Monday, October 29, 2012


Hey Mom!

This last week was pretty good. Unfortunately, we had to drop an investigator. I went on a split in Ramstein on the day that they had a lesson with him so I called Elder Fausnaught and Elder Jongejan afterward to see how it went. Apparently he had even more doubts than last time, and was just super against anything that they tried to teach him. At the end of what I guess you could call a lesson though, he gave us a referral to one of his friends. We ended up teaching her a couple of days ago, and even though she is moving to a different part of Germany this week so other missionaries will pick her up, she was really interested and seemed a lot more likely to make progress. Our other investigator had just applied for a second job working at Burger King, and we are pretty sure he got it because he doesn't answer our calls anymore and is just kind of never there. We are hoping he still wants to meet with us and just got busy, and didn't become disinterested for some reason.

We started teaching another girl who is not married but has two kids, and her boyfriend is semi-interested in the gospel, but our last lesson he got up and left after 15 minutes. We have been considering picking her up as an investigator since I came to Germany, but the problem was that she was just kind of there every time we went to meet with one of the older sisters in our ward, who can talk and talk and talk and never let you get a word in, so it was kind of hard getting her interested in the gospel; however, they finally picked her up as an investigator while I was on the split, and we taught her yesterday and committed her to be baptized on December 1st!

When I was on that split in Ramstein, we had two appointments with American families since that is where the largest military base is in all of Europe and is basically an American area. It was so weird to see American families again and how well behaved the children are. German families tend to have a lot of kids who go inactive or take their names off the records of the church because the parents just let them do whatever they want, justifying it as everyone is their own person and you need to let them do what they think they should do. It is really sad seeing how loud and all over the place German kids are, especially in church. That is probably one of the things I have missed most about home since I came to Germany; reverent sacrament meetings and at least semi-well-behaved children.

We had our zone conference on Wednesday, which was really cool. Elder Schütze of the Seventy came and gave a couple of awesome talks and stories, as well as some really good counsel for the missionaries in our zone. It was also really nice seeing a bunch of missionaries I had not seen in a while.

Well, that was pretty much all we did this week besides more finding time and a lot of traveling between places for meetings and splits. I hope everyone has a good week! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel

Elder Fausnaught and Elder Squires

Tanks on the Baumholder army base, the largest American military base in Europe. 
Baumholder is only a few miles (about 10 km) from Idar-Oberstein.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Unicorns and Other Experiences

Hey Mom!

Well, this week was pretty good in a lot of ways and not so good in a couple of ways. We have two investigators now, one American and one German. They are completely different from each other in every way, not just their nationality. Our German investigator doubts everything that we teach him and compares everything to unicorns and how the scriptures are no different than a book about finding unicorns. When we tell him that it is different because it is the word of God and was written by prophets through inspiration, he just says that is no different than someone who was told to write a book from what a unicorn told him to say and it is really hard to teach him. Every time we bear testimony, read scriptures, or do anything to help him understand, the first word that comes out of his mouth without fail is "but" and then there is surely something about unicorns that follows. He doesn't make a ton of progress, but he really wants to know if it is true. He just thinks about things way too much from a worldly, scientific "I need evidence" perspective, and it is really hard to know where to go or what to say to help him.
Our other investigator is an American who was recently divorced from an Italian-German lady and has a four year old son. The only reason he is still in Germany is to let his son grow up with a father and not be without a father figure in his life, which is really cool. We have gotten to know him a little better and what his religious background is, and have taught him the Restoration. He accepts pretty much everything we teach. We asked him if he would be baptized on November 17th, and he said he didn't know, but we asked him if he knew it was true if he would be baptized at all, and he said definitely. His big concern is that he is not sure if he can commit that soon since he will have to change his behavior and it will be really hard for him to do. We have faith in him though, and will teach him the doctrine of Christ next time to clear up his concerns as much as we can.

We have had a couple cool finding experiences this week. We planned to go out on the Füß for an hour to do contacting a few days ago. Instead of the normal rejection from everyone, a bunch of people were stopping to listen to us and we actually made out four appointments (which unfortunately all fell through because of fake numbers and no one showing up, but oh well). Then some guy called out to us at a table where he and two guys and two other girls were smoking and drinking, and in a manner of heckling shouted out, "hey is that a bible?" Then we went over and talked to them and gave them a Book of Mormon and five pass along cards. They all seemed to kind of take it as a joke but one of the girls, who was listening intently and looked really interested but didn't want to speak up and embarrass herself in front of her friends. Hopefully she will have enough interest to call us. At the end of the hour, which had turned into an hour and fifteen minutes, when we were near the end of the Fuß, Elder Fausnaught held out a card to give to a lady who rejected us and then out of nowhere this other lady said, "I'll take it." We asked her why she had taken it and she said she saw us getting constantly rejected and felt like taking it. Our church building is right next to the Fuß, so we invited her and her husband to take a tour of it, which they did. It was really cool, and they both seemed really interested, especially the wife. They wouldn't give us their contact info, but said they would no doubt visit the church on the first Sunday of November and give us their info if they liked it since we had President Monson yesterday and have stake conference this coming Sunday. It was a really cool experience, and there was a lot of promise there.

Speaking of President. Monson, we got to hear him speak yesterday in Frankfurt. It was really cool seeing him, but it was in a huge auditorium and he left before anyone could leave the building so no one got to meet him. He spoke about love and faith in Christ. One of my favorite things he said was something to the effect of "love is the catalyst that causes change." It was a good talk, and we got to see a lot of missionaries from a few zones who were there.

Well, that about sums up the week. It was pretty good, and things are looking up a lot in Idar-Oberstein. I hope you have a great week and that everyone stay happy! LoveYou!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, October 15, 2012

Things Are Going To Change

Hey Mom!

Transfers were really crazy this last week. One of the Elders coming into our district from Frankfurt missed his train. He had to take a train by himself that did not leave until much later, and it caused a lot of confusion and extra stress for everyone. After everything got worked out though, it was fine.

I was really disappointed because on a closer review of the train ticket we got in the mail, only the Elders and Sister that were getting transferred away from our zone got to go to Frankfurt for transfers. That means I didn't get to see Matt, but he called me from one of the Assistant's phones for about a minute, and then I called him today for about 10 minutes or so after getting permission from the Assistants. He is serving with Elder Hathaway, an Elder from my MTC district, and he is in Duisburg. It is a little north of where we are here in Idar-Oberstein, but he is in a different zone. I probably won't get to see him for at least the next two transfers since he will be staying there to be trained for those transfers for sure. Oh well, talking to him on the phone every once in a while is still really awesome. It will be interesting to see how things go for him in Duisburg; it has been ranked the dirtiest city in Germany for the last few years, and is nicknamed the Dirty D, so he will be seeing a lot of smokestacks and smoking people for a while.

My new companion, Elder Fausnaught, is really cool. He is one of the zone leaders for the K-town zone and is also our district leader for Idar-Oberstein, Saarbrücken, and Bitburg. We are going to be really busy.  He is legit and we get along really well, and he has done choirs his whole life so the choirs will continue.  We had some cool experiences this week in our finding time. We found an old woman on the Fuß whose husband had died only a week before. She wasn't sad though since she believes in life after death. We actually set up an appointment with her for the same day and got a member to come with us.

After our choir practice on Thursday night, we got a call from President Girra, our branch president for the German branch, saying that he had come into contact with a guy and girl who had been investigating the church through email for about a year, and that he was bringing them to church this Sunday. They came, and we taught them what is called a "zero lesson," where we get to know how they came into contact with the church, what they are interested in, and what our expectations are as missionaries. We set up another appointment with them for tomorrow. Hopefully it goes well, but they live in Trier which takes a ton of kilometers to drive to, so I don't know how regularly we will be able to meet with them.

Well, President Monson is in Germany right now and is speaking on Sunday. We get to go to Frankfurt and go see him speak. Präsident Schwartz said he his here to bless this land so that the prophecies can start being fulfilled that have been made about Germany. It will be really cool seeing him here. We had a conference call last night about it with the whole mission, and were invited as a whole mission to pray for the prophet and for the country, which was really awesome.

Aside from all that, we have set up a bunch of appointments for next week, and have plans to get this area moving since it has been really unproductive for the last two transfers. There will be a lot of finding time going on, and things are going to change.  I hope all is well and that everyone has a good week! Love You!!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, October 8, 2012


Hey Mom!
Sounds like everyone had a good time watching general conference. It is really crazy to think that in probably 6 months or so there could be 18 year old elders and 19 year old sisters in my mission. That is cool that Libby came down with Mat to watch conference at home, and that Ryan got to go to two sessions in person. My favorite talks were from President Eyring and Elder Holland.

This last week was crazy with a bunch of stuff, including transfer calls. I guess I'll start off spilling the beans on what is happening this transfer. Elder Gautreaux is getting transferred to Offenbach up by Frankfurt for his last six weeks, and I will be staying in Idar-Oberstein. My new companion, who I will be picking up on Thursday, is named Elder Fausnaught. I have met him once before, and he seems really cool. I have heard from a bunch of missionaries that he is a really hard worker and that they had a blast serving with him, so I am excited. He just finished training one of the elders from my MTC group. He has just been called to be the second zone leader in K-town zone which is the zone I am in, so this next period of time I serve with him will surely be busy.
This week began with a split with Elder Johnson from Saarbrücken. He was really cool, and I am glad I got to be with him for a few days. We found a few potential investigators, who hopefully we can follow up on and then turn into actual investigators.

We have been singing with these choirs still every week. We had an early practice with the one in Kirschweiler on Tuesday, and then we had our concert with them on Saturday night. It was really cool because a bunch of choirs performed and it was all old people except for our choir because of us two. Everyone was talking about us and a ton of people were staring at our name badges forever. The choir that we perform with loves us and basically treats us like celebrities, which is really cool. Elder Fausnaught can sing, I heard him at a mission leader conference during my first transfer, so hopefully he will be cool with going to all of these choirs.

Well, I will get to see Matt (Hutchings) on Thursday when he is here. I am looking forward to seeing him, and there are quite a few elders from my MTC group who are training that are all legit. Elder Proffitt and Elder Ludlow are training, and I hope one of them gets to train Matt, Elder Proffitt because he is a beast missionary and my best mission bud, and Elder Ludlow because he loves and plays baseball and is also really funny.

On Friday, we got to spend the day with one of Elder Gautreaux's friends from back home that is not a member. Präsident Schwartz gave Elder Gautreaux permission to see him and talk to him, and it was really cool. He invited his friend at the end of our meet to meet with the missionaries in Heidelberg, where he is going to college. He said he would think about it and took the Elders' email addresses so he could contact them and meet with them.

Besides all of that, this week was just more doors, sleeping, and studying. I can't believe that I have almost been out for 5 months now. Sometimes when I'm thinking about it I come to the realization that this is my mission, what I have been waiting for for 19 years. It is really amazing to think that I am actually out here doing this and that this is the only time I will get to do this, at least in the same way I am now.

I hope that all is well! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel

Monday, October 1, 2012

Four Choirs

Hey Mom!

This week was pretty cool. We are now part of four choirs that all meet at 8 pm on four different days (Monday in Nahbollenbach, Tuesday in Tiefenstein, Wednesday in Heimweiler, and Thursday in Kirschweiler). The choirs we meet with on Wednesday and Thursday are legit. The leader of the choir in Nahbollenbach told us about his other choir he leads in Kirschweiler, which we went to for the first time last week. When we sat down with everyone, he said "Jetzt könnt ihr Missionsarbeit hier machen!" which was really cool because he is Evangelisch and it is an Evangelisch choir, but he straight up told us that we are doing missionary work there. All of the people love us there too. We are kind of like celebrities since we are young and American among all of these old German people. It is really cool, and there was a guy who sat down next to me and told me that his family lives in Mesa, Arizona and that he had seen our temple there and that it was really pretty.

For part of the week, I was on a split with a missionary who goes home in a week. It was his last split ever, and his body was in Germany but his mind was in America. I don't want to ever become like that because he seriously didn't care about studying or anything, he was just kind of dead. Later on in the week I finally went on a split with our zone leader, Elder Jongejan. It was probably the most fun split I have had. I went to Ramstein for the split, and we had some really good dooring time, a little time on their massive Fußgängerzone, and met with an American Polynesian guy called Tui. He was really cool, and had served a mission, half in Salt Lake and half in Washington. He got "super-transferred" to that mission because a lot of his family lived in Salt Lake, and his cousin was his bishop in one of his wards. He had too much interference with missionary work from his family, so they transferred him where he could get work done. He was really awesome.

We had to deep clean our apartment this last week for a mission-wide apartment inspection, so now our apartment is in tiptop shape. I also got to give a talk in our German branch yesterday about receiving revelation from the Book of Mormon. It was really cool.

Elder Gautreaux has to get his wisdom teeth out this week. It is going to be kind of a rough week, but it's ok. By the way, he said to tell you that he said "hey." This is the last week of the transfer, so I don't know if I will stay here or not. From what we have heard, we think that most likely I will stay here and Elder Gautreaux will be transferred, but we are not sure.

Well, that is all for this week. I hope everyone has a really good week and that alles gute! Love you!

Liebe, Daniel