Monday, May 28, 2012

Body Odor-----Yes this is from Jess

As the temperature rises here in Germany, so does the famous European stench known as B.O. Confined areas such as buses and trains are a special treat to your sinuses. I have two choices: take the risk of passing out and hold my breath the entire ride, or try and endure the painful burning sensation that fills my nasal cavity. It’s what we like to consider a win-win.
Well I really don't know where to go with this letter. In fact, I have been dreading having to write it for the first time. My mom wrote me last week and said, "If this is going to be a particularly hard week, know that we are praying extra hard for you!" Well she has never said anything like that exactly, but I remember thinking that it was going to be a great week and finding her comment odd. Well.....mothers do know best don’t they! Unfortunately, this week has been the hardest one yet, no doubt. I have a fear that my email will come across negative and I don’t want that. I will try and focus on the good that has happened this week, but I also want to be honest and will inform you all of the hardships.
Before I came on my mission, if asked what my biggest fear was, I would immediately respond with "Companions!" There was two types of companions I feared the most- first having one that was very un obedient and put me in situations that were not okay, and the second, someone who was extremely lazy and did not want to leave the apartment. Well I am happy to report that I have officially had both! haha. I have really been struggling the last month with my companion. It started weeks ago but has progressively gotten worse. I did my best to ignore and focus on myself and remain faithful and obedient. Through that I was still able to see miracles and continue to see miracles. My companion on the other hand, doesn't want to be here anymore. She became a trainer in efforts to help motivate her. Unfortunately it didn’t work and it has come to peak this past week. I will fill you in more later but I will give you the teaser of....."Do you need an emergency transfer"- My mission president
Okay so Tuesday started out very special. We had a district activity where we went to the mountain that Thomas S. Monson gave the dedicatory prayer for our mission. It is gorgeous up there with an incredible view! There are 6 elders, myself and my companion, and a pair of couple missionaries in my District. We had a Devotional and a testimony meeting on the mountain top. I was so filled with the spirit and just ready to take on the day. My companion however, felt differently and insisted that we go home. After an entire day once again stuck in our apartment, I finally cracked a little. I got really frustrated at the fact that I have been in Germany a month and don’t feel like I speak any better German than when I left the MTC. I got frustrated feeling like there was so much that I didn’t know about the mission in general that I feel I am just not getting from my trainer.
The frustration carried over to Wednesday morning and before District Meeting I asked for a blessing. Some of the things it said were, “You will experience many trials at the beginning of your mission. But it is important for you to know that god has prepared you for very specific things in your first area of Dresden. This is an area that will be a part of you for the rest of your life. There are things that have been waiting for you to arrive for. God has prepared something special for you here." Well to answer your question Alex, it happened finally, I cried. Just a little bit, but it still happened.
At district meeting they made me American cake....yay!! It was heaven in my mouth! The birthday surprises for Wednesday didn't stop there either. Right after district meeting a less active girl named Danita had a picnic for me in the park! She is so sweet! She got me a gift and brought a ton of food. Elina the girl who gets baptized this Friday also came with a gift. I honestly feel so loved by the people of Dresden. And here I am the one that is supposed to be serving them!!
Thursday, was my birthday first and foremost :), but tauches (exchanges) as well! I can’t even tell you how nervous I was for my first tausch! I am so insecure about my language ability, that I was nervous to put  a burden on some poor sister When I got the call Tuesday night that I would be going to Leipzig and serving with S. Martinz, my fear managed to increase. My companion told me this was her last transfer and that she was from first thoughts, great I won’t be able to talk to her AND I am going to ruin her last tausch. So, unlike most birthdays I woke up less than excited for the day to start. The time came for all the sisters in our Zone to meet together. We all come together in one place and then disperse to the various towns and cities. When I was informed that the Leipzig sisters train was late and that I had an additional 26 minutes, I was overjoyed. It gave me time to talk and get to know some of the other sisters better. But, way to quickly, each one of the precious 26 minutes was gone. She came up and gave me a huge hug and started speaking perfect word, relief. The next thing I knew we were on our 2hr journey. We talked the entire time. She is freaking awesome!
Right when we got to Leipzig it was straight to work....something I have been longing for! We met with some really cool investigators and even put a family on baptismal date! When we got back to the apartment, Sister Martinz had a surprise up her sleeve for my birthday. Get this....she made a little campfire out of a pineapple can and we roasted marshmallows on the deck! Let me just paint this picture for you.....Outside on the deck, perfect night, stars are out, beautiful scenery, she is playing her guitar, and I am roasting a mallow......It just doesn’t get better than that!
I only got a short time with S. Martinz but I learned so much from her. She is truly an incredible missionary. So much knowledge and so much strength. Her companions are lucky! Plus, I found out this isn’t her last transfer she has one more.....what I would give to be able to work with her before she went home!
Heavenly Father knew I needed her for tauches. He is very aware of me and Thursday he showed that in so many ways. I feel like it was a pretty good birthday present from the man upstairs!
The next day was zone conferences. It was a long 6hrs of listening to people talk but a very uplifting time! I was asked to bear my testimony in German, it went pretty well! This was also the day that my companion agreed that she needed to talk to President about all of her issues she is having. I asked her about it and she said she had. I was excited to hear what he said and also very excited to get the long awaited packages and letters! Thank you so much they are fantastic!! Well back to the story ha, on the train ride home I asked her how it went. She admitted that she didn’t really talk to president. This was not at all what I wanted to hear. That night once again, despite my protest, we ended up at home not doing anything. All I wrote in my journal on Friday was, "I am about to flip."
Well Saturday is when the flip happened. I woke up that morning and had studied really hard and prayed about where we should do finding that day. I got the impression and it was go time, or I thought it was anyway. We got to the building and I felt impressed that floor 12 was where the gold we needed to find was. I rang the first door and turned to what I thought would be my companion, but instead found nobody. I walked back towards the elevator and she was sitting on the floor. Our conversation went a little like this.... "What the crap are you doing?"-me "I'm done. I don’t want to."-companion "You are calling president right now than because I am going  ape." "You know I don’t understand that kind of English." Well she called the president and told him everything. He had no idea how bad it was. He asked to talk to me and asked, "Sister Linford, this sounds awful. Do you need an emergency transfer? I know transfer calls are in a week, but it might be something that needs to happen." I assured him that I could wait a week. He insisted that we do an extra exchange for the week though, and this time a 2day exchange.  The rest of the day was spent in the apartment with my companion feeling once again too overwhelmed to work. Yesterday was the same.
As frustrating as this whole thing is. I know that heavenly father is very aware of me. He knows that I am doing everything I can. He knows that I have a strong desire to work. And even though I have been beyond frustrated this last week, he is taking care of me.
I am scared for what the transfer call is going to bring this week. I am scared that I am going to have to take over Dresden as a first transfer golden and be expected to know the area for my new companion. I am scared to leave Dresden, because I love it here so much and feel like there is so much more I want to do here. I am freaking petrified that I might have to stay with my companion, even though it is highly unlikely. But in my fear I found a scripture and as always I found the answer I needed in them, "Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord they God is with thee withersoever thou goest...."´Joshua 1:9
It really made me think of Christ. Missionary work is not easy because it's not easy to obtain salvation. It was never easy for Christ. All those that want to come to know the price he paid, will have to pay a price. Christ himself even asked if the cup could pass from Him and if there was an easier way. I have found myself doing the same this week. However, I am learning to let the Atonement carry me. I know that Christ can fix our hearts and dry our tears. He is there for us, we just need to go to him.
I am excited next week to be able to update you with much more uplifting news :). I love all of you and I have felt your prayers with me especially this week. Thanks for all the love and support!!
Sister Linford

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