January 16, 2012
This might well have been the longest week of my entire mission. But the good news is, we are finally moved in!
I know that I told you last Monday that we'd be switching apartments after I emailed you. But with a couple things having come up, and Sister Ingraham being sick enough that I didn't want to drag her all over the city, we spent the night in our old apartment. Packing up that night and the next morning, we took our luggage to district meeting and then the elders who used to live there helped us home with everything.
So...finally, we were mostly moved in -having just left a few odds and ends in the Louise apartment. However, having Sister Ingraham still being sick, moving was not exactly the kind of physical stress that her body needed. So, she's been pretty out of it the past couple of days. It was semi perfect timing though because we had a man coming to check our heating and for him to do so, we weren't allowed to leave the apartment between noon and five pm, giving Sister Ingraham plenty of time to just sleep and I got to basically rebuild the apartment. The electricity in the bathroom has been out for about a transfer. There should be six working lights in there, but instead we had extension cords running through the hall and a small desk lamp lighting the room. The vacuum stopped working the day before we moved in. The electricity for the washer and dryer...also out. The kitchen sink was plugged with a moldy bucket catching the water below the pipes. And the dishwasher wouldn't drain or start. Yeah... It's a beautiful apartment in an adorable neighborhood. It's just that the interior needed a bit of time and work. So I more that appreciated being "forced" into having the time to get it all in working order. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but we now have two of six lights working in the bathroom (we just need the zone leaders to buy new bulbs to replace the ones that had burned out.) A working vacuum. A working dishwasher, dryer, and washing machine. And a drain able sink minus the moldy bucket! =)
We love the apartment. And all the elder's surprises that they left for us were...fun to find. ;) I.E. root beer flavored hard candy in the freezer. Apparently eating it cold is like drinking it out of a can. Balloons all over our study room. Water balloons in the sink in the bathroom. Regular and water balloons in the freezer. Tortillas in the microwave. And toys on our desks -complete with a smurf giving a blessing. ha ha As I said, we love the apartment. It's incredible! It's by far the biggest one I've ever lived in with the most amazing kitchen I've had. Not only do we have a counter, but we've got granite counter tops, a dishwasher, french doors, a water closet, etc and a rubber scrapper (you'd be surprised, it's a rare commodity to come by.) I was floored when I saw the apartment for the first time. The elders were right. They totally have been covering up the best kept secret in the mission. We are SO not complaining. I hate moving, but now that we're moved in, I'll happily stay. =)
With all the moving, Sister Ingraham being sick, Sister Murray and I needing to go to Lille to renew our French legality and...everything else, it's been a long, weird week. And after having gone through boarder control twice in two weeks, all I can say is I never want to be an alien again. Being a resident is just so much easier. ha ha
But despite everything we were able to still get in a bit of real missionary life. Sister Murray and I taught a Romanian girl Thursday afternoon after getting back from Lille. We were a bit stunned. Seriously, we have NO problems in our lives. She's 22 years old. She has a 5 year old and an 18 month old boy with chronic bronchitis. Her husband has Hepatitis B, as do her in-laws who also live with them. He father died when she was 10 years old, and when her mother got remarried shortly after, her new step father wouldn't let Paula nor her three siblings live with him. So she's basically been begging ever since then. She's been in Belgium for six years and despite constantly trying to get her visa, they won't grant it to her. So now having lost her job, running out of money - not being able to pay rent anymore, they may be kicked out of their apartment tomorrow. She's terrified that if that happens, being on the street, the cops with deport her. But her sons were both born here. So they would be put in an orphanage. Yeah...and that's just the tip of the ice berg or her story. It's really sad. She's incredible. And she loves the church. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and came to church for the first time yesterday. Before the meetings had even started, having just sat down for sacrament meeting, she leaned over to me with tears in her eyes, amazed at "how kind everyone is here. It really feels like a family. Like, I don't know how to describe it, like, they care about me." By the end of the first hour she again leaned over to me and said, "I don't understand this. I love it here. I've never felt like this in my church. I just feel...good here." The second hour was a class for all the amis. The teacher taught about the Plan of Salvation. And even got into the fact that we believe Satan is God's son and was in the preexistence with us (generally not something we teach right of the bat to investigators.) While Paula had a few questions about that, by the end of the hour all she could say was that "for some reason, I just...believe it. I believe everything she said." Paula is SO ready, but in such a hard situation that we have no idea when she'll actually be able to be baptized. She the walking proof that your spiritual needs can't be met until your temporal needs are taken care of. Luckily, not matter what happens over these next few days for her, the Church is global and no matter where she ends up, she'll be able to find it again. Personally, I've decided that I hate feeling like there's nothing more I can do that pray for some of these people. Sometimes waiting upon the Lord is one of my biggest weaknesses, I think. I just want to be able to pray for them and then go out and fix everything for them and make her life easy. But...I just don't have that power. Oh well. I know the Lord will take care of her. She just needs to keep trusting Him to do so.
As I said though, Sister Murray and I left that rendez-vous feeling so blessed. This girl is younger than both of us and has a life like that. We have nothing to complain about. We really are more blessed than I think we realize.
There's the sum total of our week. As I said, it's been a bit different. I'm just happy that we should be getting back into the flow of normalcy again.
I hope you had a great week. I love you!