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Monday, October 14, 2013

Life advice from a 90 year old and transfers

SuperMissionaries doing a service project!
Sis Henry planned and threw a surprise birthday party for Sis Peterson!
Sis Peterson and V. one of the sweet YW in the ward at the party!
I wrote this poem to try and cheer up my companion, so it's a little rough because I wrote it really fast..haha

When I'm feeling Glum,
and my heart won't seem to hum,
I look around with desperate eyes,
thinking happiness is in disguise!

I then ask, "Can I hear it?
Some times one's eyes can seem to fade,
But surely my ears function well,
the same as when they first were made."

Oh yes, Oh gee, Oh silly me,
How could I think to hear or see!
We all know the sense that goes,
for happiness really is the nose!

But I have learned through many tries,
that happiness isn't found through nose, ears, or eyes.
Happiness that is really worthwhile,
will only come when we learn to smile!

Hello mom!
This week in Freiburg was a beautiful week like all of the rest! Actually, it wasn't like all of the rest, especially because the trees in Schwarzwald are starting to change color and so when the Sunlight hits it right, Schwarzwald starts to look Bronze. It is absolutely gorgeous.
     So, I want you to know that the end of transfers mean that missionaries eat like kings. Everyone wants to meet with Sister Peterson before she goes, and so we have been having a LOT of eating appointments. Some highlights include me eating Duck for the first time! It was absolutely delicious! We had it with Knödel (I think that is how you spell it) and some yummy side dishes. I also was able to eat my first real, German, Apfel-Strudel and I want you to know that GERMANS KNOW BAKERIES. Oh my goodness, a sweet treat from a bakery here is way better than America. In America, they just lather sugar, sweets, sprinkles, on a pastry. Here in Deutschland, they have the perfect balance between the fresh tasting bread and the sweet apple, nuss, or whatever flavor that goes with it. It is something you have to experience.
     Also, I had a Rootbier float! Schwester Halder-Ulfik is so cute. She loves Rootbier...a lot. Those Rootbier bonbons Michelle gave to me, I still had them and I started giving one to Schwester Halder-Ulfik every time I saw her. Needless to say, I may be her favorite missionary now. Forget the kids, the parents are the ones that love the bonbons! Oh she also asked me to ask you to send more. She REALLY likes them.
     At our eating appointment, she said she had a surprise. She pulled out these huge bier mugs and then placed them on the table. She went to the other room and came back with 4 cans of A&W Rootbier! There are only a few instances where I have been more excited than right then. After the meal, she brought out MORE Rootbier and we had Rootbier floats! It was awesome! I don't understand how everything can be better here. Even Rootbier floats in Germany taste better! Must have been the mug. 
     As I have said before, I have made it a personal goal to say hi to every single person here in Germany.Well, that little goal is paying off! As Sister Peterson and I chime our sing-songy "Hallo" to everyone on the street, we sometimes reap huge rewards in the form of little old German woman. So what happened was, we were going vorbei on a less active when we chimed Hallo to a nice old woman on our way to the Straßenbahn Haltestelle. We were standing there and then the woman came up to us and said, "I love your skirt" Shout out to Sister Julie Pond, it was the blue skirt that was made from Libby's old mission skirt! She then started talking about how she and her mom and sister loved to sew but she couldn't wear her old skirts anymore. She said to meet her at the Haltestelle at 6:00 on Friday and she would give us some!
     We went back and there she was with a little bag in her hand! She gave us a cute little skirt that Sister Peterson is graciously letting me keep, and then we just talked with her. And talked with her. And 45 minutes later during the cold, crisp, autumn day with buses passing by us every 10 minutes or so...we were still talking. But I wouldn't change it for the world. It was really hard to hear her, she talked really softly. But she gave some great advice to live to be old like she has. She said, eat Joghurt, Almonds, Apple Sauce. Stay away from a lot of Sugar and chocolate. Which confuses me a bit because she called us the other day to invite us over and have some Swiss Chocolate.
     But, honestly, it was so amazing. As I was standing there listening to this woman talk to us, I thought of how phenomenal of an opportunity this mission is. How many times can a person say they talked with a random 90 year old German woman on the street? She had so much to say, and I know I have so much to learn from her. The greatest part, is that as a missionary, It wasn't just listening to this woman ramble. I have the opportunity, and the blessing, to be able to listen with my heart and to let this woman know that she is loved by God. This woman is loved by the most incredible, powerful, magnificent being in the universe. Maybe we weren't able to say that out loud, but by the way she was looking at us, I know that she felt it. She felt that love, and as we continue to listen to her and talk with her, we will have the opportunity to teach her about that love.
     Missionary work is all about patience. The opportunities won't come unless we are patient enough to work on the Lord's time. His time is in terms of eternity, so we have to adjust accordingly.
     The other day I looked into a tree and saw a woodpecker. It was super cute, and I just wanted Dad to know it made me think about him.
     Yesterday was a phenomenal Sunday! So, another Hallo story. There was a woman on the bus that we had said Hallo and smiled at and then after we got off the bus, we asked how she was doing and started chatting. Her name is Z and she said we could come by. We came by but she wasn't home, just her daughter, son, and their cousin. We chatted with them awkwardly, but felt like it wasn't really good to try and teach a lesson. We then went back on Saturday and chatted again. Z was there and her daughter, and it was a nice little talk. It was a little disappointing because Z doesn't really know our purpose, she just invited us over because we were nice and she is a nice woman. But we bore testimony when we could in the conversation, and then invited them to come to church with us the next day. Z said she had to work and seemed to not have interest, but H said she would like to come. We then asked to say a prayer and told H we would pick her up before Sacrament. They just live around the corner from the church so it was not a problem.
     Then at church, we asked the young women if they wanted to come. So at 11:30, all 12 or so young women, Sister Peterson, and I walked over to H's. We said a prayer together, and then Klingled. H buzzed us in, and then one by one, we all said hi and the girl's each gave her a hug and introduced themselves. I don't think H was expecting to be flooded with young women love when we said we would pick her up, but she loved it! She had the biggest grin! We then had all of the young women, us, and H sit on a row in sacrament together. The girls did an amazing job! Christina, one of the young women who is her same age, explained the sacrament to her and helped answer her questions. All of the other youth in the ward came up and introduced themselves, bishop, and a bunch of other ward members too! She was just flooded with love! Afterwards, I took a few young women and asked if they thought it would be a good idea to give H a Book of Mormon. Then one of the girls suggested to write a testimony in it...OF COURSE SHE CAN! She was such a rock star, and after handing the book to me, she told me it was her first time writing her testimony in a Book of Mormon. I told her how perfect it was and then asked if she was ready to give it to H. She was such a champ, she did perfectly. Those young women didn't even need me there, they are better missionaries than we could ever be!
     As I was sitting in Sacrament with all of these young women, and thinking of H, I had such an overwhelming feeling of happiness. As I was able to share the joys of my missionary work with the young women, it only helped my joy grow exponentially! Mom, it is not easy for me to be here. I will say that frankly. I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss my language, I miss my down time, I miss my alone time! But this work makes me so happy, the joy I feel here is so great, that it makes it all worth it. It is not easy, but the overwhelming moments when I feel that joy and that love for these people, the pure happiness that comes through this work, makes it all worth it. I have never felt so much fulfillment in my life. I have never felt the love of God so purely.
     There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God loves us. He loves us so much. He loves you so much. That is the message I share. Everything points back to God being our loving Heavenly Father. That is the first principle we as missionaries teach, before Joseph Smith, before the Book of Mormon, even before Jesus Christ. The first principle, the foundation for existence itself, is that God is our Father in Heaven and he loves you.
     I am so grateful to be here. Through the hard times, through the tears, and the sadness. Through the homesickness, the long days, the sore feet. I would not trade the things that I have felt, the things I have learned, and the people I have loved, for the world. This mission is everything to me. I am so eternally grateful for what it has done for me. I am so indebted to my God for giving me this opportunity.
     I love you so much. I love you SO much. I miss you, Mommy. I want you to know you are loved. I talk about my amazing parents all the time. I love you!
Love,
Sister Henry
(She forgot to tell me about her transfers--she is staying in Freiburg and Sister Woods will be her new companion. Thanks Michelle & Treisha!)

Hi Daddy, I love you! I think I will hold off on the winter clothes at least for another week or so. I don't like spending the money! Especially because sometimes I think about how much better of a missionary I could be and THEN would I feel okay spending even more of your money to be here.
     Daddy, I owe you so much for letting me serve a mission. Thank you so much for helping me be here. I could never pay you back for what you have done for me, and I only want to be the best missionary I can be to try and pay you back at least in that way. I think one of my biggest fears is that I will come home and not have gotten anything done on my mission, and then I will feel like I wasted such a big sacrifice you made for me.
     I love you so much Dad. You are really my hero. I look up to you so much. I am so grateful for you.
Love,
Sherry

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine experiencing so many different emotions at once. Maybe it's just the spirit like she's never felt it before! I love how she explains and you get a fraction of what she is feeling too. Oh how I love experiencing the missionary work! Even if it's second hand!

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