Monday, May 5, 2014

Last Mission Email

Hey Mom!

Well, here we go, the last email on the mission! It is ridiculous how
fast the time has gone, and I am really excited to see you guys in a
few days!

I had a really great last week of the mission. Most of our
appointments worked out, and even though I was feeling kind of trunky
the first few days, it got better by the end of the week. I haven't
been thinking about it too terribly much, but I definitely have been a
little anxious the last few days and it's harder to fall asleep since
my brain just bounces everywhere and won't turn off.

Monday was a good P-day. The Unna Elders came and chilled with us at
the apartment, and when we were done chilling, Elder Moore left for
Unna with Elder Pratt and I stayed on a split with Elder Haskell in
Hagen. We went to our ward mission leader's apartment for dinner, and
his wife hemmed the pants I got for the week you will be here. After
we ate dinner, we drove to an old lady's house named Frau Altmeyer,
who is a former investigator. She had randomly read in the Book of
Mormon about physical and spiritual death, so we talked about that
with her.

On Tuesday, we had the final district meeting of the transfer, which
was really good. I split back with Elder Moore afterwards. We then had
to take a big chunk of time and go to Düsseldorf to get a new train
card for Elder Moore. The chip in his old one broke, and we took a 45
minute train ride to go across the street of the station in
Düsseldorf, have the guy program a new card for about fifteen seconds,
and then take another train back to Hagen. It was kind of
inconvenient, but it was necessary. We ended the night with our
English class and writing thank you notes for the members.

Wednesday was probably the slowest day of the week. We continued
working on thank you notes, deep-cleaned the apartment (cleaning
checks were the next morning), and went by on an investigator who was
not home.

Thursday was a little more eventful. It was the 1st of May, which is a
holiday in Germany, so there were not a lot of people on the streets.
We had a lunch appointment with a younger couple in the ward and then
headed to the church to make the invitation for Moritz's baptism. In
the evening, we drove out to Breckerfeld (a small town south of Hagen)
to go by on a couple old referrals, but neither of them were at home.

Friday was when the week started to speed up. We had our studies and
weekly planning (my last weekly plan ever haha) and then had a lesson
with a newer investigator, Monica. She is having struggles with giving
up smoking, and she also suffers depression. We gave her a blessing
and told her that at the next lesson, we wanted to begin teaching the
lessons since that will help her more than anything else in giving up
smoking. After the appointment, we made a few batches of brownies for
members who had birthdays. When we were finished with that, we headed
to the west side of town for a short appointment with the Gens family.
That was the last big thing we were able to accomplish that day.

We had a very busy Saturday. We cut studies short to go help a member
couple move from one side of town to another for a couple hours, then
went straight home to shower and go to Iserlohn to have lunch with the
Gusts. We then headed over together to Manuella's apartment and had a
lesson with her about life after death. A partner at work had asked
her about it, so she wanted to know more so she could tell her how it
is. She herself also was a little spotty with her knowledge of the
next life, so we helped her understand that as well. After that
appointment, we rushed home and then took a bus to Bruder Kramer's
house. We had a good time there and showed him the new "Because of
Him" video on the church's website.

Sunday was awesome. We had a really great sacrament meeting, and we
had three investigators at church. Moritz, Manuella, and, for the
first time, Monica came. It was a really good fast and testimony
meeting, and I hope it helped our investigators a lot. After the
meetings and some goodbyes to members, we met in a classroom with
Moritz to discuss the Law of Chastity, the Word of Wisdom, and
tithing. He accepted all of them and is way excited for his baptism.
The cool thing was that we usually try and have members present for
the teaching of lessons to investigators, and our stake president,
Präsident Zarse, was able to assist us. Afterwards, he took us to his
house in Lüdenscheid and we had lunch with him and his family. Upon
arriving home, we used the rest of the night to finish our studies.

Well, that was the last week. We will be relatively busy for the next
few days, which is of course really good. Tonight we go to our
bishop's house for his less-active son's birthday. Tomorrow, we have
district meeting, a member appointment in the afternoon, and then our
English class. On Wednesday we have planned to have a lesson with
Monica, and then we have ward council. It will be a quick bit of time,
and then we will meet up in Frankfurt on Thursday!

I hope you have a good few days, I will see you in Frankfurt!!!

LG, Daniel

Monday, April 28, 2014


Hey Mom!

Well, this last week was pretty interesting and busy week.
I had one of the strangest appointments of my mission on Tuesday. The
week before, we got a call from a woman living in our area who said
she was a less-active member of the church, and she wanted us to come
and talk to her daughter. She didn't speak the greatest English or
German, so we couldn't find out exactly what the purpose of our visit
should be or what we were supposed to talk about with her daughter. We
drove over there on Tuesday afternoon with our ward mission leader.
The woman was an Asian lady, and she invited us into her small
apartment. She first asked us to look around the apartment and tell
her what we thought. She then proceeded to tell us about how she had a
few kids that weren't allowed to live with her and she didn't really
know where all of them are, she had recently been divorced for the
third time and her husband had her scriptures and member records, and
that she didn't want to get a job since the welfare in Germany was
giving her more money than a small job in the town would. It was all
just a strange situation, and we couldn't really tell her what she
should do since that is not our responsibility. We later left with a
prayer, and then she followed us all the way out of the apartment and
to the car, which was a good distance away. When we finally drove
away, our ward mission leader said he realized during the appointment
who she was and that she tells a bunch of weird stories and doesn't
look for work so that the church will pay for her to travel around to
visit her kids. It was a sad situation, but we couldn't really do
anything. Anyway, later on we had our English class, which went well.

On Wednesday, I went on a split in Paderborn with Elder Richards. It
was kind of a bad day; all of the appointments they had set up fell
out. So we spent some time finding and also updating information on
the referral manager system the church has online.

We had a back to back split with the Paderborn Elders, so I went on a
split on Thursday with Elder Isham. This time I was in Hagen. We spent
a good 4 hours on trains going from Paderborn to a town called
Lüdenscheid. It is a long trip anyway, but our train got delayed by
about 45 minutes so it took a while. We visited a less-active member
there who is actually the brother of my old Elder's Quorum President
from Langen. He is a cool guy, he is just kind of tangled up in the
ways of the world right now though. We watched some of the church's
new videos online with him, and he seemed to like them. We will start
meeting with him a little bit more regularly, and hope that we can
help him see the fruits of living the gospel.

Friday consisted of district meeting in Unna and then later on a
street display in their pedestrian zone. We didn't see a ton of
success, but we were able to give out 4 copies of the Book of Mormon.
That took up the rest of the day, pretty much.

