Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4-22-14: You get used to it‏

There are lots of things you get used to as a missionary. Most of which I've forgotten by now but am occasionally reminded of by the absurdity of some situations.

So what did I get used to this week?

Rocking the Tricycle!
Yeah, we figured out how to assemble our companionship “tricycle” so that all three wheels are being used and our uptight little dritt (trio) has become a happy little dritt. The wheels started turning in harmony as we all made an extra effort to be more open with our feelings and try to be friends instead of just co-workers.

What else did I get used to?
Oh there’s a lot.

Like getting hit on by our investigators. I thought it was just a sister missionary thing, but Sister H kinda freaked out a little bit when some Africans we found last week began asking about our marital status. For some reason, that was totally normal for me. Possibly because my African senses begin to tingle whenever we see a black person and I just have to talk to them. However, I also know that not only does every African man love God, but that they all have a strong desire to get married. Our friend John from Nigeria unfolded the sad, traumatic tale of his past life and how everything would be solved if only he could get married to a German so he could stay in Germany forever. You German people watch out.
Anyways, we can usually overcome this problem by making clear our purpose is to talk about Jesus Christ and passing them off to the elders if their motives are questionable.

You also get used to awkward appointments of all sorts. Like our Monday Easter lunch, which kind of reminded us of Christmas dinner in "A Christmas Story" where they go to that Chinese place. An older lady in our ward wanted to make sure all five missionaries had somewhere to eat for Easter (which includes Friday, Sunday, and Monday here), and asked us to meet her at the church on Monday afternoon. We thought she would drive us to her house because she lives kinda far and the trains aren't super regular on holidays, but instead she took the sisters in her car and instructed the elders the walk two blocks to a Chinese buffet--possibly the only restaurant open on this day.
Because Germans take their holidays seriously and everything is closed.
Excepts Chinese buffets.
Maybe because they're Chinese and not German.

Anyways, she took us there and instructed us all to stuff our faces.
After the elders had eaten about 5 plates (being commanded to go back and get more every time their plates were clean), the member asked if we were full.
We all nodded vigorously and then she said, "I don't believe you."
To which Elder L inquired, "How much do we have to eat before you believe us?"
Which question she ignored.
It is hard to explain the awkwardness of our Easter Monday, but just think of "A Christmas Story."

What else am I getting used to?
Losing things.
Because not only have I lost two Monatskartes (monthly bus/train passes--price value 180 euro), a marked-up city map, a ward list, a new water bottle, and face wash, but also my camera with three full camera memory cards.
Which beautifully recorded the past six months of my mission.
Which I have been dreaming about scrapbooking since the first day of my mission.
Schade (ie so sad).
But to quote the famous words of Sister Kosak, "Life is about sucking it up."
So you get used to it.

Also, due to things both in and out of my control, I am once again returning from my mission at the beginning of July. I’m getting used to changed dates and plans of all sorts, and you should be too by now. J

The Chinese are growing are me too. We met with Ting yesterday and had a great lesson about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. At the end she takes a minute to think and then says, "I have a question......I like beer." And then she starts giggling nervously and looks expectantly at us. How beer connected with our lesson and how that was a question, I don't know. But I think it showed she was thinking about what it would mean for her to believe what we do and to give up things that are hard.

But like I said, you get used to it.
You get used to keeping God's commandments and being happy because of it.
You get used to having the same schedule every day yet with new people.
You get used to saying goodbye.
You get used to introducing yourself, telling how long you've been on your mission, how many siblings you have, where you're from, where you've served, if you have a boyfriend/if you're married, etc.
You get used to having assigned best friends and learning to love them.
You get used to life never being easy, but never being too hard for you.
And to end with a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Never lose sight that nothing is too hard for the Lord."
He is the one who helps you get used to it.

--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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