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