I'm alive and well and somehow survived the culture shock. Here's the rundown of my week. On Tuesday, my district had to wake up at 2:50 a.m. to get dressed and clean our room of sheets and such in order to be at the travel office by 3:30. From there we loaded our luggage and drove to the airport. It felt weird being in a car, and especially leaving the MTC. So many friends and amazing missionaries that I got to know while I was there. Anyways, we flew out of SLC to Detroit and it was around a 4 hour flight. I sat on a row of missionaries from my district so I didn't get the chance to talk to anyone new. Flew out of the Detroit airport to Montréal and I sat next to a member who is a returned missionary from about 12 years ago. He gave me some great advice about church attendance being vital for conversion and for strong membership. Customs and immigration was a nightmare because I understood absolutely nothing that was said. I still don't believe they were speaking French. Got through all that in about one and a half hours, met the President and the Assistants to the President and we went to the Mission Home.
Home-cooked meal and the Mission Home
It was SOOOOO nice to eat a real meal!! Especially after not eating all day!! Next day we drove to a lookout point and listened to D&C 4 by our President as we looked out over Montréal. Then we sang "Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise". It was amazing! The Spirit was so strong and it made me so ready to get out and start teaching. We then went to a meeting in which we had a bit of training/advice on the first few weeks of the mission and about things we would be doing our whole missions, like shopping. From there we received our trainers and headed out to our areas. My trainer is Elder Shaw from Michigan, he's been here about 15 months.
|On Top of Mount Royal|
My First Area - Rimouski
Our area is Rimouski which in our mission is the farthest north and east we can go in the Montréal mission. However, it's only 5 hours from Montréal, 2 by bus 3 by car. We spent the night in Quebec city because we had district meeting the next morning. We stayed with couple missionaries the Westovers. They were so nice! We ate an amazing clam chowderish soup and the next morning we had french toast! So good!!! It was a long scenic drive to Rimouski! It's a small town where we are staying. Parts of it remind me of Main Street Kaysville. Our branch is 15 members...we have a lot of work to do here! I met a few members, friends, and less-actives. One of which was an amazing couple in their 50's I think. Their names are Rudolph and Dora and they speak English!! I was so grateful for that because Quebecois is NOT FRENCH!!!!!! It is so difficult to understand. Anyways it's all good I've already started to understand it. Back to the story of Dora and Rudolph, they're non-members and they've had the missionaries over since 2002. They are basically the mom and dad of Rimouski for the missionaries. She fed us cinnamon buns and milk and talked with us and are super nice and basically if we ever have any problems we can go to them if the Branch President is unavailable. They are the nicest people ever! I'd tell you about all the other people I've met but I don't want this email to go on forever. So as tender mercies from the Lord come to these people I'll write about them.
General Conference at Our Branch Building
We watched Conference from a laptop that streamed it live and projected it onto the wall in our tiny branch/church building. Almost every session we watched in English because it was just Elder Shaw and I. However, the last half of Sunday morning and all of Sunday afternoon was in French because the Branch Presidents In-Laws came to watch it with us and with the Branch Presidents Family. I understood bits and pieces but for the full impact of the messages I'll have to listen to them online during a study time or read them from the Ensign. What a powerful set of speakers!! Elder Holland's, Elder Nelson's, Elder Foster's, and Elder Rendlund's talks were so powerful!! I loved the emphasis that was placed on the role of parents and women in particular. It made me so much more grateful for my parents and for all the influential/spiritually powerful women in my life. I hope you all got a chance to hear all the talks. If not, I invite you to turn them on while your doing chores or just hanging at home or in your apartment. They are so powerful and they answer so many questions we have. Life is good, weather is a bit cold but I'm blessed that my dad insisted on sending me with his dress coat from his mission. It is so warm! Love you all. Stay safe, stay faithful! Know that I love you and I am praying everyday for you and that I know that this is the true church and that we have an Eternal loving Heavenly Father who sent His son Jesus Christ to save us all and to teach us. I know that by faith, we can make it through this difficult life. It won't be easy, but faith makes it possible. Hope you're all doing well and you're persevering through all of life's challenging times. Love you all!!