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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Working on the Visitors Center Tour Video; Chicken Encounters

Hi Everyone! 

We had too many appointments yesterday so our PDay was delayed.  We were in my our area only one day this week, but we got a lot done and it was a week filled with a lot of beautiful moments. 
One of those moments was on our way back to the Kiel sisters' apartment on exchange as Sister Davis suddenly spun around and said in all seriousness "Guys. I'm just warning you now. But we are being haunted by a giant stuffed chicken." Sister Wasden and I immediately burst into laughter and Sister Cady went on to explain how there had been a stuffed chicken sitting on a car a couple days ago and how it kept showing up in random places and now they were totally freaked. Again, laughter ensued and in the middle of the whole ridiculous thing, I realized that there I was, walking the streets of a coastal college town in northern Germany with three awesome friends, serving as a full time sister missionary and having the time of my life.

Sister Means and I completely emptied, sanitized, cleaned, and reorganized everything in Ana's tiny, rundown kitchen as she packed her bags and prepared to leave the abusive relationship that had trapped her for years. In classic Gypsy fashion, Ana wanted the house to be perfect and dinner ready to go when she left. She butchered chicken thighs and opened a massive can of soup with only a small pairing knife with incredible speed as we sang Primary songs per her request. She asked us "God will always love me, right? He will forgive me, right?" I took out my study journal and translated a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland : "...however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you don't have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have travelled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines." She smiled, gave me a hug, and continued to happily hack away at the chicken thighs. 

In a whirlwind of two high speed ICE train rides, not enough meals, negotiating the Berlin Bahn and bus system, computer crashes, a number of technical difficulties, and 18 hours spent in front of the mission office computer, I spent the entirety of Friday and Saturday working to fulfill President's request for the updated Temple tour video for the Freiberg visitors center. Finding the correct places to separate the words in Serbian - not easy (darn Cyrillic alphabet. Thomas and Nathan, I don't know how you do it). I had two absolutely killer fun sleepovers with two of my mission bests, Sister Walker and Sister Seare, involving laughter, rockin' dance moves, weird hairdos, burned stovetop-made popcorn, and a feeling of total peace, security, sisterhood and love. Talking late into the night about anything and everything, I was grateful that God has put so many quality, wonderful people around me. 

Yesterday we sipped rose hip tea from our gorgeous mix-matched tea cups at our investigator Ulrike's brick home as a fire crackled and Fleet Foxes was playing from the open bathroom door upstairs. We met Ulrike on the bus a few days earlier and this woman is so ready to accept the gospel. Her husband left her 3 months ago and, in her words, she is on a journey to find herself again and to find something to believe in. Her blue eyes were fixed intently on the makeshift doodle that Sister Wasden drew to explain the Plan of Salvation and she accepted the Book of Mormon that we gave her and kept asking us if we were sure that she could have one. I'm excited to see where things go with her :) 

I am so grateful to serve here in Hamburg, to have my hilarious and hardworking companion, to share what makes me happy every single day, and just to be alive. 

Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

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