Monday, January 28, 2013

A Miracle and PMG

Hey Mom!

This week was good and bad at the same time. We had planned for appointments with investigators on every day of the week except for Friday. All of them fell out, which was pretty disappointing. The week was really awesome though because we finally got back into contact with a former investigator. He texted Elder Colson when I was on a split and said he was ready to meet with us again. We are meeting with him tonight, which is exciting. We also invited him and his two sons, 10 and 6, to come to church (yesterday). He agreed, and it went extremely well. We accompanied him through the meetings, and he really liked everything. There was a baby blessing, and the ward had a luncheon after the meetings for it, and I think he had conversations with almost everyone in the whole ward, and he loved it. His kids even got up and sang "I am a Child of God" with the other three primary kids that were there yesterday, and they really enjoyed that. They said that they want to come to church next week, and everything has just been a miracle with that family.

For a summary of the week, we were going to have an appointment with an investigator on Monday, and he cancelled. On Tuesday, we had zone training, which was really good. Later, we were going to have an appointment with the 17 year old girl but she didn´t show up. We ended up just having a member lesson with the two YSAs who came to teach with us, Tim Helzer and Ashley Du Plessi. I was on a split on Wednesday in Düsseldorf with Elder Hall. We did a really cool contacting activity at the university there. We took a white board and wrote the question, "Is there a God?" on it, and then did a survey with the students walking past. We had a bunch of good conversations with some students, but unfortunately none of them said we could visit them and teach them. We also visited a member from their ward, which was good. We exchanged back on Thursday and had an appointment with Stan the Man Kawitski, a member in the ward. We had two appointments fall out after that. We rescheduled both appointments for this week, so hopefully they don´t cancel on us again. We also met with that super old guy in our ward, Bru. Olbert. Friday, we had our weekly planning session, met with Domingo, another ward member, and then finally with Bruder Köster.
Saturday was a really good day. We met with an investigator who Elder Fowler and I had contacted a while before Christmas. He is 29 years old, and he is pretty interested in finding out the truth, I think. His father passed away two years ago, and he has apparently been meeting with JWs and other people. He was interested in what we believe comes after death, and also what the Book of Mormon is. Christian Helzer came with, and after the lesson he said that in the last three years or so he has only seen missionaries teach the way Preach My Gospel says to once about a year and a half ago, and the other time was when we taught our investigator. It made me feel good to know that I have studied PMG enough to know how it says to teach people, and also we got to build trust with another member of our ward. Earlier that day, we also had the chance to help a  man move from one part of the city to another. He works for Guido Braun, a member of our ward, and it went really well.

Today we are heading to Düsseldorf for a zone sport Pday. It should be pretty fun, and I get to see Elder Hutchings once again, and Elder Proffitt hopefully as well, since he is in my zone now.

That is it for this week. I hope that you have a great week!!! Love you!

Liebe Grüße, Daniel

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Most Productive and Successful Week

Hey Mom!
I am glad that you guys got a chance to hear Elder Rasband speak. I am pretty sure he spoke while I was in the MTC as well, and it was really good. I wish he would come to Germany and share the same message to the members here. There are so many German LDS youth that fall away from the gospel because all of the parents are too afraid of being too strict on their kids and restricting their agency. It also sounds like it has been busy with all of the activities and work going on at home. Also, to let you know, I got the packages from both you/Mat and Ryan within the last few days, thanks a bunch!! I am wearing the tie Ryan sent me right now, and I was super happy to get the picture book from the church from Mat, I have been wanting one of those to use in lessons. I don´t have a ton of time to email today, Elder Colson and I are heading to Duisburg to hang with Elders Hutchings and Hathaway for the day.

Anyway, I can start off by saying that this was one of the most productive weeks of my mission, if not the most productive. We got to go to Dortmund on Tuesday for our zone conference. On Wednesday, we traveled to Monheim, where we were going to drop an investigator because he never kept his commitments when we invited him to read in the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We went in there and he told us that he had read the whole book of Moroni and the whole book of 1 Nephi! He said he had the urge to read something and that was the only book he had, so he has been reading for an hour in the Book of Mormon every night for the last week or so. He was much happier than he usually is at our appointments, and he finally prayed at the end of the lesson and asked God to help him learn that the Book of Mormon was true. Then on Thursday, we traveled down to Frankfurt for the golden/trainer meeting, where I learned a ton. I got to give my thema about finding and teaching being related activities, and related it to how Abish did that in the book of Alma. I also focused a lot on the power statement, which is another word for testimony. After some guidance from Präsident Schwartz during the thema, we talked about building a relationship with people in friendly conversation and then when the time is right, bearing powerful testimony. It went super well, and I learned a lot on the way.
On Friday we had a split with the Wuppertal Elders. I stayed in Solingen with Elder Brown, and we headed back to Monheim to go by on a former investigator and a less active. We were let in by the former investigator.  We found out he had almost been baptized two times in the past, his problems are just smoking and getting to church in the morning. After the lesson, he invited us back for Wednesday this week. The less active sister also came to church yesterday, which was really awesome. On Saturday, we had an appointment with this lady from Kenya that happened to be a former investigator but was refound on the street by Elders Hall and Colson two weeks ago on a split. She was there with her best friend, a woman who is half German, half Italian, who was super interested in how the gospel can help her family. Our ward mission leader was also there and he helped us out a ton. We have a return appointment with them on Thursday this week. Later that night, we also met with Bruder Köster, which is always really good, and also called another investigator who seemed super promising, but his phone number stopped working and he wouldn´t open the door. I was going through our contact list on the phone and saw his name, and figured I would try calling him one more time. He picked up and said he was so glad that we called because his phone had broken and he was sick the last few weeks, and had wanted to call us back but didn´t have our number on his new phone. We are meeting with him on Saturday with Christian Helzer, a YSA from our ward. Then yesterday, we had church and then ate at the bishop´s house in Remscheid. Overall, it was probably the most successful week of my mission.
We have a bunch of appointments this week with former investigators and various people we contacted when I was with Elder Fowler, so it is definitely going to be a busy week, which I am looking forward to. Other than that, all is going really well and me and Elder Colson are getting along really well. I hope you have a great week, and thanks to everyone who has included me in their prayers, it is helping a ton!! Love you!

Liebe Grüße, Daniel
Daniel being Daniel, standing next to a Michael Jordan statue at the place they went bowling.
Bowling Scores

Daniel and Elder Colson in their comp ties.

Daniel and Elder Fowler at Zoko (zone conference).

Klosse (potato dumplings) that Daniel made.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Hard to Find People to Teach

Hey Mom!

Well, I can only say one thing about this week, and it is starting to become a theme of my mission: It's discouraging having no one to teach. It has been 6 months of being in Germany and I still have never had a progressing investigator.  We still haven´t been able to make contact with those two seemingly golden investigators from last transfer. We had a contact last transfer on the street with this guy and we called him a couple weeks ago like he asked, and he seemed super interested. We set up an appointment, which was supposed to be on Saturday, and we went over and he didn´t answer the door and then we tried to call him and his phone number is no longer connected.

Otherwise, things are going ok. Elder Colson is doing well.We have just been meeting with a few less-actives and members this week, like usual. I had a split with Elder Sommerville in Düsseldorf on Friday, and it was good. We taught one of their investigators who is really cool and wants to find the truth, but is thoroughly Catholic. We also met with this lady who is excommunicated but apparently doesn´t know what that means or something. She is from the Philippines and doesn´t speak great English or German, so it is kind of hard to communicate.

This week will be pretty busy with meetings. We are traveling to Dortmund tomorrow for our Zone Conference, and then we have to go to Frankfurt on Thursday for a Golden/Trainer meeting, where I have to give a 30 minute Thema three times about the section in chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel called "Teach When You Find, Find When You Teach." It should be pretty good, and hopefully it will help the trainers and their goldens.

Anyway, that´s all for this week. I hope you guys have a good week and that everything is awesome! Love you!

Liebe Grüße, Daniel

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Golden

Hey Mom!
Well, there is only one word I can use to describe this past week: stressful. The beginning of the week was pretty good though. On Monday, Elder Fowler and I met with the Helzer Family for a late breakfast and then had the rest of our P-day. Per invitation from Präsident Schwartz, we spent the time from 6 PM to 9 PM to take a look back at the year, what we had accomplished, where things were good and bad, and then made new goals for this year and then plans on how to achieve those goals. Then on Tuesday, we met with Stan the Man Kawitski, which went well. He let us into his room, which he doesn´t do often with missionaries, only with the ones he really likes. I think he liked Elder Fowler a lot, so I was just along for the ride haha. Afterwards, we had planned to have an appointment with that 17 year old girl, but she didn´t show so we had a member lesson instead with Thaddäus Hoppe and his girlfriend from the branch in Wesel, who were there for the lesson with the investigator. Then we met with Bruder Köster, and then finally with the Hansens for dinner.

Wednesday was Elder Fowler´s last day in Solingen. We left at about 1:30 PM to catch a train to Frankfurt, where we then had a meeting for all of the trainers this transfer. It was a really long meeting, but I learned a lot. We then were taken to the hotel where we stayed as goldens on our first night in Germany. I had a really hard time sleeping that night. I didn´t fall asleep until about 12 and woke up again at 3 and just laid awake the rest of the time. When the alarm went off, I hit the light and the golden that was in my room was named Elder Checketts. He is a cool guy. We got ready and then went to eat breakfast with all of the goldens and trainers. After breakfast, we headed to the Frankfurt Chapel for the meeting where the goldens and trainers get paired up. I was the second or third to get paired up with my golden. His name is Elder Colson from Hurricane, Utah, and he is pretty legit. I am excited to have a "son," I just hope I can raise him ok haha. Being with a new missionary just reminds me of how blessed I have been with the gift of tongues, especially as I was a golden. We traveled back to Solingen with all of the Elders in our zone and in the Dortmund zone. I pretty much talked to Elder Proffitt the whole time since Elder Colson fell asleep on the train. Probably was tired from the jet lag. We eventually got to Solingen, and I took a little time to get Elder Colson familiar with the area as he unpacked all of his stuff. We also went out to get his first Döner, which is just a super good kind of sandwich thing that they have all over Germany. We also called a potential investigator that Elder Fowler and I met a few weeks ago and gave a Joy to the World DVD to, who had told us to call him after the holidays. He said that he had watched the DVD and that he was still interested in hearing our message, so we have an appointment with him on Saturday, which we are super excited about.

The next day, we had our district meeting in Düsseldorf, which went super well. The Elders in Wuppertal are the same this transfer, and so are the Sisters in Düsseldorf. Elder Ripplinger got called off as district leader in Bamberg, so Elder Hall and Elder Sommerville are now the zone leaders in Düsseldorf. After district meeting, we traveled back to Solingen, had some study time, and then went to meet Bruder Köster. It was a really good appointment, and I am glad that Elder Colson´s first German appointment was with Bruder Köster. The next day, we planned out our week, and then were going to have a lesson with an investigator, and when we called him he said he was sick. We were already on the train, so we got off, did a little work in Solingen Ohligs, and then got back on the train and did some more work in Remscheid. We found a kid who seemed pretty interested, and gave us his phone number. Hopefully that turns out ok. We then had yet another appointment with Bruder Köster, which was really awesome once again. I could stay in Solingen for a lot of transfers just because of Bruder Köster. He helps me a lot become the missionary I want to be and he also helps me become very good at speaking German.

Yesterday, we had church meetings. There was a guy there who was a nonmember, a friend from Schwester Pickelein, who is a 94 year old convert. He was not terribly interested, and only stayed for priesthood, but we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it. After church, we ate dinner with the Holland-Letz family. Later that night I had my call ins with the district, which is always one of my favorite things to do.

Today, we went to a man´s house at the request of a sister in our ward. He has Parkinson´s Disease, and we were supposed to give him a Priesthood blessing, even though he is not a member. We talked to him about his religious beliefs and about the Book of Mormon, and then gave him a blessing. Elder Colson did the anointing of the oil and then I sealed it and offered a blessing. After the blessing, the man told us that during the blessing he felt a feeling going through his head like warm water flowing through him, first through his forehead and then his cheeks. It was really awesome and the Spirit was really strong, and then he told us we could meet with him again in February, which was a real bummer. We tried to set something up earlier, but he said he is busy and will call us when he has time.

Anyway, that brings us up to where we are at now today. We will go out and prepare for the week with some shopping and stuff, and hopefully I will have time to write some letters. I hope you have a good week!

Liebe Grüße, Daniel