Sister K and I have a certain feeling we like to call "Ammon joy." Ammon was a great missionary in the Book of Mormon who brought way more than a myriad of people unto Christ. The outcome of these conversion stories often resulted in people passing out for joy. Just dropping down in a state of supreme happiness, completely overcome. Though we have not yet experienced fainting as a part of our happiness here together, we have had many moments of "Ammon Joy," where missionary goodness runneth o'er (when we find someone who’s interested in learning about the gospel, when people come to church, when people keep their commitments, etc). The following are a sampling of the instances of Ammon Joy we have experienced this week:
· We had a choir concert in our church and lots of visitors came! Which is great because we've spent the last several weeks inviting everyone possible. And actually none of the people we invited on the street came. BUT members brought lots of friends, which is even better, and our Hausmeister (landlord) came and all were able to be edified and then filled with soup and cake afterwards.
· We saw Siegfried on a bahn (train) this week. As in Siegfried from Die Nibelungen. Long blonde hair and all. Except he spoke English and was traveling with a viking, which I don't remember from the play. Random side note that somehow increased joy anyways.
· This week I spoke French somehow. Okay, not fluently, but more than I thought I could and it definitely felt like a gift of tongues experience. German wasn't super hard for me at the beginning of my mission like it is for most missionaries, so sometimes I feel like I missed getting that divine help that so many missionaries receive when learning a language. But I was privileged to taste that feeling this week when we started talking to a guy from Cameroon who spoke no German. And this is part where Claire rants about how grateful she is for Pimsleur language CDs and how that was an inspired choice on the way to and from work last summer. Except it went beyond the little progress I made with the French portion of Pimsleur and the dinner French I know from my dad. Eric, a new convert/returning to church member from Cameroon, has been teaching me a little French too and somehow, I was able to tell Oliver (stranger on the street who speaks no German) who I was, what we were doing here, where we came from, and we had a book about Christ that we wanted to give him (with the help of a picture visual aid). And when he talked to us, I didn't understand everything, but somehow a few words. And he knew enough words in English to tell us to come with him to find his apartment. So we walked with him for a while, me racking my brains to try to remember any of the words to the song in French from Anastasia on my ipod, but failing for the most part. Fortunately I didn't need these words because we made it to his apartment, where he had a cousin who spoke German who at first tried to turn us away, but then told us we could come back, much to Oliver's excitement. So we are. Right after we finish emails. J
· It is the tragic fate among missionaries to have joint teaches and no investigators or investigators and no joint teaches. It is a huge blessing to have members with us when we meet with people, we try to get them there, but sometimes people are flaky and appointments are sporadic and it just doesn't work out. We had two joint teaches fall out on Saturday, which was sad, but because of this, we were able to have a some really great lessons with some less actives in our church that made us shout for joy at their goodness and progress in the past few months. Yes, Ammon joy comes better when not planned.
· Eating banana pancakes and scones (who would have thought my salad-eating, green-smoothie-drinking companion would teach me how to fry dough?) and talking about normal life and mission life with Sister K. I could not have asked for a better companion during the past few months. She knows exactly how make Ammon Joy and enjoy it. We know that she is getting transferred already, so we will find out Saturday where she's going and who is coming here....
· We went on two tausches (exchanges) this week: one with Sister R in Marzahn and one with Sister H in Tiergarten. I love sharing missionary joy and being strengthened by others. Sister H's definition of happiness as a missionary? "A little chocolate and a progressing investigator."
· The scriptures and words from living prophets. I love my hour of personal study every day and feel so stoked to go and do what I learn each morning. What did I learn this week? "Do your best, your very best. Say your prayers and work hard and leave the harvest to the Lord." -President Hinckley
I know this is the Lord's work and His harvest. I love partaking in the Ammon Joy of everyday life.
-Sister Claire Michelle Woodward
At the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin