Monday, November 24, 2014

"My mission has been the most incredible experience that I don't feel words can accurately express. Among other things, it has truly been an experience for me to "build my foundation" on Christ (Helaman 5:12). I feel that I have truly come to know my Savior better in serving Him, "for how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?" (Mosiah 5:13). I know that He lives. I have loved my mission."

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Wow, where to begin?  This week has been wonderful, but you should expect nothing less from your happy missionary in France.  We are seeing so many miracles in Nice and I am so stoked to be a part of them.

First and foremost, Sabrine.  We hit a couple roadblocks this week, but take a deep breath.  All is well, and we are happily preparing for her baptism this coming Saturday.  It is going to be incredible.  We just got back from a lesson with her where we ran through all of the interview questions to practice.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite lessons to do with amis, I love hearing them testify.  She's so cute, when we asked her the question about whether or not Jesus in our Savior her response was, "What kind of question is that?  Who would say 'no' to that?"  Love her, she is so so ready.  I cannot wait for her baptism, I feel beyond blessed to be spending my last Saturday in France witnessing the baptism of such an amazing amie.  God is too good to me, I'm literally in awe that He would give me this opportunity to finish out my mission.  In addition, she has asked me to speak at the baptism, I'm so honored and happy.  I cannot wait for the day to arrive.

We found several more really cool amis this week...

We got a call out of the blue the other day from this woman (Rachelle).  She told us that we had contacted her several weeks ago and that she wanted the DVD advertised one card.  We went and met with her.  Come to find out, after we had talked to her on the street, she couldn't stop thinking about us.  The day she actually called us back, she woke up from a nap and a "voice in her head" (know what that was) told her that she had to call us.  So she did.  She's an incredible, extremely believing, African woman who is currently battling cancer and is turning her whole life over to God.  I can't wait to work with her more.

Several weeks ago we contacted this guy (Francois) and were finally able to see him this week.  Oh my gosh, I love him.  He's a totally normal, French man, around the age of 35 (a rare find).  Sometimes you have these amis and you just click.  He's one of those amis.  I love him.  While we were meeting with him, he explained that he had searched all over for the truth but felt that he was too logical and wouldn't find it.  Then, things started coming out of my mouth that were not planned.  I felt inspired to tell him that the reason he had come to Nice was to find us (because he's from Lyon but recently moved here and doesn't like it).  I told him the reason that he had never settled down with a religion was because he had never found the truth, and that it was worth giving our message a try-- that if it wasn't true, his life would continue as usual, but that if it was true, his entire life would change.  It was a bit bold for my style the first lesson, but it worked.  He sat there for a second and then responded, "You're right, everything happens for a reason."  He promised to read the Book of Mormon.

We also received three member referrals that we have started working with this last week. The members are so incredible here, the more I'm with them, the more I love them.  I wish that I would have gotten more time with them.  Oh my gosh, our companionship is exploding. God is blessing us so much.  It's incredible to see how He makes miracles happen.

Well, that was the week.  I'm excited to kill it this last week, we are literally buying nothing but stuff to make sandwiches so that we can be on the road at all times.

I am so grateful for my mission, I have loved it so much.  Thank you for all of your love and support.  I am so grateful and could not have done it without each one of you.  My mission has been the most incredible experience that I don't feel words can accurately express.  Among other things, it has truly been an experience for me to "build my foundation" on Christ (Helaman 5:12).  I feel that I have truly come to know my Savior better in serving Him, "for how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?" (Mosiah 5:13).  I know that He lives.  I have loved my mission.

I love...

the beautiful architecture
hearing my amis testify
speaking French
running along city streets, rivers, and the sea
sparking people on buses
making friends with members
learning from companions
eating baguettes
seeing miracles daily
feeling angels in the room during lessons
taking trains
my four mission daughters
wearing a plaque
never having to do my hair
marking my scriptues in lots of colors
seeing lives change through the gospel
French gardens
being busy 24/7
when God's words come out of your mouth
playing the piano
funny foot tanlines
always having a Book of Mormon in my hands
President Roney
hearing member's conversion stories
adventures when you're lost in little villes
running the wards on Sundays
collapsing into bed after a long day
when people ask the questions that the gospel answers
writing weekly emails
dark chocolate
"Angels We Have Heard on High"
contacting in the rain
crafty planner covers
exchanges with tons of sisters
being called "Soeur Hulme"
all of the people...too many to list
mission conferences
when amis have "click" moments
letters and packages from home
tartelette au citron
beautiful vineyards
feeling the spirit all the time

teaching the restoration
the feeling you get when you realize that you just did something inspired
keeping a daily journal
cobblestone streets and windy roads lined with trees
Preach My Gospel
nightly prayers

...being a missionary.
Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

He (Elder Andersen) explained that all missions in the world are hard in different ways and stretch us in different ways, but faith building was the blessing of France." 6/14/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

What a wonderful week, but what else could be expected?  Especially after having been visited by Elder Andersen.  I guess I can start with that.  Oh my gosh, it was absolutely incredible--better than I could have imagined.  The spirit was unreal.  It was a truly unearthly experience that all started with spiritual preparation.  Our mission has been preparing for nearly a transfer--with every conference, meeting, and effort pointed toward preparing for Elder Andersen.  We studied every talk he has ever given, drafted questions, stepped-up diligence, prayed unceasingly, etc.  Everything was set in a way that would invite the spirit to the max.  Just as an example to show you how far we went... the conference was in Nice, therefore, I was extremely blessed.  As for the rest of the 260+ missionaries, they took buses from all over the country, Bordeaux being the farthest at 12 hours (dodged that bullet).  These bus rides were done in complete silence and reverence, with nothing permitted but sleeping and studying.  Once at the conference, no one was allowed to talk, hug, or even shake hands.  Otherwise, it would have turned into a mission reunion.  Complete and total respect was shown at all times.  Although it was incredible to see all of my friends and mission heros, it didn't even seem to matter.  I've never experienced such an example of the importance of spiritually preparing.  And, we definitely reaped the rewards.  Elder Andersen later commented to President Roney that out of the thousands of missionary events that he has been to, we were the most prepared and impressive group he had ever seen.  Okay, probably the most amazing part of the whole meeting for me was when we sang our mission song, "Angels We Have Heard on High".  It was the most beautiful rendition ever--with violins, solos, beautiful choir parts, and sections where pieces of "Bring Him Home" were played.  Oh my gosh.  So, usually it's a rather emotional thing to sing the mission song in your last zone conference... add to that the fact that it was the first time it had been sung by the whole mission together and that it was done for an apostle of the Lord.  Basically, I cried through the entire thing.  Definitely didn't sing.  That's okay, there were angels there making up for me.
All of the talks that were given were also incredible.  Elder Andersen focused mostly on the importance of faith.  Having served as a missionary and a mission president in our mission, Elder Andersen had truly amazing insight and felt connected personally to the work here.  He said that one of the most wonderful things about being a missionary in France is that it requires such a substantial amount of faith.  He explained that all missions in the world are hard in different ways and stretch us in different ways, but faith building was the blessing of France.  I agree.  I obviously took pages upon pages of notes and would love to fill you in on more of it later.
If not having to take long, hot buses wasn't good enough, another blessing of being in Nice is that we also got to go to the member session of the conference in the evening.  Very good also, but not comparable.  Anyways, it was so cool because Elder Andersen gave his whole talk in French.  Loved it.  Also, getting to be there in the evening, Soeur Patrick and I were hostesses to greet all of the members.  I got to see all of my friends from Aix.  It was so great, I love them all.
Cool side note, Elder Andersen was accompanied by Elder Kearon of the Seventy and his wife...who is apparently a Hulme.  Crazy right?  Got to talk to them for a bit...special privileges.
As for the rest of the week...
Sabrine is doing incredible.  For example, yesterday she came to church and brought her completely less-active sister.  Also, we had been planning on calling the bishop this week to plan stuff for the baptism (it will be at his home in his pool because our chapel is under construction).  No problem, Sabrine went up to him in church and talked to him about it herself.  She also asked him if it was okay if she invited all of her non-member friends...who are now invited and coming.  Love her.
Later in the week, we were meant to be headed to Montpelier for an exchange with the STL's.  But, there is currently a huge train strike going on in the south.  So, it was canceled.  We were left with two days with completely nothing planned.  That's the worst...but not really because we were determined to find miracles.  Which we did.  We were able to have a lesson with a less-active sister that went so great that she gave us referrals.  Come to find out afterwards, this same woman's husband, who had been working with the elders to come back to church, had recently informed them that they were not invited in his home and that he was done with the church.  We were able to really touch his wife in the perfect moment. 
On the way home, we planned on doing some porting.  We didn't know where to go.  So we prayed, of course.  The first building we went into, we found a cute girl named Claire.  We taught her, left her with a Book of Mormon, and will be heading back in a few weeks after she gets home from vacation.
In other miracles, God has sent me some lovely summer showers to break up the dreaded heatwave.  Haha, it really confuses people on the buses when I comment on how beautiful the weather is during a rainstorm.  They are usually in Nice for the sun... Speaking of sun, have a wonderful week in Lake Powell.  I love you all!
Je vous aime,

Soeur Alisa Hulme

Monday, June 30, 2014

"I'm sorry this one is really sporatic, emails are really freaking me out right now. I think I'm in some sort of state of denial." 6/23/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

I hope that everything is going wonderfully.  This week was great, here are some of the updates...

