Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miracle Time

Hello, my beloved, fabulous, precious ones! I hope you all had a joyous Easter weekend. My goodness. What a great time! The Easter holiday is best spent with family members, but I made it a good one nonetheless. I hope you're all enjoying a beautiful spring! We had a couple warm days pop up this week. Still trying to figure out when spring is going to hit... so far no real sign of it. Oh Canada! 

Alright, so this week was just one of the best of my existence. Okay, this Saturday was the best day of my existence. But I'll get to that later. On Tuesday I was able to go back to my old area again on exchanges! Good old Montreal West. I just LOVE it there! It's fun to run around the bus and metros talking to people I used to be terrified of talking to. Now I'm just like, "Meh." Haha no, it's still just as terrifying, but I've grown to love talking to random strangers more and more the longer I've been out on a mission. I went on the exchange with my great-granddaughter Sister Gutierrez. I'm starting to realize more and more that I'm just one of those OLD missionaries. I'm usually referred to as Big Mama Cutler or Grandma Cutler. Sheesh. Too many babies. In the evening we unexchanged at the BYU-I Sinfonietta concert! I thought for sure that this would be the highlight of my week. It was definitely the second highlight of my week, but I had something better happen. But back to the concert. I chatted up a bunch of girls from BYU-I, and I realized that I too would soon be back on that student track again. GULP! It was a fun experience though. We went to the concert with one of our less active members, a Trinidadian woman who is a joy and a half to be around. I just felt overjoyed to listen to something other than EFY soundtracks and to spend the night with members and a few other missionaries. 

MIRACLE TIME! Another great highlight of the week. We have this super cool couple in our ward. The husband used to be a drummer for a living and is just one of the coolest people you will ever meet. (Seriously, get these people an I'm a Mormon video or something.) Anyway, he invited a woman that he works with to take the missionary discussions! And she totally AGREED! Member-missionary work at its FINEST! It turns out this woman is seriously AMAZING and totally needs the Gospel in her life right now. At first he was afraid to ask her to take the discussions, but like all great member missionaries, he found the courage to just do it! This woman was asking all the right questions and sharing all the right experiences. We had a hard time not sharing everything we knew right then and there. She was so intrigued when we gave her the Book of Mormon that she asked why more people don't know about this amazing book. Please pray for her this week that she will be protected from all those nay-sayers and those weird anti-Mormon websites. Hopefully all goes well!

Alright, now to the big news of my life. Geez Louise. So on Saturday morning I woke up at 6:30am like a good girl and started doing my yoga with Shiva Rea. So there I am in the middle of my shakra namaskar when suddenly Soeur Sherwood rolls in and is like... "Who's Guy?" And I'm like, "What do you mean, 'Who's Guy?'" And she's like, "We just got a text saying that Guy is going to do baptisms for the dead at the temple this morning at 10." Oh my HEAVENS. If I wasn't already on the floor, I totally would have been! In case you don't remember, Guy is my beloved, favorite, amazing recent convert from Quebec City. The next hour was spent in a tizzy, me frantically pacing the house, PRAYING that President Patrick would give me permission to go to the temple in a moment's notice. I have never had so much anxiety in my LIFE! He wasn't answering or texting back, and time was running out! Finally we called up our boyfriends... I mean.. the APs.. and we were like, "Hey, WHY isn't President answering his phone?!?!" Turns out he wasn't even in the same COUNTRY as us, but was at a mission president's seminar in DC. And I'm just like... WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?! THIS IS URGENT! Luckily Sister Patrick was with him AND had her phone. I got the okay after an hour of sheer turmoil, and we were OFF to the temple! Sister Landeen, my fabulous MTC companion, also taught Guy before I came in and replaced her in Quebec City. She's one of the sisters in my zone now, so we did an exchange that morning and both got to go to the temple together! And then get THIS. Turns out it was Quebec City and Ste Foy's ward/branch temple trip. This day seriously could not have gotten any better. Not only did I get to see Guy, but I was also greeted and hugged and loved by my favorite Quebec ward! Aaaaaah! I never ever thought I would see these people again! Words cannot describe the joy that was flooding, gushing, shining from my heart. I may or may not be a *little* obsessed with Quebec City... ha ha. It was just so great to see these people. And they even said I hadn't lost my French! That was a great comfort. 

Okay, so now we get to the temple. I have dreamed of the day I would get to see Guy take his family names to the temple and perform baptisms. He is super into genealogy. In fact, that was a large pull in him joining the church. It was such an incredible, indescribable feeling to see him sitting there in the temple, dressed in white, so much peace and joy in his countenance. I wish I could show you all the mental picture I took of him sitting in front of that baptismal font. One of the most beautiful parts of all was that he asked me to do the baptism for his mother. I have done a few family names of my own before, but never before have I felt such a sweet spirit as when I was baptized for his mother. Truly, Saturday was one of the most spiritual days of my mission. That morning as I lay in bed trying to motivate myself to start my day, I never would have DREAMED that I would be in the temple with Guy, my first mission companion, and so many of my cherished, beloved members from the Quebec ward. I am so grateful Heavenly Father allowed me this opportunity before I go home. I have been so overwhelmingly blessed on my mission. These are experiences you just can't have in any other setting or context of your life. I'll say this for the millionth time, but going on a mission is and will be the best decision I will ever make in this life. :)

Lest you think this perfect day ended with my temple trip, this is only the first half. Somehow I got roped into singing in our Stake's Easter Cantata. I was asked to sing a ridiculously high song called, "Pie Jesu," which I was fairly certain I wouldn't be capable of doing after months and months of not having vocal practice. To make a long story short... I nailed it! Haha! It was so great to sing again. Everyone was just like... "What? Sis Cut can sing?" And I was like, "Yeah, Sis Cut can sing." HA! Bragging, I know! But yeah, I was awesome. ;) The whole concert was fabulous. It was nice to participate, and... well. You know how I love my compliments... VANITY! My worst enemy. And oh, how I love it. 

Well, that was the incredible week that was! It probably won't be that exciting from here on out. It's like everything on my mission is coming full circle... YIKES! It terrifies me that it all seems to be coming to an end so rapidly. I plan on making every moment count! Anyway, I hope you are all enduring finals with peace and hope in your hearts. Praying for you always! Have a radiant, joyous week! I'm bursting at the seams with happiness right now if you can't tell haha. Love you and miss you all! Happy Easter!


Soeur Cutler

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Date with the APs

Bonjour! Aaaah! Qu'est-ce qu'il fait beau! Spring is in the air! I've been rocking my styling rain coat from Simon's, the crisp breeze tangling my silken hair into tiny knots. Montreal is slowly coming back to life! It has been a fabulous, fabulous week. I just don't even know where to begin because my heart is so filled with gratitude for being a missionary and seeing all of these blessed, blessed miracles. How was everyone's week? How are things on the home front? I hear finals week is in your midst... ick. Good luck with that! Special missionary prayers are coming your way!

Alright, so let me first explain the title of this letter lest any of you fear that I will be coming home much sooner than expected. Haha. So. This week one of the zones Sister Sherwood and I are over had a big zone activity up at Mont Royal. Their goal was to take a zone picture together on Montreal's famous montagne (...hill...), and obviously the Sister Training Leaders needed to be in this picture too. Well. No one in this zone has a car except the APs, and then we of course have a car because we travel all over the mission and have to go to Ontario every few weeks. But that's not important. All of the missionaries were running late because they were traveling by bus, whereas us and the APs had no need of public transportation. So we get to the meeting spot. So do the APs. No one else is in sight. I'm just like... uh... well, since I'm like a SUPER awkward sister missionary right now, I'm just going to wait in the car. Unfortunately, my companion had already gotten out of the car and was chatting with the APs. We're just like, "Ehh. The rest of them should be here soon. We'll just stop and chat." Well, twenty minutes go by. NO SIGN of these flippin missionaries. Just us on our double date with the assistants. SCANDAL! Then one of them is like, "Well, should we just start hiking to the look-out spot?" And I'm thinking to myself.... "Hiking... the four of us... look-out spot... windy day... my jacket isn't going to be enough...." Hmmmm. Yeah. NO. I had a mini panic attack. So we all just kind of stood there awkwardly, and I realized that I forget how to make eye contact with boys. FORTUNATELY everyone showed up like ten minutes later, but I'll tell you what. I am going to be THE MOST awkward RM EVER. Oh gosh. Prepare yourselves.

So that was fun! In more spiritual news... One of our returning less active members just received her temple recommend for her ENDOWMENTS! I am BEYOND happy. We scheduled an interview with her and the bishop so that she could receive a recommend to do baptisms, and that night she came out with a recommend for her own endowment! Praise the heavens! We were screaming and crying and so excited! Truly, one of the happiest moments of my mission. This woman is AWESOME! She is coming back SO STRONG! Part of the missionary purpose besides baptism is helping people endure to the end. I'm more of an "endure to the end" missionary. Haha. Temple blessings over baptisms? Yeah, I'm all for it. 

Speaking of temple blessings... I got to go to the temple this week! There is a recent convert of about two years in our ward who went to the temple to receive her endowment on Thursday. Even though we don't really work with her (besides her helping us come out to teach), I just felt this strong impression that missionaries needed to be at her endowment. Her whole conversion story involved missionaries since the very beginning, and I thought, "This woman is seriously the coolest member to have ever joined the church. She can't NOT have missionaries at her endowment." So I told this to the mission president. And miracle of miracles... HE LET US GO! And we had permission to stay out past curfew! What?! It was the happiest day of my life. We drove to the temple with my FAVORITE member family of the ward (the Morales fam) and had a beautiful, special night at the temple with Lawanda and the whole ward! When Lawanda saw us in the temple she was overcome with joy to have missionaries there, and we just hugged and cried and tried not to be irreverent in the temple! Ahhh... mission memories that will warm my soul for a lifetime. After our temple trip it was SUPER late, but the Morales family really, really wanted to take us to McDonald's. Haha. No worries, we went straight home. But... there was a special McDonald's delivery on our doorstep that night at a an hour I won't disclose for fear of exposing my disobedience... haha. It was seriously the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Don't worry, I received my punishment the next morning after my body reminded me that it is DEFINITELY not a good idea to eat Big Macs and fries and root beer past bedtime. ;)

THEN on Sunday all of the missionaries gave talks! And they were SO good! Gosh, this email is full of bragging! But I'm practically at the end of my mission, so I've earned my bragging rights. We were like celebrities up there, people waving to us on the stand, taking photos, posting them on Twitter! Haha only joking. We just got waved at. Still, I felt so loved. My mission is the BEST! Nothing tops the CMM. I used to be jealous of all of those missionaries in Paris, but I've come to love my Quebecois roots, and I wouldn't trade these blessed days for anything in the world!

Well, I hope you all have a dazzling week. I hope you all shrivel up in the heat! Booo. We'll probably be getting another snow storm tomorrow. Reeeerrr. CANADA! Alright, well, I'll let you all get back to studying and grading and working and everything else that normal people do. But remember! I love you all SO much and pray for you daily! Bisou bisou! Take care!



Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Church is True! #LDSConf

March 31, 2014

Hello, my sweet ones! How is everything in the beautiful mountain paradise of Utah? Before you all tell me about how wonderful your spring is right now, just know that we were hit with three massive snowstorms this week and chilling winds. HAPPY SPRING! The locals are going crazy. Haha. It's sad to watch, but more so for me because I feel as if I'm suffering more than anyone. If I don't see the grass by the end of April I'm LEAVING! Meh. Or maybe I'll just stay. It's only an extra couple months anyway.

Alright, enough of my chat about the weather. That's basically all we talk about in Canada because there is an unexpected snowstorm like every five seconds. But I digress. Can you tell I'm bitter about the snow? MOVING ON! This week really was exceptional in every other aspect, besides the fact that I had a near death experience. Pull up a chair! This story is nuts. Okay. So on Tuesday the day was going just splendidly. We spent part of the afternoon with a sister who has been recovering from breast cancer. Because the chemo makes her hands numb, the doctor told her to try to find ways to keep them moving to strengthen them. So there's this mommy/craft craze sweeping the nation right now. Maybe you've heard of it. I certainly hadn't, and probably never would have because I'm horrible at crafts, but this was life changing. This amazing sister invited us over to teach us how to hand-knit infinity scarves! I have never finished a crochet or knitted creation in my life. I've started many a scarf, but have never been able to finish. Well. I will have you know that I, Sylvia Cutler, finished an infinity scarf. In ONE HOUR! BY HAND! No needles. :) It was maybe one of the most fulfilling moments of my life. All those times at Young Women and Girl's Camp and Activity Days when I was looked down upon for my lack of homemaking knowledge... NO MORE! I feel like I conquered that beast. I am so proud of myself!

Okay, but me getting the scarf made is not the near death experience. Let me tell you what happened. So as missionaries we have lots of highly specific rules, one of which is to have someone back you if you EVER put your car in reverse. Well. During our little knitting session, someone had decided to wedge their car behind ours. Great! My companion is 200% obedient, so I still had to back her. The only problem though was that there was maybe like two feet in between us and the car. So I shimmied myself in between the two cars, hoping to back us a TAD so that we could be obedient and get the car out safely. Well. There was also a pile of snow behind the car. My companion pushed the pedal with ALL of her might to get over the pile. BUT WAIT! Guess who was wedged in between two cars. ME! I'll tell you what. I don't think I've ever screamed so loud in ALL of my life! The pain and the fear were excruciating! And as if that wasn't enough, my companion didn't hear me! So she backed the car up even MORE! All the while I'm screaming and my legs are breaking. Finally she saw what was happening and unleashed me. She ran to see if I was okay. I would have crumpled to the ground but I was stuck between the cars! And she LAUGHED at me! SHE LAUGHED! And I was bawling my eyes out, thinking I would be coming home from my mission early for having broken two legs and popping open my kidneys! I have never been so horrified in my life. After the adrenaline wore off, I discovered that my knees were swollen and big fat blood vessels popped, but since I could walk we decided no real damage was done. Still. I've greatly enjoyed telling every person we see this story, and now I can laugh along with Sister Sherwood. But seriously. I could have died!

Alright, moving on. This Saturday was WOMEN'S CONFERENCE!!!! Literally the best thing of my LIFE! The minute that cute little group of 8-year-old girls started singing I unleashed thousands of tears and wails and sobs! And I wish I was exaggerating. It just made me realize that I miss my little sister and that I haven't been there for some important milestones in her life, like baptism. So sad. I cried throughout the whole thing. Literally. Ever talk, every segment. TEARS! What a great conference. I'm so incredibly proud to be a woman, and I have learned so much about the value of sister unity in the church since serving a mission. We should all celebrate our differences as, but we can still be friends and we all have a contribution to make! Love it. Sister power. We had a sister come who hasn't been to church in fifteen years, and she is my favorite, favorite, favorite woman that we visit. I was so happy to see her there, but I was especially happy to see the outpouring of love she received from sisters who have greatly missed her. Love one another! That's basically all we need to know.

Well, I hope you all have an amazing, amazing week! In case anyone was wondering, I'm staying in LaSalle this transfer! With my same companion, Sister Sherwood. THREE TRANSFERS!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOO!!!! I'm super happy we're staying together. We have tons and tons of fun at all hours of the day and night. I'll most likely finish my mission here. It's a great ward! I'll be happy about whatever happens. I just love being a missionary, so I'm happy to serve wherever I'm needed. Anyway, I hope you all have a WONDERFUL day! Enjoy your spring weather. Missing everyone TERRIBLY!


Soeur Cutler

April 7, 2014
The Church is True! #LDSconf

Hello dear ones of the Great Wild West! How is everyone enjoying their lovely spring? Although we are still notquite to spring yet, I am enjoying myself immensely, if not a little too immensely... out here in the Great, still very White North! Conference weekend was sensational. Gotta love that three-day P-day weekend! I have been so inspired in the past 48 hours that I don't even know if I'm the same person anymore. But more about conference in a minute. Let me tell you about my week!

This Wednesday we went to visit our dear 85-year-old friend Sister Ross. This woman really is my favorite person on the planet. She's just so feisty! Thanks to her I have this very pressing desire in my heart to marry a New Zealander and NEVER return! It could happen. I just really love visiting the elderly people in my ward. Since I'm not up in Quebec City with my sweet little eternigator Lucie anymore, I have to get my fix somehow, and Sister Ross definitely does the job. I've been so incredibly blessed by the people I've met as a missionary. It's nice to hear people's stories and get to know what makes them tick and what makes them ticked. Haha. Montreal is full of the world's finest!

On Thursday we had to coordinate the ward list with the elders, so we totally took them on a date to Subway. Technically we're allowed to be with the four of us in public if we're doing missionary work, which we totally were. Our big, lovable, sweet Tahitian elder was just replaced by a kind, innocent elder who has never served with sisters before. Poor thing getting sent to Sister Cutler's ward... haha. Elders love me. Anyway, our meeting was fun. Although it was definitely NOT a date (I promise we went over the ward list and had an effective meeting) it reminded me that I will be going on actual dates all too soon. Meh. I forgot what that was like. Not sure if I want to remember again. I guess I'll know in another four months. Which reminds me...

HAPPY FOURTEEN MONTH MARK to me! Can you believe it? Provo better get ready. I'm about to turn the whole town UPSIDE DOWN!

Back to my story about Thursday. So after we were leaving Subway Sister Sherwood and I went to contact a man on the street. He was super nice but wasn't interested. Kind of kooky. THEN as we're walking away, he's like, "Girls, I need to tell you something." And we're like, "Yes?" In our sweet sister missionary voices. And he says, "I don't think you two really have a conviction of your beliefs. I don't feel like you actually believe what you're telling me. You should ask yourselves if you're really doing this for the right reasons or if you're just phony." And I was like, "EXCUSE ME?!?!?" But I couldn't because I'm a sister missionary. But really, if I didn't have full and complete confidence in my beliefs, that God is my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives, why would I go up to a complete stranger on the street and testify that I believe? Grrr. People are irksome. But it was a good opportunity to reflect about why I'm here, and I was just blown away by the fact that I do know these things to be true, and I have loved every minute of being a missionary. I'm never going to let anyone tell me ever again that I'm being coerced or manipulated into being a missionary and sharing my beliefs. Interesting experience. Anyway, thought I'd share.

This weekend was, of course, completely and utterly fantastic! We started our morning with a wonderful less active woman and the Relief Society President. This inactive woman is remarkable, and our visits always bring such a sweet spirit to my heart the rest of the day. After the visit we went and had brunch at our Ward Mission Leader/Relief Society President's house. He made us Sea Food Crepes, which were, in all honesty, the best thing I've ever eaten. I nearly spit out my food though as I was getting a spiritual slap in the face from Elder Holland. Haha! He is excellent! I loved every minute of that conference. Afterward we went to the church in the middle of the first session to see if any of our investigators or less actives were there. We were invited to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet across the street by one of our dear single members, and older man who is just as cute as a button and has a wicked stamp collection. So in between sessions we went out with him, even though I was already stuffed from sea food crepes. It was so fun to spend time with him though! Haha. We're trying desperately to set him up with one of our returning members, but she isn't seeing the light. One day she'll get there. Well, the day got even better. ANOTHER single man in the ward (the one who gave us flowers and chocolates for Valentine's Day) invited us to go to the SAME buffet for dinner after the next session. I was like, "Four months to sexy....? ....Nah. Okay! We'll go!" Haha these men just love us. Well, our friend from the previous date saw us leaving with our new date at the end of the second session, and he was like, "Where are you going with Brother Bowden?" And I felt as if I was being disloyal to a boyfriend or something.... haha. We sheepishly told him the truth, which resulted in him coming along AGAIN. And then another older brother decided to come with us! Can you imagine? Two cute sister missionaries with an escort of three of the cutest old men you ever did see. Haha. It was definitely one of the highlights of my mission, and I'll have the pounds to help me remember it for years to come. 

Conference was exceptional! I especially enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf''s talk, but that's no surprise. He will always, ALWAYS be my favorite. I also really enjoyed Elder Hallstrom's talk from the Priesthood Session. He spoke to us a couple weeks ago, so he has a beloved place in my heart too now. I would have to say though, that of all the talks, I LOVED the prophet's message the most on Sunday. Really, this is a gospel of love. Let's not let anything else get in the way of that. Gosh, I love being a member of this church, and I especially love being a missionary. I wish I could go on like this forever!

Well, I better be going. I've regaled you all with stories for long enough. I hope everyone is doing exceptionally well. BIG FAT SHOUT OUT AND CONGRATULATIONS TO KARENNA TROUTNER for getting ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!! And not getting married before I get home. :) EVEN BETTER! YAY!!!! I love you and Austin and I KNOW you will be so joyously happy together! See you this summer! I cannot wait! Anyway, have a beautiful week, my loves! Miss you to the stars and beyond. LOVE YOU ALL!