Monday, December 9, 2013

Tranfers, Manneles, Screaming Boy, and lots of FRENCH (Katie-Mulhouse)

BonJOUR famille (Hello family)!!

What. A. Week. I don't even know where to start. This is probably going to take me an entire hour to write, so take a breath. First, yes I'm staying in Mulhouse!! Call me happiest person in the world. I'll tell you all about my new collegue (companion) NEXT week, as I haven't even met her yet. All I know is her name, which is Sœur Gordon. Unfortunately, Sr. Hafen is leaving and I'm going to miss her SO. MUCH! We have gotten so close. She is an amazing missionary. She is going to Nantes to replace her dying "mom" as STL (Sister Training Leader) there. She's going to be an incredible STL, and even though I'm going to miss her so much, she's going to do amazing things there!! I just wish she was MY STL. Then we would get to go on exchanges once a transfer. :) But that's okay. I'll update you when I know more next week :)
District photo! Gonna miss them! (the numbers are how many transfers they've had)
 In front of our street sign
Us in this HUGE fur coat someone gave us
I had to have a Nutella gauffre (waffle) because I was so sad about Sr. Hafen leaving

We had TWO baptisms in Mulhouse this weekend!! Ardian still isn't ready to be baptized, but Xhoana looked absolutely beautiful. We did her hair, got her a white dress to be baptized in, and the ward members pitched in and got her 4 new outfits to choose from to wear to church. Ardian was there and he did tell us that he's very proud of his wife for this decision and knows that he needs to take care of her even more now. Hahaha silly Ardian. But let me tell you one of the best parts of this whole weekend: JAANEL (also apparently I've been spelling his name wrong this whole time...still pronounced yah-nell). He reminded me so much of home. As we sat there in the chapel listening to the service, he ran around with loud toys disrupting as much as a 2 year old possibly can. We would try to take him out, but he would SCREAM if he didn't get to be with his mom. Therefore, it was a fun night :) No, it wasn't too bad, it just made me laugh that as much as we want it to be perfectly golden, this is reality. This is a two year old boy. Hahaha :) Actually, I was asked to give the talk on Baptism (and it had to be in FRENCH...) and the funny part is that because the 2 people getting baptized (Xhoana and Marjan, the Elders' ami) both speak English, not French, Sr. Hafen was elected as translator for me. But I really felt the Spirit, even though I was freaking out...first talk ever in French...I really testified with my whole heart. And I think it went alright. After me, Sr. Hafen, and the Elders did a musical number: "Je sais qu'il vit mon Rédempteur." ("I Know That My Redeemer Lives") Sr. Hafen played her flute for part of it. It was so beautiful, Mom you would have LOVED it :) Also, it was kind of fun to be on the "mom" side of the baptism. We helped Xhoana get dressed into church clothes and dry off after (Fr. Sebirot, our DMP, baptized her) and everything. And Jaanel did NOT like it that he was dunking her under water...haha poor little boy.

And on Sunday, we had to ask someone who can speak English to give her the Holy Ghost because apparently for that she has to be able to understand, so we asked Frere (Brother) Burri who speaks like a billion languages to do it. We had a Soirée Familiale (Family Home Evening) with them once. And it was absolutely beautiful. I was praying so hard that Jaanel would be quiet just for 5 minutes during the blessing but also that Ardian would be able to see it. He was being crazy during the whole meeting, but right before Xhoana was called up, Jaanel walked out by himself. No idea why. And she was able to go up and it was perfectly silent during the whole prayer. He came back in screaming right when she came back was such a tender mercy from the Lord and the spirit was SO strong. What an incredible experience. And the day will come when Ardian is ready to take that step as well. :)

Let me quickly tell you about 2 more families we found. First is Anthony and his wife and 3 daughters. They're Indian and came over from their country because they believe in Jesus Christ but everyone there is Buddhist basically. They have a church here,  but pray that they'll let us teach them the lessons! The dad speaks English. The other family is a MIRACLE. We were on a tram and Sr. Hafen saw them first and she was like, Sœur, look at that family! And I looked. And lo I beheld a dad, a mom, and 3 beautiful blue-eyed children. So we talked to them  :) They're croyant, but non pratiquant (believing but non-practicing) (the best situation you can have with an ami). And we're going to teach them today!! Pray for this family!! I love them already.  They are a beautiful family.

Okay I'm going to backtrack a little...on Thursday it was the French holiday St. Nicholas and a member invited us and some other amis (including Xhoana and Ardian) to come over and eat a traditional St. Nicholas dinner. We had chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) in a bowl, manneles (pronounced "mah-nah-luh" which is Alsacian, but they're also called bon hommes) with jam and butter, and clementines and pain d'épices (which is basically really really yummy gingerbread). Oh and chocolate. It was super duper good...although when we got home both me and Sr. Hafen felt SICK because we had eaten so much. But it was fun :)
St Nicholas dinner

Christmas marche (market)

Also, Dad it's funny that you talked about that quote because there is actually a picture of Pres and Sr Poznanski in it. And I LOVE that quote...we had a district meeting on it. It's so cool. As a zone this week we're studying patience as a Christlike attribute, and they've sent us some amazing scriptures. One of my favorites is Alma 38:4-5. What a wise father that Alma was. I can't believe Christmas is in like 16 days!! Like WHAT?! So much has happened this year. I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for the support of my family. I'm so grateful to be a missionary and I'm so grateful to have this connaissance (knowledge) of the gospel. I know with all my heart that it's true. And even though being a missionary in France is GREAT, it really doesn't matter. I would love being a missionary anywhere I went. Looking forward to next week!

à la prochaine! (until next time!)

Sœur Pettingill

Here is the quote that Katie refers to which Rich shared with both Katie and Jacob in his email this week: 
Elder L. Tom Perry: “This is the most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel, like all of the things that build that foundation for us to go forward and teach in our Father in Heaven’s kingdom” (“Concluding Remarks” [address given at the seminar for new mission presidents, June 26, 2013], 1, Church History Library, Salt Lake City)."

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