Monday, May 19, 2014

5-19-14: Life--It's a Work in Progress

This week was splendid with lots of teaching, which is one of the best parts of missionary work especially when you teach great people from China, Africa, Peru, Germany, Fiji, America, England, and Kazakstan.
Because we're in Germany so it just makes sense that we teach so many different ethnicities that actually don't speak German, right?

Thought I'd do a couple of people spotlights this week.
Starting with....

Osa from Nigeria who has a crazy and destructive 15 month-old-son who enjoys long screaming sessions when we try to teach. He also enjoys ripping out cords on walls, tearing up pictures and scriptures, and dumping pots of grease out on the floor (why you would save a pot of grease I do not know....). And when the destruction reaches too great a scale or the floor is too greasy to walk on, Osa takes a blanket and ties him to her back and he becomes more or less sedated.
I guess that spotlight was more about her son, but whatevs.

Ting from China who you already know (vicariously) and love (though probably a lesser love than what we have for her). She is here working on her PhD and shares an office with our ward mission leader from church (Br. Kennington). Last week she had a friend commit suicide and things like that are not so easy to handle, but we had a really good talk with her about hope in life and things worth living for and the importance of life to God because He loves us. Towards the end of our lesson, she said she should have invited her friend to meet with us, because maybe if she had known that she was a precious daughter of God and there is more to life than worldly success, she wouldn't have killed herself. Ting still doesn't know if what we say is true, but I know she feels the hope that the Gospel brings when we are there.
Ting also came to church this week and liked it; Elder Adler of the Seventy belongs to our ward and he's not always there, but he was yesterday and told her (in his best apostolic, deep German voice) that she came from a great nation and that this church was where she needed to be.
THEN she came to the Kenningtons with us for dinner with their darling little girls and she loved it.
It's really cool to see the little progress she makes each week J.

And since we're already talking about the Kenningtons (yes, I'm classifying this email as a conversation if you are reading because it's kind of like me talking), let's talk more about how wonderful Br. Kennington is. He and his wife are American and have three cute, crazy little girls that he just loves.
And because he loves them, he also loves ponies.
Because they naturally love ponies.
So our weekly correlation meetings usually have various references to My Little Pony. Such as comments like, "Yeah, I wasn't very happy with how the last season of MLP (my little pony) ended...yes I'm 30 years old and play with ponies."
Our ward mission leader assistant is also about 30, but he has three little boys and they wage three-hour long nerf gun wars together.
So we have a good mix of members to help us teach and visit people as well as keep our morale up J.

Also President Kosak is great.
Who knew there were so many great people in the world?
Maybe they all hide in Germany.
Or maybe I wasn't very observant before.
I had my last normal interview with him this past week before our final interview (that will come in a few weeks before I leave) and it was, as usual, uplifting and deeply personal. I asked how to maintain 100% focus and he got a worried expression on his face and said, "Sister Woodward! Do not worry about losing focus. You should be thinking about your future. You should be excited about what comes next. I have no question that you will finish strong."
So that was nice to hear J.

And the next message from my mission...
#7. Life is a process. We are not expected to be perfect immediately, to build Rome in a day, so to say. It is really amazing to look back at the beginning of my mission and see that I am able to do things now I couldn't do then, even though I still have a long way to go. But I think I've always expected perfection from myself, and on my mission, I've learned perfection is process, not a state of being, made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I have two quotes to tag onto that. The first comes from Elder Cardon:
" His mercy, He (the Lord) allows for improvement over time rather than demanding immediate perfection."

and then from Elder Richard G. scott:
"We need not worry if can't simultaneously do all of the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He has spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time."

What's important is that we are willing to try, to try to understand, to get answers, to find truth, to keep going, to keep His commandments, to follow Him.

Life: it's a work in progress. And so am I.

-- Sister Claire Michelle Woodward

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