Monday, June 30, 2014

I thought I got away from trains (Jacob-Lyon)

Well this week literally slipped away from us and I am not sure why it went so fast... Maybe because it was crazy!

We had Tuesday and Wednesday which were great but had a lot of fall throughs so we ended up just doing lots of passing of old amis and other awesome people. But then on Thursday we got up at 4h45 in the morning so we could get to the gare (train station) by 6h40 and hop on a 2 and a half hour train ride to Clermont Ferrand for district meeting ( I decided that we would be nice and take the pain for one of the meetings and they could do the other.) So we got there and then had lots of fun and learned lots of amazing things together! 

To summarize some of the principles learned:
Clermont Ferrand
-Amazing experiences do not come everyday and so preparation and strict obedience increase our ability to enjoy the power from these experiences (I think this is also very important taking small things in mind like a weekly church meetings or fireside.. donc preparons-nous (so let's prepare ourselves)!) We talked about this, taking in mind the amazing feelings and preparations we put into the coming of Elder Andersen.
- When we have these kind of experiences we feel the spirit especially strong and so we (like the people of Mosiah in Mosiah 5) have a desire to keep it like that and so covenants are required (or ACTION PLANS!) We need to make sure to continue at a high level of obedience and faith in order to always feel happy and the blessings of the gospel!!!! 
-Elder Andersen explained that if we, in the mornings, will get on our knees and plead with the Lord for the words to say we will see miracles and blessings. 
-We also reiterated the fact that we should not live our missions (or our lives for you normal people) without miracles. We have the right and should expect miracles but we need to want them and pray for them and then also look for them out and yearn all the time for these miracles
-We passed lots of ideas on how we can better put into action the plans we are making and succeed in this amazing work!

But then District meeting ended and I hopped back on the train ( but not with my companion because I did an exchange with the amazing Elder Marson (yeah he's british)). We did that exchange until the next morning when we hopped back to the train station around 11h30 and did the 5 hour tour (with a 45 minute lunch break in between vite fait (quickly)) and got back to Lyon around 5 to finish the night well... And so that was my week. 

So far we were hoping to have a couple baptisms (Peng, Fr Ung and a couple other amis) on July 5 (it is our mission wide baptism) but so far we are not thinking that it is going to work out because they are not quite ready.. But we are still having faith that the Lord will provide and if He thinks that it is necessary then it will be good. 

The awesome news is that Elder Andersen is coming back to Lyon for a vacation and he has decided to do a special sacrament meeting with all the wards in Lyon and then he will confirm all the new converts who are going to be baptised on Saturday!!! So cool. It is going to be such a blessing to have him here again and I am so excited to be able to take the sacrament with an apostle (although I don't know how much that changes things). 

But today was super fun. Apparently all the missionaries in Lyon every transfer get a fun Pday at President's house at the end of the transfer which is super cool. So we headed over and got to hang out with all the missionaries and President's family! We got to play basketball, volleyball, Bocci ball (very popular) and eat together. That was super fun!!!

Well I guess I will let you know what happens with transfers sometime! Je vous aime tous et je sais que cet oeuvre-ci est benis et que c'est l'oeuvre du Seigneur. (I love you all and I know that this work is blessed and that it is the work of the Lord.)  Je sais que si nous attendions des miracles, ils viendront!
(I know that if we wait for miracles, they will come!!) 

à bientôt!! (til next time!!)

Elder Pettingill (ainé) (the oldest)

When lightning strikes (Katie-Toul)

Hi everybody!

I want to start by painting a picture. It's kind of dark outside. Clouds cover the sky, from deep, black, awful ones to gray, wispy ones to lighter, pleasant looking clouds. All of them are giant, filling the entire sky. And there are tons of them, without a single spot of blue sky showing. It's windy as well. It's not that sharp cold wind you associate with winter, but a mix of warm summer winds with the cold breezes of storms. It's almost...frightening, but not terrible. Every now and then light rain starts to fall, then changes its mind, stopping only a few minutes after it starts. 

And then, flashing across the dark sky, an enormous fork of lightning strikes. And when I say enormous, I mean gigantic! Flashing across the whole sky! I have never been more amazed by nature than I was at that moment as we drove to one of our ami's house Saturday night. Of course, I couldn't help but make an analogy to the gospel. 

This week has been my lightning strike. But I don't want you to think that this is a bad thing, no, it's a beautiful, amazing, miraculous thing! No, we didn't have a French family of 9 come to us asking to be baptized. But with each day, I saw a little more clearly God's hand. Thanks to the lightning. I discovered this week what it means to see a miracle. Looking back, I'm not even sure what happened...but I know that through a string of tender mercy miracles, we taught tons of lessons, found several new amis, and really felt the power of being a missionary. Does God prepare people to accept the gospel? Yes, He does. Slauco accepted this week without even blinking the law of Tithing and the Word of Wisdom. He is feeling the effects of the Atonement, and he is teaching me in every single lesson we have. Will he be ready next week to be baptized? Bah, OUI! (Why, YES!) He is so ready, so prepared.

I learned SO MUCH this week. My head kind of hurts from it, actually. We found a cute African family this week and she, Gift, has twin one-year-olds, Destiny and Divine. Destiny is the boy, Divine is the girl (this is not a joke). She taught me about faith this week, about trust. My beautiful companion taught me about being Christ-like this week, and about what it truly means to love unconditionally. The B family taught me this week about how to have a loving relationship with each other, even in the most common of settings. One of my incredible STLs taught me about being positive, always and without fail. Gérard taught me that the Gospel of Jesus Christ touches lives in ways we could never expect. A member taught me about patience, and about working hard for others. Some old amis of the Elders, the family R, taught me about the importance of church attendance, and why it is necessary. 

Of course, I also learned some not so gospel related things as well...Loic taught me that you don't have to be a celebrity to be on a sitcom OR a soap opera. As we walked into their door this week (he now lives with his cousin and her husband), the cousin came running out of her room, hysterically explaining how she lost her cat. Then the police came. Then the animal shelter man came. Then they left. Then Loic told me his life was offically over because he might get his dogs taken away. Then, 3 HOURS LATER, we left them with a prayer. Oh! And don't worry, she found her cat :)

I also learned that just because you look and act like a TJ (Jehovah's Witness), it does not necessarily mean that you ARE one (see the last picture). Yes, we had a marché stand with our STLs from Nancy who came to help. For your information, not a single person assumed that we were TJs, who we looked like. They were mostly very nice, and some even listened. :)

Basically, what I want you know about me, is that this week changed me. It changed my perspective on missionary work, and on life. That, I'd guess, is what happens when lightning strikes.

Don't ever forget that I have a testimony of this gospel! I love it. And most especially, I love being a missionary. 

I love you all! Gros bisous!
Soeur Katie Pettingill
this is the courtyard of our cathedral...reminds me so much of Harry Potter.

we found a man we for sure the museum of the history of Toul! He's made of wax :)

TJ marché stand

Monday, June 23, 2014

6 Reasons why I have mixed emotions about boys (Katie-Toul)

Hey errbody: So here's a little twist on the normal email...something that really affected my week (fyi: all of these stories are about our men amis...that's the point ;) )

6 Reasons why I have mixed emotions about boys, and why I'm convinced I'll never understand them:

1. They don't ever listen. Loic is so sad all of the time! Angélique doesn't want to see him right now, and he is just so depressed. We tell him it's his choice. We tell him God loves him. We tell him the Gospel will help if he just makes an effort. We had an fhe with him last Monday, and the whole time he just refused to agree with anything we said. So we've decided to be as patient as we can...ahem. Or until he listens anyway. 

2. They are so willing. We had a miracle this week. The first week that me and Soeur Johns were together, two men contacted us (we aren't allowed to contact men). The one just wanted to flirt; the other was sincerely interested in our message, but had no address or phone number. Kiiiiiiiinda sketchy. But then, just last Sunday, he called us on his new phone and said he wanted to meet. So we did, and he is SO READY. His name is Slauco (sl - ow - coh) and is from Romania. He has been searching literally his entire life for the true church. He has every brochure you can come up with from every religion that exists. He even had a BoM (not sure how) but has never met the missionaries before us. He is so willing to act, and so sincere in everything he does and says. Pray for him. When we showed him the baptismal font after church on Sunday, he asked if he could get baptized next week. We said no, but figured in about two weeks should be okay. :D

3. They lie. One of our amis lied to us TWICE in one phone call this week, just to get out of seeing us. Offended? A little. The worst was that we caught him, and he never even apologized. Then another of our amis fixed two rendezvous with us, but then wasn't there for either of them. Agh.

4. They love so easily. We had our last zone conference with Président and Soeur Poznanski this week in Paris. He is SUCH a good man, and loves each of us so individually, and so much. I will miss them. Him. I feel so loved every time I'm around both of them (or either of them, actually). We even got to HUG him (against the rules) and soeur Poz. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend half of my mission serving under them, feeling their love and their testimonies strengthen mine. Also, one of our amis, Louis (who celebrated my birthday) almost started crying when I told him I might be leaving in two weeks. I don't know what I did to deserve his love and respect, but somehow he loves me. 

5. They tell us we're boring. Not even kidding. One of our amis, the son of a recent convert, told us that we bore him, and that life bores him, and that nothing we could possibly say or show him could ever change his mind. Talk about heart broken...:/ The worst part is that two DIFFERENT amis told us the same thing. Should we change our teaching methods?? Awkward.

6. They have such fire. Remember the story I told you about Christophe from last week at church? So he wasn't able to come to church because of work this week, but he apologized and apologized and apologized (wouldn't stop apologizing) and then fixed a rdv and said that he would be there next week! It was nice to know that he cares :) But "fire" isn't always a good thing. Another ami came out to greet us in his underwear. Okay, it's hot, but that isn't an excuse for you to take off all your clothes! We're missionaries for crying out loud (literally, Soeur Johns cried out loud).

Basically, it was a good, weird week. I love being a missionary, even if, even as missionaries, boys play with our minds. Silly boys.

Gros bisous!
Soeur Pettingill
I got to see SOEUR HAFEN at the conference!! So fun :) Looooove herr
Cherest président and soeur Poz. I'm going to miss them bigtime
Our president de branche was late to DMB, so he bought us peanut m&ms, limited edition for the world cup:)

Week 4 (Jacob-Lyon)

Well first of all I just want to say how lame I am... I have like 5 letters all written and basically ready to go that I wrote about 3 weeks ago and added to last week and I haven't sent them! I feel like it pday just flies so fast and then the week flies by even faster and then at the end I haven't gotten anything that needed to get done accomplished!! But this week I will promise to get them out so people get responded to!! I thought pdays went by fast in small villes but it goes by 10000 times faster here! I don't even know what to do it is so fast! 

I honestly cannot give you a run down of our days because even looking at my planner tells me that it was absolutely crazy and I don't know what happened!! So intense!!! We had one day where we went and did service and it was super awesome! Basically we pulled out hundreds of thissel like plants and they stung our arms and legs super hard! That was super fun!

We had several miracles happen this week! We did some planning on Friday and had lots of fun setting goals and we decided that we wanted to have a baptism this week on the 27th.  So we planned that out and just got super excited because we knew that if we put in our part and worked, not doubting, the Lord would provide! So we went out and not really knowing how it would work but just went through our day and we contact this really cool lady who's mom was a member of the church and died a long time ago.  It was going pretty well and then basically this other lady comes up during our conversation and basically ruins the contact and says hey!  So kind of awkwardly the lady we were talking with leaves and we start talking to this other lady who is actually American.  She announces to us that she has been trying to get in contact with us for the last 2 months because she has this big long list of things she needed to talk to a member about.  Then basically we find out that she has been an investigator since forever and that she almost got baptised several times but because a lack of faith failed everytime and then basically voila! So we got her number and put her in contact with the members that she was trying to get a hold of. So that was super cool and we are going to see here this week and start helping her get back on the path to baptism

Another miracle and awesome experience; We got to do an exchange with the assistants on Tuesday and it was super cool! They had told us that they were both going to come into our secteur (area) and so we would need to plan two days because we would have an extra pair of hands in the secteur. So we rushed to organize that much stuff and weren't quite prepared as the morning of the exchanged approached. We decided that we would just pass some old amis and so we grabbed the  area book and started just calling people trying to pass them.  We didnt really get anything but the assistants showed up and we ate lunch all together and while we were eating lunch this lady called us. We answered and it was one of the ladies we had called earlier; well she agreed to let us pass with some cookies and a little spiritual thought! So Elder Tuau and I went over later and basically she was golden!!! She had been talking to the missionaries for about 6 years and had been preparing to be baptized in the evangilist church and basically that didn't work out because she had some lingering catholic beliefs and so we asked her to prepare for baptism by someone with AUTHORITY and she said yeah!! So basically it was super cool! 

Also this week we have district meeting in Clermont Ferrand and also an exchange with them! So that will be fun! I am super excited!! 

Love you so much!!

Elder Pettingill

With Elder and Sister Andersen at the Nice Conference
At the Young Adult Center in Lyon

Monday, June 16, 2014

AMAZING! (Jacob-Lyon)

Well this week was incredible and obviously with a highlighting moment of my life. It really was super great! On Monday we headed over the other church in Ecully and then got on the bus for 7 hours! It was literally the best bus ride I have ever had! We each received an activity packet (sounds like our family ;) ) with every talk that Elder Andersen has ever given since he has been a General Authority! I loved reading that along with his biography which helped me really get into the spirit of the event! 

So we did that then basically walked off of the bus in Nice into the hotel where they gave us food and sent us to our rooms! The French Hotels are super funny and basically there were two beds; a king size bed and a small twin bed that was like a bunk bed on top.  So we had a choice to make and in the end we slept in different beds (yes I got the bunk) and had a great night sleep. The Zone Leaders who are Christlike stayed up until 1 in the morning ironing all the missionaries shirts because the rooms did not have irons and they had only one ironing board and one iron (that the office Elders had brought).. SO then we woke up and headed over the conference and then basically got in our seats and practiced the songs we were singing. Then the best part was that President Andersen had made a list of all the missionaries that he knew through someone and asked to take a photo with them! So without knowing we got taken out and got to take a photo with Elder and Sister Andersen!  

The actual conference was absolutely amazing and I will probably never forget the experience we had!! We had both Elder and Sister Kearon who spoke (along with President and Sister Roney ) and then THE Andersens finished! It was such an edifying experience! I was expecting Him to come and explain some really crazy things but in the end he talked about Faith!! It was so cool! He shared an experience (and I wonder if you were there Mom) about how the mission had set the goal to baptize 50 people in one month and how President had made the goal to find someone who would be baptised within the month as well. Then how he went and did the zone conferences and that took two weeks and how things were crazy where eventually it got the end of the month and he hadn't found anyone but just kept having faith that it would happen! So the last week they found a card with this girls name on it (who was a coordonée (referral)) and in the end she happened to have just arrived in France.  Basically her family were all members and her dad was Bishop and she had been going to church since forever but had just never been baptized. President Andersen was able to baptize her on the last day of the month and she made the 50th baptism! So awesome!He just built our faith so much!

I love the Gospel and the amazing message we have to share that God DOES love us and He shows his love by sending us Prophets, seers and revelators;

I love you all!!
Elder Pettingill
At the conference

Ah man, He loves us (Katie-Toul)

Hey everybody :)

What. A. Week. Contrary to most weeks, this one felt...not long, but full. Full of miracles, and happenings, and just STUFF. I'm actually not really sure. But one thing this week absolutely taught me was that Heavenly Father loves us, and that no matter how inadequate or incompetent or whatever we feel, He still loves us. Because that's what dads do, am I right? 

Soeur Johns and I literally felt the strength of all your prayers. I've never felt the power of prayer so absolutely in my life...and it was only after I found out how many people had been praying for us that I even realized it. So thank you :) I saw a lot of beautiful things this is this amazing less-active family in our ward. They are less-active because of a car accident that happened 5 years ago, and they are also fairly aged. Haha, BUT one thing cool about them is that he was actually the first bishop in France. Yep, the very first. Never thought I would get the occasion to actually meet him...but they're so great. They invited us over to eat, fed us an entire -- VERY FRENCH -- 7 course meal where I thought I was going to throw up after, AND invited their less-active son and his non-member wife. Yep. They are superstars. Pray for Annie's health, she's struggling, but so so so wonderful. She needs it.

me and Sr Lefrandt!
I also got to go on an exchange with my lovely new friend, Soeur Lefrandt. She is so wonderful. It was absolutely PERFECT and we saw lots of cool things. We contacted this girl named Lana who is 18, studying for the bac, and let us leave her with a prayer. She speaks fluent english because her mom (now divorced) was married to an american and they lived in Georgia for 3 years after she was born before coming back to France. She doesn't have a phone, but kind of pointed out her batiment for later on and then had to go. She was super nice and very cute.

Something else beautiful? Oh, yeah, so we were porting some batiments (tall apartment buildings), and remember Lana? Yeah, so the very first door that let us in just so happened to be her mom. HER MOM. And she let us leave her with a prayer as well, telling us that she is extremely believing and would love to see us again. Then, the next door that let us in (different bat), was this cute, older woman who at first wasn't interested, but by the end was telling us all about her 9 children and how she had a granddaughter that lives in Toul who is 18, studying for the bac, and lived in Georgia for 3 years before coming back, completely fluent in English, and very cute. Picking up what I'm putting down? Yep, same girl. We met, in two doors, people from the same family, and BOTH were interested. Cool, huh? We thought so too.

We found dragon snap flowers and had a little conversation with them :)
Something funny Soeur Johns and I enjoy talking about is how as sister missionaries, we're very good at charming people. It's called using our feminine charm to our advantage: no, it's NOT flirting. Because you can charm anyone, not just men :) but apparently sometimes we need to lay off the charm a little because one of our brandnew amis (we'd only met with him once), who is spanish and very tall decided that he can't meet with us anymore because he wouldn't be able to help falling in love with me because of my accent. Apparently American accents are pretty charming as well? Talk about awkward.

One more beautiful thing: Remember the B family? It had been a couple of weeks since we last saw them, but finally Christophe and his two kids came to church last week (wife is toooo pregnant. Twins, and both boys we found out!), and we were talking about the priesthood. This other ami was asking question after question (kind of in attack mode) about why the africans couldn't hold the priesthood in the past. Afterwards, we were talking to Christophe and we asked him why he wasn't arguing with us as well about that, and he said, "Well, because I get it. Of course there is a time for all things, and the Lord knows best. So why argue with the Lord?"

Yes. Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. He's totally getting baptized :) 

Thank you all for your love, support and emails! I LOVE getting them, even if my replies can't always be super long. You are the best. And remember, Heavenly Father loves us, even if we aren't perfect. He loves us literally too much. :)

Soeur Katie Pettingill
Porting in a tiny village...and randomly happen upon a beautiful cathedrale and its garden :) 

Oh, and a random jeanne d'arc statue was there too. Oh France, stop it. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Les mains du Seigneur (the hands of the Lord) (Katie-Toul)

Hey everybody :)

I can't believe this week is over. What a crazy week! Oh my goodness. Okay, over it. 

But anyway, I really just want to tell you all that I know without any doubt that the Lord is right here with us in this work. My testimony has grown so much -- although I didn't think it was suffering that badly... -- this past week. Can we talk about tender mercies please? One thing I absolutely love about the verse in 1 Nephi 1 that talks about that is that he doesn't just say, "Oh, yeah, and the Lord thoughtfully gave me a couple of tender mercies every now and then because He felt bad for me." No. He says something along the lines of, "The tender mercies of the Lord will be over all of his children even to the power of delivrance." The Lord gives us little moments of kindness, of love so that we can make it through the hard times, getting to the end with a smile.

And it's so true.

I found out a couple of heart-breaking things this week that probably wouldn't even make you blink because as missionaries, we have different priorities. BUT, despite all of that, Heavenly Father forced me into recognizing how much He loves me. I don't have any pictures, but this weekend was stake conference. A couple of months ago, when I found out when it was I was SO excited. I would get to see all of my friends from Mulhouse and Lux! It's like a dream come true! Then about 2 weeks ago, I found out that there was going to be a special thing with some general authorities in Bern, Switzerland and so it would be broadcasted to all of the wards. This meant that actually, no, I wouldn't get to see any of my friends. This saddened me, but life must go on! So I stopped thinking about it and just kept working. THEN this week happened and I had a hard time seeing how the Lord could be here with us if all of these sad things keep happening. And then Saturday happened. 

I was on my way into the building when I hear a familiar voice behind I turned around. And there were TWO of the wonderful American families from Lux walking! They saw me when I turned around and a special moment was shared :) Then my mind starting working...and I thought, "But, if Luxembourg is here...then..." Yep. EVERYONE. It was just the Sunday session that would be broadcasted, and as this was the adult session, all of my friends came up to Nancy. I would have cried, but I didn't need to embarass myself. I saw 5 or 6 families from Mulhouse, including a recent convert of the Elders, and also 4 families from Luxembourg. That night when I got home, I cried. Better timing? Didn't exist. 

On the other hand, I love my companion and I still love the work. Last week started a little slow because of the adjustment for Soeur Johns, but by this week the Lord helped us double the lessons taught from last week. We were also able to finally see Louis and Sylvie (the couple who celebrated my birthday with me), and it was so good. We met this cool family this week that was a referral from a super old couple in our branch (which means I was expecting someone old -- don't do that) with 2 young girls that are absolutely ADORABLE. One of them reminds me so much of Anna :) 

Also, we went to Strasbourg this week for our big district meeting with our whole zone. Got a little closer to my home of Alsace :)

I love you all! Also the scriptures are super great. 1 Nephi 11:17 is a winner. 

Soeur Katie Pettingill

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 2 (Jacob-Lyon)

Well it has been a crazy week filled (literally) with miracles and blessings from on high! It is crazy because here in Lyon there are literally a million people just living in centreville... So that means that the chances of us talking to all of them is IMPOSSIBLE. But it also means that there are so many people waiting for the Gospel and it takes inspiration to be in the right spot in order to talk to the right person and all that!

To answer your questions... 1) This week was so good!! We had our two baptismal engages move and voila so we're left with one progressing ami which meant lots of good finding! We have been calling a bunch of people and talking to a bunch of people in order to try and find some people who could be taught and then baptized. We have been doing a lot of passing of old amis and lots of less active work going from house to house trying to find a bunch of lost sheep. Every day we do the first 12 weeks training which is super good and has really helped me look at the basics of where I need to improve! Then we also have been doing an hour of language study for Elder Frost ( although he speaks really good french already and I dont think I have to teach him at all! ) We also had zone training and it was super awesome! We talked all about how we are going to prepare to be able to greet Elder Andersen and how we can get the most out of it! We read out of 3rd Nephi!

2)We have been able to get a lot more work done this week because the ZLs dont need as much! Although they have been doing millions of chores for everyone and they have not been able to do much work so that is too bad!

3) Our first district meeting will be June 26 (my year mark!!) in Clermont Ferrand ( I found out that they actually added the Clermont Elders and Sisters to my district starting this transfer so actually we have 6 elders and 4 Sisters) and then July 2nd or 3rd here in Lyon. 

4) ON Monday we will have the morning to do groceries to get a couple little things done! Then we will hop on a bus for 7 hours (passing by Aix-en-Provence) and arrive in Nice around 9 oclock; Then we have the conference with Elder Andersen the next morning and then do the same thing again right after 7 hours back to Lyon. I just feel bad for all the other elders in Bordeaux and on that side! They are going to leave around 10 I think.

5) We got lots of running this week! One day we woke up at 6 and played soccer as an apartment. That was super tireing but so great!!! 

We now have two amis that are doing really well and will hopefully get baptised the 5 July (we fixed the day); Rubin and Peng! They are both super cool! Rubin we met this morning for the first time! He is literally golden and is so great! We taught him and then went and played soccer for samedi sportif (Saturday sports) together and Peng is Asian and super awesome! He just needs to come to church and then he will be ready! He already has a super strong testimony of PRAYER!

I love the gospel! 
Love you all!!!!

Elder Pettingill (the older)  

If you want to see pictues of what it is like to serve a mission in the beautiful south of France, click here.  Jacob's mission President asked each of the companionships to send in a picture working in their different areas all over the mission. It's amazing! Zoom in to see the pictures bigger.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Repentance is real (Katie-Toul)

This week has really taught me that repentance is real, even when we somehow seem to make the same mistakes over and over. 

Let me give you an example. In order to say goodbye to Soeur Evans, our ami Gérard took us out to chocolate (do people even do that?!). Literally he took us to a chocolatier and bought us...chocolate...haha. Now, on my mission I have had several encounters with the word of wisdom, but each time Heavenly Father has been incredible forgiving and understanding. Yes, I drank tea--but not on purpose! Yes, I drank champagne that supposedly wasn't champagne--but not on purpose! This time was a little different. Apparently France thinks it's tasty to put alcohol in, a ball of chocolate with alcohol filling the hollow part. Um. But I didn't know I stick a pistache-chocolate flavored giant ball in my mouth and...yeah, gross is an understatement. BUT, to be fair, I didn't know and neither did Gérard. Thank goodness. I did learn two wonderful lessons from that experience: Heavenly Father is really understanding dad, and I'm going to be more careful with chocolate here in the future ;)

But! Besides that, the week was great! Soeur Evans left after a small-ish, slightly teary goodbye at the gare, and that same day I received my new companion Soeur Johns! Here's a rule with my mission so far: Always simple last names, and always from Utah. Voilà quoi. (So there you go.) But she's incredible and I absolutely love her so far. She just came from the glorious, beautiful bretagne city of Rennes, all the way across the country. Let's just say Toul is a tiny bit different...especially our mere 36 members that were there onSsunday versus her 149 members that she said goodbye to. Culture shock anybody? A little. But we've been getting used to it (okay, SHE has been. I'm used to it). And it's been good fun :)

Here's a scripture that I have just LOVED this week: Moroni 10:32-33. It talks about becoming perfected in Christ. In French it is absolutely beautiful the way it is worded. It says that in Christ, we are rendered perfect. It is HIM that helps us become perfect. We always start by asking the member or ami if they think it is possible to become perfect. The answer is always the same: no. It's not. Not alone, anyway. But Christ makes it possible for us to become perfect. In fact, it is a real miracle, us becoming perfect. And the verse ends with how because of this miracle, we will not be able to deny the power of God. That is how great of a miracle it is. I LOVE that. I have seen God giving me so many opportunites to grow and become more like Christ with every passing day. Know that I LOVE being a missionary. I love it. I see miracles every day. And the difference between when I see them and when I don't is that when I see them, it's because I was looking for them.

I love you all! Thank you for the support and the love!

Soeur Katie Pettingill
Soeur Evans and a lot of our members in a goodbye pic :)
Me and Soeur Johns! we made a Rhubarb tarte. cool huh?
This is the shirt our branch président wears when his daughters have boys around. HAH
Rules for dating my daughter:
1.  Have above average qualities.
2.  She's my princess but not your conquest.
3.  Understand that I do not like you.
4.  I am everywhere.
5.  Bring her home 30 minutes early.
6.  If you are nice to her, I may perhaps be nice to you someday.
7.  If you lie, I will eventually know.
8.  Hurt her, I hurt you.
9.  Have a good lawyer.
10.  I don't care if I end up in prison

Week 1 (Jacob-Lyon)

OK deja (already) it has been a crazy week and I am not really sure how it went by so fast! Remember how I said it was going by fast in Brive?!!! Well now I realize that it is actually going by fast!! It is crazy how that works!!

We were able to really have a great week! We got all settled in and fit in doing a couple other fun things to fill the time! We have Elder Smith and Elder Kunz (the Zone Leaders) in the apartment and it is fun having them! I have had so much fun already and love the apartment and city so much! The apartment is HUGE compared to Brive! We have lots of room and a nice kitchen! It holds two equipes (companionships) well and I have really enjoyed the space! We did take some good time to clean the apartment today to be able to finally relax and feel clean! It was great!

We were extrememly busy this week because the Zone Leaders had a bunch of stuff to do and they needed tons of help and all that! It was crazy! Also we had Blues conference for Elder Frost (blues are what they call new missionaries and they have an all day conference just after each transfer for their first two transfers) so that was fun to have him see all the Elders his age! Elder Frost is so awesome! He is willing to run so we went running twice this week and the other days we went and played basketball in the court right by our house! SO great! I love President!

I love you all!!

Elder Pettingill

There is a Young Adult Center in Lyon.  Every 3 months they have a fireside for all the missionaries and their amis.  Here are some pictures from the fireside that we received today:

birthday celebration in Brive before the transfer