Monday, August 5, 2013

8-5-13: It’s all about love

First week in Altona? check.
Mastered the S-bahn and bus system? getting there.

Ready. Set. Tausch.
So once a transfer we tausch (exchange) with another sister missionary to gain new insights and experience. This past week I had the opportunity to work with Sister Knoll from Austria for a day! It was sweet to have a native speaking German companion and she was so funny. Zum Beispiel (for example), she found out I liked running and really wanted to go running with me, even though she didn't bring any workout clothes or shoes. She convinced me it was ok so Thursday morning we took in my basketball shorts and a t-shirt and she in...normal missionary attire and sandals. What a hoot. We got some great looks from passersby. J

Kindergarten joy!
So normally missionaries aren't allowed to work with children because of legal complexities. However our mission president approved a service project where we get to help with a kindergarten once every couple of weeks. We experienced great joy while building sandcastles with adorable African children.

Italian love speeches 
Street contacting always brings good stories.
We started talking to two guys on Thursday except they only spoke Italian and Polish and unfortunately I can't say any phrases from those languages. We were trying to just do really simple German and hand motions when the Italian breaks out into a passionate speech with lots of gesticulations directed at me. We left them with cards and Sister Knoll turned to me after and said, “I think he liked you.” We missionaries are a charming folk.

Raising spiders in our new home
We finally moved into our new apartment and said goodbye to the tempting swimming pool and nice house and now we live in a happy apartment. We co-own our apartment with a tribe of spiders and they all have very sophisticated names, such as Sauron, Neville, and Othello. They aren't super hospitable though so Sister Schwantes destroyed the four most menacing looking ones. Despite my great fear of spiders, we've decided the best plan is to tame and raise the rest as our own (plan subject to change). We're trying an aggressive parenting style though. Sister Schwantes smashes instead of spanks.

Three Russian Babushkas
This paragraph is dedicated to my two friends serving Russian-speaking missions, for I met three characteristic babushkas (grandmothers) from Russia last night. They were all sitting on a bench just watching the world and we talked to them for thirty minutes about God and joy and other missionary topics. They didn't want to meet with us again, but they were so cute and so talkative and thought we were so cute and they were so excited about the one sentence I can say in Russian. Hopefully we left them with some food for thought, and one took a Family is Forever card for her daughter. J

Frau Frommhagen
We met with an investigator this week! The elders were kind enough to pass her off to us. Except apparently I sound like a man on the phone because we showed up and she was expecting the elders and thought they had called...but she still let us in and thanked God for some new elders (she still called us elders because she associates that word with missionaries). Anyways, we were excited to teach her. Teaching is one of my favorite parts of missionary work. She was having a hard time seeing God as a merciful father and instead saw him as a powerful tyrant, which was really sad. Knowing that God is my father and that He loves me provides me great comfort. I love my Heavenly Father and am grateful for the strength that I receive from the knowledge that I am His daughter. My mom sent me something cool about covenants this week and how they help us feel God's love for us and increase our love for others. When we talk about baptism, it's not just putting people under the water and, though its symbolism is beautiful, baptism is really about covenants and promises with our Heavenly Father. I know as we follow Him, our ability to love increases and we strengthen our relationship with Him. I felt like I could really feel God's love for Frau Frommhagen as we met and I hope she can feel how important she is to Him.

Love is why we serve missions. I needed to remind myself of that as we looked at our numbers for the week and saw mainly zeros. In Hebrews 6:10, we read about the labor of love and how our work and love go hand in hand. So love your work. Thank your God. Amen my brotha's and sista's.  
Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

P.S. Please send your love for me in written form to: 
Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Claire Woodward
Jevenstedter Strasse 155
22547 Hamburg

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