Empanadas, Piranhas and the CRAZIEST Transfer Day Ever- June 5, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Transfer Day:
Singen to Schaffhausen to Zurich: we were out the door by 6 AM in order to roll in at 8 AM.  It was more than borderline tearful when Sister Woolsey and Elder Staheli caught their train at 10.
And then the wait began.  
Sister Saint Laurent had to travel from Linz to Salzburg to Munich, and then with another huge group of missionaries to Zurich, so I chilled with 15 other waiting companions in the station. We sisters scouted through the gorgeous city for a park to do studies; I had just enough Swiss franks to buy a Peruvian empanada because heaven knows I couldn't afford any Swiss food.

5:00 finally came, but the missionaries did not. 
6:00 came, and the help desk was clueless where they could be.  The train hadn't crashed or anything.  "Can't you call them?" she asked.  What she didn't realize was that their phones had all stayed in their former areas.  
7:00 came; zone leaders were brainstorming plans for us to spend the night in Zurich if all our new companions really had disappeared off the face of the planet.  We were all broke cause it was the last day of the month, so we survived off the organic crackers some organization was handing out.
8:00, just as we were about to give up all hope, they rolled in, having sprinted around and missed a couple trains throughout the day.  Poor things.

Unfortunately we missed our connection at 9 so we didn't arrive in Singen till 10.  Thank heavens that the elders lended us their phone earlier that day-- ours had died and with no more buses running, we now had to call the senior missionaries to give us a lift back home so we wouldn't have to walk another 30 minutes with her luggage! 

Sadly, transfers are not even over.  Sister Saint Laurent unpacked and we enjoyed a few short days of missionary work including old lady visits, English tutoring, Arabic greetings, calling through the phone, testifying of the Plan of Salvation and convincing a man to say a prayer out loud for possibly the first time in his life.... but she just found out that her medical issues are simply too much.  President called.  She will be honorably released and going home within a few weeks' time.  
But the journey is not quite over, folks.  This sister is incredible and I know we are just gonna kill it for the next few days while they last!  

Flashback June 2012 - In the Amazon 
(For pictures and the whole story, click: *http://katielundgreen.blogspot.de/2012/07/mighty-jungle.html)
After growing up on stories of war, conversion and chicken feet soup, my sister and Rachel I couldn't have been more ecstatic when my dad suggested we tag along and explore the legendary land of his mission: Peru.    
We spent the first 5 days in the heart of the Amazon, completely unplugged from the world in a rainforest paradise.  The huge shacks were roofed with handwoven palm thatching; the beds were cocooned with mosquito nets; the only sources of nighttime lighting were the flickering flames of old-fashioned lanterns.   We were well fed with everything from fresh papayas to roasted rodent, and our daily alarm clock was the parrot nested amongst the monkeys in the canopy above.  

One day we were taken on a tour of the Amazon river.  The water was absolutely gorgeous-- pitch black, a perfect mirror for the kaleidoscope-colored jungle.  After observing pink dolphins spring from the depths below, our tour guide cut the engine and told us to jump overboard.  

Isn't that kinda sketchy? I wondered.  But as we were sticky with sweat, I had to admit that the beautiful, cool water did look fairly enticing.  
But really, wouldn't that be kinda dangerous?
Sensing our hesitation, our native tour guide assured us, "Don't worry, I've been swimming in this river my whole life!" 
What would Mom think....?
He dived in headfirst and ushered us to follow.  "Come!  It's refreshing!" 
"What about the piran--"

"Oh don't be afraid of that!  You'll be fine as long as your not bleeding!"
Well, my mosquito bites are well scabbed over, no fresh blood....
I looked at our Peruvian guide, at the cool water, at my sister.  "YOLO!" I exclaimed, jumping in with my dad before soon enough Rachel also joined.  
Sure enough, the waters of the Amazon felt good.  We swam around for a bit and managed to survive the experience.

But it wasn't until the next day that I realized how dangerously deceptive that beautiful water really was.  We went fishing... and literally the instant that bait dropped into the water, the surface was broken up by a dozen piranhas fighting ferociously for the chunk of flesh.   Within a matter of 2 seconds, the hook with cleaned dry.  
Though it looked beautiful from the surface, the very river we had been swimming in was infested with piranhas, anacondas, crocodiles-- who knows what else.  Poisonous serpents? Malaria-carrying mosquitos? Oh I'm sure. 
So what's the parallel?
I think oftentimes the temptations of the adversary look, quite honestly, enticing.  Even when we're living in the safe boat of the gospel, sometimes we tend to imagine that the boat is too claustrophobic and restrictive.  The ways of the world just look so cool and beautiful that we sometimes forget that the commandments are there... not to restrict us from having fun, but to protect us from the dangers lurking beneath the surface of sin.   
But if we stay in the boat-- keep the commandments, follow the council given by prophets ancient and modern-- then will we be kept safe from many spiritual and even physical dangers!  Rather than restricting us, they will keep us on the straight and narrow path, opening doors of blessed opportunity and guiding us along the fast current of this mortal life before ultimately leading us back to the joys of living with our Father in Heaven!  

Love Always!
Sister Lundgreen

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