Hello All and Happy Cinco de Mayo-
There are two common American phrases that I keep thinking about
that could define this email- First, 'don't shoot the messenger' and the second phrase is 'learn to expect the unexpected'.
One thing I can say for sure is that the Lord is a big fan of throwing curve balls, especially at the person who is serene and comfortable where they are! Just when I start to feel like I am feeling comfortable again, the rug gets pulled out right from underneath me! Maybe it's because the Lord knows how easy it is for me to get stuck in a rut when things are too comfortable, so He always has to do something to keep me on my toes :P
|Julia is going to go on a mission. She will be wonderful!|
My in-field ''birthday'' was this week, which means that when I read in my journal entries from a year ago, I am finally in the mission field! It is a really neat experience to read through the problems I had at the beginning of my mission, the ways I coped, the miracles I saw, the lessons I was learning, and to remember how odd it was to transition from a ''normal'' person into a missionary, and how long 18 months seemed to be at the time.
|A beautiful Spring morning- I love this time of year!!|
Well, now, one year later, I am having the same experiences, but reversed! My mind is trying to get used to the idea that at some point, I will NOT be a missionary, and how fast the next 4 months will fly by. I feel like I am counseling with myself, just by reading in my journal every day. Previously, writing in my journal was always something that I would do as a means to vent my ideas and thoughts, I never thought about how much value it would have in the future. But it's cool to see how I have grown, and how the trials that I went through a year ago help me cope with the trials that I go through at this point in my life. Maybe it has something to do with hindsight being 20/20, Hmm. The prophets are pretty smart people when they tell us to keep journals!
|Cute and crazy kids- Abscheid is always hard|
Towards the end of the week, I asked Elder Didenhover for a blessing of comfort and counsel. I just felt tense and distracted all the time, and a little bit of uneasiness. Like something big was coming; a big change- and my body didn't know how to process this change, so it reacted by always being sore and tense and heavy. I asked for a blessing, just to kind of calm me down, and it was a very helpful blessing (especially in hindsight.) Surprisingly, there wasn't a whole lot that was said about specifically about Linz or my position as a trainer. There was just a lot that was said about trusting in the Lord, trusting that He knows best and He knows my position, and that I will be qualified to do the work that I was called to do; nothing too specific, it was all very general. I just had to shrug my shoulders and be content with the fact that I didn't know everything and would understand someday. But I was blessed with peace of mind and heart for the rest of the week. Which was really helpful, because I needed as much peace and comfort as I could get to prepare me for Saturday morning!
Just so you know, I USED to think transfer calls were so exciting-
I might have quickly changed my mind!
Saturday morning was the day scheduled for transfer calls, but neither Sister Pentz nor I were thinking much about this transfer because Sister Pentz has six more week of her training. Sister Pentz and I had just assumed that we would be together for the full 3 months of training time. Although there was always the thought in the back of my mind that it was possible that I would only train Sister Pentz for half of her training, it just never felt right- it was never a worry.
But there were so many times that I would get the impression that I needed to prepare Sister Pentz to take over this area as soon as possible. It was a very uncomfortable thing for me, and at times, it made me feel like the ''mean trainer'' because of the things that I was prompted to ask Sister Pentz to do. There would be times were I felt that she needed to walk us to appointments, even if it meant we got lost and were 30 minutes late somewhere. Or I would get the impression to give her the phone and NOT to take the phone back when she didn't know how to communicate in German and would try to give me the phone back. It was very weird, because in all the times I have trained, I have never felt the urgency to do such things. I was actually always such a firm believer in NOT forcing companions to do things, no matter what good intention it was. But as frequently as I got these promptings, the thought in my mind was never that I would have to leave. It was never a question-in my mind, I was staying in Linz until mid-June. Honestly, in my mind, it was totally possible to stay in Linz until September when I went home!
Saturday morning rolled around, and that's when it hit me. The uneasiness, the understanding, the realization...
