The German is coming along. It's not great, we've been focusing on Pronunciation a lot. I had some troubles with my R's, and also Ich when I would say words like Nicht und alles. But it is definitely getting better! Plus, people here love our American accents. People love that we are American, it is hilarious. At first we thought, wow! People really do love America! Then after finding from the Elders that people don't like them because they are American, we realized they must just love us because everyone has a tender place in their heart for two cute little blonde American girls. :)
I AM SO EXCITED TO MEET SHAVONNE! I can just tell we're going to be tight.
President said I can meet up with the Carsons (friends from home who now live in Niger and are traveling to Germany) on the 22nd!
I am so excited to skype. They really emphasize the rule that it should only be 40 minutes, just fyi :( It makes me sad. But, I consider that 40 minutes of talk time. So when it takes extra long to set up, get people connect, etc. that doesn't go into the 40 minutes.
Tell Johnny Rowley I say hi! That's crazy!
I miss you! 16 days!!!!!!!! Oh, and tomorrow will be my year mark until I come home. I feel like I just got here. Sister Missions are so short. Plus I was fast tracked.
Oh and El looks so healthy! That makes me happy. Oh and Andy and Summer are so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! Oh and the other day I was thinking about how grateful I am that there are two sister missionaries taking care of the widows and women in my ward back at home.
I am so happy you are one of those missionary families that the missionaries feel at home with. They are so important, I am so grateful for ward members like that.
Cute birds nest surprise when the leaves came off Schwester H's bush!
I got the best package ever from Wendy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The pictures were HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!! I look at them all the time now. We died when we saw this picture of Tyler so we gave it an honorary spot.
So yesterday evening ended off a good week really amazingly. We went to church yesterday, and it was a wonderful sabbath day. We came home, ate lunch, did our studies like we usually do. That evening we had planned an appointment with P and N, the couple from Rwanda and India. They are the cutest couple ever, we love them so much! But N is super intimidating to teach. He's really smart, he's the one that just defended his thesis to get his PhD in Chemical Engineering. He also is very VERY versed in the bible.
So we are finishing up Companionship Studies and figuring out what to teach in this lesson. N had given us a theme for our discussion the next week, "How we follow Christ". We left him to read 3 Nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon, when Christ comes to the Americas, just so we could be on the same page for our discussion. Easy enough, right? We are missionaries, we teach all about how we follow Christ!
Well it was one of the roughest personal studies ever for me. I just couldn't find the right thing. I was looking for scriptures, quotes, conference talks, just looking for what was right to teach N according to this theme. I was looking all over the place! We got done with Personal Study and I just felt like trash. I felt like I hadn't learned anything, the Spirit wasn't guiding anything, I was so confused.
We came together to discuss the lesson and still, nothing seemed to click. I was just thinking, "What the flap?! Hello, Heavenly Father, I'm supposed to obtain your word if you want me to teach it!"
Well, after just wishing I could crawl into bed and not teach this lesson, as I felt so unprepared and inadequate, it was time for us to head over to P and N. We chit chatted with them, they are just so great. P is the sweetest thing ever. Then, N pulls up his chair and I feel like a flapping Gladiator about to face the Lion. Here we go, I thought.
He then starts off asking about his Book of Mormon reading. He had read all of 3 Nephi 11 until 3rd Nephi 25, up around in 1st and 2nd Nephi, the Introduction, just all over the place. He had used cross references, the internet, all that he could and had spent, with P, significant amounts of energy trying to understand the Book.
At first his questions started small, but they just found their way deeper and deeper. The appointment ended up going long, about 90 minutes, but we were able to cover how the book came about, the restoration, and how we believe the book relates to Joseph Smith.
There were times in the lesson where I was so afraid. I thought N was getting ready to say goodbye to us right then. In the Introduction, the Book of Mormon claims to be the MOST CORRECT Book! More correct than the Bible, which is the foundation of all N believes. I can't tell you how scared I was that we offended him by our witness of the Book of Mormon. I was so afraid that I had messed up, that I made a mistake and should have been a little more gentle in my explanations as not to offend him.
But not at all, the lesson wrapped up, and N put on his huge Rwandan smile that tells us he just had the time of his life discussing with us. We then decided we can move on to our established theme next week. They told us how much they love us, we told them how much we love them (we like to call this mushy gushy lovey dovey part of the appointment the sister love part) and we walked out the door looking up towards heaven completely humbled.
Why were my studies so poor that day? I like to call this Missionary Alzheimers.
See, God knows what his children need to learn. He knows what we will be teaching in the lesson. Sometimes, it will be different than what we think we are supposed to teach.
Now, some times as the missionary, we follow promptings of the spirit and work together to understand what we will really teach when won't be according to plan. Then other times, because of our own stubbornness, he just sends us a big huge brain confusion. I think he does that so we won't mess up the lesson when it really matters. It's happened to me a couple of times on my mission, and it's hilarious when it does. It's a nice reminder of the need to be truly humble and understand that God knows his children and their needs. I am just a little instrument, a little tool that God uses to serve his children.
People give us missionaries too much credit. We don't do hardly anything, the Spirit is the one who truly teaches these people. But I am grateful to be along for the ride!
Other than that, this week has been a wonderful one. We like to grab Bratwurst or other delicious German food at the Weihnachtsmarkt for dinner every now and then. Don't worry, I weighed myself the other day and have yet to gain weight. You are blessed in many ways as a missionary, one being God letting you enjoy your German sweets consequence free!
I am really excited for Zone training and Christmas Conference next week. Before my mission, I didn't understand the purpose of spending so much money to have people meet up for these training meetings. But now I realize that I depend on them to rejuvenate and refresh me. Missionary work is tiring, but these meetings let the spirit enter my heart, and give me that extra power and push to move this work forward.
I am so grateful for this work and for my mission. God truly knows me perfectly, because he sent me to this mission, right now. There have been challenges, people, and things that have taught me so personally, it is phenomenal. I can't even begin to describe how much I love Freiburg. I love these people so much. I don't want to leave them, I want to stay here and keep serving them because they deserve it! These people deserve the best, they are choice sons and daughters of God!
I love you all at home so much! I am so grateful for the support that comes constantly. The letters that just pop up in the mail box on a hard day, or the Emails from friends I haven't heard from in a while. It just really means a lot, more than I can express, to know that there are people who love me. I think every one could use a little more love, actually I know they do.
Have a wonderful week!
From Sister Woods, her companion: Then we also were able to have a fantastic lesson with a great group of Ghanaians! and they even taught us how to make FUFU! and it was delicious! but we decided that our stirring skills are kind of week. they asked us to try and mix the potato mix part and man did they get a kick out of watching us struggle! but in the end it worked out all right. But this was a miracle lesson. there were 6 people from Ghana in the room when we were watching the restoration dvd and then a neighbor knocks on the door and comes in. No one really moves or even talks to him they just keep watching the movie. he finally sits down and starts watching too! This is just a golden family, and friends! they love God and Jesus so much and know when he is talking to them! I will let you know how it continues to progress with them! :) but picture two is from that!
From Sherry's email to Dad:
Oh, and I am so excited to meet Chivonne (Shavonne). How do you spell her name? Mom spells it differently I think. I am so happy every thing is good at home.
I tell people all the time about how you have taught me the value of money. That it is only money and things are things. I just feel like you've really raised your kids right, ya know? Man, I love you and Mom so much. I talk about you two all the time to the other missionaries and they all want to meet you both really badly. Apparently we are a cooler family than their families. But then again, did their families stomp around to, "Look down, Look down, don't look them in the eye..." when they were kids?
I love you Daddy! I told mom, but it's crazy to think that tomorrow will be one year until my release date. That's nuts, it takes so long for an Elder to get to the year mark, but for girls it goes by way faster.