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!!