Happy New Year!
What a week! I am so tired and it's not yet over.
It was SO good to talk to you last week! =) It's was just a great week over all. Last Monday morning, we went over to the Strombeek sisters apartment and had lunch with them. So having basically spent all weekend with them, we thought we would quickly be getting back into our normal routine and only see them (maybe) once a week. Wrong. Due to problems with their apartment, they had to spend the night with us. We got a call from them late Monday night and they were escorted by our zone leaders to our apartment around 10:50ish.
They have been living with us ever since. I love that apartment. It's cute. And it's perfect for the two of us. However, it for sure was not built to house four of us ha ha. So it's been a bit cramped. Sister Smith has been sleeping on the floor between mine and Sister Ingraham's beds; our kitchen table has become their desk; and luggage has been strewn about across our floor. However, it really has been fun to be back in a four man set up again, despite the less than perfect size of the apartment.
With all of that drama, it was a bit crazy knocking out our exchanges for the transfer. But we got that taken care of (finally!) on Wednesday. It was a bit of a surprise to tell Sister Bell that we'd actually be going home to the Strombeek soeurs as well. ha ha But what are exchanges without at least a couple surprises tossed in.
Since that adventure wasn't exciting enough, our water heater, which also heats the entire apartment, turned into Shamu, screaming like a Killer Whale, and stopped working. So we've been heating our apartment by turning the oven on full blast and leaving it open. We've also been boiling water every morning to try and shower in non-arctic waters. It is quite the sight to see these pots and pans of boiling water in the bathtub with two of us washing the hair of one of the others while she is sitting on the floor, towel around her neck, leaning her head over the rim of the tub ha ha. Like I said: adventure.
AND transfer news. Sister Ingraham and I are staying together in Louise. However not to break my tradition of having something new every transfer, we're moving. Yup. Since I love packing SO SO SO much (especially with all the added Christmas stuff,) we're moving. It's complicated to explain all of the details, but because of the issue with the sister's apartment, they are moving into ours and we're moving into the elder's apartment that they just moved out of this morning. The problem with the sisters has been discussed by president and the assistants and they let everyone know where they'd be moving to. (Three companionship is total would have to move.) But in the beginning, Sister Ingraham and I weren't supposed to be moving. Sister Smith was packing up this morning using my suitcases since hers were full, and -since we don't live very far away- she could use them and return them later. Right when she finished and zipped them shut, Elder Gubbay called and told me that we would be moving as well. Great...So the Strombeek soeurs went to their apartment to clean it up for the elders while we packed as quickly as we could (the senior couple had offered to use their car to help everyone get around today.) We didn't get much of a start on packing our stuff before Sister and Elder Hall came by, but at least something is over there already. In the mean time, I was also dealing with the repairman that finally made it to the apartment to fix the water situation. After the Hall's came, we went to the sister's old apartment to help them clear everything out (and they can't go over there alone.) It was SO weird turning off the lights, walking out of that apartment, and locking the door behind us knowing that we'll never go back. Sister Smith said she felt like it was the "Friends" finale and we all needed to set our keys on the table and walk out. I love that apartment. It holds SO many wonderful memories from my first transfer and this last one. But...ça va. It's not a big deal, we just felt like we were saying goodbye to one of our best friends. (As dumb as that sounds.) After taking care of that, we ate lunch, drop of the last bits of their stuff in our old apartment and...now we're here. Still needing to pack and move, we all needed an email break before moving some more. But it may not have been the best idea because as soon as we sat down, we all started falling asleep. Yeah...like I said, I'm tired. ha ha Luckily we've got incredible elders who are being so sweet and helpful with this whole situation. So we should have all the help we need for the rest of the night. It's just going to be a long one. And it doesn't help that Sister Ingraham got sick last night. Of all days to come down with a cold...
On a more normal mission related subject: Diamondo. We saw him on Saturday. We had a quick lesson about the sacrament and our reasons for going to church and then made sure that he and his daughter were ready to start the stop smoking program the next day (yesterday.) They were. =) And they seemed really pumped about it. But we got worried yesterday when we didn't see them at church. So I called Sara and asked if she still wanted the elders to give the two of them a blessing. She said she did, so we passed by with two of the elders after church. When we walked into the room, something just felt...different. They gave them both really lovely blessings, but something was still off. So even though the elders were ready to leave, the two of us just sat their for a moment or two...then Diamondo and Sara started talking. They were struggling. Diamondo, who is one of the happiest people I know, broke down. He's talked to us a lot about how his wife died when she was 35, but always in just a factual way. But yesterday...he was missing her. Apparently holidays were her thing. She loved them. She would cook all day, have decorations everywhere, and she was the glue that brought and held everyone together. He told us that even today, he misses her and can't understand why she had to die leaving him with four young children. At the time, he questioned God's existence, but has changed and "come to peace" with what happened, even if it is still hard. He and Sara just sat and cried and hugged each other. The four of us (the two of us plus the elders) shared a couple scriptures with them, bore our testimonies to them and just...listened. The most incredible part was that in the end, I knew Diamondo's wife was sitting by his side. It was practically like I could see her. It's such an incredible blessing to know that we are never alone. There is always someone who loves us by our side supporting us through the very most difficult moments. I just love that.
In addition to that, I've fallen in love with priesthood blessings all over again. After witnessing five in four days, it's just incredible. The spirit that comes when these young men place their hands and these people's heads is just...beyond words. I love those moments where you can't question how much Heavenly Father loves you. =)
Well...like I said, it's been a crazy week. I can't even begin to give you all the details, but I hope you get the picture.
So I'm staying in Brussels. In a different apartment (the elders that moved out were heartbroken to leave it. That should be a good sign. ;) We have yet to see it. But we'll be there soon-ish...I hope.)
I would tell you more, but I just don't have the mental energy right at this moment. Just know, life is busy but good. =) It'll be that much better when all of this craziness is out of the way and be can go back to normal life again.
I love you. Have a wonderful week!