Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm a "bleu"... in Belgium!

Hi! So first of all. I am still in heaven from talking to you on Christmas! It was SO much fun to get to gush about Europe with you. :)
second of all.... typing on a french keyboard is WEIRD. good thing i have two hours to email you! it's taking me forever to figure this thing out. I keep accidentally hitting the z key, which is actually quite french. "i keep 'itting ze z key!" anyway.

I'm going to start my story in the salt lake airport. after waiting at the MTC all day, not even sure if we were going to get to go (the missionaries going to switzerland in our zone had already been delayed indefinitely because of the weather) we were all SO excited to finally leave! it was hard to leave all the other missionaries though. we all had "goodbye journals" that we wrote in for each other, kind of like yearbooks. here are a few excerpts from mine...

Elder Blank: (READ THIS, amie)

Oh, dear Soeur Williams, have you heard the news? We are all lost, you for Paris and I for Montréal. I am so sad. You have been such an awesome influence in this district and for me as well! I am so grateful that you were here for us. And who will I quote Jane Austen with now that you are gone?
And Pride & Prejudice/Sense & Sensibility.... It shall be awesome, or shall I say "Capital, capital!"
You better keep in touch, i want to hear your stories.

Elder Ryan Blank
ps. "Let us not say farewell, but as the French have it, au revoir!"


Elder Hayden:

I did not forget that you said, "if you come to utah, i'll teach you to play piano. we have a piano in our basement." so don't be surprise my sister when I show up one day and ask you to teach me play like Mozart :) (he was AUSTRIAN!)
Really sister in these last weeks you helped me a lot, in order to keep focused and you helped us to do our best and also to find out our eternal potential, even hidden talents, things we didn't know we could do. Just one example (he drew an arrow to a picture he drew for me) whenever you are down look at this picture and see what you made me become. you are a miracle and you'll be a blessing to many people just as you have been a blessing to me.
Elder Hayden

And this one is for Lyric... Elder Ormond:

Alright listen here Soeur! you my friend are awesome! keep that vibrant smile you have now all throughout your mission. It always made my days wonderful even on the most wonderful days.
I'm glad you liked my jokes! i like it when i say something and i'm not the only one that laughs :) dinner was always the best when you and soeur larsen were near. The food definitely did not make it good.
That is wicked cool that you know of Wendell! You are the coolest missionary in my book on this fact alone, not even considering all your great flower headbands and wicked sweet drawings!
Keep parle-ing in French... that is going to help you out so much in France :) I think it is their language? I'm pretty sure it is, actually! Good luck :)

Bon voyage!
Elder Nathan Ormond

That was probably boring for you, but i just love all the elders! i wish you could meet them all. back to my story:

we arrived at the airport only to find out our flight had been delayed an hour and a half. it actually turned out to be a blessing... more time to talk on the phone :) it was so great to not only talk on an actual phone, but to talk to my family on the phone was just heaven!
the flight was long, but it didn't feel long. Lindsay the champion sleeper was out like a light for almost the entire flight. all the other missionaries could not sleep, but i was out in the first half hour. it was GREAT.
when we landed in Paris, it was absolutely covered in fog and we couldn't see a thing out of the airplane windows. we were still all struck with overwhelming euphoria... that special kind of euphoria that is reserved for Paris :) we were met by Président Staheli and the APs. after a few minutes of greetings, Président Staheli left. The APs handed each of us a bottle of Evian, a pain au chocolat (a croissant filled with chocolate) and a passalong card. We all swooned and sighed as we devoured the pastries-- our first real food in two months!
we all made our way to the train station and boarded. we spread ourselves out on the train so we wouldn't freak people out (23 of us!) as it got close to our stop in Le Vesinet (where the mission home is) an elderly couple got on and sat opposite Soeur Rowley and I. We started chatting with them- it was way more comfortable than i expected. I understood everything they said, they understood everything I said! When the inevitable "d'ou venez-vous?" (where are you from?) came up, they told us we didn't have an American accent at all! That is the MOST wonderful compliment anyone could give me, even if it's completely untrue (still working on my accent... it's getting there) so of course, we started talking religion with them. they said they were born Catholic and now Atheist. (that's a very common response around here) they were very nice about our religion, but basically shot us down. the cnversation drifted to art- they had just come from a Monet exhibit. I swooned over the pictures in his little pamphlet. The man gave it to me to keep, so I gave him a passalong card :)
we finally arrived in Le Vesinet and were led through a pitch black muddy forest. The entire time we were all thinking, "is this some sort of initiation??" I was sure a man with w chainsaw was going to jump out at any moment. We finally arrived at the mission home. Président and Soeur Staheli were standing on the porch greeting us, and a lovely cottage glow was pouring out through the open doors (that was for you, rico) it was so nice to be in a real home. we were served a delicious home cooked meal of salad, lasagna, baguette, green beans, and buche de noel for dessert. We then had a little testimony meeting in french and went to bed. For me, I didn't so much go to bed as i fell into bed... international travel is TIRING.
The next morning after breakfast, we were assigned areas and companions. we were all dying to find out! Soeur Larsen was assigned to Versailles (yes. THAT Versailles.) She was so very excited, even though it was hard to say goodbye to each other. I was assigned to go to Liège, Belgium. I was so so happy and excited. My trainer is Soeur England from Centerville. She's really chill and laid back, and we work hard and laugh a lot! She is such a blessing, for reals.
I just can't believe I'm in Europe! my desk in our "appartement" is in front of a big window overlooking the city. I look up now and then during my studies, and seriously I pinch myself every time. Serving the Lord in Europe is my dream come true.
Anyway, after we got our assignments, we went up to what Président Staheli likes to call Consecration Hill. It's the ruins of the castle where Louis XVI was born, set high up on a hill overlooking Paris. You can probably imagine my reaction to THAT view. If you can't, imagine someone having a mild seizure and you'd be pretty darn close. He calls it Consecration Hill because he found you can kind of see components of Lehi's vision from the top. There's a big tree, a straight path with an iron handrail running along one side, the muddy Seine below, and the big city on the other side of the river. He asked us to take a few minutes and write in our journals some thoughts and goals for our mission. I chose a particularly lovely bit of the iron gate and leaned against it and began to gush in my journal. I am just SO blessed! A few times a day I'll stop and tell Soeur England "wait. we are in EUROPE." she says she still has those moments too after being out a year. It's seriously a fairytale being here!
After Consecration Hill, I met Soeur England at the mission home and we drove to Paris to get on a train to Belgium. We drove through a huge tunnel and suddenly there was the Arc de Triomphe! love it. We got to the train station and all that was left for our train were first class tickets. So, we sat ourselves down in red velvet armchairs and little ladies in hats offered us pear tarts in soothing voices. HEAVEN! trains are just magical. gosh, i must sound like such a weirdo going on about trains and ruins. But this is my thing! i love ALL of it.  Even when we're trudging through deep snow with wind-burned faces. even when we're standing on the side of the road waiting to cross and a car drives by, splashing us with cold, muddy puddle water. even when people slam their doors. It's a dream come true, every single minute of it.
SO we got to Liège and were met at the gare (train station) by our zone leaders. Elder Weber is from Germany and Elder Duarte is from Portugal. They're AWESOME. we dropped my stuff off at our apartment and the rest is history! I love it here. It's absolutely freezing (around 5 degrees) but the people are so nice and sweet. Church was cancelled yesterday because of the weather (boo) and i seriously can't wait to go this sunday to meet everyone!
On Christmas Eve we went out contacting and we placed my first Book of Mormon with a man named Julian. He seemed really lonely... I hope we can help him out. We're calling him today I think to follow up... I'll let you know how it goes!
We went to the Lapagne's for Christmas Eve dinner. Jean Pierre Lapagne is the Branch President of Liège 2 (we're in Liège 1). It was SO much fun. They are so very kind and hilarious. His wife, Joélle, is the fastest talker I've ever heard. I understood some of what she said :) They have four kids: Bastian, Loic, Laeticia, and Maxime. They served us some sort of meat (Richard guessed game hen... i have NO idea) and lucky us, we got the innards. Oh my gosh, it's a miracle I didn't barf. The rest of the meal was really good: potatoes, spiced miniature plums (they were yellow!) chestnut sauce, cranberry sauce, a cheese plate with baguette, and buche de noel for dessert. It was really good, minus the puréed hen liver or whatever that was.
we start teaching lessons tomorrow... The buses were shut down for days, so we haven't been able to teach at all. I'm so excited to meet our amis!
*some mission vocab:
Ami de L'église (friend of the church) = investigator. most of the time, it's shortened to just "ami"
Bleu = greenie. I have no idea why it's a different color in France. So i'm a bleu, not a greenie.
um... that's all i can think of right now. I'm sure I'll be adding to it.

whew. that was the longest email of my life. I'm going to try to figure out how to email pictures now... i LOVE all of you! keep writing letters, i can write whenever i want now, not just for two seconds on friday afternoons :)

amour,
soeur williams...
who now lives in Belgium.
(!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

this is where Lindsay is living... Liege!

I was curious to see what Liege looks like, so here are a few pictures that I found online... Lindsay will be emailing on Mondays, so watch for her first email from Belgium this Monday!!



Is she completely lucky, or what??

Merry Christmas from Belgium!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm here!

im here! i'm in liège belgium and i love it! my trainer is soeur england and she is awesome.
my address is...

32, ave. rogier n°103
4000 liège
Belgium

for christmas, we can talk for 2 hours. call at 9am your time.
love you bye!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Top 10 things I will miss about the MTC:

BONJOUR, ma famille!
 
first off. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm basically freaking out. I'm leaving on MONDAY!!!! Paris! Ah! Can't wait.
 
In true Lindsay fashion, a list.
 
