Monday, December 16, 2013

Investigators comment, "my role models are God, Jesus, and John Stockton." (Too bad he's retired, we could use him).

Bonjour Ma Famille!

I hope you are all doing wonderful and enjoying the best part of the year.  I had a fantastic always...can't really remember the last time that I didn't. My birthday was good, kind of just another day of work.  But, it was fun.  Although, I'm kind of sad to not be a 19 year old sister missionary anymore.  I really liked being the super young one.  Oh well, I guess I'll still always hold the title of being the first one in our mission.

So, we'll start with the basics.  My new companion in Sister Ronndahl.  She is from Sweden.  It's really cool because we have been receiving basically no new American missionaries.  They are mostly European now.  So great.  Anyways, she's 20, is funny, and really likes art and food.  Speaking of, that is one of the funniest struggles of having companions from other countries.  Example--last night we were making a grocery list.  She eats a lot of bizarre things and makes fun of the English names for food.  She was especially confused when she found out that we call the meat we put on sandwiches "lunchmeat".  Haha, "Why?  Do you have "dinnermeat" too?"  ...never thought about that before.  Anyways, she's fun and really dedicated.  I'm excited to work with her.

Funny moment of the week-- 
One of our amis said that his role models are God, Jesus, and John Stockton.  It took a second to compose myself before continuing the lesson because I was laughing so hard.  Haha, sounds like he's a Utah mormon already.

Texts of the week-- 
(an ami) "I just wanted to thank you for the time that you give me.  I really feel something special during our lessons."
(random number) "Hi, I'm not sure you remember me, but you gave me a Book of Mormon a few weeks ago.  Is there a time we can get together this week and talk about it?"

Other miracles--
So this week we had our Branch Christmas Party.  It was unreal.  There were more less-actives and nonmembers there than members.  Are you kidding me?  It was fantastic to spend the whole night running around and sparking everyone.  Examples...
Severine (our amie) came and brought three of her children.
A less-active/partial member family came.  They have not stepped foot in the church for years (some of the super offended ones).  But, you would never know because they stayed after for hours and chatted with all of the members.
Another less-active came, brought a friend, came to church the next day, and payed her tithing (I've only seen her at church once in three months).
Hsuan also came and brought a non-member friend (such an incredible missionary!).
And then, there were several other members that invited friends and less-actives that randomly showed up.  It was so so cool.  It really was a night of miracles...and really yummy food.

Oh, so remember several weeks ago when Severine was in the hospital and we set-up for the priesthood to go and give her a blessing?  End of the story... While they were there, they ended up giving a blessing also to a lady that was staying in the same room as Severine.  She was an old lady who was really sick and was told that she would be in the hospital for months until they could figure out what was wrong with her.  Nope, the day after she went home in perfect health.  Power of the priesthood.

Sandrine is doing well too.  Oh my gosh, I love her so much.  She is so incredible.  It has been difficult lately with her husband because he is so so against the church.  But, she was at church yesterday with all four of her kids.  She has such a strong testimony.  Probably one of my favorite amies ever!

Other than that...we have a new ami from Colombia, all of the buses were on strike this week (apparently strikes are the national sport in France), and our new phone broke.  Um, good week.  Love you all!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Jesus got a great birthday present - Migo was baptized!" 12/9/13

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Last picture of Soeur Hulme with Soeur Pagano
Oh my gosh, so much stuff to talk about this week.  I guess we can start with transfer calls so that you know where I am.  I'm very excited to announce that I will be staying in my very perfect little ville of Besancon for Christmas.  Soeur Pagano is being shipped down south to spend the winter in the warm weather of Tarbes.  And, I'll let you guess who my new companion is...  Right, I don't know either.  I'll be picking up my new bleue on Wednesday.  I'm currently waiting in Chalon-sur-Saone (a little ville almost as cute as mine...there is Josh Groban Christmas music playing in the streets right now) before going down to Lyon tomorrow,  I'm kind of wondering if I'll ever receive a "normal" companion.  Oh well, I'm super excited--training is all that I know.  Which is great because I love it.  Maybe this time I'll get it right (haha, who does that sound like?).

We'll save the most important things for last and now move on to the funny moment--probably the most embarrassing experience in my life that I can recall.  So, here you go...  This transfer, there was a small group of elders called to put together a musical performance that they would perform all over the mission.  Basically, they just travel everywhere and bring the Spirit with their incredible musical talents.  This last week, they came to Dijon, which means us and the surrounding wards were all invited.  Cool, right?  Yes, that's not the bad part.  Bad part-- "Soeur Hulme, would you help us with a musical number?"  Okay, let's see about this...  I don't sing.  Not even like a little.  I did choir in elementary school and got turned down all of the solos I tried-out for (imagine that) and have been a strictly "car radio singer" ever since.  Nearly all of my companions, without fail, have commented on how "fun" it is to sing hymns with me because I can't read the music or count.  You get the picture.  After rather convincingly, I thought, explaining this dilemma and asking every other sister if they would be willing to do it, they were insistent that I perform in the number.  Okay, fine.  I'm a missionary, I can't say "no" to something like that.  But, they were given more than fair warning.  But, it was fine, right?  There were other people who were singing my part so that I could just blend with them.  Nope.  It was definitely a duet with the lead singer of the group, an elder with the most beautiful voice, and it was full of solos.  Haha, funny.  That was embarrassing.  It was so bad.  Every time I think about it, I just laugh in a "I kind of just want to curl up under a rock and die" kind of way.  There you go, missions stretch you.  Warning--this is not a hidden talent I will be coming back with.
Best miracle of the week, Migo was baptized!  It was absolutely perfect.  It's kind of crazy because I thought that there would be a lot of things to tell you about this, but I can't really describe it.  The service was incredible and so sweet.  She was beaming the whole night and teared up several times.  I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of this miracle.  Crazy, but it was one of those that I got to see from start to finish.  She is doing wonderful and is looking forward to visiting the temples and the "forest in New York" (sacred grove) in the coming weeks (hopefully she doesn't get a tick).  This experience really strengthened my testimony of member missionary work.  It started with her best friend bringing her to church.  She was alongside her the whole way, coming to every lesson and responding to questions.  It made our work easy and so much fun.  I know this is the way missionary work should be done.  Jesus got a great birthday present and I got two new friends that I got to help come closer to Him.  So great!

