Monday, December 23, 2013

T'was the week before Christmas

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3 John 1:13-14
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and penawrite unto thee:

14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. 
So since I'll be seeing your FACES in 48 hours I decided not to write this week.

Just kidding!  Too many awesome things happened this last week for me to not write about them:)  But, I am beyond excited to skype you on Christmas Morning!!! Make sure to be up early so you don't miss my call:):):):)
So.  This week was another stellar week in good old Belgium.  Soeur Walker and I are just loving Liege and it is just loving us!  We started off the week with our Monday night soirée familiale.  We had a good time, all the Elders were there, along with some recent converts and amis.  We watched the Restoration movie and ate prune applesauce stuff with ice cream on was a little wierd, but so Belge.

On Tuesday we started off the day with GIGH.  This girl is the greatest.  She told us all about how she was sharing the Plan of Salvation with her model friends.  She also told us about how the day before, one minute she was buying a hot dog and the next she found herself in the middle of a political debate.  Immigration here is a big issue and a lot of people suffer because of it.  Gigh is brilliant and Soeur Walker and I really think she'll end up being the first President of the World.  She really can see the big picture if you know what I mean.  She understands the way people think and why they act the way they do.  It's pretty incredible actually.  Anyways she has this great desire to share the Plan of Salvation with all of these refugees in the detention centers, many of which may be deported and executed in their home lands.  She said if they just knew that they chose this!  That this life is just a small part of their existence.  They would be filled with hope!  In that way their trials and their deaths can be a inspiration instead of just a tragedy.  It was so beautiful.  She gave a prayer for these people that made me cry.  She really will change the world, of that I'm sure.  She is brilliant and well on her way to becoming internationally famous (because of the modeling), but is FILLED with Christlike charity and empathy, and can see past the shallowness and sin in the world because of the experiences she's had. Yeah, she's going to do big things.

We talked about knowledge with her.  As part of our CHRISTmas, Soeur Walker and I have made it a goal to study one of the Christlike attributes each week.  This last week was knowledge.  And it. was. fascinating.  I really had some profound insights.  Like what does it really mean to seek learning by faith?  I really pondered that a lot and discussed it with Gigh.  I came to the idea that by following promptings and acting in faith, God will give us experiences that lead to knowledge unattainable by just study.  pretty cool stuff. Gigh had some interesting things to say about that too (as usual). I read a really neat example of that this morning in Ether 3 with the brother of Jared.  That chapter is just filled with the words "know," "knowledge" etc.  Well there's a little look into my mind/discussions with Gigh:)

Later on Tuesday we saw our ami Christianna.  She is so sweet and has such pure, childlike faith.  She is also a wonderful missionary.  She has a friend who really wants to meet us and just cried and cried when she missed us the last time. Hopefully we'll get to meet her this week!

WEDNESDAY:  I went back to France!!!  It's been like 3 whole months since I've been in France, it felt so good.  We spent the day in Versailles for a Christmas Multi Zone Conference.  I'm sure Soeur Pozanaski put up/will put up pictures of it on facebook.  It was a great, spirit filled conference.  I was so touched that they had asked our families to write us each a Christmas letter.  My parents sent me and amazing letter that had me instantly in tears.  I ran into the restroom just to find my self surrounded by a bunch of other soeurs.  "We're such Soeurs!" I said. haha.  But seriously it was so sweet:)  I wish I had had time to maybe say hello to the Joly family since I was in Versailles, but we were running to and from the conference and didn't even get back to Liege until very late.  I'll see them someday soon.

Then on Thursday we saw Kelly.  Kelly is just the greatest!  I love her more and more every time I go over there.  We also went over on Saturday and helped her and her children decorate the tree.  I finally got to hear her whole story on Saturday and wow... it is amazing to see the hand of God in her life.  I don't have a ton of time but I'll give you the condencsed version.  Kelly's parents met the Mormon missionaries when they were living in England.  When Kelly was a baby they were sent back to Iraq where they were asassinated and Kelly was adopted by a Jewish family.  She was a tomboy and particuarly liked to watch racecar drving.  Her favorite racer was a Brazilian named Sena.  He died about 20 years ago on Kelly's birthday and she hasn't celebrated her birthday since.  At the age of 23 Kelly's husband and her five children were killed in a bomb.  She found herself alone and with nothing.  She was angry at God.  Then she took in her neighbor boy who had lost his family too.  She lived through "Operation Iraqi Freedom."  She saw many American soldiers and remembered reading about Mormons in her mother's journal...The first Mormons she met were American soldiers....I'm going to have to finish her story later, it's way awesome and I want to do it justice. Until the next week.

We also had an awesome "Family Home Morning" with our less-active Christianne and her non-member cousin Christophe.  I really really was proud of Christianne.  She bore such a sincere, love-filled testimony to here cousin.  I couldn't believe that Christianne, who, when Soeur Johns found her, wanted nothing to do with God, now has such a fervent, passionate testimony of our Heavenly Father's love.  She's so great.  Seriously people I'm so lucky to be able to meet and work with people like this everyday! This is the best Christmas ever.  

So many Christmas miracles...  The two branches just showered us with love this weekend.  And Liege 1's Christmas party "The most important young adults, the missionaries" were invited up to get presents from Pere Noel.  The Liege 2 Branch President gave us each a giant tin of Belgian chocolates and other members gave us more chocolate.  Sunday was really wonderful.  There were lots of amis and less-actives there and even people that haven't been to church in years were there.  We all really felt the spirit of Christmas.  I even had the opportunity to play my violin and sing in French! So fun.  This week we did a lot of "Christmas porting"  I loved it.  This is the best Christmas ever, so focused on our Savior Jesus Christ.  His coming into the world really was a miracle.  And you know what?  Miracles have not ceased today.  Look around us, God is working miracles everyday.  I wish you all the merriest of Christmases.  Remember to think about the miracle that happened on this great day and don't forget to look for the little miracles in your own life.

With all my love,
Soeur Hilton

Monday, December 16, 2013

The end of an era

Hello family and friends!  I hope you are all busy getting ready for Christmas:)  Christmas in Belgium is so beautiful!  Every street is decorated in amazing lights, the Christmas village is stunning and the people are all so happy!  The food is delicious too.  Yesterday we were invited over for Christmas Eve by the Baret family, the Schuerch's invited us for Christmas day and the Luciana's for the 31st!  I'm so excited.  I love the people here, they are so nice!

Well, this week was the transfer....Which means that Soeur thus ends an era.  (See attached photo for the epic moment the dream team was disolved).  But, just like always, I got a new companion!  Her name is Soeur Walker.  She is from Colorado and majored in English and History.  So we have a lot in common.  She is a hard worker and really really nice.  I think we are going to have a great transfer together.

This week was kind of crazy, just like it always is when you transfer companions.  We still got a lot of work done though.  I am really enjoying spreading Christmas cheer and teaching people about our Savior, who's birth we are celebrating this month.  We had a really cute Christmas lesson with Peter and Nadine's family and we watched Joy to the World with Kelly and her children.  I got to see Soeur Bitter this week and this Wednesday I'm going to Versailles so I'll get to see lots of my missionary friends.

Sorry it's short this week.  Remember that I love you all!  Have a great week!

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Do you remember my dear Sofie from Rennes?"

FAMILY--There is bad news and good news.  I'm going to start with the bad news to get it out of the way...

MESSAGE FROM HEADQUARTERS: Soeur Johns is being transferred to the Parisian Ghetto. Stop. No happiness for Christmas. Stop.  But seriously STOP.

So I'm really not that happy that Sr Johns is leaving me for Christmas:(:(:(:( She is the absolute best.  Seriously so sad about this!!!

Anyways on to the good news.  This made me cry.  So do y'all remember Sofie, the Chinese student from Rennes that Soeur Kohlert and I found my second day in the field?  Wellllllll, she has a baptismal date!

Here's the story from Soeur Bitter's email this week:

"So last week, we talked about baptism but she said that she didn't think she was ready. She said that maybe in 2 months. I thought that was acceptable so we left it there. That next morning, she sent us a text and said that she had woken up "really sad because I don't have a baptism". We told her to be praying about it that she would know which day would be good for her. When we got to our RDV, she told us:

"you know, I've been reading this book for 2 hours now"
and this point I've whipped around "QUOI!? Which book? The blue one??!"
Sure enough she had been reading the Book of Mormon for 2 hours straight. Best. news. ever. And in her words "I really like this book". Her favorite chapter is still the one "about the seed that you have to water and then it will grow into a strong tree. I love it because it's like my faith" :) love it. 

We then talked about dates and we decided that the 21st would be the best :) I'm so excited for her. Since then, she has been sharing the Gospel with EVERYONE. She'll ask me often things like:
"How do you say the name of our church in French? I'm talking about it to my French friends." 
she's is already such a great missionary and I know that she will be such a strength to this ward. I'm excited that Rennes gets to have her and I'm excited for how much love she'll receive from these wonderful members."

Wow.  I am so proud of Sofie.  I remember our first rendez-vous when Soeur Kohlert and I taught her about God, her loving Heavenly Father.  And how she thought Christians were "jerks" (she meant nerds).  And I remember when Sr Bitter and I gave her Alma 32 to read and she wanted so badly to develop her faith... wow.  I LOVE THE MISSION so much.  I wish I was in Rennes right now:(

BUT.  Things are so great here.  We are going to Peter and Nadine's tonight for a St. Nicholas Day Family Home Evening and Gigh is still doing great:)

Well everyone, I'm pretty distracted because of transfers today... enjoy the pictures:)

Also a big shoutout to my family for an awesome Christmas package!  You really outdid yourselves.  A Sister Missionary Stocking?!  How did you find that?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Mormonism is the Perfect Religion" - Peter, the Atheist

Seriously people, I LOVE my mission.  This week was absolutely wonderful...Last night I literally ran out of a rendez-vous and started singing Mariah Carey's version of "Joy to the World!" (...all the boys and girls, joy to the people everywhere you see, joy to you and me!...)

...Right after I wrote that first sentence I remembered that Soeur Johns and I were also so sick this last week...I had completely forgotten!  That is the funny thing about missions, there are really hard moments, but whenever I look back I magically don't remember them anymore because they are overshadowed by all the awesome...and really there is so much awesome.

At this point you are probably wondering what was so awesome about this week?  Well, it all started on P-Day.  It was just a p-day like any other...but was it really?  This last p-day...Sr Johns and I...bought SUPER WARM, matching coats.  I really can't explain how much of a difference they've made.  We are basically in love with them.  I don't even think you can imagine how pleased we were with our content.

Alright that's it! The work is hastening dramatically with our new coats.  Talk to you next week:)

Just kidding.  Do you really think I'd throw up a title like that with no explanation? Buying those coats really was a transcendent experience, but it's pretty much nothing compared to everything else that happened...if you can even imagine that;)

Let's start with GIGH.  So Gigh went to Charleroi this last weekend for the JA activity and absolutely LOVED it.  She made so many solid friends, one of which invited her to be baptized!  Gigh had expressed all her worries to this girl, and she just calmly said, "I know that you're going to do it."  As Gigh was recounting this to us she said, "I know she's right, I need to pray about my baptism." (!!!) Awesome.  Then we taught her the word of wisdom, which she is already living.  It was more like her teaching us actually!  Then on Friday she didn't show up to Institute for whatever reason, we were a little disappointed.  But after we left one of the members texted us to say that as everyone was leaving she showed up, and literally ran into the church to "say goodbye to her friends" because she's going to Bulgaria for a week for a modeling event.  The church is her HOME.  Oh and here's the Gigh quote for the week.
Sariah: "So if the girls from modeling aren't your friends, who are your friends?"
Gigh: (with an incredulous look on her face)  "THE SISTERS! and YOU!"
That just warmed my heart:)

THANKSGIVING.  Seriously thanksgiving was incredible.  Nothing more hilarious than a bunch of missionaries throwing together a thanksgiving feast.  Sr Johns and I made SEVEN PIES.  One of which should have ended up in Sr Johns face.---okay story time:  we sort of had a little tiff during planning one evening because I thought that six pies was plenty.  But she was just convinced that we needed one more banana cream pie.  I finally gave in and we made the seventh pie and she promised that if it wasn't eaten I could throw it in her face.  I have never had such a problematic pie.  When we set it out it looked horrible and one finger lick let everyone know it tasted bad too.  So there it sat completely untouched... Sr Johns looked too nice for me to actually throw it in her face, but that's where it belonged, haha--- Anyways it was a wonderful day filled with turkey stuffing, Elders eating whipped cream until they barfed and to top it all off, a very pinteresting "fruit turkey" brought to us by the Charleroi Elders.  And in the evening we went to the Schuerch's house and had another Thanksgiving (Sr Johns said, what we did with the zone was cute, but this is real!)  and then on Friday we had a "Thanksgiving" dinner for institute.  They tried so hard...But we ended up with "Chicken and applesauce" and another salty pumpkin pie.  I loved it though!

Okay (it's not over) on Saturday we went to Brussels for stake conference.  We had a really wonderful adult meeting about missionary work.  Elder Teixera (Area Seventy) spoke to us and gave us the growth report in Europe.  It is incredible.  The church is really growing in the Europe Area.  100,000 for sacrament attendance this year!  And 1000 missionary calls!  That's the most ever.  So cool.
The next day they reorganized the Brussels Stake.  It was really powerful.  The Stake presidency is really really young.  Just these young fathers with lots of kids and stellar testimonies.  They are going to do great things!

Now I will finnally explain the title of my blogpost.  So do you remember Nadine?  And her family home evening every monday night, strength of youth reading, watching, adorable family of four children?  Well we swung by her house Sunday night with a scrumptious pumpkin pie we made to say "Thank You" for the other night. (Yes...we actually made more than seven pies)  She was just delighted to see us.  Nadine is just a peach.  Sr Johns described it nicely, "whenever we talk with her I feel like I'm chatting with one of my young women's leaders."  Seriously she is so great.  She is quite the chatter though.  We basically just listened to her.  And here's what she said:

"Peter said this last week that 'Mormonism is the perfect religion, but I don't want to stop drinking.'  But don't worry we set it as a New Years' Resolution to stop."
"Do you have any ideas for family night this week?"
"I liked on facebook."
"Are you listening Steve? (her oldest son) Sr Johns and Sr Hilton have read this entire book!"  (The Book of Mormon)
"What are you sisters doing for Christmas?" (yes she hinted at inviting us over!)

This is the rendez-vous that I literally left singing for joy (to the world).  We are going back on Friday!  So excited.

Well, that was my week!  Filled with so much awesome:)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Very Belge Thanksgiving

Wow, another week gone already?  And it has really been a splendid week.  Thanksgiving is coming up and the Christmas paper chain is getting alarmingly short and Liège is busy setting up it's annual "Village de Noël" in Centre Ville, complete with an adorable Christmas themed Ferris Wheel.  I'm so excited to spend Christmas in Belgium, It's going to be really magical.

GIGH IS BACK!  She fell off the face of the planet for a few weeks there, but we succeeded in seeing her this last Tuesday night.  We found out that her life has been really difficult lately.  We made some delicious pumpkin scones with her and just talked about life.  We invited her to go to the JA (Young Adult) super weekend in Charleroi and she said yes!  It was so great, we obiviously couldn't go, but she went with Sariah Scheurch (our recently returned mini missionary) and texted us updates every couple hours.  She had an absolute blast and Sariah said she really felt the spirit:)  We are going to go see her tomorrow and hear all about it! there is the American lady named Soeur Fonicello...she was in Liège 2 but just barely moved back to the U.S. (Texas to be exact).  She kept telling us about this family she wanted us to go see, Peter and Nadine, but we weren't having much luck getting a rdv with them.  We had no idea if these people were even believing, or wanted to see missionaries.  Basically we had pretty low expectations for this family.  But then a few weeks ago they showed up after church for Soeur Fonicello's going away party and Nadine started talking to us and invited us over!  Well, last Wednesday was our appointment.  We had no idea what to expect, except that she was feeding us dinner.  Soeur Fonicello had been her cleaning lady, and Nadine had met us once while we were helping Soeur Fonicello we thought maybe Nadine was expecting us to help her clean house?  Really we had no idea.  We were prepared for least we thought we were.  We couldn't have been more surprised by what actually happened....

We stumbled upon a family that is culturally Mormon.  Nadine led us inside, sat us down with her children and basically said, "Teach them!"  She pulled out worksheets she had written based on the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet for her children to do with us, told us about how every monday night they have family home evening, and when the kids went off to karate she led us back into her "scrapbooking" room, which was filled with Greg Olsen paintings, mormon ads and ensign magazines...  She is reading the Book of Mormon and has the Relief Society book "Daughters in My Kingdom."  From the way she was talking it is obvious she wants her children to go on missions, literally we could say nothing wrong.  I have never ever felt as good on my mission as I had felt that night!  God really is preparing people.  And members are so powerful.  This is all thanks to Soeur Fonicello!  Nadine even had a "Mormon Mom's" cookbook.  I can't wait to go back and see them again:)  It was really weird, the night before all of this, at Gigh's house, the TV was on for a few minutes and Nadine was on it!  She was in some sort of news story.  It was just really cool because I never watch tv and the one time it was on our soon-to-be investigator was on the cool!

Okay, what else happened this week.  Oh yes, we had "A VERY BELGE THANKSGIVING."  So there is this less-active, Christianne.  She's...well...a little exhuberant... and for months she has been inviting us to have Thanksgiving with her.  It was kind of the last thing we wanted to do.  We wanted to have thanksgiving with the Schuerch's because they are half-American.  Well, last week Christianne asked if we were coming over for Thanksgiving this Thursday, the 21st, we told her that that's not Thanksgiving!  It's a week later on the 28th.  She said she'd already invited a bunch of people. Anyways, It was perfect this way!  So this last Thursday I had my first Belge Thanksgiving.  It was hilarious!  Nobody had any idea what it was actually supposed to be like, or what Thanksgiving was even about.  I think I told the Pilgrim story at least a few times, it was kind of difficult in French, haha.  Christianne tried so hard.  She made EVERYTHING out of pumpkin though!  We had pumpkin soup, pumpkin chunks to go with the turkey? and a pumpkin pie that had onions in it instead of sugar.  Seriously I will never forget that night... I can't wait for our American Thanksgiving this week!  There is no such thing as canned pumpkin out here so Soeur Johns and I bought five giant slices of pumpkin, cut them up, cooked them in the oven and then puréed them.  We are taking desperate measures to get pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving!

Well that's it for this week!  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with gratitude, family, and delicious (sugary) pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The "Hug Language"

Wow, has it really been another week?  This one went really fast!  I went ice-skating, ate out at a Mexican food restaurant (didn't know that they even existed out here), and went shopping for p-day today, so I don't have much time to email today.  Sorry if it's kind of short today!

Nothing really exciting happened during the first part of the week, but this weekend we had a "mini-missionaire"...who was it?....wait for it...our best friend SARIAH SCHEURCH!  She is an adorable 18 year-old JA in Liège 2 who speaks perfect French and English (She's half Belge, half American).  She is preparing to go on her own mission next year.  She spent Friday,Saturday and Sunday with us and it was a blast.  We taught her how to "hug."  She was quite over-whelmed with what she calls the "hug language."  You know, side-hugs, hand-hugs, the I-don't-really-like-you hug etc.  It was such a fun weekend!  She found out that she is no longer allergic to apples, so we took pictures of her trying her first granny-smith.  She said it tasted like candy and was seriously the happiest girl I've ever seen.  We pronounced November 16th, "Granny Smith Day" in her honor.  We were sitting on the bus and she said, "look at all these people!  They don't even know!  This is the best day ever!" haha she is hilarious.

We also had some really neat "mini-missionaire miracles."  Yesterday we had nothing to do after church so we started calling people to try and set something up.  It was amazing, people we had never been able to get a hold of answered our calls, or even called us back.  We filled up our entire schedule for this next week! Soeur Schuerch had a really neat experience.  She felt like she needed to call a less-active in our ward.  She kind of ignored the feeling at first, but then just took the phone and called her.  The woman answered the phone and she was crying.  She had just prayed and asked God that someone would call her because she was going through a rough time.  Wow.  Is there a more beautiful experience than being the answer to prayer?

Well that's all the time I have for now.  I wish I had time to tell you about the bus strike, or our bible history lesson from Elder Anderson, or our entire day in Namur with our zone (where we sang and I played my violin), or how the Elders ask us for dating advice whenever we are on the train together, haha.  It was another wonderful week on the mission and this week will be even better!

Also, Soeur Bitter in Rennes wrote this in her email this week.  Do you all remember Sophie, the Chinese student from Rennes?  Here's the update on her, it made me cry:)

"So she went to Germany for a week and a half and unfortunately she lost her phone there haha but we dropped by and she had missed us lots :) Anyway, she told this story of when she was in Germany. She met someone there and they went to lunch together (Sophie is one of the most outgoing people I know). She said that this girl started talking about her life and she told Sophie about her theory of living: "Live today and take no thought for tomorrow". (As missionaries now we're thinking "uh huh....and what did YOU say??" haha) But then Sophie said something amazing. She said she sat back and realized all the blessing that God has given her- A good family and he helped her get to France where she met us, the missionaries. And then we introduced her to diasm and Christianity. She said "In that moment I knew that I was on the right path and I thought of my missionary friends and all that you have taught me". She went on to say that this last week or two has been hard and she hasn't had ANY time to see friends or to hang out. She's in school full time and she works as well. (but she still makes time for us :)). She then said that every once in a while she feels lonely but then she thinks of us and what we told her she can do. So she gets on her knees and PRAYS! She said, "and then, I'm not sad anymore. And what more? I know I should be doing this (praying) more often". She is so incredibly easy to teach. It's actually amazing to me how little we have taught her yet how many amazing spiritual experiences she has had. Teaching people like her make all of this worth it."

Love that girl!  She even sent me a postcard from Berlin that said, "I thank God who gives me so many good lucks."

I have photos from this week, but I don't have time to attach them.  So be excited for next week:)

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Places I Find Myself

This week I found myself...

Apartment shopping in a foreign country -  Watching President Motulet bow to Soeur John's as she downs 14 pieces of pizza  -  BBQing with Iranian's  -  eating soup on aplate  -  sympathizing with Soeur Johns as Christianne plans Soeur Johns wedding with her cousin Christoff  -  practice teaching in the kitchen with two hilarious Elders  -  burning a letter from Soeur John's ex  -  visting a less-active who knows the Queen of Belgium  -  standing in the middle of Brussels' Grand Place, crying because it was so beautiful  -  surrounded by the world's most famous chocolate shops  -  wondering why Brussels has a famous statue of a boy peeing  -  looking at agorgeous building, asking myself what wonders could possibly be inside, and then finding out it was a beer Belge  -  eating the most delicious gauffe in the world (with melted speculoos and strawberries)  -  sitting in the stairwell for an hour on the train ride back to Liege while Soeur Johns was squished in the corner  -  writing a talk for each branch in a dirty, crowded cyper cafe while Arab music blasted in my ears  - finding out during Sacrament Meeting that today was the primary program not my talk...FALSE ALARM  -  missing the bus and getting recruited to hand out flyers for a ball that we can't dance at  -  marching and carrying a lantern in a parade (with fireworks going off in the background) in the small town of Visé, celebrating the fact that the Germans didn't capture the city in WWI or WWII  -  dancing in a circle in the before-mentioned parade singing "VIVE LES FRANCS!"  -  meeting another model, named Sandra, who wants to go to church in Brussels -

My whole mission has been like this, I never know what's really going to happen when I wake up in the morning!  But of all the places that I found myself this week, by far the best wasSaturday night in the Sheurch family's home as their daughter Sariah shared the gospel with her best friend in the whole world, Oceane.  Tears filled Sariah's eyes as we had Oceane read the Young Women's theme.  We talked about how we truly are "daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us and we love Him."  We talked and testified of prayer, how God really does hear and answer, and Oceane shared a beautiful experience she had with prayer.  We are so excited for Sariah to be our mini-missionary this coming weekend and to see Oceane at church :)

Oh and something else super crazy happened this week!!!  This last Friday Soeur Johns and I went to Brussels to do my legality.  We get off the metro and we join up with Elder Smith and Elder Nicholson.  All of a sudden a SWARM of really unfamiliar looking missionaries appeared.  It all happened so fast, and suddenly there was a sister missionary introducing herself to me.  She said her name was "Sister Kohlert."  Seriously the wierdest moment.  I was so confused!  I was thinking to myself, "No way, Sister Kohlert is shorter and lives in Luxembourg!"  Then all the pieces fell together in my dazed brain and I freaked out... Yes... I saw Soeur Kohlert's sister!!  Soeur Kohlert is going to be so jealous.  In Rennes she talked about her sister all the time, how she's just one mission over (Belgium/Netherlands mission) and how the missions overlapped in Brussels and by some miracle maybe they'd see eachother...well it was me who got to see her...whoops! haha it was super cool, especially because they had a refferal for us!  And we actually had one for them.  We didn't know there were sisters in Antwerp and they didn't know there were sisters in Liege!  Also, her companion was Sr Johns Relief Society President at BYU freshman year!  It was seriously so crazy.

So yes, that's my week for you all!  This next week is seriously PACKED.  I'm nervous that we won't be able to fit everything in!

Monday, November 4, 2013

"I'm already a Mormon!"

This week started off with Gigh.  The Shuerch's had us all over for a family night with her Monday night.  It was really fun and Frère Shuerch gave the lesson, on conversion.  Then we ate a delicious pumpkin tart that Sr Johns made. (Her family sent tons of Thanksgiving type food...yumm).  Then on Wednesday we went over to Gigh's with Sariah Shuerch (18 year old who wants to serve a mission) and invited her to get baptized.  She's not ready yet, but really wants to:)  She is a seriously inspiring person.  I feel so honored to know her and share the gospel with her.  As you may have noticed in past posts, she also just says the best things.  Here's this weeks installement of "Gigh quotes"

"Help me to become more converted." (During the closing prayer at the soirée familiale)
"I'm not going to miss it ever again." (To Sariah when she asked her if she was coming to institute)
And the best one..."I'm already a Mormon!" (Said to some Jehovah Witnesses who knocked on her door this week.)

On Tuesday Soeur Johns and I had a really neat experience following the Spirit.  We had plans to go see our recent convert Tuesday night, and so the night before I was thinking about that and how I really wanted to go up early and porte her street.  I didn't know if Soeur Johns would be down, so I decided to bring it up the next day.  The next morning Soeur Johns told me how she wants to start "envisioning the miracles" we want to see that day, for two minutes before we get out of bed.  That morning she had really felt like we needed to porte Joycely's street!  We both had the prompting so we went up early and ported the entire street...and we found a Belge family that we are going back and seeing tomorrow morning...and we also met an African woman who we taught this last Thursday who is legit!  It was such a neat experience... Like it says in PMG, the spirit really can lead us to those who are prepared, and they can be lead to us.  It's funny because we didn't even end up teaching Joycely at her apartment, she ended up wanting to meet us in town instead...pretty funny.

Actually we were even lead to another family by following that prompting.  On thursday we went to Seraing to teach Christianna and decided to porte her street too.  We knocked on a door and an Italian man said that he was going to Germany in 10 minutes but we could come teach his family anytime!  So cool!

So, this last week I experienced...HALLOWEEN IN BELGIUM.  And let me just was kind of disappointing.  Well, Soeur Johns and I had a blast, but people really don't celebrate it here.  On Halloween I dressed up as Soeur Johns, and she dressed up as me.  We had way to much fun with it.  Haha it was funny because when we ported/contacted I had to introduce myself as Soeur Johns.  During our rdv with Christianna I realized it would probably be confusing if our names changed for the next rdv.  So part-way through, when she wasn't looking we switched our tags back...I don't think she noticed.  Christianna is awesome by the way.  She has some serious faith in God.  She told us how she walked all the way from Greece to Turkey in the snow, because someone had stolen her passport and money and how God saved her life...amazing.

Then we went to the Foire for a little while Halloween night.  There was a few people dressed up...but not that many.  I really think Halloween is just an American thing.

That Friday though the JA's (young adults) had a Halloween party.  We went dressed as "pre-soeurs" (or your stereotypical sister missionary from 15 years ago).  Soeur Johns wore this amazing blouse with shoulder pads, and I put my hair in a pioneer braid...again, we had way to much fun with that.  The party was super fun!  They had a haunted house in the "cave" that was absolutely terrifying.  I had a massive headache after from screaming so much.  Seriously so frightening.

Oh and also, Friday morning we went to Brussels to get a new chip for our phone from the Wright couple.  They took us out to get Belgian hot chocolate... heaven.  They are such a funny couple.  Love them.

On Sunday Soeur Johns and I were at the church ALL DAY.  And the building was freezing.  There was a going away party for Sr Fonicello and her friends Peter and Nadine showed up!  They are a beautiful family with 4 children.  She has been wanting us to go see them for months, but we had never gotten the chance to ask if they even wanted the missionaries to come over.  But then at the end of the dinner, Nadine came up and started chatting with us.  It was the perfect opportunity for us to set something up.  I was so nervous though.  I was shocked when she suggested exchanging numbers.  I then asked if she'd like to us come visit sometime and she was down.  So cool!  They are an awesome family.  It think she's Italian and Peter is Swedish.  And their family and the Branch President's family became best friends yesterday...wonderful.
The ZL's had a rdv in the afternoon, so we got stuck staying at the church to fill up the font for Romeo's baptism.  It was fine, we turned the heat way up in the JA room and watched Johnny Lingo (that movie is ridiculous by the way). haha.  Then Romeo showed up and he was soooo happy.  He was acting like a 5 year old on Christmas.  I was so proud of him!  The Liege 2 Elder's ami came to the baptism, and asked "can I do that next week?"  This guy is awesome.  He is from Morocco and had a dream where a little boy came up to him and told him the Book of Mormon was true.  He showed up at church a few weeks ago and now the Elders are teaching him!  He speaks Arabic and a little French.  Elder Anderson speaks some Hebrew, so he's trying to learn Arabic now.  They do most of the teaching with google translate.  How cool is that?

Anyways the baptism was awesome, I was recruited to play the intermede musicale again.  So fun.  I am really glad I brought my violin with me.  Some of the most powerful spiritual experiences have been with it.  Like earlier this week I had the feeling I should bring it with me.  We ended up running into some former amis on the street.  They invited us in for a few minutes and told us how the husband is battling cancer.  I played my violin and we all cried...It was beautiful...  I'm going to be playing at a missionary conference in a few weeks and at stake conference at the end of the month.  I'm not the best at the violin...but it's amazing how the spirit can work through music.

We also had a really fun time after the baptism just chatting with everyone.  Some how the subject got on how much Soeur Johns can eat.  Name any food challenge and she's done it.  It came out that she had eaten 66 slices of pizza in one sitting.  The Branch President couldn't get over that one! hahah he said, in English, "I AM SHOCKING" (meaning I'm shocked). hahaha

Seriously, the mission is the best.  This week was sooo fun, and we also saw so many miracles.  I have a testimony that the happier the missionaries are, the faster the work progresses:)

Talk to you all next week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tu n'as pas tout tes frites dans le même sachet!

Photos of Lorraine's companion and the Christmas chain:

So here I was...just going about doing missionary work in Liege...kind of thinking that it was just another semi-ghetto Belgian industrial ville...but I was wrong.  This week I learned...wait for it...that CHARLEMAGNE was born here!  That immediately makes Liege the coolest place ever.  Actually Belgium has a very interesting history...a big thanks to mom for sending me some history:)

Well that's it for the week!  Thanks for reading!

