First news, mostly for my parents, I'm staying for a fifth transfer in Marzahn with Sister Rasmussen and I am so grateful! Because I really didn't want to leave yet but I didn't want to want it too much in case I had to leave but now I can just want it and have it. Woot! To translate into normal person speech, I will have served here for 7 months, assuming I leave after this next transfer.
Too much cake this week was supplemented by lots of biking. Apparently real winter only lasted one week this year because it's been like spring riding our wild stallions (aka our bikes) all over east Berlin. We learned it is much easier to chase people down when you are on wheels and they are not. Only one guy started running from me after I turned around to try to talk him. Maybe I've gotten kind of intimidating.
Stats for the Week (precursors to stories)
Cameroon count: 18 (up by 37% and enough for a small branch if they all get baptized)
Missionaries in Marzahn: 6 (a drop by two after transfers; all the sisters stay but we lost an elders program)
Cake consumed: 5 pieces in 24 hours (we need to destroy the urban legend that we don't eat if we don't get fed by members--please stop feeding us abnormally large amounts of cake!)
Apartment unity: always upward. I love these sisters J.
Songs sung: 104 (in various housing developments and outside as Sister Rasmussen played her little guitar)
The Tale of Winfred
Once upon we met two Cameroonians named Ben and Alex who had a friend who got baptized into our church a few weeks ago but then they fell off the face of the earth for a while but then they showed up again and asked "when you people" were coming back. So we went back this week and there was another Cameroonian there named Winfred. We talked to Winfred while the other two were cooking and he revealed his knowledge of Joseph Smith, Thomas Monson, Alma 32, The Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, who/what a bishop is, and the importance of baptism with the priesthood, yet he denied having previous contact with our church. We persisted in asking him how he knew our church (or how he knew Ben and Alex because he's from Cottbus--a couple of hours south of Berlin--and he said they just found him the street) and he persisted in telling us he could just see all of this information in our eyes. The last time I checked, I hadn't tattooed all of the lessons we teach people to my face though. It was like the craziest appointment of my life with tall, fit Ben intensely questioning us and Winfred explaining answers in some almost-English-dialogue that we didn't have. We gave him the number of the Cottbus sisters and told him to call them. We left still with no idea who he was (though we did ask if he was baptized and he said no).
Antics of Annie
Okay, she actually had no antics. I just needed an a-word. I love Annie so much! We had another awesome lesson with her about the ten commandments last night and she has the ability to be so spiritual but also so funny. We are good friends but she understands that she is there to learn and she told us we are good representatives of God. Funny things she said were...
"I'm sorry I couldn't come earlier. I puked on the bus. I puked on the plants. I puked on everything!"
"Yeah, my parents practice vegetablism so they don't eat meat."
"I ate some porkage to help my stomach." (she meant porridge, not pork.)
Wunder der Woche
So Tuesday was our biggest bike day where we ditched bahns and busses and rode our stallions (there is no better word to describe the freedom of bikes) to our appointments, even though they were far. We ended up way far away from our house and I remembered going by an inactive member of our church a few months ago here. She wasn't home then, but we are always anxious to meet new people (thus the chasing people down with bikes). She answered our klingle and said she was busy but to come back in a few hours. We obediently did so and found an envelope taped to the building door upon our return. We opened it and read the following (in English):
"I'm verry sorry, but I forgot an important appointment with my son. Please call me back.
I've a testamony of Jesus Christ and our loving Father in Heaven and I've been waiting for them and hoped, they would remember me."
Yeah, we kind of melted. It's amazing how something so small as klingling a door can be a symbol of love. President Uchtdorf said, "In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness but the number of prayers we answer may be of greater importance." Praying makes me happy and gives me hope. Serving is prayer is action.
So be proactive. With or without a bike. Find your own wild stallion to ride.
-- Sister Claire Michelle Woodward
P.S. Birthday shout out to my little brother who turns 19 today!