Wednesday morning around 2am, the day we were leaving for Munich, I woke up with an incredible neck pain, so much that I could not move my neck whatsoever. I'm pretty sure it was sleeping on it wrong. After lots of ibuprofen, ice, heat, massaging...nothing really worked. We called the Mission Nurse and she recommended purchasing a perscription of Naproxen (German Aleve) from the Apotheke, reassuring that it would help. It didn't. Our GML (Ward mission leader) Steven and the Elders gave me a Blessing Wednesday afternoon and if anything that blessing comforted and reassured me. The train ride that evening to Munich with the district leaders and Zone Leaders was way fun, but I still felt pretty miserable. The Muncih 3 Sisters, Sister Kutschke and Sister Threkheld, were SO sweet and at last minute provided space for us to overnight at their apartment because Sister and President Miles were in Switzerland and we could not sleep at the Mission Home. Throughout the weekend I had steady pain in my neck, but it eventually got less intense, and this morning I woke up with no pain at all. I am so grateful! Prayers were heard and answered!
Thursday was SO spectacular! We met at Rückertstrasse chapel in Munich for the District Leader Meeting, along with the Munich Sister Training Leaders, as special invite by Elder Timothy J. Dyches. For one hour as a leadership group were able to be specially instructed and taught by Elder Dyches. He talked about humility, teaching, and the importance of leading by example. (In one more embarrassing moment, Elder Dyches demonstrated how to properly use a planner. Because apparently sisters have amazing planners, Elder Dyches asked to use mine. (Pres Miles told him to use mine! He called it "very sisterly" and also very organized and methodical. It's not every day a member of the seventy looks through your missionary planner!) He talked to us about making our missions a foundation for the rest of our lives, and right at the end he got very quiet, looked us all directly in the eye and said powerfully but immer noch so quietly, "Work hard, my missionaries......WORK HARD."
|Mission Leadership Council|
|Mission Tour (Munich and Stuttgart Zones)|
For our main meeting, as Stuttgart and Munich Zones, we were instructed by President and Sister Miles and Sister and Elder Dyches for Close to 3 hours. Sister Dyches quoted Elder Bednar in saying that if she could change the word "meeting" for "Revelatory Experience", she would. She also taught us the importance of studying, learning, and growing in this life, and that the things we learn here on our mission could not be replaced by any School in this world. Stimmt! (Isn't that the truth!?) . My Mission has only added hundred-fold to the truths I learned in Sunday School, Young Women's, Seminary, etc. How grateful I am for that decision I made to serve a mission. It is HARD but this purifying and sanctifying work is one of the greatest blessings I could have recieved in my life. Elder Dyches related it to a cruciable, like in Chemistry. As we experience ups and downs in our mission and go through those common faith-testers, we are purified and made stronger. In relation to this, the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 18 came to mind. Verses 10-16 were the Topic I was asked to speak on for my farewell talk, and 11 months later I think I better understand what they mean.
With this image of a firey cruicable from Elder Dyches, I reread verse 15 in Doctrine and Covenants 18 which says "And if it so be that you shall Labor all your days in crying repentance unto this People, and bring, save it be one Soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" Our missions are beautiful non-coincidences, perfectly personalized and set directly for us. Do I think it's a coincidence that I serve in the Alpine German Speaking Mission, when my mother, father, 3 uncles, a Cousin, and some of my closest friends all serve or have served here as well? Absolutely not. Is it a coincidence that I have had terrible Deja Vu daily since coming on my mission or that my parents lived here while working in Germany and were pregnant with me? After Elder Dyches taught us, not at all. I have the strongest confirmation that my mission, perfectly designed for me, is something that I perhaps talked about with my Father in Heaven before this life. Heavenly Father knew that I could help bring that one soul to Him through my service.
Missionary work does not end with a mission. Having experienced a miracle of finding a man my father taught on his mission, and after 26 years having them be reunited through Skype, I have begun to build a testimony of lifelong missionary work.(Natalie, through still some unknown search, found a man who Kevin taught and baptized on his mission but afterwards lost contact with.) And so it shall be, my dearest family and friends. I shall labor all the rest of my days: throughout the rest of the days of my mission, and the rest of my life. Mission Tour and Mission Leadership Council were one of the best experiences I have had so far on my mission. It's similar to a returning from the temple feeling: refreshed, strengthened, and ready to take on the world!
I love you all!! I hope you have a fantastic week. Say your prayers, obey the Word of Wisdom, read your scriptures, say I Love You more, and be grateful for the many and overflowing blessings the Lord gives to you and me.
Until next week!!
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto