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 :)

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