I kind of want to start backwards this week, talking about yesterday,. A lot of cool things happened this week, but to be honest this week was HARD. I'm learning more and more that joy doesn't really come from external circumstances. Not much has happened on some of my favorite weeks of the mission, but even though cool stuff happened this week, it was rough. I just think Satan was snapping at my heels all week - trying (and sometimes succeeding) at getting me down and trying to get me to mentally beat myself up. How rude, right? So anyway, we finally made it to and someone who had promised to come to church didn't show up, and it had been a hard week, and so I was looking forward to being able to sit in church and not have to teach or really talk tons during the meetings. We went on splits because Sister Threlkeld needed to play in Primary because the normal pianist was sick, so I went to Young Women's. I love Young Women's. There's like 5-7 in this ward which is wonderful (especially since we had none in my last ward,) and so I loved being there. The lesson was about how we can always choose to be happy and find joy. It definitely was relevant.
Then I went and joined Sister Threlkeld in PV. It was junior singing time, and the kids are just so gosh-darn cute. They started singing Nephi's Mut (Nephi's Courage,) which is a song talking about the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi and how he chose to follow God and do what he was commanded to, even though it took a lot of courage and his brothers weren't totally on-board. I was singing along with the Children's Songbook (because lol I don't know those words in German,) and the third verse jumped out at me (but for simplicity here it is in English,):
"The Lord gives us commandments and asks us to obey.
Sometimes I am tempted to choose another way.
When I'm discouraged and think I cannot try,
I will be courageous, and I will reply:
I will go I will do the things the Lord commands
I know the Lord provides a way, He wants me to obey"
On the chorus all the kids were marching around the room (so cute) and I honestly almost started crying. It was exactly the pep-talk I needed to keep going. It was really wonderful.
Anyway, we got transfer calls and Sister Threlkeld and I are staying another transfer together here in Stuttgart! Yay! It's so crazy because my first 3 transfers were all different and then my next 3 stayed exactly the same. This will be a big transfer. We both have birthdays, I hit my half-way mark, (entschuldigung, was?) and Sister Threlkeld goes home. Whoaaaaaa. Elders Sharp and Ridd are staying as well. Party! We're excited.
By the way, I don't think I talked about the crazy connection that's happening with me and Stuttgart ward right now. There are 3 Elders serving from Gemeinde Stuttgart right now. Two are in the Berlin mission, and one is in Frankfurt. Elder Frey, in Frankfurt just happens to be companions with Elder...ROBERTS from MY ward at home! And, to even add to it, they're serving in Gemeinde Erlangen, where the Stuttgart Ward's Bishop's wife is from. So when her family visits her in Stuttgart or the bishop's family visits her family in Erlangen...there's always someone who's like "Elder Roberts says hi" and it's weird how close we are even though we're all the way over here. The Primary kids wrote letters to the Elders this week. I snuck in a note to say hi. :) Crazy connection, right?
Anyways. At the beginning of last transfer, Sister Threlkeld and I made a goal that we wanted to try and get members more involved with the teaching of investigators - inviting them along as joint teaches, teaching in their homes, etc. It's been great because we've had more opportunities to do that, especially this week. Member lessons are great but they also give me anxiety. Like, it makes me empathize with my Elementary school teachers when the principal would just stroll in and watch them teach for a while. I'm always worried that I'll say something wrong and the members will like, lose confidence in the missionaries and be less inclined to invite their friends to meet with us. I was feeling this especially strongly before one particular lesson this week, but it ended up melting away during the lesson because (news flash,) they're there to help. Member joint teaches are seriously the best. They add so much to the lessons. Everyone text the missionaries in your ward like right now and tell them that you can help out if they need it. I can tell you that it seriously adds SO MUCH. (And that family even texted us that night and said that they really enjoyed the lesson and felt the Spirit - phew!)
So funny story from after that particular appointment. Sister Threlkeld and I were walking back to the Bahn station when we saw the Bahn pull in. They only come every 10-15 minutes, so we didn't want to have to wait for the next Bahn, so we broke into a full-on run after that Bahn. (We weren't super far, but we had a full flight of stairs to climb and a bit of a gleis [platform] to run.) I got a little ahead and this really nice man saw me sprinting and held the door so I could get on. So nice, right? So I'm standing there huffing and puffing and I turn around to make sure Sister Threlkeld was right behind me. She had just gotten to the Bahn and the doors started to close, but that happens all the time. You just push the button to open the doors again. Well, she went to push the button...and it didn't open. And the Bahn started to PULL AWAY. Ah!!!!!!!!! (For those of you who don't know...there is a rule that you have to stay with your mission companion 24/7.) We weren't super far from home so I just rode the 3 stations or so and sat on the Bahn Gleis. Alone. It was so weird. It was the first time I had been without any kind of missionary since June. Sister T got there like, 10 minutes later, but we laughed pretty hard. It was crazy.
Remember Fasching, the crazy Mardi-gras-like holiday here? We got to go help with the Primary Fasching party at the church- it was so fun. It was Frozen themed, which was especially funny since Sister Threlkeld still hasn't seen it. There were snowflakes everywhere, and like 6 Elsas. The German soundtrack was playing and I found that I couldn't remember all the lyrics (awkward,) but it's okay. I ran the "Pin the Nose on Olaf" station, which was super fun. And, even better, a ton of kids/parents had invited friends, so we got to meet tons of people who had never been in the church before! It was so fun.
|Sister Bushman and Sister Threlkeld|
We also had a really really cool experience dooring this week. Dooring isn't always the most fun thing to do, but as we were walking down the street I saw this one building and was like "Sister Thrrelkeld, we need to door that one." I don't know. Just had a feeling. So we went over and kinglet (rang) the top one, who let us up. He wasn't interested, but we decided to door all the way down anyway. The next 2 people weren't interested, but something way interesting happened...we asked if they knew anyone trying to find God or needed Hope, and they both were like "Oben, links". Upstairs, on the left. Two said the same door. They weren't home, but we're going back! Also, we knocked on this other lady's door who said she was Greek Orthodox and not interested and didn't know anyone who would have interest, but Sister T did something cool. At Mission Tour, President Kohler and Elder Kearon were both like "How great would it be if you just knocked on someone's door and asked if you could bless their home, ministered to them, and just talked about the goodness of Christ?" Sister Threlkeld asked if we could come in and pray with this woman. She said we could. She asked if I would say the prayer. We couldn't like bless the house in a priesthood-way, but we prayed for her health and safety and for her son, who had been in an accident a couple years ago. We could tell the Spirit had touched her. She thanked us, and said we are welcome to come back sometime. It was really, really cool.
Last P-day we went up to the outlook at Killesberg - basically you climb this really cool tower and then you can see EVERYTHING and luckily it was a clear day, so we really could see everything in Stuttgart - so fun. Today all the Elders and us are being taken by an American family to the Ritter Sport chocolate factory in Tübingen - we're so excited! So that'll be fun.
Oh, random. I'm an official missionary because my shoes are falling apart. I feel like it's part of the experience to have ghetto shoes. Sadly I just barely bought these boots in Wien. Oh well. I just hope they hold up through this winter. Although I don't think the hole is repairable. Sadly.
Oh. And today I shared some Cheez-its I had acquired with our Bulgarian investigator and she thought they were disgusting. It was so funny, the face she made. It's interesting how tastes vary around the world.