Brain Jello

Episode 1: Mission Impossible

It was an hour's journey through hail and snow before we finally we knocked on the Schäfers' door.  They seemed happy to see us 4 missionaries there, and we happily munched on Swiss chocolate while they showed us pictures and chatted about World War II. We had an excellent spiritual discussion about perseverance. On our way out the door, Sister Woolsey checked the phone and turned white.
"Ummmmmm Brother Schäfer.... your wife didn't actually invite us, did she?"    
I peaked over to see that we had 2 missed called from Sister Schäffer. No, not the Sister Schäfer we had just visited but rather Sister Schäffer with two f's who is actually Russian and lives actually in an entirely different city.

Needless to say, Sister 2-f Schäffer was NOT pleased when we finally arrived 2.5 hours late on her doorstep.  We poured out our apologies and asked if there was anything we could do to make up for it.  In her heavily-accented German she just said, "Eat."

Challenge accepted........ Oh how we persevered. 

  • 1 massive bowl of noodle soup (probably a 3:1   noodle:broth ratio)
  • 1.5 chicken breasts (this was NOT the vegan sandwich I'd been craving earlier)
  • 3.5 whopping Russian meat dumplings (I'm talking almost burger diameter)
  • 1 other eggy dumpling thing
  • 3 greasy crepes
  • 5 spoonfuls of Greek yogurt 
  • 1.5 cubes goat cheese
  • 1 cup peppermint tea with accompanying spoonfuls sugar
  • 5 orange slices
  • 1 white roll with honey
  • 10 scoops of tomato, cucumber and onion salad
  • 1 cube of super-salty meat-mash BRAIN JELLO (Sister Schäffer's favorite)
Sister Schäffer then sent the four of us home with a heavy bag of 
  • 10 crepes
  • 9 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 apples
  • 2 boxes of pasta
  • 1 box of rice pudding
  • 1 box of chocolate cookies
  • 1 box of chocolate bananas 
  • 1 carton tomatoes

There is a running joke that all missionaries are expected to gain 15lbs before leaving Singen, except me-- I'm "so skinny"  that they say I have to gain 30lbs.  I laughed at the possibility as I looked at the new dishes she kept pulling out of the oven and the table-full we still had left to conquer.  We were in so much pain; our bellies were so distended that even the elders looked pregnant.  
Of course, we were so so grateful to Sister Schäffer for all of the time and effort she had put into preparing our grand meal.  She had pictures of past missionaries on her walls because she really does care, and that means the world to us.  At the end, tears streamed down her face as we sang "I Am a Child of God," and we thanked her and wrapped her in big hugs. 

Episode 2: Silent Conversation  

"Hallo, wir sind von der Kirche Jesu Christi und wir fragen--" The man we'd approached cut us off by shaking his head and pointing to his ear.  "Do you speak English?" I attempted, realizing quickly that he was an immigrant but falsely assuming what he meant.  Actually, he meant that he was deaf.  
For the next twenty minutes we watched in awe as he told us his story through charades.  To be honest, I didn't understand about 80% of what was going on, but I could guess on a few things.   
He is a devout and prayerful Muslim.
He wrote IRAK on his hand, and made it clear he does not like Iraq at all.
Sometimes he would show us pictures of people and sign to indicate that they were his wife or children.   
Sometimes he would pretend to shoot machine guns, or use a knife, or dig a grave. Sometimes I was really worried that such motions were connected to the people in the pictures.  
He would tug on the edge of Sister Woolsey's coat and then make a waving motion, which after a few times I came to realize meant "flag." When connected with his signs about people wearing particular clothing, he was referring to a certain political or likely terrorist group.  
He pointed to the Jesus pass along card we had initially given, kissed it, crossed his heart and put it in his wallet to inform us he was keeping it.
He also made it clear that he wanted to communicate with us more in the future, and offered his number so that we can message him using Google Translate.
In the end, we all smiled and shook hands in silent goodbye.

There is truly nothing like the experiences accumulated on a mission.  

Sister Lundgreen 
P.S.S. I saw Sister Cullimore today! For those who don't know her, this cute chica and I did cheerleading together WAY BACK WHEN.  Go hurricanes! 


P.S.S.S. Thanks family for the package

Happy Easter!

I am pleased to report that we just returned from Affenberg (translation: Monkey Mountain).  Yes, you read that right--we entered the lush forest with handfuls of popcorn and got to feed the friendly little apes.  Though I thought I would have to serve in a mission like my dad's (Peru) to be able to see wild monkeys, Baden-Württemberg so far seems to be treating me quite alright! 

Notable Notes:
  • We helped fold laundry and then the lady took all the piles we had set on the bed, dumped them on the floor and asked us to make her bed
  • A German argued with me that there are 52 states in the USA... if I wasn't sick (AGAIN!!I?) and my voice not all messed up I probably would've whipped out my proud 4th grade song, "Fifty Nifty United States."   
  • "You know the term redneck, right?" "Yeah, the baseball team?" 
  • Apparently my conversational skills are good enough that people think of me as capable of understanding their thoughts on Swiss taxes 
  • Following church, we spent Easter with a fun family eating delicious food, playing games, and cutting open the traditional lamb-shaped sweetbread.
  • Now that it is springtime, we have loved doing much more streeting! People are much more willing to talk to us when it's warm out.

As a missionary, my bubble kind of got popped.  Though I grew up in a happy family with a healthy body, a big home, a great education, plentiful nutritious food, money to spare for extracurricular activities and cool vacations, etc etc..... I suddenly got on my mission and met people with flat-out horrible situations.   
So what can I even do when someone tells me that they have recently been diagnosed with cancer?
That their beloved spouse is unexpectedly filing for divorce?
That they are being evicted and will have to spend the night in a homeless shelter?
That they haven't seen their family in 2 years because returning to their home country would be risking death?
People tell me things and I am astounded by the unfairness of this mortal life.  More often than not I feel so unqualified because I literally have no way to relate.  I wish so badly that I could provide a solution and make the pain go away.  
But yesterday we celebrated Easter, commemorating the resurrection of One who endured the pains and suffering of all. If only we could comprehend the magnitude of such a feat! By completing the Atonement, Jesus Christ truly learned how to succor His people.  HE CAN RELATE. He also created a second chance for us in which we will, one day, experience no more sickness, no more sorrow, no more death.    
18 months is such a short time to be able to wear the name of my Savior over my heart.  But despite my inexperience in the world and my weakness of words, I hope people can truly hear the depth of my testimony when I say that I KNOW HE LIVES. 


P.S. Congrats Kendall and Spencer on the engagement!!! ❤❤❤❤


The first thing that I will miss about serving a mission in Europe is the cultural variety.  

Today for P-day we will visit the preRoman city of Überlingen, where I hope to dive into the quintessence of beautiful Germanic culture. But here in the Alpine Mission, we get a taste of so many other parts of the world-- and not just food wise, though yes there is another Turkish döner shop on every block.  Within our branch alone, there are people from multiple countries, and my favorite thing is just getting people to talk about their homeland.  

This week, I loved seeing a woman light up with excitement when we surprised her with a Book of Mormon in Croatian. Another day we transitioned over from the struggle of a four-year-old translating, to his mother suddenly being able to watch the new Easter video in Arabic.  How neat was that! 

Notable Notes:
  • Our branch president lives in a fairytale village
  • My stomach rumbled and Sister Woolsey thought it was the phone going off #iamalwayshungry
  • We saw a couple walking their naked hairless cat 
  • Ever since moving from Austria to Germany I have seen way too many cars driving on the sidewalk
  • Speaking of sidewalks, there are seriously not enough here. Often times you're just walking on the road 
  • A choir from some of the Swiss stakes drove up to sing and IT WAS GORGEOUS

My lovely companion, Sister Woolsey
Quote of the Week:
Everyone said that after the year mark things start to speed up, and I didn't believe it until it happened to me.  This week it kind of just hit me like a ton of bricks and I became quite honestly disheartened at the idea that I might just go home in August feeling completely unsuccessful. I truly was starting to feel like a useless missionary.
So after an appointment in a neighboring town, we decided to catch a random bus and find a new place to go dooring.  "Tell me if you feel impressed to get off anywhere," Sister Woolsey said, but instead of listening for a spiritual prompting, I ended up making us hop off spontaneously because I panicked when I realized that we were getting further from civilization.  

So next thing you know, we were basically stranded in the middle of nowhere: forests on one side, rows and rows of factories on the other. Worse, we could find no return bus that would even take us back to the train station.  I was kicking myself.  "Why on earth would I have us get out here? At some point the bus would have flipped around and driven back through the neighborhoods!" I felt bad for wasting our time as we now began to walk for quite a while on an empty path.  Finally we managed to find two houses; knocked; no interest.  We climbed a forested hill to find another house; no one home.  Finally over the hill we could see some more homes clustered together, so we started walking for a bit and rang the first doorbell we saw in this totally-random neighborhood.  

We were about to leave when the door opened.  The lady smiled and offered us drinks out in the backyard.  A huge dog lapped at our heels as we, stunned, sat down at a picnic table.  Although excited (and grateful for the orange juice), I honestly expected it just to be a case of a nice, hospitable woman taking pity on two stranger girls working out under the sun.  I thought she would let us show our little video and then usher us back out on our way.
But no.  She literally told us that she had been on the search for the right church for two years.   We were there for probably 45 minutes, answering her questions, teaching of the restoration and testifying in our broken German of those gospel principles which have blessed our lives.  When it was time to go, she was seriously so sweet that she drove us to the train station so we wouldn't have to walk!  As it turns out, she also comes originally from one of my previous areas.
I don't know what will come of it.  I hope she will come to church like she said she would, and that we can meet with her again.  But who knows what will happen! 
It was just such a valuable learning experience for me.  Upon our return to Singen, Sister Woolsey and I got on our knees and just poured out our hearts in gratitude. 

I truly think that Heavenly Father can work with imperfect people like us, and that there are no accidents.  He will put us on the right paths, as long as we just have the faith to keep walking and keep trying.

Liebe Immer,
Sister Lundgreen

Sister Price emailed this to me....  I am famous :)

April Fools

I am mildly baffled to say that we just finished with the third and last General Conference of my mission.  As a missionary, conference definitely ranks up there with Christmas in terms of best weeks of the year.... We get to hear the prophet speak! What was even cooler was listening to conference in German.  I absolutely loved hearing the apostles' sweet and powerful testimonies of the Savior Jesus Christ... and though the language was different, the Spirit spoke just the same.

All the weird things
  • an 80-year-old gentleman asked me to dance. I knew there would be rejection on the mission but I didn't realize it would sometimes be coming from my end...
  • Also a different old guy in a wheelchair beckoned us towards him.  My smart comp was like, "nope...." but I was like, "Come on be nice!" He extended his hand and I thought he wanted a handshake or maybe some spare change BUT NO HE CLAMPED ONTO MY HAND AND STARTED TRYING TO TAKE MY OTHER HAND TO PULL ME IN CLOSE AND HE TOLD MY COMPANION "SIE IST LIEB" ("SHE IS LOVING") AND WOULDN'T LET GO OF ME AND THEN I WAS LIKE .... GOTTA GO
  • This was literally 5 minutes after a lady yelled at us that she didn't want us there even though we had previously set up this appointment and traveled 1.5 hours to get to her doorstep. In my head I was all sad thinking, "I just feel so unwanted all the time..." but when we escaped the creeper man I was just like "THAT WAS NOT THE KIND OF WANT I WANTED" heilige kuh  
  • We also get a weekly surprise of chocolates and music CDs in our mailbox 
  • I wore my glasses for 2 days and got a raccoon tanline on my face #contactsforlife 
  • Usually when someone brings up President Trump to me it's because I'm American but this time it was because I look like his daughter?  Apparently the lady took a double take when I came through her door haha

Flashback April 2014
When I was 17 years old I went out for a late night jog.  Although my parents weren't fans of it, I preferred running at night because at that point the brutal Arizona heat would be cooled down; plus I found the darkness to be peaceful. My hometown was once named one of the top ten safest towns in the U.S., so I trusted that I didn't have much to worry about being out alone.  After being out for a while I decided it was time to cross the street.   There were two possible lights that I could cross at to get to my neighborhood, but the northern road was poorly lit so I thought it would be safer if I crossed at the big intersection instead.  I waited until the crosswalk turned green, and then I started jogging, the song "Lights" playing on my iPod.  I heeded my parents warnings, watching carefully for cars.  Sure enough I could see a car in the distance - driving incredibly fast - towards the red light on its way to turn right.  I wasn't sure if this driver was paying attention to the five-foot, black-clad teenager in the road, so I decided to stop on the other side of the lane and wait for him to pull his California stop.   However, my attention was tuned in so much on this speeding vehicle... that I didn't notice the other van trying to turn left from the opposite side until it was perhaps only a foot away from me, headlights shining bright, barely slamming on the brakes in time to stop from hitting me when I wasn't paying attention.   I screamed, dashing out of the road.   I ran home trembling and freaking out.  When I burst open the door, I fell into my fathers arms and started sobbing. 
I thought I was a pretty good kid up to that point in my life.  Ok, I had done some pretty dumb things here and there but in general I tried to go to church, read scriptures daily, and keep the commandments.  But I remember  walking in my bedroom and just seeing how much of a mess it was.  I remember checking my phone and wincing at the sassy text I had last sent to my best friend.  I remember thinking of the little mistakes I had been sweeping under the rug with the excuse of "There can't be anything too bad about it." Looking back, I don't know if the van REALLY would have hit me or not, but in that moment as a panicked 17-year-old  I was convinced that I had barely escaped death, and I was horrified of the state in which I would have left this life.  
That was a point in which the atonement truly became real for me.  
I prayed. This felt like a second chance to me, a chance given by Jesus Christ because of that great sacrifice which He made for all of us. Because of Him, I could improve myself. Because of Him, this imperfect teenager could ask forgiveness and then move forward, striving to give my best to be worthy to live in the presence of God one day. 

Now I would like to add my testimony to that of the apostles.  Jesus Christ lives!  He truly knows us and truly, sincerely loves us.

Sister Lundgreen

Popular Posts