Monday, March 24, 2014

Snow is Falling All Around

HAPPY, HAPPY SPRING! We are currently enjoying breezy wind chillls and virbrant bursts of fresh, white snow. Spring is here! At least that's what the calendar tells me, anyway. But I'll stop complaining for the millionth time about how cold I am. How are you all? My babes! I miss everyone terribly. Quoi de neuf?! Is it spring yet in the Wasatch Front? You lucky ones. I hope you get a surprise snow storm!

So I know I say this a lot, but this really was the BEST WEEK of my mission! Oh my. I am still gracefully floating down from the heavens. As I mentioned last week, we had a little visit from Salt Lake! Among the party was Elder Neil L. Andersen of the douze, Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the soixante-dix (FAVE!), and Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Épiscopat (DOUBLE FAVE)! But more on that later. I have a lot to say about my week!

On Tuesday we went to the Montréal temple to spiritually prepare for our mission conference. Aah! I absolutely adore the temple. It's closing for a year this May, so we're allowed to go once a transfer since we won't get our temple day when I go home in August. On Thursday I went on exchanges with my granddaughter, Sister Godfrey, but THIS time I was able to go back and work in my first area! My goodness. What a blessed treat! We started off the day by seeing my little recent convert's family, the Espindolas. I have missed them SO MUCH! It has been a year since I first met them, and the changes that have taken place in their lives have been so amazing. Sam is even planning on going on a mission! In like... nine years haha. Gosh, I love them to death. His mom is preparing to go to the temple too! She expressed her gratitude to me for pulling them out of the dark a year ago and for being THEIR missionary. I honestly feel like I did nothing, but that family is completely precious and will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart. Missions are spectacular! There is no reward greater than seeing just how much the gospel blesses families. After visiting them we went and had lunch with a Filipina sister! THE BEST! Something I desperately miss about Montréal ward haha. I ate blood pudding for the first time in my life and wanted to DIE. I took pictures of this event, but I won't be sending them because I don't want anyone to see how many chins I have acquired. Ha. But really. After our lunch we went to visit the most AMAZING recent convert named Mary-Lynne, who Sister Varela and I began teaching before I left for Quebec City. Now she's a ward missionary and OH-SO FABULOUS! I feel blessed to have had the chance to come back and see all of these incredible people again. Later that evening we went to track down a woman that Sister Foniciello and I had taught nearly a year ago. It was actually planned by the member who found her with us last year, and she had no idea that I would be there that evening. When we arrived at her home, she remembered me completely, and told me that she thinks of me often. She begged me to come back and see her another time, but unfortunately I'm assigned to the neighboring area! So sad. But I felt touched that she remembered me. The whole day was like flash-back city. It was fun to run around the metros and buses talking to all of the interesting people in the city. Aaah! Such a great day! I love being a missionary in Montréal.

Alright. The next day was just fantastic! We had mission leadership council in the morning, which is always a treat. We were discussing modesty, particularly how some of the sisters' skirts were too tight. And I'm just sitting there like.... uh... GUILTY! That poutine has to belong somewhere. Afterward we picked up my main boo and best friend on the mission, SISTER OROZCO!!!!! She and her amazing companion, Sister Garcia, came down from Quebec to spend the night with us. HEAVEN!!!! We went to a Venezuelan restaurant for dinner, and then Orozco and I proceeded to talk the night away and cry because we miss each other so much. It was so incredibly fun. We pushed all of our beds together in the kitchen and just had the best girls night I've had in a long time. 

Then came... MISSION CONFERENCE! Can you imagine the joy of seeing every single companion and mission friend you've ever had in the past 14 months? It was beautiful!!! I have never felt such happiness in all of my life. I imagine that my homecoming will be like that, but ten times more beautiful. Get excited! The speakers were absolutely excellent. I was so spiritually edified that I feel as if I have become a new person. We are so blessed in our mission! Bishop Caussé even gave his talk in French. I felt so special. They treated us as if we were Paris missionaries! Little do they know we only speak Quebecois. But that's okay! It was a fantastic day. Later that evening les elders had a baptism of two sweet young boys in our ward whose mom joined the church a few years ago. Their dad finally allowed them to get baptized, and it was just the most precious event I have ever attended. I was asked to play the piano, which was a big mistake, but hey, I pulled it off. At the end I was playing Families Can Be Together Forever, and after one verse Sister Sherwood stopped conducting and turned around to sit down, but I just kept plunking along. Everyone was laughing, including me, which made it nearly impossible to play. Spirit ruined. But hey, it was a great day!

THEN on Sunday we had a special stake conference with Elder Hallstrom, an event that also changed my life. We sang in the most powerful missionary/youth choir, and there was literally not a dry eye in the chapel. The church is so true! No doubt about it. What a beautiful opportunity that I have to be a Mormon and share the gospel. I never want it to end sometimes! Every member a missionary, I guess. Keep preaching!

Alright, so there's my piece. Sorry for such a long email! This was just such a fantastic week. The rest of the weeks of my mission are going to be awful compared to what I just experienced. Meh. Oh well. Anyway, I hope you all have a glorious first full week of spring! Enjoy the warm sunshine! I'm freezing my toonkie off. No big deal. I love you and miss you ALL! Lots and lots and lots. Thinking of you always!


Soeur Cutler

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

C'est la vie tho

FAM! How are you all doing? What's the hott gossip? What are the cool jams? Oh how I miss you ALL! I hope everyone is having a fantastic March, flying kites in my honor! Before I forget... HAPPY St. Patrick's Day! Please pray that the drunk revelers will stay faaaaar away from me today. Compy and I went and got some SHAMROCK SHAKES from McDo's to celebrate! It has been a great day. :)
First things first.... I do believe someone has a B-DAY coming up... SHOUT-OUT to Taralyn Clark and her 21st YEAR! Whoooooo! I love you more than words can describe, and I hope your birthday is full of pure joy and pure mischief! Thank you for being the world's most fabulous friend these many years. Were I not a missionary, we would DEFINITELY be going to The Chocolate and Spark and Denny's and McDonald's to eat our feelings this Wednesday! Rain check for next year when we're 22, OLD, single and REALLY have a reason to go eat our feelings. ;) I LOVE YOU! :) You are my favorite, best, and NUMBER ONE BOO! Love you eternally! Live life to the fullest, my love. 
Alright, so this week was just a non-stop miracle shop. Not a day goes by in LaSalle that I don't see a miracle or two or even three! Being a missionary is just about the greatest thing that will ever happen to me. I'm convinced. On Tuesday our day got off to a rocky start. All of our plans kept falling through, which was frustrating beyond belief but soon turned the day into one of the greatest on my mission. We were able to pay an unexpected, lovely visit to a less active sister in the ward who is from Jersey (of the Jersey cow make), and her adorable, feisty best friend, a 93-year-old woman from Scotland named Lily. (Obviously it took her no time at all to become my favorite person in the world.) Even though the day wasn't going as planned, that little visit gave me so much joy that I felt I would truly be able to conquer the world for the rest of the day. AND WE DID! Since literally every appointment fell through that afternoon, we made ourselves useful by running around LaChine tracking down unknowns that the Bishop asked us to see. We arrived at one name that didn't have an appartment number, so we decided we would just knock his whole dang apartment buidling! If Marvin Martin's neighbors didn't know him before, they do now! Hee hee. Our mission president doesn't want us to knock doors too much anymore, but my goodness did we have fun stalking less actives and preaching the gospel from door to door like the good old days! And yes, we had a MIRACLE! We found this amazing woman who let us in immediately the minute I said we were here to prêche l'evangile. Later that day we had to cross one of the world's sketchiest bridges to go to the Indian Reservation, and there we were able to visit the world's most adorable Kiwi. She's 87 and loads of fun, and quite possibly more feisty than my dear Lucie up in Quebec City. She fed us dinner and even tried to convince a super attractive door-to-door salesman to take the missionary discussions when he showed up at her house. Haha! He was cute. I wish he would have joined the church so that I could have married him. Oh well... next life I guess. Later that evening we went on a member exchange, and I got to go visit my favorite less active in the world with the Stake President's wife. It was a touching visit, tears and hugs and talk of the atonement. I can truly say that this was one of the best days of my entire mission. And to top it off, the St. Laurent river was glistening and glowing under a beautiful blue, sunny sky all day. It just doesn't get better than that!
The rest of the week was full of snow and viciously cold winds, but I feel that springtime will be here soon enough. Crossing my fingers! On Friday we went teaching with our Stake President, and he gave a beautiful blessing to one of our members that is returning to activity. This woman is seriously the funniest person on the planet. I imagine that I will probably be like her one day when I'm sixty and less active. Minus the less active part. This week she recounted the story of when she was a barista and flirted a man into buying cheesecake whilst wearing her most scandalous tank top. Haha. I just lover her. The week before that she told this story about how she was running through Chinatown in a rage when a kind, soft-spoken Chinese man took her in as her anger management coach for three years. But then one day he was killed in a drive-by shooting on his way out of an herbal shop. Hmm... alas, these things happen, you know? Ha ha I just love the people here to death and am having the time of my life!
Well, that's all for now! Tomorrow we're going to the TEMPLE! Whooo hooo! I cannot WAIT! Oh, and before I forget to mention... Elder Niel L. Andersen is coming to the mission this week! With three other general authorities! We're going to have a special mission conference. I've known about this for a few months but I keep forgetting to mention. I'll let you know how it is! It should be fantastic! Anyway, I hope you are all doing well! I love you to the heavens. Ahhh. But seriously. I miss you all terribly. I'm not going to let everyone know how trunky I am but... for now, try not to have too much fun without me! I will be home before you know it, and then the party can resume! Until then, be good! Have a fabulous week! Love you all forever.
Soeur Cutler

Monday, March 10, 2014

From Impoverished to Posh

Hello, my lovelies! How is everyone out there? Has spring hit yet? I don't know about you, but we just got another nice little dusting of snow. Gotta love Canada! Grrr and brrrr... I'm really tired of this winter. If I have to endure one more snow storm or eat one more flippin granola bar for dinner, I'm going to LOSE IT! But let's be positive her. This week was exceptional! I'm enjoying my time out here so much and am realizing that I have so little time left. So let me give you the run-down on the week that was!

On Monday we played human fooz-ball with our whole zone, which was fun except for the fact that my companion wouldn't let us wear pants. But then all the other sisters showed up in pants, and my companion ended up ripping her pencil skirt all the way up to her back. Haha. FUNNY! We ran over to another sister's apartment and changed, but my goodness. How embarrassing. I really hate playing sports, but this activity was actually pretty fun. Later that night we started exchanges with Cornwall sisters, aka, Sister Rios and I got to get back together for a day of FUN! And it was fun. We chatted about old times and *gossiped*.... positively.... I love that girl! She's training a new missionary now. My little baby is growing up! It was fun to see how much she has changed in the past few transfers.

On Wednesday, Mom's big 5-0!!! we received the best birthday present ever in honor of her... A NEW CAR!!!! It's a 2014 Trax from Ford. Missionaries in an SUV? Say WHAT?And my goodness, it is such a beaut! We've been driving around in STYLE this week! All of the other missionaries are green with envy, but I say we deserve it after having our old little Subaru break down like, 5,000 times in the past two months. We are so ridiculously spoiled. It has blue-tooth and hands-free calling, which makes my life five million times easier. And our sound system is amazing. But I digress... back to missionary work!

On Thursday I got to go on another exchange on the east island with the CUTEST, COOLEST sister ever! We had such a grand time. She looks a lot like my main squeeze Vanessa, and every time other missionaries see pictures of Vanessa (yes, I'm a creeper... the CMM knows who all of my loved ones are) they always ask why I have a picture of Sister Ferguson. So based on that you already know that she's AWESOME! It's so fun spending time with other sisters. We got hit on in the metros by one of my ex-boyfriend look-a-likes. But what else is new? I love being in the metros for that very reason. Nevertheless, I was happy to be safe in my 2014 Trax when the day was done.

This Sunday we had an amazing experience. The other night I had a dream about a sister in the ward that I adore. We hadn't seen her for about a month, and my psyche was telling me to be worried about her, but we could never get a hold of her. We were out with a member on Sunday and our appointment fell through, so I suggested we go visit this sister instead. She let us in, thinking it was her landlord. She expressed that she had been having a really hard time and won't be coming back to church, and my heart just felt so heavy. I can't even explain it. I knew we needed to be there though, so I listened and let the spirit tell me what to do. I opened my scriptures randomly and turned to 3 Nephi 18:24. It is a beautiful scripture about light. She still seemed discouraged about her current circumstances, and the scripture almost seemed to make her more overwhelmed. I didn't know what to say, but I knew I was there for a reason. As I opened my mouth to speak, I felt an overwhelming confirmation of how much God and the Savior love us, that His light is eternal, and though the people we love may not recognize His light or our light now during this life, they will one day all have the opportunity to feel God's love and see that light. I have never cried so much on my mission, but I just let myself be an instrument in God's hands during that lesson, and I expressed more love than my heart has ever been able to bear. The sister and I were both crying for several moments, and the spirit in that home was so overwhelming. I love being a missionary more than I can even describe, and it's because of moments like the one yesterday that I find so much joy being here. It really is a joy and a blessing to be a missionary, and though I miss everyone dearly, I know that I am at the right place at the right time.

Anyway. I hope you are all having an AMAZING week! Please remember how much I love, cherish, and miss each and every one of you. I really do! I am MAKING TIME to write letters this P-Day! BIG FAT SHOUT-OUT to CHRISTINE and ELLIE for sending me the LOVE this week!!!! I felt so overwhelmed. My goodness. You two are the BEST!!!!! Be writing SOON! Christine--thank you for thinking of my nude leotard deprivation and for sending nude leggings instead. The best thing of my LIFE!!! Alright. Well. HAPPY BIRTHDAY again to my Mom! I hope it was a special birthday week. And now... I'm off! Love you all bunches and bunches! Missing yous guys! 



Monday, March 3, 2014

Haunted House

Well, hey there, my lovelies! How are you all managing? Is March treating you well? Is spring on its way? As for me and my house (TUNDRA), we've got about six more months of winter. Brrr! It makes me feel like I'm living a (teenage) Canadian dream....and I am! This week was great! I'll tell you why in a bit. But first...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most FABULOUS, FOXIEST, FIFTIEST mama around! Happy 50th Birthday to the person I love more than anyone else in the entire world! Birthday shout-out to the most incredible, most brilliant, most beautiful, most hilarious, sensational woman on the entire planet! I love you to the moon and BEYOND, mother dearest! Make sure you ALL wish my madre a HAPPY 50th this Wednesday. It's not every day you turn 50 yet don't look a day over 40! I sooooo wish I could be there for this special day. Sending ooodles of love from afar! I love you!

