Claire is looking on the bright side and appreciating the good, learning experiences she is having. She was a little homesick this week, but is feeling better now. Thanks to all of you who emailed her last week. I know she truly appreciates and feels your support. --Shireen
Floods of Blessings
This week we were blessed. And also flooded. I'm going to focus more on the latter for right now. Because while I was showering one morning, I apparently didn't entirely close our little German shower curtain that hangs from the ceiling. Which resulted in water flooding our bathroom and study room. After realizing my mistake and the resulting detrimental consequences, I frantically began brainstorming ways to resolve the excess of water everywhere. After ruling out vacuuming up the water, I proceeded to employ every absorbent thing in our Wohnung (that is your German word of the day—use context clues) to soak up water and ring it out in the bathtub. I therefore succeeded in drying the unwanted floods from our fourth story Wohnung in a little under 30 minutes. I have included a picture for your viewing enjoyment; please note that floors should not reflect windows #newmissionaryproblems
The rest of this week was good and less...wet. Though probably not as exciting. Most of you know that I adore history. Possibly too much. But I was thinking about Romanticism this week and connecting it with missionary work because Romanticism portrays the common as sacred. And every day, we walk around and talk to people and visit people and tell them the same thing: that common men are really children of God. People have so many sacred experiences, but see them as trite and bane because their eyes are trained to see normalcy. I know that life is more than common though.
As I think about history, I'm also a part of history! As is everyone. But it is a great time to be a missionary. We believe that we are led by a living prophet and apostles today, just as in biblical times, and twice a year we have the opportunity to hear from them through a broadcasted conference. This past weekend was one of those times and it was fabulous. Since Germany is eight hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time, we watched them in the evening at our church. If you care to listen or read any of the talks given, you can check them out here. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2013/04?lang=eng
You can also change the language if you want to go for German. I know I give you that option a lot, but it's only because I'm a good teacher. And by teacher, I mean someone who thinks people should practice their German.
The sum of those thoughts really are just this: I am one of 65,000 LDS missionaries serving around the world, with thousands more on the way. Adding goodness and light to millions of lives through Jesus Christ. Yes.
Das Wunder der Woche
So one of our investigators is the famous Francesco's mother, Frau Assisi. She's an artist and grew up in Switzerland, but had a really hard childhood. A few years ago, she went into a coma and when she woke up, she couldn't remember very much from her former life, which, as her husband told us, is probably a good thing. But it also makes learning new things hard and remembering what we teach her. It's a slow process, but it is progress and she loves coming to church and learning from us.
Anyways, Herr Assisi was really against Francesco getting baptized when the sister missionaries were teaching him several months ago. However, as he saw how happy the Gospel made Francesco and how much the missionaries and ward members cared about his son, he let Francesco get baptized. And as we taught Frau Assisi this week about how we can talk to God through prayer, he came in and told us that though he wasn't a part of us, he knew we were good people and he respected us. He was very impressed with how we lived, taught, and served. Which is a real miracle seeing as he once forbade his son from meeting with us. Hurray for changing hearts!
When I return home, I would like to request never to be fed creamed spinach. Ever again. Just throwing that out there. See picture. (Claire has always had a problem with mushy textures in food. When she was little we let her pick one food a year that she never had to eat, and she always chose mashed potatoes. I imagine creamed spinach had a similar gagging effect on her, and would have loved to see her face as she politely ate it!)
Quote of the week
Sister Diederich went to buy makeup this week and the lady who was helping her asked about where we were from (our lack of makeup vocab gave us away) and what we were doing here.
Sister Diederich: "We're missionaries for our church. We're here for 18 months and teach people about what we believe."
Makeup lady: "Oh. Do your parents think that's weird?"
At least I don't think they do. Mom, Dad, is it weird? :)
My German is still coming along. Sometimes the message (and verb) of what I'm trying to say gets lost in subordinating conjunctions, so I've been trying to simplify my sentences. The Gospel is simple and true, so our speech should be too. Plus it's really important to have verbs in your sentences because faith requires action! Adjectives and nouns are nice, but it is important to act to gain a testimony or get answers or get through school!
Simply said, the Book of Mormon is true. The life of a missionary is great and awkward. Man, after that spiel on verbs, I just used two weak ones. Be strong regardless.
Sister Claire Michelle Woodward