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

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