Here is an excerpt from the email I sent y'all after my first few days here in Kaiserslautern:
“I’m so happy, I think I might explode. Seriously. I LOVE Kaiserslautern. I LOVE my branch. I LOVE my district and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my companion (WHOOOHOOOO)."
"Now. Allow me to expound."
"Kaiserslautern. Ktown. Lautern. You can call it whatever you want...but I call it heaven. It’s BEAUTIFUL. Gosh I wish you could see what sights grace my eyeballs every day. The city is pretty big (a lot bigger than Coburg, at least) but it’s still very German looking...and the dorfs (I can’t remember the English word...google translate it) are POSTCARD PERFECT. Like, I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it. The people are super sweet here, too!!...As of right now, we have no solid investigators, but the area seems pretty promising!”
“The area seems pretty promising.” Ha. Was that the biggest understatement you've ever heard, or what? The miracles that I've seen here over the last five transfers surpass my wildest, most faith-filled dreams. I've seen the hand of the Lord so clearly, felt His love so deeply...and I am not leaving very happily.
You read correctly.
I've been transferred.
I'll be headed to Duisburg on Thursday morning to serve as the Sister Training Leader over the Dortmund and Düsseldorf zones.
How do I feel about that, you may ask?
The other week, we were walking with a member and I was telling him about my siblings and where they've served. I said "Matt was called to Thailand, Ben was called to Slovenia, Seth served in California...and I was called to Kaiserslautern. Wait. No. Germany. I was called to Germany! Not just Kaiserslautern!"
Needless to say, this place has become my new home. I literally feel like I'm being ripped away from my family again. You remember that girl Emily I sent y'all a picture of a couple weeks back? When they announced I was being transferred in sacrament meeting yesterday, she LOST it. I had no idea until after the meeting, when I went up to give her a hug and saw her sitting on her pew balling her eyes out. I said "oh my goodness Emily, what's the matter?! What happened?!" And she jumped up, wrapped her arms around me and said "I don't want you to go, Sister Terry!!!" My heart just about died. We stood there hugging for 10 minutes straight...then sat down and hugged for about 10 minutes more. We didn't really say anything, because any time she tried to open her mouth, nothing but sobs came out, but at one point, she managed to say "this is even harder than when I said goodbye to my own brother when he left on his mission!" I tried to change the subject by saying "hey! He comes home this week! Aren't you excited?!" ...to which she shrugged her shoulders, opened her mouth to say something...and began crying again, instead. I tried to change the subject again by complimenting the rings she was wearing...and that sweet girl took the one off that said "love" and said "Thank you. I want you to keep this one" and she proceeded to tell me that her mom said they'd set her up an email so she could keep in contact with me and GUYS DO YOU SEE WHAT I’M LEAVING?!? THIS IS NOT JUST SOME LITTLE CITY WHOSE NAME NO ONE CAN PRONOUNCE THAT I SERVED IN AS A MISSIONARY. THIS IS MY HOME. THESE PEOPLE ARE MY FAMILY. MY HEART IS HERE IN KAISERSLAUTERN. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LEAVE?!? WHY AM I SUPPOSED TO LEAVE?! My heart is literally broken. My mind is pretty much in a constant state of turmoil. I DON’T WANT TO GO.
On Friday, there was a big FCK game (it's a soccer team, not a swear word. Cool your jets, people) and, as usual, there were a bunch of stands set up around the city selling shirts and scarves and what not. Sister Whicker and I were taking our dinner hour and stopped so I could buy something. I got a shirt that has the words "Kaiserslautern. You'll never walk alone" printed on the front...which has way more significance to me than the motto of a team that plays in the world’s greatest city. When I first got into this area, I was still struggling a little to be out here in the field. My golden transfers were over, my darkest days had come and gone...yet I still found myself constantly daydreaming about coming down that escalator in March and counting down the days until it would be a reality.
I still wanted to come home.
I still wanted the mission to fly by.
Because I still felt alone.
But not for long.
I could sit and list off about 1’000 names of people I've met and relationships I've formed that helped with that (Emily. Evelyn. Edison. Shirley. Renato. The Eldridges. Donaldo. Other missionaries...Just to name a few), but above all else, it was the relationships I've developed with my Savior and Heavenly Father over the last 7 & 1/2 months that have helped most of all.
With that said, I just want to second the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith in D&C 76:22-24:
“22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! 23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— 24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”
And we are sons and daughters of a Father in Heaven who loves us.
It doesn't matter who you are, what you’ve done or what you’ve been though...
He loves you.
So much so, that he sent his Only Begotten to suffer for your sorrows.
So much so, that he allowed his Only Perfect to bleed for your blunders.
So much so, that he has that same Only Perfectly Compassionate Son stand by your side every second of every day, so that you'll never walk alone.
I'm beyond grateful for the experiences I’ve had here in Kaiserslautern that have helped me gain that knowledge.
I'm beyond grateful for the angels I've met and friends I’ve made.
I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to have served here in "heaven" ...needless to say, there will always be a special place in my heart reserved just for KTown <3
All good things must come to an end so other good things can begin...right?!
Hahaha keep me in your prayers and wish me luck on this new adventure!
Love y’all lots <3