Just kidding, here's what happened this week:

Monday we had the (older) single adults' fhe.  Sr De Walle, the lady that has been inactive for 32 years, came!  She is awesome.  She brought her 5-year- old great-grand-daughter Clara with her. She is the sassiest little thing.  We are totally obsessed with her.  She just says the cutest little things in French, draws crazy pictures, has imaginary pets (leopards and dinosaurs), and drags us all around the chapel.  She came with Sr De Walle to church and sat between us during sacrament fun!

Okay--GIGH.  Gigh is the Rwandese ami that we've been teaching.  Well we went over and taught her the Plan of Salvation on Tuesday and it was another great lesson.  She was so excited about the fact that she chose to come to earth.  She keep saying how that changes everything!  She said "I just know that I signed up for all these challenges, I'm just the adventurous sort...I'm sure I said 'Yeah, bring it on!'"  haha, she's hilarious. She also said she wants to take us to London next month for some sort of religious 'Hill Sing,'  we said we'd have to think about it haha.  OKAY, and we officially found out that she was in BELGIUM'S NEXT TOP MODEL.  She had absolutely no experience, just decided to try it out (the adventurous sort).  She told us about how no one would look at her at first, but now everyone is crazy about her and she is in the Finals!  The big show was this last Saturday.  Every week in district meeting each equipe asks the district to pray for something specific about one of their amis...usually something like getting baptised, feeling the spirit etc.  We asked them to pray that Gigh would win the show.  Well on Sunday morning, we thought Gigh might not come to church because she was probably tired from the show.  But she walked in right before the sacrament with a gorgeous hair-do.  Turns out she came in SECOND PLACE.  Apparently she's famous--the show was on TV.  She showed us all these pictures of herself with models for Louis Vuitton etc.  Crazy.  She's also going to New York next month for a photo shoot...  But more importantly than all that is that she is really progressing and loves church!  

On Wednesday we went to Brussels!  President came to our district meeting to pump us up about our goal for every equipe to find, teach and baptize a family before Christmas.  There has been a lot of opposition since we set the goal.  Apparently there were like six missionaries in the hospital last week!  So he came to encourage us to keep trying.  That night we had a "movie night" with Christianne.  She is just this crazy Belge lady, who talks really loud and spits in your face etc...she's hilarious.  Anyway she was in the middle of one of her dramatic stories, describing how she was yelling at someone and calling them crazy, and said "Tu n'as pas tout tes frites dans le même sachet!"  Which, translated means, "You don't have all you fries in the same sack!"  I just lost it.  Sr Johns and I couldn't breath we were laughing so hard... seriously such a Belgian insult.  Y'all should have been there...  yes I say "y'all" now, what happens when you live with a Texan.

Speaking of which...transfer email just came in and...SR JOHNS AND I ARE STAYING TOGETHER!!! WAHOOOOOOOO  Seriously so happy about that.  Oh and they opened a second equipe of Soeurs in Rennes!  They definitely need that over there.  There's so much potential.  We will probably be getting another equipe of soeurs in Liege next transfer.

Other cool things that happened?  hmmm...we went on a referral goose chase in the Belgian countryside.  Seriously just had the most gorgeous walk through Remicourt... It was surreal.  I love my mission, it's beautiful.  Never want to'll literally will have to come get me to make me come home...oh wait that's what's happening.
Oh and on saturday night we went to pass-by Katy.  She wasn't there so we knocked on their neighbors door... And ended up teaching a JESUIT named Serge and his awesome wife Patricia.  

Also we talked to some english speaking women on the bus the other night.  One of them was Italian and said "Oh I have a friend who is Mormon.  He did the same thing you are!  In fact, he love Brazil so much he decided to stay for TWO YEARS!"  We just laughed and said, wow, he really must have been enjoying himself! :)

Then after that an older man started talking to us, to wish us luck in our mission and tell us he admired people who have faith.  Turns out he lives in our building!  That was the day I found about the whole Charlemagne thing, so I told him how I was so shocked about that.  He said that if I was interested in history, he has these 1-day bus tours through the Liege Province.  Then the other day we got a letter in our mailbox from him with all the bus routes and THE CUTEST letter ever.  It is nice to know that people admire us and that there are such nice people out there.  Belgians are just the nicest people in the world.

Oh and this week we went and saw Fifi, she the mother of Gilles who got baptized two weeks ago.  She's from the Congo and taught us how to make Beignets...delicious.

Okay...that's all I can think of.  Oh Sr Johns and I made an adorable paper chain counting down to Christmas!  Seriously can't wait for Christmas...

Okay goodbye dear friends! until next week:)