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

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