Monday, August 27, 2012

New Transfer

Hey mom!

This last week was nothing short of crazy. We basically lost all of our potential investigators that we had found, and everything seemed to be going really bad. We have not had anyone to teach besides members, and it has been very very hard. No one is progressing or anything, and everything in our area kind of fell apart very abruptly. I was pretty down and discouraged, and I think Elder Gautreaux probably was as well. Everyone we seemed to call would hang up on us, everyone we contacted on the Fuß said they were not interested, except for one guy who we are going to call again today. It is strange how many fallouts we have had because we are literally doing everything we can to be obedient and to find.

We had Zone Training on Saturday, and Präsident Schwartz and Elder Goldsmith, one of the APs, came too. We got to all have interviews with him and let him know how we were doing. He gave me a lot of really good counsel and some ideas on how to jumpstart our area and get things back on track. It was really comforting, and he is the coolest, most spiritual and revelatory man I have ever met. Elder Gautreaux felt the same way, and we are very excited to start this new transfer.

Speaking of the new transfer, we are remaining in Idar-Oberstein, but our area is now part of the Saarbrücken district instead of the Kaiserslautern district. It is going to make travel a real pain since the areas now in our district are I-O, Saarbrücken, and Bitburg, which are all a pretty good distance away from each other.
Also, Präsident wants me to basically be in charge of Idar-Oberstein and for Elder Gautreaux to act as though he were a golden in order for me to get a better feel for how to lead and how to know how to do everything a missionary needs to do here to work effectively instead of just kind of following the leader. I am excited, but it will be tough and I am sure there will be a lot of mistakes made that I will learn from.

We had a really cool experience two nights ago when we got back from Zone Training. We were walking from the Bahnhof back through the Fuß and then to our apartment. We were about 100 or 150 feet away from our apartment and this car pulls up beside us, stops, and a guy gets out. It was late and dark, and I was kind of worried for a second that something weird was going to happen. He asked us if we were missionaries, and we told him we were. He went on to relate that he had met with missionaries 10 years ago and one of his friends from Köln, another German city, had given him a Book of Mormon. He said he had read it, and that he knows it is true. We exchanged contact info, and are going to see him this evening. It was a really cool experience, and hopefully it sets the tone for this new transfer.

One of the APs just finished his mission, so we will be getting another AP to be with Elder Goldsmith. I think his name is Elder Holzer, and I have heard he is the man.

Well, this is the first Pday where I will have time to write to you guys, so I won't make this email too long. I hope everything is awesome and the everyone is having fun with life. Bis nächste Woche!

Liebe, Daniel
 One of the American YSAs interviewed the missionaries from my old district and made a video, and then this picture is from when we went to the temple with Storms, Elder Gautreaux's recent convert, and her friend Loveland. The guy on my left is Adam, the guy who made the video.
YouTube video of an interview with Elder Daniel Squires and other missionaries.

Monday, August 13, 2012

More Pictures From Idar-Oberstein

I was in Utah for a couple of weeks helping my daughter with her two children while they moved into their new house.  Here are more Idar-Oberstein pictures from Daniel that I wanted to share now that I am home and have time to post them on this blog.

This is an overhead view of Daniel's area.  I think this picture was taken from the Idar-Oberstein Schloss.  The road running in the front of the picture is also the road that Daniel lives on.  You can't see his building, but it is off to the left of the pictures, not far from the Felsenkirche.

Elder Squires at the Idar-Oberstein Schloss (castle).

Idar-Oberstein Schloss

Inside the Felsenkirche

Very typical random picture compliments of Elder Squires

The Felsenkirche.  If you haven't already heard about them, you should google the Felsenkirche and the Idar-Oberstein Schloss.  The history is very interesting  I would love to go there and see them for myself someday.

View of the Idar-Oberstein Schloss

Baptism of Sara Davis.

Another random picture.

Diese Woche

Hey Mom!

This week was very busy and really cool. It started off kind of crazy though. On Sunday I had split with Elder Gautreaux with some different branch members since we cover two branches that start at the same time. I was in the German branch and I set up appointments for the next day after P day ended. When we met back up together after church, Elder Gautreaux told me that there were two potentials that would be attending a YSA activity in the Baumholder Branch, our American branch, and they were at the same time as the meetings I had set up for the upcoming day, so we planned a split with our zone leaders, Elders Nuila and Jongejan because all of the appointments we had set were important. The next day, we took a train to Kaiserslautern where the Stake Center is and where the Zone leaders are near to, and in order to get back in time with Elder Nuila, we needed to leave as soon as possible to make the train back. When we got there, Elder Nuila didn't have his missionary clothes on or anything because it was still P day, and so I had to call up our first appointment and cancel since we would not have made it. We could have taken a later train to get to the other appointment, but when we got to Elder Nuila's apartment, a 15 minute drive from the church, he had forgotten the key to his apartment and so slowed us down too. I had to call the other appointment and cancel, and I felt bad because she had already started cooking. Every plan we had fell apart, and our only reasonable option was to go to the YSA activity and stay in K-town. That ended up not even being that useful because the two potentials did not show up so every plan we had made in Idar-Oberstein and in K-town fell through. The YSA activity was still pretty cool; we got to go to a castle and cook bratwurst and smores with American YSAs.

The next few days were spent in Friederichsdorf, where the Frankfurt Temple is located. All of the Goldens (new missionaries) and their trainers had meetings and such for one day, and then all of the Goldens traveled home and the district and zone leaders came in and had leadership training meetings. I got to stay though since I am the only Golden in my zone and there was no one to split with on the way back, so I stayed for another day and a half and got to experience a bunch of leadership training, met a bunch of older elders, and got to do an endowment session in the temple in German.  It was really awesome because I got to see all of the elders I was in the MTC with again, and Elder Proffitt and I had some more good times like always. He and I are literally as far away from each other as you can get. I am in the very south-western tip of our boundaries and he is the furthest north-east in Werdau.
Even though we didn't have a lot of proselyting time this week, it probably turned out to be our most successful week in the end. When we returned to I-O we ran into a former investigator called James Williams who had been in America for a while recording a song for Obama, and we set up an appointment with him for tomorrow. We also did a split with our Ward Mission Leader and Branch President in I-O (I was with the WML, Bru. Holzmann) and we visited a less active named Jenny whose daughter wants to be baptized, and I committed her to come to church yesterday, which she did. We also swung by on a potential we had doored the other day but he wasn't home, so Elder Gautreaux slipped a Book of Mormon in his mailbox on his door with a pass along card in it. When we were driving away, Elder Gautreaux saw a guy in his window just staring out into nothing as we passed by and he had a feeling that we needed to go talk to him. This street was one-way though, like a ton of streets here, and so we had to make a big loop to get there again. When we came back around, we couldn't remember which building it was because the guy was not in his window anymore, and we didn't find anywhere to park so we drove past again and Elder Gautreaux said we could probably door it the next day. When we were almost home, he had a feeling that we needed to go back and talk to this guy, so we went back, found his door, and he opened it when we knocked. Elder Gautreaux told him that he had seen him from his window and that he felt like we needed to talk to him and that we were representatives of Jesus Christ. He said he had seen us drive by as well, and that he wants to know more. He is a YSA, which is awesome because Pres. Schwartz wants us to focus on YSAs and there are practically no YSAs in I-O since it is a retirement and tourist location. He is Indian but he speaks perfect German so we are pretty sure he was raised here. We are going to go by and visit him tonight or tomorrow. It is pretty cool that Elder Gautreaux had that spiritual guidance.

That is all for this week. Everything is awesome and I am enjoying the work. I hope everything is going well and that everyone is happy and doing great. Until next week then! Love You!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, August 6, 2012

Everything Here is Going Well

Hey Mom!!

Everything here is going well too. This week started off with cleaning our apartment, which was kind of nasty from the missionaries who were in it before but it is much better now. On Tuesday we did another split, and this time I stayed in Idar-Oberstein with an Elder named Elder Petersen and he taught me a couple things about how to cook. We talked to Herr Becker again, who apparently is one of 5 or 6 surviving concentration camp prisoners in the world, and he lives just up the street from us. He let us into his house and showed us a Book of Mormon that he had received at least 50 years ago, and he gave it to me. In return, I gave him a new Book of Mormon with my testimony inside and told him that he should read it. He also gave us a copy of his autobiography, but Elder Petersen took it so hopefully there is a way I can get one too. He told us that he only believes in nature now because of the things he saw during the war, which made him think that there couldn't be a God. It's pretty sad, but hopefully in the next life, he will have a change of heart.

After we were finished with the split, Elder Gautreaux and I visited a less-active woman named Jenny, who has a daughter who wanted to be baptized Catholic but now wants to be baptized LDS. Hopefully we can make that happen and in the process reactivate Jenny.  She is pure German but she speaks perfect English with a really good accent and it was hard to tell that she was not German until she started speaking in German. She is really cool  and also really nice.

We met with Hans Jürgen again. Schwester Hones' son, who is less active, was also there, and he was pretty cool. He was 23 or 24 I think, and hopefully we can get to know him better and see if we can get him interested in the church again.

At the Baumholder military base, we met with this guy called West, who was raised in the church and knows all of the doctrine really well and knows it is true, but he just doesn't care and is caught up in all sorts of stuff. He smokes and drinks a bunch and just likes the way he lives. When we went there, he had two buddies that had known some missionaries before, including Elder Gautreaux, and we just gave them both Books of Mormon and told them to read them and they said they would. We shared what it was about briefly, and they actually went to church on Sunday too. After that meeting, we went next door to meet with Sgt. Welker, who has been inactive for years because of terrible experiences he has had with members in the past. He told us about stuff people did to him and said to him, and it shocked me that members of the church could be so ruthless to other people with the knowledge they have of the gospel. He wants his daughter to be baptized in the church, and he even told us that he knows the church is true and he can feel God's love for him every time he is with us and it stays there for a long time after we leave, but he is just afraid of the same things happening to him that have happened in the past. Hopefully we can help him overcome his fears, change how he lives, and get him back in church with some better members.

We went on a split yesterday for church, and I was in the Idar-Oberstein ward while Elder Gautreaux was in the Baumholder American ward. It was the first time I was on my own speaking only German. I didn't understand a ton of what people said to me, but I gave my testimony about missionary work and after that a bunch of members bore their testmonies about how we can do better missionary work and be more excited about it. We also met with the Barth family after church for dinner, and they gave us 4 referrals, which rarely happens; the members  don't typically give many referrals because they say they have already invited everyone in the past. So we will contact those 4 and hopefully get some more success.

Well, that is basically my week. I hope all is going well and that everyone has a great week! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel