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