Now, as for this week. So much CRAZINESS! So our week started off normal for the most part. We went on a fun exchange, drank caramel apple spice at Starbucks for our interview, lived the good life. Then on Wednesday Sister Sherwood and I gave a training on stress management, which, as you know, I can talk your ear off about yet not actually apply it in my own life. We did a progressive relaxation exercise (thank you, Shiva Rea from my yoga DVD!) and I brought everyone into a meditative trance with my smooth, velvety, yogan voice. It was magical. So we got everyone to relax, but then later it backfired because the sisters realized that they were STRESSED! We had a few red-level emergencies this week (red-level meaning to seek help immediately) so we got to go about caring and de-stressing others. We went went and got MORE Starbucks (this time I got some delish hot chocolate) and some amazing, beautiful, colorful macarons in Downtown Montreal to eat our feelings and discuss stress coping mechanisms. MISSIONS ARE STRESSFUL! Please pray for my sweet sisters and all the missionaries who are stressed. :)

On Friday we had a miracle! One of our less actives has been progressing at a rapid rate, yet she had a hard time with the idea of paying tithing. That last step is the bane of my existence. I honestly think it's the hardest commandment for most people to swallow haha. WELL. We had a lesson with our ward mission leader and he bore the most powerful tithing testimony I have ever heard. Two days later we were spending some time with our sweet less active sister and she dramatically pulled a SEALED tithing envelope from her bag. SOOOOOOO much happiness! Now she can get a temple recommend and her patriarchal blessing! She decided that she couldn't afford NOT to pay tithing after the amazing lesson we had. There can be miracles when you believe! Super exciting! 

Saturday night... oh my heavens. So, after a crazy, long week of exchanges and trainings, Sister Sherwood and I were stressed. We had a million tender mercies that day though. We were about to go through a stress breakdown and decided to list the foods that we wish we could eat, because after a week of chips and ramen and hot chocolate and macarons we just wanted to eat real food. I declared how desperately I wanted to eat curry, and Sister Sherwood said that all she has wanted is to eat fish. Obviously we have no time to eat though, so those foods are out of the question. Well, that night we went to a member's home, and what did she feed us? CURRY!!!! And FISH!!!! Blessings all around. I love when that happens! After we left, disaster struck. So we were driving to our last lesson of the night and I was distracting Sister Sherwood with a hilarious story about how I stalked this one guy at BYU, but I'm not going to go into detail because that was my old life and I'm so embarrassed. Anyway. She was laughing her head off so she missed the street of the less active we were supposed to visit. We ended up completely lost in the sketchiest part of Montreal I have ever seen. Trying not to panic, she drove around and tried to orient herself the best she could. Well. We ended up getting ridiculously lost in an even MORE sketchy part of the city. Suddenly we found ourselves on a road called Rue Bridge that led into a death tunnel. We soon discovered that the death tunnel was NOTHING compared to what was on the other end. The world's SCARIEST bridge. Not even joking. Go look this thing up on Google Maps. The road on the bridge is constructed of METAL, like what you would see over a sewer. And there we are, in strong winds and freezing cold temperatures, driving over METAL for like five billion miles! I could literally look out my window and see the water beneath our car! We were hyperventilating and practically vomiting out of fear. WORST NIGHT OF MY LIFE! We ended up waaaay out of our area, but no worries, we made it home alive.

Due to the stress of this situation, I obviously had a night terror that night. And my companions can tell you how awful my night terrors are. Well, Sister Sherwood was so stressed that SHE had a night terror because of my night terror. I won't go into detail, but we were simultaneously experiencing the same night terror, in the same spot in our room. All of this before 1 in the morning. So we turned on the lights and stayed up for about five hours calming ourselves down and shaking like leaves. It was HORRIBLE! Needless to say, I'm exhausted and will now be sleeping with the lights on the rest of my mission. The elders came and blessed our house this morning, so we should be good to go! Seriously though. Worst night of my life. 

Haha anyway, I'll end on a happy note? It really was a fun week! We spent a lot of time serving our sisters and had an excellent day at church on Sunday. Missions are so fun! I can't believe how blessed I've been out here. Anyway, I hope you all have an amazing week! I love you all so very, very much and wish desperately that we could all be together. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mom! Love you soooo much! Smooches and hugs to all! 


Sister Syl