2017, Here I Come!

Monday, January 02, 2017

It's crazy how fast a year flies, and yet how many precious memories can be filled within that short time.  In the space of 365 days I have lived in Hawaii, Arizona, England, Austria and Germany.  

Among the crazy things that 2016 brought upon me were getting swarmed by wild dolphins, jumping in the road to save a drunk man, and learning German.  Among the more incredible opportunities were befriending and hearing the stories of people from all over the globes; watching conversion journeys unfold; and experiencing the effect of the refiner's fire upon my own faith.

The wildest thing to think about is that this is the year that many of my friends and I come home. 2017... Just.... WHAT.

Awkward Finding Moments:- #1: We were dooring an apartment complex. Someone rung us in without asking who we were, but at the same time that we were walking through the front door of the apartment, another guy who lived in the building also walked through. He was holding a kitten, and he warned us to shut the door quickly before the cat could run outside. We did so. He set the kitten down in the hallway (don't ask why he didn't just wait till he got inside his house) but then the kitten just booked it. Up the stairs the kitty flew, as the man shouted, "Meine Katze!" We started running up the stairs as well, and suddenly we could hear a bunch of yelling kids. "A cat just ran into our apartment!" On the third floor, the door which had initially been opened for us was now the scene of a flurry of excitement. The cat owner was swarmed by giggling kids as he took his shoes of and entered the room to fetch his pet, whilst we were left standing there in the open doorway gaping. After a minute of being forgotten we just left.
- #2: We rang the doorbell at the outside of a gate. The gate opened. We had thought that the bell belonged to a certain house before realizing that that house was blocked by a hedge and that the bell actually belonged to a house at the end of a long driveway. We approached the house and LITERALLY COULD NOT FIND THE DOOR.  Awkwardly we decided to leave..... BUT THE GATE WAS LOCKED AND WE COULDN'T LEAVE THE PROPERTY.  So then we had to go back to the house, literally go around the house to the back where we finally found the door.  A nice British guy opened it (probably wondering why in the heck it took us so long to get there) and said he wasn't interested and that he was on his way out the door. Sheepishly we asked him how we could exit his property cause we were locked in.  We had to wait for him so we could get out.
- #3: interrupted a romantic moment................................

Some Good Doorstep Commentary:

- "So you're Jehovah's Witnesses?" "Actually, were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!" "Ohhh so you're Catholic?"
- "Hello, we're missionaries and we're sharing a message--" "A message?" The elderly lady said, before launching (with thick dialect) into some spiel about all the funds she has had to pay lately but how she could probably scrounge something up. She disappeared, and then came back with €2.50 in change. "Ohh no no we are actually here as a service!" "Wait what? You're not here looking for money?"
- "You're missionaries?!" One old man said, as if shocked that we still even exist. "I haven't seen missionaries for a long time. Compliments to you."

Other Notable Notes:

- my New Years diet saved me from eating a super-alcoholic chocolate given innocently at an elderly member's house; the other 3 missionaries suffered the taste of nailpolish and the sensation of burning in the throat apparently
-On day 3 of Christmas we spent enjoyed a lovely day playing games, eating German steak pinwheels, cookies,  and taking a walk up to a mountain which has been a sight of significance for the Germanic people for 4000 years or something crazy like that.  Now the sight of a small chapel, it was once the home of a castle and the witness of many battles.
- New Years Eve was spent with an AWESOME family whose basement is like a secret lair; it's decked out with all sorts of trophies and metals and has a disco ball. We ate food and shot off fireworks. 'Twas pretty lit.
- A lady let us into her house whilst we were dooring and was SO NICE and gave us water and asked us questions about ourselves. We shared a little message and when we gave her the Book of Mormon she GENUINELY seemed like she was going to follow our invitation to read Alma 32. WHEN WE WERE LEAVING SHE WAS JUST SO NICE AND SMILEY AND GAVE US A BAG OF COOKIES.
On Sunday we met with a young guy who literally had to walk a lot of the way to Germany on foot. I am continually blown away by the bravery of the people I meet here.  He shared with us some fascinating things from his home culture and religion; we shared our beliefs about Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful meeting.

With the beginning of the New Year there is always the talk of resolutions and new beginnings. Of course I myself have my own goals. But the longer I am out on my mission the more I come to appreciate the power of the Atonement and the idea of a REAL new beginning. Through Christ, we can all find new life.  More than just a change of calendar inspired by another rotation of the earth around the sun; the kind of resolutions we make when we follow Jesus Christ can be eternal, purchased by His great atoning sacrifice.  I invite you all to think about that.

Love Always,
Sister Lundgreen

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