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!