Saturday, October 29, 2011

Most Beautiful City in the World? Quite Possibly!

Received October 24, 2011

The subject line is pretty much what I thought upon traveling from the train station to the great city of Salzburg. It could possibly be the most amazing thing I've seen in all my time here. Despite having been through the city on trains several times, I had never actually been in the city itself. Salzburg is like a musician's dream city. Everywhere you turn there is something about Mozart and there are just oodles of old buildings along little tiny streets. There are a few too many tourists, but what can you do? We actually went there for the purpose of having interviews with President Miles and we actually had a really great time coming together with everyone else in the zone. This zone is actually REALLY small people-wise because there are only us four in Linz, two in Wels, two in Klagenfurt, two in Innsbruck, the Sisters in Neumarkt am Wallersee, and the Zone Leaders in Salzburg. That's the whole zone. So, for anybody that knows Austrian geography, that means that the states of Salzburg, Oberösterreich, Tirol, Kärnten, and some of Niederösterreich only have 14 missionaries to cover them. How we get anything done here is a mystery. This week was a little on the slow side since Elder Chandler and I both were feeling pretty sick, and we still only have one investigator. We really need to start picking up the work here and finding some new people. However, the other Elders have an investigator who is the father of a family of members who is going to be baptized this week. His name is Horst Wagner and he is way cool. As a little joke/rememberance of our time here in Linz, we all bought an apartment tie together. We went to C&A where we found four ties that were all the same. The best part was that they only cost 2,50€ which is a steal. Next week is Halloween and who knows what we are going to do for it. It should be pretty cool with the four of us. The week after that we are going to Il Trovatore (probably depending on the cost of the tickets) at the Landes Theater Linz. It should be pretty cool and hopefully it won't be a repeat of Wien. I don't think I'll be needing anything in particular for sickness since you can pretty much get everything here. However, if you could find a way on smuggling Nyquil in to Austria, that would be cool because it doesn't exist here. Make sure that it's legal though.
Well, that's all folks, for this week anyway. I hope everyone has a great week and goes on lots of joint teaches with the missionaries, cause they want them. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Get up at 4:30 am?

Received October 17, 2011

I'm sure that's what everyone else was saying on Saturday evening when we had to decide when to get up on Sunday to get to Wels on time for Stake Conference. I'll tell you why. But first a little about the week. It was Elder Schulzke's birthday on Wednesday. So naturally we burned the apartment just kidding, but we did have a little celebration. Elder Chandler bought him a Magic the Gathering deck so that he could learn how to play. It's a big game here in the German-speaking nations and it was interesting seeing the cards written in German. That night we had a big dinner and all played Magic together. It's been a long time since I played, but Elder Chandler's deck was really good and I held out pretty long, until the vampire cards started coming was all over then. On Friday we had a lesson with a lady named Regina in the morning and she became a new investigator. Only problem is, she only has time then on Friday morning at 10 when she can meet with us. We'll see how that works out, but she is from Camaroon and a very nice lady who liked the idea of the Book of Mormon (I mean, who wouldn't? But na ja). On Saturday we began all the Stake Conference insanity. The Innsbruck Elders said that they were going to come and do some work with us that day. The Salzburg Elders were coming to spend the night. We got a series of phone calls that ended up with those four Elders, three senior couples, Sis. Miles, and us four Elders from Linz all going out to eat at a place behind the church where we partook in delicious Wienerschnitzl and engaged in much conversation. It was a little party for sure. We then went to Conference, which was held in Linz instead of Salzburg and I sang in the choir for two songs. President Miles was the final speaker. Sis. Miles actually gave a talk in German which was actually written perfectly. I admire her for her courage to give a talk in German after having been here only 5 months or so. We had a great time and it was nice seeing everybody in the stake, especially some people that I knew from Wien who actually live in this Stake when they aren't studying. That evening we went home to our apartment and, as planned, the Salzburg Elders stayed the night. I don't think that anyone can really fathom the kind of craziness that ensued both on the funny and the logistical side of things when six Elders are all in the same little Austrian apartment. There were plenty of stories to go around and everyone loves Elder Patchett and Elder Graff. It was amazing and we baked pizza for dinner. The logistical problems really began the next morning when, as already stated, we had to wake up at 4:30 in order to get everyone ready, walk to the train station, catch a train to Wels, and then walk to the Stadt Messe to get there before choir practice at 8:30. We had a good time with it all and we even got there on time. During the practice, they decided to have The Spirit of God be sung with four soloists, which was a really cool idea and it turned out really well. I still had the last verse which I believe is a little different than the English version and it was a really good fit for a missionary to sing:
O könnten wir's sagen wie tief wir's empfinden
Vom Heiligen Geiste erfüllet zu sein
Ach, allen, ja allen wir wollten's verkünden
Und laden sie alle zum Mitgenuß ein
Now before y'all throw that into Googletranslator, I'll just translate it for you:
Oh that we could express how much we enjoy being filled with the Holy Spirit. We want to preach to all people and invite them enjoy this Spirit with us.
More or less, but the message is perfect for a missionary. Besides that though, I was sick that morning. I guess Heavenly Father thought it necessary to spare the real onset of the stuffy nose and achy throat for after the conference and I was spared from utter embarassment. I recieved a really nice complement from a man who said, "I'm sure you get told this enough, but your voice is really something. It's really easy to listen to." That's the kind of compliment that I like to hear. The rest of the conference was a little hard to pay attention to. It was all in a very quick Oberösterreichisches (had to put on the correct adjective ending) dialect. It was also really stuffy in that building and I had a view of every single distraction that there was to see, so not much was learned.
This was a lovely week though and I'm still loving every minute of being back in the Fatherland and preaching the message of the everlasting gospel and how it was restored through Joseph Smith. It's pretty cool. I hope everyone has a lovely day, week, whatever and that everything is going well. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Herzlichen Grüß von Linz....

Received October 10, 2011

So for the first time ever, I am actually coming to you from a library! No more smoky internet cafes...for now anyway. So guess what. I am working with Elder Chandler, that's not changed. However, I am in an apartment with two other Elders also. So it's me, Elder Chandler, Elder Schulzke, and Elder Gruse. We're all packed into the Linz apartment and getting to work. Linz is a big area and I guess it required two more Elders, that and there are way too many missionaries in the mission right now. Every area is open and full. We have had an interesting time this week getting to know each other and living very closely together. We have gotten rid of everything that was cluttering up the apartment because we barely fit in there when it's clean. Elder Chandler and Elder Schulzke are from Utah and Elder Gruse is from the area outside Berlin. So, a real German. They're all cool in their own ways. We listen to a lot of Lord of the Rings soundtracks. Why? Don't ask me, I think movie soundtracks are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay boring, but whatever. Linz is a cool city and I hope I get to stay here at least for a little while to get to know it better. The ward here is HUGE! It's probably as big as all of my other areas combined. There are lots of children and younger people. On Sunday we all bore testimonies and introduced ourselves in the Sacrament meeting. You could see the people in the ward become physically more active after I said that I sing opera...I should have taken that as my first clue. Afterward came all the people talking to me about me singing in the ward and in the choir and stuff, so it will be fun. The choir director invited me to sing in the stake choir for Stake Conference next week. I went to the one practice at night and we went over the songs. It won't be that hard (except that I have to sing tenor....) and the songs are pretty good. We will be singing The Spirit of God (auf Deutsch) and we are singing it out of the hymn book. We got to the last verse and the director wanted it to be quieter. We sang it and it went well...then, Sis. Till got up and started talking to the director (first mistake), then they both turned and looked at me (second mistake), then they said, "Elder Neumayer, why don't you sing the last verse as a solo?" and I said (hesitantly), "Sure" (last mistake). So now I will be sharing my lovely voice with the whole Salzburg Stake next Sunday at 10 in the morning. Oh boy! So yeah, that's what I get. That's Being a Baritone on a Mission (for those of you who read my blog).
The new address is:
Kirche Jesu Christi
Hasner Str. 36/6/21
4020 Linz

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More to Come....Next Week...