Member missionary work!
Random sidenote-- I decided that I was going to practice my Chinese this week.  So, I drew this character on the board that I thought looked pretty authentic.  Turns out, it meant potato.  See, I know Chinese.  Ironically enough, today we went to a "pataterie" (a restaurant that only serves different potato dishes).  It was great.

Other random sidenote--A nun stopped us this week and congratulated us on our choice of lifestyle, explaining that she made the same choice when she was about our age.  Awkward, not sure she understood....

Well, I think that about sums it up.  Awesome end to a wonderful transfer.  I love being a missionary!  I love you all, be sure to eat Cafe Rio and something mint chocolate for me this week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Monday, December 2, 2013

"I prayed a lot to the God Father last night" - an investigator

Christmas Lights in Centreville…Aaaahhh!

Bonjour Ma Famille,

I'm so busy and so happy.  Oh my gosh, this week has been crazy.  We taught more lessons with amis/members/less-actives this week than I have in a single week my whole mission.  It was insane...our numbers rivaled some of my totals from whole transfers.  Not that any of that matters, we were just very booked.  Loved it! 

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all had a wonderful day with the family.  It was pretty great here too.  We were very blessed to have a senior couple in our district who made us a great dinner after our meeting on Thursday.  (plug for senior missionaries) You should all be senior missionaries one day.  We all love you and you do so much to help the work...and to make a bunch of American missionaries very happy on the holidays.  Anyways, that meal was great...but I'm thinking that we need to instigate a new tradition in our family.  So, the night of Thanksgiving, we were invited over to the Branch President's house for fondue.  Oh my gosh, I can't even explain how good it was.  What is France known for?  Bread and cheese.  Take a moment here and just imagine how good it would be in fondue it?  So, as a precursor to Black Friday, we have fondue...from France.  Deal?

Okay, for miracles this week, let's start with Migo.  So, I could go on and on about how wonderful she is and how much I love her, but I thought I'd give you several "Migo Moments" of the week that will make you laugh/melt your heart/make you really jealous that you are not blessed to teach her...

(while discussing her readings in the Book of Mormon) "I really like in the tree of life when it talks about the juicy fruit.  It makes me feel magical."

"Do you maybe think that I could see you and have lessons every day until my baptism?" ("Hmm...let me check my schedule...OF COURSE!")

"After my baptism I will be going to the United States for a couple weeks.  Are there chruches of mormon there that I can go to?"

"I prayed a lot to the God Father last night."

"I really really like your lessons.  But, do you think you could make them much longer so that I can learn more?"

(in all of her prayers) "Thank you for sending me these three friends (referring to us and Hsuan (her member friend)) so that I can learn more about You."

Okay, so I probably had the coolest experience of my entire mission yesterday.  I've had some pretty incredible ones, but from what I can recall, this one is my favorite.  Yesterday, Migo bore her testimony at church and she asked me to come up and translate for her.  She had written out everything that she wanted to share, I cannot even explain how beautiful and sincere it was.  It was the most amazing thing ever to be standing up there next to her, repeating all of the beautiful things that she has learned and that we have helped in teaching.  This cute girl that knew nothing of God only months ago when we starting teaching her, who we heard pray for the first time, was expressing how much joy she feels in the church and her love of her Heavenly Father.  (last line of her testimony) "After all the classes learning about this church, I am sure I had heard the sound from my deep heart that is "I'm ready for baptism and excited about that I am on the way of God's plan for us."" And then she invited the whole branch to come to the service.  It was unreal.  Definitely cried.

We had another super cool miracle this week... So last week, we were given the number of a less-active lady that had apparently been trying to get ahold of us.  We didn't know who she was and couldn't find her number on the ward list, but called and set up and rendez-vous anyway.  She was super nice.  Several days later, before the rendez-vous, we received a call from her husband saying that she was in the hospital and needed a priesthood blessing.  We called the Branch President and worked everything out for the priesthood to go and give her one.  The blessing went really well.  Upon them returning to tell us how it went, we were shocked to find out that Severine was actually not a member of the church.  She had been taught over a year ago in a different ville.  She had received all of the lessons and even had a baptismal date, which unfortunately fell through at the last minute.  After moving, she lost contact with the missionaries and the church.  But, she suddenly had the desire to come back and be baptized (hence her calling us).  So, we met with her this week, she is absolutely incredible, and we're starting to reteach her the lessons and prepare her for her baptism in the future.

Basically, the rest of the week was like this.  It was a great week to be a missionary.  Other amis continue to progress well.  Unfortunately, we are having some struggles with Sandrine right now because of her husband's intolerance of the church.  We're working through it, God will make it work out when and how it is supposed to.

Thank you for all of your love and prayers.  Congrats Maddy on making sterling scholar, that is fantastic.  I'm so proud.  Love you all, have a great week, I love being a missionary!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme
One of the first editions of Le Mis at Victor Hugo's home

Zone Conference