Monday, September 24, 2012

We Press On

Hey Mom!

Things are starting to cool off here, but it doesn't look like fall yet. I think it might be kind of like Vegas here where it just turns from summer to winter. Our apartment gets really cold at night, and the Hausmeister told us that they don't turn the heaters on until October, so we have another week of cold nights ahead.

This week was interesting. We first had a split in Saarbruecken, so I went there and Elder Gautreaux was in Idar-Oberstein. It was interesting being in a huge city instead of a town. The ward was really big and they had a legit church building as opposed to our rented out, second floor building space. I am still focused on Idar-Oberstein, but it will be nice someday if I get to serve in a big city at some point. We visited this one guy who has been smoking for about 40 years and now has to smoke 40 cigarettes a day. He is starting the addiction recovery program there, but doesn't know if he can quit. We also met with a guy who has a disability I think. He has met with the missionaries a lot before but doesn't remember anything that they have taught him. We talked to him about the purpose of the Book of Mormon and then he asked us about the resurrection. We read 2 Nephi 9:10-15 with him, and he pumped his fist with excitement when he read verse 13. Hopefully he remembers it because it was a legit lesson.

When we finished our split, the next day we helped Sgt. Welker clean up his apartment in Baumholder military post. We will probably help him with it a few more times this week since he has no one else to help him. We are trying to coordinate with him and with our branch president in Baumholder to get the young men to come help out. He flies out of Germany in a couple weeks and still has a lot of work to do, so we will probably be there a lot to help him finish up before he goes. We also did service for another member. We helped him move a bunch of big rocks in his yard and then dug up some old patio concrete. We will be helping him again some time this week as well.

Well, today is Elder Gautreaux's birthday (he turned 21). We celebrated in the Kaiserslautern stake center by playing some basketball and other games, and then eating some brownies. It was fun, and Elder Gautreaux is really happy today and pumped to be 21.

Other than that, we are still just on the search for someone to teach. Finding here is really hard without referrals, but we press on. We have quite a few member lessons planned this week and hopefully one of them will have someone that we can teach. Well, I hope everything is going well and that everyone is doing great. Have a good week, love you!
Liebe, Daniel

Four Months Out

Hi Mom!

I have been on my mission for over four months now, and it is really weird to think about. The days just kind of blend together, which is kind of good and bad at the same time. Good because I know we are staying busy as much as it is possible, and bad because it is just also endless rejection. We visited with our Ward Mission Leader, Bruder Holzmann, who lives an hour away from us, and he even told us that there is not much potential in Idar-Oberstein and that missionary work would be much more effective and purposeful if we were in Trier instead. There are more members there that have to travel to Bitburg or other wards, there is a university (meaning a lot of YSAs), a really big Fußgängerzone, and just a lot more opportunities to do things. Unfortunately, there are no missionaries or a branch in Trier at this point in time. There used to be a few years ago, and I don't know why they are not there anymore. We have pretty much tried doing everything we can here, but all of our creative finding ideas don't work; when we try to do service, people think that we are trying to sell them something and don't accept free service. When we try to ask the ward for referrals, they say that no one they can refer is new to missionary visits and will not accept us anyway. We can't find YSAs through anything because there are not any in our ward that will meet with us and there are basically no YSAs in I-O anyway.  We met with a woman with our WML and she said that people don't receive us probably because we look like bankers. The other day there was a couple people riding past on their bikes and we could hear one tell the other, "Zeugen Jehovas," (Jehova's witnesses). We are basically down to streets and doors.

Well, on a positive note, we had our concert with the Evangelisch choir like I said last time. It was really cool, and we even were in the newspaper. We also are in another choir in Heimweiler, and we got to sing the other day for this guy's 80th birthday.

We had zone conference on Tuesday this last week, which was really cool. Afterwards though, everything went haywire. Our zone was altogether on the same train back, and when we got out to change trains, we learned that lightning had struck the tracks and the trains were not coming. I don't even know where we were aside from the fact that it was about an hour outside of Kaiserslautern. We ended up having to have some members from the Kaiserslautern ward come pick us all up, and we split up our 10 elders between Ramstein and Kaiserslautern for the night. The next day we had zone training in Kaiserslautern, then headed home.

I hope everything is going well and that everyone is happy. I know that me being on a mission is blessing you guys a ton, and I can see all these cool things happening every week. Love you!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, September 10, 2012

Travel and Two Day Splits

Hey Mom!

It has been busy with travel here this last week. We had two splits, both of which were two day splits. Normally, splits are supposed to be for only one day, but since the travel is so expensive and since Präsident Schwartz wants everything to start going better in our zone, he has allowed two day splits. The first split I was on was after District Meeting on Tuesday. Elder Baum, one of the Elders from Bittburg, and I went from Saarbrücken back to Idar-Oberstein. We had a decent split, signing up at the hospital as life crisis clergy if anyone wants to call us. It is not likely though; the hospitals here are owned by the churches, and it is an Evangelisch hospital, so they are most likely going to call Evanglisch ministers. My next split was with Elder Motto, Elder Jongejan's golden. He was super pumped to find and was really excited to be on a split since Elder Jongejan is a zone leader and they don't have as much time for finding. We had some pretty good days and we found a potential investigator lady while dooring in a dorf called Hammerstein, which is about five minutes from Idar-Oberstein. I also helped him learn some German terms and things around town like what some street signs meant and such. He is really motivated to find.

We also had our concert with the Evangelisch choir we were singing with, and it went really well. Afterward when everyone was in the next room eating and drinking, Elder Gautreaux and I got to sing them a couple hymns which was really cool. I will include pictures next week.

Yesterday we had stake conference in the American Stake, and it was really awesome. Elder Patrick Kearon was there, the one who gave the talk  in Priesthood session about wearing flipflops in the desert and getting stung by a scorpion when he was a kid. We got to hear him speak three times, once in stake priesthood training and then twice in the normal meetings. His talks were really good and I took a bunch of notes.  After the stake priesthood training meeting, Elder Gautreaux and I got to meet him and shake his hand. It was the first time I have ever shaken some one's hand that I had seen in general conference, and it was really cool.

Today, I got the chance to go golfing since it is P-day. We went to a golf course in Baumholder where the military people and some Germans also like to play. I was playing really, really awful and was hitting the ball very poorly and I didn't know why other than the fact that I was using Titleist AP2s, which are really nice clubs but I have never liked them at all. Then I realized that I had my glasses on and I had never played a round of golf wearing them before. I took them off and starting hitting the ball much better. It was still really hard to play though, since the course was all in meters instead of yards, and I had no idea how far to hit the ball. But I guess I cannot complain too much because now I can say I played golf in Germany.

Well, that is pretty much it for this week.  We are about to stop by a potential investigator who is a professional singer that tours all over the world but lives here in Germany.  Hopefully he is there; the last times we have tried to meet with him, he has not answered his phone and he did not pick up the last time we called to make sure we could still meet, so we will see. Anyway, hope all is well and that everyone is having a good week.
Liebe, Daniel

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Hey Mom!
This week went by pretty quickly. The new missionaries just arrived, and our zone leader, Elder Jongejan, is training an Elder named Elder Motto. I didn't remember him from his name, but we saw him today when we went to play basketball with some other elders and I recognized his face.  It is kind of cool not being the youngest missionary in my zone anymore.

Last Monday, we rearranged all of the furniture in our apartment, and turned our study room into the bedroom and vice versa. The next day, we went by one of our members and had an eating appointment. She is really cool, and she speaks perfect English which is awesome. I try to speak as much German with her as I can so that I can keep practicing.

We went dooring in a little town that I think was called Regulhausen, or at least something similar to that. We went there because there was a potential we were trying to go by on that previous missionaries had met. She didn't answer the door, but the next guy we doored let us in. At first, he had said that he had no interest before we even said anything, but then Elder Gautreaux told him that we had not even shared our message yet. He let us in after that, and actually was very interested. He said that he would read Moroni's promise, and that he would come to church. We waited until Sunday, and he never showed up. We tried calling him, and he didn't answer. I don't understand what has been going on; we have met 5 or 6 potential investigators, and the same thing has been happening with every single one of them. They show interest at first, and then they don't answer their phones or their doors. It is extremely disappointing because nothing is happening with all of these promising people. Hopefully we can eventually get someone who will finally answer their phone or set a return appointment. The other day we went dooring in that same town and this old guy basically chewed us out and told us to get off of his porch before we had even opened our mouths. Some of the rejections here are pretty harsh.

We met this guy a week or two ago, and he actually let us come by his car dealership to give him a Book of Mormon and the Restoration pamphlet. He said he would call us this week to set up an appointment, but we are just hoping that he was serious. We are really praying that he has an interest.

Today for P-day, we played basketball in Ramstein and celebrated a member's birthday at Chili's. They have restaraunts and stuff like that in the military bases. It was pretty cool, and it was nice eating ribs again.  We also had District Meeting in Saarbrücken, afterwhich we had to wait for an hour or so for our train back to I-O. We went to this store called Primark, which is pretty much the best place ever. They have awesome ties for 2 or 3 dollars a piece, so you can get 10 to 15 ties for the price of one nice tie in the states. It is awesome, and I got a few really cool ties.

Well, that's about it for this week. I hope all is going awesome and that everyone is enjoying life. Bis nächste Woche!

Liebe, Daniel