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

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