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

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