Received October 3, 2011

So I don't have a ton of time this week seeing as how we took that really long ride today. The trip was awesome, but I will tell you more later. I'm also not at a place where I can upload pictures, so you'll have to wait. Sorry. Thanks for all the birthday presents. The wave of Japaneseyness was overwhelming. I shared the rice candy with some of the other Elders in my district and they really liked it. Oh, but surprise! I'm NOT staying in Ingolstadt. Seven weeks are already up and, like a bomb, President Miles called us on Friday to tell me that I'm going! Yes, I'm going back to Austria, namely Linz, Österreich to work with Elder Chandler. That means that I have to once again pack everything up and take a nice long train ride to another area. I'm excited and I have heard good things about the area. So, don't send me anything until you get the new address, unless you send it to the mission home, which never changes address....wink wink...nudge nudge. So yeah, I don't have a ton of time today to write, but I hope that everything is going well and I will write a much longer letter next week.

I will be writing David Hinkley in the nearish future. I wrote him last when I was in the MTC and then when I was in the field, I realized that I never gave him a forwarding address to send me a reply. So I will be doing that in the future. I just hope that the letters that I send will get to their destinations. Austria is a bit notorious for not getting their mail out very efficiently. I will still be attempting to send a package home in the near future so that you can see some of the little things that I have collected on my mission and some presents for people. Please write a message for the people that wrote Happy Birthday to me that I'm grateful for their wishes and that I did have a great day.

Anyway, I have to go and write some other things to the President. I hope you have a wonderful week and that the missionary work in Tustin is going great. Roses, unicorns, etc.


Volkfest breaks out in Ingolstadt!!

Received September 29, 2011

Oh Volksfest...oh how you hinder missionary work. In case anyone was wondering, it's not very effective to go around contacting people that either are drunk or are going to Volksfest with the intent to do so. It looks like a really fun festival otherwise, with it's rides and fireworks and such.
So can I just express the difficulty of finding joint teaches for lessons with investigators? We cannot teach Rosa without another man there...I repeat, we CANNOT teach her. So what do we do? We call people all day long (the 5 or so people that are even possible) and hope that someone has time. Most of them want a few days notice, well she doesn't really know too far ahead of time if she can meet with us in the first place. And on top of that, the week after she sets her date for baptism, she goes out and accidentally walks to the point that she can't walk anymore and has been recovering from that and can't get to church because she needs to ride her bike there. Sometimes there are just no words to describe the frustration (well there are, but no Christian should say such things). Oh well, we just keep pushing forward and try to find people that want the gospel. For example, a lady who lives in a city right on the border of our mission who lives in a city so small that the houses just have numbers and there are no streets. Yeah...that's the region between Nieder- and Oberbayern for you.
We gave 4 people Books of Mormon this week and none of them became new investigators. We will be calling them in a few weeks to ask them how it's going, but until then we just have to wait and hope and pray.
I purchase Lederhose(no -n on the end because that would make it plural) today and next week there will be a surprise picture with me wearing them. You'll have to guess where. Let's just say that it will take at least 3 hours in the train, but it is still in our district, so we are allowed to go. Unfortunately, I will have to move my email day to another day, probably Tuesday in order to do that, so don't expect an email on Monday. I'm way excited. We also will be getting transfer calls soon and we'll see what happens. I could leave, I could stay, I could train, nobody knows. We'll see what happens.

I got the package and all the presents are sitting in my apartment waiting for me to open them on Sunday morning. I'm excited. I looked at the pictures. They are great. I like the one of Kiku putting her nose in the camera with the caption on the back, "Where's my boy?" I can see her doing that. By the way, WTFreak with Brother Bauer? What happened to the man?
So yeah, that was the week here in Ingolstadt. I hope everyone has a lovely week wherever they may be and that alles Einhörnchen, Rosen, und Regenbogen ist. Ich wunsch euch was! Gäh?!

Do I Ever to Work in My Own Area?

Received September 19, 2011

Such a question has floated through my mind in recent weeks. This transfer (7 weeks) has been full of just going all over the place for all kinds of different things. Zone Conference, Elder Bednar meetings, 3 exchanges, a baptismal interview (since Elder Daybell in the district leader), District Meetings, and special training meetings. All of that put together adds up to us (or mostly me) not being in our area very often. I feel like we're always going somewhere. One day we were in a train for 5 hours just in our own district. Sometimes things are just plain crazy. We've been finding a lot of old German people. They don't mind talking to us, they don't want to change, but they do enjoy the company.

Our investigator Rosa has a baptismal date for October 23 and we are now preparing her even more to be ready to be baptized on that date. She needs to start coming to church though....she's only been once. It's so amazing to actually see people progressing toward baptism and not just staying in the same place that they have been forever (spiritually speaking). We are here to help them to make real progress in their lives and find something that will really make them happier in the long run.

Let's consider two circumstances (seeing as how the beer flows out of the taps around this time of year in Germany):

1. I went to Oktoberfest on Sunday. In a matter of about 3 hours or so I was so destroyed that I couldn't even straight and my friend got punched in the face for aggravating a homeless man in Munich. We returned home just to end up going to one of the local Biergartens and hanging with some girls that we know and to show off Sven's black eye. We went home with those girls and the rest is history. I woke up on Monday wondering why I did what I did and trying to remember what even happened in the past 24 hours.

2. I went to church on Sunday. I saw a bunch of really good friends there. We learned about what happens after we die and how we can be with our families forever. Then we learned about setting goals that are good and well focused and that are accomplishable through reliance on our Heavenly Father and His help. We are all really excited for the General Conference of the Church where the prophet and the apostles of the Lord will speak to us and tell us the will of God in these days. I was able to partake of the Sacrament and renew my covenant with God made at baptism that I will always remember Christ and where God promises me to always send His Spirit to me. I then went to the home of a lovely family and spent time with them playing fun games and enjoying their company. Today I woke up rested and ready for the next week.

Which of these sounds like a more pleasant experience? Without doubt, the second. We are here as missionaries to tell those who will hear, that there is a much better way to live and it can make one happier in life. It's their choice whether they want to accept that or not.

I'm convinced that if people even give the Gospel a chance in their lives, they will see that the blessings just come rolling in.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful puppy-dog-full week. Tshüüüüüüüüüüüüüßli

How come I have never heard of this book before?

Received September 12, 2011

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that sentence. The Book of Mormon is an amazing book and it really is amazing that so many people have never heard of it. Mostly because a lot of them never open their doors when we come to speak with them. It is further holy scripture and contains the fullness of the gospel. Why wouldn't you read it? This week was kinda crazy. It seems like every day goes by so fast and at the end of the week we look back and think, "What did we do? It's already Sunday again?"

We took the opportunity this week of having quite a few hours of time open for contacting to go and do an area that we have for sure never done before. In our last zone conference we talked a little about the demographic of the people that are getting baptized. Pretty much, they're all "ausländers" (people that are not from German-speaking countries). Nothing racist, everyone is a child of God. However, these people are the ones really looking for the truth and will find us anyway. We need to go out and find the Germans, Austrians, and Swiss. They are out there and usually they don't know that they are looking for something. So, we went out to a really rather rich area of Ingolstadt and started pounding the pavement and ringing doorbells. I will admit that there were a lot of decidedly atheist people, but on a much more amazing note, there were also a few people that were believing enough to say, "Sure, I'll take the pamphlet and read it." We also got phone numbers from people. Sometimes you just need to do a whole neighborhood before someone comes out of the woodwork.

I got to go on an exchange down in Kaufbeuren. This area is very large and they have a car. We saw huge, amazing alps and I was happy to go there if only for that one reason. I got to work with Elder Rosenvall who was in the MTC group that was 6 weeks younger than me. It was really fun and we got to do some good work.

This work always goes forward and no one can stop it. We have a great time in this land. I don't know if people even realize the kind of work that we do here, certainly not the Germans. I hope that I am able to leave my own little footprint in the work here.

Yes, Elder Bednar does speak a little German still. He actually wrote a little intro to his address in German before he came here. He sent it to President Uchtdorf for a little spell check and he wrote back, "Sehr gut, Dieter" He does admit that his "Wortschatz ist klein geworden" and that his "Aussprache ist nicht so gut wie vor siebenunddreisig Jahren." It was wonderful.

As it applies to things that I "need", there aren't really a lot. I pretty much have everything that I need. I could use a new short sleeve shirt because one of them has a weird stain on it right underneath the pocket that I can't get out for some reason, it might be ink. I hope you send me some good pictures in my birthday present.

I hope everybody has a wonderful time wherever they are in the world and that everything is just peachy. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Zone Conferences, Exchanges in Munchen and Apostles of the Lord...

Received September 6, 2011

Yeah, so this past week has been about the craziest thing ever. We had a regular P-day on Monday, but from Wednesday on we had a whole slew of not so regular days. There was a lovely opportunity to go up to the great city of Munich for Zone Conference. Most of the instruction there focused on working with people who are less active in the church. As part of the Europe Area Plan for the church between 2000 and 2020 they want to double the active members of the church in Europe. We intend on doing this by placing a prominence on work with less active members and bringing them back to church and then asking them to refer us to their friends to teach them. If we did this in our branch (for example) and even half of the less active members (most of whom are men) came back to the church and referred their friends, we would become a ward and almost double the attendance at church. It's no wonder that they are putting such an emphasis on this facet of the work. It was wonderful to spend some time there at the conference with all of the wonderful Elders and Sisters that I have met in my time in the Mission Field. At the end we had a testimony meeting in the chapel and Sis. Anderson out of nowhere asked me to sing Be Still My Soul with her. With about 10 min to prepare and a bannana in my mouth (of course) I said yes and we came up with something simple and it turned out lovely.

After the meeting I was hustled into singing with the Munich District in their special musical number that they were preparing. We sang a lovely arrangement of I Need Thee Every Hour by none other that the woman, the legend, (the free) Sally De Ford. It was a fun little thing with Sis. Miles on the flute. I finished that day and the next with an awesome exchange that found me working in Munich with Elder Phelan, one of the Zone Leaders. Munich is preparing for the one and only Oktoberfest and it was interesting to see all the work that goes into putting up that huge festival in the Theresienwiese. The next morning we woke up and after studies walked all the way to the main train station because the monthly cards had expired and could only be bought from one of the ticket machines there. We had a great time working together and I came back to Ingolstadt at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. We went straight to teaching our investigator family the Wilczoks. It was a great lesson but they really can't find a way to pay tithing. We are going to have to try to get a member to tell them about the blessings of paying tithing.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to have a special meeting with Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was one of the coolest experiences to just sit there with him less than ten feet away conversing with us. He spoke very fankly with us and he really doesn't beat around the bush on anything. He was just really blunt and told us how we can help people to act as agents and not as objects. Shortly explained, agents act and objects are acted upon. Which one are you when it comes to the gospel? Do you pray and then wait for the blessings expecting that God will give them to you, or do you explain that to God and then go out and work for it? We all had a wonderful time there learning. In the evening we had the opportunity to stay for a special fireside for the members in which he asked them to pose questions which he would then answer. Some were more awkward than others like, "Since John the Beloved is still on the earth and working among us, does he have contact with the church?" Some, however, were amazing like, "What does it mean to be a special witness of Christ?" (posed by an 11 year old boy) and "What can I do to prepare myself for baptism?" (by a 7 year old boy) It was a great evening and, despite how hot it was in that building, we all learned a lot. We ended up getting back home and in bed by about midnight last night (with permission of our mission president) and fell right asleep. It has been an awesome week.

Happy news, Lederhosen will probably be a little cheaper and more in the range of 200€-250€ for the whole deal: lederhosen, shirt, socks, and shoes. I will keep looking for deals.....he he he. Anyway, it won't be quite as bad as it may have seemed. I bought a Franzl Lang CD the other day and we have listened to a good amount of yodeling. It's fun.

I hope you have a great week and that you have fun in your new job and everything. Tschüüüüüüüüüüß!


Received August 29, 2011

So I got to see the effects of the first Volksfest during my time in Ingolstadt. There was one in a city just south of here and everyone was going to it dressed up in their Tracht (lederhosen and dirndls). It was pretty cool to see that it's still ok to wear those kind of things here. All the northern Germans think that it's weird, but everyone here just thinks that it's a normal part of life. Somewhere along the line they must have just decided that they wouldn't be ashamed of their heritage. It's cool.

As requested (and so that my mother will not kill me) here is my new address:

Elder Andrew Neumayer
Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Dollstrasse 10
85049 Ingolstadt

Let the mailing begin.

This was a fun week. We had a good amount of lessons with people. We are getting a lot closer to baptism with a lot of people. They just have to make the leap and set a date as a goal and God will help them the rest of the way. We also teach a man named Bruder Saboory who is a less active member of the church because it is hard for him to get to church. He is nearly blind and he has some mental issues because he was tortured back in Iran. He is one of the most amazing and believing members of the church. He said that he used to read the Book of Mormon all the time when he had breaks at work and he would read it all day long because he was just amazed at the book and all the truths that it had in it. He also loves the hope that the book brings and the wonderful message that it contains about Christ and his mission on earth and in eternity.

Sometimes we meet some "fun" people on the street. There was a Herr Grunnert who we met once and then came back to see if we could teach him. He is a wirey little old man that is 84 years old and he just talks and talks and talks. It was hard to get him to not talk because inevitably he would end up changing the subject before we could answer a question that he had. It was interesting to talk to him and he really liked talking to us and hearing our opinion on everything, but we can't really teach him. These kinds of people just seem to flock to us though. It's crazy.

Some of the members in Ingolstadt are crazy fast speakers and they speak such thick Bairisch that it's often hard to understand them, but one learns to deal with these kinds of situations.

Our apartment is right above an Italian restaurant and they play music by lots of "operatic" singers. It's fun and it always smells like garlic bread.......yes. It's also gotten a lot cooler in the past couple of days. We bought a fan this week because we couldn't deal with it anymore. It was over 30 Celsius for most of the beginning of the week. It was not cool....haha cool.....get it......

Elder Daybell reached his year mark the other day and he kinda tripped out but he's better now. I wonder what I will be like at that point.

I really don't have all that many pictures. I only really have the one of the family at the beach, of Karen in her costume for Butterfly, you at Disneyland, and a couple of Emily. That's it. So I really don't care what you send me.

I have given it a lot of thought and I have come to the conclusion that my birthday present wish is for enough money to buy lederhosen. A good pair and the appropriate accessories. This wish is not too cheap, so it will cost somewhere in the area of 250€-300€ so that will be something to work for. We'll have to see since that is such a big number.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and that there is love, peace, and visions of Elder Neumayer running across big German valleys in his very own pair of lederhosen. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

So Humid, Can't Breathe.....

Received August 22, 2011

What the freak happened to the whole "now it's Fall" thing. It was pretty bad this week. I've been dying since we got off the train in Ingolstadt on Wednesday. Like the subject line says, it's been pretty horrible and we have been doing so much contacting. Sometimes I don't want to leave apartment buildings in the interest of just standing in the dark hallways. It also requires a ton of water drinking, which isn't a huge problem since I have a full liter with me almost all the time. Ingolstadt is a fun little city. Our apartment is definitely the smallest one I've been in so far and I've heard that it's the smallest one in the mission. Elder Foremaster was here quite a while ago and he trained my "brother" Elder Anderson here who was in the Stuttgart International Ward while I was in Heilbronn. Now Elder Anderson is the Zone Leader here in Munich. On transfer day we got up at 4 in the morning so that we could catch a train at 5:59 to Stuttgart and then subsequently an ICE (a very nice and fast train) to Munich. I got to ride with the missionaries that are training which include Elder Pexton, Elder James Kirk Hawker (yes that is his name), Elder Graff (one of the coolest guys you're ever likely to meet, and the Sisters from Pforzheim. Upon arrival at the Munich train station, we were greeted by many old friends. While waiting there I saw Sis. Dye who was in the MTC with me, Sis. McGuire who was is Wien and is also a singer, and a big surprise Sis. Downs. I also saw Elder Dilg from my MTC district. He will be a District Leader in Neuötting and he said that Elder Clark will also be in the Munich Zone in Passau. It will be fun to meet up at Zone Conferences. With the past two transfers all of the companionships in the mission have been changed and every area has been handed over to the person that was there for less time. Lots of changes going on under the leadership of President Miles.

We found out last week that Elder Bednar is going to be coming to this area and we will have the chance to speak with him on Sep. 5 in a special mission tour. That will be awesome.

My new companion Elder Daybell is cool. He is from Springville, Utah. He is only 3 transfers older than me on his mission. We are learning a lot from each other. Ingolstadt is doing pretty well. We have more investigators here than in Heilbronn and so we get to teach more. Teaching is way better than Finding. I've been trying to adapt to Bayrisch and it's coming along, but it is a very interesting intonation of the German language. We are one of the only missions in the world with so many seemingly similar yet very different dialects, and that's just in Germany. We won't even talk about Switzerland. Everyone was really happy in the branch on Sunday to meet the new Elder Neumayer since Neum(-eier, -eyer, -ayer) is a very popular name here in Niederbayern. They were also happy to have someone that can sing well and lead the music in Sacrament meeting.

Next week I'll write a little more about the investigators in this area and how the work is going forward. Until then, I hope that everyone has a lovely week and that everything is rainbows, puppy dogs, and bunny rabbits. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Auf Wiedersehn Heilbronn!

Received August 16, 2011

Yes, it's true. I have been transferred. It has been a lovely time here in Heilbronn and I have enjoyed everything that I was able to do. I have been called to serve in Ingolstadt in Bayern (Bavaria). For all of you out there who don't know anything about Germany, Bayern is where Lederhosen comes from. Granted, I'm not in the mountains, but these are the people that I get to work with in this wonderful mission. I won't lie, they don't wear lederhosen all the time, but we are reaching the time of Oktoberfest and I will be only about an hour away from München (Munich) where the world renowned Oktoberfest is held every year. We'll see what happens between now and then. For all you car lovers out there, I have been serving for the past few months a few minutes south of Neckarsulm which is a city known for it's giant Audi production plant. For anyone who knows car history, it was the place where the car company NSU (stands for Neckarsulm) was founded way back in the day. In Ingolstadt, I will be blessed to work in another city known for Audi where they have their headquarters. Some people want me to make a deal with the company so that we can get Audis for the mission cars instead of Opels. I kinda doubt the reality of that happening, but we'll see.

Meanwhile, back in Heilbronn, Elder Pexton will be training a missionary fresh out of the MTC and he is glad to have that opportunity. Although, that means that he really does have to wake up in the morning and do some exercise to set a good example for the new kid.

We had a street display this week on Saturday and it went alright and we got a few numbers. However, we got in a little "scuff" with the Fuzz 'cause somebody felt like we were being "aggressive" (codeword for standing in front of them so that they actually look at us and don't just get stuck in their little German world). So we had to just stand there and hope that someone took a card from one of our outstretched hands.

We taught our Nigerian investigator Arisa this week. He's heard everything multiple times and we just try to help him by giving him more things to think about and hoping that at some point he decides that he is ready to stop smoking (which he knows is a sin, by the way). We shared Alma Chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon with him. He really enjoyed verse 40 for how forward it is, "For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil." Later in the chapter it asks, if you are not one of the sheep of the Good Shepherd, then whose sheep are you? Hopefully that will be something that will help Arisa to decide to give up the few things that are preventing him from being baptized.

The work is moving forward in Heilbronn and I'm sad to have to leave it, but nothing will stop the work of God as it rolls forward.

Yes, I will be sending a package. I don't really know when that time will come but hopefully soon since I'm kinda running out of places to put stuff. We'll see.

I hope everyone has a wonderful time in California, or wherever you hail from. Have a good week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß

Can It Really Rain Almost Everyday?????

Received August 8, 2011

Can it really rain almost everyday. can. We have been having a lot of rain, but it is never really a ton of rain. Usually it is in the morning or evening sometime and then the rest of the day is warmer. One interesting thing is that the rain in the evening almost always causes a rainbow as the sun sets and it is almost always in the same place. We decided to start going to some places in the past week that probably haven't heard the gospel in a while. We went off to Gundelsheim which has a really awesome castle, but that wasn't the point. We were actually way on the south end of the city far away from the castle when we doored into a lady that really had some interest in finding out about what we believed. She is the kind of person that really wants proof if she is going to believe in something. She said that it was hard for her to believe in God, but we showed her the Book of Mormon and how it was another evidence that God is there and that he loves his children and wants them to know that he is there and that he lives. She was very interested in all the things that separate us from the other churches that everyone knows in Germany. It is always great to testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the restored priesthood of God to act in his name and that our church is the same one that Jesus Christ founded, not as the Jehovah's Witnesses say which implies that it just simply has existed since the beginning of time, but that the Church was restored by Jesus Christ (Jehovah) himself and his messengers by calling a prophet to restore all the things that went wrong because of the ignorance of man. We met an older couple the other day who believe in Kabbalah. As great of an idea as it seems, it pretty much makes you God and just assumes that everyone is right about everything and there is no eternal law that holds everything together and points out right and wrong. When I told them that I thought that it was interesting, they asked me how old I was. Upon my response that I am 19, they said that no one could possibly begin to understand it until they are at least 40 years old. What kind spirituality excludes people that are younger from understanding the world and why we are here? We are the only ones holding ourselves back from knowing what is and what is not. The true gospel of Jesus Christ is something that everyone including little children can understand. We learn by making mistakes and then we have the opportunity to repent and make up for what we did and when we do that we can become stronger than we were before.

I have come to the realization that most of the time, we are mistaken for some kind of religious radicals. In reality, that is most of the churches that do proselyting in Germany. I am also so horribly disappointed in the churches of Germany that have made so many people absolutely Godless. Most conversations with people go something like this: "Do you believe in God?" (Shrug of shoulders followed by a grunt that means something like "I don't know") "What does that mean?" "I'm not sure if I believe in God." "Because?" "I was born Catholic (or Protestant Evangelical) and eventually I decided that it wasn't for me." "How did you come to that decision?" Then follow the varied responses that really just kill me: "When our son died we didn't get any sympathy or help from our church." "I was just constantly disappointed with God's servants." "I won't pay tax anymore for an institution that is like the Catholic church." (Or the worst) "I really don't want to talk about it." What kind of responses are those? There is a God and it doesn't matter who is representing Him, he has never changed. The people just expect that whatever church they grew up in had to be the only church that could have been right and then when they get disappointed in the leaders of that church, they don't go in search of a church that doesn't disappoint them, they just close off their life from all religion whatsoever and say that everyone is the same. As missionaries, we are out here to explain to people that there is a true church and that God calls people by revelation (not by how good of a preacher they might be) to lead his church. The principles of the gospel are still the same even if the leaders let you down in one way or another, because in all honesty they are humans too with all the same failings you have. Usually the people who have problems with the way something is going should look at themselves first and see what they could change first before being critical of God and his servants and if you don't know if your church is the right one, then pray about it and study the scriptures and you will know which church is right.

God is there. Anyone that is looking for direction, or even if they think that they are found, should look into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you really ask God in prayer which church is correct, He will lead you to discover the Church because it is (despite anything that anyone may spread about the church in articles, internet, or books) quite literally the ONLY church that can be true. I ask someone to find me a reason why the church isn't true, because if it isn't then I don't want to spend one more minute of my time on something that isn't from God. However, I know that no one can tell me that this church isn't true. There is no reasonable argument against it. It is just awesome knowing that and I wish that I could tell everyone that in the 3 minutes or so that I have to talk to them (and in German). I'll keep working on that.

As regarding things that I need my mother to know, everything is fine. You should probably wait until after transfer calls which should be at the end of this week. If I leave, I will be leaving next Wednesday. We'll see. I hope you have a good week and that everything is great with your new job. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!