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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This has been a longer week than most, and not just due to the fact that it has been 8 days since the last update. We met with quite a few new people, and so this week the work continued to speed up. It was a great week though, and I got some really exciting experiences just in the last 2 days. Last Tuesday, we met with a non-active member and his wife/girlfriend (they are not married, but live and have 3 children together) for breakfast and a service project. We were able to be awesome missionaries, and strategically, as all missionaries do, brought up religion. By the end of our conversation, his wife said that she would be happy to hear more about us and more specifically, how to pray. We are really excited to teach her next week. Our miracle investigator is also doing great. She is not only keeping all of her commitments, but has already read all of 1st and about 1/2 of 2nd Nephi. On Sunday, we had a lesson with her about the 5 points of the gospel of Jesus Christ (3rd lesson), and got about a whisker's length from asking her to be baptized before our class was interrupted by another one of our investigators. I didn't complain though- it's always a blessing to have investigators coming to church and the last thing I was going to do was say that she wasn't allowed in. Also, we were doing everything right, so I guess God just knew that it wasn't quite the time for her to be asked that question yet. We have a lesson with her in a few days, so we will see what happens. As for not having an E-mail until Tuesday.... We had the wonderful opportunity to clean the Freiberg DDR Temple yesterday, as so we used our Monday by doing service in the house of the Lord. It was a humbling experience to see how careful and particular everything had to be cleaned, including the baseboards of a hallway that very few people use throughout the day. We also lined up the couches and tables in the foyer, which surprised me with how exact and symmetric everything lined up. Afterwards, Bruder Schmidt, a member of the temple presidency, allowed us to go off on our own to study and have some personal time. It was so peaceful and quiet; I didn't really want to go back into the world of adds and people yelling at each other. But so is my calling, so I did it anyways. It is kind of like an idea that our mission president told us this last week when it comes to thinking bad thoughts: you can, like a small ship on the ocean, be surrounded by the waters of sin, but you will never sink unless the water gets in. And that brings me to a quick update on what we did today. Around noon, we had a member's husband call and ask us if we want to help get his bees ready for winter. Talk about exciting! He let me suit up and join him as he took out each plat and carefully studied the hive and make sure that the bees were happy and that no sicknesses were apparent. We then looked at the honey room, where all the eggs were, and looked at the comb where they were trying to build insulation so the hive could make it through the cold of winter. It was really enlightening, and made me realize just how wonderful all of the intricacies of the world are. We were not able to see the queen, but according to how the hive was set up he guessed that she was somewhere in between all of the other bees. I had a blast and only got stung once right at the very end. We then had a nice lunch with him and his wife, including brotchen (a delicious type of bread) with honey that came from the same hive as we had just played with. This week looks like is is going to be pretty busy. We also have a lot of really exciting news for Görlitz and even for Germany. First of all, we are going to be receiving a missionary couple in Görlitz on Thursday! We really need this couple because right now the branch is functioning without 2 councilors, and the Branch President has been really stressed trying to fulfill all of his needed duties. Also, last week we received word that President Monsoon is coming to Germany on October 14th, only a week after General Conference. As a missionary, that means that I will most likely have a meeting sometime where I get to meet him, but we will see. If not, then that is alright because I get to see him in Berlin/Frankfurt. I am pretty excited either way. I hope that everyone is doing well at home, especially those who are going to be relaxing and fishing down at a condo somewhere in Utah, haha. I love you all and thanks for all of your prayers and faith!

Monday, September 17, 2012

I hope that Aspen and Sage both had beautiful birthdays! They are both so big now, I can't even believe it. It was such a great week here in Görlitz, and the days were so packed that we were just running to and fro the whole time. No complaints here though- that is what missionary work should be about. Well, let me start off with an extension of our miracle from last week: Frau Nocke, a contact that Elder Bangerter found in the phone, came to church again this week, and this time brought her 11 year-old daughter. They both had a great time, and she keeps all of the reading assignments that we are giving to her (which happened to be quite a bit this week thanks to yours truly). We are hoping to make a baptismal commitment with her in a lesson or two. Also, we had a bunch of new investigators that we got to start teaching this week, and quite a few appointments for first lessons, so the work is finally picking up here in Goerlitz. I have a few stories from this week that I thought you guys would enjoy. The first is the Kremser family. It is a senior couple that is very rich and has a library most likely just as expensive as the rest of there home. They were both very knowledgeable, and talked to us in about 5 languages over the course of our dinner with them. They served us an imported Italian spaghetti dinner complete with bitter olives while showing us books from the 1700-1800's. They were very supercilious about it all, and had very little interest in us or our message, but it was a pretty fun experience. We got to test our formal dining skills and I had quite a bit of fun analyzing their Rhetoric both in relation to each other and us. The next story is the Turkish girls that we help in the city of Zittau. We met them while helping them move their fairly heavy bags through the underground walkway and up the stairs. They asked us in an English-German combo language if we knew where the school was, which happened to be exactly where we were going, or so we thought. Elder Bangerter asked a nearby bus if a bus drove to where they needed to go, and she told him "no, you will have to walk" (it turned out that there was about 3 buses that went through it). About 3 miles, a broken suitcase that we had to finally haul around, and an hour later; we finally found their apartment, which was on the complete other side of the city. Then, we spent another 40 minutes trying to call one of the building managers so they could get in. They were really grateful for it all, and we both had a good time doing service, because if we did not just happen to be there on the same train. I am not sure if they would have been able to find their way all the way to where they needed to go. On Saturday, we had Familiefest is the middle-city of Goerlitz, an event that the city puts on annually to support the family. There were quite a few other organizations with us, but most were trying to sell products. We were handing out free Heluim-filled balloons with "I <3 Familie" on the front and our website on the back. We were defiantly the Hotspot of the event, and we had kids coming multiple times to get more balloons. When we looked out at the square, it was filled with red balloons, really happy children, and even a few teenagers that had really high squeaky voices. It was super successful, and we finally had to stop when we ran out of balloons. We also had 2 of our investigators show up, so it was just a day filled with miracles and lots of fun. On Sunday, we had multiple investigators show up, including one of the people from our English class. I love being a missionary and for the opportunity I have to serve all of the wonderful people here in Germany. It is such an amazing experience, and I am really excited to see the work as it is finally picking up here. I hope that everyone has a great week and remember that your Heavenly Father loves you and is always looking for ways to bless your life. Have a great week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

We had an amazing week filled with some awesome miracles. The work is finally picking up again in Görlitz, and we are starting to find and teach a lot of new, very promising people. Among all of the amazing things that happened, here are a few of the highlights this week: are the Familie Hanisch and a lady named Jana Nocke. The Hanisches are a family that has been investigation the church for a while, and the wife was baptized about 3 years ago. Her husband was actually the one investigating the church, and now we are meeting with him again and trying to help him on his path to repenting and coming into the fold of Christ. The miracle is that he has become much more open since earlier this year, and that the conversations that we have had are turning less into him not agreeing with the doctrine, and more of him realizing that he has not yet developed the desire to find out if he believes it or not. This week, we met with him, Sister Hanisch, and a friend that they had invited over. The friend, asked us a lot of questions about our views on war, killing, homosexuality, and the existence of God. We were able to keep it really doctrine based, and I felt like we were Paul having to answer the questions of the Sanhedrin leaders. God allowed us to be his tools in answering their questions and quieting their concerns, and Herr Hanisch invited us over this next week to help him out in his yard as he gets the beehive ready for winter. He has told me a lot about them, and this is all I can say: bees are so cool! I feel like he still has a lot to do before he is ready to join the church, but that we took a huge step in helping him to accomplish it. Our second miracle, Jana Nocke, is a contact that Elder Bangerter was able to find in the phone, and we set up an appointment with her for this last Saturday. We got there, and gave a very solid first lesson; easily the best that I have given so far on my mission. She seemed really excited, and is investigating the church for really good reasons (her daughter asked her if there was a God, and she was not quite sure what she believed). We then invited her to come to church, which happened to be the next day, and she told us that she would see what she could do. Well, to our wonderful surprise, she showed up at church for all three hours! They had some really great lessons set up at church, and so she had a great time and said that she wants to come back next week with her 11 year-old daughter. My German is also coming along great, and so the miracles just continue. It is amazing to see the growth in myself as I testify to others. I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and that no one forgot that Grandparents day was yesterday (September 10). I love you Grandma and Grandpa! And if you did forget, you can still call them and tell them how sorry you are. Have a great week!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hello Family and Friends! We had a week filled to the brim with miracles. Our goal to get 60 new investigators this transfer is going wonderfully (we have already put 15 people on the list and are only a week in!), and we were even able to get some new investigators that seem really promising. One of them is the Zelder family, which is a couple that has been coming every week for quite some time to do Genealogy work at the church. We have been helping them a bit in trying to find one of his ancestors, and this last time, she finally asked a heartfelt question about why there are so many Christian churches. We gave her a version of the first lesson customized to answer her question and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She seemed to understand the message that we shared fairly well, and promised us that she would read it. Later in the week, we had a street display in the middle of Goerlitz, and within the first 20 minutes we handed out all of our DVD's to people, which usually never happens. By the end of our time in the square, we handed out 4 copies of the Book of Mormon and had quite a few auspicious street lessons. Our other miracle was that someone came to our English class on Saturday! She was referred by a friend that got one of our cards, and so now we are teaching her the very basics of conversational English. We also have a list of people who said that they would be interested, and so we are hoping that next week our number of students can double or even triple. Another really cool thing happened on Thursday while we were trying to do door-to-door contacting in the rich part of town. I say "rich" because all of these people have stand-alone houses, which in not very demotic in Germany as a whole, and only the people with cars and the most pulchritudinous houses live there. But anyways, we had just been in the neighborhood for only 20 minutes before it started dumping rain on us. We had not planned on any rain that day, and so we went on for a bit without umbrellas and with our packs starting to get soaked. We finally stopped and said a prayer that the Heavens would slow down the rain just enough for us to keep doing our work. Of course, right after we finished the rain did not cease, but doubled. But then, about 20 minutes later, the rain stopped and turned into just a light fog, and it stayed like that the entire rest of the day, allowing us to pass out our English cards and follow our plans of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It reminded me somewhat of the scripture in Ether 12, where the witness only comes after the trial of faith. Our faith was tried, we pushed on, and now I can bare witness to all of you that the lady that showed up on Saturday for English was only there because of one of the cards that we were able to hand out that night- an answer to our prayer. I am glad to be serving a mission and to be able to learn and grow in my testimony. Have a great week and thank you for your prayers.