On Saturday, Elder Moore and I visited a member who is moving next
week and helped him work in the garden at the new apartment, getting
it ready to plant grass on top. As we were doing that, we got a text
from Moritz, who said he had started to face opposition in his family
against him getting baptized. I got kind of worried and thought maybe
it would keep him from getting baptized on his scheduled day. He said
his sister and brother-in-law said he is not old enough to make such a
big decision so quickly and that if his girlfriend (a member) dumps
him, he won't even want to be in the church anymore. We planned to
talk with him about that the next day at church. We ended the night
with our weekly Bruder Kramer appointment.

We went to church on Sunday morning, and I had a nice surprise there.
The Helzers, one of my favorite families from Solingen, were at church
because a relative's baby was getting blessed. It was cool catching up
with them and getting a picture together. Moritz showed up during
opening exercises at priesthood, and we took him aside with our ward
mission leader to talk about his situation. It was kind of intense. We
shared with him the story of Joseph Smith being persecuted for his
beliefs, and I also talked about Eric Corpuz's story when he got
baptized. Moritz said at the end of the appointment that he was still
planning on getting baptized on the 11th, and he prayed at the end for
strength to overcome the opposition in his family. It was awesome. We
had a really good Sunday with church, and later on an eating
appointment with a cool family in the ward.

Well, today is my second to last P-day. The Unna Elders are coming in
a little while, and we will chill and then I will go on my last split
with Elder Haskell. It should be fun. We will meet with our ward
mission leader tonight and then have district meeting tomorrow.

I hope you have a great week, love you!

LG, Daniel

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Final Interview with Pres. Schwartz

Hey Mom!

Well, we had a pretty good week. On Tuesday, I had my interview with
Pres. Schwartz. It was really good but kind of awkward at the same
time, mostly when he got to the marriage portion. He did the classic
"it's not good to be alone" line, and at one point he leaned back in
his chair and said, "OK, I'm now prospective Sister Squires, we are on
our first date, ask me questions." Haha it was kind of funny. He told me I have to do 

power-datingwhen I go home, which is basically just laying everything on the table
in the first date and setting expectations, almost like in a lesson
with a new investigator. Yeah, we'll see how that goes. Other than
that, I learned a lot of good things from the interview and Pres.
Schwartz gave me a lot of good instruction. We spent the rest
of the day in Dortmund since it was our P-day.

Wednesday consisted of going on a split to Unna with Elder Pratt. We
did service all day, helping some members transport a piano to a
member's physical therapy practice. It was a good day, but we didn't
get to do much of anything else since the places were so far away we
had to travel to. Meanwhile, Elder Moore and Elder Haskell met with an
investigator, Monica, to help her stop smoking. Apparently they
discussed the Atonement a lot with her.

On Thursday, Elder Pratt and I took a train back to Hagen and there we
had district meeting. We did some roleplays trying to meet the
concerns of our investigators. Afterwards, Elder Moore and I went to
Iserlohn for an appointment with Bruder Kraft and his friend who plays
guitar and bass. The friend had questions about why we are called
'Elder' and what similarities there are between us and the elders
spoken of in the old testament. We pretty much just read the
explanation in the bible dictionary, and that was really helpful. We
also got to jam a little bit on guitar. I am super excited to play
more guitar when I get home!

We did not get a lot accomplished on Friday because I got sick. One of
the kids in Unna, whose family was moving the piano, was sick, and I
am pretty sure that is the source of my sickness. I wrote my mission
history (a roughly 5 page document required from Pres. Schwartz) just
giving an outline of my mission, my areas, my companions, and the
people I have taught.

There was a couple from the Siegen branch who got baptized on Saturday
in our ward building since they don't have a baptismal font in Siegen.
It took a long time, and we had to clean everything up afterward. The
guy who got baptized was a pretty big dude and it took him 4 times to
get baptized because he wouldn't go all the way under the water. The
fourth time, he just kind of fell backwards. It was kind of an awkward
baptism, but it's all good haha. After that was all said and done, we
took a trip to Iserlohn and had a lesson with Manuella. It went well.
She was not doing too well, so we gave her a Priesthood blessing.

I started feeling more sick on Sunday. I was coughing a lot and my
nose was very plugged, but I still was able to get through all of the
meetings, give a talk about the Atonement, have a lesson with Moritz
about some of the commandments and his baptismal program, and have an
eating appointment with an older couple in the ward. After that, I was
pretty much done for the day and just rested.

I was not doing too well on Monday, so it was another day of mostly
resting and getting some easy things done, like preparing the
baptismal program for Moritz. Other than that, I just kind of laid
around and took it easy. I am feeling better today, I still just have
a little bit of a stuffy nose and a little cough.

Well, that was our week. It really is starting to hit me that I go
home in a couple weeks. I started packing so that I would not have a
last-minute scramble in a couple weeks right before I have to go. I
also sent home a big package today, mostly filled with books, letters,
and other random things.

Anyway, I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

PS For Moritz's baptism, we will be singing "A Child's Prayer" and "I
am a Child of God."  I don't know yet if we have someone to play the
piano for the service, so could you practice those a little just in
case we would need a back up pianist? That would be awesome!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Baptism Date

Hey Mom!

Well, this week was really good and interesting. I will start off with
the great news. Moritz, who was originally going to get baptized on
April 26th, had to change his baptismal date. He requested to be
baptized on May 11th (Mother's Day), and he asked that I would be the
one to baptize him. That means you guys get to be there too, so it
should be a great experience! Moritz is really excited about getting

Anyway, now to the recap of the week. We had P-day on Monday with the
Paderborn Elders who had overnighted with us because of general
conference. We had a lot of fun. Elder Moore and I later had mostly
paperwork to finish up in the apartment to get all of our records in

On Tuesday, the weather was really weird and made it difficult to know
if we could go outside or not. It would start raining really hard for
5 or 10 minutes, and then get sunny again for another 5 or 10 minutes,
and then the cycle would repeat itself. We took the opportunity to
completely finish some things in the apartment we had been putting off
because there were just some higher priority things we had to
accomplish. It was kind of a slow day, but we got a lot of things done
that we now don't have to keep putting off and make the missionaries
after us do. We did at least have English class that night, though.

We went by on a couple members on Wednesday, one of whom had a
birthday so we brought by some brownies. We later on had an
appointment with the Dietrichs, an active couple in the ward. They got
pretty excited about missionary work seeing as Sister Dietrich has a
less-active brother, and his daughter is also less-active and has a
semi-interested, nonmember boyfriend. They said they were going to try
and make a little barbecue get-together on the coming Saturday, so we
were excited for that.

