Monday, August 18, 2014

Peach Rings and Angel Wings

Hello Friends, Family, & Awesome Missionaries I haven't Met Yet,

     I can't tell you how many of the new missionaries have come up to me in the past few weeks and said "Sister Peterson! This is going to sound really creepy, but I read your blog! It's so cool to finally meet you!" I don't really know what to say...I never read blogs before my mission, so I didn't realize that people other than family read them... I really just assumed mine wasn't being read either!
ubahn station; our main from of transportation
     So to all of you who read my weekly emails and blogs, I promise you that I actually do do missionary work!!! Sister Motto and I have a lot of fun for sure, but we are getting stuff DONE! That's one of the things that I really enjoy about working with Sister Motto, is I really feel equally yolked. It's been very nice to have her help me in the work without completely taking over. It's not that I am doing all the work because I know the area, or her doing it all so she can take over, but it's both of us working together- it is a pretty nice arrangement we have :)
It is August and we are wearing scarves, tights, and jackets
Speaking of companion unity...
     I have had people tell me my entire mission how similar Sister Motto and I are, and throughout our time together it has almost been spooky at times how similar we are. We went on another exchange last week with the Passau Sisters, which put me in Passau with Sister Wunderli (more about that in a bit). Sister Wunderli and I were waiting in the Passau Bahnhof for the other sisters to get there, so I went into a store to buy some snacks for the train ride back to Munich. I saw some Peach Ring candies and remembered that Sister Motto likes Peach Rings; I bought some and hid them in my bag. The Sister's showed up and Sister Motto and I hopped on the train to go back home. We were hardly sitting down for 2 minutes, and Sister Motto gives me this big, proud grin and says ''I have a surprise for you!!' and pulls out a bag of Peach Rings. I started cracking up and pulled out my bag of Peach Rings.  
We had two delicious bags of Peach Rings for the train ride back :) 
Elder Bootcher was in Munich this week
     I have never really understood Austausches (missionary exchanges) before. I've always enjoyed them and I have always learned a lot, but I had never had a miracle experience on Tausch before. The one exception was working with Sister Henry again in Linz- I had really needed time with her as she was probably the only one who could have given me confidence about training again! But I have always considered that a blessing for me, more than a miracle of the moment. Well, when Sister Wunderli got transferred to Passau and we were made Sister Training Leader's at the same time, I knew that I would eventually do a tausch with her. Things were kind of rough our last transfer together and our companionship ended on a sticky note, so I was really nervous about working with her again. After praying a lot about it with Sister Motto, we felt really clearly that I was supposed to stay in Munich with Sister Wunderli. We tausched after Zone Training working together great but it was kind of weird and awkward. 
Members make me smile
     However, when we got home and made dinner, Sister Wunderli just acted like she had a lot to get off of her chest. She went off about how sorry she was for some of the difficult parts of our companionship; how much she learned in our time together, how much she loves me and how grateful she was that we got to work together again! At the end of the tausch, she told me how much she had learned from those 24 hours that we had gotten to work together again. But at the end of the tausch, I knew that it was I who had had a really humbling and very needed learning experience. My goal for the tausch was to forgive her-what ended up happening is both of us forgiving each other and walking away with an increased love and appreciation for each other. It is incredible to see how we have both changed. That is truly the power of forgiveness, not only to stop holding hard feelings, but to actually have an increase in love and appreciation for our Brother's and Sister's. 

Together Again
     I have been studying a lot about sowing and reaping; especially whether God predetermines who will be sowers and who will be reapers. I have concluded that I am both a sower and a reaper, but for these past few years (especially these 17 months on my mission) I have been a sower. I will reap and recognize the fruit of my labors, but maybe later down the road. But for now I am sowing and giving others the opportunity to reap the fruits of my efforts.

Perfect example of this:
     About a month ago, Sister Erdenetsogt and I tried to visit all of the members and commit them to pray to find 1 person each year to bring to church. We encouraged them to pray for an opportunity to share the gospel, pray for names, and then invite invite invite! 
     We went over to this one members house and had a really awesome conversation. She was super stoked to do it so we asked her to make a commitment and to follow up with us to share her experience. Well, she came up to me at church yesterday and was super excited!!  She said ''Sister Peterson, do you remember when you and your companion came to my house a bit ago and did the family mission plan with me? About working with one person to bring to church this year? Well, I have been praying, just like you said, and looking for opportunities, just like you said. And guess what? I was over at my in-laws the other day, and there was this lady who kept asking questions about the church and we talked for a few hours about the church and our teachings! It worked! How cool! So I went home, took a Book of Mormon and wrote my testimony in it! And guess what?...'' 
I was so happy, seeing her excitement to share the story with me, the miracle of it all, the joy of having a golden member referral.... that I didn't really HEAR what she said next. It took me a minute to realize that when she said after "guess what?" was ''so I gave the Book of Mormon to the Elders and told them to go visit her! And they will be teaching her! How cool is that?!!''  
She thanked me for the lesson and said she would continue to pray and have her family pray for opportunities as well, and walked away as happy as she could possibly be... 
leaving me staring after her and wondering, 
THE ELDERS???? What! 
Planning Day Game

What a beautiful neighborhood
     Well, I guess it all works out for a reason and it really should be the Elders who teach her friend, but oooh, I wanted to grab Elder Bellersen and Elder Nielson's ties, pull them real close and say ''your are WELCOME!''
     The life of a sower is rewarding in a very different way. I like to say that I might not be having too big of a party in this life, but I will be having a ball in the next life, watching the big movie of my life on a big screen and seeing the small influences that I left behind. 
Take my word for it, we are all sowers and we are all reapers, but just as important as sowing and reaping is enjoying the harvest of each growing season! 

Love to you all,
Sister Peterson

A picture from Mom's photo challenge

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