This week at missionary school, I learned about expectations. Except I think I learned conflicting lessons about expectations. Because on one hand, expectations are terrible to have because when they get crushed, they are super crushed and mildly devastating. However, it is important for us to set expectations so we can plan and so that other people know what they expect from us. So maybe I'm still not excelling at that class; this week's assignment is to write a 4-6 page paper on how to have dreams without being devastated when they don't come to pass.
Though the thought of writing a paper after such a long break is tempting... (only Claire would say this!)
So I didn't handle my disappointment so well when our planned overnight stay in Leipzig on the way to a conference was rudely changed and we went to Dresden instead. But that's learning right? Doing something bad/average and then making it better. Which is also kind of like repentance.
INTERRUPTION OF THE NOT-LEIPZIG SAGA FOR A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF OUR EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
The Neubrandenburg sisters came down to serve with us for a day and it was great, as most exchanges are. Our adventures included finding a modern-day Socrates named Raphael (who is German), doing singing-finding in a ghetto building where a Polish man loved it so much that he chased us down after making an appointment with us to give us some chocolate (ps it was his birthday), and eating a döner kebap at 9pm. Okay, actually I didn't eat the döner. I watched my temporary companion eat the döner after a long day :)
RETURN TO THE NOT-LEIPZIG SAGA BECAUSE THIS SAGA ACTUALLY IS MORE ABOUT FREIBERG AND ACTUALLY IT'S NOT A SAGA AT ALL IT'S JUST AN EMAIL
Tempelfahrt! (Temple trip)
This week I went to the temple for the first time in over a year! Usually you're only allowed to go if you live within thirty-ish minutes of it, but we had a leadership council on Friday in Freiberg, where the temple is, so we all went after our meeting. That was why I was originally going to stay in Leipzig on the way there but then that dream was crushed. I still lived the other dream of going to the temple so I shouldn't complain. We stayed in Dresden instead, which is where Sister Rasmussen spent the first seven months of her mission, so she absolutely loved being there again.
The temple was marvelous. I remember going through the temple last year and letting myself get overwhelmed with the weight of adulthood on my chest and I am glad to say that I felt a profound peace there this time. When we were in the celestial room, which is supposed to give us a glimpse of Heaven, I asked one of the temple workers how she had gotten answers to prayers by coming to the temple. She said she had never heard a voice there, but rather deep feelings of assurance. Sometimes she's felt nothing coming to temple, but she said she knew it was her fault because she needed to fix something.
I thought that was insightful. Feeling peace and feeling good is great. Duh. Though sometimes that doesn't really seem like an answer to me because I don't know why my expectations haven't been met, what I need to do to change, or what choices I should make. And yet I think sometimes I need to feel that peace just so I know I can make a decision.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:
"A desire to be led by the Lord is strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality...We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment."
Just another part of missionary school. Peace in a crazy world lets us know that God is there and that we are strong enough to make decisions using our good brains and our emotional hearts.
ALSO ON A DIFFERENT NOTE ANNIE CAME TO CHURCH THIS WEEK AND LOVED IT AND ATE LUNCH WITH US AFTERWARDS AT A MEMBER'S HOUSE AND EVEN THOUGH SHE DOESN'T SPEAK GERMAN AND THEY DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH THEY MADE A REALLY SINCERE CONNECTION AND WE ARE ALL EATING CHINESE FOOD TOGETHER NEXT WEEK!!
Her quote of the week:
"I am so tired, I need to go home and take a snap."
She meant nap.
Hopefully there weren't too many all-caps words this week. I might have gotten a little carried away in my enthusiasm.
Make good decisions. Keeping dreaming. Eat some carrots and ginger. That is all.
-- Sister Claire Michelle Woodward