On Thursday, we had a lesson with a woman named Monica that we had
found contacting the previous week. She wants to give up smoking, so
we went through the "Stop Smoking Program" that our mission has. She
also showed interest in our message, so we should be having a lesson
tomorrow with her about the Gospel if all goes according to plan.
Later that evening, we also had a lesson with Moritz in Dortmund,
followed by staying there with him for institute. We talked about the
Gospel of Jesus Christ with him, and it was pretty easy for him to
understand and accept.

On Friday, Elder Moore and I did our weekly planning session before
heading to Dortmund for zone training meeting. After the meeting, I
stayed in Dortmund and went on a split with Elder Clark, one of the
zone leaders there. We did some home teaching splits for a few hours
with a former German Elder who served in this mission. It was kind of
cool talking to him. He trained Elder Fausnaught, my second companion
in the field.

There was a youth conference on Saturday that missionaries were
permitted to visit if youth from their wards were going. We got to go,
and our part in the program was to help the youth give out invitations
they had created for the Easter Sunday service in Dortmund. Elder
Moore and I accompanied two Aaronic Priesthood holders in our ward.
They were noticeably scared talking to random people in public, but
they did a good job. Upon returning from Dortmund, we had that
barbecue appointment with the Dietrichs and the others they invited.
It was a really good opportunity to get to know their friends and
relatives a little better. We asked the one nonmember boyfriend of the
less-active girl if we could call him that week to try and set up an
appointment, and he said yes. We also shared a Mormon Message with the
rest of them, and it seemed to be really helpful. the Dietrichs were
really happy about how the activity went. Later on, we ended the night
with our usual appointment with Bruder Kramer.

Sunday was pretty typical in terms of church services except that we
watched the last session of General Conference for the last two hours
of church. Moritz came, and after church, we had a short lesson with
him about preparation for baptism and a few of the commandments. He
was still really excited about his baptism, and he came to institute
and church even though his girlfriend and her family couldn't come. He
is way solid.

Yesterday, Elder Moore and I were in Dortmund for a long time. Elder
Moore had an interview with Pres. Schwartz, and afterwards we had a
meeting with Pres. Schwartz, the zone leaders, the assistants, and the
district leaders in our zone to discuss the needs of the districts and
the zone. When we got back to Hagen, we went to our bishop's house for

I have my last interview with Pres. Schwartz today. Normally
interviews last for 10-20 minutes, but the last interview takes about
an hour. I have heard from other missionaries ending their missions
that Pres. Schwartz talks about marriage a lot, so this will
definitely be an interesting experience. Other than that, Elder Moore
and I will have P-day for about the rest of the day since yesterday
was all meetings.

Well, I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference Weekend

Hey Mom!

I am glad to hear everyone had a conference experience, and am
relieved to know that Dad's shoulder is not anything serious. Also,
thanks for the package, all the treats were really good for me and the
whole district!

Well, I once again am a little pressed for time. We only have an hour
left of P-day and still need to get groceries across the street, so
yeah, I have to hurry.

Monday was my birthday P-day, which was a lot of fun. After the games
and festivities, Elder Moore and I had FHE with the Clemens family.
They are cool and they are big BVB fans, so I like hanging out with

On Tuesday, we went to get Elder Moore's visa and to train and get him
a new card for public transportation since his broke. We later on did
some contacting and also had English class.

Wednesday was our last district meeting with Elder Waterböhr in the
district considering he got transferred the next day to Solingen. We
later on went by on a less-active member and
had a short lesson with him about charity. The end of the night was
spent in ward council.

Thursday consisted of getting permission for a street display from the
city, going by on a less-active member to drop off brownies for his
birthday, and translating an English guide to stop smoking into German
for an appointment we would be having on Saturday afternoon.

On Friday, we didn't see a lot of success. We first did weekly
planning, then went by on a few people who were not home. The night
ended with our game night in the church with the ward, which was fun.

On Saturday, we had a lesson with Manuella before the broadcast of the
women's session of conference was played. It went well. We also were
going to have an appointment with a woman to help her stop smoking,
but she had to cancel last minute. Then we had to run to the store to
get some extra food for the Paderborn Elders, who had to stay
overnight with us to make it to conference. Saturday evening we got to
see the live broadcast of the Saturday morning session of conference.

On Sunday, we saw the Priesthood, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday
morning sessions of conference. I really like the messages that
Jeffrey R. Holland, Randall L. Ridd, M. Russell Ballard, and Gary A.
Stevenson had to share. The whole conference was really good. After
the conference, we had a short talk with Moritz (that 18-year-old new
investigator) about his baptism on the 26th. We discussed everything
he would have to do to be prepared by that time, and he seemed okay
with that. The only hitch was that he really wants to invite his dad
to his baptism, and his dad will be gone on the 26th. He wasn't sure
which date would be the best, but he really wants to get baptized. We
gave him a couple days to think about a date and then to let us know.
I hope he gets baptized while I am still in Germany, but if not, it is
not the end of the world.

Well, we had a good P-day today. Because of travel issues, the
Paderborn Elders overnighted with us again. So we had a P-day together
and just played a bunch of games. It was good also getting to know
Elder Isham, the new Elder in Paderborn.

That is all I have time to report. I hope you have a great week!

LG, Daniel

PS Our P-day will be on Tuesday next week, so don't expect an email till then.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Miracle Sunday and a Good Birthday

Hey Mom!

Thanks for the birthday wishes! And you don´t have to worry about the
birthday package not getting to me, I will spend my last 5 weeks here
in Hagen with Elder Moore.

It sounds like it was an eventful week at home. I hope Dad´s shoulder is ok.

Well, I have a restricted amount of time to write my emails, so this
will probably be a little shorter, but we will see how fast I can
type. We have to catch a bus in a little while to an appointment.

This week was pretty good in spite of some appointments that fell out.
On Monday, we had a pretty typical Pday followed by a member lesson in
Lüdenscheid. It was a pretty average Monday.

Tuesday was our district meeting plus a little bit of finding, all
topped off with our English class. Also an average day.

We had to deep clean our apartment on Wednesday due to the cleaning
check we had the next day, and that took a little chunk of time. Later
in the evening, we had another member appointment, this time in
Herdecke, another city in our area.

On Thursday, after our cleaning check, we did some street contacting
for a while and then went to help a member with his home teaching.
Later on, we were going to have a member appointment, but it did not
work out. The buses drivers were on strike for Wednesday and Thursday,
and the appointment was too far away to try and take a train and then
walk or anything. So that fell out.

On Friday, Elder Moore and I did our weekly planning, and we also did
some street contacting on the way to the grocery store so we could get
brownie supplies. We usually make brownies for our members when they
have birthdays, and two member had birthdays. On top of that, Sunday
was ward conference, so we made three sheets of brownies for a kind of
potluck after the meetings. In the evening of Thursday, we were going
to have a member appointment with an active family, but they weren´t
at home. We called them and they had forgotten, so they hurried home
and took us to a little Greek restaurant to eat, but we were not able
to share a message with them because of the time constraint and the
atmosphere in the restaurant.

Saturday was filled with a little bit more action. We had a street
display in the middle of the city, and a pretty decent amount of
members showed up, as well as the missionaries from Unna. We were
there from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. and gave out 5 copies of the Book of
Mormon as well as a ton of cards. We had some interesting
conversations and rejections from people, but anything for the Lord,
right? Later in the day, we had to cancel our appointment with our
investigator Manuella because no men in the ward could accompany us.
We did have our appointment with Bruder Kramer though, and it turned
out really good. We got to teach his son as if he were an
investigator, and I think it was really helpful for him. He said we
could practice teaching 2 times a week, and that is really good for

Sunday was probably one of the best Sundays I have had on the mission.
We were blessed with a few miracles. Moritz, our main investigator
right now, came to ward conference. We had a lesson with him the
previous week, and he said that he would be baptized when he received
an answer that the church is true. The talks in ward conference were
about acting in faith without a perfect knowledge, especially with
baptism. It was really good. We had a lesson later that evening with
him about the Plan of Salvation, and we invited him at the end to be
baptized on April 26th. He said yes! He just needs to clear it up with
his family so he is allowed to get baptized, but other than that and a
few more lessons, he is prepared. Another miracle that happened at
church was that an 18-year-old girl came who met with the missionaries
before and wanted to get baptized, but her parents didn´t allow it.
She still had that desire, and now is old enough to act for herself. A
girl in the ward who is friends with her in school asked her, "Why
don´t you meet with the missionaries?" She wants to meet again and we
received approval to teach her as long as it is her wish to be taught.
We will meet with her at a member´s home on Wednesday. It was a really
great Sunday.

Well, I had a good birthday today. The Elders from my district as well
as some from Dortmund came to Hagen and we played games and hung out.
I also signed up for classes for Fall Semester at BYU, so I think
everything should be ok there.

Anyway, I hope you have a really great week, and enjoy conference!

LG, Daniel

Monday, March 24, 2014

Last Zone Conference and Splits

Hey Mom!

It sounds like all of the Sundays leading up to my return home are
going to be busy in Vegas/Utah. I am sure it will make time fly like
crazy. Time is going by really fast here. It seems weird to think that
I hit the less than 50 days mark this last week.

Well, we had a relatively good week this week. We had to travel a lot,
seeing as we had two splits since the split we were going to have last
week didn´t work out. Elder Haskell got sick so we had to push the
split until this last week.

Monday was a less than typical P-day. We had all of the usual things,
but we were in a hurry the whole time. The Paderborn Elders came to
overnight with us considering the next day was zone conference. So we
had a member appointment with the Kleinerts, and the Paderborn Elders
came as well.

Tuesday was my last zone conference. Elder Timothy Dyches of the Area
Presidency (I think) came and spoke to us about being master teachers.
It was really uplifting and was really a good thing for me to hear. We
also heard from his wife who spoke a lot about genealogy and using it
with missionary work. Präs. Schwartz spoke to us about how we need to
keep our commitments to the gospel if we expect investigators to keep
theirs, and his wife spoke about the "unto what were ye ordained"
scripture. It was really good. Once we returned back to Hagen with the
Paderborn Elders, Elder Waterböhr and I got our stuff and headed to
Paderborn for a split.

Our split on Wednesday went really well. We had a lot of time to
contact people, and we found two pretty cool potential investigators.
We also made these little origami white dress shirts and delivered
them to some members in the branch there. We split back later that

On Thursday, we had a rather odd experience. We tried to go by on the
man who had spoken with us the previous week in the Döner shop and
asked us to come to his apartment to teach him. He and his wife were
home, and they let us in. The wife told us she was a Jehova´s Witness
and didn´t have interest in our message. We started to teach the man
about our purpose and the Book of Mormon, and he stopped us after a
few minutes, asking, "Wait, are you guys not Jehova´s Witnesses?" We
told him we were not, and he said he didn´t have any further interest
in our message. It was kind of strange, but at least the wife asked
for a Book of Mormon at the end. Maybe someday they will get back in
touch with the Elders. A little earlier in the day we were also able
to find a man who accepted a Book of Mormon and gave us his number,
and we are still trying to get in contact with him. We ended the
evening in Dortmund, where we visited Institute. We had two
investigators there as well as a less-active who prepared the food, so
that was a really successful evening.

I went on another split on Friday, this time with Elder Haskell in
Unna. We also had a pretty legit split.  We went by on a few people,
and the first guy, a former investigator, let us in. He is active in the Catholic
church and said he thinks it is great what we do but there are just some
points of doctrine where we don´t agree. He had a friend from his
church there, and the friend asked us a lot of questions. Eventually
we came to the Book of Mormon, and it was probably one of the most
natural intros to the book Elder Haskell or I had ever given. The man
asked if he could keep it and was very nice and interested. It was a
cool experience.

On Saturday, after splitting back and going to Hagen, Elder Moore and
I had a lesson with Manuella in Iserlohn. It went well for the most
part. We talked a lot about the Holy Ghost and his role as a
comforter, and the lesson was relatively smooth until the very end. We
came to the part where we were going to bear testimony and close, and
Manuella asked kind of a random question about Elder Moore´s little
sister and it kind of got out of our hands. Manuella and one of the
people we had as a joint-teach just kind of started a completely
different conversation, not about our lesson at all, and it kind of
made it really hard to get back the focus and close. It probably
wasn´t the worst thing in the world, but it could have ended better.
We then went to Bruder Kramer´s like usual, and his son, Chris, was
there this time. We did some grilling and played a little bit of
darts, and had some good bonding time with Chris. Bruder Kramer had
some heart pains after eating, so we didn´t actually get to talk to
him much.

Sunday was a really good day. We had church, and our investigator
Moritz came again. He really likes the church and how friendly
everybody is. After church, Elder Moore and I had lunch with the
Bensches and then dinner/FHE with the Schumaiers in Lüdenscheid, where
we taught Moritz again. We watched the Restoration DVD with him, and
it went really well. He said before that he wasn´t exactly sure how
the First Vision went down, but now he understands everything much
better. He also had a good question about the Word of Wisdom, which he
had learned about during some spare time at work. He said he believes
he received an answer to a prayer through the Book of Mormon, and he
is just doing great.

Well, that is pretty much the week. Transfer calls are this week on
Saturday, but I would be surprised if either Elder Moore or I were
transferred. We also have a street display in the middle of town on
Saturday, so I hope that all goes well.

