Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Semaine Quatre

Bonjour ma famille et mes amis!

I hope all is well. Things are great here at the MTC. Still loving it. Still sitting a ton. Still eating the same food. But it's awesome.

Hermana Simpson on her last night.
I love her so much!

Paige/Hermana Simpson moved into my building last week and so we've actually talked everyday and chatted. She told me about seeing Jeff after she got back from Salt Lake. She is so strong. It has been such a blessing to have her here at the same time. We have had a little family time each night before bed, which was so great. She left for D.C. this morning at 4:30! Holy cannoli. She is going to rock it. I love family.

Wednesday, Soeur King and I got snagged by a brother as we were leaving from lunch to host! We have been wanting to host and didn't know how we get to do that, so #prayeranswered. They needed more help with international sisters, so that is just what we did. They just threw us in there and it was awesome. My first sister was from Kiribati, a little island in the Pacific. Absolutely adorable. It was difficult to communicate, but she was so happy to be there and we chatted a bit. She taught me some Kiribatsi? Tres cool. My other two sisters were from Utah, and I picked one up at the curb. Her little sister wouldn't let go of her, which would have been so hard, but she was a champ. It was cool. I feel like that was me just yesterday!

I've been thinking a lot about Miss Talbott, my first grade teacher from Virginia who I met up with this past summer in D.C. I bought her a Book of Mormon and plan to send it out this week. (P.S. I need her address... family?) I believe there is a reason for everything, and so we must be in contact for some reason bigger than just being friends. I feel so lucky to have made such a connection with her. The Lord works in mysterious ways, so who knows? Mighty miracles happen. Wish me luck!
Me and Sis. Syd Taylor.
It happened to be her birthday. 
Best day ever!

Our amie, Elodie, dropped us this week, which was super sad, but we got a new amie: Laeticia! Soeur King and I taught her for the first time last night and it went okay. We only had 20 minutes and I didn't know how to condense our lesson plan efficiently and balanced for Soeur King. I can speak pretty well, and unfortunately it's kind of a crutch for us when we teach, because Sr. King doesn't speak as much. I felt really bad because she wanted to speak more and I just plowed trying to get through all that we wanted to happen. We did give Laeticia a Livre de Mormon and she committed to read and pray, so that was great. She seems like she'll be a great amie de l'eglise. Afterwards, I asked Sr. King how she felt, and she said, "I wish you would've let me speak!" I felt pretty awful about that, but it was a good lesson learned.

On Sunday, a la Reunion de Saint-Cene (Sacrament Meeting) President Barker conducted. He said, "Our talks today will be from Sister Simpson and Elder Stafford." Awesome. We didn't know we were speaking until everyone else did. Awesome. Although, I had a feeling all morning it was going to be me. Good thing I don't mind public speaking. My talk was on The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I just spoke of the simple doctrine of l'Expiation (the Atonement) and through the Atonement, Jesus Christ made all things possible. Basically it was about all of the possibilities available because of Atonement. Oh man, my mouth was so dry and apparently I flew through it. Everyone, except the native Frenchies, thought my French was awesome. So that's was nice of them. Good times.

I got the Halloween package. Merci! The Soeurs send their appreciation and thanks. Yay for
Elder Spoors from Essex, UK.
He's in my zone and I talk to him
in an English accent.
He sends his best to the Daines!

Halloween. I think we are going to dress up as sister missionaries. #creative.

Last night, we witnessed the funniest thing yet. A Lord of The Rings farewell. Some sisters in the other French zone in our residence dressed up and gave this hilarious schpeel as though they were in LOTR.

Soeur North is doing MUCH better. We're basically all back to normal schedule and such. She will be staying on her mission, and will just have to monitor the cyst once we get to France and is taking some medicine that is helping. Soeur Clark is an angel. She has been so patient and kind with Soeur North. It definitely is difficult, and Sr. North is not always the most thoughtful of Sr. Clark, but like Dad says, "you can do anything for 6 weeks."

Cheesy leaves pic with
my wonderful companion,
Soeur King.
Soeur King and I studied outside this week, up until yesterday. It was SO beautiful outside. Perfect fall weather. As we were outside, I studied the book of Enos. What an incredible example to us all. He is such an inspiration of humility, repentance, faith, and charity. It's only a chapter long, so I challenge you to read and study the words of the prophet Enos this week. How can you apply the things Enos did and the person he became into your life?

Be good. Do more. Look outward.

Je t'aime!

Avec amour,

Soeur Kate Simpson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Semaine Deux

Bonjour ma famille,

Wow. What a week. It´s been great. Definitely a difficult one compared to the first, but all good things, all good things. Thank you for your love and support. I received the packages, letters, and love. You´d be surprised at how happy I was to get a blow dryer, curling iron, and my white brush. Oh and my debit card. That was super stressful not knowing where it was. Thanks.

This week was a glimpse into how difficult this is going to be at times. I've been told a mission is hard more than I can count, but thought it wouldn't apply to me. Well I was wrong.
It is definitely a wonderful place to be, and I do love it, but it is continuous study, for 16 hours a day. Studying, sitting, eating, studying, sitting, studying, eating and more sitting. Gym time is SO amazing. I could probably run the whole Rivalry Relay by myself at the end of each day. It is so nice to move! I've been playing volleyball almost every night, which is a blast. I'm not completely terrible, so it's quite enjoyable. Although, I've dove a few times (successfully I might add) and earned a "tres nast" bruise (language courtesy of Soeur King).

Tuesday: After emailing you last week, reality started to set in. We didn't have time to prepare for our lesson we were going to teach the next morning, I was tired, feeling inadequate, and oh la la. I was being dramatic. So it's fine. The Devotional that night helped fix that. After wards, in class, Soeur King and I were stuck in planning. We just weren't getting what we thought we should, and so I asked to say a prayer to help us.
Within a few minutes, we just decided to go by the spirit once again, pray really hard to know what Hospice needed, and I also had a brilliant idea... A prayer rock for Hospice because he forgets to pray because he's too tired. #genius. It turned out to be a good day in the end, as it usually does.

Wednesday: NEW MISSIONARIES! Sister Camille Zent,
Welcome Sis. Zent!!
roommate from DC, arrived! She is so adorable. I was able to run into her during the day, gave her a welcome card, a hug, and a bonne chance! We had our lesson, and Hospice died laughing from our "Roche de Priere", He even said in french, "You mormons are SO bizarre!" He thought he was supposed to hit himself with it... Oh heavens.

Thursday: We taught Hospice again, and he committed to baptism. It was a good lesson. I can basically understand everything our teacher and investigators say in French. I've become the class translator, which I hope is not hurting others because the teachers look to me when everyone else is not getting it. Our teachers only speak in French to us. Sometimes I just really want them to speak in english, but I know it's helping us. So there is a "Cream Soda" tree here at the MTC.
It smells like cream soda. We took a district break field trip to go smell it. Good times. We also came into the classrooms when the Elders were making up a beat/chant/song of lines from the First Vision to "I'll make a man out of you" from Mulan... I love our elders. They kill me. I've discovered being here is like being in High school again, perhaps even junior high. Being here with freshly graduated boys all day long seems to make us all a bit loopy. I'd say I've let my hair down a bit, and we may have too much fun, but you've got to make this experience fun, right? Wise words of Cody Simpson, "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." haha Although, my proper-ness and such still sticks out... Elder Gunn told me I dress and act like a proper Queen... As much as that is a compliment, I'm not a huge fan. I just like to be proper, use an elevated vocabulary, and write in cursive, what is Queen-ish about that?! haha It's all good. At least I know I'm me no matter the circumstance.

Friday: New teacher! Well sort of. Hospice is really Frere Ritchie. It's weird for him to be teaching us. He served in the same mission as my friend Garrett Robison, in Togo and Benin, West Africa. He's only been home for 2 months and you can definitely tell. haha But he's great. A little different than Soeur Kellett, but he's good. We did a role play, of Frere Ritchie and Elder Carson teaching me (pretending to be a first time investigator, given a role from these people's stories from NY Times "One in 8 Million") Frere Ritchie blazed through the lesson and I followed the whole thing. It was awesome. My brain kind of hurt afterward, but it was so cool.

Saturday: Oh la la. I was SO tired all day long. It was a struggle. And we had both teachers teach back to back without any etude personnelle, equipe, ou langue! It was rough. Luckily, Soeur Kellett taught us the Stress Management section from the MTC Experience book. It was good to move. She had us run up and down stair flights, run laps around the courtyard by 19M, and then do tree sits(wall sits on a tree) while reciting the Missionary Purpose and First Vision. It helped so much. So much of stress is made up by ourselves. It's kind of ridiculous. It was a good day though, especially after diner when we had study time, and gym time.

Sunday: The best day of the week. Such an uplifting and edifying day. Oh! I began reading the New Testament this week, parce-que I have never read it all the way through and am not really familiar with it. Probably a good idea to read, right?! I LOVE IT. The words of Jesus Christ are amazing. That's kind of a dumb sentence because of course they would be, but I have grown in love for my Savior so much this week. Sacrament Meeting was cool. All of us are asked to prepare a talk every week in our language and then they just tell you who is speaking at the beginning of the meeting. Luckily, Soeur Kofford, one of our STLs and Elder Tripp (both in the Tahiti district) were called on. Tahitian is one crazy language. Oh my. It all sounds the same and it's just a bunch of vowels. Way to go Kendrick for speaking it. Oh la la! I am SO glad I'm just learning French. We had a district meeting following la Reunion Sainte-Cere. It was great. The spirit was so strong and fittingly enough, we were discussing how to recognize and use the Spirit in our lives. Check out Mosiah 4:2. SO good.
We then were privileged to go on a temple walk. We took beaucoup de photos. I love the temple.

The Sunday Night devotional was fabulous. The director of media from the church missionary department, as in the man who oversees mormon.org, #becauseof him, and all other proselyting media, gave a great talk. He showed us the Because of Him video, the It was Mom video, and even a sneak peak of the Christmas campaign they're working on. It's going to be huge. and SO good. They've bought prime spots on Times Square, and Youtube, and it's just going to be great. Go watch those videos again. They are so simple and so powerful. They also have music, which I really miss. The spirit touches me through music, and it's been really hard not being able to listen to music here. So listen to good music for me! Afterwards, Soeur King and I both felt like we should go to the Joseph Smith movie during movie time, and unfortunately it wasn't the full movie we though it was, but it was still good. I know Joseph Smith restored the true gospel of Jesus Christ through the power and authority of God. I have such a love and testimony of the Prophet Joseph, and it has only been strengthened being here. Ah! What joy the gospel brings. Before going to residence, I got a letter from Elder Jared Bovee, because Elder Edmunds forgot to give it to me on Saturday, but what perfect timing. His testimony and encouraging words brought me to tears. What a great friend.

Monday: We had a zone meeting to practice teaching the first lesson. I practiced with Soeur Tibbits. When it was my turn to be the investigator, she asked me something that hit me profoundly. "What does God look like to you?" I made up some answer of how I thought the person I was pretending to be would think. Her response was wonderful. "I see his eyes, because he is watching over me. He knows who I am and loves me. I see his ears because he listens to my prayers. He listens to my heart, my thoughts, my worries. I see his mouth, because He speaks. He answers my prayers, and sends prophets to guide us." How powerful is that? I love this gospel.
Later, Soeur Clark came into the classroom with the biggest smile on her face and held in her hand, a giant acorn. She exclaimed to our class, "THEY'RE REAL!" She's from Arizona and apparently they don't have acorns. She thought they were only in movies. SO funny. She gathered each one of us an acorn, so now we all have an acorn... haha

I'm so glad to hear Sister Meg Storey is home safe and sound. I bet she is just so great. I wish I could've talked with her, but all is well. Send her my best! I loved what you told me about Meredith Dalton's companion. I couldn't agree more. I need to make sure I call rejections, hardships, and trials "blessings" because they truly are in comparison to what Christ suffered for us.

Well y'all. I love you! I'm doing great. I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for Soeur King. We are two peas in a pod. Companionship Inventory has been a piece of cake. I love her.

Keep the letters, emails, and DearElders coming. I love hearing from you!

Have such a great week.

Be good. Do more. Look outward.

Avec amour,

Soeur Kate Simpson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My dearest family,

Where do I even begin. I LOVE being here. It is absolutely amazing. Being a missionary is the absolute best thing I've ever done and I really am just so happy.

The transition has been, not to make light of it, but un piece de gateau... I was so ready to be here. At least mentally, spiritually, and such. Physically... not so much. Sorry dad, for not having my "miscellaneous" items... I probably should have been more prepared physically. I had to use mon college's (companion) soap until yesterday...But all is well because the Bookstore has pretty much everything.

D'accord! First day at the MTC was so great.
I honestly wasn't given a second to think about what had just happened when I said goodbye to you, which was probably good. I love you and miss you, but I know you are just fine.  The Elder who hosted me at first was just my host for a second. I was whisked away to get my name tag, keys, books, etc. Before entering the Bookstore to get my books, my actual host came. Sisar Hyde. GUESS. WHAT. She is Jean Hyde's granddaughter. Coincidence? I think not. It was such a wonderful blessing. I told her how I was just sewing with her grandma less than a week ago! haha She was so sweet to me.

Then to my class room to meet my companion, my district, and my teacher. The second I sat down, the sister next to me said, "Are you
Soeur Simpson?!" and she gave me a hug and said, "We're companions!" My companion is the absolutely best. I am so lucky. We were meant to be companions. Soeur Ashleigh Rae King from Watson, Louisiana, a little town 45 minutes from Baton Rouge. Another tender blessing. She is about my height, has brown hair, says "y'all" ALL the time, and is just the best. I love Sr. King! We get along well and oh la la. She is great. We quote Nacho Libre too much. but it's great.

My district is the best. Soeur Clark, from Arizona, Soeur North, from Salt Lake, Elder Gunn, from
Texas/Japan, Elder Taylor, from Idaho, Elder Carson, from American Fork, and Elder Edmunds, from Florida. Oh man. All of the Elders just graduated from high school and are so cute. I seriously just love them. Elder Carson had zero French before and works so hard to learn it. They all do/ we all do. I am SO grateful I took French and practiced and such. It has been such a blessing for me, and I believe for my district. The first 2-3 days I basically translated all that our teacher said.

Mon instructeur, Soeur Kellett, is amazing. She is a RM who served in Paris 2 years ago. She is incredible, so patient and loving, and helps us have fun. I love when she teaches us.

The schedule:
6:00am, wake up, pray, get ready
7:00am breakfast
7:30am class
11:30am lunch
12:15pm class
4:30 dinner
5:15 class
8:25 gym time
9:15 return to residence
10:15 quite time, our personal interview with God
10:30 lights out

It is so great, sometimes difficult to sit that long. I feel like all we do is sit, learn, and eat. But it's awesome. The food is surprisingly good. There is a "Special Diet" room in the Cafeteria, which actually has better food anyway, so yay for Celiac. They have these awesome cookies, that are almost as good as Sweetcake. I've had to limit them because, well, they're delicious.

I feel so spoiled to have had General Conference the first week I was here. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Absolutely amazing.
Being surrounded by 2,000+ missionaries listening to the words of God through the prophets, apostles, and leaders of His church was tres magnifique! The spirit is very strong here and it just is so great. Words cannot justly describe the feelings and experience of being here. Everyone needs to try it out. Singing with all the missionaries here is BAE (in honor of Fran and Ali). At the beginning of the Sunday devotional, we all sang an arrangement of "Called to Serve" where we began super soft, increasing in loudness for each verse, then stood on the chorus, singing full out. Talk about the Army of Helaman. Oh it was spendid.

OH! The very first person I saw when I entered 19M, the building where all the missionaries
Sisters Simpson!!
gathered for GC, I saw a sister, tall, blond hair, about 100+ feet away. I squinted my eyes, and guess who it was? HERMANA SIMPSON. She almost instantly saw me, and she started running towards me, and I did the same, until we collided in a giant hug of wonderful happiness. What a joyous reunion. Yes, we Simpsons may have shed a few tears, but of joy, of course. I love Hermana Simpson. It is so nice to have her here too. We had lunch and dinner by each other and chatted. She says, "paro" all the time, which is "but" in Spanish. Super funny.

Speaking of which, French is coming along splendidly. Soeur King et moi, nous parlons en francais presques tout le temps. Almost all the time. We have been trying (and succeeding) at bearing our testimonies at least 5 times a day to different missionaries at the MTC every day. It has been so cool. We are progressing and getting more confident.

Today, we were privileged to go to the temple and do a session. It was so great. At the end of the session, I sat in the beautiful Celestial room and just had a flood of memories of being in the temple with mom. I am so grateful for the opportunity we had to go on that temple tour. It really helped prepare me and gave me such great memories. I am glad we had that time together. I am so grateful for the time I had with all of you before I left. Family truly is the most important and I love you so much. Keep being the awesome family you are. Stay strong with your goal to have family scripture study everyday, it is SO important, and will bless you more than you know.

Personal study is vital. I have come to know just how essential it is to have meaningful personal study everyday. Even though I feel like I am always studying, it never seems like enough time. Cherish your time with the scriptures. I want to challenge you to read at least a verse of scripture everytime you go to click on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. I wasted so much time on social media, that I could have been preparing, learning, and growing. I promise you will see a change in your life, and you will be able to accomplish so much more.

Soeur King et moi are teaching our ami de l'elise (investigator), named Hospice (Don't pronounce the H, and think of it pronounced like Ospeace). He is so great. We have been great friends, even with our poor French. We have taught him 2 lecons and he is interested in learning more. Our first lecon was on prayer. We asked him about his experience with prayer, and then taught him how we pray. He was raised Catholic, but did not really go to church. He was confused about recitation prayers and such, so we taught him that prayer is a conversation with our loving Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from us. He didn't want to pray the first lecon, but we invited him to pray after we left. Yesterday, Lundi, we visited Hospice again and we followed up with prayer. He said he had prayed and it was alright. I told him how I feel the spirit, and then asked if he felt anything. He said he felt peace and calm. TRES BIEN! Soeur King et moi then talked about Joseph Smith's first prayer and then dove into the Apostacie et le Retablissement de L'Eglise de Jesus-Christ. It was hard, but we got through it. We decided to go by the spirit and have no script, no note cards, just Le Livre de Mormon, the spirit, and us. It was great. As a district, one of our goals was to memorize the first vision in french by this Friday. Soeur King et moi had it down by yesterday, and Sr. King said it in the lecon avec Hospice. It was tres cool! I love being a missionary.

Soeur King is truly the best. She says "tres awk", "tres gross", "tres cool", etc. It is so funny. She reminds me a lot of Paige. We have so much fun together. Don't worry, we work too.

Oh! Our zone is awesome. Our Zone Leaders are going to Tahiti Pape'ete, as are our Sister Training Leaders. Elder Hill and Elder Porter (ZL) are hilarious. Elders are just so funny.

Well I love you all. Keep up the good work. Thanks so much for the package. It was perfect. Orange Blossom is our mascot now, and the Soeurs say thank you for the gluten-filled cookies. Soeur King says she loves you, even though she doesn't know you, so ya.

Have a great week! A bientot!

Avec amour,

Soeur Simpson