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Monday, March 17, 2014

I drive through the tunnel and what do I see....

A nice big castle waiting for me!

    This week was a crazy one, as we had Zone Training on Tuesday and then ended up doing back to back Tausches (Exchanges).  So I said goodbye to Sister Clark on Tuesday, we had 10 minutes together on Thursday, and didn't see each other again until Saturday morning.  On Saturday we finally went to contact a referral that we've had for over a month now.  Usually when you have a referral you really are supposed to contact it within 24 hours.  Why did it take us so long?
On exchanges in Linz Austria

Possibly because it was 3 hours with train and a 5 mile walk afterwards to contact it.

 The family lives in a little dorf called Zankwarm way down in the bottom corner of our mission, right next to the Klagenfurt ward boundaries.  Let me tell ya, I know why Elder Root raved about how beautiful the train ride down there is.  It was a breathtaking ride.  The Smiths ended up taking us with their car, and that cut it down to just an hour and a half.  Much more manageable.  Yes, it takes over an hour and a half to get to not even the farthest corner of our ward boundaries.

There was a point when we were driving through, I swear, the worlds longest tunnel when we came out.  I look to the right and cry, "Castle!"  Let me tell ya, I never thought that would be a regular occurrence a couple of years ago.  We pull over to the side of the road, took some pictures, got back in the car and kept along our trek.

 It happened a couple of times where we just had to pull over and take pictures.
  It was beautiful!  There was one point where we drove straight through a huge ski resort.  Literally, the ski lifts went over the autobahn!

 We ended up contacting the referral, which had looked really promising, and they let us know they actually were not interested.  We then went by on some Less Actives that live in the outskirts and they either still wanted no contact, or weren't home.
    This sort of describes our week.  I think it may be the first week of my mission where we didn't teach a single lesson to an investigator.  Well, on tausch we taught lessons, but our area didn't teach a lesson.
    Man! It was so hard not to be discouraged.  I won't say I handled it the best.  You try so hard, you talk with as many people as you can, you call and call to set up appointments, and they end up falling out, no one has time, they're  not interested, etc.  On one hand you know all of these things are out of your control.  On the other hand, you are responsible for this area and these people, and you take it on your shoulders, the work that goes on in the area that is.
     I was really sad.
That was Saturday evening, and church on Sunday helped a lot.  I just recharged, refreshed, and ready to keep moving forward.  But I think that this morning really tipped me back onto the positive side of things this morning.  I was reading an awesome talk by M. Russell Ballard called be anxiously engaged.  In the beginning he talks about honey bees and how a hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees has to get pollen from millions of flowers to produce just one pound of honey.  He then said that a single honey bee in its entire lifetime will only produce about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.  1/12 of a teaspoon!  In  its entire lifetime!  Which goes about up to 4 months.
      If you took one little honey bee and saw the work it did, you would think it's pretty useless.  1/12 of a teaspoon is hardly enough to taste anything at all.  You probably would just get rid of that little honey bee, you'd find it not to be of much worth.
    But if none of the honeybees did their 1/12, there would be no honey!  None at all!  And let me tell you, we are the honey bees.  Gosh, we can work as hard as we can every single day.  To make that 1/12 of a teaspoon, the honey bee has to be diligent and anxiously engaged every single day of its life.  In the end, yeah, maybe we will only make that 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey, but goodness that is our 1/12 of a teaspoon to give!
     Maybe working hard every single day out here won't seem like much to some eyes.  Even sometimes my own eyes, when I let them look at it negatively.  But I am just one little honey bee in a huge hive of not just 80,000 or so other missionaries, but millions of us who are anxiously engaging ourselves in this work.  So gosh dangit, I am going to make the best 1/12 of a teaspoon you ever tasted!
      It reminded me of the parable in Jacob 5 and how we are servants in the Lord's vineyard.  There is a reason we are called the servants in the vineyard and not the Lord in the vineyard.  The Lord knows what he's doing.  He knows what trees need pruned, how they need pruned, which should be grafted where, all of the how's.  The servant isn't expected to know those things.
     The servant is simply expected to follow the Lord's instructions.  The servant shows up to work with ready hands and an open heart.  Maybe the servant isn't the smartest, the boldest, the most powerful in the vineyard.  But to the Lord of the vineyard it doesn't matter how great you are or how talented you are; what matters to him is that you show up to work and you do the work!
     It just really helped me to refocus my perspective.  This isn't my work, this isn't the Church's work, this is God's work.  I just forget sometimes.
     Oh, also this week.  When we took off on our adventure, I had realized that I had left my overnight bag on the train.  By then, the train had already continued on to Villach.  I quickly called the ÖBB lost and found people, only to find that the Salzburg branch was closed on Saturdays.  I had to think fast.  I found out that Villach was in the Klagenfurt elders area so I called up Elder Janis and asked if him or the other elders would be in Villach around the time the train got there.  He said no, but then let me know there was a member that lived over there.  The member was Bruder Mauch, a member of the high council.  He called me up and let me know that he went to get it, but there were too many people and he wasn't able to locate it BUT that the train was heading back to Salzburg.
    I was in the middle of the Alps and wouldn't be back in Salzburg in time so I called the Zone leaders and they said they'd be able to pick it up for me.  They show up at Bahnhof and Bruder Mauch had called the other elders in Salzburg so all 4 showed up to rescue my bag.  After some awkward miscommunication between me and the train guy on the phone, the elders were able to recover the bag.
    The best part is the next day Bruder Mauch taught the primary theme.  So after church yesterday I had primary kid after primary kid telling me they knew about me forgetting my bag.  They thought they were just so funny!
    But it really was nice how everyone came to help me, even though it wasn't anything that important.  Everything within the bag was stuff I could simply replace, it wasn't a journal or pictures or anything.  But when I tried to say it wasn't that important everyone else would say, "No!  That is important, we'll help you out."  I felt so touched and so taken care of by everyone joining in to help me get my bag.
   Yep, that's the big news for the week!  The sun is out, the birds are singing, I saw two beetles mating, spring is definitely in the air here in Salzburg!  I want you all to know how much I love my mission.  I am at the best time where it's been so long since I've been home, I feel like that's a dream, I have so much ahead that I can't comprehend a future, and so I am totally engulfed in this nice, happy, missionary bubble.  This work is good, let me tell ya!
    I love you all so much!
Sister Henry
PS The whole family should watch the Sound  of Music because I have been almost every single place they filmed it!
Here is Sis Henry's favorite part of the streetcar ride in Salzburg (your reward for reading ALL the way to here!)

1 comment:

  1. I love how in this letter everybody seemed to be a little bee! The Elders, the high councilman, and Sister Henry and her companion. Change the names of everyone involved and it sounds a lot like the AMM's!


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