We have a new ami named Dieu DonnĂ©, this is literally translated as "God Given".  Funny.  He is really fantastic, is from Cameroon, and has four kids.  He loves the Book of Mormon.

I gave a talk in church this week.  It went well.  I spoke on conversion with a little help from my friend Elder Bednar.

There was an exchange in Montpelier that was fun, it was crazy with the train strike still going on-- we got stuck in Marseille for a while...sketchy.

There are so many tourists in Nice right now.  I'm pretty sure half of the people at church on Sunday were from Utah...definitely could have given my talk in English.  We had little miracles throughout the week where we would run into them-- meaning someone would start yelling "sisters!" at us and we were able to tell them the change of address so they could come to church.

Sabrine is doing wonderful, of course.  Such a miracle.

We saw lots of members, they are great here in Nice.

I'm sorry this one is really sporatic, emails are really freaking me out right now. I think I'm in some sort of state of denial.  I'll send a good one next week, I promise.  Love you all.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Hulme

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Sabrine commented on how wonderful it was that God would give everyone a chance to hear and accept the message. It was a testimony to her of His love. The Spirit was palpable. It was as though the room was filled with spirits testifying of the truthfulness of this work. And, I'm sure there were." 6/9/2014

Bonjour Ma Famille,

What a great week!  Everything is going wonderful in Nice, I love being a missionary.  Let me give you some of the highlights of the week.  Hey, and I'm finally sending a picture of Soeur Patrick...
Sabrine!  Oh my gosh, she is incredible and absolutely ready for her baptism on the last Saturday of the transfer.  Haha, she's going around planning the day without us even asking her to.  We've been seeing her several times a week and have had some amazing lessons.  The one that we had about the plan of salvation this week was one of the strongest ones I've had when teaching this subject.  As she had already been taught the lesson, we reviewed it while placing specific emphasis on the Spirit World.  We talked all about ordinances for the dead and genealogy.  Sabrine commented on how wonderful it was that God would give everyone a chance to hear and accept the message.  It was a testimony to her of His love.  The Spirit was palpable.  It was as though the room was filled with spirits testifying of the truthfulness of this work.  And, I'm sure there were.  Sabrine can't wait to start doing baptisms for her ancestors.  And after talking to her mom about the lesson, her mom expressed her feelings about temple work, rekindling her desire to become reactivated in the church.  Incredible!

We taught her another lesson today, in which she bore powerful testimony of the changes that she has seen in her life thanks to Christ.  She shared how amazing it has been to see her entire character change-- being kinder and more patient, turning to the Lord in struggles, having purpose in life...not to mention things like quitting smoking!  It's unreal to see the changes that the gospel makes in lives.  I was telling her today in the lesson, that it's one of my favorite parts of being a missionary.  Many people look for signs, they want a heavenly messanger to come down and tell them that God exists and the Jesus is the Christ.  While these types of signs aren't at all common occurrences, seeing the fruits of living the gospel are.  They are just as real and undeniable, if not more.

We did some work in Monaco this week.  That was cool, except a little bit terrible.  We were visiting some members out there, but could not do any missionary work other than that.  We had to take off our plaques because it's against the country's laws to wear them.  Ahh, I  freaked out a little bit.  My heart physically hurt the whole time we were there.  Plus side, the members were incredible and it was beautiful.  We're going the for P-Day today.
With Elder Andersen coming tomorrow we have been doing lots of advertising with the other missionaries in Nice.  We made this huge board with a picture of him that says "Do you want to meet an Apostle of the Lord?"  We set it up in the heart of the ville and all went to contact everyone and invite them to the conference.  It's so cool to see all eight of us out on the streets together preaching the word.  Haha, it makes me feel like one of the Book of Mormon heroes preparing people for the coming of the Lord...except the only enemy we have is the sun and not arrows!
This week was a little bizarre, in that I gave my "dying testimony".  We were in Antibes for zone training and it was my turn to get up and do it.  It was really surreal.  But it went well.  And, the best part was there was no need to get all sentimental because, the second I finished, I headed back out to work knowing that I still had several weeks left.
Funny note... Remember the woman that took us to the seafood restaurant last summer?  We went to her house last night for dinner and she recreated the same meal.

I hope that everything is going well for you all have a great week.  Thanks for everything!
Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

"Basically, she is Giselle from "Enchanted" 6/2/2014

Bonjour Ma Famille,

I hope that you have all had an incredible week.  I sure have.

