Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 1 Transfer 2 (Jacob-Brive)

This week was so awesome!

We started the week off with an exchange in Périgueux! I was with Elder McBeth and it was super cool! We had so much fun and I got to learn from someone younger than me! (who would have guessed but age doesn't matter!) One thing that I learned is that it is important to always share the gospel. We had some awesome miracles and it was super great!


Other that that we had an awesome experience yesterday at Church yesterday! We were able to be spiritually fed during Church but then also after when we had our ward meal all together! The one thing that I ate that was new and weird was Cottage Cheese with sugar on it.... I am still not sure what I think about it. After that we were able to have a fireside about Preach my gospel that was directed by the young men! It was such a good opportunity to help the young men understand preach my gospel but also the members! The subject was actually chapter 6 and it was all about how to obtain Christlike attributes! It was so good and then all four missionaries had an occasion to share their testimony and a little thought. That was so awesome!

One of the boys at the fireside who was a missionary with us

Then later we went and taught the cousin of this young adult in our ward! He is so cool and already knows a little bit because he was mormon when he was primary age.. The only problem is that he never got baptised... oops... haha so we had a great time with them and later we went out and had some cool miracles porting! A man said we could come back! And we had another who talked with us for a really long time!

Well basically I know that the gospel is true.

This week will be zone conference and I am excited for that! Then we go back 5 days later for interviews on a monday? Because the stake president lives in our ward we are going to go with him next monday for those... So don't expect and email until about tuesday... :) 

Also I think that is funny that you thought a 2 hour meal is long... Usually it takes that much time here at least! plus an extra hours for preparation! Last monday we went to a members house for family home evening and it toook soooo long!

LOOOVE Elder Pettingill!!!
avec un petit bisous

It's like someone threw me in Genovia...and then told me to be a missionary (Katie-Luxembourg)

Dearest family of all families:

What happened. SO WEIRD. So, haha, funny story...Luxembourg is literally Genovia from Princess Diaries. I'm not even kidding. We have a Grand Duke and Dutchess and royal family and our own stamps and our own language.

Grand Duke and Duchess
Prince Guillaume (Hereditary Grand Duke) at his wedding

Also, fun fact, it is the 2nd richest country in the world. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures for you yet, I'm a slacker. BUT I do have lots of things to say...

I'm not going to lie, when I first found out that I was going to Luxembourg I was like, wait, what?! I am IN LOVE with France and the people and the culture and the language and I never, ever wanted to leave. It's everyone's DREAM to serve here...except for me. But can I just tell you that I know with all my heart and soul that God takes care of us. He knew my feelings about it. He knew that it was already going to be hard to leave my beloved bleuville, Mulhouse. He knew that my heart was breaking at the thought of leaving the members and the amis and the less-actives there, but He also knew that His plan is always better than my plan.

No, I haven't fallen head over heels in love with Lux, and yes I still miss Mulhouse, but I know it will come. The Lord gave me a companion who could understand me and relate to exactly what I was feeling. I have seen so many tender mercies that have told me, YES, you are supposed to be here. I got to call Sr. Hafen the night before I left because of a package mishap, and she told me something that I will never forget. I told her about my doubts and my fears, and she said this: "Soeur, would the Lord send you somewhere where you aren't needed?" Nope. He wouldn't. I know that I am here for a reason. (Secretly in my heart I wish that Mulhouse still needed me...oh well. I suppose it's time to move on.)

Sr. Henson is AWESOME. She actually served in St. Quentin, where Sr. Hafen first served. It's fun to hear her talk about all of the people from there that I have already heard all about :) Also, I'm not sure if you know what a whitewash is, but that's basically what we're doing. A whitewash is two new missionaries in the area, and they are HARD. You have no amis, no relationships to build on, and you don't know anybody or how to get around. In the middle of the transfer last transfer, Sr. Henson and her comp got pulled out of St. Quentin (it's a looooooong story--see below) and it got whitewashed and Sr. Henson got sent here to be in a tri for 3 weeks. So she's been here for 3 weeks. So not AS bad, but still.

 Luxembourg City Palace and Gardens

This means that we did a lot of area book work for the first couple of days to find some new amis. We do have some AWESOME amis though. We have one named Manuella--oh wait, I should probably tell you that as a child in Lux, you learn first Luxembourgish. Then you start on French and German and English. So by the time you grow up, you are fluent in 4 languages. But there are also a lot of Portuguese speakers here. So we deal with all sorts of fun languages :) Anyways, so Manuella is from Portugal and speaks Portuguese and some French. So we teach her in French :) Cool story. So we went over there the day after I got here, and she just sad. We taught about the last part of the Plan du Salut, and then she was still just so we started asking her about Portuguese and to teach us some of it. Her face LIT up. Her eyes were so sparkly and happy and she explained some simple things to say in Portuguese and then asked when we could come back and that she wanted to give us tea next time (tisane, which is herbal tea and super popular in Europe). It was so cool to watch. We just became a little bit interested in learning something that she knew so much about and it made her so happy to be able to share it with us. So great :)

Church was awesome, too! It's in French...kind of. We have like 4 american families that speak ZERO french, but we have more people who speak French than English, for now. So basically the Bishop speaks French, but his counselors don't really. So they kind of butcher the announcements and conducting the meeting. It was very painful to listen to ;) And then everyone does their best to sing French hymns, also fairly butchered. And then the talks are given in English or French, depending on who is speaking and then translated. It's fun :) Our ward is HUGE. And really great!! So that's good.

One last tiny thing: it's mine and Sr. Henson's dream to take a picture with a nun (because EVERYONE thinks we're either TJs or nuns), and when porting last night, we found their hide out!! It's called a couvent in French. The nun place. We call it the nuncave, and someday, I'll have that picture for you all :)

LOVE YOU! Gros bisous!

Sœur Pettingill

Here is the letter Soeur Henson posted about why she was transferred to Luxembourg.  I share it with permission from her father. I recommend you read it because it is a tender, beautiful story of the Savior.

Wow....what a week! I will try and keep everything simple and organized....mostly beause this computer keyboard is in English and the native language of Luxembourg. Oh yes...that is where I will both end and start this story! I am currently serving in the little country of Luxembourg, nestled right in between France, Belgium and Germany.

So, I will rewind to last week. Right as I finished my email last week, I turned around to see my dear comp Sister Anderson laying on the floor. I knew that something wasn't right so I helped her up, asked a member who was at the church if he could drive us to the care (train station), bought tickets for the next train to Paris and then I called the mission President's wife and told her that I was going to bring Sister Anderson to Paris to go to the emergency room. I just sat in the gare with Sister Anderson as she threw up into the garbage sack that I managed to grab from the church before we rushed out. I asked her about all of her symptoms...when they started, how bad they were...and made a timeline so that we would have it when we got to the emergency room. Once we finally got to the ER, they checked Sister Anderson out for a couple of hours. She finally came out with a perscription for some pain killers and an order for an MRI. The ER doctor told her that he thought they were just severe migraines, but ordered an MRI just to be safe. I still felt like something wasn't quite right. The hospital couldn't fit us in for the MRI until the next day, so we spent the day in the mission home. The next morning our president's wife drove us to the hospital for the MRI, dropped us off and told us to have a safe trip back to Saint Quentin afterwards. I still had a sort of pit in my stomach telling me that something wasn't right. After her MRI, Sister Anderson came out of the room crying, sat down next to me and told me that the doctor told her as soon as her results were finished, she needed to go down to the ER. There was something not quite right with an area of fluid in her brain, and it needed to be taken care of immediately. So once her MRI results were completed, we were escorted down to the ER where I called the mission President as my companion was whisked away. Not much later, I came to learn that she would be having brain surgery ASAP. Next thing I knew, Sister Poznanski was taking an ambulance with Soeur Anderson to the specialist hospital, and I was in the car with President, being dropped off at the side of the Arc de Triomphe to spend some time with the sister training leaders in Paris. It all just happened so quickly. That night I took a train into Saint Quentin and straight back to grab some clothes for Sister Anderson. The next day I received a call from President telling me that I was being transferred the next day to....LUX. Another country. I was to get on a train immediately, gather all of my things and Sister Anderson's things, and be back to Paris that night to take a morning train to Luxembourg. I think one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life was say goodbye to Marie and the family Josse: I only had a couple of hours in ST Q and they were spent frantically packing. I love them more than I will ever be able to describe in words, and I will miss them so much.

So, here I am in Lux, 2 days before Christmas! I watched my companion on the brink of perhaps losing her life; I left a ward, families and best friend that I love; there are no gifts, no tree, no family at my sides; and here I sit in a little internet cafe in a tiny little foreign country overwhelmed to tears by Jesus Christ. His birth, His life, His death....HIM. He saved me, and that is all that I will ever need. When everything else falls away, I know that I will always have Him at my side. I will always have His promise to constantly have His Spirit to be with me if I live worthily. I made promises in the temple that will enable me to constantly have His presence if I am willing to give up everything for Him.

I know that this "mission Christmas" will be very different from all of the others, but I also know that it will be one that will change my life. I am so grateful for the Savior, and I want each and every one of you to know with assurity that I believe with all that I am that He is the Son of God. He was born in a manger, among animals, to Mary and Joseph. He lived a perfect life and died a cruel death because of His selfless love for us, and His trust in His father. He is the light and the life of the world, and it is only through Him that we can receive peace in this life and peace in the life to come.

I hope that each of you have a beautiful Christmas, full of love and of light and most importantly of the Spirit of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas from Luxembourg!

Soeur Henson

(For updates on Soeur Anderson, see the France Paris Mission Poznanski page on Facebook. It's open for anyone to read.  You can scroll down to January 1 where she shares her story in a video.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

HOLY GOODNESS (Katie-Luxembourg)

So sorry about yesterday!! Sr. Gordon decided it was a good idea to go and get the we were inside the apartment all day yesterday. But we have a little bit of time today so I'm just going to send a short email.


I got transferred to Luxembourg, which is actually in the same pieu (stake) as Mulhouse! So that's cool. But Luxembourg is a different country, so that's going to be a change! But I'll tell you all about it next week. My new companion's name is Sœur Henson and she was actually in the same bleu group as Sr. Hafen! :)

This week was great. I'm so sad to leave Mulhouse though, I just love it SO much. I think I get attached to things too easily. :/ But everyone tells me that I'm going to LOVE Luxembourg, so that's good at least! 

AHH. I love you all.

Sœur Pettingill

Monday, January 20, 2014

No email but exciting transfer news (Katie-Luxembourg)

We didn't receive an email from Katie today but found out that she is being transferred to Luxembourg! According to the LDS newsroom, Luxembourg has 336 members in one ward. There are currently 4 Elders and 2 Sisters serving there.There are three national languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch).  Here are some pictures that I found on the internet of Luxembourg City.

Well I hit it...six months in France...(Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

Dear Famille!!

Sorry about the half french last week, I will try to keep it under reigns this week so I don't have to send Grandma and Grandpa the translation ;). But I bet you have been dying to know if I stay or if I go. Well I get to stay this time and I am absolutely excited to stay with Elder Adamson and Tihopu and then receive Elder Hunt tonight! It was a sad morning as we threw Elder Packer, who is going to Marseille as district leader, and we all bought the famous Brive Eclairs to help us keep in the bracing emotions that were about to burst.

It is going to be a great transfer with our ami Mathieu who is on his way to being baptized the last week of this transfer the 8 of Mars and the other couple amis that we have who are super awesome!! Me and Elder Adamson had an awesome theme this last week that goes along with the 1st Presidency message of setting goals. We have been going around sharing this message which consists of of sharing Alma 37:46 and reading a quote out Preach My Gospel (Chapter 8 in the section on setting goals). We have been really pushing to help members fix goals that will allow the Lord show His power! It is amazing how having a goal can help us so much! An analogy that we like to share is that if you are driving a car the only way is to stay completely straight on the road and that if you look to the right for more than a couple seconds, usually drifting starts to happen. As we fix goals and seek to accomplish them daily, always keeping our eyes fixed on this goal, we won't stray.

Something that have felt this transfer is the importance that the Book of Mormon plays in testifying of the reality and divinity of Christ's life and mission on earth. I love the words of Nephi and he explains the purpose of the words he was writing. We should believe the words that he is writing but if not to believe in Christ, but if you believe in Christ then you will believe in the words that he was writing because they are really the words of Christ. I know that Christ lives and that he really did come to support us in our difficulties.

To end on a note that is less spiritual but still applies. We went and got to see a castle this week! It is called Beynac and is super cool! A member lives just at the bottom of it and we went to see them and their awesome non-member kids! (it's a long story) but basically the castle was awesome and didn't even seem real. It felt like I was literally in Lord of the Rings. But it was amazing how well it looked like it defends people off. I love how if we build our walls high enough and fortify daily we are to be so protected. And it wasn't like Beynac was perfect and never fell but actually was refortified after losing a bunch (because it's French :) ) and so it is now really well built by all that.

Well I love you all and wish you good  luck with all those goals that you are probably dying to set now!


Elder Pettingill

Monday, January 13, 2014

Miracle week in Brive (Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

I really enjoyed this week as all the lack of teaching and amis (investigators) and success finally really came together!!  I started off the week with a nice exchange with Elder Moeller the district leader and long mission friend (he was in Cannes for my first two transfers) He is such a good example for me of a great consecrated missionary. We had a super cool miracle together that fortifié mon témoignage de le livre de mormon (strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon)! Il y a 4 semaines Elder Adamson et moi (Four weeks ago Elder Adamson and I, nous allions faire quelque chose (we were going to do something) et on a rencontré quelqu`un  (and we met someone) et on a parlé de how he could etre with his famille pour eternité (and we talked to him about how he can be with his family forever) and it was so cool because he était croyant mais sa femme était athée et il ne pouvait pas nous recevoir (he was believing but his wife was an aethiest so he couldn't let us in)! Alors on l'a lasser avec un livre de mormon et il l'a accepté (So we left him with a Book of Mormon and he accepted it)! But then on Tuesday with Elder Moeller we walked down down the road to start porting and we saw him looking at us and then not knowing how we knew each other, on a refait contact (we made contact with him again)! Enfin il lisait le livre de mormon et a ressenti une force d’énergie. (In fact, he has been reading the Book of Mormon and felt something strong). Il est trop cool et est venue a l'église pour un leçon Vendredi (He is too cool and came to the church for a lesson on Friday)!!

TROP COOl! Elder Adamson et moi (I) get along really well and  I can't believe how fast this transfer has passé (passed). This Friday is again calls and I am scared that we get along too well that we won't be able to stay together!

Also, we have really been pushing English class and had 6 non-members the other day for it and they all stayed for the pensée spiritual (spiritual thought)! C'était hyper cool (It was so cool)! J'aime bien la capacité des activités d'ouvrir les cœur des personnes envers l'evangile (I love how church activities can open the hearts of people towards the gospel)! Après le cours (After class) we were talking to Matthew (who has come every week and we gave him a Book of Mormon) and asked him if we could explain the book a little. En bref il a déja lu une grande partie (Hélaman, 3 Néphi, beaucoup d'autre petite parties) et qu'il voulait se joindre avec nous. (Basically, he had already read a big part of it--Helaman, 3 Nephi and and also other small parts--and he wants to join the church.) Alors (So) his baptismal date is for the 8 of March which he chose himself.

I know the gospel is true. I know that it brings happiness into our lives and that God knows us and our personal needs. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is absolutely true and with sincere searching on peut trouver l'esprit plus evident dans nos vies (we can see the Spirit more clearly in our lives).

Please look for a way to give out a Book of Mormon to someone because it is so powerful!

Avec toute mon amour (With all my love)!!

Elder Pettingill      

Ping pong, sad faces (but not really!) and a mission motto (Katie-Mulhouse)

Salut ma belle famille! (Hello my beautiful family!)

Those pictures! Such good ice skaters. I'm so proud to call you my family. And I'm also really proud of you because of all the basketball STARS!! Hello!! You are all amazing. Now, I was tempted to start my letter typing half in French half in English, but I decided to save you all the translating that would have to happen...Silly Elder Pettingill...;)

This week was AWESOME! I feel so much better. That's mostly been today. I feel like I've been sick for 3 weeks, always tired always coughing...but I feel so GOOD. Like a missionary or something. Last Monday we had a soirée familiale (family home evening) with Xhoana and Ardian and Jaanel, and Hannah and her two boys. I'm not sure I've mentioned this yet or not, but me and Sr. Gordon have decided that we are going to open an Albanian Branch. We run into Albanians every single day! And right now we have Xhoana (our precious translator, I swear her English has gotten so good!), and her family and all of their friends (and one of those families is Hannah and her two boys). Francesco and Emer are 14 and 10, and they are adorable. We actually haven't been able to have an actual lesson with Hannah yet because Xhoana has to be there too and for some reason something always comes up so they can't come. BUT Emer and Francesco came to church yesterday with Xhoana and Jaanel (Ardian is having a hard time again...) and we had a little lesson with them after church (what troopers they are!) about the LdM (Book of Mormon) and gave them one for their family. Hannah is 5 months pregnant, so she isn't always feeling up to coming all the way to the church. So anyways, on Monday we had this ping pong soirée familiale. Attached at the bottom are some of our adventures...haha :) Let's just say that my ping pong skills definitely HAVE NOT improved with time. ;)


Hard things happened this week too, but sooooo many good things, that don't worry there were actually more happy faces than sad :) One thing that I really don't like as a missionary though is when amis (investigators) tell us goodbye...we've been teaching this young family (actually related to Mirjana), Yasmina and Renato, who have 2 little children too and we have grown to love them SO much! We just see how much this gospel would be able to bless them and their family. And then Yasmina, when we stopped by one night to give them a LdM in their language that we finally found, told us that they've been studying with Témoins Jehovahs (Jehovah's Witnesses) (which we actually knew) and they told them that they couldn't "read the bible" with us and with them and they had to choose. They chose the other lady because they've been studying with them for over a year, and it made me SO SAD. Someday...someday they will realize what was different between us and the TJs, and they'll find their LdM encore, and they will be baptized. That day is just not today. :/

HOWEVER, on Thursday, we had Zone Conference! All of us went to Colmar (so it was us and the other district) to have a normal conference which was super great! Got to see Elder Nelson, he's great. :) But then we also had our beginning of year formation! Which means we got our new theme for the year for the mission! Our old one was Ether 3:5, which we used to say every morning (not too hard to memorize since it is so short in French), and our new theme is D&A 64:33-34! Much longer, so this one will take us longer to memorize, but it is seriously sooo good. I encourage you to read it. I'm not sure exactly what it says in English, but I know that it is absolutely beautiful in French (I mean they say the same thing, but sometimes scriptures just sound better in French or English, depending on the scripture)!! It was so cool. The ZLs did an analogy with a pâtisserie and two people. One was Elder Shultz, one was Elder Miller. Elder Shultz promised Elder Miller that he would give them a pâtisserie (it was an eclair ;) ). He had it and he said he would give the entire thing to Elder Miller because he just loved him so much. And then he proceeded to eat some. One bite. Then two. Then the frosting. Then he gave it to Elder Miller. Did I give you a pâtisserie? he asked. Yes.... Did I give you what you were expecting? No. That was compared to us and our missions, and I thought it was so cool! We promised to give the Lord 2 years or a year and a half of our lives because we love Him so much. Have we taken some of that time for ourselves? At the end, will it have been what the Lord was expecting? I sure hope so! It certainly encourages me to work harder :)

Dad, you shared with me and Jacob a part from your journal about when you left your what we call "bleu ville". We're all thinking I'm going to leave...I don't know for sure because it's not like a set thing. Elder Allen stayed here for 4 transfers. But that's what we are all feeling, and I'm just a little scared...these past 4 and a half months have been the best ever. I am completely in love with Mulhouse--its members, its amis, its weird smells and sketchy streets, ALL of it--and leaving it will be hard for me. But it is such a good opportunity to trust in the Lord. I am given opportunities every single day (so far ;) ) to trust in the Lord, and this one will just be a slightly bigger opportunity. It's weird because I can kind of speak French, I can kind of be a missionary--I have the instincts kind of down, and I actually kind of know what I'm doing...and I still feel like a bleu. Like I just got here, and everything is brand new. I still feel like without the Lord, it would be absolutely impossible to be the kind of missionary that I'm trying to be. But I love it.

And I love all of you!! Je sais avec tout mon âme que cette église est vraiment l'Evangile de Jésus-Christ rétabli sur la terre. (I know with all my soul that this church is truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ reestablished on the earth.) Je sais que Joseph Smith était un vrai prophète de Dieu. (I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.) Je sais que j'ai été appelé par Dieu, de venir ici et de prêcher cet évangile. (I know that I was called of God to come here to preach this Gospel.) Et je sais que l'Eglise de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Dernier Jours est diriger par le Seigneur, et Il nous aime, sans doute. (And I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lead by the Lord and the He loves us, without a doubt.) Merci beaucoup pour tout ce que vous faites comme ma famille et comme mon soutien. Je vous aime, vous tous! (Thank you so much for all that you do as my family and as my support.  I love all of you!)

Avec beaucoup d'amour (with lots of love),

Sœur Pettingill

 My FOUR MONTH MARK! We bought some NOT French food haha :)

 New Year's Eve Party

Monday, January 6, 2014

Families (Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

Dear Everyone!

This week has been aboslutely packed and went again very fast. Monday night we went chez (to the place of) a super cool family who is young and working toward the temple. They are super good missionaries and deja (already) they have told us that they have had really good opportunities and are looking for more! It is so cool! The next night was the Reveillon (New Year's Eve)!! We went to another families house and ate Raclette! (melted cheese with grilled meat and boiled potatoes!!) So good! We didn't get to stay out late so we got back home, planned and then hit the sacks, but then at midnight someone had set an alarm without telling the other equipe and somehow Elder Adamson and I both had pots and pans in our beds so we hopped out turned the lights on and celebrated the new year for about a minute and then re-hit the sacks in order to get a good night's sleep. Then we finished the week with 4 new amis! We taught this super sweet family of 3 yesterday who we met before les fetes (the holidays) and then now got to teach them! We also have been having beacoup de succes (a lot of success) with our English class! We had 6 non members this week and 1 member! So cool! Hopefully the members can pick up the slack and come next week! ;) We also have this sweet islander who is so nice. We ported into him before the English class and he came and then we repassed him this week and we taught him a lesson.

I love the gospel. I have trying have this desire to learn which doesn't always come naturally or isn't always there because of laziness or distractions and so basically as I have really pushed to learn I have seen my desire grow too! So cool. Yesterday we helped out this lady in our ward with her Sunday School class and I just saw the huge difference there is in my desire and love of the Gospel from when I was in Sunday School! The kids here in France are super sweet but even for them it is hard to want to suck in the gospel! Well I love you all!!

Happy new year! I encourage you to remake goals as a family to bring someone to the missionaries! I know as we pray for opportunities and then diligently seek to find them they will be there! Something you can try to do is invite non-members to do family home evening with you or do an activity where the missionaries can be present (not even necessarily to preach the gospel but just to play a game or have a nice american barbecue with you.)

Love you so much!

Elder Pettingill

From Elder Adamson's blog: We went to Sarlat.  It was soo soo cool! 5 castles in view from that one spot!

2014...c'est quoi, ça?!? (Katie-Mulhouse)

Salut famille!!

So first of all, OH MY GOODNESS. Daniel is at BYU, Beth looks like she took my place in the family pics, and Anna got lost. How is it that life is still allowed to keep going while I'm serving a mission in France?! You guys are beautiful, by the way. Also, I'm going to apologize in advance for the lack of pictures AGAIN, the Elders got to the café before us and stole the computers with picture sending capabilities...;) And that's so fun about seeing the Hafens! Man, like I'm having fun here, but you guys are having fun too! It's not fair I can't be a part of both...:\ It's still fun with all of the pictures. I love you, family.

Okay, about the subject line. Sr. Gordon has been making fun of me lately because I can't seem say 2014 without a "C'est quoi ça??" ("What is this?!?") right afterwards. So there ya go.

Anyways, this week has been fabulous. It rained...a lot! The members have been informing us that the winter here has been so warm it's so strange...I think it's cold, but like whatever. Cold and wet. Yuck. But that's okay, I still absolutely love being a missionary! I finally was sort of feeling better at the beginning of this week after being sick, but apparently I started work again too early because my body decided that a cold would be good to have now. Better than the stomach flu, though!! New Years in France. So we started out with the ward truc (thing) at the church, but unfortunately we didn't get to stay out late...but it was still way fun!! They had lots of food, Just Dance on the Wii on a HUGE screen (videos will be coming eventually in the mail), and other fun games. Mulhouse Paroisse (Ward)=really cool. :) And it was us and the Elders and all of the ward members plus some ward friends that came as well. So fun. It was hard to leave...but we did anyways. Then, because the next day we could sleep in, me and Sr. Gordon decided to bring out mattresses out in the living room and just hang out and do coloring books and listen to music until the new year. I fell asleep for like a half hour (I have been SO tired since being sick for some reason...) but then woke up. We had pots and pans all ready, but decided to leave them on the ground and take videos instead because we were in FRANCE and it was New Years! Yes, and by the way, in France, we (and by we, I mean everyone BUT us) are allowed to launch air feu d'artifice (aerial fireworks). Meaning, like, normally we have to go to a fair or something to see some incredible air fireworks, but we just stepped out onto our balcony. They were doing them right in our front yard, which is actually a huge parking lot. :) PLUS fireworks were being launched all over the was probably the best firework show I have ever seen. EVER. Video to come :)

Then we went to bed. The next day was a jour de repos pour les missionnaires (day off for the missionaries), so we got to sleep in and catch up in our journals, have s'mores over the stove with Pétit Écolier cookies and shamallows (what french people call marshmellows) while watching the Testaments in French, and make our very own, fully FRENCH dinner. We had endives, a greenbean and tomato vinagrette salade, baguette and cheese, soup, and peach cobler (not french but still!) for dessert. It was so good. Someday you'll get a picture probably :) By the end of the day we were ready to start missionary work again. Mostly because I was sick last week and Christmas was last week and then pday and then New Years...tooooooo much repos ;)

Pétit Écolier s'mores

We did a lot of finding this week, and one lady we had a first lesson with on Saturday is Adelaïde (pronounced ah-deh-lie-eed). She is African and has the most faith I have ever seen in anybody ever. She did lots of not so good things in life, taking after her mom, but then she found Christ and found forgiveness and true peace. Unfortunately, her mom is still leading a sad, depressing lifestyle and it's really hard on our new friend. She no longer talks to her mom because of how opposite lives they lead. Here's my request: Pray for Adelaïde's mother, that she can find Christ and find forgiveness as well so that their relationship can heal. I love this woman so much. She also has three little kids and a husband. And we have another rendezvous (appointment) with her this week :)

One other miracle: ARDIAN. Came to church. He missed church two weeks in a row and my heart has been aching for him, but let me just tell you--prayer works. In amis (investigator) class, Fr. Sebirot, our DMP (Ward Mission Leader), taught the lesson on libre arbitre (free agency). And he asked Ardian of a good choice he has recently made. This was his response (translated through Xhoana): "We all know that we need to eat in order to live. If we don't eat, we will die. (we all agreed) Yesterday morning one of our friends called me and said he had some food for us and we could come get it at 9:00 this morning. I said okay. But this morning, Xhoana asked me if I wanted to come to church with her. I thought about letting her go to church and I would go to the rendezvous, but then something told me that I should go to church today. So I cancelled the rendezvous and came here instead."

I love Mulhouse, and I love the members here. They are also a miracle. The love that they have shown us with the heater problem (we had like 10 different members ask us about our heaters on idea how they all know about it...and then they got us a space heater as well), sign up to feed us this month, offer to do soirée familiales (family home evenings), and so much more. I love them. I wish I could bring Mulhouse home with me so you could meet all of these wonderful people!! Our scripture theme this week has been Alma 58:10-11. It is through Christ that we find peace, and the ward members in Mulhouse prove this to me every single day here.

I also really love John 15:13. Especially since we call our investigators "ami" which means "friend." So I try to ask myself each morning: How can I lay down my life for my friends today like the Savior did? It's so thought-provoking and it helps me be a better missionary. I hope you all know that I have such a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all!!

Sœur Pettingill