Monday, December 19, 2011

Elder Fitch: December 19, 2011

So this week just totally blew by. I don't know what happened. It's just gone. It was a good week though. We accomplished alot.
Tuesday night we went to Toulouse and then got up at 3 o'clock in the morning to go to Bordeaux. It was Sweet! I love doing stuff like that. I got to see alot of great missionaries and learned a lot of great things that will help me in what I am doin. I've made a lot of life friends here on the mission. It will be awesome to be able to get together and talk about our mission.
Bordeaux was beautiful but freezing cold. That wind storm that hit you guys has found it's way over here. The day after we left, Bordeaux, well the whole coast and even up into Paris and over to Dijon was hit with some crazy wind storms.
Saturday was the Branch Christmas party where they held a cake making contest. I made my betty crocker birthday cake that mom sent me. With frosting I designed the Plan of Salvation on top, complete with outer darkness. It was epic, I took pictures don't worry. The good news is that I won the competion by a landslide! That means best looking, most colorful (thanks to the food coloring Les, it doesn't exist in France), AND taste. Cetain poor sports claimed that I cheated, but I wasn't the judge, the people were and they voted my cake, so I won fair and square. It's not my fault that my good friend Betty has better baking skills than their "french cuisine", please! But I'm not prideful. :)
The BEST news is MUCH more important and it has to do with Maria Ziga. She is the grandma of the Slepcik familly and will be getting baptized this saturday, which as you know is Christmas Eve. She has already read the whole Book of Moron, including the scripture guide, and now she has restarted. Last night we taught the law of tithing, and once everyone understood what it was, with the help of a couple of marvelous member testimonies, it was well accepted. Maria said it will be the first thing she does after she is baptized. At the end we invited her to say the closing prayer. Now we've had a little bit of a hard time getting her to not say a memorized prayer, but we've really been working on it with her. Last night when we asked her agian we reminded her to use her own words. She started out slow, and we could tell that she was doing what we asked. We couldn't understand a word she said, but everyone could feel the spirit at this moment. After a few seconds, she was overwhelmed and could no longer speak because she was in tears. This also brought her daughter to tears as well. It was an incredible moment! I love them so much! That whole family is going to be baptized. I am so blessed to be here with them to help them along this journey. It's just wonderful. Another bonus is that I'm learnig little bits of slovakian. It's SICK! I can say about 5 DIFFERENT words so far. Anyway keep this lady and this awesome family in your prayers.
I seriously can't even believe it's Christmas already. It hasn't really hit me The next time you hear from me it will be right out of my own wow. And this is how you say it in
MERRY CHRISTMAS! God bless us, everyone. afterall there's only 6 more sleeps till Christmas. wow.
Love Mark

Sister Fitch: December 19, 2011

Hello all!  STILL NO SNOW.  Well, we had a light dusting when we woke up this morning, and I think a little is coming down now, but not exactly what I would have expected.  It is bitter, bitter cold, though.  Painful cold.  Might not come home with ears and fingers, cold.  And its only the beginning...temperatures, I am told, will only continue to plunge.  Hooray...?  This week was kind of crazy.  I didn't sleep too well several nights, so I am feeling particularly tired.  Monday night we did our flash mob for FHE.  We sang Hark the Herald Angles sing.  Did I explain it last week?  If you don't know what a flash mob is, try watching one on youtube.  It's pretty fun.  Two people started singing, then a few more joined in, then a few more, then a few more til all fifteen or twenty of us were singing.  We did it a few times in the metro cars, and a few times on the platforms, with half of us on one side and half on the other.  Lots of fun!  There were lots of good reactions, a few not so good.  I know we made at least a few people's day, I'm sure many.  One old man just kept saying, "I was so surprised!"  We've been doing lots of service, lately.  Lots of painting. I like doing service.  I get to wear pants.  We did splits with the other sisters this week, I got to go with my trainer again.  It was lots of fun.  My companion goes home in less that three weeks, and its...hard.  On both of us.  There is just something wearing about listening to someone talk about home and family and school and regular life all the time.  I love her, but in some ways it will be a relief when she goes home!  Hopefully I will get someone younger than me in the mission, so no such talk, no such attitude of "it doesn't matter anymore, this time in three weeks I'll be home" etc.  Its been strange how much it effects both of us, not just her.  Anyway, life is good, good, good.  We have our Christmas party this week.  For Christmas, we all get to skype!  Hooray!!  Then we'll be eating dinner with the Nobles, a wonderful senior couple who we work with in YSA.  Not sure about Christmas Eve, it will probably just be a quite night at home.  All of the YSA go home for Christmas, so no one will be around to invite us over, haha.  Such is life.  Anyway, I better be off.  Much love to you all, can't WAIT to see you!! 
Joyeux Noel,

Sister Fitch: December 12, 2011

I can't believe this week is already over.  I think it was one of the fastest of my mission so far.  I think it's just the beginning, though--Christmas is a busy time on the mission!  It's also kind of an awkward time, at least in the young single adult branch.  Everyone is in the middle of exams, and once exams are done, everyone is going home for Christmas.  It's hard to get the members involved in the work, and its hard to get our investigators to meet with us.  Come January, hopefully things will mellow out a bit and people will be around!  This weekend was the Stake Christmas program.  I sang in a quartet (What Child is This) and I think it turned out well.  I also sang with the YSA choir and the missionary choir, so by the end of the night, after rehearsing for all three, then performing all three, my voice was pretty worn.  Fun fact, do any of you know the band Arcade Fire?  One of the members of the band, Will Butler, happens to be a member of the church.  He's been less active for a while, but my zone leaders are the elders that have been working with him recently.  He and a few members of the band sang a Christmas song they wrote (I think?) a Capella at the program, it was pretty cool.  I got to see lots of people from Ottawa, because they heard Arcade Fire was putting on a free concert...well...not quite.  Still, it was SO good to see their faces.  I love it here in Montreal, but I'm having a harder time getting close to the members, and they don't work with us like the members in Ottawa would.  I'm sure it has to do with the time of year, and the fact that life in Montreal is much faster paced than life in Ottawa.  Still, Ottawa members would fight over who got to come with us to lessons (literally--wrestling each other for it) and members here its kind of like pulling teeth...they are too busy for it.  Sigh.  Anyway, Pauline heads back home for Christmas this week.  I think she'll be just fine, but a few extra prayers on her behalf wouldn't hurt.  I have become the mission accompanist.  At least, the zone accompanist.  I played for a baptism this weekend, and then for a fireside yesterday, as well as for the missionary choir while practicing for the program.  It's fun to be able to use my talent!  It worked out well, too, because we were able to bring people to both events and it was very beneficial for them.  Anyway, I have to go, because the internet shut down for a bit so now there is a back-up of missionaries who need the computers.  I love you all!!  Much, much love,

Elder Fitch: December 12, 2011

Another week gone.
This week was really great! This week was great! We took two of the family Slepcik down to Toulouse to go to institute. The first was Michaela and the second her grandma, Maria. It was awesome! They loved it. We were also able to show them one of President Monsons talks from conference in a language they understand. This family is really amazing. A member here commented that we are in the middle of teaching a small branch, because there are so many of them. I feel very stongly that it's not a matter of IF these people are going to be baptized, but WHEN. The grandma, Maria is for sure getting baptized on the 24 and I'm SO SO happy about it. She is SO receptive to the spirit and has REAL intent. She really wants to follow Christ the best she can. There's about three more that I expect will be baptized in January. Jeanpierre Van Tonder invited them over for dinner, because he was so touched at their spirit. In all there will be 11 of the family there, elder Ormond and I, our recent convert Auguste, and then the Van Tonders which make 3. Total is 17 people! There is still a language berier but anybody that is around them just feels their wonderfulness and just falls in love with this warm family. I'm so blessed to be here and to be able to help this family with their progression. I love being a missionary, truly this is a marvelous work and a wonder. I could go on and on about this family, They just blow my mind.
This week we are going to Bordeaux agian! I'm stoked cause it is a super pretty city. We will be there, including our 5 hour travel there and back, basically the whole day. We have a zone conference and then after we have a missionary christmas party. It will be sweet there will be plenty of noncaffeinated drinks and scripture chases for fun. Ha. But seriously it will be awesome, Just being around other missionaries is the best! It gets lonely when you go weeks alone in a city without seeing any other missionaries. Sweet.
I love you all!! and Bon Fêtes! Que la paix de Dieu soit avec vous.

Elder Fitch: December 5, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a white christmas! woo!
This week was awesome! We fixed 3 baptism dates with the family Slepcik! It's the grandma, the mother, and the daughter. 3 generations. I'm super excited! They are a wonderful family! They are so incredibly open to the spirit. They love the Book of Mormon and read it everyday. The daughter, Michaela, has already read PAST Mosiah 23. wow. AND she is going to come down to Toulouse on wednesday night to go to the institute class for the young adults, ha her grandma is coming too. Im SO STOKED! Plus I'm learning to speak a little slovakian/czech.
Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting at church, and Auguste got up and bore a powerful testimony. He's been havin some stugles, but he has just rocked it! He has anchored himself in Christ and is overcoming mountains. I have learned more from him then I have been able to even try to share with him. He is just solid.
Oh hey! good news!............WE FINALLY MOVED!! We spent most of the day friday getting ready and then moved half the day saturday. WOW I can not even describe the difference! It's HUGE. We have probably THE nicest appartment in the mission, at least the nicest kitchen. It's incredible. It really was a miricle that we even found it in the first place, SPECIALLY for the price that we got. The only hold up was that we didn't have hot water or heat until this afternoon. Needless to say our showers were sketchy and there was much screaming. Also it was just cold, but as of today it is all good and we have hot water, and there was much rejoicing, yay. Man what a blessing.
Other than that not a whole lot of news.... We are already booked with dinners for the week of Christmas, that is kinda cool. The members were auctioning us off, it was funny. Oh we're so loved here. Seriously though, Montauban is very special in that the members actually invite you over. ching, another blessing.
Man being a missionary is just awesome! I love it. This is a marvelous work and it is a blessing to be able to be apart of it. C'est hyper chouette!
I love you all so very much and I miss you the same, I pray for you everyday. Take care et à bientôt!
Love Elder Fitch

Sister Fitch: December 5, 2011

Crazy week!  I can't believe how fast it went by.  We were so busy this week we didn't even have time to knock a single door.  Mostly we were busy getting ready for the BAPTISM that happened on Saturday!  Hooray, Pauline was baptized!  Things were a little rocky for a bit.  Every person we teach has different challenges. Some are from internal sources, some from external.  In Pauline's case, she loved the things we taught her, she was grateful for the clarity it brought her, and she had many, many answers to her questions from what we were able to teach her.  However, external challenges were pretty powerful, such as her tribe threatening to kick her out and cut her hair if she doesn't smoke the peace pipe.  She's going to be strong, though.  She has a lot of faith, she just needs to hold onto it.  We had a Zone Study this week, too. It was fun to see the whole zone.  That only happens about once, sometimes twice a transfer.  Last night we got to see the Christmas devotional, and it was lovely.  It was Pauline's first time hearing the prophet and his counselors, as well as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and she loved it.  The weather here is ridiculous.  I keep bracing myself for the worst of the worst, but yesterday it was probably at least 45 degrees, if not more.  It was like 15 or 16 celcius, whatever that means Stateside.  We've had some really, stupid-cold days, but still no snow.  We had one storm, but nothing much since except drizzles.  Family, I love you sooo so much.  You're the best.  Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Elder Fitch: November 28, 2011

Wow what a week!

Thanksgiving was super! We went to Toulouse for lunch and ate with all the missionaries down there. The couple that is from Richmond cooked us a very nice American dinner. It was super good, and it was fun to see the mississionaries the old and the new ones. 
That night we went to the Van Tonder`s house where Jeanpierre made us a super legit Thanksgiving dinner. It was even more delicious than What the Americans made. Auguste came as well and we just had an awesome evening, I missed you all a lot though.
We`ve been able to continue seeing our slovakian family. There seriously are great. They came to all three meetings on sunday and they loved it. The mother was even getting emotional. The spirit was strong. 
Sacrament was awesome anyway because it was the primary program. Man those kids were SO cute! I could not stop laughing! Their spirit was inspiring and even touched the Slepcik family. I loved it! 
France is great, I love Montauban, what a wonderful place to be. I love you all and pray for you everyday. 

Sister Fitch: November 28, 2011

hello all!
Well, we got our first snow on Tuesday.  No...Wednesday?  Sometime early last week.  It was a pretty good snowfall, but was mostly gone by the next day and has been replaced with drizzly, dreary rain ever since.  The wind can be biting here, and makes it feel colder than it is.  Fortunately it only blows now and then.  The week was good!  One of those that went by pretty quickly, felt really busy, but I'm not sure what all actually got accomplished.  Members here have been VERY generous this week.  I was given a skirt, some earrings, and shoes!  Just the boost my wardrobe needed.  Those things aren't all that important, and I was surviving just fine before, but little things boost the mood.  So, Pauline is doing really well.  Her baptism is this weekend, but she's been super busy so hopefully everything will go through.  If not, it'll be the next week.  Sigh.  Lots of opposition just before baptisms, seems like.  We've got a lot on the schedule this week, so it'll probably go by fast as well!  This month seems like it's going to fly by...I feel like it'll be January tomorrow.  I'm learning a lot being with my companion; we're quite different, so lots of times to recognize weaknesses and strengths and opportunities to learn come up.  It's awesome.  I love you all!!!!
Thanks for the emails, they are the best way to start the week. 
Much love,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Elder Fitch: November 21, 2011

So I will be joining the very exclusive club of missionaries that spend 4 transfers in tiny Montauban. Which for some it is rough, and I'm not going to lie, after my first transfer here the thought of staying for 4 was not a good one. Now that I'm here I've really grown to love Montauban. I'm very excited to be here for the holidays, the members here are seriously my french family. I thought, logically, that I would be leaving, and I was actually really bummed. No worries though! I'll be here at least till the end of the year. What's more too is I didn't feel like I had done everything I needed to here. I'm really super stoked for this next transfer! We're finally starting to see some results come from all our hard work.
We started teaching a family this week. They are from Slovakia and comunicating with them is a little hard sometimes. They have a son that is 14 and daughter that is 18 and they both speak french really well, so we do a lot of translating back and forth. It's so funny sometimes to realize that I'm comunicating in languages far from my own, translating things into french so that I understand, and not into english. English just kinda gets stuck in the corner. IT'S SWEET! I love speaking french. Anyway, this whole family, Slepcik is their name, came to church yesterday. They didn't understand everything, but they really liked it. They are just awesome and they very open to the spirit. They crack me up too, SO funny.
Well it's Thanksgiving this week, WOW. We will be going down to Toulouse for a turkey bowl with the other missionaries and then eating american stuff. THEN we will be going to the Van Tonders who will also be making us american stuff, cause they are the most american of the members. Sweet! I'm going to gain like 50 kilos! I want you all to know how thankful I am for each and everyone of you. You are everything to me. I love you even more then cereal.
love Mark

Sister Fitch: November 21, 2011

So, transfer calls came and Sister Rodriguez and I are both staying put!  There were a lot of surprises this transfer.  Okay, only one really--that is that there were almost NO changes in the whole mission.  In the entire mission, only six (maybe it was eight...) teams changed.  Hardly anything!  I'm happy to stay.  This area is pushing me way, way, WAY out of my comfort zone, and it's....amazing.  Exactly what I need. 
It's been a good week--I felt like there was no time for anything, but at the same time, I'm not sure a lot got of those funky things.  But we watched the Joseph Smith movie with Pauline, our investigator who is getting baptized next week, and when it was over, she just...cried.  She was amazed at how much the early saints went through to make sure that the restored church became everything God promised them it would become.  She was very, very touched.  I've been thinking a lot about the early saints lately.  Maybe because sometimes I feel a little like them--out numbered, often made fun of or looked down on.  I've even been kicked out of places for what I'm doing.  Not like them, but by their example I'm learning what it means to have resilient faith, no matter the circumstances.  Anyway, Pauline is incredible, and I'm super excited for her baptism.  Another miracle this week was that I got a letter from Pasquale.  I think I told you about him--he's the less active return missionary we found in Ottawa while we were sitting on a random street corner being smurfed.  He moved back home to Thunderbay just before we left Ottawa.  Well.  In his letter, he said he's planning a temple trip with his bishop.  The turn-around in that boy is incredible.  I knew he'd come back to the church eventually, but I didn't think it would be so soon!  He even sent pictures--combed hair and a tie!!  No holey jeans and a messy mop of hair!  The gospel heals souls.  It CHANGES people, it helps them become the person God created themto be in the first place. 
So, yes.  Life is good.  I'm wearing jeans right now, and that makes me SO SO SO happy.  It doesn't happen often, especially since they've been telling us to wear our missionary clothes on p-day.  But today I'm wearing jeans!! Hooray!! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sister Fitch: November 14, 2011

Hi all!
Good news is, I got to do emails at the mission office today, so I'm not SO short on time.  Bad news is, I'm still pretty short on time.  Gah.  Things are going well here in Montreal, crazy as ever.  We are working with a really cute girl from Alberta (a Canadian!  That's rare!) and she is progressing really well.  She came to Stake Conference and really loved it.  This week I got to go on splits with my trainer, sister Palmer!  It was an emergency split, companion had a really rough week and needed something to help her get out of the funk of it all.  So, we did splits and it was a lot of fun.  I think we're back on track now, so all is looking up.  It was still pretty hard, but we can recover in this very last week of the transfer.  I can't believe how fast it came!  I'm guessing I will stay right here with Sister Rodriguez, but anything could happen, so I'll let you know!  The weather has yet to turn nasty here.  You all got snow before we did!  I'm sure it's just around the corner, though. 
I love you oh, so much.  Be safe.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Elder Fitch: November 14, 2011

