I've made up my mind: the Alpenländische Mission is the prettiest mission in the world. Forget the humidity so thick it rests on your skin like a fog-- Baden Württemberg is in full summer bloom, a rich emerald green down from its rolling country hills to the lush Black Forest. Villages dawn a traditional look, with cobblestone streets and colorful wood-paneled cottages as picturesque as the Middle Ages. A treat for a hot day? Fresh cherries sold at a streetside stand. 

Notable Notes: 
  • I keep having nightmares about going home and missing the work 
  • A lady heard my accent and thought I was from Yugoslavia
  • The occasional 2 showers daily make up for the lack of showers in the winter when our heater was insufficient for our freezing, wet scalps. I comfort myself with how nasty/humid/smelly/hot it is, by reminding myself of those days when we wore 6 layers of everything and still felt like we were walking on frozen needles haha
  • For the second time on my mission, I had to call the police at 9PM because of bloody murder screaming outside my apartment 
  • We hiked up to sandstone caves 
  • An elderly man asked me if I "even knew" who Beethoven or Mozart were
  • New favorite form of finding: a survey! Whether on the street or at the door, people are much more open for discussions! 
  • This week we had some lovely, spiritual lessons
  • And a street display in my favorite city, Überlingen
  • As well as some days of no one hearing us out on the street / being hung up on

Some things that will be weird about leaving Germany:
  • No more super picky trash/recycle organizing 
  • No more Catholic bell towers to tell the time 
  • No more streets in one town being named after other towns a few KM over (it's confusing)
  • No more paying for water/restrooms 
  • No more sleeping on trains 
  • No more waking myself up at 2AMwith my brain rapid-firing German thoughts 
  • No more black-out shutters build into every window frame
  • No more cigarette smoke in every public place
  • No more pretzels at every corner bakery, nor sweet mustard
  • No more casually asking the guy on the bus which country he is from. 
  • No more dirndl/lederhosen worn NBD to special events 

A few weeks ago we sat in on an interview of a member couple. Although born in Germany in the early 1930s, their primary language is Russian. As children, the Russians entered their village....gave the people just enough time to gather a few loaves of bread...and then loaded them up on a train and shipped them to Kazakhstan. There they were social outcasts, treated as pigs, forced into the land of foreigners who didn't want them there. They were deprived of an education and as children never learned how to read. Hunger was a constant companion, and in a desperate state of starvation their parents would send them begging from door to door. "People don't understand the price of bread," they whispered, their faces pained at the idea of the food thrown away. It was only 20 years ago that they were allowed to return to Germany. The decades-awaited Freedom is sweet, but now even the tongue of their forefathers is hard to speak! 
For me it was an incredible and a humbling experience. 
Sometimes I think about what it means for me to have come on a mission.  Mostly I think about all the people I would have never otherwise met.  It is a a big wide world, and all of these children of God have a story to tell. I'm so grateful that I could hear just a few!

Sister Lundgreen 

PS Saying goodbye to President and Sister Kohler!!

Up the Stairs

If we thought last transfer day was crazy-- just chilling in Zurich for 12 hours-- then boy were the past two days just a treat.  On Sunday we spent 7 hours traveling (on trains so crowded we had to stand for most of the time), dripping in sweat as we lugged around mammoth suitcases. Our 2nd train was so behind schedule that we missed our 3rd train; there were hundreds of people all packed in crowds as we  tried to maneuver down the stairs and back up to the next platform; a guy chewed me out for accidentally hitting him with my backpack when I had to dive down and catch a 70lb suitcase right before it tipped down the stairs onto an old lady.  Then our replacement train was so late that it had to switch platforms, so down the stairs and back up again we went.  It was always a dream of mine to ride one of those posh bullet trains; we stood in the narrow hallway, guarding the luggage like mother ducks and watching through the window as we zipped through a Bayern I didn't recognize-- one laden with summertime green. We even passed through Augsburg!   

Sister Saint Laurent is a CHAMPION.  I am so grateful for her example of strength, giving, and persistence.  We split up in Munich where she would go to the airport at 4 AM and where I would spend the night with my cute new comp, Sister Harwood.  

Sis Saint Laurent and I's week

  • For pday we visited the colorful lakeside Konstanz as well as the Island Mainau, developed by the Swedish King as a tropical paradise complete with French gardens, a pink palace, and a butterfly cage. 

  • Romanian ladies took our arms and we danced to their folk music
  • A woman insisted on plastering really expensive but way-too-white foundation onto my face. My comp was choking back laughter. 
  • We had to go to the hospital again to ensure she had no blood clots
  • We got conned into house arrest
  • Right when we thought it was time to leave a member's house, she whipped out her Essential Oils and gave my comp a massage. 
  • We obliterated more bricks
  • We fed off of each other's stress and one night just had panic attacks LOL
  • Her tablet deleted almost all of its data the morning before departure so we spent most of the time at church desperately trying to recover all her mission files before the train left. The church computer crashed in the process.  
  • We found light sabers in the apartment only AFTER we surprised our birthday boy Ward Mission Leader Ben(ji) AKA Jedi Master ObiWan Kanobi with a Star Wars cake, cause he calls us his Jedis  

  • PK shall be flying back to Provo and in his stead will come our new mission President CHRIS BROWN.   

The first time I ever desired to serve a mission was when I around 9 years a Primary mission activity.  I remember Brother Wightman clad in his pilot uniform as we pretended to board an airplane to a foreign land; we were given sticker badges and listened in fascination as our leaders recounted tales of their best 2 years.  "I want to serve a mission in Australia like Sister Wightman!" I exclaimed to my parents.  
However, I was always on the fence. For sure, I wanted to serve a couple's mission when I retired, but serving as a young missionary? Here was my thought process as a tweenager: "Mom got married at 20.  21 is sooooo old, and worse, by time I get back I will be even older!  22 or 23! 
Of course, this could no longer be my excuse once the age change happened. "Think of the ladies we know who served missions," my mom said.  "Marla Arnold, Noelle Ray, Becky Menzie, Vicki Walker...They are all powerhouse women! This is your chance!" 
But could I really handle it?  I was always shy and introverted. Everyone always talked about how much rudeness and rejection missionaries faced, and that aspect certainly didn't appeal to my sensitive side.  
As I got older I really wanted to attend BYU-Hawaii and/or take a study abroad to experience living in magical cultured Europe, and was doubtful that I could squeeze that AND a mission into my perfect little timeline. 
Still though, my father and I would take night walks.  We recalled our service project in Peru, and the people who were so destitute.  This kindled a desire to serve people-- somehow.  I thought of Sister Carr or Sister VanWagoner who dedicated so much effort to the needy in Ethiopia.  But how could I go do such incredible service when I was so young? How could I change someone's life? I was stressed because I had given up my dreams of going into medicine,  and while I wanted to study graphic design, knew that this wouldn't be "fulfilling" enough for me. 
At 17 I began looking for answers.  I visited a website which finds you a random Bible verse with the click of a button. I also would attempt letting my scriptures fall to a page and see if God would give me an answer with the first paragraph my eyes rested upon. This was to no avail.  
In the late summer of 2014 I was driving back from a stake choir practice.  I was stopped at a red light when suddenly the Spirit just slugged me. "Katie, you can help people change their lives by serving a mission!" The impression was stronger than any I had ever felt, penetrating deep into my heart, the elation radiated outwards and I may or may not have yelped for joy.  I couldn't stop the smile.  No, perhaps I could not give people bread or fish.... but I could offer them manna of spirit.  The gospel. Of course! 

Sister Lundgreen 
P.S. Sister Harwood and I figured out that we are both INFJ personalities (that's supposedly only 1% of the world population yet we got paired together), we both draw, write books, love history, and going on adventures! 

Not Much To Say - Post from June 12

 Transfer call #11.5:
When Sister Saint Laurent flies back home on Monday, Sister Harwood will come down from Munich and serve here with me, since her current comp is a visa waiter.

Notable Notes 
  • a guy refused to take a card from us because he said the real Jesus has blood-red eyes and since the painting of Jesus on our card had brown eyes that discredited anything we could try to teach him 
  • Hospital visits woot woot
  • Sometimes we go on hunts to visit people and then we get there and realize they are 80% likely dead 
  • Sometimes people drop the missionaries and it breaks the missionaries' hearts
  • We were in this quiet middle-of-nowhere village when suddenly we heard The Neighborhood blasting out of an open window and I about died, I just had to stop in my tracks and hear my high school music 
  • These two guys approached us on a bench and were bummed that we couldn't come party with them. We asked them to teach us something in Arabic and what does he decide to teach us? but the one word I already happened to know: habibi. That is the Arabic equivalent of pet names like "baby" or "honey". 
  • On the plus side, they pinky promised us to try partying without cigarettes or alcohol
  • We had a street display. How fun it is when people come up to you! Even better is when they see a Book of Mormon in their obscure native language (like Igbu) on the table.
  • It's no longer uncommon for me to see people walking their cats
  • Grandpa, I went into the Istanbul Market and tried a Turkish Delight for you
  • Our ward is seriously FANTASTIC and we can always rely on them to support us in the work or even to just be friends to build us up!

Mosiah 4:9 - Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
Remember, my friends, it's God who has the Birdseye Perspective!

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