Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A transfer, Christmas clarifications and a Father's lament

Hey-o Parental Units.

So Mülheim it is. Back to the old stomping grounds. Yes, I am transferred. Raise your hand if you love 9 hour train rides! My hand is not raised. But it's a good city. I know it already because it was in my first district when I was in Essen. I was there as a few were baptized into the ward, ate with some of the members, and so forth. It should be good. President called me yesterday to talk to me about it. They had 11 investigators at church last week. I'm going in and replacing an elder who is going home -- Elder Duvall. He was my first zone leader in Zone Neumünster. Good guy. We've served in two of the same areas and worked together once so I know how he operates. When I was working with him we broke into a contacts house. Remember that story? It's a good'en. But I don't want to tell it now. I'm going to be with Elder Wood. Seems cool. He's going into his second transfer. A Re-Go as we call them...Recycled Golden. If they get transferred after their first transfer or their trainer dies (meaning goes home) they get a new trainer and we call them Re-Go's. So I'm pretty much training again. Woot.

I'm district leader to 8 Elders, two of which are Zone Leaders. I've always been DL to ZL's. I don't get it. I'm excited, but exhausted. It's scary, but I feel as if I'm burning out. It's hard to awake desire sometimes. But, its just another thing to learn, and the Ruhrgebiet should help reinvigorate me. I loved it down there. I'll get to be there for Christmas! YES! I got jipped last year. Transferred 2 weeks before Christmas.

Mülheim might be my last area. Weird thought right? But, I think I still got one transfer left in me. Elder Jarvis, my comp in the MTC, is now serving in Bad Bentheim, a car city. He's doing well. Elder Wecker is going Sr. Comp in Hamm. All of the missionaries I came out with, (for the most part) are really close. They are some of my best friends. It's a sobering feeling to have one of the Sisters I came out with going home. She's going now and the other two are going home in 5 weeks. Ugh. That makes me old. I've served with two of the Sisters, Wilson and Grow, and it's crazy that they are done. But it sure is a hoot making fun of them for it. Haha!

Nicholas moved back to America. I just found out and am kinda sad. I think it's the best for him so that's good. But, I was really excited to see him again in Essen. It happened fast, but he says his family needs him and what not. So, I'm more than ok with it. It was just kind of a shock. Yesterday we were at the Fischer Family's house. They are way cool. I got a girlfriend. She's 3. Haha. Just kidding. But she is cute and I loved playing with her the past three months. We stayed at their house just chatting about the ward and the work. We watched a missionary movie and ate dinner too. It was a fun FHE. I haven't had one of those in a while.

As for the rest of the week. It's just been spent with members. I've been working a lot with the Bode Boys. I love those guys. We are at their apartment a lot now-a-days. It's just been fun working here. The past three months have flown by. The friends I made and the things I learned are unparalleled. This area was packed with experiences and lessons to be learned. I'm sad to see it go. This place won an unlikely spot in my heart. I was so depressed about leaving Kiel that I didn't really care about this place. That is to say, at first. It grew and grew on me. It's always hard leaving an area. It always feels like walking away from a field of harvest, sometimes a field untouched. I walked into this area with a lot of seeds in hand. I hope a few will take root.

We met up with two friends of Rudi Bode (one of the Bode boys!) at the church this last week. It was a really fun and good appointment. We did it so that they could see the church and get to know the Mormons. It's crazy, but people still believe strange things about us here. They have no idea who we are or what we do. So I made onion dip and steaks and we played games for a bit until the inevitable questions were asked. Then we got down to business. I love seeing someone's face when they feel something ring true. We pretty much taught all three lessons in that evening. The truth was made known and they felt it. They might be reading this if you post it, so HI VAN UND SASSI! It was a good time. Lots was learned.

I got 2 whole doughnuts out during our appointment with Sister Burde. I was getting so good at sneaking food out. I haven't really gained any weight, but I just feel out of shape and a little fatter in the face. I dunno, probably just cause its getting colder. But I refuse to come home bigger! But knowing the mission, it will probably happen. I haven't been in a bike city yet nor do I think I will be. Sad. NOT!!

We met with Henry Helmke this last week too. The physiotherapist guy who is kinda blind. He was having a hard hard time. His family disowned him when he joined the church and his brother came around after 5 years of not talking just to criticize him again. Henry was freaking out. Elder Turvey and I gave him a blessing. He also needed healing for a wound on the back of his head. I won't go into details, but it was amazing. I don't know how to express it.

I don't really know what else to say. The thing about Elder Micheal Fox in the Ukraine is crazy. One week of pure finding. Like it sounds cool, but that's pretty much all the work is here. Haha pure finding. What did they do with investigators? It'd be cool if I could inspire my district to do that too, but what do you do about the appointments? Make them after 7?

As my time grows short here I've started to notice things I took for granted. I've become absolutely fascinated with light. It is completely amazing. Some parts of the day just bring out color in the world. Light brings warmth and security. It energizes me when I'm cold and wet and walking the streets. It breaks through clouds to show us God's glory. It brings an unavoidable feeling of love. Light is our life force. It is Hope.

I've been taking a lot of photos on P-day lately. Some I've sent to you like the walk to church. I think I might want to take some photography classes this summer, just as a side note. Maybe Chea can see if I have what they call Natural Talent! It's just a fun hobby and has opened up my eyes. Our world in amazing. People are amazing. Animals are amazing. I have been watching people behind the safety of a lens and I see everything in a completely new light. I see it for beauty. It's all about perspective. There is beauty to be found in every area, in every being, in everything. We just have to change our perspective from time to time to catch it in a new light... a pure light, or a dampened light, or sometimes in a depressing light. I don't know how to explain it. But it is amazing.The world is changing. The second harvest is nigh at hand. People are starting to look at the stars again and asking questions that move the soul. They are getting hopeful. It's about hope. Hope for a better world. Hope for a better life. Hope for more knowledge. Hope for salvation. Missionary Work = Hope. We love the Lord because He loved us first. I serve cause I have felt the hope He gave me. It is hope that I try to pass on. He showed me the light.

The thing is, hope is all we have. It's a flame that burns within us. Sometimes that flickers, but it still it's still there. It is the thought or the dream that there could be such a thing as light on dark nights that inspires others to light their own flames. Hope. It's an amazing concept and feeling. It's the one thing that keeps me going.

Pictures to come. I love and miss you both. Have a good week.

Elder Chad Arnett

P.S. It has come to my attention that someone said that I said Christmas is on December 6th, (it was you, FATHER). The fact of the matter is it is not. The 6th is St. Nicholas's day. They still celebrate Christmas on the 25th, and do it better than the Americans, for they push it even until the 26th. Thank you to my friend in Kiel, Jakob Kleine (who has adorable children), for bringing this monstrosity to my attention. A thousand pardons to my German friends.
A Father Responds: More than one person has brought it to my attention that I am an idiot. Several of my ward members here in Arizona, that served in Germany, also corrected me on interpreting Chad's emails wrong. I was reading up on German Christmas traditions online one day and got the mistaken impression that December 6th was as big a day as Christmas. What do I know. On my mission in Australia they didn't even have Santa Claus, it was Father Christmas. So, I offer more than a thousand pardons to Elder Arnett's German friends. I offer my apologies by wishing that, "all your arrows fly straight and the feathers fall to tickle your fancy". Try translating that into German, Chad. Incidentally, I am a former newpaper editor and have a really bad habit of editing everything to shorten it, much to my son's chagrin.

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