Maybe I'll start by telling you a little about my new companion (all of the pictures you've seen are actually not with her...more legitimate companionship photos to come...).  Soeur Patrick is great.  She is from Florida, but kind of Canada because her dad is serving as the mission president there for the Montreal Quebec Mission.  She's really happy, loves singing, and musical theater.  Basically, she is Giselle from "Enchanted".  Exactly like her.  She really loves people and is a hard worker.  We are having a good time together.

It's a really incredible time to be serving in Nice.  Next week, Elder Andersen of the Twelve will be coming here for our zone conference.  And, every missionary from our entire mission will be congregated here in Nice to see it (big deal, this never happens).  There are lots of preparations to be made, but it's clear that our ville is about to explode with miracles after it is visited by an apostle of the Lord.  We've been working a lot with members, less-actives, amis, and even people on the street to prepare them for this amazing experience.

As far as teaching goes, we are teaching this really amazing girl named Sabrine.  She is 18 years old and the sisters found her about a transfer ago.  Get this... Her mom is a less-active returned missionary who married a muslim.  She was contacted by the missionaries and now is the coolest, most solid amie.  She comes to institute all the time (even giving the spiritual thoughts), has had lots of spiritual experiences, and has a baptismal date set for later this transfer.  There are obviously some hurdles that we are going to have to get over (but what else is new).  In any case, she is super prepared for the gospel and bore powerful testimony of how her relationship with Christ has grown this last lesson.  I'm excited to be working with her.

Our sector is needing a lot of building at the moment.  It has been great, we hit the streets all week, talking to everyone in our path.  It's so crazy, if I'm not talking to every person that I pass, I don't feel like a missionary.  The Lord really has a way of inspiring us to find his children.  We found some cool potentials and also saw many miracles-- lots of people who were taught in the past randomly called us asking to start meeting with us again.  There tons of things already set up for this week.

I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Good luck (Maddy with graduation, Mary with student government elections, and Liv with her performance)!  You will all be great.  Love you, talk to you soon!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"I have been transfered to Nice. AHHHHH! I'm thoroughly convinced that this is the most beautiful place in the entire world (despite the sea food...I will not be going there again)." 5/26/14

 Bonjour Ma Famille,

Oh my gosh, I am so happy.  I've literally been walking around freaking out all day (except for this morning when the freaking out was done while running along the boardwalk by the sea!!!).  For those who haven't heard the spoiler, I have been transfered to Nice.  AHHHHH!  I'm thoroughly convinced that this is the most beautiful place in the entire world (despite the sea food...I will not be going there again).  Although I was sad to be leaving my beautiful city of Bordeaux, I am excited to be hitting another ville (6 villes in 12 transfers, not bad).  I'm convinced that God is trying to help me with my shortcomings by having me move so much...maps, memorizing names, and in this case, overcoming my whiteness with the crazy sun (and heat...yikes).  It will be fantastic too because I will not be an STL nor a trainer.  No extra responsibilities--only us, in our perfect ville, working really hard.  I'll be serving with Soeur Patrick (haven't met her yet, but she will be great).  We are going to kill it this transfer.  Oh my gosh, we're going to work so hard, I'm absolutely thrilled.
"Oh my, look at the view from where I had lunch today!"
I guess I should tell you a little about my week (as I still love Talence and it holds a special place in my heart)...

Sister Hulme and Sister Brimhall with their Lindt chocolat
Soeur Hutchins and I went to Bayonne and Pau on exchanges this week--both of which are gorgeous and were full of incredible experiences (sorry, don't think I only like my mission because I'm traveling Southern France...definitely not the important part).  I got to do an exchange with Soeur Brimhall, it was so great.  She is doing fabulous.  We went to a cute little outerville and stumbled upon a Lindt chocolate factory.  Yum.  So, Soeur Hutchins and I celebrated the last of our exchanges for the transfer by eating delicious chocolate on the long train home.
I'm so cultured!  Okay, not really.  But, we did have a ward activity this week in which three members of the Bordeaux Opera came and put on a concert (only in France, right?!).  It also helped that one of the performers is a member in Talence.  It was such a success.  There were more non-members there than members.  Score.  There will be so many new amis out of that.
I'm so thrilled, both Alain and Sonia set baptism dates this last week.  They will both be baptized later next month.  I loved getting to find and teach them, they are incredible!  Cool sidenote: Soeur Luthi will be replacing me, so she will be there for them.
Speaking of baptism, I have another story.  Five transfers ago, when I was up in Besancon with Soeur Pagano, we had a miracle day...that we're only coming to realize was actually a miracle.  There was a really long day when we had no lessons, we were outside talking to people all day, and it was raining.  I kid you not, after four hours on the streets, we had talked to 20 people (Besancon is small, but it was definitely affected by the rain too).  We ended the day talking to this man who was cool and left us with his number.  Unfortunately, he never responded to calls.  Guess what?  Soeur Ronndahl and her companion finally got a hold of him and Nicolas was baptized this last week.  So incredible!  None of our efforts are ever in vain.
Crazy story of the week... We were porting one day and were let in by these nice people...who ended up being slightly crazy.  I will demonstrate this by including an excerpt from the brochure they left us with at our departure, "All life on earth had been scientifically created in laboratories by people from space...(those who created us) are being kept alive on their planet thanks to cloning and will officially return very soon to their embassy on earth...this is the largest UFO-related, non-profit organization in the world."  Haha, that was interesting.  There was an awkward prayer at the end where they insisted on holding our hands (gross) and then we booked it out of there.

I really love being a missionary, it is the absolute best experience.  I love you all, have a great week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

"I can't think of another time in my life when I felt so much love for and so strongly the power of the Book of Mormon." 5/19/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Typical week in the life of a missionary, it was great.  Haha, have you ever gone home at night and your jaw hurt because you had been smiling so much during the day?  I'm convinced that all returned missionaries are bound to have wrinkles at least ten years earlier in life.

Cool experience this week... 

At district meeting we were focusing on the Book of Mormon.  Nothing new, I have one in my hands about 90% of the time (unless I'm sleeping).  But, the spirit was so strong when during the meeting.  There was a point when we all went around and shared our testimonies/how we gained our testimonies of the book.  I can't think of another time in my life when I felt so much love for and so strongly the power of the Book of Mormon.  It was so incredible.

Later that same day, I was on exchange and we had a lesson with Alain.  He is so cool.  After being super inspired in the meeting, we focused the lesson on the Book of Mormon.  At the end of the rendez-vous, he recounted to us the changes he is seeing in his life.  He said that he was talking to his wife (athiest and against him being baptized), and asked her if she had remarked a difference in him since he had started meeting with us.  She confirmed that she had.  Even his kids commented that he was a happier, kinder, and more patient person now than he was a few months ago.  It was kind of a "click" moment for him.  He and his family are seeing the gospel take root in his life.  At the end of the lesson, we testified of the Book of Mormon and that it has the power to change lives.  He stopped us there and affirmed, acknowledging that we had been claiming this for months but that he finally agreed with us.  Then, he testified back to us and proclaimed his love for the book and the principles taught in it.  He said that he even loved it more than the bible (a major statement for a devoted Catholic).  It was such a cool experience, this book is powerful.

Nothing else too crazy this week...three exchanges, really great meals from the members I adore, and several of our sisters' amis getting baptized.  Everything is going well.  Soeur Hutchins is great and I really love working with her.  I love Talence too.  Transfer calls are this week, donc, on verra.  Have a wonderful week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

"There is nothing like strengthening companionship unity than through performing lice treatments on the other person at 2 AM." 5/12/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,
Sis Hulme with Sis Pagano

It was so wonderful to get to talk to you on Sunday!  Let me tell you a bit about the week...

With our apartment becoming a hotel for all of the sisters coming in for exchanges, it was only a matter of time before it became contaminated with lice.  Yep my friends, some of the sisters that came in this week brought us lice.  Specifically, brought me lice.  It was a slightly (I maybe freaked out a little bit...) traumatic and dramatic situation that is currently under control.  Lesson learned-- there is nothing like strengthening companionship unity than through performing lice treatments on the other person at 2 AM.

We had a cool lesson this week with one of our new amis.  His name is Baba and is from Senegal (sidenote: listen to the names of some of our amis/potentials... Baba, Babakar, Fodabalba, Mamadou, Magda, Zenaida.  You'd think I was serving in Africa or something).  Anyways, he came in and was so open, he said he was searching for the truth.  We explained to him about our purpose as missionaries and what he would need to do to know for himself.  He said that he was will to try "to the end" (until he gets an answer).

Lots of our amis are great, but dropping off the face of the planet, going out of town for long periods of time, or facing hardcore oppostion.  It's really sad.  We're kind of in the "finding stage" at the moment.

Sis Hulme with Sister Hutchins
We ported into a woman this week who is 103 years old!  She lived by herself, wasn't on any medication, and could walk, talk, and hear.  Oh my gosh, my mind was blown.

Apparently we have this other cool amie that I've never met.  At the beginning of last transfer we contacted this lady who was muslim and not interested.  So, we asked her if she knew anyone else who could be.  She gave us the name of her friend but we were never able to make contact with her. (this is where the story gets a bit fuzzy for me) A couple weeks ago, Soeur Hutchins called this friend and set up a rendez-vous.  Her name is Sonia, she's 40 and has four kids.  She understands everything taught and cries every time we pray.  Today there was another lesson with her where she brought one of her friends.  I'm super excited about her...if she is real.  Soeur Hutchins and I joke that she's a made up amie because she has been taught four times but I have never been there because they've all been on exchanges.  For all I know, Soeur Hutchins could be just pretending that we have amis.  Haha, probably not true.  Maybe I'll meet my amie on her baptism day...maybe.

I'm really grateful for my mission and all of the opportunities I have to grow.  There's nothing like a mission to point out and make you blatantly aware of all your weaknesses, while also giving you the motivation, the desire, and the tools needed to change.  In 1 Corinthians 12 it says, "For my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me...for when I am weak, then am I strong."  The Lord is working hard with me and allowing me to make the very most out of this short experience.  I'm so happy and grateful.  I love being a missionary!

I love you all.  Congrats Ben on receiving your Eagle, so cool!  Have a great week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Monday, May 5, 2014

"we tried out new ways to "trick" people into listening to us" 5/5/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

We had a great week!

Miracles...we tried out new ways to "trick" people into listening to us.  

(role play with strangers)  We had a lesson coming up in the day but hadn't had time to do a role play and practice it.  So, we sat by a guy on the tram, told him we were missionaries, and asked him if we could role play one of our upcoming lessons with him (and threw in that he could correct our French person can refuse that).  Haha, it totally worked.  After a 45 minute lesson, we decided that we needed to do this more often.

(port in the pouring rain) It rained a lot this week.  Not complaining, it wasn't hot.  Plus, we saw miracles because of it.  I was on exchange and we were out contacting for only one hour and got let into two houses (mostly out of pity, but still...).  We had some great conversations and have new potential amis.

(show up early for rendez-vous) We had a rendez-vous fixed with an older lady in the ward to share a short spiritual message.  There was a miscommunication somewhere and we ended up being there an hour before she expected.  Not a problem, her non-member grandson was at her house and was willing to sit in on our lesson (conveniently switched to the restoration).

Other news this week, the relief society bailed on making food for our huge zone conference the day before.  Hence, we spent several hours that night baking a million banana bars.  Waste of time, yes.  Necessary, unfortunately.  Good thing they were delicious.

We planned another ward activity this last week.  I know it seems that we do this every couple weeks...that's because we do.  But, we're supposed to and they work really well.  Luckily, this one was way low key.  We had everyone bring food, board games, and their non-member friends.  Listen how weird French people are... I tried to explain to them the simple art of placing all of the food on a huge table, sharing it between everyone, and eating while playing the games.  This, of course, was an unimaginable proposal.  The French way... everyone brings their own food, plates, utinsels, drinks, and even table cloths, they set up camp on their separate family table, eat for an hour, and then move on to games.  Haha, oh well.  Let them be.

We had several really incredible lessons with amis this week, specifically with Alain and Jeremy.  This are becoming more and more clear for them and they are feeling the Spirit.  I love teaching and watching people change.  We are working really hard and seeing lots of miracles.  I love being a missionary!  Have a wonderful week, talk to you soon!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Monday, April 28, 2014

"At this specific point in her life, she can't become a member of the church. But, after the short moment that we spent together this week, she expressed the hope that she received and the faith that it would all work out one day. I know it will." 4/28/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Must start with a clarification for last week's letter... They do not sell duct tape in France.  Yes, this was our first plan of action and I'm thoroughly convinced that it would have worked to fix the light, but it was not an option.

What a crazy, great week... traveled to 2 villes across the country, 2 conferences, 2 exchanges, 2 new amis engaged to baptism, and getting to see all 4 of my mission daughters.  Guess what we are doing all P-Day?  Sleeping in our appartment.

The week started with Jedi Council in Lyon.  It was fantastic, as always.  It was probably one of the most spiritual meetings I've had on my mission.  It's so incredible being there with President and all of the leaders.  Love them.  Mostly, we learned how to inspire all of the other missionaries.  We also talked about a new mission goal they'll be presenting this transfer.  They want a huge mission-wide baptism on the 5th of July (talk about me going out with a bang), so we'll be setting goals and making plans for that.  Cool moment, I heard President Roney pray for the first time (clarification: the first time I have heard it...that would be weird otherwise).  Anyways, at the end of the meeting he said a beautiful prayer and blessed us all.  So powerful.

Right after the council, we took a train up to Besancon to pick up my legality...finally (now they can't kick me out of the country).  I was so excited.  I can't even explain how happy I was to be there, I love that place with all my heart.  I feel like it is "my ville".  We went to a ward FHE and I got to see some of my friends then we spent the night with the sisters.  I got to see Soeur Ronndahl, who is great and just as Swedish as ever.  

Best part of going to Besancon, we got to teach Sandrine (yes, even though we were traveling most of the week and bouncing between conferences, we made sure to fill every other waking second with lessons in the sectors).  It was so amazing to see Sandrine, I have never had an amie like her, I love her so much.  Unfortunately, it has been really difficult with her husband since I left, she hasn't been to church for months and is starting to question her testimony (but not really, that's just what her husband wants her to think).  She explained how us coming was a miracle.  She said that last weekend, out of the blue, she kept getting the feeling that she needed to write me and felt really bad that she didn't.  Then, on Monday, she got the call from the sisters setting up a rendez-vous for us.  She was so happy and picked up the Book of Mormon for the first time in over a month.  So basically, the Spirit was really strong in the lesson, we talked about spiritual experiences we had had together, read scriptures, and bore powerful testimony.  I cried.  At this specific point in her life, she can't become a member of the church.  But, after the short moment that we spent together this week, she expressed the hope that she received and the faith that it would all work out one day.  I know it will.

Back in Bordeaux, we presented at zone training.  That went well... I really love speaking and it is so much easier to do big presentations in English, so that was nice.  There I got to see Soeur Pagano and Soeur Brimhall (finishing out the rest of my daughters for the week).  

We were able to have our first rendez-vous with Dominique since she has been back in town.  It went really well and, by the end of the lesson, she was insisting on resetting her baptismal date.

Random... We contacted a guy this week who lived in Provo, UT for a year and a half, with his member friend's family, and worked in the French classes at BYU.  What?!  Not baptized yet and not super interested at the moment.  But, needless to say, I did stand there with my mouth open in shock for a measurable amount of time.

So, it was a really great week.  Isn't being a missionary the best?  I love you all, have a great week!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Monday, April 21, 2014

"In the safest, least dumb blonde way possible, we stood on a chair and hit it with a hammer" 4/21/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

Such a great week.  I'm writing this email from the comfort of my mission home, Lyon (in an internet cafe that is playing the techno version of Pirates of the Caribbean songs and in the company of my lovely Soeur Luthi).  We flew in this morning so that we'd be here for Jedi Council tomorrow.  Love it.

Meet my new companion, Soeur Hutchins.  She is the best.  She's from Connecticut, has 9 siblings, is 6 ft tall, and is studying athletic training at BYU.  She plays every sport known to man (and would kill me at all of them)...except she fell twice during our runs in one week.  She's a really great missionary, even though nearly every appointment we set all week fell through, we had the best time contacting for over 20 hours together.  She brought the two most important things with her when coming to Bordeaux...a blender and a blue card (a mission card with unlimited funds).  Funny... (her observations of me at the end of the week) "You wear lots of colors, are good at washing dishes, run every morning, and are too weird to go home."  We get along so well.

The whole week started with a big mess with the appartment.  So, the light hanging in our living room was terrible.  It had this huge, red lampshade over it that made the whole room look orange.  Attempting to be pratical, we decided to take off the outer lamp shade.  In the safest, least dumb blonde way possible, we stood on a chair and hit it with a hammer.  Unfortunately, this execution revealed the fact that the light was not connected well to the ceiling (note that the light was already broken and would have tragically fallen on one of us at one point or another if we had not discovered this fault).  So, we spent a good amount of time in the only Home Depot-like store in France, learned a lot of crazy vocab, and attempted to become a electricians, and then had the elders come fix it.  Moment of shame.  Memories.

Like I mentioned earlier, basically everything fell through this week.  Even members canceled on us.  Example... We took an hour-long bus to the middle of nowhere to meet a member and teach a lesson.  She bailed, which left us in the desert with no returning buses for hours.  Eventually, we found food and then got pick up by another member.

We found 20 euros on the ground and got to eat really great pastries as a result.  This was not the only miracle this week, don't worry.  We found some cool people, Dominique finally came back from Paris, and Talence has the most incredible members.  Love them.

Easter was great, I hope you enjoyed it... although I'm not sure how you were able to celebrate it without the Ten Commandments or coconut cake.  I leave and this is what happens, everything gets ruined.  Glad I wasn't there for that.  I love you all, have a great week.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

Friday, April 18, 2014

"There were five baptisms between our district and our sisters…that's basically double our mission's weekly average!" 4/14/14

Bonjour Ma Famille, 

The news... I'm devistated.  Soeur Stevens is getting moved all the way across the country to Annemasse.  I am so sad, she was the greatest.  I am happy though, I'll be staying here in Talence for another transfer.  I love it so much, I can't even imagine leaving.  My new companion is Soeur Hutchins, her train will come in later today.  She's a great missionary, really funny, but she is crazy.  My life is about to get turned up-side-down, stay-tuned for hilarious updates.  I'm also really happy because we got to keep all of our companionships of sisters.  Let the transfer begin...

