Monday, May 7, 2012

Sauerkraut is a sin!

Hallo!!    Well I have officially been in Germany for 12 day! It still is beautiful, but has managed to get even more crazy :). Lets get into the details shall we!
Last Monday was really fun. After emails my companion took me to do some shopping here. There are stores EVERYWHERE is the city of Dresden. I only recognized one store the entire time however, H&M my one true love. Sadly, the prices are a lot more expensive here, so I will wait to by European clothes in the US haha.
 Tuesday after our 4 hours of studying, we had a picnic in the park! The parks here are incredible. They are massive and so pretty. We had lunch with Kira, Marta, and Elina. Kira served her mission in the Frankfurt mission and is here doing a study abroad. She is awesome when it comes to us needed a member at a lesson. Marta has sadly already headed back to her home in Poland. The elders found her on the street her fast day here in Germany. She came to Germany to do a 2 week language program. She came to everything the entire two weeks. She plans to continue working with the missionaries back in Poland. Last but definitely not least is Elina. Elina is one of those "golden investigators", she accepts everything we teach her and is so diligent. She doesn't speak German, so I am in charge of mainly teaching her. The lunch was awesome! We taught about fasting, and both Marta and Elina fasted with us yesterday.
After lunch, we taught Imran. Imran is a Muslim that we teach about 3 times a week. The first lesson with him was my first day here. We have a lot of Muslim investigators, and they are especially difficult :). They accept a lot about our religion and they want to know more, but they are having to not just let go of their religion but the way they were raised by accepting our message. Imran says he wants to be baptized, but we need to find out how much he really means that.
Oh and the ice cream here.....honestly is life changing. I don't know why we don't make it like this in the US. Just fyi haha.
Wednesday we had district meeting. We just talk about mission business and then get help with our investigators. Because we are in a big city, we have a big ward. There are 4 elders and us sisters assigned to the Dresden ward alone. So, we see all of each other's investigators and know who they are. It helps a ton in District meeting to talk about where each one of them are, so we can not only get guidance on how to progress with them but the other missionaries can help with it when they talk to them. After District meeting, we helped a less active member move into her apartment......all the way on the 9th elders. Service is fun.....haha. We ended the day at our favorite apartment complex, Gret Palluca. Gret Palluca is student housing. People from all over the world come to Germany for school because it is free here. It gives us the opportunuity to meet a lot of people, and that is where we find most of our investigators.
I dont know if you remember in my last letter a lady named Doris. She was my very first appointment and is the cat lady. Well you know you are going to have a great day when it starts out with Doris, ha. Doris is crazy, but you just got to love her. Her husband ended up joining us this time too. He has about 2 more teeth than her, totaling out at 10. They loved hearing about Jesus and asked us if we would bring a picture so they could put it next to the cat pictures.....hahaha.
Later on that day we had an appointment with Elina, we were gonig to choose a day for her to get baptized because she is so ready. However, we found her iceberg as we call it in the mission, or her real issue. Her family is really against it. She is 25 so she doesnt need permission, but she is very close with her family and its very hard for her. That is what we fasted for yesterday for her to have the strength to do what she needed to do. We have another appointment with her this week and I am confident that she will have a baptismal date very soon. Thursday nights are really fun, that is when we have institute for all of the YSA. There are two different classes, but we teach the Book of Mormon class. It is challenging because we teach it both in english and german. Obviously, my comp handles the German part and I handle the English. It takes patience and lots of planning but its great because it is able to reach both language speaking participants. I absolutely love the huge YSA focus in Dresden!
Friday was a special day. It was both frustrating and very rewarding. My comp has been having a tough time lately and really didnt want to get out of the house on Friday. I was super frustrated and so i decided to pray. I just kept praying for 2 hours straight. I got the strongest impression that we needed to do doors. (go knock on doors to find people) I got the impression that my comp would lead us to the right place. So I pulled her out of the door and we went finding. She looked like a zombie but she lead us to this apartment building we have never been to before. I knew it was the right one the second I saw it. Then she hit floor 4 in the elevator. When we got off the floor, the spirit was so so so strong. I knew that there was someone on this floor waiting for us. My companion was less than amused but we started knocking. After about 6 doors, Farmanula Yarkoon opened up. How is that for a name?? He said he didn't speak German and asked if we knew English....every time this happens there is a massive joy that comes over me haha. I started talking to him. He is from Pakistan and is just finishing up his MBA. He just moved into the apartment about an hour before joke. He said the most important thing to him in his life right now is finding the truth in life because he doesn't feel Muslim is right. Yep, we were shocked, happy no doubt, but shocked. Most people aren't this open and inviting especially in Germany. We made an appointment for the next day and were happy little missionaries.
Saturday, also started out with.....Doris! yay! We went to drop off the picture of Jesus.  She and her husband were thrilled. It pained me to watch Jesus go on a wall full of cat pictures but they did put it in the middle so that made it better haha. After Doris we returned to Farmanula's (he goes by Farman) house, he had cooked for us. It was amazing pakistani food, but freak it was spicy. Farman is going to be an amazing but tough investigator. He is a genius and he has studied and I mean studied so many religions. He knows nearly every word in the Bible. He asks extremely hard questions. But he has such a desire to learn.
After that, is was on to Downa and Runa. They are a couple that runs a store next to where we use the internet. They are soooo nice. They love it when we come and bring them things to read. Sadly it is just them that work at the store, they have no employees. Which means one is usually working while the other one gets caught up on sleep. They aren't able to come to church or meet outside of the shop because they are literally always working. So we try and visit them often and we give them lessons in between customers.
After that we took Imran on a church tour. I love doing church tours because it allows investigators to not on see a church building but there is a special spirit present. Lessons are always more powerful inside the church.
Sunday was a hard day for us. We had our main focus last week be to get our investigators to church. We had 7 who said they would, and for different reasons some more valid than others, only 1 came. We were still thrilled to see Elina at church don't get me wrong. But, it welcomed me to the more discouraging sides to missionary work. Church is all in German and therefore I understand about 5% of it ha. I cant wait to be able to hear church in English again, its been over 2 months. After church we had an eating appointment at the Familie Shultze's. My worst nightmare came true....sauerkraut. Half of my plate was just piled with sauerkraut. With every bite I had to hold back a choke or two. And I have no idea why America gets the wrap for big portions.....come to is unhuman. Members get offended if you don't eat it too. I nearly roll down the stairs every-time I leave an eating appointment. They are becoming my least favorite part of missionary work haha. And it is work to eat this... work I tell you what!
This week although productive, has been frustrating for me and my companion. We fell short of every goal but 1. I know this will just push us to try harder next week. It is hard with having such a language barrier as well. We have 6 investigators that we meet with multiple times a week. 4 of the 6 are English speaking, therefor it is my responsibility to teach them the lessons, and the other 2 plus all the doors we do are German, so my companion is in charge. We both struggle understanding the other language and have a difficulty helping each other. It has been challenging but I know it will get better. This is making me stronger. a quote that I came across helped me a lot. "In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have." It is so true. I know that if I completely give my heart and will to the Lord in doing his work in Germany I will be blessed more than I can even comprehend. I know this principle is true in all of our lives. You don't have to be on a mission to be able to give your heart and will to the Lord.
I love all of you and I am incredibly grateful for your prayers!
Sister Linford

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