Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 3 in Mulhouse (Katie)

Dad and family!

Wow what a week you guys have had! It sounds like you had tons of fun! Sr. Hafen has sisters the same ages as my brothers, wink wink! ;) She has a brother that's 18, but after that sisters who are 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8. Her family is so stinkin cute. And so is mine! The things you send me, Mom and Dad, are so inspired I cry. Like all the time. Not because I'm homesick, but because I feel the Spirit SO strongly when I read your letters/emails and pretty much every second of my life right now. I love it. And conference sounded so fun!

We're about to go to a Creperie here in town for Sr. Hafen's birthday...ah the joys of France.... It's weird because everything is so different public bathrooms. They don't have public bathrooms. They also don't have drinking fountains. Weird, right?

Anyway, about my French. Oh my goodness le Don des Langues (Gift of Tongues) is real. I haven't even been here for 3 whole weeks and I don't even get headaches anymore. I can understand probably...95% of the French. At DMP meeting the other night I literally finally felt like I could be a part of the conversation because I understood everything! My grammar needs help and my vocab needs help, but I feel the Spirit translating this ridiculously hard language everywhere I go. And it really is amazing because when we're teaching lessons, and I don't have the words to say what I want to say, it's okay. Because when it comes time for me to testify, I have the words. Every time it surprises me the words that come out of my mouth, words that I didn't even know I knew. People tell me all the time, "Oh, wow, your French is fabulous! Only 3 weeks, really? You are such a fast learner!" But the thing is, it's not me. Not even. The church is true, guys. :) We also taught my very first street lesson this week! To a Muslim woman and her son (yeah, en fait, the population of Mulhouse is probably 50% Muslim). Super cool because I actually participated. No more silent companion! ;)

Let me tell you about my amis...they are the BEST. I absolutely love them all. I don't even have  enough time to tell you about all of them, but here are some updates on the ones I think I've already told you about:

Elodie and Giovanni: Wow. I love this family. They already have such a desire to learn and to become closer to God and Christ. And we've only taught them 3 times! We're having a soirée familiale (family home evening) with them tonight and a little birthday celebration for Sr. Hafen and I'm SUPER excited. They are super young. I think they're both 20, and their little daughter Julia is 9 months. :) Also, so funny story, we found out this week that Elodie is Jewish, and we have this Elder from southern France who Sr. Hafen THOUGHT was Jewish before he joined the church and so she called him up to ask him some questions about Jewish beliefs and he was like, "Uhh...I was born in the church...but I taught someone Jewish." and she was like, "YES! That's what I meant." We laughed about it for days. :))))

Mirjana: Mirjana has SUCH a strong testimony. It amazes me every time we meet with her. The only thing holding her back is her husband...she even told us she feels like she's ready to take the next step and be baptized! But she doesn't feel like she can do it without the support from her husband, who drinks and pretty much doesn't believe in God at all. Please pray that his heart will be softened and will be willing to be taught by us. :)

Muslim Family: We taught a Muslim family this week! Technically, we have to get permission from President in order to teach Muslims because it's a danger to their lives, but only if they agree to be taught. This was just like a firs ttime thing (and apparently a onetime thing...). They said they let us come because they don't judge other religions, but will never be willing to change religions. So we're not going to see them was weird teaching a family who doesn't believe that Jesus Christ is le fils de Dieu (the son of God). Like that is what our message is about. Like what?

Okay, GENERAL CONFERENCE. I loved it. We were able to have a room all to ourselves and watch it in English (with the Elders from here and from Colmar and Belfort as well). We only got the first 3 sessions because of the time difference. The second Sunday session didn't start until 10pm on Sunday. Hahaha yeah no we can't do that. We're missionaries. But I LOVED it. Every word was so inspired I could hardly take my eyes off of the screen the entire time. I missed the cinnamon rolls...but we bought candy and ate that during the sessions instead. :) We invited probably close to 50 people to conference and guess how many people came! None. But oh well, it takes 6 encounters with the church before someone figures out it's the truth, right? So that's good.

This is so random but I've been thinking about this a lot for some reason. Dad and Beth, you would die here in France--there are cats EVERYWHERE. Everyone has cats. And dogs actually, now that I think about it. We met a lady porting who had 9 dogs. But seriously, there are probably like 10 cats roaming around on every single street. It's crazy weird. And something else slightly bizarre (and also random) is that I got this rash on my wrist one night...I had an allergic reaction to a plastic bag! By the time I figured it out the hive-like things were all the way up both my arms and all over my wrists and hands. Itched so bad. Good thing that's over...:)

Okay, so we had a zone conference in PARIS this week!!!! Isn't that awesome? It was amazing. Les dirigeants de l'église sont très inspirés. (The leaders of the Church are very inspired.) We didn't have any lessons or anything that day because we literally had to leave by 5:30 in the morning and got back at 8:30 that night. But it was incredible. And that is where I got to meet lots of people! I met Sr. Bennion and we talked for a while. Love her. She is absolutely adorable :) (I'm at an internet cafe so I can't send pictures, but next week I will for sure!) I also met Elder Nelson, Jacob's MTC comp! How cool is that? He is super funny and totally knew who I was and recognized me and stuff. This other Elder who I can't remember his name came up to me and was like, "Are you the famous sister?!" He was in the MTC with Jacob as well :) And I met Elder Guymon! Remember, from the wedding reception? He's the one that recognized my name and asked if I knew the Keables. I said yeah, duh. JK, but like really it was such a fun experience! And such a spiritual boost. And such a good French lesson! I didn't even need écouteurs (headphones)! A lot of the new missionaries need them to be able to actually understand what's going on.

I love you all so much. Keep sending pictures!  Keep studying the LdM! Best book in the whole world :) 

à la prochaine! (until next time!)

Sœur Pettingill

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