Missionary work is awkward work. As I have previously mentioned. It is undoubtedly great, but definitely awkward.
So I’d like to welcome you to this week's segment of....
That awkward moment when...
- Your only progressing investigator, Homar, is actually already a member of the church. And has the priesthood. I know. It threw us for a loop too. We were talking about church and preparing for baptism Tuesday night and he showed us some pictures of the missionaries that he had met in Africa. We knew he'd had missionaries earlier, but then he said he went to church for three years there. And no one goes to church in Africa for three years without getting baptized. And then he asked if we should only get baptized once. And then it dawned on us. Homar had already been baptized! Ten years ago! Oh goodness gracious. I kept asking again to clarify and we also had a member with us and then we found out that he also had received the priesthood and then we were really tripping. After he moved to Portugal and then Germany, he lost contact with the church and lost his Book of Mormon. But he found his way back to us and now we need to find his record number and get him participating as an active member of this church! And what's even funnier? We met his brother. Who is a friend of someone else we'd found a couple of weeks ago and who had a first lesson with Sister Kriser on exchange. Yet no one wanted to mention that Homar was already a member of this church. Whew.
- You trip while running in the dark in the morning and bust open the same knee you scraped two weeks ago.
- You ask a random lady next to a playground if you are allowed to play basketball there and she looks strangely at our skirts and my sock-like mittens and then we invite her to a choir concert. We do it all.
- You've been Sie-tzing (the formal "you" that we are supposed to use as missionaries for everyone except children) a 16 year-old for the past two weeks because she had a baby and you weren't sure how old she was. And you have an awesome lesson with her but then her mom gets mad because there are great misunderstandings about Mormons and you aren't allowed to meet with your 16 year-old friend anymore :(
- You see your trainer on the last day of her mission. Yup, Sister Kriser and I went to the Hauptbahnhof to pick up Sister Diederich and drop her off at the mission office and now she is home. How did that happen? The beginning of my mission seems like forever ago. But it was good to see her, mucho healthy and happy, though freaking out about going home.
- You teach a lesson with two dogs and a cat on your lap. Scriptures are there somewhere too.
- All of the dozens of people you've found over the past six weeks all fall off the face of the earth. Awkward.
- You think you are getting a brand new missionary in your apartment and you will need to help her learn German and BAM! you get a native German sister (Sister Meisenfelder). There was only one native sister in our mission (from Austria) out of 65 sisters and we got two sisters from Frankfurt this transfer. We are pumped to have a German live with us! She is 19 (two years younger than all of us) and is so nice and excited to serve and she speaks impeccable German and helps us with our language. Woot!
That concludes this week's awkward moments. We just need to be awkward one second longer than anyone else can stand and then we see miracles. (I can suddenly envision a whole new reality tv series--“Survivor: Awkward Missionary Moments” where you get voted out of the mission if you can’t stand the awkwardness.)
And now something that is not awkward?
Talking about Christ's atonement! I've been studying and thinking a lot about mercy and grace and judgment and healing and there is there is a super great talk from Brad Wilcox about grace. I don't think I've ever really understood grace and my mortal mind doesn't completely understand the atonement still. But I just wanted to leave you with the link for Br. Wilcox's talk and a quote from it. "The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed." Here’s the link so you can read the talk for yourself: http://www.lds.org/new-era/2012/08/his-grace-is-sufficient
I'm grateful for transforming faith and small changes that lead to a more abundant life.
And as a final end note....we challenged Frau Möbius, who has been going to church for five years, to pray sincerely tonight to ask God if she should baptized. Which she has done before and gotten nothing. But we have a great hope for her and I know God will let her know if the time is right. Please include her in your prayers today.
Love you all.
Send belated birthday wishes to my brother, Taylor (yesterday was the big day).
Sister Claire Michelle Woodward