It's been a week unlike any other. With goodbyes, cleaning, packing, etc. it has in no way felt like any other week.
I did a bit of packing/tossing out tons of stuff this weeks. In the meantime, Soeur Johnson and I have been cleaning up the apartment to get it ready for next transfer. The bookcase that we store all of our cards, book of mormons, dvds and other prossing material was falling apart when we moved in. We finally got the zone leaders to buy us a new one. So we tore apart the old one and set up the new one. In cleaning out the bookcase, we also cleaned out the corner it was in. Which corner was also where years of elders have stored, tennis rackets, soccer balls, towels, footballs etc. Since it's not a corner we notice often, we'd never touched until this week. We cleared out all that junk and found a spider that must have been living there since missionaries moved into out apartment in '96 based on how big he was. Yeah...that was a fun day. And of course, he was in a spot that was nearly impossible to get to with a shoe or anything to squish him with. Having no bug spray, we sprayed him with stuff we use on our sinks to remove the calcium build up ha ha. After a couple more tricks, our pet spider was no more. And that corner has never been so clean. We made absolutely certain we didn't miss an inch. We were not about to let any other pets stay in there.
We've both broken down way less than we thought we would have. I just haven't been able to wrap my head around going home until about Saturday and then last night. Soeur Johnson's been pretty stressed about taking over the ville and showing someone else around. It really all hit home though when we got the transfer email on Saturday. Result of the transfer email, I'm leaving Brussels. Shocked, right? Yeah me too. We were sure I was staying another. ;) No, but seriously, it was so weird to see the repertoire without my name on it. I still feel like if I look again, I'll find where I'm getting transferred too. Soeur Smith is adorable. She called us right after the email came out to see how we were feeling. She immediately wrote me title "Why it's good to go home and it's probably better that you're name isn't on the repertoire" ha ha it was hilarious. =) She also wrote out a list for Soeur Johnson of reasons she loves Soeur Bell (the sister replacing me.) I love having soeurs in the same city as us. It's been such a blessing.
Blue skies...but not really:
Belgium weather keeps teasing us. It'll be beautiful in the morning. So we leave our tights, coats, and umbrellas at home. Twenty minutes later...it's freezing and dumping rain. Then the next day, we wake up to a heavy rain storm and by the time we leave the apartment, it's HOT outside. I've just given up guessing on the weather. It's kind of ridiculous.
Since Paula has planned to leave for Romania, we set up a time we could see her in passing. With our schedule and her schedule, the only time we could meet up was last Monday right before she went to work. (She's currently cleaning a dental office a couple days a week.) We got to the tram stop about 15 minutes before we were actually supposed to meet up with her, but she had been called into work early. She got worried that she wouldn't be able to see us. But since we "just happened" to get there early, we were standing outside her tram right as she got there. She saw us, jumped off the tram, ran to us, and pulled us back on with her. We only had a few minutes with her as we walked her to the dental office. But it was good. It was just good to see her. It was good to be able to say goodbye. Hard. But good.She and I decided that we're having a HUGE party in heaven "with LOTS of pizza!!!" (she loves pizza, so she had to make sure it was part of the plans. ha ha) She's in good hands. It was hard to say goodbye to her, but I'm at peace with it. I feel okay leaving her now. She'll be great. And as soon as she gets back, she'll be able to get baptised. She's planning on the 19th at this point.
A couple days later, we had an appointment with Elise again, Collette friend. (I hope I told you about her.) We went in planning to teach the apostasy, but before starting, we asked her if she had any questions. She said, "Yes. Since the last time I saw you, I've been thinking a lot about baptism. I've been baptised before, like I told you, but I just keep feeling like I need to do it again but this time in your church. So...how does it work and how soon can I be baptised?" Collette was thrilled and we of course set a date with her immediately for the June 2nd. We invited her to come to the baptism this past Saturday so she could see how everything would play out for her. She laughed and said, "It's okay. I'm not scared and I know it's what I need to do. I don't need to see it before to know it's right for me." Basically...Elise is incredible.
The next day we saw Clarette again with her daughters. We discussed a little bit of the Plan of Salvation with them (mostly directed at her three girls that were there.) Since we left the restoration movie with them last time, they'd watched it multiple times and had started all reading the Book of Mormon together. All three of the girls told us they believed it to be true and, like Elise, agreed to be baptised. They fixed a baptismal date for June 16 (they're in the process of moving, so it had to be a tad farther out.)
So with the three girls, (Melodie, Benedict, and Candy) along with Elise, Maria and Paula, Soeur Johnson and her companion are going to be pretty busy for the next couple of weeks. =)
The week all culminated with church yesterday. This is such a wonderful ward. I'm so glad I've gotten to stay here so long. Initially, when I knew I was leaving Versailles, I wanted to be here for two transfers and then go somewhere else for my lat two, but luckily the Lord knew better than I. I have such a love for these members and I'm so gratefully that I've had the time to really get to know them. It was odd however going to church knowing it would be the last time here. Hearing the sacrament prayer, singing hymns, and listening to the testimonies and lessons all given in this language that I love and knowing...it's ending...was bitter sweet. I'm really excited to see you, but I'm sad to leave these people, but c'est la vie, huh? Other bonus of the day, it was fast and testimony meeting - meaning, I got to bare my testimony and tell them all goodbye. I got to end the meetings, translating the lesson in Relief Society since the normal translator wasn't there. Translating doesn't bother me, but after all the goodbyes I'd been saying, my brain was just about fried making translating rather...interesting ha ha. Luckily the sisters were all very sweet and patient as Dominique and I worked through the lesson she'd planned.
I can't believe it's coming to a close. It's been an incredible adventure full of all kinds of highs and lows, and lessons learned. I never could have imagined what I was signing up for when I submitted my papers, but I am SO grateful I did. It's crazy to think back on all that's happened. It seems to have passed in an instant, but also to have been a full life time -a wonderfully full life time. I'll forever be grateful to have been given this amazing opportunity to serve the Lord. Little did I know the plans that He had, but they couldn't have been more perfectly planned. You know, it's amazing looking back and seeing the hand of the Lord guiding us forward. For example, I used to think I knew the Book of Mormon was the word of God. I used to think Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. I used to think the church was true. But God knew the difference between the testimony I had and the testimony I could have. He knew what I thought to be true. And He also knew it would take me going all the as to France and Belgium to no longer think it was true, but to know it. If for nothing else, I will forever be grateful for that.
I love you and I'm so grateful for all your support and everything you've done. Thank you thank you thank you! I'd tell you to have a good week, like always, but I guess it'd just be more appropriate to say...have a good three days. See you soon. =)