Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12-2-13: Advent

Once upon a time (meaning the present time), Germany did a great job of celebrating Christmas. They had markets and everyone put up lights and candles and then every Sunday leading up to Christmas is a part of Advent. We celebrated Advent yesterday by giving joyful testimony of the Christmas spirit and eating a magnificent baked apple with vanilla sauce and fruit. Feel free to close your eyes and try to imagine the taste of Advent. Yes, it is going to be a glorious season. Even though it starts to get dark at 3:30 pm now and it's cold and wet with no snow. We do all we can to combat the darkness though, especially Sister Kriser.

We came back to our apartment one afternoon for language study and about ten minutes in, Sister Kriser gets up and goes out on our balcony and starts screaming at the sun to come back. She eventually came back in after it continued to set, but periodically continued to look out the window and shout in vain.

I think we need some Christmas lights in our apartment.

Highlight of the week?
Decorating Christmas trees at the church. Because let's be real; anything that has to do with Christmas gives my heart reason to sing. And my vocal chords. That's been the other way we combat the darkness: singing loud songs in German about our life. But back to the trees, they were wonderful. I am so blessed to be in a place where Christmas is celebrated similarly, if not in more splendid bloom.

Breaking the ice and cutting wood
We helped Frau Möbius cut off a bunch of branches this week so that she can have heat in the winter. Hurray! I love opportunities to serve: we get to wear pants and it's one of the few things where you feel like you really gave all you had and your help was something of value. Plus I love Frau Möbius; she is such a funny, stubborn, and quirky lady. We still are hoping she will have the desire and will to get baptized soon and she wants our message to be true because she's gone to church every week for the past five years and loves it, but she creates obstacles for herself. So we shall keep serving and loving and doing our best until she breaks the ice barrier.

Doesn't exist in Germany. But we are blessed to have an American in our ward who invited the sisters over to eat with them. We didn't eat turkey, rather a delicious Germanified Thanksgiving meal. It was really nice though and felt simply good.

Words of Wisdom
We had a Leadership Council on Black Friday. Which also doesn't exist here; this was the first Black Friday in 5 years that I haven't worn one of my Christmas skirts, for they are all at home L.  But it was a sweet day anyways and I thought I'd include some good words that were spoken and some other random words throughout the week.
  • When asked for specific instructions on how to do something, Sister Kosak: "Find a way and use common sense."
  • After a sister semi-complained about elders, President Kosak: "I don't want any elder eaters!"
  • In a letter from Sister Ricks's friend about missionary work: "I feel like we are working so hard, but no one is moving!" It's hard to get people to change.
  • In her testimony on Sunday, Sister Kriser: "We don't need excuses, we need joy!"
  • And something Christmasy from our prophet, President Monson: "Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. We become more interested in people than things. To feel the true spirit of Christmas, we need to reach beyond ourselves...doing so helps us comprehend the love our Savior has for each one of us."

I love people and love that I get to serve and teach them. I love my Savior and am excited for the extra Christmas spirit this month in proclaiming His message to the world.
Rejoice this month.
And have a happy second Advent on Sunday. J

--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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