Ich Bin Schwester Lundgreen

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

   There is nothing quite like that surreal blur of emotions that comes when one leaves behind everything they know to live as a missionary thousands of miles away.  Following the setting apart was of course all the chaos of last-minute packing, and then at 11:30 PM my dad made our traditional Lundgreen sourdough waffles, and then we headed to bed for a night of zero sleep.  I shared a room with Adam, Sophie and snuggled up in the top bunk with Eric.  Oh, how could I let them go?!  We got up a little after 4 and said our last tearful goodbyes at the airport before I took off.  It was another 24 hours of travel {if you count the huge time difference} before I landed in Manchester and then another few hours before we finally made it to the Preston, England Missionary Training Center.

    I'll admit the first few days were the longest of my life, and with several hours of German study combined with religious lessons and almost no breaks, I was never so excited for bedtime in my life. But we're adjusting well to the schedule, and even though it's slow coming I am very excited about the German I have learned so far.  It's mostly gospel terms, of course, but to think that we can still talk to our fake investigators and say as many sentences as we do considering it's been less than a week is pretty good.  I wish my brain would just be a little less prone to forget the vocabulary that I practiced time and time again.
      There are six people in my district {5 Americans and 1 very sarcastic Brit} and combined with the other district there are 14 missionaries total.  There are people from Italy, Spain, China, Tahiti, Portugal and the Caribbean! Many of us understand various amounts of Spanish, so when we have a hard time communicating in English that's typically what we switch to.  My district leader Elder Sinclair can never remember my last name, so he always calls me either Swester Sweden {because Lundgreen is a Swedish name and because I'm blonde} or Swester Greenlund. My companion Sister Gines is a lovely, smart Utah girl, and we are always with Sister Pugh and Sister Lehman.  I am so grateful to have been put with such fun girls!  At night we always swap stories and show pictures and it's basically like a sleepover with name tags. Mom and Dad, you'll be happy to know that all those years of piano lessons have been put to good use.  I've been signed up to play for meetings almost every day.  

  England is absolutely charming, and every class and bedroom window opens out to the beautiful rolling hills speckled with Victorian redbrick homes.  During our exercise hour, we can take a jog in the brisk afternoon through the gardens or around the geese pond. Our food is delicious, and it's fun to try new things such as crumpets or chocolate buttons. Every morning, our breakfast is complete with fresh fruit and the sound of our chef singing opera.  The accents of course are so elegant, although British Elder Sinclair's impression of an American accent ranges from a surfer "Duuuude!" to a high-pitched-still-English-sounding "Daddy take me shoe shopping!"  It's hilarious the number of times we've all gotten into arguments such as how to spell colo(u)r or what you call lemonade.  

     But really...You know you're a missionary when you go to the store and everyone flips out over the pop music on the radio, or when you're super excited to watch a pioneer movie and then everyone immediately covers each other's eyes because the two main characters kiss.
    On a more serious note... I am so grateful to be here. It's incredible being submerged in a completely gospel-centered environment, and when I get frustrated with the language or scared about how on earth I'm supposed to know the right things to do to bring people unto the Lord... I remember the difference the church has made in my life.  I'm currently reading about Alma and Amulek's struggles as missionaries, and it is such an inspiration.  I may be tired, but I have laughed so much already and I am so excited for what lies ahead.  This is definitely going to be an incredible 18 months!

    Thank you to everyone for sending me emails, it was so amazing to open up the computer and find such a full inbox.  I apologize if I didn't get to answer you back; we took a trip to the store so we had very little time on the computer!  I love each and every one of you!

                                                              Sister Lundgreen

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