Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sister Fitch: April 2, 2012

Well, this is my 3rd area in 6 weeks, and so far so good!  My time in the family ward in Montreal was short lived, but that's okay because I just really didn't feel at home there--had a hard time settling in.  Here in St. Jean, things are better in that regard.  I've already met lots of members (normal sunday introductions didn't really happen because most people here are spread out and therefore didn't come to the church for the conference broadcast)  by...rendering visits??  No, PAYING visits.  French sort of messes with my vocabulary sometimes.  Speaking of which, French is a little tough here...accents are SUPER thick.  We did a lesson with a less active for about forty minutes, and I maybe understood 15% of what she said...lots of following the spirit and lucky guessing in my responses to her questions.  There are lots of people from Belgium here, and that's not quite so hard to get.  We're still pretty chilly here, the lovely 20 degree weather of a couple weeks ago was short lived.  But its coming. Soon enough.  I feel like this area could be my area--the one that I really love.  We don't have a lot of people to teach, but the ones we are teaching are really seeking something, and they know they are finding it here, with the restored gospel.  It's really neat to be teaching people who are hungry for our message.  Lots of times in the big city, people are too distracted by life to realize they are starving spiritually.  Two of our investigators are 12 year old boys who are best friends, and who are so awesome.  James and Marco.  They are incredibly in tune with the spirit and they really get the gospel.  It's awesome to be with them.  Another, Robert, is an older man who has had a lot, lot, lot of trials recently and is looking for answers.  He said "I think you are here to help me...." BINGO!!  He seemed pretty...awestruck after conference.  He only watched one session, but it was sunday morning session, which was one of my favorites.  So, life is good here.  I learned this week how much I love teaching and working with members, and how much I really don't like knocking doors.  But, it is all part of the work, and nothing we do is ever fruitless.  We never know the effect we have on people, whether they slam the door in our face or not.  Oh, Mark, did I tell you???  President Carter is in my ward.  In fact, he's in the bishopric.  We might be spending the night at his house soon to try and do some more work out where he lives, because its crazy far away and we don't have klicks enough to go out and back all the time.  Weird, eh??  Should be fun :)  Oh, yes--and was I imagining things when I saw Joan Johnson in the missionary choir?  Is she serving a mission??  where at??  And I also didn't know that Monty Brough died til they announced it in conference.  Well, love you lots, all of you.  


Elder Fitch: April 2, 2012

Well here we are again. However, this week was normal speed. The first week of a new transfer with no changes always seems like it goes a little slower, but it was a great week either way! No matter how slow it seemed we had conference to look forward to all week, which was an awesome motivator. Conference as a missionary is like jumping in a nice cool pool on a super hot day. It's just refreshing. There was one talk I really liked that talked about the difference between the church and the gospel. Where as the church is important and is ordained of God the Gospel is what we share with people, the Gospel is what brings people to Christ. I, as a missionary, am here as a representative of Christ. I am accountable to the Lord first and foremost before anyone else for the work I do. I try to help people apply the Atonement in their life. The church is good, but it is only an appendage. Christ is what is important and it is because of what He did for me personally, for our family, and for everyone that I am here.
Other news is that there isn't a whole lot of news. Yet, we are picking up momentum and it is starting to show. We didn't have anything really happen with anybody we are already teaching. We did find a few potentials, but a little sketchy so we will see.
It is starting to get quite warm here. All the foutains in the city are running now, including the big elephants. The trees ALMOST have there leaves up. AND good news! starting today we can wear short sleeve shirts, which I am wearing at this very moment. Im super stoked about that, because up to conference we are suposed to wear our jackets which have been a little warm Im not going to lie.
Other than that pas grande chose!
I LOVE YOU!!!!! Have a nice day :)....and week.

Sister Fitch: March 26, 2012

This week was pretty crazy!  We worked super duper hard to get our members involved in our teaching, so we taught lots with them and it was great.  The weather was so nice at the beginning of the week that we had our district study on the roof of the church/mission office!  ...not sure if that's against the rules or not, but it was oh so nice to be in the sun.  It's back to 0 degrees now though, so its definitely spring and not summer.  I had an impromptu interview with President, because my companion had requested one with him.  He asked me where I thought the best place for me would be, that he really wanted to get me off the Island and into something smaller--somewhere I can really get into my missionary groove and have fewer stress triggers.  So, we were pretty sure that meant that Soeur Pierache would stay here in Hochelaga, and I would be going back to Ottawa.  BUT NO!  They ended up closing our area, and I am going to St. Jean, which is a smaller town south of Montreal, and Soeur Pierache is going to Gatineau, which is just across the bridge from Ottawa.  We were super surprised.  That means I closed two areas in one transfer....oops.  I spent a day in St. Jean not too long ago, and it was really nice.  It'll take some adjusting, I'm sure, but I think it'll be good for me.  I only spent about 4 or 5 weeks in this area, but it was a lot of fun.  Good people.  LOTS of Haitians.  So many of the people here are just SO CLOSE to understanding the importance of the gospel, they just need a little more time.  I'm a little sad to be leaving before I get to see the transformation, but good things to come, for sure.  Looking forward to new adventures in St. Jean.  Love you all lots!!


Elder Fitch: March 26, 2012

DUh duh dun dun dun...and another one bites the dust. and another one gone and another one gone and another one bites the dust. duh duh dun dun dun..... 
WELL...another transfer bites the dust. I have now gone from single digit transfers to double and in a couple weeks I will go from double digit months left to single digit. This last transfer went by faster than two skinny muslim kids in there matching warm up suits on their whiny loud scooter with helmets only on half their heads. Meaning fast. Actually they're not that fast, but you see that a lot. 

This last week was pretty full. We had an exchange, we went to another city about an hour away, we had english class, we went to yet another city to visit a few members, we did some service in a members garden up on the side of the mountain, AND we found a porcupine. So between all that with the travel and everything we didn't have a lot of time but it was fill with walking the roads and searching for people that would listen to us. It was a pretty great week, yet we still have no solid amis. Whatev, no big deal. Seriously though I love it here! We have a great time. I did however hear something from someone that I have NEVER heard before my entire mission. We were heading back to our apartment on saturday night when we came across this little old lady. Often old french people are the meanest most bitter hateful people we meet, but lately my confidence in nice old ladies has grown. Anyway we stopped this lady and shared a little about how God had called a prophet who is livning today. She said she was catholic, no surprise there, but then said and agreed with us that the world was in a great need for a prophet and that that would be really important to know. she then agreed to meet this next week and reminded us she was catholic, but then said (and here's where she said what I have never heard before) "but what you say about prophet is interesting I AM INTERESTED in that" I was a little shocked. She was really nice and we'll see how that goes with her. 
WELL today starts a new transfer. I AM SUPER STOKED!! OH I forgot to say that there are no changes. Staying in Chambery with Elder Jensen. This transfer is going to rock though! Hurrah! 
I love you all and you are all in my prayers everyday!! CIAO! Bonne semaine!

Sister Fitch: March 19, 2012

Last week was snow, this week was 20 degrees (translate to Fahrenheit...uh...50s maybe??) and sunshine.  I wanted to skip out on correlation to go for a Sunday walk, but...didn't.  Sigh.  Life is slowly but surely coming back to Canada.  Hallelujah.  So, this week my companion was super sick.  We made it to most of our appointments, but crashed before and after in order to have energy for them all.  So, not THE most productive week as far as missionary work goes, but not as bad as it could have been.  A good part of the mission is sick right now...I'm taking my vitamins and so far, no symptoms.  Thank goodness.  Lots of our investigators and members are sick too, so its been a little slow lately.  This week we had mission conference.  The mission is too big for all of us to be together, so we had three of the five zones in our session.  Elder Alan F. Packer of the 70 came to speak to us.  His dad is President Packer.  It was a bit of a fiasco getting there, but it all worked out and the conference was really interesting.  Afterwards, he wanted to interview a few of the missionaries to get a feel for the mission.  I was chosen as one of the interviewees.  It was super short, maybe three minutes, he asked me about three questions.  But, he asked me to tell you "thank you" from "the Brethren" for my (and I'll add Mark's) service.  So, there you have it!  Thank you!  Something I learned this week: Isaiah 55:8-9.  For my thoughts are not yourthoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  It was meaningful to learn this week because it helped me understand that God has everything under control.  He will take care of the big things, and the small things, and its just up to us to trust and to ask.  Asking I've got down, trust is something I learned a little deeper this week.  Prayer works, but sometimes it requires us to be patient.  Anyway, transfer calls are this Saturday, but I think I'm staying put.  After all, I've been in this area for about four weeks is all.  But you never know!  Stay tuned :)  Love you all lots.

Elder Fitch: March 19, 2012

Well the week is over and I'm now starting the last week of this transfer....c'est fou quoi.
There were a few super cool things that happened this week. First, they got the carpet cleaned at the church and we may or may not have recuperated a piano that is now in our apartment. SUPER cool. I can totally play hymns now....seriously though. Second we had an exchange in with the elders in Annemasse and I was up there for a day. We went out to this teeny tiny little area in the middle of the mountains to work for the evening....let me just say it was NOT ugly. VERY beautiful actually. The temp was just awesome, perfect. Not a bad night for missionary work. It went really well except I found myself getting, not frustrated, but bugged on the sad side. I just wish sometimes that people would give us five minutes and just listen. What we are offering people is the best and most important thing that could ever happen to them, and they close their hearts, their ears, and the door. OTHER than that it was a beautiful night.
Third, we are now the institute teachers....I've never even been to intitute....fortunately we only have one person we are teaching so it's not quite the same. I'm actually pretty stoked, it will be fun.
Forth we had a cool experience with just being in the right place at the right time. One day while we were picking something up from a members house and in a very big hurry this lady who is the neighbor of these members stopped us. To get to the members apartment we have to walk past the window of their neighbors. So this day this lady stopped us because she said she had seen us before and wanted to know who we were but hadn't had the chance before. She said she wanted to know why we were always dressed up and why we were always smiling. We ended up being even more late to the RDV we were headed too but we were able to get her number and she said she would love to talk to us another time. This week we were able to invite her over to this members, the Gaggini's, and we taught the first lesson. It went really well and she was really looking forward to reading the BOM. It is always when we are not looking for people that the Lord drops them in our laps like that. It's kinda cool. Which takes me to what happened last night. So we went out to the area yesterday afternoon to find this address of a potential amis. Unfortunately, I didn't look close enough at the map and the bus schedule so we ended up going A LOT further than we ment to. I figured we must have been brought out there for a reason so we might as well start doing something, so we started knocking doors. Nothing. Well, mince, I guess we'll start heading back and find that address on the way. Side note: It had been raining all day and because of the clouds and night that had arrived we could see none of our mountains or anything to give us a sense of direction. So we keep heading, we check the map at a couple of bus stops and think we are heading in the right direction...nope. We kept goin unknowingly. Finally we get to the right main road and start heading back, still a ways a way from Chambery. We see this lady coming and Elder Jensen jokingly says that we should ask her where Chambery is. Ha. ha....hmmm ok! So I decided to stop her and ask her, turns out we were walking in the complete opposite direction and right back to where we were dropped off by the bus earlier in the afternoon. Mince. well ok so I decided to a least ask her if she had met missionaries before. Yes she said and we had an awesome conversation and she told us we could call her later in the week. Super awesome! Moral of the story: God not only calls us in our weakness, but he uses them for the benefit of His work. We were definitely led last night, there's no doubt about it. We were totally lost but we found someone. Hurrah for Israel!
Also super cool thing that happened last night is that we found some frogs! and we took pictures. and then we ate them. We are in France afterall.
Oh and today we went back to try and find that address again and ended up knocking some more doors and there was this super old grumpy guy that said he wasn't interested and for us to leave before he got angry. So we left. On one of the next house he came out on his porch with a big rifle and started yelling stuff about the end of the world(mocking us ignorantly, because he thought we were Jehovahs Witness). Anyway I thought it was kinda funny.
I love you all!! have a good week!

