Wednesday, October 31, 2012
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
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 mormon.org 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
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
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!