Monday, July 29, 2013

7-29-13: Welcome to Altona

Moving is always hard, but she will adjust. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers, and send her a letter or an email of encouragement if you can!
Her email is:
Her new address is: 
Sister Claire Woodward
Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Jevenstedter Strasse 155
22547 Hamburg

Mensch. It was hard to leave Leipzig and the inhabitants therein. I felt kinda like my mission was ending. But then I arrived in Altona and felt like a new missionary again:
Umzog x2
I packed all of my possessions once again into two suitcases and prepared to leave Leipzig the early part of last week. I also helped pack up our apartment because surprise--Sister D moved to another part of Leipzig. We spent our last night together in the new apartment (my third one in Leipzig). This apartment is on the ninth floor and has a great view of the city, so we spent many happy last minutes sitting on the windowsill watching the city and talking about all that has happened and all that will be. Movie moments. It was a time of peace before the dawn swept me away from home.

Into the New...
Nine new sisters and five new elders came into our mission on Thursday. Each missionary gets a trainer and I had the cool experience of having my trainer there (training again and going to Kassel), my first trainee, and me-all with our new companions! My new companion is Sister Schwantes. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and studied math at BYU before coming here. We left Berlin together with the Altona elders (who are also in training) and headed to Altona. My new home apparently. 
Housing Conflicts
So....the new sister apartment wasn't ready (we spent this morning assembling all of the furniture) when we got here so we've been staying at a member's house while they are on vacation. It is a really nice house (with a swimming pool we can't use...) and we're grateful we can stay here. We should move in later this week. That makes for 4 different beds in the past week!
Everything is....DIFFERENT
Definitely not in Leipzig anymore. Unlike the East, people live in houses here, not apartments. So when we go door to door, we talk to real people instead of speaking through a klingle. We also go by bus rather than by stra├čenbahn. People also say hello back here when you greet them--still disinterested in our message, but friendlier. And the buildings are also shorter. And...differenty.
African adventures
I was sad to leave our African friends, especially Chako, even though he wasn't ready to get baptized before I left. Fortunately, Altona has a huge African population. We had our first eating appointment on Saturday with a family from Cameroon. Except we weren't quite sure if it was an eating appointment or a dance party. My comp is a little shy and a little quiet and when this family broke out dancing and praising God while trying to stuff us full of rice, she looked a tad uncomfortable. Not really what you're expecting on the mission I guess. But it was so great and I loved how happy they were and they were so glad to have us there. I am thankful I get to be around such a believing people. J
Quote of the Week:
Walking down the street. Nun rides by us on a bicycle: "Nice to see other girls in skirts!" Presh. 
Odds and Ends
Well, I kinda feel like a terrible trainer because I have no idea where anything is in the city, don't know good places to find people, we have no investigators, and I feel brand new again, except I'm supposed to leading and helping someone else. That's hard. But apparently God thinks I can do it so...we'll keep going and figuring the city out. I have to call the elders at least twice a day to ask them how to get somewhere or for some kind of information. We have a good ward though and everyone was really nice on Sunday. There are about 50 active members and about 75 less active members...which means we can at least start on strengthening them J. Our church house is in an old mansion, which is cool. It's still weird for me to see houses. 
I’m trying to look forward. Because no one wants to be turned to a pillar of salt. 
And trying to have enthusiasm. Which apparently means "God in us" in Greek. That's cool. 
Love you all. 
Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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