At the beginning of my mission, my life was all about experiencing new things and "firsts". Becoming a missionary, arriving in a new country, my first companion, the first transfer calls, going to a new area, new companions, learning new things, new meetings, new language, the list goes on and on! Now, I have pretty much accepted that my 'new' experiences are pretty much coming to an end and most of my 'firsts' are becoming my 'lasts'.
|This may be my last 'first'- it is my first time seeing a spiderman missionary :)|
I am in (what is likely) my last area, I'm probably getting my last companion soon (unless Sister Erdenetsogt and I stay together one more transfer, we find out Friday!) I was shopping last week and realized that I was probably buying my last bottle of shampoo and conditioner before I go home! It sounds like they are just Kleinigkeiten, little things, but they are the little reminders each day, every moment counts right now!
|The Elders living it up at the Summer Festival|
|Having fun at the festival|
It also seems that I am living a life of deja vu right now. Time is going so fast that it seems like conversations that I just had six or twelve weeks ago are being repeated over and over. I remember going over the Sneddon's house 6 weeks ago and telling them that transfer calls were right around the corner, and asking them to pray that Sister E. and I would get to stay together. Well, they came up to us again on Saturday and asked when the next transfer calls were, and we realized that they are again, just right around the corner- and our prayer is the same, 'please let us stay together for a little longer'!
Can the wheel of life just stop turning for a tiny second please???? Or at least slow down enough for me to catch my breath before I dive into another monstrous wave!
But it was a good week!! We had Zone Training again on Tuesday, and I have to say, its pretty nice to be right in Munich and only have to travel 15 minutes to get to the church, rather than a full 3-4 hours to go to a meeting that only lasts 3 hours only to have to turn around and travel the entire way back again! We can actually have appointments after Zone Training, and all of our studies before? It was the first Zone Training that we have had as STL's, and it was kind of stressful to coordinate and plan with the Zone Leaders- sometimes I worry that the Elders think we have cooties or something! When we all get together to plan something like this, I am reminded that we are all still very, very young adults trying to coordinate and do the best we can with what limited experience we really have. In the end, it all worked out very well, just as it always does when you are on the Lord's errand.
We also got all of our Tausches done- big sigh of relief!! So Sister Erdenetsogt and I finally have a full week this week where we get to spend the entire time in our own area with each other! Success!
I was able to go to Passau on Tausch this week, which I was so excited about for 2 reasons. 1-Passau is where Sister Regnier (my MTC companion) started her mission, and I have always heard from her about how gorgeous it is! I have been dying to see it for EVER! and
2-I was able to work with Sister Woods, which I was also super stoked about. Sister Henry absolutely adored her, and I've been excited to work with her even since I came to this zone! It was a pretty good tausch, I always love going to other areas and seeing how other missionaries take care of their people.
|Sister Woods and I|
|Passau- not the best picture, but it is beautiful here!|
In my opinion, there are two kinds of tausches: skill tausches or love tausches. On the skill tausches, I learn a lot about how to be a Preach My Gospel missionary. Things like teaching skills, finding, studying, and how to be effective and diligent. On the love tausches, I learn how to be a personal missionary, like how to care for people, how to serve, how to be humble, how to be Christlike.
|The International Ward Elders went looking for my lost phone & added some personal touches of their own!|
|Our neighbors baked us muffins to apologize for being loud- YUM!|
It was also very cool, because Sister Erdenetsogt was able to work with Sister Wunderli in Munich. Ah, memories of the dritt in Linz! I haven't really talked much or seen much of Sister Wunderli since she came to the Munich Zone, but after Sister Erdenetsogt and I came back together, the first thing she said was 'Sister Peterson, she has changed SO MUCH. You have to work with her next transfer!'
That's probably one of the coolest parts about training, and I have said this a million times before- I love meeting my companions months later, and seeing how they have grown and changed, not just as a missionary but as a person. And how lucky I have been to even get to be companions with one of my golden's again! Missions are tough and trying, but they are also so rewarding. One of the rewards that I see is just how much the missionaries learn from each other. We really grow so much, something I never understood before my mission! But truly, Heavenly Father takes these young, immature and sometimes selfish youth and young adults and in 18-24 months of serving His children, He turns these kids into amazing and selfless people- honestly my biggest concern about coming home is that I will lose who I have become in the 'real world'.
|But I assure you, we haven't outgrown silly antics,|
|... or silly faces,|
|... or silly photo bombs :)|
One of the ways that I see this change manifest is in the personal touch game that we play with each other! It is just a simple service game that we use to keep our spirits high and to stay unified within our zone's. It might be simple, but the impact it can have on your life when you really need a 'personal touch' from someone is HUGE! Can I just stay here forever?!?!?
A few weeks ago, I was talking with Elder Thurman and his wife about how I was going home soon and I wish that I could ask for an extension, but that its really hard for missionaries (at least in this mission) to extend their mission, even just one transfer. On Tuesday, he came up to me and said ''Sister Peterson, I know that you want an extension. I did what I could, and this is the best I could do!''
|My mission "extension"!|
... and gave me an extension cord Bwaaaahaha! Mensch, I am keeping that cord and taking it home with me!
I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers