Brain Jello

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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

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