Scary fact... Apparently Bordeaux summers are always hotter than Aix-en-Provence summers.  This is potentially fatal.  I already have a good tan line.

Member moment... How to be a good member, take some advice from the Geney's.  You invite the missionaries over for a delicious lunch and then take them to your incredible, Scottish neighbor and let them teach her.

Funny miracle... One night we were out porting for a couple hours.  Everyone answered the door (weird...that never happens), but no one would talk to us.  Sometimes it surprises me how people can be so mean to people that are so happy.  Haha, don't worry, it didn't phase me, I was just utterly confused.  So, we got to the last door and this lady answered and the first thing that she said was, "Ah, you're so cute."  That was a shocker.  In short, we talked to her and her young daughter for a little bit.  They were so nice.  She wasn't really interested, but we left her with a Book of Mormon and she left us with two huge bottles of expensive make-up remover (she sells make-up for a living).  Random, but it was great.  I love little tender mercies.

Baptisms... This week was so incredible.  There were five baptisms between our district and our sisters.  That's crazy, that's basically double our mission's weekly average!  I was so excited, we were able to attend two of them.  Even though the baptisms of our amis didn't work out this transfer, I'm pretty sure that I couldn't have been happier to see all of the others.  And, we were able to have four of our amis in attendance!  So many cool people just came closer to Christ!

Weird sidenote... Since I have been in Bordeaux, none of the computers that we've used have had the option to change the keyboard to the English setting...explains the shorter letters (did you know that on the French keyboard you have to shift to use a period but not an explanation point...French people are so dramatic). Anyways, we're using a different place today and I switched it to English and I can't type anymore.  Quickly changed it back to French.  Such a struggle.

Ward activities... After the sucess of our American Night, we have spent this last transfer planning another ward activity.  We did an International/Olympics Night, full of games and food from around the world.  It was incredible.  At first, we were kind of disappointed because there wasn't a huge turnout.  But, as the night went on, we realized that it was exactly what was needed.  The majority of the people there were amis and less-actives.  That meant that all of the people that would normally be the quite ones in the back were on center stage and really came out of their shells (two cliches in one sentence...dang it).  It was a fantastic night, with mostly good but occasionally bizarre food and tons of laughter.  Ward activities are a winner.

So basically, it was a great week and I love being a missionary.  But what else is new?  I love you all, have a great Easter!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme

"Loud messages (from Conference)--Be covenant-keeping-loving, use times of trial to show and fortify faith, be a true disciple of Christ--not separating your worldly and spiritual lives, and to love, listen to, and be patient with others." 4/7/14

Bonjour Ma Famille,

This week was so wonderful, I love being a missionary so so much.  It's the greatest thing in the entire world.  Nothing super crazy to report, but I will give you some updates...

We have been teaching this guy named Jeremy, he's really cool.  He is dating a member from Perpignan and is set on becoming a member himself.  Though he doesn't have much of a religious background, Matilde (his girlfriend) has told him basically everything about the church.  While his whole objective behind meeting with us originally was for her, it's incredible to see his intentions slowly turn more towards himself and his personal relationship with God.  We're excited because Matilde will be coming into town this week and will be helping us with some lessons.

Cool miracle-- We started teaching a Bulgarian family this week and got to use it as an excuse to have a less-active Bulgarian member help us teach.  Even though they ended up being slightly crazy Bulgarian gypsies who had met with TJ's (Jehovah's Witnesses) and weren't interested in our message, it was a good experience for the member.

It's really great right now because we have lots of people to teach, we found another guy this week who we saw nearly every day and who came to conference. Everything is going well, we're working hard and we are happy.  I was super excited about conference, of course, and was so inspired by all of my favorites.  Loud messages (keeping in mind that I haven't seen the whole thing)-- Be covenant-keeping/covenant-loving, use times of trial to show and fortify faith, be a true disciple of Christ--not separating your worldly and spiritual lives, and to love, listen to, and be patient with others.  I love general conference and have some newly-vamped goals for the upcoming transfer (pray that Soeur Stevens and I get to stay in Talence).

Happy Birthday Mom!  Isn't it so perfect that your birthday is smack dab in the middle of the month when all the flowers bloom?  I'm taking pictures of the ones in France for you.  You are the greatest and such an inspiration to me.  You're always so thoughtful, your letters make me laugh and they strengthen my testimony.  Cheesy, but it will be better in the letter I'm sending.  Love you!

Je vous aime,
Soeur Alisa Hulme