Week 2 in Bielefeld and I still have all my appendages! Not that I had a fear of losing them, but in case that irrational fear crossed your mind, you need no longer maintain it.
We had teaching appointments this week, so that was a good thing. We are starting to gather our people. Because there's this weird thing as missionary where people become "yours" as you work with them and you feel displaced without them (Dustbowl style). So I'm glad I'm starting to feel “placed” again.
Who helped me feel placed?
Well British people for one.
Actually, I think one lady was from South Africa, but she wouldn't talk about her past, and she sounded British. She actually didn't like us that much, but we found her bluntness slightly endearing. We also ate with a family from England in our ward, though, and it was really quite the refreshing cup of tea. For some reason, British English is the most amusing thing for me; plus they were a really funny family with four active children. I thought I'd include some excerpts of our conversations (cue a British accent in your head, otherwise it's not funny):
--Six-year old daughter falls down after getting chased by her brothers with nerf guns.
Sister Hansen, trying to comfort her, asks: "Do you want a gun?" (offering her a spare nerf gun given to us by the boys), while the six-year-old's mom asks, "Would you like a cup of tea?"
What does that tell you about how Americans solve problems compared to English people?
--Dad talking to ten-year old son: "And why will you not do that?”
Son: "Because you'll kill me if I do.
--Dad to same son: "I will always be your father, so I will always be your dictator."
I was a fan of them.
Then there were the other random things and people that helped me feel peace this week.
Because it was another hard week.
My companions and I work at different speeds and I was kinda that awkward third wheel rolling in front of the bike instead of trying to figure out how to attach myself to it. We talked for a while last night about how to work together better because we all know we aren't really unified, which just makes missionary work 24x harder. It’s still a work in progress.
I was therefore especially grateful for the peace the Spirit brought to me this week through things like...
· Meeting with Nigerians and feeling completely at home and in my element with them as they called us "you people" and I knew it really just meant "you guys"
· Walking through the boonies (aka lots of green fields) in a place called Gütersloh just outside of Bielefeld with a Seventh Day Adventist man we found last week and talking about the restoration of Christ's church.
· Traveling on trains and busses and thinking about the beauty of the earth
· Being with families from our ward and getting excited to have a family someday and to see my own again.
· Meeting Ting, a Chinese student we also found last week. She is cute like Annie, but a little less air-heady. When asked how you build a relationship with someone to try to help her understand it's important to talk to God, she said, "Well, to build a relationship, you play badminton together." Unfortunately we can't play badminton with God, but now I know how to make friends :) Maybe my comps and I should start up some weekly badminton.
So, yes. The world is lovely. This week was hard and most days I really just felt like I wanted to survive. President Kosak gave words of wisdom to us a few months ago when he said, "Not shrinking is more than just surviving."
I don't want to merely survive or endure the end of my mission. I want to grow and to enjoy.
Working towards that.
I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and emails and notes :)
Love you all.
--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward