Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 22: Liege, Still the Place I Call Home

Bonjour *kiss*
So, the transfer email is out, Soeur Williams and I are both staying in Liege together. Which means I am going co-companion in my third transfer, whooooo. It doesn't really mean anything other than I no longer have a companion who knows what's going on any more than I do, as she has been in the mission as long as I have. Soeur England is getting ready to go home, it has been one very long goodbye starting about last Wednesday. I am gonna miss her, but her time has come.
Tuesday was Zone Conference in Brussels, we got a ride from the Skousens, it is tricky getting 3 sisters in the back of a European car, and even more difficult to be in there for an hour, but we made it there all right. Soeur Staheli started and she said something interesting. She told us to think about the think that we wanted more than anything else in the world, and then to think about yesterday. She asked us whether what we did yesterday brought us closer or farther away from what we want. It is a good thought provoking question. The choices we made yesterday effect the choices we have before us today and the things we choose today effect what we can do tomorrow. I wish that I could remember that all the time, I think that I would make my life much easier if I did. There is a tradition at the last Zone Conference before a missionary goes home they give their "dying testimony." Souer England gave hers, she said that a mission is a time where you don't have to think about anything else but everyone else. I think that I am going to make that one on my mottoes for my mission. The more you give yourself to the service of others and let yourself be lead by the spirit the more effective and the better the missionary you will be, I just have to figure out how to do it now.
Tuesday night we had dinner at Rita's house. It was Mardi Gras and apparently it is a tradition in Belgium at least to have cabbage on Mardi Gras. So we had a pork, and a cooked cabbage and potato dish, it was actually really good. It was made with the big green leafy-ish kind of cabbage. Don't worry we survived carnival without incident though it is supposedly this week that all the college kinds have their drunken initiation thingies. There are a lot of young people wandering around in lab coats that are very dirty and written all over. They also have chain-sash thingys and go in small groups asking people for money so they can buy alcohol. It makes my very sad to see them, and that there are so many of  them around. It is such a stark contrast to the life I am living, and really none of them look happy. As the scriptures say wickedness never was happiness.
I got to meet Christiane's kids on Wednesday, she had us over for lunch and it is carnival vacation for school. Ismael and Sabrina are so cute. Christiane sent Ismael to the store for some things for lunch and while he was gone Sabrina asked if we could read in the Book of Mormon like we've been doing over the phone. We are really excited about Sabrina's interest because while Ismael is baptized Sabrina is not. Her father is Muslim and she has been leaning a bit towards that. But she seems excited about reading and she volunteers to say the prayer all the time. We have continued reading the Book of Mormon with Christiane every night over the phone, there truly is a difference in her. I wouldn't say it is dramatic but it is a definite difference. It is a testimony to me of the power of the Book of Mormon. Especially in reading it everyday, I think that is the key to unlocking the power in the Book of Mormon, reading it every day with a sincere desire. We only read a chapter with her, but it makes a difference and a change of heart, even if it is just a little at a time.
Maurice is doing really well, he came to Family Home Evening last Monday, and to English class and Samedi Sports. He came to church on Sunday but he went to the other branch I think he had something to do to because he left right after, but he came!!!! We are so excited for him, and the members are being good with him, Beauty in particular. Beauty is one out our recent converts and he and Maurice have a lot in common so they talk a lot, I hope that they will be friends.
There have been a lot of lasts for Soeur England, her last district meeting, her last English class, her last Sunday, her last p-day. We've been trying to keep her busy so that she doesn't get too trunky, but we've had a lot of fun too. We went out for pizza on Saturday with the Skousens and Elder Duarte and Elder Weber, it was a lot of fun, and a nice last hurrah. Plus the pizza was amazing! It was a little weird to do weekly planning without Souer England this week, but we managed well enough on our own. She has done a great job getting us ready to be on our own, and I am excited for this new transfer and for all that it will bring. I am glad that transfers happen every 6 weeks, it gives me a way to recommit myself to being the best missionary, it is like having a New Year every month and a half. It is really helpful to have a time that is set to reflect on how I am doing and what I need to do better. That is why we are here on this earth, to progress to change, to evaluate and do better to become what we need to be. I think that is why missions are so life changing, they are a concentrated time where all you think about is how you can do better so you can do the Lords work better.  Wednesday begins my 3rd transfer and Sunday is my 5th month as a missionary. It is strange but that doesn't change the work, I am excited for my new responsibilities and that I have Soeur Williams to work with, we are gonna rock this town with the gospel!
I love you all so very much, until next week,
Soeur Gaelin Turney

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