Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 4 Transfer 2 (Jacob-Toulon)

This will be my last "that week went by fast" comment and we can now just assume the week was way too fast. It was a pretty crazy week! We started with Monday and a very awesome P-Day! The miracles started pouring out as soon as it hit 6 o'clock. We started contacting and it was literally pouring rain and the wind was blowing sooooo hard!!! We were so tempted to stay in and just make calls and do area book work until the end of the night but we decided that it was the time to get out. (Oh also Elder Blythe hurt his back earlier in the day from lifting something and it really hurt his back to the point that he could not move. He was still feeling that as we sat in our apartment Monday night, and after a priesthood blessing we decided to go out and just go hard for the 3 hours of the night.) We got out and started walking slowing both because of the wind and Elder Blythe's back but we were contacting those on route. Then we were about halfway down the road when we got an even bigger blast of wind and we contacted this lady, explained a little, while taking cover, and asked if we could pray with her right then. (Now remember the wind was literally strong enough to knock down a small child.) So we prayed right there and then explained for a couple minutes our message and then asked her to pray to finish. She said yes and began, but said nothing. So we sat there for about a minute with only the wind raging in our ears, but the spirit began to testify and it got the point where tears were coming to us all. She said I don't want to ruin the feeling and she just ended in the name of Jesus Christ. We left her and went back on our way. Then Elder Blythe noticed his back wasn't hurting anymore. That is when you KNOW, there are ministering angels there bearing us up and testifying to those with whom we come in contact. (Interesting that mom then sends a talk in the weekly letter about ministering angels...) 

That was an amazing experience and then when we taught her just the other day we found out that her mom had just died a couple days earlier which only confirmed our witness of the préparation she has already had. Amazing. so then we had another amazing day the next day with Zone Conference! (plus interviews) To explain the conference schedule, every transfer, we have 2 District meetings, 2 Zone meetings and 2 weeks off.  One of the zone meetings is "Zone Training" and is run by the Zone Leader and President is not there. Then "Zone Conference" is run by President and his wife and the assistants.  We had that last week.

That was awesome because we got to Nice early (around 8) and so Elder Blythe and I  just contacted everyone on the way and we ended up teaching someone right before getting on a bus and then got their number. So that was a nice little present to give to the Zone Leaders when we got to the chapel.  and we got learn all about how to baptize!!! President taught us and he gave us the secret. He told us the one thing that if we use it we will instantly baptize more. No I am just kidding, unfortunately it doesn't work that way. We talked all about service and how when we serve people, we gain a love for them and it is super awesome! Interviews were good. President Roney is sooo smart, inspired, and funny! It is so awesome to be able to talk with him and just bear my soul out with my hours of questions and comments and worries and problems. Well actually the interview was only about 5 minutes...They really depend on the missionary having stuff to talk about and next time I am going to try to glean more this amazing man of a leader.

Elder Kunzler is our new Zone leader and is super great! I have already met him several times and he trained an Elder that was in the MTC with me. He is super funny and plein d'energie (full of energy). 

So that was Zone Conference in Nice and we ate super well because one of the ward members ( a professional cook) made us a 5 course meal including sugared fruit and personal chocolate lava cakes with super good frosting. But then we left, full and me and Elder Kunzler started our exchange in Toulon. It started off well and we started by running about 300 yards to catch a bus (while I was carrying my large suitcase that I had used to carry our supplies that we ordered from the office, 2 boxes of BoM and many other things) That was super tiring but we made it to the bus and ended up meeting one of the amis of Elder Kunzler that was on the bus but had received a little opposition and they hadn't seen her in a while. Then we missed our train so we got back in Toulon (abt a 2 hour train ride) a little before 9. We set some good goals and then the next day we gave out 8 copies of the Book of Mormon! We met this girl that works at Chez Gringo and she was super interested! Elder Kunzler is an amazing missionary and I hope someday to be a little like him.

Well I would love to tell you more but I am out of time...




It's a Wonderful Life (Katie-Mulhouse)

Hi wonderful family!

I'm seriously in such a good mood. It was a hard week, but a such a GREAT week at the same time! We had a LOT happen this week, actually. Mirjana...oh Mirjana...she's had a baptismal date for 30 Novembre, but she told us a few days ago that she can't do it without the support of Nijas. She wants SO badly to have a normal family that goes to church and that does family night each Monday night and she wants SO badly to be baptized. But she doesn't feel like she can stop smoking without the support of Nijas who smokes and drinks a. lot. Ah I am SO grateful for a dad who supports our family. Who has a job. Who actually takes care of his kids. Who has a relationship with Jesus Christ. I know I need to be Christ-like and just love him, but he just makes me so frustrated. He does nothing. He's never home with his kids. And he makes Mirjana feel like she's a bad person because she just wants to yell at him all the time. Please PLEASE  pray that he will have a cœur adouci (soft heart) and have not just the desire to change, but the will to.

Some good news though, XHOANA AND ARDIAN CAN GET BAPTIZED!!! We called Pres, and he gave us the go ahead with their baptism. Apparently you don't have to be a legal citizen to be baptized :) Continue to pray that their demande d'asile (request for asylum) will go well, and that they will be able to stay in France. Their date is 6 decembre right now. Right before transfers. I just love them so much. We had a family night with them last night at a member's home, and they just GET it. You know?? Xhoana even told us, I'm so ready to be baptized! Yeah, they're so cool. I sent a picture of me, Sr. Hafen, and them and Marjan who is also getting baptized on the 6th last week I think. I love them so much.

We also met this new adorable family! The mom's name is Mimi, and she has two little boys, Victor and Ishmael. It was actually the Elders who met her originally, but they passed her to us because she isn't married. She's just so ready to receive the gospel!! Sr. Hafen and I decided that we love Africans. They're already so humble and ready for the gospel, it makes our job a lot easier ;) AND get this. Her native language is Takitaki (like literally, it's pronounced talkie-talkie). I laugh out loud everytime!! Yes, it's a real language. But yeah she's so cute :)

We also had EXCHANGES this week! And this week we got to go to Torcy, which is right outside of Paris! My second exchanges ever :) I was with Sœur Mataalii (Mat-ah-lee-ee). She's Samoan origin, but is from LA area and knows Simi Valley! She's like Tiana Clements, though, in that she's tiny! It was so fun. I learned so much. Sr. Mataalii only has a transfer and a half LEFT (the opposite of me) and it was so fun to go contacting with someone on the other end of a mission. Her French is beautiful, and we had a blast! We didn't have any lessons planned, but we met lots of awesome people. We also ate lunch at Hector's Chicken (kind of like Chick-Fil-A) and it was super yummy.

They have this sauce here called Samurai sauce and it's SO good with chicken. It's kind of like fry sauce, but spicy. :) Later, because it was officially Sr. Hafen's HALFWAY POIINT OF HER MISSION, we had to each get a religieuse for the train ride home.

It was super yummy! Kind of like a cream puff filled with chocolate except better. We also got to try choucrout (shoe-croot) this week! It was a mangezvous with a member. It's an alsacien specialty here, and everyone tells us we have to try it. And now we have!

It was pretty yummy, too! We got to try 5, yes FIVE, different types of meat. Plus the choucrout, which is like this noodley stuff that kind of has a sour taste to it. It was good though! I like Mulhouse. ;)

We did have a little experience I wanted to share with you all. We met this lady porting one time, and on Tuesday we had a little bit of time before out mangezvous with a member, so we decided to go and see her! Her name is Eva and she said she's been trying to "retrouve" (find) her faith for 7 years. At first she wouldn't even let us pray with her because she said she wasn't ready, but after talking for a while and learning all of the awful things that have happened to her (it's so strange--French people are so closed but just tell you everything about their life at the same time...), we HAD to leave her with a prayer. So we asked her again, and she let us in! And Sr. Hafen asked me to say the prayer, so I did. It was one of those times when the Spirit took over and the words just came. And when I finished, I looked up at Eva and tears were just pouring down her face. She told us thank you, and asked us to come back. She then proceeded to give us her phone number. What a MIRACLE. She's amazing.

Guys, the gospel is true. The Book of Mormon changes lives. It amazes me how incredibly wonderful being a missionary is because of all of the amazing experiences we get to see. I love French and I love Mulhouse and I love the food, but even more importantly, I LOVE this gospel with all my heart and with all my mind and with all my strength. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me the principles of the gospel. I'm so grateful to have been born in a family with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all so much!! Also, Christmas is coming soon and it also puts me in such a good mood, haha. The decorations are UP here! And Christmas market is open. :) The Alsace Region goes CRAZY for Christmas. And I love it!

Love you all!

Sœur Pettingill

We also had a big family home evening with our amis and some of the Elders amis, and Ardian played the guitar! Cause he's awesome. And we had lots of food. It was fun :)

We visited a less-active (due to health problems), Sr. Casy, this week and she MADE this!!! So obviously I needed a picture. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Matthew 5:16 (Katie-Mulhouse)

Hi Family!! 

First of all, I'm pretty sure we're only supposed to have one pday per week...and it feels like it hasn't been long enough to have been a whole week already...correct me if I'm wrong. This week went by SO fast!! It kind of scares me. Right now I'm just trying to live day by day, and hopefully it will go a little bit slower. :)

Thanks for all the pictures!  Funny thing, Dad, about you sharing Jacob 5 is that I read that exact same chapter in French/English (I read it in both right now) this week and had that EXACT same though that I shared with Sr. Hafen. She even thought it was weird. Haha I guess great minds think alike! ;) I really do love it though. I love it that the Lord is humble enough to labor WITH us in his vineyard, when He could just leave us and command us from afar. And I really do feel it. I see the hand of the Lord in this work every single day. I see miracles, even the little ones, every single day. It's incredible.

Speaking of miracles, let me tell you about our amis. Mirjana has been hit HARD with opposition this week, and it's been really hard on her. She is already fragile, and Satan knows that she is and also that she wants to be baptized and is even hitting her with everything that he can. She kind of relapsed into smoking again in order to deal with it all, and I just feel for her. We've been praying a lot for her. Actually, we had a little miracle happen on Sunday with her. She didn't come to church, so we had been trying to call her all day to try to see her that night but she wasn't home. Finally, after dinner we were calling and calling and she still wasn't answering and we weren't really sure what to do. Should we just...leave and go contact and call her tomorrow? So we said a prayer and we asked Heavenly Father to help us know what to do. Then we decided to call her one more time...and she answered! But it was already like 8:00 by that time and she said it was too late. Then she proceeded to tell us all about how she had been feeling that day and how she smoked a lot and she was so stressed and how she didn't know if she could do this with everything that had happened. She kept forgetting to pray and read the LdM (Book of Mormon) and she felt so bad. Right then I felt impressed to tell her about opposition and I had had it too for my mission. As we testified to her over the phone, I could feel the Spirit so strongly testifying to us and to her that everything would be okay. We even prayed with her (yes, over the phone) and she said we could come over tomorrow. What a tender mercy! I love this family so much.

Marjan, our friend that the Elders are now teaching (we met him through Xhoana), has a baptismal date!! He's getting baptized the 6th of December. Pray for him. He is incredible! He threw away his cigarettes himself and loves coming to church and loves reading the LdM. It's amazing to watch this. Also, Xhoana committed to stop smoking, so pray for her. She went from 5 cigarettes a day to 1/2 in two days. It was amazing. She is so incredible...pray that everything will go well in Colmar on Thursday! We need to get them baptized. They're so ready. 

One more little miracle that happened was with a Muslim girl named Fayroz. We met her porting, and she let us in because it was cold outside, not because she was interested in what we had to say. But as we talked and told her a little bit about what we did, she opened up. And when we told her that we had a living prophet on the earth she just about died. She couldn't take her eyes off of us. At one point during the lesson, I was testifying to her about how I know the Livre de Mormon is true. I felt the Spirit telling me which words to say and they just came out, I didn't even have to think to form phrases or translate or anything. And after I bore my testimony to her, she paused for a second, and then said something like, "I believe you. There is something in your your face that makes me believe you." It made me think of Matt. 5:16. "Let your light so shine..." You all have that light too! All it takes is a little bit of testifying for the Spirit to truly shine in your eyes. She took the LdM and promised she would read it. We prayed with her and left. There are people everywhere--even Muslims!--who are so ready to hear this Gospel!! It is amazing.

Church was awesome yesterday!! I loved it. Only a few of our amis came, but it was awesome anyways. Wanna know why? PRIMARY PROGRAM!! And it's super cool because it's exactly like in the States but waaaay smaller. Probably about 15 primary children. But it was so cute! And all of the songs are the same too, just in French! It's a lot harder to translate child French then adult French. No wonder french people can't understand us...hahaha but it was good. I loved it. And also, only in France would we have pieces of baguette as the sacrament bread. 

On a funnier note, at district meeting this week we finally got around to doing a tradition that's been around forever. France has this thing called flan, and so we do this thing called the Flan Suck. You basically flip the flan upside down on a plate and in one breath try to suck it all up. It's weird. But super funny! So this is actually a picture Sr. Hafen took and I look super awful in it, but I wanted you to see what it was like! It tastes suuuuuuuper yummy too. It's kinda like jello, but not as thick. And yummier. It was fun :) We all did it, and it was my first time! I know, awkward. But it was good. 

I love you guys so much!! And I love hearing about life back home. Keep sending those letters! ;) 

Love ya!
Sœur Pettingill 

P.S. Sorry I forgot my camera only one picture from Sr. Hafen today :)

Transfer 3, Week 3 (Jacob-Toulon)

Dear Family,

Satan is a real person and has a very real ability to make our lives miserable. Thank goodness for a Savior, Jesus Christ, who is so much better and so much stronger. I am so grateful this week for Him and have felt uplifted more times than I can count. We have been having a hard time seeing our investigators so we have dropped a couple of them. I have felt so much comfort that all is well and the only important thing is that I choose to find joy in the journey (a great talk by the way). It is so important to choose to be happy when it could be easy to look at all the little things that are not important. So that is what I decided to do. I do not have many miracles that I can share this week, where we found a family or where we baptized a man who came into town for the weekend, but I can say with all my heart that I am EXTREMELY happy! 

Although I don't have huge miracles to share, we did have some really great experiences! We got to go out with a couple ward members to a chataigne farm (chestnuts) and we gathered chestnuts and then sat in nature and ate REAL chestnuts that we roasted on an "almost" open fire!! Super good!! And we even got to bring a couple bags back with us! That was a super great experience also because we got to hang out with our DMP's (Ward Mission Leader) NON-Member buddies! There were about 7 or 8 non-members that we got to talk to, and SPARK! (basically fill them up with love!) We didn't get any numbers but hopefully in the future they will be open because of that experience! 

Also we had an awesome exchange with the district leader Wednesday! Me and Elder Davis (the DL) stayed here in Toulon! I planned a nice full day of finding and we headed out at 10:30 am  (with our sack lunches of sandwiches and boiled eggs) and didn't get back until 9:00 pm! Talk about satisfying! I felt so good just working hard all day long! I guess I will tell you about Elder Blythe's and my normal schedule. We usually get out around 10 and then come back around 12:30, make some lunch and then try and get out by 1:30. Then we usually skip dinner and work until 9. It is hard sometimes but so worth it!

Also to answer a couple of Mom's questions. Christian is good. We haven't seen him for 3 weeks now but we have seen him on the street a couple times and talked for a couple minutes. He just needs some time and then he will be back and ready to go! Eric our other engage (investigator with a baptismal date) is great! Except he kept not coming to RDVs (appointments). It is hard because often his phone doesn't work and so it is hard to confirm rdvs the day of. We have a rdv tonight so that should great!! 

Tomorrow is Zone Conference so that is exciting! I have been trying to prepare myself to hear from President and to improve myself as a missionary. I definitely have a lot to work on so I am excited to see what the Lord wants me to tackle first! Thanks Dad for the experience and scriptures. It is very true that the Lord works with us and I am glad you pointed that out because I definitely didn't catch it in my pass through of Jacob (I have a goal to finish the Book of Mormon in French by the end of Transfer 3 so I have been spending all my free time reading.) I now understand almost everything while reading and am finishing Helaman right now!! But it is true that when I was in Jacob I didn't get too much out of it in French! I think my next goal will be to study it French and mark up the verses with the new colored pencils that I bought! (18 colors! I am in the rough stage of developing a system so my LdM isn't just a rainbow without meaning...)

Thanks so much for the letters!!

