Happy Thanksgiving, lovelies! I don't know if it was the amount of turkey we ate, or the combination of thinking about what I'm grateful for in combination with my ever-nearing release date, but I did a lot of thinking this week. I'm really grateful that I came out here. I think I've learned a lot about what it means to serve, and what God wants from us. God isn't expecting perfection from us. He's not angry when we slip and fall. He is ever-encouraging us to get up again, face the sunlight, and, linking arms with someone who's feeling a little weaker, try to follow the steps of Jesus Christ the best we can. Yes, it's easier said than done, but I think the happiest moments of my life have been the ones when this has felt crystal clear to me. Everything is in perspective - and I realize how much God loves me, and how much potential I have in my life and in eternity. You just want to jump up and rejoice! Sadly the adversary knows this, and tries to sneak muck in without us realizing it. But with the power of the Atonement, we can always wash that mud off and cast it away. And that is incredible.
Lots of fun food this week, as you would expect during the week of Thanksgiving! I brought Mom's classic Southern Pecan Sweet Potatoes to the meal that we and the Elders were invited to (although the German who invited us to eat ate them for dessert because he thought they were so sweet) :) Also, they weren't made with pecans...they were walnuts that one time we found on the ground. But it worked, haha. :) Elder Gantner, our awesome Swiss visa waiter headed to California finally got his visa - but flew out to fit with the transfer day in his real mission, and therefore flew to the states like, 3 days after American Thanksgiving. Hahaha. He'll get it next year, right? What's REALLY crazy is that Elder Gibbs is coming back to fill his place for the rest of the transfer. Just like old times! Also, an awesome family in the ward taught us how to make Knödel, which is SO GOOD and I can't wait to make it for the family...on my third or fourth try, because I don't know if I'll be able to make it work on the first few tries. :) It tastes a lot like American stuffing, but it's in balls and you can eat a variety of different sauces with it or can fry them with bacon and cheese inside...waaaaaaaay good. I'm not sure if I'm ready to adjust back to American cuisine just about yet.
|Elder Gantner (before leaving for California),|
Elder Faux, Sister Bushman and Sister Bishop
Snow has continued to flirt with existing this week, but hasn't quite committed to a serious relationship. We had a lot of barely-not-freezing rain, which I've decided is much worse than snow. Snow is pretty and will just kind of bounce off of you. Rain gets into all the little crevices and is cold. Sister Bishop and I have both decided that we would have made awful pioneers and are glad that we were saved for this day and age.
We went to Altötting's area again to sing for some people in an old folk's home, which was so fun. We've been learning a bunch of old classic Bayerisch and Deutsche songs. There was this funny moment when we showed up. The member of the Neuötting branch who had organized the event went down the line of us missionaries, and when he got to one elder, he was like, "And here is Elder Red*, who is obviously the most attractive/schönste of our group." And one of these old ladies from the back of the room calls out, "Der Elder Blue* ist der Schönste!"(*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) It was pretty funny; we all laughed quite a bit at that. We'll try to not tease him too hard. :) After we were all chatting with them afterwards, there was this sweet old man who kissed the back of my hand. So that was also pretty cute.
All in all, I'm feeling good. I have moments where I can't see everyone, and moments where I just can't think about leaving or I feel like I'll cry. So I'm grateful for every day.
I love you.
More photos: Christmastime in Passau . . .
|Sisters B & B at the Christmas Markets|
|These stores were turned into a gingerbread house!|
|In matching Christmas pajamas!|
Sisters B & B celebrated early as Sister
Bushman will leave Germany in 12 days!