Monday, April 22, 2013

Working for Miracles

Hey Mom!

Well first I have to say that I don't have a lot of time but I will try to report everything as best as I can.

We had a pretty good week this week. On P-day last week, we were walking down the pedestrian zone with the other Elders here in Gera and some guys threw a couple pebbles at us and we went over and talked to them and ended up teaching them about the Restoration of the gospel. The guy who seemed to have the most potential lives in Hessen though and was just there to take a test, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to get in contact with the missionaries in Hessen. We met with Schwester Doerlitz on Tuesday, and afterwards in the evening we had our weekly ward activity at the church.
On Wednesday, we finally had a chance to meet with Lukas Granse, the YSA we met a couple weeks ago who is religious and works with this activity for religious youth. He invited us to go to one of the activities, which is on May 4th, and he said there will be around 50 people there betwen the ages of 10 and 30, so I hope great things come out of that. Lukas' concerns mostly had to do with having prophets and authority, and he thinks that whatever we do on this earth, we will eventually live with Christ. So that is something we are going to be focused on with him next time we meet him. We then went by on Herr Hundt, a man we had taught a first lesson to at his car dealership. We asked the employees there where he was and they said that he doesn't work there anymore, so he either got fired or quit within the last seven days, which was kind of annoying. We later on had a cool lesson on the street with a guy who was fixing his bike pump.
On Thursday, we met with Andreas Doerlitz, one of the sons of Schwester Doerlitz. We met in his music studio and had a really good lesson with him about hope. We also had dinner with the other Gera elders at their apartment that evening. All of Friday was spent dealing with Zone Conference. We traveled bright and early to Nuernberg, where Elder Hutchings is serving, and had meetings there pretty much the whole day. We got back late that night. On Saturday, we had a very long planning session for the week, and also did some work on the new GPS we got. On Sunday, we headed to Erfurt for District Conference (since it is not a stake) and listened to some really good talks from Pr. Schwartz and from Elder Schuetze, who was just released from the area seventy I think. When we got back, we did some contacting and had an interesting conversation with this old guy who said he made the decision that he will not live eternally and now is Buddhist, and then we had a good, short conversation with a woman about eternal families. In the evening, we did a go-by on a  member who had a birthday. When we were waiting for our Strassenbahn to take us back, we had about a 15 minute wait, so we decided to knock some doors. At the first door we went to, a lady came up behind us to go into the building and said she knew who we were. Turns out she was a former member who had taken her name off the records of the church. She set up an appointment with us for tomorrow, and hopefully we can see a miracle there.

Anyway, that is the week. I hope your week is awesome! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, April 15, 2013

Learning and Testifying by the Spirit

Hey Mom!

We had a pretty decent week this week. On Monday, we were going to have an appointment with Michael Peter, but he wasn't home. We saw him on the way back to the city center, and he said that he had stuff to do and that we could come by on Thursday. On Tuesday, we spent some time on the pedestrian zone giving out as many cards as we could and inviting people to our weekly ward activity. We also spent a bit of time writing our testimonies in Books of Mormon. Elder Schuetze, who was just released from the area Seventy, visited us in a zone conference last year and told us that no Book of Mormon should be given away without a testimony, reading suggestions, and the contact info of the church/missionaries. Since our area is new, we just had a box of blank Books of Mormon, so we had to get on that.
On Wednesday, we went by on a man in a car dealership. We had talked with him briefly on the street a couple weeks ago and he said we could stop by his work. His name is Herr Hundt. He is a pretty cool guy. He is atheist (go figure) and told us that he sees any church besides the Catholic and Protestant churches as some sort of sect. I proclaimed to him that we were not a sect, and that we were members of the same church that Jesus Christ set up, so that was pretty cool. He said he would read the Book of Mormon, but that he would most likely not be able to be converted because he doesn't believe in things like that and only believes in things he can see and grab onto. Later on, we had our weekly ward activity, which normally consists of a lesson about the Book of Mormon, dinner, and then playing ping pong or other games.
The next day, we headed to Jena for our zone training meeting, and afterwards I went on a split with Elder Crosby in Werdau. They have bikes there and a ton of hilly streets with narrow passageways. I am sure the Lord was watching out for me on that split because there were several times when we had to hit pretty sharp corners or go through really tight paths, but I didn't fall or hit anything. And that was the first time I had ridden a bike in over a year, with a seat adjusted for Elder Moore, who is over 6 feet tall, so yeah. I almost ate it a lot of times on that bike, but somehow I managed to come out afterwards without crashing. We visited this very old man in the branch there, and then went to a bible study group at an Evangelisch church. It was very interesting. The head guy in the study group could read and speak Hebrew and was explaining how God's plan is made known in the Hebrew symbols just within the first verse of Genesis 1, and it all made sense and was really cool, but there was one thing missing: the Spirit. It really made me appreciate how different it is to learn from the wisdom of man and to learn from the Spirit. Even though I was very impressed by this man and his understanding of Hebrew symbols (which in reality supported most of the things we believe), I knew he had not learned what he had learned though the Spirit of the Lord. I can see now even clearer than before why the Bible has been changed so much and why there are so many churches who believe they have the truth but deny the Spirit.
Anyway, the next day, we did some service in a little town called Crimmitschau raking up and shoveling leaves in a park there with a guy who worked for the city. It was pretty cool, and it was nice to get in some service. Later on after a train ride back to Gera, we made our plan for next week and did some studies and finding time. In the meantime on this split, Elder Goodrich and Elder Moore had a lesson with Michael Peter, who said he would come to church in May but would not accept a return appointment to meet with us. Schade. Anyway, on Sunday, we had our fast and testimony meeting, which was really cool. The son of the old man I had visited on my split in Werdau was there (he is on the district council). I talked with him and told him that I had visited his father a few days before. I gave my testimony a little later during the meeting, and then this man ended the meeting with his testimony. He said that he had talked with all of the missionaries in our branch and was confident that we were all nice and good missionaries, at which point he brought up my testimony and the story of me visiting his dad and how that meant a lot to him that we had done that. It was really cool and the Spirit was really strong, and I think it excited the members a little more to do missionary work.
Later on, we tried to visit this guy with a bunch of psychological problems that we had met about a week ago, but he was not in the Clinic that he said he would be in. So after that, we did some go-bys on some  members and a former investigator from the other missionaries' records. We did some dooring after that in the northern part of town. And today, we have pretty much just done the usual: study, shop, and do emails at the Kempe's. That about sums up the week.

Well, I hope that everything goes well this week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference, Meetings, and a Finding Day with Pres. Schwartz

Hey Mom!
This last conference was great. We went to Werdau to watch it, one of the neighboring areas in the mission. The talks were all really good, especially L. Whitney Clayton's talk about marriage. It is pretty much the same in a missionary companionship, just on a smaller scale of course, and I think Elder Gautreaux is starting to rub off on me in that he would just talk about eternal marriage all the time and how excited he was for it, so I really like hearing those kinds of talks now. By the way, Elder Gautreaux is now engaged--it wasn't too long ago that we were companions in Idar-Oberstein.

Well, it seems like forever since I had P-day considering it was on Saturday the last time and not on the following Monday. We did have a birthday party for me at the Kempes, and it was really fun. We all got Kinder Eggs, and I got a really cool turtle figure. The Kempes also gave me a rice bag neck pillow, which was great.

This week was pretty good but also really hectic. On Monday, we spent most of the day at the Krause's house painting the son's (Alex) apartment. We had lunch upstairs in the parent's apartment, and also had a short lesson on the Atonement with Alex and his girlfriend, who is kind of taking the lessons right now from the other elders. We then headed to Emily Jahr's apartment, a less-active sister in the ward, who said she doesn't want to come back to church until her kids can be here with her, and they are in Africa right now, so who knows how long that will be. Then late at night we headed to Gotha to sleep over with the elders there so we could catch our early train the next morning to Frankfurt for the Golden/Trainer meeting.  On Wednesday, we had lunch with Schwester Doerlitz, which is always good. We later on went to help Alex Krause build a desk for his apartment, and then rushed to Michael Peter's apartment. We taught him, trying to help him find out how he could find out that there was a God by reading the story of King Lamoni in the Book of Mormon together. It went pretty well, but Michael tells us that these stories are nicely written, but that they are just stories to him. He also had brought one of his friends along, a religious woman named Ingrid, who has her own beliefs, but is willing to hear our message. We left them with Alma 32 to read, and we are meeting again with them tonight. At the end of the night, we went back to the Krause's for a fireside, which went well.
On Thursday, our whole zone and all of the zone leaders and the assistants to the President and Pres. Schwartz and his wife went to Erfurt for a huge finding day in the East. It went really well, and I got to work with one of the mission's zone leaders, Elder Billings, which was a lot of fun. At one point, Pres. Schwartz came and joined a conversation that we were having with this one guy, and it was really cool to see Pres. in action. If every missionary in our mission had his missionary skills, there would be a lot more baptisms in this mission. On Friday, we had a mini-split, meaning the two companionships here in Gera switched companions for the day, which is something Pres. Schwartz asked us to start doing every so often. I worked with Elder Waterboehr, and we had kind of a lame day. Our appointment with a less-active lady fell out, and we did some finding time and go bys without any success. Saturday was also pretty slow until General Conference. We headed to Werdau in the evening to catch the live stream of the Saturday Morning Session, then came back yesterday morning to get the rest of the sessions except for the Sunday Afternoon Session, which was too late for us and I still have not seen. And that is pretty much the story of the week!

We got some pretty cool news this last week. We are now allowed to email friends and members in addition to just the family, which is really nice because letters are a real hassle for me. They just take so much longer than emails and you don't have to pay for email. So anyone who wants to email me can get my email address from you and send me something.*

Well, that is it for the week. I hope that everyone has a good week. Love you!

LG, Daniel

PS I know that BYU finals are coming up, so anyone who reads this and has to take them, good luck!
*Daniel's email address is

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Busy Week and Pictures

Hey Mom!
(Daniel had an early pday on Saturday, March 30, instead of today.)

This week has gone pretty well so far. On Tuesdays in Gera, there is a ward activity in the evenings, so on Tuesday we went to church, had a lesson about the Book of Mormon, ate dinner, and played a bunch of Ping Pong. On Wednesday, we met with Schwester Dörlitz, an older woman in our ward who loves the missionaries. She keeps track of all of the missionaries that have served in Gera since 1990, and I was the 231st entry in her book. We also took some cookies (that Sister Kempe made) to our neighbors just to introduce ourselves. We share a floor with an old lady who has a lot of health problems, and she pretty much loves us. Whenever she sees us, she always says "Oh, meine Elders!" She is really nice. On Thursday, we were in Erfurt for pretty much the whole day, and we had district meeting, interviews with Pr. Schwartz, and did some finding time with our entire zone. Yesterday, we met with another sister in the branch, Schw. Kretschmar.

We then went to a big park to do some contacting, but we were struggling approaching people because it was a holiday and people really looked like they would not want to be disturbed. After a dinner pause, we went by on another sister in the branch. She was busy, so we set out a new appointment with her for next week. We then knocked some doors in her area, and pretty early on we were let in by someone. We rang the bell on a building, and the person who lived on the top floor looked out the window and asked what we wanted. We told him we were talking about the Atonement of Christ since it was almost Easter, and he threw us down a key in an old cigarette box so we could let ourselves in (most apartments have a button you can press to unlock the building door without going down to open it yourself, and his didn't have one). We went up and started talking to him. His name is Michael Peter. He is a pretty nice guy and likes talking with us. He also is missing his right hand, which is pretty interesting. He is an atheist, and he said it would be really hard for him to believe anything we say, but he also did mention that he loved to read, which is great for us. Hopefully he makes some progress. We have a return appointment with him on Wednesday, so hopefully that will go well, too.

Besides that, we have just had P-day today. Early this morning we had an Easter walk with the branch in these woods somewhere, and then we did our shopping and up until I started emails, I have been playing chess with Elder Kempe. It has been pretty good. Anyway, thanks for the birthday wishes, it feels really weird that I will be 20 tomorrow! I hope everyone has a good Easter, and that things go great this week! Love you!
LG, Daniel

Daniel and his new companion, Elder Goodrich from Orem, Utah, at the Kempe's.

"A sweet view in the market place right where we live in Gera"

Daniel and Fabian, his investigator in Solingen.

"Kinder eggs galore in Solingen."