I left my planner sitting in my desk in the apartment. Anyone who served a mission knows how CRITICAL a planner is! It's my whole life! My head is a mess, so I have to write everything down so I don't forget everything. And... I left it home today. I'm so sorry if this email isn't as nice as usual. But I was able to write everything out on a sticky note I had, so at least I have some handle on what I want to share with you today :)
I don't really know what happened this week. Everything fell out- again, but we somehow had things to do, found new people, and had good lessons. On Monday we went by on a friend of ours who has been sick just to make sure that she is still living and stuff. We knew that her neighbor spoke English, so, being suckers for the chance to speak English, decided to ring her door. She was very friendly and she let us in right away :) She is from India and is Jaen? It's a bit like Hinduism. She believes in Karma. We were able to speak a lot about the Holy Ghost and His roles and how we feel the Spirit. Because she doesn't believe in Christ, she didn't feel comfortable speaking a prayer, but she told us about how she wakes us every morning, closes her eyes, and gives herself a pep talk. That's her version of praying. I love people form India because they are all so spiritual. I am always able to have good talks about the Spirit and the role of Jesus Christ.
We also had a GREAT lesson with our friend from Eritrea! She speaks good English, but scriptural English is really hard. But with the help of the Spirit, she is understanding. It is amazing meeting with this woman! She does such good studies between visits and she reads the pamphlets and she gets on-line on lds.org and it is just amazing. We had a really uplifting and amazing lesson with her. We heard all about her life in Eritrea and how she had to flee her country so that she could practice and believe in God. I am so grateful to live in a place that I am free to believe what I want and to worship how I feel is right for me. It is amazing. I love sitting with people in their homes, teaching about Christ, praying together, and building relationships.
After a day of doing... lots of things that I don't remember because I don't have my planner with me, we headed to Emi's. We meet with Emi every other week. She is a member. This woman and the strength she shows even when her life is literally holding itself together with broken threads, is something to take to heart. She studies so well, and she cares for her amazing and ADORABLE son so well. She has the missionaries over, and she strives to not be a "Sunday Mormon". She is one of the most Christ-like woman I have met on my mission. As we were sitting together at the table after having eaten, we were talking about her studies and what she had been learning. She asked us how we studied the scriptures. She had been taught to read all of the little footnotes, but that she had recently stopped doing that cause is was taking her sooo long to read! Haha, we told her she doesn't have to read everything! I only read them if I want a better understanding of what's being said. I love her :)
She then shared her newest way if studying. Every night, before she prays and goes to bed, she writes down one thing that she learned that day that stuck out to her. She writes it on a note card, and then keeps them.
I LOVE THIS. I had been praying hard to know how to keep up my scripture study after the mission to make sure that I stay strong and continue to have these good habits, and as she was telling us about that, I was like, "Oh! I think that is my answer!". I have just started. I will keep every note card in a little box or something and keep them together according to the year. I love studies :) And I love answers to prayers :)
Oh yeah, and I think we broke the Word of Wisdom this day. The members just DO NOT care about alcohol filled chocolate and cheese and jam. It's just... a thing here. We were offered a piece of chocolate, and I should have known better cause it was gold and shiny, and that usually means there's champagne in it. But I ate it, and it wasn't until I had swallowed it that I realized. We left the appointment and the first this Sister Smith said to me was, "I just ate Irish Rum! We're going to the Temple on Saturday and I just ate RUM!". Haha! We repented that night and just had a good laugh about. Wasn't the first time that's happened to me on my mission. Europe! Whoo hoo! ;)
My last temple day :) I was really hoping to see more people that I knew, but I didn't get to :( Oh well, I saw some and that was good enough :) I saw Shaylee Dunyon! I was walking out of the Mormon Shop to go wait for Anita to come meet us, and I hear, "Chloe?!". I was surprised :) She came to me and introduced herself as Brocks little sister and of course I knew who she was! It was so fun to see her!! She is so brave for coming to Switzerland without knowing ANYTHING and nannying. Man. It was nice to see a bit of home; a bit of my old life :)
Then Anita came!!!!! I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I have met SUCH amazing women on my mission!! It was so good just talking to her and being friends. I forget how much love I have for those I served with until I see them again, or I'm back in my old area.
And then :) and then I saw SONJA!! She jumped on me from the side and I totally didn't see her until she had wrapped her arms around me :) :) I looooooove her!!!! We just hugged the whole 10 minutes that we got to see each other before I had to get on the train. She is doing soooo well and I am soo proud of her and her life and where she's going and the amazing callings she has and the amazing member that she is and for her testimony and her love and just that she is Sonja :) I am so, so excited for you to meet her!! It's amazing the love we have for those we bring the truth to. We both grew so much through meeting each other and i am so grateful for her :)
The Temple. I love the Temple. I decided to do this session in English cause I really wanted to get the most out of it that I could, but it ended up being more foreign than familiar cause I've just done it in German for so long now. I really felt my exhaustion during that session. I'm excited to go again in Utah when I can be awake and not falling asleep. I had some amazing pondering and praying time in the Celestial Room, though. I really felt that my prayers were in line with God's will and my German was good ;) I was able to talk with Sister Smith about what we were thinking and what we had learned. I love the Temple and the Spirit that we feel when we are doing the work for the dead. We did Elder Huby's family names, which was even more fun :) The Temple is a very special place and my hope is that we can all make it to that place to be sealed as eternal families and live with God again in the Celestial Kingdom :) We are all His heirs, we just have to decide to accept our own destiny.
And then my personal favorite part of the day was as we were sitting in the Church waiting for Anita. We were talking with a woman about her life and her grand kids and stuff. She then asked how long we had been out. When I told her about my lack of time, she told me to really enjoy it. Before she left with her husband, she grabbed my hands and said the funniest thing and gave the best advice I've not heard in months! She said, "Stay clean and pure and don't do bad things with boys! Remember, 'No touch, no sex, we aren't married yet!"
From Sister Smiths letter home:): The Potty Dance: We decided that we need to modify the bouncing, wiggling and hopping that we seem to always do on doorsteps with head-bobs and a rhythm so that people will think we're just dancing to music they can't hear instead of doing a potty-dance. Oh, and when we walk into our apartment Sister Gilmour is forced into walking like an old-woman, and I have perfected my Jack Sparrow walk. :) All in the name of not wetting ourselves. #SisterMissionaries
Sister Smith and I diiiiiiied laughing as soon as she was out of the building! I know it's true and I really need to listen to it, but I have NOT heard that before!! I was sooo funny!! My first Chastity lesson... check!
Family? Friends? Do you know how happy the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes us? Do you know how lucky we are to have the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? To have the Book of Mormon? To know the reason for this earthly life and that there is so much more than just work, school, friends, and the normal stresses of everyday life? That we can be married as families for time and ALL eternity?? Do you realize this amazing gift that we have to know all these things?
Do you know how much I love the Gospel? And that I know all of it is true? And that I have loved my mission? And that I love your support and hearing the good things happening in your lives? Do you know that I am happy? Although missions are hard, I know that I'll be able to go home and say that was the BEST thing I have ever done :) I did what the Lord wanted, and I made a lot of mistakes, but that's okay, because I used the Atonement, I tried my best to be better, and I converted myself.
I challenge you all to read Alma 5:14-15. Go answer the questions that Alma asks, and make a plan to be better :)
I love you :)