Monday, August 26, 2013

Trains, Brownies and Street Contacting

Hey Mom!

This email won´t be terribly long because we have Sport P-day today in Erfurt, so we have to take a train soon to get there. This week wasn´t too bad. On Tuesday, we helped a guy move from one apartment to another. He was a potential investigator who Elder Goodrich and I found about 4 months ago. His apartment was already tiny, but the one we helped him move into was seriously about the size of my old bedroom back home. It was pretty much in the attic of this building and the bathroom had to be about 2 square meters. I felt really bad seeing someone living like that and was just greatful for the spacious apartment we have now. We later had Gemeindeabend, and we made dinner for the branch this time. We made home-made Döner, which are kind of like a Turkish taco/sandwich thing full of Kebab meat, veggies, and crazy sauces. It was really good. I wish there were Döner in America, but they are against the health codes because the meat sits there and rotates in the open air all day, even though it is constantly up against a huge, extremely hot heating mechanism.

Then on Wednesday, we had a lunch appointment with Schwester Dörlitz, and then went straight to Schwester Sorge´s garden to help chop up some overgrown hazelnut trees. It was pretty fun. Thursday was a good day as well. I went on a split with Elder Norman, one of the other Elders in Gera. We went by on a couple people, and they were both home but couldn´t meet right then. It was good to find them at home, though. Later on, we decided to try just talking to people in the street trains. It is kind of awkward sometimes, and it is something that I don´t like doing a lot, but we did it anyway to overcome our fears and we actually had two good conversations with people. The second conversation, with an old lady and her husband, was actually really natural and nice. I got to show them my family tree, but they weren´t interested in doing their own research. The other Elders did see them a couple days later though, and said they came up to them and talked to them as if they were lifelong friends. So that was good to hear.

On Friday, we tried to take a Book of Mormon to the library, but they said they already had it so we couldn´t donate it to them. We later on had decided to do some more contacting in the street train. We were on the train for about three stops and then I really felt like we needed to get off and say a prayer with a member that lived right around there. He was home, and we prayed that we could find someone on the way back to the Kempe´s apartment. We were about halfway there, and we walked up to a train stop. There was a woman facing the other way, and usually we walk past people like that because it is kind of awkward to talk to someone facing the other way and at a train stop, especially when they reject you. We walked about a step past her and I kind of just turned around with out even thinking about it and talked to her. It was kind of weird, like something just grabbed onto me, turned me around, and opened my mouth. She rejected us at first, but I simply asked her why she rejected us, and from there, we had a conversation with her for about the next 30 minutes or so. She told us that she had ridden her bike that day because she felt like she needed to, and she was at that train stop for no reason, just feeling like she needed to be there. She said she had seen us walking down the road from far and thought that maybe we were the reason that she was waiting there. Unfortunately, after inviting her to learn more about the church and Joseph Smith (she had already read the Book of Mormon), she said she wasn´t ready and didn´t want to give us any contact info. It was still a great experience with following the Spirit, and we gave her a card for when she is ready. We then finished the night by working on this toolbox for member work for our mission.

Saturday was also a good day. We decided to make some brownies for our neighbor, Frau Friedemann. Her daughter comes there quite often with her boyfriend, and every time we see the boyfriend outside, he calls us names and makes fun of us for no reason. We knocked on her door and the boyfriend of the daughter opened it. Frau Friedemann saw us from the door and told him to let us in. She was super excited that we had made her brownies, and told the daughter how we are the best neighbors and are always there for her if she needs any help. We also had made a plate of brownies for the daughter and the boyfriend, and they were suprised we did something like that for them. As we were leaving, the boyfriend who usually mocks us thanked us and told us we were cool. It is nice to see what a little bit of charity and service can do to change someone´s attitude. After that, we went sport contacting in the park, but I couldn´t do much; I have gotten tired of putting on a little pudge so I got a jump rope and did really good at working out for a couple mornings, but I suddenly got really bad shin splints and could barely walk for a minute. We finished that up and went to the Kempes to finish the member toolbox. We finished it right before we needed to go home, and it actually turned out really nice. I asked one of the assistants to Pres. Schwartz why they had chosen us to make this toolbox for the mission, and he said they needed someone they could rely on to get the job done, and that made me feel really good that they see me as someone who could take on a task like that.

Sunday was a less exciting day for the most part. We had church, which was nothing special except a homeless woman came into the building before church started so she could wash her face in the bathroom. After church, we had lunch with Schwester Dörlitz again, and then did some go-bys on a couple people. The second go-by wasn´t home, but we ran into them on the sidewalk on the way home and talked to them for a moment. We finished the night with our studies and then, with about 15 minutes before we needed to be inside, Elder Watts felt like we needed to go outside. We started walking down the street, and we came across a woman that Elder Watts talked to. At first, she was very skeptical and didn´t want to talk with us, but then saw the sense in what we were saying about agency and why bad things happen, and above all, how the gospel brings peace in life. She didn´t want to trade contact info, but she took a card and said she wanted to come to church next week. It was a good experience, and I hope she comes.

Well, that is the story for the week. By the way, transfer calls are this Saturday, so be ready for a transfer email next week. I hope your week is great! Love you!

LG, Daniel

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