Monday, September 2, 2013

9-2-13: Wrenched Away

Claire is being transferred to a suburb in the NE corner of Berlin, which used to be East Germany before the wall came down. The news took her by surprise, as she thought she would be staying another transfer, which is likely why she sounds so sad about leaving Hamburg.

Wretchedly Wrenched
After a mere six weeks in lovely Hamburg, I received a call on Saturday that it was time to pack my bags and prepare to go to Berlin. Marzahn to be specific. I may or may not have yelled at the poor missionary who was the bearer of this news because honestly, I was not thrilled about leaving. Honestly, I am still not thrilled about leaving so soon. Because I just stinkin´got here and the first couple of weeks were a bit rough but we are really starting to see some of the fruits of our labors and it just made my heart cry a little bit when Elder Hansen said I was getting transferred and had to leave my little flock of people after just six weeks and not to mention my companion who I didn't get to finish training. End of super long run-on sentence. So after yelling at poor Elder Hansen and then apologizing and then running round screaming for seven minutes, I came to grips with the decision and started those hard phone calls where you tell people you're leaving in two days and no, you can't use facebook yet to keep in touch and no, you can`t call or come back and visit unless you get called back. I'm holding out hope that I will come back. Transfer calls? Closest thing to real world drama that missionaries experience.

So I am going to Marzahn and my new companion is Sister Krizer (spelling?). Also I'll be a sister training leader there, which basically means I go to leadership meetings and go on tausches (exchanges) every week with other sisters in our area and other leaderly-type stuff. Whatever that means. I guess I will soon find out.

Frau Boschmann cried when we went over to say goodbye. Oskar offered to accompany us to the Hauptbahnhof (train station) tomorrow morning. And I will miss my dear Russians. Rita flipped out a little bit and asked if I'd be here for her baptism (not sure L). Frau Frommhagen is terrified of people but is taking public transportation anyways to come and say goodbye tonight, and we had just finally became "sisters" instead of "weibliche elders" (female elders). I liked being a weibliche elder. Usually it takes a while for me for me really love people and for them to perhaps tolerate me. But I was blessed to very quickly fall in love with the people and places here. Which is great, except I'm leaving. Apparently I am needed elsewhere. Even if it was just for six weeks, I do feel incredibly blessed to have been allowed to serve here and am grateful for this time. I may or may not have started crying when saying goodbye to Bishop Sievers (the leader of the ward in Hamburg). Fortunately someone pulled him away before I started bawling in gratitude for his service to others.

Das Wunder der Woche
Let`s go back before transfer calls when lots of good things happen. Like Sebastian, for instance—the first actual average German we met who wants to meet with us. There goes a saying in the missionary world that for the most part (though not always), missionaries don't find normal people, only members do. That's why members make good missionaries. But we're grateful for the exception this week of Sebastian, who we met knocking on doors, which we usually never do because it’s not super effective. But he was really interested even though he is atheist and asked us to come back and though I won't be able to go back now....Sister Schwantes can! The work will go forward.

On the Wrong Path
Sister Schwantes was a little worried about me leaving because she wasn't sure how strong her connection is with the people we've been teaching. But an encounter with a sweet drunk lady assuaged all her fears when she called over to us to come and talk to her as we were walking by. In broken and slurred English and German, she started telling Sister Schwantes that she was doing a lot of good here. She told her that she could see peoples' souls and that Sister Schwantes has the soul of an angel. Then she pointed at me and said, "This one, this one has wandered. She is not like you. She has some bad in her and is on the wrong path. You need to help her. That is your job. Help her." I started to give a soft rebuttal when she said that I was just like her and did my fair share of drinking and partying. I quickly realized arguing with a drunk is never a good idea and then I simply found it hilarious and tried not to laugh. I should probably give up my wicked ways J. Her most insightful question that made me evaluate my behavior? 
"How old are you?" 
"How old were you three years ago?" 
Turning to my companion, she said, "Exactly! You see what I mean?!?"
Whatever that means.

Well, you'll hear how Berlin is next week. I know that God sends us where we need to be and I’m thankful for opportunities to serve wherever I am called.  Send letters to the mission office. Send prayers to heaven. 

Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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