Monday, May 26, 2014


In honor of my wonderfrul transfer call that I am STAYING, I will give you the creepy quote of the week, translated from the original French: "I know that God exists, no machine could create eyes as beautiful as yours." ... I responded as missionary-like as I possibly could, "So you believe in God. That's awesome! We're actually here sharing a message......." He wasn't interested. 

So literally this has been the fastest transfer of my life. I was just at the gare seeing people that I saw come through the gare last transfer and I'm like, has it already been six weeks? I had to look through my journal last night because I literally cannot remember what we did. Some of the highlights: 16 lessons a week, being quacked at by a bunch of guys in an ambulance (does anyone know if this offensive or a compliment? I still haven't decided), finding the coolest amis ever, ... okay yeah. 

I guess that isn't really that much but really, I always tell myself that it cannot possibly get faster but I know it does every time. Especially with going to Nice and all the activities we have planned, it will be SO QUICK. Speaking of activities, we are planning a big musical night and one of our musician members is writing an arrangement of a super wonderful hymn only in the French hymnbook called Souviens Toi. He's going to write me a flute part! Yay, I get to be musical again! I'm really excited. It's going to be a really sweet activity. 

We also had another wind storm this week. Seriously, it makes our doors and windows rattle open and it's kind of scary. Plus it makes it nearly impossible to talk to people on the street because everything blows away and they hate you for trying to talk to them in the middle of a wind storm. Also we had to wear pencil skirts all week, for obvious reasons. Then my sweet amie from Limoges came through Toulouse on her way to Spain and we got to have lunch and talk with her. SO COOL. I love her a lot. 

As for our two most progressing amis, they are doing well. One of them PARTICULARLY so. This makes 6 Sundays at church and he seriously loves it so much. This is the guy that told us he was athiest and didn't want to meet with us the first time I talked to him. Not only does he speak of God as actually existing, he offers to give the prayers at the end of lessons and they are so sincere. The biggest concern is that he literally will change the subject and ramble for a really long time... we have been teaching him three times a week for this whole transfer but have not gotten all the way through the third lesson, haha. Baby steps! He has come so far though. We will give him a baptismal date this week :) The other one is so funny, but cool because he made the connection that all we are trying to do is make him happier. Unfortunately he is 39 years old and his mom will not let him do anything so that is kind of a hindrance... I'm not really sure what to do about that yet. We'll figure it out. 

I'm so happy to be staying here in Toulouse. Same companion too! I love this city and although the ward is difficult, they are starting to get it figured out. I think we will see a lot of good things happen this transfer. I have three transfers to just go go go and sprint to the end. I will go home with one of my zone leaders so we made these super sick plans so we can just dead sprint all the way to the finish. It is going to be the best :) But now all the missionaries that are going home are people I actually know well. It is super weird. Life just doesn't wait up. 

Have the best week. I love you all! 

Sr Loder

Monday, May 19, 2014


Our zone leaders have this thing where they want our zone to be the "high tide" and basically lead all the other zones by example. But my companion and I decided we wanted to go a little bit further and be the tsunami so we have been working SO HARD and trying to take the mission by storm (in our world cup, that is). It is working :) 

It has been a great week and more and more members are stepping up to help us out. I'm so proud of them! We are seeing some really good changes in the leaders and most of the members. The funny part is that our two most solid amis right now love talking so much that they are progressing so slowly in the lessons. We have been teaching our one ami for the entire transfer twice a week and we have not finished the plan of salvation... which is the second lesson haha. It's okay. He is still making big steps in his belief in God. He is the coolest :) The others are coming along slowly but still coming. It is so cool to see people change... even if it is painfully slow sometimes! Such a cool work we are doing. 

This week ended up being a little bit crazy because a sister in Carcassonne got really sick so the mission sent her and her companion (Sr Metsatahti from Finland, who I know very well) here to go to the hospital... but then it was too severe so she got sent home (to Paris, so not far) for a couple weeks to get treatment there. Then Sr M was just awkwardly here for three days in a trio with us haha. She ended up getting a ride back though so it worked out. Emergency trios seem to be my thing here on a mission! We taught a lot though and it was really sweet. Sr M had been really interested in our success and seeing how we do it so she got to get in and try it herself! 

My companion and I have focused on street lessons this transfer and at our district meeting we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and how that can help people gain a testimony. So we applied that and went out and taught four different lessons in a park and gave them all books. It was too good. I literally LOVE being a missionary so much. 

I've fallen in love with Toulouse. I'm SO sad that transfer calls are this week... of course I'll go wherever I'm asked to go and do whatever but I'm finally starting to see the change that this city and ward needed so I don't want to leave yet! Last night we were out contacting and my favorite family called and were like, where are you? We are going to come find you and you can have dinner with us. That never happened for the entire last two transfers I was here. Magical changes! This family... gosh they are awesome. The dad loves cooking up random things and seeing if we like it and it never fails. SO GOOD. 

Life is good in Toulouse. 

:) Sr Loder 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Missionary Life.

We had a miracle early this week... and we hadn't even technically made it into our area yet! We figured that our area is closer to walk than to take the métro so we just walk across a beautiful bridge when we plan for contacting and I stopped this guy who was like, I know who you are. You're the Mormons. I don't want to meet or give you my phone number but I am interested in your book. Of course... I wasn't going to let him get away that easily so I started asking him questions and he warmed up and we talked a long time (he loves talking). He was talking about a lot of random things that I don't really care about at the moment (politics and such) and I interrupted and said, Honestly I don't know anything about that but I am here to give you a message that will make you closer to God. Are you interested in having a better relationship with Him? And he stopped for about 30 seconds and said, yes, I have been looking for Him with all these other religious but... I haven't found it. Long story short... he ended up giving me his number, fixing a rdv, praying with us and we HAD the rdv and he is awesome. I just love this work. 

This week we spent 3 days in Bordeaux for an exchange which was fine... I have done about 6 exchanges there now so nothing really new and exciting. Except the end of our second day there the sisters get a call and learn that the sisters there the night before us... had lice. And we had slept in the same beds. They freaked out and we went home to wash the sheets and I found that the STLs had lice, but we didn't! I escaped again. It has been my second close call with lice... not fun. Unfortunately it is kind of a big problem in southern France because to be completely honest, people do NOT take care of themselves here. It is not uncommon to see bugs on people so. Lice is not an uncommon or shocking occurance among missionaries. I will get out of this country clean, though! 

Other than that, really average week. We did teach quite a bit for having only two real work days in our area (a virus is going around the mission currently and my companion caught it so we were down during the weekend). The office also called me to confirm my plane tickets home. It's a "five months in advance" thing so I was waiting... still caught me off guard. The time absolutely flies here. I never believed people when they told me that but I should have had more faith. I feel that this transfer has only been a week but in reality we get transfer calls next week. OKAY. So that's how it goes. 

There is nothing like this work. I have never felt closer to the Savior as I study His life and try to follow His example. It is such a unique opportunity to be able to serve Him here... it's something I know will always be really precious to me. 

I love you all. Super cool to talk to my dad and the Hancocks on Skype :) THE BEST. But it was overshadowed by our neightbors ringing our doorbell a million times in the middle of the night and then banging on their ceiling when they realized we weren't going to answer. What a wonderful time to exercise patience. 

:) Sr Loder

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spit & Serenades

Stay tuned for the meaning of the title. 

This week was a super cool week! We found our miracle ami knocking on doors and he came to church... well we had the chance to teach him twice this week and it was magical. Why? Because he is ME but in before baptism form and so now I'm teaching myself. In French. Point is, he has all the same questions and concerns and I had. He is the coolest... I'll keep you up to date with him. Gosh every time we have a rdv with him we get so excited! I just love being a missionary. 

Our zone is doing a fun "consecration" effort where we all work on our missionary fears (talking to big groups, public transport contacting, etc) and they have developed the three-second rule. That means that as soon as you step onto any form of public transport (tram, métro, bus) you have three seconds to start your first contact. We were all excited to try it out but I think everybody on the métro this week was really angry because... everybody was really mean to us. I've never disliked métro contacting until now haha. It's a work in progress anyway. 

We had ZONE CONFERENCE this week! It was fun as always and my mission leader from Limoges actually stopped in on his way to Barcelona (for a big NuSkin thing, which President... owns... so that is neat). Then in the middle of the AP presentation (the assistants to the President) half the zone gets a text at the same time. There is a member that we all LOVE (he teaches us French class every week, he's married to an American) and his wife has been pregnant. A while. Well, we all got the text that her water broke and we all celebrated! It was such a fun moment :) We got to go visit them this week and they are just too precious. 

Well. As we were walking to the clinic to visit them... somebody spit out the window a few stories up from where we were walking and it landed right on my face. It was literally the most horrifying thing that has ever happened to me... but I stayed surprisingly calm. Then proceeded to dump hand sanitizer all over my face. The worst. After the visit we were talking to this man on a bench and this group of three guys walks by (two of them seemed fairly... drugged) and they all had guitars. As usual they stop and make a scene because of our tags and then decide to sing us a song that we call Maria, Maria. There aren't many words but it was pretty good and I got it allllll on video for your viewing pleasure :) Coming in September. 

That was our week! We taught a lot but nothing too special :) The BIG NEWS is that in June, Elder Neil Anderson (an apostle) is coming to speak to our mission and the mission is making the effort to send everyone... all the missionaries all over the south of France... to NICE to see him. OH MY GOSHHH I almost cried. HOW COOL will that be? He came to this mission a few years ago and blessed France that we would see miracles like we had never seen before... people walking in from the streets to find us and all sorts of things and it happened. I'm thrilled. One, an apostle is coming to see us and two, back to Nice! Where I was born :) What a blessing. I love missionary life. 

Have a great week! 

Sr Loder