We spent the majority of our waking hours this week in various trains. Okay, actually not a majority. Probably not even a minority. But then I don't know what I'm supposed to call the amount of time in trains...so I should have just said it was more than ten hours.
But now that I've wasted at least ten seconds of your life with less-than-vital words, I'll tell you why we were in trains so much.
Because we got to go to Hamburg for a zone conference!
Gracious goodness I loved seeing Hamburg again (which I've decided is probably the prettiest city I've served in) and I was able to reunite with two of my kindred spirits, Sister Kriser and Sister Ricks. Pure Ammon joy right there (if you don’t understand this reference, please read Alma chapters 17-27 in the Book of Mormon, then come back and finish this letter). I thought about passing out just so I could stay there longer but...the joy was apparently not above my own strength.
Lots was learned and many people were cherished J.
We didn't take a train to visit Ting, because she lives in Bielefeld, but she's pretty much my favorite person to write about here so of course I'm writing about her now. #attempttotransitionfromtrainstoting
She told us this week that a group of Christian missionaries in China killed a girl because she didn't believe in God (not missionaries from "our church," she added) and she was pretty troubled about this incident. She didn't understand how people who say they are Christians can do such "crazy things."
Which led to her telling us she was a little nervous she would be forced to do crazy things if she became religious and got baptized.
We tried to comfort her and assure her that extremists were not part of our church and they wouldn't be allowed to do such things and stay a part of this church. Because this is Christ's church and He will not allow anyone to destroy His work or tell them to do stupid, evil things.
She said a really long prayer in Chinese at the end of our lesson, which I think was good, but since I can't speak Chinese, I don't know for sure. She said she felt a little better afterwards though and was still at church yesterday.
Ting also came to our International Dinner Night on Friday that we had as a ward activity. Sooo many different nationalities live in our ward, so everyone brought food from their native land and gave a little presentation on their homeland. It was cool, except that sometimes I feel like Germans don't know how to throw a party (Exhibit A: waiting 90 minutes before realizing people are too hungry to pay attention to the presentations so they should start eating), but we tried to liven it up a little bit by dancing to Cotton-Eye Joe to represent America J.
And now for those of you have actually been reading my emails every week for my whole mission, I have a self-quiz. Meaning I'm going to list all the Africans I can remember that I've met on my mission and you tell me if you remember which city they lived in. Ready go: Chako, Innocence, Jean-Marie, Rita, Blankson family, Gertrude, Chamball, Eric, Eric, Collivan and Angel, Declan, Michael, Samuel, Adrian, Bed, Alex, Eric (different), Wilford, Elvis, Quinta, Nelly, John, Michael, Paul, Conte, Lehi, Souhman, Maureen, Julia, Henry, Azzizy, Salif, Emmanuel, Roger, Adam, Louis, internet cafe man who texted us, Presence, Mike, Ose, Osa, Serge, Sarah, Rosette, George, Glory, Samson.
Whew. They're great J.
Life lesson #4. Love of God is why I'm here.
I think people come on missions for a variety of different reasons and I think it's okay to have multiple reasons. But in the end, I've realized that the love of God is why I came here and why I stayed here. It's a love for Him and for His children that makes it joyful to serve.
Taylor sent me this poem he wrote on his mission a long time ago and it's helped me a lot on my mission, so hopefully he doesn't mind me sharing it.
Thanks Taylor J
Failure is your greatest teacher
Fear has proved a fiendish foe
Faith is loyalty--fierce firmness to truth
through time and persistence
Love of God--that's why I'm here
Love is what? a fuzzy feeling? No--
An action. A choice. A way to live
A willingness to sacrifice
Love is a decision
We love to experience Godhood
I will beat you and try you and purify you and you will be taught from on high
--Sister Claire Michelle Woodward