Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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
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
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!
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!
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!