The Zone Leaders never called to say we were staying together. I seriously felt every imaginable emotion possible; it felt like the situation with Sister Erdenetsogt all over again. I remember how hard it was for me to get separated from her, feeling as if we weren't done learning from each other, that Sister Erdenetsogt's and my time together was cut short. And in all honesty, I didn't like it, and I struggled a little with it!
Heavenly Father truly is merciful because it didn't take long for my emotions to turn from crazy to completely content. I was still sad that I only got to spend one transfer with Sister Pentz, but I felt at peace. I totally know that she is ready to take over Linz (she really is an awesome missionary) and I know from my own experiences that she wouldn't have been called to take over unless she was ready for it! So even though we were only together for 5 weeks, I was able to see her grow so much :)
... SOOoooooooo where in the world am I going, you ask?
Munich!! Wait, let me say it again the way it sounds in my head MUNICH!!!
Which is crazy, of all the places possible to serve in the mission, I told myself that my top two places that I would NEVER want to serve as a missionary were Vienna and Munich.
They are just much too big of cities for me (I thought), and they have both have so many missionaries!
Especially since Munich is the headquarters of the mission, and that's where the AP's (Assistants to the President) and President and Sister Miles are located. It just always sounded way, way too intimidating to me!
|I am really going to miss Sarah|
Well, yep, that's where I will be going on Thursday! Munich 2 ward.
And the best and most surprising part is that I get to work with Sister Erdenetsogt again!
Which is crazy! I honestly thought that I would never be able to see her again, and here we are! I know there is a sweet and tender mercy here and I am so grateful for it.
It's sad to leave Linz and Sister Pentz behind, and if I wasn't going to work with Sister Erdenetsogt, I do not think I would have accepted the call to go. Well, I guess I would have, because I support my leaders and have no other choice...
but I do not think I would be too happy about it!
I am very excited to get to go back to Germany. I started my mission in Germany during summertime, and I get to finish my mission in Germany in the summertime :)
It'll be just like going home! Except Munich is a lot bigger than Freiburg!
We did have our little YSA Cinco de Mayo party. Of all the things I have done on my mission so far, this was probably the most awkward thing I've ever had to do :)
|Left, two, three, four and Grapevine to the Right|
|Elder Croft has his dance face on :)|
On Saturday morning we got together at the church with the Elder's to practice the line dances. We invited the Didenhover's to ''babysit'' us. The Elders and Sisters are not allowed to go places or be alone with one another, let alone dance together, which is pretty understandable! We got all of the awkwardness and weirdness out of the way so that we could teach the line dances to the Young Single Adult's (YSA's) on Saturday night. It was so much fun just be involved, to get to know them better and to just dance. It has been nice because we have more and more people who are coming to the YSA activities. There was quite a while that nobody ever came to the events, so this felt like HUGE success! Things are finally starting to pick back up again, which is what we have all been praying for in Linz.
|We had worked up quite an appetite|
Before I wrap up, I wanted to add one of my favorite scriptures. I am not sure if I have already shared this or not, but I have really tried to make this scripture my motto for missionary work. It's easy as a missionary to remember that we are trying to share the gospel with others, but it's not as easy to remember HOW we do that. One thing that I have really come to understand in Linz is that the work comes so much easier when you love those you serve. You are better able to understand their needs; you know what to say to comfort them and you are able to have patience with them when it would otherwise be hard. Missionary work and love must go hand in hand, or it is not as effective.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 "So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us."
I know that as we pray to develop this love that missionary opportunities will follow naturally. Service opportunities will come to the surface, and it will no longer become a burden to share the gospel, but it will become something that we honestly and sincerely WANT to do.
I love this work so much and am so grateful to be a part of the Lords great work! Have an amazing week, and greetings (for one last time) from Austria!
... And for your viewing entertainment, here is a video from the YSA Line Dancing Activity