So: I just spent my first Christmas away from home...in Belgium's self proclaimed "Cité de Noël"... good ol' Liège. It was quite the experience!
On Christmas Eve we went to Kelly's house in the afternoon to celebrate with her and her kids. We cooked together and I got to play Santa Claus and set out the presents for her kids. It was soooo cute to watch them open their gifts! Then that evening I was treated to some Belgian Christmas Eve specialties....Foie gras, caviar, and....wait for it...all you can eat escargot! And those were only the apetizers! The main dish was turkey with pineapple gravy...sounds weird but was incredibly delicious. And then a Bouche de Noël for dessert! I just felt so loved that night, the Baret family is the greatest. I got some huge hugs from Mama Baret and lots of Belgian chocolate...and shredded wheat (random I know, but sort of awesome at the same time).
CHRISTMAS DAY was wonderful! I got to sleep innnnnn. I still woke up atthough and had to force myself back to sleep. I made it to and then the attraction of opening Christmas presents was too much. THANK YOU everyone for the lovely gifts! Scott---Pentago is awesome. Also thank you to the Hendershots for the surprise package full of goodies! That was so nice:-)
Aroundwe got the the Scheurch's house and had raclette for lunch! Raclette is where you have a double-deckered grill, you melt cheese on the bottom and cook meat and veggies on the top, grab a baguette and voila, a delicious Christmas meal! Then we had our second Bouche de Noêl for dessert. We also got to watch a Disney movie--Kung Fu Panda. I forgot how funny that one is.
Then... I got to SKYPE my family! It was great seeing you all. Of course I remembered about a million other things I'd have liked to tell/ask you about when I hung up...They'll just have to wait until Mother's Day:)
And even with all the festivities we still managed to get a lot of work done. Christophe said his first prayer, Christianna said she wants to be baptized, and Gigh put up an album of pictures on facebook from the Young Adult Weekend in Charleroi entitled "THIS IS MY REAL LIFE." (don't worry, I wasn't on facebook, Sariah told me about this). So yes my friends, the work goes forth in Liège!
Okay, almost forgot, I need to finish Kelly's story! Where did I leave off...oh yes, the first Mormons she met were U.S. soldiers in Iraq. She then moved to France and was trying to get into the UK. Her husband (at this point she had remarried and had two new children) had a bad accident and they had to move to Belgium for medical care. While in Belgium she started doing some deep reflection and realized she wanted her children to be brought up in a good religion. She researched many religions and one day she remembered the Mormons. (It took her awhile because she kept on searching the internet for LSD instead of LDS, haha). I don't remember exactly how it happened, but she ended up finding mormon.org and requesting the missionaries. They didn't come for three years! This last summer is when the Elders gave her a call. She took the discussions and wasn't sure if she should get baptized because she "didn't have faith." But she decided to join the church for her children. This is where I meet Kelly -- kind of disillusioned with the church and not sure if God is even there. Then over the next few months I got to see God work a miracle...stay tuned for the rest of the story next week!
I wish you all the best for the new year! I can't believe that it is already 2014. Let's make it the best yet!