I'm going to Salzburg to be a Sister Training Leader! I get to tauch (exchange companions) with Brixen Italy!!! And with Sister Peterson!!!! I'm just going to go with the flow. Elder Bignall gave me a priesthood blessing yesterday and it really helped. I just was counseled not to worry, the Spirit is with me and I am never alone. I am pretty dang excited to go to Salzburg. AKA coolest zone on the mission. And I get to be a Sister Training Leader? That is going to be so fun because I get to serve the other sisters and be the one that can take care of other people! That's like my favorite part about being a missionary, and now I get to officially do it for other missionaries! I am going to miss Sister Woods. But we are totally going to be great friends after the mission. We already have adventures planned out.
So first of all, New Years was the best. We had an 8 hour appointment with Bruder und Schwester H, a couple in our ward. It was just them two, Sister Woods and I and we spent all night chit chatting, singing a little bit, and we also played cards but I spent the first few minutes of 2014 ridiculously grumpy because I kept losing. But all in all, it was awesome. 2 o'clock in the morning rolled around and all of us girls were like, "Okay, we're tired and ready to go." The best part is that Bruder H could have kept chit chatting for at least 2 more hours. I don't think I would have wanted to spend Sylvester any other way...except the losing part.
Transfer calls came Saturday morning. We were at the church house meeting up with the other sisters in the ward to go down to the stake sister temple day. It was actually funny because I learned that I've gotten better at heeding promptings! We were walking to the church when all of a sudden, I felt like I should check my bag. My Joghurt that was in it had exploded and fortunately I caught it before anything got too bad.
But we were in the bathroom cleaning the mess up when the call from President came. With toilets flushing in the background I learned that I'll be heading over to Salzburg for this next transfer. I was so busy cleaning things up that It didn't really set it what he had said. But then we had a 2 hour drive down to Bern for it to sink in. My stomach started to hurt, my head started to hurt, and I was pretty stressed out. Like literally, about-ready-to-throw-up-
We then went into the temple and by the time I came out, I was just so filled with a deep sense of peace. There are so many things that are more important than the things that stress me out. This life is so much more than we think, and so all we need to do is take a deep breath and let ourselves have a little faith.
Even with that, yesterday was still one of the hardest days on my mission. I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting and looking at everyone and I just was so sad. I knew that leaving wouldn't be easy, but I knew it was coming! And yet, it is still so tough!
Now don't get me wrong, I will go to my new area and love it because I love this work. But yesterday, I was just thinking about how much I have grown to love these people here in Freiburg. I don't think I can adequately try to express how beautiful and wonderful these people are. I just love them so much!
Man, my eyes are getting all watery just thinking about these past 6 months. Being a missionary has truly changed my life. I was reading a talk this morning by Elder Scott about Faith transforming our Character. I was just thinking about how missionary work (whether full time or at home) truly does that. It changes our character.
I have learned so much about the love of God. I wish I could type a huge paragraph that would tell you how much our Father in Heaven loves you, but no matter how eloquent or beautiful it reads, you wouldn't understand. Only the Spirit can teach us that truth. I've been so blessed to learn that truth, to scratch the surface of the enormous and eternal capacity of the love that God has for us. I feel like that realization of His love for his children has changed me the most out of anything out here. To know that God really is my Father in Heaven and that He hears my prayers makes every thing okay. There is no coincidence that specific principle is the first listed in the missionary lessons in Preach my Gospel. It is the foundation for all happiness, peace, and knowledge we can obtain.
But the other cool part, the paradox, is that we can't learn the love of God simply by sitting around and thinking, "Hmm, I wonder if God loves me?" *Ping!* "Oh yeah, God really loves me!" Sorry Charlie, life wasn't meant to be that easy. Instead we have the Gospel: this seemingly simple pool of knowledge that, as we explore deeper, brings us into supreme caverns of eternal knowledge we could never have imagined. It's so cool! To have the Godly truth of existence wrapped up into a simple present called the gospel of Jesus Christ is such a terrific blessing!
Then, as we learn more of these truths, we feel more of God's love and we change. Literally, our character, the fundamental building blocks of who we are, change so that we become who we want to be! And the opportunity is available to everyone!
I'm sad I won't be able to see these people I love change. But I am so excited for the day when I can give them a huge hug and tell them, "You made it! I knew you would!"
I don't think there is much else to write. Keep on keeping on everyone. It will be worth it in the end. Just look up, move forward, and make the effort to strengthen your faith. I promise we can get through all trials, no matter how hard, or no matter how silly they seem to be.
I love you all so much!
PS We had two Laurels (16-18 year old girls) with us for a mini mission this week! It was wonderful--like Girls Camp spiritual lifechanging status!!!!
I'm so glad I asked you those questions (about his first transfer in the mission) so that I could get the answer this week! I feel exactly the same way about leaving my first area. It's just hard because it becomes your home! I'm feeling better, though. Thanks for sharing dad. It really meant a lot.
I was thinking about how excited I am to go back home and get a Father's blessing again! I always have to ask other missionaries, which is fine, but I think about how much more special it is when you give one. I am so grateful that you are a worthy priesthood holder, Dad. I think I've really started to appreciate it more now on my mission.
YAY FOR YOUR NEW CALLING! I am so jealous of your class! Tell them I say hi! That sounds like so much fun! Teaching is the best!
I love you so much Daddy. Thanks for all of your advice and counsel. You are the best!
I love you!