My dear companion, Sister K, is now the main character in a spin-off, "The Little Girl Who Cried Transferred."
Yes, that's right, even though President Kosak told us three weeks ago that she was leaving, she is staying for her seventh transfer in this area (about 9 months so far) and our third transfer together. Shocked but thrilled are we. I am so stoked to spend Christmas with her and though I haven't had a companion for so long before, I am glad that it is her. The only embarrassing part is that she keeps telling people that she is leaving and writing cards and saying goodbye (this is her second time believing she was leaving) and other sentimental things only to show up at church and say “PYSCH! I'm still here!”
No one is going to believe her next transfer when she really has to go.
In honor of Thanksgiving, which we don't celebrate here, I thought I'd write a gratitude list for you all about my week and my life. I am therefore thankful for...
· Making it home despite getting lost 20 minutes away from our apartment in the dark. Somehow because of varying bahn and bus schedules and paths, it took an hour and a half for us to get home from somewhere where we can ride our bikes to in twenty minutes. But the important thing is that we made it home before 9:30. Into our warm apartment. J
· We had a good street display this week and I got to use my chalking skills again to share my testimony. It's a little harder wearing gloves though.
· I saw my dad. Wait, scratch that. I SAW MY DAD! Yes, that-person-who-raised-me-that-I- haven't-seen-in-10-months dad. That was weird. But so great! He was here for work and got permission from my mission president to say hello, so we ate dinner together and he came to church and met all of the wonderful people I get to serve and it was just a crazy missionary experience that missionaries don't usually have but brought an extra dosage of Ammon Joy (see last week’s letter) regardless.
· Funny people. Or maybe they aren't that funny but somehow you end up laughing because they are drunk and alternate between crying, complimenting your skirt, and questioning the authenticity of your American citizenship. Oh the people we see!
· Our constant supply of new investigators. Even though most of them don't stay L. Like the miracle Cameroonians from last week. But we can get them back.
· Sister K staying for another 6 weeks!
· Christmas is coming! And coldness and darkness. But Christmas!
· Canned pumpkin. Gifted from my mother through my father to me. Score.
· Our nice apartment.
· A living prophet and apostles who give us revelation and direction from God.
· Living with three other wonderful sisters. I love them so much.
· Getting to serve as an STL (Sister Training Leader) and work with other sister missionaries in our program.
· Church! I love going to church and feeling uplifted for the upcoming week and I love that the church is the same all over the world and how you always have a family in the Gospel.
· Music. Especially Christmas music. Which is not yet played to excess, but simply to satisfaction.
· Socks. Especially in winter and in cold apartments.
· Friends J
· My family. My grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and especially my wonderful brothers and parents and dog.
· Quark. (a German dairy product--sort of a cross between non-lumpy cottage cheese and yogurt)
· Books. Even though the only books I read right now are the scriptures. But I still love them.
· Words. Connected with the above point.
· Letters and emails.
· A fridge.
· The ability to remember and the faith to look forward to the future.
· Shoes (that should probably have gone with socks).
· A wonderful mission president.
· Prayer! And especially answers to prayer.
I think that was a good sampling of some of the feelings in my heart. I am just dang blessed all the time. I really know that God gives us people and experiences in our lives exactly when we need them so that we can be lifted up and so that our faith can grow. Also I realize that two of my bullet points are not grammatically correct in how I introduce them, but it is too late. Actually it's not. But. Yes.
So that was my ode to Thanksgiving. Just spreading some Thanksgiving cheer among people who understand Pilgrims and Indians and what really went down. And the cherry on top comes from Elder Gordon Watts: "The depth and the willingness with which we serve is a direct reflection of our gratitude."
I know our gratitude increases when we are actively involved in expressing it. I am so happy to show every day how grateful I am for Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward
Sister Woodward and her dad