Hey All,
So funny story, you know our really grumpy neighbor who lives under us and likes to yell at us and bang on the ceiling and leave us mean notes? Well this morning we were in the middle of our studies and all of the sudden our bell goes off. The bell you ring down on the ground level. So it starts going off like crazy for about 15 or 20 seconds. We look at each other and then Elder Ormond went to go look out the door, I had a sneaky suspicion that it was our neighbor because a similar thing happened another time. So I looked out the window and low and behold our neighbor came walking out the door. I was looking at her and she looked straight up at our window with death and hate in her eyes, but she saw me so she turned back around. She was just being spiteful, and we just thought it was hilarious. We laughed about it and then about 20 minutes later as we were leaving I thought I'd be funny and jump on the floor and try and sound like a horse trotting cause that's what she called us. I HONESTLY thought she was still out. I NEVER would have done that had I known she was back. Unfortunately....she had returned and when we walked out and headed down the stairs to leave she came out and gave us an ear full of portuguese. oops.
Saturday was SO SWEET! Rugby is awesome! We went with our recent convert Auguste and it was sweet! I didn't understand everything, but it was cool anyway. We just cheered when everyone else cheered. They won too and against the team from Nice, apparently they are really good. Kiri the samoan guy we went to see is just cool. He is a big guy and he's got these big ol dread lock things and just looks like he could break you in two, but he is such a chill and nice guy. that was cool.
This week went by really quick, we had lots of service and a few really good RDVs. Unfortunately we were not able to see Elvis again. We are trying to get back in contact with him.
We had a problem with our contract for our new apartment. They tryed to add a bunch of things after it had been finalized and the guys on our side refused to sign it. So in stead of a final walk through with the missionary couple in toulouse that was planned for last wednesday, they came up and we visited some other places. It ended up that it worked out. We found a better apartment for cheaper and our first try. The only down side was that our move got pushed back a week. All around it was better because the day we had planned to be unavailable we ended up finding some awesome people. I really think things will go good with them. I'm really looking forward to that.
This next week is the last one of the transfer. Holy cow. I can't believe how fast this transfer has gone. I will find out friday if I will be staying or going. If I'm leaving then you probably wont be hearning from me on monday. Either way I'm looking forward to it. I love Montauban and I'm sure I will love anywhere else I go.
I love you all! Have a great week! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Elder Fitch: November 7, 2011

Just so you know Elvis is NOT dead. Yesterday we met a young man who is a legit Assyrian. He said that their country is technically what is Iraq. He grew up in Russia though. Long story short he is catholic orthodox and his name is Elvis, and he was interested to talk again so we will be seeing him again next sunday. coool huh.
This week we also went back to South America. The ladys birthday party we went to last time who is peruvian has a son and it was his birthday and we were invited and it was like the last time with only spanish speaking people, it was crazy, but fun.
This week I was a little lick as well. It started wednesday night, and I didn't feel good thursday. That was fun cause then we went to our islander less actives house that night and I thouhgt I was going to die of eating and sick. I'm alot better now, just a few lingering side affects. BUT I'm super stoked because we got permission from our president to go to one of his rugby games! so i'll be going to that this weekend.
OH don't forget that this friday is 11/11/11. That is pretty cool.
We had a really fun service activity cutting and hauling wood and I got to teach them how to use a chain saw. That was pretty cool.
We don't have a lot of people to teach right now, but I still see miracles everyday. It's really amazing!
I love YOU GUYS!!

Sister Fitch: November 7, 2011

Sorry fam, this one will be tres brief.  I have to go, my computer was slow  and everyone else is done.  This week was....kind of crazy.  lets just say I grew a lot, had some really awesome experiences in the scriptures, and learned a lot about myself and my companion.  I wish I could tell you more about it, but it'll have to wait til later!  We are teaching some awesome people.  The mission president is changing things a bit--he's going to leave people in their areas for AT LEAST six months, probably closer to a year.  Hoping it'll help retention.  Anyway, life is good and I'm happy to be here.  Be safe, know that I love you, and that on my lowest days, its from you that I get my strength.  I love you all. 

Elder Fitch: October 31, 2011

One half of the transfer done already!
I've just love being here. I see so many great things so many miracles everyday.
So this last week I made the trip to toulouse three times. I went thursday for a district meeting and then I stayed there for an exchange. The exchange went really well and in follow something Elder Causee wanted us to do that I didn't want to do I really learned how inspired our leaders are and that if we follow their directions with faith we will become the instrument for the Lord that he knows we can be. There was just things that worked out and people we met  that we never would have otherwise. Toulouse is awesome. I highly recomend a visit there.
Saturday we went back for a zone formation and interviews with the mission president. That was super awesome. President Murdock is an awesome man and very helpful and loving. Then sunday was just an awesome day. It was stake conference for the stake of Toulouse. Nimes is apart of the district so I got to see some of the members from there. The one person I really miss there is named Gautier. He is definitely a friend that I will keep for the rest of my life. I was so happy to see him again. Made my day. I also got to see Jeanpierre who has been in Paris for over a month and I wasn't expecting him to be back so that was an awesome surprise. and then also if you all remember sister Echols who was in my MTC district she is now servng in the stake as well. So I got to see her as well which was really good, I haven't seen her since the day I left Utah. plus she went to the Geneva Mission. It was good, Plus all the many other missionaries. It was super awesome.
Funny ish  story. K so I got one of my suits cleaned and yesterday was the first time I wore it since having it cleaned. We got back from Toulouse and I took off my jacket and hung it by my desk. I was hungry and I wanted a wrap, so I made myself a wrap. The last thing I put on it was dressing. I went the fridge to get it out and grabbed it. Now i've developed this habbit of shaking any bottle I grab, ya know to mix it up. I grab it and go for this big ol shake. and in just two simple motions there was an explosion of dressing! It was EVERYWHERE! I didn't realize at first because it was all in my eyes and stinging like crazy. I busted out laughing because it was hilarious, but as soon as I could see I realized that it was all over one half of my spanking and BRAN CLEAN suit jacket! terror and rage filled my heart and a wailing and gnashing of teeth came to pass. I seriously couldn't believe it. This story would end sad like that but it was fine. I cleaned it off and now you can't even tell. I then sat down and ate my delicious wrap. and this words are true for I have spoken them. amen.
Its goin good here. I pray for you all everyday. Have fun! I love you!

Sister Fitch: October 31, 2011

I am dressed as a civilian today.  But still with a nametag :)
This week was great.  Sisters up in Quebec came down to split us.  They spent two nights here, it was lots of fun.  I don't know either of them very well, but we really did have a good time.  I met lots of people from lots of different countries and lots of different religious backgrounds this week--my count on the number of countries I've come in contact with here is nearing fifty.  That's in only six months--I have a whole year to find the rest of the world!  I know they're here somewhere...I had a really challenging lesson with a really nice Muslim man who tried very, very hard to explain to me that I will be going to hell if I don't accept the qu'aran (sp?) and if I keep calling God my father.  Sigh.  I am learning to love Montreal, and am keeping an optomistic view on things--time is short!!  When I think about everything I have learned in the last six months, and how much I still want and need to learn, another year doesn't seem like quite enough.  Yeesh, time is SO strange.  I narrowly escaped donating blood this week, too.  That is a fear I know I need to conquer, but not right now.  That can wait.  There were lots of chance meetings with awesome people this week--good reminders of whose work this really is.  I met a less active member on the metro, contacting on a day that I really, really did not want to contact.  That was an important lesson--work, and Heavenly Father WILL provide.  We can't afford not to work.  The people here can't afford for us not to work.  Anyway, getting along well here in Montreal.  I love you all, and miss you muchly.  When I don't want to work, or don't think I have it in me, I think of you and get to work.  I love you.  Thanks for being you.  Sorry my letters are short these days--its very different writing in an internet cafe than in the church family history center.  sigh.  Anyway, keep safe!  Happy Halloween!

Elder Fitch: October 24, 2011

Well I quite enjoyed this week.
Tuesday we were able to go to Bordeaux to conference with Elder Gerald Causee and his wife. That was a blast. First off, Bordeaux is really beautiful, I loved it. Second, I got to see A TON of missionaries. My trainer was there, a whole bunch of missionaries I knew while I was in Nimes, and some I knew from the MTC and highschool. Third, the conference was super awesome. I learned alot of really valuable things that already have helped me in what I'm doing.
I absolutely love the members here. They are a family to me in a way the members in Nimes never were. We had a branch activity on friday for Halloween, and it was just awesome. I realized this week and especially at this activity how confortable I am around them. Plus my french is getting better and better and making it a whole lot easier to be myself and really get to know people in general.
We STILL haven't been able to move into our new apartment or even make any real progress with it. It's a little frustrating because there really isn't anymore that we can do here. It's all up to our office in Geneva. THEY have to be the one to call and figure out all the details. The problem is there really busy and our apartment isn't really on the top of their priority list. Meanwhile the apartment people keep calling us to find out what is going on and if we are really even serious. So we keep calling Geneva. Now everyone is fed  and annoyed with everyone. Yet nothing has happened. oh well. I think I'm starting to like KILLING them! I'm so good at it too. I ain't scrrrrrd.
My companion and I are learning better everyday how to work with each other. We've made so much progress and I'm looking forward to what we'll be able to accomplish here.
I love you all and pray for you everyday. Thank you for being there and supporting me. Everytime I feel I want to stop I pull alot of strength in thinking of you all. You help me to keep going. Thanks again and I love you. Being a missionary is super stellar!

Sister Fitch: October 24, 2011

Hello All,
Being here on the Island of Montreal is so very, very different from the quiet, secluded life of Ottawa.  It was kind of like our own little world there, and I loved it.  Here I am feeling quite scattered and overwhelmed, but I am really enjoying it at the same time.  As President Cannon put it, the Island is cracking me like a nut, which is a very good thing.  Helps me overcome any and all fears and really see my priorities--am I more concerned about being safe in my comfort zone, or helping someone discover the eternal truths of the gospel that will change their lives forever?  I mean, that has been the question all along, but here, where I am on display and on duty ALL the time, I am faced with that decision dozens of times a day.  In Ottawa, there was a lot of time spent walking to and from places where there were no people to talk to.  Not so here.  People are everywhere.  It's awesome.  It's still a challenge every day, I haven't got into the swing of things in such a way that contacting an entire metro car feels natural and normal and comfortable.  I dont know if it ever will, but I am getting better and stronger as a missionary, so all is well.  My companion is really wonderful, and so is my district.  My zone leaders are learning how to work with sisters, and have been much more attentive and sensitive, recognizing that we just are not the same as elders.  Not that we can't do what elders can, but that our emotional state and whatnot are a bit different.  Our sister team, who we work with in the same ward (should I say elder team?) are really awesome too.  We try to look out for each other, and so its nice to know we aren't totally alone in this opening an area thing.  We found some really amazing people this week that we are working with.  One is from China and the other is from Columbia.  I haven't taught very many Canadians...I think these two will progress really well and I look forward to working with them.  We got smurfed ten times this week--I'm sure you feel my pain, Mark, and wish it only happened ten times a week.  Laundry has been a PAIN to deal with, but we managed to take it to the sisters' apartment in the zone next to ours--about a twenty minute metro ride--and did it at their place.  We don't have sisters in our zone, so it was nice to see some...feminine faces.  This week the sisters in Quebec will be coming down to split us.  There are only 11 sisters in the mission right now--crazy.  I'm sorry I couldn't write you all back this week, but I so very, very much appreciated your emails.  It's tough in the internet cafe now because I HAVE to be done after an hour, whereas in the Family History Center if we needed a bit longer, we could take a bit longer.  Life on the island is much more fast-paced.  It can be hard to keep up, but I am learning, growing, laughing, and missionary-ing, so life is good.  I miss you all, I love you all, I hope you are all doing well!
Much love,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sister Fitch: October 17, 2011

Oh boy.  So, transferring is stressful.  It was really hard to say goodbye to Ottawa.  I know I was complaining when I was sent there because it was an English area, but I loved it.  It was home.  It was especially hard saying goodbye to William, our recent convert.  He was devastated.  Not only were we leaving, but our sister companionship (brother?), Elder Taylor and Elder Aubin, were both leaving also.  All four of us were deeply involved in William's progression.  He went out teaching with the Elders, they helped him with his English--it was really hard on him to lose us all.  He cried for what he said was the first time in ten years.  But, he also told us not to worry about him, that change will make him strong. 
Packing, catching the bus, travelling, all that jazz, was a pain, but we made it to Montreal just fine.  My new companion, Sister Rodriguez, is awesome.  We get along really well.  It'll be fun working with her.  My district leader is awesome, which is good because the rest of the zone couldn't care less about us least we have someone that'll help us out!  Flushing in is TOUGH.  Our week was really...scattered.  Up until Sunday night, we hadn't had ANY lessons.  All of the five or six that we had set up fell through.  So, we decided that wouldn't do.  We needed lessons, we needed people to teach.  So...we set some goals, said lots of prayers, and in under an hour of knocking doors on sunday night, we had three lessons and three new investigators...which were EXACTLY the goals we had set...need I say more???  This is NOT our work.  It's God's.  When we turn it over to Him and work as if it all depended on us, miracles happen.  It was really amazing, and was a much needed boost after an exhausting (physically, mentally, spiritually, you name it) week. 
It hasn't been a particulary restful p-day.  something is wrong with my blue card (my access to my monthly allowance) and it is causing a lot of issues.  Such as, I can't take the metro, which is our only form of transportation.  We have three huge fans in our apartment taking up all kinds of room, and they are mostly broken, so we have to take them to the mission office...don't know how to do that without a car OR the metro.  We hoped our zone leaders would help us out, but they have to go hang out at the mall...LAME!!  Oh well. 
Basically, what this week boils down to is LOTS of stress, but also LOTS of fun and learning.  We contact on the metros, and that has been VERY interesting, and so very ridiculously far out of my comfort zone.  But, it works, so we have to do it.  No, no, we GET to do it.  The pace here is so very different from Ottawa.  I'm sure I will come to love it, I'm sure.  I'm excited to get going on the new week, our first full week here, maybe somewhat normal instead of the craziness of this past week.  Montreal is full of people who are ready, and full of people who are crazy, so it's an adventure sifting through them to find those who want to hear what we have to share with them. Missionary work is tough.  It's frustrating sometimes.  But it is oh so very rewarding, even when you just have to laugh because of the craziness.  I have to go now, we do our email at an internet cafe now and have limited time.  MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALL!!!

Elder Fitch: October 17, 2011

I'd say that the first week of a new transfer is always the longest. Either something is different and you have to get used to the change, or nothing changes and you have to get used to doing the same thing. This week I got a new companion, Elder Ormond. He is probably a foot taller than me and comes from a little southern Idaho town called Wendal. One of my really good friends from high school is his cousin and he actually knows Kaysville very well. His mom is even a Davis Dart. He last served in Fribourg Switzerland, he took 5 different trains to get here. It's been a rough week, but also one of the best. We did not get along so well at first. We get a long just fine now, but it was hard at the beginning. I've learned a lot. I've learned things I didn't know I didn't know about myself. I was pushed to grow in a way I haven't been pushed yet. At the beginning of this week I felt like this transfer was going to last FOREVER, I now look forward to the rest of this transfer and the new things I will learn.
That's really what this week was, was getting used to this change. We didn't find anyone new to teach. We did make progress with Stephanie and have set a date for her to get baptized so we're looking forward to that. There is still alot to get through with her, but she progresses anyway.
We still have not changed apartments, but it is in the works. The mission office was pretty busy with transfers so nothing really got done, but now they are trying to get things worked out with the realtor. Hopefully between this week and next we will be moving to our new apartment.
Tomorrow is going to be sweet. Elder Causee is coming to speak at our zone conferences. So tomarrow we are going to Bordeaux for our zone conference. I'm stoked. I've heard it is awesome there.
The weather is getting absolutely beautiful here, perfect temperature and blue skies. The colors are starting to come out too, it's fantastic.
I love you all and i wish you a wonderful week full of good things!
Elder Fitch

Sister Fitch: October 10, 2011

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!  Ou en Francais, Actions de Graces! 
Sometimes I think Canada is weird.  Like having Thanksgiving in October. 
We went for a "hike" last week in Gatineau Hills, in the rain.  I very much enjoyed it.  I was soaking wet the rest of the day, but it was worth being out of the city and in the lovely fall colors.  It's been really nice the last few days--just like October should be.  This week has been kind of tough--no one would answer their phone, lots of lessons fell through, amis tried to drop us, all kinds of crazy things.  It was...painful.  But!  Could have been worse.  At the end of the week we got a text from one of our amis who freaked out a week or so ago and didn't want to see us again, and in this text she said she wanted to get baptized.  So, could be worse! 
So.  Transfers. 
Let's just say I don't think I spoke more than a word or two for about half an hour after we got our call.  Couldn't believe it.  Was not expecting it.  They are closing our area :(  Not entirely, but we are BOTH leaving Ottawa, and they are giving our area over to the other sisters to take care of.  I'm kind of anxious about our amis and our less actives, and all kinds of things like that, but I am trying to have faith in the other sisters.  I thought when I came to Ottawa, I would definately be serving in French areas, as Ottawa is the ONLY English sisters area in the mission.  Alas.  I am going to Montreal to open up another English sisters area.  Sigh.  It's called Concordia, and it's YSA again!  I went through many stages...shock, anger, sorrow, acceptance, and now I'm excited.  I never had ANY desire to serve in Montreal itself, because it is big and noisy and dirty and...cityish.  Ottawa is big, but it really isn't.  It's small compared to Montreal.  I'll miss my quiet little river walk to our bus station (a good 40 minutes) and our quiet little street (despite the sirens ever night).  I hear my new apartment has had a lot of work done on it and is nice, but is on a pretty big street.  I am NOT a city girl, so I am worried about being overwhelmed, especially since we will be opening the area and therefore having to start completely from'll be fun, though.  An adventure.  I lost my sense of adventure for a while there, but it is coming back.  I'm glad for that.  My companion will be Sister Rodriguez. I hear good things about her.  This means I am in no way a greenie any more--not in my greenie area, not with my trainer, and more than two transfers old.  Thank GOODNESS.  Being green gets old, old, old.  They made TONS of changes in Ottawa, every single team is being effected, and FOUR of them are being flushed (which means there will be two new missionaries coming, instead of just one--a whole new team).  Crazy.  We leave Wednesday morning, so we have not too much time to say goodbye and pack.  Funny how uncertain and unplannable the future is on the mission.  Well, next week my life will be TOTALLY different so I'll have lots to tell you about!  Much love to you all!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Elder Fitch: October 3, 2011

This week....
Weell this week was not a super steller teaching week. However, we did spend alot of time doing service. Almost everyday we spent at least a couple hours doing service. Our friend from Peru owns a pizzeria. This is our friend who invited us over to her birthday party and it was all latin americans speaking almost only spanish. Well she's planning to move back to Peru and so needs to sell her pizzeria. So we've been doing alot of painting and cleaning and moving huge pizza ovens and stuff like that. oh and of course our red cross service on thursdays. So that was really fun. I always like doing service.
Our amis stephanie is doing well. She still has a brick wall when it comes to applying the discusion to herself or realizing it's something more than just a superstition. Slowly but surely it is breaking down. She now looks at baptism as something that is in the future for her, but yet has a ways to go. She came to General Conference on sunday and watched the Relief Society session and the Saturday aftrnoon session. It was really good and is a great step for her. She was able to see the church as a real world wide organization, as opposed to just our tiny little half building branch in Montauban. She's prayed a couple times, and I have to say that they are legit prayers. She is super sincere and really talks to God as a person and asks heartfelt questions about her life and about what we teach her. Her answers are coming too.
So conference! how incredible! How they do it here is they transmit the saturday morning session live so we watch it here at 6 oclock to 8 oclock here. Then we watch the priesthood session at 11 oclock sunday morning till 1 and then an hour break and then saturday afternoon session from 2 to 4 and then they brodcast the sunday morning session live from 6 to 8 and then sunday afternoon live from 10 to midnight. The relief society sometimes has a day where all the stake women go to watch somewhere. this year they did it in Carcasonne for the stake im in. but then they also rebrodcast it during the prieshood session at 11 o clock sunday morning. Montauban being as small as it is goes to Toulouse to watch it. In the past it was a rule that we had to have an amis with us if we went to the session brodcast on saturday. So we were not expecting to go, but then we got a call that said we could so w last minute went to Toulouse and watched that steller session. Then we were there the whole day except we can't watch the last session, so that was the only one I missed. which is sweet!! cause last conference I ws so ticked! I didn't get to see any that I understood. Conference is so cool. It's exactly what the Bible and Book of Mormon are, scripture. It is God revealing His word to His prophets and apostles for us for our lives right here and right now. HOW INSANE! how incredible significant is that. That is what the difference is between The Church of Jesus Christ and every other church and religion that is on the face of this planet. There is a prophet of God who is alive today who has His authority to lead His church. Thats nuts. Thats the truth.
Being a missionary I know how this all works. I am in the thick of this work. I see it everyday. This work would utterly fail and crumble and fall to the dust of the earth if it were not the true and living work of th Lord. This simply HAS to be the Lords work. There is no other way it would function. He leads and guides EVERY step of this system. I am a witness of that truth.
This is the last week of the transfer, it's going to be sweet. Heads up.
I love you all!!

Sister Fitch: October 3, 2011

RE: Eternigator Turned Recent Convert
Hello! (president Monson style)
Kind of a crazy week!  Started out with a text from this girl we have been teaching since I got here, and who has been coming to church since she was 14, and who has had many a missionary before me.  She said "invite only baptism, this saturday."  Uh...OKAY!  So yes, we had another baptism, surprise!  Some members helped her figure out what the hang up was, and she realized it was pretty lame--she was afraid of being in front of people.  Three baptisms in three weeks...President said its the first time it's happened since they've been here.  Sweet!  It's been crazy working everything out for all of these baptisms, so it will be kind of weird this week having a normal'll be good.  Baptisms can be STRESSFUL. 
I absolutely LOVED general conference.  It was so great.  Our catholic missionary came to one session and found it highly interesting.  He said for the most part the speakers were "speaking my language" so, we'll see!  We have seen him four times and STILL have not finished the first we'll see! 
Anyway, it's been an emotionally draining few weeks but lots of good people around, plus conference, lots of resources for feeling happy :)  Weather here has been cool.  Maybe...10-15.  And drizzly.  More like misty.  It's been lovely, actually.  Love it.  Today we are celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving.  So weird.  It'll be fun, though, the whole zone is in town for zone study tomorrow, so we might be able to go for a hike too.  Hike.  Ha.  In the HILLS.  Not mountains.  Sigh. 
Last week of the transfer!  I'm pretty sure I'm losing my companion, but we'll see.  Sad, sad, day.  Okay, sorry for two weeks of brevity in the email department...people are waiting for the computers.  I love, love, love you all, you are my ROCK.  Thanks :) Much love,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Elder Fitch: P-Day Service Project in Montauban

mark is the good-looking guy on the left. his companion is in the middle. and their friend, jeanpierre is on the right. they spent p-day putting new tiles on jeanpierre's roof right there behind them.

Sister Fitch: September 26, 2011

So, there were a couple particular highlights this week.  One of which was the Relief Society General Broadcast. SO GOOD.  If you didn't watch it, WATCH IT.  If you are male, you should watch it too.  You can watch it online, or read it online.  It was so good.  The Relief Society presidency was stellar, absolutely stellar.  But Elder Uchtdorf...he is my favorite for a reason.  He talked about forget-me-not flowers, and their small but lovely nature, and their five petals.  He talked about five things that we should forget-not.  I absolutely loved it, I absolutely needed it.  I can't wait for the rest of conference. 

So, this week we had Nicole's baptism.  It was lovely.  She had TONS of support from the ward (it helped that we had it right before institute) and it was great.  The whole ward loves her (and William too).  When she came up out of the water, she let out a gasp/shout for joy.  She went into the dressing room and before changing or going for a towel or anything, she fell to her knees and prayed and prayed.  It was a really tender moment.  Nicole is incredible.  She is STRONG.  She is LOVED.  She is a member!!!  Now that they're baptized, and the ward is taking them under its wing, I feel a little...lost!  The other people we are teaching are struggling.  It'll be an interesting couple of weeks while we try to boost them up and find others to teach. 

Lots of emotional and physical exhaustion, but things like the broadcast, the Book of Mormon, and just knowing what a GREAT family I have help me get that energy back.  Over and over.  So thank you.  President called me a "seasoned missionary" in his letter to me this week.  I'm not so sure about that, but it was nice to hear that rather than "greenie" all the time from everyone else.  I'm having a hard time remembering what exactly happened earlier this week because I started a new planner and can't look back in it to remind me...well, I love you!  Thanks for your support, it really is what keeps me moving forward.  I love you all. 
Avec amour,

Elder Fitch: September 26, 2011

Well it's been another fun filled week here in Montauban!
We had another exchange this week with our zone leaders. This time, however, i was with the zone leader that is not so intense, meaning I wasn't sore afterwards. His name is elder Balero from Arkansas. He is a convert and actually already has his teaching degree in music education. He told me his story, and all I can say is that he was prepared, he was looking and he found what he was looking for. He is an incredible missionary with a very strong testimony. He came on a mission to share that, even though none of his family supports him or understand why he's doing what he's doing. I learned a lot from him.
Thursday we had district meeting in Toulouse, which is always fun. Our mission president came to that meeting because he is currently touring the mission and is inspecting ever apartment to either be consecrated or condemned. He came to Montauban later that afternoon and needless to say our apartment was condemned to the depths. Yet not really for any of the obvious reasons. The main reason was because we were up four big flights of wooden stairs. Not very fire safe. The incredibly small size of the place overall, cockroaches, angry neighbor portuguese lady, the bloody fight, the bar, and the complete lack of security were only icing on the cake of condemnation. Heck I really don't care the reason, I'm just glad we can start looking for a new apartment! So we've been looking into that a bit already.
Saturday I taught my first "first" lesson in English since coming to France, and only my second time inenglish ever (we taught it once in the mtc). The "first" lesson is everything from who God is through the apostasy to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It was really pretty awkward and funny. It was strange, because I had to think it in French first and translate it into English in my mind and then speak. Both of us had a hard time and we kept slipping back into French. Very interesting experience when you can't speak your own language. But it was a super awesome rdv anyway! Despite our English deficiency. This rdv was with a guy we met who is from Fiji and is currently playing rugby for a city a little ways away from Montauban. So yep another islander rugby player. He is super cool and actually met missionaries back in Fiji and has an aunt that is a member. His name is Isaac and is super awesome and really wants to be baptized. It will be a little slow going just because he lives a ways away and with his training and game schedule it's difficult for us to see him and for him to be able to come to church.
Today we did service for Jeanpierres parents in laying a whole lot of tile on their roof. It was pretty sweet and I really like their property, it's a little bit out of town in the "forest". Really pretty.
That's about it this week, we didn't have anyone come to church unfortunately. Thanks for all your prayers, the effects are always evident to me and what I'm doing. Thank you.
I love you guys! Families are the best.
Love Mark

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elder Fitch: September 19, 2011

Yet another week has come and it has gone.
Tuesday night to Wendesday night I was on an exchange in Toulouse. It was really good for me actually. The Elder I was with is a little bit...comment on dit..... special? ya, ya he's a little bit special. The problem is is that he acts wierd because he like to act wierd. He is capable of normality, I've seen it. He just chooses to be wierd, that's all. He gets really awkward, like socially awkward I mean. He'll talk with a really exagerated american accent. None of this would I really care about if he would be normal when we are trying to talk to people, but no. He just says wierd things to people, I don't know, that part was a little frustrating. The good part for me was we did have a few rendez vous and he didn't say a whole ton, or he'd say something wierd. So lets just say I got a very good teaching practice. It really was a good experience and plus I got to stay at the same apartment that my companion from the MTC lives right now. Yup good ol Elder Turley. He is still my favorite companion, well at least with hind sight. Toulouse is very big, alot bigger than Im used to. It moves really fast and theres TONS of people everywhere. It's definitely a change from lil ol Montauban, still even from Nimes.
Oh ya and This black lady yelled at me for about ten minutes cause eveytime I proved what she was saying was wrong and asking her to support what she was saying and couldn't, so she got really upset, and eventually walked away with steem coming out of her ears. We don't ever start things like that, she came up to us trash talking us and the church and stuff, But I'm going to defend what I represent. Im going to say thats one point for the Lord, hehe He'll always win. Even though sometimes it's better just to walk away first from those people, I kind of like it, because I really just find the words I need to say as they are coming out of my mouth. That is spiritual help, I know that because I know I am not that intelligent.
We ate at this guys house on thursday night. His name is Kiri and he is a rugby player from Samoa. He is a member but his wife isn't, they are so nice and so generous towards us. Eating there I realized why I wasn't called to an Island mission. I would die....from eating too much. I'm already not a big eater and they just make so much food and expect you to eat it ALL. We don't want to be impolite so...we keep eating. Holy cow, I think I ate enough to feed a family of four for a whole day, breakfast lunch and dinner. I'd get so fat serving in the islands. Its good for me here because there are alot of islanders, so I get to enjoy the people, but I don't have to eat so much.
Saturday we had a really good rendez vous. It was actually a second meeting. This guy, whose name is Ismael, I actually contacted when I was on the exchange with my zone leader, ya know when i was sore for a week after, yeah that one. Anyway this is his story, he is from the Ivory coast. He grew up there in very very bad conditions. It became so bad that he got on a boat with 27 other people that was headed for Europe. On the way 23 of the 28 people died. He was one of the 5 that survived. He started out in Holand, but didn't have much luck there so he made his way down to France where he could at least speak the language. When I first met him he had no work no place to stay, he just would sleep outside. Let me tell you, he hs such an incredible attitude. He has lived alot a very horrible things, not once did I hear him say something negative. He was very open about his situation and would say it how it was, but he is always positive. He now has a job and is working to save up so he can get a place to stay. In his troubles he turned to God instead of away, and that has made all the difference, thats why he agreed to meet us in the first place, because he had kept his faith. I look at him, whose lived a life full of misery and death but can still be happy, and I look and these people I meet everyday who haven't been through a fraction of what he has and they've turned from God in anger. All they have to say is how horrible there life is and they complain about their whole life story and theyre miserable. We are here in this life to be happy. Lets be happy, even in our hard times, its just better, for everyone. Lets be positive.
Sunday was pretty good! We had two amis that came. One we weren't expecting at all, so we were very happy she came. It was really good for them and they really like it which was good because church here can be a little crazy and or intense sometimes.
Oh Yeah! we had a fight in our appartment building last monday night. It was a couple floors down in the middle of the night. We didn't know that thats what had happen until some people that were investigating knocked on our door at lunch time the next day to ask us what we had heard or if we knew. then it was interesting going down to get out. There was blood all over. Smeared on the walls, even puddles and smears on the floor. kinda nasty, cool huh?
So things are still going good here. Still very little. Still not a lot of people. Still hard. Still moving forward. Still lovin it.
I love you all plus que je peux vous dire.
Elder Fitch

Sister Fitch: September 19, 2011

Hello all :)
This week was kind of crazy, but really great.  On Thursday I had my first baptism!  It was quite the experience.  It was so fun to see this young man take such a huge step.  It was interesting to see the difference in him and his countenance and that of a girl we taught the next day, who firmly believes that we have absolutely no responsibility to do anything other than accept Christ as our Savior.  What she is missing is what it actually means to "accept" Christ.  Anyway, I could rant about that for a while, but suffice it to say, I don't know that we will be teaching her for very long.  You can't teach a person how to return to live with God again if they think they've already sealed the deal. Anyway, one of our investigators, Nicole from Barundi, came to the baptism.  She's been reluctant to be baptized any time soon, but has wanted to do it eventually.  After being at the baptism and feeling the power of it all, she could barely speak.  She told us afterwards that she HAD to be baptized, and soon.  She didn't want to wait anymore.  So, we have another baptism this Friday!  Super exciting.  The only downside to all of these baptisms is that it means we don't have as many investigators to teach...BUT we will have lots of recent convert lessons!  All is well. 
We did splits on Tuesday, which was a lot of fun.  The new missionary and I were together in the YSA and Sister Palmer went with the other senior companion (they were MTC comps) to the family ward.  It was a lot of fun.  I was senior companion for a day!  It was fun to have the reins a bit.  It helped me see that I do indeed know what I am doing, and while there is still SO very much to learn, I can do this.  It was exciting.  Oh yeah, our mission president's wife came to Ottowa for our baptism!  It was fun, she spent most of the day with us, first at the soup kitchen we work in then at the baptism. 
We met a catholic missionary on the bus the other day, and he invited us over for brunch on Sunday.  We went, and there were about twelve other people there, too.  They all are involved in the catholic missionary effort or school system or other programs.  Since there were SO many people there, we didn't really teach a lesson, we just engaged in conversation and it was really interesting.  I am discovering that I am not very articulate.  Or aggressive (one g?).  I know what I believe and how I feel, but vocalizing it, especially in a large group where everyone has LOTS to say and is so much better at saying it, I didn't come off as sounding very intelligent.  That's okay, though.  The gospel is simple, so I shouldn't have to feel like I have to be eloquent or persuasive.  Bear simple, strong testimony.  That's my job.  And there have been many people that were "slow of speech" that did lots of good, so I just need to be patient with myself and figure out my teaching style better.  My companion did a semester in Jerusalem and other such things and is really scripture-smart, so I keep feeling like I have to keep up and teach like she does.  Nope.  I just need to teach like myself.  Learning and adapting always, of course, but I really need to quit feeling like my progress and effectiveness is related to those around me.  Anyway, I must go now.  I love, love, love you all.  Sometimes its hard to be a missionary.  ALWAYS its wonderful.
Avec amour,

Sister Fitch: September 12, 2011

Kind of a crazy week!
We got lost on the bus system for an entire day this week.  In two days we had...ONE lesson.  It was kind of rough.  We had a really good finish to the week and recovered pretty well, but the first few days of the week were definately a struggle.  I'm getting so much better at bus contacting--people are even starting to contact US.  Its a lot of fun.  Being on foot, we meet SO many more people.  And are getting in good exercise. 
One of my favorite parts of missionary work is less active work.  I LOVE it.  We have been seeing one inactive return missionary who is always coming to us to set up "appointments," we never have to go to him.  It's fun, we usually just end up going for a walk.  We walked along the canal the other day, and it was a lot of fun.  He is great, and he said himself that it is inevitable that he will be coming back to church in the future.  We'll see how soon it is, but he knows it.  Love it. 
So, our Chinese investigator William scared us pretty bad this week.  We had a couple of our investigators freak out a little and drop their baptismal date, so when William called and said he had something he needed to say to us, but  it would be better face to face, we panicked.  So, we set up an appointment with him at nine thirty in the morning--something we NEVER do, because we have studies all morning.  We get there, all worked up and bracing ourselves for the worst...and he says "Who is the Messiah?"  Whhhhewww.  Yeah, he was just reading in the Book of Mormon, and didn't know who that was.  We had a good lesson, talked about his baptism (which is THIS THURSDAY!!), and all was well. 
This week was "Frosh" week, which I take it is the same as "Rush" so contacting was...rough.  We surprisingly got several potentials, but we'll see what comes of it.  We even got invited to a kegger.  Sweeeet!  Sorry this is short, but people are trying to leave to go downtown and my companion wants to leave and so I've got to wrap it up. 
It's been a tough week.  Good, but tough. Learning lots, being tested, and loving being a missionary.  I love you all so so so much.  YOU are what keeps me going every day.  I love you, I'm thankful for each of you.  Much love,
p.s. sweet sixteen INDEED.

Elder Fitch: September 12, 2011

So it not being the first week of the transfer things really seemed to go a lot faster this week.
We had a cool experience with our recent convert Auguste. He has had a litttle bit of a hard time lately. He owns an auto school, and it just so happened that we were walking by at the perfect time. He invited us in and asked if we had anything we could share with him. Imediately a scripture I had read that mornig popped into my head, so i went looking for it, however i couldn't remember the exact reference. I kept feeling like it was John 14 something. Elder kirkpatrick turned there to try and help me and he happened to look on the next page in John 15 and found a completely different scripture than i was thinking but he shared it and it was EXACTLY what Auguste needed to hear. He was really suprised. Later when we were back home i looked up the scripture i was thinking and it wasn't anywhere near John 14. That was team tag spirit work. One point for the Lord. No but seriously it was really cool.
We were able to meet with our new amis Stephanie a couple times. She is really cool and really nice, but it is very slow moving with her. She is very supersticious about things, and has a way of changing the topic. She did come to church yesterday and she had a really good experience. I don't know what religions or churches shes been to before but she lwas suprised to hear people say they are really "believing". That they came to church because they believed in God. So its interesting but its moving so that is what matters.
There was yet another holiday this weeked. It is called the 400 coup. The history behind it is after the Protestants had taken over the city the catholics were pretty put out so they layed siege to Montauban. And apperently it took them 400 canon shots to retake Montauban. So voila. just another excuse to party. anyway it was like a mini Feria like thereas in Nimes. They brought in all kinds of little carnival rides and things and activities and of course plenty of stands to buy beer. This party raged well into the wee hours of the mornig friday, saturday, and suday. We live right next to centreville so it was very loud. One thing that was cool though was saturday night they had a firework show. and the launching point was literally right at our building. They launched them right off a bridge that is right below us. It was a pretty good show, but the intense part was the noise! it was SO loud! and it just echoed off of all the buildings and amplified it. It was pretty sweet.
Sunday of course you all know it was September 11th. I was suprised to see how world wide that really was. There has been all kinds of things going on about it. Apperently there has been tv specials running all week and we see news paper and magazines all over the place. Of course the opinions differ. Some think it was just a dumb excuse for Bush to start a war and how evil The United States is, but for the most part people look at it here just how we look at it, a tragic disaster that took the lives of innocent people. A lot of our contacts have turned to that subject, especially when they realize we're Americans. It's hard to believe its already been ten years. I remember that day, i remember exactly what i was doing and how i felt, as im sure everyone of you do. In and of itself it holds deep meaning for us, but at the same time it is a reminder of everyone that have lost or given their lives so that we can have and so that we can keep the many blessings we have and take for granted. I hope we all can remember that and remember to thank God for what we have, for who we have in our lives. ok im done, let me just step down off my soap box here. ok bon there we go.
Well everythingse is going pretty good, this week i bet will go fast too. We have an exchange tomarrow and i will be working in Toulouse, which will be a nice break from good ol Montauban seeing as how i haven't worked in another city for about two months. so that will be fun!
COol well i love you all and i hope you have a wonderful week filled with sunshine and flowers. I LOVE YOU ALL!
Elder Fitch

