Saturday, May 13, 2017

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

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