Hallo Friends & Family-
Buckle up, this is a jam packed email.
This week, hands down, was the funnest, craziest, scariest, most stressful week of my entire LIFE!!!
In total, I think I spent 15 hours on trains, traveled to Salzburg, Munich, Vienna, and the border of the Czech Republic; went without a companion for 24 hours, and only spent about 8 hours doing missionary work in Linz.
Monday: All of the Sisters in the Salzburg Zone got permission to go to Salzburg to have a Sisters p-day together. We had so much fun! Sister Henry and Sister Clark showed us around Salzburg; we went shopping, sight seeing, and then had a fun Sisters Finding day together :)
|I love my first baby|
|Sister's p-day in Salzburg|
|A silly group of Sister missionaries|
We drove back into Linz that night, made it just in time to eat dinner and than off to go to a meeting with our ward mission leader- after which we crashed into bed.
|Sister's slumber party|
Wednesday: We drove to Salzburg AGAIN to drop Sister Ackerman and Sister Threlkeld off in Salzburg.
|I'm really going to miss Sister Ackerman|
From there, Sister Jenson and I got on a train bound for Munich so we could go to the Golden/trainer meeting. We were super excited, talking about our goals for training, what we were nervous and excited for. En route, we got a text from the mission office telling us that they have bad news for us. Because of the bad reception on the train, we weren't able to get a hold of the office for about 30 minutes. Sister Jenson and I were basically freaking out trying to guess what could be the bad news coming in from the mission office! Let me tell you, a girls imagination can get a little crazy when she reads the words "BAD NEWS" with no other explanation.
|I haven't seen Elder Stirling since the MTC; he is training this transfer too|
|Sister Smith and I on transfer day|
We finally got in touch with the office Elders, who told us that the Golden's had missed their plane from England to Munich, that the English airline workers were on strike, and so the soonest time that our new Golden's could come in was next week. All of the trainers still arrived in Munich so we had a wonderful dinner with President and Sister Miles. We still had our trainer meeting and brainstormed ways that we could get the Golden's to us as fast as we could. We also discussed how we could work in our areas until our companions came. Basically, we were told to find the closet missionary companionship in our area and work with them for a little bit until further notice.
Thursday: This was supposed to be the big exciting Transfer day!! But alas... I had no companion!! Luckily, Sister Jenson was also scheduled to be training this transfer and she is in Wels which is only 15 minutes away from Linz by train. So we were told to work with each other for a little bit until our golden's got into town. It was so nice to get to spend time with my first companion in Germany and to see how we've both grown in the past six months.
|After a crazy day in Wels|
We traveled from Munich back to Wels, went to Institute in Wels, and then drove back to Linz to spend the night. We got the news late Thursday night that our Golden's were going to be flying in to Vienna...at 10:30 Friday night! So we packed our bags again, moved around some appointments, and went to bed.
|A super old castle|
Friday: We had an appointment with a pretty new investigator family who lives in Aigen...which is on the border of the Czech Republic! It is actually only a 15 minute hike through some mountains to get there, but hiking through the mountains would be against the rules :P
Instead of a beautiful mountain hike (we did still take pictures) we had to run to catch so many trains that day!! We almost missed our train to Aigen, but caught it- literally by the hair on our chinny chin chins! We sprinted to catch the train to Wels and made it with 10 seconds to spare. We had a few appointments in Wels, so we also had to run like the wind to catch our train to Vienna. The Elders in Vienna picked us up from Bahnhof and took us to the airport to pick up our Golden's. Their plane was a little late, so we didn't actually meet them until 11pm. It was such a relief to finally meet Sister Pentz! The week had been so stressful and emotional, it was like a breath of fresh air to finally have her by my side! We traveled to the Sister's Apartment in Vienna to spend the night, but didn't arrive until 1 pm! Needless to say, we were exhausted and fell into our beds ready for some serious slumber.
|Waiting at the airport in Vienna|
Saturday: Sister Jenson had the brilliant idea that we still wake up at 6:30 am! She thought it would be a fantastic idea if our Golden's woke up at 6:30 for their first day of training! Even though in situations like ours we are allowed to get a full 8 hours of sleep! So yes, on this ONLY day we would be allowed to sleep in and we probably really needed it! Luckily we are missionaries and we love each other- or I think she would have had a serious dog pile as we held her down for more sleep. We all groggily woke up, got ready, and took a train back to our areas. We got back just in time to eat some lunch and then watch some General Conference. I have to confess, it was the hardest thing not to fall asleep! But I will say, Sister Pentz was a trooper- she has such a great attitude.
|We have twin watches, we were meant to be together|
Sunday: More General Conference!! It was the very first full day that I had spent with my own companion in my own area all week! And it was Sister Pentz first full day in Linz. Most of it was spent studying and watching General Conference, so needless to say, we were still pretty exhausted.
Monday (today): Our very first p-day! What to do with my new companion on her first p-day in her first area on the second full day of her first area?
I was listing off some fun things that we could do in Linz and mentioned that there is a Haribo factory here. Seriously, Sister Pentz about had a heart attack! So we made that our first priority for the day, it felt like we were in the middle of a heavenly candy wonderland :) You may have heard that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but if that is what you think I can guarantee you have definitely never been to a candy factory!
|Sister Pentz and I at Haribo candy factory|
Well, that was my crazy week! As stressful as it was, I could feel the Lord pulling me through. even in the moments where all I wanted to do was collapse and just cry. I'm pretty sure that I even broke into hysterics on the phone with some of the Elders (sorry Elder Allan!!) But every time I started to get upset or discouraged, somebody was always there by my side. Whether it was a member, a companion, or the kind stranger on the street who gave me a flower because they felt like I needed it- there was always SOMETHING or SOMEONE to remind me to buckle up my bootstraps and keep going! Please remember that- to you, it might be a simple smile you share to someone as they get off the bus, but to them- that smile is their saving grace for the day! You just seriously NEVER know who you are helping and impacting for good.
|They wanted to go dooring|
|A church in Salzburg|
If anything, this week has just made me REALLY GRATEFUL that I get to go back to missionary work this week! I love the travel, the trains and the fun stuff we get to see and do, but I miss just simply teaching and serving people!
Thanks for your patience in reading through this rant. I am sure that I wouldn't have been able to make it through this week if it wasn't for everyone's prayers and support. I am finally catching my breath, I'm not living out of my backpack anymore, and I am ready to start this transfer and take Linz by storm! And Sister Pentz is great, I am excited to work with her. She is from Colorado Springs, her family sounds awesome and I hear her sister has already made contact with my mom! We really do live in a small world after all :)
Have an amazing week! I love you all!