Guten Morgen Freunde und Familie,
At the beginning of my mission, everything was so fresh and new! I was always on my toes, learning new things, trying new foods, and experiencing a lot of ''firsts"- "my "First" winter, my "first" Christmas, "first" General Conference in a new language. It's kind of funny to be experiencing all of these firsts again with Sister Pentz, but this time, most of them are my ''lasts". I am constantly being hit in the face with the weirdest feelings of deja vu, and fighting desperately against falling into the trap of working and teaching based on habits that I've create, doing what is familiar and comfortable, and getting stuck in a missionary 'rut.' I think this is especially true because I've been in Linz so long that everything is familiar and I have created a lot of habits here. Maybe that is one reason why I keep getting new Golden's. Because everything about missionary life is so new to them, they just keep teaching me new things.
|Beautiful Train Rides Never Get Old|
I was starting to feel a little guilty that these feelings of 'deja vu' were causing me to look forward to the end of my mission more than just enjoying the moment I am in right here, right now. But this week, I have figured out that some of these feelings of deja vu can actually be a very positive and can have a very rejuvenating impact on my life and my mission.
We got to do another Austausch (exchange) with the Sister Training Leaders in Salzburg this past week. After 3 transfers of trying, Sister Henry and I were finally able to work together again!! I was so excited. I have loved working with all the Sister's, both my full time companions AND the sister's I've met on exchanges, but I was excited to get to work with Sister Henry again.
|Ahhh, it's been awhile- happy to see her!|
It is really cool to see how the Lord's hand is in literally every aspect of the work, including Tausches. Up until this point, it had never felt right for Sister Henry and I to work together on the Tausch. But last week, working with her was exactly what I needed at exactly when I needed it. I was starting to feel over burdened with so many feelings of inadequacy, doubt and stagnancy. The questions of 'What in the world am I still doing in Linz?' and 'Why why why why WHY am I training again? I cant do this!!' and 'What purpose do I even have here?' were swimming in my mind, and it was starting to get hard to focus on the work and on the people because of all of these distracting and unproductive questions.
From Tuesday to Wednesday evening, Sister Pentz went to work in Salzburg and Sister Henry came to work with me in Linz. It was refreshing to just work with somebody that I admire and love so much, and it was so cool to see how she has grown as a missionary!! I had forgotten how quirky she is. It was freezing cold one morning, and Sister Henry had heard that a member of our ward owns an ice cream shop and that missionaries get free ice cream cones. So we were walking home from an appointment, and she begged to go get free ice cream, just to say that she had been there! We got ice cream and walked home in the cloudy and windy weather, shivering as we were licking our ice cream cones...but we were laughing the entire way home, of course!!
|Shivery day + Ice cold Ice Cream + 2 friends= a warm feeling inside|
At the end of the tausch, we talked a bit about what we had each learned. I was shocked to hear Sister Henry say the things that she did, and just express her gratitude for what she learned from me as a trainer before, and the things that she still sees that I do now. All of my fears and my doubts about everything were answered, and I knew that this tausch, where we had been allowed to serve together again, had been saved until that very week that I needed Sister Henry the most. It renewed the excitement, motivation, and confidence that I needed to keep going forward and just work on being the best companion for Sister Pentz that I can be! And being the best missionary I can be!! And the best support and influence for the Linz ward that I can be!!! Sister Pentz is really awesome- she deserves the best that I have to offer- and that's what she's going to get :)
|Just a cute couple walking in the park- but it solidified we are right were we are supposed to be|
Which actually brings me to a thought that I had this week, it was kind of a cool thought. Sister Henry was telling me how she feels like I was exactly the person that she needed to train her, and how much of a testimony that she has that we are paired up with our trainers for a reason, and how I am exactly who Sister Pentz needs right now. It got me to thinking a lot and I realized that I could have easily trained Sister Pentz anywhere. I mean, this is my 5th transfer in Linz! I had already been in Linz for 6 months when I got the call that I was training again AND that I would be staying here. President could have easily moved me out of Linz and into a new area after my 2nd transfer, which would have been totally normal. But being in an area for 5 and 6 transfers, half of my mission- that is pretty odd.
|A lovely view from my days here in Linz|
And for a while, I was stressing out, trying to figure out what in the world I was still doing here, what on earth I still had to offer to Linz! It was then that I realized that the Lord has kept me here in Linz, partially because my work here isn't done yet, but because Sister Pentz's work here is just beginning! She really needs to be here AND I really need to be her trainer. Though I could have trained here anywhere else, SHE needs to be here!! So I was kept here, so that I could train her in this spot; RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
This thought really changed my perspective so much, and its made me a lot more selfless. It has helped me to really focus on how to teach Sister Pentz to love this area, get to know this ward, and to take charge. It has also helped me view her as more of an equal, and to focus on including her in every aspect of the work, just remembering that we are both called to be in Linz right now. Isn't it funny how a little perspective changes everything?
|Easter messages from Sister Pentz- she is so sweet!|
With summer coming up and the sun coming out earlier and earlier every day, I really have no excuse to just stretch for Frühsport (morning exercise) anymore. I keep setting goals of actually working out in the morning, but it has never really happened before. It's too late to start the 6 months to sexy missionary diet, but I have decided that it's never too late to start the 5 months to fit diet!! And if I continue to procrastinate, there's always 4 months to fit, 3 months to thin, 2 months to toned, and 1 month to...well...if I wait until 1 month to start working out than lets be honest, it probably won't end up happening :P But Y'all would be proud of me, I mustered up enough energy to jump rope this morning! And then I rewarded myself with some lactose free Easter chocolate...teeheehee ;) Missionary life is fun!
|Our Study Board|
Next week, the Salzburg and Vienna Zones are gathering in Vienna on Monday and Tuesday to do a massive finding day, and then to have Mission Tour. So I won't be able to do emails until Wednesday. But until then, have a good week, and I love y'all so much!!
I know by the time y'all get this email or read the blog, it will be past Easter, but I wanted to share this video. I have watched it so many times already, it is very much worth the watch, even if it is after Easter- Watch the Easter message here
Hugs and prayers from Austria!