can see it all.

Today I had a weird realization.  So, a little while ago I wrote home asking my mom to send me sheet music for the piano.  #1: Who would have ever thought that I would be asking for piano music that I would have to carry with me the rest of my mission?  I'm stoked whenever I finish a chapstick that won't add weight anymore to my luggage.  #2: Um, pretty sure I never played the piano before my mission and considered it the bane of my existance for a good portion of my life.  #3: I received the music this week and looked forward to nothing else this P-day than playing while Soeur Pagano wrote her emails to her family.  So basically, it took my mission to get me to love the piano.  Look what's happening to me.  

So this week, there were also lots of miracles.  One night we were out contacting and it was getting late.  We only had a couple more minutes before going home and only needed one more person to make our daily goal for contacts.  Okay, you see where this is going...typical missionary story, but it was cool anyway.  We were walking through this neighborhood and literally couldn't find anyone so felt that we should start going back another way.  And, of course, there was a girl.  Sadly, she wasn't interested.  Oh well, we got our contacting goal.  But then, there was one more guy behind her and, of course, we passed him because we already had our contacting goal.  Whatever, we totally talked to him and taught him a lesson right there on the street and prayed with him and testified and left him with a Book of Mormon.  There you go, an end of the day miracle.

Also, we had the most incredible lessons with Migo (our wonderful Taiwanese amie).  Love her!  We talked to her about Christ, which was really cool because we had to start from square one and, did I mention that it's all in English?  Luckily that wasn't a problem because we speak English.  Except, it's kind of embarrassing when you get to the first vision and realize that you don't know it in your native language.  Awkward.  Anyways, the lesson was great and the Spirit was so strong.  At the end  she told us how she knows that God answers her prayers and that she feels peace and happiness when she reads the Book of Mormon and comes to church.  Miracle!  Guess who has a baptismal date now?  What an awesome Christmas present for the Savior.  She is seriously the most sincere and sweet person ever and we're so excited to be helping her prepare to follow Christ.  Also, what an cool thing for our little branch.  The last baptism they saw was over 1 1/2 years ago and now that person is completely inactive.  I can't even track back to the baptism before that.  I love miracles!

Everything is great and I'm loving my mission.  There is no better way to spend my favorite time of the year!

On a sidenote, are you kidding me?  Mom, you have literally been stuck in bed for 10 months because a tick from New York bit you and the dentist gave you too much numbing medicine during a root canal?  That sounds like the start of a joke.  Well, I'm definitely glad they finally figured it out.  I'm praying for a miraculous recovery before your trip to France.

Have a wonderful week!

Je vous aime, 
Soeur Alisa Hulme 
(Votre missionnaire préférée)  

"The rest of the conversation we went by Sara and Elodie" 11/18/13

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Well, another wonderful week here in the lovely Besancon.  As a disclaimer....This was going to be a good letter, I had one of the funniest, best stories of my entire mission....but, to maintain companionship relations, I have graciously chosen to omit it.  But, it will be in the journal I send home in a month.  Then, you can consider this a good letter and have a good laugh.

Anyways, I guess I can tell you two other highlights of the week...
1) Soeur Pelot made us part of a nativity set.  Now I will always have one of her "little muslim dolls".  Love it!
2) We contacted this lady this week, she was cool.  But, she was really confused when we wouldn't tell her our first names.  So, as to not make it "awkward" by calling us Soeur Hulme and Soeur Pagano, she made up first names for us.  The rest of the conversation we went by Sara and Elodie. 

It has been super interesting on my mission working with all of these different people and situations.  It's easy to see that we are just a part of God's huge missionary force.  There are missionaries here in my mission and all over the world who are doing the exact same thing.  And, it's not about us at all.  Missions are short, especially when you consider the amount of time that you spend in each ville (for me, never more than three months).  Rarely do you see the beginning to the end of a story.  You go in and work hard.  You find people to teach, prepare and give lessons, help less-actives, work with members, etc.  And, of course, you see miracles.  But, it's not always in the ways that you expect and it's not always in the ways that "look good in the books".  Change takes time.  And, it's often not one person that makes all the difference.  It's the consistancy and the power of the Lord's army that is going to bring about His will.  I guess, it's just really humbling.  You can do a lot as a missionary and give it your all, but it all depends on the Lord's timing and not necessarily "one specific missionary".  If the missionary force is constant in their faith and worthiness, the Lord cannot withhold His miracles. 

I love working here with all of these wonderful people.  Our amis are doing well, we're still working with tons of less-actives, and strengthening our tiny branch.  I love my companion.  I'm learning so much in all of my studies.  I love all of the amazing missionaries I serve with and the beautiful places I see.  I love you all and am so grateful to be part of the Lord's army.  Have a wonderful week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Monday, November 11, 2013

"This one will be quick and scattered" 11/10/13

Bonjour Ma Famille,

This week was great, as always.  Sorry, this one will be a little quick and scattered because my mind is all over the place right now.  We're busy running everywhere and it's a little we've been and will be hopping back and forth between France and Switzerland a ton and our phone self-destructed yesterday.  How were people ever missionaries without phones?  Blows my mind.

This last week we were able to meet with lots of our amis, including Didier (the one that we found contacting last week).  He is really cool and is definitely searching to find the truth in his life...looks like he came to the right place.

We had really high goals for contacting last week and went crazy in our little town.  We talked to the most people that we have in a single week since being here.  Tons of miracles.

There was stake conference in Lausanne.  Almost every single talk was centered on missionary work (imagine that) and we had members coming up to us afterwards with tons of ideas for how they can better be missionaries and help us.

Funny moment of the week...having one of the French members read all of the really patriotic quotes in my U.S. passport in an attempted British accent. 

I absolutely love President and Sister Roney and it was fun to see them at the stake conference.  He is hilarious and she is all heart and I'm pretty sure they've won over everyone in our entire mission.  If for no other reason, members here are going to help us out of love for the Roneys.  I have the most incredible leaders.

I love being a missionary.  Take a moment and think about how blessed you are this week.  The church is true.  I love you all, thanks for the support.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"So many miracles...I think we should use pamphlets more." 11/4/13

Bonjour Ma Famille,

So much wonderful stuff this week.  First, the random/funny...kind of things of the week.

One, we started teaching someone who does acupressure for a living.  Wait, what is that?  Exactly.  She was shocked that I could talk to her about it and how it can cure you from being allergic to the cold.

Two, we were teaching some of our amis, this older couple, about eternal families.  It was a really powerful, spiritual lesson.  We talked about how we left our families because we want to bring happiness to the families of others.  Really powerful...then I brought out the picture of our family (the one we took less than a year ago).  It was cool until she asked if we had taken the picture three or four years ago.  Are you kidding me?  I'm sorry I don't do my hair and am in desperate need of a long nap.  Kind of funny...kind of didn't know how to take it.

Three, Halloween in France...not a huge deal.  But, for me, that absolutely was not a problem.  They have Christmas decorations already up in Centreville (middle of town).  There are huge lighted snowflakes and wreaths hanging between all of the buildings...kind of like Disneyland.  Love it!  I  made it a point this week to share my "anti-Halloween" scripture (2Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear...") in our rendez-vous.  Also, funny Halloween experience.  So we're meeting with Soeur Pelot (our French Grandma who makes us hot chocolate), and she decides to show us her homemade nativity.  They were all of these funny little men made out of toilet paper rolls and adorned with robes, tassels, and sashes (the wisemen and shephards).  Come to find out, Soeur Pagano got a little lost in the conversation when we started talking about Christmas (maybe because it was Halloween) and later asked me why Soeur Pelot had made so many little muslim dolls.  I thought I was going to die laughing, in fact, I'm getting teary-eyed just writing about it.  

Now, some cool miracles of the week...

So we were going through the area book and calling old potentials.  We were able to set a rendez-vous with this guy named Daniel.  The first rendez-vous went okay, but we weren't really sure where it was going to go after that.  He didn't seem super interested and had lots of deep/random questions.  Anyways, we left him with a Book of Mormon and retablissement pamphlet (restoration) and an invite to church on Sunday (which he promptly turned down).  Yesterday in church, I'm leading the music and watch him walk in and sit in the back of the chapel.  After the meeting, come to find out, he had stayed at the park after our rendez-vous and read the pamphlet/the chapters we had asked him to in the Book of Mormon.  Then, he had woke up Sunday morning feeling uneasy and  decided that what he needed to do about it was to come to the mormon church.  So, he did.  He was very touched by testimony meeting and the fact that our church is so centered on Christ.  He later set-up another rendez-vous and is giving us the coordonnees (referrals) of his friends.

Later on in the week, we contacted this really cool guy (Didier).  As we turned the corner, we saw him walking with his cute, little daughter on a bike and heard, "Oh hey, it's the mormons."  Apparently he had met the elders before because they often went to the store where he works.  We had a quick contact, but he didn't seem super interested.  He's very practicing in his protestant religion.  So, we left him with a Book of Mormon and a plan du salut pamphlet (plan of salvation) and continued on our way.  No less than 30 minutes later, we got a text and later on a call from him, thanking us for the book/pamphlet, telling us how much he loved them, and asking to set-up a rendez-vous.  It was so cool.  I can't recall another time in my mission where someone has actually called us to learn more.  We're teaching him later this week.  So many cool miracles...I think we should use pamphlets more.

Everything else is going well.  Migo is coming back into town this week (she's been in Iceland...what do you do there?) and we're excited to keep working with her.  Also, Sandrine is doing well--the branch is the most incredible support for her and her cute kids.  They haven't missed a Sunday in a month.  We are seeing miracles and I love being the hands of the Lord here in Besancon.  I love being a missionary.

I hope you all have a great week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme