Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 6 (Jacob-Limoges)

Well this has been a wonderful week!! This morning we had a wonderful surprise when Julian sent us a wonderful text "Bonjour !!! Hier, Dieu, le Très Haut m'a soufflé que, oui le livre de mormon est vrai. Joseph Smith a été prophète. Tout s'éclaire. Faites passez le message..." (Hello!!! Yesterday, God, the Most High, whispered to me that, yes the Book of Mormom is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet,. Everything is clear. Spread the word.) What a wonderful example of someone that TRULY, sincerely and with real intent sought out the answer and got it!! He did everything we asked him to do, to the letter and he got what he was looking for. We had a really great rdv (appointment) with him before we left to to Lyon, and basically just talked about how we just need to do all the things that God has asked us to do in order to get an answer and then just continue with patience. 

Then we had a wonderful conference in Lyon to prepare the mission for iPads. The iPads will probably be here sometime soon and then I assume we will get those in the next week or two, They talked a lot about many things during the conference and one of the topics was about agency and I really liked a comment made by Elder Nielsen about agency. He said that agency was the thing that Satan was going against since the beginning and he wanted to take it away, and that is still his goal but since he can't take away our agency now, he just tries to get us to not use it. His number 1 goal is for us to just do nothing. It was amazing as I thought of the many temptations that we have in this life and they all can be connected to Satan's desire for us to do nothing. For example, we steal because we do not want to do the back work that goes behind working to obtain something. 

We read in 2 Nephi 2:13-14 about things that act and things that are acted upon and we should not give into Satan and become objects that are just acted upon!! It was great!

The transfer news is that we are staying together in Limoges!! And they shut down the sister equipe...we now only have 6 including us in our district.

I love you!!

Elder Pettingill

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wonderful Week (Jacob-Limoges)

Well this week was marvelous!! I wish I had more time to tell you all about it!!

District Meeting was a blast and we had the zone leaders over for an exchange which was very good! We talked about scriptures and study. We watched this wonderful video to go along with it.

Also we had 5 amis at church on Sunday and Julian was one of them! He is doing really well and we have had some pretty powerful lessons together! 

As well we had Ward conference and so many leaders of the ward came and it just so happened that almost 5 of the families that were in Brive were there at church so it was wonderful to be able to bring back old memories with all those wonderful members!!!

This Saturday is the ipad conference. We leave very early Friday morning. 

Well I got to go!!! We have family home evening tonight!!

Love, Elder Pettingill

P.S. Well I guess president thought Friday would be too early to tell about transfers, or maybe he didn't have it all figured, out so he pushed it off until Tuesday. So voila. If I leave, I will just go directly to my new city from the conference. I hope and pray that I stay.

P.P.S. Thanks so much for praying for Eric!! He is doing very well. The bishop told us that he wants to be the one who asks her for the permission so that will be a good thing I think.

We didn't get any pictures because Jacob lost his camera cable and the SD card wasn't working in the computer. However, I read that the Limoges train station is considered one of the most beautiful train stations in France. He has sure spent some time there this transfer!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 4 (Jacob-Limoges)

Well this week was wonderful. We had to really work hard to fill our time as we realized that much of last transfers work kind of fell through the cracks during the last 3 weeks and so we really got to work and found a ton of miracles.

On Tuesday we had a great rdv with Jacques and I learned a little more Hebrew! Turns out that Bethlehem means House of Bread. Interesting that Christ often refers to himself as the Bread of Life. The sisters hopped on the Hebrew band wagon and will be joining us for our Hebrew lesson tomorrow. Hopefully this will help him feel our love for him and desire to understand him and then to help him make little steps toward Christ!

We taught Alphonse on Wednesday and helped him better understand the Restoration. He accepted to take the steps necessary to know if it is all true. That is the wonderful part of our message and I think the most enjoyable thing to explain to more people than I can count on a daily basis!  We have so many blessings to know that God, our heavenly Father, talks to each of us individually and to the world collectively to help families be happy and live together forever! I think I explained that message and understood it a little more profoundly this week. 

Later we taught Julian, the friend of our wonderful member Baptistin (who is having a rough time and hasn't been coming to church). We had such a good RDV with him where we were able to truly unveil the Gospel. In the end we fixed a date for baptism and he told us that he wanted to go to the chapel right then. (Which if you had been with him since the beginning you would understand the incredible feat that that is for him as he has a huge fear that we are a sect and will grab him and pull him in.) We made cookies with them the next day which was also wonderful. The best thing is that it is helping Baptistin realize the blessings of the Gospel as well as he remembers the times spend during his conversion. 

On Sunday I called the father of Eric, the boy who wants to be baptised. I was thinking of fixing an RDV for later on this week but I think that he didn't understand and told us he would be at the chapel with Eric later that afternoon. WOW. We fixed a goal together for baptism for the 30 of Mai. We need lots of prayers because Eric and his mother do not have a great relationship and so essentially, although she is a member, she may not authorize qu'il le fasse avant qu'il ait 18 ans (that he can do it before he is 18 years old).... We fixed a goal that we are going to pray for her daily and then in 2 weeks, He will tell his mom what he would like to do and we hope that, just like Esther, he will come out still living.

On Sunday night we had a cool miracle. We had a rdv with an amie at 7 o'clock and we had Damien a JA (young adult) who is preparing to go on his mission. So we got on the bus to go to the RDV and we were passing the gare (train station) and I realized that we needed to switch buses because on Sunday they switch. So we got off. I called our amie to tell her we would be late and she said that she was also going to be late. We were not that far from her house so we had to figure out something to do. Well, we had wanted to see our ami Abey that day but with the timing it had not really worked out. So I called him and ask what he was doing and where he was and he said at the gare! Well it turns out that he was standing like 100 meters away from us and so we sat him down, taught him and and then went to our rdv with Sandra. Amazing how the Lord can fill our time with wonderful activities.

Well I love you all!!

Have a great week!
Elder Pettingill

Zone Conference in Bordeaux

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 3 (Jacob-Limoges)

This week was very fun! We had a lot of great experiences. Obviously we had Zone interviews on Monday. But after that we had a couple humbling experiences.

1st we went over to visit Andrey and he opened the door and did not have the same countenance like normal. We said hi like normal and were very excited to see how he was doing. He then explained to us with his broken french that he appreciated us and loved the Book of Mormon. He then told us that he did not appreciate however our previous visit where we tried to help him understand that 1 baptism is a commandment 2 that we have need of prophets today and 3 that church attendance is necessary in order to take of the sacrament. Obviously due to the language barrier we had to use a lot of scriptures in Bulgarian in order to express the points that we were trying to make. I guess we were coming off as a little forceful and he understood our point of view but did not like the forceful manner in which we shared it. It was a big lesson for me because I felt devastated that I would ever "force" or convince someone to try and live my beliefs. That is not why we are here as missionaries and that is not our message. The necessary part of the gospel of Christ is free agency (as we learned so well in General Conference.) The gospel is to be spread with love and boldness but not forcefully.

Later I had a cool experience as we asked the sisters to take over on explaining the gospel to Silvana. That was a little hard because I wanted to be the one to teach her but I also knew that the sisters would be able to help her in a way that we would not (like help her meet the relief society sisters). The Gospel is so important and applies to each of us individually. The Holy Ghost is the perfect teacher and teaches each of us according to our needs and our situations.

We had several visits with members on Friday that were powerful. Friday morning we planned to meet with a Frere (Brother) to study french with him. I asked to Elder Robards to give a spiritual thought and while he was sharing it, he was really struggling. But it was amazing because although the french was not there, the spirit was and we all were edified and rejoiced together. That happened later that night as we saw a less active member. Elder Robards shared the message and it was amazing how, as this less active member sought to truly help him, the spirit came and testified and because he was helping he felt the spirit as well. 

Then obviously it was amazing to finish off the week with General Conference!!

Here are my favorite talks and quotes:

"Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music. … It is hard to dance without music. Dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling—even embarrassing. Have you ever tried it?

We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost. It brings a change of heart and is the source of all righteous desires. The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will only be experienced when we come to hear the music." -Elder Wilford W. Andersen

"Another element of God’s grace is the opening of the windows of heaven, through which God pours out blessings of power and strength, enabling us to achieve things that otherwise would be far beyond our reach. It is by God’s amazing grace that His children can overcome the undercurrents and quicksands of the deceiver, rise above sin, and “are perfect[ed] in Christ” (Moroni 10:32)." - Elder Utchdorf*

With lots of Love!! Elder Pettingill

Rich asked in his weekly email why it takes so long for them to get from Limoges to Lyon, and why they would ever go through Bordeaux, since it seems so close on a map.  Here is Jacob's answer:

Well this will be a very fun explanation. So essentially as you probably saw on the map, Limoges is actually not too far from Lyon. Apparently there are trains that can get there in just 3 hours or so.
The Bordeaux trip was special because for Mission Leadership council they had the Zone leaders and District leaders come but not their companions. So essentially Elder Robards needed somewhere to stay for the trip. So essentially they just had us go to Bordeaux and then Elder Thompson, I, and Elder Berry left our companions in Bordeaux with the companionships in Bordeaux. I think that the trains that go directly from Limoges to Lyon go through the Paris mission so basically the only other ways would be either going to Bordeaux and then to Toulouse and then to Montpellier and then to Lyon, but from Limoges there is also a train that goes directly to Toulouse so the first trip we went directly like that. Then for the second we did the mission tour because I had to drop my companion off in Bordeaux. Many hours and much money wasted just to stay in the boundaries of the mission. But I guess if money and time was a problem for the Lord, He would just change the rules.

I love you so much!! Thanks so much for the diligent letters! You will probably have sent over 1000 emails during the last 2 years and I am sure it will hit higher at the end of it all.

Lots of Love!
Elder Pettingill