Top Ten Things I Will Miss About the MTC:
 
10. The Tongan elders singing hymns to our classroom from across the hall
9. the elders saying the funniest things, like all the time. we have so many jokes. I would type one of them out, but they probably wouldn't be funny to you.
8. the little bird who lived in the cafeteria for like 5 weeks. We named her Gertrude. She would tweet a song as I ate my bagel in the mornings :)
7. temple walks every week, even when it's about 6 degrees outside. we will brave all sorts of weather in order to get outside the MTC walls for a little while!
6. singin' in the choir
5. my teachers, frere welch and soeur gabriel. she is an absolute angel and he is hilarious.
4. apostles coming practically every other day!
3. learning to parlez francais and teach the gospel
2. nightly parties with my darling soeurs
1. my district-- believe it or not, i will miss spending ALL day EVERY day in a tiny classroom with ten 19 year-old boys... love 'em!
this will give you some perspective: we have the largest district in the zone (there's 12 of us). the average has 6-8, maybe ten. our classrooms are all the same size. there is about an arm's-width space in between all of our desks. we are CRAMMED in there! it's fun though.
 
The MTC has been just amazing. I'm so very excited to go to Paris, but I'll miss the MTC too! Mostly, I'll miss my district, my soeurs, my zone, and soeur larsen. we're all super duper close, and I love them. It's going to be hard to say goodbye! But we're going to keep in touch, and I'm so excited to see the huge impact they're all going to have in their missions.
 
I love you all so very much. Thank you for your support of my mission! The church is TRUE :)
 
Joyeux Noel!!!
 
avec tout mon amour,
soeur williams

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

new address

Lindsay will be traveling to Paris on Monday, December 20th.  I have changed her address to the mission office in France.  Please send her letters there. 
Thanks so much!

Friday, December 10, 2010

travel plans!!

Bonjour, ma famille! 10 DAYS! Can you believe it?? I sure can't. we got our travel plans yesterday-- that made it so real! So here's what i know so far:
There's a group of 20 of us going to Paris, and we're all on the same flight, which is going to be a blast :) We leave the MTC monday the 20th at 1:30 PM. Our flight leaves SLC at 5 PM and we arrive at Charles de Gaulle at 11:25 AM the next day. Direct flight=happiness. The Montreal, Geneva, and Toulouse missionaries are SO jealous of us.
As far as talking on the phone at the airport, it will probably be in the 3:00-4:30 range and from what I've heard, we only get like 5 minutes to talk. Does Katie remember how long she got? I'm sure I'll have more info for you next Friday.
It's been a good week this week. We're all starting to realize how little time we have left, which makes things a little more stressful! I have SO much to do still. Like, a lot. And our district/zone is so, so very sad to be splitting up-- we're all super close. But we're all really excited too! There was a lot of freaking out going on when we got our travel plans :) Can you believe it's been 8 weeks already? The MTC is just the weirdest place. I feel like I've only been here 2 weeks and at the same time I feel like I've been here FOREVER. I'm so excited to get my mission started! I don't think there are words for how excited I am.
Sunday was my last fast sunday here. I bore my testimony in French in sacrament meeting-- first time! It felt oh, so good. I just got up there and said exactly what I wanted so say, which is a hard thing for me to do in French. But i did it! It was a big accomplisment for me. It's a powerful thing, learning a language in the MTC. I've learned so much so quickly. How very blessed I am.
On Tuesday, we had our devotional and none other than Elder Craig Zwick came! It was so cool. He reminds me so much of Connie, it's crazy. The meeting went way over because he talked so much. It was good though... He talked about serving in South America in the late 60's, and some of his stories reminded me of dad's mission stories :)
 
Thank you everyone for your support and love! I love and miss you! Keep the letters coming :)
 
avec amour,
Soeur Williams

Sunday, December 5, 2010

my heart feels as if it's going to burst at the seams...

 

