So I'll just tell you about the highlights :)
Monday: ALI AND NANA AND THE BOYS. Okay, that was pretty much the coolest thing ever!! I loved it! I loved how well Sister Winters fit in and how normal it all was! The best part is that I didn't have any home sickness. I had been really praying that that wouldn't happen cause I really just wanted to enjoy it, and then get back to the work. And that it totally what happened :)
We went to lunch, had Eis, walked around Schlossplatz and... just talked. I cuddled with those sweet little boys. Man, I really missed them! I didn't even realize! It was so tender. I love our relationship together. I loved hearing about the missionary work that Ali and Neil are doing. It was really cool to hear about how other Sisters in other missions do things. I love seeing souls accept the Gospel :) And to think I played a really small role in that shows you how doing something as simple as going on a shopping trip the day you got your call can really make a difference.
I love that they took the time to drive down to see us. They delivered gifts.. and I felt so spoiled! We loved everything :)
Tuesday: We may or may not have broken the Word of Wisdom... It was an accident, I swear! (BG: Don't swear:)) It was a cherry- rum truffle. We really didn't mean to. And we both ate it... so.... we are both sinners together. We repented, no worries. Gotta love mission adventures...
Wednesday: Tausch. Or exchanges. I had Sister Motto with me here in Stuttgart. From the moment we were with each other, we didn't stop talking. I learned so much from her!! We all have our struggles on our missions, but we all come out of them learning so much. And then we get the chance to share those parts of our stories with other missionaries and help each other out. Because of the things that Sister Motto has learned, I can now learn from her experience, prepare myself for my turn, and hopefully come out of it less painfully.
Taushes are always really crazy. We had an appointment 1.21 hours away, so we trekked out there. It was really good. The Zone Leaders had to cancel on us because of their Tausch, but it was still really good. The food... top notch. We had white Asparagus. So good and such a delicacy here in Germany. It was probably one of the best member appointments/ lessons I've had on my mission.
Then we ran home (I say ran like it didn't take an hour and a half to get back) and went to another member appointment with the International Elders. That was also one of the best lessons. It's so funny to go to Ami appointments, though. So different. But so good :) After the main spiritual thought had been given, she told us about a problem that she was having. I sat for a second and said "Have you ever thought about talking about the Pre-existence with him?" Man.. talk about the Spirit working through me. It was such a cool discussion and you could totally see how it helped her :) I love being a Sister.
Anywho... this Tausch. I can't tell you all that happened, but I can tell you I have been changed. I used to hate Tausches, but now I'm starting to like them. It's like a sleepover on a mission ;)
Over all take home from this Tausch: If we can bring just one soul unto Christ, how great will be our joy. That one soul? That one soul is ME :) If there is anyone that I can say I have honestly helped and can see the affects, it would be me. I have been saved on my mission. And then to think how greater our joy will be when we bring MANY souls unto Christ. Man. Sister Motto is wonderful.
Thursday: here is a quote from Elder Escher about why they were so late for picking up the keys (it's translated, so hopefully it's still just as funny):
"There are about 1 million people of the train and it can't drive any further..."
*one text later*
"Now we're by Schwabstrasse... and it is unimaginably got on the rain because there are now 2 million people on the train."
Dang it. It's not funny in English. Just imagine it's in German and then laugh. Cause it was HILARIOUS.
And then skip a few days until Saturday. We can a big grill with the Breuers. They have a HUGE garden. We, all the missionaries and Erin, all went and had such a good time. We played Volleyball and ran around and spoke in German and ate REALLY good food. I love German grills. There is nothing better. We had a HUGE bonfire... and a few of us lost some leg hairs, I think ;)
I felt so normal at this appointment. I was with my best friends, having a grill, having a fire. These missionaries really are my best friends. I love them all so much. And then having Erin there... I was with my best friends. It was honestly like I was up Provo Canyon on a Friday night. And then 8 o' clock hit and we had to go before we turned into pumpkins ;) But beside that... it was normal. We all made plans together to hike Timp next April. They're wonderful people :)
And then that night. Oh that night. God knew I needed "Chloe" time. He let it pour and pour. I showered with all the lights off, window wide open, and beautiful music blasting. There are few things in life that are better than showering in the dark while it is pouring rain.
And then I came out to find my companion sitting on the windowsill, curled up in a ball, with a cute little smile plastered on her face. It was magical. Something I won't ever forget.
We spoke a lot of really thoughtful words that night. We did a lot of thinking... more than usual ;) A lot of reflecting, and a lot of just trying to figure out what the Lord wants from us. Trying to find balance in our work, and how hard we need to be on ourselves. Whether our feelings of inadequacy are the works of Satan, or if Heavenly Father is really trying to tell us that we aren't doing enough. This has become a daily discussion.
With that in our minds, we said our prayers and curled up in bed. But this night, we left all our windows open so we could hear the rain fall. We could see the lightening lighting up our room, and experience the shaking thunder. It was like we were in the storm, but curled up in the safety of our blankets. It was a beautiful night :)
Even on missions we can take time to be us; those people we were before we came here. We can experience the things we loved before, but on a whole new level, with new knowledge and new appreciation. I think that's what I loved the most... that it was something that Chloe loved to do, and still does, but with knew knowledge. I was doing something I loved in a whole new way :)
Then Sunday came. :)
It was good. Sundays are either a day of "finally, I get to take the Sacrament and start over", or "man, I'm the worst missionary ever and I'm totally not doing enough". It's always fun ;)
Yesterday was a combination of both for me. I felt really.... like I was an awful missionary at the beginning. But then as all the miracles started to unfold throughout the day, I stopped those shameful thoughts and thought: Look at all the good things you have helped do here, Sister Gilmour. Look at it. Look at all these people at church. Stop it. God loves you and you are enough.
And then we had an eating appointment with the Gierschkes. I love them so much. Those little girls are the sweetest. They LOVE us. It melts my heart. I love being loved by children :) I'll attach a few pics for you.
Here are a few things I will be doing in the week to come:
-LOTS of goodbyes (oh yeah, Transfer calls are on Saturday. I'll probably be heading out. I'm hoping for Brixon, Italy right now. The only "opening" in Switzerland is in Zurich, which is totally fine by me. Eh, we'll see).
- Mission Tour. We'll be in Munich on Thursday hearing from a member of the 70. And then we will be having another mass-finding day there. Should be fun. Hopefully better than the last one.
- Erin's BDAY! We're all going to celebrate with her on Wednesday. I can't wait... she's going to love our gift :) She is so, so special. (we also did Family History with her. Man was that a cool experience. We got to meet her parents over Skype....[I think that's allowed?] and they are WONDERFUL).
- And today we are having a district shopping P-day. Remember when I said I really loved these missionaries? I really meant it :) We're gonna help Elder Moon buy a new suit, and Elder Escher is going to help us buy shoes. Win, win!
I'll let you know where I'm headed off to next week :)
Until then... pray that I'll go somewhere great, that I'll love the area and my companion :)
I love you all. The Plan is perfect. Everything happens for a very SPECIFIC reason. Never forget that :) You are special and especially made, with special effects and talents ;)
P.S. I got an email from Elder Price asking me if I wanted to train for an Ironman with him for when we are back!! I jumped out of my seat with excitement. My reaction was a little like this: YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW DOWN I AM FOR THAT!!!!!! So... Anyone else down to train for an Ironman when we're both back? WHOO HOO! I love setting goals!