Monday, December 30, 2013

12-30-13: ‘Twas the week after Christmas...

...and all through the house,
all the sisters were screaming, "let us go raus*!"

*raus=out, but usually it’s people telling us to get out J

Okay, enough of this poem nonsense.
Back to real life.
Which actually isn't so much real life because my skype call with my family made me realize how I don't really live real life right now. And actually it is real, but just so different from standard real life.

Anyways, it was kind of a weird week. A Christmas week! But weird missionary-wise. I'm grateful I am able to serve in a place that celebrates Christmas not one, but THREE days. During those days, we spent time with member families and attempted to go finding when we arrived a little early to one appointment, but people weren't really in the mood for outside chatter about God--who is why they have these holidays, in case you forgot.
So yes, the night before Christmas (also known as Christmas Eve in every-day language) was lovely. We had a Christmas Eve service in our church and it was full of visitors, which was like an early Christmas for all the missionaries. It was a pretty short program with music and some stories and then everyone went home to celebrate with their families. We went to the northern part of Berlin with the Schröders and some of their extended family. Unfortunately, the other sisters couldn't come because Sister Meisenfelder has been really sick, so that was a bummer for them L.  But we took lots of videos so they could relive it the next day.

Back to Christmas Eve. It felt so good to be with families J.  And the Weihnachtsman (Santa) showed up to deliver presents to everyone, but before anyone could receive his or her presents, he or she had to share something cool. As in a talent or skill or something. Like playing the harp, piano, reciting a poem, doing the splits, or doing a backflip.
Yes all of those were done.
Sister Kriser and I sang Jingle Bells.
Embarassing. Sister Kriser and I should probably have practiced and performed The Nutcracker.
We came home and had a little Christmas devotional with the other sisters and I recited to the best of my memory the story of Jonathan Toomey, which my Mom reads to us every Christmas Eve. Joy to the world.

The day of Christmas, we got up and had a wonderful run in the dark for morgen sport (morning exercise) like we do every day. But our shoes were full of magic-elf dust so we were able to run slightly faster. We ate with another family who lives way out in the woods and skyped with our families. Huzzah!
The day after Christmas...was still Christmas! I cherished the opportunity to wish passersby a merry Christmas for an extra day. Mwahaha! We ate with another family who lived forever away and had a sweet lesson about sharing light with each other.

We were kinda grateful to get back to the normal swing of things after the prolonged Christmas celebrations. We had an exchange with the sisters in Tiergarten this week and I got to teach some awesome people in their area. One was an artist from England whose family does voodoo but she wants to escape it's a long story. We talked about the Atonement of Christ with her and she started crying as we talked and said, "Wow, it's just I always think I'm messing everything up and I didn't know I could be free of that guilt." I sometimes forget how wonderful the knowledge of Christ is that we have and the ability to repent and become clean and new through Him. Another quote from her: "It's always when I'm going through the hardest times when you call and I just think, 'Oh the Mormons! God is back!'"

And now for the miracle portion that is not always present in my emails anymore but...naja.
Wunder der Woche
Remember Homar? Homar who we thought was another Homar and then we found out that he was already baptized but then he went to work in Hamburg and then he called and told me he loved me (#sistermissionaryproblems) so we weren't really sure where to go with that but then he came to Berlin for the holidays? Actually you don't have to remember all that information because I think I only shared the first part of that before. Anyways, he finally came to church! After months of us calling and inviting and coaxing him to keep his baptismal covenants and come to church, he came! Missionary gifts from above!

Running with Africans
We found this cool guy from Nigeria this week named Michael. I was on exchanges for our first lesson with him, but apparently it was good. He asked about our schedule and Sister Kriser told him we run every day and he asked if he could come. So this morning we had a visitor for our morgen sport! There is approximately one hill in all of Berlin and we try to run it about once week, so we took Michael up and almost killed him. His comments about our running abilities? "Wow, you guys are really strong! Strong, strong, women!" He asked if he could come again, so maybe we'll start teaching lessons when we run too J.
It was sweet. I love running.
And Christmas.
And people.
And sunshine! Which graced us with its presence today.
Keep carrying your torches high my friends and happy new year!

-- Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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