Monday, December 31, 2012

Verdict is in

      Guten Tag! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! And can you believe it is nearly 2013?! Wowza where does time go? Christmas here in Germany was fantastic! We weren't allowed to go and talk to people on the streets most of the week. Here in Germany they would take that very offensive with the Christmas season, and it would do more damage to the church than help. So, our week was spent in members homes! I cant wait to tell all about it! Monday, was Christmas Eve or as we call it here Heilige Abend! This is even a bigger deal than Christmas here in Germany. We left at 1 pm for a day spent with our Bishopric. (The entire bishopric is related.)  We started with a table full of different cake and cookies with hot cocoa of course. My companion looked at me so stoked and said, "This is Christmas, we even get to start with dessert!!" After they kept piling our plates full of sweets they announced they had a little surprise for us. They took us to their little towns old beautiful church that was built in the 1600's. It was incredible! Many people from the town piled into the wood benches with us and we all sang Christmas songs together. It was right out of a movie :) with hundreds of candles being the only light. This country is so rich with history and it is so fun to see it everywhere you go.
      After our amazing Christmas Performance, it was back to the house for more carols sung this time only by the Eckloff family and the missionaries! We then opened the presents they got for us. It was so much fun! However dinner was still to be had! Next was our Christmas feast! We didn't get home until 9:45pm. I couldn't have asked for a better Heilige Abend here in Germany!
      Tuesday brought Christmas! We got to sleep in an hour more than normal which honestly is the best gift you could give any missionary haha. You would think with me only having 7 months left that I would be use to this whole 6:30am bidness.....but this is just not the case. Then it was off to the church to make breakfast with the elders and senior sisters. Us sisters manned the kitchen with the elders to make a mean batch of breakfast burritos. That experience was hilarious in itself. Then after breakfast, it was more presents! People in our little branch were so kind to us :). But what would Christmas be without some Christmas Bingo?? haha the rest of the afternoon was spent playing bingo, phase ten, and many other fun games. We really do have a little family here with our elders and senior sisters. We are all extremely close and I was super grateful that although I couldn't be with my real family on Christmas this year, I did get to be with my Rostock family!
We saved the best for last though! SKYPE!!! Oh man, it was sooooo amazing to get to talk to the people who mean the very most to me! I didn't know what to expect.....was it going to be weird? Awkward? Would we run out of things to say? But, it was none of those! It just went right back to normal!! Time seemed to fly by way too fast for my liking though. I cant wait for Mothers Day when I get to skype again!
      The rest of the week was filled with many eating appointments, One of which was with an American couple. SO FUN! I really just don't think missionaries in the states know how lucky they are haha. It was so nice to just be comfortable with conversation, etiquette, and the food! I have never laughed so hard in an appointment than with the Dunn's. They are a young couple that are just here for a few months while he does a research project. She even gave us skittles at the end that she got sent to her from America.....yep thats sharing the love if I do say so myself!
      My week ended with a trip to Hamburg. President asked us to do an extra exchange this transfer. My MTC companion, Sister Bohne was in need of some help. Her companion went back to Rostock for the weekend, and I got to reunite with my very first companion :). My job was to help them patch up the problems in their program. I met with nearly every single one of their investigators during my time there. It was such a powerful weekend. They have some incredible investigators in Hamburg. It was amazing to see how fast connections were built to them. At the end I found out that there is a chance I might be sent to hamburg and that I was sent there to learn the program in case that happens. Wow, I would love to serve there. It really is SUCH a big difference from East Germany where I have spent my entire mission, to West Germany. Even though the wall has been down for years now, the effects are still very evident. It was also amazing to spend time with Sister Bohne. We went through so much together in the MTC and have really kept up an incredible friendship and support system with one another throughout our missions. It was interesting to go back to the person that I started this whole adventure with and to realize where I have grown and become different. I am still very much me, but just more refined in certain areas.
      Saturday topped off with Transfer calls. All the sisters where just buzzing around with their predictions. Everyone and their dog was just sure I was leaving Rostock. President as well as my zone leaders had also  told me I was leaving. So needless to say, I was also pretty sure I would be leaving. Well to my shock as well as everyone Else's, no changes were made really. I am staying in Rostock with Sister Moon!! I was soooo stoked! I LOVE this city and my companion is awesome! It was definitely a BIG surprise, but one that was more than welcome! Spiritual Thought: A quote by Holland is what I will leave: "Some of you may wonder: Is there any future for me? What does a new year or a new semester, a newmajor or a new romance, a new job or a new home hold for me? Will I be safe? Will life be sound? Can I trust in the Lord and in the future? Or would it be better to look back, to go back, to stay in the past?To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11). Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away. Live to see the miracles of repentance and forgiveness of trust and divine love that will transform your life today, tomorrow, and forever. That is a New Year’s resolution I ask you to keep."
      Well this sums up my week! Our investigators are doing well! We have missed many of them with the Holidays and we cant wait to get back to the swing of things! I hope you all have a fantastic New years! KEEP THE FAITH!! Love you all :)
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Linford
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jingle Bells!

     Hallo!! I hope you are all enjoying Christmas Eve! I wish I could be home with you all, but duty calls :).
This week has been a tad slower than normal with the Holiday buzz. Lots of our investigators are in other parts of Germany spending time with their families for Christmas. However it did not stop us from having an amazing week!
      This email is going to be shorter than normal, because I hardly have any time today, so I would like to just talk about the people that I am teaching right now.
    Mark- Wowza is all I have to say. People always say that you will know why you have been sent to the place you have when you meet a few people that you know you were meant to be there for. Mark has been added to this list and tops it. I swear we are the same person minus he is a guy. Mark is the investigator that asked to stop meeting with the elders and asked to meet with us instead because of the few lessons I taught to him in Sunday School. He has been investigating the church on and off for 6 years. He is 28 years old from Indonesia. He is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. We meet with him nearly every day and every time I walk out of there just amazed and blown away. We have seen Mark more progress in the last few weeks working with us than any other point of his investigation. It has been such a testimony builder to watch him. We were able to bring up baptism last night and he said that he is ready :). He isnt quite ready to set a date, but he said it was important for him to get baptized before I go home. Mark is someone I came to Germany for and I am so thankful Heavenly Father has allowed me to work with him!
      Degol! I have spoken of Degol a couple of times before. He is a masters student here at the University in Rostock. It has been extremely hard to meet with Degol because he is taking...get ready for this.....50 credits!! He is crazy! He honestly gets up at 5 am and goes to bed at 1am every single day to be able to get everything done. Even though he honestly has no time to meet, he always seems to open up a tiny slot to meet with us. We had such an incredible lesson with him this last week. I cant wait to see him get baptized when he is done with this semester in February!
      Patrick and Charles- They are doing awesome! In fact, they were suppose to get baptized this Saturday. However, because they dont have enough money for the bus, they havent been able to make it to church. The only members that have cars in our branch live way too far away to be able to give them a ride. We have been trying to solve this problem for weeks, but it had proven to be more difficult than we ever thought it would be. Charles and Patrick are so ready to be baptized, but its important that they go to church at least 2 weeks before they can be baptized. Hopefully our ward can help us out a little more so we can find a solution to this problem and add some new members to this tiny branch!
      Bodo is doing fantastic! He is progressing at a fantastic rate. Bodo is another investigator that has been on and off for years with the missionaries. But we are happy to report that just as with Mark we have been honored to see more progress in the last few weeks than the entire 6 years before this. He now has the strongest testimony of the Book of Mormon and we couldnt be happier! He is still deciding when he wants to get baptized but he is so excited about it.
      William is also still doing well. He takes his time with things and there is nothing wrong with that. He is still working towards baptism and will make the plunge next transfer. He is trying so hard to read everyday and inderstand all the stories in the scriptures. He has even inviting us over for dinner the day after Christmas! We are excited!
      Anna is still doing incredible! She is loving spending time with her family who live near Berlin. We are happy for her that she is able to spend Christmas with her fambam, but we cant wait for her to come back to Rostock :). We text her often though!
      Mario- Also another investigator that has been around for years and years. I love that he has chosen the same path as Bodo and Mark and really started to make so much progress. We talked to him about Baptism last week and he said that he too would love to be baptized. We arent sure when but we left him with the commitment to pray about the when.
      I wish I had to time to tell you about all 19 of our investigators, but the clock just wont allow it today! Rostock is just full of amazing people that are ready to fully commit to this Gospel. I am going to be so sad when transfer calls come this Saturday and tell me where my new city will be. This city was rough for me at first, but has made the most amazing turn around. This truly is a city of miracles and I have learned and grown so much from being here with these people.
      I am stoked for this coming week! We have Christmas tomorrow which means skype!! WHOOO!! Also, lots of fun eating appointments, a service project at the zoo, transfer calls,  and I will be doing an exchange with my MTC companion Sister Bohne this week too! She has been struggling with training and has done a special request to president and he approved it. I am exciting to return to Langenhorn and see how the apartment is looking post fire :) haha.
      Well I love you all so much! I hope you have an incredible Christmas! Ich wünsche Ihnen ein frohes Weihnachtsfest!!
Love, Sister Linford
PS Dont send anything to my address this week, I will tell you next week where my new address is :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Fire Literally!

      Hallo! Well this week takes the cake for the craziest week on my mission! So much happened and so little sleep was had haha. Stellar combo right? But, it truly was an awesome week!
      It started off last Monday with the Preets. This is the family that I write often about. They are traveling back to India for a month and they needed help getting to the airport in Hamburg. We just happened to be going to Hamburg for exchanges last Monday as well. Manpreet is a single mother with 2 children, and 2 crazy children at that! We got her and all of her massive amounts of luggage totaling at well over 200 lbs. from Rostock to Hamburg. Our morning starting at 4 am and this adventure ended at 2 pm! Now that you know the end and the beginning, lets fill in the middle! Two of the 50 lbs. suitcases broke on the way. The youngest child Sam had a poopy diaper for a solid 2.5 hrs and there was nothing we could do. The airport workers made a mistake with their passports and called the police. Oh the drama. We worked that out right before they were going to be taken away. Me and my companion had to literally drag the broken suitcases through 5 different trains and finally the airport. And although my companion and I were about ready to pull our hair out at the end of this ended in the best of sorts. The chance of me getting transferred is pretty high and so this is most likely the last time I will see them. It was a tearful goodbye from the family that has just completely taken me in here in Rostock.
      As we walked out of the airport, we were  filled with relief as we thought we had the rest of P-day just to relax. Boy were we wrong. We decided we would go see the sisters that serve in Langenhorn, which is Sister Bohne my MTC companion, and then just do our emails there. My current companion use to serve in Langenhorn so she is a pro at navigating us all around Hamburg. To make a very long story short, we were just walking out of emailing our families when we got a frantic phone call from an elder we didn't know. He asked us if we were still in Langenhorn, which is a city right outside of Hamburg. We happened to just be walking to the train station to go to Hamburg to meet all the other sisters for exchanges. He said that the fire department just called him and we need to get to the sisters apartment as fast as we can to see what is going on because the Langenhorn sisters aren't answering their phone. Right as we hung up the phone we hear sirens and lots of them. We took off in a full blown run towards their apartment following the flashing lights. When we arrived a swarm of fireman were going back for the hose, pulling it off the truck as fast as they could. They all saw our tags and thought we were the ones who lived there. In seconds we had 7 different people yelling at us for the keys. See in Germany they have really really weird laws and they cant just break down a door. We were trying to explain that we didn't live there so we didn't have the keys but we were all come from the same organization. They accepted that answer and asked if they could bust the door down, we of course gave them permission. Within seconds we heard them axing away at the door and windows were opening with smoke billowing out of them. It was at this moment that my companion and I looked at each other and she let out an awkward giggle and all I could say is, "This is real life...." Our phone was ringing off the hook. It was my mission president, the zone leaders, the landlord.....everyone BUT the Langenhorn sisters. Everyone was in a frenzy. While my companion manned the phone I was having to give all sorts of information about us, the sisters who actually live there, the mission office, and so much more to multiple policemen and fireman. This is all in German too.....haha man alive it was stressful. In the end we found out that the fire was started in the kitchen from them leaving the stove on. The fireman that talked to us said it was a sheer miracle that the whole thing didn't blow. He said that the fire reached the gas line and everything. His last sentence was, "You really must be from a church!" haha yes we are! The damage was fairly minimal which was VERY lucky. After about 1 hour and 20 min. the Langenhorn sisters finally arrived. Just shocked and frankly a tad embarrassed. We were just laughing as we showed them around their apartment. Needless to say our meeting time for exchanges totally got butchered. The sisters from the cities of Kiel and Elmshorn had to rush back to appointments. So it was us Rostock and Langenhorn just left in a daze haha. We couldn't make it back to Rostock that night because we missed our train and we couldn't sleep in the smokey to Elmshorns sister apartment for the first 6 sister sleepover! See blessings always come :)! We had a blast that night laughing about the fire and talking about funny memories we all have with each other.
      The next morning started yet again very early. We decided to go ahead with exchanges and just meet back up the following day. So my companion took my MTC companion back to Rostock. The other two sisters went back to Langenhorn and I got to spend the morning with Sister Niebergall :). This is the sister I lived with in Dresden. Oh man we had too much fun! Before we knew it, it was time to exchange with the Kiel sisters where I was suppose to be the whole time. I may have been a tad tardy, but I finally got to have my time with Sister Thornton and return back to Kiel! I love that city! And I love Sister Thornton! She was the other sister besides Sister Bohne who I was in the MTC with. We had a blast that day together! And the night could not have ended better...I got to play soccer! Every Tuesday night all the missionaries in Kiel get to go play indoor soccer. Oh my heavens I loved every second of it!
      Wednesday started once again earlier than normal. We had to catch a train to meet back with everyone in Hamburg. Before I knew it I was on yet another train headed back to my own city of Rostock finally reunited with my real companion. The craziness was not over though. We had only a few hours in our city before we had to get on a train for Berlin. Because of all the traveling, we packed our appointments like sardines! We didn't even have time to go to the apartment. It was bam bam bam and then on a train to Berlin! We spent the night in Berlin because we had Zone Conference early the next morning.
      Zone Conference was amazing!! It was a special one where Elder Kent Richards did a mission tour. It was 4 hours without a break, but it was incredible! Wowza, he is an amazing general authority! He was a mission president in Texas and gave the best advice. Plus, we got to see half the mission again at this conference...which means more sister time! Oh how I love it!! It is always a blast being around the other sisters.
      Finally late Thursday I returned to my apartment for the first time in 4 days! I was so excited to finally sleep in a bed!
      There was so much drama and traveling this week but what I haven't talked about is our investigators! We had some of the most amazing lessons this week! This area truly is booming! We nearly tied our record this week and we were gone so much of the time! It was nuts! But its such a blessing to have people so willing to meet with you and learn more!
      Patrick is doing amazing and is looking good for his baptism in less than 2 weeks! Anna is having a great time with her family right now for Christmas. We are sad that we cant meet with her during her school break, but we still talk often :). Mark is a new investigator of ours. He actually requested to stop meeting with the elders and start meeting with us because every time I taught he felt that it was just for him. I have been saying I wish Mark was our investigator for weeks now, so I was super stoked for the switch to happen! We have met with him lots this past week and he is progressing really well! Bodo is still praying about when his baptismal date should be but he has the strongest testimony of the book of Mormon now and is doing fantastic! I know its only a matter of time with him! I would love to tell you more about our investigators but I just don't have enough time! We have been super blessed with a lot of people to teach right now. It will be interesting what transfer calls bring in a week and a half! Yikes I am nervous!
      Spiritual Thought: This month I have really tried to focus my studies on Jesus Christ. I was reading in the Bible when I read two different scriptures that struck me. The first is found in Mark 1:16-18 and says, 16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. We all have nets in our live that keep us from walking with our Savior. Temptations or distractions of the world sometime create nets that prevent us from focusing on what is important. What are the nets in your life right now that are keeping you from going "straightway" towards Christ? The second is found in John 1:38-39 and reads, 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day. When we walk with Christ we will see where he "dwells". We all say we want to be like Christ or we want to be full of faith, but what are we doing to get there? Christ has invited us to come and see what he has to offer. I pray that we can all focus on how we can "come and see" more in our lives by leaving our nets behind and following Christ straightway! Thanks for all the love and support! I love you all so much and am so grateful for each one of you! I pray so hard every day for the people back home. This season brings those feeling of gratitude to the surface.....I just love it! I hope you all enjoy your Christmas season! Also this next week I will not be doing emails next Monday because it's Christmas Eve, so emails will be done this coming Saturday instead. So email before then :)! KEEP THE FAITH!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Family friends the Baumans are on a couples mission in Sister Linford's mission. Sister Baumann sent us a few pictures of S Linford and her companion.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Laundry Drama

      Guten Tag! I hope everything is going well for everyone!! I am doing just dandy myself :). I am warning though this email might be a tad shorter than normal because I am currently in Hamburg not Rostock. I will explain more about that later! But lets chat about my week shall we?
      Last Pday was just sad but funny. Our washing machine broke so we had to go to a laundromat. Well that nearly killed my companion. haha she was being so dramatic, "I would rather die than go to a place like that! Who knows what else has been in those machines!!" For being the rough and tough type, Sister Moon was surprising me but it was so funny I just kept laughing. German washing machines are not like American ones...they take FOREVER. Honestly around 2 hours. So my entire pday was spent at a laundromat while my companion was having a melt down :). There was a reason she didnt get sent to a third world country!! haha.
Another funny part of my week was that I had to sing.....multiple times in a quartet!! So if any of you know me well, you know that i CANNOT sing and there for I dislike it. Well there are 2 elders in Rostock as well as me and my companion. We all are AWFUL at singing. However, the members in our ward made us all singing appointments at all the old folks homes around here. When I say it was bad, picture it worse and that is what happened. We just kept busting up laughing because it was so bad. Oh how the mission stretches you in so many ways :).
       I have spoken about some less active members quite a bit that we have worked a lot with and now they are doing amazing.....well Manpreet is one of them and she was asked to give a talk on Sunday. This was quite the ordeal haha. She was SO nervous. She made us come over and Tuesday and we helped her write it. Then on Saturday she called us and said she was going to fake sick haha. We talked her out of that though no worries :). Sunday came around and she did such a good job! It was one of the moments on my mission where you just stop and think of how amazing missionary work is. I have seen her make so much progress in the months I have been here in Rostock it is crazy! It is simply incredible to be around and be apart of. Today I had to say goodbye to Manpreet and her family. They are going back to India to visit family and they wont return until after transfers. They have been my Rostock family. It was so hard to say goodbye but I know I will see them again! I LOVE the people I have met here in Germany that I get to call my makes the hard times worth it!
       Anna is still doing awesome!! Funny thing about her last lesson. So her friends heard that she was meeting with us and they made her watch the South Park episode about Mormons! Oh my heck I am going to kill south park haha. I have never seen it myself, but South Park is huge over hear and nearly everyone under 25 has seen that episode! Well it took us a while to clear some of that up, but we are back on track :).
      Another cool announcement....we got two more people on baptismal date!! Whooo! I am sad that I most likely wont be here to see most of these baptisms, but it is soooo amazing to watch the progression taking place in these people! Asante and Kofio are going to be members of the church of Jesus Christ come January! Also we have another investigator praying about when his date she be right now! His name is Bodo and he has been an investigator for years! We were able to start things up with him and it's going so well! I will have to tell you more about that next week!
       Spiritual Thought: Sorry I dont have much time today like I said, so here is another video :).
      Well this coming week is going to be a crazy one! I am currently in Hamburg. I am doing an exchange in just a few hours and then I will be in Elmshorn with Sister Niebergall. I cant wait! We use to live together when I was serving in Dresden. Plus, Sister Niebergall goes home in one short week, so this is even more of a last hooray!  After Elmshorn, I will be going to Kiel tomorrow. This city was my last exchange and I loved it! I will be with Sister Thornton who was in the MTC with me and is my really good friend. It's going to be a fun couple days of exchanges. If that doesnt get crazy enough I will be traveling home from Hamburg Wednesday just to go to Berlin for Zone Conference! I left this morning with clothes for 4 days! Crazy huh?? Hopefully this means that next weeks email will be more entertaining than this one was haha.
       >Thanks for all the love and support. I ask for the blessing of everyone who gets this email to go to my new Niece Izzy. She was born this week at 27 a mere 2lbs 1oz. Miracles have been seen. And for that I am eternally grateful. The little fighter needs all the prayers she can get :). Love you all and wish you amazing weeks!!
Sister Linford

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter Wonderland!

      Hallo! all I got to say! Rostock has been colder than ever. It has been snowing lots here this week. The wind makes it so much worse too. I remember when I use to complain about winters in Utah.....hahaha yeah, that wont be happening again! Despite the frigid temperatures, awesome work was still to be had here!
      Last P-day we spent the majority of our day at something we call in Germany the Weinachts Markt. Which just means Christmas market. It was a Christmas dream!! I remember watching Christmas movies and seeing towns that were decked out in decorations and always thinking, "I wish this really happened, and it wasn't just in movies!" Well I know where Hollywood got all of their ideas! Germany! It was seriously right out of a incredible! I loved every bit of it :). In addition, that night for FHE we decorated the Christmas trees for the church. Its official....I am now in the Christmas Mood!!
      This past week was our Christmas Zone Conference. We actually got to spend the night in Berlin Tuesday evening because we needed to be in Berlin really early in the morning. We stayed with Sister Child and Sister Larsen who are currently serving in Berlin. It was a blast as always to spend the rare and cherished time with others of the female gender. Zone Conference was amazing! It has been so long that I have gotten to just sit and enjoy a spiritual message that I understand!! The only meetings that are in English now are Zone conference and we haven't had one in ages. It really was such a re-charge of the spiritual battery. It was also fun to see my trainer, Sister Neukomm there, along with Sister Dieterich. We are reppin' the Holla-hood(Holladay) well in Germany!
      We got to do a service project this week! We helped a family move. They use to be investigators and they said that the Elders just stopped coming by and they aren't sure why. It was a perfect opportunity to build up contact with them again. However, it provided quite the workout! They live on the top of the 9th floor. In Germany not too many buildings have elevators either, so LOTS of stairs and heavy furniture it was! My calves and biceps are still hurting, but the pain was worth the gain!
      Yesterday was our ward Christmas program! It went so well! We had 5 investigators at church!!! It was so awesome! The elders also had 3 investigators there, totaling at 8. The bishopric came up to us and said that have never seen so many investigators at church :). The musical numbers were awesome and everyone felt the spirit so strong. We also had quite the German feast after the program. The investigators got right in and were talking to the was so cool! Most of them didnt leave until 3pm and church starts at 10am!! It was seriously the best Sunday I have had on my mission!
      Our investigators are all doing well for the most part! Charles and Patrick who we put on baptismal date last week are doing awesome! They are both reading lots in their scriptures every day trying to get ready for December 29th :). We actually started teaching their friend now as well. Me and Sister Moon actually split up and I teach Patrick who likes to get really deep in the Bible and she teaches Ali (their friend) and Charles who need just the basics, It works amazing because that just fits our personalities better. Than at the end we all come together and have a testimony meeting/ review of what we learned. They are awesome!
      We are also still having such incredible lessons with Anna! Wow, I love teaching her so much! This week we really felt that instead of continuing to teach her the commandments, that we needed to do something else. We prayed all week, but nothing was coming to us. It came to the point that her appointment was in 5 minutes and we still had no idea what we really were going to talk about. I still can't tell you exactly what was said....but the spirit guided that time we had together. We talked a lot about Christ and what Christmas really means, It was more of just a discussion but she got emotional at the end and said that she really needed that and  she hopes that we don't stop meeting with her. Don't worry Anna, we have no plan of stopping!
      Spiritual Thought: This week at Zone Conference a missionary who is going home in just a few weeks was bearing his testimony. He said he has learned that in his time here that you can either choose to go on your knees or be forced. He was referring to trials that we all experience in life. I loved this statement because it is so true! We need our Heavenly is just a fact. We can either recognize that from the beginning and make it easier on ourselves....or we can be stubborn and wait to the point where we can't take it anymore and get forced to ask for help. It reminded me of the quote, "Sometimes the Lord brings you low, so he can bring us higher." And that is exactly what the process of trials and asking God for help does for us! This is a gospel of Becoming. We aren't expected to be perfect. There are just ways of life to become like him that make it a lot easier if we choose to do them. Take the story of Lehi's family going into the Wilderness. Laman and Lemuel were obedient just as Nephi was.....they all left their belongings and traveled away from Jerusalem....but their attitude was very different. They fought their trials and asked questions such as why is this happening to me? Such questions can overtake their vision, absorb their energy, and deprive them of experiences the Lord wants them to receive. The difference is that Nephi was willing to go to Heavenly Father for help and put his trust in Him. "Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."(Alma 36:3) I hope that we can all be quick to look towards Heavenly Father this week in help with our trials!!
      Well thank you all again for another great week of emails! I am excited to hear more of the happenings in your lives next week! Thanks for all the love and support!! Bis nächste Montag!!
Sister Linford

Monday, November 26, 2012


1. Me and Sister Moon in Prenzlau
2. Me being silly muhahah
3. Okay so children are NOT allowed to sit on your lap and this kid just came over and plopped right down and my companion wanted to get a pic for black mail hahaha. 

160 mph

      I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving feasts and great sales! Oh how I miss both....I must admit the latter of the two gets me more excited though :). I would like to think that J.Crew was sad that I wasnt there this year. Although I didn't not have a Holiday this week in Germany, I have much to be thankful for! Everything is going so well here. My companion and I have gotten into a really great groove together and the work has never felt more enjoyable.
      This week I am warning this letter is going to be short and rather boring. Me and my companion got about 2 hours of sleep last night is all. There was a massive party in the apartment next to ours until 4am At first we were laying in bed loving life singing all the words to music we haven't heard in what feels like ages. And although I may have screamed in sheer joy as 50cent and Nelly came on.......after a few hours we just wanted the much needed shut eye. P day nap is going to be a must.
      I am excited to share some good news of the week.....we have two more baptismal dates!! Their names are Patrick and Charles! We are extremely excited to get them ready for such an amazing event in their lives :). The date that we set as a goal is December 29th. This is going to be a big month in Rostock! The average baptism in this city for the last 10 years, is one per year and I think we can get 3 or 4 this month hopefully :). So cool to be apart of! They are both really cool guys. They are roommates and it will be nice for them to have each other as a support through this whole thing. And of course they are English speakers!! Haha once again, I am now more sure than ever my mission was to come to Germany to find English speakers! We currently have 10 English speaking investigators haha. Everyone just shakes their head and says, "Sister Linford....I have no idea how you find them, but you are a magnet for English speakers!!" That's just how I roll.
      Anna is doing amazing! Wow she is a missionary's dream to teach. She is really soaking everything in and always has the best questions. She is even going to sing at our ward Christmas night this Sunday! We are excited to see her vocal stylings in action :).
      With this week being the first of the new transfer, we got to meet our new District leader. He is from Austria and is super nice. He is a transfer younger than me as crazy as that is, but I have been super impressed with him already. I am excited to get to serve with him. We also welcomed our new Zone Leader.....however, he is not new to me. Elder Riesen and me served in Dresden together my first 3transfers. He was the one who helped me plan all the fun pdays. He is stellar and I am exited to get to serve with him again as well.
      This week brought a unique experience. It wont exactly sound unique to most of you, if not all of you....but, I got to ride in a car this week!! Haha it has been SO long since this has happened! The only area in the mission that sisters get a car, just got shut down last week haha, so my dreams of not only riding in a car, but actually driving....just got shattered. Wow....18 months without driving might kill me, or my passengers when I finally do get behind the wheel again ha. Oh and yes I did drive on the Autobahn and we went approximately 160 mph. It was pretty freaking great!  
      Spiritual Thought: This week as we were teaching Anna the commandments, she gave a simple answer that has stuck with me for some reason. I asked her, "Why do you think that God gave us commandments?" Her answer was right on and ended with a sentence that was around, "so that you can become the person that you want to become." This is definitely not your typical answer involving safety or is much deeper. Jesus asked a similar question. He said, "What manner of men ought ye to be?" Then answering his own question he said, "Even as I am." Jesus not only came to atone for our sins, he also came to show us the way. He is the way. You may not only become like Him, but everything is stacked in your favor to become like Him. Think of this life as a path on which you never stand still. As you move forward, you incorporate into your being the characteristics and qualities of God. As you move backward, you take on the qualities of Satan. Every challenge you face, every hard thing you confront, every unfairness, sadness, tragedy, temptation, etc. all happens for one purpose only: to give you the opportunity to respond by applying in your life the teachings of Jesus. As you do so you are changed to become more like Him. In short when you choose to follow Christ you move forward and assimilate attributes of light. However when you do not, you move backward and acquire attributes of darkness. So ask yourself, who do you want to become? What will happen if you don't plan? What will happen if you have no vision of who you want to become? There are two ways to evolve. Deliberately and accidentally. You can either decide who you want to become and deliberately work towards that, or you can just go with the flow and become whatever life makes of you. Whatever you become accidentally, it will not be nearly the full measure of your potential. Choose deliberately to move forward towards light and you will choose intelligence, strength, capacity, peace, contentment, grace, power, happiness, mercy, and every other good thing.
      This next week should be rather exciting. We have Zone Conference in Berlin! We haven't had a Zone Conference in SO long and they are everyone's, its our Christmas one! The mission gets split in half and there is two different ones.....which means I get to see half the sisters! Couldn't be more stoked about that! Also, I may get to go to a baptism in Dresden! I am really hoping my Mission President will allow this to happen. Melanie means the world to me, and being there for her baptism is something that I would remember forever. So cross your fingers with me :). Thanks for all the wonderful support! I love each of you! I hope you have a fantastic week, bis nächste montag!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock

Monday, November 19, 2012

I beat the Asian

      Gobble Gobble. How stoked are you all for Thanksgiving?? Not gonna lie, I am tad bit jealous. I wish Columbus would have landed on Germany and met some Indians so we could have a feast this week too. I dont even know if they sell turkeys here haha. Well this week has been another one down in the freezing city of Rostock! Lots of traveling, transfer calls, president interviews,emergency medicine, and much more all in the last 7 days....madness I say! Lets get into the details shall we?
      Last P-day was one for the books. The sisters in Hamburg got special permission for a group of us to be able to spend our Pday in their beautiful and exciting city. The sisters in hamburg hosted one fun day! Not only was the day filled with a massive carnival, shopping, and ice cream....every girls dream day.... but we were in stellar company. My favorite sisters were there together. Sister Bohne(MTC companion), Sister Shearr(my soul sista that is sadly going home tomorrow), Sister Niebergall(I lived with her when I was in Dresden, laughs are a guarantee with this one), Sister Thornton(Also was in the MTC with me and we are very close), Sister odenwalder(I'll be honest, dont know her very well because she is new, but she is a sweetheart), and Sister Laubaugh (My last exchange was with her and she was the baller who dyed my hair). The list just can't get much better than that! We really do have some hilarious sisters in this mission. They are just so normal to my surprise haha. I cant wait to hang out with all of them after the mission!
      Tuesday night turned into quite the operation, literally. I got a call from the elders who serve with us in Rostock. I couldnt understand them very well but from the phone call I did get that Elder Pollard had hurt his foot and that they were on the way to the church. Elder Stanley was laughing and kept saying, "Stop wiggling!" Needless to say, I was confused and intrigued. I went outside to the front door of the church to see Elder Stanley carrying Elder Pollard on him back, piggy back style. I knew whatever the story was it was going to be a good one. When they got closer I saw a shoe was missing from Elder Pollard and his foot was very bloody. They told me that they were walking in the dreaded place of Toitenwinkle (where the angry midget lives) and Pollard was being an idiot and was jumping over the train tracks and somehow landed on a piece of glass that went through his shoe into his foot. We got him inside and I saw there was still a piece of glass in him foot. You can call me Doctor. I got the glass out and examined it to see if he needed stitches. He got really lucky that his shoe took most of the beating so he didnt need stitches. After I patched it all up he said he was feeling A-Okay. First EMT experience on the mission, check.
      President Interviews were this week! I haven't had an interview since July because President Kosak doesn't do them very frequently. I am not going to lie I was a little nervous. My mission president can be quite the intimidating German. It actually went really well. It was only about 5 minutes. He said lots of praises about the turn around that Rostock has seen and how I have done really well with my companion. Then he told me just straight up, that I would be staying in Rostock with Sister Moon for one more transfer. Yep, I got told before transfer calls :). Such a relief to find out! I was pretty stoked to hear that, its everything I wanted for this next transfer. He did say though that I only have one more transfer here and that I would be training very soon and that the last half of my mission would be training. He also made a crazy announcement....with the major increase in missionaries that the church is experiencing right now, we have been told that are mission is expanding. Next year we will receive 4 more elders and......drum roll......36 new sisters!!!!! OH MY HECK!!!! Um hello, thats a jump from the 26 we have now don't you think?! On March and April nearly every sister will be crazy! It is going to put our mission at 280-290 missionaries, being the largest in the world. Holler. So amazing! I cant even imagine it here with so many sisters but it is going to make such a difference. The sisters in this mission on average have significantly more success than the elders, so I cant wait to see the work here boom :)
      We also had our last district finding this past week. Every week this last transfer we have been traveling to a city in our zone and all the missionaries in our zone do finding there for a day to help boost investigators. This week was in Neubrandenburg. It was freezing, literally. Yep the temperature was 0°C....and when the temperature is freezing here is SOOO much colder than Utah. The wind off the Ocean is just straight up gnarly. To warm ourselves up we all took a lunch break. The elders chose this Asian Buffet. The end result was.... Asian Buffet 1, Sister Linford 0. I got destroyed. That food was not normal and I got so sick from it. haha it was a long train ride home.
      Saturday brought transfer calls. Although I already knew the results of my companion and I, I was still very excited to hear the verdict on the rest of the mission! As tradition has it, the missionaries in Rostock always listen to transfer calls together. Us and the Elders meet at the Senior Sisters apartment and make a big breakfast. Then we all sit around the phone listening intently with our plate of crepes :). We all shouted with joy when we found out the elders in Rostock would be staying as well and that we all would get to spend Christmas together. There were some fun surprises as always! One of them being that my MTC companion Sister Bohne is training!! Everyone was shocked!! I wish her the best of luck though and I know she will do a great job.
      Ping Pong was pretty epic this week. Every Saturday evening we play ping pong at the institute here in Rostock. It is a great activity to get investigators and potential investigators to. There are some pretty intense ping pong players that show up every week. I have never come close to winning, but this week I got my game face on and finally beat the nearly profession asian kid that comes and trumps everyone normally. It was a proud moment. He also invited me to come play basketball with him, the elders, and a bunch of his friends on Saturday. A whole court of people to share the gospel with? I think this is going to be a great week.
      The work is still going really well! We are making a lot of progress with Anna. She is seriously amazing! She loved every bit of the plan of salvation! This week.....we are talking about baptism wish me luck! Now onto an amazing miracle of this week! There is a kid named Marcel. He actually found and research the church out on his own. Through facebook he got in contact with a member that lives here in Germany to find out where he could find a church. Amazing right? well this kid shows up a few weeks ago. The elders and us have both been teaching him. He knows SO much already and has such an amazing light about him. Yesterday in Sunday school, he said he wanted to be baptized!! We were all a little surprised but so excited! And....he doesnt want to wait. This saturday we are having a baptism :)!!!!!!!!!! Marcel is going to become a member of the Kirche Jesu Christi Der Heiligen Der Letzten Tage!! Things somehow just keep getting better and better! I am loving my time here! Even though I am sacrificing a turkey day to be here, it is so worth it!!
      Spiritual Thought: I was reading in Alma chapter 26 where Ammon says, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." The thing that struck me in this verse is the humility that is displayed by Ammon. To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord. We need to understand our constant need for His support. Humility is not weakness or fear, it is strength. It shows that you know where your true strength lies. The lord will strengthen us and we humble ourselves to Him. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble..... Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up"(James 4:6,10). Sometimes its hard to accept that we are not perfect or that we need help.....that we might actually need the help of another; or even the help of the Savior through the Atonement. But as we humble ourselves we will see the enabling and strengthening aspects of the Atonement in our lives. We will see what we need to do to become better in ways that we could never have recognized or accomplished with our limited mortal capacity. Let us resolve to Humble ourselves and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. As we humble ourselves we will become more receptive to the Holy Ghost. Through this Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown or perhaps unimagined talents. Humble yourself to where you will be able to follow Jesus Christ will your whole being. Rely on the Savior. Rely on his Grace. The more we rely on him, the more we will feel. that we are on the track out Heavenly Father has intended for us.
      I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving! Please know I am grateful for each one of you in my life. I am grateful for my amazing family who has been the best support system I could ever ask for. I am grateful to be here in Germany and have this incredible opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ. And most of all I am grateful for my Savior who has made it possible to have all of this for eternity. LOVE YOU ALL AND KEEP THE FAITH!!!
Sister Linford

Sister Jessica Linford
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Zone Training Meeting/Interviews Neubrandenburg 11-12

Post from the Mission blog, Zone Training Meeting/Interviews
Zone Neubrandenburg without District Eberswalde 11-12

Monday, November 12, 2012

Skinny Jeans

      Guten Tag! I hope everyone is doing fantastic on this chilling Monday! I also hope everyone had a great week! We were pretty busy here in Rostock. Which means I was a happy camper! I don't have very much time to write today because we are going to Hamburg for P-day.....can I get a woot woot? This means I will get to see a bunch of other sisters, which is always laughs and smiles :).
      Last Monday something monumental happened......I convinced my 3rd companion in a row now, to buy her first pair of skinny jeans! I am taking the hick right out of Sister Moon haha jk.....but only kinda :). Right after we were leaving from the store where we bought her new pants, we got a call from the elders in our city to come quickly to the church. When we arrived there was a slight situation coming from the mens bathroom and flowing into the hallway. It was a doozie. We titled this event as "pooh carpet". The poor elders spent the rest of their Pday ripping up carpet hahahaha.......there are some perks of being a sister.
      Tuesday we had a lunch appointment. An investigator of ours wanted to celebrate the special voting day for us Americans. So naturally, we went to Asian Imbiss for lunch :). Naturally.
      Wednesday was one of the greats on my mish. We have been teaching this really amazing girl named Anna. She is 20 years old and is a student. I think I may have mentioned her in my last email. The girl speaks perfect english and German. You all know how I love them english speakers :). Well I had one of the most powerful lessons on my entire mission with Anna on Wednesday. We were teaching the plan of salvation and we were reading in 2 Nephi 2 and her response was, "Nephi is a really smart guy, like he really knows his stuff!!" haha we all started laughing way hard....I couldnt agree more with Anna. Then at the end we had run out of time so we told her we would have to finish up next time. She then asked if our next appointment was learning this same stuff because she wanted to stay and hear yeah, is that not every missionary's dream to have an investigator begging you to stay?! She is amazing! I cant wait for our next appointment!
      Thursday was a day of Travel, to Prenzlau that is. It is a really small city about 4 hrs away from us. We went there to help the elders that are serving there find people to teach. We were able to find a lady named Carri. Wowza she is awesome! We sat down and basically gave her 2 lessons because she didnt want to stop! It was so great. Those elders are lucky to have her as a new investigator!
      Friday we went to the Preets for FHE. They have been dying to have us teach them how to make American brownies because the ones here are awful. They surprised us with dinner after we had already eaten lunch and had another surprise eating appointment right before.....I was not cut out for the mass amounts of food some days on the mission require! However, preets food is always my favorite! I will take Indian food over German any day! haha.
      Saturday was the day of our big Service Project that me and my comp have been planning all transfer long. It took place at the Zoo, how cool is that?! We raked a TON of leafs and then we got to go around and see the animals for a bit. Our entire zone of missionaries plus members from our ward came. It was a big success!!
      This week really was a stellar one! Our numbers were higher than ever! Sister Moon is a great companion and she is willing to work incredibly hard which I appreciate SO much. There are amazing things happening in this city and I honestly feel so lucky to be apart of it all :). This next week we have some pretty awesome things planned as well. Hamburg today, Berlin on Thursday for president interviews, Neubrandenburg on Friday to help the elders there, Saturday is transfer calls, and Sunday is a fireside that we have planned.....whooo it is going to be a crazy week! I really hope I get to stay here in Rostock for another transfer!! We will see on Saturday!!
      Spiritual thought: Since I don't have much time today, another Mormon message it is! It is such a great film that really makes you grateful for the life that you have. The story of this woman is touching. She is so full of the light of Christ despite all that she has gone through. The light of Christ is an influence in tfor good in the lives of all people. It is such a powerful attribute to have. I pray that we can all focus more on our Savior and becoming like him so we too can shine as strong as the woman in this film does!

