Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sister Fitch: June 14th, 2011

Hello all!!
What a weeeeeek!!  What Mark said about days being endless and weeks being brief is so true.  I can't BELIEVE its already p-day again, but my body and my mind are grateful.  We don't exactly stick to the schedule as its laid out for us on p-day...hope its not too grevious of a sin.  We come to the laundry room before 6 because the later it gets, the more missionaries are here, and the less likely you are to snag a machine.  This way, we each get TWO machines and can do ALL our laundry in under an hour...chouette.  Then we get a sack breakfast and go back to the Res, shower, get ready for the temple, and oh glorious of glorious things we go to the temple.  Definately the highlight of the week.  Or at least one of them.  Devotionals are pretty great.  I love singing in the choir at those.  Sunday, for relief society, we had Ann Dibb come speak to us.  I had no idea her dad is Thomas S. Monson!!  Somehow that has escaped me til now.  She gave a wonderful talk, then spent about twenty minutes just talking about her dad.  Did you know he loves Perry Mason?  And that he raises pigeons?  And many other wonderfully human things that we don't get to see.  It was really great. 
I think it was Thursday that I had probably my hardest day yet.  It was one of those days when nothing in particular went wrong, but somehow I was reeeeeally emotional.  Maybe it was just hormonal...anyway, whatever it was, I was feeling really withdrawn, and really weak.  Not physically, but definately emotionally and spiritually.  I felt like someone was shining a spotlight on all of my weaknesses, on everything I haven't faced or dealt with emotionally yet (in EVERY aspect of my life) and that all of my strengths were tucked away in some dark drawer for the day.  I hit my knees several times that day.  Well, I do everyday, such is the nature of being a missionary, but I hit them a little harder that day.  It's hard having a companion sometimes--particularly when you want to sneak off into some grove of trees somewhere and cry and pour your heart out to Heavenly Father.  Well, the MTC is a bit like a COMPOUND.  No one comes in, no one goes out without permission.  Plus, it freaks me out not to have my companion anyway.  I found a moment in the Res when I could be alone in the hallway, and prayed and praaaaayed and prayed.  No epiphanies (sp?).  No bolts of lightening (which comes BEFORE thunder, Sam).  Just...peace.  As the day progressed, the epiphanies came, the spotlight became more of a highlight and I could see what I needed to change and what attitudes needed to be tweaked.  This is the deal with the MTC--there's no such thing as an easy day, and there's no such thing as a bad day.  There are HARD days, and there are smooth days.  C'est tout.  Smooth days are...well...not the norm.  But there is no such thing as a bad day.  If you have a bad day here, you are MISSING something.  You aren't learning some lesson that is trying to be taught to you. 
So, a virus broke out at BYU and they are super duper paranoid about it coming to the MTC so no one is allowed to shake hands or hug.  In other words, NO HUMAN CONTACT.  Well, it was hard enough when it was restricted to just a handshake and hugs from the branch presidency wives.  I don't like no human contact.  It's pretty rough.  I think when I get home I'm going to be a hug maniac..."oh look, a person!"  **HUG**.  No one will be safe.
Our Branch Pres (pres Robinson, Mark) was released this sunday.  It was a surprise to me, I had no idea!  He and his wife have been wonderful.  We'll miss them.  His replacement is President Zimmelman (sp?) and I haven't had much chance to get to know him, but we've been assured that he will be wonderful. 
Quoi d'autre?  I think we're all at the point here where the overwhelming newness of the MTC has worn off and we've started to slow down.  I'm working on ways to re-inspire everyone to be focused and remember our time is short and we can't waste any of it.  Any ideas? 
I LOVE being a missionary.  I LOVE my teachers, I love my district, I love my branch, I love french, I love the gospel, I love my Heavenly Father and the fact that he has trusted me with this huge responsibility to bring the world his truth.  The gravity of that call is really starting to set in, and while its a little unnerving, mostly it is just inspiring.  My favorite song right now is How Firm a Foundation.  Read the words.  We watced motab sing it at music and the spoken word and it was....TRIUMPHANT.  (and eh?)

Elder Fitch: June 12, 2011

SOOO today is the last day of the Feria. wow let me just tell you that a 5 day straight drinking party gets pretty insane. I have never seen so many drunk people, and that was before 5 o'clock cause that's when we had to come in. but luckly our little ally is a hot spot bar so we were still in the thick of it. so insane. they do bull fighting at the colloseum everyday. 6 Bulls a day they kill. bulls bred especially for the Feria. they are massive, during the daythey run the bulls down one of the big roads and the gates are made to let people go in. so you just chill and run from the bulls, we had to go through it to get to where we were going, haha so im counting that as we ran from the bulls. sick huh? the Feria doesn't make for a very effective time to teach the gospel, we had a total of 5 lessons the whole week. so here's hoping we can find some people this week.
so Elder Winslow. He is 4 days away from hitting his one year mark. He is from Ventura California and looks like the guy off of the proposal. at first i wasn't so sure but even in just a week he has taught me ALOT! with him i can see the areas that i need to improve. He's super blunt and frank with people, sometimes it's exactly the way it needs to be, and he takes control of RDVS. it has been really good. i'm really looking forward to the rest of this transfer with him.
It's also been kinda cool to see what i have learned cause i am the only one in the whole zone that knows Nimes. so im kinda the king i guess you could say haha. not really but it makes me look at Nimes a whole new way and it's cool to be the one who knows everything and knows where to go here.
And that's all i have to say about that.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Elder Fitch: June 5, 2011

HEY Everyone!
so this last week i was at our DMPs (WML ward missionary leader) house for a manger vous(dinner appointment) and he has this super awesome and super massive dog, literally twice as big as me. So after dinner i was feeding him some leftovers of the meat we ate and i had it in my hand and i was giving it to him and slipped and fell and he was goin for the meat and got my ear pretty good. it's really ok and i'm fine with it but the top 40 percent of my left ear is no longer there. it was a little scary at first and i'm not gina lie it did hurt but i'm ok and i don't want you to worry! it's not the dogs fault its mine i knew better. haha i actually got permission from my mission president to have my hair long for the rest of my mission, SICK! that will be interesting. ok fine that didn't really ME. but that story is completely and 100 percent true! that happened to Elder Bowen serving in Carcasonne, which i've stayed there by the way. I Just couldn't help saying that cause i think that is the most hilarious thing to say to your family. Hey so i uh, lost half my ear...yeah oh and the rest of the week was cool hahaha i just can't imagine. funny. poor elder bowen, i saw a picture, pretty incredible, he's literally missing half his ear. He's good. Steller missionary.
well Elder Dorton left Nimes. He will now be serving in Brive la Gaillarde. I now have with me my new companion, his name is Elder Winslow. he was just barely in Gap. So i am going to be here in Nimes for at least another 6 Weeks. Just for future information we recieve a phone call on the last friday of the transfer and it's on that phone call that either the president or one of his assistants tells us where we will go or if we will stay. then we leave that next monday.
Elder Dorton, he is a good missionary. i was pretty sick of him after the first transfer, i'll be honest i wanted a new companion pretty bad. but by the end of the second it was good and i learned to appreciate him and now im actually going to miss him.
Something a little wierd this week it's been raining since wednesday. actually it stopped yesterday, but wednesday to sunday almost constant rain and HUGE HUGE thuderstorm too. I loved it! it's so awesome. we got drenched several times. and people think we're crazy when we try to talk to them in the middle of a down pour, they say stuff like "sorry it's raining" , wait what? it's raining? is that what you call this water everywhere? oh, oh ok i see now its RAINING. ok well in that case see ya, wouldn't want to share a message of the restoration with you while it's RAINING, psh that's ridiculous. i don't usually say that to people don't worry. im polite i'll have you know.
Something a little different in this week to come. Nimes does something called THE FERIA. and what it is is an all night city wide party for almost a week long where all you do is drink and drink and drink some more. so city party of drinking. Effective missionary work? no no i don't think so. so what we do, what we actually HAVE to do because we have to be back inside our appartment by 5:00pm so what we do is we do our mornig studies at night and work the morning which isn't super effective, but more so than trying to talk to a drunk city.
It was a good week. nothing new about that little brawl last monday. Emeline is going to be baptized the 25 of june. we have another lady, italian, super sweet, makes us pastries, who has a baptisimal date for the 2 of july. It's going here, it's going.
WELL more next week. I LOVE YOU ALL!

Souer Fitch: May 31, 2011

It's been a good week!  The first full week, but that doesn't mean Mark said over and over, the days sort of blur together.  Something that happened this morning seems like it happened last week, and vise versa.  I made my companion cry yesterday...didn't mean to!  I know more French, so in the mock teaching that we do, I will just keep going if she doesn't know what to say, because i don't know what else to do!  It wasn't me, honestly.  Its just a challenging place to be, the MTC, and can be really frustrating when the language isn't coming as fast as you want, when you know what you want to say, but all you can say is "" I am understanding more and more every day, and when I open my mouth sometimes I'm surprised at what comes out. ... sometimes thats a good thing and sometimes its a bad thing...The MTC really is a tough place to be.  The days are LONG and FULL and there is NO down time until just before bed.  I don't know if I've ever been so challenged before in my life, but the benefits of this hard work are SO good.  It's like someone is shining a flashlight on all of my faults and all of the things I do, think, say, or feel that should be different or better or tweaked or eliminated, etc.  Ohhhh boy, need to work on that.  Ohhhhh boy, probably should have opened my mouth.  Ohhhhh boy, probably should have shut up.  My future hubby should be SO thankful that I am going on a mission and am ironing these things out now...With my companion, I am learning how to treat another person who you are joined at the hip to.  It's not quite what I thought it really can't think about yourself and your comp at the same time.  FORGET YOURSELF.  That's what I've been telling myself over and over again.  We had another great fireside on Sunday, and Susan W. Tanner and her husband spoke to the relief society!  The woman who was acting as our investigator is now our teacher, and our other two teachers are now our investigators and she is a new investigator, if you followed all that, we have three teachers, all of whom are also our "amis de l'eglise."  I'm crossing my fingers that my laundry goes smoothly this week...I have TONS since I couldn't do it last time.  Can't wait to smell good!  So, one cool thing that happened this week is I was called to be the next coordinating sister, starting next week.  She is kiiiiiiind of like a zone leader, but without all of the authority...haha in other words I just look after the sisters, meet their needs, help where I can, go to meetings, report to the branch president, do orientations and tours of new sisters that come into our zone, etc.  It's a really wonderful opportunity to learn more.  I think its part of the reason I'm on the long program here.  It'll be tough, I'm sure, especially if I have to point out some things to sisters and tell them they need to change...but I KNOW I will learn so much.  I'll need to be more careful with what I do, how I use my time, how I treat people, etc.  I love it here.  It is hard, hard, hard.  But......good, good, good!!  i miss you all, love you all, and hope you all are doing well.  Dear Elder me!!! Nothing brightens the day more than getting mail.  Nothing is more annoying when you switch desks with your companion, come in and think there's a letter for you and realize that's not your desk anymore...arg. 

Elder Fitch: May 29, 2011

INTEGRITY-doing whats right...always.
Wow. So today is Pday right? we still work for 3 hours on pdays so we had a RDV with a woman named monica this morning, she is a recent convert but is also inactive. we brought with us a member named Axel Giraud. this guy has a cool story of his own but thats a different one. we didn't have a whole lot of time but the lesson was on the prayer, the lesson went really well and we were able to share all our thoughts and testimonies of how prayer is essential and God hears and answers every single one of our prayers and we can truly grow closer to Him and find the answers that we need, despite monicas difficulty with attention and retention. Anyway one of her big problems is she has a weenie boyfriend, that actually used to be an investigator, but he is a boozer and does probably every drug you could find. so we finish the lesson and were about to say a closing prayer when we heard a loud knock on the door. she knew it was him, Benoit, so she got up to get it and we needed to go so i suggested we just say the prayer real quick right? she sits down and before we can even start another knock, she says she can't wait so she gets up and opens the door. In storms Benoit fuming! he starts yelling at her, "why'd you leave me waiting? what took you so long?" etc etc. She can't even get a word out so Axel says "it was because she was with us and we were about to pray" so Benoit thinks this is a good time to play tough and snaps back at Axel with a "I wasn't talking to you so you can shut up". Famous last words. What an idiot. first off Axel is a big guy, he doesn't really seem like it especially when he's sitting down but he is. So Axel just stands up and walks to him and says "you don't come in here disrespecting everyone, especially a woman. I'm not like the missionaries im a normal man." ect. then Benoit just throughs a fit! starts yelling and shouting and trying to shove Axel, to no avail. He trys to hit him but Axel just holds his arms as if it were nothing! it was SO AWESOME! as missionaries we can't get involved with any physical confrontation but it was cool to watch Axel just totally destroy Benoit with Manlyness and integrity. He physically removed him from the appartment, Benoit was almost in tears. After he left he sat monica down and told her that she doesn't need to put up with a "boy" like that and such it was sick.
Other things this we MIGHT have another baptism this saturday but it's still not forsure. her name is Emeline and she is 12 and is the daughter of the woman that was baptized my first saturday in france.
Also this is the last week of the transfer so next monday i could be somewhere else or with a different companion. CRAZY how time flys! definetly is true how a day feels like a week but the weeks feel like days! I LOVE YOU ALL! CHIO CHIO.

Souer Fitch: May 25, 2011

I was really bummed yesterday because I couldn't get my email to work.  tuesdays are pday.  I went to the tech center today, though, they worked it out and said I could do email today.  Hoorah!  my washing machine didn't work yesterday either. arg.  BUT, we did get to hear from Russel M. Nelson and his wife!  The devotionals and firesides here are SO amazing.  And relief society is awesome too.  We had Denise P. Doxey from the General Relief Society board here last week, and she gave us an awesome lesson.  My companion is Soeur Matusek, and she is WONDERFUL.  She's super cute, and lots of fun.  We laugh all day long.  My whole district is awesome.  We all get along really well, work together well, study together well, teach together well, and really help each other learn.  It's a safe environment to share personal things and to be ourselves.  It is fantastic.  We all get a little discouraged and exhausted and frustrated, but it doesn't take long before we're laughing again.  They told me a couple days after I got here that I could probably get into the 3 week program (they put me in the 9 week program) if I wanted to.  I thought about it, prayed about it, and I think that my little district here is an important part of my mission.  These elders and soeurs have something to teach me, and maybe I have something to teach them.  If nothing else, I can help them with their french, which I know they appreciate.  One other soeur and I speak mostly fluently, so we are the pseudo teachers some of the time.  We have TONS of self-directed study time in the classroom.  French is good!  I have tons to learn, but right now its mostly review.  We are teaching an "investigator," and I can mostly communicate with her.  She gives me blank stares sometimes, but I can understand everything she says, and if I can't say what I want to outright, I can fumble around and get my point across eventually.  Its good to have the other soeur who speaks well, because we can practice together.  It's fun learning the gospel vocabulary.  I think what I need to learn most here isn't the language, although that is important, but I need to learn how to be an effective teacher.  I know a lot about the gospel (not enough, thank goodness I have nine weeks to study) but not so much how to teach it to someone who has never heard it before.  our teachers are wonderful.  They are really patient and easy going, but they make us work and apply what we learn.  So, all is well.  I am ALWAYS tired, and ALWAYS hungry, but they do feed us and eventually we get to go to sleep.  We wake up at 5:45 because they have a special exercise class just for the sisters at 6.  We only have about 30 mins to get ready, which is do-able for me, if I get up and get going, but the other soeurs are struggling with it a little and are getting a little frustrated.  So...hopefully we can work something out, or at least just get used to being short on time.  Tomorrow half our district goes to San Fran for their visas.  Those of us non-France goers will stay here in our largely diminished class and make do.  The outside's like it's another dimension...It's a lot of fun to go to the temple.  We get to go there just to walk around outside on sunday, and again on tuesday to do temple work.  It is awesome--we see cars!  And people with...what are they called...mmm...cell phones!  One week down, eight to go, and I'm already feeling like I've been here my whole life.  Anyway, gotta run, my time is running out!