Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weak Sauce Transfers

Received March 26,2012

So we experienced transfers last week and I think it made for one of the longest weeks ever. In our District, Elder Heinrich left to go to Salzburg (lucky) and so Elder Stokes came to take his place. That wasn't anything too special because he pretty much just hopped over the border from Tübingen's area. In Tübingen Elder Lentföhr came to fill the spot. So in all three areas, only one new person came. Apparently a lot of changes have occured in the mission overall, so we'll see where everyone is when we get the newsletter.
This week, like I said was pretty dang slow because of the weird transfer (it's usually that way when you don't get transferred). We did find someone though that may become a new investigator. His name is Christian and he is in his twenties. He left his home near Nürnberg a few months ago so that he could start a new life. Right now he has no friends, but he accepted the invitation to come with us to church. It didn't work out this week because of a demonstration in the Stuttgart train station, which stopped pretty much all travel with the trains in our area and prevented him from getting there. We'll try again.
I realized that I never did talk about the train ride to Linz (thank you Mom), so I'll give you the run down: We got on a train at about 1 pm and that was fun. We got to ride an ICE which is the nicest train of the Deutsche Bahn (also the most expensive). We travelled to Munich in plenty of comfort, although the ride is some of the more boring scenery in the mission. Upon arriving in Munich we followed the instructions given to us by the office and got in a "lovely" Cityshuttle from the Österreichische Bundes Bahn (the cheapest train of the ÖBB fleet) and settled in for a fun little ride. Well, as it turns out, we should have technically gone the cool way through Salzburg to Linz, but ended up going the nasty way through Oberbayern. The train ride was REALLY long and boring and we couldn't really see anything because it was so dark. We arrived in Linz at about 9 pm and walked from the train station to the apartment. It was really weird being back there. Upon arriving we discovered that not only we were staying the night, but also the Elders from Haag am Hausruck. So all six of us slept there that night. In the morning we got up and got ready and went all the way up to Urfahr to the Neues Rathaus where the Fremdenrecht is and we picked up my Visa. It was nice to finally get it now that I don't work there anymore, but I put it right in my wallet and walked out. We went back to the train station and got on the train (this time the right one) and took a Railjet (the nicest of the ÖBB fleet) and rode in comfort to Munich. In Munich we switched over to (the wrong train again) and took an IC to Stuttgart. It was fine, but we could have taken an ICE, but we would have gotten back a little bit later. Stepping off the train in Stuttgart I realized that we had been gone traveling or sleeping for almost a solid 24 hours. That was a whirlwind experience. We have such a large area in our mission. Ask the Elders there how they would like to be transfered to Las Vegas or have an area the size of Orange County. That's my mission.
Well this week I would like to talk about prophets. We read this week in Helaman and it contains a story about when Nephi (son of Helaman, brother of Lehi) is up on his tower in his garden. All the people stop and are wondering what he's doing up there. Well, he's remorsing over the wickedness of his people. He starts talking to them and calling them out on their stupidity (hard heartedness) and talks to them about Jesus. He says that all of the prophets have spoken of Christ and that (back then) he would come to save the people from (not in) their sins. All these prophets were ordained of God to preach His word and help in the work of salvation among all people. In these days we know that Jesus Christ has come and that he will come again. But is our reliance on modern-day prophets done away with? No! That's the most exciting part about this coming weekend. GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! I'm so excited to hear from the prophet and the apostles. It will be great. If you can watch it, do it. If you're not a member and still reading my email, firstly thank you for reading my emails, and secondly go to your Mormon friend and watch it with them. If I'm your only Mormon friend, don't go to Germany, just watch it LIVE on www.lds.org. It's gonna be great!
Well everybody, have a great week and I write again next P-day! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßle!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Real?, how have I not known about this before?

Received March 19, 2012

So we went to a place called Real this morning to buy our food for the week. It is pretty much like a German version of Walmart. It was awesome. I also got a whole liter of Landliebe chocolate milk! It's awesome!
This week we had a competition in the Zone to see who could give out the most copies of the Book of Mormon in one week. We started out the week pretty well with 3 just on Monday night. One lady even said that we found her right at the perfect moment in her life and said that she would read the book and that we should come by the cafe where she works so we can talk about it. The rest of the week was a little slow. We gave two copies out to people that don't even live in our area. One lives in Tübingen which is not too far away, but the other one took the book with her back to Hamburg...not close. Anyway, we ended up giving out 7 copies this past week, but we will definitely continue giving them out as often as we can. By the way, the winner was the Ulm Sisters who gave out 13. We came in 3rd. It was a fun week.

This week in the Book of Mormon we have been reading the war chapters of Alma. These chapters are often known for being a little bit on the spiritually low side by way of content, but one can learn much from what is written there. In fact, today I read the letters between Moroni and Pahoran. Moroni wrote something that I thought was very interesting. He said, "Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you? Behold, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain." He, of course, is talking here about Pahoran not sending aid to both himself (Moroni) and Helaman, but I thought, ya know, it's kinda like watching the people that you have come to know in your life go down a wrong path and not saying anything to them; not helping them when they need your help, whether they know it or not. So my admonition to all this week is to look for a friend and help them out when they might need a little support against all the things that either Satan or just life throws at them. They will thank you.

Well, I'm looking forward to this week. I hope everyone has a great week and that there is plenty of sunshine to go around. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Received March 12, 2012

So this week was pretty cool since we were able to get a couple lessons with our investigator Heinz. He really likes our visits, but it just goes a little slowly for him. However, he had some questions about faith and how we can believe things. We knew that he is a gardener by profession and so we decided to share with him the analogy in Alma of planting a "seed" of faith. He understood the whole analogy and was even a little ahead of us on some parts because he knows exactly how seeds work. It was awesome to see how the Book of Mormon can work with some people.

I got my package this week and thank you for the CDs. The Savior of the World CD was the best. I've actually thought many times on my mission how much I wished that I had that music, and now I do. Thomas Hampson was a nice little addition too. We went to the zoo on Monday and it was awesome. It was still a little cold and gloomy, but the animals were out and about. There were even sea lions there, which is not a common feature in Germany.

This week in my reading of the Book of Mormon, I read the counsel that Alma gave to his sons. Most of his sons didn't need too much, Corianton sure did though. Luckily for us though, it is some of the most interesting reading in the book of Alma. What I want to focus on is actually the last verse. Alma says, "And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them." As a missionary this is especially important for me, but since every member is a missionary, it applies to us all. Right? So, what can we do? Well, he's not calling us to go out to the next street corner and soap box to each person going by. Although that would be pretty cool (old school like). No we don't need to do that to help our brothers and sisters come to a knowledge of the gospel, but what we can do is just show by our example that the gospel can be the best thing in our lives. We want that great Plan of Mercy to have claim on our friends and neighbors, but if we are "secret mormons", then nothing is going to happen. I have faith that you are all great examples and I hope that you will continue to do so.

This week we will be having a training with the mission president and I'm looking forward to that. I hope that everyone has a great week and that it's nice and sunny in California/ wherever you are. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßle!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Linz, here I come...for a day...

Received March 5, 2012

I can't say that I'm looking forward too much to the train ride to Linz (Linz yes, train ride no), but I'll be doing it tomorrow. I'll be coming back on Wednesday, so it will take a lot of time. I'll just be happy to be done with this whole visa mess.
Things are looking up now weather-wise. It was actually 16° Cel the other day and the buds are definitely coming out. It will be nice to see the world green again in the way that I know Germany can be. The sun is shining a lot more now and it's actually getting kinda warm.That means that more people should actually stop and talk to us on the street, even if it is only little old ladies. I schwätz a bissle mehr Schwäbisch jetzt. Jetzle! Kamma was tun, weisch?!
Last week had a lot of fallen out appointments, but we still had an ok week because we finally came in contact with one of the old investigators and started meeting with her. Bru. Metzner offered to pick her up every Sunday now, so we will be working with her a lot. She is a very loving lady named Anna and she would have been baptized if some other things hadn't happened. Good thing though, because she has no real testimony of the church. She just said yes because she really liked the missionaries.
We're reading the Book of Mormon right now as a mission and I feel like it would be a good idea each week to share something that I learned in the past week, so I will add that on to each email. This week I read about all of the amazing missionary stories from the lives of Alma and the sons of Mosiah. I think often how it would be if we here in Germany could help the people to convert like they did among the Lamanites. It was simple in theory, but it had to take faith. It took member missionaries (Amulek) to accomplish some of the work. I hope all the members of the church that read my emails do something to help the missionaries, every week. It could just be inviting them to dinner, but it's even better when you just go up to those new members or (more importantly) the investigators and just say hello. I know how it is in American wards, those who are not part of the normal crowd get a little lost. As members of this church we have to responsibility to look around, even amidst all the hustle and bustle of getting things done for our callings in the church, and seeing who is new and could use a little help in being welcomed into the one true church. It's lovely to see people go over and talk to investigators. It makes them feel more loved and welcome. If you're not a member of the church, I invite you to attend a meeting and see what kind of things we do. I love the church. It's especially important right now in this "Mormon Moment" that we go about showing the people of the world what we're all about. And if people come to the knowledge of the gospel because of it, we can say like Ammon, "I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for He has all power, all wisdom , and all understanding; He comprehendeth all things, and He is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on His name." (Alma 26:35) Isn't this work great?

Way to go Austrian government...

Received February 27, 2012

Now for that 5 hour train ride. That's right folks, I have a nice long train ride ahead of me. Why? Because the Austrian government won't allow someone to pick up a visa with power of attorney. Soooooo, it has to be my bright and shiny face that goes down there and picks it up. Yep, so sometime in the future I will be going back to Linz for a day to pick up my little card. Then I can be legal in Germany and not just a "visitor".
This week has finally been warming up a little bit. We've actually got some buds on the trees, something for which Elder Smith is very glad (I don't know what he's complaining about, being the one from Idaho). It's nice because it means that missionary work doesn't come to a screeching halt after the sun goes down.
Zum Beispiel: The other day Elder von Niederhäusern (an American) and I went on an exchange. We stayed here in Waiblingen and had a whole day open with no lessons planned, something which has been all too common on my mission. That didn't stop us from having a nice full day of work. I planned to simply go by on every "current" (former) investigator with whom we still have had no contact. After finding a lot of doors and no investigators, we finally went off to Stetten to find Tobias. We actually got off a few stops too early since I had no idea where I was going. That ended up being good, since we found a man who took a book of Mormom. About 3 minutes later we came across a guy who was pulling a little cart. Upon greeting him he said, "I'm from England." What joy filled our souls as we said, "Oh good, we're Americans" We asked him about some of his beliefs and he honestly has some questions about who God is. We invited him to meet with us and he said that since he just lost his job, he has plenty of time to meet. We will be going to him this week on Thursday. He's really nice though and I hope that he decides to listen to what we have to say, since we do know the truth about God as our Heavenly Father. Tobias wasn't even there, but I have a feeling that he wasn't the real reason why I scheduled the day to go by on him at that specific time. The day didn't even stop there. After getting back to the train station I had the feeling that we should go back to Grunbach (a not so close city) where had been earlier that day so that we could try Heinz Naumann again. This time he was there and he actually had time to meet and invited us right in. It was great.
On Saturday we went to the first session of Stake Conference. I got to sing in the choir and it was fun to do so. I saw plenty of members from Heilbronn and it was great to see them again. The meeting itself was actually not all that great at times since it was super hot (there's no air conditioning) but the talks were good. We also have a very international stake. The opening prayer was in Spanish and one of the talks was in English. It was cool to see how diverse the stake is.
Sunday was the general session of conference and we had a satellite transmission from Salt Lake City where Elder Nelson (the father of our mission president's wife) and President Eyring talked to the whole German speaking world. They spoke a lot of raising your children to learn to love the church and it's teachings and not getting too down on yourself because you can't do everything. Our investigator Annette came too and she had a good time.
This was a cool week. I hope that everyone has a great week. Keep doin' what you're doin', unless it's something bad, in which case, stop doin' what you're doin'. Bis zum nächte mol. Gel? Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßle!

So you're prophets, ummm, no, but we do have a Prophet these days named Thomas S. Monson...

Received February 20, 2012

Yeah so this week was pretty good. I have been doing well with adapting back to German life and dialect. There is something to be said for mail coming on Saturday though, something that was missing in Austria. The members are wonderful and we seem to have about 4 eating appointments a week, which is wonderful and means that we don't have to spend too much money on food. I have a feeling that I may actually be able to save money in this area. It's always a little disappointing when your investigators drop you because they no longer want to learn more. Even worse however, is when they see you at a parade (with their girlfriend) and say, "Yeah, it's just a little too stressful with meeting once a week so this next week is going to be the last time." when you know full good and well that it was really the words of his girlfriend who thinks that you are coming between them, when in reality what you can give them will actually help them beyond this life. Eternity is a lot more than 45 minutes a week. Someday he will come to the realization that we were right and that he shouldn't have let what he thought was good and correct get pushed out of his life by his girlfriend.
Everything else is going pretty well. We found a lady yesterday who has had a Book of Mormon for a really long time, but has never read anything in it. As we shared some things out of the Book of Mormon with her, she kept saying, "Wow, I should really read this." I'm sitting there thinking, "OF COURSE YOU SHOULD!" She has actually come to Waiblingen quite a few times and has tried to go to the church, but (like all LDS churches) there is never anybody there. She told us that she would come in two weeks to check it out. I know that I've said it a lot, but I really do believe that she will actually come. I guess we'll see, but it is always a wonderful surprise to see someone actually come to church for the first time after overcoming that barrier to just take the first step and check it out. Most people have no idea that we welcome visitors to our services.
This week and part of last week constitute the German celebration of Fasnet (Fasching or Carneval). It's pretty crazy and I got some cool pictures of people in costumes at the parade. Friday was the beginning of the Narrentage (think Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame Feast of Fools) and it was pretty crazy.
Anyway, I should be getting to emailing the President. I hope everyone has a great week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!