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

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