Monday, May 27, 2013

Bonjour à tous!

First off, Leah happy birthday! I didn't forget :)

What a week in France! I try to keep notes of what I could possibly say but I can't even try to tell you how beautiful it is (and in some cases how sketchy it is) but I love every second!

I'm very grateful to have two other brand new missionaries here in Nice with me so when we're in a meeting and I don't understand anything that is going on, I look at them and realize... they feel the same :) Haha, every day is an adventure but expecially when nobody around you speaks the language you speak. #bleuprobs

Hancocks! Thank you so much for the package! Oh my word I was so surprised and thankful. The candy really helps keep me awake at every second of every day. So thank you again :)

We were lucky to have lunch with a member and had my first real experience with French meals... delicious cheese included. It was heaven! But the desserts here are still my favorite part. Every store just... lures you in. Especially one in Beausoleil! They had a French Spongebob... Bob l'éponge (Bob the sponge), so I felt right at home.

So we decided early in the week to travel to Beausoleil and work there all day. It's a long travel but so worth it. Look this place up! I want to live there forever and ever. Beausoleil means "beautiful sun" and their sidewalks have suns on them and the people are so kind! And they speak slower! :) But here is the cool part... it was Thursday. And we had to walk through Monaco (yes, it only took about 10 minutes) and it was GRAND PRIX DAY. What? Oh blessed day, I could hear the cars and even see a few from the train station. I was in Monaco during the Grand Prix :)

Since this is a new companionship in Nice and both of us are brand new... we don't have much to do. Lots of getting organized and finding our way around and talking to people on the street and visiting members! There is a woman we went to visit in Vence and the bus ride was about an hour and a half. But we drove all along the coast and then up into the mountains. It was amazing. If you think Utah is nice, come to southern France.

The buses here are rough. I'm surprised I haven't taken out some random stranger as these buses are flying around turns like the grand prix (nice reference, right?). I get motion sick pretty often but I'm getting nice and toned from having a warrior stance and holding on for dear life as soon as the doors close.

The primary kids here are so sweet. We got to help out with music yesterday... but nothing makes you feel more like a convert/bleu than these bilingual kids singing primary songs. I felt like apologizing to each of them for not knowing French or how to sing the primary songs.

I'm so blessed to be here as a missionary. There is one lady we found and we were able to teach. After my companion filled me in on the entire lesson, I realized how amazing she is! We told her the family is eternal and she stopped and said, "I really hope that's true," and it felt so good to be able to say, "I know it is." She has lost two children. She recently stopped talking to us but we won't give up because we know the Gospel will bless her life in every way.

I'm so thankful for this Gospel and the opportunity I have to teach the people here. Life is good and I'm happy to be here :) I love all of you!

Sœur Loder 

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Hello from NICE!

France is just about everything I expected. :) Just a warning, the keyboard is slightly different so I might make weird little mistakes :)

So much to write! This last week has been quite the adventure! Let me start with this. My address in Nice! You have to address it exactly this way, NOT with my name, or it won't get to me.

Les Missionnaires
143 Bd de Cessole
06000 Nice

Our plane ride was insane! We had so many missionaries on the same flight that we were backed up all three legs of our flight. Some luggage didn't make it out of SLC but luckily only one of mine got left in London. So we spent 3 days in Lyon around the mission office getting legal things done and also interviews. They fed us all this really delicious stuff (yes the bread really is as good as they say) and then Thursday came! It was like opening a mission call, but we were receiving our assignments and trainers. Really cool!

So yeah, I'm in Nice! It is on the southern coast and Monaco is in our area. The grand prix is coming up and we will be around that day. Cool :) Nice is pretty much paradise! If you Google Nice I am almost positive that those pictures will be accurate :) We came here by train from Lyon and it was really beautiful!

Our apartment is quaint and very... French. My companion is Soeur Hoar and she is 100% from England! She hasn't been out long but she is great at French so I really admire her :) We live with two other sisters and one of them is also new so we knew each other at the MTC! There are also two other sets of elders here and a senior couple... but we'll get to that in a bit!

Our first night here we went to a baptism. Neat! The ward here is amazing! They are so kind and patient and they love the missionaries! There really was no better place to be trained :) New missionaries here are called blues. I am a blue :) Wonderful. That basically means I cannot talk to anyone because I would never understand what they say back #blueprobs

Here are some fun things about France: padiddle is universal and I play often here (I'll still be a professional in 18 months). There are pretty much no driving rules. Drive wherever park wherever. As long as the crazy buses fit, do what you want. Same for pedestrian traffic. Bread smells are everywhere so you are always hungry. Always.

The bishop in our ward is amazing. There were only a few missionaries here before but they added four more. After all the new missionaries stood and bore testimony in French (yes, I did this and it was awesome!) the bishop basically stood and said this (in French): "The Lord has sent us 10 missionaries. We are being prepared... and we are ready." Whoa! So cool. He really asked everyone to step up and be missionaries so, we will have a lot of work to do! Our companionship is new in Nice so we barely have any people to teach. But this mission was blessed and promised that there would be miracles, and I have seen it already :) We have one awesome amie on date for baptism on June 15! Exciting! Her dad is a Michigan fan and he said I couldn't come in! Hah! What are the odds of finding that here in France.

