Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Subject line of the week: spiders, break downs, baptismal dates and blue skies...but not really.

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'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.

Baptismal dates:

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. 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'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. =)

A bientôt,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Paula Update

April 30, 2012
I haven't given you a Paula update in a while. It's been an...interesting couple of weeks. So let me back up a bit.

As you know, she was scheduled to get baptized a few weeks back. However, during her baptismal interview, our district leader asked for her maiden name and found out the name that she is still using is her maiden name. That made him worry a little bit about her marital status. She explained to us that for her family, as orthodox members, whether the government says you're married or not, is not important. Marriage is between a husband, a wife, and God and no piece of paper makes a difference. All that is important is to be married in the church in front of the priest and witnesses (usually family.)

After talking to the President about that, he asked us to get witness signatures from her family members saying that they really did see them get married. That was a bit of a hassle, but after doing so, we got everything sent off to President. He then sent it on to the area authorities, who in turn, forwarded it to the church's lawyers in Romania to check on the validity of it. After waited a couple of weeks, President finally called us back. According to the lawyers, Paula is not legally married. And obviously would need to be before she could be baptized. He told us that only a couple of days after her husband received (after years of waiting for them) his legality papers. He told me that, while I'd probably not be able to see her baptized before leaving, it was my job to get her married before going home.

Not going to lie, when President gives me specific assignments like that, I get kind of stressed. But out of all the tasks he's ever given me, that one probably stressed me the most. How could I tell her that? AND how in the world would I ever get them to get married here? Even if she understood, would her husband? And getting married costs money they don't have, and time I didn't have. Here you have to got to the Marie and fix an appointment which usually takes a minimum (in the commune she lives in) of four to six months. President told me that he felt very strongly that I needed to help ensure they got married before going home. Not having anywhere near four, let alone, six months left, I got stressed.

We looked into every option we could think of, but just couldn't find a way to make it work. One of the biggest problems is their legality status. While her husband has received the approval to be legal, he needs to finalize some things before he can have his card...thus making the wedding possibility even farther away since one of them must be a legal citizen to get married.

See the endless cycle of stress causing obstacles?

And to top everything off, we have only been able to see her one since we got that phone call and it was for about three minutes. So we didn't have time to explain the marriage problem.


This past Tuesday we went to see her - praying really hard that she'd be ready to accept the news we had. She just been so excited to President to get back to us because she was sure they would approve and let her get baptized. But we had to tell her, she'd need to be married legally. She took it just fine. The Lord had completely planned this all out. Her husband got in contact with a friend who is going to Romania this week and can drive their family there with him. They are probably leaving this Wednesday morning. They are going specifically to get married. Going back to Romania, they can get married for free, within a day or two, and then, his Belgian legality with carry over, and Paula and the two boys will have rights here as well! =)

So, as always, the Lord knew far better than we did. With all the researching we did, we could see no possible way to get them married any time soon, especially before I left, but...He did. So while I it is extremely unlikely that I'll see Paula baptized, (it takes a day and a half to drive there, and another day and a half back, plus the actual wedding) I'll get to leave knowing she'll be baptized a couple days after I leave. And I'm perfectly happy with that. I'm just thrilled that it'll finally work out for her. =) After all this time, she'll finally get to be baptized!!! =)

So, I'll get to leave her, knowing she's in a good state. =)

However, that would mean that I'll have to leave to dead. Seriously, with all the mangez-vous we have this week...I think we might literally die this week. No joke. We had a rendez-vous with a new amie that we contacted a bit ago. She made a feast for us when we got there. She must have thought we were starving, because she just would not stop feeding us. We left SO full. We literally thought we were going to die. (Kind as it was of her, she very well could have been trying to kill us ha ha) And then...we had another diner appointment yesterday, another tomorrow, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and next Monday already set. I realize people are just trying to be nice in feeding us. But all I can say is I'm glad that they majority of the ward doesn't know yet that I'm leaving. Because just out of the few people who's going to be an adventure trying to eat all the food we've got ahead of us for this next week ha ha. At the very worse, they may just have to wheel me off the plane on a stretcher ha ha. Poor Soeur Johnson's got to stay living though so she can keep working. Who would have ever thought that the kindness of members could kill missionaries?! ha ha

Well, lots more happened this week, but I'm just about out of time. So I'll have to tell you about out feeding the homeless, wedding choir, and exchanges later. ('s been busy)

I love you and I hope you have a wonderful week!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Random Events of the Week

Random events of the week:

1- We went porting and Soeur Johnson had a door actually slammed on her for the first time in her mission. And come to think of it, I remember a lot of very uninterested people telling us exactly what they thought of what we were doing, but as for actual slamming...might have been my first too. So this lady opens the door. I introduced who we are, but before I even got out the full name of the church, she went nuts. "Unbelievable! We're eating dinner. Absolutely unbelievable that you would knock on our door are eight o'clock at night! Unbelievable! Bonsoir!" So...sometimes when we meet people like that, I can't help but imagine what it will be like to see them in the next life and have them remember us and realize what they rejected. Kind of uncharitable, I know, but...just hits me sometimes. I think it comes from Sr Emilcy. Whenever we'd contact someone and they'd say something like "I don't have time." She'd storm off and say "We'll see who doesn't have time are the judgement bar. We'll see then. Then you'll say, 'Sorry Sr Emilcy you tried. I have time now.' We'll see then who doesn't have time." Yeah...maybe you had to be there, but it's actually kind of funny to see her like that. Sad though the situation is, really.

2- We "ported" a cathedral last P-day. ;)

3- Switching back after exchanges, Soeur Carter and I took a couple of trains to get us to Arras. Along the way, we stopped in Douai. Then we had a forty minute layover there. That city is something else. Every single inch of it screamed 1980's. We were pretty surprised we made it out of there without seeing Marty McFly!

4- We miraculously set a baptismal date with a new amie despite the Tasmanian devil storming about the room. No joke. It was insane. She lives with a friend and her friend's three year old son. He's absolutely wild. He's so out of control it's ridiculous. And they do nothing about it. They tell him to calm down, but if he doesn't...oh well. They tried. So he knows he doesn't really have to listen. He spit out gum on Soeur Johnson, yelled endlessly, emptied the contents our our amie's purse all over then ran from the room laughing, ripped apart a toy car, broke a CD in half, all within the 45 minutes that we were there, just to give you an idea...I thought I was going to loose my mind. FINALLY, I got him to sit still just long enough to let me talk to him. Thank heavens we were teaching the Plan of Salvation and I've got little puzzle pieces to display it. I told him I really needed his help, but he'd have to sit quietly next to me to be ready for when I needed him. He then laid out the plan for me. It was by far the hardest lesson I've had with a child present in my entire mission. BUT...all the same, we got the lesson taught, testified and fixed a baptismal date!

Okay, enough of the random stories.

I know I've mentioned it before (as in probably every week for the past three weeks), but I am SO excited that today is the last official day of winter! Granted we live in Belgium, so it's not guaranteed that the weather will be beautiful from here on out - in fact that would be extremely against Belgian tradition - but there is hope on the horizon! YAY! Not going to lie though, it feels super weird to not have to wear tights to avoid freezing...but it's a "sacrifice" we're more than willing to make.

Paula's strong desire to get baptised has yet to be realized unfortunately. She's really struggling being patient. It seems that everything looks like it's going well, something new pops up to hinder her. We got her as far as her baptismal interview this time before uncovering another hurdle needed to be jumped. When Elder Dicataldo asked her for her maiden name, she couldn't give him one because her name is her maiden name. She explained to him that she most definitely is married, but that in the Orthodox church, it is more important to be married in front of God, family and friends. Papers and names mean nothing to them. So they don't worry about taking on their husband's name, nor dealing with marriage certificates. So Elder Dicataldo called up President Poznanski who then spent quite a while talking to the area presidency trying to figure out it that's okay or if not, what needs to be done. Finally, President called us back late the next day and said we'd need to get a hold of the church in Romania and get them to send us the certificate. (Not understanding that no certificate exists, not that Paula is merely not in possession of it.) Explaining that President just laughed and said, "Oh la la la la la la Soeur Jorgensen. You can't ever give me an easy problem can you? ha ha" He then told us to get all the information we can possibly get and get -if possible- witnesses' signatures saying they were present for the wedding. We then have to send all of that to the office, President will sent it to the area presidency, and if there's still a question, it'll go on to church headquarters. Paula was fairly disheartened when we told her that it wouldn't be possible for her to get baptized on Saturday and that we couldn't give her a solid time frame. Paula has such incredible strength and faith though. It's often hard for me to really believe that she's younger than I am. She smiled up at us and said, "I've overcome much much worse in my life. He can't get me down on this one. I'll win. I will win."

She's right. I don't doubt her in the least. We'll work through this, but sometimes waiting is just the hardest part. Luckily, this should be the last little pebble standing between her and her baptism. She's SO close! =)

After visiting with her and explaining the whole situation and ensuring that her family members that she lives with were there as witnesses to the wedding, we went to the church to type up papers for them to sign. Writing legal-sounding papers is weird enough in English, let alone French. AND to top it off, her family doesn't speak French. So, I had to write them in French and Romanian! Not an adventure I ever expected to have when I signed up to come here ha ha. Alex, totally wish you were here. I do not speak Romanian at all. Soeur Carter and I (oh yeah, to make it even better, in the midst of all this craziness, we were on exchanges) just laughed when I realized that I, for a split second, started to proofread the Romanian as I had the if I had any idea if it was right or not ha ha. Oh dear. It's incredible that God speaks every single one of these languages. I feel accomplished if I can just handle two!

We also had a rendez-vous with the member I told you about - the one that is working on going back to the temple. It was one of those that really is impossible to put into words. Definitely one of the most powerful spiritual experiences of the last fifteen months of my life. I'd rather tell you about it in person some day. It was just...incredible. We're told that the Lord answers our prayers, always. But often he does so through the people around us. That evening that we spent with her became a true testament of that fact for us -even when we don't expect it. As we left, we walked away in silence, neither of us really knowing what to say. Finally Soeur Johnson said, "Just imagine if we hadn't left on missions." It's so true, the Lord has experiences reserved for us (I don't mean just as missionaries, but as children of God on earth.) We just need to do the best we can to be doing what He expects of us, and we'll end up exactly where he needs us, when he needs us there. It's like Elder Bednar said in the MTC, "Be a good boy. Be a good girl. Keep you're covenants and you'll have nothing to worry about. The Lord will guide you and be with you."

As I said, I'll have to tell you about it someday. I'd tell you know, but as I said, it's just not an easy one to put into words. All I can say is if that was the only good thing to have happened the entire week, it totally would have been enough.

I hope you've had a good week. I love you.

Happy first day of spring tomorrow!!!! =)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Blue skies and more miracles=)

This has been a bit of a frustrating week. Despite all of our planning, confirming, reconfirming, etc, rendez-vous after rendez-vous has fallen through. Yet, there have still been the good miracle moments that have totally made up for it.

One of the biggest miracles for us was our lesson with Paula. We've had a really hard time getting to teach her lately. And in order for her to be baptised, we still needed to teach her about tithing and fast offerings. Not going to lie though, we were both rather stressed about it. Paula is just in a really difficult financial situation and so asking her to give up even a part of the little income that she has was not an easy task. However, I took a great deal of comfort in knowing that, because it is a commandment, it is possible. Even for her. And not only is it possible, but it also comes with huge blessings. We both know that this can majorly affect her life for the positive, but it depends on her faith and her willingness to put the Lord to the test.

As I said, it's been really difficult to see her. So we've repeatedly planned to teach her, but one thing after another has come up, making it seem virtually impossible. Frustrating though that has been, it's given us the opportunity to pray a countless number of times to help her have the necessary faith and trust in the Lord and to help us to know how best to teach her. And finally this week, after yet another cancelled rendez-vous (her younger son was in the emergency room) our prayers payed off. =) Paula full heartily accepted both laws, and when we read Malachi 3:10 with her, she read it to us, smiled while still starring at the page and said, "Something I love is that if I ever need an answer, I can find it in the scriptures." She wouldn't expound as to what that answer was for her at that time, but I was just so grateful to know, yet again, that Heavenly Father takes care of His children. He knows that this will potentially be a hard road for Paula, but He has prepared her to accept what lies before her and to go forward with faith.

After church yesterday, we passed by Meritë's home. She's had a really hard week. She just quite her job. And it was a job that she absolutely loved, but due to a horrible situation with a coworker, she just couldn't handle staying any longer. Then after the heartbreak of leaving ten year of work behind her, she had a family funeral to attend Saturday. She was really struggling when we got there. We had a long talk - mostly just listening. I think she just needed an someone to talk to. I want her so badly to come to church. It will make all the difference in the world for her. She's never attended a religious service in all her life aside from the baptism she witnessed with us a couple weeks ago. But with everything she's told us, like Paula, it's easy to see how the Lord has prepared her to accept the gospel at this time in her life. She told us everything she's looking for, everything she feels she's missing, etc. and every single point she brought up can be taken fulfilled with the gospel. And she's making progress. The past couple of times we've seen her, she's told us that she hasn't had the mental/emotional strength to come to church because of the stressful thoughts she's had cluttering her mind. "I want to be happy when I got to church and when I read the scriptures." We've tried to explain that it's in the difficult moments that reading, praying and going to church can make the biggest difference and it's then that we need it the most, but she wasn't catching the vision. However, after the super hard week she had, she told me that yesterday morning when she woke up "I saw this book, and I said, 'Alright Kimberly (she doesn't like calling my Soeur Jorgensen - "it's too hard") Let go. I'll try it." And she began reading the Book of Mormon. (She also said she doesn't call it the Book of Mormon in her head. She said, "You gave it to me. So it's the Book of Kimberly. ha ha oh dear. We'll have to work through that one a bit. Good thing no one at church knows my first name or they'd think we're running around claiming to be prophets ha ha.) And now she's committed to reading three pages a day at least. AND she told us that she wants to go to church every week for at least the next eight weeks. I was SO happy walking out of there. If she does that, if she'll just take those little steps, it's going to make all the difference! =) So we planned it out with her, and we'll be meeting up with her half and hour before church next week and going together. YEAH! After weeks of us trying to get her to read and come to church, she's now decided to do it all on her own. =)

I know this is a short email. Sorry about that. I've just been fighting with this computer and it's just not been cooperating. So now I'm just about out of time. But at least you've got a couple of updates from the past week. =) And the most important news of's absolutely gorgeous here! =) The sun is out, the skies are bright blue and we're LOVING it! =) Hopefully you've gotten over the snow storms in Utah.

Have a wonderful week. I love you!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miracles Abounding

February 13, 2012 

Bonjour bonjour! 

I've been extremely blessed throughout my mission to be able to witness countless miracles. However, I don't recall any week like this past one. Just when you think you've reached your miracle quota, God tosses another one our way. It's been...amazing, incredible, unreal, wonderful and an endless number of other joyful words. =) 

The best day started off with a rendez-vous with Paula. It was the first time Sister Ingraham ever got to teach her. (Last time I taught her with Sr Murray.) We got to the chapel a little later than expected because our tram was delayed. However, the other district was holding their district meeting and invited Paula to eat lunch with them. Once we got there, we took her upstairs to the young adult center and watched the restoration movie with her. At the beginning of the rendez-vous she was a bit disheartened. She'd potentially just lost the temporary job that a member of our ward worked out for her. However, despite her continued stress of providing for her family, she was still pointing out the good things around her. She said the biggest thing has been the members of the ward. She told us that when she got to the chapel that morning, the German sisters were there (the elderly German sister equipe in the ward) and they hugged her when she walked in. "Then they said, 'Paula are you okay?' because I held onto them for a really long time. I don't know. I just feel my mother in them. It's been a long time since I've seen my mother, but every time I see them, I see her. And every time one of the brothers shakes my hand, I feel it is one of my brothers who I haven't seen in six years. And when I see you two, or the women in the ward, you're my sister that I haven't seen in years either. It's weird. I felt all alone, but now...I really feel like you're my family. Is that weird? I...I just here." The members have just been so wonderful with her. They've reached out to her and it's majorly affected her. And it all started with them just saying "hello." 

As I said, we then watched the restoration film with her. She's been coming to church, and believes that everything that's taught is true, but had yet to hear the Joseph Smith story (we've really been struggling to meet with her. Her son has chronic bronchitis and she often has to take him to the doctor at the last minute.) I've never seen anyone be so into that film/story before. As it got to the clip of Joseph translating the gold plates, she freaked out, turned to me and said, "Those are the gold plate! That's the Book of Mormon! That's what I'm reading!" (She already about half way through the book.) Then as it showed the church being organized and the congregation following Joseph in a sustaining vote, followed my the sacrament, again she turned to us, "That's like what we do here!!! We do the same thing in this church!" (Her first week at church, several callings where extended. So since the beginning, she's seen us sustaining people.) By the end of the movie, she was so excited she could hardly speak, struggling to formulate sentences. "I've never seen that before. I've never seen a church that was created based on faith and not just on man. He didn't want to create his own church. He wanted to do what God wanted him to do. There isn't another church like that. It really is God's church!" I agreed with her, testified that it really is God's church and told her "If you would like to be a part of it, you now have that opportunity too. Paula, will you prepare yourself to be baptized on the 25th of this month?" Tearing up, and giggling through her answer, she buried her face in her hands, looked at me, smiled and, practically exploding with energy at that point, "YES! Of course. Oui oui oui!!! This is the proof that I've been waiting for! Yes!" The feeling in the room was beyond words. I wish I could really explain it, but...there just aren't adequate words to do so. But for sure, we were not alone. That room was...celebrating! =) She left the room floating on air. 

