Monday, September 5, 2016

Opportunity Givers

This week has definitely been a hard one. But, luckily, you learn the most during the hardest weeks!!

We'll start with Tuesday. For some reason, Satan was working hard on me on Tuesday. I found myself, throughout the morning, thinking about why I am even out here on a mission. I don't have to be, and people never listen to us, and all they do is criticize us when we are trying to do good and giving up our lives to serve the Lord!!  I was just in a horrible place mentally, and I even found myself questioning my testimony. After District Meeting we all did a district finding activity. Some pairs went street contacting, and some stayed at the ausstellung we had set up in front of the church.  While Sister Howsmon and I were street contacting I was just thinking, "How can I even talk to people when I don't want to be here, and I don't even believe in what I'm doing?"  But I decided to just try and talk to ONE person. Then I was done. Well, this one person I decided to talk to was a lady with headphones in, wearing all black, and sitting gloomily on an electrical box. Awesome, she wouldn't be interested and then I would be done with my duty. Well, doch, she was TOTALLY interested!!  We gave her a Book of Mormon and explained what it was all about, and she just ate it all up like sweet potato casserole!  I was SO HAPPY after that, and felt like maybe I could try talking to a few more people.  Lesson learned, once again, you give Heavenly Father a little and He gives you a Gurke!  I don't know how many times I'm gonna have to relearn that lesson till it sticks. The rest of the day went well, and we even found out a way to hand out pamphlets to people riding by on their bikes!  They would grab it as they rode past, and because everyone in Europe is a profi at bike riding, they would start reading it as they kept riding!! It was the coolest thing, and we had no pamphlets left at the end of the day!

Wednesday was harder than Tuesday. I am trying to be a good example to my golden, and we are working hard and being exactly obedient, but I was kind of in a "fake it till you make it" stage. Just doing things because I had to, and because I hoped somehow it would get better. Missions can be so routine and mundane sometimes, but that's where it gets dangerous! As soon as you get comfortable in your comfort zone, things start slowly going downhill. We had a lesson we needed to teach to Izu that day, so something needed to happen where I had the spirit with me so I could at least teach him! We were able to have a good lesson about the Plan of Salvation, sandwiched in between a few emergency pep talks from President Kohler. My testimony that President Kohler is really called from God has definitely grown this week! Thursday morning was where it just all came crashing down, and I fell to my knees to have a personal interview with my Heavenly Father. I realized, as I was begging Him to help me, that I had asked a couple weeks ago to know how I can have a stronger relationship with Him. Well, I'm pretty sure this was my answer! Trials! Funny how answers to prayers come in such strange ways. In that interview I realized a couple things: 1. my testimony was actually still as strong as it has always been, so phewph, 2. I'm not allowed to quit and go home because that's what Satan wants, 3. I need to have personal interviews with Heavenly Father more often, and 4. I needed to fall on my knees and pray when times get hard, and then get on my feet and go to WORK! So that's what I did! Cried it all out, then I stopped thinking about myself and I went to work! And the rest of my week was good. Not problem-free, not without doubts creeping in or temptations from Satan, but I KNOW IN WHOM I TRUST, and I know who's side I am on. And that's all you need to get you through the hard times.

On Friday evening we watched a broadcast of the cultural celebration for the dedication of the Freiberg temple. It reminded me so much of Jubilee (the cultural celebration I participated in in Texas) and it made me so happy! It was really the little spiritual uplift that I needed to get me through the weekend, and as I watched all the youth dance and sing, I just hoped so badly that they were feeling the things I felt when I was in Jubilee, and the spirit I was feeling right then as I was watching them! AND GUYS OMG WE GOT TO LISTEN TO PRESIDENT UCHTDORF SPEAK IN GERMAN. It was so cool, and even cooler that I can understand German so I was able to enjoy it :) Sunday was the dedication of the temple! The only other temple dedication I've been to was the Oquirrh Mountain temple, so I was so excited to go to a dedication in German. Best thing ever: both President Uchtdorf, AND Elder Bednar spoke in German!! Elder Bednar served his mission in Germany, and his German was pretty good! It was such a cool meeting, and I got to translate it for some Australians, so even better! It was nice to just get that extra boost of spiritualness to help me get over these crazy humps I've been having! And what's awesome about the fact that I'm going through humps out here on my mission, is that I can get over them so quickly! I'm kind of just forced to honestly, because the Holy Ghost and all these angels surrounding me are like "STOP THAT. NO BEING SAD." And then poof I'm not sad anymore! (It actually takes a lot more work than that but that's how it seems to happen when you look back at it)

Something this week that President Kohler told me that I really loved is that we are OPPORTUNITY GIVERS. Yes, we need to baptize, and yes the numbers somewhat matter, but mostly we are just opportunity givers. That helped me focus more on simply opening my mouth and GIVING out opportunities, and less on how many people did or didn't listen to me. The second we open our mouths, we win. Gold trophy BOOM, falls right into our cereal bowl. But when we let Satan get to us and we don't open our mouths, when we are shy or afraid or when we fear man more than God, that's when we lose. So really, no matter what happens, we are in control of whether we are successful or not! No matter how many people accept the invitation to come unto Christ. And that's pretty dang awesome I would say! So, to tie this all up in a bow:
1. Hard weeks can be the best weeks
2. We can see the hand of God in our lives even in the worst days
3. Open your mouth and you win (and it will be filled)
4. The temple is the greatest place on earth :)

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Open your mouth this week! And let it be filled with something good.

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

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