Monday, July 14, 2014

Learning Gratitude the Hard Way

Hello Friends & Family- 

     Well, just in case you have been living under a rock the past few weeks (or are like my mom), you may not have heard that I am currently living in the same country that can officially claim they are the world's soccer champions!! I'm sure you can imagine, it's a pretty big thing here-

German pride is everywhere!
     One thing you have to know about me is that I am awful at quoting movies and songs! I am also the biggest fan of exaggerating and paraphrasing! Hopefully that explains my biggest epiphany this week: there is supposedly a quote in some sort of movie or spoken by some sort of a famous actor that goes something along the lines of 'When we ask God for patience, He doesn't just give us patience, He gives us the opportunity and experiences that will teach us how to be patient.' And so it is with everything-humility, faith, diligence- we might think we are asking for a Christlike attribute, but what we often get is a refiners fire that forces us to develop that attribute- I never understood why people always say "Never pray for patience..." Well, now I understand, and for me the lesson came this week as Heavenly Father taught me about gratitude!  
     Last Monday, I had a huge panic attack. Did I say huge?... well, I mean to say HUGE!!! 
Actually, it was pretty embarrassing. We went home after emails, and all of my worries and stress and fears just kind of exploded. Sister Erdenetsogt got to see a real 'American' girl break down; which included me laying on the floor, crying while shoving peanut butter and crackers into my mouth, whining about my problems for a good hour or two! Honestly, she didn't know whether she should be serious or laugh! Before Monday, I hadn't really given myself a lot of time to think about what scared me. I hadn't really thought about my fears, my worries, and my concerns. This little breakdown really forced me to think about what was most important to me and all the promises Heavenly Father has given me to help me keep my heart open to all that I will need to go through.

     Luckily it was P-day so we were able to stay home for a bit until I calmed down, but I had decided to ask some of the Elders in my district if they could give me a comfort blessing the next day after district meeting. I was 100% sure that the blessing would solve all of my problems, tell me everything that I wanted to hear, and that life would be fine and dandy. Well, I hadn't told the Elder giving me the blessing what was wrong; I just told  him that I wanted one. I was totally confident that I would hear what I needed to hear (or at least what I THOUGHT I needed to hear.)  
     But to my disappointment, the blessing was really general and did not address, in even the slightest way, what my worries were. The rest of the day, I was really upset; I was even tempted to call the Elder and tell him that I needed another blessing. I had gotten some pretty cool promises and been told some cool things, but I was so focused on the fact that I hadn't heard what I wanted to hear that I wasn't grateful for what I had heard. I wasn't listening! 
     The next day during personal study, I was reading talks from last general conference, and of course President Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude was next. It was a big slap in the face of how I needed to be grateful first for what I have, then I can be given more. I made a list of all the things that I was promised in the blessing, and how those things would help me in my work. Then I made a list of all the things I was still worried about, and decided to leave it to the Lord, put my worries in a mental box, and place it at His feet. From there I went about and continued on my day.

Me and my girls at Mission Leadership Conference

Birthday celebration with the Munich missionaries and the Kohler family
     Well, that day we had another Austausch with the Sisters in Augsburg. Sister Smith came here to Munich to work with me, which was really cool, since she started out in Munich II, and so I got to see the way that she loves and teaches the same exact people that I love and teach. It was also cool because there have been lots of people that Sister Erdenetsogt and I have been trying to get into contact with, but who have never answered us, but we were able to get back into contact with some of them and even meet others. But the biggest gift and mercy came for me at the end of the Tausch when we were on the way back. Normally I don't really open up about super personal thoughts with people who are not my companion, especially people who I haven't really known a long time. But for some reason, I told Sister Smith almost everything about what was on my mind; why I am nervous to go back to Texas, my fears, the sense of security that I feel as a missionary and not wanting to lose that; feeling like I don't have enough time to do all the things I still want to do here in Munich, etc.
     The blessing came when she opened up a bit to me on how she felt about my worries and she shared some thoughts that could help me. Well, surprise- surprise, they were exactly the things I needed to hear and had been praying to hear ever since I had decided to ask for my blessing. Heavenly Father could have just been told the exact same things on Tuesday in my blessing; But instead, the Lord taught me to be grateful first and to remember the promises He has given me (and the miracles He has shown me),to have faith, and to press forward! After He allowed me to put my heart in the right place, then I could receive the comfort that I needed. 
This is what our kitchen looks like on Sunday's after we get done making gifts for our members and investigators
     We did get to celebrate Mongolian Independence Day on Friday with one of our investigator families, the Göb's. Lately, I feel like all that we are eating is German potato salad and Mongolian dumplings- it's good thing that they are both so delicious!!

Mongolian Independence Day celebrations
Thank you so much for your love, your support and your prayers,
Love to you all,
Sister Peterson

1 comment:

  1. the Lord does work in mysterious ways. Sister Peterson is sooo real and I love that about her.