Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Belgium- officially my craziest week ever!

Dear everyone,
I honestly feel like I need 4 hours in order to describe to you everything that has happened to me in the past week.
But since I don't have 4 hours, I'll just make do with the time I have.  Well, I talked to Sœur Pulupuna (the sister that was up here in Charleroi and was being transferred to Torcy) last Monday evening on the phone, and she told me lots of things about Charleroi.  Apparently, they haven't had sisters here in about 3 years, so she told me to be careful, or else we're going to have dinner appointments 2x a day with members.  She told me that it's wonderful up here, and that I was going to love it, and then she told me one other thing.  "Also, you'll be having a baptism on Saturday, her name's Christel, you'll love her."  I'm pretty sure I didn't hear the next couple of things she said, seeing as my mind had frozen.  I'm not going to lie, I didn't know how to feel about the news.  Part of me was so excited, the other part of me felt like I didn't deserve this awesome priviledge finishing this journey with Christel, because I literally would be showing up 3 days before her baptism.  I know it's not very important about who baptises whom, and that we're all a team and all, but still, I hope you understand that I was still very torn about this whole situation, feeling like I've worked for months to help the people I love in Quimper and Nogent, trying to help someone to the waters of baptism, only to have my first baptism just handed to me without any work, feeling like I'm taking credit for Sœur Pulupuna's work.  Sorry, I know that's kind of a lame rant, and honestly, that's not important, the important thing is that we finished teaching Christel on Thursday, she had her interview, we had a slight hold up trying to make sure if she needed permission from her future ex-husband for her to be baptized, but then, at approximately 5:30 on Saturday afternoon, she was baptized by her dear friend, Frère Bultielle.  On Sunday, she received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and is totally ready to embrace this gospel.  So yeah, that's been my week.  Crazy, huh?  I guess now I'd better tell you all the rest of the little stories also that have happened.  I was SO sad to say goodbye to everyone in Nogent.  I was so sad to say goodbye to Sœur André and her family, and the Adamsons, and the Lasas (although they told me that they might come and visit...).  Then, on Wednesday, I met up with Elder Fuller, who would be traveling up to Charleroi with me (I won't tell you how weird it was to be traveling with just one other Elder, transfer days are the days where they let little things like that happen, in order to be more cost effective).  Anyway, we had a nice 1 1/2 train ride up to Bruxelles, where we met our companions.  Elder Fuller (who is the District Leader) is now with Elder Stucki (yes mom, I talked to him, and I'm pretty sure we're related), and I am with Sœur Hunsaker!  She's from Idaho Falls, ID, and I will finish training her.  She's great, we laugh a lot.  She reminds me A TON of McKell Clayson.  I told you last week that there are 2 wards in Charleroi.  Apparentley, there is one set of elders for each ward, and then we, as the sisters, cover both wards!  It's so weird, our area covers both the wards, and we rotate attending every other sacrement meeting.  The only hard thing is that the buses here are so lame, and traveling takes FOREVER.  We're going to have to really plan out our days well in order to make sure we use our time really effectively.  Other than that, the city of Charleroi is pretty great.  People seem to be pretty nice.  I've already eaten at least 6 goffres (goffre is the french word for waffle, and Belgium is famous for them, although, ironically, they're nothing like the "Belgium Waffles" that we eat in the US).  In trying to describe the city, I think Elder Fuller said it best when he and I pulled into Bruxelles. I quote, "There seems to be a lot of brick here."  After he said that, I realized that indeed, EVERYTHING is made out of brick here.  It's amazing.  There are so many stucco houses, and metal appartment buildings, that to see everything in brick is almost overwhelming.  It is a very industrial area, with lots of textile factories.  I often feel like I am in downtown London, in a Charles Dickon's book, or in the book, "The Jungle", with all the brick and smokestacks around me.  But it's great.  It's still much more countryish than Paris (ok, I know, even the Downtown New York is more countryish than Paris).  But really, there are lots of fields, and there are horses here!  We even have horses that live right by our apartment.  We petted them the other day.  They are wonderful.  The french is a little different, they do their numbers a little differently, as well as change a few things here and there, but mostly it's just the accent, which I'd never really heard before.  We were teaching a older woman the other day, and I could tell that her french was a little foreign, so I asked her where she was from, and she said she'd lived in Charleroi for quite some time.  I asked her where she lived before that, assuming she would say Germany or Swizterland, but instead, she just named another city not that far from Charleroi, and I said to myself, "Well, ça alors (I'll be darned), I guess that's the french here in Belgium."  Love it.
  So that's Charleroi for you, we're expecting awesome miracles, and I will be trying my best to not pack on the pounds with all these loving members who literally forcing goffres into my sack to eat later.  Dang they're good (the members, and the goffres).  I love you all, keep praying for us, and we'll keep working hard!  With the Lord on our side, anything and everything is possible!
      Avec amour,
           Sœur Bracken

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