Etwas Grimmes (Post from July 11th))

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I love Germany. 

As we drove into Triberg I could only gasp at the beauty of "traditional" Deutschland; yes it was rather touristy... but from chirping cuckoo clocks and lederhosen to Black Forest cake and Weißwurst, it flaunted all the stereotypes that make this country UNIQUE.  

We hiked through the lush Schwarzwald to a gushing waterfall, picking fresh strawberries along the way as we but imagined the Grimm Brothers' stories coming to life-- for you see, Schneewittchen (Snow White), Rapunzel, Rumpelstilzchens and Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood) were all born here in Schwabenland! 

Transfer calls: I shall end my mission with a bang, remaining here in my third area to be a Sister Training Leader for the Zürich zone with Sister Harwood! So pumped! 

To be honest, after the call I was filling in the dates of my last planner and started to cry when I wrote in the day on which I will fly home. 

But it's more than just missing the country (and oh how I will miss it).  I will miss the spirituality. The hour every day to study the scriptures. The way people-- strangers-- open up to us. The diligence in trying to dedicate every hour towards the Lord. The chance given every day to testify that Jesus is the Christ and that God loves all of us!

Quotes of the week
  • "The shine of my forehead is brighter than my future." -Elder Raemon 
  • "Wow Sisters, you are really good at walking!" #alldaye'ryday
  • "How old are you two sweet girls? 12?"

German Fun
  • the only difference between the words humid and gay is schwül and schwul don't ask me which is which
  • Gift in German = poison 
  • die See = the sea ...however... der See = the lake 
  • Hell  = bright 
  • Donner & Blitzen = Thunder and lightning 

What I Have Learned 
You know, I think one of the biggest things I have learned on my mission is that God works through us as INDIVIDUALS.  
Things were mildly hectic as I prepared to serve my mission-- when my call date actually WAS as early as I put my "availability," it became a mad scramble trying to squeeze in all the doctors appointments and police checks over Christmas break; my little sister had to try on half my clothes for me since I couldn't buy them from the island.   In February I had to ask permission from all my professors to finish my final projects and exams early so that I could actually return home to Arizona for the meager 10 days before flying to Preston. 
On one of the last mornings on Oahu, my friends and I headed to Electric Beach to snorkel.  As most of them pushed past the waves and swam out, I was tossed to and fro and kept losing my gear whilst trying to recover for breath. After about ten exhausting attempts, I swam back to shore sandy-haired and frustrated.  
"I was worried I was gonna have to come rescue you," a guy friend said from the beach. "You ok?"
"You know, I'm worried about this whole mission thing," I replied, ignoring the fact that he was referring to my physical wellbeing. "What if I'm not really cut out for this?"  
At the time I was hanging out with a number of newly returned missionaries.  As we sat on the beach he reminded me of their biggest advice for me, "While you're out there serving as Sister Lundgreen, don't forget to still be KATIE."
Those words of wisdom have gotten me through the past almost-year-and-a-half.  
I thought a good missionary had to be someone who was super skilled at learning a language, an extrovert talented at picking up conversations with strangers, a brainiac scripture master and a spiritual giant.  But there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter missionary.  

The moments on my mission where I have really connected with people are when I am myself. I have had fun and bonded with teenagers by throwing back handsprings in a park.  I have developed closeness with elderly women by asking them for advice on acrylic painting. I love history and culture, so I ask people about that and they love to answer.  I have sung.  I have been blogging since age 11 and of course, here I am, sharing my mission via blog. These are just silly examples. But they mean something! 
So if you are considering serving a mission but you don't know if you are up for the challenge... I PROMISE YOU IT IS WORTH IT.  God has blessed you with an individual personality and only you have the unique characteristics to influence certain people in your unique way.  
The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.  Your soul is great.  And so are those of the people you have every potential to influence for the better. 

Liebe Grüße, 

Sister Lundgreen

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