Monday, November 26, 2012

Es weihnachtet scho ond i han nonet was kriegt...

Received November 26, 2012 All around one can see the hints of the holiday of holidays. Lights are being strung in the trees, a 16 m tall Christmas tree was flown by helicopter into St. Gallen the other day, all the shops are advertising their Christmas season specials, the list goes on. No one in the world takes Christmas so seriously as does the German-speaking world. Let's not forget though what the whole season is about: Christ. We as a mission have decided to read the gospels by the end of the year and it is an excellent way of remembering what this season is all about. This week we began to organize the Christmas party in Ravensburg. It will be mostly Christmas themed stories interspersed among musical numbers. They're using me to the fullest before I go, that's for sure. The coolest part is that I will be singing a number of songs that are straight up GERMAN songs that we never hear in America. Sis. Trautmann has enough faith in me that I will learn them though. Last P-day we were in a train that took us to Friedrichshafen and what should have taken only about 20 minutes lasted almost 2 hours. About a mile outside of Meckenbeuren we stopped in the woods and the driver came on the intercom to say that we "ran over" a kid. Everyone was wondering if they heard that right and we weren't sure what was going on. We sat there as it got darker and as the police and fire department showed up. In the end we started back up and got to Friedrichshafen. We found out later that the kid had laid down in between the tracks and then ran away after the train was gone. They couldn't find him until way later that night. He apparently wasn't really hurt or at least not badly. That goes into the book of craziest experiences on a train in Germany. It's already pretty big for me. Maybe I should publish it.... We had another finding day blitz in Ravensburg and we found a lady from Kenya who is married to a German. She and her husband sounded pretty interested in the Book of Mormon when we brought it to them on Sunday. We couldn't make out another appointment, but we expect to be hearing from them again. The Sampsons took us to dinner at McDonalds on Thanksgiving a little bit spontaneously and I got chicken nuggets (that's like turkey.....right.....?). As Elder Sampson always says, "It's not about the food, it's the association." I agree. This was a good week and it flew by like dust in the wind. It's hard to even remember sometimes what I did earlier that day. Aber, wir schreiten voran! Gel? Habt eine schöne Woche und haltet stets in Erinnerung einfach glücklich zu sein. Schaut mal was daraus wird. Bis zum nächsten mal, tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßßßßß!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lass mich in Ravensburg sterben...

Received November 19, 2012 This week was pretty crazy. We went all the way to St. Gallen to have a Zone Training meeting with the Zone Leaders. That was fun because we got to ride the ferry across Bodensee. It is a pretty long ride (40 minutes) and when we got to the other side you could tell that we were in Switzerland. Luckily we saw our friends the Kreuzlingen Elders there and we rode our train together to St. Gallen. One of the Elders who is German actually asked me where I come from when I was speaking German with them. He couldn't tell that I was an American because I don't speak with an American accent. It's important to note that I don't speak like a German and everyone can hear that, but I am proud of my accent-free German. Yes! The meeting was great but after it was over we got to all separate into companionships with other Elders and contact in St. Gallen. I was with Elder Nielsen of Denmark and we found a guy that took a Book of Mormon and gave us his information. It was a successful 50 minutes. Of course, the highlight of this week was our concert on Saturday. We needed to practice on Friday and everything went really well. We had to get the piano up on the stage in the chapel, but that wasn't too difficult with me and my Tongan companion. Pianos are never easy to move, but it made it up there. The actual concert on Saturday was really fun. There were 27 people there and 7 of them were non-members; you can't beat that kind of percentage. The best part was that the members instantly started talking to the guests before and after the concert. All the songs went pretty well and we all had a great time. The highlight of the concert was the "spirituals" section where everyone was moving along and having fun. It was awesome. The concert accomplished it's purpose and it brought people into the church and they had a good time too. I can't ask for more than that. I will be staying in Ravensburg until the bitter end (hence the subject line) and I'm excited to be here. We've even already been invited over to members for Christmas Eve. I love it here. Well, that's all for now folks. Habt eine gute Woche gel'! Bisch zum nächschte mol! Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßle!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Surprising?, Not Really...

Received November 12, 2012 This week we began a little campaign to find go visit several members of the church with whom there is pretty much no contact. They live in many different places in our area and there was a bit of travelling involved. We found out that many of these people don't even live there anymore. Surprising? Not really. We did find that there are several that do still live where the Branch List says that they do, but we haven't been able to get in and talk to any of them yet. Moral of the story is: Check your ward lists once in a while. If you haven't heard from some people in a while, you might want to go check on them. These are our friends and also children of Heavenly Father. On a more interesting note, we had Stake Conference this week in a large conference center in Weinfelden Switzerland. The way there for us was pretty crazy. We took the ferry across Bodensee and then drove in the direction of Weinfelden. It's a pretty obscure little place, although not too small. Our way there took us quite literally over the river and through the woods. It was pretty fun, but we took some crazy little roads through people's farms and saw lots of crops and cows. Once in Weinfelden we got to the conference and saw all of the people there. There were a lot of people at the conference. Swiss people are just in general very well put together and always look good. The music was provided by a youth choir and they had soloists and even two violinists. That's quite an accomplishment for a european stake to be able to put together that many young people for a choir especially when they all live so far from each other. There were some great speakers. I also had the opportunity to speak with some returned missionaries from Switzerland that used to serve in my mission who I haven't seen in a while. They're doing great. I don't really have a lot more to say about this week. The work keeps moving forward slowly but surely. Pray for the missionaries here and in all the world that we can find the people that are searching for the truth. Have a great week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßß!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Alle Seelen ruhn in Frieden

Received November 5, 2012 So this week...not too shabby. In case anyone is wondering, Halloween is nowhere near as popular here in Germany as it is in America. Their "scary" night is Walpurgisnacht and their dress up day is Fasching (or Fassnet) both of which are in Spring and so there really wasn't a ton going on for Halloween. We did go home a little early because it didn't make sense anymore to be outside and people were starting to look at us weirdly (more so than normal). There are some people that go trick or treating, but relatively few and the rest are just party animals looking for any reason to go out and drink. Maybe some were going to the Zombie Rave that had been advertised the whole week. The big holiday is actually the 1st of November where they celebrate Allerheiligen. That meant that there was NOTHING going on all day on Thursday. Everything was closed and there was nobody on the street. They don' t mess around with their holidays here. Of course the day after Allerheiligen is Allerseelen. Schubert fans have this holiday to thank for the stunningly beautiful and yet simple song Litanei(hence the subject line). The whole point of me writing this is that we have finally made up the list of songs that we will be singing in the concert on the 17th. I will be singing a bunch of songs. Here they are: This is the Christ Jesus is my Shepherd Der Tod und das Mädchen Litanei Ich grolle nicht O Isis und Osiris Go down Moses and last but not least Old Man River Pretty crazy selection, eh? Well, those were the ones we decided on. They're all things that sit well in my voice and like I said before, the whole purpose is to just get people to bring their friends so that they can see the church. I'm no headliner. I'm just the voice with a name tag. It will be a ton of fun and I'm really looking forward to it. On the investigator front things are starting to look up. On Wednesday we had another finding day. We had planned to just stay in Ravensburg, but on a whim we decided to go to Friedrichshafen. We exchanged companions for the couple of hours and Elder Robins and I at first just talked to people on the street. It didn't take too long to realize that it wasn't really bringing anything, so we went and found the first apartments that we could find. I decided to go to the ones behind the building right on the street and in that building we found two couples who had interest in talking with us. We taught one couple right there and then set up an appointment for today for the other. Today we went to that couple and they took two Books of Mormon, one in Arabic and the other in German. On Friday I wasn't feeling too awesome after planning for the next week and I wasn't really excited to go out. I then told myself that we would just go and contact this guy that we found on the first finding day and then we could go home and I could just rest. Well, that's when the Lord likes to do funny stuff to you. We ended up getting there and it had just barely started raining and I'm thinking, "That's just what we needed." We rang the doorbell and the wife of the man came to the door. She called her husband and he let us into their kitchen. She joined us too and they said at the end that we could come back. This week was great to say the least. Well, I think that's enough for right now. It's going great right now and I hope that it's going great for all of you too. Have a fun week. Tschüüüüüüüüüüüüüüßßßßßßßßß!!!!!