The following is a letter that Lindsay sent to us last week.  It was so wonderful that I thought I would add it to the blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Hi! Can you believe that Elder Holland came for Thanksgiving?? It was so amazing.  Such a great surprise.  His talk was mind-blowing and incredible, as usual.  He talked about three things:
1. "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost know us individually by name.  It is important for us as missionaries to know we are not collective - we are individual.  He knows us by our name - by our first name.  Think of the significance of names in our church.  "One of them spake unto me, calling me by name..." If that doesn't make your mission personal, who knows what will.  "All things are present before mine eyes.  Mine eyes are upon you.  I am in the midst of you.  Behold, the kingdom is yours."  This is a personal mission.
2.  "The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost have always had compassion for the poor.  We retain a remission of our sins by being conscious of the poor.  We must have compassion.  We live in the most abundant, blessed time in the history of all mankind.  Today, let us all remember where it came from."  
3.  "The Father sent His son to perform the Atonement alone.  The most important event in the entire world was accomplished alone. One by one, the people left the Savior - All the disciples forsook Him and fled.  Jesus knew this would happen.  He knew it had to be done alone.  He did know, however, His Father would never leave him.  He was alone, but not alone. "I do nothing of myself... He that sent me is with me."  He was left utterly alone on the cross and there uttered the most painful cry in human history: "Oh God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  It is almost impossible to comprehend the cost that came from the Father as He had to watch His child hurting and for some divine reason, not be able to respond.  Jesus had to to do it alone. He saved our souls. He gave us eternal families.  But there is an obligation that comes with that price - if we compromise His expectations, His example, His love - then we are utterly alone.   "In all their affliction, He was afflicted.  The angel of His presence saved them.  "The reason we serve a mission is so He doesn't have to keep doing this alone."  
WOW, right? So powerful. I wish you could have been there with me! I absolutely loved when he said: "He that sent me is with me." Gah! So perfect.  Anytime I feel alone or discouraged on the mission, I will think of that.  I love it so much.  I feel so very lucky to have seen so many apostles!  The MTC is the best.  I just love it here - it's going by so fast! I'm so excited to go to Paris and get to work.  It's coming up quick!
On Wednesday, Soeur Larsen and I taught at the TRC in French for the first time.  It was so great! We are really good at teaching together now.  It's a tricky thing to get used to, but we definitely have the hang of it now.  The "investigator" we taught served her mission in Montreal.  After we finished teaching and she could stop being an actress, she told us we both have beautiful French and we taught very well!  It was such a good feeling.  I am so ready!
Every week in Relief Society, a sister talks for a few minutes and shares her conversion story.  It's so cool to hear how the gospel touches everyone so individually.  Last week, a sister from Pakistan shared her story. Pakistan! It's so amazing.  She's going to temple Square, of course. There's another sister, Sister Burns, who is also going to Temple Square. She's from Tahiti and her French is gorgeous!  You should go find her in a few weeks:) She is darling.  She speaks cute broken english.
The other day, Soeur Larsen and I decided to watch a talk during MDT (Missionary Directed Time). We watched the talk Pres. Uchtdorf gave at the April 2010 Young Women Meeting - "Your Happily Ever After".  You have to promise me you'll watch it!  It's the cutest thing ever. Don't read it... watch it, for obvious reasons:) I love to go back and watch general conference talks.  Sometimes we go watch mormon messages too - we love to watch the nie nie one:)Also "Lessons I learned as a Boy" and "Your True Identity". Oh, goodness. haha. My life has become very small.
So, there's an elder in my district, Elder Blank. I swear he is the 19 year old version of Richard.  He's a total germophobe - it's so funny.  He has absolutely perfect table manners, he has a matching pocket square and cuff links for all of his ties, and he loves Pride and Predjudice.  But best of all, he is a food snob!  He laments over the cafeteria food with me and  says things like, "What would I give for some good chocolate right now" or, "Soeur Williams, what's your favorite variety of cheese? I love a good gorgonzola".  It is hilarious.  I told him he's invited for Sunday dinner when he gets home and I'm pretty sure he is counting down the days:)
Our whole district is planning a little post-mish reunion... we're already sad that half of us are going to Paris and the other half Montreal.  I hope we are all still best friends when we get home.  I want you to meet them! I especially want you to meet all the Soeurs (have I mentioned that yet?:)
I'm sitting on the floor in my room watching Soeur Baxter pack.  She leaves for Figi tomorrow and I am so sad.  I love her so much.  She is seriously amazing and she is tailor-made for Figi.  It's so amazing how the Lord knows each of us so well.  I'm so grateful for that.
The first time I went to the Temple here, Soeur Larsen and I did a session.  As I passed through the veil and into the celestial room, there was a gigantic portrait of the Savior right in front of me, His hands outstretched.  I immediately felt this wave of overwhelming love wash over me.  I sat on the couch and started crying.  I have never felt the Savior's love for me as strongly as I did then.  He loves each one of us so very much.  A Book of Mormon lay next to me on the couch.  I picked it up and opened it right to this verse:
"And blessed be he that shall bring this ling to light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come into the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God." Mormon 8:16
That's why I'm here: to bring the gospel to light.  As I've been at the MTC, I've come to know more and more that I had my mission call long before June 1st. The Lord called me to be a missionary in the pre-existence and I accepted... it just took a little while to figure that out:) But I am oh, so grateful I did! My mission has already changed my life.  I can't imagine what the impact is going to be after a year and a half!  This is the best decision I've ever made.
My heart feels as if it's going to burst at the seams... my testimony and my desire to serve the Lord grow with every passing day.  I can see His hand in my life, guiding me along the way.  I'm just so happy!  In fact, my roommates said I was giggling in my sleep the other night.  That's how happy I am:)
Favorite scripture of the week: Alma 32:34-35
"...for ye know that the word hath swelled in your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
O then, is it not real?  I say unto you, yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernable, therefore, ye must know that it is good."
Well, sure do love you and miss you! Thank you so much for your support.  I can't wait to call you from the airport on the 20th!


love, love, love,
your little mish



Friday, December 3, 2010

a visit from Sis. Beck!

Hello, family and friends!
It's been a very eventful week. I can't believe I go to Paris in 2 and a half weeks!!! i'm so beyond excited.
So first off, on Tuesday Sister Beck came for our devotional! It was awesome. Such a great surprise. They just keep spoiling us! And mom. she was wearing the cutest green 60's swing jacket and oversized pearls. you would have died. She was SO good, as usual. I just love her! She talked a lot about how the church is exploding in Brazil, and I kept thinking, someday she's going to be talking about how the church is exploding in France :)
It sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving! I'm sure it was just divine as always. And YAY YAY YAY for Amie and Roland! I'm so excited you guys finally got your tickets! I knew you would. That will be so much fun.
I have a funny little story... yesterday I was walking to my table at the cafeteria, and this sister (don't remember her name) stopped me and said, "I know this is going to sound totally creepy, but are you going to paris on your mission?" I said yes, and she said she had found my mission blog a couple weeks ago. She was like, "I just think you are darling and I love nie nie too!" Hah! It was so random. and funny.
Oh, goodness. I'm already running out of time. I'm sorry it's so short this week! I wrote lots of letters this morning, and I'll be sending another big one home too :) Get ready for TRC stories and notes from devotionals. so exciting.
I love and miss you!
Love,
the little mish

Friday, November 26, 2010

the best Thanksgiving I've ever had...

Hi! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
Oh my goodness, what an amazing day. It was the best thanksgiving I've ever had, and it definitely had nothing to do with the food :) THANK YOU for the butter rolls though! What a lovely little taste of home. It turns out they're the exact same rolls Soeur Larsen's mom makes, so we shared them and it was delicious.
So Thanksgiving at the MTC is amazing. We had a devotional in the morning, and rumors had been flying for days about who was going to come. We waited in line for two hours to get in! We finally made it in and got some killer seats right next to the podium. The anticipation in the room climbed as we sang our prelude songs. Seriously, we were dying. As we were singing "Because I have Been Given Much", the double doors opened and in walked Eler Holland! I immediately started bawling as we all stood. He walked up the stairs to the podium, turned to face us, and blew kisses at us :) And not only did Elder Holland come, his entire family came with him. He told us, "The Hollands are your family today". It was so sweet! Before he spoke, he had all of his grandkids come up and sing "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" for us. It was darling, and it made me miss the kiddos. His talk was INCREDIBLE, as always.
After the devotional we had our Thanksgiving meal. It was fine... I made my own Martinelli's from apple juice and sprite so it would feel a little more like home :) it was fun to share it with the district. Our European elders were a little bit confused about why turkey is such a big deal. How was YOUR thanksgiving? I bet it was just amazing, like always. I hope you had fun with the 8 billion people you had over!
At breakfast, we all talked about our traditional Thanksgiving meals. Jaws were dropping as I described Richard's usual Thanksgiving extravaganza! How does having all my missionary friends over for sunday dinner in 2012 sound? They're all really excited about it :) Richard's food is famous around here, and nobody has ever even tasted it!
After our Thanksgiving meal, the entire MTC participated in a service project. We cut out the supplies needed to sew backpacks for needy children. It was so fun! At the end of it, they announced we made over 33,000 kits. How amazing is that?? It only took us about 2 hours.
I'm sorry I have to cut this one a bit short... I have to go do laundry! A nice long letter is coming your way :) I love and miss you so much! keep the letters coming :)
 
love, love, love,
your little mish

Friday, November 19, 2010

one month down and one to go!

Bonjour family! Whew, it has been a loooooong week. I got sick with a cold/cough at the beginning of the week. That's the bad thing about the MTC... one person gets sick, and suddenly EVERYONE is sick. At least half of our district had colds this week. No fun. I'm better now though!
The language is going great... Soeur Larsen and I go to private french tutoring sessions once a week, and we speak french 100% of the time in the classroom, and as much as possible outside of the classroom. That's A LOT of French, since we spend about 12 hours a day in our tiny little classroom. It starts to smell like boy in there by the end of the day. gross. But we all love each other, so it's so much fun. We have to teach our first lesson completely in french on wednesday in the TRC. Soeur Larsen and I are excited! We're so ready. The TRC is funny. Ask Katie to tell you about it :)
Can you believe I've been here a whole month?? It's going by SO fast. I'm halfway through my time at the MTC! I seriously can't believe it. I'm going to be sad to leave here, especially because I won't get to see all the Montreal elders anymore.
Oh, I almost forgot! I got a calling! I'm the music coordinator for our branch. It's so much fun. I get to pick the hymns and arrange the special musical numbers for sacrament meeting. It's one of like, two calls sisters can get so i feel pretty lucky :)
On tuesday for the devotional Elder Pearson of the seventy came. It was amazing! He spoke really powerfully. My favorite thing he said was that everyone we will meet already has a testimony. They know the gospel because they were there in the pre-existence. Our job is to help them remember what they already know.
Soeur Larsen and I always joke about how the MTC is the only place we have ever felt this much love. We love everyone we meet! I think that is a gift that comes with the calling of a missionary- i already love the french people. i love the people i am going to teach. love, love, love.
I LOVED the birthday party pictures! Once again, Amie, you outdid yourself. So cute! Emilie looks so grown up (TOO grown up!) and Rico does NOT look his age :)
 
I'm sorry this email was shorter than usual, but I have a lot of letters to write! Thank you for all the mail! Please keep it coming :) It is so encouraging and uplifting to get letters from all of you!
I love and miss you a lot a lot. :)
 
avec amour, the little mish

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sheri Dew and Elder Bednar... all in one week!

Bonjour!
OH MY GOODNESS, what a week. Are you ready for this? Everyone in the world is going to be jealous of me. Even I'M jealous of me. First of all, SHERI DEW came for our sunday night fireside! And better yet, Soeur Larsen and I were plucked out of the audience of 2,000 to sit front row center with a few other select sisters! We were seriously right there. It was an amazing experience- Sister Dew is an unbelievable force of righteous womanhood. She is eloquent, brilliant, and entertaining. She didn't use teleprompters at all! She just grabbed her scriptures and went to town and it was amazing. Some quotes:
"God knows who you are. He knows where you are. He knows what your mission is- both in life and as a set apart full-time missionary. and He knows exactly what you need to fulfill that mission."
She talked a lot about how we were especially saved for these last days. "we demonstrated determination and conviction in the premortal life which then caused us to be sent to earth at this time. It's not an accident that we're here now. in our premortal life, we developed, to an unusual degree, the talent of spirituality. do you think there's any chance Heavenly Father would have risked the outcome of the last days? He knows we can do it."
Awesome, right? I love her and her 80's hair and bright red lipstick.
Then, Elder Bednar came for our Tuesday night devotional! Can you believe it? We're so very spoiled here. I love that they surprise us every week.... no one has any idea who is coming until they walk in. This week, we were singing some prelude music, "Behold, A Royal Army" and right as we were singing, "Victory, victory!" the double doors burst open, he came walking in, and all 2,000 of us rose to our feet. It was SO COOL. He spoke a lot about teaching with the doctrine: "the doctrine is always the answer"-- he must have said that like ten times. He talked about letting the investigator find their own answers to questions. That way, they don't become dependent on the missionary. We are to guide them toward the Savior so they can stand spiritually independent and rely on Him. We are to be worthy, confident, and faithful so we can match the message. He closed with an Apostolic blessing:
"As you are diligent and faithful in your study and learning, the doctrine will distill upon you as the dews from heaven, bringing understanding and protection. As you do so, you will be magnified."
How amazing is that? we are so blessed here at the MTC. I'm so happy to be here! I love, love, LOVE being a missionary. Oh by the way, Mom, Amie, Katie, and Lyric-- Soeur Larsen and I saw NieNie and Mr. Nielson coming out of the temple last week! We chickened out of going up to them and now we're mad at ourselves that we didn't. She looked darling, of course.
A few days ago in class, Frere Welch was telling us a mission story and he said something about serving in Metz (i have no idea how to spell that) and something clicked in my brain. I asked him if he knew Serge and Isabel Brun and he said, "Oh my gosh, he was my favorite branch president EVER!" And then I told him the relation and he said he met Michel and Liliane too, and he's friends on Facebook with the Bruns! So Amie and Roland, ask Serge about Elder Clayton Welch and tell them he's my MTC teacher :)
Also, Scott and Lyric, I was talking to an Elder in my zone the other day. I asked him where he was from and he said a small town right outside Twin Falls. I asked him if he's ever heard of Wendell, and he was like, "No way! That's where I'm from!" It's Elder Nathan Ormond! He says to tell you hi, Lyric :) What a coincidence! And THANK YOU for the package! I love the card. and the pastry. and the pretzel m&ms. Yum!
Anyway. Lots of cool coincidence-y stuff happened to me this week. Right now I'm in the laundry room, waiting for my stuff to dry. And I'm not wearing a skirt... bliss. :) I love all of you so very much, thank you for the letters and packages! Keep 'em coming, they make my day!
avec amour, soeur williams

Monday, November 8, 2010

a day in San Francisco!?

Dear Family,
Merci for your letters!  Mail is one of my favorite parts of the day.  It comes everyday after lunch & dinner - we're always bouncing in our chairs as Elder Pistorius hands it out.  Please tell everyone to write letters & "Dear Elders" if they want to write me during the week.  It's hard to get through all those emails and still have time to email back!  It's much easier to respond individually to letters.
I'm sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting to board our flight back to Salt Lake.  It's been a long, fun day!  We woke up at 4:30 and got on a bus with all the missionaries who were heading out to their missions.  the bus driver announced he brought Christmas music for us to listen to - it sounded like the Christmas music creepy old people listen to at bingo night in the party room at Village Inn. It was seriously the weirdest music I've ever heard - and he blasted it all the way from Provo to the airport!
We landed in San Francisco after a relatively ear pain-free flight (Elder Kellett have me a very sweet blessing on Sunday for my ears - I love the Priesthood!)  and were immediately whisked away to the French consulate and were there for a grand total of 15 minutes!  All of that just for 15 minutes in the consulate! By that point it was about 11 am - we had 4 hours to do whatever we wanted:) (We being Soeur Larsen and I, Elder Kellett, 6 Elders and 1 sister form our zone).
As we were standing outside the consulate waiting for our shuttle, a man walked past us, then backtracked.  He looked right at me and said, "Jesus Christ?" We were all taken aback, and I finally managed to say, "Yes!" He said, "I was on my way to a friend's house but got lost.  I'm so glad I found you instead.  I was raised Ba'hai, but lately I've been thinking a lot about Jesus Christ and I think I want to convert to Christianity."  um, what?! talk about the world's greatest investigator!  We were all so excited AND startled! Our first time being missionaries in public and we run into this guy.  Incredible. We gave him a pass along card and a pamphlet on the Restoration.  So exciting!
That being said, it was a little weird and disorienting leaving our little MTC bubble.  I'm really anxious to get back:) As we passed the American Fork exits on the way to the airport this morning, part of me wanted to jump out of the bus and run home.  But then we passed the exits and the feeling passed too. I really am so so so happy to be a missionary!  It's the most amazing experience, even with all the weird looks we got in San Francisco.
We spent the day at Fisherman's Wharf.   I saw all the places we went when we were there - that seems like another lifetime!  We had the quintessential San Fran experience: soup in bread bowls, watching the sailboats glide along the bay, and a scoop of chocolate from Ghirardelli.  It was a perfect mini vacation!
I'm sad our shuttle came before we had a chance to really talk to our "investigator".  Thank goodness for pass along cards and pamphlets!  I seriously can't wait to get to Paris and talk to more people! Speaking of Paris, our travel intineraries were in the paperwork we were given to take to the consulate - all of the Paris missionaries are on the same nonstop flight from SLC to Paris!  Yay! 10 1/2 hours instead of 18 hours? Yes please. We leave in the evening on Monday the 20th and arrive in Paris the next morning.
Thank you so much for your love and support... I am one lucky girl:)
Love, love, love,
Soeur Williams






Friday, November 5, 2010

sister love

Bonjour ma famille!
I feel like my heart is going to explode, I'm so very happy! I have met so many amazing people. And here at the MTC, when you meet someone, you instantly love them. Oh, the love. it's great. Last night Soeur Larsen and I had a little chat session with the other Soeurs in our zone (there's 11 of us!) and it was so much fun. We hugged each other for like five hours. We don't even know each other that well yet, but there is a real bond of sisterhood. It's the best feeling. Two of the soeurs are little granola runner girls, and they totally remind me of you, mom. :) I told them about your store and the raw milk and grass-fed everything and they were really interested in it. I want to tell you a little bit about them:
Soeur Neumeister is from Austria and therefore has a darling accent. She's quiet, but she can be hilarious when she wants to :)
Soeur Harline is one of the crunchy girls. She wears Toms like every day. Her brother was a BYU football player!
Soeur Read loves to read, oddly enough :) She wants to go into Marine Biology though, so our common interests pretty much stop at reading.
Soeur Scott is the other crunchy girl. She's from California and she's so sweet.
Soeur Turney loves to draw... she's an animation major. (is she the one Sandy told me about? I think she might be.)
Soeur Wiseman is my friend from Jr. High and we have SO much fun. She's the happiest person and it's infectious!
Soeur Cope is darling. She has the cutest clothes and not gonna lie, Soeur Larsen and I covet them just a little bit :)
Soeur Rowley is so cheerful and nice. She wears contacts during the day, but when she takes them out... Holy Kevin Haycock glasses! They're so thick haha.
Soeur Baxter is a solo sister. She has two Elders as her companions... kind of strange, huh? She's going to Fiji! (The rest of us are going to Paris, Toulouse, or Geneva) Everyone loves Soeur Baxter. She's so bubbly and friendly and I love her.
This week has been just wonderful. I'm tired like all the time, but I don't even care. Everyday I'm getting closer and closer to the missionary I want to be. The Lord has His hand on my shoulder, guiding me along!
San Francisco was INCREDIBLE! Oh my goodness. I wrote an entire separate letter about that one...there's no way I could type everything about the San Fran trip in 30 minutes. I'm sending it today, along with my memory card. The only bummer about the trip was we missed the Tuesday night devotional with M. Russell Ballard. bummer! but they record all the devotionals so we can go to the bookstore and request a copy to watch, if we ever have the time! we're crazy busy here, but I'm loving every minute of busy-ness.
I did get Megan's letter... I'm sending my reply today. I wish she could be here with me. I seriously think she would LOVE it here.
Thank you for sending the package, Amie! We haven't gotten the mail yet, but I'll be watching for it :) My stash of good food is almost gone, so THANK YOU for sending another package :)
Yesterday in class, we watched "Finding Faith in Christ". Elder Andersen said the actor who plays the Savior in those movies is in his home ward in Norway! He told us about the scene when the Lord is carrying a lamb on his shoulders. As they were perparing for the scene, the lamb was out of control, making noises and fidgeting. As soon as the director called "action", however, the lamb relaxed on his shoulders and didn't make a peep for the rest of the day. The actor also told him that the Atonement scene was shot in just one take. I love hearing stories like that! And don't you just LOVE that actor? He's so perfect for the part. I totally started bawling during the movie. I'm just glad it wasn't The Testaments... then I would have been full-on sobbing. :)
My time is running out! I love you ever so much. Keep the letters coming! {that means YOU, scott and katie ;) }
love from your little mish :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

power!

Bonjour famille!
Oh my GOODNESS. I have so much to tell you. This week was long and tiring, but amazing! I'm still absolutely head-over-heels in love with being a missionary. It's the greatest thing ever!
Let's see, I'll start with telling you about Sunday. Church at the MTC is wonderful. We had Sacrament meeting with our little branch of French missionaries- there's about 60 of us. The entire meeting was in French, except for the leaders who spoke at the end. Every week, everyone has to prepare a talk in french on an assigned topic, and they call two missionaries up to give their talks at the beginning of sacrament meeting. Kind of scary! I didn't get called up this time, but we'll see about this sunday :) After sacrament meeting, the sisters all watch Music & The Spoken Word together. It was so nice to hear some music from the choir! (we're not allowed to listen to music at the MTC. lame.) Then we all had relief society together. You're right Katie, it's the most amazing Relief Society meeting ever! i can't wait to see who will come speak this time. Last week it was Sister Doxey of the Relief Society General Board. She was awesome. All of us sisters were crying, of course :)
On sunday nights we have a fireside. Elder Stephen Allen came, he's the Managing Director of the Missionary Department. He was hilarious, and he gave some great council. After the fireside, your district can pick from a list of movies to watch. (movies! we were so excited.) we chose the Joseph Smith movie, and oh gosh. I bawled like a baby through the ENTIRE thing. When it was over, I looked at the elders sitting next to me and they were wiping away tears, all 10 of them! It was so sweet.
On tuesday, we had a devotional with Richard G. Scott! It was a sweet surprise. We sang "Called to Serve" for the opening hymn- my first time singing that song in the MTC. It was so powerful singing those words with 2,000 other missionaries and an Apostle. Elder Scott didn't really sing, he just sat there looking at all of us and smiling. His talk was SO good. He talked about following the guidance of the spirit. Towards the end of his talk, he was telling a story abou two sister missionaries following the spirit to get out of a dangerous situation. He suddenly stopped and said he was going to invoke his Apostalic power in order to cast a protective shield over all the sisters in the room. I could tangibly feel that power settle down on me. He spoke a lot to the sisters, which was a surprise and a great blessing. We're very outnumbered here, so it was nice to receive blessings and guidance just for us! At the very end of his talk, he pronounced two more Apostalic blessings on the congregation: The Gift of Tongues (yay!) and the blessing of confidence and guidance of the spirit. He told us we are far more prepared than we think we are. It was such a great booster!
Speaking of general authorities, I was telling Soeur Larsen about the whole "Dieter" thing and about how we love his white teeth and fabulous ties. She said, "No way. Me and my roommates used to call him Elder Hunk-dorf." I knew right then and there our companionship is meant to be! It was so funny.
I'm still loving the MTC. We spend almost all day, every day in our little classroom as a district. we're already really close. 6 of us are going to Paris (Soeur Larsen included-- we're leaving the MTC on the same day! yay!) and the other 6 are going to Montreal. We're already sad about splitting up. The Elders are hysterical: yesterday Elder Andersen (the one from Norway) picked up a pinecone and, I kid you not, started to eat it. Nasty! When we asked him why on EARTH he was eating a pinecone, he looked totally unphased and said, "This is how Norwegians get their fiber." So we all asked Elder Hayden (from Austria) if he had ever eaten a pinecone and he replied, "I only like them with ketchup." Um, what?? Hah. We all have so much fun together. We have been working really hard as well. Some of the Elders had no French experience coming into the MTC and after only a week they are praying and bearing their testimonies in French! It's amazing. Soeur Larsen and I have been reading Doctrine et Allinances together and I can understand almost everything! We speak French to each other about 60% of the time.
My time is running out, so I will send a letter with more. By the way mom, today is our first temple trip! I can't wait!
I love all of you!
Please keep the letters coming, i look forward to receiving them every day! I can only write back on Fridays, so the responses are coming, I promise!
Until next week,
soeur williams