Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A little Spice to Life

Dear Family & Friends,

     At the beginning of my mission, I made the goal to eat everything that was put in front of my plate by members or investigators, no matter how gross or scary it was to me. I didn't want to be too picky and I definitely did not want to offend anyone by my food likes and dislikes. Luckily, I have not really had a problem with that my entire mission (except for the blood sausage that I ate in Freiburg- but I didn't know what that was until after I ate it). 
This is how we spent Independence Day
      Well, this sweet lady in our ward invited several of the missionaries to her house for dinner. Before we went in, Sister Erdenetsogt grabbed my arm and said very seriously, 'You need to be very careful eating here, she cooks really SPICY!'  Its not that I don't like spicy foods, I do; I think spicy foods have the potential to taste really good. I am just a big food wimp when it comes to extreme spice and flavor! But I was confident and faithful that I could tackle this food. I was actually doing pretty good for most of the appointment, only dishing up small amounts of spicy food and big amounts of rice, and drinking plenty of water in between. 
     Until someone noticed that I hadn't eaten any of the meat dish yet. I said that I would, but I wasn't sure how spicy it was, so I didn't want too much. Elder Jones assured me that it wasn't spicy at all, it was actually really delicious- reassuring me that I would want a lot.  
     Sister Erdenetsogt immediately objected and whispered to me 'don't do it, don't do it, its sooo hot!  I'm not joking, don't do it!'  
     By this point, I was curious, and I wanted to try just a bit, I gave Elder Jones my plate and told him to dish up just a tiny bit, and that I would try more later if I liked it. To my horror, he kept dishing more and more until all of my rice was soaked and covered with the meat and it's sauce. Needless to say, it was HOT! I think I had to drink an entire glass of water for every tiny bit of rice that I ate. I kept having to add more and more rice and drink more and more water; I'm sure my stomach was about to explode. I felt so bad, the food really did taste good, but I'm sure my face looked like I was in so much pain, because the poor member kept standing up and bringing me cucumbers, water, bread, yogurt, etc...Everyone cheered when I finished it. Mensch. I guess I learned to never trust an Elder at dinnertime- even if they are AP!
     We started our Austausches (exchanges) this week. By now, I am definitely comfortable with Austausches by now and have loved all the times I have gotten to do them in the past. I've been going on exchanges my entire mission- but these have been a little different. As a missionary or trainer, we only do one Tausch every 6 weeks and we don't have any planning or training that we need to prepare. We also don't have to make any of the organization plans either, so we aren't involved with who goes where and works with who! All I've ever had to do in the past is go through the day with the Sister Training Leader who was working with me, take their suggestions and ask any questions or concerns. We would set goals and talk about how to achieve them... then the STL would return to her area and my life would return to missionary normal. 
Starburg Sea
      Well, now, we are tausching with a companionship once a week for the rest of the transfer, we have to plan who goes where, when it happens, what our goals and focus of the exchange is going to be, everything! I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous and anxious to lead the exchanges. But we had one last week with the other Sisters in Munich (working in the München 3 area) and I went to work in their area with a cute German missionary, Sister Kutschke. 
     It was kinda funny to still be working in Munich, taking the same Sbahns and Ubahns that I normally do! But I always love working with other missionaries and getting new ideas from them on how they do missionary work, how they work with members and other missionaries, and how they organize and plan for the day. It was also very humbling to go in with a specific goal for each tausch, be asked questions on some things that the missionary companionship was struggling with, and try to help exchange ideas and set goals to help them with their work. Leadership positions are always more hard and humbling than I expect them to be! Training is quite different, mainly because the new golden's don't know the difference if you do anything wrong or make a mistake and since the trainer is usually their first companion, they don't compare you to others either-
     President Kohler and his family traveled around the mission last week to host an Introduction Conference for the missionaries. This was mainly so they could get to know the missionaries in each area and we could get to know the expectations and plans for this mission at this time. During these conferences, time was given to Sister Kohler and their children, Erika and Tanner to introduce themselves and talk about their thoughts and feelings about being here. One thing that really hit me, which I guess I thought about before but never really understood, was how much they have all had to sacrifice to come here. The kids are still young and in high school, and yet, they left everything to support this calling to serve the Lord! I threw a huge fit when I found out that I was moving from California to Texas during my senior year of high school, but I was still able to visit California pretty frequently after I left. These kids have just been asked to move, not only away from home, but to a different country, where they will need to learn a new language and a new culture AND have very limited opportunity to travel home to see friends and family. Again, I just have so much respect and appreciation for them and what they are doing! I know that for the Kohler's, this is a family calling. Though President & Sister Kohler will be doing most of the "in the trenches" work, their children will spend most of their free time traveling from one mission area to the next! Though, I will confess, that traveling around Germany is definitely NOT the worst thing they could be forced to do, I appreciate what they are willing to do for the sake of serving the missionaries and members of this area! 
     Well, I think this is the end of my time.
     Love to you all,

Sister Peterson

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