Monday, August 27, 2012

Shock, Stress and Seven Hours

Hallo! I hope everyone is doing just freaking fantastic! Thank you for all the amazing emails and letters, they really give me such a boost out here! And if you didn’t send me an email, why the heck not? Just kidding :)!!! I would love to hear about all of your lives though, even just a sentence update!
Whoooo, this week has been CRAZY. So many emotions …Dealing with a companion who is leaving and struggling with it, SO many appointments, lots of traveling, and transfer calls. I don’t even know where to begin because I wasn’t even able to write in my journal this week! But let’s dive in, so much to tell!
So last Monday I was a tad ready for it....crazy. (you are going to hear this word a lot, consider this your warning!) Because we had plans to go to the temple on Friday we only had a half P-day. The highlight of Monday was our appointment with Melanie. Melanie is an investigator I have talked a lot about. She is 18 and had a baptismal date in June, but couldn’t get the guts up to tell her family so it was cancelled. We haven’t even really brought up baptism since, because she said she didn’t want any pressure. Well last Monday I fasted to know what direction to go with her next. I was lead to 2 talks that were given at a young women’s conference, We read them and they hit her so hard. They were perfect. The spirit was so strong. It went silent for a while and the familiar pounding in my heart began. I knew I needed to say something about baptism again for the first time in months. I looked at her and said, "It's time isn't it?" She sat there for a few seconds, then a huge smile accompanied by watery eyes, was preceded by her confirmation, "I'm ready." Oh man, the joy! I have spent 4 months working with Melanie nearly twice a week. She is incredible and I am so happy that she is ready to enter the waters of baptism again!
The rest of the week was SO busy with appointments, which felt so good! It was just like my first transfer when we were booked out the whole week before the week even started! We had some incredible appointments! We have some seriously solid investigators right now. Zerritt is a African student who is as we like to call on the mission, "Golden"! With school being on break right now we have been able to meet a lot with the students we have been really excited about the last few transfers. Zerrit is one of them who is progressing very quickly and loving everything we are teaching him. Look out for him on the baptism list very very soon! We also have Barbara  who is an older woman. She is incredibly intelligent when it comes to religion and has spent years studying all different ones. She is very open to everything we have to teach her and said that she has really felt the difference with what we are teaching her compared to everything else she has studied. Plus, she is one of the only people I have had on my mission where we teach in German! I love it because it helps my German improve.
Friday I got to go the temple!! It was so crazy amazing!! (I just had to, I promised it would be used a lot haha) Oh how I love the temple! I am going to be so sad when I move out of the zone that is able to go. I had a neat experience in the temple. I was sitting there and the spirit just hit me so strong. I was able to sit there thinking very clearly of things in an eternal perspective. I started thinking of my priorities and how adjustments can be made so that it fits better into the eternal view of things......which is really the only thing that matters. It was a time of enlightenment that I am very grateful for. Nothing new was thought up, just an organization of many thoughts colliding together at the perfect moment to help me gain more direction. Don’t you just love when that happens? When simple things come together and give you an ah-ha moment? Oh it is wonderful!
Well Saturday rolled around and I have been waiting for this day for 6 weeks! TRANSFER CALLS! My district all got together and did a big breakfast and called in to the big conference call all together. We had about an hour all together before the conference call started. We all talked about our predictions and how our district was going to change. Everyone was talking about who would be the lucky sister to come join me in Dresden. We all knew that there was going to be a sisters city closed down because one of the sisters couldn’t hack it in the MTC and went home early, which put us with two few of sisters. That also meant there was going to be what we call here in Germany, a dritt (3 sisters that are serving as companions together). So lots of different scenarios were discussed. The excitement and anxiety grew in the room the more we talked about it and the closer the time came to the call. I felt pretty relaxed and at ease. I was confident in my predictions and I was about to find out who my new amazing comp was. Calls started and they got to my zone….then to my district. They listed the Zone leaders. One of the elders I was with got transferred to Berlin and was stoked. Then to the elders, they stayed the same. The Meissen sisters stayed the same and are training a new missionary. We all were jumping up and down together when we heard this; so excited that there would be 5 sisters in one district. But......Dresden sisters were never read. I immediately felt sick. I dropped the notebook I was holding and said, "They closed us! They freaking closed Dresden!!!" Everyone in the room objected to this saying they would never close the sisters in Dresden, he just will read it later! The room was silent. We waiting as another 40 names were read to finish our zone......nothing. I felt like I had been punched. Everyone was so confused and saying he just forgot, it happens when he has to read over 200 names, don’t worry. But I knew. Finally at the very end of the phone call, the last names to be read......"Rostock sisters!! Sister Nielson and Sister Linford!" It was all too true. Dresden sisters were closed. I was horrified. President knew I would be, and called me right after the conference call to give me further instruction. He said that this was the hardest thing he has been faced with yet. He was so frustrated and had no idea what to do. He said that he only found out that the sister wouldn’t be coming recently. The plan is that Meissen sisters will split their time between Dresden and Meissen. They will live in Dresden and take al of our investigator until next transfer where more sisters are coming in and we will be able to re-open Dresden Sisters. Holy Moses, this whole thing was a blind hit. I was told so many times, you are for sure staying in Dresden because your companion is going home. It sounds so silly that it was such a big deal to me, but it completely caught me off guard. I love Dresden with all of my heart. This is my first city and having to try and say goodbye to all the people that I have given all my time for the last 4 months has been more difficult than I ever thought. It has also been INCREDIBLY stressful to get every single one of our contacts and investigators ready to explain to the Meissen sisters in a 2 hour meeting we have later tonight. Yep, 4 months of work has to be explained in a few hours. I have gone through and put a posted notes explaining each person on over 40 information papers. We have planned the next lesson to all of our investigators since they have no idea who they are or where they are at. I ache out of fear that these people I love will fall through the cracks. I never in a million years thought that Dresden, one of the busiest and biggest cities in our mission would get what we call "White Washed". It is just for a transfer though. I have to keep reminding myself of that. There is a chance that I will get sent back her after a transfer as well to help re-open the area since I know it best.
I don’t want anyone to think I am bummed about Rostock. I am just worried for my investigators is all. I am also nervous to leave Dresden. Everything of what I know of a mission, rests here in this beautiful city. However, I am STOKED for Rostock. It will be such a big change! I am going from a ward with well over 100 people to a branch of just 15 people :). Whooo, this will be an adjustment! Rostock is right on the cost at the Northern part of Germany. It helps ease the pain of leaving Dresden knowing that I am going to a place full of beaches! It is a big tourist area apparently, so there are lots of fun things to do. PLus, I am serving with Sister Nielson!! SO STOKED! She is amazing! All of her companions absolutely love her! She is from New York and went to UVU before her mission. She only has two transfers left, so I may be sending her home as well. She is SUPER sweet and loves to laugh :). We got along extremely well the times that we have had together so far. I cant wait to really work hard with her in Rostock. I get on a 7 hour train ride tomorrow morning to see my new place of residence!
Yesterday was amazing. The love I have received from all the members and the people I have taught is unreals. It almost brings tears to my eyes. Sometimes you dont know if what you are doing is really making a difference or not, but its times where people going out of their way to express gratitude towards you that your heart is touched. I even have two investigators that called in sick to work today to come say good bye to me :). Oh man, its going to be hard to leave this place! I am excited to spread roots like this in other parts of Germany too. Rostock will be in my heart just like Dresen if I allow it to. I know that if I serve with all of my heart like I have here, I will see just as many miracles.
This letter has been crazy and all over the place, just like this past week of mine has been! I cant wait to share all of my new experiences with you next week!
Spiritual thought: I honestly have had zero time to get anything together for this today. So I am just going to share quotes! "We need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan's power. He can hve no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward. And if we stand firm- he will retreat."-Pres. Faust. That also lead me to another quote, "All the water in the world no matter how it tried could never sink the smallest ship unless it got inside. All the evil of the world and every kind of sin could never damn a human soul unless we let it in."-unknown. We truly are at war with Satan, and have been since the war in heaven. Satan is mad when you do the will of the lord. Satan knows how to push each one of our buttons, recognize that. Don’t let him in! Heavenly has given us the tools to win this war. We just need to use them! Pray often, go to church, and read those scriptures. It’s a recipe of success in this life. Dont let discouragement, or negativity seep in to your life.....they are Satan’s greatest tools to weaken us. Go forward in faith courageously!
Well Love you all so much! Your prayers are with me, I can with them :), Thanks for all the love and support! I am so blessed to be here in Germany. Man I love that this is my life!! So much joy in this work.....I feel so lucky. Keep the faith!
Sister Linford

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

All Out Dash

Guten Morgen! I hope everyone is having a fantastic day! For all of you Utes, enjoy your first day of school! So jealous....sike!! :). This week flew by! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing last week’s email. So crazy. This week had some amazing points that I am excited to share though!
We will start on the topic of Elina. This was her last week here with me in Dresden sadly. But it was an amazing one. While we were all together with the Young Single Adults in the Ward, Elina shared an experience she had with a girl who stayed with her. This girl was a friend of a friend and needed a place to stay for one night as she just passed through Germany. Elina started asking her questions to get to know her better and eventually the topic of religion came up. She said, "I just thought what would the missionaries say if they were here, and it worked!" She is so cute! Well, my little missionary ended up basically giving this girl all of the lessons and now she is planning on meeting with the missionaries when she returns to her home country of Estonia!  She ended with bearing her testimony to all of the Young Single Adults; how if you look for people to share the gospel with, they will come. The entire time she was telling me this story I felt like a proud mother! She is so incredible, how lucky am I to get to be one of the missionaries that got to work with her!? It made having to say goodbye to her Saturday that much harder! We went over to her apartment early Saturday morning to help her get all of her stuff together and to the train station. We exchange lots of amazing memories, pictures, presents, tears, and hugs. Lots of hugs. We will stay in close contact forever, she made me promise :). I am so proud of where she has come and I wish her the best of luck in Southern Germany!
This week also brought a tausch (exchange)! This was the big tausch of the transfer where all the sisters in the zone meet together and then disperse out to the various cities with their temporary companion. I am in the zone that has the most sisters by far so it’s always a fun time when we get together! Trains are coming in at all different times so it gives you the chance to just chat and catch while you wait for all 10 sisters to arrive. I really do love all the sisters in this mission, they are hilarious! We always joke around that us German sisters are a different breed haha.
My tausch was with Sister Curtis. After living with her for 3 weeks, and already tausching with her multiple times, its safe to say we are tiz-ight! Love this girl. We had a super busy day planned with not even 5 minutes to spare in the schedule at any point in the day. I was so happy that Sister Curtis would be with me, because I knew she would keep up just fine! She is an incredible hard worker and such an amazing missionary. Teaching with her is so....relieving is the word that is coming to mind. She is so in tune with the spirit and we work very well together. We had such good appointments and saw so many miracles. I will share one cool experience that we had. While we were walking to one of our appointments, we stopped on the street and started talking to a man from Romania. Sister curtis started right in talking to him. He looked hesitant and kept making the noise "uhhhhh......uhhhhh........uhhhhh....." over and over again. It hit me that he may not know German. I asked him, sure enough he said he didn’t. So I then asked if English was better. Nope didn’t know that either. This is always where it gets hard and the game of charades starts. I suddenly had the feeling to ask him about Jesus Christ. I hesitating because I didn’t think he would be able to understand given that nothing we said before made sense. However, I asked him in German what he thought about Jesus Christ. Immediately he lit up and put his hand over his heart and said, "Yes!! Jesus Christus!" I honestly don’t know what happened after that, but somehow we were able to make an appointment with him where we can give him a Book of Mormon in Romanian. It was the most amazing experience that strengthened my testimony in that we did not communicate with him....the spirit did. It was a miracle.
Friday brought an early 5am start! It was the day of Zone Conference and this transfer it was held in the city of Leipzig. Me and Sister Curtis may just have too much fun together, making watching the clock sometimes not our first priority. This led to us running like mad. So the fastest we have ever made it from our apartment to HauptBahnhof (the main train station where we needed to go to travel to Leipzig) is 30 minutes. Well we left with 20 minutes to spare. We had to make this train or else we would have to wait an hour for the next one and be really late for ZoCo. I have NO idea how we made it, but after the sprint of our lives we got on the train with literally 5 seconds to spare. We only got about 50 weird looks as we ran, and when I say ran I mean rannnnn-all out dash, in our little sister missionary attire with our bags flying everywhere. NBD. The elders got a good laugh out of seeing us book it across the train station. It was a miracle though!
Zone Conference was amazing as always! I have no idea how I am going to wait every 3 months to have one now with our new president! I will miss having them every transfer, but oh well! Zone Conference provides such a boost! My new President and his wife are both amazing! Wow, I am always blown away by their lessons. Before I knew it, it was time to go back to Dresden. The 2 hour train ride with 14 missionaries all together was such laughs. Train rides are always fun. It gives us time just to chill out and chat where we don’t have to worry about not doing what we are supposed to or working hard enough.
Yesterday was a great day at church. The number of Americans moving to our ward increases every other week I swear. This means I am translating for more and more people every week. This week I got a break from Relief Society though and got to translate in Young Womens. I loved it! I feel the gift of tongues so strong when I it is time for me to translate. I always get so nervous but the spirit helps me so much to understand and be able to relay what is being taught. I love having all of the English speakers in our ward as well. I feel their struggles as they are in a country where they feel so out of place. We have gotten so close with some of these families through that connection.
Well this week has been a busy one, but some really amazing seeds were planted. We have some great prospects that we are excited about for this coming week as well. The work here in Dresden is starting to pick back up… just in time for new companion to come. Which I get to find out whom that is this Saturday, I am so stoked! I love that I know that I will be able to stay in Dresden for another transfer! I would stay here my whole mission if I could :). I also get to go to the temple this Friday again.....ah I can’t wait!!! This week is going to be amazing I can just feel it :).
Spiritual Thought- So i was reading in Psalms 23 where it is talking about the Jesus Christ being our shepherd. So what does it mean to hear 'The Lord is my Shephard'? It is stated as a fact. The Lord is our caretaker. So if the Lord is a Shepherd, who are the sheep? We are of course! Which got me thinking, what kind of animals are sheep? They are kind of dumb actually ha. They are stubborn and don’t follow very easy. Does that sound like us as human beings? I encourage you all to read this chapter. I am going to break it down now with my own thoughts. In Verse 1, It talks about how we need to trust him to the point of forgetting our own desires. Verse 2- Sheep are animals that don’t lie down until they feel completely comfortable or secure. He provides that for us. We can rest in the knowledge that he will provide safety for us. It also speaks of still waters. Sheep are very clumsy animals and they can’t handle much force. However if they were to fall in still water they would still be able to get out. He leads us to still waters. Verse 3- He can heal whatever is wrong with us. He leadeth us to righteousness so we can come to Him. Verse 4- We all have to go through trials in our life to get to a better place. It brings improvement. I will not fear, because I know he is my Shepherd! As Elder Anderson said in his last conference talk, "Faith is not just a feeling, it is a decision." He is with you. The rod and staff that are talked about are his tools that he uses to help us. He has tools today as well, such as the Book of Mormon. Verse 5- We will have everything we need, even if the enemy is there trying to distract us. It also talks about oil. Oil back in old times was put on sheep to protect them from harmful insects. Today, we have blessings that sometimes use oil. Use blessings- never be afraid to call upon the priesthood. It then says "My cup runneth over....", we have be given everything in abundance. We don’t need anything, the Savior has given us everything. Verse 6- No doubt goodness and mercy shall find us all of our days. You WILL live in the house of the lord forever if you choose to. All we have to do is believe. Believe that he is your Shepherd!!

Thanks so much for all your love and support!! Things here are going just swell in Deutschland!  I can’t wait to share with you all who my new companion is next week. I pray so hard for each one of you. Keep the faith!!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Wiesen Str. 8
01277 Dresden

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zone Conference Leipzig

Picture from the mission blog by S. Kosak - Zone Conference in Leipzig. You can see the whole post here.

Dresden Zone

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marilyn can relate

Can I get a big woot woot for the USA winning the most medals!! Well this week was a great one here in Dresden. Lots of good appointments and my German has gotten a lot better. Yes, you did just read that for the first German has improved! Finally! I still have a LONG way to go, but the advancement that has been made this last week is nothing short of a miracle. I have been so incredibly frustrated with the lack of progress since the MTC, but this week has brought a load of relief in the communication department!
      Last Pday was a great one! We had a good ole' fashion American style BBQ for Sister Curtis' birthday. Our district hunted down all the rare American food we could get our hands on, and boy was it tasty! We listened to Jack Johnson and played volleyball and UNO.....perfection. My district always has a good time when we are together!
      As if that wasn't a good enough Monday, I got to play ultimate Frisbee Monday night for FHE with the YSA! It was soooo much fun! I loved every second of those 2 hours!  Tuesday brought a fantastic Tausch (exchange) with the Meißen sisters! Sister Curtis came here to Dresden with my companion and I went to Meißen again with Sister Niebergall. After living with these girls for 3 weeks, these tausches almost feel like you are back with an old companion or something ha.
The day was one adventure after another! It started out with us getting on the train to head to Meißen. The train was just about to pull away when Sister Niebergall turns to me with pure horror in her eyes and says, "Get off! Get off now!" I was way confused but complied. We barely made it off before the train left. I turned to find her laughing and she explained that she had forgetten to get my ticket from Sister Curtis. They check every ones ticket each ride and the fine when you dont have one is not pleasant! Whoo, that was a close one!
      Next adventure was Sister Curtis bike. Well my last experience on a bike I was in a pencil skirt.....not good. I was well prepared this time wearing my longest flowy skirt, ready to tackle the bicycle like a pro! Well....little did I know, Sister Curtis has a special bike because she is so short. I am a full foot taller than her and this bike is basically made for midgets! (Don’t worry Sister Curtis approved me to say this about her :) haha ) I looked really cute riding a bike where I had to turn my feet to the side just to pedal properly! One day I will master the bike as a sister! If that wasn’t enough, Tuesday just happened to be a very windy day, making that long, FLOWY skirt not the best option either.....flowy skirts love wind, just ask Marilyn. Monroe that is.  Me and sister Niebergalls most said phrase that day, "The wind is making me skanky!" Dont judge.
    Meißen was great though! We were able to put a man on baptismal date and had some other amazing appointments. It was a fantastic tausch! Sister Niebergall gave me a lot of comfort with my current companion frustrations. She served with her too and read me her journal from when they were together. It was very comforting and relieving to hear her stories and advice. I just loved Tuesday and Sister Niebergall! We have way too much fun together!
     Wednesday brought District Meeting as always. It also brought a big surprise that unfolded during an appointment with Elina that day. As you know Elina has been a huge part of my life her in Dresden. I talk about her more than anyone else by far. She has been having some really difficult time with threats from an ex-boyfriend. Unfortunately, they intensified last week and it has led to her decision to move from Dresden. It just about broke my heart to hear that she would be moving. However, I want the best for her and I know this is the smartest decision she can make right now given her situation. She loves the ward in the city that she is moving to and I will just have to let go, and trust that they will take care of her. Ah, I am so, so, so, sad though! I have no idea when the next time I will see her :,(.
       Wednesday night brought a much needed phone call. It came once again from my MTC companion Sister Bohne.  I haven’t talked too much about it, but I have really been struggling with  my companion situation. It is something that has been a frustration nearly my entire time in Germany. During my phone call with her in the peak of my frustration I made the comment, "I didn’t come on my mission to babysit!" Well did I get a lesson or what. Sister Bohne's response both shocked and humbled me, "Yes you did. God called you here did he not? God knew what you would be dealing with here. Don’t think you are better than what he has asked you to do. He has given you this trial and he has given you tools to overcome it. So buck up and choose to be happy with your situation." Well those weren’t her exact words, but it was EVERYTHING I needed to hear! Holy Cow, I can’t believe that I honestly ever let myself get to the point of feeling above the challenges I am having to face!
(Okay we are going to insert this week’s spiritual thought in here!) Sometimes we look at our trials and think we are too good for them or just as bad, we think we aren’t strong/good enough to overcome them.  We get in the bad rut and ask ourselves, Why Me? But day to day we are faced with struggles in life, and the work they require to overcome is MEANT for us. This is not OUR plan, it is His. Don't ever trick yourself into believing that you know best. It is through the hardships of life that we grow towards God. Our character is shaped through the affliction and adversity. I have learned that through these struggles with my companions that I have been looking down. And although my circumstances have not changed, my attitude and perspective has. Don’t look down and get carried away in your struggle, look up towards Him! With God's help, you need not fear for the future or for what will come from your trials. You need not fear that you have the strength to endure. As Elder Scott said, "Our Heavenly Father did not put us on this earth to fail but to succeed gloriously!" This last week has been such a good week because of my choice to change my attitude and to have more faith in His plan for my mission. I have on my wall a saying, "Glaube bringt Hoffnung", the translation is Faith brings Hope. Look up, have faith, and hope for the glorious future that he has planned for each one of you!
     Thursday was another Street Display! Oh how I loved my first one and I have been longing for a second which just happen to come on Thursday! I taught 5 lessons and made 3 appointments!  I was shocked at how well I was able to communicate with people in German! I remember my first street display and how I just prayed that I would get English speakers.  Every time I didn’t, I would say the first few lines I knew in German and then call my companion to come help me. What a difference this time around! We set up a table and talked to people for 3 straight hours, it was so great!
     Friday was special particularly because of one appointment. His name is Kai and he is special. I remember when I first saw Kai. I was walking down a main street here in Dresden called Budapester Strasse. I was on the other side of the 6 lanes when I saw him walking and KNEW I needed to talk to him. After a dart across the street and a little bit of a jog, my confused companion and I finally caught up to him. He had already had missionaries before but agreed to meet with us. Come to fund out he took lessons twice a week for 8 months and even had a baptismal date! Holy cow! Somehow though, everything just faded and he isn’t even sure why. It was such an incredible lesson with him. He struggles truly believing in God as someone who is always there for us. Being from China, the concept of God was new to him when he was being taught the first time. There was the most incredible spirit in this lesson with him, and I can’t wait to see where things with him will go! I will keep you posted, but pray for Kai!
     Saturday.....I got electrocuted. I tried plugging in an American heating pad for the first time and poof, fireworks in the room! I found myself thinking "That was totally wicked!" just as in the movie Incredibles. Is it bad to say that it was the coolest feeling ever?! haha. Seriously though, I loved it! The huge burn mark on the carpet isn’t so cool and neither was the headache I had after....but I would do it all over again! haha.
     Sunday was particularly good. I think it had to do in big part with that I understood more than I ever have! I once again had to translate in Relief Society. I think it has helped me so much to learn the language quicker. All of the lessons were so good too! It was hard to keep the sad thoughts of me missing the girl that sat next to me all 3 hrs though. This was Elina’s last Sunday here with me. She moves next Saturday, so this was it. Oh man I am so proud of her!  She is so incredible, and it is time that she goes and changes other people’s life like she has mine. I can honestly say that she has changed the way I will live the gospel the rest of my life. What an example she has been to me of diligence and faith. I feel SO lucky to have been placed here in Dresden and to have met her!
    Well that is it for this week!  Thank you all so much for your love and support! Your letters and emails help more than you will ever know!  German is amazing, I feel so blessed to be here! I am praying for all of you, and I wish you an amazing week!
Love, Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Wiesen Strasse 8
01277 Dresden

Monday, August 6, 2012

Elephant Style

Well hello, hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their week so far! Cheer hard for the red, white, and blue during this fantastic Olympic season that I am missing! This letter is going to be short because well, not much has happened unfortunately this week. My companion has been really sick, and we haven’t gotten a real day of work in since a week ago from last Thursday. I am praying so hard that she can start feeling better, so that we can get back to work! We were able to have a few experiences though that I will share with you now :).
      Monday- Like I said my companion wasn’t feeling too well, so we decided it would be best to just relax. She had the dvd Despicable Me, and we got permission to watch it. I had never seen it, but it was a cute, cheesy, cartoon perfect for a pair of missionaries! haha It was super weird to watch a movie that isn’t Finding Faith in Christ or the Restoration....whooo, maybe I am getting weirder than I thought!
      Monday also brought an appointment with Melanie. I wanted to take to her about fears. We read the talk by Pres. Eyering from this past conference called Climbing Mountains. I remember it blowing me away the first time I heard it last April, and I thought it was a perfect selection for Melanie. It was such a sweet lesson. It really touched her when we started talking about her fears with getting baptized and how upset her family is going to be when she tells them. She is such a strong girl, but she like everyone, has fears that are preventing her from doing something that she knows she needs to do. I have all the confidence in the world that Melanie will be baptized one day when she can find a way to put her fears aside and move forward with faith.
     After our appointment my companion really wasn’t feeling well, but the thought of going back to the apartment for another minute was enough to kill me. I prayed super hard and felt that we really needing to go OYMing with is a term we missionaries use for talking to people on the street. I got a strong impression to go to a place called Pirnaisher Platz. I was a little confused because this is by no means a"hot-spot" for street contacting. But nonetheless, I have learned not to question impressions, so we were off. When we got to Pirnaischer Platz, there wasn’t anyone in sight. We started down a street and there she was. Frau Shulze was just strolling along and was happy to talk with us! We talked for 40 minutes with her on the street! She is so awesome and said that she is coming to church this coming Sunday, we look forward to seeing her there!
      Tuesday brought President's Interviews. We have these every other transfer, which is about every 3 months. Everyone in your Zone gets together and we hear from the President, his wife,the AP'S, and then of course we have a one-on-one interview with President Kosak. As always, it is fun seeing people and catching up! My interview was short but good. He was concerned with how I have been handling everything dealing with companions.
       Wednesday and Thursday were spent all day in the apartment. However I was going crazy by Thursday night and begged my companion to go to institute. We got there and within 5 minutes I noticed Steffi, a member I have talked a lot about, leave the room really quickly. I had the feeling to follow her. When I got to her in the hall she was sobbing. Steffi just recently got out of rehab. She had just received a text informing her that her closest friend that she made in rehab, just committed suicide. It was so hard to have her just sobbing on my shoulder and not understand anything that she was saying. It was a miracle I even got that her friend had died. Even though my German is seriously so bad, you don’t need language to communicate emotions. Steffi is strong, and I know that she will overcome this hardship she is going through right now. I am glad that I could offer a shoulder to cry on, even if I can’t tell her words of comfort.
     Friday and Saturday amounted to more time for me in the apartment with a sick companion. This past week of being in the apartment has taken me to a crazy level, I must admit …ha. I have read cover to cover 13 Liahona and Ensign Magazines, written 12 letters, reorganized our entire apartment, gone through every contact we have had in Dresden, and divided them up into groups that we can visit; and last but not least, when it got real bad I tried to brush up on my dance moves. That was a bad idea. I have lost the ability to do "the jerk".....oh the things you sacrifice for a mission!
     Yesterday was a great Sunday! We had an appointment with Aros, after having to cancel the last 2 because my companion was sick. He is so amazing! We started teaching him the commandments and he is taking everything so well. We put him back on date for Sept. 22nd. He is really excited and has been doing everything we have asked him :).
     Well although my week wasn’t exactly eventful, I thought I would tell you some more weird things about Germans. Because, lets be honest, there are a LOT of weird things about Germans, haha. First, they blow their noses elephant style. I swear their brains come out every time. Plus, they blow it anytime, anywhere! Like in the middle of the prayer yesterday.... I was almost expecting someone to start playing the piano to join in with the symphony of nose blows! Also, there are no drinking fountains or bathrooms here. Well they have bathrooms, you just aren’t allowed to use them, or you have to pay to use them. With my drinking habits, my biggest stress in the day is planning for bathroom stops every few hours at either our apartment, the church, or the one public restroom we have found....this is a challenge I tell you what!
      Funny Story of the week: Well let’s just start off with I can’t believe I am actually sharing this embarrassment. But with this past week being uneventful, and this email running the risk of being dangerously boring....I will take one for the team! So I was in the store last week just walking down the aisles, when I started rounding the corner and there was a child there, crouched down on the ground. I did a quick jab to the right to avoid a collision, but as I did that the little boy decided to dump out the container of strawberries he was holding. Now I have heard and even seen the theory made famous by Mario Kart, of slipping on banana peels......but, I have never known strawberries to be as dangerous. Well if you are wondering they are!; especially, if you are lucky enough to get one under both of your shoes. This is when you reach the "oh crap, I am going down!" zone. I know from experience. I ate it good in the store that day. Superman into a display, say what? Thank goodness the spaghetti sauce display didn’t tip over with me. They really need to make a reality show that follows around missionaries.
Spiritual Thought: With the abnormal amount of time to just ponder this week, the majority of my thoughts have been consumed with the question of what I want to be. Right now you are the sum total of what you have thought, said, seen, heard, and done. What you think, say, do, hear, and see, causes you to change; change for good or evil, to become either stronger or weaker, to either internalize the qualities of light or the qualities of darkness. But ultimately you decide and you are responsible for who you are and who you will become. I have been out on my mission long enough to see a wide range of missionaries. Some I really look up to and others I pity their decisions on how they choose to spend their time here. But it has really got me thinking... what kind of amissionary do I want to be?
That decision doesn’t just end there though I have realized. My answer to that question then effects the answer of what kind of person am I going to be after my mission? How we handle our current trials, projects into the type of people we will be. I know most of you reading this aren’t on a mission, but each and every one of you has a situation right now that you are required to answer; How are you going to choose to respond to this and how are you going to choose to be? We all have things we are faced with right now,… you right now have the choice to let it help you grow in faith and therefore closer to Christ or....not. Think about what your sum total is. So ask yourself; Who are you? And, What are you becoming? I pray that we can make choices every day that are saying, "I choose good.” We can choose to trust God and have the faith that if we do, he will make a masterpiece out of us.
      Well that is all for this email! Ilove you all so much! I appreciate the emails and letters more than you will ever know, so keep em' coming :)!

Love, Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Wiesen Strasse 8
01277 Dresden

MP Interviews Zone Dresden

Picture posted on the Mission blog by S. Kosak - MP Interviews in Dresden Zone. You can seee the whole post here.

District Dresden