Monday, September 2, 2013

Semaine 5! (Toulon)


I don't think I can stress enough how fast time seems to be flying here in France! It might just be that I am still 10 hours ahead of America but I don't know. They say that days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days on the mission. I felt that very much in the MTC but I don't know. Here it feels more like days feel like hours and weeks feel like minutes. 

Well I am really sorry but I didn't have time last week to send off any letters or the pictures so those will be heading off today! Last Monday was just a little hectic :) But now I am back on the ball and hopefully everyone that sent me something will get something back! Thanks for Katie's address because now I can send her letter to the MTC and it will be waiting there for her :) Tell her to go see Sister Coleman and Frere Starita in Building 8! It is a possibility she may not be with all the other French missionaries because all the two weekers were in a different residence and building for classes! But who knows :) Also as far as the Temple film, they mentioned it in the MTC and it has become the talk of the mission and there are a good amount of missionaries who are ready to go see it! I guess I would have been able to see it in the MTC if the Provo temple wasn't being worked on while I was there!

Also, apparently Cannes, one of the other villes (city/town) in our district, has a member that was baptized like 40 years ago by a Pettingill!!! The family name is Monier so if you get the chance maybe figure out who in our family secretly served in this mission like 40 years ago :) I did two exchanges last week which was new for me! They are super fun and it is awesome to be able to both learn from other missionaries and go to new villles! They also made me more grateful for my trainer! The first exchange I mentioned last week was with Elder Martinez and it was in Cannes. That was an interesting experience because we really had to think for ourselves. A lot of the little things that Elder Frandsen does for me, I had do now do with Elder Martinez. So it was a great learning experience and made both of us think really hard. We had come up with our own ideas for what to do with our time and make goals that we wanted to accomplish and now there were two imperfect french speakers who couldn't just turn to their left or right for someone to catch them as they started drowning. The second exchange our DL came to Toulon and we did the exchange. Again I learned a lot because he basically let me lead because it is my area and now I had to make all the decisions

I am glad to hear that the scouts are still going on campouts! There isn't much scouting out here because of the lack of boys that age.. It is amazing how many things we are blessed with in the US because of the great church membership! I tried another cheese this week and it is called roquefort... Nasty. Basically it is just cheese and mold. It wasn't too bad on bread but there is this nasty sock aftertaste... Yeah it isn't something I would just eat for fun... (well maybe I would, but if I could choose a cheese out of all the flavors... it wouldn't be roquefort...)

I have started to make calls this week which has been good and. It gets hard sometimes when people talk quietly or quickly but then I just pass it on to Elder Frandsen and we're all good. Also engages (a french term he used in one letter that I didn't recognize) are investigators with a baptismal date...

Another cool thing that happened is that there is this American who is here in Toulon with a Mexican restaurant, who the missionaries have been giving service to for a while now, and one of his friends back home saw a picture of us with him and messaged him telling him that she wanted to sponsor a meal every month for us at his restaurant through paypal! So awesome! So we ate for free last Samedi (Saturday)! He is a really nice guy and we want to somehow get him to take the lessons. He just loves us and has tons of LDS friends and knows all about us and had friends throughout his life who were LDS!

Also I just want to give my thoughts on French members of the church... They are literally amazing. I have seen several members that work with us pretty often give, give, give, give, to us and others, and they get like nothing in return. What I mean is they have almost nothing temporally and just continue to be beat down by temptations and trials like no other. The active members here are a true example to me of being truly converted to the gospel. It is like in Alma 20 something where it talks about the Anti-Nephi Lehis and how they would die before they go to battle and break the covenants they have made. These people have so much faith, and so many hardships. 

It is true that that kind of faith does not just come and it can take years sometimes to be like these people. Just this week Elder Sanchez (in our apartement) got in contact with one of the people he had baptized here in Toulon but had gone to the Army. This man is now inactive and says that we are just too strict. It is so sad to think that this man, who probably bore strong testimony just a couple months ago, now doesn't want to "fall into our trap again". It really just emphasizes to me the importance of being humble and using the Atonement. We have one of the most awesome gifts and privileges as members of the church to literally be lifted to a level we could never be through the Atonement and I think we lose sight of that sometimes. 

Well I love you all and hope everything is going well!!

Elder Pettingill

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