Monday, March 9, 2015

Little Miracles

Moien everybody!

On the Outskirts of Luxembourg City
It's just been an incredibly beautiful week here in Luxembourg, with the sun shining a lot (well, at least for Europe) and the people starting to defrost a little bit. The psychological effects of the cold have been really tough to get past as a missionary. Not so much on myself, but the effect that they have on others. When it's cold, the number of people that are outside plummets, and on top of that, those that ARE outside, don't want to be outside. Trying to stop someone on the street, even for a five minute conversation, becomes quite a feat. But, just like the flowers are starting to bud and blossom, the people are showing up again. They're smiling a little more, and walking just a little bit slower. The sun really has a power to penetrate through that sometimes icy shell and warm them up enough to let us in.

Unfortunately, that makes people start to get a little bit busier as well, and can lead to such things as, for example, 6 of your 10 rendez-vous falling through at the last minute. Or people staying out a little later, sleeping in a little too much, and missing church. So, we've had our ups and downs this past week. On Thursday when we taught our ami Maggy, I realized that I hadn't had more than a 30 second conversation in French in almost 4 days, and I'm sure she could tell. I hadn't felt myself struggle to find my words in French in a while. But it was a really good lesson because her husband, who's a member, sat in with us for the first time in a while. 

Kind of a side note here, but I want to share this little experience. Towards the end of the lesson, as usual, we asked if there was anything we could do for them. Brother Wies turned to Maggy and asked, in Luxembourgish, if she would like a blessing, because she was a little sick. After they talked for a few seconds, he turned back to us and said, in French again, no, they were okay. He never explained to us that he had asked her to receive a blessing, but somehow I understood this sweet question he asked to his wife. Later on in the week, we crossed a couple Italian members, and a similar thing happened as they gave us their numbers and double checked with each other, in Italian, if they had given us the right area code. Then it happened again on Sunday with couple of members that speak Spanish in our ward (I still don't usually understand Spanish). Little miracles, you could call them, like this, seem to keep happening more and more as Elder Jenness and I work harder and harder to be effective and obedient in our work. The work doesn't get any easier, sometimes it actually gets harder, but we're able to see the little, tender mercies of the Lord and know that he watches over us in our work.

Classic Door Knocking Photo
I know I haven't really talked about Elder Jenness that much, so I'll take a minute to help you guys get to know him. He's from Indiana, I think I mentioned, and he comes from a family of 10 siblings. He's kind of grown up on a farm, so he's a lot tougher than I am when it comes to stuff like that... He played the saxophone as well, and did marching band, but he also did football. He's really been talking about trying to become a pilot, but he loves cars too (that's probably one of our number one conversation subjects). He's been a great guy to work with. He reminded me, at the beginning, a lot of Jacob Whitchurch, which helped us to get along really well. It was like I already knew him! As is normal with a new companion, we had a few run-ins the first couple weeks, trying to work out the different ways that we do missionary work. He's got a very straight-forward, by-the-book approach, and I prefer a little more evenly paced, thoughtful approach. One of the hardest and best things as a missionary is finding your own specific way that you can apply what is taught in Preach My Gospel to use your specific talents, strengths, and gifts to their fullest potential. But we all have different ones, and sometimes it takes some balancing to figure that out. He's really helped me so much to get closer to my potential as a missionary. I've struggled a lot on my mission to be independent and do my best when those around me aren't really trying, but Elder Jenness has helped to better see how to do that and the importance of it. He's a really strong personality, but I'm so thankful for that. He's really helped me to get myself set up for the last quarter of my mission, to really dig in and live up to my potential. He's been exactly the companion I needed right now.

Like you guys were mentioning, transfers are going to be next Wednesday. We find out this Saturday where we're going, and for me, that most likely means where I'm going to finish my mission. I really wish I could stay here for the rest of it. I'm having so much fun, while at the same time I feel like I'm doing more to help others and strengthen the ward than I have anywhere else. It's going to be really hard to leave, but I'm gonna have to leave eventually... So, next Monday I'll be able to tell you where I'll be headed off to (if we're not too busy with the Vianden Castle), and the fun begins all over again. Luxembourg continues to blow my mind every day.

Elders Bigler and Jenness with
Stake President Rodriguez and Family
The other day, when we were at the Stake President's house, President Rodriguez, we were all speaking French to each other, when they're babysitter came over and started speaking Spanish to the parents. Then, as she sat down and started to talk to the kids, all of a sudden the entire conversation switched into German, even the kids, and no one even seemed to really notice (except Elder Jenness and me). Things like that are completely normal here, and just add to the overall magic of this beautiful country. I could talk about it forever (as they say in our mission, the Elders that serve in Luxembourg rant and rave about it for the rest of their missions). 

I'm really just looking forward to hearing where I get to spend the rest of my mission. It's always nerve-wracking to find out, but I know it's gonna be a great 4 and half months. So far, and I think I'd be safe in saying that it's gonna stay this way, going on a mission has been the best decision I ever could have made. Like you said mom, we're still boys, still learning to be adults. We still have fun, we still goof around and laugh at the same things boys laugh at, but there's something different that I occasionally notice within myself, something that the mission gave to me. I don't feel like I've miraculously become a mature man, but I sure have learned things that I wouldn't have learned anywhere else, at a rate that I couldn't have achieved anywhere else. 

I appreciate all the work you guys are doing back home for me, especially helping me to get this whole college thing worked out. I pray for you guys every day, and talk about you at every opportunity I get. Keep workin' hard and havin' fun!

Elder Bigler


Quiet Back Street of Luxembourg

Adam in a Thoughtful Pose

A Luxembourgish Whopper

Luxembourgish Dunkin' Donuts

Brother and Sister Turner
Providers of Whopper and Donuts

Elder Rogers and Elder Stark
"Another Ferrari...I'm up to 25 sightings in luxembourg now, in 5 months, compared to 8 in the 14 previous months of my mission"

Adam's Favorite Bentley

"Big Circly Thing"
Really Old and Cool

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