I don't have a lot of time left but I hope you are all doing well! France is really awesome and it is treating me well :) Keep in touch. The church is true! Love you all.

Soeur Loder

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Monday, May 6, 2013

MTC Home Stretch!

So many mission calls! When I heard about all of them I think I almost passed out. Brazil and London!? Don't mission calls just rock your socks? They rock mine.
Some other French sisters had their plans when we passed them and we sprinted to the mailbox and THERE THEY WERE! So we are leaving the MTC at 7:30 next Monday morning. Our flight is at 11:15 from Salt Lake and we'll go to Chicago, then to London and then LYON! It'll be a long flight but I'm still excited. We're flying British Airways which obviously I know nothing about but a lot of people are pretty jealous. Our elders are going to Paris and they have a direct flight SLC to Paris a few hours after us and they're flying Delta. Our travel group is 27 people, and that is final destination Lyon... we met some Russian sisters who are going all the way to London with us before parting ways and their group is 40? Basically our plane will only be missionaries.
This week is really fun. I decided to be a total creep and found out when the Finnish TRC was so I could say hello to Brennan's dad. Sure enough, there he was! We got to talk for a little while but it really was the highlight of my week. Not just saying that, either :) Then every floor in our building has a sharing shelf (for food) and giveaway boxes (for everything else). One day we just went raiding and found all these clothes and restocked our treat supply for the district. I remember walking off one of the floors with all this stuff and saying, "Is this what it's like to be a Gadianton robber? I think I like it." :) Our district also made a goal of singing more. I think we achieved it! We taught a few people how to do the cup game (yes, like in Pitch Perfect) and we sang Called to Serve in French while doing it. Additional study time, what?
So this week we got to know our new teachers. The first is Sœur Worsham who is very kind but I don't think she... gets us. Haha, she is new and we are her first district so we are trying to figure out what we can do to make sure she loves us the most. Then, Frère Magré! Oh he is just the best. So he is legitimately French. Like, grew up in France before moving to the United States. I mean, his name is Raphaël Magré. Anyway, he served in Canada so basically his French is legit and I feel that even after a week my French has improved drastically just from listening to him speak. Plus he loves us. In a meeting S. Worsham said she told everyone that we think we're the best district (because we don't have any drama or trouble) and Frère Magré says, "Because they are!" That's when we knew that he loved us. I love our teachers even though I do miss the others. They're obviously just trying to get us used to constant change. It's working.
This week pretty much 2/3 of our zone left to the field (Africa and Canada) so for a few days we were lonely but then we got new missionaries! It was so much fun. They are all so different and I think they'll end up being pretty cool too :) I don't think any of them are going to France, maybe Madagascar and some more Canada? But a lot of them already speak pretty well. But they all had a hard time teaching the first time and I just wanted to hug them, stroke their hair and say, "Now, now, it gets better, fear not." Haha, because I wish someone had done that for me after our first lesson. We had a French fast and testimony meeting and I was so impressed because the two older districts were like, "Okay, they won't want to say much so we all have to be ready to go up," but I think most of the people that got up were the new ones! They're so brave. I would not have gotten up my first Sunday to speak in French. This week our disctict was selected to host the new missionaries. So we get to pick up the new arrivals and help them get their books and find their way around. I. Am. So. Excited.
Yesterday we had mission conference, which was just a two hour long MTC-wide meeting. At the end the president of the MTC decided to call on two random missionaries to bear testimony. Pressure! Well, the two people he selected were surprised and it turns out both of them had lost their father to a heart attack within the last few months and bore a strong testimony of families. I was completely blown away. The work is so real! How inspired was President Nally to call those two people that he didn't know. The elder he called he said, "I don't even know your name, but you're sitting behind these three sisters, will you come up?" It was a really cool meeting.
Since the weather might actually be breaking, I'm happy. Warm weather! My district has gone outside for gym time and played four square for probably almost a week. It's intense. It's hilarious. It's majestic. I'll really miss my district when we all leave. I knew this would happen! I knew I'd love my district and that when our time was up we would all have to leave and my heart would get ripped out. Yeah, it's going to happen. But we have one more week together and we're going to live it up! Mostly by speaking only in French. Not an English fast, but a French feast. French. All day every day. Toujour, chaque jour. It's going to be really hard. Bring it on.
Anyway, thanks to everyone for letters! I'm excited to write you all back. Thank you to Lisa for telling me about Rolex :) Some poor elder made the mistake of asking me how three-day eventing works. Yeah, he got pictures and diagrams and everything. Oh, and last night Chad Lewis spoke at our Sunday night devotional. Obviously I don't know anything about him but maybe you football likers will. He's a cool cat and he told some really cool stories, so I liked it.
Thanks to everyone for everything! Remember that this is my last week here so send me mail while you still can :) Take advantage of that DearElder business while it's still free! They don't print them on the weekend so use it before Friday and I'll love you forever and always. Have a super great week. The Church is true and the book is blue!
Sœur Loder

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