INTO THE WOODS…
I think that this perfectly explains how I felt leaving from the MTC to travel to the mission home.
We we last left this brave adventurer as she was sending a last minute email before the fearless leader Elder Fischer called Sister Burgess and Sister Gardner away to begin our new adventure. The bus ride was an adventure, as every flashing camera was a dagger in the eyes of a bus filled with darkness. We got to the airport safely and through security.
During my airplane ride, I met a girl from Bulgaria and we had the most lovely chat about where we were going, our families and she even asked me about what comes after this life. It was my first most lovely missinary experience. She gave me a hug before she left and told me that I had helped her a lot, hopefully what I taught her will give her hope of seeing her grandfather again after this life. She was so sweet and gave me a purple pen. Even if many do not want to hear my message, even those I come to love so, I will be glad knowing that there are some who will, some who are ready, I just get the blessing of meeting so many others on the way.
President and Siter Kohler met us, along with their two children at the airport, it made everything less painful to say goodbye too at the MTC because we were all together, my district and the other german district.
We were given each a book of mormon, a small group to stay with and released “into the Woods”. My first conversation with a German person was a Mother with her child, I explained that I was brand new here in Germany, My first day and could I please practice with her. Unfortunately she said she was tired. So it was less of a triumphant experience than I thought, I was really sad when I did not give that lovely peace bringing blue book into someones hands, but with the help of an Elder I did have a really good talk with a man who was very interested. I could see it in his eyes. For the time being we will call him Lasagna man. … I will explain later.
Training was nice, I said the prayer for the food auf Deutsch and no one threw any tomatos so I guess it was a decent performance. Then we went over some safety items and watched a slide show of pictures from our mission plus other things, but really the exciting things started happening later. After training we went to the home of the Kolhers and ate a lovely dinner together. I have never felt more aware of how I was eating and sitting than when I was sitting at the table with the mission president and his wife and daughter… and of course all the missionaries who have become my brothers throughout these weeks here. After Ice cream bars. Hallelujah…
It was the moment of truth, Elder Erickson brought us together with one more hymn on the piano and then we found out where we would be serving and who our companion would be. We all said a short testimony as well…
Now I am sure you are biting your nails and holding your breath and trying to suppress the angry humm from ecaping from your lips.. But where sister Gardner? Where? Where are you? In fact for alI I know you have perhaps skipped to the end of the email already and read it. If so, Shame on you, the suspense comes from the experience not the actual event. but No not really shame on you because I was feeling the same. The same sort of feeling of nervous anxiety. But in a positive floaty sort of way. Ok. I am done now.
I found out I would be serving in Graz, Austria!
My trainer is Sister Poll!
Elder McArthur will also be serving in my ward, that was happy news indeed.
Yes! and now, my dear friends who I am so glad to be sharing my story with, I will be able to tell you in these next twelve or eleven weeks, what adventures will come!
We stayed in a very nice hostle that night, and in the morning we ate breakfast and visited the church for a little more training before heading to the train station and off for the long trip to our areas. I was one of the lucky missionaries who was able to get off in time when the plan suddenly changed and the Austrian Conductor told us we needed to go faster.
One more thought for this… This is what I am her to do… 1. Connect with people 2. Teach powerfully, simply, clearly. 3. Help… It is that simple. I am here to be like Christ.
Into the Woods, Into the Woods, Into the Woods….. And home before dark!
THE MYSTERY MAN
I realized I forgot to tell you what happened to lasagna man! Just as I was getting on the train at the Munich station, the Elder ran up to me and said, “The man from the train called me back! He wants us to meet with him and have lasagna with his family, I will tell him you are going to Austria, don’t worry Sister, I will take care of him. ”
I know he will.