March 14, 2011


It’s finally getting warmer here! You almost don't even have to wear a coat. I guess it’s warm enough not to but to avoid getting sick randomly I still am. Sun isn't shining but it is warmer, which probably means rain. Weather is how it is though so whatever. The last week was good though!
Lots of the people we are teaching right now were busy last week so we weren't able to meet with many of them, but that gave us time to go find new people! Wednesday night our phone rang, when I answered I couldn't tell who it was. She was saying 'it’s your mother' but in German. So I was confused obviously ha. Then she started laughing and said it was Sister Muhlestein! It was pretty funny, she basically was my mom in Nordhausen. They were in Frankfurt for the night before they left home. They had served their mission and were going home! I couldn't believe it. They were at a restaurant in downtown Frankfurt and asked if we could come by quickly to see them. I was way excited to go see them again and we had time to go down there.
On the way there I talked to this man sitting next to me in the tram. We had an interesting conversation. He was not willing to learn more, but he explained to me he had 2 sons who were also around my age. He said he wishes they also had an anchor to hold them solid like I have. He basically told me a lot about how he finds it so interesting that he sees so many different young missionaries like me. Young men, taking time to go teach others about Jesus Christ. He didn't understand exactly why we do it, but he has a lot of respect for it. I tried to explain why and to bear my testimony, the time was short though and he got out. It’s interesting to see the little effects we have on people. The way what us just being here makes them think. With the over 50 thousands missionaries out there. It’s hard to think all 50 thousand plus of us go out just because we're told to or because we're bored or don't know what else to do. We go and do this because we have a love for our Father in heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ. And this important message is the only thing that will truly, eternally help anyone.
We got out at the tram stop and hurried quick to the restaurant I was really excited. I was thinking how weird it is that almost a year ago I got to Nordhausen. And that the Muhlesteins had only been out for a little while. Now they are leaving! I thought a lot about all the different things that happened there and the awesome experiences and things I was able to learn. It was so cool to be able to see them once more before they left. We were able to talk shortly, I found out more about how things in Nordhausen are. They are wonderful people! I learned a lot from the Muhlesteins and was very grateful to be able to see them again before they left.
It was almost 9 as we left them so we were half jogging back to the tram stop trying to hurry to get home. Just before we got to the entrance to the underground a man walked by us Elder Amandoron quickly spoke to him. He stopped, and listened. We talked for 15 minutes about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. He was from India and was leaving Germany the next morning. He only gave us his email so we emailed him with a way to contact the church and the website He was really cool and you could see he was sincere in his current search for religion. We had hurried by so many people on the way there but Elder Amandoron said he felt like we needed to talk to him as we almost jogged past him. We did, and even if we can't do much more to help him right now, we feel like we made an impression. Hopefully things will work out for him.
This week we also had 2 tausches where I was able to learn a lot. I was here in Frankfrut with Elder Gunnell for one and the other I was in Usingen with Elder Metcalf. They are both hard working Elders, it’s definitely a blessing to be able to serve with all of them. I am learning more and more to simply love working. It’s a blessing to be able to work. And so many blessings come from work. Obviously we get tired, hungry, or whatever else, but there is something about just pushing through.
I compared it in my mind a lot this week to soccer. When you’re running to a 50/50 ball. Racing your opponent. Often your shoulder to shoulder, he's elbowing you, pulling your shorts or jersey, trying to step in front of you, your legs are beginning to sting and burn. One of my favorite feelings was to be in this 50/50 race. You're both at a sprint. As all this is happening the best feeling was to push harder! Break this barrier. Often I'd think I was already running my fastest, but I was still shoulder to shoulder with the kid. I didn't want to have to deal with him when I got to the ball. So I'd think what if I just pushed a little harder...and a little harder, slowly I'd pull away, gain distance, and get to the ball first. It was such a rewarding feeling to feel myself actually speeding up instead of slowing down; when I already thought I was at my full speed.
The mission is the same!! So often you feel like you're already giving everything, working your hardest. Then you think...what if I pushed it, what if I talked to one more person, what if I pushed through this sting and burn? The coolest thing is the feeling that comes as you are doing that and then afterward. Continually pushing the previous limit. You slowly recognize limits are mental.
As I compared this to soccer I realized once you win that 50/50 it is definitely not done. You don't push your hardest then push some more to get to the ball touch it stop and say ''I won''. You get to the ball then push even harder. Now you have to be moving faster than the kid behind you and so does the ball. You just created more work for yourself. But then you send the perfect pass, take the perfect shot. The work continues and becomes increasingly harder throughout the 90 minutes. It is not over until the whistle is blown. Then can you breathe, then can you rest a little.
It’s the same here. You think ok I'll push it, I'll talk to more people, I'll extend more invitations, I'll work better with the members, I'll help the other missionaries more. Continually pushing yourself, continually creating more work becoming accountable for more and more. But for some reason it becomes more enjoyable, easier to do, you begin organizing better, you’re more focused, the spirit is stronger, you simply having more fun.
Soccer is like a mission ha. You've been working hard all day, it’s almost 9 and you’re heading home. You get in a tram and sit down dead tired and hungry. Your eyes keep shutting and your head dropping in between stops. Then a man gets in and sits down by you. (88 minute, legs are burning, you have cotton mouth, haven't been subbed yet. You just got kneed in the calf and it’s cramping. 50/50 ball sent in the air over your direction. You know you’re not supposed to let it bounce and risk losing it) Your eyes are heavy, you want to just sleep for the next few stops. But you know you should talk to the guy, and you don't know how soon he'll get out. You take a deep breath, push off the thought that he'll get another chance, look up, smile, and begin the conversation. (you take a deep breath, and push away the thought that someone else will get it and take off towards the ball as fast as you can. you push through the pain, don't let down, and you’re the first to the ball.) You continue smiling; fight off the distractions of sleep, food, and whatever else is around. You bring the conversation to the gospel and invite him to learn more. He gives you his contact information and you make out an appointment. You now have an appointment, and you push diligently forward and decide how you're going to handle that now. (You now have the ball and your pushing forward as fast as you can. You now decide what you’re going to do with it.) This is the beginning of the work, the building up to the greater joys.
Of course the ball doesn't have free agency; you can make it do whatever you want. A Soul is most definitely different. But you still do all you can to help them to use their agency correctly. The rewarding feelings come along the way. When you make out an appointment, when someone agrees to keep a commitment, when they keep the commitment, when they are baptized, when they enter the temple, and in many other things. (When you win a ball, send a good pass, give a good assist, score a goal, and other ways). But it is not over until it is over. And we cannot rest until it is over. No matter how tired or warn out we are. You play until the whistle.
There is a quote from Elder Christofferson that basically sums this all up, ''Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires''.
I've experienced this, and am very grateful for this. It’s in the little things where the big differences are made. Keeping all the little rules, having a good study, planning seriously. (Working back, being the 2nd defender, staying ball side/goal side, pushing up or back even when you don't think you're in the play). As he said, many of these things are menial, sometimes unappreciated, but they always improve, order, sustain, lift, minister, and aspire.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work, for the capability to push harder than I thought I could and for the simple joys and truths in hard work.
I love you all, and I hope you are all doing good. Thank you for everything. Have a good week!
Elder Puriri

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