Elder Fitch: March 13, 2012

Alright so last week was pretty great! Im doing my emails today because we were unable to take our Pday yesterday. There is a member here that needed us to help with basically rewiring there whole house. Unfortunatly it ended up being a really big waste of time for what we actually got accomplished. We were supposed to be there helping but the guy whose project it was (brother of this member) was this old bitter stubborn man. He wouldn't have us do anything, so we did a lot of watching. We were in a different city and it wasn't an option to leave, so we watched.....and watched. OH and they fed us lunch and it say the least. It was sauerkraut with wierd pieces of meat and strange looking little potatoes. For dessert it was cherries.....let me tell you....yuck. So first off one thing I've learned to do is eat anything, but these cherries just I asked for just a little (you can't say no). Luckily I didn't see cause I would have barfed, but Elder Jensen told me after that on his last couple cherry he realized that there were tons of maggots! YUCK! That was not a good meal. One thing about the french that was REALLY evident with this family is the complete lack of priorities when it comes to money. Their house is falling apart, they were without heating right in that big cold because they didn't have money to make repairs, they have problems making other payments like rent, BUT they have a couple nice TVs, Ps3, nice phones etc. It is ridiculous I think and there are SO many people here that are like that. Dumb. anyway It went really slow and didn't get a lot done, which is a bummer because I think we could have accomplished most everything that needed to be done. and then when we finally got back we had time only to go back and change and go to a family night that we do for single members here. SO we moved our pday today. voila. 
The week was great though! Do you guys remember Catherine? We were teaching her like right when I got here, but she wanted to take a break to read more in the Book of Mormon. She was the one that didn't have time to read because she was reading the Old Testament. ANYWAY we've stayed in contact with her since then and this week we were able to see her again. She had finished the Old Testament and had read pas mal in the Book of Mormon. We had a great time just talking about her questions and connections between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. She is super sincere in questions and in her efforts to know if our message is true or not. She explained how she disproved the catholic church in reading the OT. She was baptized catholic but now knows that it can not be the true church from reading the Bible for herself. She says if she got an answer that our message is true she would be baptized in a second. She also was very interested in seeing general conference and seeing who the prophet is today. So that should be super sweet. 
Odile kinda had another break down. It is SO frustrating! She wants an answer, she does. She is sincere too, EXCEPT she is not willing to make any effort. She wont DO anything. She wants her answer to come on a silver platter and to have it fed to her. That is unfortunatly not possible. We can not GIVE her a testimony. One can only recieve a testimony for one's self in making one own efforts. As missionaries we can only invite and guide. The answers come from God though. In the end she wanted to take another break because she is frustrated and doesn't understand why she is not progressing. So we will see if something happens in the next couple weeks. 
SO I have some more news from Montauban! yay! so do you remember Emma? She was the lady that we found knocking doors that was going to celebrate Christmas with us, but ended up not. Super nice lady. Well she was baptized this weekend!! super awesome!! It's so cool hearing that someone you helped find is getting baptized. Super. 
And I also got a call from Jeanpierre. If you remember his story a little bit he just started coming back to church last spring after going off the deep end and swimming around for over ten years. So he called me and told me how he had just come from an interview with his Stake President and there he recieved permission to take the sacrament on sunday. Through tears he told me "For the first time in ten years I will be able to renew my baptisimal covenants". That hit me pretty hard and made me think a little bit more seriously about how precious that really is. I don't think I'll forget that one. It is moments like those that have made my mission priceless. I got to witness the miracle of forgiveness. 
There was lots of other good stuff that happened this week but I will leave it at that for now. I love you all. CIAO!!

Sister Fitch: March 12, 2012

This week went reeeeally fast.  But there was a lot packed into it.  I got to leave the island of Montreal for the first time in six months, it was soooo nice.  We went to a town called St. Jean to blitz the sisters' area down there.  It was a lot of fun.  I saw a FIELD!!  And trees, that weren't all planted in a neat little row!  And a horse.  And a river.  It was beautiful.  I am not, not, not, not, not a city girl.  I'm getting the hang of teaching families, and we're doing well in our area.  The family we found last week, whose friend was a less-active member because she couldn't find the church, is so great.  The member is being taught by the English missionaries, and we're going to have to pass this family off to them as well before long, but for now...we're still seeing them.  The other day the little boy told us that "when I was yittle, I got eaten by a monster, and he made me cookoo!"  and then proceeded to be...cookoo.  He's 5.  The girl is 8, and she just soaks up everything.  She has really great questions.  We taught her about faith on Saturday, because she asked about it last time.  We brought her children's books of Mormon, one Spanish one french, so that she could read them.  She loved them.  She wants a children's bible too.  The mom wants us to come because she wants her kids to know about God, but she is a pretty attentive listener as well.  We watched the Restoration movie with them, and when Joseph is kneeling in the grove to pray, and the music is at its climax and the light starts to show up, the little boy stood up, eyes all big, and said "Is that God?!?!"  Yes, you noisy yet surprisingly perceptive little boy...They are wonderful.  When we came on Saturday, the little boy said "Are you gonna stay for dinner??"  Uh...fortunately his mom invited us too, so, we did.  I think Spring is coming for real this time, most of the snow is gone and yesterday it was 12 degrees!!!  Still rain and snow to come, I'm sure, but not to stay.  I am so, so ready for spring.  Winter really is not my favorite.  I am so happy for the sunshine, so happy to be here, so happy to be learning, and growing, and being shaped and refined.  So happy for the opportunity to share the message that really can change lives and bring real joy.  It's always a good day, waking up a missionary :)  Love you all lots

Elder Fitch: March 5, 2012

Another week COME and GONE!! 

