Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter from the Editor


Elder Fitch: December 19, 2011

Hey Family!
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 son fair and square. It's not my fault that my good friend Betty has better baking skills than their "french cuisine", please! Americans always win. 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.
Well Fam, I'm super stoked to talk to you all next sunday! 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
I love you all and can't wait. Have a wonderful week, I love you all, and MERRY CHRISTMAS. God bless us, everyone. afterall there's only 6 more sleeps till Christmas. wow.
Love Mark 

Sister Fitch: January 9, 2012

...does it make me a bad companion for having hid my Rose Cottage Chocolates and not told my companion about them?  I can't share, I can't!!!  

Speaking of companions, I have a new one!  Her name is Sister Limburg, and she's from Salt Lake City.  We are pretty different people, but so far not in a way that clashes, so hopes are high for the next few months here!  We had a really great week, teaching lots, finding lots, learning lots, growing lots.  Life is good. My zone and my district changed a lot with transfers. I miss Sister Rodriguez, but I am grateful to have this "greenie fire" around me all the time.  She is down for anything, even hanging around bus stops to talk to the unfortunate souls that stop to wait.  Muahaha.  The only real challenge is Metro contacting.  It's mildly terrifying, and she just needs to get some under her belt before she'll be comfortable.  By the time our companionship ends, she'll be pro.  So will I.  

It's interesting, actually--having a brand new missionary around, to whom I am showing the ropes, somehow has banished almost all my fear.  Metro contacting for me, since she got here, has been a breeze.  Street contacting, too.  Knocking doors is actually quite enjoyable!  I think being the person that sets the tone for the beginning of another's mission helps turn thoughts outward rather than inward.  I have found that my prayers are all about her and her progression, and not so whiny and selfish.  When I pray for myself, its that I will be the trainer she needs me to be.  I'm grateful for that--it is so, so easy to be selfish sometimes, and having Sister Limburg under my wing is giving me a real boost.  I'm sure challenges lie ahead, but this week has been full of hard work, and we have been able to see the fruits of it already.  We have several new people we are teaching, one in particular who I have high hopes for.  He is from Benin and is more excited about this gospel than I have seen anyone since William back in Ottawa.  Pray that that desire to learn sticks with him!  

I'm feeling really tired lately.  Tired, but happy to work.  Sometimes change is exhausting.  I feel exhausted.  But I also feel loved, and that is all the fuel I need.  I feel loved by all of you, and lately I have felt especially loved by Heavenly Father.  I've been really, really trying to learn how to lean on Him, to trust Him, to turn to Him first.  I'm getting there, and the result is I am becoming better tuned into the answers to my prayers that He sends.  If there is ONE thing I have learned on my mission so far, it is that God is the epitome of LOVE.  Something I've always been taught, and even now just look like words on the page, but I get it now.  Or at least I'm starting to.  I love, love, love you all so much.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes and celebrations, you are the best :)


ps oh yeah my birthday!  It was my companion's first day in the field, so we worked, worked, worked.  However, a member did make me spaghetti, so it did feel like my birthday.  We had zone study and my zone sang to me, so it was fun.  Made a birthday cake the other night, the two of us sang, it was fun.  "Bonne fete a moi, bonne fete a moi!"  (pas joyeuse anniversaire ici, mark.  on parle et chant quebecois.)  Anyway, it was great. 

Photos from Mark

from his new area in Chambery...

