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!

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 :)