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