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