Love, Elder Pettingill

P.S. Dad, Happy Birthday Thursday!! Isn't the 21 Thanksgiving this Thursday too? Or is it the 4th Thursday? Either way we will probably eat turkey this week and next because it is good.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

End of "M" week (Jacob-Toulon)

Dear Family,

Well this has been an amazing, faith building week for sure. As a mission we had this thing called "M" week. It was up to us what the M stood for (for example: Monster, Miracle, Magical.. etc) It was a week that we were going to work as hard as we could and the Lord was going to show His power. It  happened. We started off the week Monday night where as a mission everyone was going to have 10 good conversations with people during the 3 free hours at the end of the night after P-day. We already had planned an FHE at Frere Sassis and so it was going to be some what harder for us. We had also planned to get another lesson taught during that hour. So finished P-Day and immediately we were just on the hunt for people, with whom we could talk and teach (not to mention the fact that it was raining pretty hard and was pretty cold.) We basically were running from person to person trying to find that one who was open and sincere. No one was super interested and we got lots of rejections. We got our conversations within about a half an hour and so we looked at each other and decided that it was time to teach. We walked across the street and the first person we talked to was interested! So we taught him right there in the middle of Centre-ville and then went to Frere Sassis and finished the night. The Lord is extremely merciful and when we go forward with an eye of faith and a willingness and readiness to accomplish, He gives us miracles. 

Another cool little thing that happened, but has nothing to do with "M" week, was at Zone Training this week in Nice. I met one of the young men who was in Grandpa Lewis' branch in the Canary Islands! He is now a missionary here in the Nice Zone and is serving in Cannes. He said that when he heard that there was a Pettingill in the mission he was soo excited! His name is Elder Gonzalez-Martinez.

He also said to mention several other young men who were in the Los Christianos branch. Two brothers named Fabritio and Stephano Cena who also went on or are on missions right now in the US. It is cool to have connections around the world!!! When I told him that Grandpa was on his 5th mission he was impressed :). That was a cool experience to go along with Zone Training which was super amazing and helped me again refocus on the most important things! 

As far as the work is going, we have been finding and teaching a lot. It has been crazy because I feel kind of like the senior companion and Elder Blythe basically lets me make all the decisions. I have so many opportunities to improve my French because of that. I am also the one with the phone all the time so I get lots of chances to practice in difficult situations. I don't mind but I have seen some of the stress that comes and what Elder Frandsen has been feeling. I feel some good appreciation for the work he did!! I have gotten really good at what is called the "checkbox". The planners that we have are inspired of God!!! It is amazing how clear your mind can be when everything is written down somewhere, where at the right time can be looked at and then done right then!! It helps everything get done and has helped me to organize the many things that go into being a missionary! We got two people engaged to baptism this week, Rulon (15/2/14) and a new ami Marc (30/11/13)!

I got a nice package of letters this week from the primary that was so awesome! It was so fun to hear from many little kids that I don't know in the slightest! It was so awesome too because it was right in time for our ward primary program that we had on Sunday. The only difference between the the one in the US and here are numbers. The entire program was run by 6 kids, but it was just as cute and just amazing as the ones in the US. It is amazing to see how the spirit can testify even when the singing isn't that good, or when the talks aren't that profound. It was great! 

One last thing. Elder Blythe has this book that President Rony studied on his mission and he approved it. I read a little bit of it already and really like it. It is called The Greatest Salesman in the World by OG Mandino. I was wondering if you could send me a copy of it so I can mark it up and study it a little during my free time. 

Thanks so MUCH!!

Au revoir!!

Elder Pettingill

Just a normal week in good, 'ole Mulhouse : ) (Katie)

Salut famille (Hi family)!

Dad, I loved your email this week! I mean, I always love them. I love favorite part is getting on my email and seeing what Dad has to say (and sometimes even Mom!) about the fam! I just love you all so much. I mean I loved you before, but I love you ESPECIALLY a lot now. 

Okay, my subject line is totally inaccurate. This week was CRAZY. The Elders in Mulhouse had a baptism on Friday for their ami Maurice (this was super exciting for our ward because it was the first baptism they've had all year). Maurice is amazing. They met him 24 days before his baptismal date. I have gained such a strong testimony that the LdM (Book of Mormon) changes lives; it changed his life. The light in his eyes says it every time I see him. He's such an example to me of a Christ-like, genuinely good person who has learned from the trials in his life. He has lost 3 children. He has dealt with illnesses and rejection from his family. He was in an awful place. Until he starting reading the Book of Mormon. He read the entire thing in 3 weeks and told me he's going to keep reading it until the day he dies. I never see him without a smile on his face, and after the baptism he was absolutely radiating with glowing happiness. He described the feeling as God's hand grabbing his heart. :)

Baptism with Maurice and the Mulhouse Elders

And guess who all came?! Lisa and Marc, who dropped off of the face of the planet came! And they loved it! Xhoana, Ardian and their little boy came. Xhoana's face was glowing afterwards and she wants it so bad for her family. I know because she told me. Ahhhh they have such strong faith! And their trial is coming already...they still have no place to live. They were supposed to get something on the 7th of November, but they just gave them another rendezvous for the 21st. Pray for them! Mirjana brought her two little boys too! She even told me that she received an answer in her heart that she is supposed to be baptized, she just doesn't know WHEN yet. I love this family. We're working with her on stopping smoking right now, and she's doing so good! Actually, she recently got this really bad stomach/back pain and it's making her too sick to be able to smoke...blessing in disguise? She had gotten down to only 1 cigarette a day. Pray that she can stop! She has a ton of faith, that's for sure. 

We also got to got to NANCY this weekend!! It was time for Conference de Pieu (Stake Conference), and usually the missionaries don't get to go for Saturday, but apparently the First Presidency wrote President Poznanski and told him to make sure his missionaries were there. The entire thing was about missionary work :) It was awesome! And the cool thing is that I can actually understand everything now! It's super cool/weird. The only bummer is that it took up almost out entire weekend...which is the best for lessons...but that's okay. Well worth it. It's about a 2 and a half hour train ride to Nancy, and all of the missionaries in the Stake got to go! Which means...WE SAW OTHER SISTERS!! We're the only sisters in our zone, so this was super exciting. We had a little sleepover with the Luxembourg soeurs and the Nancy soeurs. The Nancy soeurs are Soeur Lai (she's francophone [French speaking] tahitian and AWESOME) and Soeur Barton. Sr. Barton is fresh out of the MTC (even fresher than me!) and is basically me from a different life. She's 5'10", fast-tracked, ran hurdles in high school, has brown hair and brown eyes, and is from Granite Bay. Weird, right? But she only has one older sister, and speaks French waaaay better than I did when I got here. She studied in Paris for 3 months. We probably speak about the same right now, actually. And we got to go on splits together! My first bleu split. And it was actually kind of cool because I got to lead it because even though her French is awesome, she still has that awful fear of talking to French people about the gospel (yes, I had it too). And I could do it. Gift of tongues is real, people.
 The other Soeurs!
5000g thing of Nutella that Sr. Lai had!!!! I just about died.

Okay, two more things. Sorry this is so long! A man tried to bisous (kiss) me this week...probably the scariest moment of my life. He just got closer and closer and closer...and I just stood there for the longest 10 seconds I've ever been through until Sr. Hafen was like, "En faite, on ne peut pas faire les bisous comme missionaires." ("Actually, we can't kiss as missionaries.") Thank goodness for a trainer, am I right?! So yeah, that was exciting. He was an older man we had met and gave a brochure to a few weeks ago, so he didn't mean any harm! But now Sr. Hafen has to tell the story to everyone of course...silly silly awkward me. Haha :) 

Okay, I'm sorry but I gotta spend at least a little bit of time talking about food! We had 4 mangezvous (dinner appointments) this week! I just about died. They were delicious, but soooo filling! I got to try lots of different desserts, though, so that was fun ;) One thing that I think is kinda weird but super yummy is chocolate and pear put together. It's really popular here but so random! We had ice cream and half a canned pear with chocolate sauce at one member's home. It was tasty :) And today we of course had to have a patisserie! I had a tartelette au citron (lemon tarte) and Sr. Hafen had an eclair pistache (pistachio eclair). Both were delicieux (delicious), let me tell you. You can see in the picture :) 

Love you all! I love being a missionary! It's definitely the best ever :)

Grosses bises,
Sœur Pettingill

Monday, November 4, 2013

Des bonbons ou un sort (Trick or treat) (Katie-Mulhouse)

Salut tous! (Hi everyone!)

First of all, Dad thank you so much for that email and all the pictures. I love seeing all of my adorable siblings.

Anyway, first thing first...I've been wanting to tell you about our amis (investigators) like all week. Xhoana and her family are GOLDEN. They LOVE the LdM (Book of Mormon) and read it every day. The sad thing is we can't give them a baptismal date until they have all of their temporal needs met. But they're ready! It's frustrating, let me tell you. Thank you for all of your prayers in their behalf, our ward has really come together to help them with their simple needs. It's truly amazing.

Mirjana is so ready. She even told us that she feels like she could have been a member for 10 years already she feels so ready. And I agree! When we teach lessons to Nijas and she has to translate, she teaches the lesson. Like why are we even here? And now we've committed her to stop smoking, and she's already doing SO good! She's working on smoking 2 less cigarettes each day in between visits and she's already at only 1 a day. We had a soiree familiale (family home evening) at a family in our ward's house last night with Mirjana and her two sons Lyon and Tommy, and it was amazing! We taught the Plan du Salut (Plan of Salvation) very simply for Lyon's sake. Nijas didn't come unfortunately...his older brother is a terrible influence on him. And Mirjana gave us the idea to go and visit him and his wife and their children and share a message of the gospel with them. Pray that it goes well and that Nijas can stop smoking as well! Random side note, I also learned that Mirjana has a twin sister! I learned that when I told her I have a twin brother serving in the Lyon Mission :)

Elodie and Giovanni...I don't even know. Their both 20 and already have a little daughter. And I'm not sure they want it. They aren't reading or praying or keeping any commitments we give them, and the only reason I'm telling you about them is because I want you to pray that they will have the courage to pray and receive a testimony that the LdM is true. Because I KNOW that they will receive plus de bénédictions (more blessings) from this knowledge. It's hard when you just know with all your heart that this will bless their family, but they refuse to recognize it.

A family in our ward gave us a coordonnée (referral)! The family's name is Kling, and they are full Alsacian which is why their name is so unusual. But they're awesome! They've already been to church, and they said they'd think about taking the lessons. We went and stopped by on Halloween and brought them cookies, and the mom (her name is Christine) was so nice! Pray that they will have cœurs adourcis (softened hearts) and will agree to officially take the lessons from us!

Maurice isn't our ami (investigator), he's actually the Elders'. But I want to tell you about him because he. is. incredible. He's actually getting baptized this week, on the 8th. He is so humble and ready, and has been taking the lessons from them for only 3 WEEKS. And he's already read most of the LdM. He read 25 chapters in one night one time. He's just soaking it all in, and it's amazing how much love he has for the missionaries and for the Lord already. Pray that everything will go well this weekend!

HALLOWEEN. What a know, celebrating Halloween here really made me appreciate the U.S. They don't really do Halloween in France...I mean there are a few kids who go trick-or-treating and that was fun to see, but it's not like a big thing. BUT they did get 2 weeks off of school for Toussaint (All Saints Day), which is November 1st. Vacances (vacation) is finally over, and everyone has to go back to school again starting today, actually! :) We tried porting (door-to-door contacting) a little in the family Klinzig's neighborhood on Halloween, but that was a bad idea. There was this one lady who told us that Halloween is a holiday of the devil and that it was all our fault (because we're American). She was scary...haha we ran away from there pretty fast. To celebrate Halloween, Sr. Hafen and I went to All-In-One, one of our favorite little places to eat, for dinner. And that night we made peach cobbler and had these little candies called Smarties (like M&Ms kind of).

It was fun! And the next night we went and helped out with the family Colfast's Halloween party. And we met two non-member families :) The family Colfast is the half American family with 7 kids that I absolutely LOVE with all my heart. In the end, we really didn't get to eat very much Halloween candy...and the only AMERICAN candy I had was one little snickers bar, and that's only because they sell those here too. Lame. But that's okay, I'm over it now :)

Then it was fast Sunday, which means we had repas de paroisse (ward meal, probably like Break the Fast) yesterday! Which I loved. But even better was Sr. Hafen LEFT me...horrible trainer...which meant that I had to talk to people...yes, French people...all by myself. So I talked to this cute girl in our ward who's like 22 and married and she talks SO FAST. But I did it! Luckily she was quite patient with my american accent and awful grammar. We're actually eating with them on Tuesday :) 

One last thing. President Poznanski recently told us, "Il faut attendre les miracles." (You must expect miracles.) And if we EXPECT miracles to happen, then God will make them happen. And it's hard! Sometimes I really don't expect Nijas to come to our lessons. And when I don't, he's never there. But when I EXPECT something amazing to happen, like for Mirjana to stop smoking, it happens. It's happening. Expect miracles, and they will come. 

Je vous aime! (I love you!)

Sœur Pettingill

I have officially stopped counting!! (Jacob-Toulon)

Well I now have no idea what week I am at, so I guess that means I am becoming a good missionary? I am not sure but I guess it does mean I don't have time to care. I have been amazingly surprised how in the MTC time went by so fast!!! Then transfer 1-2 went even faster!!!! Literally I feel like those went by soo slow compared to this last week. I am no longer considered "Bleu" (new) as of last week and that means that I no longer have the super spiritual but super energy draining extra studies (1 hr of "The first twelve weeks" and 1 hr language study, now it's just 30 mins language. :)) The days have felt the same but the week felt like it went by so fast!! 

As far as this week, it was literally so amazing!!! Elder Blythe showed up Monday night like I mentioned and the next day we got to work! Basically we have been building our ami (investigator) base because we have had to drop a couple. 

Basically, Tuesday we went out ready to work, and oh, man, the Lord made it happen.  We were just passing less-actives (of which there are a lot, there used to be two wards here in Toulon but now we have one solid ward and lots of people to bring back!! It is sad but is nice because it gives us places to go and time to fill so that we are not just sitting contacting waiting for the Lord to put people in our path.) 

We had planned the night before to have a miracle lesson around 11:30, so around 11:45, the Spirit reminded me of that and I looked in front of me and saw the park, which is perfect for lessons! So I looked at Elder Blythe and said "Well, we were supposed to have that miracle right now, so let's go do that."

So we walked into the park with faith to find and we asked the first lady we contacted if we could teach her and she said yeah!! So we sat down, taught her and then taught her Friday morning with a member in the park again!!! So amazing. The thing that made the difference was a covenant made the night before with Heavenly Father and then a little bit of faith/action! The Lord lives! That was only one of many miracle we saw this week. 

Another was with one of our amis (investigators)! He hadn't been doing any of his efforts and it has been probably 3 weeks. We have been working with him but he just wasn't progressing because he wasn't putting his efforts in, so we were going to drop him. We asked him one last time to just read one verse to see if we could help him develop little habits. So we went Saturday night ready to see and it turns our he read 3 chapters!! And he said he didn't understand "rien!" (anything!) It was so amazing!! (Really he did understand and gave us a nice summary of the chapters in the end.)

We had an amazing church yesterday, as it was fast Sunday and also we had a great Gospel Principles lesson where we learned about the importance of family history! I felt so excited and have this huge desire to work on our family history now... Soeur (Sister) Martinez in our ward (the ward geneology specialist) is so amazing! She is super funny and old and lives right next to us so we got to talk to her the whole bus ride home! She taught with us on Friday in the park.

I had other things I wanted to say but forgot... Desole..(Sorry)


Elder Pettingill

Also, here are some questions and answers we emailed back and forth while he was on the computer: 

I've been waiting to hear from you!! How are you??

I am doing so good!!! You would be proud of me! Today we went and ate some yummy stuff :)

Yay!! Tell Elder Blythe I like him already! ; )  So what did you eat??

We went to the sandwich  kebab shop of the copaine  (girlfriend) of one our amis (investigators) and ate these super good sandwiches, and then we had a super good pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant) that we shared because it was the size of a cake!!!

How is Christian?

He had his family come into town and they freaked out when they found out he was getting baptized after a month of knowing us. So he canceled the baptism in order to help them feel calm but we talked with him and he said that he there isn't anything that will stop him from getting baptized. It is just to help them calm down. And he gave us cookies so we would feel better. :) We felt better.

I'm glad that cookies can make you feel better.  How is his attempt to quit smoking going?

Haha well the cookies were nice but really it took a good personal study and lots of prayer to feel bette.r :) He already quit smoking :) He's at like 2 weeks and going strong now.

He will get there. Just keep being obedient and doing your best.  That is hardest part of missionary work. It's heart breaking to see people give up on the Gospel when you know it would help them so much. But it's very hard to be a member in France, so they really need to go through the opposition now or they will just fall away later.  Do you need anything?

Yeah it is frustrating as I have already seen it with Andre, Marie, and now Christian!! It is very hard too because the mission goal is for every missionary to baptize once monthly, but these french people have such crazy amounts of opposition! But I don't think I need anything for now! Thanks! Also I am getting off now so sorry..

Pain au chocolat 

(You can buy these at Trader Joe's in the freezer section.  They are called Chocolate Croissants.  Let them rise overnight and bake.  They are amazing!!  If you want a little taste of France...)