After last week, I think ANYTHING would feel less crazy, but I can honestly say that it was nice to have things back to normal this week.
I think that the Lord felt really bad for how crazy busy things were last week, so He made this week really...really....slow....Poor Sister Pentz, I kept telling her on the train ride home from Vienna how busy we are in Linz and how much we have to do! And than we got to planning this week and we have really struggled to schedule any appointments at all. It was probably a blessing in disguise for many reasons, but definitely one blessing is that we got to spend a little bit of time going contacting.
In all honesty, contacting hasn't really been one of my favorite things to do on my mission. I enjoy contacting on the buses and Straßenbahns, talking to strangers and just finding something to start a conversation. But street contacting and going door-to-door has never been my favorite. Because it just doesn't come naturally to me, I have just kind of pushed those things aside and hoped that my wonderful Golden's would learn from other companions how to street contact.
It must be really important to the Lord that I train Sister Pentz the right way (including all kinds of contacting) because with all of the extra time we had, we were able to put a good deal of focus and energy on contacting.
I don't know why, but for some reason it is easy for me to assume that everybody else knows the things that I know or thinks the way I think. I have noticed that there have been so many times recently that I find myself talking to somebody and when I turn to ask Sister Pentz for her thoughts, I see a blank look on her eyes that feels all too familiar from when I was a new missionary!! I love these moments, not because I feel so smart- but because it is a reminder to slow down and to stop worrying about doing everything perfect! It is a reminder that it is best for me to just focus on helping Sister Pentz not only learn to do missionary work, but to LOVE it.
This really is one of the greatest blessings of training- being able to just watch a wonderful new missionary grow from being 100% dependent on you to feel comfortable in the area, the language, the travel systems and the ward to having courage to be a 50/50 partner in the work. And of course, to see them completely walk around outside their comfort zone and to LOVE doing things that were scary to them just a few days before!!! I feel a little bit of absolute joy every time I see these little things because when I was new, these weren't LITTLE things at all! It's actually the fastest way to make my day :)
I love to see the progress that the new missionaries make, but also I love how their fresh perspective and approach are a constant reminder that after all is said and done- it's the people that really matter in missionary work. I will be sitting on a bus trying to get organized; I will be stressed out about how to make everything work out that week and looking at a long list of people we need to call- than sure enough, I will hear bubbly Sister Pentz talking to a stranger on the bus, saying ''Excuse me, I am new, I can't speak much German, can I practice with you? You see, I am a missionary here, and this is what I do...'' Seriously, I can't help but smile :)
President and Sister Miles were at our district meeting this week so that President could do interviews. For the past few interviews, I have had a pretty specific question that I wanted to talk with President Miles about.
This interview was kind of hard for me to prepare for. I didn't really know what to say. I kind of wanted to walk in and say 'President, I am confused! I don't know what I am still doing here in Linz, I feel a little like maybe Linz would be better with someone completely new; I don't know why on earth I am training again. I am confused, I am feeling inadequate, I just need love!'
But how do you go into a conversation like that? But again, I received a confirmation that President Miles is really in called from the Lord! He was able to sit down and answer the questions of my heart before I even asked them. I was able to leave district meeting with a renewed sense of what I need to do to fulfill my callings as a missionary in Linz and as a trainer.
It was one of those days where it really hits you that Heavenly Father knows each one of us so personally. And He knows the people who will touch our lives each day. President Miles couldn't read my mind- but Heavenly Father knew what was in my heart and on my mind. Because of that, He could give President Miles exactly the right words to say at the exact right moment.
Please don't be afraid to speak what's on your mind (if it's kind or uplifting). There is a good chance that the thoughts that pop into your head are words that are very much needed to the person you are chatting with. Remember we are intended to be instruments in God's hands, so open your mouth and open your arms- you WILL touch someone's life, I promise!
We did have a really cool miracle this past week. For the past few months, every time we have gone to visit R, her friend 'E' was always there as well. But E would either come in at the very end of a lesson, or she would go to another room while we taught, even though we invited her to join us. After one lesson, R gave us E's address to go by on her, but E was never there. She even told R that she had no interest in meeting with us. Even though we weren't ever able to teach E, we continued to get to know her, ask about her family, and be friendly every time we saw her at R's. Just last week, we were about to teach R a little lesson when E came in. To our surprise, E stayed, and actually participated in the lesson a little bit. At the end, right before we said the closing prayer, E looked at us and said that we could come and visit her at her house if we'd like. Of course we would!! R of course got all excited, and we set up a new appointment for after Easter vacation (ugh, you learn to hate vacation time as a missionary...) and that was that!
It was just a witness to me that if we do our part, which is love the people we meet regardless of if they are interested in our message or not- and we continue to invite them to ''come and see'' us at church or activities- we won't have to convince or force people to learn anything! Just by feeling loved, they will feel the spirit and through the spirit, they will just naturally develop an interest. Our interest and love for them helps spark their curiosity to what we do and how we live.
It is simple, really. But it requires a lot of patience and trust. And prayer, and humility, and diligence, and everything else that goes along with missionary work!!
On a more serious note- I need prayers!! Lots and lots of prayers...
The senior couple serving here is also in charge of planning Young Single Adult activities. Sister Didenhover, the senior sister, came up to me a few weeks ago and said she wanted to plan a Mexican themed YSA activity for Cinco de Mayo and thought it would be fun if I taught how to Texas line dance. I just kind of laughed and agreed that it would be a very fun activity. I told her I didn't dare commit because I wasn't even sure if I would be here still in May. Well, now that the transfer has started and we know for sure that I will be here for the May 3rd activity, Sister Didenhover decided that was my answer (or the Lord's answer that I can teach line dancing)!!
At the YSA activity on Saturday, I had so many people come up to me telling me how excited they were that I was going to teach everyone line dancing in May.
Just because I lived in Texas on and off for a few months doesn't mean I know how to Texas line dance!! I have never even owned cowboy boots-
The whole scheme just gets better because Sister Didenhover also asked one of the elders here in Linz to help out, because he has gone line dancing before. So Elder Croft and I are going to have to figure out how to teach line dancing and be dance partners...and still maintain dignity in our callings. I haven't listened to music in so long, I don't even know that I will be able to keep a beat, let alone dance to one.
So please pray for my success and ability to pull this together for the activity. It would mean so much to me (and the Didenhovers, and all of the YSAs in the OberÖsterreich region...thanks!!!)
I love you all so much-
I feel your prayers every day. I wish I could tell you how much they sustain me when things feel tough. I love being a missionary and am so grateful for all the support I receive from everyone! Just remember, no thought and prayer for love goes unnoticed by those you pray for.
Sister Kori Peterson