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!