It's great to hear how excited she is! You can read more about Claire's adventures this week by visiting her companion's blog:
I loved my first week in Leipzig! More than a plethora and a myriad and a cornucopia full of love! That is true love right there. Even though it snowed. Every single day. Apparently more than it has all winter, but I'm too happy to be here to care how cold or wet it is. I think missionaries sometimes lie in their emails because they say they're happy and they are, but they're also way too stressed to really feel that joy because there's so much to do. But I really am happy. And not too stressed yet :)
People at glance:
The people here are one of the reasons I love it. Our ward is great (lots of cute old ladies and lots of families too, which surprised me). We have people who always want to go teach with us or even talk to people on the street with us and they love the sister missionaries. We're kind of adorable like that. Then there's our investigators (people we teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ) and our new converts. They come from China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Vietnam, but they somehow ended up here and learned German. I can't understand the Vietnam lady's German but...I smile and that's usually acceptable. We teach one Chinese guy in broken English (both his and our English are broken). Our investigator from Turkey is really philosophical and has met with LDS missionaries for the past 8 months or so. This week we talked about God's plan for us and he had some good questions. Like why it's important to know why we're here or what will happen after life. And what God eats.
We weren't sure.
Good news is I understand everything we teach in a lesson and all of our investigators' questions.
Bad news is I don't understand people on the street as well. We did some street contacting with the four elders in Leipzig this week (winter wonderland style) and it was an adventure. I usually got too excited when I tried to start a conversation and would blurt out "Wir sind alle die Kinder Gottes!" (We're all children of God). Except then when people actually stopped, I didn't know what else to say and would look helplessly to one of the elders or my companion and they would save the day. I liked it nevertheless.
Also we ate lunch at a Schewster Pfeffer's (Sister Pepper—what a great name!) house this week and I only caught 40% of her German. To speak German, you need to use your mouth muscles a lot more than with English. However, Saxisch (spelling?) requires no lip movement. So it's still German....but you don't move your mouth. Rough times.
Trainer of the Year:
Sister Diederich has been a great trainer. We get along well and she has no fear of anything and she has a great love for everyone that we meet. As she puts it, "If you're not having fun as a missionary, you're doing something wrong." Simply put, her German grammar is atrocious. But she has so much courage and just talks regardless and people understand her and know she loves them, which is the important part. That's been a good example for me because I'm terrified my German won't be perfect or I'll run out of words. But I'm working on it. Her words of wisdom for the week are that "we will see miracles if we go outside our comfort zones." Amen sister. Keep scrolling for details.
Near Death Experiences:
Sister Diederich and I were walking with one of our joint teaches (someone who teaches with us) over a bridge this week when I saw beavers under the bridge. I don't know that word in German, so I asked Mike (friend-man) and he said "Rat." I said "Okay." Then we realized they were giant river rats. The size of beavers. SAY WHAT--GIANT RATS? Sister Diederich wanted a photo so we went closer and they proceeded to come out of the water and chase us. Oh my goodness, scariest rats EVER.
Wunder der Woche:
Look up the translation for Wunder. You all get to learn the German words for miracle and week! Because miracles happen all over the place! New missionaries here are called "goldens" and there is such a thing as "golden power," demonstrated by.... A.) a lady came up TO us on the tram to ask about our church because I was proudly holding my precious Buch Mormon. That never happens. We taught her about prayer, prophets, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and baptism. She left with a free blue book. What a gem. B.) Someone just decided to walk into sacrament meeting (church) with her child yesterday. She heard singing and saw the sign that said all were welcome so she came inside. We have an appointment to meet with her this week :)
Things German Missionaries say...
There are 6 missionaries in Leipzig right now, four elders and then me and Sister Diederich. I like them all mucho. And they say funny things like...
"We can totally schaff that" or "Man, we just didn't schaff that." (schaffen=to make, do, create)
"Let's go ansprach this lady right here." (anspraching=to go contact someone)
"All of our neubekehrts came to church today!" (neubekehrts=recent converts)
"How's the golden doing?" (That would be me.)
"SHE MAKES BANANA BREAD!" (the elders on finding out my ability to cook. Apparently they've called Sister Diederich for help making scrambled eggs...)
So....it was a good week and we have lots of teaching appointments this week so that's awesome. I love talking to people about what is important to me and what is important to the world. Even if they stare blankly back and I wonder if I forgot to speak in German. But it works out. And I love it. In case you didn't catch that in the first paragraph. And now the awkward trail off at the end of an email....
Keep living the dream!
--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward
A picture of the "river rats":