So far, we have been working in the office each day. There has been a lot to get caught up on. Most of our work days have gone well past 6:00 pm. The good news is that we are settling into a routine, if there is such a thing. We are also planning and organizing many additional activities for the coming weeks and months. To begin with, we will be making a visit to Milan, Italy this coming week.
Each morning we exercise and study the scriptures before we have breakfast. Then Debbie makes us a lunch to eat at the office. We normally don't get to the office before 9:00 am, to make sure we give priority to our daily missionary routine. Maybe that is why we have to stay so late!
At night we make, eat and clean up for dinner, study German and read Scriptures together.
We have gotten settled pretty quick. We got our exercise bike back and it is functioning well. We have been able to use it for exercise in the mornings since it is a bit cold outside. We didn't have a car assigned to us, we were to share with another missionary couple. Then on Thursday we heard that there was another car available, which we picked up on Friday. That worked perfectly for us to go out for our Friday night date which was at a very nice (and expensive) restaurant. We had a four course meal, including a liver salad, a cheese soup, pheasant on sauerkraut and a Snow Ball desert.
We also were able to make larger purchases on Saturday to stock up our apartment with food. We even found some chicken breasts and ground beef to put into our freezer.
Debbie continues to do her Duolingo study of German each and every day. This weekend I finished my first unit of German on Rosetta Stone. Today we decided that we should try to speak more German to each other in our apartment. Making progress . . .
Yesterday we bought some materials for Debbie to decorate our wreath on our door, it looks very professional and inviting.
We also had a little snow falling yesterday. Today when we woke up we found an inch or two of snow on the ground.
We participate in activities with other missionaries whenever we are able. This week we participated in a Sunday devotional shared by one of our missionary couples that are incredibly talented in music. We were taught how to increase our understanding and appreciation for music. In our Wednesday noon Book of Mormon class we had a wonderful lesson on prayer. We were very uplifted by the lesson that was taught by Elder Berkhahn, the Executive Secretary to the Area Presidency. It is an amazing experience as we had 17 missionary couples in the class and they have deep testimonies and experiences. We reviewed the Savior's teachings on prayer in 3 Nephi 13, including a very insightful study on the Lord's Prayer as it was given to the Nephites. We went home that night and began to study ways that we can improve our prayers, especially to follow the patten set by the Savior.
We especially enjoyed references to Prayer in the Gospel Dictionary. I will copy in two paragraphs that we found especially insightful. Rather than commenting on them, I will leave them for any readers to review and ponder. It will bring new understanding and meaning to your prayer experience:
“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.
. . . Christians are taught to pray in Christ’s name (John 14:13–14; 15:7, 16; 16:23–24). We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when His words abide in us (John 15:7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart.”