Monday, June 24, 2013

Heat, Humidity and a Few Miracles

Hey Mom!
I am glad to hear that everything is good back home, and that is really cool about Dad's temple assignment. I really miss going to the temple. I hope I can go there all the time when I get home.
Well, this week was tough. On Monday we had yet another fallen out appointment, this time with a less-active family. Tuesday was actually really miraculous though. Elder Bonzo, now one of my zone leaders, gave us a call and invited us to pray that whole day that people would contact us and find us, and sure enough, during personal study, we got a text from one of the potential investigators who didn't show up to his appointment and he told us that he was in the city and wanted to meet right then. We left our apartment, picked him up, rode the street car to the church, and taught him a lesson. He became a new investigator, and we hope that he will start making progress. He is a 17 year old kid named Nico, and he said he was mostly interested in finding out what we were doing and why we were doing it, so hopefully that can turn into the desire to find out if God is there or not.

After that lesson, I went on a split with Elder Norman, Elder Hunter's golden, and we went to Jena for a street display there. There are some really cool pictures of it on the mission's blog at, and I am in most of them! It was so hot that day though. I don't think I have ever sweat so much in my life. It was probably 100 degrees, and it was really humid. That kind of weather in a button-up shirt and slacks is not so fun. It stayed that hot for the next few days, which was miserable. On Wednesday, we had a pretty good lunch appointment with Schwester Doerlitz, and then we went to the church to have a lesson with our main investigator, Dominik. We then got permission from our Zone Leaders to go and buy some fans for our apartment, since the Baumarkt (basically a Home Depot) is in the same building as our church. That is the great part about Germany: there is no air conditioning, so the summer is awfully hot and humid, especially in missionary clothing. We then had our English class, which went pretty good.

On Thursday, we went to Nuernberg for Zone Conference. There was no air conditioning there either, and there were about 70 missionaries just packed in this chapel for 5 hours, melting. It was brutal, but we did learn a ton. Elder Kenneth Richards of the Seventy came and taught us a lot about sanctification and teaching simple, basic truths. It took about 3 hours to get there by train, and about 7 and 1/2 hours to get back. There was some bad weather somewhere hundreds of kilometers away and that caused pretty much all of the trains to fall out, so we spent quite a bit of time stuck in Weimar, and then on random connecting trains to get home a little before midnight. On Friday, two appointments (don't be too surprised) fell out, so we spent a lot of the day planning for the next week, and also planning on how we are going to improve the member work in our area.

Saturday was pretty cool. We had a Pioneer Day at the church, and we found out a lot of cool things out about Gera's missionary history, including the fact that Ezra Taft Benson served part of him mission in Gera. We later correlated with the other missionaries and with the Kempes. Sunday was also not bad. We had an investigator come to church for the first time since I have been in Gera. Dominik showed up, and he even invited 2 of his friends, but they didn't make it. It was a really cool experience. That is only the fourth Sunday on my whole mission where an investigator has come to church, so needless to say, I was pretty happy. Later on, we did a lot more planning for this member work, and tried to invite more people to come to our English class.
And that is pretty much the week. Not a lot of appointments and ridiculous weather, but a few miracles tucked away in all of that stuff. Pray for us this week that we can have appointments that don't fall out. We need them. Well, I hope you have a good week!
LG, Daniel

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Transfers and a New Companion

Hey Mom!
Well, this week was pretty good to start out, but the ending was kind of disappointing. Elder Goodrich and I had some good appointments with some of our members, and then Thursday was transfers. I was in Jena with Elder Ludlow and Elder Warr while we were waiting for the train with all of the new elders in our zone to come in. We did some cool contacting methods there (Elder Warr walking around with a box on his head and me and Elder Ludlow talking to people about it), and then we had an appointment with one of their investigators. After that, we hopped on the train with all of the elders already on it. We all headed back to Gera and that night, Elder Watts and I met with a less-active member of our ward. Elder Watts is awesome by the way. We get along really well and both play golf and study psychology, so we have a lot in common.

Anyway, there was also something really awesome that happened when we got back to Gera: Elder and Sister Kempe were approached by a YSA girl who said she had seen us and knew a little about our church and wanted to meet with us. She gave the Kempes her contact info, and we called her and made out an appointment. The sad part of it was she did not show up to the appointment, and she didn't pick up her phone when we tried calling her after that. We are going to try calling her again today, and hopefully she will pick up. The end of the week was disappointing because she was only one of five appointments with investigators/potential investigators where the person didn't show up. We didn't end up having any lessons with nonmembers this week, which was really lame. But we will keep trying, and will keep setting up appointments.
We did have some good experiences this week, though. We had a street display on the pedestrian zone, and we made a "Wheel of Fortune" style wheel with various prizes for people who spun it, for example, a Book of Mormon, a church brochure, a "Finding Happiness" DVD, or a cookie. It went really well, and we gave out about 7 or 8 Books of Mormon doing it. We also had the "Bring a friend with" Sunday this week, and there were 5 non-members at church, including a member's wife who is kind of anti. It was really cool, and Elder Watts and I got to give talks in sacrament meeting. Mine was on the Restoration, and Elder Watts gave one on the Plan of Salvation.
All in all, it was not a bad week, but I just hope we can have more appointments this week that the investigators actually come to. Keep praying for us and for our potential investigators; we need to get some real progressing investigators here in Gera. I hope you have a great week! Love you!
LG, Daniel

Monday, June 17, 2013

Just Pictures

Today Daniel emailed the pictures below, but I didn't get an email telling me about the pictures or his week.  So this is it for the week, but we will take what we can get!

Daniel and his new companion, Elder Watts. 

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Daniel sent this picture a couple of weeks ago.  I posted it on Facebook, and now
I'm posting it here.  His comment about this picture of his district was,
"Yeah, I accidently shaved off all my hair."  Gotta love him.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Staying in Gera This Transfer

Hey Mom!
I am glad that David is home from his mission and had a good experience. It is really crazy how different our missions must be. He was dealing with poverty and here everyone can just get money from the government without even having to work if they really wanted to, and they can still live quite decently off of that.
We didn't get affected by the flood here, but there were a lot of people who did. Our branch president, President Zaumsegel, lives in a town that got hit pretty hard by the flood, and his house was only one of three houses that wasn't affected. It has been raining a lot though, and we are hoping that it will stop raining so frequently because contacting is hard enough in Gera, and in Germany, when it is raining, Germans don't like to talk to anyone; they just want to get inside, which I can understand.
Well, I am sure you are eagerly awaiting the news on transfers, so I won't make you wait any longer than you have to. I am staying in Gera and will be joined by Elder Watts. He has been on the mission for the same amount of time as Elder Colson, so he is going into his 5th transfer. He is way awesome, I talked to him a few times before. Elder Goodrich is going down by Nuernberg to a city called Bayreuth (pronounced bye-roit). He is pretty excited, and I think he will enjoy himself there. Transfer day is on Thursday, so I will pick up Elder Watts at that time. Other changes within the district: Elder Hunter is training, Elder Wichtermann is being transferred and he is being replaced as zone leader by Elder Bonzo, my MTC companion, Elder Moore is getting transferred from Werdau and is being replaced by Elder Newell, and then there will now be sisters in Jena. It should be a really cool transfer.
Anyway, in terms of this week, we taught the least amount of lessons I have ever taught on my mission in one week: just one. It was a really cool experience though. Elder Goodrich and I were contacting on Friday and we had had no lessons up to this point, and Elder Goodrich asked me if I believed we could get a lesson with someone on the street. I told him that if we endured to the end of our contacting time, I believed we could. Right after I said that, everyone just started saying no and it was really hard not to want to stop contacting, but we kept going. We came down to the last 15 minutes of street contacting and ran into a woman that we talked to about the Book of Mormon. We testified of its truthfulness and she said that she believed it was true because she could see we were being honest. I told her at that point that if the Book of Mormon was true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet and the church has been restored, and she was kind of speechless. We tried to give her a Book of Mormon, insisting that it was free and everything, but she said she had seen it in the library and wanted to read it there. She also wouldn't give us her contact info, but we at least gave her our number and the address of the church so that she could get in touch with us to talk about it. It was a really cool experience.
We didn't have any other lessons. Several appointments fell out, and we had a lot of time where we had to do other things. We did service with Bruder Krause again, and also went to Jena for a Zone training meeting, where I gave a theme on choosing to be happy. It went really well, and I hope the other missionaries in my zone got something out of it. In spite of having not many lessons, Dominik, our new investigator, came to our ward activity and really enjoyed himself. I hope he can start progressing, and won't have to work so much that we never meet with him.
This next week will be extremely busy. Since Elder Hunter is training, he has to go to Frankfurt tomorrow, which we didn't know. We thought they would go up on Wednesday. For this reason, we have to take over all of their appointments that they won't be able to cancel or push back, so we have a lot to do.
Well, that is pretty much it for this week. I hope everything is going well and that everyone is happy! Love you!
LG, Daniel

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rain and Flooding

Hey Mom!
I am going to have to keep my email real short today since the power is going to get shut off in 40 minutes and another Elder still has to use this computer to write his emails. There has been a ridiculous amount of rain this week, and there is flooding in parts of the city. We live on high ground, so we don't have to worry about it, just have to go a while without power!
We had a pretty good week, all things considered. We got two new investigators, one that we found like a month ago and were finally able to have an appointment with, and then another guy Elder Wichtermann found as he was here doing the street display with us. The first one is Herr Gerstner, who is an interesting guy and the other one, Dominik, is this really awesome YSA who works in a kitchen in the city theater. We also had some good appointments with members, and yeah, it was just a good week. Well, I really do have to go and have to keep this email this short, I hope that the rain will not plague us much longer.
Transfer calls are on Saturday, so I will keep you updated there. I hope you have a great week!
LG, Daniel