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!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sometimes I have no idea..

Received April 16, 2012

I'm running out of clever titles to give to my emails. There's not a ton to say about this week. We have had a lot of good experiences with our new "You are important" program with the members. Every time we introduce a new family to it, we hear them start talking about all the people that they should have been working with this whole time. Our basic message is that they just need to commit themselves to doing something in a specific time period and then actually do it. The members talk to us about their friends and we give them the tools that they require to give that invitation to just come to church. After all, that's what we want to see, is people coming to church and seeing what it's like.
This week I got a letter from Bishop Hunter. I will be writing back soon. I will say this, but don't take my word for it: I think I will be staying in Waiblingen for next transfer. I would just wait for my word though. We get transfer calls on Friday. I'll know next week.

On Sunday a man came in the entrance of the church. One of the members alerted me quickly enough that I was able to come down and meet him. He said that because Mitt Romney is going to be running against Obama for President, the Mormons are going to be something that he should know about. He took a ton of literature from us and a card with our number on it. We'll see what happens, he seemed like a pretty cool guy.

I don't really know what to say about the reading this week in the Book of Mormon. All I can say is, learn from the example of the Nephites in the books of Fourth Nephi and Mormon. As I read these chapters I really did feel as Moroni did as he said "O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!"

Maybe next week will be a little more exciting. I hope that everyone has a nice sunny week, since it's not that way here. Think happy thoughts! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßle!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Der Post bringt keinen Brief für dich but there's plenty of food

Received April 9, 2012

That's a Schubert song. Sometimes I feel like the man in Winterreise. I hear the beautiful sound of the motor on the mailman's bike and I think, "Today's the day!" Then I find out that all that came is some free newspaper that everyone gets. I'm convinced there's a conspiracy against the missionaries.....I'll find out one of these days.
The "highlight" of this week was a wonderful little adventure that I will call "Zur Dritt unter den alten Frauen". That's right, a whole day of nothing but old ladies. Thursday Elder Smith, being the district leader, had to go all the way to Munich with every district and zone leader in the whole mission for a lovely two day conference. That left me, curiously, with two Elders who are both in their second transfer. One comes from Stuttgart International and the other from Schwenningen. We all went back to Waiblingen and then began our journey. We first visited the top floor apartment of the over 80 years old Schw. Geyer in Bad Cannstatt. There we chatted a little bit andd then got to the real reason for coming: singing. We practiced the song that I sang on Sunday first and then just had some fun with the other music that she had. She loved the fact that I knew some of the old German folk songs like Aennchen von Tharau and Es waren zwei Königskinder. We also sang some Schubert. Ahhhhhh Schubert. It brought warmth to my heart. We then ran off to Schw. Arning who is also well over 80 and lives in a senior living home. She fed us two cakes, first a little round strawberry cake and then a huge cheese cake. The other Elders wimped out after two pieces of the first and one of the second. I ate three of the first and two (or three I can't remember) of the second. We talked about her missionary efforts with the other old ladies in building. She's an awesome member missionary. We left just in time to run for the bus and actually got to the next appointment 5 minutes early with Schw. Töpfer again in Bad Cannstatt. We just read the Book of Mormon with her and her daughter Anna who wants to go on a mission. We ate again there. After that we went to Schw. Libera in Korb. She was really excited that we came since missionaries don't come very often. She gave us some little snacks and Easter eggs. She has also been doing some awesome missionary work. We didn't even want to eat any food when we got home at night. The next day we went to Fichtenberg to visit the Schullers who made the biggest maultaschen I've ever seen. I called them monster-taschen. We had a good time with them too and two of the most recently baptized members of the ward were there.
On Sunday sang Ave verum corpus by Mozart in Sacrament meeting. It went well. I sang it with a german text and the people really liked it. It was well suited for Easter Sunday.
For my weekly Book of Mormon message, I just want to write something that Jesus said to the people of the New World as he taught them, "Behold, I am the law, and the light . Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life." Is there a more straight forward statement? Just look to Him and do the things that He has done and you can receive eternal life.
In response to your question mom, I'm not sure that all of the apostles ever really understood what was going to happen until after Jesus was resurrected. I know that specifically Peter, James, and John had a full knowledge of what should happen, but sometimes I think that they still didn't believe it. Thomas didn't believe until after he saw the reurrected Christ and all the other apostles took off after he died on the cross for one reason or another. I do know however, that they did understand after they saw and felt the ressurected Lord.
By way of the heidnische Hase, if he just so happened to send a few red beans and rice packets my way, that sure would be nice. I'd tell you to give him my forewarding address, but this is my last Easter on my mission.
Well, this email is already too long, so I hope everyone has an awesome week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß!

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Can't See Her but I Can Sure Hear Her!

Received April 2, 2012

Do I really know my sister's voice that well? Yes I do. As I sat there watching the conference I was astonished at how well I know the timbre of my sister's voice. I guess growing up with her and being at a good number of her lessons as her voice developed really helped in that regard. I did eventually see her though and it was cool. Now the siblings really have done almost everything that the other has done.

Well, General Conference was pretty awesome. I still haven't seen the last session since it begins at about 10 pm or so here and that's way past time to be home. We'll find a way of at least listening to it somehow. I got a lot out of conference, although not a ton for my investigators. It was more for me and after my mission. I did find a lot of things that apply right now though. It is often amazing how everyone can find something from a talk that was written for the whole church, which specifically applies to them. Just another example of how the Holy Spirit leads this Church.

Transfers were actually a couple of weeks ago. By the way, they changed the days of transfers to Thursday and yes that means that I now come home on Friday and not Thursday. But yeah, so there are a few weeks left in this transfer and we will see what happens next time.

Unfortunately, no one came to General Conference, so we'll see why this week when we meet with them. I do actually hear quite regularly from Heilbronn since we are in the same Zone now, but they don't really teach any of the investigators that I had anymore. They have all been dropped because they aren't really willing to make any changes at the moment.

This week in the Book of Mormon we read the beginning of 3 Nephi. It was always sad to see how the people in the course of only a few years could become so wicked. Suddenly though, Jesus Christ dies in Jerusalem. The people in America know that this has occurred because they had so many revelations regarding the signs of his death. After a few days of utter destruction and chaos, the mists of darkness clear away from the land and they hear the voice of their Lord, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name." This is such a wonderful confirmation from the Book of Mormon that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he really did rise from the dead. These people in the Americas could state as did Peter, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty." This is the message that I try to bring to the world and I know that it is true.

I hope that everyone has a great week and that everyone can find a way to employ something that they learned in General Conference. You know I will. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüß