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!!!! =)