Namaste. I hope you are all enjoying the sharp mountain air flowing through your paths and continually rejuvenating the life force that is within you. Feed your essence. Let your thoughts lift and soar like tiny, jagged ice shards in the winter winds... Ooommmmmm... Well. HELLO! If you can't tell, I've become a yoga master this past week. Thank you Mama Bear for sending me Shiva Rea's finest! I am totally finding my inner zen. Seriously, I'm as cool as a cucumber this week. Yoga is changing my life! It will change yours also. So will the gospel. More importantly, the gospel will change your life. Stick to that. But some yoga wouldn't hurt either!
This week was seriously a blur! So many good things on the horizon. :) I'll start with transfer day. My oh my. WHAT a day! Transfers are the worst and best days of the mission. The worst because you have to say goodbye to your other half, the BEST because you get to give big old fat hugs and loves to all of your other old halves! Aaah! I got to see my baby Sister Orozco, which was like HEAVEN on earth! She is training too this transfer, so I stuck to her side every minute of the day. Saying goodbye to Sister Rios was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. We had three months together, so to say I was attached is a bit of an understatement. But like all babies, sooner or later they need to leave the nest, even if Mama Cutler's nest is better than the rest. And it is, for the record. Anyway. Basically, transfers was just one hot mess of me running around hugging everyone I knew. In fact, I hugged so many sisters that when I was saying goodbye to one of my favorite elders, I NEARLY threw him a big old bear hug! Uhhh... can you say AWKWARD? Something saved me at the last minute, thank goodness.
So.... drumroll... my new greenie.... is... Hermana Guevara! Aaaah yeah! My Latina request came true! She is just about the sweetest, bubbliest, panda-loving, tree-hugging hippie I know! The cutest cutie pie in the world. I am BLESSED, I tell you! Super blessed. We're chillin like villains out here. I can tell there are good things to come. She's from LA, but no worries, she's not a regular at the clubs or anything. ;) Just the world's sweetest missionary to ever walk the face of the earth! We've had crazy adventures already. To start...
One day we were trying to track down a referral that the Ste Foy sisters had given us. The woman had enthusiastically set up an appointment with the other sisters, so we were surprised when we showed up and she wasn't there! Smurfed, as we would say in the CMM. Hate that word, but that's what we say when someone bomb and ditches us and hides in their apartment when we show up for a lesson. Anyway, we bopped around and waited around her hood to see if she would come back later. Knocked some doors. Did our missionary thing. So I have this fear of contacting people when they are sitting in their cars, and I was like, "Okay. Today's the day we're going to get over that fear." The whole time we were knockin and boppin around, this fancy looking man was just chilling in his car watching us for like half an hour. Jokingly I said to my companion, "I bet you anything he's an undercover cop, and he's about to arrest us for disturbing the peace." We had a good laugh, then continued doing our stalker/missionary thing. Finally, somehow, I got up the courage to just go talk to him. And ohhhh my, I am so glad I did! He was hilarious! We chatted him up for a good twenty minutes. He knew about the church, but wasn't interested. Then I asked him what he was doing. Turns out... He's a private investigator! Ha ha we were so right. And I totally blew his cover. I told him that we suspected he was up to something like that. So he's going to improve his stalker game! He really should take missionary advice. We're like the world's biggest stalkers, and my goodness, we're good at it. We climbin in yo windows, snatchin yo people up. Tryin to convert them! And we do! Sometimes. Anyway, that was a cool experience. I left him some reading material entitled, "Le Retablissement." Good stuff. We'll see what happens!
So the next day, we're boppin around, looking for that woman AGAIN. Still, nowhere to be found! Later in the evening we had our sweet member Catherine come with us to teach one of our amis, and low and behold, the dude wasn't there. Surprise! So I'm thinking, "Man. I'm tired of all of our appointments falling through." But I was on the Lord's errand, you know? So we moved to our back-up plan, which was to track down that woman one last time. We got to her house, and the note we had left her was STILL there! After more than 24 hours. We were getting nervous. I honestly thought she had died in her apartment. No joke. So we knocked the door across from us to ask her neighbor if he thought she might be dead. When he came out, I was trying to explain to him in my crappy French that I thought his neighbor might be dead, yada yada, when he's like, "I speak English, eh?" FIRST miracle! Turns out he knew about our church. And I was like, "You should totally come to church with us tomorrow!" And he's like, "Well, does your church need a keyboard player?" And I was like, "What the what?" And he's like, "I play the keyboards, eh? Fairly well there." I have NO idea what possessed me, but suddenly I'm just like, "Will you play some tunes for us?" Ha ha this guy had NOOOOO idea what was going on, but he TOTALLY let us in! Stalker move number one. Success! I was seriously having WAAAAY too much fun! The guy plays everything by ear! He serenaded us for twenty minutes with some Elton John and some John Lennon. I requested that he play "Daniel," and I wept silently to myself remembering that I have a brother back home. Anyway, after the poor man had worked up a good sweat playing keyboards for us, he somehow miraculously opened up and told us that he's been searching for a church. The Catholic church had really disappointed him in his life, but he was really touched that three strange girls would show up at his door and listen to him play the keyboard. Ha ha! The gospel is true! He frantically wrote down all of his contact info for us. I'll let you know how it goes! He's just the absolute sweetest. We honestly could not believe how the whole thing went down. Seriously though, I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father puts these people in our paths if we have the courage to be loving and share with those around us.
Well, that was my week! It was incredibly, to say the least. Plenty of great adventures for my greenie! I'm excited for her. Quebec City is the perfect place to be a missionary, especially if you're just starting out. I hope everyone is doing just fabulous! I miss you all terribly and hope you all realize that on a daily basis. Because it is 100 percent true, even if I act like I don't have time for anyone out there on the home front. My prayers are always with you! I love and miss you all to the fullest moon and back! Peace and blessings! Namaste.
Your Favorite Soeur
Monday, October 14, 2013
Hello, hello! How on earth is everybody doing? Enjoying your fall weather. I certainly am NOT! It's getting waaaay too cold out here for my liking. But I'll manage! It's going to be a long winter ha ha. In any case, I hope you are all finding ways to keep warm.. and enjoying the beautiful, cold, rainy season. What are you all going to be for Halloween? I expect pics! Send them my way, you little cuties.
This week was just OUT OF CONTROL! Well, most of the week was incredibly slow. On Thursdaywe were visiting our favorite family from Cote d'Ivoire. Our investigators mom had her cute little baby! So we were sitting there just gazing at that little piece of perfection, when suddenly the mom turns to me and asks if I wanted to hold her. I had to do my best to explain our mission rule that we can't hold babies, even precious, adorable, perfect little newborns. Then she says, "Well, you didn't say anything about catching them!" And this woman practically threw her baby into my arms! So out of love I HAD to "catch" the baby and hold that glorious little angel for a time... Sigh.... so tender. I miss holding babies. It reminds me of the time I was interning in the Newborn ICU and Labor and Delivery. New life is seriously so precious.
Alright, now onto the drama. Eveything was going smooth and uneventful when... BAM! Transfer call night hit! We had already decided that I would be leaving for Ottawa and that Sister Rios would stay in Quebec City. OR that we would be staying together for yet another transfer. Oh, contraire, mon frere. Oh, contraire! The biggest shock of our lives came to us. Sister Rios is leaving! :( And Sister Cutler.... drum roll.... is... receiving her FIFTH baby!!! Yes, you heard correctly. I'm training. Again. There are only four new sisters coming in, the lowest yet, and yours truly is going to continue doing what she does best... ha ha. My old district leader thinks that might be a new record. I just say, "Welcome!" to all the little ones they want to send my way. My goodness. You would think I've corrupted enough sister missionaries at this point! I'm excited to be training and staying in Quebec City (aka the best ward and best area and best everything in this entire mission), but I wasn't expecting to leave my Sister Rios. Transfers are always incredibly bittersweet.
After we received the news, we spent the rest of the week binging. In case you clueless Americans didn't know, it's Thanksgiving here in the Great White North! Which means that I have eaten more than I care to admit. On Sunday we went to TWO Thanksgiving dinners. One with our awesome vegan investigator, where I ate vegan delights, and the other with a slew of missionaries from our district and the Ste Foy district. The best! With my favorite family, the Blouins. It was seriously just one party after the other yesterday, and I'm getting fat, fat, fat! As usual. This morning we had Thanksgiving waffles at our Relief Society President's house (delicious), this afternoon we got pedicures from my favorite Haitian princess Flore, and now we're gearing up for another TWO Thanksgiving dinners tonight! One as a combined Thanksgiving with the Worner family and the Torres family as a farewell to Sister Rios, and then another Thanksgiving with our dear old friend Lucie. It's going to be insane! Pray for my new greenie to be a health freak. I need to fit into my coat this winter!
Well, that's the run-down on my week! I will let you all know how the transfer goes. I hope everyone is doing just fabulous and that all is well in the states! Happy action de grace everybody! Keep on keeping it real. Also. SHOUT OUT.... of ALLLLLL SHOUT OUTS... to my one and only ELLIE PARKER!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my sweet! I hope my foxiest mama of P-town had a FABULOUS day! Big birthday loves and hugs coming all the way to you! I love you, baby girl! You deserved nothing but a magical birthday! Well, I hope you are all well! I've got to get going! Love you all and miss you terribly!!!
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Mi babies!!! How the heck are you all doing? My goodness. How was everyone's conference weekend? Mine was just too good to be true! Not many missionaries get to have a baptism of two adorable adolescents and watch General Conference on the same day. I was in missionary heaven! So really, I don't think this soeur can complain. ;) I hope everyone is avoiding the flu and all of the nasty viruses going around. My comp got hit pretty hard this week, but she was a trooper. So go dose yourself with an Orange Julius and a little vitamin C, eh?
So this week, if you can't already guess, went exceptionally well. I'm just boppin around, rolling around with my spare Canadian tire, meeting the cutest little Quebecers and having a jolly old time. This week our Sister Training Leaders came and stayed with us and I fed them all of my Double Stuff'd Oreos. I'm starting to look more and more like a Double Stuff'd Oreo each day, so I was feeling charitable. I rigaled them with stories about the Swedes, doing my Swedish accents and talking about all of the craaaaay dating experiences I've had. Yeah. I'm pretty sure we're the favorite sisters in the mission. It's always a party with the Quebec sistas! During our exchanges we ran into a Catholic Priest and his roommate.. while knocking doors. He said he'd heard of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. So guess what us sneaky sisters did... we invited him to G-Con! And they actually showed up! Ha ha good stuff. It was the last session when the choir did sing that much. Still, I deserve some serious cred for getting a Catholic priest from QUEBEC CITY, no less, into a Mormon church.
We had adventure after adventure the entire week, from one day to the next! Our baptism was so precious. This brother and sister are quite possibly the cutest people I have ever met. The whole family is precious, really. I was able to bear my testimony at the baptism, which was super special because exactly a year ago that day I found out I could serve a mission. And there I was, a year later, bearing my testimony at the baptism of the sweetest family I have ever met. Gosh, I am sooooo incredibly blessed to be out here at this time! I wouldn't have it any other way. I could stay on the mission forever, but then I remember that I miss you all terribly and I want to exploit RMs and get free frozen yogurt, so I know the day will come that I'll have to lay aside my missionary badge. But for now, I'll keep enjoying these beautiful leaves and these beautiful people and miss you all from afar! And don't worry, I still think about everyone often and I miss you all terribly.
For the Saturday morning session of conference we went and watched on our good friend Lucie's pirated American television... is that a sin? Meh. She enjoyed it! She loves BYUtv and the prophet and everything about the church, but she doesn't want to get baptized. ONE DAY! I'll get her in that font if it's the last thing I do... echoing the voices of 20 years of other missionaries. But really, she is just the world's biggest gem! We baked a frozen pizza sprinkled with fresh basil from the garden, and pigged out on Doritos while watching conference in our slippers. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed that! I almost felt like I was home. :) I would have to say that of all of the conferences, the first two sessions were the best. But really, you know you're a missionary when you think more about the talks in terms of how they can help your investigators than yourself. Ha ha no lies. The talks were good for everyone though, including me. I think Elder Holland's was my fave, but I also loved Uchtdorfs... can't decide. The elders all know I'm a feminist so they were grilling me a lot this conference, but I kept a lot of opinions to myself. Sister Rios and I are going to go watch the Priesthood Session for studies tomorrow. I heard it was super amazing, as always!
Well, that's about it for this week! I had a lot happen but this letter would go on for hours if I documented all of the fun things we did. Today we're going to go play Quilles, which is like "mini" bowling. Something bizarre. Only in Quebec! I just wanted to let you all know that I love you to PIECES and that I think about you more than is good for me. Also, SHOUT OUT of all SHOUT OUTS to Tara, Vanessa, and Karenna for the BEST birthday package a girl could ask for! I was laughing my chins off allllll night! And I added to the chins by eating all of the junk that you gave me. Not helpful, but I FEEL THE LOVE! You girls are the best. I am sooooo incredibly lucky! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Also, SHOUT OUT to Grandma Nelson for all of the birthday candies you sent me! I don't think I'll be starving anytime soon. :) Gotta get my winter coat started! Lolz. Well, I love you all to Jupiter and back! Have an exceptional week! Smooches and loves! Missing you all.
Bonjour, lovers! Qu'est-ce que vous faites du bon? (Newest Quebecois phrase I learned this week from a sketchy old man in a McDonald's parking lot. He added "ce soir" at the end. Nice.) Anyway! I hope you are all doing well. I just need to say AGAIN how much I love and miss and cherish you all! Not a day goes by that I don't think about my fabulous family and friends supporting me on the other side. I hope you are all living life to the fullest and enjoying the world's most beautiful autumn in the history of autumns. Then again, maybe that's only how it is out here in La Belle Province. I literally have to stop the car every five seconds to take a picture of the beautiful fall scene that I'm in. On Wednesday Sister Rios and I were invited chez Rodhain, which meant driving through the mountains alongside rivers in a vast array of fall colors and glorious sunshine. Whilst listening to All Creatures of Our God and King. Don't tell anyone, but I was moved to tears. I'm telling you, this sister missionary could not be more blessed!
This week was soooo crazy! We are just tearing it up out here. I've been thinking a lot recently about what I was doing this exact time last year. Little did I know that the prophet would be making his historic announcement, giving me the glorious gift of missionary service nearly a year earlier than I expected. This time last year Daniel and I were road tripping to Las Vegas and California, seeing Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst in concert, studying for a massive exam in Professor Cutler's class here and there, but mostly just watching pirated videos of Downton Abbey on my well-beloved laptop all night long while I "tried" to go to sleep. Those were the days! Now I'm here in beautiful Quebec City, nearly halfway through my mission, getting irritated with elders and eating a microwaved Michelina's Penne Pollo. GOOD STUFF! Ha ha really though, I wouldn't have my life any other way. This Sunday will mark a year since that announcement, and Sister Rios and I will be baptizing a beautiful 12 year old girl and a remarkably talented 14 year old boy from a family that is reactivating in the church. I'm so blessed! Looking back to last fall, I never would have dreamed of the possibility of enjoying these special experiences right now.
So funny story of the week! We taught the Law of Chastity with our Zone Leaders to our good friend who has been coming back to church since the beginning of summer. Can I just say... acca awkward?! Ha ha you all know I secretly LOVE awkward moments like this, but my goodness. This was on a whole new level of awkward. I'm becoming the world's biggest prude! And the elder's would just sit there during the most awkward moments because they were even bigger prudes than me! Ha ha don't know where I'm going with this story... guess it was one of those moments you had to be there for. Still, it was a killer lesson. But from this day forward, elders will never be invited to teach the Law of Chastity with me ever, EVER again.
Let's see... what else happened this week. Oh yes! #ReliefSociety broadcast! Man, good stuff right there!!! I especially enjoyed the talk given by Linda S. Reeves. That woman gets it! If you missed out or if you are a brethren and didn't watch it, I strongly encourage you to do so. Also, President Monson was fabulous, as always. Sister Bourdon, Sister Foniciello, Sister Rios and me SCREAMED and cheered when President Monson gave a shout out to his old mission (QUEBEC!!!). The sistas in the ward looked at us like we were crazy, but we really love Quebec to pieces. The whole event was absolutely fabulous. Our Relief Society put on a dinner before the broadcast, and it was just oh so good to sit with my old Riv Sud ward members and the Quebec City ward members and chat, sisterhooding it up. Gosh, I love Quebec City. I cannot TELL you how much I love Quebec City. If I didn't miss you all to pieces, I might just stay here forever and ever.
Well, I hope you all have a glorious week! I'm just over here geeking out for General Conference. 3-day P-DAY!!! Ha ha but no lie. It will be so, so wonderful. Cross your fingers for a Quebec City temple! ;) I just want to tell you all again how much I love you and miss you. I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful season. Also, BIG BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT to my baby doll and favorite cousin in the universe JESSICA for being 16!!!! What the?! Too much for me to handle right now! I hope you have the most wonderful, wonderful birthday tomorrow! Try not to get too crazy. :) When in doubt, ask WWSD? What Would Sylvia Do? ...Hmm..actually, bad idea. Never mind. ;) Have so much fun! I love you! Anyway, take care everyone! Smooches and hugs!