And Happily Ever After… To Be Continued

So, I have come to the end of this first transfer out here in the mission field and just like the end of the first act of Into the Woods, the story really has just begun. I certainly hope this next chapter holds lots of people to teach, lots of run-ins with the tender mercies all around us, and plenty of music..

I am running a bit dry of Musical Metaphors this week, which is funny because there are too many to even count, but that is alright because the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. Which in this case makes absolutely no sense.

An Exhange with Sister Kramer

An Exhange with Sister Kramer

So this week I did a golden Tausch (trade/ exchange) with Sister Kramer. After Zone meeting in Vienna, I went back on the train with Sister Kramer and the other missionaries of Graz, leaving Sister Poll to work in Vienna for a few days.
We had a good time the two of us in Graz. Sister Kramer is a convert to the church and has an amazing testimony. Also, she likes the Beatles, so basically we’re already best friends. We did our studies that next morning and then went to go meet people in the park near my apartment. It was such a hot day and beautiful outside so there where plenty of people to talk to, It was an interesting experience to be without my trainer, but we did it. We even found a family who gave us their number and said we could bring them a Book of Mormon. We where both speaking to them in German but it turns out they speak English better than German. They come from Albania.

Lock My Heart Cause I'm a Missionary.

Lock My Heart Cause I’m a Missionary.

We walked along the lock bridge next to the enormous Modern Art Museum within the view of Schlossberg while we talked to people so that Sister Kramer could see a bit of Graz while we worked. We then went and met with the lovely Miss B. We made a prayer rock with her to help her to remember to pray every night whether she is at her mother’s house or father’s house. She also showed us a few tricks she has been perfecting on the monkey bars and then this lovely 9 year old got up the courage after our supporting, to pray. It was a simple sweet prayer, sincere and true. I was so happy because often it is hard to have a really good lesson with her because her friends are running around or her little brothers. But that day was really special.

Modern art Museum

Modern art Museum

Another great lesson was had with L. (she is my first real progressing investigator) She has lots of questions but it working hard to try and understand, It was nice to have a member with us there at the lesson. I can tell what people are trying to say when they are learning English, So it made sense that our lovely member, native German speaker, was able to understand much better than I the questions L was trying to ask. The language barrier is real, but the spirit is too.
So, I have been thinking a lot this week how I can be a better missionary. I have been working hard and these six weeks have gone by so quickly. We are starting a forty day fast… Now don’t freak out, I will be eating and drinking and most likely snacking… on chocolate…. But it is not a fast from food but rather from certain things we think about or from certain behaviors. We have been promised if we work for these forty days to not think about or not do those things on our list, we will after the fast, loose the desire to do them, and will be able to focus more on our purpose. I have been reflecting on what this really means. We all have those goals that we never quite reach, goodness at the start of every new year the gyms are full and people are kinder and money is saved and everyone is often more punctual. They are the self-improvements we wish for, but even now prove all too elusive. It is going to be tough because I have decided to take this really serious and try to really improve some things about myself. I will not share them; partly because I feel those sorts of improvements will hopefully manifest themselves through my service and everything I do. I will not change who I am but rather become a more refined version of myself. …

 a street in new home.

a street in new home.

I want to also invite you, if you dare, to join me in this challenge. It will not be easy and just like the science of psychology has proved: when you try to forget or not think of something or change something, it gets all the harder to focus. At first you WILL think about it more than before. That would be Mr. Satan trying to stop you from improving. But with time it will fade. You have to make the choice and then do it. So this week, if you feel up to the task, pray and write down any behavior or something that pokes at your spirit. It could be something that really is not totally wrong, but could be improved. I would love to have the support of you wonderful people I love as I try to do this for not only myself as a missionary, but also for the people I will be teaching, for those I will meet, and for my God who gives me life. I have been promised that if I do this, I will be blessed with the ability to bring the spirit into my lessons and teach the way I have been trying to learn to teach in every lesson and in every mission prep class. I am going to be very focused. Because the blessing this will be to those I teach is worth it. I love them. Though I know them not yet, I love them. I love you as well, those who take the time to read these words and be a part of my journey. I will never know why I have been so blessed to cross your path, but I thank you. And I challenge you!

Fight the Good Fight!

I love you!

Sister Gardner

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