Monday, March 31, 2014

Nuns...or Ninjas? (Katie-Toul)

Hey everyone!! Ah man, I just love ya.

This week was great...well, what I can remember of it. It FLEW by. No but like really. But, the first exciting news of the week is...dun dun dun...we got our CAR!! It was so interesting because we had a few rendezvous (appointments) near the end of the week starting from Thursday in villes (towns) a liiiittle far away. Like, car-worthy far away. And every single night we just prayed and prayed that we would have our car starting Thursday night. Well, Wednesday night came around and right after we were done planning we got a call from the member who has been taking care of everything telling us that our car would be ready in the morning. YES.

So, the next morning we got our car!!
It was basically the same as last time except slightly less stressful.

Soeur Evans: "Alrighty Soeur P. Let's do this. Let's go!" Yep, okay, yeah, as soon as I figure out how to WORK this thing. But no worries, everything worked out okay. I haven't killed anyone yet, even though in France people are CRAZY. Hey, I have a good idea, let's just run out in front of all cars ever. No, NOT a good idea. And I probably stall it about once a day, usually when we are stopped at a stop light on a hill and the huge van behind me is honking like there's no tomorrow...Dude, it's RED. Calm down. I'll go when it's green. Then it's green and I try and I'm stress and OPE. Stalled. More honking. Oh well. ;) So that's the first miracle of the surviving a manual.

Okay, let's move on. I feel like this week has been absolutely filled with miracles. Maybe it has to do with this cool resurrection-message-sharing-thing we have been doing? I don't know, but it has been incredible to watch Heavenly Father arrange everything just how it should be just like that. On Tuesday we had a little bit of a scare. We had no car, but we were originally going to take a bus to district meeting (which takes place in Nancy, about 20 minutes away). We had arranged everything so that we could get back by 1:30 for our rdv with buses and it was all going to work out fine. WELL. We left a little bit early to go and withdraw some money for bus tickets (it's 2.50 per person) and...neither of us had a cent to our name. Why? Soeur Evans recently did her legality which emptied her account and hadn't gotten reimbursed yet, and I had to pay the parking fees which emptied MY account. Neither of us had any personal money either. Hmm...what do we do? Okay, yes, Mom, we said a prayer first. Then we started calling members, and member after member told us no, it was too last minute, they had other things to do. Then I looked at Sr Evans...What about Tiare? Tiare is our Tahitian recent convert, but her husband usually takes the car, so it was kind of a dumb idea. But we decided to call anyway. Voilà! Tender mercy. She had the car and was very willing to take us, and we got to District Meeting on time and left on time for the rdv. Heavenly Father is such a good dad.
Yep, we found cows

We've also had a more-than-usual amount of people asking us if we are the "bonnes soeurs" (nuns). Do nuns usually go around knocking on doors asking if they wanted to hear a message about the Resurrection?? Hm. Maybe I need to get up to date. BUT we did find a really cool family from Vietnam doing that very thing this week. They are Buddhist, but really liked the message about Christ. The dad doesn't speak French SUPER well, but we are going to print out some brochures in his language later. The daughters understood perfectly, and they all say hi to us whenever we see them playing in the street. So cute.
cool random cemetery we found last week

We had also some interesting opportunities to...climb over gates, actually. In skirts, you say?? Yes. In skirts. That's what happens when you are walking down this really long dark drive way at 8 at night and the family starts coming home and you get scared so you...jump the fence. Suspicious looking? Probably. Worth it? Probably not. Ah well :)

We also had an incredible soirée familiale (family home evening) with a family that a family in our ward gave us! Ok, "gave us". It was actually in the après-midi (afternoon) and it was so cool. The dad is golden, and the mom was pretty interested too! He already has a LdM and has been reading it. He sincerely wants an answer, too. Pray for them! They have two adorable children. They are even coming to church the Sunday after general conference :)

I love talking about Christ. I'm running out of time, but I truly know that because of Him, we get to live together forever. On peut être ensemble en famille pour toujours. (We can be together as a family forever.) That's our line that we tell people right now, and the cool thing about it is that it's TRUE. There are so many other miracles that I don't have time to tell you about, but just know that I love this gospel. I love being able to use the Atonement every single day in my life. I am so blessed to know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that I can pray to Him. I love being a missionary, and I love Toul. 

Have a wonderful week!
Gros bisous,
Soeur Pettingill

Lots of fun (Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

Well today we are taking relatively short emails because we are going with a member out to Rocamadour  and so we will be spending most of the day doing that and won't have much other time! Also bad news, I got the new SD card and have already started to take some photos with that but the only things is that I misplaced the other SD card with over 200 of my photos from the last 2 transfers which has been a real bummer.(I think I am going to start putting photos in each of my letters just in case now..) I have been praying to find it but have not succeeded yet and it has been so busy too that I haven't had a real good amount of time to deep clean look for it. I do par contre (on the other hand) have the broken locked SD card and will send that back with some on going letter that I have been writing little by little over the last while.

Some pictures of Rocamadour, France

So as far as this week goes, here are highlights of the week!

-We had an awesome lesson with our ami (investigator) Thierry and talked all about prayer. He is working on prayer. It is weird for me that someone would have doubts or concerns about the actual act of prayer because I have been doing it since I was young and it is just natural. But I like that about being here because there are actually so many people that have NEVER prayed and don't understand this capacity to talk with our Heavenly Father that has been such and is still such a blessing in my life.

-I had an exchange with Elder Lawrence on Thursday.  That was great and we had some great times porting and learning from each other! He is so great and is full of knowledge! He reminds me a little of Josh (Jacob's younger brother)! We had an awesome miracle together where we met a man from Spain (while Elder Martinez wasn't there :)) He was so awesome that he fixed an rdv (appointment) to see us tomorrow!
-Friday we went and helped do some service for a lady in our ward Sr Gaillarde. We did it with our ami Allain (who has actually been helping almost everyday with someone who is moving and so we haven't been able to teach him, but he did come to church so that is good!) and we filled up a van with all of her stuff that she wants to be moved to the new house.

-English class was great and we had a grand total of 3 nonmembers this week, so we are going to try and get that moving a little bit more again...

-We ported for 6 hours on Saturday and even got to the city limits of Brive..

-Sunday we had an awesome Sunday where the ward mission plan was presented to the whole ward and so basically things are going to start exploding here. I love church and we had a ward meal afterwards and so we all ate and enjoyed each other's company. We had Olivia, Alain, and Thierry at church for all three hours and the ward repas (meal) so that was awesome! 

Love Elder Pettingill

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It was a good one (Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

Well this week was really a quick one. We had lots and lots of stuff to do and to prepare and so basically now I am back at P-day and it is already Week 4 of the transfer.

So a quick run-down of the week:
Monday- We had a nice sunny day, played sports and enjoyed life and then took videos and at the end taught Alain at his house quickly and then after went to a less-actives house and ate really yummy tacos.

Tuesday- fasted for a miracle to happen and it did. We worked all day long without much success and did lots and lots of contacting and then at the end of the day we taught this coordonee (referral) from and he turned out to be sooo awesome! He is really smart and is looking to see if God exhists for him. It was a planned miracle but it counted for us. His name is Thierry! He doesn't smoke or drink and already planned to come to church for the next three Sundays (including General Conference) and he does his scripture reading!

Wednesday- Exchange DAY! Elder Sanchez came to Brive and we hit the streets! He was in my apartement in Toulon my first transfer before the sisters so we had a good time! We learned a lesson! The Lord wants us to show our faith by continuing to work in between miracles. If the Lord gave us miracle every second, would we need to show our faith?

Elder Sanchez and Elder Pettingill after a hard day's work

Thursday-DISTRICT MEETING! It was my first one and I found out that it isn't actually that hard. The assistants send me a sheet of notes of things they want us to talk abuot about and then basically I just am there to reglate (direct) the conversation. (It is nice because missionaries always have something to say and so basically the hard thing is to keep the conversation where you want it.) Then we did lots of role plays and talked about using the new questionnaire we have. It is so awesome because this district is so easy and is full of love!! After that I went on an exchange with Elder McBeth in Perigueux. We had an awesome experience where we were able to give service to the non-member husband of an active member and we SPARKED him so hard!!! 

Friday- Well I made a little mistake with the train times so that we could rejoin with our real cities and basically Elder Martinez and Elder Loera ended up taking a 2 hour bus to Perigueux and then Elder Martinez and I took it back... That was tough because we lost a lot of time traveling but it helped me learn and so now I can work on focusing on the details and becoming MR. SUPERORGANIZED. But in the end we made it to Brive and later that night taught English class with the other Elders and it was great!!! We had a new guy come early so we could talk about the G ospel. He is so cool. He is gay, but he is super believing (Catholic) and wants to follow God. He even said that if he keeps following maybe he will start liking women! The funniest thing ever was that when we talked about the Book of Mormon he was super skeptical and so I challenged him to find out for himself if it was true. So he said for the next two years he is going to study the Book of Mormon so indepth and at the end he will tell us all the things that are wrong.. I said ok but can we at least discuss it along the way? and he said yeah that would be cool! So basically I think he is cool because he is the first person that said "I don't believe that true" and is also willing to actually read it and study it.

Saturday- We went and did service for the family Hubert and in the end Elder Martinez found a couple baby moles that were hiding under some wood. And then without telling us he hid it in his pants and BROUGHT IT HOME WITH HIM!!! We all walked in and then he pulled it out and put it on his desk! And then we all started freaking out... So in the end we put on the side of a trail..

Elder Martinez with his mole

Sunday - Such a great day! Thierry (from Tuesday) came to all three hours of church and loved it! Also Alain came! Olivia had lots to do so she couldn't come. It was a great Priesthood meeting and we talked about service. We ended the night by hopping on a train and going to Perigueux to sleep over night for Zone conference.

Monday - Elder Loera (who is dying this transfer) really wants to get fit so he and I went running at 5h30 in the morning and then got on a train at 7h00 and thenZONE CONFERENCE! It was so awesome and I learned so much! We had Elder and Sister Lund of the Seventy come, and they gave us some awesome advice and counsel!

And now this morning!

I love you alll sooo much!!!!

Elder Pettingill

Monday, March 24, 2014

L'espérance est l'ancre de notre âme (Hope is the anchor of our souls) (Katie-Toul)

Ah man. Guess what? The first day of spring happened this week, and now it keeps raining. 

BUT that's okay. No, we still don't have a car, but that's okay! Everything is going to be okay. Hopefully by tomorrow, but who knows these days. Actually, speaking of cars that work, we had it for about 5 hours on Tuesday! I'll play it out for you simply and shorter than a novel. 

We have a rendezvous in a ville (town) 2 hours away in a few hours and the member who was going to take us can no longer. So. Let's pray that we have a way to go! Nothing. And we keep thinking, oh maybe we should cancel the rdv...but then the Spirit says, no, just wait. So we do. And then we get a call that our car is almost ready! And then they throw me in the drivers seat and say, "Okay, drive!" So yeah, I learned how to drive a manual this week. But we made it! Barely. The lesson, however, was completely worth it. His name is Steven (he is an ancien ami (previous investigator) of the Elders from before us), and he has a wife and 2 kids. We watched the JS movie, and he had tons of questions and is super interested in the way we do our prayers, AND he is going to be in Nancy next week, so we can see him there instead. Such a good lesson. It was a miracle getting home, too, because the gear box was having a little bit of trouble. Down-shifting was practically non-existent. We made it home a little late, but alive! And happy. The next morning we went to take it back to the garage, and it wouldn't even shift into first. So yes, we still don't have a car. :)

However, we have been having some awesome lessons with our friend Nathalie. She enjoys being a coiffeuse (hair dresser) and long walks on the beach. And also, she is SO curious about why we would need to be baptized twice, and just keeps having more and more wonderful questions. I used to be nervous about answering questions, but now it's kinda fun. Why yes, we do have an answer to that. I love it! She couldn't come to church this Sunday, but somebody else could...that's right, Christopher came! If you remember, he is the son of the recent convert here. He is super smart and speaks like a billion languages. And he came to church. He said he liked it too, so now we just need to get him reading the Book of Mormon regularly.

On a different, but still super fun, note, we had a zone conference in Paris this week. It was with 4 zones, and we had formations (training) by President and femme (wife), the APs, the ZLs and the STLs. It was such a good day. I got to see some of my favorite people in the whole world, AND I got to learn all about how we are starting this new thing (similar to what we did at Christmas time) for Easter. It's fun, and as a result I have been studying the resurrection more deeply (that's our message for people right now). I actually was studying hope, and while reading in Moroni 7, I noticed that he talks about how Christ's Atonement and the power of the resurrection are what ultimately bring us hope in this world. How cool is that? The biggest part of our message brings us the most hope in our lives. Hope helps us endure. Hope strengthens our faith. Hope helps us become the most Christ-like because it gives us a reason to BE Christ-like. I also love reading about how hope is the anchor of our soul. It is steady and sure. It is hope that keeps us from straying from where we want to be. Even just studying about hope has given me more of it. So many wise things in the scriptures! I just love 'em.

Oh gosh, I have to tell you about yesterday. We had the Tahitians take over our Sacrament meeting. Of course, it's pretty easy for one family to take over our Sacrament meeting because there aren't that many members there in the first place...but this particular time, our Tahitian family (that just got sealed in the temple) had their extended family there again for some reason. And one of the sisters of Kaleo (the dad) gave a talk. I thought it was really funny that she gave a talk when she isn't even in our branch...bah. But anyway, at the end of the talk, she and her whole family went up and sang this BEAUTIFUL song Tahitian style. Music is one of my very favorite ways of feeling the spirit, and the spirit was especially strong during this song. Let's just say there weren't too many dry eyes when it was over. The song they sang was titled, "3 Néphi 27:27" and the chorus was two lines over and over. "Quel sorte d'homme? Oui, tel que je suis." (What sort of man? Yes, as I am.) Perfection.

Well, besides the fact that we walked and walked and walked everywhere this week, I have nothing else to tell you, except that the Gospel is so true. I felt the presence of the Lord especially strong this week. I have never so personally and so strongly felt His hand in MY life. I love it, and I love testifying of it.

And I love you all! Gros bisous (fat kisses)!
Soeur Pettingill

Yes, we could be on the front of PMG

OREO BALLS. Thank you friends of Sr. Evans

No...sun...come back...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Exchanges and Zone training (Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

Well the Email place closed early yesterday at 3 o'clock right as we got there so we got some extra time to do missionary work yesterday and now we are doing emails today voila. 

This week went by really fast. On Tuesday (the 11th) Elder Hunt (one of the Elders in his apartment) and I did an exchange! We had a really awesome day full of finding, porting and lots of sun! So awesome! He was so awesome and at the end of the night we had an awesome miracle where we taught this awesome African family. The dad is a cardiologist at the hospital here in Brive and he is sooo smart but he is so humble and believing! It was incredible how well he understood our message and had such awesome comments about the scriptures we shared. His name is Viergi and has his wife and two daughters. He said yes to baptism but the day that we suggested he said he was already busy. He is so awesome and we are gonig back tonight and hopefully we can fix a day to work for! 

This week we also had Zone Training! That was Thursday and we learned so much that is going to help us so much! We started to use a questionnaire to help people learn more about geneology and also another about prophets! After that Elder Martinez and I stayed in Bordeaux for an exchange with the zone leaders! that was really nice and gave me a chance to ask questions about being a district leader and what I need to do and how I can do better! That was great! Our ZONE leaders are Elder Strom and Elder Beyers. 
Bordeaux, France
We are going to be holding district meeting this week. Normally it is the last two weeks of the transfer that we do district meeting but it changed this transfer. So basically I have to prepare for that and the exchanges that will happen before and after. District meeting is going to be in Perigueux and we also have Bergerac in our district.  It is 5 equipes (companionships) of Elders. 

Bergerac, France
Perigueux, France

As far as other people we are teaching, Alain is doing well. He didnt come to church on sunday and has been struggling with stopping smoking. We didnt get to see each other much last week but this week we are going to really try to help him this week by seeing each other often. Also Olivia who lives in Tulle came to church and accepted to start working for baptism the 12th April. She is so awesome and the members love her. One member invited her to play the piano in Bordeaux for something for the Relief Society! She is basically already a part of the ward!

I love the gospel and the peace that it brings! That is one of the greatest things that the gospel gives us is peace and the glory of god. Everything that we do helps us more fully have this peace in our lives. What helps us be obedient can be our extreme desire to never lose that peace in our lives and that we would NEVER do ANYTHING to lose the spirit in our lives. When the glory of God becomes more important than the things of the world is when we are start to change! 

I love you all so much!! Thanks for the package and candy! Everyone in the apartment was so grateful and Elder Martinez already ate his peanut M&Ms. 

Elder Pettingill

Monday, March 17, 2014

There's no life like missionary life (Katie-Toul)

Hi everyone!

Wow! What a week!! Ah, Jeffrey's old now. I was thinking of him on the 11th. I think I told like everybody we ran into that it was his birthday. So feel important, little guy ;) Also, happy St. Patrick's day!! Me and Soeur Evans celebrated by wearing green. Hah. 

But anyway, this week has been...a lot of walking. Good thing I was born to walk! Bah. We still don't have a car, but we have figured out that we don't need a car to be successful missionaries. All you need is a will, because where there's a will, there's a way! But one especially fun thing that we got to do this week was exchanges! And, because Toul and Nancy are so close, we got to do REAL exchanges! I went with Soeur Hunsaker to Nancy, and Soeur Barton came to Toul with Soeur Evans. It was fun. And no, we didn't have to walk to Nancy :) But just to let you all know, Soeur Hunsaker is AMAZING. She is so funny and so cute. We got along great :) One thing that stuck out to me in particular during out exchange was the hour and a half we had to go park contacting. It's been beautiful, so it was a perfect day to go to the park. So we're contacting, and person after person is just so RUDE. I mean, we meet rude people, it's part of our job. But this was ridiculous. Probably like 15 rude, mean people in a row. Let's just say we decided real fast that we didn't like park contacting (this was both of our first times). But we kept at it. And do you know what happened? Even with all the rain, God gave us a rainbow. We had about 40 minutes left, so we talked to this young mom. She was Muslim converted christian, studying with the Temoin de Jehovahs (Jehovah's Witnesses), but she knew who we were. She told us that she's always wondered about the Mormon's beliefs, and has always wished she had someone she could ask all of her questions to. AHEM. She also told us that her husband was planning on being baptized TJ, but had recently sent in a request on for missionaries to visit him (people do that?!). So let's just say the Nancy soeurs (sisters) are definitely seeing them again :)

Me and Soeur Hunsaker got lost...
We also met some super cool people this week. We met a mom who has 4 kids who recently moved from Paris to here. Her oldest daughter, Veronica, read the entire brochure and prayed by herself. She's like 10. This family is so cool. We also had another lesson with our new friend Jessica this week. Her brother went all psycho on us and told her to not see us, but she did anyway. Yep, she's pretty cool :) We had a lesson on the stairs outside her apartment as a result, but the spirit was so strong and she had tons of cool questions. We like her a lot.

Yesterday was a miracle day in and of itself. All of the people we had been trying to pass by (there is really so much you can do in a little ville like Toul) were actually HOME, and we even met a lady who was baptized, and then left the church because one of the other members offended her. She was really nice to us, and said she would pray about it and that she does still believe the church is true. We were also able to eat dinner with the Taie family (tahitian) and Christopher and Tiare (recent convert and son). The Taie family is the family that just got sealed in the temple last week. It was so fun to talk to them and to get to know them better. And, because Christopher has had a little bit of a hard time getting into the BOM, we read a chapter with him. He loves strategy and war and stuff (boys) and so naturally we read Alma 47. Such a cool chapter, by the way. We also gave him other war chapters to read. He said he would, so that's progress right there! I love miracles. And being a missionary.

OH. I almost forgot to tell you. A catholic lady blessed me this week. It was...a little strange I'll admit. We had been talking about the plan du salut (plan of salvation), and she is SOOO Catholic, but really willing to listen and also really sick so she can't go outside anymore. But we were saying that it was time for us to go and whatnot when she asked if she could do one thing for us. Me and Soeur Evans just looked at each other. Sure? Then she came over to me, put her thumb on my forehead and said, "Je te bénis." ("I bless you.") I wasn't mocking what she was doing by any means, but my instinct told me to close my eyes and imagine that an old witch was putting a magical spell on me that would protect me from danger for the rest of my life. I should probably repent. But at least she meant well :)

Well, I hope that you all have a happy green day. Don't forget to wear green and to dye everything green. And think of me and of the shining sun and the new watch tan I recently acquired. I love you all and pray for you all! The church is still true.

Soeur Pettingill

Also, I asked her in a separate email why she is the designated driver (if they ever get their car fixed) when her companion has been out so much longer than she has. She responded:  Licenses from the states are only valid for one year after arriving in France. Soeur Evans has been here for approximately 15 months, so she would have to get a drivers permit from France in order to drive.

Soirée familiale (FHE) we had with this awesome family on exchanges :)

Happy st patty's day!

Monday, March 10, 2014

"There goes the baker with his break like always..." (Katie-Toul)

Hey everyone!

Okay. This week has been a crazy one. I am currently sitting in this tiny little café in tiny little TOUL! It's beautiful here. Actually, upon arriving through the moated, ancient castle city, Soeur Evans and I started to sing (yes, in unison) Beauty and the Beast. Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Anyway, so basically I think I'm going to like it here. 

So Toul is so small and the area is so spread out that we are supposed to have a car. Alas, it is en panne (broken down) thanks to the Elders before us. A member in our ward who actually has a daughter on a mission in Canada picked us up and drove us to Toul Wednesday night. Their family is incredible, and they absolutely LOVE missionary work which is awesome! :) We should be getting the car any day, but for now, we travel the city by foot! It's pretty fun. Discovering the city...getting lost incredibly often...passing by old amis that don't want anything to do with us...and meeting some amazing new people that are SO ready for the gospel! 

One problem. We may or may not have broken the Word of Wisdom...not on purpose! But...well, French people love their tisane, and they always have it. And so when they offer us tea or coffee, we usually ask for tisane (herbal tea) because we can drink that. But I guess when you're with a Polish person who doesn't really know the difference, they accidentally give you real tea and you don't notice because you think it says it is fruits rouges (red fruit). Except not really. OOPS. 

But no worries, we're meeting lots of other awesome people who DON'T accidentally enable us in breaking commandments. For example, we went to pass by this old ami who (we found this out AFTERWARDS) I guess basically threw the elders out of her house after being invited to be baptized. BUT. She wasn't home. Her two children were, though, and they were both absolutely interested. I guess it's a good thing we found that out after the fact, or we wouldn't have found Natalie and Alfonse! They are both very interested in learning more about how God loves us all SO DANG MUCH. Ah. We also met this adorable girl who, after first telling us no, let us in and told us all about how her mom just passed away and that she has been praying and praying for help but hasn't felt like she's received any. Bah. Silly lady, that's why we're here! No, but seriously she's so cool and was super happy to hear that she gets to see her mom again. I love telling people that they get to live with their families forever. :)

This week has been jam-packed full of miracles, and I know that there are so many more to come. Ah, here's one for you all. Our branch is absolutely incredible! Yes, it is a branch. There are probably 25 active members, and they are all fired up for missionary work. Our branch president told us that having sisters is an answer to their prayers (we replaced the Elders here), and that we better be ready to work! Good thing we are. We are so blessed. At church on Sunday, I almost passed out from all of the love and willingness to serve and happiness that radiated off of the members. "But, but, you're...sisters!" I couldn't always tell if it was a good thing or a bad thing...but I know that by next Sunday I will have fallen in love with all of the members here. Comme d'habitude. And the great thing is that Toul is about 20 minutes from Nancy, which means I am in the same stake! By the next stake conference, I will probably know, like, all of the members in our stake. Oh boy. 

Also, I reached 6 MONTHS in the mission this week!! Gross.

The unfortunate thing about having a branch is that there is lots of drama. This means that a lot of the less-actives are less-active because of something someone said or did or whatever. We're currently seeing this lady named Christine who's ex-husband still lives in the ward with his new wife. She doesn't come to church currently, but she had SUCH a strong testimony. She has three children, 2 of which have disabilities. This lady is a saint. Pray that she will feel God's love and know that if she turns to Him, she will find the strength to endure. I just love these people so much already.

Okay, okay, one last thing then I'll let you all go. We called a dead lady this week. You'd think they would put things like this on the ward repertoire...but yeah, Friday was her birthday, and it's not like we knew who she was, we didn't know who anybody was! So we called and left her a message singing happy birthday...only later that day we found out that she had turned 90 on that same day 20 years unless she's reeeeeally old, we called a lady that has been dead for a bit. Bummer. But hey, in our defense, we were just trying to do something nice! :)

I love you all so much. I love being a missionary. I love having my testimony grow every single day as I testify that I know these things are true. I am so grateful that I get to live with my family forever and always, and that I get the chance to work on all of my earthly relationships for eternity.
I am forever grateful for this gospel, and for these 18 months I have to be a full-time missionary for the Lord.

Soeur Pettingill
First spring blossoms with Soeur Barton, my STL in Nancy
Our fridge upon arriving
The view from our roof, where we sat in the sunshine and wrote letters today :)

Busy week in Brive (Jacob-Brive la Gaillarde)

I am so grateful to a missionary. I don't think I will ever be able to stop saying that! It is so wonderful to be able to go out everyday and just meet people become their friends and it brings so much joy when I do it diligently! I am also so grateful for the Savior. I have felt so much much of his support, love and peace this week. We had a really good week that was a crazy ride. We picked Elder Martinez up late Monday night and then got to work. 

Alain our engagé is doing really well. We were able to cover two really important and heavy subjects this week... Daily scriptures and prayer and the Word of Wisdom. You can imagine how much comfort we needed before those lecons. But in the end Alain now has a beautiful calendar with a reference of a scripture for everyday that he can use to remind himself and a stop smoking in 7 days plan that we started today. I love him. I have never met another man so humble and willing to go forward. He has literally felt the weight of the world and I love being able to explain the love the gospel of Christ.

To answer your questions:
Have you found some Spanish speakers to teach with Elder Martinez yet?
Yes we have found sooooo many Spanish speakers!! It is incredible how much Spanish people are attracted to our companionship and Tahitians to the other equipe right now! We haven't been able to teach someone yet but soon it is going to happen!

How was it saying goodbye to Elder Adamson? As far as saying goodbye to Elder Adamson, it was pretty quiet.. We tranquilly walked to the gare (train station), then a less active showed up and said goodbye and then with the other equipe we walked back and basically spent the rest of the day cooking with the less active and doing pday stuff. It was sad to let him go but it was good because I had Elder Martinez coming and I love him already so that was nice!

Have you started the Saturday sports day? We haven't started Saturday sports days but we are going to soon because it has been really nice and we are getting lots of sun!

It is beginning to be spring there yet? If spring means rain... No we had 3 months of straight rain and now it has been sunny and warm! We are even wearing short sleeves!

Who is the new district leader since Elder Moeller was transferred? As far as the district leader, we all thought it was going to be Elder Loera who was serving with Elder Hunt in Nice as District leader but I called him and he said that I was district leader.. So basically thanks for that story you sent me because I have been feeling very very stressed and overwhelmed but thank goodness for the spirit because that has helped me feel lot of peace. Elder Moeller is serving in Corsica but before that he was in Cannes and he actually trained Elder Martinez so that is a cool connection.

Who were the four Elders in your MTC room? In the MTC it was me and Elder Nelson and Elder Martinez and Elder Nye. As far as Spanish. apprendo mucho de Elder Martinez. Habla bueno. Hago mucho preguntas de espanol. Voila Its coming but he is getting headaches from switching so often beween 3 languages

Well I love you all!

Elder Pettingill

Some more questions I asked him through email:

What will you do as the District Leader? Not much really just collecting numbers organizing exchanges setting an example and making sure that all the missionaries are doing well.

Did President tell you himself? No I ended up calling the zone leaders and they confirmed it on Wednesday.

What else is new? Today our ami took us to to Turenne and the Collonges La Rouge so cool! That is why we are late writing. It was so beautiful!! A member offered to take us somewhere next week so get prepared for beautiful pictures.


Collonges-La-Rouge (Collonges-the-Red)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Time to learn some Spanish??? (Jacob-Brive)

Well it was a huge surprise when on Friday I received the "Elder Pettingill, your mom wants to know your status in the transfer, Elder Bria" text. Well the obvious response was well I love my mom, but no! But now the wait it over and you can know that I will be staying here in Brive but this afternoon I will be shipping Elder Adamson off to Albi (which is super sad because he was such a good companion and we got along so well and I love him so much) and I will be picking up Elder Martinez-Granados!!!! I was so excited when President said his name!! I never even thought it would be possible to serve with someone who came in with you!! I love him so much and it will be so much fun serving with him! Plus he loves running in the morning!!!!!!! (We'll see if that is still true but I can hope right?) It has been great to be able to just list off facts to the members about my new companion because I already know him so well from the MTC!  He is one of the first Spanish (from Spain) Elders so that will be awesome because we have a bunch of Spanish speakers that we have met but could not communicate well enough to go farther than Que tal? And even more we have seen them over and over so basically I am excited. 

Elder Pettingill's MTC roommates, including Elder Martinez

Other awesome things that happened things this week. Yesterday we had two of our amis come to church!! Allain, who is prevued for the 29 march for the baptism, and Olivia who is so golden and is actually Americainne. It was so awesome because the testimony meeting was so powerful and made me feel so good! I asked Olivia how she felt and she was like.. "well basically I have never felt so welcomed and loved anywhere else by strangers and also I felt weird... like I can't describe it. not bad though just a feeling that I don't really know." So cool! They both said that they want to come back and so that is super sweet! The ward here is so awesome and I am so grateful for them. It is so crazy how important members are in missionary work! 

Also amazing miracle! We got our first coordonees (referral) from the church. It so happens that our district leader Elder Moeller happened to meet a lady on the train going back from an exchange and talked with her for almost the ride. They taught all about the restoration and the Plan of Salvation and even invited her to be baptized. She apparently just loved it all and is super excited! But anyway she just happens to live an hour and a half  to 2 hours from our ward, the Clermont Ferrand ward and the Rodez branch and is the closest to  us. SO I am super excited to work over in Aurillac...


I also had an amazing exchange with Elder Moeller who will be leaving for Corsica but he taught me so much and I feel so much love for him!! We worked so hard and I realized a couple things. The Gospel is the way to become like Christ and that God has mercifully put down every stepping stone so that we don't even really have to make choices. The only choice we really have to make in this life is whether we want to try our capacity and do some of the things that we want to do to TRY and be happy or if we want to just give up ALL our will and do the things that the Lord has PROMISED will make us happy. Life is so simple. Also life is so much simpler when we do that because we don't have to fight within ourselves for every choice we make. Also I learned that I never want to go off my mission. Yesterday we went over to an amazing members house and basically he scared us soo much. His son is coming home from his mission soon and so he found a talk that talked all about how many missionaries get home and then fall away because they lose habits. So that just pushed me to want to REALLY SERIOUSLY APPLY and find the principles of the Gospel that will help me succeed no matter what rhythm of life I am in and I will be able to overcome all the fiery darts of the adversary (my scripture of the week is Helaman 5:12).

Well I love you all and I hope you know that the Lord loves you. I know that this church has the full gospel of Christ and that through Christ we can do all things. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, and please please don't ever stop going to church. 

With so much love you can't imagine because you can't see the people who I am with,

Elder Pettingill

And the Little Engine said, "I think I can!" (Katie-Toul)

Hey everyone!!

Would you like to know why my subject line is about the Little Engine that Could?? I thought it was pretty clever with all of the emotions from this week. WE TOOK SO MANY TRAINS. 

OH and also, Dad, thanks for the update! I'm sure you've been dying for the transfer news...I know I was. You're the best :)

Anyway, back to the trains...Sr Henson and I decided that we were commuting from Luxembourg to Nancy literally every single day. We didn't actually move there until Thursday, but we took a train on Tuesday for interviews, then Wednesday for a special conference (which was FABULOUS, by the way), then on Thursday to move there...then on Saturday to go back to Lux for Jennifer's baptism and a train back to Nancy on Sunday after the baptism. That makes...hold on let me do the math...7 trains! 7 trains in one week going to the same place and back over and over. Bahaha my life is so funny :)

Speaking of the baptism!! It was incredible. The best part was the contrast of the opposition to the actual baptism. There was SO much opposition! I know it's because Jennifer is a strong one. Thursday night (the night of Jennifer's interview) we were in Nancy. TALK ABOUT STRESSED. Seriously all day long. We don't have a lot of contact with the Elders because they were moving out of their apartment that day, and we were so stressed, just hoping and praying that everything goes well with Jennifer's interview. So we're sitting in the STL's apartment (I had this awful cold and felt a little bit not we stayed inside for a little while) and at exactly 7:05, we get a phone call from our DL. He then proceeds to tell us that he is STUCK inside an elevator. The interview was supposed to be at 7. Talk about a heart attack. And we freaked out for a long while...but both of us know now that when Satan fights good with darkness, the Lord fights back with light. Big, bright, powerful sunlight. We didn't hear anything else until the next day...oh so much stress...but the DL called us to tell us that it JUST SO HAPPENED that Jennifer's train was delayed by almost an hour and she didn't get to the church until around 7:45 or something. The exact time the Elders got there. Tender mercy. 

Then Sunday rolls around (the day of) and Jennifer gets to church and she has this AWFUL cold. Like, I probably would've postponed the baptism if it had been me. Luckily it wasn't me :) Jennifer is stronger than that and was determined to go forth with faith. Then during amis class she managed to start having terrible back pain. Huh. Interesting that earlier that week I had felt impressed to put some ibuprofen in my bag (definitely hadn't needed it until then). She took it and felt better. She was soooo tired, poor thing. But after we got to the pool--oh, by the way, she was baptized in a pool--everything went so smoothly and wonderfully. The members absolutely ADORE her. The spirit was so strong.

We left right after the baptism, and when we told Jennifer goodbye...she started crying! It was one of the saddest moments ever. My heart broke. Let's just say we all hugged it out :)

Another interesting thing that happened this week...I tried SUSHI for the first time!! And it was delicious. It's pretty funny, so Katia, a less-active we visit, is adorable. And I told her (I guess I must have) a little while ago that I had never tried sushi. SO for our last meal together, she made me sushi. :) Yep, that was a good experience for both my stomach and my soul. I love that lady so much! I'm definitely going to miss her, and all of the other wonderful people I have fallen in love with in Lux. 

And just to add, I did indeed get TOUL! I'm opening that ville for sisters with Soeur Evans, Soeur Hafen's old companion. Soeur Henson is going to Evry (PARIS) with a francophone! So many more adventures to come.  

Love you all!!

Soeur Pettingill

Also, here is a note from a private email:  So I got transferred to Toul, which is right outside of Nancy. It's actually me and Sr. Evans (Sr. Hafen's old comp) whitewashing the elders out (taking their place), AND we have a car. And I am the designated driver (which means she will be the one doing the driving.)

Some pictures from interviews
On the left of Sr. Pettingill is Sr. Henson, and on the right is her previous companion, Sr. Gordon. What amazing sisters they both are!
President Poznanski is right across the table from Sr. Pettingill