Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Week of August 13 from Braunschweig

Hey everyone,

And so begins a very emotional experience for me- my last email written to you in the mission field. This week was definitely one of the hardest of my mission, lots of opposition to deal with and heartbreak, but many good life lessons learned.

The week began pretty well.  We spent some time on P-day at the headquarters of Volkwagen and that was pretty cool.They have a factory that is over a kilometer long and just all sorts of cool stuff. I figured walking may be even more difficult at the end of the week, so I just wanted to get out and walk around. VW owns like all 11 of the biggest car companies in Europe except for BMW and Mercedes, but Porsche, Lambourghini, Bugatti, Audi and loads of other ones all belong to VW so it´s kind of like getting to tour the Death Star when you head to Autostadt in Wolfsburg. It was relaxing though and in the evening we met with a really cool new golden investigator. Tuesday was packed with appointments as we tried to meet with everybody before my surgery. It was so cool, made a new baptismal date with a golden investigator and had just a really really really cool lesson. He is just devouring the Book of Mormon and it´s just so cool to see people prepared and hungering for the gospel. Wednesday was my last district meeting and I gave my last Thema as a district leader.  I thought it was my last workshop on the mission, but then the ZL´s called and gave me their half hour time slot at ZoCo, so I still have one more in me. ;) It was super super weird though. I´ve given close to 40 workshops as a DL (I tallied up just recently) and the last of anything is always weird for me. I remember tearing up taking the name off my locker at work at the pool, and this whole scenario is like that times about 100 at the moment. I give my finisher testimony at next ZoCo and I´m the only one leaving out of the 2 zones oddly, so it´s going to be a pretty emotional experience for more. I´ve spent so much time getting to know, memorizing, and teaching all of these missionaries and I can't imagine it coming to an end. I should probably just stop counting all these "lasts" but I just can´t seem too.

Wednesday was the day of my operation.  Everything went pretty smooth. The doctor was really cool and was explaining to me everything he was doing. Shots in your toe hurt like the devil, but other than that it went relatively smoothly. He had to take out a bit more than he thought though and went pretty deep.  He totally let me look at it though and I pretty much almost fainted. Afterwards he asked me if I wanted a sick note for work, and I replied, "My boss doesn't accept sick notes," and pointed upwards and we all had a good laugh and a good conversation about the gospel. Everything went down hill from there though over the next couple days. The pain medications didn't work and the next 2 nights I couldn't sleep and just had to writhe around all night and day.  They were two of the longest of my life. Finally we got a doctor to come over from the ward, and everything was pretty inflamed and the infection was still there. Long story short, lots of medication and antibiotics were given, and today has been the first day I can hobble around without crutches. Sunday I managed to get into a member's car and spoke in sacrament meeting, but it was one of the hardest meetings of my life. Afterwards I got swarmed by members wanting to help though and we´re going to be taken care of. I think everything is slowly finally starting to mend a bit, but the next 2 days will decide a lot. It´s been sooo hard to stay away from the work the past couple days, but I´m trying to take it and learn from it. I´ve repented of my pride of not asking for a sick blessing sooner and allowing myself to be helped and the more I do the better things get. I just really hope things are better by Wednesday for ZoCo.

Aside from that major setback, this last week is set up pretty nicely.  We have a LOT of people to visit and a LOT to do. The days should fly by.  I just hope there´s enough time to take it all in. Thank you all so much for you love and support which has sustained me constantly throughout my mission when I thought I couldn't go any further. You´re so wonderful- thank you so much for everything. It´s still not over, but these last two years mean everything to me. They say Abraham needed to sacrifice his son to learn something about Abraham.  I´m positive that one reason God sends us on missions is so that we can learn lessons about ourselves. I´ve enjoyed it thoroughly!  I took my mission and invested everything, and reaped more than I could have possibly calculated in return. People say they wouldn't trade the world for their mission.  I understand what they mean, but in another perspective I did trade the world, and it was the best trade I ever made. I have a testimony of the work, of His Goodness.  Never question Him for a second- it´s the worst mistake you can make! I love you all so much and can´t wait to see you next week! Have a great week and bis dann!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week of August 6 from Braunschweig

Hey everyone!
Alright another week gone and only two more to go.  It´s so weird thinking how quickly everything is flying by! 14 days is still enough time to do some more damage to Satan and his plan though, so we´ll see what we can do! The week started out a little bit rough to be honest. The doctors in our ward said that I could get in with a surgeon Monday, but Wednesday rolled around and it still hadn't worked out. We had pushed all of our appointments off as well, so it made things pretty difficult having hours and hours of empty time just spent tracting... but we pushed through and found some more people. Eventually I just said forget it and scheduled out the rest of our week and am going to get an appointment with a doctor myself. So we taught a lot at the end of last week and I had the first appointment with the doctor today and Wednesday at 4 pm they´re going to take part of my toe off, so now the race begins to get as much done as possible before that time!

So as I said, the first few days of the week consisted mostly of finding and a few appointments we were able to salvage. We had a cool appointment with a brand new investigator who has a lot of potential.  We´re excited for him! Thursday we headed off to Hannover for our first interviews with president. They were definitely much different than with our last president, but they were good. Each one lasted about 15 mins or so which is unheard of in a mission this big haha.  Poor president interviewed from 9 am to 8 pm straight just in our zone, but it was very uplifting and inspiring. Most of mine consisted of post mission stuff... actually all of it did haha. I´m still not comfortable talking about it so intensley, I just wanna focus on the time I have left!!! But it was good I suppose.  He´s an inspired and loving man.

We set an WAY cool new baptismal date with a solid investigator this week. He´s from Liberia and is looking for "the one and only true religion." He´s met with almost every church but says he needs the whole truth, not just "parts of it" and he´s just eating up the Book of Mormon. He says he sees the way we walk everywhere and travel so far to teach people-even with bum feet haha- and recognizes us as servants of the Lord. The scriptures are true, there really are people searching for the truth but just held back because "they don´t know where to find it." We also found another really cool family from Armenia who are way awesome.

Tomorrow I have to travel 2 hours on the train up to Halberstadt to do a baptismal interview for a guy in our district. Supposedly he´s 6´6 and ways over 300 lbs (heaven help whoever gets to baptise him) and is supposed to be a really really awesome guy. I´m super excited to see how things work out with him. Baptismal interviews are awesome expierences, but very spiritually taxing and can get intense.  I just hope everything goes smoothly.

Well can't think of too much else to report on this week.  Everything´s moving onward and upward! I hope after the surgery everything gets banging again on all cylinders for the lucky elder who gets to come here! I love this work, I love this church, I´m going to miss doing this full time like crazy, but I´m excited for next transfer as well! In closing thought I´d share a cool quote with you:

"We need such knowledge.
We need to understand what we know.
We need to believe in what we understand.
We need to apply soon what we believe in."

Apply what you believe in this week! Love ya!