Monday, December 31, 2012

Einen Guten Rutsch!

Received December 31, 2012 Here in the German speaking lands the people wish each other "einen guten Rutsch" for the New Year. That means that they hope you "slide well" into the New Year. It sounds really dumb to someone who's not too familiar with the custom, however they say it just like we say "Happy New Year". What the majority of Germans don't know is where the phrase comes from. It's a Jewish (Yiddish) phrase that wishes a good beginning to the new year. I like that better. The idea of people sliding down the street into the new year may seem a little bit humorous, but it would probably end with people just hurting themselves. For that reason, I wish everyone a god rosch to get the year started off right. Hopefully that's with family and friends. I will be too, a little belated but it still counts. For those who read my blog, I am sad that I will no longer be able to report on the miscellaneous happenings of a Baritone on the loose in the German-speaking lands and I hope that you have been able to get a little glimpse into the world of a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have grown so much in this time and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve these wonderful people. I know that my Heavenly Father has blessed me and my family because I have seen the tangible blessings that have come from my service. I must say that my blog won't really change much since the gospel is still a major part of my life, however you can look forward to plenty of musings from the "Baritone". My mission coming to an end also brings with it the unfortunate end of my time in Ravensburg. Elder Pope (also Elder Hustead) and I have really had a wonderful time here in the great City of Games. We've experienced a lot and we have come to really know all the members well. They were really sad to see me go but I look forward to seeing them again sometime in the future. We spent Christmas Eve with the Trautmann family and the Sampsons. We listened to music, sang songs, and ate a wonderful and very German meal from one of the finest cooks in all of Germany. We had dinner with the Sampsons on the next night and I got to call my family which, despite the superfluity associated with a call only two weeks before I go home, was very nice. We then spent the next day with the Kiefers and we ate a Russian meal called Plov. It was really good. I think I may come home fatter that I left. Depressing, I know. Well I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and like my good friend the former Elder Sills I leave you with this scripture: 3 John 1:13-14 Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß!!!!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Frohe Weihnachten!

Received December 24, 2012 Morgen Kinder wird's was geben Morgen werden wir uns freu'n Welch ein Jubel welch ein Leben Wird in unser'm Hause sein Einmal werden wir nun wach Heißa dann ist Weihnachtstag! Merry Christmas everybody. If you are reading this it means that you have made it a long way with me and my mission history. We've experienced a lot of things and it's (sad to say) almost over. I'm glad that I am able to spend one more Christmas in Germany. It probably won't happen again. It's wonderful and everybody is smiling and happy, a sight which those of you who are familiar with the culture here would know is quite uncommon. Maybe it's because the world didn't end on the 21st. Maybe they're just happy to have work off. Maybe they're going to eat a Döner right now. There could be lots of reasons, but I think foremost there is a spirit to Christmas that no one can really explain. It surpasses all barriers of life and all differences that people have. Rich or poor, single or married, old or young, Turkish or German it doesn't matter. Everyone wishes each other happy holidays and the are happy. And you know what? I can't ask for anything more. That's a lovely way to finish my mission. I only have until next Thursday the 3rd to soak in all the goodness of Southern Germany before I depart for my sunny Southern California. I hope that you all have a wonderful time with your families and I look forward to seeing everyone soon. Until next time, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Aufersteh'n, ja aufersten'n wirst du mein Herz

Received December 17, 2012 "In einem Nu" is what it says in Gustav Mahler's continuation of Friedrich Klopstock's poem about the Resurrection. I am above all glad that Grandma Kennedy has passed through the veil and that she could go peacefully. It seems fitting that she leave this life on the wings of that great psalm number 23. Those words give hope to all people who believe in God and I know that if anyone did it was she. I know she doesn't know German, but I have received a lot of joy on my mission by listening to the wonderful words of the poem that I just mentioned, set to music and embellished upon by the great Gustav Mahler. He wrote: Sterben werd' ich um zu leben! Aufersteh'n, ja aufersteh'n Wirst du mein Herz, in einem Nu! Was du geschlagen zu Gott wird es dich tragen! That translates to, "I will die that I might live. You will resurrect, my heart, in but a moment. That which you have suffered will bring you unto God." Not to wax poetic or anything, but I just really like those words. This week went by so fast. As with all weeks for the past few transfers, I can't even remember what we do from day to day. We had a great party with the whole Zone in St. Gallen on Monday and that brought a little bit more Christmas cheer into our weekly activities. On Thursday we were invited over for dinner by a family who are not members of the church. Way back when we had the concert a lady who attended mentioned that they had at one time invited the missionaries over all the time to eat at their house and to talk in english to their kids. Eventually the missionaries just stopped coming for some reason and they never heard from them again. Coming to the concert brought them back in contact with us and they said that we could call them up and set up a time to have a meal with them and their grandkids who are now around the same age. We called up and they invited us over for Thursday last week and we had a great time with them. The husband and the oldest grandson asked some really good questions and we were ready to answer them. It was an awesome opportunity to share the gospel in a very casual way over a few sandwiches. On Sunday we had a great opportunity to go administer the sacrament to a lady who is really a pioneer of the church in Germany. Her husband was the first stake president in the Stuttgart Stake and they saw a good amount of the beginnings of the church in the post war era in Germany. Her husband died a few years ago and she now lives in an assisted living home in Aulendorf which is too far away for her to get to church in the morning and every few months we have a little sacrament meeting with her. Her daughter also comes who is less active. It was really awesome to see this woman and her love for the church. Well I think that will be all for this week. I only have a few more of these left and it's crazy! Until next time, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßß!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Go Down Moses? In A Christmas Concert?

Received December 10, 2012 So we had another "concert" this week. It was actually the Branch Christmas party, but we formed it around a large number of Christmas songs which were all very well received. Even "Go down Moses". We had some Nigerians there and they were rocking out in the back. I have to say that I have had some of the most fun in this little branch that I have had on my whole mission because I really do know everybody pretty well and I'm not always running around to talk to everybody all the time. That's something that really gets lost in a large ward. I am really grateful for the call to serve in the Ravensburg Branch because it has helped me to see that people are individuals and that every person has their own personal conversion to the gospel which keeps them coming every week and keeps them firm in their testimony. This week I also had the opportunity to go out to Winterthur where we had a Zone finding day. Everyone split up into different companionships and went out into the city in different predetermined areas and looked for people. Once again everyone got completely destroyed by the Sisters from St. Gallen. We Elders are just not as charismatic as the Sisters. They had lots of people talk to them compared to Elder Rosenvall and I out in Oberwinterthur. Afterward we all got back together and sang some Christmas songs in the city center. That was fun, but it was not too successful since people were so busy walking "somewhere". An old man did stop and listen. He tried to give us money but a member from the Winterthur Ward explained how we aren't there to take money, we just want to make people happy. (On a side note: It is illegal to do so under the stipulations of our agreement with the city which also excludes the handing out of cards during the singing. Switzerland is a special place.) My Trachtenanzug made it's debut at the party on Saturday and everyone loved it. They thought it was really fitting and said I looked good in it. I guess I don't have a ton to talk about this week. We are still trying to find some people to teach and they're out there. Pray that we will find them. Until next week, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßß!!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Alle Jahre Wieder

Received December 3, 3012 I just want to say how much I love the German Christmas carols. There are many songs that we know in America too: O Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas Tree), Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo how a rose er blooming), Stille Nacht (Silent Night). However, there are so many that I have learned this week. Since I bought a book of songs for the Christmas party (which is on Saturday) I have spent a little bit of time everyday not just learning the songs that I need to sing in the party, but also just exploring the world of song that has opened up to me. O Jesulein zart, Es kommt ein Schiff geladen, Macht hoch die Tür, Es wird scho glei dumpa, Leise rieselt der Schnee, etc. I think that it is amazing how many songs have been written in memory of the birth of Christ. The German people were then and still are (at least partially) a people that know how to celebrate Christmas and it all stems from their love for God and His Son. With the breaking of the dawn of the Christmas season we received more snow....yay. I woke up one morning and looked outside to see a nice thick coat of that white stuff from heaven laying neatly spread across the ground. Looking out at the snow from the inside is wonderful. Then you go out and it's freezing! It will get worse though. It's only been a few degrees (celcius) below zero so far, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. It's just time to break out the coats, sweaters, long underwear, extra socks, scarves, and anything that gets you warm. It's too bad my ninja-like reflexes are slowed down by all this clothing. This week I really wanted to go to the Christmas market in Ravensburg for some reason. It was really cold already and pretty late and dark and we had planned to just eat dinner, but we went out just to check it out real quickly. I happened that there was a group of German Scouts (Pfadfinder) who had a booth there. As we were walking by a girl in the troop stopped us and we talked to her for a little while. I told her about how I did scouting in America and she recognized us from the bus the other day. I guess she had seen us and wondered what we were doing in Germany. We told her about the church and she seemed genuinely interested in finding out more. She took a card and said that she would look at the website for the church. I'm glad that things like that happen so often in Ravensburg. We can knock on a million doors and we don't find anybody that has interest but random instances like that happen to us all the time. Heavenly Father looks out for us to make sure that we don't get too discouraged. Well, that's all for now folks. We'll have plenty of time to talk about this stuff in a few weeks and I don't want to spend forever on the computer. Have a great week and smile, it does wonders. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßß!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Es weihnachtet scho ond i han nonet was kriegt...

Received November 26, 2012 All around one can see the hints of the holiday of holidays. Lights are being strung in the trees, a 16 m tall Christmas tree was flown by helicopter into St. Gallen the other day, all the shops are advertising their Christmas season specials, the list goes on. No one in the world takes Christmas so seriously as does the German-speaking world. Let's not forget though what the whole season is about: Christ. We as a mission have decided to read the gospels by the end of the year and it is an excellent way of remembering what this season is all about. This week we began to organize the Christmas party in Ravensburg. It will be mostly Christmas themed stories interspersed among musical numbers. They're using me to the fullest before I go, that's for sure. The coolest part is that I will be singing a number of songs that are straight up GERMAN songs that we never hear in America. Sis. Trautmann has enough faith in me that I will learn them though. Last P-day we were in a train that took us to Friedrichshafen and what should have taken only about 20 minutes lasted almost 2 hours. About a mile outside of Meckenbeuren we stopped in the woods and the driver came on the intercom to say that we "ran over" a kid. Everyone was wondering if they heard that right and we weren't sure what was going on. We sat there as it got darker and as the police and fire department showed up. In the end we started back up and got to Friedrichshafen. We found out later that the kid had laid down in between the tracks and then ran away after the train was gone. They couldn't find him until way later that night. He apparently wasn't really hurt or at least not badly. That goes into the book of craziest experiences on a train in Germany. It's already pretty big for me. Maybe I should publish it.... We had another finding day blitz in Ravensburg and we found a lady from Kenya who is married to a German. She and her husband sounded pretty interested in the Book of Mormon when we brought it to them on Sunday. We couldn't make out another appointment, but we expect to be hearing from them again. The Sampsons took us to dinner at McDonalds on Thanksgiving a little bit spontaneously and I got chicken nuggets (that's like turkey.....right.....?). As Elder Sampson always says, "It's not about the food, it's the association." I agree. This was a good week and it flew by like dust in the wind. It's hard to even remember sometimes what I did earlier that day. Aber, wir schreiten voran! Gel? Habt eine schöne Woche und haltet stets in Erinnerung einfach glücklich zu sein. Schaut mal was daraus wird. Bis zum nächsten mal, tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßß!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lass mich in Ravensburg sterben...

Received November 19, 2012 This week was pretty crazy. We went all the way to St. Gallen to have a Zone Training meeting with the Zone Leaders. That was fun because we got to ride the ferry across Bodensee. It is a pretty long ride (40 minutes) and when we got to the other side you could tell that we were in Switzerland. Luckily we saw our friends the Kreuzlingen Elders there and we rode our train together to St. Gallen. One of the Elders who is German actually asked me where I come from when I was speaking German with them. He couldn't tell that I was an American because I don't speak with an American accent. It's important to note that I don't speak like a German and everyone can hear that, but I am proud of my accent-free German. Yes! The meeting was great but after it was over we got to all separate into companionships with other Elders and contact in St. Gallen. I was with Elder Nielsen of Denmark and we found a guy that took a Book of Mormon and gave us his information. It was a successful 50 minutes. Of course, the highlight of this week was our concert on Saturday. We needed to practice on Friday and everything went really well. We had to get the piano up on the stage in the chapel, but that wasn't too difficult with me and my Tongan companion. Pianos are never easy to move, but it made it up there. The actual concert on Saturday was really fun. There were 27 people there and 7 of them were non-members; you can't beat that kind of percentage. The best part was that the members instantly started talking to the guests before and after the concert. All the songs went pretty well and we all had a great time. The highlight of the concert was the "spirituals" section where everyone was moving along and having fun. It was awesome. The concert accomplished it's purpose and it brought people into the church and they had a good time too. I can't ask for more than that. I will be staying in Ravensburg until the bitter end (hence the subject line) and I'm excited to be here. We've even already been invited over to members for Christmas Eve. I love it here. Well, that's all for now folks. Habt eine gute Woche gel'! Bisch zum nächschte mol! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßle!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Surprising?, Not Really...

Received November 12, 2012 This week we began a little campaign to find go visit several members of the church with whom there is pretty much no contact. They live in many different places in our area and there was a bit of travelling involved. We found out that many of these people don't even live there anymore. Surprising? Not really. We did find that there are several that do still live where the Branch List says that they do, but we haven't been able to get in and talk to any of them yet. Moral of the story is: Check your ward lists once in a while. If you haven't heard from some people in a while, you might want to go check on them. These are our friends and also children of Heavenly Father. On a more interesting note, we had Stake Conference this week in a large conference center in Weinfelden Switzerland. The way there for us was pretty crazy. We took the ferry across Bodensee and then drove in the direction of Weinfelden. It's a pretty obscure little place, although not too small. Our way there took us quite literally over the river and through the woods. It was pretty fun, but we took some crazy little roads through people's farms and saw lots of crops and cows. Once in Weinfelden we got to the conference and saw all of the people there. There were a lot of people at the conference. Swiss people are just in general very well put together and always look good. The music was provided by a youth choir and they had soloists and even two violinists. That's quite an accomplishment for a european stake to be able to put together that many young people for a choir especially when they all live so far from each other. There were some great speakers. I also had the opportunity to speak with some returned missionaries from Switzerland that used to serve in my mission who I haven't seen in a while. They're doing great. I don't really have a lot more to say about this week. The work keeps moving forward slowly but surely. Pray for the missionaries here and in all the world that we can find the people that are searching for the truth. Have a great week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßß!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden

Received November 5, 2012 So this week...not too shabby. In case anyone is wondering, Halloween is nowhere near as popular here in Germany as it is in America. Their "scary" night is Walpurgisnacht and their dress up day is Fasching (or Fassnet) both of which are in Spring and so there really wasn't a ton going on for Halloween. We did go home a little early because it didn't make sense anymore to be outside and people were starting to look at us weirdly (more so than normal). There are some people that go trick or treating, but relatively few and the rest are just party animals looking for any reason to go out and drink. Maybe some were going to the Zombie Rave that had been advertised the whole week. The big holiday is actually the 1st of November where they celebrate Allerheiligen. That meant that there was NOTHING going on all day on Thursday. Everything was closed and there was nobody on the street. They don' t mess around with their holidays here. Of course the day after Allerheiligen is Allerseelen. Schubert fans have this holiday to thank for the stunningly beautiful and yet simple song Litanei(hence the subject line). The whole point of me writing this is that we have finally made up the list of songs that we will be singing in the concert on the 17th. I will be singing a bunch of songs. Here they are: This is the Christ Jesus is my Shepherd Der Tod und das Mädchen Litanei Ich grolle nicht O Isis und Osiris Go down Moses and last but not least Old Man River Pretty crazy selection, eh? Well, those were the ones we decided on. They're all things that sit well in my voice and like I said before, the whole purpose is to just get people to bring their friends so that they can see the church. I'm no headliner. I'm just the voice with a name tag. It will be a ton of fun and I'm really looking forward to it. On the investigator front things are starting to look up. On Wednesday we had another finding day. We had planned to just stay in Ravensburg, but on a whim we decided to go to Friedrichshafen. We exchanged companions for the couple of hours and Elder Robins and I at first just talked to people on the street. It didn't take too long to realize that it wasn't really bringing anything, so we went and found the first apartments that we could find. I decided to go to the ones behind the building right on the street and in that building we found two couples who had interest in talking with us. We taught one couple right there and then set up an appointment for today for the other. Today we went to that couple and they took two Books of Mormon, one in Arabic and the other in German. On Friday I wasn't feeling too awesome after planning for the next week and I wasn't really excited to go out. I then told myself that we would just go and contact this guy that we found on the first finding day and then we could go home and I could just rest. Well, that's when the Lord likes to do funny stuff to you. We ended up getting there and it had just barely started raining and I'm thinking, "That's just what we needed." We rang the doorbell and the wife of the man came to the door. She called her husband and he let us into their kitchen. She joined us too and they said at the end that we could come back. This week was great to say the least. Well, I think that's enough for right now. It's going great right now and I hope that it's going great for all of you too. Have a fun week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßß!!!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ok, who ordered the snow????

Received October 29, 2012 Yes friends, I am ever so joyful to announce that the first snow of the year landed on Saturday in the morning. (Can't you just smell the sarcasm dripping off of that statement?) We were off helping a family on Saturday with their warehouse and then the snow just started coming down. It was pretty much freezing cold all day (duh, it was snowing) and it was no warmer in the warehouse. We got a lot done though. It snowed a lot on Sunday too and it was really not fun. After church on Sunday we were invited with the Sampsons to go to the Trautmann family. Sis. Trautmann also studied voice when she was younger and we have been asked to put together a "little" program of mostly classical music for a concert in November. The music will include all kinds of things. There will be piano solos from Sis. Sampson interspersed throughout the program and Sis. Trautmann and I will be singing a few songs together but mostly solos ranging from church music and spirituals to the works of the great Germanic masters Mozart, Händel, Schubert, Schumann, and Mendelssohn. It should be a pretty cool concert as long as my voice is in shape on that day. I can say that it all sounded really awesome yesterday as we were going through it all. It is all for a good cause, because we are trying to use this as an opportunity to invite people to come to the church and see what we are all about. There's a good chance that there will be several non-members that will attend and it's always great to see people come to the church who are friends of the members. We had another blitz in Dornbirn this week. We separated after interviews with the President in Winterthur on Wednesday and I went off to Dornbirn with Elder Robins. Much to our dismay, as the bus pulled away from the church that would take us to the train station, we discovered that Elder Robins did not have the cell phone. It was safely in the pocket of Elder Tanner who was well on his way back to Ravensburg with Elder Pope and the Sampsons. So there we were on our way back to Dornbirn with no way of contacting anyone. We survived and we eventually got back together the next day, but it sure would have been nice for us to be able to communicate with people on that day. We ended up using a land line at the church to call them and decide when we would get back together and how on the next day. We went and contacted a little that night and even found a couple potential investigators in only about an hour and a half one of which I believe became a new investigator yesterday when they met with him. This week will be here in Ravensburg again and we look forward to finding some new people. I've realized that I haven't said too much about Elder Pope. He is fairly new on his mission. Ravensburg is his second area after spending his first three transfers in Ingolstadt. He is part Tongan and he and I get along really well. We understand each other pretty well too. He comes from Missouri near Independence. He already wants to meet my family, which seems to be a common thread with all of my companions so far. I told him that he needs to come visit and then he can eat some of mom's cooking. He's excited. I think that is all for this week. I hope that everyone has a great time this week in all that they do. I also hope that it's nowhere near as cold where you are as it is where I am. Until next time, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Elijah!, Get Thee Hence Elijah!!

Received October 22, 2012 Sometimes on a mission one is tempted to feel as did Elijah when he said, "It is enough!" Not that your desire is to die as was his, but the thought of going home is ever present in your mind. I love listening to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Elijah (Elias in German) because sometimes I can relate; not to mention it has a wonderful bass-baritone part which I will someday be able to sing. The oratorio relates the story of the prophet Elijah from the Book of Kings in the Bible and Mendelssohn put amazing music to the text which is pulled (with few exceptions) directly from the Bible with passages from both the Old and New Testaments. Who couldn't like the two magnificent tenor arias "If with all your hearts" and "Then shall the righteous shine forth" (my personal favorite) and the lovely mezzo soprano aria "Oh rest in the Lord". These songs have given me a lot of comfort on my mission and sometimes just play through my head all day long (maybe because of their catchiness, Felix wrote them that way) and in any case sometimes, like I said before, I find myself relating a little to Elijah. Luckily though, he knows what's up. "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed but thy kindness shall not depart from me, neither shall the covenant of thy peace be removed." Such are the character Elijah's words (quoting Isaiah 54:10) just before he is taken away into heaven. I know that it is true. I've been wondering when something would start happening in Ravensburg, and this week seemed to show us that it is possible. It all started on Monday evening. We were invited by our landlord to speak at a meeting of a group of which he is a part. Don't laugh when I say that it was a meeting of the Druid Order. Nothing crazy, just a bunch of old men. We had the opportunity to talk to them about the church and what we believe. It was really well received. We were asked a relatively difficult question which dealt with the Official Declaration 2 for those who know what that is. For those that don't, it deals with the announcement that all worthy male members of the church could recieve the priesthood. I answered as well as I could and I was not "confounded" for which I am very grateful. I think that the presentation really opened the eyes of some of the members of the group. On Wednesday we had our first "blitz" and we decided to do tracting in an area that we had never been to before. It ended up being very fruitful and we found 9 potential investigators and gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon in just two hours. We never would have been able to cover that much ground in two hours by ourselves so it really was a success. As the aria mentioned above by the mezzo states, "Wait patiently for Him and he shall give thee thy heart's desire." It's true. Later on in the week we even got a self referral from and we will be contacting it soon. On Saturday and Sunday we went on over to Augsburg because an investigator got baptized from Ingolstadt who Elder Pope taught. Sunday morning was a broadcast of President Monson who was in Germany for the past couple weeks. He was actually in Munich the day before but we couldn't get there in time. The meeting in Munich was held in the Herkulessaal which is known by classical music lovers as one of Deutsche Grammophon's favorite recording locations. I found that out later on and I was a little sad that I couldn't go, but ok. This was a really good week, but we really need to get some more investigators. Pray for the missionaries. I hope that everyone has a great week. If anyone should have a special request for something from Germany, I will be considering requests. Bis zum nächste mol, gua! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßß!!!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Received October 15, 2012 So I've realized this week that my whole mission has had a lot to do with testing the patience and willingness of Elder Neumayer to just do the things he's told to and hopefully not complain too much. See the thing is, the Lord has successfully kept me out of leadership positions for enough of my mission that I haven't really been able to make too much of a fuss with the "powers that be". Being that I really don't have too much say in "matters at hand", I just have to sit here and occasionally give my humble opinion and just do what they tell me. Needless to say, a lot happened this week. First of all I would like to begin with a little "shout out". This week I got a letter from a person that I will refer to as "Butterfly Girl" from California. You know who you are. Thank you for your letter. It is true that the mailbox is often quite empty (hint hint to others reading) and I was very grateful to get a letter from someone, even if it is from someone I don't know. I hope that you are doing well and I agree with what you wrote in your letter. I will say one thing though, the glitter won't go away and now my jacket is a bit reminiscent of a certain vampire novel character. Once again thanks for the letter. This week also brought me to Dornbirn in ÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖsterreich where I did end up buying my very own Trachtenanzug. I must say, I really like it. I will have to wait until I get home to actually wear it though since it doesn't really lend the possibility of wearing a name tag. Photo posted. Sadly, I realized on Tuesday that Elder Root cannot get a visa in Ravensburg, he needs to get it somewhere else in Germany. I told the "powers that be" the situation and that night I got a phone call. It was President Miles telling me that Elder Root would not be coming to me. Instead Elder Pope would be coming from (where else) INGOLSTADT! We also had a little meeting with the Zone on that day where we got to hear a lot of what is going on in the mission and how we can work together to achieve our goal. There was a lot said, but one interesting new thing is that we will now be having District Blitzes. That means that now every week after District Meeting, much like Germany blitzing through Poland, we will catch the people of Ravensburg (or Dornbirn) unaware as we blitz the streets or doors or whatever we feel like four missionaries strong. The idea is to quickly find as many people as we can that will hear the message. Cool, huh? We're not quite sure how that will work with the people that are far away from each other, like us and Dornbirn. We'll see. The great adventure began on Thursday at 7 in the morning as we took off with all of Elder Hustead's things and walked on down to the train station. We noticed immediately upon printing the ticket that we would not be able to take the trains that our ticket man in the mission office told us to take because part of the trip was taking a ship across the Bodensee. The ticket didn't read "Schiff", so we had to find another way there. We went through Singen and Schaffhausen and ended up in Zürich just in time to "plauder" a little bit with the other missionaries before Elder Hustead had to take off to Stuttgart. Why did we have to go to Zürich first? You guess is as good as mine since Elder Hustead probably just ended up going back through Ravensburg to get up to Stuttgart ANYWAY! This is where the patience part comes in. I then had to stay in Zürich from 12 noon until 8:44.....yeah. Let's just say that Elder Neumayer was not too happy. I did get to talk to a bunch of other missionaries that I hadn't seen in a while who were also at the train station and that made some of the time past by. Eventually everyone had to leave and I still had a good 4 hours or so left. I went with the Zürich Zone Leaders who had a couple of lessons. I don't really understand a lot of Züritüütsch anyway, so I just listened most of the time trying to understand what in the world they were saying. After the appointments ran out there was still a couple of hours and we hit the streets to go by on a few people. Along the way we talked to quite a few people. The Zone Leaders decided to take advantage of the particular Elder that they had with them. You see, everyone knows that if Elder Neumayer is good at one thing it's singing. They (without asking me first) would begin a conversation and if it started failing they would then ask, "Do you like music?" That was when I began to think, "Oh no." Next thing I know I'm singing in the dark streets of Zürich to some person that I've never seen before. All the people that we did that with were then touched somehow and at least took a card and said that they would check out the internet site, or even as in the case of one man, they set up an appointment. So Elder Neumayer's patient, Heavenly Father really likes to do things like that to me just to show me that He knows exactly what is going on and I should just deal with it and be grateful. So Elder Pope did come eventually and we went off to Frauenfeld to spend the night with the Elders there. In the morning we got up and travelled back to Zürich and then on to Ravensburg. We got back at about 2 in the afternoon. I just love these (as mom calls them) whirlwind trips. Well, I think that's enough for this week. Have a good week everyone. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßß!!!!!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Now I feel WAY old!

Received October 8, 2012 As if it wasn't enough that this next transfer I will be in the top two oldest groups in the mission and that I turned 21 this week, just to add insult to injury the First Presidency now announces that 18 year old young men can go on missions. I feel old even if I'm not really. This week was great. On Tuesday we had an awesome District Meeting in Dornbirn. The Elders there even baked me a "cake" (more like brownies because there isn't really American cake here). We even had hats and noise makers. The actual meeting was great too. We talked about the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ. Upon closing the meeting we went off to a Chinese buffet where Elder and Sister Sampson treated us to lunch. It was really nice of them. On Friday we got the nerve wracking call. Elder Hustead will be taking off to Ludwigsburg up near Stuttgart leaving me to take over the area. I will also be receiving a new companion who is coming from St. Pölten in Austria. This will be his third transfer and only his second companion (for those of you who know the term "greeny busting", that's what I am). His name is Elder Root and he comes from Santa Clara in Utah (yep another one of those "South"ern Utahns) and I've heard he's way excited for the work which is just what this old missionary needs. I will not be trunky! This will be a fun transfer. On Saturday we went on down to Dornbirn to watch conference. We happened to get there a little late and we walked in just in time to hear them announcing the new policy on missionaries. We were blown away! It was crazy to think that missionaries will be coming out soon that are still 18. Of course, not during my mission because I will be long gone before they start coming, Elder Hustead was excited though. We stayed the night and then watched the sessions on Sunday. Two of my favorite talks were from Elder Larry Echo Hawk about the Book of Mormon and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Who would not be moved by the words of a real descendant of the Native Americans bearing testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and if anyone was not moved by Elder Holland, I don't know what will move them. I heard Elder Holland give almost that exact same talk in the MTC and back then I thought to myself that it is a shame that the rest of the church would never hear and see how he explains that story of the Apostles when they had gone back fishing after the Resurrection of Christ. It was powerful back then in the MTC and it is still just as powerful of a witness that we have a work to do as members of the Church of Christ. Another great talk was given by Elder Nelson about the missionaries. He told us when he came to visit us that he would give a talk in conference that would address the members helping us out a little bit more. Apparently, the missionaries can help you with anything! And we really can. If you know someone that needs our help, send us to them! We can help! It was a great conference and I can't wait to read the last session in the Liahona. Ready for a little "Baritonal" musings? For anyone that wants to know my opinion of the music of the conference, here it is: It was great! My two favorites were Saturday Evening and Sunday Morning sessions. When you see a mixed youth choir you immediately begin to think, "Well, let's just see how it goes....." but that youth choir had a really good sound. That last song was an....interesting arrangement, but the choir sang together really well. Now for MoTab, I like my MoTab just like all the rest of us, but sometimes they just sing the same stuff over and over. Sunday Morning was amazing. They had a SOLOIST!!!!! I about died listening to his beautiful technique and how easily he sang through "Does the Journey Seem Long", an oft overlooked hymn in our English hymnbook. The last song in the session was also good. I don't remember what it was called, but it really was amazing. Also, the "How lovely is thy dwelling place" from the Brahms Requiem was a lovely addition to Music and the Spoken Word. From the Shadows of the Everlasting Hills I am coming to you from Dornbirn this morning since we spent another night due to not being able to get home on time. We will be going to a Trachten Fair of sorts here today and I will keep my eyes open for anything nice. I hope that everyone has a great week. Thanks for the many birthday well wishes. May peace be with you this day...and always. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Come on, there has to be a 45 somewhere......

Received October 1, 2012 That is what was going through my head the other day when we went in search of the spanish man that we met last week. He gave us his address and said to come by. I was on an exchange with Elder Robins in Ravensburg and we looked for at least half an hour for the number 45 on the street that he said. It seemed to be the only place that didn't exist. I don't think that he lied to us, there has to be a 45 somewhere, but we can't find it. This week had another little mishap with exchanges. On Friday Elder Hustead took off to go to Winterthur to have an exchange with the Zone Leaders. I was allowed to stay in the apartment and wait for Elder Allen to come to me. That would have been fine if I had not gotten a call from him two hours later saying that he was in Meersburg and not Friedrichshafen. I told him that I would figure everything out and so I got myself together and headed off the the train station. Through some phone calls we figured out how he could take a bus to Friedrichshafen. I then traveled alone to our meeting spot at the FH train station. He was so amazed at the beauty of Bodensee (Lake Constance) and we just sat on a bench there looking over the water as we discussed goals for the exchange. He is really jealous of my area. BTW: For anyone that is not familiar with the lifestyle of a missionary, just so you know, it's really weird to be alone. I just might have sung out loud for a little while just because I could.... We have finally established with Samuel and Hyacinth that Joseph Smith is a prophet and we have now decided that we will not focus so much on Joseph Smith since they thought that we had replaced Jesus with him. Not true, but it may have sounded like it. For anyone who's wondering, there isn't all that much Oktoberfest-ing going on in our neck of the woods. That's more of a Bavaria thing, but we have seen a good deal of lederhosen in the past few weeks. Well, the time has come my friends. I hope that everyone has an awesome week. There will be transfer calls this week on Friday, so I will know soon if there is any change in my near future. Until next time, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßß!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Oktoberfest Everyone!

Received September 24, 2012 That's right, the largest festival in the world has kicked off once again and beer is being chugged down by the liter. An investigator brought to my attention an interesting fact about the bar maids at Oktoberfest. She may look like a pretty little blond thing in a dirndl, but inside she's really a more like a body builder. Each one will carry at any given time up to 10 liters of beer which is actually more than 10 kilograms considering that the "Maß" are made out of glass. So every time she goes to pick up a new order of beer she's carrying probably near 25 pounds on her arms. Don't get in any bar fights with a one of those girls. So if any women out there want to earn some money and work their arms a bit, it's not a bad profession. All that aside, this week was pretty good. This week went by way fast and it's hard to even remember what happened. We did have our first district meeting in Dornbirn this week which means that I got to go back to the Vaterland. Well, Vorarlberg is more like Switzerland than it is Austria, but I guess it still counts. That day I went back with Elder Christensen to Ravensburg and proceeded to go by on a ton of "investigators" that I still have not met. Not many people were actually home and no one had time. However, we were waiting for a bus on a bench and a man who was sitting near us asked us if our name tags had something to do with music. We explained who we are and he said that he is a very faithful man who comes from Spain and loves Jesus. He told us that he does not have very many friends here is Germany and he needs something. We told him that we could help him with that and told him that we have a book for him. He readily accepted the book gave us his address and said that we could come by on weekends and talk to him. He would have called us to set up an appointment, but he didn't have a cell phone yet. We will go and talk to him this week. He is really cool. We also went to help out the husband of a member this week. He has a warehouse and he is building a museum inside the warehouse. It's interesting for sure. We spent quite a while there with him putting up a tent in the warehouse for his palm trees that he has outside. He needs to move them inside before the weather gets too cold. It's a complicated situation, but he's got everything under control. The museum will eventually be turned into a war museum focused primarily on the world wars. It's a work in progress. There is lots of work to do this week and we will be having fun while doing it. I hope that everyone has a great week. Until next time, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßß!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Elder Nelson Says Thank You...

Received September 17, 2012 He really does. He told us all to say thank you to our parents. He is really a very amazing man. Many of you already know this, but he is REALLY smart too. On Wednesday we travelled to Zürich to listen to him speak to us. We learned a lot, so I won't even try to give you a sum up of what he said. Maybe someday we can talk about it in person. He talked a lot about reaching our potential to become like Christ. That's a big task! However, he assured us that we can do it, through the Atonement of course. With all that in mind, the end of this week was a little bit of a down week with Elder Hustead becoming sick. It's nothing horrible though, so we will be back at it tonight. We had a lesson with our Brothas from l'Afrique, ok so they don't speak French, but they are from Africa. It was beginning to become a little bit out of our hands when it started to turn into a little Praise meeting of sorts. Luckily, Elder Sampson was there to save us from another 20 minutes or so. Since he takes them home he gets to decide when the lessons are over. I get the feeling that we are just being preached to. It's sad but true. We'll see how things progress. Have you ever been faced with a daunting task? Let me tell you about the one that our mission is currently facing. By the end of the year we want to reach our goal of baptizing 300+ people. Given that the current number of baptisms is 88, that leaves a lot of room for improvement. Since we're getting down to the final stretch, we have needed to reenergize our work and our faith that this whole goal won't go down in flames. However, sometimes you just have to believe no matter how impossible things look. Take for example the three Hebrew boys who would not pray to the idol of the king. They told him that their God would save them, but even if He didn't they still wouldn't pray to his God because they knew what they believed and would not waver at all. We then find our that God really did save them in a rather miraculous way. This can and will happen with us in this mission. Even if we don't make our goal, I will believe until the morning of New Years Day 2013 that this is a reachable goal. And even if we don't reach it, can we be disappointed in the many souls that came to a knowledge of the truth? No. This is a great work and I'm having fun along the way too. I know that my time is getting short, but I still have a ton of time mission-wise. Two and a half transfers is all the time in the world to find and baptize. Just remember to pray for us to find the people that need the gospel. Well, I think that's enough for this week. Have a fun week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßß!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Germans love plays on words...

Received September 10, 2012 They really do. Every time I go to a new area it seems that there is someone whose name (or maiden name) is Mayer (and all possible variations -meier, -meyer, etc.). And every time someone is bound to say, "Oh you're the NEU-Mayer" Since the word "neu" just means new, it's like the the biggest joke ever. Every time I think, "Yep, haven't heard that one before..." They just love their plays on words, what can you do. Joseph Wagstaff eat your heart out. This week in Ravensburg was "Ravensburg Spielt", a game festival where everywhere you turn there is some crazy booth full of games for small people, big people, old people, all kinds of people! I really wanted to get a picture of the "Settlers of Catan" Bus, but I didn't get the chance. Thousands of people flocked to Ravensburg this week to participate in the festivities. You could basically go to any of the booths and just sit down and start playing the (mostly board) games that lined the streets. I can just say that it looked awesome! This week lesson-wise wasn't too bad either. On Monday we went to the (go figure) Meier family. Had originally invited some investigators and Derick a new member to come and eat. They didn't show up, so we had dinner without them. They had a friend of the family there who has apparently been to several dinners with the Meiers. Toward the end of the night he told us that he really wants to meet with us too but we can't go where he lives because there are some ladies there that will throw glass at us and then demand money from us (?) no joke. So Tanya Meier said that he was welcome to meet with us at their home. He is really quite a good man and very simple and will be a great member of the church. We also had a lesson with a family in Friedrichshafen who are really well rounded. When they heard that I was an opera singer, the mother went and put in a DVD of the Salzburg Marionette Theater performing Mozart operas. It was really funny and they were really interested that I sing opera. They would be a really great family to have in the church. We met with our two African investigators this week. It's not easy to just talk about one thing with them. We started talking about prophets and what the purpose of a prophet is. I don't know really where we ended, but it had nothing to do with prophets...anyway, they are slowly coming along. The best thing is that they come to church every week. I have no problem with that. I forgot to say anything about my new companion. His name is Elder Hustead and he comes from the St. George area in Utah. He is a physics major at USU and may want to join the Airforce. He's a pretty funny guy and asks a lot of crazy questions. This morning for example: What do you think of squirrels? This week on Wednesday is when Elder Russell M. Nelson will be coming to the mission. We will be going to Zürich to see him with all of the missionaries in Switzerland. Well, I think I've spent long enough on this email. I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Remember to help the missionaries at home. Until next week, Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

O je me nee, des isch jo kloin!

Received September 4, 2012 Willkommen in Ravensburg! This city is pretty crazy. It's actually not too small like some of my former areas *cough* Bad Säckingen *cough*. Anyway, there is a pretty nice amount of public transport and we have cards that pretty much cover the whole area. Yay, not as much walking! The crazy part of the city is that it's pretty old. There is a lot of history and everywhere you turn there's a little piece of the old town wall or a tavern that was built in the first century...yeah that's right. We do live in Ravensburg right in the town center. The building is pretty old but the apartment was refurbished not too long ago. We also have no neighbors downstairs so we don't have to be too worried about how much noise we make when we walk around. The reasoning behind the subject line (do not put it into Google Translate, it won't bring anything) is in reference to how I felt looking at the Branch on Sunday. We meet in an office building and there are about 18 or 19 people at church every Sunday. That's what I call small. My companion is fine with the size since he came from Neu Ötting where the branch is made up of 8 people. These people are faithful though because they come every Sunday and they know what they believe in. We have a senior missionary couple here named the Sampsons. They are awesome. They don't speak much German but they are trying. They are more there as support to the members, but they are awesome at teaching when they need to. Elder Sampson is a former mission president and he always loves giving Snickers bars and buying us ice cream. I think they are on their fourth mission now. We are teaching some pretty cool guys from Nigeria who really like when things are lively and exciting. We spent two hours the other day trying to resolve a concern of one of them. We also had our awesome new member joint teach Derick Taewo with us. He is also from Nigeria and he's way cool and speaks English and really good German. I'm excited for working in this area and helping the Branch grow. I have included a few pictures from Bad Säckingen. They don't have me in them, but they are some cool places. The first is the Münster in Bad Säckingen from up where I sang. The second is of a giant church in St. Blasien. The third is of some of the scenery in a town just outside of St. Blasien. My new address is: Elder Andrew Neumayer Kirche Jesu Christi Charlottenstr. 8 88212 Ravensburg Germany I hope everyone has a wonderful week full of not too much rain and lovely weather. Have fun! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where do you go to meet non-Germans???

Received August 27, 2012 The Internet Cafe, of course! As I sit here writing my email today it occurs to me that I am surrounded by people speaking either other languages (mostly Russian, and other eastern languages and Italian) or German with an accent. This is the place where they all come talk with each other. There are some missionaries that love talking to and teaching the "ausländer", but it's just because they're nice and don't immediately say no. In all honesty, the problem is trying to get them to understand the doctrine of the church when their German ability is lacking. If I spoke Serbian or Turkish, maybe it would work out. However, it makes very little sense to go week after week to people that can't even understand you when you try to tell them that they need to come to church or keep some commandment. They are some of the nicest people in the world. If I could already speak perfect German, then I could maybe think about learning some other language, but until then..."Es gibt eine IN-TER-NET SEI-TE, AUF RUSSISCH. Schönen Tag noch!" Well this week went by pretty crazy fast. I'll tell you why. When you have something that you are looking forward to, the time goes by so (as they say in German) Sau schnell (Pig fast....) that you can't even tell what day you are on in the week. This whole transfer has been like that. On Monday we had our P-day and everything went by super fast. Tuesday I had the awesome opportunity to sing in the Münster in Bad Säckingen (picture from the top near the organ coming next week) for a woman who is a former investigator of the church. It was the seventh anniversary of the death of her husband who was Catholic and she always has his name read every year in mass. This year because she heard me sing in Sacrament Meeting last week she wanted me to sing in the service. She organized everything and I got to meet with the organist earlier in the day at the church to practice. Afterward we left and did some things before we had to meet for the mass. A Sister in the ward called around to invite people from the Church to come and hear. I had a little band of groupies there from the Relief Society. I would look down from the banister and they would take pictures. It was really funny. I sang Nearer My God to Thee during the Communion and the Vicar thanked me at the end of the service. No one that was there knows my name because he didn't know it but he was very grateful that I sang. The accoustics in that church are great and it was awesome to sing there for the service. You would never think that an opportunity like that would show up on a mission. The lady wanted to give me an honorarium for singing but I wouldn't take it. I don't do those kind of things for money. My momma taught me better than that. The rest of the week got a little better because it started raining and it cooled down a lot. You can almost feel Fall coming. On Friday we got transfer calls. My time in Bad Säckingen has come to an end and I will be going to Ravensburg. The Elders live in Friedrichshafen am Bodensee which is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Germany and it is right on the shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German). I have also officially spent half of my mission in Baden-Württemberg; gotta love that yellow and black. Since then it's just been good bye after good bye which is not fun, but I'll see these people again (hopefully). This was a crazy week and this week will be no less crazy. Also, in a couple of weeks we will have the opportunity to have the Great Swiss Conference again because Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve will be coming to visit in Zürich. It helps to have a mission president whose wife is the daughter of a General Authority. I hope that everyone has a great week and that all is going well. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßß!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sooooo Hoooootttt!

Received August 20, 2012 Today it is supposed to be 38° Cel. Yay..... that is not the kind of news I want, but it's ok, because it's P-day. It has been really hot this week though. We had a couple lessons with our stable investigator in Bad Säckingen. This time we heard about how Joseph Smith might have been visited by an alien....yeah. Anyway, it was an ok week. There still isn't a ton to do, but we are working on it. There is going to be a transfer call coming up on Friday, so we will see what happens. Hopefully it isn't like the last two places that I've been where I was with the same companion for 3 transfers in a row. Not that I don't like my companion, quite the opposite, but sometimes you just need change. I'm also getting to the point where (let's just say) I don't have as many transfers left and if I should happen to go back to Austria (hypothetically) I would want to do that soon so that I don't just go for one transfer and waste the money that it takes to renew a visa. So yeah, that as a side note, I don't really care what happens with this next transfer, but it will be interesting. This Sunday was interesting because the Stake Presidency came to change the Branch Presidency. That was little bit expected since the old Branch President had been in that calling for the past 8 years and it was getting to be time that some change occured. We ended up getting a pretty young President who will be great and he will do an awesome job. You wouldn't have really thought it before he recieved the calling, but now you can see that he really is the person that is called to lead the Branch for the next few years as they try to realize their goal of becoming a ward. Now it's (at least partially) our part to go and help them realize that dream. Anyone know a family or two in Bad Säckingen? I got to sing in the Sacrament Meeting with a member who studied opera. She is an American who married a German and they are awesome members. We sang "Nearer My God to Thee" and it was really nice for the meeting. Afterward I don't know how many times I had to tell people about how I study at BYU. Everyone was really interested, but I wish I could have just told everyone in a little group instead of saying the same thing 20 times. It was really cool. There was also a lady who is not a member but is a friend of the Stake President who came because he invited her. She asked me if I would be interested in singing at the Münster (large church) in Bad Säckingen. It's the cool one that is in all the pictures of the city. If that does work out, that would be way cool. She is going to try to set it up. If it doesn't work, that's ok too, but it was nice of her to make the offer. Well, I hope everyone has a great week and that it's not as hot wherever you are as it is here. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßß

Monday, August 13, 2012

Was soll ich denn eigentlich schreiben...

Received August 13, 2012 I really don't know what to write this week. We did go to Zürich for a Zone Conference which was pretty cool. We had a kinda terrible time this week with all the buses instead of trains. Everything took more than twice as long to reach. We spent a lot of time going and just talking to people because our investigators all fell through. It was pretty crazy. This transfer is not quite over, but I don't think that it would be good to send a package. I don't know what will happen at the end of this transfer. One of us will probably be transferred and I don't really know who will leave since we both came at the same time. We'll have to see. Today is hard for me to concentrate, so I won't make this email too long. I hope everyone had a great week. If anyone should feel the desire to write me, it will probably be best to send it the mission home instead. If anyone sent me a letter while I was in Ingolstadt, I found out that apparently the mail man was confused and had been putting quite a few letters to missionaries in the box below the one for the Elders and since no one has a key to that box and no one lives there, we will never get them. Sad huh? Oh well. Well, have a nice week and remember to help the missionaries at home. Tchüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Life in the Bad Sack....

Received August 6, 2012 Bad Säckingen should be pronounced Bahd Say(eh)kingen. I suppose you can say whatever you want, but if you don't want a German to laugh at you, you should say it that way. My mother's last email requested a little bit of information about what we do in Bad Säckingen. Well, let's begin: In the Deep South of Germany lies the little Black Forest town of Bad Säckingen. There is a small-ish branch of the Church there with about 60 members and they rent a floor of a building above a bank in the city center. They come from many places on both sides of the Rhein (which forms the border between Switzerland and Germany) and their towns have such interesting names as Steinen, Göhrwil (said Ger veel), and Waldshut (said Vahlds hoot). We spend a lot of time going door to door. It isn't my favorite proselyting activity, but sometimes you just need to do it. The people speak various different dialects which include but are not limited to Badisch, Schwäbisch, Allemanisch (Swiss German), and Ausländerisch (not a real language, but it includes all the non-German people that live there:Italians, Poles, Slovakians, Russians, Turks, etc.). I don't really have a lot more time but stay tuned and I will give you more next week. Have a nice week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Are you Catholic? No. Protestant? No. So,...Catholic?

Received July 30, 2012 We met a lady yesterday that really seemed to be out of it. Admittedly, she is 96, but she really didn't seem to understand what we were trying to tell her. She was totally fine with everything that we told her, but she just didn't seem to be thinking very straight. We invited her to church anyway, so we'll see if she comes. This week we went to Zürich for a training meeting with all the missionaries in Switzerland. It was interesting to see a lot of missionaries that I haven't seen in a long time because they went to the Black Hole of Schwyz. There was a lot to talk about and one of the really interesting parts was a role play where we had about 5 minutes to practice what we would do to introduce the church to someone. We role played with the two of the Sisters. One of them is a new missionary who is from Hungary. She and her companion are really great together and the testimony of the Sister from Hungary was great because she is a convert herself and knows what it's like to hear about the church for the first time. It helped us when we switched and taught them. Another little note about Switzerland, it is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY expensive. I had to buy tickets for me and three other Elders to ride the tram and it cost me all of my Harry Potter-esque Francs. It was pretty much the craziest thing ever. I also paid 2 CHF (francs) for one scoop of ice cream! I mean really! Insanity! I don't have a ton to talk about this week. This coming week should be way better because we won't be running around all over the place like we have been. I hope that everyone has a great week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hitch hikers!, Pick them up!.....

Received July 23, 2012 Ok, maybe not in America. However, you never know who might have potential to accept the word of God. This week Jasmin Strigl was baptized in Bergsee in Bad Säckingen. Only a couple of months ago she was a hitch hiker on the side of the road and the mighty Bru. Titz picked her up. He told her that he had just gotten done with his church duties and asked her what she believed. That led to her accepting the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and to meet with the missionaries. Since that time she has read 25 pages each day in the Old and New Testaments and the Book of Mormon. It didn't take too long to finish the Book of Mormon, so she continued in Doctrine and Covenants and eventually in the Pearl of Great Price. She was really ready to be baptized, but she had one problem left: smoking. The week before the baptism we had a lesson with her and the Branch President. He promised her that if she had the will to stop smoking that the Lord would help her to quit. We gave her a blessing at the end of the lesson that she would be able to overcome her addiction and the promise has held. She gave up smoking and on Saturday she was baptized. Elder Chapman came back from Ellwangen to baptize her and Bru. Titz confirmed her a member of the Church on Sunday. Are there people to find and baptize in Germany? Yes! It has been wonderful teaching Jasmin and we are all so happy that she made the decision to be baptized. (John: don't you dare touch those plaques in the church) I hope that everyone has a great week. We're going to have a good one too. I'm no longer District Leader, so that means that I don't have to go on as many exchanges anymore. My MTC companion came to Schwenningen this week, so all the people from my MTC District are in this district. Sis. Nelson went home on Thursday, so that officially means that we are "old" missionaries. That doesn't matter though, we will still do good work. We won't be getting a license here since Elder Thompson has been here in Germany too long to transfer his Canadian one, therefore we will be doing a lot of walking and bus riding. Well, that's all for this week. More next week! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Received July 16, 2012 When I went on my mission, I definitely never thought that I would ever do anything like I did this week. Our branch had a service project on Saturday. We worked with a lady to pick weeds in the forest....yeah, weeding the forest. It really is an issue, because there is this plant called Indische Springkraut which is obviously not native to Germany and therefore needs to go before it takes over the whole forest. This plant is especially difficult to completely get rid of because the seeds from the flowers can "spring" up to 7 meters from the mother plant. We went deep into the forest to find their hiding places in really wet parts of the forest floor. At first we weren't finding too many, but then Elder Chapman called us over to see where he was working. He had found a place where they were so numerous that you could barely move two inches without finding 10 more to pull out (keep in mind that some of these can grow to be nearly 6 ft tall). While we were picking the weeds a little bit of weather started to come our way and the wind was knocking the little pine cones off the trees and hitting us and some rain was even coming down. Right then in the middle of it all, with a huge pile of weeds under my arm, the phone started ringing. I picked it up and it was President Miles. He just wanted to thank me for serving as district leader. I told him that we were in the forest and that there was bad reception, but I don't think he quite understood.....anyway, we had a great time working with the ward at the service project and we left a really good impression on the lady that was our guide who was not a member. Just in case anyone was wondering, I do not travel alone all that often. President Miles decided that it was ok for certain people to go alone on trips so that we could save some money on travel expenses. This was an action packed transfer though, I must admit. We got transfer calls on Thursday and we found out that Elder Chapman is leaving to go to Ellwangen and Elder Thompson and I will be staying together. That means however, that we will not be driving anymore for this next transfer unless the office tells Elder Thompson to get a license. That will be fun. On a side note, we went to a place called Zell im Wiesental yesterday, which is where Constanze Mozart (Mozart's wife) was born. I took a picture of the sign, like a good music nerd. Jasmin Strigl should be getting baptized on Saturday. She needs to give up smoking, but she's doing really well. It will be in a lake up north of Bad Säckingen. We're so excited. Also, our Nigerian investigator Tina came to church this week. Altogether we had 5 people in church this week. It was crazy! I'm looking forward to this week and I hope everyone has a great week and that all is well. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Traveling to Munich has never been so fun....

Received July 9, 2012 Or not! You might want to sit down. So on Wednesday we went to the train station in Bad Säckingen to catch my train. I left at 9 am. I took the IRE (somewhat fast train) to Schaffhausen and then switched to an SBB (Schweizer Bundes Bahn) IC (somewhat faster train) and rode to Stuttgart. I was alone in the train the whole 3 hours that I travelled. In Stuttgart I met up with Elders from the Stuttgart Zone and we all got in a DB (Deutsche Bahn) IC in the direction of Munich. At Göppingen the train stopped and the man on the loud speaker said that the train was not going any further because of a signal failure. Just then an ÖBB (Österreichische Bundes Bahn) IC pulled up and we got in that. It was on it's way to Lindau which was no help for us, so we had to get off again in Ulm. We then got on a DB IC that went to Munich. We arrived in Munich almost an hour later than we were supposed to and one of our beloved mission secretaries Elder Buntain (a Brit) was waiting there with the 8 passenger Opel van (the Beast) and we "For the Queen"-ed it out of there through the packed streets of Munich all the way to the Stake Center where we got to the meeting about a half hour late. We then had a few hours of instruction and discussion about the mission work and how we will reach our goal of 300+ baptisms this year. That night the majority of us slept in the Mission Office with about 15 or 20 of us all sleeping on the floor or on cushions or (in the case of Elder von Niederhäusern) on the stone table. It was great in the morning when we all had about 2 minutes in the shower. On Friday we were there for another several hours in the meeting. At the close of the meeting we booked it out of there and we caught the next S-bahn back to the Munich Main Station. I then travelled with all the other Stuttgart Elders back to Stuttgart (for some reason) and then went off with the Stuttgart International Elders to spend the night with them. In the morning we needed to catch my train at 9:56 and we left the apartment at about 9:40. We then proceeded to run about a quarter mile downhill to the bus stop. We got to Stuttgart Main Station just in time to run in and not see my train anywhere. I should have taken a SBB IC, but instead I had to take a DB RE (relatively slow train that stops at every station). It ended up taking about twice as long and nobody sat next to me for about 3 hours. I had to wait for an hour in Singen for my next train so I arranged for the Singen Elders (they're from my District) to come and wait with me. I then got back on a DB IRE and rode back to Bad Säckingen alone. Talk about a whirlwind trip! This week we recommitted Jasmin Strigl to be baptized on July 21st. She is soooooo excited and is now finished with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and is reading in the Pearl of Great Price. She is really amazing. Just a couple months ago she was just some hitch hiker waiting on the side of the road until Bru. Titz came and picked her up and had the courage to tell her about the Book of Mormon. That just shows that people are everywhere and they are ready for the gospel. The Lord has blessed this land with at least 300 people that will accept the gospel this year and we are finding them and teaching them. I hope that everyone has a great day/week and that opportunities to share the gospel present themselves. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fighting the Punks and Learning From the Best

Received July 2, 2012 This week was pretty cool. We had the really cool opportunity to go to Schwenningen for Interviews with the President. After Interviews were over we went out to the city center and contacted, all 9 missionaries and the President. I was President Miles' companion for the time and he and I were talking to an old woman on a bench when some young kids came up and asked what we were doing. I turned around and addressed them as President stayed and talked to the lady. The kids started becoming a problem when they started trying to bash me with Islamic theology. They picked the wrong person to bash with. Comment after comment they tried to convince me that they knew more about God than I do and that all I was doing was being a Jehovahs Witness. I simply stood up for what I believe and told them straight to their faces what I know. One kid who was especially in my face said that I need to read the Quran. He didn't know that I have read a good amount and he was standing there asking me what it says about Christ in the Quran. After thoroughly debunking all of his claims of me not knowing anything he decided to go off to the other missionaries and start harrassing them. The others spent nowhere near as much time talking to him and just ignored him as he went around. As they were leaving they tried saying some more not so friendly things and I told them straight up that they needed to leave or we would call the police. They left but they didn't hurt our efforts. In that couple of hours we made out a few appointments, got some telephone numbers from people and gave out at least 10 copies of the Book of Mormon. It was really a successful day. One of the best parts was working with the President. He is really natural when he speaks to people on the street because he really just wants to find people that are interested in the gospel because it means so much to him. I want to try to incorporate some of what he does in my personal contacting. At the end of the day we got to enjoy a concert in Schwenningen where Sis. Miles and some performers from the Orchestra at Temple Square performed flute and harp music. It was great and I even got a CD, despite the fact that I told myself that I wouldn't buy more music. Life on a mission is great. It's also great to get packages. The package did get to me on Thursday or Friday probably, but I don't really know because we were in Schwenningen. The cookies were great and everything was still there, most importantly the glasses. Thank you for sending it. I even shared with my companions and they were happy too. Next week I get to go to Munich for a couple days to have some district leader training. It's going to be fun. I hope everyone has a great week and that it's not too hot where ever you are. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Friday, June 29, 2012

What are you saying ?!?!?!?!?!?!

Received June 25, 2012 The subject line very precisely defines the feelings that I had this week when I was in Zürich on exchange with the Zone Leaders. I had a lot of moments where I really was wondering what in the world the people were saying. We even went to a member family and they didn't even spare us that much. I now admit, the Swiss dialect is the most crazy thing ever. The only issue I had with the exchange was that I had to spend about 50 Franc to get all the tickets I needed for the two day exchange. It's a good thing that we sent in the tickets for reimbursements as soon as possible. It was nice to meet some of the awesome people that the Schwammendigen (Zürich) Elders are teaching. Here in Bad Säckingen we have been doing a lot of dooring. We went to one street where we had two successive conversations at the door that lasted about 20 minutes each. One was a really cool guy from Iraq who is Aramaic and was willing to read the Book of Mormon. He asked right at the beginning if we were Jehovahs Witnesses. We said no and he said "Are you sure? Because if you are, so help me..." He was really funny and spoke really good English since he actually lived for a while in California. He was really open to what we had to offer and he even said that next time we meet we should bring a bunch of Books of Mormon for his friends. Today we are going to Schaffhausen to check out Rhein Falls. They are the biggest in Europe I think. It will be really cool. I don't have a lot of time left to write so I will tell you all more next week. Have a nice week and don't do anything that I wouldn't do. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Gruezi Wohl!!!

Received June 18, 2012 Servus! Gruezi mitenand! Gruß Gott! There are more greetings, but I can't list them all. This week has not been bad. We spent a lot of time traveling this week. On Tuesday I got to go to Schaffhausen to have a meeting with the other District Leaders and the Zone Leaders. Elder Daybell is the DL in Freiburg and so I got to see him there too. We even rode the last 30 minutes of the train ride together. In Schaffhausen the church is in a little house on the hill above the train station. It was funny walking into the quaint little Swiss house and thinking that the members meet there every week for church. We also travel to Singen every week for District Meeting and so do the Elders in Schwenningen. I will also be having another meeting in Schaffhausen this week and we will be having Interviews with the mission president in Schwenningen later this month. Above all though, I will be going to Munich next month for the Great District Leader Counsel. In short, I will be traveling a lot this transfer. This week we met with one of our investigators Manuel (who is a horse whisperer) and he is really cool. He seems to already understand a lot of what we are telling him. I think he will be baptized, if not now at some point in the future. We also had an interesting day yesterday. A very large section of the main road that we travel every day along the Rhein in the city of Laufenburg was closed for an event. We needed to find a way to get to someone that was on that road, so we took a back road and hoped that we would get there. We parked the car and then started off on foot to reach the place and decided to knock on a few doors. In only about 20 minutes we found 3 potential investigators, which is not very common here. We never would have been in that area had we not been forced by the road closure to find a different way. I guess we just get led to the places where people are who are ready to hear the gospel. For mother's sake, yes we have had a couple of eating appointments already and it has been really good to get to know these people. We went on a hike this week with the Elders Quorum. At the top of the hill there was a bench and Bruder Titz sat down next to some people and started playing with their dog. He just started talking to them really casually and got into a conversation about us missionaries and what we were doing here in Switzerland. In the end he actually got their information and is going to send them a Book of Mormon. It was really cool. I didn't understand too much of what he said because a lot was in dialect, but it was cool to see him at work. He is a really good member missionary. Well, I hope that everyone has a great week. I know we will. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Schwarzwald !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Received June 11, 2012 As the subject line indicates, I am coming to you from the Black Forest. This is one of the craziest landscapes I've had so far. There are a lot of trees here in my new area and it is way cool to be in a car (in some ways). I am right on the border of Switzerland and our city sits on the Rhein river. I have now been in an area that touches every large river in the mission, namely the Rhein, the Donau, and the Neckar. There's also the Inn, but it's not quite as cool. We work in both Germany and Switzerland and it's always a joy to go through the border and get stopped by the police. They're harmless though. The dialect is not too crazy, because it's not really all that different, but once you get to real Swiss people, you can forget about it. We met the Stake President on Sunday and he was really really Swiss and when he was talking to the members, it was ridiculous. This week we got a couple new investigators and they are pretty cool too. We are able to cover a lot of area with a car, but we can only drive 2000 kilometers a month. I fear that I will gain weight here, but I hope not. It seems that the members don't invite us over to eat too much here, so we'll have to change that. It's hard to get a really good relationship with the members when we never get into their homes. We want to inspire them to share the gospel with their friends and that's why we really come over. For those who need to know/haven't written me in a while, my new address is: Elder Andrew Neumayer Kirche Jesu Christi Uhlandstr. 24 79713 Bad Säckingen Germany My new companions are way cool. One is a Canadian from Medicine Hat. The other is from Orem. We get along pretty well already and we drive around listening to classical music in the car. It's awesome!!! I'm oldest in the companionship, but I think that we all rely pretty well on each other to do our work. I'm excited for this transfer. This week I read in the Book of Mormon about when Jesus comes to the Americas. It's an awesome story. I realized this time reading that it must have been a such an amazing moment to see Christ coming out of heaven and then to suddenly realize that everything that they had ever heard from the prophets and from their parents was really true. I could almost feel as if I was standing there with them. It is hard to really imagine what it was like, but it will be just as special when He comes again. I hope when that day comes that we will all be able to come and meet Him as he shows Himself to the whole world. Just something to think about. I hope everyone has a great week, I will. Tschüüüüüüüüüüß!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Stats

Received June 4, 2012 12th Transfer 8th & 9th Companions: Elders Chapman and Thompson 6th Area: Bad Säckingen 5th Zone: Zürich 5th & 6th Dialect: Badisch / Allemanisch 1 Very Confused Missionary That's right folks, I'm going to be transferred to Bad Säckingen which is on the German border of Switzerland. It's on the South end of the Schwarzwald and from what I hear it's very green. I will be working there in a trio for the second time on my mission. We will have a car, but I won't be driving. I will also be serving as District Leader for the first time on my mission and I will also be Senior Companion for the first time. Lots of new stuff for this transfer. Unfortunately, that means that I have to leave Waiblingen and any packages (mom) will have to wait until I know my new address. To Darrell Babidge: Yes I got the email about DFD and was thankful for the little article. There is going to be a letter coming your way soon. To Emily Bateman and Carli Downs: Toi Toi in the Mikado. I don't really have a lot to report about this week. We had some good lessons with Anna Savi and also with Heinz Naumann. I think Anna is really beginning to make progress because she's starting to see the advantage of having the church in her life. She is always very happy when she leaves church and I think that she sees the joy that it has brought to her life. With Heinz I tried to explain in as precise a way as possible where the Bible comes from and who wrote it (he has questions and we answer them). We also got a last little meeting with Frau Lang in even though her son was there from New York and she didn't have too much time. She finally gave us her phone number and now we will be able to contact her for real and not have to just go by randomly. I will miss Waiblingen, but I am also way excited for Bad Säckingen. I will be sending a package as soon as possible home to you. There may not be much of anything cool in there, just stuff that I can't carry around anymore. Have a great week and be good examples to all. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßle!!!!!!

You Report to the Zone Leaders

Received May 28, 2012 I think this might be the only week on my mission where all we had was 1 lesson. That's kinda embarrassing to report to the Zone Leaders, but you have to report. That's not good at all, but we know why it went so badly. It can be summarized in one word: Planning. You really do have to work everything out way beforehand if it is in your power to do so. Otherwise, things like this happen. I really don't know what will be happening next transfer. We get phone calls on Friday to find out what is going on. That means that I will know by next week what is going on in the next transfer. I'll tell you about this week though. We had a Zone Game Day on P-Day where we played board and card games together. After 6pm Elder Lentföhr and I went on an exchange and I went to Tübingen where we pretty much only had time to go back and teach their American investigator Sarah. She is way cool and has read a lot of the Book of Mormon already and is even working on getting baptized. The next day was Zone Conference and we went back to Stuttgart in the morning. The conference was great and we all had a great time learning from the President and his Assistants. The next day we went to Helmrich's house for lunch. Their son was visiting from Wien and he is the Bishop in the Vienna 2nd Ward. He said that Dr. Vincent will actually be coming to visit soon and I told him to say hello for me. A couple of days later we had our second great finding day. It was a little bit of a disappointment since this time we only found 1 potential investigator. If anyone has any ideas on how to get the people to actually meet with us, I'm open for ideas. We have some really good talks with them but no one wants to give us their information. On Sunday we had our 1 lesson with Frau Lang of Backnang. It was really great and she once again admitted that we are right and that what she reads in the Book of Mormon is true, now she just needs to get to church. On the way back we met an American man in the train who's name is Greg L. May. He is a singer and way cool. I'm not sure if he's famous or not, but he is meeting with the International Ward Elders and he knows that the church is true, he just doesn't realize it yet. Well, I have to go now and write President. I hope that everyone has a great day/week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Requiem Aeternam

Received May 21, 2012 Thank you for your condolences at the passing away of a very important person in my life, namely the Great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. I will be honoring his memory this week in whatever way I can without annoying my companion to much (secret is, he actually likes DFD). Let us all honor him by looking up something that he sang on Youtube. My suggestions would be Es blinkt der Tau or (my personal favorite) the recording of him singing Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen with Karl Böhm at the baton. Two truly fantastic recordings of the master. Now he's singing on the other side with Schubert and Brahms at the piano, lovely! Well this week was great here in Waiblingen. We have been getting the area going a little bit because the people have been showing up again. We got to give a church tour to Frau Lang who loved it and was really interested. She said that she will really have to come to church so she can see how it is on Sunday. We got to have a lesson with Heinz with a joint teach. Bru. Kiefer came with us and Heinz really made a lot of progress because he is starting to understand a lot better (thanks to Bru. Kiefer and his German). We also got Anna Savi to finally come to church again and she is already good friends with Schws. Müller and Arning. We also had a Ward Picnic where she was able to interact with the Ward. It was awesome! This week we have Zone Conference and another finding day. It will be a great week. I hope that everyone has a great week. Tschüüüüüüüüüß!

The Great Day of Finding und Muzzas Day

Received May 14, 2012 So the finding day was on Thursday and it was one of the hottest days of the year so far. It was about 30° Cel and I had forgotten how hot that is in a white shirt. After almost 9 hours of talking to everybody in Bad Cannstatt, Waiblingen, and Winnenden we got 3 people. However, 4 other people took Books of Mormon. We really did try hard. I think this finding day was really meant to show us what we could do better. The mission got 533 potential investigators. Stuttgart Zone actually led the way with over 100. On Sunday I got to call and it was great to hear everyone actually speaking. We called from Fichtenberg which is the furthest city in our area and takes an hour by train to reach. Schw. Schuller had pity on us because no one invited us for lunch after church and so we went out there "on the fly". We had a great time with them and even played some games. This morning we left the apartment at 9 to go to the elderly Schw. Geyer who played piano as I sang along. This time we sang through a book of bass songs and arias and a bunch of songs from musicals (My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, West Side Story, Oklahoma). It was great to sing with her and it always makes her so happy to have someone to make music with. She reminds me a lot of Barbara at BYU. I heard from Darrell today that the beloved BYU Opera Program will be once again renewing their title of the "BYU Mozart Troupe" as they will be performing Cosi this year for the fall opera. I must say.....I SAW THAT ONE COMING!!!!!!!! I already knew that they wanted to do that one. Why else would Dr. Vincent start talking about it in Opera Workshop if he didn't want to do it the next time he had a chance? One time when we had just finished Hoffmann in my first semester Dr. Vincent started talking about how much he loved the dialogue between Papageno and Tamino in the first act. Then what happened the next fall? When I sat in on OW the semester before I left he was talking about how much he loved the comedy in Cosi, but he had already decided to celebrate Menotti with one of his operas the next fall. Then what happened???? I rest my case. My Book of Mormon message of the week will be simply, if you have not read the article by Elder David A. Bednar in the last Ensign go read it. If you already have, go read it again. It was wonderfully written. That's all I have to say. Well, this will be a fun week I'm sure. I hope everyone has a great time with whatever they have to do this week. Have fun! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Reasons why I need to visit Stuttgart with my Step-Father

Received May 8, 2012 There is only one: The Mercedes-Benz Museum! Oh if only John were there. The reason for me not writing yesterday is namely that the museum is not open on Mondays and one of the ward members wanted to take us there. It was WAAAAAAAAAAAAY cool inside and I can't even describe how much information you could get there. We took four hours just kinda glancing at each thing and occasionally stopping to hear the audio tracks. John would have to be there pretty much from the opening to the closing. Maybe if we ever come back to Germany, we'll be able to go..... Ok. Now that we have that cleared up, here's a little info on what's really going on in the mission of Elder Neumayer. In case you missed it a while ago, the Saturday after I got transfered away from Linz was when Rene Strassmair got baptized. I wish that I could have been there, but that was just the way that it had to be. I was there from the very beginning and almost until he got baptized. He is now one of the best member missionaries in all of Austria from what I hear from those who are still there. Right now the whole mission (my area especially) needs more investigators deperately. So, we are having a whole day of nothing but contacting on Thursday and we will be trying to find at least 20 strong potential investigators. It will be an interesting experience and we expect to really improve the work through this day of finding. I must sadly report that at the moment only my family sends me mail. As Rückert once wrote, "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen." It is possible that I will get some mail when that got sent to the mission home during the past month when the Mission President comes on the 22nd, but I'll just let myself be surprised since I've kinda given up hope for mail. I know that no one is going to write. This happens to all missionaries. The Book of Mormon message of the week is pretty cool. I started reading the Book of Mormon again where I left off in the German. I stopped in Alma sometime at the beginning of the year so that I could read it in English. Where I stopped is actually a great part of the Book of Mormon where Alma and the sons of Mosiah come back together after a long time of preaching the gospel to the Lamanites. After having seen the fruits of their labors and having recorded what they were, Alma writes a little interjection of his own where he says that he wished that he were an angel and that he could preach the gospel to all people. He realizes however, that it is sinful to wish such a thing. He should be content with that which the Lord has given him. He realizes that he can receive just as much joy by just being a tool in the hands of the Lord to bring people to repentance and helping them to feel the love of God. That is really what it's all about, helping people realize that they can be happy through the Gospel. Well, I should go and write some other emails. Just be happy everybody. Have a great week. And to some, I'll hear you on Sunday. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What do we do now, President? Oh, just go talk to some people...

Received December 14, 2011 but for some reason got stuck in the "Draft" folder, sorry! Little exchanges like that are just lovely. So the story that goes along with this is thus: We went to Salzburg on Wednesday. We got up at the regular time 6:30 but had to be at the train station at 8 for a train to Salzburg. Elder Chandler and I got there and took the hour-ish ride to the great Salt Castle (Salzburg in English). When we arrived at the stake center we found out that only the District leaders were allowed to be in the meeting. Sooooo, that's when the conversation in the subject line occured. So Elder Moulton (Elder Bullock's companion) and I were sent out. All we had was our stuff and a bunch of unstamped pass along cards. We didn't even have a phone with us. It's just lovely to be dropped out in the middle of a city like Salzburg and to be told to just go find somebody. So we did. We talked to one kid sitting on a bench who may or may not have interest, but we gave him a card. We found another man though who seemed to be a lot more interested. We were over in the area of the Mozarteum (for all my music fans out there, holla) and we talked to this man. He had a lot of problems with the church being so changed from what existed in the original church and so we explained how the church was restored and he sounded very interested and agreed with what we were saying. We got his number and later gave it on to the Zone Leaders who work there in the city. After three hours of that we went back to join up with our companions. Elder Chandler was hungry so we went down to the big shopping street to go find something to eat. Along the way we passed Mozart's birth house. We finally decided upon good ole McDonalds. After leaving we were walking down the street toward the busses and randomly Elder Chandler stops and I see a man talking on a phone who I very quickly recognized as President Miles. I suddenly thought "Maybe we should be contacting..." But then I realized that this is President Miles. He quickly shook our hands and then finished his phone call. Not so interested in whether we were contacting or not, he wanted to know if this was our first time being on that street and seeing all the shops. Then Sis. Miles came out of one of the shops and jokingly said, "Oh are you guys shopping?" I love how awesome she is. It turns out that their daughter Rachel who is on a mission in Rome is having a birthday this week and they were shopping for her. I think that was so awesome. They were just happy to see us again and we hurried off to catch the bus back to the train station. It was just so awesome. They are a really great pair to have as our surrogate parents for the next little while. On Monday we went to Mauthausen which was a concentration/work camp. The sad thing is that it has a really wonderful view from the top of the hill on which it sits. The memory of what occured there still haunts the place to a certain extent. It wasn't as huge of a camp as say, Dachau or Auschwitz but it did serve a horrible purpose. It was an experience. We made our own little mark on the camp, so to speak. We went to the cremation ovens and people had placed lots of little trinkets, money, or cards in the front of the oven. We put the pass along card that talks about seeing our loved ones again right in the middle with the hope that someone will find the message and be moved to investigate this wonderful message. Today we will be going to IL TROVATORE!!!! I'm soooooooooooooooooo excited and I hope it's good. It sounds like it should be and looks really cool. I hope you have a great week and that everything is just hunky-dory. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Schwabs are not as bloodthirsty as the Lamanites...well, maybe...

Received April 30, 2012 That was a part of my talk on Sunday. If you can believe it. Bru. Burkhardt told me to give the main talk on Sunday and to do it on something from Preach My Gospel. I did it on the first chapter where it talks about our purpose as missionaries. I related it to the members of the Waiblingen Ward and a few people afterward actually did come up to me afterward and said, "You really do understand the Schwäbisch people." It was a fun talk to give, even if I did have to make it last for half an hour. After the second to last speaker finished I looked at the clock and saw that it was 11:25. I then looked at the intermediate hymn and saw that "We are all enlisted" only has two verses. I realized then that my talk was going to have to be longer than normal. It all worked out though. I love how sometimes we just happen to be in the right place at the right time. We were in a bus this week and just talking to each other and a man asked us who we are and he said that he loves Jesus. Naturally, we do too. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and he gave us his telephone number. The next day we were in Bad Cannstatt and decided to just go by to see Schw. Töpfer. We talked to her for a few minutes and then were going down the stairs to leave. Suddenly a man opened his door and asked us if we were Jehovahs Witnesses. We said no and and explained who we were. He thought that it was cool and he took a card and said he might come to church. To avoid spending too much time on this email, for my Book of Mormon message this week I will just give a reading suggestion. That is the 10th chapter of Moroni. We finished the Book of Mormon this week as a mission and like many of my missionary colleagues, I tried out Moroni's promise that the Holy Ghost will reveal to all that ask that the Book of Mormon is true. It's still true in case anyone was wondering. Well, there's not too much else to say. I hope that everyone has a great week and that we all have the opportunity to do some missionary work. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßle!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Area Known as Waiblingen...

Received April 23, 2012

So this week, I have decided to devote a lot of my email to the lovely area known as Waiblingen. This is my fifth area on my mission and last week we received a "non-transfer" call to inform us that we are both staying in Waiblingen. It is not too common that one stays with the same companion for three transfers in a row, but it's happened to me twice now. That's kinda strange but whatever. Both Elder Smith and I, admittedly, find it a little difficult to work in Waiblingen and I, without complaining, will try to explain why. Case 1: This is Schwaben. They got their name from a Hebrew word that indicates that they ignored the command to return to Israel after leaving captivity. So yes they are actually from the "lost" tribes of Israel (see the works of Prof. Dr. Terry Blogett for further clarification). Not much has changed since they still are a little bit on the hard hearted side. Case 2: There are some slight problems in the ward which we can do nothing about and which have actually scared away quite a few investigators. Case 3: We don't really have anything to do by way of Area Book work since pretty much every referral and every former has been contacted.
Enough with the "woe is me" though. Reasons why Waiblingen is awesome:
We just started a "program" with the members that will hopefully get them to start thinking about giving the missionaries referrals. It works by letting them set the time limit and picking their own way of doing things. We are just trying to get them to want to do missionary work.
For John: Schorndorf (one of the bigger cities in the area) is the birthplace of Gottlieb Daimler. Yes, the Daimler of Daimler-Benz.
The Schwäbishe Wald is mostly in our area and has some lovely sights.
Schwäbish is a funny dialect of German.
The church is a 3 minute walk from our apartment.
Heinz Naumann is one of the nicest people I've taught.
There are many members who really love having the missionaries over to eat and will always take care of us.
So as you can see, there is a lot to say for Waiblingen. I am looking forward to staying and helping out this area. It really does just need a boost and we can help it get going. With the goal of 300+ baptisms this year in the mission, we need to do our part too. We will be working on finding the people that will hear and then getting them ready for baptism. That's what this work is all about.
On that note, I'd like to devote my Book of Mormon message today to the favorite chapter of my beloved sister. Namely, Ether 12. I think that our biggest problem nowadays is that nobody believes anything anymore. Well, Moroni has something to say about that. He wrote, "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Well, that's what everyone is having an issue with. They ask us questions like, "Where is God and why is he letting all these horrible things happen to people?" Are you looking for God? Have you tried to find Him? Have you exercised even a particle of faith enough to just get on your knees and ask Him? If so, your faith is weak. However, there is hope! Christ said, " And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." That's an awesome promise, gel'?
Well, the time has come. This week will be fun. Yes I did get my package, beloved mother of mine. We already made a package of red beans and rice. It turned out ok, but I know what went wrong and I will fix that next time. The funny thing was that the little Lindt chocolate carrot came from so far just to come back to Germany next door to it's mother country. Have a great week and have fun in everything you do. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!