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.)