Elder Fitch: January 9, 2012

Life in the Alpalachians.....
WHAT A CHANGE!!!! I honestly feel like I've changed missions. Everything is different. It's incredible. I LOVE it though.  Leaving Montauban was one of the hardest things I've had to deal with yet. I LOVE Montauban. HOWEVER, I can't even say how stoked I am to be here in Chambery! IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL! For times sake I'm going to shorten alpalachians to just alps, ya know cause alps are short for alpalachians. Anyway Chambery is situatated right in the middle of HUGE mountains! The ALPS! I'm used to seeing absolutly nothing. It's so cool to be up high in the alps. Our area is huge, again. The area we are in charge of goes all the way to the boarder of Italy. It's a lot colder here, which is cool. The members here are really great and I'm really looking forward to getting to know them and working with them.
This week has been super good, super long, but good none the less. We've had to go back and forth to the police station a ridiculous amount of times and it's finally been figured out that there really isn't anything that they're going to do. I at least have a statement saying I've lost all my ID so that is kind of acting as my legality. Otherwise I would be deported! which I think would be kinda fun, but it would hinder things.
Ok so super funny story. Saturday night we were walking home and it was super cold and calm and chill. There wasn't anyone around. The skys were clear and you could see the stars, which I'm also not used to seeing. We were walkin along not really saying anything. I was pretty tired, cold, and just kinda lost in thought. WHEN out the bushes randomly pops this little creature halfway resembling a dog. Ok it was a dog. But it's fur was nasty and there was a lot of it. Its head was just this rectangular block of hair. You honeslty could not even see it's face. For whatever reason I thought it was the funniest ugliest thing I had ever seen! I just started laughing and laughing! I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time. Tears were just streaming down my face and I couldn't stop. The dog looked at me and then just kinda went about it's business, which just made me laugh even more. It was hilarious! I thought it was a homeless dog so I felt a little bad for laughing at him like that, but after I stopped laughing and had control of myself it's owner came walking up. WHY would someone EVER let there dog become so ugly!? I don't know, but it was funny......I guess you had to be there.
Well I'm super excited to be here and Im really looking forward to learning somemore. Thanks for everything you guys are great! I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART!

Photos from Hannah

Sister Fitch: January 2, 2012

Really mad to hear about Mark's recent troubles.  Rrrg.  Trying to have charity and remember that person is a child of God, too.  All will work itself out, I'm sure.
So, transfers....I'm staying here!  Hooray!  I got to go to the zone leader council on Friday; they always invite one set of sisters (they actually sent me and sister Palmer, my trainer, since neither of us had been before, so we had a half-day split, our companions spent the day together).  There we got an inside look at the leadership of the mission.  It was really neat, gave me a better appreciation for my leaders and a better understanding of how I can help and support them.  Anyway, we also learned that they would be opening another sisters' area, and all day Saturday I kept thinking they would send me there.  I really wanted to stay in my area, so when my call finally came, I was relieved to hear I would NOT be transferred.  My companion is going home, though, so I will be getting a new one.  I'm training a brand new missionary, and I am super excited.  It'll be a challenge, I'm sure, but I think it is just the challenge I need right now.  I love being a missionary, but I have been in survival mode the last transfer, and I need to get out of it.  President told me my mission is entering a new stage, and to work like a crazy person. we go!  Turbo mode.  I'm excited.  This morning we hiked Mont Royal to see the sunrise.  It was really beautiful.  We had to get up pretty early, but it was worth it.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes; today we are going to all-you-can-eat sushi as a district to celebrate, since half of us will be leaving with transfers.  I love you all so so much.  Thanks for being so great.  You're the best!
Much love,

Elder Fitch: January 2, 2012

Dear family,
Holy cow I just love you guys! It is wonderful to know how much you guys got my back! To hear from all of you was just wonderful. Yes it is a super bummer, but oh well!
Just to let you all know as well I was transfered. It was really hard leaving Montauban which has become my home over here, I really felt like I lived there as opposed to just staying there. I guess that happens after 6 months. Anyway there was tears for sure, I had to leave some very dear friends and who knows when I will be seeing them again?? I don't know. I loved Montauban and all the people there. BUT life, as usual goes on! Keep Moving Forward right? I am now on the complete other side of France in the Alps. It's a town called Chambéry. My knew companions name is Elder Park and he is super awesome I like him already. He is tall, like my last companion, and is from Tremonton. I'm really super stoked to be here! For one it snows alot here! YAY! and for two I've heard great things about the people here. It is bigger than Montauban but the branch is alot smaller. Elder Park tells me that it we have some great amis that we're working with rght now so that is sweet! jump start into action!
I can't believe it is already 2012! Wow. I can't believe how time flys... This year is going to be great! which is good because when the world ends this year at least it can end great. HA just kidding that's TJ (JW) stuff! I'm stoked to get going here to have a change and to learn knew things.
Last week in Montauban was pretty cool. We did a lot of finding. We found 3 knew younger amis that have a lot of potential, as well we found a knew family! It is a family half portuguese, half south african, and half french. They have five kids and are just perfect for the gospel! I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes with them.
Knew years was pretty good, pretty low bed at 1030 and all haha. I cannot stay up late anymore, we got to stay out a little later on Christmas and let me tell you I was DEAD tired the next day! For New Years I honestly did not want to stay up late. Sleep is too precious right now, specially when there's no nap time during the day.
Well guys I just want to say again how cool you are. You are cool. I really appreciate all your support! You are my team. I love you so much and I am so blessed to have you as MY family. Haha in thinking about this whole deal I just keep thinking about Robin Hood after Robin steels from the king and he yells at Hiss and stuff and breaks the mirror and sucks his thum and stuff, SO funny! "robbed! I've been robbed!" I love that show. "HISS! you're never around when I need you!" haha life is so crazy. Like my duncan bracelet says, and I already said it, but KEEP MOVING FORWARD! 
I love you and have a wonderful week! 

Elder Fitch: December 26, 2011

Hello fam! I'm forwarding Hannah's message right back to you because the first part of her message was exactly was I was going to say. So I'm double testifying, we do that as missionaries alot. Oh and the key board Hannah is talking about really is a pain. This last week was awesome and I'm looking forward to finishing up this transfer and this year with another great week. I on the other hand will most likely be transfered. That means a new area and a new companion, so well see how that goes. I love you guys all very much. I'm sure Han could back me up when I say being a missionary is just so cool. I love it. I can't believe I'm almost half way done already! Wow.
Love again 
Love mark 

Sister Fitch: December 26, 2011

Hello all!  I know I got to talk to you just yesterday, but that darn skype kept cutting out so I still feel the need to write to you today, at least in brief.  It really was so, so, so good to see your faces and hear your voices.  YOU are why I am here and why I keep going when its tough.  Its kind of always tough, but in a really great, awesome, exciting way most of the time.  After talking to you all I felt filled up again.  Filled with...I dont know...just energy!  That will come in handy as we finish out the year and the transfer.  No idea what might happen at transfers.  We find out on Saturday, so Ill let you know next week!  I am sure I am staying, and I am also sure I am getting a new companion, but not so sure who.  Maybe someone brand new, maybe not, anything could happen!  Anyway, know that I love you oh so very very much.  Id tell you more about the people we are seeing, but the truth is we arent seeing too many people right now, because they are all out of town.  Ive been meeting some neat people on the metro, though, and seeing little miracles every day.  Sorry there are no apostrophes in this email...Im on a computer I dont usually use and everytime I try to use one it comes out like this: Itès, Ièm, Ièd, etc.  Ièm sure Mark knows how to use a keyboard like this.  Anyway, Im off.  You are the best and I love you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Letter from the Editor

Hello Folks,

A lot has happened in the last two weeks! We skyped Hannah and Mark at the same time on Christmas Day and it was awesome. France, Montreal, 2 locations in Utah and a phone call from Hawaii all on the computer at the same time.

Bad news is that on New Year's Day, Mark was robbed. That's right, robbed. He had packed all his bags for transfers and left them in a locked courtyard while he said goodbye to a friend and when he came back, two of the four were gone, including all his ID, scriptures, suits, ties...a lot of stuff. So if you'd like to donate to the New Ties For Mark fund....send him a new tie. He is in good spirits, however and told me he keeps thinking about Robin Hood robbing Prince John, and Prince John breaking his mirror and sucking his thumb and saying, "Robbed! I've been robbed!". He is now in Chambery, France, near the Alps.

Hannah had a birthday and turned 23! She is still in Montreal, but is now a trainer for a brand new sister. This was a good change for her and she is happy.