Monday, March 2, 2015

Miracles of all shapes and sizes (Katie-Belgium)

This week has been very...I wouldn't say trying. But it has been an incredible learning experience. I've loved every moment, that's for sure. Rain and wind and storms brought me back to all of the moments during my mission when I was soaking wet and miserable (but not really, I was in a learning stage), and yet now I just feel so happy. Yeah I'm wet and cold and nobody wants to listen...but I have been so happy during this entire week. Let me tell you about some of the miracles we saw.

We had two exchanges, one of which took place in Arras, a city in France about an hour and a half away by train. This exchange was SO needed by all four of us. I got to be with my cutie little french friend, Soeur Defranchi (from Bordeaux, so not too far from Jacob) and we had 24.5 hours to FIND some people. And it rained. A lot. However, even though it felt tiring and hard as we walked and ported and walked and contacted, and nobody in the whole world felt like listening that day, it was wonderful. As a trainer, S. Defranchi has been rather stressed out. She told me later that contacting with me for 24 hours was exactly what she needed. We talked. We cried. We laughed. We took pictures. It was like I stepped into another world, and somehow God made those 24 hours a miracle for the both of us. I learned a lot about prayer and perseverance during that time, but I also remembered how much fun it is to just explore a ville for the first time and FIND. :)

Did I mention Kadi last week? I don't remember. Mais bon, she's this adorable african lady we met on the street, and one of the many that quickly give us their phone number and address with a speedy goodbye and invitation to stop by whenever (usually ending with either never being home or never answering the phone), yet she actually was home and let us in! This week we had our second rendez-vous with her. Guess who else was there? Ibrahim! Her 14-year-old son. When we asked about the Book of Mormon, her answer was, "I'm sorry, I would have read it except my son wouldn't give it back!" Apparently Ibrahim got a little too into reading it to let his mom borrow it as well. It reminded me of all of those times at home when we got a new book and everyone wanted to read it at once...I think we'll just get them a second one in order to avoid having to share. 

We managed to feel the love of God with Irène, our portuguese friend. She's been going through a really rough time because of a rough family situation, and the spirit was so strong as we read one of my all-time favorite scriptures, 2 Nephi 2:24-25. So simple, yet so true. Feeling unhappy or depressed? God says that we are here to be happy. So let's be happy! Poor thing just needs to read the Book of Mormon. That's what really makes me feel happy when I'm having a hard time.

One more cool thing before I leave. On the way home from church (after our very first meeting with our brand new DMP!!), this girl came over to us and practically stood there staring at our plaques. Well, one of the Elders noticed her and said, "Bonjour," to which she came over to talk to us. It turns out she's feeling super far from God right now, and just wants to feel His presence in her life again. We got a good talk on the tram ride, and set up another rdv. It was cool how God planned that one out. At the end she told us how good she felt and happy to know that God is watching out for her. And He totally is. I love the gospel. I love being able to see and recognize His hand.

Here's one last miracle that I managed to accomplish (with God's help of course): On Sunday, as it was my last fast sunday before going home, I bore my testimony. Except that there wasn't really time during the French one (we only had like 15 minutes after announcements and everything, not sure how that worked out). So I really only bore it once, instead of twice like I was planning--in spanish! The problem is that now people think I speak spanish...oops. The spirit was so strong though, and God helped me to remember the simple phrases I had memorized. The church is true in all the languages.

I love you all!! Have a great week!

Soeur Katie Pettingill
touching this statue apparently brings luck..
Soeur Defranchi and I :)
Hector Chicken with the Steenbliks
the Neuhaus chocolate factory
face masks that a ward member gave us while making chili!

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