Monday, September 23, 2013

Becoming the Best in Brussels, Belgium

Bonjour tout le monde!
Well, sorry again for my incredibly short email last week.  It was a hectic day.  Well, I made the 1 hour trip to Bruxelles on Wednesday and met up with my new (old) companion, Soeur Mataalii!  It was a bittersweet time on Monday and Tuesday.  It was crazy trying to make sure the apartment was prepared for the new sisters coming in.  Luckily I'm not too far from them.  It was also super sad to see Soeur Hunsaker leave, but I couldn't help but smile when I saw Soeur Mataalii for the first time as my new companion.  Life has been hectic from then on out, though.  We helped the sisters at Strombeek on Wednesday, and on Friday, we headed down to Paris for a all-day meeting.  But it was wonderful.  Our leaders really are so inspired.  It's so easy to see and feel the love that President and Soeur Poznanski have for not only the missionaries, but also everyone that we teach and meet.  Soeur Mataalii and I are so excited to work together and see miracles.  In fact, we already have!  We got to church on Sunday, and a member named Frere Casares was already there.  He introduced us to a girl he'd met, named Karolina.  He had literally JUST MET HER ON THE METRO, on his way to church, and had invited her to come, and she DID!  Karolina is from Poland, but is studying in Bruxelles, she speaks french well. At first, she was a little confused about church, but we explained what we do, and she really liked it.  We exchanged numbers, then she had to leave right after sacrament meeting.  Then, an hour later, ANOTHER polish person walked in.  It was a member, who happened to be visiting, and wanted to stop by.  Her name was Ola.  We were like, "What are the chances that another Polish girl would come into the church?  Coincidence?  I think not!"  We tried to call Karolina and organize a way to stop by quickly after church with Ola (Ola had to leave about 30 minutes after church to catch a train), but unfortunately, Karolina didn't answer.  For one minute, I was bummed out, wondering why we were so close to having a crazy awesome miracle, only to have Karolina not answer her phone.  Then I heard a tall blond boy walk over and start talking to Ola in Polish.  I was confused.  He then turned to me and said, "Hi, I'm Ethan, I'm from Pennsylvania.  I served my mission in Poland.  Last week was my first week in the ward, I'll be living here for the next 3 months."  I was like, "What the?!?!"  How many Polish people are going to walk into my life in one day?!  So, Ola had to leave, but because of her, we met Ethan, who, of course, is MORE than excited at the thought of teaching someone with us.  Miracles are everywhere!
             I love you all!
                      Passez une bonne semaine!
                                   Soeur Bracken

Monday, September 16, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!
 I'm sorry, I don't have any time, sorry I'm lame.  Soeur Hunsaker and I had quite a surprise last night.  I got a phone call from President-  I'm being moved to Brussells to be a Sister Training Leader!  I'm SO sad to be leaving my dear Charleroi, and all the craziness it contains, but I am excited to be serving in Bruxelles, and my companion?  Soeur Mataalii!  What the?!  It's also sad, because President also said that Soeur Hunsaker would also be moving, so we're being whitewashed out!  So, we have a lot of stuff to do today and tomorrow.  Well, aside from that, it's been a great/normal week.  I love you all!
                 Soeur Bracken

Monday, September 9, 2013

Christel and Forgive are the best recent converts ever!

