Monday, April 1, 2013

3-26-13: There and Back Again. Twice.

Due to somewhat unexpected trips to Berlin for varying reasons (including a rare sister missionary gathering), my email day is once again on Tuesday. With the way things are going, I should be in Berlin again next Monday. Just for kicks. And then I'll have been there and back and there and back and there and back. Whew. We have a combined zone conference (missionaries from a couple different areas in our mission gathering together for a meeting) in Dresden on Thursday, so I'm looking forward to going there too.
Birthday Bashes
Four missionaries out of the eight of us serving in Leipzig had birthdays in the past week. Including Sister Diederich. I know. Insane. I just wanted everyone to be aware of that. No stories or inspiring messages. Simple celebrations of joy. 
Field Trip
I don't know why I always associate hospitals with field trips. But that's what the labelmaker in my brain decided to call them. This past week, we went to visit one of our investigators in the hospital. Which hospital happens to be the same mental institution where my companion had previously visited a less-active member of our ward, Trihn. Trihn is this tiny Vietnamese lady (picture an older woman the size of a 10 year old) and on most occasions  she is pretty sad because she's had a rough life. We have had little luck in cheering her up thus far. 
Until we brought her back to the mental institution. Because what would make someone happier? Seriously though, we walked in the front doors and started towards her old wing, which happens to be where our investigator is, and she started smiling and telling me all about her the happy times here. She was stoked to see her doctors again and other patients. She thought it was so FUNNY that some of them didn't remember her anymore. I don't think she caught the whole reason why they're at a mental institution. Anyways, it was grand.
What was the best though was watching Mormon Messages there. Mormon Messages are little inspirational/faith building/comforting videos that our church makes. And Sister Diederich is the bomb at finding good ones. Please now pretend you are in a little waiting area in a mental institution, gathered around a little laptop with precious little Trihn, our 25ish year old investigator Tobias, our right hand man Mike who helps us teach a lot, and my companion. Jut watching Mormon messages.
While we were watching and talking about how we can overcome our trials, I realized I was the only physically healthy one there. I don't have depression, allergies, a thrown-out back, a stomach ulcer, an eating disorder, a broken leg, or anything. I am so freaking blessed. 
Pardon my language. I get too excited to be so blessed sometimes.
Even though we don't all suffer from physical maladies though, we all suffer from emotional and spiritual sickness sometimes. But there is a doctor for that and He knows exactly what we need. Christ came to visit those in need of a doctor. Sometimes people ignore their illnesses and hope it will go away by itself. But we know that our message is the medicine that every person needs. Take your daily vitamins people. 
Here are a couple of the Mormon Messages we watched. If you want to practice your English, watch this one: (It's called "mountains to climb")
If you want to practice your German, watch this one: 
(Mein neues Leben, or you can search for it in English as My New Life).  Watch both if you want to be bilingual.
This story got a little long. 
So I've gotten in the habit of writing poetry as I study the scriptures, as I ride the Straßenbahn every day, and as I sit and contemplate the whole.  Zum Beispiel (did you study your German today?), here are a couple of little poems from this week:
Life can suck.
But only if we leave the vacuum on.
Life can really blow.
But only if we insist on using the leaf blower.
Life can stink.
But that's why we have flushing toilets.
Happiness is just a switch away. 

I will bless you when you sneeze.
God will bless you when you serve.
I will give you orange juice when you're sick.
God will give you strength and comfort when in need.
I will wish the germs away.
Good will take the pain from you.
Men can only bless so much. 
God will bless with loving arms unseen.
Also, someone at church on Sunday quoted Goethe and called him "Brüder Goethe” (Brother Goethe—using “brother” or “sister” before someone’s name is how we talk to members of our church). Baha.
So I'm not really living a normal missionary life right now because of my comp's health issues. But we get out every day and try to add some good into the world. Life can be draining. But it is so good too. And abnormality is a part of life and that makes it wonderful! I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. People stare at me with my nametag and yell at my companion for not wearing boots in the winter. I love it.
 Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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