Dear Family and Friends,
Today, Sister Peterson and I are going to see a castle.....literally. In the midst of a beautiful early Autumn day and in the beauty of the Allgäu rolling hills and mountains....we get to see the beautiful Disney castle, Schloss Neuschwanstein. Sound familiar? ;) A member is so sweet and offered to take us. I'm grateful that Sis Peterson gets to see it the week she leaves. We're super excited! I will send pics next week.
Well, I got some transfer news! Looks like the Lord sees it fit to challenge me even more....I'm training!! This week I will be getting a brand new, shiny, sparkly "Golden" fresh out of the MTC. (FYI: A "golden" is what we lovingly refer to a brand new missionary because they are so "golden" like in quality and dedication) We had a fantastic Mission Leadership Council on Friday, and as every one got their transfer calls President Kohler pulled me aside and asked me if I would stay here in Munich and would train. Of course I said yes, although for a minute I wanted to look around the room and be like, "you mean me, President?" I'm really excited for these upcoming weeks, and for the challenge and responsibility, learning opportunities and miracles that come with training a new missionary. Pray for me and this sweet new missionary! (I won't know her name until I pick her up at the Mission Office come Thursday:)
Sister Peterson and I had so much fun this week. We have been running around like a whirlwind but it's been just amazing. We've just been so busy getting to and from appointments, talking with the most hilarious people (Oktoberfest is coming up...oh my!), going on Austausches, that sometimes I just have to sit and breathe deeply and take a second to express gratitude and yes, laugh at myself a bit. I love being a missionary. Each day has a new challenge and new way of presenting itself, and there are many moments that I realize "Mensch. If the Lord wasn't on my side, I don't know how I would get through the day." I love reading back in my journal from a year ago and to see how much I've grown, matured, and gained a deeper understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We met with Tenzin this week and started talking about the Word of Wisdom. Tenzin, who does massages for a living, related in his own unique, funny way of how reading the Book of Mormon is like recieving a brain massage. For him, the peace that comes from reading the Book of Mormon each day brings that sense of relaxation and revival like after a massage. I found the analogy kind of funny...a little fascinating and Tenzin found himself to be quite profound. Which he is! He's a smart cookie, and it's great going into lessons and coming out realizing we probably learned more from Tenzin than we taught him!
This week we met with the "S" family, a family in our ward who have been inactive for over 20 years. Their personal struggles and misunderstandings of the Gospel in the past have come to a point where they know they should, and at the least they very much want to, come back to the Church. They understand the blessings that come from the Gospel in their lives. They misunderstand that when they have questions or do not understand Gospel topics, that it is a lack in testimony. Which is completely false!! We all have questions and we all have moments of doubt, but just like President Uchtdorf so beautifully said last conference, "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith". This cute older couple is working so hard to find their testimonies again, to rekindle that flame of faith, so that they can once again sing the song of redeeming love. It's an interesting experience being the missionaries on the other side, and how one can feel so much love, so intensely, for another individual in one moment. It was a great appointment, and as we continue to meet with this sweet couple, we will help them prepare to recieve their patriarchal blessings, and then within the next year, help them come back into full activity so that, at the ages of 71, they can recieve the full blessings of the temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity.
We met with Herr Muanza this week and had a fantastic review-lesson on the Restoration. We watched the Restoration video, and Herr Muanza loved each mintue of it. He is still reading in the Book of Mormon each day, and told us for about 10 minutes how much he loved reading in 3 Nephi 18 about the Sacrament, and then was making connections all on his own about his experience at Church last week. It was a really neat experience to witness his testimony grow right before my eyes! Herr Muanza is progressing wonderfully, and although we extended the baptismal commitment to him and he said no, becuase he was already baptized, there is no doubt that as we explain the authority of the priesthood and continue teaching the Restoration, there will be a "click" and Herr Muanza will fully embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Sidenote: Muntean's come back this week! Juhu!!)
I am also very grateful for Sister Peterson. We have had a wonderful 6 weeks together. I've learned a lot from her. Without her, I don't know if I could have accomplished all that I have these past 6 weeks in Munich! She's so steady, patient, and faithful. She was what I needed in this place and time on my mission. She's easy to be myself around, and that's I think something that brought our companionship more together in unity. She's a very special individual, and I know she will do great things after her mission. I would be saying goodbye, but seeing as we'll be seeing each other at BYU in the Winter, it's only Bis Auf's Wiedersehen. :) Danke Sis Peterson, Ich habe Dich sehr Lieb!!
I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love this work. Although I don't always understand all the rules or the meaning of particular guidelines or why things happen the way they do, I've learned to put my trust in the Lord. In Him is my trust full and complete. He knows each thought, each concern, each joy that I have. He knows me PERFECTLY. On Friday morning during my personal study, before MLC and transfer calls, I read a line in my patriarchal blessing that admonished me to accept each calling with a willing and happy heart. That is something I really needed to hear as I go into another new "trainer" phase. As transfer calls came and the butterflies and stress and worries about training came, I looked down at my planner to see what I had written. There in my own handwriting, I had written exactly that phrase, "a willing and happy heart." I was so grateful for that prompting I had had that morning, because now that fear is gone! I'm still a little anxious for this experience, but I know---through the perfect example and experience of my fantastic trainer and me---that President Kohler calls us trainers purely by revelation and through the promptings of the Spirit. The Lord knows there's a new little Sister ready to help encourage, strengthen, teach me, and bless my life as a missionary. And hopefully I have something to offer her too.
I love you all and am so grateful for all your marvelous, loyal, incredible support. Have a magnificent week my dear ones!!
Your little Alpine Bavarian Miss
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto