Thursday, August 4, 2011

Running in the rain...again

Received August 1, 2011

So, as the subject line would suggest, we had another little run in with the weather of Deutschland. We were riding on a bus to go out to a less active member and it had begun to rain pretty badly. As we arrived at our stop it had not let up at all. We got out and amid thunder and sheets of rain we ran off in the direction we thought would be best to stay dry. Of course, we went in the wrong direction and ended up without any covering at all except for just underneath the overhang of someone's garage. That wasn't that great either but it was enough. Elder Pexton had forgotten his umbrella and we had been just running around aimlessly in the rain. Needless to say, we were pretty soaked. However, the rain let up a little bit and we ran for cover under another bus stop where we waited another 10 minutes or so for a little more let up in the rain. Still raining, the clouds did not seem to get much better but at least it wasn't hailing. We started down the street looking for the house in which this less active member lives. As we walked down the street we saw a man standing just outside his door. We said hello and he said something back to us in Greek. Turns out, he is Greek but knows how to speak German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. It was interesting. He even went in and came back out with two bottles of juice for us to drink. It was very nice of him and he even took a Restoration pamphlet. As we went on our way, Elder Pexton said "Wasn't it just raining a few minutes ago?" As it turns out, we weren't even on the street we were supposed to be on anymore. Sometimes things like that just happen. Sometimes you also talk to three different people that all approach you on the same 10 minute bus ride. That happens too. People are just placed in your way. This week we also went to the German Red Cross to talk to people in the assisted living home. The people were all really nice and with the help of our friend from the Red Cross, we were able to go down into the garden and sit and talk with some of the people in the closed off area who can't go out alone. The man that I talked to was actually Czech, but when he was 9 years old he moved to Wien and was there during the occupation by the Americans, Russians and the French. He told lots of stories about what it was like. It was really a fun time and we will probably go there every week to do that.

It has been rather strange here as it applies to the weather. It has rained a lot and we ahve had a lot of really cold days. It feels more like November but it's actually August. It's CRAZY! It's weird to think that I have been out for 7 months now. Time passes crazy fast and it is interesting to see what has happened. It also makes me a little disappointed in the people of Heilbronn seeing as how there is really not a lot to count for our daily work. I guess we'll have to work harder but it really is a hard area. When we do find people to teach, we talk to them for a few minutes on the street and set up an appointment and then they aren't even there the next day when we come. Nobody takes their own word seriously anymore. However I may yet have another opportunity to sing in our ward in a coming Sunday. That will be fun. I hope you have a great week and that fun opportunities show up. Tschusss.....

The Things A Missionary Wishes He Could Do or Have

Received July 25, 2011

I've done some thinking this week about what some of the things are that I find myself wishing that I could do or have. It's an interesting list of things, most of which I can't really do anything about. But a guy can hope right?

1) Why can't there just be a sign on someone's door when they are not home to tell us not to sit there waiting at their door for 3 minutes.
2) If I could speak Turkish, that would be great!
3) Just get that one appointment with people (before they close the door in your face) in which they would be able to feel the spirit and decide to be baptized.
4) Have power over the government to just grant people visas or citizenship so that they could get work and pay for their own trip to church on Sunday instead of requiring the Branch President to go out of his way to pick up someone at 8:15 in the morning.
5) To just have our own computer so that we didn't have to use the nasty ones at the internet cafes.
6) Have unlimited supplies of all languages of the Book of Mormon at hand when we promise someone, "Yeah, we have it in Croatian (or Albanian, Urdu, Arabic, Greek, etc.) and we can bring that over tomorrow".
7) Have a lie detector to tell us if they are actually going to be there at such and such a time and at such and such a place.
8) A full map that actually covers our whole area.
9) For those in the Alpine German Speaking Mission, Lederhosen!
10) Free haircuts from people that speak English.
11) A big huge list of other things that just show up during the day.

So, yeah, what can you do? Just hope that the point and the purpose of the message makes it's way into their ears and doesn't find the way out too fast. Sometimes you have situations like what's happening right now where a member of the church just comes up to you and starts talking to you about how he has been in Thailand for the past while and produces a Book of Mormon in English, Thai and Hindi. Sometimes crazy stuff like that just happens. This place is awesome and the people are sooooo cool. Ich liebe das Vaterland! I hope that everyone has a great week and a good timing doing whatever it is that they are doing. Tschusss....

Half an hour of something about William...What?

Received July 18, 2011

Why was it necessary that I listen to a man talk unendingly about a false prophet? I have no idea but watch out Los Angeles. Apparently he was caught up in a pillar of fire...maybe I understood that part wrong. Maybe someone can explain to me what really happened there. Otherwise, hello family on the other (comfier) side of the world. In our apartment we have taken to using the pull code on the fans since the dumb lightswitch is broken. I have already fixed it once and it's not worth electrocution just to fix a dumb light. Also, only about half of the bulbs in our apartment still function normally. We should probably do something about that.

This week we went to three eating appointments in two days. The first two were on Monday. We essentially went straight from our morning activities to the Henkels in Bretzfeld and then left there to get on a train to Ohringen. We walked a little bit in Ohringen but that was pretty much it. The food was great as always, but it is just too much sometimes. The next day we went to the Zander family in Waldenburg way on the edge of our area where the Prince of Waldenburg still lives. The Zanders are always so awesome and Bru. Zander and I engaged in a 20 minute conversation about modern opera literature which pretty much went way over the head of Elder Sills and the two grandsons that were there. On Wednesday, Elder Sills left Offenburg and I met my new companion Elder Pexton. He is from Colorado and was a swimmer, wrestler and gymnast. He's really cool and has a guitar. So far he has endured the onslaught of my music and unending talk of musical things. We decided on Thursday to go and see if we could come in contact with Schw. Soare. She is from Romania and was baptized in Tubingen. She went inactive because of some problems with the members and one day after moving to Heilbronn she saw the Elders and said that she was a member. The Elders got her records transferred to Heilbronn and since then we have tried to get her to come back to church. She had talked to Elder Sills a few times on the phone but usually we would have long periods of not hearing from her at all. We also tried coming to her house many times but she was never there. Finally I decided to go again on Thursday and Elder Pexton and I pushed her klingel (call box). Just when I was about to give up and turn to go home, she poked her head out of the window and seeing that it was us she let us in. Having no other adult male around, we went outside to talk with her. Lots of things have happened in her life and she is just not too trusting of people anymore but she does trust the Elders (since they are American). We talked for a long time and we finally convinced her to come to church. We then committed her to become active and prepare to go to the temple so that she can find some of the purpose that she has been looking for in her life. On Saturday we had the opportunity to go to Pforzheim for a street display. Sister Chappel got transferred to Wien with Sister Lind who speaks wonderful German and will be a great influence for her and we got Sister Carroll from Wien. It was a happy reunion for us since she was actually on the train to Wien when I was first sent there. She has a lovely voice too and when we sant as a group as part of the display it was really awesome sounding. We talked to tons of people and I almost got an Italian man to take a Book of Mormon in Italian. He wasn't willing to meet though since it has caused trouble in his family before since his family is very Sicilian and very Catholic. He said that he would look at the website and the pamphlets though. One Sunday we got on our first bus to Allee Post which is where we take our bus to church. Upon arriving at the stop we saw Schw. Soare sitting there dressed for church and ready to go. We were so happy that someone finally kept their promise and came. She really was cautious at first because she doesn't like Schwabisch (Swabian) people. As the church started to fill up a member family from Switzerland came in and added about 9 people to our congregation. Brian, Michelle and Jessica came and they actually stayed for the whole three hours. It was an awesome time in church. Schw. Soare even had a really good time in Relief Society talking about eternal marriage and the other members really liked her. We were invited afterward to the Lichners house where they got to know Elder Pexton a little better. Christoph Lichner got his mission call and will be serving in the Berlin Mission. That will be good for him and I think he is excited. It was a whirlwind of a week and way wet since it pretty much rained almost every day. I hope you have a nice week and that it doesn't rain as much as it has here (actually I really like the rain). Tschusss!!!

Seid ihr Polener? Nein...Amerikaner...

Received July 11, 2011

Sometimes people just ask you some weird questions. Who would honestly think that we were from Poland and all we said was hello. Anyway, this week was pretty good. We did a lot but I can't even remember half of it. The highlight was going to Stuttgart on Thursday to meet President and Sister Miles. It was a really good time. When they said that one of their daughters is currently a BYU flute performance major, I had to try to think whether I knew her or not. As far as I can remember, I don't know her but who knows? They are really great and because of their newness they are doing almost everything in English. That's a nice language to hear. After the interviews with the President, Elder Hebbert (one of the zone leaders) and I went off back to Heilbronn where we promptly found several people who were interested in receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon. That was fun. I love going on exchanges when I don't have to go to their area. It was a really good exchange. The next morning came the call to tell me that I am staying in Heilbronn and that Elder Sills is going to Offenburg. I will be receiving an Elder Pexton who was actually Elder Sills' companion in the MTC. That will be pretty funny. Someday I will put some pictures up for everyone to see but today is not that day. It is rather hot here in Heilbronn, but sometimes it will suddenly start raining. Curious...very curious. Anyway, the work moves on.

Yes, I did get your package. It came with a bitter price though. I received a message from the Zollamt (Customs) that they had my package and that I had to pick it up myself from their office, which NO buses go to BY THE WAY! Upon arrival there they had me open the package and pull the contents out. Apparently meat is not allowed to be send to Germany. I think they should bring that up with the USPS and let me have my beef jerky but anyway he said that he would "dispose of it" (customs code for: enjoy eating it myself). I then had to walk back in their very curious rain with my package under my arm empty of it's former deliciousness. I have been enjoying the rest of it though, especially the CDs. I have also enjoyed the contents of another package from the Young Women. I will be sending them a letter in the very near future. I hope y'all are having a great time in the OC or wherever people are reading this. Have a nice week. Tschuss!

Chiesa Gesu Christo, hier spricht Elder Neumayer...o Hallo Elder Hawker

Received July 4, 2011

So this was an interesting week. Not too much happened but it was good anyway. Was kama sagen? We found out that our investigator Jessica cannot be baptized because her parents won't allow her, but she can still keep learning from us so we will continue doing what we can. We did a lot of traveling this week. One day we accidentally took a wrong bus that ended up taking 3 hours to turn around. Yep, that's the Heilbronn area for you. We went to a few cool little towns that just randomly have big castles up on the hills. I've decided that pretty much all of the cool things, besides castles, are just out of reach of our area. Especially all the things that are just barely maybe 5-10 miles outside the boundaries of the mission. We did have one cool day this week when we went to Pforzheim where the Sisters in our District were having a street display. We talked with a lot of people and they actually got a lot of members to show up. We were kinda fighting for attention down on a little side street because on the main street there were three other displays. One was for Islam (that was a big surprise), another for a "Jesus loves you" kind of group, and another one for (of all things) Scientology. It was a productive day for Elder Patchett who was successful in procuring for himself both a Qu'ran and a Dianetics book. We got quite a few referrals and appointments for Pforzheim so it was successful. That took pretty much the whole day. Some Sunday in the near future I will be signing "Where Love Is" for our Branch. It will be fun...probably. Today we are going to Neuenstein where there is a really cool inner city and a big palace. There's not much we can do to celebrate the 4th of July but we'll do our best. Eat a nice big slice of apple pie and a couple of dozen hot dogs for me. I'm a whole quarter way through my mission and it's crazy. I hope everyone has a great week and that everything is roses, unicorns, bunnies, American flags and fireworks! Tschussss!