Elder Fitch: September 5, 2011

Salut tout Le monde!

Well the first week of the new transfer is over, and it feels like it's been about a month since last Pday. Not quite sure why this week felt so long, but it's done now.
We started working with a new amis named Stephanie. We contacted her in the street the week before and we were able to meet a few times this week. She very agnostic. She's not really sure if God exists or not but she wants to know. She wants to find out so she is pretty open. She's very superstitious about spirits and things like that, that's really her only proof that God might be there. It's going good but very slowly for right now, which is totally fine. I'm just grateful we have another person to work with. We're praying the work will pick up more with school being back in session now,so we'll see how that goes.
We had another good day at the red cross. That's pretty fun, and it's really really good practice for my casual French speaking practice.
We helped a family move in. They live eight flights up a building. It took us two very full mornings, plus another evening. Needless to say that I am very tired of going up and down stairs. BUT they are a very nice family and are a great addition to the branch.
Well that's about it for the week! Nothing TOO out of the ordinary. Cept for that we have a new amis!!
Love you all! God be with you!

Sister Fitch: September 5, 2011

RE: Where does one buy chill pills?
Hello all!  It's been an interesting week.  Here goes it:
So, it was transfer week, just like for Mark!  And just like Mark, it was a loooooong week.  The new sisters came and are working hard in Riverside (the family ward that used to be ours).  It's a real challenge because they don't know the area and have been getting lost every day.  It's hard--Ottowa isn't like Toronto or Montreal, but its still a pretty big city and easy to get lost.  Most of the time I have no idea where we are.  Oh well!  Since we don't have a car any more (Riverside got it) we're getting really good at the buses.  And we're walking lots, so that's good.  I love to walk. 
The first half of the week, besides transfers, was pretty typical.  Then, Thursday came.  Oh man.  It started out fine, we had zone study, had lunch as a zone, and then we headed off for the Ottowa Mission where we do our service every week.  When we got there we had a text from one of our investigators.  He's a middle aged man in Riverside, and he's been doing really well.  He's had a rough few years and suffers from depression.  We got a text from him, and it was a goodbye--a suicidal goodbye.  It was a horrible hour or two.  Sister Palmer had the phone so after we tried calling our investigator, we called our Stake President to see what to do.  He said call 911, so we did.  Everything turned out okay--the police went to his house and we really don't know many details except that he didn't follow through and he's mad at us for calling the police.  Better mad than dead.  I haven't been that afraid in a long time.  It was a funny kind of afraid, though--being on a mission has helped me realize to a much deeper level how involved God is in this work and in our lives, and so I knew that He knew what was going on.  I was trembling and nauseated and not having much fun.  The young woman who runs the show at the mission let me stay in back instead of being right on the line (handing people their food and such) so that I could chill out.  I was cutting bagels, but my mind wasn't really on it, so I managed to cut my finger open.  Not badly, but enough that they gave me a different job that didn't involve knives.  We get to do service with our district leader and his companion, and they are awesome.  We see them four times a week--church, p-day, district study, and service.  So, we're good friends.  My district leader made me tell him stories to get my mind off of things, and it worked like a charm.  We left and the only remaining negative emotion was that I was MAD at our investigator for scaring me so bad.  Mostly I'm over it now, though :)
So, then we had a lesson to go to with one of our committeds.  We found out that she's concerned about Polygamy.  Not polygamy itself, but the fact that it wasn't okay, then it was, then it wasn't again.  We explained it--that God doesn't change, the world does, and society, and God knows what we need when we need it and the prophet acts as God commands.  But, I'm not sure it really answered her concerns.  Our members who we teach her with are great, but I think she felt out numbered.  She said she "tentatively decided NOT to be baptized."  But, she's not sure yet.  Pray for her.  Then, our xbox boy who we got back in contact with, tried to drop us again.  We convinced him to let us see him again, but I don't know--I'm trying to have the faith to not be afraid.  Fear and Faith are opposites.  But I can't help but worry about him and the others.  This week I have been getting really frustrated with the fact that people don't understand how precious the gospel is, and how it answers every question and gives us the peace and faith to not worry about questions to which there just are no answers for right now. 
SO. The wind was taken out of my sails a bit this week, BUT.  But, I have learned many important lessons.  The stress has kind of helped me bring out my personality and remember things I like and don't like.  This sounds silly, but bear with me, it was important. FOOD.  I remembered this week how much I like food.  LOVE food.  And rather than just settling for what everyone else is eating (or just my comp since its usually her I eat with...) I'm going to eat things I LOVE to eat.  I am going to treat myself to that--I like it, its me, so I'm going to do it.  Sometimes I try too hard to fit in.  Things are still great with my comp--I realized something kind of funny about myself, that I don't like much and am going to work on, but I realized that I tend to mirror people and their attitudes when I first meet them, and then have to kind of wriggle out of that and be myself again later.  So, we still get along really well, but we are definately different.  It's fun being myself.  I like it.  The mission is funny in that it shows you very plainly your weaknesses and attitudes you need to change and where you need to grow your faith--but during the whole process, you feel absolutely adored by God.  Little miracles, tender mercies (like catching buses you should have missed or members doing kind things for us) and peaceful feelings help you to see that YOU are special.  That God loves YOU. 
I had an interesting dream last night--I didn't think too much of it until this morning when I was saying my prayers.  I dreamed about my cousin, Stephanie.  (for anyone besides the fam thats reading the blog, she died some time ago when she was about my age.)  I never was REALLY close to her, but I always looked up to her and thought she was the most beautiful, wonderful person.  Her SMILE is what I remember most.  So, in my dream, Steph showed up at my house.  She just walked in, like it was natural for her to be there, and it felt natural for me too.  "Hey, Steph!" I said.  She smiled her smile, and gave me a big, big hug.  She took me by my shoulders and looked me in the eye and told me I was beautiful.  The way she said it, though, I knew she was talking about my soul, not my face.  I really didn't think much about it, until I was praying.  Maybe I am just making silly connections in my brain, or maybe it was Heavenly Father teaching me, but I thought about her, and Grandma Bean, Grandpa Fitch, Uncle Steve--everyone who has gone before.  I always felt like there must be a legion of angels for each missionary, but I wondered if that Legion is really my family members and friends.  It was a really nice thought.  Really comforting. Really encouraging. 
The week was crazy--we had dinner with eleven drunk Chinese people, saw MosAika (youtube it) and other things like running for buses and such.  But, it was good.  I love knowing that we are all loved by God.  It helps.  Lots.  Well, I think this is sufficiently long.  I LOVE you all, thanks for your support and your letters.  You're the greatest.  Without you, I wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't be learning and growing like I am. Thank you :)
Much love,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Letter from the Editor

Ahem. Here I am again, posting several updates all at once. So sorry to keep you all waiting!

So I haven't mentioned this before, but I just thought I'd let you know that I'm leaving all the spelling and punctuation as Hannah and Mark emailed it to me, and, I've also never told you this before, but I laugh a lot about this thing.

K. Peace and Love. And sorry!

Sister Fitch: August 29, 2011

Hello all!
So, this was the last week of the transfer.  It was...crazy.  Crazy good!  We committed our friend Anna to be baptized, and she set her OWN date.  "It'd be cool if I was baptized on my birthday!" She's awesome.  She's the one who has read ALL of Preach my Gospel. 

