Holidays are a really fun time of year, but to be completey honest, Sister Threlkeld and I are pretty happy to get back into the normal rhythm of things. It's kind of exhausting, and it's also harder to meet with people and have business as usual because people are busy or out of town. So we're excited for order! But, as far as Silvester goes in Germany, that means RACLETTE.
So I had heard of Raclette in the MTC. That's actually the name of a cheese, but when you have Raclette, there's this mini grill in the middle of the table where you grill meats on top and then melt cheese over veggies in this little oven under it...and I was sad that I had never tried it. So, last week, when a member invited us over for dinner on the 1st, I said Raclette. I had forgotten then that Raclette was a Silvester thing...so we had it 2 days in a row. I am in LOVE. It's like this "choose your own adventure" thing where you just make tray after tiny tray of combos of veggies and meats and cheeses and la la la. It's good. I want a grill when I get home.
Another Silvester thing is that EVERYONE sets off fireworks at, when the new year begins. We got home a smidgen later than usual (President said we could be - no worries!) and so I figured that I wouldn't be able to sleep with all the racket. I shouldn't have been worried. I was literally so tired, I didn't hear anything! Sister Threlkeld did, though.
The next morning was seriously like the Apocolypse had happened. We had an appointment at 10 but wanted to share a conference talk that we didn't have printed out, so we left at around 8:30 so we could print it out at the church on the way to our appointment. The sky was grey, it was eerily quiet, NOBODY was on the streets, and there were remnants of fireworks everywhere. Finally, after an hour or two, we started seeing signs of life, but it very obviously was elderly people that were out before anyone else. I suppose that they didn't party too hard.
Crazy thing though, Sister Threlkeld printed a copy of the same talk just so she could read it (One of my favorites, "Forget Me Not," watch/read it here: https://www.lds.org/
general-conference/2011/10/ forget-me-not?lang=eng) and while we were walking, each of us holding a copy of this talk, this random woman passing us just asked "what are you holding?" Sister Threlkeld and I kind of looked at each other and talked with her a while, telling her how it was a talk from an Apostle of God, and she said she wanted to read it, so we just gave her a copy. So cool!
BUT, another part of MLC is participating in Mission Mail. When people receive packages or letters at the HQ of the mission or people order supplies, they don't recieve them until Zone Training - meaning the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders have to carry everything home. A lot of people bring suitcases or big bags to help with that, but we didn't even have it on our radar. Big Mistake. Stuttgart Zone got TONS of packages of supplies and left over from Christmas - like, 8 or 9 in total that we had to carry all the way home. Luckily Elder Nielsen took us in his car to Bahnhof so it wasn't so bad, but we were laughing about how we were upping our "Spätsport" by lugging all of these packages home.
Also, funny thing. So...we found out this week that the Alpine Mission is literally the most expensive mission in the world. It was Tokyo, but since they split it into 2, it has become our mission. So we're trying extra hard to trim the fat on little things. A big part of that is the trains we take, so we took these regional trains instead of the fast ICE on the way home, to make it cheaper. It took like 4 hours, but it was fine because it was fun to be with the Zone Leaders planning Zone Training and eating huge Brezeln and ALMDUDLER. (Almdudler is this magic Austrian soda that the 4 of us missed, so Elder Smith pulled some strings with the Salzburg Zone Leaders, who brought us some Austrian goodness. So that was nice on the way home. :))
|Sister Bushman with Almdudler|
|Elder Smith, Sister Bushman, Sister Threlkeld, Elder Sharp|
with giant Brezeln (pretzel)
At MLC, Sister Kohler talked about something I really liked and took to heart. It was kind of in the vein of "The Character of Christ" by David Bednar, if you're familiar with that talk. Even when Christ was tired or in pain, he served others. (My favorite example she used is in Matthew 14 when He found out that John the Baptist was beheaded and went into the mountains so he could be alone and the people followed Him...so even though he was in pain, he ministered to them, healed their sick, and fed them.) She encouraged us to try and always serve that one extra person, even when we're tired or frustrated...because it's often that last person who is willing to listen.
When we got back to the good ol' Stutt-gart, Sister Threlkeld and I had to take 2 of the heaviest boxes because they were for us - (we had ordered a bajillion more copies of the Book of Mormon; we had run out of a few languages) - and I was exhausted. We had been travelling for hours, were pretty hungry, and were tired of lugging these awkward, huge, heavy boxes around public transit. But I thought about what Sister Kohler had said! This was that moment when I needed to turn outward, because, as she said, "The greatest joy will always come from turning outward". That night, we found this really cute family whom we have an appointment with. It was so cool - and a very obvious result of trying to apply what she said. None of us will ever come to the level of Christ in this life, obviously. But God is joyous when we try a little harder to be a little better. :)