Monday, March 17, 2014

Sunny in Salzburg

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Ye All,

     Waking up early isn't the worse thing that I've ever had to do in my life, but in my opinion it is A LOT easier to wake up at 6:30 in the morning every day when it is sunny and beautiful outside, the birds are chirping and the air is fresh and springy!  

Gardens in Salzburg
     I think it is just so much more fun to be a missionary in the summer than it is in the winter.  The only thing that seems a little weird about it being warm and sunny and spring time, is that I came into the mission field in springtime. So up to this point on my mission, everything has been new- every season, holiday and experience. I have now officially had all the firsts I am going to have (except my first 1 year anniversary). My first fall, my first winter, my first Christmas, etc etc.
ooops, our eyes are closed

Companion Selfie
     But as I was sitting down one morning, listening to the birds and looking outside, enjoying a nice bowl of Müsli, I couldn't help but feel like I was a Golden back in Freiburg all over again. It was kind of a surreal feeling. My 1 year ''birthday'' on my mission is this Thursday, March 20. It is so weird to think that I have been a missionary that long. Where did the time go? Lots of missionaries, once they hit their 1 year mark, start to read their journal again, one day at a time, this is something I have been dying to do. It will be interesting to see what I wrote about the MTC (Missionary Training Center in Provo where Kori learned German) and about Sister Regnier (Kori's companion in the MTC), and what I thought my mission would be like. I'm sure there will be lots of laughs, smiles and tears over the memories of this wonderful year. 
View of Linz
     I got to spend a lot of time in Salzburg this week, which I will never complain about. We had Zone Training on Tuesday...
Role playing at Zone Training
and then we did an Austausch (companion trade) with the Sister Training Leaders again. I have been DYING to get to work with Sister Henry again, but she got to come down to Linz with Sister Ackerman, and I went to Salzburg to work with Sister Clark. It was actually really fun to get to know Sister Clark a little bit better.  
Church on postlingberg
      I think back on the early days of my mission and I used to get so intimidated by other missionaries, especially people who have been out longer than me. One of the coolest realizations that I have come to on my mission is that we are all young men and young women in our teens and early 20's who really have no idea what they are doing, we just all wear church clothes all day and pretend like we can speak German. 
Some very artistic train tracks
      One of the biggest lessons that I learned from Sister Clark this week in Salzburg is to NEVER EVER EVER compare anything!! Do Not compare areas, Do Not compare ourselves to others, not to compare our key indicators each week, nothing! Each area needs different things from different people-right now, Salzburg needs Sister Clark and Sister Henry and what they have to offer, and Linz needs me (I hope!) and Sister Ackerman and what we have to offer. And I need Linz just as much as they need me, because I have A LOT to learn! I think I can trace everything that I have learned so far on my mission to the missionary or member or investigator who taught me that lesson. It's a really humbling experience. 

The ceiling at a local church
     So in a nutshell, Sister Clark basically taught me to just be grateful for what we DO have, and to trust in the Lord that He is in the work as well. There were so many times during the Tausch (exchange) that we could have been disappointed, discouraged, or even just sad, but she kept a smile on her face and a light in her eyes. The entire time we were together, there was no way to doubt that she loves this work and she trusts the Lord. It was so amazing to see how happy she was because of her decision to trust in the Lord. 
A church in town
      How many times do I get frustrated and upset when things don't work out exactly the way I thought they would? How stressed do I get when things fall out and I have to re-plan? I have learned to accept that those things are not just a part of missionary work, but they are a part of life! Things will fall out, plans will change, life will jump out from behind a corner and take us by surprise sometimes. And we can either get angry and stressed, or we can smile and keep trusting that if the Lord is with us, then we have a bright future ahead of us :)
     Another reason why I love summer is the opportunity to do service! I know that my mom is going to laugh at this next part, because doing service and cleaning was NEVER my favorite. But as a missionary, it is my favorite thing to get in my grubby clothes and pull out some weeds from a garden, or help someone move, or even just help clean a kitchen! Service is just so good :) 
Pulling tree roots taller than we are
      One of the members in the ward has asked us and the Elders to help a nonmember family get ready to move into a new house that needs a lot of work. We went there twice this week to help clear out the yard, and it is amazing the love that we have been able to feel for this family just simply by serving them. And as we have served them and gotten to know them better, we have been able to see them not as they are, but with the divine potential of the people we know they can become. I think that's a really cool part of being a missionary. We don't have to blindly plan and prepare lessons, hoping that it's what people need to hear. Rather, we get to see people as they can become, and then the things that we need to say to help them get there just naturally follow.  I like it :)

Just because I love old signs
     I hope everyone has a great week!  Hopefully it is as nice and beautiful in other parts of the world as it is in Linz :)  

Sister Missionaries being silly, imitating a crime scene!

With "M", we made her an honorary missionary tag
I love spring!  
Love you all,
Sister Peterson

1 comment:

  1. Yep! that pretty sums up the gospel! I love the part about a bunch of teenagers dressing in Sunday clothes and pretending they speak German. It really is a miracle, is it not?