Monday, August 25, 2014

What a beautiful, cloudy day (Katie-Angers)

What an incredible week. Each day as a missionary I see clearer and clearer my purpose as a daughter of God on this earth. I love being a missionary.

For those of you who didn't know, this transfer is the first transfer with a companion younger than me both in the mission and in real life. Her name is Soeur Farmer (no, she's not an actual farmer) and she is from Kirkland, Washington (yes, as in the Costco brand). It's very interesting because this is also the first transfer where I am the "lead missionary." I mean, we don't have senior/junior companionships, but there is always a more experienced missionary that tends to influence the work. This is the first time I've been able to step back and look at MYSELF being a missionary. Just me. It's very strange. And yet, it's refreshing. I've always been so hard on myself because I'm not as good as my wonderful companion, and yet now, I see that many of those incredible qualities of past companions have actually rubbed off a little! I have created good habits. I have learned the language (still learning). I can teach (but also still learning). And I love teaching my beautiful bleue how to be a missionary. I love showing her how incredible it is. How much fun we have. The happiness that comes with it. And so far, so good. 

Each day is pulling me back to my days as a young missionary (meaning that I am no longer a young missionary...?). Her questions, her hesitations, her expectations, each and every step that she is taking towards becoming a really good missionary. And can I just say that I am so blessed. The fire that she has to learn is wonderful. The desire that she has to practice her french and practice teaching and to testify is wonderful. She is wonderful. And we are already seeing miracles. 

A couple of days ago, we were doing some contacting on the streets after passing by a less-active, when we see this african woman walking along with her a little boy. As we walk up to her, I feel this love for her like I've never felt for a random person that I don't even know. We start talking to her, and it turns out that she was in the middle of searching for a little church she saw on the side of the road driving in her car once. But she couldn't find it. And then WE find her, and she just keeps saying, "C'est pas par hasard qu'on s'est croisées dans la rue aujourd'hui. C'est pas par hasard." It's not by accident that we met each other today. It's not by accident. And do know what the biggest tender mercy about this experience was? She speaks slowly. Soeur Farmer understood perfectly her french and was able to participate in the contact. How beautiful is that?

But don't worry, we're also having fun. I'm making sure to well-integrate my darling fille (daughter) in the french culture of FOOD. I made her crêpes. She tried some cheese (nice and doux (mild) for her first time). We had nutella paninis. She even had one of my favorite pâtisseries, a pain au chocolat aux amandes (okay we shared it). It's been good. And then the other pictures are of Soeur Wynn's last pday in France. Beautiful Angers, a mini-train we rode around the city, the crêperie we went to. And of course, our 3 generation pic at St. Merri, the sad day of separation from 3 of my very favorite people. 

And yet, la vie est belle. Even on a cloudy day.

all my love,

Soeur Katie Pettingill
beautiful Angers
Three generations--mission talk
trying French cheese
new companions

Week1/Transfer 10 (Jacob-Nice)

Well it is now to the point where I am on the downhill run (10 months left) and this week was absolutely amazing! We had so many miracles happen and I am not really sure why we were so blessed. We were able to teach our ami Benoit on Saturday and his son came. We taught them both the retablissement (restoration) and they accepted baptismal goals for the 27th September. He has now been to church twice and it is absolutely amazing because we were teaching him with a member and because he is a referal from another member in St Raphael, he basically already has a testimony! He has seen the huge changes in the life of his friend and so he told us that, if the Book of Mormon has been able to change her so much, it can and will do the same for him. Huge testimony of teaching the friends of those that have already SEEN the blessings of living a life filled by the gospel.

Another huge miracle, a 40 yr old member living here but from Utah felt prompted to speak with his neighbor about the gospel. So to prepare he fasted the day before and then invited his friend to get an "orange juice" and he talked to him. It turns out that his friend's wife (he is American also but his wife is French) had been talking a lot about raising their three daughters in a religious enviroment and maybe even getting them baptised. So this member talked to him and asked him if he would like to meet with US, the missionaries. So the member had planned to head back to the United States that night (last Thursday) for a wedding. So around 1 o'clock we get a call asking us if we could come over for a dinner and then teach this friend. We went over and enjoyed an awesome meal together (very French and yummy) and then taught this man. He took a Book of Mormon and hopfully we will be seeing him this Thursday night after we get back from Lyon. Such an awesome happening! I am so grateful for that member who was prepared, and then acted when he had the feelings to share this wonderful message with his friend! I know that this gospel is true and that the gospel makes us happy!! 

I love you all and je vous souhaite une bonne semaine (I wish you a good week)!

Elder Pettingill 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Where there's a will, there's a way (Katie-Angers)

Hey family,

Dad, so remember two transfers ago when you thought it would be fitting for me to bring in a brand-new missionary as I send out an old one? Remember that? So it's happening. Good job. :) That's right, apparently the Lord thinks I'll survive if He sends me a baby bleu. I guess we'll see!

But as far as the last week of Soeur Wynn's mission was an incredible week. It was so funny as we were looking at our numbers, it didn't seem like we had had that great of a week. We hadn't taught tons of lessons. But then, as both of us reflected back on our week, the miracles and the tender mercies and the fits of laughter and the absolute joy that filled our week came to our minds. What a wonderful week.

What made this week so incredible? You know, I think it was the fact that both Soeur Wynn and I felt like we won. The week before was filled with opposition. SO MUCH opposition. I don't think I've ever seen Satan's hand so clearly, especially in missionary work. It was rough. We were sick. Lots of amis decided they were done. Members were on vacances (vacation). It rained way too much. And then, the beginning of this week came and we decided to win. And we did.

So what changed? It still rained. Members were still gone. We were still sick. What changed was our will. We love being missionaries, so what was going to stop us from having the best week of our lives? Absolutely nothing. So we did a lot of service. We contacted bunches of children of God. And we loved every second of it. 

Something else has been on my mind this week, something President Babin said in the first training he gave us. Translated, he said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your mission." When I get home from Paris on Wednesday, I will be a bleu again. Thankfully, I do have some advantages this time. But I'm ready to make these last 6 months count. I am a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

I love this ward. I love the members. I love Angers. I love my companion. I love teaching. I love our amis. I love it when it's actually sunny outside. I love the other missionaries who I'm working with. I love seeing God's hand in every day of my life. I love love love being a missionary.
So now that I have told you so much without telling you anything at all about our actual week, I'll add in some pictures. That should do it. Thank you for all of your examples and for your love.

à la prochaine (until next time),

Soeur Katie Pettingill

church with the poz (President Poznanski and his family)
Our "best week of our lives" courses
yes, a veiled Muslim came to church on Sunday
district photo--Katie "killing" her companion
best friends forever #californiaforever

Staying in Nice (Jacob-Nice)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 5 (Jacob-Nice)

This week was a very interesting fun experience! I am no longer officially legal in France because of the problems with the address that the office accidently messed up on. So I am supposedly going in for a round 6 of doing legality so that I can finish my mission! So that is the most important thing to do this week!

Today we had an awesome Pday in Monte Carlo. I won 25,000 Euros!! No not quite but it was cool to leave France. We ended up going to an awesome marine biology museum there that was absolutely incredible! It was super fun and Elder Davis' recent convert came down from Valence to spent the day with us so that is pretty darn cool! We took lots of fun pictures and then at the end drove by the Monte Carlo Casino (which is apparently in the James Bond Casino Royale movie.) Basically the entire neighborhood is just rich beyond belief and so the lowest class cars were Audis and Mercedes. There were tons of Rolls Royce, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghini, and any other fancy car you can think of. Pictures may come later if I can get drop box to download! Later we went with Anthony (the recent convert) and played Tennis with Tim. It was really fun but I know why I chose not to invest huge amounts of time into it...  In the end we won though.

Other than that this week was crazy! Another exchange! With Elder Palfrey in Nice! That was fun and we saw some great miracles! But the best thing was that Elder Palfrey and I really got to get to know each other! He is super smart and a great missionary! Then later in the week the Assistants stopped by on their way back from Corsica and we got a quick exchange! That was also super great! The thing I realised that I like about exchanges is that it pushes you to work perfectly for one day, and when you do that you have miracles! Then from there on you can adjust what you need to. 

It was awesome with the assistants because we were able to get a double day in and had a car. So Elder Davis and Elder Taua went and visited Roland who had been having a rough time and had distanced himself a little bit from us for about a week and we were getting worried. But then they passed and apparently it went really really well and we are back on schedule to see him again. That was a miracle. 

A funny experience happened when Elder Elvidge and I were contacting and talking to this super golden woman and got her number and fixed a time to go see her. Then I had her number typed into the number screen on the phone and I was going to write it directly into my planner (which I don't normally do) and then E. Elvidge reached over sayng "make sure to call her so you don't lose the number" and then accidently pressed the end button! It turned into a very funny moment when we looked into each others eyes and just sprinted after the lady we contacted and ended up not finding her but spent the rest of the day playing sherlock with the little information that she had given us (she works in a store near where we contacted her and her phone goes like this 07 ## ## 18 18.) So that was fun and in the end we decided the Lord wanted to teach us a lesson. NEVER copy directly into the planner. Call FIRST!
Also big news! District meeting where I was able to profit from the thoughts the wonderful district leader in Antibes, Elder Thompson! We had a wonderful meeting (although I really saw the difference of how preparation brings blessings. As the district leader, it seems like because of all the preparation you get taught more than when you dont present!) But it was really good in any case and the food at the end was amazing! We had baguette pizzas and then these amazing bananas bars with frosting and a speculoos crumble with cream cheese frosting! IT was very hard to finish and I am glad we went to that district meeting and now this week we will be at the Nice district meeting!

This week is again transfers, which is weird! Also I hope that the fun in this email helps take away fear of losing ALL your missionaries to weird diseases and mosquito bites. It is definitely a contrast!!

Well I love you all!!

Elder Pettingill

Peace, love and happiness in France (Katie-Angers)

Hey everyone!

So I've been debating about what to write about. So much has happened this week, and I don't really have the time or energy to write ALL of'm going to explain these pictures.

We celebrated Elder Miller's birthday 3 times. He seriously got so spoiled :) The picture of us and the 4 elders is at district meeting. Then there is the other picture, which is of Soeur Wynn and me with our present that we later gave him. It took at least 3 pdays to figure out and ended up not as great as we hoped. Except that he loved it! So we're good :) Then the third time was at Samedi (Saturday) sports! It didn't rain. Hello blessing from Heavenly Father. Actually, the weather was perfect for playing sports.We surprised Elder Miller with cinnamon rolls (yes, mom, I made cinnamon rolls) and candy! Then we all played soccer together. Which made running for our tram the next day less than comfortable...haha it's been too long, I think. But it was super fun! What a great 20th birthday for all of Angers! :)

We also had a mini-missionary from Thursday until Sunday. IT WAS SO FUN. Lucile is 17, and thinking about going on a mission. So she wanted to see what it was like. It was super fun to watch her adjust to going to bed and waking up at a certain time and then see her testimony develop and her ability to testify strengthen all in FOUR DAYS. I love her! She bought us all her favorite ice cream to tell us how grateful she was for all of the experiences we shared with her. She will be an incredible missionary someday!

Also, we had some cool amis show up at church this week! Malika and her daughter came, and became new amis. We just met her randomly on a tram. She's actually Muslim non-practicing, but really wants her 11-year-old daughter to grow up with religion because she's seen how much it helps people. We just gotta keep teaching her about Christ. They are adorable :) Simone also came, and so did a family that we've been teaching who go to Catholic mass every single Sunday without fail. They are so adorable, and came for Soeur Wynn's second to last Sunday. So good.

We also got completely soaked in the rain AGAIN this week. #itsaugust

Sorry this is so short. But I love being a missionary, and I promise that we had tons of miracles this week. HURRAY THAT THE CHURCH IS TRUE!! Praying for you, love you. Have a fantastic week :)

Soeur Pettingill
Samedi Sports

Monday, August 4, 2014

Find them nuggets (Katie-Angers)

Dear family and everyone who I love:

Looking back at this week, I honestly can't believe everything that happened fit into a single week. Life as a missionary extends far beyond normal time dimensions I think. But anyway, it was a good week.

So we had a zone conference this week with interviews with Président Babin and his wife. Can I just say that I LOVE them. I love them. I couldn't have chosen a more inspired couple to replace the Poznanksis. Nobody else would have been able to live up to them. But in this zone conference, our zone leaders gave us a training on how we need to look for the little flecks of happiness in missionary work, and not always for the giant nuggets.

PAUSE. Now go and watch this mormon message:

And I really loved the training because it's so true. Often as missionaries, we're looking around for those people to come up to us and say, "Hey, I'm ready to be baptized. Baptize me." It just doesn't happen quite as often as we'd hope, unfortunately. But sometimes in our minds a miracle doesn't count as a miracle unless it's a nugget. So it was a great reminder to look for the little miracles too, because it's the gathering of the tiny flecks of gold that really make us rich. After this training, Soeur Wynn and I were all excited to go out and find those little flecks of gold...funny enough, it didn't happen like that. Instead, we just got a whole bunch of giant nuggets fall into our laps. Okay, we did work for them, but still! It was incredible. Let me tell you about a few of them:

Simone. She is amazing. She doesn't quite yet have a baptismal date, but she is réflechir-ing currently. The thing that gets to me is that because she has a slight mental disability, she literally sees the gospel as a child sees it. She LOVES it. We had a cinema night this week where we put The Testaments on the projector in the chapel and invited everyone to come and watch, and then afterwards we all ate brownies together (secretly my favorite part). We had two amis come, so I took care of Simone while Soeur Wynn watched over our other ami. I literally had one of the most spiritual experiences on my mission in this moment. After the movie had finished, I looked over at Simone, and she turned to me with tears streaming down her face and said, "Soeur, what is this feeling? It's running all through my body from my head to my toes. It feels it's healing me or something." 

My heart melted, and the spirit that was touching her touched me in one of the strongest ways I've ever felt. So then I asked her what she thought about the movie. She said she liked it. :) Another nugget is our other ami that came to the cinema night. Her name is Claire. She is from Madagascar. She has a 13 year old son and a 4 year old daughter, and she is recently separated. And she is so prepared for the gospel. She loved the movie almost as much as Simone did, and she is a WONDER to teach! Our first lesson together was one of the sweetest, most spiritual lessons I've ever taught. She is in need of the gospel, and she is already finding that it really does heal. The only thing is that she works the Sundays that they call her in, so pray that she won't get called in (if she gets called in she has to go).

One last little giant nugget that just happened last night. We found another family. And this family just happens to be friends with a family in our ward who is passing through a very difficult time right now. We set up a soirée familiale with them and this member family. It's incredible how much the hand of God is in this situation. It's almost unreal. They are actually Evangelist, but they are incredibly close to this member family. It's cool because they actually already knew a lot about our church because of the mom who had shared with them her beliefs. Member missionaries are the best missionaries. :)

I love you all so much! I do know that those golden nuggets exist, but I also know that being able to find joy in whatever it is you're finding is something that will carry you through life. The joy is in the big things, but it is also in the little things. It's just everywhere when you have the gospel.

Soeur Pettingill
us :)
our dear american friend who left for the homeland on Sunday!

we found this broken tomb stone in a cemetery we went to. kinda creepy, no?

Week 4 (Jacob-Nice)

Well here we are again at the beginning of week 5 wondering where the time went, how could be possible for the weeks to pass so quickly? Why does my mission have to pass so quickly? I guess we will not really understand the answers to these questions so the only thing we can really do is again and again pose them with different wording so we dont feel like our lives are going in circles and have a continuous feelings of déjà vu. 

So this week was really fast first because I got to head over to St Raphael and do a really great exchange with Elder Berry. We started in the afternoon and quickly ran home, dropped off the stuff and then proceeded to do some awesome passbacks. That was really great because it meant that in the small suburbs of St Raph, Elder Berry and I got to really know each other while walking around the neighborhood areas. Elder Davis and I decided at the beginning of the transfer that the best activity that one ought to do in order to get on a deeper level is to do some door to door. I have a strong testimony of that. So then we cut the day in half and took a late lunch before heading out again and finishing the exchange with some more unifying. We had lots of really cool small miracles. One,  we were walking past a very common in france Pizza trailer (basically someone just buys the trailer and puts an oven inside and then opens it up and voila.) And the owner yelled over to us and told us that we could come by anytime; We didn't know what that meant so we said thanks and said we would ( they were working right then so we didn't try to push anything right then but the elders planned to pass later that week and try to teach them!)

That was great but the best is Roland. He isn't necessarily ready for baptism for this Saturday but he has been progressing enormously! We taught him both the word of wisdom and law of Chastity he accepted both, Thankfully he doesnt really have problems with either other than the occasional wine of tea so that is nice. He is still sincerely looking for that response and so we are helping him with that primarily. He is just so normal and cool that we are working so hard to help him really have a strong personal testimony and make those steps that will make him more happy! He was not able to make it to church because of a phone miscommunication (because for the instant we have a member pick him up, but he wasnt answering in the morning) He has come to church three time in any case and hopefully we will be able to see him a good amount this week to help him and respond to all his questions.

And we also went on a hike today for pday (pictures on dropbox).

It was really fun and was similar to the hike I did in Toulon. It had a beautiful view of Nice and the sea. We did it with Tim, a young adult in the ward (he served his mission in Oregon and is trying to come to BYU for school). He is super great and acted as our tour guide since he had done the hike several times. We had a grand ol time and enjoyed the freshness of the mountains compared to the sometimes fun environment of the city. And the best part was that on the way back I found 5 euros! I looked around and after checking with the group about it, claimed it.

As I have now reached my year mark I recalled the words that Elder Frandsen had told me when I was just a blue. "Don't study Jesus the Christ until your year mark!" I trusted that and have seen the blessings of that as I have instead filled my studies with Preach my Gospel, and the other scriptures. But NOW I hit my year mark and decided that it was time that I opened up that huge 800 page book and take a gander at it. So I have been reading that and throughout the week my study of it has been snowballing (meaning that my desire to read it has now even gotten bigger than to write in my journal or do other "fun" but activities that distract from me reading Jesus the Christ.)  Anyway now I almost to page 300 and am absolutely loving it. It just really puts Christ life so chronologically and topically with commentary that expounds just enough not to blow your mind too much! So yeah I'm enjoying that. 

Voila, la vie est belle ici en France sur tout quand on lit les email d'Elder Pettingill (le cadet) (There you go, life is beautiful here in France, especially when you read the emails of Elder Pettingill the younger.)

Fraternellement (franternally),

haha non je blague mais c'est vraie que Tim m'a appris que c'est comme cela que les francais termine leurs lettres professionnelles. (haha no I'm kidding but it's true that Tim taught me that this is how the French finish their professional letters.)

Alors je vous aime tous (I love you all),

Elder Pettingill (L'un en France) (the one in France)

Zone Conference in Toulon