As if that wasn't enough, we left the church to do a pass by. Ended up not finding this old ami, but found a crazy old African lady who talked to us for a while. It's always a bit of an adventure trying to talk to people when they keep going in and out of tribal languages and French. ha ha. On the way to our next appointment, we stopped in a store to buy a drink. I might have gasped as if I'd seen a celebrity when I saw...Diet Dr. Pepper sitting on the shelf! ;) Thinking the day couldn't get any better, the senior couple (the Halls) were at the church, and told me that they had a new comforter and cover in their car for me. =) =) =) Since we moved to the Forest apartment, I've been using a nasty shredded comforter that has probably been used by missionaries for the past century. I can appreciate hand me downs, but...I have my limits. So, baptismal date, dr. pepper, new comforter and next: a new amie.  


Dana was contacted by the elders on the metro. She's only been here for eight months. She's also from Romania. With her broken French and our missionary/American French, we had to move a bit slowly through the lesson, but the Spirit was still there. I'll forever be grateful for the power of the Spirit and knowing that the Spirit doesn't need perfect teachers nor perfect French to still touch people's hearts. At the end of the rendez-vous, she told us she was going to read the Book of Mormon as fast as she could so that she could give it to her sister to read as well. Then we asked her to pray to close the lesson. She prayed in Romanian then looked up at us and said, "I feel something in my chest and on my back. It's...warm. I like it." So despite our imperfections and whatever information what lost in translation, the spirit still could speak to her. It was so tender the way she went on describing her feelings and asking us what that meant she needed to do. She's such a cute gal. =) 

We had a cool experience with our goal setting this week too. While doing our weekly planning last week, we felt like we should say "three amis with a baptismal date." So...we did. Having absolutely no idea who we would be setting them with. Then, you know Paula's story now, second came Chantal. 

Chantal met the missionaries with her daughter in London. Chantal's brother-in-law is a member and invited the missionaries over while she and Joanna were there on vacation. We're not sure how we got their information since it's been a good two years since they were taught, but a few weeks back we got to see them for the first time. They are so great. And when we asked them to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet, Chantal and Joanna both immediately said, "I already know it's true. All of it." However, despite that testimony that they already have, they have yet to make it to church (with us. They used to go all the time.) And with their work/school schedule, it's really hard to see them. So going over their last night, we almost expected to have to drop them until they were ready to really commit. But, after talking for a bit, we also set a baptismal date with Chantal. It's not until next transfer though. She didn't feel ready enough to go any earlier,'s still a date! We almost got Joanna to set a date too, but she said she just doesn't feel ready yet. "It's a big deal, and I want to be ready."  

All in all, we got to see, in a really cool way, how if we just listen to the Spirit, trusting the Lord (setting a goal of three baptismal dates) it can happen even though we may not know how to begin. And even though we didn't get the three, it was also that proof of how other people agency comes into play too. Yet in the end, we got to end the week, knowing that we'd done what they Lord had planned on that we hadn't imagined. That, as well as now having seven new amis from the week, we're ending the transfer on a very high note. =) 

I wish I had time right now to tell you about every little (and big) miracle from this week, but as you know, we just never have enough time.  

With another six weeks gone, I've got transfer news for you. I'll be staying in Louise for at least another six weeks (hopefully twelve.) Sister Ingraham is going to Caen. She's so stocked. I'm happy for her. She's been here for six months now and was ready for the change. And Caen was her dream city. So it was really happy news. As for me, Soeur Johnson will be coming up to Brussels. It's kind of funny that it'll be her because I got transferred here right after doing exchanges with Sister Ingraham. And this past transfer Soeur Johnson was here for exchanges with Soeur Ingraham. ha ha. I don't know much about her yet. She's pretty new to the mission (she'll be going into her third transfer.) But, all the interactions I've had with her have been great. She's a really cute girl. I'm excited to serve with her. =) 

I love you. Have a wonderful week. =)


From the Frozen Promised Land of Belgium

February 6, 2012

It's been a kind of slow week for rendez-vous unfortunately. Diamondo, Sara, Meritë and half of Belgium is sick right now. So it's been a real struggle getting to see people. But we've got great things planned for this coming week. So far, it everything goes through the way we've planned, we'll be seeing eight new amis. We're keeping our fingers crossed.  

Speaking of everyone in Belgium having a cold or the flu, I wish I could have taken a picture to show you a lab that I saw on the tram the other day. He had this massive scarf on under his collar. I started petting his head and when I stopped he started whining. His owner told me not to worry about it. "He's only doing that because he's sick. That's why he's wearing his scarf." Europeans are so funny about that. The second you sneeze, you've got to put on five scarfs. However, I think that's the very first time I've ever seen a dog follow the same rule. 

I realize that in last week's email I said we'd gotten things worked out perfectly to avoid any inconveniences for P-day. Well...I spoke a little too soon I guess. We've had a cold front come through from Siberia. Yeah...All I can say is I have zero desire to ever live in Siberia now. It's been SO cold. The sad thing is, number-wise, it's not really that bad. Utah gets about the same. But the humidity here makes all the difference.  

I'm just holding out hope that someday I'll be able to feel my fingers and toes again. ;) 

Mom, that scarf you made for me, while it was the biggest scarf I'd ever owned, and I wasn't really sure how I wanted to wear it when I first got it, has saved my life! No joke. Pretty sure I would have frozen to death without it. 

We did exchanges this week with the soeurs in Villeneuve D'Ascq. I went down there with Soeur Edgerly and her companion, Soeur Johnson came up here. I just love Soeur Edgerly. She's two transfers ahead of me. So she left the MTC right before I got there. So, we've pretty much been around each other since day one. We did an exchange in Versailles, but that's been our only other assigned time together. However, we both feel like we've practically served together with all of the times we seen each other in Paris, sleepovers before stake conference, etc. So it felt like I was hanging out with an old friend from high school, little odd since I've barely known her for a year now. It was just so fun to be with her and to be able to talk about all the missionaries who "died" at the beginning of our missions who none of our last few companions ever even met. 

While down there with her, we had a rendez-vous with one of their amies who will be getting baptized near the end of the month. I liked her. She's a little crazy ha ha, but I liked her. She'd ask the most random questions, at the weirdest times. In the middle of the lesson, talking about the ten commandments, she turned to me and said, "Kimberly, what do you think of Jehovah Witnesses?" (She couldn't say "Jorgensen" and asked me what my first name was. From then on, liking my name, she said it as may times as she could ha ha.) I covered that answer as tactfully as I could, then she went off on where she disagrees with their doctrine. ha ha That was a "fun" one to try and bring back on topic. 

In the mean time, Soeur Ingraham and Soeur Johnson were up here teaching English class and then an inactive member that we work with from time to time - and doing everything they could to not freeze to death. Before leaving the gare to go to Villeneuve D'Ascq with Soeur Edgerly, seeing the thin scarf Soeur Johnson brought up, I told her she could wear my scarfs if she got cold. With the disgustingly cold temperature in Brussels, it only took her a couple seconds once in the apartment to decide to put it on. Soeur Ingraham told me that the wind was terrible that night. So saved Soeur Johnson's life on Wednesday. And then Soeur Ingraham wore it on Thursday. And I've worn it all the rest of the week. So all-in-all, one scarf, three soeurs' lives saved. Soeur Ingraham and I discussed how, you'll never be able to imagine the ripple effect you've now had in preserving three missionaries lives. ;) All with one knitting project.

I can tell you, with this cold, I feel like I'm starting to look more and more Muslim. When we went out porting Thursday night, the only part of my skin you could see was my nose and eyes. Yup... I love layers. I had on the longest skirt I own, with three pairs of socks, boots, thermals, pants (hidden by the skirt and boots,) four shirts, two sweaters, a hat, gloves, my coat, and...the scarf. Sister Ingraham was just as layered. With the two of us looking like the Stay Puff Marshmallow man, we headed out.  

I'm so excited for spring. That's all I can say. 

On a warmer note, we had a rendez-vous Saturday night at the church with Hugo and the zone leaders. Having gotten a copy of the Book of Mormon in Swedish, we called him and asked him if we could give it to him. In the process, also passing him to the zone leaders, we asked him to meet us at the church about an hour before the zone leader's ami's baptism. When we told him that there would be a baptism at 6:30 and that he was welcome to come, he freaked out a little and made us promise that we wouldn't baptize him too. ha ha Not to worry Hugo. =) 

He came and we took him in the the JA center with the elders. We talked for a few minutes about who he is and what he remembered from the last time we spoke. We planned on going over the restoration and watching the film with him. Right before I turned the movie on Elder Hoopes asked him, "What do you want to get out of these visits." To which he responded, "Well, to be honest, I'm not looking to be converted. I'm interested in learning what you believe though. In fact, it was kind of interesting the day that the sisters knocked on my door, the only class I'd had at school that day was on religion. So I'd already been thinking a lot about religion that day. I think that's why I wanted to let them in and find out what you believe too." Cool, huh?! It's just amazing to me to see how the Lord is always preparing us and those around us for the next thing He'll toss our way. It was also incredible to see the Spirit work on Hugo and soften his approach. By the end of the movie, he was comparing himself to Joseph Smith, saying that "I've asked myself a lot of those questions. And I've got a lot more. I really hope this is what I'm looking for." And when the elders committed him to read the book, he practically jumped at it saying how much he wants to do so. Just to add the icing to the cake, when we were mingling with everyone else before the baptism, one of the older German sisters asked if he was a member. "Not yet." was his answer. He quickly caught himself, realizing what he said, but...Freudian slip? ;) 

Paula was also at the baptism. She brought her two sons and her husband as well. She was so happy to be there. Through the help of a wonderful member in the ward, she was able to get a small part time job. She started crying when I asked her how it was going and said, "You were right. It's like you said, God hasn't forgotten me. I thought He did, but I see now, He really is taking care of me. I just had to wait." Then after the baptism she surprised me a little bit when I asked her what she thought. Normally people just say, "It was good/interesting/touching/etc." Her response, "I'm a little afraid of the water. Is it normally cold?" (The heater broke. So the water was ice cold.) She then spoke to Sister Ingraham using the same tone - as if we were talking about her upcoming baptism and not the one we just watched. We expected before that she's be pretty open to the idea, but, having not been able to see her, we haven't discussed it. But now there's no doubt in our minds, she's planning on getting baptized. So...we're going to try and get these lessons out of the way as soon as possible. 

Over and over and over again this week, the Lord has been really helping me learn a couple of principles. I feel like everywhere I turn, and no matter what subject I study in the mornings, it always goes back to the same things.

1- God prepares us, and is currently preparing us for what lies ahead.

2- As long as we try, as long as we have the desire to follow the Lord and do the best that we can, even when we fall short of that goal, if we've tried our best, our "sacrifice" will be acceptable to the Lord.

3- And, less specifically, the atonement. Everywhere I turn I feel like I keep running into examples of how the Savior has covered us and the efforts that we need to put forth to obtain a fullness of those blessings. 

And every time I run into one of those three topics, it quickly leads to the other two. It just been fascinating. I wish I had something more insightful than that to tell you, but...that's all I've got for the moment. I think being with Soeur Edgerly allowed the both of us to reflect a little bit together about what we've accomplished over the past year here. We both acknowledged that neither of us are the world's best missionary, nor that we've been without our fair share of shortcomings, but we both have received the answer recently that, as we do what we can do, trusting the Lord...that's enough. Maybe we won't baptize 8,000 people like in the Book of Mormon, but we did/will continue to do our best. The Lord knows us and has prepared us to be who we are, where we are, at this time. He knew ahead of time the work that we would do, and it's acceptable to Him and what He wanted of us. I love that. I love that we can trust that, as long as we're trying our best, we have no reason to worry about His approval. Hmm...I feel like that's a little jumbled, but I don't really know how to explain it for the moment. But hopefully, you get a little bit of what I'm trying to say. 

Then again this morning, I felt impressed to flip through my notes from the MTC and came across the same three things, again and again. (shocker) ;) And found this quote from President Hinckley that summed it all up, "Please do not nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept your effort."

Anyway, that was my happy-feel-good-thought for the morning. =)

I hope you had a great week. I love you.

With love from the frozen promised land that is Belgium,


Siberia in Belgium