Thanks for everything! Love you all!
Sister Linford

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back in Black

      Hallo my homies! Where in the world did October go?? Whoo, time is flying by! I hope you are all enjoying the drop in temperature ;) haha. I keep getting emails that basically say, you don't need to be homesick because it is freezing here in Utah! I assure you I know how you feel haha, it is much colder here in Rostock......2 pairs of thermals with a pair of tights over it?? say what?? NORMAL.
      This week was a blast! I felt like I wasn't in Rostock that much, but it was awesome! Traveling had us up at 5 am on Wednesday morning to head to DCM in Greifswald. We returned at about 4pm and then the next morning the whole traveling thing started over. Thursday morning we traveled to Hamburg for our one exchange of the transfer. (I will talk more about it later.) Then it was off to Kiel where I would be doing my exchange. Friday, we traveled backed to Hamburg to exchange back. Saturday morning it was finally back to Rostock. was 3.5 days other cities and 15 hours on a train!
      Exchanges are my favorite!! I love them with all of my heart! Getting to see other sisters is such a blast! Especially, since we are the only sisters in our entire zone, so we never get to see other sisters. I finally got to see Sister Bohne my companion from the MTC!! Oh how I have missed her! It was like a cheesy movie scene where 2 people see eachother and run to a dramatic embrace haha. If that wasnt great enough, I also got to see Sister Thornton who was in the MTC with us as well. It was such a funny reunion for all 3 of us. All the other sisters were just laughing as we did a group hug for like 15 minutes.
      My exchange was with Sister Laubaugh who is freaking hilarious. I met her my very first transfer and have been hoping for a exchange ever since. With her going home in a few weeks, I felt pretty lucky to claim her last exchange! Every said that we would be a hilarious combination because we both are just too fabulous with a little bit of black flare. Whatever that means haha. But they were all right....that was one dangggg good exchange! Full of deep chats and lots of laughing, just like all the good ones are ;). I got to be in the city of Kiel for almost 2 days. It is so pretty! I loved it there! It is weird, my first week I was on my mission I told my trainer that I felt like I would serve in Rostock and Kiel. The first one came true, so it will be interesting to see if I ever serve in Kiel.
      We had lots of fun adventures in Kiel! Kiel is a bike city, which for me is always an adventure! I have lucked out with avoiding bike cities ha, but its just has to :-/. It was pouring rain and I just found myself lauging so hard as I am just peddling my heart out and riding basically blind due to lack of visabilitly due to mass amounts of water running into my eyes. Too funny. Laubaugh also talked me into letting her dye my hair.....haha such laughs. I have now been welcomed back to the dark side :). Back in black!
      With our second day of exchange, the laughs kept on rolling in. We got a call that morning saying that the ward really need our help getting a funeral together. It surprising was a lot of fun! We went and decorated the church for the families lunch afterwards. Then set up tables and chairs, the whole she-bang. Laubaugh just kept apologizing that this is what I was seeing of Kiel, but it really was fun. I got to get to know a lot of the ward members, and they were awesome! I really would love to serve in Kiel. Friday evening it was time to travel back to Hamburg and meet up with all the sisters again. However, we planned a little special something. the day before while joking around with Sister Moon (my current companion) and her exchange companion, Sister Niebergall (She lived with me for a few weeks when I was in Dresden)......there may have been a challenge to have a rap battle. Well the rules were set and the time and place was the hamburg train station when we all met to exchange back. It went down, the throw down that is. SO FUNNY. We rapped about our funeral and lots of other funnies. The other sisters were dying. We may or may not have had a small croud around us....which probably isnt the best while rocking the black namtags, but it made for some epic videos and memories that will last for years! Yeah thats how we do it here in the Berlin Mission......holler.
      Well my precious companion got our train time mixed up so we ended up missing our train back to Rostock and the next one wouldn't put us in Rostock until 1 am. So after a call to the AP's we got approval to sleep at the Hamburg Sisters apartment. Yes that just happens to be where Sister Bohne is serving currently! As well as Sister Moons old companion who I love dearly, Sister Schaerr. We didn't want to call them and tell them because we decided it would be funny to just show up and surprise them. Hamburg was my current companions first city and so like a pro she navigated us right to their apartment before they got home. We waited for them with our cameras ready. We may or may not have scared them to death by jumping out of the bushes to surprise them, but it was funny so it makes it all okay :). It was so refreshing to be able to just chat with Bohne even just for a little before we went to bed. The next morning we were off, but man it was a blast!! Don't worry, even though it doesn't sound like it, lots of missionary work got done these few joyous days!
      To update you on people......William, has a baptismal date and is doing awesome! We actually met with him 3 times this week. He is doing really well and he is even getting some friends for referrals to give us.... couldn't get better than that! Degol has been gone, but he is still doing well and is still planning on getting baptized with William in December. Sarah came to church yesterday! She is an amazing 20 year old student who asks the best questions. She speaks perfect German and English We are excited what will come with her in the future. The Preets are doing better every week. We are having FHE with them this week and teaching them how to make American Brownies haha. I honestly cant wait, they are my family here in Rostock!
      Lessons and New appointments just keep rolling in. Things here are going really well! I feel pretty lucky to be here in this city with a great companion!! So many miracles every week, its impossible to email them to you all....but they are happening, We are completey booked this next week with a service project at the Zoo and a day in a city called weeks email should not be boring.
      Spiritual Thought: On my way to email today I stopped and talked to a lady. I asked her what she wanted in life. She gave just a one word answer.....Peace. In a world where peace is such a universal quest....we sometimes wonder why we still see so much violence and hate that smother tranquility. Anger, hatred, and contention are foes that are not easily subdued. They leave their destructive paths in forms of tears, pain, sorrow, and shattered hopes of what could have been. World peace may seem like a lofty goal, but it is an outgrowth of the personal peace each individual seeks to attain. I am not talking about the peace promoted by man, but the peace promised of God. Peace after the way of man is perishable. Peace after the manner of God will prevail. "anger doesnt solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything." The consequences of conflict are so devastating that we we seek for guidance-even a way to ensure our success as we seek the path to peace. So how do we get this peace in our life? President Monson has suggested 3 ideas. First is Search Inward. Self Evaluation is always a difficult procedure. The price of peace is righteousness. "Men and nations may loudly proclaim peace, but there shall be no peace until individuals nature in their souls those principles of personal purity, integrity, and character which foster the development of peace. Peace cannot be imposed. It must come from the lives and hearts of men. There is no other way." To find peace we must live in honesty, honoring each other, honoring obligations, working willing, loving and cherishing loved ones, serving and considering others, with patience, with virtue, with faith, and forbearance. Life is for learning, serving, repenting, and improving. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
      Second is Reach Outward. Though exaltation is a personal matter, you cannot live in a vacuum. Occasionally discouragement may darken our pathway; frustration may be a constant companion. Trusting in the lord let us turn our heads from such feelings and make certain our feet are firmly planted in the path of service and our hearts and souls dedicated to follow the example of the lord. "In moments when the light of resolution dims and when the heart grows faint, we can take comfort in His promise: "Be not weary in well-doing....Out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind"
      Third, Look Heavenward. "As we do we find it comforting and satisfying to communicate with Heavenly Father through prayer, that path to spiritual power-even a passport to peace." His divine plan can save us from sin, complacency, and error. His examples points the way. When faced with temptation, He shunned it. When offered the world, He declined it. When asked for His life, He gave it. He lives! And because he lives, we shall indeed live again. This knowledge provides the peace we need in our lives.
Thanks for all the love and support!! Love you all! Bis nächste montag!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Friedrich Str.14
18057 Rostock

Monday, October 29, 2012

Angry Midget

      Can I get a woot woot for another stellar week!! Mensch, life is too good to me! Despite the snow that we experienced here this past week, things are looking bright in Rostock. Our numbers have been rivaling all the big cities and so many miracles are seen here everyday. Our FHE program honestly grows every week. It is so awesome to see new investigators there every time. It has really caught on fire and is assisting the increase in work here.
       On Tuesday I had the pleasure of being invited to a 7yr old's birfffffday parrrrtay. The preets that I talk about a lot, it his her little girl. In every city, you find a family that becomes your family for your time there. Here in Rostock it is definitely the Preets. They are incredible to me and I feel right at home with them everytime. It was fun to celebrate with their family and her two little friends!
      So I hope no one takes offense to this next part, I mean none by it. But, before I left my sister, Missy, challenged me to baptize a midget. So naturally, I have been searching my entire mission for a midget on the street. Well after very little success, Wednesday rolled around and changed my fate. I met Jasmina. I had to run after her a bit, but I was able to catch her! She was atheist, however I was able to make out an appointment. You have no idea how stoked on life I was. We made an appointment for Sunday, yesterday, at her residence so we could give her a Book of Mormon. We had to go to a place called Toitenwinkle, which is kinda in the middle of no where. After searching for quite some time for her house number, we finally ran across what looked like a school or a business. We decided to ring the doorbell anyways to see if we could get lucky. Sure enough a lady comes to the door and we asked her if she knew Jasmina. After 10 minutes of her checking she returned and said that it wouldnt be a good idea to bother her right now that they finally have her calmed down and distracted by TV. She then explained that this was a house for people that needed to be watched and that Jasmina escaped last week and that was the only reason we were even able to meet her. My midget dreams were shattered. I found a midget, but it was a really angry one so now I cant teach her ;(. This is not the end of my quest.
      We had a really neat experience this week. We put another person on baptismal date! Yeyeah! His name is William. He is about 30 and has been living in Germany for 12 years now. He is super awesome and will be baptized the same day as Degol on December 8th. I love me some english speaking investigators! Yesterday when we were at church with Degol he made a comment. He said, "how crazy is it that I was born in Africa and you two in America, and it took us all coming to Germany to meet and for me to hear about your church." It got me thinking how amazing my mission has been. I look at the people I have had the blessing of preparing for baptism......they are from all around the world. Latvia, China, Taiwan and soon to be Ghana, Ethopia, and Germany. It is incredible how paths cross!
      This week we were able to teach some incredible lessons. We are currently teaching a lot of students and we even just got an appointment with a family!! Oh my heavens this has only happened to me one other time on my mission! We couldnt be more excited! Sister Moon and I dont remember the last time we were able to take a lunch break or any break for that matter. We are so insanely busy, but we both love it that way! Sister Moon is a very hard worker and somehow we are getting things done despite a major language barrier. President may have made a slight hint that I will be transferred at the end of the transfer. Who really knows what is going to happen, but I would hate to go right now. Everything just seems to fit currently, and I would love to be able to be here for William and Degol's baptism. But, if I am needed in another city, I trust that it is best! We will find out in a few weeks though!
      Spiritual Thought: In this life we have to make many choices. Some are very important choices, and some are not. The choices we make, however, determine a large extent of our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences of our choices. Its important to recognize the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority in our lives.
      Jesus taught the principle in the home of Martha. While she was "cumbered about much serving", her sister, Mary, "sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word".(Luke 10:39-40) When Martha complained that her sister had left her to serve alone, Jesus then commended Martha for what she was doing but taught her that "one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her". It was praiseworthy for Martha to be "careful and troubled about many things", but learning the gospel from the master teacher was more "needful".
Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in our every day life. How much time are we watching TV, on the computer, or reading books or magazines? These all can be very great outlets for upliftment in our lives, however, not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we five to it.
      President David O. McKay counseled: "The greatest battle of life is fought within the silent chambers of your own soul....It is a good thing to sit down and commune with yourself, to come to an understanding with yourself and decide in that silent moment what your duty is to your family, to your church, to your country, and to your fellowmen."
Joshua of old declared, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
      Let us not find ourselves as indecisive as Alice is in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She came to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat whom Alice asks, "Which path shall I follow?" THe cat answers: "That depends where you want to go. If you dont know where you want to go, it doesnt matter which path you take."
      Unlike Alice, I hope you all know where you want to go. Each one of us is a son or daughter of god, endowed with faith, gifted with courage, and guided by prayer. Our eternal Destiny is before us. As we look into the future we are going to need to be stronger and more responsible for our choices in a world where people "call evil good, and good evil." Tomorrows blessings and opportunities depend on the choices we make today.
      I pray that we can all take the counsel of James E. Faust and take a moment and reflect on our current choices. I know that as we prioritize our lives to make the best choices, blessings will be poured out upon you. I hope every ones week is going well. I miss you all a ton! Thank you for the continual love and support. I feel so lucky to have such an awesome cheering section back home. Until next week, KEEP THE FAITH!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock

Monday, October 22, 2012

Zone Training Meeting

The mission blog has been updated with a few pictures that S. Linford is in. They had a Zone Training Meeting and S.Kosak posted pictures. You can view the blog post here.

Zone Training Meeting Neubrandenburg

District Greifswald

Time Warp

      Hallo!! Another week come and gone! Really a mission is the weirdest time warp.....but it is amazing! Well I can’t wait to tell you about this week because it has been another incredible one for the books. We were able to break the Zone record with our numbers this week! Holy Cow it was the CRAZIEST week....but absolutely full of miracles. We are booked out a week and a half! Whaaaaaatttttt?!?!?! When I got here we planned for 3 people that we didnt even have appointments with, just a hope to get one. Last night, we planned lessons for all 25 people we have appointments with! I am completely in love with this city now. I really pray I don’t get transferred. My blessings were right, as they always are, about this city......I just needed to be patient. Don’t we all just love that "p" word d: haha.
      Monday- We had another fantastic FHE. It grows every week and we are getting a lot of less actives and old investigators back because of it. It has been so fun to reorganize, execute, and watch this new program that we designed take fire.
      Tuesday- We had Zone Training in Berlin. It was a long day of 10 hours total of traveling, but it was worth it to get to be in the capital city even just for a few hours! I love that city. We had to give a workshop at the Zone training. It was on the topic of finding, which every missionary has heard about 1000 times, so we really tried to spice it up. Call me crazy, but I love doing workshops. As long as it is in English :) haha. It went well though! We also got to have lunch with the sisters that are serving in Berlin. Oh how I love seeing other sisters!
      Wednesday- I had yet another eating appointment at the famous Brudder Schmidt. Seriously my stomach expands to the equivalent of a woman who is 6 months preggers every time. But, he is such a dedicated member and we love spending time with him! We organized a huge service project with him to go to the Zoo! November 10th our entire ward and zone of missionaries will be serving the lovely Rostock Zoo. So stoked :).
      We also got to see my very favorite members the Preets. I have talked a lot about them, but I haven’t given an update with them for a while. They have come to church EVERY week since I got here which has been so amazing! They even traveled with us to Berlin to see the Thomas S. Monson last week. I challenged Amanpreet to bear her testimony which she hasn’t done since her baptism a year ago....well yesterday she did :). It was the sweetest testimony! I feel so blesses to get to work with these people!
      Thursday- We had 8 lessons this day! Whoo, we were running around town like crazy! They almost all were first time lessons too. It was amazing to get to know better some of the people that are now investigators. We also had an incredible street lesson with a man named Zoram. He was baptized in Italy, but fell away shortly after his baptism. At first, he refused to make an appointment with us and was kinda being rude. But the spirit softened his stone heart :) ha, and in no time he was nearly in tears. We have an appointment with him Friday :).
      Friday- Because the zone I am in is really struggling right now for investigators....we are now doing what is called zone finding every week. That is when everyone in the zone goes to one city and we tear it up and try and get a lot of new appointments for the missionaries in that city. Rostock was first up, so we hosted everyone on Friday. Because we share the city with Elders we didn’t get all the appointments but we did get 3 new ones, hopefully good things come from it! It was fun to hear the experiences of all the other missionaries in your own city.
      Saturday- Our morning started out with a cute surprise. One of the Senior Sisters who has taken a particular liking for me called and said that she made us crepes. We got to go over to her apartment and have a crepe great! With a morning like that we knew good things were coming ha. We had another appointment with Degol, who has a baptismal date in December. It went really well!! He is awesome! I also got to speak French to a young student. We made an appointment and are taking her a French Book of Mormon on Wednesday! Woot woot for a language I can actually speak haha. The day ended with TischTennis or as we call it in the states PingPong! This is something we will be doing every Saturday night now! It was sooo much fun! We got a few investigators to it!
      Sunday- Degol came to church!! Oh my heavens it was such a fun surprise! He is so awesome! We also had the coolest miracle ever happen! Here is the story: A few weeks ago we fasted about people that we needed to go by on. I got really strong impression that we needed to focus on a woman we call Frau Vyno-kur. We have tried going by on her like 5 times the last 2 weeks and called a few times but nothing. Well we were walking home from church when we got a phone call. It was from her friend that got her mail and saw the note that I wrote for her attached to our card. We found out that she has been in the hospital and when he took her the note that she said these were the two she has been praying for!! Oh my so cool! So on Tuesday we are going to go see Frau Vyno-Kur!
      Well that sums up the highlights. Everything honestly is going amazing!! I have never worked harder on my mission, but there is so much to be done here that is makes it so worth it! I can’t wait to see where some of these people are going to go!
      Oh and another miracle.....last week in my email I talked about how I saw an investigator Melanie from Dresden. She means so much to me. Well after I left for many reasons she has not been able to meet with the missionaries. Well I flipped because I had been gone for 7 weeks at the point and we met with her once to twice a week. I talked to her for 40 minutes and it was the most spiritual conversation. I challenged her to rededicate herself and to really tell her parents and recommit to a baptismal date. We talked about it and we set a date right then for her to be baptized in December and I made her promise to meet with the missionaries again.....well I just got a call and she told her family finally!!! They are okay with everything and its confirmed she is getting baptized December 2nd!! I have only cried once on my mission, but I must admit there were some major watery eyes when I was hearing that this was a reality. I couldn’t be happier for her! And I can’t wait to fulfill my promise back to her, and return to Dresden on that glorious day!
      Spiritual Thought: Have you ever asked yourself why it is important to obtain or understand the word of god? It’s not just to read ancient stories of people with funny names. It’s not to learn how to build an ark and shove lots of animals on it. It is so we can avoid suffering and misery in our lives! It helps us to develop the trust in God to do the things He says we need to do. What we desire is what will ultimately determine our eternal judgment. In Alma 29:4 it says, "...granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life" I would like to further this by adding a part of Elder Bednar's last conference talk when he talked about the parable of the ten virgins.
      I now want to use one of many possible interpretations of the parable of the ten virgins to highlight the relationship between testimony and conversion. Ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish, took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Please think of the lamps used by the virgins as the lamps of testimony. The foolish virgins took their lamps of testimony but took no oil with them. Consider the oil to be the oil of conversion.
      But the wise took oil [of conversion] in their vessels with their lamps [of testimony]. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps [of testimony]. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil [even the oil of conversion]; for our lamps [of testimony are weak and] are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matthew 25:4–9)
      Were the five wise virgins selfish and unwilling to share, or were they indicating correctly that the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed? Can the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person? Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need? Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge? The clear answer to each of these questions is no.
      As the wise virgins emphasized properly, each of us must “buy for ourselves.” These inspired women were not describing a business transaction; rather, they were emphasizing our individual responsibility to keep our lamp of testimony burning and to obtain an ample supply of the oil of conversion. This precious oil is acquired one drop at a time—“line upon line [and] precept upon precept" (2 Nephi 28:30), patiently and persistently. No shortcut is available; no last-minute flurry of preparation is possible.
      “Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom” (D&C 33:17)
      I pray that we all can desire and then act to obtain the word of god, so that we too can be prepared and choose wisely what our eternal judgment will be, I know as we do this we WILL avoid so much misery and suffering in our lives.
      Well thank you all for everything you do for me! Letters and packages are always welcome :). I am so grateful for all the amazing people that are in my life, both in the US and her in Deutschland! Man I am a lucky one!! I hope you all have an amazing week!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock

Monday, October 15, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

Hallo! I hope everyone had a fantastic week!
     Last Monday all the missionaries in my district decided to go to Ikea. I already loved that place just surpassed all other high expectations for that place. It is so much better in Europe!! It was a fantastic P-day activity!
     Out with the old and in with the new. I had to say goodbye to my amazing companion Sister Nielson. It was super hard, but it just makes me so incredibly thankful I got the time I did with her. Just two hours after she left, it was back to the train station to pick up my new companion Sister Moon. I actually new Sister Moon from the MTC. She was in the group older than me. It has been interesting having a companion that you already know the basics about. It has really spring boarded our companionship to be able to get close faster. Sister Moon is from Herriman Utah. She went to Riverton High school and we have a lot of friends in common which is fun! She is very similar to my MTC companion Sister Bohne, in the way that she is a total outdoorsy wild woman, but such a hard worker!
     Good news. Get ready for it....we have a new baptismal date in Rostock!! Oh my so amazing! This area has been hurting for so long and miracles have been unfolding. His name is Degol. He is a masters student that is originally born in a small country right outside of Ethiopia but spent most his life in other countries such as England and Italy. He is about 27 and super awesome! He was actually my first english appointment here in Rostock. Oh how I love those English speakers :) haha. We have had 2 incredible lessons with him and Dec.8 is when things are going down (literally) for him :)!
      The rest of the week was filled with some really good lessons! I am really starting to love Rostock and the people here. It took me a little bit of time :), but it is coming and I know this is where I am suppose to be.
     We have had the funniest/ embarrassing moments this week with language issues! I dont think you understand just how awful me and my companion are at is just straight laughs. And that is all we have done this week. However, miracles have happened. It is pushing both of us SO much. I have never spoke more than the last week. My companion said the same thing. It has been a miracle. We both are scared 99% of the day because we have no safety net anymore, but it is working out! Anytime I find myself completely lost she picks up and takes it, and vice versa. Some how, we aren't exactly sure, its working out.....and working well.
Okay now for the update on the Prophet coming to Berlin!! So our morning yesterday started out at 4:45 am. After our 5 hour train ride we found ourselves in the amazing capital city. We planned a picnic since we would be gone all day. We invited members and some other missionaries. We had in front of some of Germany's most well known sites. Then it was off to the ginormous conference center that event was being held at. We arrived 2 hours early to get good seats. It was sooo fun to see so many missionaries I haven't seen for a while! Half of my mission was assigned to come to Berlin's conference. Plus, I got to see all my people, both members and investigators, from Dresden! I almost cried multiple times because I loved it so much! I got to talk to Melanie, an investigator from Dresden that meant A LOT to me. It was incredible to catch up with her. Even though her English is amazing, it was so fun to be able to chat for 40 min. in German. She was super impressed with how much better my German was.....I have never spoken that well, but Heavenly Father gave me a tender mercy in that time with her. I set her on baptismal date my very last day in Dresden. I cant wait to return to Dresden in December to see that glorious day!
Now onto the star of the day, President Monson of course! It was so fun to see him!! to answer a lot of the questions I have gotten, he spoke in English and then they had a translator. The meeting was conducted in German. It was so amazing to hear and see his words in a country where this is so needed right now. He has a pretty amazing history with Germany. He has done SO much for this county. It is because of him that we are able to have missionaries in this country, and even more incredible, they have denied every other church of that opportunity. He is now on his way to my old city of Dresden where he said the dedicatory prayer for this mission....oh how I wish I could be there for that return. He has a very special place in his heart. He isn't able to travel much anymore due to his health and he was able to choose to go anywhere this week....he chose Germany :). I love that man! I love his heart. I was made a better person yesterday because of Him.
     Our train didn't leave out of Berlin until 6:30 pm which gave us lots of time to socialize once again with members and other missionaries. It was so fun!!! A little hard to have to say goodbye again to all my Dresden people....but so amazing. It just made me so grateful that I really am in this country and have met so many incredible people that will be in my heart forever. Something fun and exciting that happened was I got to see Sister Kingery! She is the sister I got closest with from the MTC! She is serving in the Frankfurt mission but came up to hear Pres. Monson. We both screamed and ran to each other! Not only that, but I was also told that I will get to see Sister Bohne and SIster Thornton in a few weeks!! I havent seen either of them for over 6 months. They were in the MTC with me and I am stoked out of my mind!!
     Spiritual Thought: I am running out of time sadly so I cant do what I was planning on here, but I am going to put a link to another video. This is a video that has helped me a lot in the last year. I sincerely hope that you will actually watch it. I know that is you follow the promises that it gives, you will be happier in your lives!!
     There was just so much happiness this week! It truly was a special week! I just am grateful for so much right now! I hope everyone is doing well. I am so thankful for the love and support. Your letters and emails truly do give me the fuel to do what I am doing here. I pray for you and I feel your prayers so intensely. Til next week, KEEP THE FAITH
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock