Monday, December 30, 2013

A Good Christmas Celebration

Hey Mom!

I felt like the Christmas season went by really fast as well. This whole year has gone by really fast. I had a great time skyping with everyones.  I am glad that everyone had  a fun Christmas season.

We had a really good Christmas celebration here as well. We pretty much just had 4 days of relaxing and having fun in the beginning of the week. Monday was P-day, and then we finished the night by making brownies to take to various members. 

Tuesday (Heiligabend) was the ward Christmas service, and it went really well. After that, we were taken to Frankfurt by Bruder Stübe so that we could pick up Sister Bass and then drive back to Langen to have dinner and celebrate. When we arrived, the Christmas service in the Frankfurt ward was still going, so we had to wait in the car for a good 45 minutes before we finally left again, but that was alright. When we got to the Stübes, we had a delicious dinner of Spätzle and this brown meat sauce followed by an awesome raspberry creme and meringue. It was awesome. We shared a short lesson with them about being like little children and then surprised them with Kinder Eggs with the little toys inside. 

Christmas day was great. We went to the Kempeners, of course, where we skyped. We had a simple brunch with them as well as a small gift exchange. We did that same lesson with the Eggs there, and they seemed to enjoy it. We were there for a while, and we had just a simple day of celebration.

The 26th was also a really good day. We were with the Mühlmanns for almost the whole day. We had a turkey lunch with them and they gave both Elder Overall and I a nice tie and a Santa Räuchermännchen. After that, we just talked, relaxed, had a really good ice cream cake sort of desert, and then watched an old, cheesy, animated church film called the 4th wise man. You may have seen it before. 

Friday was kind of back to work, but still was a more relaxed day. We went to Darmstadt for district meeting, and we watched the mission Christmas DVD (a compilation the mission sends out of pictures taken by missionaries throughout the year) and traded gifts with each other. It was really fun, and afterwards, we went to lunch at Vapiano, which is definitely a place we need to eat when you guys pick me up. Later in the evening, we tried to go by on a less-active member in Walldorf, but he was not home.

On Saturday, we did part of our weekly planning, and then took a train to Götzenhain to try and get in touch with two older referrals that we don´t have contact with, but neither of them were home. After we got home, we had a lesson with Schwester Sonn, the less-active sister, and it went really well. We talked about Lot´s wife and how this new year is a great time to look forward and make a new beginning to reach new goals. Bruder Sauer, our ward mission leader, came with us. Afterwards, he took us back to the church and we coordinated missionary work with him there. 

Yesterday was a pretty good Sunday. Carlos came to church, which surprised us. Peter Rojas, our member translator, also was there again. We told him what had happened with Carlos, and he went and talked to Carlos and Schwester Murcia to see what the situation was. He came back up to us after church and said that Carlos never said that he didn´t want to meet or learn anymore, but just that he thought getting baptized on Jan. 4th was too fast and he wanted to know more first. So basically the guy that translated for us either didn´t understand what Carlos said or he changed it on purpose because he is not interested in religion and tried to sabotage us in a way. When we found that out, we were really happy that Carlos wanted to meet still, but were kind of angry that the translator had lied to us and also probably didn´t translate everything we tried to teach correctly. We have a lesson with him actually in a couple hours, and Peter will be there to translate everything correctly. We are just going to start over from the point we left off at when Peter was there the last time to make sure there is no confusion or false doctrine that was taught. Anyways, the rest of Sunday was good. We pretty much just had our studies and then tried to deliver some brownies, but no one was home. 

That is about it for the week. This week is going to be really awesome because we are teaching Carlos again and we have a ton of member appointments scheduled. Transfer calls are on Saturday, and there is a decent chance that I could get transferred, so if this is my last week in Langen, at least it will be a good one. I will let you know the results of transfer calls in my email next week.

I hope you have a great week and a happy new year!

LG, Daniel

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is Coming

Hey Mom!

Thanks a bunch for the Christmas package, I guess I had either forgotten to write about it or I didn´t have a chance to pick it up from the neighbor until after last Pday. I can´t remember. But I really like the ties everyone got for me, along with candy and letters and stuff. I am really relieved to know that everything I sent got to you guys safely and that you like it. The Schwibbogen (that nativity-ish wooden thing I sent) looks really cool lit up in the dark! A bunch of Germans have things like that on their window sills, except they usually aren´t as fancy as the one I sent home. 

This week was ok in the beginning but ended kind of poorly. We had Pday on Monday and we went to Darmstadt to play games. Because of the travel times and all of the things we had to get done, we were in a huge rush all day and just barely got our grocery shopping done by the time Pday ended. After that, we went to a city called Rödermark to try and make contact with that old referral. He wasn't home, but on the train ride home, an older man talked to us and we helped clear up some false beliefs about Mormons (plural wives, etc. etc.). We ended up giving him a Book of Mormon, and he wanted to give us 10 Euro for it really bad but finally accepted it simply as a Christmas gift. 

We did more service at the Tafel on Tuesday, which is always a good part of the week. When we were finished and had showered, done studies, and tried to contact a former investigator, we went to part of a school concert with the Wagners. They invited us to come with them, and we asked Pres. Schwartz for permission. He said it was up to us if we were going or not. We then asked the zone leaders to see what they thought, and they said to do it if we felt like it was something good to do. We took it as a sign that the Wagners are gaining more and more trust in us, so we went. While there, we got a sort of referral from one of the sons, Felix. He asked us if we would come play pool with him at the church the next day because he was about to move to Wiesbaden a few days later. He was going to bring a friend along who he had already given a Book of Mormon a while ago, and wanted us to kind of just start talking about the gospel while playing. 

Wednesday rolled around, which started off with the usual studies and lunch. When we were finished with that, we headed to the church to work on a few things on the computer and after that, we headed to Neu-Isenburg. We went by on a few people, including a less-active, a former investigator, a random name who showed up on the ward list, and a member. Unfortunately, none of them were home. We saw the member on her bike (Schwester Murcia) and asked her to give her nephew, Carlos (our investigator) some questions we had written up and then translated into Spanish. Once we had done all of that, we headed home to the church to play pool with Felix and his friend. We only had an hour to play, and for some reason, no one ever started talking about the gospel. We at least got to know his friend, so hopefully we will be able to get his number or address from Felix so we can come in contact with him now that Felix has moved away. We only had an hour for that because we had an appointment with the Mühlmanns after that and we had to catch our train toGötzenhain. We had dinner with them along with a few friends of the daughter,Zinnah, and that went really well. After dinner, we watched a Mormon Message about Christmas and then headed over to a neighbor of the Mühlmanns with SchwesterMühlmannZinnah, and her friends, and gave him some cookies for Christmas. We are going by on him again tonight to give him the "Joy to the World" DVD and a Book of Mormon. Hopefully that goes well. 

On Thursday, we had district meeting in Darmstadt. We were there for almost the whole day because Pres. Schwartz was here doing interviews, and Elder Overall and I were the last ones because we were the only ones who didn´t have appointments in the afternoon. Ours were in the evening, so Pres. just asked us to stay and wait, which we did. My interview with him was relatively short considering the fact that I had an interview with him recently. He did give me a interview for a temple recommend though because mine expires in the end of January. He wrote on the recommend that the interview took place in August of 2012 so that it would expire shortly after I got home. That way I could have an interview with my own stake president after the mission. Once we headed back to Langen, we just stayed on the train and headed to the Dreieich Bahn so we could go to Dreieichenhain and have a lesson with Michael, our older, German investigator. He had listened to his assignment we gave him, but told us that it didn´t really mean anything for him. We talked about that for a while and also about faith. We listened to the recording of Alma 32, and he told us at the end that he had little desire to change or do anything, so we mutually agreed it would be better if we didn´t visit him much after that. That was kind of lame, but we saw it coming. He said he still wants to listen to the whole Book of Mormon, so maybe something will happen there when he does that. 

Friday began with the Tafel again. It was the last time we will do Tafel this year. It is shutting down until January 7th, so we will return at that time. After that, we went to the church to practice singing with the ward choir. We practiced and then went to sing in an old person´s home. That went well, and there is an old, sick member in the ward who lives there, so we got to visit with her as well. In the evening when that was all over, we headed to Neu-Isenburg to have a lesson with Carlos. We had planned to talk about the Plan of Salvation, but he had some concerns and misunderstandings about baptism, so we focused our lesson on that. Schwester Murcia´s friend was there to translate for us, and while it was not the greatest that we had a nonmember translating for us, it was our only option. The lesson, we thought, went relatively well. We also got a lesson scheduled with some more of Schw. Murcia´s friends who just happened to be at her house.

On Saturday, we had a kind of slow day. We were in the church for church tours, but no one came. While we were waiting, we got to watch the Christmas Devotional, though. When that was all over, we did weekly planning. It took a long time and we had a hard time focusing. After that, we went by on Schwester Sonn, a less-active sister, and made a new appointment with her. We finished the day by updating our area book and brainstorming for the mission finding day. 

Sunday was kind of a shock. We had planned to have a lesson with Carlos during church, and that happened. Schwester Murcia was not there; she felt sick, so she stayed at home. Her friend took Carlos to church to translate for us again, which was nice of him. We did teach the Plan of Salvation this time, and it seemed to go well. At the end, we asked Carlos to pray, and he did. We were ok with how the lesson went and thought that it would have been helpful for Carlos. After he said the prayer, we started packing our things to head down to sacrament meeting, and the man translating for us said that Carlos had something to say. He then said something in Spanish, which the friend translated. Carlos said that he had thought about it and no longer wanted to be baptized or meet with us. It was really abrupt and kind of a surprise. We were kind of sad, but that kind of thing happens on the mission. We did our part, and did everything we could, but for whatever reason, Carlos didn´t want to continue to learn. After church, we went to the Langners for lunch, which was followed by caroling at another old person´s home and some elderly members. We finished the night having dinner with the Kempeners and a former missionary, who served for 9 months in Langen a few years ago, along with his wife. 

Well, that was the weekly report. It was kind of unfortunate week, but there were still good things that happened. 

I am excited to Skype in a couple days. I will see you on Christmas! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, December 16, 2013

Following a Prompting

Hey Mom!

It sounds and looks like you and Valerie had an awesome time in New York. I would love to go back or even live there one day. I like that big city feel, which is funny since all of the cities I have served in on the missions are some of the smallest. Kind of ironic in a way. 

Well, this week was really great. On Monday, we went to the Christmas market in Darmstadt to do some Christmas shopping. I was the only one who bought anything really big (out of all 9 missionaries that were there, I was the only one who was celebrating his second Christmas on the mission. I am old!). It was really fun and I hope things get to America safely. After P-day was over, we went back to Langen for a YSA family home evening. It was all the YSAs from Langen and Darmstadt, and two of the Darmstadt Elders were there as well. It was pretty fun. 

On Tuesday, we did our service at the Tafel again. Some of the ladies who serve there started asking us about the church and we responded to their questions, but they did not agree with what we had to say. One lady talked about how there are so many different religions and they all have parts of the truth and in their own way lead you to God, so we explained that thanks to Joseph Smith, all truth is to be found in one church, but they couldn´t comprehend that there could only be one way to return to God. It was kind of one of those situations where people just want to state their opinion without trying to understand why we believe the things we do. I was kind of frustrated. Even one of the women supported the other one and said that the truth radiates from her while what we say is not true, but they are just confused and didn´t really open their ears or hearts to what we had to say. We did end up giving one of them a Book of Mormon though, so hopefully she reads in there and sees what we were talking about. Anyway, after coming home, showering, and studying, we had a lesson with Schwester Sonn for the first time in about two months. It went well; we talked about 2 Nephi 31:20-21, and it seems to have helped her. She still says she is not ready to come to church, and she has said that for years now, so hopefully one day things will change. To end the night, we went to an appointment with our older, German investigator, Michael. Bruder Jungheim came and helped us teach. Michael is still trying to find out if he even wants to start finding out if there is a God. He is kind of comfortable where he is at and doesn´t fully comprehend the importance of our message yet, so we will see if he comes around some time. He had trouble reading the Book of Mormon because his eyes aren´t that good anymore, so we said that we would stop by on Saturday to drop off an audio version of the Book of Mormon in German. 

On Wednesday, I went to Michelstadt for a split with Elder Phelps. It went okay. We were going to have a lesson with an older, active member, but we got to his house and he wasn´t there. We got back in the car to map out a path to get to some potential investigators, and the man we were supposed to have the appointment with walked up to the car and said we would have to repark somewhere where it was legal. We thought he understood we were going to have an appointment still after we moved the car, but when we closed the door, he just walked down the road and disappeared. It was kind of strange. So after that, we hit up some potential investigators, but no one was home/no one had interest. The last appointment for the evening was with a member and her nonmember husband. We talked about family history and how it helps us do work for our dead ancestors, and it seemed to go well. 

I drove up with Elder Phelps to Offenbach on Thursday for zone conference, where we split back to our normal comps. We had a really good meeting, talking about asking inspired questions and listening with empathy, as well as extending and following up on meaningful commitments. Afterwards, we took the subway to Frankfurt and sang Christmas songs on the Zeil while giving out a ton of "Joy to the World" DVDs. It was a lot of fun.

The next day, we went and helped at the Tafel again. We didn´t have as many conversations about the church this time, but that was okay. One of the things we do at the Tafel is sort out old fruits and vegetables and throw away the rotten stuff (which there is a lot of, it smells awful). For some reason, on this day there seemed to be an endless supply of bananas, and they had Elder Overall and I sort them. I didn´t like bananas in the first place, but now I really don´t like them. Rotten bananas stink. When the Tafel was over and we showered and studied, we had our Bibelkreis. We talked about Exodus 1-2 and how Moses´ early life played out. It went okay, but once again, not many people were there. We talked with our ward mission leader and the other members about how we can get more people to come because the branch presidency will not let the Bibelkreis die out (they said very specifically it was going to be a long-term activity). Hopefully we start having better attendance there. 

Saturday was a really cool day. The beginning of the day was really boring and slow. After our studies, we went and got some blank CDs so we could download the audio to the Book of Mormon onto one and give it to Michael. It took a little while, and just sitting down all morning and early afternoon made my tiredness catch up to me. We eventually got onto the train to head out to a town called Rödermark. There is an old media referral out there from 2011 we wanted to get in touch with. Our plan was to go first to Rödermark, contact the guy, and then on the way back, get off the train in Dreieichenhain where Michael lives to drop off the CD and a Restoration pamphlet. Michael had told us beforehand the he would most likely not be home, so we could just leave the stuff in the mailbox. We wanted to see him another time within the week, so we hoped we could, through a miracle, find him at home. As we were on the train to Rödermark, we started pulling into the Dreieichenhain train station. As the train was stopping, I had a thought come into my head that we should get off. I shrugged it off a little at first since I was tired and not too l pleased with how the day was going so far, but then it came more urgently: "get off the train now." I told Elder Overall and we got off the train before it started moving. We walked in the direction of Michael´s apartment, and I prayed in my heart that we would find out why we needed to get off and do this plan first. We didn´t have many good opportunities to talk to people on the way there, but between Michael´s apartment and the train station is the Fußgängerzone, which is decked out as a Christmas market right now in Dreieichenhain. Right when we set foot on the market, Elder Overall said, "Hey, isn´t that Michael?" Sure enough, Michael was standing at the first booth on the Christmas market. We approached him and spoke with him for probably half an hour. He told us how he still struggles to know if he wants to learn about the message but he enjoys our company. He said he had trouble reading in the Book of Mormon because of his eyes, and he also didn´t understand some of what he read, so we were able to give him the CD and comfirm our appointment for the coming week. Right after we parted ways, we saw some members at the market and told them what had just happened, and they thought it was great. They bought us some crepes after that. It was an awesome day, and Elder Overall and I were both really thankful for that prompting we received and that we followed it. 

Sunday was just as good if not better than Saturday. Actually, it started off really stressful though. We got a call from a YSA who had forgotten to tell us we were supposed to give the lesson in Priesthood, so we had maybe 30 minutes to prepare a lesson out of the "Teachings of Lorenzo Snow" in German and then give it to the collective Priesthood in the ward. It turned out alright, though. Our other investigator, Carlos, showed up near the end of the class. For the second hour of church, we had a sort of investigator class where we watched the Restoration in Spanish. At the end, we talked about it and talked about how he felt. He said he felt good about it. We invited him right there to be baptized on Jan. 4, 2014, and he said yes! It is going to be a struggle getting everything in place for that and teaching him all of the lesson because our translator is going to be gone until the 27th, so we are searching out other opportunities to make up the difference (members who speak Spanish in other wards, Spanish friends of Carlos´ aunt, who is a member, etc.). We are praying that God will help us find a way to accomplish this great feat if the time is right. After church, in the evening, we went to the Kempeners and had dinner with them, as well as watching the new Mormon Message about Christmas. They also had us watch Mr. Krueger´s Christmas with them.  It was an awesome day.

Well, we are about to head to Darmstadt for a board game P-day as well as to hit up the Christmas market for one last time, and we have to leave now to catch the train. I hope you have a great week!

LG, Daniel

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Spanish Speaking Investigator

Hey Mom!

We had a really great week this week. We just had Pday on Monday, and then in the evening didn´t have any appointments, so we checked up some information about old referrals in the church´s referral manager system and then prepared some materials for the rest of the week.

Tuesday was a really good day though. We woke up early and went to the Catholic church here at 7:30 a.m. to go do service for the Tafel, which is like a place where they take all of the groceries that are about to expire, clean them up, and then give them out to poor people. We got to do some really good service and a lot of people asked about what we were doing there and it was great. There was also a potential investigator there that just happens to serve at the Tafel as well. The best part is that they want us to keep coming back, so we get to do this service every Tuesday and Friday morning. Later on, we went and contacted that referral from Bru. Jungheim. The guy let us in, but he has some weird opinions about religion and is not super interested in learning about our message. We read in Alma 40 about the next life and he told us he hopes there is no next life, no matter what kind of life it is. He is not suicidal, but he said he hope his life ends soon even though he is only 57. So that was a little strange. After that, we visited the Jungheims and told them how it went in addition to sharing a lesson with them. 

On Wednesday, we headed out to Dietzenbach to try and get Elder Overall´s visa stuff taken care of, but unfortunately, the place was closed. We had only the information for the 2014 hours of operation, but they didn´t turn out to be the same as 2013. After we got back, we helped the ward set up tables and things for the ward Christmas party. When we were done there, we walked to Erika Jochum´s apartment, an investigator who has been meeting with the missionaries for 12 years or so. We straight up told her that if she wasn´t planning on getting baptized eventually, we couldn´t teach her. She said she still wants to meet but probably won´t get baptized. We most likely won´t go over there again. 

On Thursday, I had a split with Elder Schmidt from Michelstadt. We were in Langen, and we had a really good split. We gave a lady a Book of Mormon who said her daughter went off with some gambling addict that gets in trouble with the cops, and now she has little contact with that daughter. We promised that the Book of Mormon will help, and she took it gladly. She didn´t give us a number or address though, so hopefully she reads it and calls us. We later headed to Gravenbruch where a member couple lives, the Mohrs, and had a good lesson/dinner with them. 

We headed to Heidelberg on Friday for our zone training meeting, and that went relatively well. We learned a lot about meeting and working more with the YSAs in our wards. Since then, we have set up an appointment with our YSAs for tonight to talk about those things, and they are also coming to Pday activities today (going to the Christmas markets in Darmstadt). Anyways, when we returned from Heidelberg, we went to the church to help with more Christmas decorations. As we were there, we walked past the entrance of the church and saw an old man reading the poster we have on the door saying what activities we have and when they are. We opened the door and he told us he wanted a tour through the church. We let him in briefly and he just talked and talked and talked about a lot of random things. After inviting him to come back the next day for a tour, he left. We finished up the night with our Bibelkreis, where we talked about Isaac and Rebekah. 

Saturday was an awesome day. The first part of the day was actually not so fun, though. We went to the church, and that old guy came for the church tour. I have never heard someone explain and assume more random things that don´t have anything to do with our church´s doctrine before that tour. Every time we took him to a room in the church he just would go off about how we must do this and that with the various rooms, pictures, chairs, etc. for the longest time. At the most, a church tour should take 15 to 20 minutes, but we were in there for an hour and 15 minutes. It was brutal. An example of what I am talking about was when we went to the basement where we have Priesthood classes. At the front of the room there happened to be four chairs set up and he asked eagerly what the symbolism of the four chairs was. We told him that usually the bishopric sits there and presides over the meetings. His response was that there must be a reason for the fourth chair and then proceeded to come up with this elaborate story about how the 4th chair must be symbolic of a person of high authority that is no longer alive but we set a place for him anyway out of respect. Our response was that what he said was not the case and that it just happened to be that four chairs were set up. That is how the entire tour went. At the end (and all throughout) we invited him to read in the Book of Mormon. He finally responded that he doesn´t need to read books, but that instead he holds books between his hands and just believes, then he knows everything he needs to know about that book. It was really weird, but at least someone came for a tour. 

Later on was when the day got awesome. We had a lesson with the nephew of a member from Columbia. His name is Carlos, and he doesn´t speak German or English. We set up an appointment with him last Sunday through a member from Spain who speaks English, and we had him there to translate everything. It went perfectly. Carlos accepted basically everything we taught and was excited to read in the Book of Mormon and come to church and make out a new appointment. Then after the lesson, we all went upstairs to the ward Christmas party, which was a lot of fun. For an awesome end to the day, we tried to call a bunch of these old referrals again who never seem to answer the phone, and one guy answered, not having had contact with the church since he was referred 3 or 4 years ago, and he said he is still interested in learning our message and taking the lessons in our church building. He doesn´t have time until January, but he said he wants us to call after the holidays to set something up. It was a great day.

Sunday was also good. We had church (Carlos came) and later on a lunch appointment with an older member couple, the Grassmans, and then a dinner appointment with Peter Rojas and his fiancee, where the Dietsches were also present. It was a good Sunday, but we had to eat way too much haha.

Well, things are going well with Elder Overall. We are heading to Darmstadt today to check out the Christmas market and get some cool things, which should be fun.

That is all for the week. I hope you have a great one!

LG, Daniel

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving and Voradventsfeier

Hey Mom! 

It looks like everyone had a really good Thanksgiving over there! The golf looked fun as always, and I guess it won´t be too much longer until I am back doing that as well. We got to have two Thanksgiving dinners here, so that was really cool. One was with the district after district meeting (the senior couple in Darmstadt prepared it) and the other was the "before-advent-celebration" with our Elder´s Quorum, which was basically just Thanksgiving. It was really good. 

Well, this week was ok. We started with a sport Pday on Monday in Darmstadt, and that was pretty cool. We later on headed back to Langen, and we had a really good lesson with the Kempeners (the Branch Pres. and his family) on Monday about the Priesthood and how God wants us to use it. The Kempeners are really cool. 

On Tuesday, we had lunch with an old member couple, after which we spent some time writing thank you notes to all of the members. In the evening, we went to Peter Rojas´ (an awesome member from Spain) place for a dinner appointment. When we got there, he asked us if we had a little bit of time, and we said yes, to which he responded that he wanted us to help him decorate his Christmas tree. It was a lot of fun. After that and dinner, Elder Brown shared his favorite scriptures with them as kind of his "goodbye."

Wednesday was pretty great as well. We went to Darmstadt for district meeting. It was a joint meeting with my district and the Darmstadt district. Afterwards, we had the Thanksgiving lunch I mentioned earlier. When we got back, Elder Brown had to pack his stuff until we had an evening appointment with the Mühlmanns. We watched the new "Wrong Roads" Mormon Message with them, which is really a good one. 

Thursday was transfers. We headed up to Frankfurt, and I got to see a lot of missionaries I didn´t see for a long time, including Elder Proffit, Elder Fowler, and Elder Goodrich. I am pretty excited; Elder Proffitt got transferred to Speyer which is in my zone, so I will be able to have more contact with him. I also picked up Elder Overall, my new companion. He is a good guy. We got back and went to Egelsbach to deliver some of the thank you notes Elder Brown and I had written, and then ended by having supper with the Grassmans (the Elder´s Quorum Pres. and his family). We watched the Mormon Message "Men's Hearts Shall Fail Them," and that went well. 

On Friday, we delivered some more thank you notes around Langen and then did our weekly planning. After that, we went to the church and helped set up and later participated in the "Voradventsfeier" (pre-advent-celebration). It went really well. A few members brought their nonmember friends, one of which became a referral. We are visiting this man, Michael, tomorrow evening shortly before we visit the guy who brought him to the activity. We also hoped to have that investigator Jonas there. We got in contact with him again, and he wanted to come, but he didn´t show up and now isn´t answering his phone again. It is frustrating. 

On Saturday, we did a lot of work in our area book, scanning through records of people we could try and contact who were investigators in the past. We decided to pick some out from Egelsbach since we still had a thank you note to deliver there. One of the addresses didn´t exist, but the other two were valid. Both of the people seem promising, but they both said to contact them after the holidays. I can imagine we will hear that from a lot of people. In the evening, we had our correlation with the ward mission leader, and that was good. 

Yesterday was a really good Sunday. Bruder Grassman blessed his newborn baby, and there were a ton of nonmembers there. It was fast and testimony meeting, and the Spirit was really strong. I also got up and bore my testimony, shortly describing what missionaries do. It went well. We haven´t gotten any referrals from this yet, but there were some people who seemed to have good questions and a good experience in the church. After church, we went to the Langners for lunch and talked with them about charity. We later finished the evening with studies. All in all, the week was good.

We have a lot of stuff planned for this week with members and with a couple nonmembers. We need to help the YSAs set up all the Christmas stuff, and we also will have a lesson before our Christmas party with the nephew of a member who is in town. He speaks only Spanish, so Peter Rojas is going to be there as well to translate everything. I hope it goes well, and then we could possibly send the referral to Columbia (I think he is from there) when he leaves in a week or two.

Well, that was the week. I hope you all have a great week and that things continue to go well!

LG, Daniel

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fantastic Tuesday, Disappointing Thursday, Rotten Food Friday

Hey Mom!

We had transfer calls this week, and I know you will be interested to know what happened. I am staying in Langen, but Elder Brown is getting transferred already. He is going up to Mülheim, and replacing him as my new comp is Elder Overall (I am pretty sure that is what his name is). He is only in his 3rd transfer, so it is just another young comp for me! This will be my second time golden busting (being the next companion of a missionary who just got trained) for Christmas. Last time it was Elder Fowler in Solingen. Probably the most interesting news of transfer calls was Elder Hutchings though. He is going to Idar-Oberstein! I am glad he finally gets to experience the small town life I have had pretty much my whole mission, considering he has been in these huge cities and wards his whole mission. This will help us relate to each others´ missions a lot better haha.

We had a strange week this week. It was kind of hard. Monday was a good day though. We went to the Wagners for FHE and talked about having a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Brother Wagner is my favorite, and their whole family is really awesome and funny. 

Tuesday was actually fantastic. Since we are so close to Offenbach, we got to go there to hear Elder Osguthorpe, the President of the Sunday School for the church, and Elder Ridd of the General Young Men´s presidency, speak to us. The only missionaries that got to go were the missionaries in Frankfurt Zone, and then my district and Elder Hutchings´ district, just because it is easy for us to get there but expensive for the other missionaries. It was awesome. Elder Osguthorpe talked a lot about ways to help investigators and less-actives, and also about Ammon´s 3 D´s of success (desire, decision, determination). Elder Ridd spoke of having real intent in all that we do, including praying, doing morning exercise, eating breakfast, study, etc. It was very informative and helped me a lot. Elder Leimer, the area seventy, was also there and spoke about being clear and honest about our purpose as missionaries, especially in expressing the importance of and the goal to get other people baptized, and letting them know it. The best part of the day was that after the meetings, we came back to Langen and had a lesson with a potential investigator, in which we got to apply everything we had just learned. The lesson went really well and this guy, Jonas, knows exactly why we are teaching him and what we expect of him. He was excited to read in the Book of Mormon and was rethinking his decision to get baptized in another church.

Wednesday was also a good day. We went by on a family that I thought was less active, but it turns out that they were just really old and can´t physically make it to church anymore. They were workers in the Temple for 14 years and take the sacrament every week, so that was cool. They were surprised that we had not been over in so long. Later on, we had an appointment fall out with Eva Sonn again. It sounds kind of weird, but I like working with less actives and there are not a lot here in Langen, and sometimes I wish there were more who were willing to meet, but the activity rate in Langen is one of the highest in the mission, if not the highest (around 85%). We later on had a dinner appointment with the Dietsches, and that went well. We shared the Mormon Message about the currant bush. 

Thursday was the day that things started getting hard and disappointing. We were supposed to have another appointment with Jonas, but he didn´t come to the appointment and now hangs up the phone when we call. We went on a split with the zone leaders as well. I went to Heidelberg with Elder Stimpson, and we had a good split. We got to talk to a lot of people because there are people all over the place, unlike in Langen, and we had a couple good appointments. On the way back from the split, we got a call from President Schwartz, who told Elder Stimpson that he would be getting a new zone leader companion, Elder Wardrop, who is Breck Naylor´s cousin. The other zone leader, Elder Lindsey, just got called as assistant to the president. On his split with Elder Brown, he said we needed to spend more time with the members, trying to have 9 to 10 appointments a week with them. That will be really hard to do since most of the members have a ton of work and work shifts, but we need to try and do something else than what we have been doing because what we have been doing hasn´t seemed to work very well. 

On Friday, we had some service at a sister's house, where we were cleaning our her basement. She is 92 years old, and she is a pack rat. The basement is full of thousands of jars of preserves and a lot of other junk from the last 30 years. It was really disgusting. We filled up an entire dumpster with old junk and only cleared out a third of the basement. There was also one of those big freezers, like a lot of people have in their garage, that was all rusty and not plugged in. It had probably been shut off for about 25 years, and they opened it. It was full of boxes of food that has been rotting for the last quarter century, and some people were having a hard time not throwing up from the smell. It was awful. We later on had the Bibelkreis, which was good, even though not many people came. 

On Saturday, we had our weekly planning session in addition to transfer calls. I also spent some time preparing a talk about missionary work that I had to give the next day. It was kind of a slow day. 

I gave my talk on Sunday, and I talked about how we and the members are all on the same team. I mostly just quoted the apostles from the broadcast "Hastening the Work of Salvation." I also spoke of the need to perk peoples´ interest and then not just answer all of their questions, but instead invite them to talk with us since we are called and set apart to teach with power and authority. I used the example of saying that I had something in my pocket that none of them had ever seen before and would never get to see again except at that time, and that after the meeting they could come up to me and see what it was (my American driver´s license). I briefly showed it just so they saw that I had something and then put it back in my pocket. I then read the story of Abish from Alma 19, where Abish perks peoples´ interest and then the people are taught and baptized by Ammon, who was called to preach the gospel. It went well, and there were several members that came up afterwards and said the Spirit was there and wanted to see what was in my pocket. Later, after church, we went to the Stübe´s for lunch and then had a fireside about genealogy, which was cool. It was a good day.

Well, that is pretty much it for the week. We are having District Meeting on Wednesday, after which the senior couple in Darmstadt is making us a Thanksgiving dinner, so that will be really good. I hope that you have a great week and a good Thanksgiving!

LG, Daniel

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Getting Cold. . .

Hey Mom!

Well, this week was kind of a hard one. Elder Brown and I kind of went crazy just not knowing what to do since it is getting cold and it is getting more difficult to come into contact with much of anyone, but we are fighting through it. 

Monday was pretty good. We went to Neu-Isenburg to buy a couple things for P-day, and then came back to Langen afterwards for a member appointment. As we were in Neu-Isenburg, we saw Rosel Von Stauß, that investigator we had. She told us that she was going to the Philippines this next week for a few months, so I will probably never see her again unfortunately. We invited her to continue reading in the Book of Mormon, so hopefully the missionaries can help her when she returns, or even while she is in the Philippines. We had that appointment afterwards with the Mühlmann´s, which was good. 

On Tuesday, we went to Sprendlingen to try and find people, but it didn´t work out too great. There was one old guy that said he had no interest but then turned back around and put his arm around my shoulder, putting his face right next to mine explaining how he left his church years ago and then came back in 2008 or so. It was kind of awkward. We later went to the Schwarzes (not the mission president) for dinner. We talked with them about going about and doing good like the Savior. On the way there, a man approached us and said he had met with missionaries before. We got his number and made an appointment for Saturday evening.

On Wednesday, we went to Erzhausen to try and give away a Book of Mormon, and we were there for over an hour and a half and probably saw 4 people on the street. We probably won´t be going back there any time soon. Later on, we went by on the Millers, that family from a while ago that Sister Mühlmann introduced us to, and we caught the wife at home, but she was the only one there and had to leave anyway. So we will go by again this week. We ended the night participating in the missionary prep course for the ward and then had our correlation with the ward mission leader.

We had district meeting in Darmstadt on Thursday, and after that went to a restaurant called Vapiano for lunch as a district. It is way tasty. I had a split with Elder Phelps in Langen when we returned, and it was alright. We didn´t have the most eventful day in the world, but we did deliver invitations to a ward acitivity to members and also had English class.

After splitting back on Friday, Elder Brown and I had our weekly planning session. In the evening, we had our Bible study course at the church, and a small number of members came. 

Saturday was a really good day. We woke up early to go to the temple, which was really great. It was the first time in over a year since I was there. They don´t have the new film there yet; they haven´t translated it into German yet. I got to take part in confirmations after youth in the ward were baptized for the dead, which was cool. We did a session afterwards. After the temple trip, we went to Groß-Gerau so that Elder Brown could get his Patriarchal Blessing. It was a cool experience to be there for that. When we got home, we pretty much had only time for studies. We went to the church for that appointment with the guy from Tuesday, but he didn´t show up.

Yesterday was a good day. We had good church meetings, and then went to Peter Rojas´ place for lunch afterwards. We taught a lesson about the Book of Mormon, and then when we were done with that, we hade a dinner appointment with the Kempeners. We talked with them about forgiveness, and it went well. We ate a lot of food yesterday haha.

Well, that was about it for the week. I hope you have a good one!

LG, Daniel

Monday, November 11, 2013

This Week's Email

Hey Mom!

We had a little bit of a slower week in some ways here. On Monday, we met with the new family that just moved into the ward, the Auras family. They are really cool, and we talked with them about the Book of Mormon including the watching of a Mormon Message. There is a huge push in the mission to use media, so we have been doing something similar with a lot of members as well as on the street. 

On Tuesday, we spent a large amount of time taking fliers around to members for a Thanksgiving-ish activity at the end of the month. We later on had our weekly correlation with our ward mission leader, and after that we attended ward council. 

Wednesday consisted of heading to Neu-Isenburg to go by on some people to invite them to our bible circle, and then we headed back to Langen to an appointment with an old investigator that we are going to stop teaching, but she wasn´t home. In the evening, we had an appoinment with the Noacks, a member family, which went alright. 

On Thursday, we had to head to Dietzenbach so I could pick up the renewal of my visa, and then we contacted some old referrals we found. There is a referral manager that the church uses to refer people that were either talked to by missionaries in other areas, on temple square, or other things like that. We checked the referral pool from the last 10 years and there were 6 referrals that were never contacted, mostly out of 2009 and 2011, so we were excited about that. At the end of the night, we had English class with Bruder Schwarz. 

We went to Heidelberg on Friday for zone training, which was really good as always. We had an appointment with a les-active woman fall out when we got back to Langen, and there weren´t enough people at the bible class to even have it. There was an older sister who needed a blessing, so we went over there with a member to give her one.

We spent most of Saturday trying to contact all of the remaining referrals, which took a large amount of time due to the fact that half of them live in little cities all scattered within our area´s boundaries. Only one of them was home, and he wasn´t at all interested. 

Sunday was probably the best day of the week. We had church, and it was the primary program. There was a member who invited her friend to church for the third time, and for the third time she said she would come but didn´t show up, so that was a little disappointing. After church, we headed to the Hess home, a middle-aged couple in the ward. It was pretty fun. Sister Hess is from Poland and served a mission in Germany, and she knows a ton about the bible, so she saw it as her responsibility to teach us about the old temple in Jerusalem. Gary Hess is from America and he cooked up some enormous steaks for us. It was really good. He also gave us root beer, which you can´t get in Germany. It was a great appointment. 

Well, that is about it for the week. We get to go the temple this week on Saturday for sure. Our ward is having a temple trip, and Pr. Schwartz said that we could go, so we won´t have to change our email day from next Monday or anything. It will be really cool to go to the temple with the ward here. 

Anways, I hope you have a great week!

LG, Daniel

Last Week's Email

Hey Mom!

I am glad that you and Ryan had a good trip to DC and that his interview went well. I don´t have a ton of time to write today; we are heading to Darmstadt to play soccer. Oh yeah, and we did not go to the temple yet; there were too many missionaries going on that day, so we are probably going next week. 

Well, we had a pretty good week. On Monday, we had a relaxed Pday and then had another appointment with the investigator, Sis. von Stauß. It went really well. We brought her a Book of Mormon in Cebuano, and she was really, really happy. We taught about the Restoration, and she seemed to understand it all and see why it was important. We unfortunately will not be having another appointment with her soon because she is going on a vacation for a week or so. 

On Tuesday, we made a big blow-up of a QR code that leads to a Mormon Message when you take a picture of it with a smart phone with the scanning app. We used it for contacting and were able to stop a younger guy and get him to scan it. We watched the video with him right there on the street and he was really interested. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon, and we got his email address. He hasn´t responded yet, but it hopefully will happen soon. Later on, we headed to the Mühlmann´s for dinner and for FHE. The daughter, Zinnah, who had invited her friend, invited that same friend and another friend, and we gave a lesson about making good decisions. She told us afterwards that her friends really liked it, so hopefully that will go somewhere. 

Wednesday was a slower day. We went to Neu-Isenburg to contact, but didn´t see success. We later went by on some people and were able to make out a new appointment with an old investigator, but the lesson will probably be more of a goodbye since she doesn´t make progress or pay much attention in the lessons. We ended the night with a correlation meeting with our ward mission leader. 

Thursday was way cool. We had a joint-district meeting with the Darmstadt district in Darmstadt. When we came back to Langen, we were walking toward the apartment and a couple girls sitting on a bench called out to us, one of them saying it was her birthday. We wished her a happy birthday, and then they started asking us questions. We taught them about the Book of Mormon, and later the one opened up to us, explaining her life and how she wanted to make some changes. We got her phone number and gave her a Book of Mormon. We are now trying to make contact with her, seeing as she wanted to call us the next day, but ended up sending a text saying she didn´t have time to call. She hasn´t answered since then, but hopefully we can get a hold of her. 

On Friday, we had a lunch appointment with an older couple in the branch, and later on had an appointment with a less-active woman. We had our bible study course as well, and not many people showed up, but at least it didn´t fall out this week. 

On Saturday, we went to Götzenhain to try and invite a potential investigator to an activity, but no one was home. It is getting harder to talk to people on the street because now it is getting dark and cold really early, and there are hardly any people on the street here anyways. We ended the night with a dinner appointment with the Dietsches, and that was really good. They had made some goals for missionary work, and we bore testimony about asking the Lord to assist us and promising we will do our best to reach our goals, and they really liked that. 

Sunday was great. We had church, and I got up and bore my testimony towards the beginning of the meeting. A lot of the members talk about how important it is to sew seeds, and I bore my testimony of the importance of that, but also how important it is to know that "the field is all white, ready to harvest" and that there are seeds that were sewn that are now ready to be harvested. It was awesome because after that, one of my favorite members got up and set that that impacted him and he bore testimony of the importance of following the Spirit because he knows who is already prepared. It was good to know that my testimony affected someone. We went to the Kempener´s for lunch, and then to Peter Rojas for dinner. We talked with them about genealogy, and helped him do his work. 

Well, that is about it. I hope you have a great week!

LG, Daniel

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Lot of Good Things Happening

Hey Mom! 

I got the package you sent. Thanks a bunch! It is a huge sugar overload, so I have been sharing it with the elders in my district haha. Elder Ryser in Michelstadt is from Switzerland, so he got to taste some American candy for the first time, and wanted me to tell you thanks from him. 

This week was an interesting one. We had a lot of good things happen, but it was also pretty slow. On Monday, we got our first new investigator for the transfer (for me it was the first new investigator for over 3 months). We went to Bruder von Stauß´s apartment and his wife became a little more interested in learning about the gospel. She said at the end, "I will try my best to learn and love Mormon." That was pretty cool to hear, and I hope she makes real progress. We got a Book of Mormon for her in Cebuano (she is from the Phillipines), and we have another lesson with her tonight. It might be a challenge though because she doesn´t like the cold and goes every winter to the Phillipines for a few months, and she leaves in November. We will have to wait and see how that goes. 

On Tuesday, we went by on an older couple in Mörfelden-Walldorf who were an old referral from an area seventy apparently. President Schwartz told us that the seventy wanted to know how things were going and wanted us to try again. We went over and tried to invite them to do genealogy work, but they were not too excited about it. Later on, we headed to Götzenhain and stopped by on Frank, the man who was at Sister Mühlmann´s birthday a while ago. He let us in and we answered questions and taught a bit about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. He told us that he would like to learn more but can guarantee that he will never convert. Hopefully the gospel will soften his heart. We weren´t able to make a return appointment; he said he was too busy to set one. 

I traveled down to Heidelberg with Elder Standring on Wednesday. We had interviews with President and then had a leadership training meeting for a few hours. We learned a lot about setting inspired goals and priorities, and making covenants with the Lord to achieve those goals. When I got back to Langen, Elder Brown and I went to the Grassman´s for an appointment. Their little baby chewed up some apple, spit it out, and threw it across the table, landing on my tie. It was kind of funny, and I wasn´t upset about it since it is a machine washable tie haha. We talked with them about the Book of Mormon and the church´s media efforts. 

On Thursday, we had district meeting in Langen. I gave a theme about setting inspired priorities and goals, and Elder Phelps (one of the Michelstadt Elders) gave one about the importance of finding with the Spirit. It was really good. At first, I was a little apprehensive about having only a 4-man district, but I actually kind of like it. It is easier to council together that way. After district meeting, I went on a split with Elder Ryser in Michelstadt. We met with their new ward mission leader and helped get the planning of a fireside underway. It was pretty cool. I also tried to learn a little bit of Swiss-German from Elder Ryser, but that stuff is crazy. 

Friday and Saturday mostly consisted of helping people move. On Friday, the Piotrowskis in our ward moved from one city to another within our boundaries, and on Saturday, a new family from Wetterau moved in. We also tried to go by on a potential investigator on Saturday evening, but we couldn´t find his apartment. 

We got to drive down to Kaiserslautern for stake conference yesterday. It was awesome. I got to see some of the Idar-Oberstein members for the first time in about a year, and that was really fun. President Schwartz gave a really good talk as well as President Cziesla, the stake president. He talked about how we need to take all of our old mindsets (for example, "I have tried that before and nothing came of it" or "it´s Germany and missionary work is just too hard"), pack them up in a box, and forget about them. There is so much emphasis lately on missionary work, I just hope these things also get applied. 

Well, that was about how the week went. I know I said I was going to write a letter last week and never did; we were just relaxing last Pday and had about enough time left for me to write a letter when I remembered that I forgot to send my email to Pres. Schwartz, so we had to race to the church so I could send that off. I will try to write one this week. 

Also, next week, we might be going to the temple, which isn´t open on Mondays, so we will probably push our Pday to Tuesday or Wednesday. That means that it is possible that I won´t send my email on Monday, but on Tuesday or Wednesday. Just thought I would let you know. 

I hope you have a great week and a great Halloween!

LG, Daniel

Monday, October 21, 2013

Visa Extension and Transfers

Hey Mom!
Well, this week was pretty good. On Monday, Elder Young and I went to Darmstadt to play soccer in the chapel with the rest of our district. It was really fun, but we couldn´t stay for very long. Once we got back, we headed to the Mühlmann´s for FHE.  Tuesday was kind of ridiculous. When I was new on the mission, and got my visa, I was supposed to get it for 2 years, but the people in Idar-Oberstein only gave me a one-year visa. I did all of the paperwork while I was in Gera to get it extended, but got transferred before they had it in to pick up. I accidentally forgot about it after I got to Langen and we tried calling the visa place, which wasn´t open at the time. We got a letter in the mail saying I had to come in during last week, and that I had to pay an 80 Euro fine and also I had to bring more biometric photos. I didn´t have anymore, so we had to go get some made that morning, and then we had to do all of the visa stuff in Dietzenbach, a city that isn´t even in our area. It was quite a long bus ride to get out there and back, so it took out a huge chunk of the day. When we finally got back, we trimmed some trees for an elderly sister in our ward. We finished up the day with some studies, and also had time to go to an appointment with a less-active woman. She either wasn´t home or didn´t open up when we went over, so that was kind of disappointing.

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to do a bit of contacting, and gave a Book of Mormon to an old lady from Italy. We had a decent conversation for a while, but then she kept just nodding when we told her a truth of the restored gospel and then would twist it to fit her own  opinion. It was kind of a frustrating experience, but it was a good lesson in patience. We later had a lesson in Neu-Isenburg with Boubacar, the investigator. Some people he knew passed away this last week and he also had a lot of stress with work, so he wasn´t super focused, but we promised him that he could find comfort reading about the Plan of Salvation, and invited him to read the brochure we have for that. Once we got back from there, we had an appointment with some members, the Piotrowskis. We showed them a Mormon Message and discussed how we could work with the YSAs in the ward to spread more church media.

Thursday was transfer day. Elder Young and I headed up to Frankfurt (a 9-minute train ride) in the late morning. There were a lot of missionaries there that I hadn´t seen in a long time, including Elder Colson (who just got transferred to Gera!), which was a lot of fun. I picked up Elder Brown and we headed back down to Langen. Elder Brown is a cool guy. He is from Texas and we get along pretty well. I bet that we will be together for at least two transfers here, which means Christmas as well. When we were on the train back to Langen, a guy who works for the Deustche Bahn (the train company in Germany) came up to us and asked if we spoke English. He took us over to some Americans who were on the train without tickets and had no idea what was going on. We translated the message for them that they had to have a ticket to ride the train down to Langen, and helped them get everything sorted out. It was a man and a woman with a little baby, and they both turned out to be professional basketball players that were going to be playing for teams here in Langen. We talked and invited them to learn a little more about the church and also offered them some help learning German. They were really nice and hopefully we hear from them soon. Later that night, we met with the Jungheims (some really cool members) and then had English class. We ended the night with our correlation meeting with Bruder Sauer (the ward mission leader), which went really well. Last Sunday, Bru. Stübe was called as an assistant to the ward mission leader, and he had been ward mission leader years before, so he is a great addition to the team here. He is very organized and passionate in fulfilling his callings, so we are really excited to see what he will add to our efforts here.

On Friday, we went to Heidelberg for our zone training meeting. We talked a lot about genealogy and doing that which we can do "today" to achieve our long-term goals. When we got back from that, we went to our bible study group we started. A member taught the class this week. We talked about Genesis 3. Bru. Mohr, the teacher, pointed out at the end of the lesson something which really strengthened my testimony of the Atonement. Before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they were in the presence of God and could not die physically or spiritually, but they also could not have children or know the difference between good and evil. When they were cast out of the garden, those things all flipped: they were now able to die physically and spiritually and were not in the presence of God, but they could know good from evil and have children. Only through the Atonement are all of these things fulfilled, instead of just two of these conditions. Because of the Atonement, we can all be brought back into the presence of God, we can overcome physical and spiritual death, and we can still know good from evil and have children. It is good to know that the Atonement fulfilled all things in that sense.

On Saturday, we had our first go at church tours, but nobody came, so we ended up just doing our weekly planning during that time. Afterwards, we spent pretty much the rest of the evening helping put together furniture for some members who are moving from one city in our area to another. It made me grateful for all of the legos I put together in my life because it was basically just a really complex, huge set of legos.

Sunday was good as well. We had church, and during the meetings had a talk with the rest of the ward mission team to bring Bru. Stübe up to speed on the ward mission. After church, we went to the Langners for lunch and talked about the talks given by Elder Ballard and Gifford Nielsen from conference. We later went to the church, where the birthday of Bru. Sauer´s son, Valentin, was being celebrated. Bru. Sauer´s mother was there, who is not a member. We talked to her for probably about an hour. She said she wasn´t at peace with her current church, and that she might come by to our bible study group some time. She also asked about genealogy, and we were able to show here our fan charts that you can make online with the church´s websites. She was very interested, and might try to start her own. She was astounded that we could go back so far, assuming we had maybe 3 or 4 generations of ancestors. I was also able to show her which of our ancestors came from Denmark, and she thought that was great. 

Anyways, today is just a chill P-day with nothing crazy going on for once. I will have time to write a letter, so you can expect to get one from me this week. I hope you have a great week!

LG, Daniel

Monday, October 14, 2013

Deep Cleaning and Transfer Calls

Hey Mom!
Well, you were correct, we had transfer calls this week. I am staying here and have been called as district leader again; the district is us and the Michelstadt Elders.  I am also getting a new companion, an Elder Brown. He will be in his 5th transfer, and he has been his whole mission in Solingen so far, so at least we have that in common. I hope he can help us move on the work here. Elder Young is going east to Nordhausen. Another interesting thing from transfers: Elder Watts, my last comp, got called as a zone leader in a brand new zone, the Wiesbaden Zone. It used to be part of Frankfurt Zone, but I guess that zone got too many missionaries and had to be split.

We had an alright week this week. We had to spend about the first three days of the week cleaning our apartment. The mission wants us to do deep cleaning once a transfer, and you can imagine with a bunch of 20-year-old missionaries, not much cleaning ever gets done. We had to clean the apartment super thoroughly, and it was really disgusting. Years of nastiness just built up all over the place. We got time to do other things on those days, but for the most part, it was just cleaning. 

I had a split with Elder Parkinson in Darmstadt on Thursday. We gave a blessing to a member who was getting an operation the next day. After that, we took a bus out to some members and ate dinner with them. We shared a lesson about sharing our favorite scriptures from the Book of Mormon and invited them to pray for opportunities to share those scriptures with others in need.

Friday was great. We have been trying to start this Bible study course since I got here, and we finally had our first one this week. There were 5 members there, which is a pretty good start in my opinion. We should have even more this week, and one of the members already said he could give the lesson next week. We are trying to make it so the members eventually take it over so they are more committed and excited about it. 

Saturday was transfer calls and weekly planning. We were going to have an appointment with a less-active sister after that, but it fell out. 

Sunday was good as well. We got to give a short lesson about sharing the gospel in primary and also had a Q&A kind of thing about missionary work in Relief Society. After church, we went to our branch president´s for lunch. Sister Kempener made some beef casserole and after that some crepes. It was a good appointment. We shared a lesson about going forward and praying for missionary opportunities, kind of referring to Edward Dube´s counsel to look forward with faith. 

Well, that is about it for this week. I am sure there will be a lot to tell you next week about the new companionship and everything. Elder Young and I are meeting up with the district for the last time today to play soccer, so we have to get going to that. I hope you have a great week!

LG, Daniel

Monday, October 7, 2013

Member Missionary Work

Hey Mom! 

This general conference was so great. There were a ton of over-arching themes that I really liked, like doing the things that Christ asks us to do, rising up, and especially being equally yoked in the work. I think two of my favorite talks were from Edward Dube and also from M. Russell Ballard. Those talks were great and opened my eyes to what we need to do here in Langen to see success. I have kind of had this mindset of focusing primarily on member work since I got here since the ward is so supportive. We didn´t have that as much in Gera just because there weren´t a ton of members who could help with a bunch of things. While I was there, we tried to do member work but focused primarily on our personal activities as missionaries. I now have a respect for balancing these things equally in order to see success. 

Well, this last week was pretty good. On Monday, we had FHE with the Mühlmanns, and Zinnah (the 14-year-old daughter) brought her friend just like she said. She enjoyed the thought we shared and said she would be interested in coming to FHE more often. It went really well. 

Tuesday was zone conference in Heidelberg, which took the entire day. It was really good. President Schwartz talked a ton about chapter 9 in PMG and about having faith. At one point he said something like, "People are being prepared in your area. Many are waiting to accept the gospel. Can we please believe that?" It was really cool. I hope I can improve my faith to find. 

We had a good day on Wednesday. We went to Neu-Isenburg where a less-active and an investigator live. We brought cookies to the less-active for his birthday, and he seemed to appreciate it. We dropped off a brochure at the investigator´s apartment. As we were on our way back to the train station, we were talking to various people, and at one point we passed an older turkish woman struggling to carry her groceries. We asked if we could help her, and she let us. We talked about religion the whole way and she was really happy to see people like us still around since most youth our age are ruining their lives with drugs and alcohol (her words). She said she would try to make it to conference, but she didn´t end up showing because she gave us a bad telephone number. She has our card though, and hopefully she will call one day because she seemed really sincere and quite interested. Later on, we had a correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, Bruder Sauer. After that, we had a good conference-preparation lesson with Eva Sonn, a ward member. 

Thursday was also a pretty good day. We biked out to the Grassmans, who are a family in our ward, and had lunch there. We shared that same video from "Hastening the Work" and they liked it. They had a really long discussion about it and a lot of other things. When we finished that appointment, we went to Neu-Isenburg to have a lesson with that investigator whose name is Boubacar. We had a really good lesson with him. It is the first time I have met with him. He had met with the missionaries before a little bit, but he works for the German airline company as a plane mechanic and he has really crazy shifts he has to work, and therefor rarely has time to meet. We helped him understand the importance of the Restoration, and he now has a desire to know the Bible and the Book of Mormon a little better. When we got back from that appointment, we went to the Branch President´s house for dinner. We didn´t get to discuss much with him about missionary work because they had other visitors coming. 

On Friday, we did some service with the Noack family, helping replace a rotten, wooden beam on a car covering in their driveway. We had lunch with them after that and shared a lesson about conference. When we returned home, we did our weekly planning, and went to a primary activity in the evening. On Saturday, we went to the Mühlmanns to meet with Peter Rojas, a member from Spain who is living in their basement. We had an intro to family history lesson with them using the videos the church has out now. It went well, and he wants to do more research on his family now. After the appointment, we rushed to the train so we could get back to the chapel in time to watch the Saturday morning session of conference. 

All of Sunday was basically spent in Darmstadt, watching the Priesthood, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning sessions of conference. We barely caught all of our trains and it was kind of hectic getting home, but we made it. 

Well, that was about the week. This week is going to be pretty cool. Elder Young and I have been planning some activities with the ward council that will take place weekly (a bible study class, church tours, etc.). We made some fliers for these activities and designed a big paper to be on the front of the church door so that passersby can see the activities we will be having. We sent these to the bishopric about 3 weeks ago, and I thought all of the projects had just kind of been forgotten and died, and I was kind of bummed because we had worked hard to convince people to take part in these activities, but then we got a call from a member in charge of printing out the fliers and he asked how many we wanted. He printed them out the same day and also the big shield with all of the activity information on the church. According to the fliers, these activities start this week, so I am now really excited. We have ward council tomorrow, so I hope we can get everyone pumped about taking part in these activities. 

Anyways, that´s the news. I hope you have a good week!

LG, Daniel

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Lot of Bike Riding

Hey Mom!
This last week was pretty good, all things considered. On Monday, we were with the Wagners for FHE. We watched the video from "Hastening the Work" with the family that does all that missionary work and the missionaries were just kind of there. I don´t know if you know the one I mean. That went well. After asking them what they could apply from what they learned, the 11-year-old son, Jonas, said we should come play ping pong at the young men´s activity where his nonmember friend was going to be. That was cool to see. 
Tuesday was a beast of a day. We rode our bikes about 30 kilometers, most of the time through bumpy forest paths, to try and find a member whose record had been sent to the ward. When we got there, the place where it said he lived turned out to be just an old building where hunters apparently used to stay. There was no one living there. Later on that night, we had an appointment with Mario and Emma Langer from the ward, and we watched the same video as with the Wagners. We invited them to watch the entire broadcast, so we will see what happens there. 
On Wednesday, we rode the bikes probably about another 30 kilometers on a similar path to visit an inactive man living in an old person´s home. When we got there, the guy in the lobby said that this man´s health was not doing well and that we couldn´t speak with him. So another really long bike ride where not much happened in the end. We spent a little more time contacting in that city, but didn´t end up having a ton of luck. When we got back, we had the young men´s activity and got to play ping pong with Jonas, his dad, and his friend. In the middle of that we had a very brief appointment with a member who is hard to get a hold of since he is always traveling. 
We had disrict meeting in Darmstadt on Thursday, and also spent time on that day to make goals and plans for how we are going to contribute to the Frankfurt Mission Goals between now and the end of the year. We ended the night with our English class, where Mike was once again the only student. 
Friday was a good day as well. We did some service at the church, trimming and cleaning the bushes and weeds and everything. After that, we had some studies and also our weekly planning session. Later in the evening, we met with the Voglers, a great family from our ward. We wanted to watch that same video we had watched with other members, but their internet doesn´t work so we had to wing it and talk about the same subject without the video. It actually went really well, and hopefully they can make progress with their friends. 
Saturday was a relatively busy day. We made some cookies and took them to some old people in our ward, active and less-active. We also went by on some former investigators and potential investigators, but no one was home. We were going to have an appointment with this family we had found knocking on doors, but when we went to the scheduled appointment, they were not home. We wrote them a note, saying we would try to come back the next week. As we were leaving, a man pulled up in his car with his family, and only he got out and went into the apartment building. As we rode past the car on our bikes, I could see the YSA age girl we had spoken with and who had invited us to come back, hiding her face in the back seat that we might not see her. Oh well, that kind of stuff isn´t foreign to me or any other missionary. Later that evening, we had a lesson with a less-active woman, Schwester Sonn, and it went well. To end off the night, we worked on cleaning up the area book. It is kind of disorganized and messy, so we are trying to get into good shape. 
Sunday was a good day as well. We had our church meetings, as always, and got some good appointments with some members set up there. Jonas Wagner told us that after playing ping pong, he was able to tell his friend a little about the church, which made us really happy. After church, we went and had lunch with the Dietsch family, some more members in our ward. We watched that same video with them. We invited them to think about what they had seen and how they can apply it. They have a friend that they said they would like to invite to something, so hopefully that all goes well. In the evening, we went by on some former investigators, but they weren´t there. At the second one, there was a group of guys hanging out outside the apartment building, and as we rounded the corner on our bikes, one of them asked us who we are and what we are doing here. We told him, and he said that he thought it was cool, but then said bye. As we rode away, I felt like we had missed an opportunity there, and that we needed to go back and invite them to church. We did, and they at first all said no, but we offered them some cards, and they took those and then started asking questions about us and our church. None of them were interested in the end, but it is at least nice to have a conversation with people who want to know something. 
And that was about the extent of our week. We have a really great opportunity tonight to teach. A 14-year-old girl in our ward, Zinnah Mühlmann, has this friend who she wants to get interested in the gospel, and she invited her over for FHE tonight. We are going over there to give the FHE lesson about Christ. I hope it goes well. Pray that things can turn into something great. This week should be a great week. We have appointments almost everyday this week, and we have zone conference tomorrow in Heidelberg and then general conference on Saturday and Sunday. Gonna be sweet!
I hope you have a great week! Love you!
LG, Daniel

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Parable of the Bowl of Soup

Hey Mom!
This week was pretty awesome. First of all, we got to go to the IAA in Frankfurt, the biggest car show in the world. It happens only once every 2 years. Looks like I got transferred just at the right time. It was awesome. I think I took over 250 pics. The cars there were incredible, and I am sure there were several that I saw that will never go into production and stay just concept cars, so not many people will probably ever get to see some of those cars again. The coolest part of the show was the Audi display. It was like an upside-down city and the whole middle section of the ceiling was a giant screen with videos of cars driving on it, it was crazy. We later on went to our branch president´s house to be there for his 20-year-old son, Robin´s, birthday. It was good. We sang some church songs and had dinner. 

Tuesday was probably the slowest day of the week. We had a meeting with our ward mission leader that evening, and wanted to prepare for that because we had a lot to discuss. We also had some go-bys on a few people, but we mostly had that appointment with him, after which we had ward council meeting. There wasn´t a whole lot of time for appointments that day.

Wednesday was interesting. We had a member lunch appointment with Gary Hess, who is originally from America. He served in Germany when he was younger, and he served in Solingen, so that was fun to talk about with him. We also taught him the Restoration as if he were an investigator to gain his trust in us as teachers and to sharpen our teaching skills. Later on, we went to an appointment with an eternal investigator named Erika, who has been kind of investigating  for 12 years or something. It was one of the weirder appointments I have had on the mission. Every time we wanted to discuss something, she just went off on the most random tangents. Eventually, I asked her if she knew what our purpose was as missionaries. She said something about God having an eye out for us, and then promptly began to talk about her neighbor for a few minutes. It was a little frustrating. We set up another appointment with her for this week, and if it goes about the same, we will probably not go by there often anymore. Right after that, we had a much better, more focused lesson with a less-active sister. We talked about the armor of God, and she enjoyed it. 

On Thursday, I had a split with Elder Standring in Langen. We went and did some service in the Mühlmann´s garden. While we were there, their 14-year-old daughter, Zinnah, brought one of her friends over to meet us, and then went back to school. They were on a lunch break. The parents later told us that Zinnah had been talking about wishing there were more youth her age in the ward, and they told her to find some herself because they don´t hang out with 14-year-olds. Zinnah watched the "Hastening the Work of Salvation" broadcast by herself and decided to start introducing her friend to us. Next time, she might invite her friend to a family home evening that we will be a part of as well. It was an awesome thing to see the principles learned in the broadcast actually put into action. And that was just the beginning of the awesomeness.

Friday was just as amazing. We had Zone Training in Heidelberg, which was great, and then afterwards went to the Mühlmann´s again for Sister Mühlmann´s birthday. She had invited a non-member man named Frank, and we sat by him and talked to him the whole time we were there. She told us before we sat down that he was against religion, but he was actually very nice and asked us quite a few questions. At the end of the night, we asked Bruder Mühlmann if he could give us a ride home (about a 15 minute ride), and Frank´s car was in the way, so he volunteered himself to drive us home. We talked about the church and us as missionaries the whole way back and he opened up to us why he had left his old church. Apparently a pastor had told him that anyone who is not baptized is not Christ´s friend, and we told him that was not true. He seemed to be glad we told him that. We invited him to church as he dropped us off, and asked the Mühlmanns the next day if they would invite him as well. 

Saturday consisted of weekly planning and going by on some people. One of the families we went by on was one of the families we met at Zinnah´s violin concert last Sunday. We made them cookies, and to our surprise, they were home and let us in. We talked for about an hour or so and didn´t get to teach much, but we invited them to church as well and they said they would try to make it the next Sunday (there was a castle show they were going to that Sunday). All of those things that we experienced in those three days were just because of simple efforts of members to have us conveniently where their nonmember friends were. I think too often, the members of the church want to explain everything at once to their friends. While they should answer questions, they sometimes don´t realize that the missionaries are trained and set apart to do that job. I kind of came up with a parable that makes sense in my mind at least, which I call the bowl of soup:

Once someone finds a soup he really likes, he wants to share it with his friends. He doesn´t realize that the soup might be a little hot for most people at first, and they can´t eat it all at once. He sometimes ends up spilling the soup all over his friend or trying to force feed it to him all at once, and the friend gets burned and never wants to eat the soup again. To avoid this problem, he should show the soup to his friend, maybe let him smell it, but then let it cool and let him eat it at his own pace. 

When you replace the soup with the gospel, it is no wonder that members lose friends sometimes when they introduce them to the church. They have to go about it the right way to see a positive result.

Sunday was a good day. None of those people came to church, unfortunately, but that is ok. According to the Mühlmanns, Frank couldn´t make it to church this week, but is going to talk about it with his wife for next week. We got a lot of assignments from the Elder´s quorum, which we will be doing this week. We also went by on some people, but none of them were home. And that was about the extent of this week.

I hope that you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel


Monday, September 16, 2013

P-day With Elder Hutchings, Productive Meetings, and a Concert

Hey Mom!
This week was another hard one. Monday was probably the best day since we had P-day in Darmstadt and I got to chill with Elder Hutchings for a while. I still can´t believe we are in the same district.  Later that evening, we met with the Mühlmann family, probably the coolest members in our ward. We had a great night with them and invited them to have an activity where they invited Bru. Mühlmann´s less-active brother to, and they we pretty excited about it. 

We headed back to Darmstadt on Tuesday for district meeting, which went well. Our district leader, Elder Standring, is way cool. He trained Elder Hawker in Köln and then just got sent to Darmstadt this transfer, so he has now served with or been in the same district as everyone in our mission that went to Palo Verde HS. Later on that day, we had a bit of time to do some finding, which didn´t bring much. We then got to teach our English class to Mike, the guy from Ukraine. He was preparing for an interview, so we were helping him with that. We then had our ward mission correlation meeting with Bruder Sauer, our ward mission leader, and that went surprisingly well. We got a ton accomplished and now have a bunch of plans to get some new activities in place that can bring the ward closer together and create a nice environment for members´ non-member friends. 

Wednesday was a slow day. We made up some flyers for these new activities for a while, went out for some contacting in a different, nearby city, and made a bunch of calls. 
Thursday was a bit better. We have started taking an extra 15 minutes in the morning after our studies to get a testimony of our goals and plans for the day, and I was praying and just had this feeling that there was going to be a guy in a red shirt that we needed to talk to that day. We went by on some members, the Wagners, and taught them a lesson about faith. We asked them to pray for us that we could go contacting for an hour and find people. We left their house, and for the entire hour, we couldn´t get anyone to stop and listen to us except for this probably 20 year old guy in a red shirt. He ended up not having a ton of interest, but we at least got to talk to him. We told the Wagners about that later and they thought it was cool. Later that night, we met with our branch president, Präs. Kempener, and discussed missionary work and all of these new activities and plans we have. It went really well, and he really wants the church to be more well-known in Langen. He is a beast and hopefully we can help him turn his desires into reality. He also likes and trusts me even though I am new here because he used to be the branch president in Idar-Oberstein years ago. 

On Friday, we had our weekly planning session, as usual, and later on had English class with Mike and Bruder Schwarz. We got to teach a lesson there about patience. Normally Elder Young said Mike doesn´t really participate in the spiritual thought, but he was even reading scriptures this time. I think it helped that we talked about something more general and not about the Restoration or anything. Maybe one day his heart will be open to the gospel. 

Saturday was kind of another slow day here. We rode our bikes out to this guy's house to drop off directions to the church so he could find it (he still didn´t come, though). We later went to Neu Isenburg, a city in our area, and tried to drop off cookies at some members´ houses, but we couldn´t get to one of them and the other one´s gate was locked and we couldn´t get in. It was kind of lame, and it rained a bit. 

Yesterday was a great Sunday. We just had our normal church services in thr morning, and I got to know people in the ward a little better. During all of priesthood, I was answering questions and reading scriptures, and the teacher, Bru. Wagner, kept calling me Elder Squirrel, so eventually I just stopped answering questions haha. Germans have a pretty hard time saying Squires. After church, we had lunch with the Stübe family, some more members in our ward. It was great, but we were kind of in a rush and didn´t have time to share a lesson with them unfortunately. We had been invited by the Mühlmanns to their daughter´s violin concert, so we had to get there on time. We had called Präs. Schwartz to see if it was ok if we went, and he said as long as it was productive to missionary work. So we asked Sister Mühlmann if she would introduce us to people there, and she did a great job. We got to know a bunch of people and had more good conversations there in a couple hours than we had for the rest of the entire week. There was one particular woman who was really nice and seemed pretty open. Sister Mühlmann found out the area she lived in and told us to look for her there, so we are going to do that this week. We want to invite her to one of these acitivities we are planning.

Well, that is about it for the week. I might not be able to send pictures as often as I want here; the internet shop we go to has locks on the cabinets with the computers in them, so I have no access to the USB ports. Next time we are at the church on a P-day, I will see what I can do. 

This P-day should be pretty awesome. There is a car fair in Frankfurt, and we got permission to go. Apparently it is the biggest car convention in the whole world, so I am pretty excited. I´ll tell you how it was next week. I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel