Wow. My heart broke just a little writing down this title. I hit my 6 month mark tomorrow, and I think I am beginning to experience my midlife crisis. I honestly cannot believe how fast time is passing by, it terrifies me. It feels as if it was just yesterday that I was being dropped off by my family at the missionary training center. I feel as if I just arrived in Germany, but I have not.
These past 6 months have been filled with laughter and tears, joy and sadness, faith and doubt, confidence and fear, and lots of bread. As I reflect on these past 6 months, I see how far I have come. I think the most notable change has been with the language haha. I went from knowing kein Deutsch to being able to maintain a conversation, teach, read with understanding, and even send texts. Honestly, I have surprised myself with how rapid I have been able to pick up the language, but I still have a lot to learn-- the gift of tongues is real!
My knowledge of the gospel and my father in heaven has continued to develop as I have pursued it. My first month in the MTC helped me build a testimony of God's existence. The six weeks I spend preparing to come to Germany were filled with taking steps toward developing a relationship with God. In all honesty, there were times when I thought I was overdoing it with my efforts to come to know God, but investing the amount of time that I did to prayer, scripture study, and fasting was what I needed to lay my foundation on Him. Within those few weeks I came to know for myself that He lives.
My first 3 months in Germany were tough. Everything I had worked for was being tested. Upon arriving in my first area, I was immensely struggling. I had arrived from the training center, ready to get to work, and that is exactly what my trainer and I did. Within a couple of weeks, my trainer and I were amazed at the amount of work we were doing. That being said, we were also surprised at the little results we were seeing. I struggled to comprehend how it was possible to be working so diligently and focused, and not see any progress. Those four months were unbelievably challenging to believe that God could give me miracles and could use me to bring miracles. Nonetheless, I knew it was not impossible because of how close I had felt to him previously. It was not until after my leaving my first area that God really helped me see everything I had accomplished throughout the time I spend serving there.
These past two months have taught me about diligence and love. Lately, I have found myself being very self critical of what I am able to accomplish. It has been difficult for me to find my balance between being the missionary I have set out to be and not dying of exhaustion along the way while overworking myself. It has caused a strain on my ability to love myself. Now, I am sure most of you are quite familiar with the second great commandment, "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 22:39). You cannot expect to be able to love someone without first loving yourself. I have come to understand that every thing begins within yourself. Love, happiness, work, learning, forgiveness, patience, hope, etc. It is all a choice. That is not to say you have to do it all on your own, but that you do all that you can and allow Christ to carry you the rest of the way. I have learned how Great of a man God is to love me and cheer for me when I fall short of it. He is my ultimate source of love and peace, and motivation to keep enduring to the end.
These past 6 months have gone by rapidly. My faith and hope for better days has only grown since beginning my mission. I understand who Christ is and I have beheld his atoning power for myself. Without a doubt, I know he lives. I know he is always there for us. I know he is a healer of the broken. I am grateful to be making the time to know him.
I am a little bit saddened to know I have a year, more or less, left before I will be returning home. However, I am excited to see what is in store.
|This was at the top of the Frauen Kirche|
|We also rode a Ferris wheel today at the Frühlingsmarkt!|