WHAT IS THIS FEELING…..
What is this feeling so sudden and new,
I felt the moment I prayed to ask if it’s true.
My bosoms burning, the tears are flowing,
My soul is calming, the answers coming,
Burning like a flame, does it have a name?
Moroni, chapter ten, verse 3, 4
…. (Sing it, it works… But my song writing skills are all songed out.)
So let’s talk about missionary work instead. 🙂
Our work started Monday with a part member family home evening. He did not leave during the middle and only made one joke about falling asleep during the stake conference he came to. Unfortunately my attempts to let him win at phase ten did not work out so much, but at least I did not win.
Tuesday held distrikt meeting
And this time nothing crazy like trains going the wrong direction or bikes rebelling was able to make us late. And we ran into artist M on the way in. Our lesson with her went entirely as the lord had planned it. We had planned and practiced something different, but as we talked, and as she showed us her art, a beautiful lesson formed from our questions. We find out that a few years ago she had investigated many different churches trying to find the right direction. She has always had the question of what is the purpose of life. She is really amazing and agreed to hear what we have to say about God’s plan for us. Her art is colorful and patterned and she loved the symbolism we were able to find in it… Excellent opportunity to bring up the Christlike attributes or the creation or love of our brothers and sisters.
We gave a church tour to a man we met on the street last week. We taught him to pray and he did it even thou he did not feel very sure about it, he was looking at me as he said it, but eventually he got it and it was a beautiful moment.
Wednesday had us meeting with a man to give him a Book of Mormon, someone we met last week on the street, but my goodness this man could speak no English and a microscopic amount of German. …. And no French, but about six other ones. Oh well. We gave him the Book of Mormon showed him the website, used google translate to the best of our ability and I emailed him all the pamphlets in his language… So, we shall see. He also lives rather far away from Salzburg.
The little girls dance class went so well. All the little primary girls came and their moms. And they were all wearing tights and leotards and dance clothes. I think they where rather confused I was not wearing ballet shoes and a skirt. I suppose I will have to dress the part of dance teacher a bit better next week. We did a warm up and a creative section and stretching and then of course practicing the very simple, simple choreography. But I believe they enjoyed it. They were totally into it, and looking at me with giant eyes. And then on Sunday they all came and gave me hugs. So I suppose that was nice.
MLC was an adventure. I always love taking part in the discussions there, it makes me feel really I excited to help the sisters in the zone, and we found out we will soon be able to use the area book app! I am so excited for that. My desk might now be too memorized but I love a good memorized area book and this will be a great opportunity. It was also nice to see some old friends and there have been many good memories in Munich. It made me think of the first time at MLC with sister Pratt, my first day in the mission, and of course getting sister Strihavka ‘s visa. Know what I love, my iPad still recognizes when I write her name.
Weekend was filled with A and K, he is participating more and more in the lessons and this time they invited us to eat and invited a friend who used to meet with the missionaries. They are simple happy people, they don’t expect you to dress nice, be too serious, they just make jokes and still like coloring and doing puzzles. They are not so uptight as some Austrian people. Sometimes they are a little too relaxed, but I still think they both have amazing good hearts. We laughed a lot as we did the dishes A came up behind me and was moving my hands around to wash the dishes and laughing her head off.
We went with M, and the poor thing has been meeting up with some other religious folks and they got her all confused about the millennium and resurrection. But we had a great lesson filled with the spirit. She is so close. I wish I could just help her overcome her concerns, but she just cannot get over a few things. We really, really, really hope she comes to church this week.
Sadly on Sunday no one was at church. We have four people committed to baptism, but they are not keeping their commitments so we might have to move all the dates back.
But I am busy enough on Sundays. We have so many tourists that come. That has honestly never been an element of any of my other areas. In the morning, amid greeting members, I am running around trying to make sure everyone who needs it has translation and then I am usually translating for relief society too.
This Sunday was fast Sunday and I wanted to bear my testimony so much, but there were no pauses and I had no chance to pop that microphone into Elder Erickson’s hand and then go up, but maybe next month.
I think I realized something this week.
I am a missionary Nerd. You know there are those people in school who like getting the good grades and learning. We call them lovingly nerds sometimes… Well. I am a nerd when it comes to missionary work.
I am a proud nerd.
I wanted to share just one scripture before I sign off .
Mosiah 24: 13-15
This is a scripture that came up three times this week in completely random unrelated lessons or meetings.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
I love that in this story God does not take away the challenges or the load to carry rather he qualifies and strengthens those who have been given this experience. He helps us to be cheerful as we work and labor. I really feel that this is true for our lives and the life as a missionary. I would actually be rather sad if the Lord just took this away, because then it means I don’t get to have the challenge of trying to make it work. It is like putting together a show or a presentation, yes, of course you could take away the fog, or the fly system, or the costumes. … That would certainly be easier. Less of a burden to try and manage, but I know it would also be less spectacular. I want to be someone who takes this big work that the Lord has given me. So much to manage and do and people to love and meet and serve. I want to keep being made stronger that I may grow. I know the lord is there for us when we need his support, but even better is when we can take his yoke upon us and pull with him, or put forth our sickle with all our might.
I feel that truly God is the one who shapes and corrects us into something more magnificent and breath taking. I trust him.
You can too.
All my love,
Sister Calee Gardner
a Fun Little Story
We are headed to the church and I see this little fluff ball. He was on the walkway with tall walls on both sides. I was worried he would have a bike ridden over him or someone not paying attention using earphones would step on him. I know I can’t pick him up because then his mom would not take care of him. He is making scared little chirps and his mom is flying around above not knowing what to do. He is shaking and I am looking at the little guys almost in tears. So I say a little prayer. Maybe it is dumb to be so worried about a little bird, but I really wanted to help the little guy. But we had to go, so we start a little away, and he tries to fly up the wall but he only gets about half way and then falls back down again. I can’t leave, it takes a little while but I get him cornered and he hops on my iPad case and then I put him in the bush at the top of the shorter wall and to my joy he starts to hop from branch to branch, I was so glad he was safe.