Hello everyone!
Sœur Hunsaker and I have been doing a lot of finding this past week.  Here is a cool experience.  We decided to pass by one of our member's houses, Sangeeta, last week.  We shared a quick message, asked her if she had any ideas where we could maybe contact some Young families, and had a prayer.  She said she didn't know, but then, as soon as I finished the prayer, her head popped up, and she told us that there might be some Young families a few Streets over.  So off we went.  After a few houses, we knocked on a door, where a woman answered.  Her name was Sabrina.  She told us that she had believed in God, but due to the loss of 3 people in the past 10 months, she wasn't so sure anymore.  We asked if we could share a message that would help bring her peace, and she said we could come back.  We came back yesterday, and she told us she was busy getting ready for work, but she still wanted to meet with us, so we fixed a rdv for this Friday.  We had a quick prayer and let her get back to getting ready.  I have a very peaceful feeling when I think about Sabrina, and I'm very excited to go back.  I also had some cool expériences this week with our recent converts.  The first is when we visited Forgive.  She told us how she and her brother Daniel had gone to Church for all three hours, and how she had given the prayer in her Sunday School class.  She talked about how scared she was, but that she did it anyway, and felt very good afterwards.  She says that sometimes at school, she'll pull out her Book of Mormon and read.  The other experience came yesterday, during our Sunday School class.  Christel talked about how when her daughter, Laura, was born with some mental problems, she thought it was such a burden in her life.  But then, after Learning about the gospel, she has come to realize how much of a blessing it is to have a daughter who she knows will inherit the celestial kingdom, and how pure and innocent she is.  After both of these expériences, I was just overcome with the spirit, and with so much love for these people.  Really, Forgive and Christel are just so amazing, and I'm so excited and honored to be a part of their lives. 
   A missionary from Charleroi 1 came home this week, so that was fun, but also weird.  His name is Kevin.  Seeing the entire ward be excited for his homecoming was a slightly unpleasant reminder these same circumstances lay not in the distant future for me.  Kevin served in the Washington DC north mission.  I asked him if he knew Hailey Wankier, and he said, 'Yeah!  She was in two Districts with me!'  Haha, small world.  Well, I love you.  Search the scriptures, they will change your life!
         Avec amour,
               Sœur Bracken

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Everyone loves Zone Conference!

Bonjour tout le monde,
Sœur  Hunsaker and I have been doing a lot of finding this week, which is both fun and challenging.  I found a large statue of a pigeon in a store the other day, and have told myself that if I continue to work hard and do my part, that I can buy that for myself.  I have really come to love pigeons are am working towards becoming a crazy bird lady.  This week we had Zone Conference, combined with the Bruxelles Zone.  SO WONDERFUL.  We had interviews with President and Sœur Poznanski, which are always wonderful.  They gave me a nice boost and helped me stay focused on enduring to the end of my mission.  I love them so much.  Sœur Poznanski complemented me on my outfit, I told her after 22 years, I finally learned how to coordinate colors.  And of course, I got to see my friends.  I listed to Sœur McGhie give her 'final testimony', I also listened to Elder Ensign give his.  Elder Ensign asked if he could pyscho-analyze me, which he did.  Turns out I don't do well when I don't feel like I'm in control of a situation, haha, he nailed that on the head.  Also, haha, my super good friend, Elder Hill, came in, sporting red hair.  He accidently dyed it (I have no idea what his original motive was, but I got a good laugh), also also, Elder Stoker, the epitome of a Young, growing, 20 year old boy who is full of enthusiasm and energy, did his part at lunch by eating a whopping 16 pieces of pizza.  16! But the best thing was the spirit, and feeling all the love of our leaders. 
   Sœur Hunsaker and I also went to Lille this past week for Legality!  Hooray!  Haha, we had MORE train problems.  It's absurd, but luckily, all worked out well.  Also, we FINALLY have a working kitchen sink again, after 2 weeks of it not draining.  I could have cried, I was so happy. 
   Our amies are progressing.  Madame Afiwor is looking at the end of this month to get baptized.  Forgive is doing absolutely amazing.  She was the only one in her family that was able to come to Church yesterday, but she told us she plans on coming everyweek.  And she's reading the Book of Mormon.  After she offered a prayer at our RDV last week, I almost became emotional.  I love her so very much, and her family.  The work continues, and I am so blessed to be a part of it.  We are ALL a part of it.  Thank you so much for your love and support. 
    Que Dieu vous bénisse!
               Sœur Bracken