Mensch this week has been the CRAZIEST! But so so so awesome! The last couple days in Graz were a blur of saying goodbye to all my Austrian best friends, getting all packed up, and then traveling to Wien, Salzburg, Munich, and then AUGSBURG! I had to say goodbye to all the missionaries going home this transfer along the way, and that was hard too because I have become such good friends with all of them!! But, so ist das Leben
Augsburg is AMAZING. We live in a little old German cottage type of thing (it's so freaking cute) and our landlady, who lives right above us, is HAWAIIAN! This German cottage is decked out about as Hawaiian as you can get. Aloha signs, flowers, drift wood, sea shells, leis, it reminds me of Grandma and Grandpa George's house, only more Hawaiian. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!
Our landlady's name is Maile and we had an instant connection the second we saw each other's fat round Hawaiian faces. So yeah, definitely a tender mercy!! She even bought us ukeleles so we could learn and then teach her how to play. She's literally the best. And every other night she knocks on our door at 10:39 with pizza she ordered for us, or dinner she made for us. GAH...JUST LOVE HER. She's not a member, and not really interested, but that will change soon ;) My companion, Sister Abram, is THE BEST. She is literally EXACTLY like Bethany, so another little "piece of home" tender mercy for me :) she is so obedient, and adventurous, and bold and such a good missionary. We get along super well :) she goes home at the end of this transfer so we are living it up while we can and I'm juicing everything I can out of her!
So two days after I got into Augsburg we got to go to Munich for interviews and training with President Kohler! That was such a great day, and President Kohler is really the best :) We are so close to Munich in Augsburg, only like 45 minutes! Such a change from being 6 hours away! I really love Germany. I loooovedd Austria, but Germany really has a different feel to it! So I'm super happy here :) this week has been full of appointments, finding, and getting unpacked and settled into my new home, and it's been great! Next week it gets even crazier, and I'm so ready for it!!
Just a couple more highlights from this week:
We met a less active family who is the CUTEST! They have three little kids, and have been members for 20 years, but they were offended by some members about five years ago, so they have stopped coming. They are so adamant that the ward is evil and they hate the members now, so it's gonna be hard getting them to come back. This reminded me of a talk by Elder Bednar from General Conference, "And Nothing Shall Offend Them." You should all read it because it's super good! Being offended is a personal choice. So choose to be happy, to think positively about others, and be as the Savior was and forgive 70x7!!
Sunday was probably the best Sunday of my mission because now that I can actually speak and understand German, I was able to be myself and talk to members and get to know them without having to follow my companion around everywhere and have her translate for me :) the members here are so nice, and so awesome! And the church building is so cute and homey.
I had to give a talk, my first talk in German since the MTC, and it was a little nerve-wracking, but Heavenly Father filled in the gaps for me :)
Today we went to NEUSCHWANSTEIN for pday!! It was quite the adventure! We went as a district, so with four other elders, and there was a lot of missing trains, getting on the wrong connections, wandering around lost in some tiny German villages, and hiking up giant mountains in the sticky heat to get to that thing! It was pretty cool to see it though :)
Personally, I think the Disney version is a little more fun, but it's probably one of those generational things, like how I like John Mayer's version of Free Falling better than Tom Petty's.
This week my testimony has grown even stronger that Heavenly Father really does know us so personally, and he knows exactly what we need and when we need it. He knew I would love Augsburg and Sister Abram, and He knew this was the little kick in the pants I needed to motivate me. He knows my potential, and all I need to do is give my all to him and trust in His ways :) which is sometimes a bit harder for us "stubborn-plan your whole life out-I'm always right" kind of people. But He loves us anyway :) which I'm very grateful for!
I'm tired, Germanized, motivated, a little bit sweaty (air conditioning doesn't exist in Europe), and a whole lotta happy! :)
Love you all so much!