He lives! Jesus Christ, He lives! The son of God, the Prince of Peace,
the friend to all, his love shall never cease. Goooooood news. He
(If you are confused take a look at the opening song of the musical
not about Dorothy.)
From the moment this new transfer started we have been seeing a lot of
changes especially with the people. Wednesday morning was eaten up by
being at bahnhof, helping all the missionaries get their luggage where
they needed to go and being there to be companions for the sister
waiting on her new companion. Salzburg is the point, much like Munich
that many, many transferring missionaries have to go through on
transfer day. It was exhilarating to see new faces and old.
Bittersweet to say goodbye to friends, and inspiring to welcome those
who are brand new on the mission.
I envy these freshly bloomed missionaries, they have their whole
mission ahead of them. Would love to have a whole new set of eighteen
months ahead of me, I have wanted this time since I was 14, why would
I want it to be over any time soon. This was the big goal, the big
dream. It still is, I am still living my dream every day. Talking with
random strangers and trying to help them remember that we are actually
brothers and sisters.
This week two people that I love very much went on their missions.
Reading their first letters I felt so, so glad for them. A mission
is the most wonderful thing. I am so excited to hear about their ups
and downs, successes and failures, disappointments and victories, the
mere adventure and amazing learning process.
Anyhow on a note of what is happening in Salzburg…
I have been trying to work in unity with ward members and leaders. We
had a great meeting with our relief society president, just talked
about some sisters we could be supporting in the ward and she also
told us her conversion story, it all happened just because her friend
invited her over to watch a presentation from the missionaries, she
was too shy to say no, and did not want to go alone so she brought her
brother and two friends. … Guess who are all members of the church
now? Boom. Member missionary work.
Then later that week there was a relief society activity. I loved
looking around the room and realizing I had done something to either
work with or serve each lady in the room. We have a sweet Italian lady
in our ward, she is married to an Austrian and they just had their
first baby. A few Sunday’s ago she and her baby had a bit of s fall,
there was a glass that broke, and the poor little thing had stitches,
just a few weeks old. We were all very concerned and an ambulance had
to come to the church after the third hour, anyhow, we made her a meal
and it made me so happy to see the little baby feeling ok, and the
hair starting to grow back where they had to shave it away.
We also had the wonderful opportunity to go to ward council this week
because our ward mission leader had to work. I love being a part of
ward council, it helps you know what worries the ward members have,
and you find ways you can help more than when the GML himself goes and
just reports. But our GML is great so I am not complaining. Just you
know me, I like to be in the behind the scenes, the ( (employees only)
if you will) and part of what makes it all happen.
We have got our children’s dance class and singing class all set up
for these next weeks and a concert lined up for the first of July. I
am glad we have a small stage, now I just need to figure out how those
lights work. 🙂 this is all for our activity in combination with the
relief society and the primary children. The idea is they can invite
their friends to participate and then also the teacher of those who are
learning a musical instrument, Just pray that we will be able to pull
it all off, the ward is worried about having it later because if I or
elder Erickson gets transferred than the engines powering things will
be dead. Well, not dead yet, just, somewhere else. So now it is in
three weeks and the ward members hardly know anything. But if I can
make this into something, then my name is not sister Gardner. We
already had a nice response from the moms that we spoke with on
Sunday. The theme is “singende klingede sommer” or roughly translated,
” singing the songs of summer.” Just pray I can handle the class of
little children and that we will have enough Olafs for our “In sommer”
choir. If anyone can put together a number with little boys, it is
elder Erickson. The kids love him and he is so patient with them. I am
excited to also see how it goes with elder Apel.
Elder apel is from Freiburg, I love that he speaks in German all the
time. He has a strong personality and he looks like someone you would
not want to mess with, in a good way. He has served in Switzerland his
whole mission and now he is in Austria for his last twotransfers. We will go
home the same time. Haha,…… when we go home……. which is still really far
away. He likes his meat, and loves to go finding. He is great. Our
district now also has a golden, being trained by elder Jensen. I am
excited to get to know him more.
We have many people preparing themselves for baptism but they are not
keeping the commitment to come to church. Every time we visit they
say, oh yes, I want to go, and then we ask how we can help them , and
make a plan and then… Sunday. No one.
Sorry folks, no matter how bad you want to get baptized you need to
actually go to the church you are wanting to join… Logical? I think
so. But I am patient. We keep trying and committing.
Many other lovely things happened this week. I don’t know how to
explain my whole week. Which is sad because a missionaries day is
actually very interesting to read about. My experience is rather
different than someone serving in say Nigeria, USA, Argentina, or Hong
Kong. Buuuut. It is all the Lords work. I wish I could just keep going
on different missions all over the world, I could learn every
language, try every strange food cooked by the members, wear pants as
missionary clothes or street contact in a giant city with enormous
high rise buildings that touch the sky. I could get to know all
people, and come to love even more than I do all cultures. I could do
service projects in a swampland, or translate a sacrament meeting into
sign language, talk with people who already know tons of Mormons
because they live in a neighborhood full of them, or try to teach in
Tibet without a translated copy of the Book of Mormon. Oh my goodness
the possibilities are endless. I mean I would not trade my mission for
the world. But what I am saying is all over the world, missionary work
is uncomprehendingly amazing.
And the work of Him who gives us life.
And part of a perfect plan with a happy ending if we choose it.
How are you doing with your part?
To close I just want to give my testimony that Jesus Christ knows all
our pains, he understands our struggles and every time we cry out he
is there. He performed the atonement that we might not be alone. So
weather our pain is deep and penetrating like the loss of a loved one,
or something more for the all days, like a habit we want to break, or
keeping our words and thoughts cleaner, the pain from a life saving
seatbelt burn from a car that stopped to fast, or not know exactly
what you want to do with your job, child, investigators, lack of clean
water, choosing a major, broken heart, testimony, loneliness… He is
there that you may not face it alone. Take advantage of this blessing.
He will wipe away your tears. He will not leave you comfortless.
All my love,
Sister Calee Gardner