Monday, October 29, 2012

Angry Midget

      Can I get a woot woot for another stellar week!! Mensch, life is too good to me! Despite the snow that we experienced here this past week, things are looking bright in Rostock. Our numbers have been rivaling all the big cities and so many miracles are seen here everyday. Our FHE program honestly grows every week. It is so awesome to see new investigators there every time. It has really caught on fire and is assisting the increase in work here.
       On Tuesday I had the pleasure of being invited to a 7yr old's birfffffday parrrrtay. The preets that I talk about a lot, it his her little girl. In every city, you find a family that becomes your family for your time there. Here in Rostock it is definitely the Preets. They are incredible to me and I feel right at home with them everytime. It was fun to celebrate with their family and her two little friends!
      So I hope no one takes offense to this next part, I mean none by it. But, before I left my sister, Missy, challenged me to baptize a midget. So naturally, I have been searching my entire mission for a midget on the street. Well after very little success, Wednesday rolled around and changed my fate. I met Jasmina. I had to run after her a bit, but I was able to catch her! She was atheist, however I was able to make out an appointment. You have no idea how stoked on life I was. We made an appointment for Sunday, yesterday, at her residence so we could give her a Book of Mormon. We had to go to a place called Toitenwinkle, which is kinda in the middle of no where. After searching for quite some time for her house number, we finally ran across what looked like a school or a business. We decided to ring the doorbell anyways to see if we could get lucky. Sure enough a lady comes to the door and we asked her if she knew Jasmina. After 10 minutes of her checking she returned and said that it wouldnt be a good idea to bother her right now that they finally have her calmed down and distracted by TV. She then explained that this was a house for people that needed to be watched and that Jasmina escaped last week and that was the only reason we were even able to meet her. My midget dreams were shattered. I found a midget, but it was a really angry one so now I cant teach her ;(. This is not the end of my quest.
      We had a really neat experience this week. We put another person on baptismal date! Yeyeah! His name is William. He is about 30 and has been living in Germany for 12 years now. He is super awesome and will be baptized the same day as Degol on December 8th. I love me some english speaking investigators! Yesterday when we were at church with Degol he made a comment. He said, "how crazy is it that I was born in Africa and you two in America, and it took us all coming to Germany to meet and for me to hear about your church." It got me thinking how amazing my mission has been. I look at the people I have had the blessing of preparing for baptism......they are from all around the world. Latvia, China, Taiwan and soon to be Ghana, Ethopia, and Germany. It is incredible how paths cross!
      This week we were able to teach some incredible lessons. We are currently teaching a lot of students and we even just got an appointment with a family!! Oh my heavens this has only happened to me one other time on my mission! We couldnt be more excited! Sister Moon and I dont remember the last time we were able to take a lunch break or any break for that matter. We are so insanely busy, but we both love it that way! Sister Moon is a very hard worker and somehow we are getting things done despite a major language barrier. President may have made a slight hint that I will be transferred at the end of the transfer. Who really knows what is going to happen, but I would hate to go right now. Everything just seems to fit currently, and I would love to be able to be here for William and Degol's baptism. But, if I am needed in another city, I trust that it is best! We will find out in a few weeks though!
      Spiritual Thought: In this life we have to make many choices. Some are very important choices, and some are not. The choices we make, however, determine a large extent of our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences of our choices. Its important to recognize the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority in our lives.
      Jesus taught the principle in the home of Martha. While she was "cumbered about much serving", her sister, Mary, "sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word".(Luke 10:39-40) When Martha complained that her sister had left her to serve alone, Jesus then commended Martha for what she was doing but taught her that "one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her". It was praiseworthy for Martha to be "careful and troubled about many things", but learning the gospel from the master teacher was more "needful".
Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in our every day life. How much time are we watching TV, on the computer, or reading books or magazines? These all can be very great outlets for upliftment in our lives, however, not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we five to it.
      President David O. McKay counseled: "The greatest battle of life is fought within the silent chambers of your own soul....It is a good thing to sit down and commune with yourself, to come to an understanding with yourself and decide in that silent moment what your duty is to your family, to your church, to your country, and to your fellowmen."
Joshua of old declared, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
      Let us not find ourselves as indecisive as Alice is in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She came to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat whom Alice asks, "Which path shall I follow?" THe cat answers: "That depends where you want to go. If you dont know where you want to go, it doesnt matter which path you take."
      Unlike Alice, I hope you all know where you want to go. Each one of us is a son or daughter of god, endowed with faith, gifted with courage, and guided by prayer. Our eternal Destiny is before us. As we look into the future we are going to need to be stronger and more responsible for our choices in a world where people "call evil good, and good evil." Tomorrows blessings and opportunities depend on the choices we make today.
      I pray that we can all take the counsel of James E. Faust and take a moment and reflect on our current choices. I know that as we prioritize our lives to make the best choices, blessings will be poured out upon you. I hope every ones week is going well. I miss you all a ton! Thank you for the continual love and support. I feel so lucky to have such an awesome cheering section back home. Until next week, KEEP THE FAITH!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Friedrich Str. 14
18057 Rostock
Germany

Monday, October 22, 2012

Zone Training Meeting

The mission blog has been updated with a few pictures that S. Linford is in. They had a Zone Training Meeting and S.Kosak posted pictures. You can view the blog post here.

Zone Training Meeting Neubrandenburg

District Greifswald

Time Warp

      Hallo!! Another week come and gone! Really a mission is the weirdest time warp.....but it is amazing! Well I can’t wait to tell you about this week because it has been another incredible one for the books. We were able to break the Zone record with our numbers this week! Holy Cow it was the CRAZIEST week....but absolutely full of miracles. We are booked out a week and a half! Whaaaaaatttttt?!?!?! When I got here we planned for 3 people that we didnt even have appointments with, just a hope to get one. Last night, we planned lessons for all 25 people we have appointments with! I am completely in love with this city now. I really pray I don’t get transferred. My blessings were right, as they always are, about this city......I just needed to be patient. Don’t we all just love that "p" word d: haha.
      Monday- We had another fantastic FHE. It grows every week and we are getting a lot of less actives and old investigators back because of it. It has been so fun to reorganize, execute, and watch this new program that we designed take fire.
      Tuesday- We had Zone Training in Berlin. It was a long day of 10 hours total of traveling, but it was worth it to get to be in the capital city even just for a few hours! I love that city. We had to give a workshop at the Zone training. It was on the topic of finding, which every missionary has heard about 1000 times, so we really tried to spice it up. Call me crazy, but I love doing workshops. As long as it is in English :) haha. It went well though! We also got to have lunch with the sisters that are serving in Berlin. Oh how I love seeing other sisters!
      Wednesday- I had yet another eating appointment at the famous Brudder Schmidt. Seriously my stomach expands to the equivalent of a woman who is 6 months preggers every time. But, he is such a dedicated member and we love spending time with him! We organized a huge service project with him to go to the Zoo! November 10th our entire ward and zone of missionaries will be serving the lovely Rostock Zoo. So stoked :).
      We also got to see my very favorite members the Preets. I have talked a lot about them, but I haven’t given an update with them for a while. They have come to church EVERY week since I got here which has been so amazing! They even traveled with us to Berlin to see the Thomas S. Monson last week. I challenged Amanpreet to bear her testimony which she hasn’t done since her baptism a year ago....well yesterday she did :). It was the sweetest testimony! I feel so blesses to get to work with these people!
      Thursday- We had 8 lessons this day! Whoo, we were running around town like crazy! They almost all were first time lessons too. It was amazing to get to know better some of the people that are now investigators. We also had an incredible street lesson with a man named Zoram. He was baptized in Italy, but fell away shortly after his baptism. At first, he refused to make an appointment with us and was kinda being rude. But the spirit softened his stone heart :) ha, and in no time he was nearly in tears. We have an appointment with him Friday :).
      Friday- Because the zone I am in is really struggling right now for investigators....we are now doing what is called zone finding every week. That is when everyone in the zone goes to one city and we tear it up and try and get a lot of new appointments for the missionaries in that city. Rostock was first up, so we hosted everyone on Friday. Because we share the city with Elders we didn’t get all the appointments but we did get 3 new ones, hopefully good things come from it! It was fun to hear the experiences of all the other missionaries in your own city.
      Saturday- Our morning started out with a cute surprise. One of the Senior Sisters who has taken a particular liking for me called and said that she made us crepes. We got to go over to her apartment and have a crepe feast....so great! With a morning like that we knew good things were coming ha. We had another appointment with Degol, who has a baptismal date in December. It went really well!! He is awesome! I also got to speak French to a young student. We made an appointment and are taking her a French Book of Mormon on Wednesday! Woot woot for a language I can actually speak haha. The day ended with TischTennis or as we call it in the states PingPong! This is something we will be doing every Saturday night now! It was sooo much fun! We got a few investigators to it!
      Sunday- Degol came to church!! Oh my heavens it was such a fun surprise! He is so awesome! We also had the coolest miracle ever happen! Here is the story: A few weeks ago we fasted about people that we needed to go by on. I got really strong impression that we needed to focus on a woman we call Frau Vyno-kur. We have tried going by on her like 5 times the last 2 weeks and called a few times but nothing. Well we were walking home from church when we got a phone call. It was from her friend that got her mail and saw the note that I wrote for her attached to our card. We found out that she has been in the hospital and when he took her the note that she said these were the two she has been praying for!! Oh my so cool! So on Tuesday we are going to go see Frau Vyno-Kur!
      Well that sums up the highlights. Everything honestly is going amazing!! I have never worked harder on my mission, but there is so much to be done here that is makes it so worth it! I can’t wait to see where some of these people are going to go!
      Oh and another miracle.....last week in my email I talked about how I saw an investigator Melanie from Dresden. She means so much to me. Well after I left for many reasons she has not been able to meet with the missionaries. Well I flipped because I had been gone for 7 weeks at the point and we met with her once to twice a week. I talked to her for 40 minutes and it was the most spiritual conversation. I challenged her to rededicate herself and to really tell her parents and recommit to a baptismal date. We talked about it and we set a date right then for her to be baptized in December and I made her promise to meet with the missionaries again.....well I just got a call and she told her family finally!!! They are okay with everything and its confirmed she is getting baptized December 2nd!! I have only cried once on my mission, but I must admit there were some major watery eyes when I was hearing that this was a reality. I couldn’t be happier for her! And I can’t wait to fulfill my promise back to her, and return to Dresden on that glorious day!
      Spiritual Thought: Have you ever asked yourself why it is important to obtain or understand the word of god? It’s not just to read ancient stories of people with funny names. It’s not to learn how to build an ark and shove lots of animals on it. It is so we can avoid suffering and misery in our lives! It helps us to develop the trust in God to do the things He says we need to do. What we desire is what will ultimately determine our eternal judgment. In Alma 29:4 it says, "...granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life" I would like to further this by adding a part of Elder Bednar's last conference talk when he talked about the parable of the ten virgins.
      I now want to use one of many possible interpretations of the parable of the ten virgins to highlight the relationship between testimony and conversion. Ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish, took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Please think of the lamps used by the virgins as the lamps of testimony. The foolish virgins took their lamps of testimony but took no oil with them. Consider the oil to be the oil of conversion.
      But the wise took oil [of conversion] in their vessels with their lamps [of testimony]. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps [of testimony]. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil [even the oil of conversion]; for our lamps [of testimony are weak and] are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matthew 25:4–9)
      Were the five wise virgins selfish and unwilling to share, or were they indicating correctly that the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed? Can the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person? Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need? Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge? The clear answer to each of these questions is no.
      As the wise virgins emphasized properly, each of us must “buy for ourselves.” These inspired women were not describing a business transaction; rather, they were emphasizing our individual responsibility to keep our lamp of testimony burning and to obtain an ample supply of the oil of conversion. This precious oil is acquired one drop at a time—“line upon line [and] precept upon precept" (2 Nephi 28:30), patiently and persistently. No shortcut is available; no last-minute flurry of preparation is possible.
      “Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom” (D&C 33:17)
      I pray that we all can desire and then act to obtain the word of god, so that we too can be prepared and choose wisely what our eternal judgment will be, I know as we do this we WILL avoid so much misery and suffering in our lives.
      Well thank you all for everything you do for me! Letters and packages are always welcome :). I am so grateful for all the amazing people that are in my life, both in the US and her in Deutschland! Man I am a lucky one!! I hope you all have an amazing week!
Sister Linford

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

Hallo! I hope everyone had a fantastic week!
     Last Monday all the missionaries in my district decided to go to Ikea. I already loved that place but.....it just surpassed all other high expectations for that place. It is so much better in Europe!! It was a fantastic P-day activity!
     Out with the old and in with the new. I had to say goodbye to my amazing companion Sister Nielson. It was super hard, but it just makes me so incredibly thankful I got the time I did with her. Just two hours after she left, it was back to the train station to pick up my new companion Sister Moon. I actually new Sister Moon from the MTC. She was in the group older than me. It has been interesting having a companion that you already know the basics about. It has really spring boarded our companionship to be able to get close faster. Sister Moon is from Herriman Utah. She went to Riverton High school and we have a lot of friends in common which is fun! She is very similar to my MTC companion Sister Bohne, in the way that she is a total outdoorsy wild woman, but such a hard worker!
     Good news. Get ready for it....we have a new baptismal date in Rostock!! Oh my so amazing! This area has been hurting for so long and miracles have been unfolding. His name is Degol. He is a masters student that is originally born in a small country right outside of Ethiopia but spent most his life in other countries such as England and Italy. He is about 27 and super awesome! He was actually my first english appointment here in Rostock. Oh how I love those English speakers :) haha. We have had 2 incredible lessons with him and Dec.8 is when things are going down (literally) for him :)!
      The rest of the week was filled with some really good lessons! I am really starting to love Rostock and the people here. It took me a little bit of time :), but it is coming and I know this is where I am suppose to be.
     We have had the funniest/ embarrassing moments this week with language issues! I dont think you understand just how awful me and my companion are at German....it is just straight laughs. And that is all we have done this week. However, miracles have happened. It is pushing both of us SO much. I have never spoke more than the last week. My companion said the same thing. It has been a miracle. We both are scared 99% of the day because we have no safety net anymore, but it is working out! Anytime I find myself completely lost she picks up and takes it, and vice versa. Some how, we aren't exactly sure, its working out.....and working well.
Okay now for the update on the Prophet coming to Berlin!! So our morning yesterday started out at 4:45 am. After our 5 hour train ride we found ourselves in the amazing capital city. We planned a picnic since we would be gone all day. We invited members and some other missionaries. We had in front of some of Germany's most well known sites. Then it was off to the ginormous conference center that event was being held at. We arrived 2 hours early to get good seats. It was sooo fun to see so many missionaries I haven't seen for a while! Half of my mission was assigned to come to Berlin's conference. Plus, I got to see all my people, both members and investigators, from Dresden! I almost cried multiple times because I loved it so much! I got to talk to Melanie, an investigator from Dresden that meant A LOT to me. It was incredible to catch up with her. Even though her English is amazing, it was so fun to be able to chat for 40 min. in German. She was super impressed with how much better my German was.....I have never spoken that well, but Heavenly Father gave me a tender mercy in that time with her. I set her on baptismal date my very last day in Dresden. I cant wait to return to Dresden in December to see that glorious day!
Now onto the star of the day, President Monson of course! It was so fun to see him!! to answer a lot of the questions I have gotten, he spoke in English and then they had a translator. The meeting was conducted in German. It was so amazing to hear and see his words in a country where this is so needed right now. He has a pretty amazing history with Germany. He has done SO much for this county. It is because of him that we are able to have missionaries in this country, and even more incredible, they have denied every other church of that opportunity. He is now on his way to my old city of Dresden where he said the dedicatory prayer for this mission....oh how I wish I could be there for that return. He has a very special place in his heart. He isn't able to travel much anymore due to his health and he was able to choose to go anywhere this week....he chose Germany :). I love that man! I love his heart. I was made a better person yesterday because of Him.
     Our train didn't leave out of Berlin until 6:30 pm which gave us lots of time to socialize once again with members and other missionaries. It was so fun!!! A little hard to have to say goodbye again to all my Dresden people....but so amazing. It just made me so grateful that I really am in this country and have met so many incredible people that will be in my heart forever. Something fun and exciting that happened was I got to see Sister Kingery! She is the sister I got closest with from the MTC! She is serving in the Frankfurt mission but came up to hear Pres. Monson. We both screamed and ran to each other! Not only that, but I was also told that I will get to see Sister Bohne and SIster Thornton in a few weeks!! I havent seen either of them for over 6 months. They were in the MTC with me and I am stoked out of my mind!!
     Spiritual Thought: I am running out of time sadly so I cant do what I was planning on here, but I am going to put a link to another video. This is a video that has helped me a lot in the last year. I sincerely hope that you will actually watch it. I know that is you follow the promises that it gives, you will be happier in your lives!! http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/mormon-messages?lang=eng&query=choose+day#2009-09-37-choose-this-day
     There was just so much happiness this week! It truly was a special week! I just am grateful for so much right now! I hope everyone is doing well. I am so thankful for the love and support. Your letters and emails truly do give me the fuel to do what I am doing here. I pray for you and I feel your prayers so intensely. Til next week, KEEP THE FAITH
Sister Linford

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

Monday, October 8, 2012

Youngest companionship??

    Hallo! I hope every ones week has been fantastic! Mine has been nothing short of incredible. Last week, as you know wasn't the best week for us here in Rostock. In fact, it felt like a cherry on top of an extremely difficult transfer. However, just when you are about to break and cant take anymore.....things seem to turn around. This week was miracle week. One right after another. We were baffled at everything that was happening. We reported the highest numbers my entire zone has seen in over a year. 4 new investigators, 9 new appointments, and over 10 Books of Mormon placed. MIRACLES. I also got to have my first English appointment here in Rostock, and ended the week with getting to do 4! Oh how I love being able to communicate what I really want to say to people!
    Monday- Our quest to spice up FHE is still in affect. We assigned one of the YSAs to come up with the activity that night. We played a game called Ware wolf which a German version of Mafia basically. It was a lot of fun and we had 2 Less Actives show up!
     Tuesday- Tuesday we took a trip out to a town that is a 45 min. bus ride away called Bad Doberan. We had a referrl out there of a Newly Baptized woman that we have been trying to get a hold of for weeks. Our appointment with her was so incredible. It is also so fun to see the glow of someone who recently got baptized! We were able to make out some new appointments with other people in her building as well.
     Wednesday- After district meeting our entire district went to lunch at an American restaurant. It was weird to 1. be at a restaurant (first one of the mission) and 2. See normal food as my options haha. My entire district mandated that we order a hamburger and really make it an American experience. Oh the joys of american food.
    Thursday- So many miracles this day. I swear time just stopped multiple times for us to be able to make it to everywhere we needed to. We were making it to places in 15 minutes that normally take 30. We were able to get 2 new investigators that are so awesome. It started with an appointment with a man named Herr B├Ârnchen. Everything was going really well and then all of the sudden his friend showed up. We finished the lesson with both of them and it was so awesome! They are making us lunch this week and cant wait to learn more!
     We also had a neat experience with a girl named Robin and her boyfriend Johannas. We were walking along the street and I had the feeling to go up and talk to this younger guy. I went up and talked to him and he got way happy and replied back with perfect English "Missionaries! My american girlfriend and me and have hunting for you! I went to the U of U the last year and she was there the last 3 years, that's how we met. Anyways, she just got here in July and has been dying to find the missionaries because she knows they will most likely be American! Where are you from??" Well hello fellow Utes! His girlfriend Robin arrived only 2 minutes later. We had the best talk and laughed lots. Both Robin and Johannes aren't LDS, but both, especially Robin since she grew up in Utah, are very familiar with our religion. I cant wait to meet with them again!! Yep, they were hunting for us... that's never going to happen again the rest of my mission haha.
Friday- Went to Bad Doberan again.....more miracles and more appointments made. We also had a way cool appointment with a man named Degol. He is a student from Africa. He is so awesome! He even made us spaghetti! It was such a busy week both me and my companion passed out on the Bus to and from Bad Doberan. We both prayed that we would wake up when we needed to get off.....both times we woke up 15 sec. before our stop....MIRACLES.
     Saturday- Transfer calls in the morning! Oh the drama! Gotta love it! Here in Rostock there are us sisters, a pair of elders, and a pair of senior sisters. The senior sisters invited us all over for breakfast so we could listen in all together. Everyone was a tad nervous because we knew there was going to be a lot of changes made to our district. Yep, that was the truth! Elders were up first.....Elder Stanley is staying but Elder Lichner is transferred. Then to the city of Greifsfald where my district leader is......Elder Smith is staying, but Elder Dalton is transferred. Oh and surprise....they are putting in another pair of Elders in Greifsfald now. Now it was our turn......"Sisters in Rostock! Sister Linford and......(long pause for who knows why!!)......Sister Moon! You will be co-senior companions together in Rostock!" I was SHOCKED. Sister Moon is just one transfer older than me. Our time in the MTC overlapped by just one week. The thing that is having me more than slightly nervous, is that the only one that is known for struggling with the language more than Sister Moon....is me. Yep, the two worst speakers in the entire mission just got put together in the youngest companionship. Oh my heck.....I am going to need lots of prayers!!! My companion got sent to Eisenh├╝ttenstadt for her last transfer. She was not excited to be transferred at all. We get along so well and things that we have been working so hard on just started all coming together. I am excited for sister moon because she is hilarious.....but we both are SO nervous for how we are going to make things work. This transfer is going to push us both so hard. I feel like I just got thrown in the deep end to learn how to swim.....but I know Heaven Father is watching out for us. The first thing Sister Moon said when I called her to figure out the trains....."God has a reeeeeeaaaallllll good sense of humor, doesn't he?!"
      After transfer calls we had General Conference. It is very different for us here in Germany. The first session we watch live and starts at 6 pm Saturday night because of the time difference. The quality is awful and cuts out a lot, but hey its better than nothing!
      Sunday- Sunday morning we watch "Saturday Afternoons session" at 10am. This session is not live obviously. Then the men watch Priesthood at 2pm and then we watch "Sunday morning" session live at 6pm Sunday night. Sorry that was confusing. We actually don't get to watch the last session until church next Sunday. And given the fact that Monson is coming next Sunday we don't get to see it for 2 weeks! Its killing me!
      Conference could not have been more powerful! I love how it seems to mean sooo much more when you are a missionary. Can you say massive focus on missionary work? WHoo! I loved being able to sit there and not have the piercing feeling in my heart when they talk about going on missions that I had the last couple of years before I served...I just got to sit there and smile. I am here. I am doing exactly what I am suppose to. :). I have a couple favorite talks....Uchtdorf of course, Robert C.Gays on what we would sell our soul for, Eyrings, and always Holland. Wow......such powerful messages! Seriously if any of you have not taken the time to watch ALL of the sessions yet.....I promise it will be well worth your time to do so. General Conference is food for your soul. Even if you think you dont have time.....find it. So many amazing appointments happened this week. It feels so good to even have appointments and then to have them go as powerful as they are..... is just.....incredible. As this transfer comes to an end tomorrow.....it always makes you look back and evaluate the last 6 weeks. My conclusion is that Rostock has been insanely difficult for me. The first 5 weeks were discouraging and frustrating..... however this last week has wiped all of that away. To be a witness of Gods miracles is the most invigorating boost I have ever felt. I know that sometimes we must have a trial of our faith before we reap the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for us.
     Spiritual Thought: My very inspired sister sent me a talk last week by President Uchtdorf entitled, The Infinite Power of Hope. Through my studies, I learned that the word Hope often has a hint of uncertainty. For example, I hope that the weather changes today, or my friend visits me. In these examples, the word Hope is uncertain. However, when ever the word Hope is used in the language of the Gospel, Hope is sure, unwavering and active. In Alma it say we must have a "firm hope" or in 1 Peter, it states that we must have a "Lively Hope". This kind of hope is both a principle of happiness and a commandment. As with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives or we will suffer the consequences of worldly sorrow. Moroni even said, That without hope we cannot receive an inheritance to the kingdom of God. Uchtdorf say, "Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to Gods laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm and patient perseverance.With hope comes joy. With hope we can have patience and bear our afflictions." This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and give strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair. Uchtdorf ends his talk with, "And to all who suffer-to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely-I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart." I pray that we can all have more hope this week!!
     Well that just about does it for this week! Things have been so insanely busy and with my new companion coming tomorrow I have a feeling things are about to get even crazier!! I don't know how we are going to be able to do this, but the Lord always provides a way. I couldn't do it with out the continuous love and support from all of you! Thank you for the words of encouragement and prayers....they always help tremendously!! I wish you all a good week!
Sister Linford

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spaghetti with Salsa

      Hallo! Where in the world did September go?! Wowza this whole thing is really starting to fly by. This transfer has by far gone by the quickest! I seriously still can’t believe that this is the last week
of this transfer. Yep, that means that transfer calls are this Saturday. The curiosity is alive! I think that I will stay in Rostock with Sister Nielson but who knows! I honestly would love to be transferred haha, but we will see!
      This week has been one of those on the mission that is used as a standard to compare other hard weeks to, so you can feel grateful it just isnt as bad as "that one week". Haha well, it was "that one week". Coming into this week we had a lot of new appointments that we have been waiting all transfer to come together. A lot of people were out of town and finally got back, or we were able to re-initiate contact after a long time away from missionaries. Needless to say, we were so excited for this week so hopefully see a change of pace in Rostock. Sadly every single appointment fell out this week. Every single one except for members. It is a hard week to look back on to be honest. But dont we all have times like that? It really does make us appreciate the good times when we have them. Or in my case my old area of Dresden ;) haha Just kidding!! (kind of.)
      But no matter how bad things get there are ALWAYS some laughs to be found. This week that came in the form of two maintenance men. My companion was feeling really sick so she was laying down for a little bit while I was studying. I heard the doorbell and I knew that I would not be able to properly communicate with whoever was there, so I ran and got my companion. She shot out of bed in her groggy state and opened the door. Well these two, relatively large I might add, German man just walk right in and head to our bathroom. We were both SO confused at what was going on. They were apparently there to change our bathroom filter, but they didn’t even bother telling us. I think both me and my companion had thoughts from the movie Taken the entire time. We can blame the panic on that, and the fact that there were two men in our....missionary apartment.....yeah that doesn’t happen every day or and day for that matter!! They were there for a minute is all and then just walked out and closed the door behind them. I don’t think we moved the entire 60 seconds they were there and the second they left we just lost it and were laughing so hard! Oh Germans....they will always be entertaining to me.
      This week we also did what I like to call a Cookie Tour. My companions make fun of me that I make them do this, but it works! This is where you make lots of cookies and then go around to less active members and old contacts and leave them some cookies with a note. It is always so fun to see their faces light up when you give them the little treat. It also allows us to break some of the ice that has been created over time. Next week, or the week after, we will visit them again and see if we can make out appointments with them. Everyone loves feeling loved.....and what better way than a cookie tour?! haha this is the argument I have to have with my companions. I once heard from a very wise actor that I cannot talk about on my mission ha, "All you need is love." Holler to that.
      I also had my first eating appointment in Rostock. In Dresden along with most areas you get fed 1-2 times a week. However, in Rostock everything is different :). It was at a member’s house, Brudder Schmidt. He is famous mission wide because he is hilarious and LOVES missionaries. Not only is his famous, but so are his eating appointments. You never know what you are exactly eating and he gives you inhuman amounts. Well after getting a fair warning I prepped by not eating all day and had the plan just not to look down at what I actually was eating. I guess I lucked out for my first time, or so I was told. We had spaghetti with salsa. An interesting combo I tell you what! haha. They weren’t lying about the inhuman amounts either......he was not going to let me leave until I had two plates....so we were there for a while. All my companions say I am the wimpiest eater.....but I just say that I am the only normal one as I smile and they have to finish mine too :).
      Well as stated before this week was a tad bit on the rough side. As me and my companion found ourselves lost in the middle of nowhere, surrounded my farms and a sewage plant, freezing our tushes off.....I sadly let my thoughts get negative. I remember just thinking, "You have got to be kidding me! Could this get any worse?!" And then it hitme. ….This week’s spiritual thought of course haha. We all have difficult days and there will be plenty in the days ahead. And there is only one person that truly knows what we feel during these times. Jesus descended below all things in order to rise above all things. He did this to show us the way. He expects us to follow his example. If we yoke ourselves with Him, with his help, we can rise above all our challenges. No matter how difficult they may be. No matter how hopeless you feel. Consider all that the Savior has done, and all he continues to do for us. Jesus will love you, lift you, and manifest yourself to you if you love him back and keep his commandments (John 14:21).
      Even in the most troubled trials of life, he has told us, "Be of good cheer and do not fear, for I the Lord am with thee, and will stand by you, and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." (D&C 68:6)......Hold fast to that promise. Our journey to Him isn't just physical, it is emotional and behavioral. It involves accepting and embracing His atonement is infinite and covers every aspect of our lives. Our sins, weaknesses, pains, sicknesses, and infirmity. (Alma 7:11-13) "It means we can’t let go of those things that hold us down in the gloomy fog of our own inversion and live instead in the warmth and love of His light."
      President Eyring said, "The words 'come unto christ' are an invitation. It is the most important invitation you could ever offer to another person. It is the most important invitation anyone could accept." Let us all accept the invitation to come unto Christ. Remember Him in your daily lives and let him carry you on the days of difficulty. He will, I promise.
      Well that about sums up my week here in Rostock! I am so grateful for all the amazing support and love I feel from back home. I don’t know what I would do without it! I am praying for you all! Have a great week! KEEP THE FAITH!!!

Sister Linford

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