Monday, July 23, 2012

First Area, Idar-Oberstein

Hey Mom!

How is everything going?  When we were on the plane, Elder Proffitt and I actually talked to a German guy (mostly in English because that's what he was using) and we gave him a Book of Mormon as well. His name was Johannes Berger, and he was a champ.
Elder Squires, Johannes Berger, Elder Proffitt

Elder Squires with his travel group and President and Sister Schwartz at the Frankfurt Airport
Well, Germany is so cool. The area I am assigned to right now is called Idar-Oberstein (pronounced Eeder Obershtine), and it is very beautiful. The accent here is a little different, and it is really hard to understand everyone right now. My companion's name is Elder Gautreaux (pronounced GoTro), and he is from Texas. He is a real stud. It is great having a companion that I really like and have a lot in common with. He also is a psychology major, and he is a good missionary. He has been out for about 20 months and he loves his mission. I have learned a lot from him thus far, and I am super excited to be working with him. We have set really ambitious goals so everything is very busy right now and we are getting a lot of work done.
Elder Gautreaux, President Schwartz, Elder Squires
  The funny thing about my area is that I haven't spoken a lot of German yet; Baumholder, a city within our area, is the home of America's largest military base in Germany, and we do a lot of work in there. We can't proselyte, but we do work with less-actives and people who have been referred to us. I walked into two baptisms already because one lady in the military base whose husband is a member already had a baptism date before I got here, and there is an eight year old German boy who is about to be baptized as well. Most of the time, I have been speaking English and haven't had a ton of time to practice German. That's not to say that we haven't had our share of German people to meet with. Everyone here drinks a ton and smokes a lot, so it is kind of a distraction with some people. One lesson we went to a couple days ago was with an older lady, Sch. Rausch, and a potential investigator called Sabrina, but Sch. Rausch's nonmember son who is against religion was there, and he and Sabrina were smoking a bunch and Sch. Rausch was talking a lot to us, so we really didn't teach anything before we had to leave.
Our apartment isn't too bad; it's on the 4th floor of a building. The best part of our apartment is the view. Idar-Oberstein is one of the greenest places in Germany, and it is just hills covered in trees as far as you can see. Since we have to commute between Idar-Oberstein and Baumholder, we drive a car. It takes probably 15-20 minutes to get between the two. In terms of German, even though I don't use it as often as I'd like yet, I am doing pretty good. I made some calls yesterday, and one was to set up an appointment with the Schulers, an active couple, and they asked me how the new missionary was doing a little later on in the conversation, and I told them I was the new missionary and they told me my German was very good and they thought I was Elder Gautreaux, even though his German is much better than mine and he is really good with the accent as well. It was probably just because it was over the phone that they couldn't tell I have an American accent still.

Views from their apartment in Idar-Oberstein
My mission president is amazing. He is a total champion. He told me in an interview that I need to expect to train someone right after I am finished being trained.  I hope I can learn good enough German by then to get around. Since we are with Americans a lot, I am definitely getting too much to eat, by the way. Well, everything here is amazing and I am really happy about what I am doing here. Yesterday, we talked to an ex-POW called Herr Becker, and he had been through concentration camps and was shot in the leg by an SS officer. He showed us his scars and also the tattoo he got in America, from when he was sent there to get healthy again. He had already read the Book of Mormon and is now really old, and said he believes in nature, not God. We will probably stop by and meet with him more and talk about his life while also trying to warm him up to the gospel.

Elder Squires and Herr Becker
Well, I'll update you more later, but we are very busy right now. We are about to visit the Felsenkirche (rock church, at least that is what I think it is called), which is this church literally built in the side of the mountain. Look it up on google, it really is something else. Well, that's all for now. Have a good week, Love You!!

Liebe, Daniel

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