Sister Michelle Hoar

Serving in the France Lyon Mission Nov 2012 – April 2014

“I’m grateful for missionary invincibility”

Bonjour tout le monde!

So I just got back from visiting this little tourist town in the mountains that a member suggested to us. She said that they do horse-drawn carriage rides so we were pretty excited. Only thing was, we didn’t exactly fit in with France opening hours. There was a cute little market though so we picked up some bread and cheese and I felt a bit sick on the way back after all the free samples. As we were waiting for the bus there was a man waiting too and we spoke to him in french but then I realised that his french was very similar to mine…that’s because he was from Kidderminster! We had a great chat on the way back, he wasn’t really interested in the gospel and I found out that reciting the first vision in English is now way harder than french, I did a right bodge job. Anyway you have no idea how nice it was to talk to someone so close to home. ça me fait du bien (it did me some good).

This week we just kinda traveled. a lot. We went to Geneva for zone conference which as usual was brilliant, learnt so much. The train left just before 7am and then got back at 8pm. The following day we went to Bellegarde to teach Pascale, from Annecy it’s like the equivalent of going to Newcastle/Stoke but because there’s no direct route it usually takes a couple of hours each way but if you get on the wrong train and go to Lyon on the way back it takes a few more hours. So two straight days of just being on trains. The mission life is so exciting! Par contre, we did meet a couple of cool people yesterday and there’s such a buzz you get when someone just accepts a Book of Mormon or you set up a RDV with someone.

Christ came to church this week! Yay! It is so hard getting people to church so that was a little miracle and he had a good time, felt at ease and of course felt the spirit.

Thank you for the advice about working with members. We had a good laugh about how to ask people if they had friends who would be interested in the gospel.

I don’t think I told you about Gaston…yep we taught someone called Gaston. Hakim just turned up with a friend that he wanted us to meet and it was maybe the funniest RDV I’ve had. This guy just turns up under the influence of some not so legal things and is just happy to chat…he’d have probably been happy to do anything, he was that high. In fact, Every so often I had Hakim start laughing next to me because Gaston has pink painted nails. A few hours afterwards my sweet Utah companion asks me if it was cologne or alcohol she could smell from him.

We’re not just teaching crazy people though, we do have wonderful progressing investigators but Russ told me to write funny stories.

I hope all is going well with the new bishopric. I hope everyone feels better soon. I’m grateful for missionary invincibility, the amount of times that I’ve felt like I’m coming down really ill and then I’m completely fine is crazy but I love it. We spoke to a lady today who didn’t really believe that we have miracles day-to-day but I see them all the time. We are so ridiculously blessed, at times we just need to recognise it. I know I’m guilty of not seeing the wood through the trees sometimes but really, we’re just so looked after.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you so much, what a strength to have such support at home.

Lots and lots of love

from Soeur Hoar

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“I esteem myself to be at about the level of a 2 yr old”

“Bonjour tout le monde,

Wow, thank you all so much for your emails, the internet café now probably think I’m crazy because I laughed out loud so many times, I just hope they didn’t see me welling up a few times…that would be weird. Really though, I feel such a boost from them all, there were so many things that I needed to hear so thank you,

So big news in Telford ward! That’s gonna be fun! Big news in Annecy branch, usually we get between 35-40 people at sacrament meeting but this week was 62. It’s either that we’ve worked super hard this week or…it was branch conference.

My french…everyone wants to know how my french is coming along. I’m pleased to announce that I esteem myself to be at about the level of a 2 yr old. I can generally understand what people are telling me and if not I hope I’m not in trouble and when I speak people think it’s cute that I’m trying and congratulate me for my efforts. I do occasionally forget the English for things which is a really weird experience and I do have the occasional french dream but it usually involves me asking people how to say things in french and getting frustrated that they don’t know the answer.

Oh forgot to mention that at conference we had Elder Boutoille show up, that was kinda cool and he told a story that he said he heard while visiting an English stake and I’d heard the story before, it was so weird. It was the story about the sister who buys a kitkat on the way back from the temple and then thinks that the people sitting opposite her ate it but it was actually her that ate theirs…don’t know if that rings any bells?

So I don’t know if I told you that we’re teaching Christ at the moment. No joke, he’s from Congo and he’s really cool but I can only understand half of what he says because his accent is so strong. When he’s not around we just call him Chris, feels way too weird otherwise.

Have I ever told you about Hakim? He’s a less active that we work with. Anyway, I’m playing the closing hymn in sacrament meeting and out of the corner of my eye I see a man walk past in a cowboy hat and a sheriff’s badge, it was so hard to hold myself together. He is one of a kind, just remind me to tell you about him when I come home because anything I write won’t do him justice. Not that you’ll remember this email in a year or so’s time.

So the focus at the moment is working with members. I don’t really know the way to do that. In fact I don’t really know the way you do anything, I feel like a toddler learning to walk and just falling over every few seconds and then when I do manage to walk a few steps it just looks really funny and awkward. Anyway, if you have any tips about working with members then please let me know, we have very few but they’re all really strong I just don’t know how to turn that into a great missionary team.

Can’t think of too much that has really happened this week. We taught some cool people, I got humbled, I learned lots, we laughed at how odd life is. I can’t imagine ever not doing this. I just feel like this is all there is to life and I will just forever be a missionary.

So Soeur Layton, I am finding out more and more is a great cook! I am eating so well right now, I’ll just be like ‘I put some pasta on, will you make it taste nice?’, then she’ll laugh and put in all these magic ingredients and spices and stuff and hey presto, it tastes great. Yep, I still love my pasta!

Ok, I hope you all have a wonderful week, I really did love emails this week, they filled me right up. We’re off now to see Soeur Leveque and then teach Silvère, so if you read this before 6.30 you can pray for our lesson.

Lots and lots of love

from Soeur Hoar

p.s. let me know if there’s anyone that side of the language barrier who needs prayers

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“We have a new ami, she’s so great”

Bonjour tout le monde!

Ok, if you were to see Annecy today or even over the weekend you would think I was on holiday rather than on a mission. Be jealous, be very jealous. It’s like at least mid 20s, the sun is shining and I’m in the prettiest little town in France. After emails we’re going to the park by the lake to have a picnic and an ice-cream and then a bit of shopping because the weather is so hot that I actually don’t have any clothes suitable (at least not now I’ve gained weight). Yep, missions are just super hard.

We had zone training in Geneva this week and I don’t know if I told you but Elder Gruber (the one we had over for dinner on holiday last year) is my zone leader, how crazy! He totally still remembers us all and apparently dad spoke to his friend serving in Manchester.

We have a new ami, she’s so great. Her name is Pascale and you would think she’s a member already. She has family who are LDS and they’ve been amazing missionaries for her. Seriously, we do nothing, we just turn up to find people who’ve been prepared y the Lord for years and our purpose is so simple ‘Inviter les gens à venir au Christ’. All we do is invite and then we get to feel the Lord’s love for these people. She doesn’t have a date yet but she will soon, she just wants to feel more ready. She’s so in tune with the spirit and we invited her to pray about a date so I’m sure she’ll have one soon.

I had some really bad news the other day. I got a call from Michèle just after she got a call from the doctor saying that they’re predicting she only has a year and a half left to live. I just sat in silence, what could I say. I had no idea how much I would love these people and I’m just praying for a miracle. There’s now such a real sense of urgency for her baptism and really that’s the same kind of urgency that I should feel with everyone. Please pray that she can stop smoking. She’s set another date for 28th April and I pray and hope so much that she’ll get there.

Every morning we read from the white handbook and this morning we read about not being able to hold children and both agreed that is the hardest rule to keep. I read a talk this morning called ‘The Meaning of the Atonement’ and it talked about how it’s all possible because Heavenly Father is exactly obedient and he walks on the razor edge of celestial laws. I know that through obedience comes power and it’s through obedience that we prepare for life with Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom.

Ok, something funny I learned this week is that Soeur Layton is great at attracting old Muslim men. It’s hilarious, without exception, whenever they see her you just see in their eyes that it’s love at first sight. We were street contacting in Geneva after zone training and we get talking with this man, who fits the above description and he is just smitten with her. He tells her never to leave Suisse and she says if he gets baptised she’ll consider it. He responds that he will if she’s the one who does it. So super creepy but super funny. We passed his number to the Elders.

Now that we’ve been together for a couple of weeks and got to know each-other better it’s just so much fun and we’re learning so much off each-other. We balance each-other nicely beacuse I’m a super stress head and she’s more a bubbly, free spirited, extrovert. This is going to be a great transfer and it’s already going so fast. I don’t want it to because we know for a fact that everyone is training next transfer…aaahhh!! And I don’t want to leave Annecy!

Anyway, thank you everyone for your support, I feel your prayers for me and the work. I hope everyone is doing well. I love you all so much.

Lots and lots of love
from Soeur Hoar

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“The French don’t have a word for awkward”

Bonjour!

Conference was amazing and has never gone so fast! Seriously didn’t think that was possible. I mean, I love General Conference but come on, 2 hours is a long time but it went by super fast. I got to watch it in English which was such a blessing. We went to Geneva where they have four wards and one of them is an English ward. Sleeping over at the English Soeurs apartment was fun, the Spanish soeurs came over in the morning and all 6 of us had breakfast and studies together. With 6 sisters in one room we upped the cheese and sang ‘As Sisters in Zion’ and recited the young women’s theme in our respective languages.

Soeur Layton is great, she was in the same MTC group as Soeur Reintjes so they know each other really well. It’s been a big shock to the system not having my trainer with me and I’ll be honest it’s been a tough week but just because of the sudden responsibility I have and of course I stress out way too much. We had a day this week where we wanted to see an ami in Bellegarde which is like two train rides out of Annecy and takes a good couple of hours. With one thing after another going wrong we ended up being in transport for about 7 hours and not even getting to see Pascale (our ami). I couldn’t believe it and I was so frustrated but Soeur Layton is a great influence for me and she was like ‘hey, we did nothing wrong, it just happens’. So now we can just laugh about it and count it as a learning experience. She’s really bubbly and optimistic and that’s exactly what I need and of course what this secteur needs.

I don’t know whether I told you about our three hour mangez-vous (dinner appointment) but all that really does is reminds me I’m in France.

I miss going to the Temple so much. It’s surprised me some of the things that I miss and the things I can do without, like piano is just not even an issue for me…can you ever picture me not being interested in playing the piano??

I’m trying hard to think of funny stories for you this week but I’m coming up a bit short, there’s so many strange people that you meet in the week that it’s hard for any of them to really stand out. When we were stuck in Bellegarde for a bit we did a bit of contacting and I spoke to an old man who wasn’t interested but he stroked my cheek and told me I was beautiful…erm creeped out was not the word. Soeur Layton says she has a talent for attracting old Muslim men. On that note my Muslim spotting is getting a lot better. We’re not allowed to contact them so you have to be careful. French Muslims are not the same as English ones so it’s taken a bit of practice. We’re also not allowed to contact anyone under 18 and sometimes it’s a bit hard to tell. I was calling some potentials and I tried to set up a rdv with someone we met on the bus and he was like ‘oh I can’t on that day because I have a school football match’….awkward. The French don’t have a word for awkward and that’s a good thing because then I can just pretend like situations are just ok. I’m starting to develop a love for awkwardness though because it’s pretty much how you feel the entire day.

It sounds really cool about the ‘Mormon Campaign‘, I bet that musical will do more good than bad for missionary work. Here in France Mitt Romney has certainly made people so much more aware of the church, although I had one guy a few weeks ago trying to convince me that Barak Obama is Mormon despite my many efforts to explain. I’ve finally got the accent about right when I say ‘Mormon’, no one used to understand me until Soeur Reintjes taught me the technique, apparently you just wretch a bit more on the ‘r’…oh French, how I love you.

Love you all so much, I hope you had a wonderful conference, only 6 months to wait for the next one!

Lots and lots of love

from Soeur Hoar

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“I’m now with Soeur Layton… from Orem, Utah.”

“Hello!

Today has been pretty messed up with transfers so I’m on the old computer in the chapel that takes forever to load. It also means I don’t have that much time to write because it’s kinda late and we need to share one computer.

Anyway, transfer news; I get to stay in Annecy but Soeur Reintjes has gone to Nice and I’m now with Soeur Layton who’s from Orem, Utah.

The week has been great as always, ups and downs but the bad gets so swallowed up in the good that it’s ok. Life is just such an adventure and every day has new experiences. I’m not a fan of change and I’m finding it so strange not having Soeur Reintjes with me but Soeur Layton is lovely and I’m sure that we’ll have a great time together. I guess I need to get used to change though seeing as I have the prospect of a big change every 6 weeks.

The week has just disappeared in my head as I’m trying to write, I think I’m just a bit all caught up in the stress of transfers.

I experienced a real French meal appointment this week: 5 courses…3 hours! Then by miracle we were invited over to another members house that night and only had a 2-3 hour break before we were eating raclette which is just like a bunch of potato, cheese and meat. Really good but wow were we full. Also at the members house was a family from England! (Bishop of Birmingham ward) I can’t tell you how nice it was to talk with an English family, it was like I was home for a little bit. I found myself asking about football and stuff…that was weird and I found myself getting really excited about Tottenham being 3rd at the moment. The mission is changing me in ways I never saw coming 🙂

So, life is good, I’m sorry this is so short but I’m shattered after the hour change and traveling all day.

I love you all so much. Sorry if I haven’t replied to questions, i’ll try better next week.

lots and lots of love
Michelle
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