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Monday, August 26, 2013

How to Avoid a Creepy Man on the Train by Sister Sherry Henry

Liebe Mutter,
I will begin this E-mail for the week with a story.  This week Sister Peterson had the opportunity to have an Austauch with our Sister Training Leaders.  As Sister Peterson took off to Pforzheim to serve, Sister Holman came and joined me in Freiburg.  We had a great time, and I was so grateful to serve with another missionary and learn so much to bring back and improve my personal work.  I learned many things.  How to plan better, how to use my goals.  But I think the greatest thing I learned was:

Found an American Flag!

                      "How to avoid a creepy man on a train"  
  We were on our train back to Karlsruhe and it was a pretty nice train ride.  Beautiful scenery, pretty castles, and the sorts.  We were sitting in a four seater across from each other just enjoying each others company.  Being the beautiful young dames full of the Spirit that we are, sometimes men just want to strike up conversation with us.  A man that was sort of diagonal from the aisle facing Sister Holman had just this urge.  So he told Sister Holman how beautiful she was.  He told her that he likes her.  He also told her he wishes his girlfriend was like her.
     He actually wasn't too creepy, but he was loud.  And when men are loud and have an open beer, we just like to be safe.  So we politely said, "Auf Wiedersehen" and pretended we were getting off at the next stop.  We then proceeded to the next cart and found a cozy little 2-seater to be in.
     Well, all of a sudden we hear this man come into our cart and talk to someone.  We didn't know what to do, since any second he was going to see us.  We tried to duck down and that didn't really work.  So what do we do?  We pretended to be asleep! And guess what?!  It totally worked!  The man, though we were right there next to him and he definitely saw us, didn't bother us a bit!  I now know my secret weapon!  When in doubt, pretend to be asleep!
We had some beautiful sunsets this week.
     We actually ended this week on a tough, note, though.  We had an amazing Friday full of miracles.  We were able to bring a member with us to (names changed) Frau Smith's and she is just an Angel and is totally going to make sure Frau Smith is taken care of.  Frau Smith also told us we can use Du sprache with her (Yay!) and call her Vanna.  So she is officially Vanna.  We left the appointment feeling so elated and so excited.  Why, you ask?  Because her BALCONY DOOR WAS OPEN!  This woman used to not open up her shutters, and now the shutters are up and the back door was open!  I was so excited and so filled with joy to see her progress!
     But then Sunday rolled around.  Yesterday was hard for us!  Between the Elders and our companionship we average around 3 to 5 investigators at church.  We had no investigators at all yesterday.  On top of that, we went a 3rd consecutive week without a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader to report our progress, all of our investigators returned to not progressing, and after church we were dropped by another investigator which means 3 people dropped us this week.  It was just a tough day to be us!
     I am grateful for tough days, though.  Because, first of all, it just means that Sunshine is right around the corner.  
     But more than that, I think there is something divine in the Lord giving us tough days.  Because we were struggling, we were able to allow others around us lift us up.  If no one had a bad day, if no one had a hardship, then no one would ever have the opportunity to serve.  Think about all of the joy and the blessings that service provides.  Maybe that's another reason why God lets us suffer some times.       Our hardships are a gateway for someone to receive the joy that only comes from selfless, charitable, service.
     Oh, I know what France looks like!  One of our trains takes us through Dorfs right on the border!  It is beautiful and every time I ride it I think of you, Mommy, and how much you would love it here.  I hope some day I can bring you and show you around.  The work is the same every where, it's true.  It doesn't matter where you get called, you will love the mission just as much because the work is so beautiful and so much larger than us.  But, I am so grateful to be able to serve in such a beautiful area of the world.  If man really spends time every day stopping and looking up at the mountains, smelling the flowers, watching the sunset, there is no way they would ever lose hope.  Every thing in this world testifies there is a God, there is a purpose.
All of that bread was made for us by Elder Steed! He's Elder Davies companion in Offenburg and he baked all of it for us! Everyone loves the sisters. It was good bread too! We have the best Elders in the whole mission in our district.


Oh, the pictures with the kids are just some random ones we met on the train. Noah and Lynda. It was pretty dang fun playing with them. Sister Holman and I had a blast, and it was a tender mercy to just have some fun interacting with the awesome people here in Germany. They were heading down to der Schweiz for Urlaub.

The picture in our apartment is what we look like when it's cold and we are doing studies. We are supposed to be wearing our skirts but we look goofy wearing our sweats and a jacket too. It was funny.
     I am running out of time but I want you to know that I love being a missionary!  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  This Gospel and this work is so much larger than any of us could ever comprehend.  Our purpose here is greater than we could possibly imagine!  Never think you are forgotten, never think you are alone.  We are not, our Savior is closer than we think.  He is standing there with his arms outstretched to lift us.  I know that He lives, I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that as we turn our hearts and our eyes to the things of eternal consequence, we will find true joy.  I am so grateful to be able to taste of that joy 24 hours a day as I embark in this service.
     I hope this E-mail wasn't super boring.  It's towards the end of P-Day festivities so I'm a little tired.  I need to go eat some chocolate before we go to our lessons tonight! 
     I love you so much Mom.  I pray for you every night and thank God for you every moment.  I have the best parents in the world.  I am so grateful to have been raised in our home by you and Dad.  I only hope I can spend the rest of my life and eternity repaying you for what you have given me.
     Have a phenomenal week!
I love you!

These photos: Some of the photos are from a members' home, I thought it was just a cute little German house. The picture of Elder Stricklin in the chair and Elder Sumsion is priceless. It totally describes their companionship. The picture of the steps is just documenting the steps of death. Those are the back porch steps for the homeowners down to the patio.

"Stairs of Death"

Just a random patch of grass in the city that has a ton of beautiful Wildflowers in it. I thought you would enjoy that. The wildflowers here are AWESOME.
Daddy, thank you so much for writing that!  I was reading this week in Helaman as he's talking to Nephi and Lehi about the importance and significance of their names.  It made me think about how special it is to be named after Grandma Sherry and I want to know more and more about her so I would love to hear more and more!  I loved reading that letter, I think I may try to print it out.
     You are the best Dad.  As I was reading Helaman chapter 5 i was thinking about all of the wisdom you have given me in my life and how much I cherish it. Thanks for being my hero.  I love you so much and I think you are the most spiritual, righteous, amazing man on the planet.  
     I love you so much!  I am so blessed to have been raised by you and Mom.  You two are the best parents I could ask for and I am so lucky.  I am also so lucky to have a Daddy that loves my Mom so much.  Thanks for always loving her, and kissing in front of us kids so we knew you were in love.  I am so grateful for you 2.
     I love you so much Daddy!  Ah, I love being here.  Missions are so cool!  I am so humbled and grateful for what I am learning and what I am feeling out here.  No wonder you love New York so much!  I hope some day I can bring you two here.  There are times on the train where I look out the window and want with all of my heart for Mommy to see this.  She deserves to be here seeing this beautiful countryside more than me.  I love you both so much!
Have fun with the cleaning!
Sher Bear
Today I was able to go to Ikea with the Bignalls for P-Day! That's why we are E-mailing so late. They are putting two more missionaries in our district in Lahr. We are praying for Sisters! But we got to go furniture shopping while we were there!
We were testing out beds by seeing how comfortable they were to lean on for prayers at night. It was pretty fun :)

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