Meine liebe Familie und Freunde,
Sister Peterson and I had another spectacular week :)
(If you're wondering, we both bought jerseys!! Not just any jersey...THE NEW WELTMEISTER jerseys that have only been out a few weeks! That was way fun. German World Cup Champion PRIDE!! The Elders were SUPER jealous we were the first ones of the district to get the 4 star jerseys. We feel pretty cool")
We had an amazing Finding Day this week, following our District Meeting with the theme of "Spirit of Elijah". Sister Peterson and I used that motto to use in our contacting. We spoke with one YSA aged girl by the name of Safaa. She is from the country of Jordan, and is doing a 2 month internship here in Germany in her studies of Neuroscience. She was extremely interested in Family History, and also in the Church. It was a humbling and neat experience for me to talk to people, be turned down, try the next person, and continuously be "rejected", to finally then speak to ONE who was ready to hear what we had to say. Speaking with Safaa alone made our Finding Day worth it!! While we were at Ostbahnhof (train station) waiting for the rest of the district to return and report, I saw no other than a family wearing big blue Tshirts and hats that said "BYU" on them. I ran over to them, scared the poor daughter and said, "Where are you from??" When they saw us...and of course recognized WHO we were immediately.....this family (whose name escapes me) was thrilled! They had gotten off the airplane about 5 hours before, and where here in Munich to pick up and test drive a BMW. The poor family was super jet lagged, but it was a fun experience for Sister Peterson and I to talk with members, and I believe it to be good that they saw some familiar faces/nametags as well. The mormon world is sure a beautiful thing...we are family...no matter where we are in the world, oder?
This week I went on Austausch (exchange) to Augsburg to work with Sister Mehr. We had a really normal, successful, hardworking day, and I thought to myself, "Wow. I'm impressed nothing crazy has happened yet!" I spoke to soon, because the next morning as I got out of the shower, the faucet to turn off the water exploded and BROWN WATER started spewing everywhere! Poor Sister Mehr thought something was incredibly wrong when I screamed, but after 2 and a half hours of me walking with the very annoyed Hausmeister, calling 7 people to finally reach a German speaking missionary (our AP Elder Bellersen) to better clarify the situation to the plumber, and after 45 minutes directing the plumber man to the apartment, we got the water shut off for the Augsburg sisters until that evening, when the repair could be made. Cute Sister Mehr, who is in her first transfer, probably thought exchanges were normal. At least on Sister Exchanges, nothing ever goes as planned. ;)
Sister Peterson and I have a brilliant contacting idea. We have created little yellow smiley face pass long cards that say "Sei Glücklich" on them, and our goal is to pass them out to everyone who looks sad. On the back side is a QR code and website to mormon.org and an uplifting, encouraging Mormon message, along with our phone number and church address. We'll be keeping you posted on what comes out of it. Sister Peterson is the greatest!! Our companionship has been special...we just click...we can read each other minds before the other one says something. We have a lot of fun together, and it's a fun way to think outside of the box when it comes to missionary work. We've got amazing comp unity....our dreams are even becoming more and more similar. Darn..she has to go home this next transfer and I am SO SAD about that!!! We will, however, I am convinced, remain fast and lifelong friends!
On Saturday, our missionaries in Munich had a unique opportunity to record a CD for the older women in the stake who are no longer able to attend Church because of health or transportation reasons. The members here in Germany are, in my opinion, some of the most solid and strong and dedicated members of the Church. They travel for sometimes up to 2 hours by car, longer if with public transportation, to attend their weekly church meetings. We spend practically the entire day in Augsburg, and after we got into Munich around 5 we ate some food, and then met with Herr Muanza. Remember him? He's been gone for a month, so let me refresh your memory. Herr Muanza is from Angola, and has been in Germany for 20 years. Since we last met, Herr Muanza has read in the Book of Mormon from 1 Nephi 5-ish, all the way to Alma 41!! He even placed note paper in between the pages where he wanted to take notes on what he read. We talked about Church attendance, and he said he would come. A cute JAE named Maren drove Herr Muanza to church yesterday, and he loved each minute of it. His favorite part was during Sacrament Meeting when Sister Kohler gave her very first talk in German. She did wonderful!!!
I felt like Sacrament Meeting yesterday was just for me. Elder Bellersen, one of the Assistants, shared his testimony of not being afraid to go the extra mile. What he said got my mind turning, and I thought a lot about what it means for me, right now on my mission, to go that extra mile. Had someone asked me one year ago as a golden to go the extra mile, I would've been overwhelmed. Missionary work was so new to me. With each transfer and each passing day, I have learned a lot about myself. I've seen step by step how the Lord has blessed me with the strength to go forward, and to have the desire to go the extra mile. Looking back, each transfer, in each area, with each different companion, I've been able to see where I have gone the extra mile, as far as I knew how and was capable of. Today during personal study, I got an answer to that question that first sparked during Elder Bellersen's talk. The way to keep going forward, each day, giving every little ounce of energy, is to be grateful. When we are grateful to the Lord for what He so abundantly blesses us with, why would He not bless us with energy, desire, and motivation to push harder and go further? I have not been perfect at this on my mission, not in the slightest, but I KNOW that when we are grateful, and when we express that love and appreciation to Him each and every day, He only pours out more blessings from heaven upon our weary heads.
This work is HARD and exhausting, and I look forward each morning when I wake up to get back into bed. But what I look even more forward to, than that of my physical comfort, is to feel of the joy and excitement I feel when I share the Gospel. I can't even begin to describe it. It's pure elation to share with someone my testimony. And when they laugh or ignore or call us names under their breath, I laugh and continue on, because this Gospel message brings me JOY. "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2: 25). Let us have JOY in our lives, and share this incredible gift with which we are so blessed to have. THERE IS NO GREATER JOY than what comes from living and believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Did you hear that Germany??? Jesus IS THE CHRIST!!! I know He lives!!!
Thank you for your support and love, and I can't wait until next week!
Count Your Blessings...we all have SO many!
Your Little Bavarian Missionary,
Sister Natalie Motto