Kidnapper Van

Crowning the extinct volcano over Singen once stood a majestic castle of the 10th century AD. Once dominated by romanticized royals, it became a target of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose lust for an empire fanned the flames of its destruction. Last week, 200 years later, the sisters enjoyed a beautiful picnic from its ruins.  Then, this morning, we took a 5 AM jog for a volcanic sunrise view!

We have had a good number of appointments this week but I will admit my favorite event of the whole week was skyping on Mother's Day! As one of the two days of the year I get to see my family's lovely faces, it was pretty precious. 

 *Mothers  Close Your Eyes Por Favor*
So we were out working in an old village we had never before visited. With another appointment at 6:30 we had to make sure to take the bus on time. As we were waiting by the stop, a man sporting big biceps and a ponytail pulled over- no joke- in a big white van with blacked out windows. "The bus doesn't run here," he said. "Where are you heading?"
"Singen." I replied.
"I can take you there!" He grinned. "And there wouldn't be any stops along the way [like a bus]." 
"Oh, that's ok!" 
"No really, get in! No reason to be afraid."
"That's really nice, but we're missionaries so we're not allowed to be alone. Is there another bus that runs?" (We had passed many bus stops on our way)
"Buses seldom come here. Just come with me, it's alright!"
"No really, it's a rule. We can call someone. Thank you anyway!" 
He raised a brow at us as if we were rejecting a great offer. As he pulled away, we started heading down the street to scout out another bus stop. After 2 minutes the van  legit flipped around and pulled onto the sidewalk. "You know I really just don't like seeing two women out alone!" (As if we were stranded out in the wilderness) "You can even see my ID! I know you said you can call someone but I really think you should just get in with me." 
We were firm when we turned him down this time. Quickly we headed to the city center in a dual attempt to rid ourselves of him and to find the next bus. Sure enough we asked a bus driver who confirmed that there is a bus that goes to Singen; after enough time we headed back to where we had initially been waiting for the bus. As we suspected, the man had been lying and our bus came right on time. 

Some other Notable Notes:
  • Someone asked if sister Woolsey and I are twins. 
  • We helped bishop build his new house...Using a pickax and the brute strength of our bare hands, we smashed stones to smithereens! Apparently I love manual labor.
  • I saw a rainbow majestically shooting out of the distant snow-tipped Alps. 
  • We didn't have time to return to Singen so instead of doing it at the church we did weekly planning on the lakeside. 
  • Someone have been working with told us she KNOWS the Book of Mormon is true and that made me so so happy. 

D&C 45:
3 Listen to him [Christ] who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--
4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.
Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Lundgreen


Welcome to Radolfzell: 750 years old this year, it is a dainty little town right on the lap of the lake.  We visit it quite often, whether for a pday eating "spaghetti ice cream" at a sunbathed cafe table, or for finding along the beachside path. 

Street performers can always be found strumming guitars beneath the railroad tracks, and when talking to people about religion, sisters can strike up all sorts of interesting conversations with Catholics to Atheists to Muslims alike.    


It was so fun just being able to catch up on everything since graduation; it was especially cool because I have been together with her, cheerleading on the sidelines of a wild basketball game, in AP classes, and now in the mission field.  I loved hearing her bear powerful testimony in appointments, and watching her bold and fearless talent in talking to basically anyone on the street.  This exchange ("tausch") was incredibly fun but also did not lack it's uncomfortable moments... here are 2 of the multiple:
  •   8 PM we were walking / chit-chatting when suddenly we heard rustling in the bushes. Suddenly this big non-German guy legit jumped out of the bushes shouting "[swear word] AMERICANS" over and over. As he started getting in our faces, we stood our ground and clutched our purses, completely uncertain of what to expect. Then he just ran off yelling angrily. I PROMISE I WOULD NEVER NORMALLY DO THIS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY - but I was in such disbelief that this dude would literally curse at these two young, 5' stranger girls... that in a moment of pure rebellion, I started whisper singing 'I'm Proud to Be an American' and smiled as Sister Cullimore joined me. 
  •     We were visiting a lady in the village over when, in the middle of a great spiritual moment, my phone started ringing off the hook.  I hung up 4 times before finally I went into the hallway to answer.  It was the 12-year-old we teach English to, crying as she exclaimed, "Where are you?!" Apparently we never received the text that she wanted to change her appointment (always Thursday) to Wednesday.  "I am so so so sorry but I can't come today! I'm not even in Singen right now!" It wasn't for another hour later that we got dropped off at the train station in Singen (so that we could take a train towards the border of Switzerland, meet the other sisters, and exchange back).   We got to the station like 10 minutes before we needed to hop on the train, so spontaneously I told Sis Cullimore that if we raced over,  I could treat her to some ice cream as thanks for the fun tausch. LITERALLY WORST TIMING EVER. The same 5 seconds that we were waiting at the light holding our ice creams were the same 5 seconds that the 12-year-old's father (a bus driver) drove past. We made eye contact and he threw up his hands in pure disgust at us.  It felt like a movie. This looked so bad!  While we knew the reality of our 10 minute timespan, to him it looked like we had lied to his tween daughter by telling her we weren't Singen to ditch out and get dessert. I was freaking out.  It was an agonizing half hour before we managed to get Sis Stellter (Sis Cullimore's German companion whom I replaced in Singen) to call him in her flawless German and settle the whole ordeal.......... SIGH OF RELIEF 

  • When you're at the lunch break of a service project, 2 guys in their late 20s pat that tiny space leftover on the couch, and tell you to sit there right smack in between them... AND FOR YOU THAT'S LIKE THE MOST TERRIFYING THING THAT COULD HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN SAID TO YOU ALL DAY
  • When it's Thursday and the first time you've been invited in all week is now by a very drunk man in an open bath robe. #bitte...nein
  • When you wake yourself up in the middle of the night, arms folded praying in German 
  • Or even better, on exchange in Switzerland: when the bill is brought out and the water turns out to cost 10 franks   

It's been exhilarating finding new opportunities to teach, whether it be legitimate lessons (FINALLY!!) or simply giving testimony to a person on the street.  I have never been so utterly unafraid to just declare to people the wonderful news of the gospel.

To be honest, so much of my mission has been about shaping me into becoming confident in myself as someone capable of being a powerful messenger of the gospel.... because for a very long time I struggled with feelings of inadequacy. But I found something special in D&C 35:
"13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit;
14 And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them."
I think that part of faith in the Lord also includes faith in ourselves. God does not need kings nor celebrities nor Harvard graduates to perform his work in whatever convincing manner of brilliance... he needs those, however humble they may be, with simply the faith enough to know that they can be a tool in His hands. That, as long as they are trying their best, that He will put them on the right paths.  And then, as it says in the Book of Ether, weak things will be made strong.  

      Sister Lundgreen

When Life Gives you Lemons

In this crazy weird way, my favorite kind of day as a missionary is when it is pouring down rain, my boots are soaked through and we still have hours ahead of us.  It's so windy the umbrella flips inside out, and despite our timing being so bad we miss the train twice so we just keep on dooring houses while we wait for the next train to arrive.... on this kind of day, the optimism only builds.  It's like a good workout-- it's painful, but you know you're working hard and that you will feel oh-so-good afterwards.  

Trying to rescue a remote control airplane from a tree

However, I have a riddle for anyone with a solid answer-- why on earth was almost NO ONE in this village home to answer their doors when it was a holiday (which in Germany means that EVERYTHING IS CLOSED) and when it was so rainy and dismal that I know they weren't outside?  
Notable Notes:
  • My year-long-valid Austrian visa is officially expired
  • We have this thing going on with an elderly couple in the branch; we snuck banana bread into their mailbox and next thing you know they gifted us with marshmallows and poppyseed pastries; we are going to their house again tonight and they are literally my favorite 
  • You know you're a missionary when you love service and are so excited to help someone move; I am also beyond pumped to help the bishop tile his roof
  • We went to visit a member at a rest home, and when someone asked who we were, the nurse (who never met us) explained that we came to share an important message! What?? That's usually our line! 
  • We found a huge patch of neon turquoise mold festering in our apartment 
  • Finally almost back to health after three weeks of being sick, managed to avoid getting bronchitis again yayyy

         I was born with a defect in my ear-- very small, flat Eustachian tubes -- which made it really difficult for water to drain and thence caused many painful ear infections.  My eardrums ruptured so many times under pressure that they are permanently scarred, and I failed every hearing test I took until I was 17.  Over the years I spent a lot of time at doctors' offices; I distinctively remember tubes being placed in my ears and then subsequently falling out a while later in class.  At my worse point, I had 70% hearing loss in my left ear, so my mother always asked me to placed in the front left corner of the classroom so I could hear the teacher with my 50%-hearing right ear.  
      I remember as a kid it was so absolutely frustrating.  Put aside the hearing problems (though interestingly enough, whilst most people struggle hearing high tones, I struggle with low, which meant that I was always much more likely to respond to my mother than father).  We also discovered that the constant water in my inner ear was also to blame for the balance problems I've struggled with since I was 7, making it difficult to perform well in tumbling, on the beam in gymnastics, or as a flyer at the top of stunts in cheerleading.   My cousins were synchronized swimmers and would also pretend to be mermaids with my sister at the bottom of the pool-- I could never join.  It just hurt too much.  

      The Book of Alma teaches that this life is the probation (or testing) time, the time to prepare to meet our Heavenly Father. In the face of trial, the Lord promised Joseph Smith that, "All these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good."  I really do think that this experience taught me so much-- gratitude for my hearing, for starters.  Humility? Definitely. (Perhaps it also taught my parents patience when I would say "what?" fifty times to their questions... haha). Beyond that, as the water more frequently trapped behind my eardrums caused gymnastics and cheerleading to become more and more challenging, I was forced to reach out and experiment with new talents! Only then did I discover my love for musical performance; as well as focusing more on my passion for writing.  
     ...And then somehow, when I got older, things started getting a lot better.  Doctors said I was all clear to head off to BYU-Hawaii, where I would sometimes go every day to the beach, and could snorkel just as deep as my lung capacity allowed.  

I haven't had an ear infection nor hindering from hearing loss in years.  I can hear and learn just fine in a classroom setting.  I can sing and harmonize as I please! 
       Sometimes when life gives us lemons, a shortage of sugar makes it hard to make lemonade.  But let us be positive and find the sweet blessings in our life. I hope that, despite our challenges, we can be open to learn and grow because God's plan for us in this mortal life and the one to come is so much greater than we can comprehend!


    Sister Lundgreen

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