Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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!
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
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!