Monday, September 29, 2014

Transfer Day (Jacob-Nice)

I am staying with Elder Davis for a 3rd!! Super exciting! Everything is going really well, we have been having so many miracle this weekend!! I am so grateful to be with Elder Davis again because it just seems like I still have a lot to learn from him! Luckily I am still in Nice too because two of the sisters in Nice went to Grenoble and Dijon, which are the two of the colder places in the mission!

Falicon
One really amazing experience was on Saturday we went to a smaller ville named Falicon that is absolutely beautiful and very french (like Brive). It is on a hill and has a great view (I recommend looking it up). We went up and ported for a couple hours looking to find families who were interested. So we headed up and basically had a huge success. We found a lot of people that were really happy to talk to us but were not quite ready to be taught (various reasons). It was kind of sad because we were meeting these great people that had great beliefs but right at the end of the conversation we would ask if we could come back and they would say no. So we are walking to the bottom of the road that we are porting and at the end we see this house, very nice and new with a nice pool on the side. So we knock and then, after lots of the hustle of family life, we are standing talking to the dad of the family who came out after the kids looked for him. Basically, we sat and talked for a very good while and he had amazing responses to some of the questions we asked. In the end he in believing, a docter of enrhuemetology (french translation) and they just moved in about a year ago. The conversation went extremely well just like the others, but this time, he was ready and he went and got a piece of paper to give us his number. We left him with a copy of the Book of Mormon and a Restoration brochure (in English because we didn't have any in French and apparently he speaks English as well) and set up a time to call to come back. So we will be calling him this afternoon and hopefully be teaching a FRENCH FAMILY of 4.


Love you all,

Elder Pettingill

Here's a video he sent of the Elders on pday a few weeks ago.  Sorry it is to the side at first. 


video



Round 2 (Katie-Angers)

So this is going to be a little bit of a repeat of last week's email, except completely different. So hold on tight.

There were lots of beautiful things that happened this week. One of which being our trip to Paris! YAY MY BABY IS LEGAL. I'm so proud. The best part, though, was that while she went and did that kind of stuff, I got to go on splits with Soeur Francis. The best part about this is that Soeur Francis and I have always wanted to serve together...so voilà quoi! She is currently training in Mulhouse, so we've got a special connection :) Anyway, during soeur Farmer's legality, we got to go contacting around Paris. We had about 4 hours, and boy did we take advantage of those 4 hours. My favorite part was meeting this adorable older couple about to leave on their 3rd mission. They reminded me so much of Grandma and Grandpa Pettingill, it made me so happy :) On the way back, we even got to sleep over with the Le Mans soeurs! Unfortunately there was a suicide on the tracks, and all of the trains were delayed longer than we had time for. It all made for a very interesting trip to the City of Love.

However, there were other even MORE beautiful things that happened. For example, multiple lessons with our new amie, Mimi, who is absolutely loving the gospel so far, and needs it so badly. This was her second week in a row coming to church. She's reading the Book of Mormon. She's praying. I'm seeing her eyes change, slowly but surely. Pray that she will continue to have these spiritual experiences that she so needs! 

We are also teaching Emma, our chinese amie who only speaks English (and chinese, but I don't speak chinese). She is loving the Book of Mormon so far, but we also had a very special lesson with her this week. We decided to go back and focus more on her relationship with God and prayer. At the end of the lesson (in English...it's harder than I remember), we invited her to say the closing prayer. The prayer that she said touched my heart so deeply. It was the first prayer she has ever said in her entire life, and it was so sincere, so incredibly beautiful. The fact that Heavenly Father allowed me to experience that brings me to tears. The spirit was so strong, and the gospel is so true. It's so true, guys.

Just some updates on some of our amis that I have already told you about:
-We saw Teng a few days ago, and she is so prepared for the gospel :)
-We passed by Nadia a couple of days ago, and will be able to see her next week! 
-Simone is currently super sick with some gastro thing, and can't see us for a while :/

I love you all! Passez une super bonne semaine!

Soeur Katie Pettingill

ice cream under the tour eiffel. #nbd
on the way back the morning after sleeping in Le Mans and wearing the same clothes...somebody was a little tired ;) (shhhh she doesn't know I took this yet!)

at this super cool hike we went on last week
it went up to a cross. self timers are the best
our district! the chairs are our number of transfers, if you didn't catch that





Monday, September 22, 2014

Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things (Katie-Angers)

Hey everyone and their cats,

I'm going to start with that same old line that I'm pretty sure I say in every single email ever. I KNOW THAT GOD IS REAL. Okay, there; it's said. And it's true. I see my Heavenly Father giving me personalized tender mercies every single day that strengthen me and support me. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. 

We've actually met so many neat people this week, but something that has really stuck out to me was an email I got from this cute chinese girl named Teng (pronounced, TONG). In case you didn't know this about Angers, it has some of the best universities in France; therefore, there are a lot of students that we contact on a daily basis (french and other). Sometimes these "other" ethnicity students don't yet have a french phone number, so instead, they give us their email. I then email each of them the next day and then check it a couple of days later to see if they had responded. On Friday we got caught in a rainstorm (tell me something new) and decided to go to the church vite fait to finish something on the computer for Soeur Farmer's 12-week thing. Then the spirit was like, Hey, check your email. I then proceeded to tell the spirit, But I just checked it like two days ago! And no one has responded! And it's already been almost 2 weeks since I sent it! LESSON LEARNED: don't argue with the Spirit of God. So I stopped arguing and just listened. Here is what I found waiting for me...

"Bonsoir! (Good evening)
Je regrette de respondre tard,(I'm sorry to be late to respond.) J'ai just vu ce mail (I just saw this mail.) ,je me souviens de vous. (I remember you.) En fait,j‘ai deja connu Jésus il y a 6 ans (In fact, I came to know Jesus sixe years ago),parce que il y a beaucoup de personnes qui est chretien (because there are a lot of people who are Christian),ma seour,mes grand-parents (my sister, my grandparents)........je souvent disais des prières (I often say prayers),mais je souvent sentir n‘approche pas Jésus (but I often feel not approach Jesus)je voudrais trouver quelqu’un qui peut m‘aider comment faire. (I would like to find someone who can help me to do this.)

bonne soiree! (Good evening)
Teng"

I've never been so touched. The spirit spoke to my heart, and I felt a love grow for this girl instantly and just tell her, This is actually my call as a missionary. Invite others to come unto Christ. We're seeing her later today.

We also went to Paris this week for Soeur Farmer's legality...................EXCEPT IT WAS THE WRONG DAY. The email to Soeur Farmer wasn't very clear. And unfortunately they couldn't get us in because they didn't have any of her paperwork, so we turned around and took the 2 hour train ride back to Angers. So I get to go to Paris for the 4th time this Thursday and get my baby legal in this country of ours. 

Luckily, I have a strong testimony of Ether 12:27. Heavenly Father made our weak thing become strong by letting us touch the heart of a man named Christian, who sat across from us on the train back. He had known an LDS girl 24 years ago, and we were apparently a sign from God that He loves him. He called us protective angels, and then gave us a picture of Jesus. We had a very edifying conversation together, and I will be forever grateful for that train ride home.

I love being a missionary. I love seeing God create miracles right before my eyes. And if you just look a little clearer, notice a little more, you'll find that He's doing it for you too. He's just a good dad. :)

Gros bisous!
Soeur Katie Pettingill
sunrise anyone? #ilovebeautifulthings
at our layover in Le Mans
celebrating my 6 months to sexy with a paris religieuse! Fitting, no?

getting soaked...again......

Week 5 (Jacob-Nice)

Well this week went by extremely fast!

Highlights of the week included:

Exchange in St Raphael with Elder Ambursley! He is so cool and such a great example a great missionary! He is only a member since 3 years and his conversion story is incredible!

Exchange in Nice with Elder Coloma! He is French and came in from the MTC in Madrid at the same time as me. He got emergency transfered to replace Elder Leterme due to legality issues. So now we get him here for the rest of the Transfer!  So blessed to have him here! He is also an amazing missionary!

We had a cool experience Thursday night because we had a couple of member RDVs and basically we ended up hopping home very quickly and were in kind of a rush to get home. But then while only about 5 minutes away we decided to contact just one more man, and it turned out being a miracle and a super cool young student that is also very believing! We left him with a copy of the Book of Mormon and then basically fixed a RDV, swapped numbers, and headed in. It was just such an testimony that the Lord is preparing people all around us. I think that sometimes we get so focused on our present problems that we forget to stop and look at the opportunities that are presented. I love the new video on LDS.org talking about the mom and how she doesn't get the things on her list marked off. I thought of you Mom when I watched it. I think that the Lord prepares many opportunities for us throughout the day to serve and build others, sometimes we miss them; in the case of our exchange we luckily slowed down enough to realize that the Lord did not want us to be to the apartment on time in that moment but helping Thomas grow and come to back to the fold.

We had also a great district meeting on Thursday; this time we went to the one in Nice so next time we will head to the one in Antibes.

I guess the real treat for me was Stake Conference at the end of the week! It was incredible. The Stake President finally hit his time and so was replaced by another man from Marseille or Aix. That was very fun but the best was to see all the members of the ward in Toulon that were there! I got to see Fr. Monier, and also the Leger couple (who were less active when I got there but are now in full activity!) It was very fun and what I really remarked was the power that so many members have! It was impressive and breath taking! There were so many members that the building that had been rented out was completely full and so all the missionaries stood the entire conference. But it was alright. 

One of the things that I loved the most were the comments of the Area Seventy there.  He commented in every thing in the church there is a principle, a pattern, and a process. Specifically speaking of the calling of the Stake President he cited the 5th article of faith (the principle), different scriptures including the Old Testament (the pattern) and then the many steps that had just taken place the day before (the process).

I had my testimony strengthened many times this week!

Well I will leave you! This Friday is transfer calls so pray that I stay in Nice!

Love You!!
Elder Pettingill


Pday in Nice

 Exchanges

 Zone Leaders
Marseille Stake Conference

Monday, September 15, 2014

LYON!! (Jacob-Nice)

Well this week was another quick one.

I will just highlight the big event of the week: Zone Conference in Lyon.

So we went up to Lyon on Thursday night with the entire zone and it felt like a party beecause they put 30 elders into the Office apartment (which is nice and big for the influx of all the missionaries coming through Lyon on a regular basis.) Then in the morning we all headed over to the Ecully Chapel which is great. We all got settled and the assistants asked me to conduct! That was very fun because I got to decide who said the prayers. The best part was obviously the conference. It was amazing because Elder Ballard talked about everything that I have been thinking about in the last little while! It seems to happen on a regular basis but this time it happened again! It was just a recording of the actual conference which occured in Geneva. He shared a particular a story that really hit me. It was of a son who went on his mission and went he got to the mission field he had an interview with the President and he told his mission president that he was going to be the "BEST" missionary he ever had. Obviously the mission president wondered why he would say that so he
 nodded and asked why so? Then the missionary expained how right before coming out on his mission his dad had gotten cancer and had been given about 9 or 10 months to live, This missionary having his mission call came out but on the plane thought a lot about his father and whether or not to go home. After lots of prayer and thought, he had the feeling to make a promise with Heavenly Father that if he was the "best" missionary ever then HF would keep his father alive. Elder Ballard then recounted several experiences where hard decisions were made by this young missionary in tough situations and his response was always to his companion "Help me save my father", It was amazing to see the faith and drive that this missionary had because of a promise made. He did return home and his father had lived a lot longer than expected, but I really just thought about how much drive we ought to have about the promises that we have made with the Lord. When we make those promises, then acting with full faith and confidence, the Lord will provide.


I am currently trying to follow Elder Ballard's advice that he gave us by "treasuring up the doctrine." I was very focused on reading Jesus the Christ lately that I lost a little focus on Preach my Gospel. I am taking chapter 3 at a different angle this time, I am focusing on different points of doctrine and focusing on questions or concerns that could come up in a lesson or in contacting (which is really just teaching on the street) and also the scriptures that go along with that,

At zone conference all of the missionaries that are going home in two weeks gave their "dying testimonies". That was very sad (in a good way) and scary to see. I still have a good amount of time left but that really motivated me to push to make every lasting moment count and to enjoy as much as possible France and this amazing opportunity to apply the gospel so really and quickly. There were a lot of them that got up and said a lot of things that they know and I felt good as they said it.

I wish I could say I "know" that Christ lives and that I "know" that the Book of Mormon is true, but I can't, but I do KNOW that the Gospel blesses families, and that when I read the scriptures I feel really good and something enlightens my mind and when I pray I feel so good, especially if I am sincere. I KNOW that the apostles and other leaders are called of God and that we can put our confidence in them.

I love this work, I love Preach my Gospel, read it, I love you all!
Elder Pettingill
Companions
Lyon Conference photo

PMG Chapter 3, Lesson 1, first point: God is our loving Heavenly Father (Katie-Angers)

Hi everyone:

Well, another week has gone by. Here I am, sitting at the computer, typing out yet ANOTHER email for you all to read (if you want, you don't have to). But this one is a little different because me, I am a little different today. I think I changed this past week. 

I've always had a testimony that God is real. He is. Duh. But two weeks ago, things happened (or didn't happen) and I had a little testimony-tugger. Because He's there, isn't He? YES, HE IS. I think I just needed to stop being so impatient and imperfect and just open my eyes and see. Why wasn't I seeing before? I don't know. But Heavenly Father led us to a beautiful person this week.

While out on a what we thought might be a wild goose chase, the Lord taught me something very important: patience is a virtue; it is also greatly rewarded. Nadia, the lady who we were searching for, is about 30 years old and has a young, 16 year old son suffering from a form of autism. She was extremely close to God when she was younger, but quickly lost touch when she found herself among sin. She was sensitive enough to realize that she could only have one or the other, and she chose sin. She stopped praying. She stopped going to catholic mass. She stopped reading her bible. She started drinking, smoking, and doing nothing with her life. If not for her son, she would have lost completely the will even to live. Now, almost 5 years later, she convinced herself that she could never pray again because of all of the terrible things she's done. She, because of her past, had gone so low that she didn't deserve forgiveness, and no matter her desire, she would never be able to find it.

Then we introduced her to the Book of Mormon. We told her that actually, yes, she can always come back. That is why Christ suffered for us; so that we would always be able to come back. Last night we had our second rendezvous with this incredible woman, and she said (for the first time in years) the closing prayer. She thanked Heavenly Father for showing her that He did still love her by sending her His servants. She thanked Him for the incredible feelings of peace and love that she has in her heart. She thanked Him for His Son. 

With the tears surfacing, I felt God's love so powerfully and so strongly. It was one of the most beautiful, most sincere prayers I have ever heard. I actually gave a talk on Sunday, as well. The topic that had given me was "missionary work." Okay, great. So I talked about something that has been engraven so deeply on my heart during this past year: How much Heavenly Father truly loves EACH of His children. I can see how much He loves Nadia, and now she is seeing it too for the first time in a really long time. I bore my testimony of the personal relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father; I know because I have one. He's so real, so there. 

I'm such an old missionary.

But I love it. I love seeing people change and grow--including myself! My companion and I have been studying repentance, and I recently found one of my now favorite verses in Isaiah 55:7, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord..." To repent means to return. To return back to the presence of Heavenly Father. Each time we repent, we get a little bit closer to this life objective. 

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers. The church is true.

gros bisous,
Soeur Katie Pettingill
I know, we're adorable. This is during one of our adventures where the only place we could find to have dinner was two different boulangeries. Good thing they had éclairs, right? ;)
We got to watch a surrounding Europe stakes broadcast by Elder Bednar and Elder Ballard and some others. We all gathered at the church to watch it for our ward, but we partied in the other room #wespeakenglish
We had kebabs on 9/11. Insensitive? Probably. But we didn't know what else to do...

This may or may not be a highway that we're walking down. Don't worry, France doesn't know how to make a real highway, we weren't in danger ;)

Monday, September 8, 2014

One year less (Katie-Angers)

And life just keeps going. 

I'll tell you a few things about this week, but let me start with all of the things that I love. I love getting up every morning and be able to; I love pâtisseries; I love soeur Farmer; I love teaching the fulness of the gospel to strangers; I love the sun, even when it keeps giving me weird tan lines; I love feeling the spirit every day of my life; I love walking so much that I can never get full; I love kissing people's faces because it means they like me; I love being able to speak French to someone without thinking and then understanding them; I love the hour I get every morning to relearn the gospel; I love testifying my heart and soul to everyone I see; I love being a missionary. 

But also, sometimes being a missionary is hard. Sometimes you testify with everything you have, and the person looks and you and says, "So?" Sometimes your heart hurts a little from Heavenly Father's children rejecting Christ over and over and over again. We really worked hard this week. With like a total of one rendezvous, we did a lot of looking, but apparently not very many people wanted to be found. We tried showing our faith. We even had a day of finding coupled with the Lyon Mission, praying every 30 minutes for all of the missionaries. And yet, at the end of the week I looked back and couldn't figure it out why we didn't teach very much or have as many phone numbers as we should. Here's the scripture that came into my mind during the Sacrament yesterday: 1 Nephi 11:17. I know that God loves His children; but I do not know the meaning of all things. That is something that was really put into my mind -- I don't know the meaning of all things. But I KNOW that God loves us. Therefore, I know that He will bless us in our efforts eventually. 

Also, I hit my year mark and became legal all in the same day. ONE YEAR. People like to ask me, "Does it feel like it's been a whole year on your mission??" Heck yes it does. My body hurts and is really tired and I speak french. But at the same time I'm so sad because the 6 months countdown is counting DOWN now, and that makes me nervous. BUT I do know that this past year has changed me. Am I the same person I was when I left? Yes and no. I still like the same things. I still tell stupid jokes and then laugh at them. My hair is definitely still curly. But then at the same time, not at all. My perspective is completely different. I see so much more than I ever did before, and I love it. I CRAVE the gospel. I love praying and studying the scriptures and then sharing what I learned with everyone I know! I know the Atonement is real because I have felt it. Christ is so real. Real life is life in Jesus Christ--that's what we live for, because that's the only way to live again.

I don't have anybody to ask you to pray for. But pray for everybody, okay? Because we're going to go and talk to them all this week. :) I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Avec tout mon amour (with all my love),
Soeur Katie Pettingill

The first two pictures are in Paris. I am officially legal, and also managed to get a picture with two things I did a year ago: those pâtisseries, and consecration hill (where we go as a newbie bleu missionary)


Finding day mille feuilles :)
Totes taught the 17 year olds sunday school class on Sunday. Craaaaazy kids

Week 3/Transfer 10 (Jacob-Nice)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 2/Transfer 10 (Jacob-Nice)