Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Woman at Lunch

Our district GQ shoot. (I'm the hottie on the side)
Here we are. My last P-Day in the MTC. I just want to clarify that I've loved it here! I love my district and my teachers and I wish I could say the food but... My excitement lies in the fact that in a week from today I will be treading on French soil, listening and parlé-ing (LOL yeah right). This week went by super quick (as all do) and there weren't as many cool things that happened but still enough to fill an email and 10 minutes of your life! ;) 

Lets start with this: our two teachers, Frere Keenan and Seour Waldron both went on vacation this week so it was like we lost both of our parent's again. We had some substitutes who were actually pretty cool but it was nothing like the originals. I did, however, spend 3 days speaking almost solely French. It's called an english fast and it is super helpful! I am feeling pretty good with he grammar and tenses and whatnot. 

On Friday we got our travel plans! We are flying from SLC to NYC, to Paris, and leave at 3:30 AM next monday and get to France at 10 AM on Tuesday (france time). I am so excited! I have two Livre de Mormon's and I'll be wielding them like some kinda spiritual cowboy ready to have a draw with a poor unsuspecting spiritually weak French person. HA! Also on Sunday Elder Orr, Dame and I went to see the Joseph Smith movie in all French and I actually understood a good, lets say, 68% of it! 

*high fives all around*

It's so interesting to be speaking in another language and not have people understand you. I kind of think that everyone speaks French until, alas, no one knows what I am saying to them. But in case you think I need some humbling, don't worry the tables will be turned pretty quick on me in 6 days. I have no doubt about that! But I was doing a language assessment and I accidentally said I had 3 dads instead of 3 brothers, so look out France! ;)

We've had some pretty great devotionals here this week. Elder Echo Hawk (< THATS HIS REAL NAME :D) came and talked to us about true conversion and why we are on a mission. He said, "We can either make 1 big decision to be a loyal disciple of Jesus Christ, or we can make hundreds of tiny decisions every time a moral dilemma comes up." I love that! He also said that MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK IS ESSENTIAL, so that brings me back to the challenge I gave last week. ;) People will be blessed by your testimonies! I promise it! I have been so blessed by the strong testimonies of all of those around me, missionaries or not! And that reminds me of something that happened this week.

Me and Nicki + others cuz that's how mission pics roll ;)
At lunch every day, there are MTC workers who sit and eat before we come in and a lot of them are handicapped and very special spirits. There is a woman who helps them all and on my first week in the MTC I would talk to her every day and found out that she served in France a while ago and became her friend. Her name is Nicki, and I appreciate her because of the service she gives to others every day. I've come to love some of the workers she helps as well. Well a couple days ago at lunch she told me she had something for me so to stop by the table and grab it. I went over there and she gave me 4 of the old missionary pamplets, all in french, that she used on her mission, still in pretty good shape and told me that she was looking through some of her missionary stuff and found those and she knew exactly what she needed to do with them; give them to me. I can't tell you how happy that made me! It taught me an important lesson: there is nothing, NOTHING more fulfilling than showing true, Christlike love for others. I think that lesson is going to help me so much as I embark on this new journey to Lyon. There are so many people all over doing so much good, and imagine how happy they can be when we add the true gospel of Jesus Christ into the mix! I can't imagine how happy I'll be to see that change lives! AHHH!!! ITS TRUE, PEOPLE! The gospel is true! God loves you so much! Help is just a prayer away! The Book of Mormon is so true and Joseph Smith is a true prophet. I love you all and want to tell you THANK YOU or all that each one of you have done to help me get to this point. The scripture this week is 3 Nephi 7:18. Read that and think about how you can strenthen your faith so that people get angry with you because they can't disbelieve it! :) 

Je t'aime taime tres beaucoup! 

Elder Hall

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

That's a lot of Negative Nancies at the Breakfast Buffet

Me doing the cliché missionary pic
Whew! The weeks are flying by! I can't believe that I only have 1 more P-day until I'm in France. That is absolutely crazy to me! What's even crazier is that school is starting and life is still going on outside of the MTC. But I'm glad to hear everything's going well with everyone! All is well here. I have some funny things to share and also some spiritual ones, as always. I want everyone to know first off that every morning I'm pretty sure the Holy Ghost drags me out of bed on time, because I honestly don't know how I am waking up day after day! If that was the only blessing I got on my mission; the blessing of waking up on time- I would be 100% A-OK with that! But alas, tis not my only blessing and so I feel your prayers and the love of my Heavenly Father on a daily basis as I receive answers to prayers and am slowly refined.

Our fingers with acorn hats
So this week, our teachers told us that we needed to "parlez votre langue" more. That is "speak your language". Can I just tell you how much I love the French language?! It is definitely a challenge to learn but I love figuring it out! In school we would tackle one subject and kind of linger on it for a couple weeks, but here we take a tense (I've learned 7 tenses of French) and we learn it for an hour and then the next hour we are using it in a lesson with an "Ami de l'église" (investigator). So we do days where we go on an English fast and only speak French for an allotted amount of time. Like, you cannot say 1 word of English or else you have to go for 5 more minutes, etc. So I went for 7 hours only speaking French and it was amazing! I feel so blessed that the Gift of Tongues is a thing, because if not I would be triste et moche (look those words up)! We are going to do more this week, but I just look forward to the day when I can speak French fluently and know that I have so much to improve on until then! But I can prepare and teach 3 different 40 minute lessons in French, I can pray, bear my testimony, I've even written a couple talks, and everything is grammatically correct! My innards are happy! :) That was weird... Je suis désolé.

The title of my email is from my teacher, Soeur Waldron. She is my hero! She is so funny and so kind. She reminds me a lot of Tori in some ways. But she always can say such profound things in a humorous way and she said that the French will think I'm adorable. Yay! 

our pantry :)
So I have kind of started showing my district more parts of my personality than they thought were there (you all know how crazy I am). So my family sent me a huge package of food and treats. I loved it! But guess what? Every missionary gets huge packages with food and treats and so we all kind of sit around and get diabetes. Our room was pretty full of boxes of food so I had a grand idea... are you ready for this...? I took an extra closet in our room and made *drum roll pleeeaaasseee* A PANTRY! My family will understand this. I took all of the food and sorted it and placed it, organized on food type and whatnot, in the pantry. Hooray! I'll send some pictures of it! It made me super happy and reminded me of home. :) 

I also had an idea yesterday, because of the food, to have a Fiesta night and kind of clear out the chips and things. So we all got our poncho's on (mostly just towels) and had chips and salsa and popcorn and told stories. It was great! I'm glad my district loves me enough to go along with my crazy themed ideas ;)

We have great devotionals here and I am reading Jesus the Christ and also my scriptures and everything else ever, so there's never a thirst for spiritual revelation because I'm always kind of receiving it! So we had a speaker come, his name is a sentence. C. Scott Grow. Yup. I got a kick out of that! But anyway, he talked about serving with all our heart, might, mind and strength. He said that God makes us MIGHTY when we serve with all our MIGHT. I learned that I need to consecrate this time to the Lord and am trying my absolute hardest to do that. I just want to be a good, obedient, missionary, and I know that through the love and power of Christ I can be! I love Jesus Christ with all of my heart, might, mind and strength. I know He is my Savior and Redeemer. He means everything to me, and I testify of His inexpressible love for each of you. If you are struggling, keep going. He knows how it feels. If you need an answer, ask. He wants you to learn. If you think you need to stop and help someone, do it. When we serve others, we are serving Him. The Spirit is real. The Church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

I love you all! Je vous aime TRES TRES BEAUCOUP! 

Sinsily (that's English, and for Chandon and Kyra),

Elder Hall

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Goodbye Kisses

Selfie with Elder Buddy
Why hello. I didn't see you there ;) (that's a throwback to the news)

Elder Ramsey said that someone told him that on the mission the minutes seem like days, the days seem like weeks and the weeks seem like minutes and that's pretty much the case here... I can't believe it's already been 3 weeks! I'm halfway done here in the MTC! That means that if any of you want the convenience of sending a letter or package to me while I'm still in 'merica, you'd better get on that. haha anyways, this has been an emotional week for me. I know that I am being blessed more and more with Christ-like love every day! I don't think I've ever been with people for this long and not wanted to kill them all! ;) I just love everyone here, and it's weird because even when I want to be annoyed with someone I keep loving them... haha So I don't know if I told you guys this but last Wednesday we got 2 new roommates who are going to New York, and so that Morning before they came in we made their beds and I left a note and some candy for them. My first impression was that they were kind of grumpy and so I wasn't too impressed, but then something happened that was super unexpected and started me on this rollercoaster of emotion.
Me wearing the awesome leis they gave me 
The second night, one of the elders came to me while I was writing in my journal and we were talking and he told me that he was probably going home. For the next hour he just spilled his emotions to me and I don't know how I was saying exactly the right things for him to hear (JK it was DEFINITELY the Spirit), but I was. I felt such an instant love for him, the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus feel for him, and I just wanted him to know that they love him. He ended up going home because of some stuff but I gave him my email and told him to keep in touch. I cried for him a lot those couple days, but my testimony of the Atonement was strengthened so much. I know that it's true and if we can just use it in our lives it can change us! 

Our district with the Tahitian sisters who left
(the ones I told that I wanted to kiss haha) 
Also, the Tahitians in our branch left and they were here for 11 weeks so they felt like our older siblings and it was hard saying goodbye. Especially there were 3 sisters who were from the islands and only spoke French and I loved them! I'll send a picture, but we got up early on Monday to see them off and they gave us beautiful leis! Also, I was trying to say that if I could hug them goodbye I would, but alas, I mixed up hug and kiss in french and everyone thought I wanted to make out with them hahaha oops... But that made me so excited to leave for france! 

Me with Elder Stewart-Chester 
Also, because I know so many people here from Lone Peak and stuff, I am constantly saying hi and stopping to talk. And my district, because they are all unpopular losers (jk jk I love them dearly) gets jealous and teases me. "I wish I knew every 5th person I saw" says one, "Mr. Popular over here" says another! haha its funny but I love seeing people! I've talked to Elder Sorenson and Burraston and Stewart-Chester here! 

Elder Sorenson and I= BFF's 
I also have taught my district some songs I made up. My family might remember the "flowers coming bloom" song, well they love that one. haha There's a french hymn that's only in the french hymn book I want you all to listen to! It's called Souvient-Toi and it's my favorite hymn now! I love it! 

Also I found a scripture that I think embodies love for investigators and stuff or people. Read 2 Nephi 33:3 and think about how we can feel that kind of love and compassion for others! 

Thank you all for everything! Je t'aime t'aime tres beaucoup! :) 

Here's some kisses for the road *mwah* 

Elder Hall

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Snot Rocket and Answers to Prayers

Elder Buddy and I sleeping cuz tired
Bonjour tout le monde! I guess my letter last week was unsatisfactory, so this week I wrote down everything I want you people to know and so this letter will probably blow you away. So let's start off with my district. I sent you a pic of them last week but I'll send some better ones this week. I absolutely love them all! My companion is Elder Williams, he loves Nike, like... probably if Nike was a church he would be on a mission for them, but I'm glad he's just on a mission for this church! I've grown to love him so much this past week! I prayed to have more love for him last Wednesday and I've noticed how close the Spirit has brought us! He doesn't look like Connor Larsen, but a lot of the things he says sound exactly like Connor and it makes me so happy! So last night I made him say Star Trek words for like 5 minutes and I loved it! The other Elders in our district are awesome as well! In my room we have Elder Ramsey (our district leader, also he came over to our house that one time when we roasted marshmallows.) He's a giant physically and spiritually. His companion is Elder Ramsey. I love him because he laughs at all my jokes, and really everything I say. He is from Layton and played football, and we get along extraordinarily! Then theres a trio, Elder Dame, Elder Rich and Elder Dickson. Elder Dame and I get along really well too! We do little voice exhanges where one of us will start talking in a voice and the other will go along with it. When I do my grandpa voice he has a grandma voice and it kills everyone! Elder Rich is pretty new to french so he's always asking for my help, but he's an awesome guy. He's from Oregon. Elder Dickson is from Orem and I'm not as close to him yet haha. Elder Orr and Menzel are next! Elder Orr is so funny! Before the mission I got to hang out with him and he has a sense of humor that is so quite but bust-a-gut funny. Elder Menzel is from Germany and he is awesome! He is my companion every day for gym when we go outside and either play futbol, volleyball or run. He is one of my favorites here! And Soeur SoiLeau is our only sister! She helps invite the spirit, and I testify that sisters have such amazing spirits to bring to the mission field!

So I've been sick since last Tuesday and I actually had E. Williams give me a blessing. I had complete faith that I would get better and told my room that every night, and then, like Christmas, I would wake up with different symptoms. At first I felt like it was hindering the spirit but I came to know that because I was trying and being obedient, the spirit was still there! Also, everyone else came to know how much I blow my nose when I'm sick. Thus the first part of the title... But then everyone got sick so we all got nicknames that I cleverly came up with and I'm proud of that ;) I actually got to give E. Williams a blessing because he was sick, and that was cool. He was feeling better a little bit later. I love the priesthood!

Elders Dickson, Rick, Dame, Ramsey, Hurst, Soeur SoiLeau, Menzel, 
Orr, Williams, Hall at the temple
Speaking of that, we finished teaching Murielle, who is just a teacher here, but she talked with each companionship and told us what she thought we did well and could improve on. She told us that our priesthood lesson was the best and most understandable she's ever heard! That was cool, because neither of us could even remember it, so it's proof that the spirit was directing us in what to say. I absolutely LOVE teaching people! It's so cool to see how everyone is different and needs to hear different gospel principles, scriptures and lessons, and I like how while we are teaching, we have the gift of tongues, because its real! I testify of that! 

I had another prayer answered this week, and the answer came in the form of a letter from my aunt Tracy. On our first couple days here they told us to write down some goals, and my goal was to be more in tune with the Spirit, be able to recognize it, and heed its promptings. I had no clue where to start. Then Tracy sent me a letter with a challenge that whenever I got a prompting or though or whatever, to act on it. I started doing that and saw so much more progress in hearing the spirit and following its promptings. It was amazing. So thanks for your letters, they help a ton! I love getting them!

Shaqu-elcome to our family, Shaquell. I'm glad youre doing well here in Utah! 

I got compared to Sid the Sloth again this week. This is not the first time in my life this has ever happened. But I think I'm cute so that's what matters ;) 

Theres a huge devotional tonight being broadcast tonight to every MTC in the world and I'm singing in the choir so let's hope Jason can see me! 

I love you all! Je t'aime t'aime! ;) 

Elder Hall