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Monday, August 12, 2013

Creepy Guys and Turkish Eyes

With my favorite pretty Evangalisch Church
I have never ran so much in my life.
No, seriously. That one season of track and field doesn't even compare. Okay, maybe a little bit. But literally every morning Sister Peterson and I go down our 6 flights of creaky wooden stairs and then pictures this: Two Sister missionaries, skirts flailing, Book of Mormon in hand, sprinting to the Straßenbahn. It's definitely a sight to be seen. But it's so fun!
But story of the week. So we were invited for dinner with a sister in our ward out in a dorf called Himmelreich (guess what that means auf Englisch--Kingdom of Heaven). So, we went with the Elders and it's only a 15 minute train ride to the train station for the dorf. It had been threatening rain all day, and literally 5 minutes off the train it started dumping. Sister Peterson was the only one with a small umbrella and then the Elders didn't even have their jackets. We were definitely a sight to behold as we knocked on Sister Windhausen's door after walking a kilometer in the rain. We had a delicious meal and literally stuffed ourselves to the brim. Here in Deutschland, you eat all of the food. So we had 2nd and 3rd servings and I'm pretty sure I ate a loaf worth of bread. We topped it off with 2 ice cream bars and we were stuffed. But then, we looked at the clock and realized our train was coming in like 8 minutes. Sister Windhausen was going to drive but she forgot her husband had the car. So we walked out of her sight and then just started booking it. We looked to the left and saw a train and were running for our flapping lives! Elder Stricklin ate so much, the poor guy couldn't run anymore. Elder Sumsion stayed behind and Sister Peterson and I took on ahead. She fell a little behind but I was not letting us miss that train. We caught it literally just in time. My stomach has never hurt so much in my life. I am definitely not coming home fat!
Sister Peterson eating currywurst

eating currywurst and drinking my favorite apfel shorle

eating my new fav snack, pears and nutella

with swiss schokolade that is made with pure cream. So good.
This week in Freiburg was awesome. We learned a lot about being better teachers in our lessons. Luckily, none of our lessons went so poorly as to ruin some one's eternal salvation. But after coming out of a couple of them, we just felt like our balance between the lesson plan and listening to promptings of the spirit wasn't so great. We teach so many Africans! We have Die Familie B. and they are so cute. They are all from Ghana and don't really speak German so we teach in English. This last week we went over to teach C, the Mom, but when we got there it was her, her husband, her brother in law, and her sister in law. I felt so intimidated. Here I am a 19 year old white girl from Vancouver, WA teaching grown African men and women who are as old as my parents about the Gospel and how to better their lives. But they are so full of love and they just kept coming! We weren't able to teach at all what we planned, especially with C's two sisters coming in in the middle and how loud and chatty they were. But we all just enjoyed being together and talking about the blessings we have from knowing God lives and from learning and relying on Jesus Christ as our rock. The Spirit was there and at the end C told us that she wanted to feed us which is always a great sign. Apparently, you only get spontaneously fed when the lesson has been REALLY good. So she came out with two plates of rice and sauce and I took a bite...and....I started scarfing it down my mouth was on fire! Holy African Food! It was so spicy! I've never eaten so food so fast in my life. The next morning I woke up and my inners were not happy with me.
Just some cute primary colored wohnung (apartment) buildings
Other funny stories of the week. Men. Holy Cow we have so many stories of creepy old men. We were standing at a bus stop making calls and heard this whistling. It went on for 10 minutes and only after we were walking away looking to our right and saw an old shirtless man standing in the window, did we know the source. When we looked at him he yelled something along the lines of, "Oma Oma!" Which doesn't make sense but we were just cracking up. We were contacting in Riselfeld and an old shirtless man on his balcony whistled at us. We looked up and he asked if we wanted to come in. We said no thank you and went on our merry way. What a creep. Oh and last night at the bus stop. We struck up conversation with an old Turkish man and I couldn't understand all that he said. But, we asked about his family, where he's from, yadda yadda. He was asking some weird questions that I sort of understood. Like how old we want to be when we get married. Do we have men we live with. But only afterwards did Sister Peterson tell me he was asking if men could come into our apartment! And she said he was going on and on about how lonely he is and how boring it is because he lives alone. WHAT A CREEP! This man was sending off some weird vibes, but when she told me all of the weird things I missed, I couldn't help but start cracking up! He did give us some good marriage advice, "You have a good life when the man you marry is a good man, and a good man to sleep with". Sister Peterson says we get hit on so much because these men see the happiness the gospel provides and are drawn to that....yeah, I don't know if I totally buy it. But don't worry, we just laugh at these stories because we are perfectly safe. The Elders are ALWAYS a phone call away.
Oh, while we are on the topic of men. Sister Peterson and I are not allowed to teach young Turkish men, we have made a rule for ourselves. Because they have the most captivating and beautiful eyes on the planet. Honestly, I have developed such an affinity for Turkish eyes. (dark hair/skin & blue eyes).

That is the middle of Freiburg in the background
I just thought I'd share some of those fun stories with you, but the fact is that I'm not here to get hit on by creepy men or gaze into beautiful eyes. I love being a missionary. I don't think I could have comprehended the kind of love and the knowledge that I would be gaining. And I've only been a missionary for one month! I still have 17 to go! The opportunity to spend my mornings studying things of eternal consequence, and then spend my days talking to people and bringing this burning light I have found in my life to them is something I'll forever be grateful for. The greatest thing is that I know what I am learning is of God. Because as I learn, I am just studying the basics. The same things I have learned my entire life, but yet each time I read and each time I study, my intellect is invigorated. Oh it is so beautiful! The Gospel is such a beautiful thing! I am so humbled and so grateful that the circumstances in my life have led me to the opportunity to serve as a full time representative of this beautiful truth!
This week we had an investigator at church, his name is J. He's actually going to be the Elders' investigator now since he is a single man from Nigeria. But I have had the privilege of sitting next two him during sacrament meeting the last two weeks. I don't know much about this man other than he doesn't speak German and his English is OK. But as we were in sacrament yesterday, I heard him singing softly along to the sacrament hymn. At that moment I had such a love for this man, and such a desire for him to continue to seek and come to knowledge of the things of God! What an overwhelming sense of Joy and Charity I felt for him in this moment! And not just him but all of these people that I have been called to labor for! I love them with my whole heart, and if there were a way that I could just show them who they are! It is not fair for us to let others wander with no hope, no peace. We need to share this light we have, why would we not want to share this light?! I love these people so much, I hope I never have to go home and I can spend the rest of my life here and doing this work. I have never felt so happy and so much like the Sherry Henry I have always wanted to be. When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you truly are in the service of God. And as you serve him with all that you have, he will give you so much more, and make you so much more than you ever thought you could be.

On the straßenbahn. I love the straßenbahn.

Emailing home wearing her "Don't Mess with Texas!" tee shirt she got in San Antonio
I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ restored. I know that God is our Father in Heaven and as we come to learn of Jesus Christ, we will also come to learn more of who our Father in Heaven is. I am so grateful for Christ and what he has done for us through the atonement. I am so grateful for a Modern Day Prophet who labors all of his days to help us know more truth. I am so grateful that my family is sealed together for eternity, and I only wish that I could take this happiness I have and give it to these people that I see. I love them far more than they will ever know!

I love you Mom. I love you so much.

Sister Henry

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