This we week we had more beautiful spring weather. It was just nice, just perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, but baby bear temp. That was really good, because we had plenty of time to be out side walking around talking to people. 
We had a few really cool experiences happen in finding people in the moments we least expected. One of them is a guy named Steve. He's a younger punk looking guy that happened to be at the buss station the same time were to buy our monthly bus pass. He looked liked someone who was going to say some kind of dumb ignorant statement, specially when he gave me a funny look and was looking at my tag. I was all prepared to shut him down with righteousness when he said "who are you? Jehovah's witness??"  Nope and told him who we are. He then just started asking us some legit questions about Christ. So we started explaining. It was awesome because he was with some other people that were just shooting us daggers and stuff but he didn't care he was legitly interested. We got his number and fixed a RDV with him and left. He didn't end up making it to the RDV but we ended up running in to him again, in SUPER crazy circumstances, in another city, and we rode a bus back to chambery with him and got to talk more with him. Turns out he is a thinker and really likes to learn about everything he can. He says he doesn't believe in God but by the time we got back it wasn't really that he didn't believe, but rather he had just never found Him. We will hopefully be seeing him again this week, if he will put in a little effort I'm certain he will find what he is looking for. 
We had a great RDV with Odile as well and it was all about Joseph Smith who she really had never been taught very much about at all. It was really great and she found a lot of answers she needed. She was able to understand a lot better what his role really was and why he is important. She is moving along, slow and steady. 
Saturday was a nice day cause we got to go to a tiny little town out or rather up in the country right in the mmountains. We went out to do some service for a member and it was just a beautiful day to be out raking leaves and hauling wood and debris. I like physical work like that, it was a nice change and felt really good to get some fresh air. 

Well Fam, I love you! Miss you! Hope you all have a good week! 


Sister Fitch: March 5, 2012

This week flew by, we were SO busy!  Trying to mix together our two areas, getting to all of the appointments was insane.  I know most missionaries would kill for the number of appointments we had this week, but it was...whew.  A lot!  By Sunday I was so exhausted I could barely dress myself for bed.  We had some really interesting experiences tracting this week.  I contacted a member riding his bike on the street, because he was smiling at us and I didn't know he was a member.  Oops.  In my defense, he is less active and I didn't meet him at church the ONE time I'd been to the ward.  Sigh.  Embarrassing.  We had lots and lots of doors slammed, lots of people really ignorant of who we are thinking we're something we're not, and a few really awesome miracles.  We knocked one door and a really nice woman answered.  As we started talking she said, "wait a minute, you aren't from the Mormon church, are you?" uh oh.  "...yes!  Exactly, that's what lots of people call us because we believe in the Book of--"  "I have a friend who has been looking for you!  She is a member of your church, but when she moved here from Chile she couldn't find it, so she's been going to another church.  Can you call her?"  "uh...cha!"  Pretty cool.  Knocking doors is a little like Russian Roulette.  Yep.  It's been really fun teaching families, but I do miss the YSA so, so much.  We got to go to sacrament meeting there on Sunday because our investigator was going to be there, it was so good to see all their faces.  She didn't end up showing up, so we left after Sacrament, but it was still fun to be there again.  Ha, one door we knocked, the woman opened and said "I'm sorry, I can't talk to you now, I've lost my teeth."  Darn those dentures when they wander off!!  Soeur Pierache is very French, and very cool.  We get along well.  No one is a perfect fit, so we have to work through some things, but we do as soon as they come up and then we're all the better after.  Mark, are most French people pretty forward and blunt?  It's been a lot of fun to work with her.  I'm having lots of fun being just in French; normally conversations with Soeur Pierache are her in English, me in French.  The people we are teaching are patient with me, and very attentive and helpful so its fun.  We're always asking each other about vocabulary.  And she is a great cook.  We eat lots of "Frenchy things" as she calls them.  It's an adventure every day, and some days I really love it and some days its really hard, but always I am happy to be here and happy to do this work.  I love you mucho mucho.  love,
p.s. I tried attaching photos, hope you can see them!
#1 frozen river, winter's back. bleh.
#2 did I mention our chapel flooded? 
#3 ...and our sink, too. 
#4 and then you fall backwards and make a snow angel!
#5 I'm learning to drive in Montreal.  This is how it is normally.