So, we were giving a lesson to our Chinese investigators in the park near campus downtown...and this man comes up to us and stands there staring at us for about fifteen, twenty seconds before speaking.  "So...." another loooooong pause. "There's been talk about communist activity on campus.  Are, communists?"  no, sir, we're just talking about God.  "About God? Well, uh.......the Chinese don't believe in God."  Our chinese member scowls at him and says, um, yes actually we do.  it's a different time, you know.  "well......well......what's that book???" Its scriptures.  "Scriptures, huh?  Its in Chinese!"  yeah, look, here are our English scriptures.  We speak english, they speak chinese, so ours are english and theirs are chinese.  "I see......well........I'll have my eye on you." and he leaves, giving us the dirtiest look I think I've ever had in my whole life.  Then, in the middle of our member's testimony about her own baptism, he comes back over and says "so, still talking about God?"  Yep, sure are.  "Huh........well, let me let you in on a little secret.  God was made up by cavemen who had nothing better to do with their lives.  Yep.  In caves."  Thank you. "You can find out for yourself in the caves under Ottowa U.  That's true."  Okay, thank you sir.  "believing in God is more ridiculous than believing in the Easter Bunny."  THANK YOU SATAN.  and then he left and started yelling at a couple trying to have a tender moment, and then to a nice guy playing with his little dog.  Crazy, I tell you.  And completely devoid of the spirit.  Sad. 

Oh my gosh, and Blair texted us and said he was finding "epic verses in Alma" oh my gosh.  So great.  He came home from his vacation early because they got evacuated because of the hurricane.  So, he called and said "when can I meet with you??" We get to see him tomorrow!  Hooray!!!  So happy. 

William, our Chinese investigator, is really moving along.  He brings friends to church, he calls us to ask for more reading assignments because he finishes what we give him so soon, and he even wanted to move his baptism up.  Bless him.  He's great. 

We're teaching several people in French now, its so great.  I have a LONG way to go  before I understand everything and can communicate as clearly as I would like, but the practice is great and I love the challenge. 

Sometimes I look very, very silly.  But, no worries.  I really am starting to embrace the fact that the mission is just one big long, awkward embarrassing moment.  Like how I almost got stuck on the bus the other day because I was talking to this girl and didn't realize til it was too late that my companion had gotten off the bus, so had to yell to the front of the bus to please let me off.  woops.

Thursday we volunteer at the Ottowa Mission and this week they had Picnic in the Park in the morning, so we got to go and help out there.  It was fun.  We were in charge of games.  Elder Taylor and Elder Aubin were there too--we see them the most out of everyone, since we volunteer together.  They're awesome, we get along well.  Elder Aubin is the one Mark knows.  It was a good week--we had SEVEN investigators at church, plus several less actives. It was so great.  And SO CRAZY!!! We were running around like crazy people. 

So, with transfers, we are both staying, but they are putting another set of sisters into our family ward, so we are JUST working with ysa now.  We'll miss lots of people in the family ward, but I'm glad they get their own missionaries and we can focus on the YSA.  They are awesome--they are SO good at helping us with with the work.  They come to lessons, give investigators rides to work, they are stellar.  Love them.  And I'm glad to stay with sister Palmer!  She's awesome.  We're really good at working through any issues that come up between us, so life is good.

Well, I have to run, but I love you all!! Thanks for everything you do, I pray for you always, you are so so wonderful.  I miss you, but I'm too busy and am loving the work too much to be homesick, so all is well :) can you keep my investigators in your prayers?  Especially Blair.  I love love love love love you all!!!!


Elder Fitch: August 29, 2011

GOOD DAY! thats Bonjour in english. ha. ha. ha.
WOW what a weak! Tuesday was pretty chill, ya know, the usual. tuesday night we started the most intense exchange i've had! It was an exchange with our zone leaders in Toulouse. Elder Kirkpatrick went to Toulouse with our super chill zone leader that came from the Geneva mission. ME, well I stayed in Montauban with.....ELDER BROWN. Elder Brown is kinda like Chuck Noris. So he gets to Montauban at about 730 tuesday night. Normally we are supposed to go in at 8 eat until 9 and then do planning. the latest we can be out is 930 But only if we are in a RDV. So i was kinda thinkin ya we might do a little contacting until 8 or so. Nope i was wrong. we contacted for an hour and a half. NEXT he wanted to go running, which i haven't steadily done since the MTC and only a few times with my trainer but other than that my companions haven't wanted to run for our exercises. so the point is i am way out of shape for running. en plus he runs at a very good pace. so that was super hard and i about died! then we only had one RDV that worked out and it was only a half hour long. so we contacted ALL DAY LONG! and i'll say this again, he is a VERY intense missionary! We were seriously all over the place! plus it was a little frustrating sometimes because he would do the contacts himself and not stop talking so i never would get the chance to support what he said like i'm supposed to, thats called double testifying. In short it was a very long day. and im am STILL sore all over. that night was kinda fun though cause i got to ride shotgun in the car on the way back to toulouse, which is the first time i've been able to since coming on my mission. that evening in toulouse we got to eat with all the institute young adults and then we stayed in toulouse because thursday morning we had District meeting. which was like normal. that night we got a special treat when we ate over at a members. real legit DR PEPPER. they don't make that in france it's imported from England, but almost no one carries it, so that was a nice taste of home, even though i was never really a dr pepper drinker before.
The rest of the weekend was pretty chill, except i was still physically sore from my exchange. But there were fruits of those labors of the exchange, we found several potential amis. we were able to meet with a few, but we will see in the weeks to come.
Speaking of weeks to come today is the first day of the transfer and Elder Kirkpatrick and i will be staying together another transfer.....yay. that means i will most likely be here in Montauban at least another 3 months. Which really is fine, but for as small as Montauban is i'm pretty sure i will go crazy! I already know Montauban like I know Nimes....ok not quite as well, but Nimes is alot bigger. No for realzies though it will be really good and i'm looking forward to it. Plus the transfer after that, hopefully ill be in my next city, will be thanksgiving and christmas, and right after christmas is my year mark. WOW ya thats a little crazy.
Coooooooolll. well i love you all and hope and pray for your success and happiness in all your endevors this week!

peace. ciao. bisou.

Love Mark

Sister Fitch: August 22, 2011


hi everyone! 
This was a strange week, but if I had to sum it up, I would say MIRACLES HAPPEN!!! 
I'll get to the rest of the week, but Mark, your birthday was amazing.  Maybe Grandpa was helping out too or something, but it was amazing.  First of all, our Chinese investigator committed to baptism!  (He also called my companion and asked if I was single.  She said I'm on a mission so I can't date. he said he'd wait.  oh dear.)  Then we just had lots of good things happen, just "random" happy things.  We ate Etheopian food.  it was...strange.  Then, that night, BLAIR CALLED US!!!!  Blair, our xbox boy who got anti-ed by his friends!  We were so worried about him.  I thought for sure we'd never see him again.  I figured we were just freaking him out more with our calls and our texts.  But, we just couldn't seem to let him drop.  So, we sent him another text, told him we were worried about him, and sent  him a scripture that we hoped would help him remember how he felt the spirit.  He CALLED US!  not two minutes later.  He said he was sorry, he just needed some time to think.  He'd realized suddenly how much of a change he would be making in his life, and it sort of freaked him out.  He said he'd been ignoring us, and he was sorry.  OH MY GOODNESS!  He's out of town til the end of the month now, but he said he wants to see us AS SOON as he gets back.  I think we have our Blair back.  The relief and gratitude was...too much.  I went in the bathroom and cried, and cried, and CRIED.  Lots of thank you prayers.  He's just a little younger than Mark, and I'd got that big-sister attachment to him.  Getting him back was...oh so good.  God loves us. God loves him.  Heck, God loves everyone, and he SHOWS it.  So, that was by far the highlight of the week.
In other news, we spent Tuesday in Montreal.  Bleh.  The Island of Montreal is SO busy!  I felt like I was running the whole day.  The sister I spent the day with is going home next transfer, so she has got this missionary thing down pat.  And she is soaking up every moment she has left on the mission.  She's a hard worker, and is so sweet.  mark, she's from Geneva!  sister Tschumi.  anyway, we were on the metro and on foot.  I did some metro contacting, which had me totally freaked out, but wasn't so bad after all.  Actually, I like it better than bus contacting.  I don't like bus contacting at all.  I know, I know, if I don't like something I should probably do more of it so I'm better at it so I don't not like it so much.  yeah...make sense of that.  Anyway, it was good.  i got to use my french, and the crazy thing was, I actually spoke French!  and even on the noisy metro, I understood the french.  That was the gift of tongues, for sure.  It was really amazing.  I felt like I was speaking English.  But it was French. 
So, the other day we got lost on the bus system again.  I hate buses.  Rrrg.  Sometimes they are super convenient, and sometimes they are aweful.  And confusing.  We got lost for like two hours.  Rrrg.  Lame!  haaaa and then when we finally decided to just walk and not mess with them any more, we got caught in the rain.  It was...funny.  It was good.  it was a just reward--we had an appointment cancel that morning, and we didn't do a very good job filling the time with productive activities.  God is just, eh? 
Things are good here.  I love being on a mission.  I love Ottowa.  After being in Montreal especially, Ottowa feels clean and beautiful, and has a much more manageable pace.  Coming back in on the bus, I felt like I was coming home.  Ottowa is home for now. 
Transfers are this week, as you know from Mark--I am guessing I'll be here still with my trainer, but crazier things have happened, so...who knows!  Okay, gotta run.  I love you all, thanks for keeping me posted on life! 
oh wait!!  Remember Pasquale, the inactive rm who we ran into at the Mary festival?  He called us!!  AND, he got a place to live.  It's in Vanier.  WE live in Vanier!!  Crazy!!  So, we're going to go to lunch some time.  not in vanier, though.  Vanier is sketch.  Okay, i love you!!!!!!!!