I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, March 17, 2014

Doners and a New Investigator

Hey Mom!

We had an interesting week. It began with some bad news, namely that Lukas, our main investigator, moved suddenly to another city in our mission without telling us or anyone else. We only found that out from
a member who talked to his brother. We can´t get a hold of him but I don´t think it has anything to do with us. Apparently he was just really stressed out looking for a job and decided he would move to go
live with his dad for now. Kind of disappointing, but we should beable to give the phone number to another set of missionaries in that city.

Well other than that, the week was good. It started off with a jamsession on Monday with a member´s friend. We shared a lesson about the Spirit and asked him if he wanted to learn more and he said no. We
later found out from the member that he wanted to know how we could both be Elders even though we are so young. We will have another appointment with him next month to discuss that.

Tuesday was not bad. We walked a ways to a park to try and contact people, but there weren´t too many people there. We walked back and later on had our English class. We also took over the seminary
class for a sister who was stuck in traffic.  On Wednesday, we tried our luck in a little city called Hohenlimburg, but didn´t find anyone there. When we got back, we made our way to the Hiemers, an active member family, to have an eating appointment with them. It went well.

Thursday was kind of a busy day. Elder Moore and I had to work out his visa issues and were running around all afternoon getting everything necessary done so he can stay in the country. We were going to get a
Döner (just an awesome food you will have to eat when you get here) before taking a train to Iserlohn to contact a referral, but we didn´t have time before the train was going to leave. Good thing there wasn´t
enough time because we later went to get those Döners and a Serbian man talked to us in the Döner shop, saying he would like to learn more about God and that he has never been baptized but knows it is
important. He gave us his address and told us to come by whenever. That was a cool experience.

We had zone training in Dortmund on Friday. It went really well. We talked a lot about finding and working effectively. When we came back to Hagen, we had just enough time to do a little bit of studies and
then went to the church for a ward game night, which was really fun.  Saturday began with a deep clean of the ward building, followed by a lesson with Manuella and another with Bruder Kramer. It was a busy
day, and we got a lot done.

We also had a full Sunday. We went to church, and afterwards had choir practice and a member lunch appointment. After that was all said and done, we took a train to Lüdenscheid to have a first lesson with a new investigator, who is the boyfriend of a teenager in the ward. He is a really cool guy and is really sincere in his desire to find out if the gospel is true and if God really knows him. He pretty much just absorbed the first lesson and then prayed at the end. The member family is doing a great job with him. He has already been over to their house for dinner a lot and prays with them and everything. I think he will progress quite quickly, but we will be sure to take it at his own pace and not rush anything. He is going to a young men´s
activity tomorrow, institute in Dortmund on Thursday, and we have another lesson on the coming Sunday. We are pretty excited about all of that.

Well, this should be a good week. We have zone conference tomorrow. It will be my last zone conference before I go home, which is a really weird feeling. I think it should be really good though. I hope you
have a good week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, March 10, 2014

Two More Months

Hey Mom!

Well, we had a relatively slow week this week. It started off with Monday being Karneval and everything, so we were pretty much just chilling inside all day playing games and being bored.

Tuesday was filled with a little bit more activity. We had district meeting in Unna and afterwards had a short finding activity in the city there. I returned to Hagen with Elder Pratt for a split. We taught our English class and talked with the members who were in the ward building that night. It was pretty fun.

After splitting back on Wednesday, Elder Moore and I went by on a less-active member and then later had ward council. It was a pretty effective ward council for us this time. We talked about our street display on the 29th and about investigators and everything. 

I had an interview with Pres. Schwartz on Thursday that went really well. I really like having him as a mission president. At the beginning of the interview he was like, "wow Elder Squires, do you know how long you have left on your mission?" He is good at messing with the minds of his missionaries haha. I will have another interview with him within the next 4 or 5 weeks. It will be my "Leaver´s interview," and those usually last about an hour or more. Later on, we headed to our bishop´s house, ate tacos, and shared a message about missionary work with the family.

Friday morning kicked off with a member appointment with the Klingers, an older couple in the ward. We then returned to the apartment to do our weekly planning session. We spent a large chunk of time later going to try and contact a referral that was pretty far away (who wasn´t home) as well as deliver brownies to a less-active in that same city. He was excited to see us and gave us his phone number. Hopefully we can start meeting with him and his family in the near future.

On Saturday, we were going to have a lesson with an investigator named Tim, but he didn´t show up to the appointment. Later, we had a good lesson with Manuella. We read Alma 9 together, which is where she is right now in her Book of Mormon reading. We ended the night with our usual Kramer appointment. 

Sunday was a little slow. We didn´t have any appointments with the members for the first time in a while. Everyone we tried to ask throughout the week was pretty busy, so we just went home to have lunch. There was a really cool experience at church though. A girl in the ward turned 17 last Sunday and her boyfriend, who is 19, came to church with her. He showed up again yesterday and was pretty excited to learn. He has even already downloaded the gospel library app on his phone and was reading along during the different classes. The parents of the girl who had the birthday are trying to set up an appointment where we can teach the boyfriend, and he seems really interested and excited about that. We hope that happens soon.

Well, I hope this coming week is more eventful that the last one. I had kind of a hard time staying focused this week just because there was not much going on and we had a lot of disappointments, but I think this week will be much better. We have zone training on Friday as well as zone conference next Tuesday, and it should be really helpful. Elder Dyches of the seventy is touring the mission, so hopefully he teaches us some good stuff.

I hope you have a good and safe week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Schedule to Avoid Karneval

Hey Mom!

Well, for the most part, we had a pretty good week here in Hagen. The week started off with another P-day in Dortmund. I had left my coat there, so we just stayed for P-day. I got a couple more things at the BVB store for some people I forgot the first time, and we went to some other places to look around as well. We finished off the evening at the Kleinerts again for FHE.

On Tuesday, we didn't have a lot happen until the evening where we had English class and then a lesson with Lukas, our relatively new investigator. We taught him the Restoration, and he seemed pretty excited about it. He even accepted the invitation to say a kneeling prayer at the end of the lesson, and he did a great job.
Wednesday began with district meeting, and then afterwards I had a split in Hagen with Elder Richards from Paderborn. We spent most of the day in public transportation trying to contact a referral who wasn't home and then went to a member's home for a Wednesday FHE. In total, we were probably riding buses and trains for about 3 to 4 hours that day.

On Thursday, after heading to Paderborn to split back, Elder Moore and I came back to Hagen and then shortly thereafter went to Dortmund for a lesson with Lukas and then Institute. It went really well. We didn't have a ton of time to prepare for the lesson since we had been on a split, but it still went ok. We taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. Lukas has been keeping his commitments and asks a lot of good questions. He also enjoys coming to institute, so that was cool to see him stay for that as well. He was even asked to give the prayer at the end of the Book of Mormon class and prayed in front of everyone even though it was his 3rd time ever praying in front of people.

We had a pretty slow day on Friday. It was the start of Karneval where a ton of people dress up in costumes and get hammered, so the mission sent out a text and suggested we try to do effective things in the apartment. We still had a member appointment in the evening, and there was not really any craziness on the street, so it was kind of a boring day with a lot of planning and organizing things in the apartment.
Saturday was a day full of activity. After studies, we first had a lesson with a potential investigator from Egypt named Kyrollos. He was a cool guy, but seemed more interested in learning about American culture than in our church. It was also hard to try and get him to accept a Book of Mormon because he said he might not read it and it could go to waste, but we eventually persuaded him to take it with. After that appointment, we headed to Iserlohn to have a lesson with Manuella. It went pretty well after a kind of shaky start, and she read out loud today in front of us for the first time ever! She goes really slow in terms of making progress, but she step by step moves forward. The evening consisted of going to Bruder Kramer's son's apartment to help install a light fixture. We ended up not really having an opportunity to help much, but we had good conversation and food.

Sunday was a good day as well. Manuella came to church, but Lukas didn't show up. We were kind of worried since our plan was to meet him at church and then drive together to a member's home, eat lunch, and then have a lesson there, but it ended up being ok. He had a lot of paper work to do for applying for jobs and things so couldn't make it to church, but he still came to the lesson. We taught him the last half of the Plan of Salvation, and it went well. He will have a busy week this week, so we invited him to pray to know if the plan was God's true plan for us, and he asked for a week to be able to think and ponder, and then we will see us at church on the coming Sunday. He is taking it pretty seriously, and I think there are good things in store with him.

Well, that was pretty much the week. Today is Rosenmontag, which is the day of the Karneval celebration where all of the parties in the bigger cities go down, so we are pretty much just going to go finish our shopping, and then head inside for the rest of the day since it is going to be wild in the city.
I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, February 24, 2014

A New Companion

Hey Mom!

I will try to keep my email a little shorter, I am running out of time since I had to write some other emails and call some Elders for various reasons, and also we are heading to Dortmund today since I accidentally left my coat there after stake conference.

Well, this week was fast and slow at the same time. On Monday, after going to Dortmund and getting some BVB gear as well as some new ties, we had FHE with the Kleinerts in Herdecke, which went well. 

On Tuesday, I went to the dentist because I thought my front tooth was cracking in half (which you can see in the right angle of light that there is a huge crack/ridge in it) but the dentist told me it is not a concern right now. We will have to see what American dentists think when I get back. A lot of the day was spent with Elder Norman packing, and then we went to lunch with Bruder Kramer so Elder Norman could say goodbye. We ended the day with English class. 

Wednesday was good. We had district meeting as well as an appointment with a member of the ward, Bruder Kraft. He asked me if I play instruments, and I said I play guitar. He got way excited and said he has a friend who plays guitar who would want to jam with me, so he set up an appointment with this guy so we can eat, have a spiritual thought, and then play some guitar. But that isn´t until the Monday after next, so it will be a small waiting period. We ended the night with Ward Council Meeting, and it was ok.

We woke up early on Thursday to go to Frankfurt so I could pick up my new comp, Elder Moore. He is a good guy and has good desires. He is a pretty big dude and makes me look tiny. We are probably one of the more interesting looking companionships in the zone haha. But he is way funny and is a good comp. We drove with a travel bus back up to Dortmund and when we got there, we almost immediately had a "setting expectations" lesson with a potential investigator, Lukas. It went really well, and he is now a new investigator. We stayed there with him afterwards for Institute in Dortmund, and he had a good time. 

On Friday, we spent most of the day inside so I could debrief Elder Moore on the area and the members and investigators, as well as make our weekly plan. When we finally were able to go outside, we pretty much just walked down the road where our church is and had a game night with some members in the ward. It was fun, and it was a good opportunity for Elder Moore to meet some of the members. 

On Saturday, we tried going by on some less-active members, but they were busy and couldn´t let us in. We had to later travel to Dortmund for stake conference. We were going to get there an hour early to have a lesson with an investigator who was coming to stake conference, but it never happened. She came, but she came in on the other side of the building. There was a guy there doing the door service, and told us he would let us know if she came in. Turns out she did come in, but the guy never came and told us. By the time we went over there ourselves, it was too late to have a lesson, but we still were able to sit with her for stake conference. It was really good. They talked a lot about hastening the work and about loving others. 

Sunday was another part of stake conference, but it was broadcasted in Hagen, so we didn´t have to go to Dortmund again. Lukas came, and he really liked the talks that were given. It was actually a broadcast from Salt Lake City to all of the wards in Germany, and there were 4 speakers. I don´t remember who the first 2 were, but the 3rd was David A. Bednar, and the 4th was Richard G. Scott. Elder Bednar gave his whole talk in German which was pretty cool. After stake conference ended, we ate lunch with an older couple in the ward, the Schmidts, and later on went to Iserlohn to try and visit a former investigator, but he wasn´t home. 

That was pretty much the week. We have an eventful week planned out for the next seven days, and I can imagine that it will go by very quickly. I hope you have a great week, too! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, February 17, 2014

Training for the Last Two Transfers

Hey Mom!

We had transfer calls on Saturday, and I was called to train for my last two transfers. I am excited. I don´t think I would have had a huge problem with focusing anyway, but this will help me stay concentrated on the work since it is such a big responsibility. Unlike other training situations, I already know who I will be training. It is an Elder who was already in the mission being trained but had to leave the mission for a time, and now he is coming back into the field. That means I will kind of be re-training him, so that will be an adventure! I have heard from other missionaries who knew him that he is a really great guy and had a good impact on some members in the first area he was in. I will pick him up on Wednesday. In other news about transfers, Elder Hutchings is staying in Idar-Oberstein with his comp, Elder Monson from my district is heading to Gelsenkirchen and being replaced by an Elder Pratt, and Elder Norman is going to Erfurt. 

Well, we had an interesting week this week. We didn´t get to teach that many lessons because there were so many crazy things going on. On Monday, we had our typical P-day and then had FHE with our bishop and his family.

Tuesday consisted of helping a member family, the Clemens, build some furniture for their baby that will be coming shortly. We also had our English class, which is always good. 

We were in Dortmund for all of Wednesday to help the zone leaders move from one apartment to another. I feel bad for Elder Lyman, one of the zone leaders. He was excited about the new apartment (which is a lot nicer than the old one) and helped move everything and then just got called to be transferred to Essen. It is ok though, one of the Elders who was helping got called to replace him, so his work was not in vain haha. 

On Thursday, I went on a split with Elder Waterböhr. We stayed in Hagen and tried to go by on three different people. The first, a less-active couple, were on their way out the door, so we couldn´t meet with them. The second, an old investigator, was also on his way out the door, so we walked with him a ways to talk to him about his alcohol addiction, but we couldn´t do much there. The last go-by, a birthday go-by, was also not ideal. The whole family was sick, so we couldn´t go in and have a lesson. On top of all of that, it was raining all night, so we got soaked. It was kind of a slow, lame day. 

Friday was better. We headed to Dortmund for zone training, and there we did a lot of roleplays for teaching and talking to people in trains. We also had a question and answer session with our Stake President, Pres. Zarse. It was really cool and helpful. When we returned to Hagen in the evening, we met with the Rajahkumar family.They are originally from Sri Lanka, and Bruder Rajahkumar is part of the bishopric here. We had a really great appointment with them, and I learned a lot about the role of love and charity in helping people come unto Christ. 

Saturday was a busy day. The Elders in Siegen had a baptism, and it took place in our chapel since their chapel is lacking a baptismal font. We got everything ready for them in the morning, and then had the baptism around 12:30. It went well, and one of our investigators, Manuella, was there. I think she enjoyed it. After the baptism and a little lunch put together by some members, we had a lesson with Manuella about why bad things happen to good people and why Joseph Smith was persecuted and killed. She brought up that concern in the last lesson, so we resolved it at this lesson. After that appointment and some studies, we had our classic Bruder Kramer appointment on Saturday. Those are always fun.

On Sunday, we had Elder Norman´s goodbye testimony. He was really sad to be leaving. Hagen is a cool area. After church, we met with a less-active family for lunch and then with Pres. Zarse and his family for dinner. He lives in our area, which is really cool. It is the first time I have had the stake president in my ward on the mission. He is a really helpful and loving man. 

Well, that was about it for the week. Not too crazy, but still alright. Today for Pday, we are going to Dortmund to visit Primark (best store ever) as well as a BVB Fanstore so I can get some cool stuff for everyone. It will be a lot of fun. 

I hope you have a really great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, February 10, 2014

Prayers Answered, and Other Cool Things

Hey Mom!

We had a really busy last couple of weeks. I won´t give a big list of things we did two weeks ago, it wasn´t really a crazy week with a ton of cool experiences. This last week was really full of a lot of activities and cool things, though.

On Monday after P-day ended, I went on a split with Elder Robinson in Dortmund. I got to do a baptismal interview for one of their investigators, a Chinese girl whose name I will not attempt to spell. Usually the district leader interviews baptismal candidates, but the district leader in Dortmund district is German and the Chinese girl only speaks English, so they had me come in for the interview. She did a really good job. After the interview, we had a FHE activity in Dortmund with older, single people. It was a lot of fun. 

The next day, we headed back to Hagen for district meeting. We did some really cool role plays there to help teach our investigators, and it was really helpful for the companionships in the district. Once we were finished with district meeting, we met with a former investigator, Tim. He had been texting us all of a sudden throughout the last few weeks, and we finally were able to have an appointment with him. He is a really cool guy, and seems like he wants to take our message seriously. In the evening, we had our English class as well as a lesson with our investigator, Bernd. It didn´t go very well. He wanted to fight and discuss a bunch of strange topics and would not accept anything we taught about without bringing up some reason why the Book of Mormon is not important to read. We ended up having to tell him we could not meet with him further if he is not willing to read in the Book of Mormon because that is the only thing he can do to find out if the church is true. He told us he would contact us again when he decides if he wants to read the book or not. 

Wednesday was a really awesome day. We went to the town hall to get permission for a street display in the pedestrian zone, and as we were on our way out, I simply said hi to a man standing near the door to the building. He stopped us and asked us if we speak English, and we told him we did. Turns out he just got to Germany (he is originally from Nigeria but lived most of his life in Italy) and needed help to get his papers and everything worked out with the government. He asked if we could help him translate everything, and we did. He later told us that he had prayed the whole morning that someone would come across his path that could help him in his situation. It was a really cool experience being able to be the answer to someone´s prayer just because we were in the right place at the right time. Later on that day, we took brownies to a less-active sister in Lüdenscheid, but she said she doesn´t want to come back to church. We ended the night with ward council, which actually went really well. It was probably the best ward council I have been to in Germany so far. We got a lot accomplished and the council was supportive and interested in our efforts with investigators and the street display. 

On Thursday, I had a split in Hagen with Elder Haskell, who is usually in Unna. We had to plan out a lot of logistics to get to an appointment and also go by on some former investigators, and that took a while, but for the most part, we had a good day. Our appointment was with the Wächtlers, an active couple in our ward, and it was a great lesson. We watched a video from "Hastening the Work of Salvation" with them, and they seemed to be pretty excited about it. 

After splitting back on Friday, Elder Norman and I headed straight to Essen, a city in our zone. I had a district leader council there with the other district leaders in the zone, the zone leaders, the assistants, and Pres. Schwartz. It was a really good meeting, and I learned a lot about helping my district get excited about finding new investigators. After the meeting, we stayed in Essen and helped set up for a fireside/baptism there (the baptism of the girl I interviewed). Missionaries were only allowed to stay for the fireside if they had investigators there. We knew one was coming, but to our surprise, a second one came with a YSA. This investigator, Marvin, is way cool. He was meeting with the missionaries up until the week before I got here but stopped because he had a lot of stress with different things. He is ready to meet again though, and he said he already knows our message is true, he just needs help to stop smoking. We are meeting with him on Wednesday to talk to him about that. The fireside was great, and I think it was really helpful for all of the missionaries and investigators who came. Our Area Seventy spoke, Axel Leimer, and he gave a great talk about the Gospel of Christ.

Saturday was a great day as well. After completing studies and weekly planning, we headed to Iserlohn with Bruder Gernegroß (a member of the bishopric) to an appointment with our investigator, Manuella. She was the other one who came to the baptism. We had a really good lesson with her, and I think it helped her to make progress. We just read in the Book of Mormon with her where she was at, and we answered her questions. In the evening, we went to Bruder Kramer´s, like we do every Saturday, and it was really good and fun. I had to prepare a talk for the next day, and before we went over there, I prayed about what I needed to talk about. I thought to myself, "I am a missionary, of course I am going to give a talk about missionary work," but I didn´t have a good feeling about it. As I went on my knees and prayed, I had a strong impression that I was supposed to talk about tithing. I didn´t want to at first, but I eventually realized that it was going to be important for some reason. At Bruder Kramer´s house, I told him I needed to print something off for the talk, and he also gave me a DVD of the old church video where Lorenzo Snow goes to St. George when they are in a drought, as well as the church was in debt at the time, and in the film, he stands before the church there and receives revelation that the answer to both of those problems was that the church needed to pay full, honest tithing. Once they started doing that, it took a while, but the promise of the Lord was fulfilled and the rains came and the church came out of debt. 

We had a great Sunday. There were three nonmembers at church, one of them being Manuella, the next was Endurance (the man we helped at the town hall, and by the way, sickest name ever, right?), and the last was a young man who has a ton of interest to learn about the church. He came with one of the YSAs, and he wants to meet with us. The only problem is that he doesn´t live within our mission boundaries, but he is trying to decide if he wants to stay there or move to Hagen. I hope he moves haha! When the time came, I gave my talk about tithing. It went really well, and I felt good about the topic. After church, a lot of members came up to me to tell me that it was a really good talk and several said they learned a lot. The bishop talked to me and Elder Norman after church and said he was very impressed with our work and the fact that we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit. He said the talk was exactly what the ward needed. On top of that, Endurance told me that in his church in Italy, he also pays tithing but he had not paid it the last month and now needed to repent. It was cool. In the evening, Elder Norman and I went to the Gruse´s for a member appointment. Overall, it was just a great day.

Well, I hope this week will be just as good as last week was. Oh yeah, and one other cool thing happened: since my birthday is coming up, as well as the birthday for Elder Robinson, Elder Robinson asked Pres. Schwartz if we were allowed to go to a BVB soccer game for our birthdays, and Pres. Schwartz said "Elder, you are only on a mission in Germany once, you would be crazy if you didn´t go to a soccer game." I am pumped! 

Anyway, that was the week. I hope you have a good one! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Very Short Email

Hey Mom!

I have to keep my email short this week since I spent so much time just now trying to register for summer term at BYU. 

We had a good week this week. We had lessons with a few investigators, and they went pretty well. I also went on a split with Elder Monson in Unna, and it was a lot of fun. They bought a deep-fryer for their apartment a while ago, so we tried to deep-fry some noodles. It didn`t turn out too great haha. 

I have a split today with Elder Robinson in Dortmund (he is one of our zone leaders) and then I have another split in Hagen with Elder Haskell (the other Elder from Unna) on Thursday. It is going to be a very busy week. 

I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Effective District Meeting

Hey Mom!

Well, we had a pretty good week here in Hagen. It started off with P-day, after which we had a Family Home Evening with a family in the ward, the Clemens. We watched a Mormon Message with them, and it was really good.

On Tuesday, we headed out to a smaller city to drop off some birthday candy to some members in the ward. Later on, after also planning what we wanted to discuss in Ward Council Meeting the next day, we had our English class at the church. I wasn't a part of it though; Elder Norman and I did a split with Priesthood holders, and I went with a member of the bishopric to help him with his home teaching. It was a good appointment. When he drove me back to the church, we had a lesson there with our investigator, Bernd. That also went well. We talked with him about the necessity of the Atonement. We compared it to a Father asking all of his kids to make a perfect table, patterned after the table of a master table maker. We talked about how some would do better than others, but without the help of the master table maker, nobody would be able to make a table as good as him. It really helped him understand that concept, so hopefully we answered all of Bernd's questions there. We also talked about the role of the Holy Ghost and how you can recognize the Spirit.

We had district meeting on Wednesday, which went really well. We planned a game together as a district, based on something a different district in our zone did. We call it the "Hagen Games." It is basically a way to help us get out of our comfort zones and do the things that a lot of missionaries know they should do but sometimes don't because it is uncomfortable or foreign to them. For example, some of the things for Elder Norman and I include talking with people in buses and trains, calling at least one member everyday to build trust, updating our records daily, doing at least one role play a day during companion study, etc. There is a points system associated with all of these things, and each area in the district has different things they are doing as part of the games. The winner at the end of the transfer gets a free tie from Primark (which only costs a couple bucks) from both of the other companionships. We were careful not to do things that directly effect the key indicators of the mission, like lessons with a member present, new investigators, and so forth because doing so would probably take away the spirit of missionary work and cause us to do things to get points instead of to help people. So the things we do are all things that only effect our own agency and help us grow. The Paderborn Elders have already seen a lot of progress in their area and in themselves because of the things they have undertaken to do, which is awesome. Anyway, after that district meeting, I went on a split in Paderborn with Elder Richards. We talked a lot about the area and what things could be done to improve the situation there, and we also tried to contact a couple of less-active members/former investigators at the university there. It was a good split.

On Thursday, I went back to Hagen, and Elder Norman and I visited some more members who had birthdays in a little town called Werdohl. It took most of the day since Werdohl is quite a ways out there, but missionaries hadn't made it out there in a while, so we thought it was a good use of time.
After weekly planning on Friday, we had a lunch appointment with a member family. The husband is not a member and also didn't want to be a part of the visit, so he wasn't there. The rest of the family is girls (the mom and three daughters), so we had to have somebody else there. The oldest daughter, Anne, brought her boyfriend there who is 18. We had lunch and then watched a Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon and finding out that it is true. At the end of the appointment, we were able to give the boyfriend a Book of Mormon, and it was awesome. We didn't want to be too pushy, but we hope that he reads in it and asks us or Anne some questions about it. Later in the evening, we had a dinner appointment with a different member family. It also went well, and we invited them to watch a video from "Hastening the Work of Salvation" since they were running low on time and we didn't get a chance to watch it with them.

Saturday was a good, busy day. We had first a fallen-out appointment at the church, which was unfortunate. A former investigator had randomly sent us a text, asking us how we were doing, and through that we set up an appointment. Like I said, he didn't show up, and he later said he couldn't make it but wanted to come to church the next day. After that, we took a train out to Werdohl again, and got picked up there by a YSA in the ward to help him go home teaching in Lüdenscheid. That appointment was followed by a lesson with Manuella, one of our investigators, and that same YSA was our joint teach. We talked about prayer and how it is a commandment that we pray, and we hope she can eventually gain the courage to pray with us. She gets nervous and scared doing new things in front of people, and I guess she still needs a little bit of time. We ended the night by going to Bru. Kramer's, and we ate with him and watched a super old church film as well as a short Mormon Message. It was a good day.

Sunday was also nice. We had a good church service, and Bernd and Manuella both were at church. After church ended, we gathered up all of the YSAs in the ward and planned out a YSA council between just them and us every second Sunday in the month after Sacrament Meeting. We feel strongly that the growth in Hagen will come through the YSAs, and they have a lot of good ideas and tools to do missionary work that other members don't always have. We are excited to work more closely with them, and it seems like they are pumped as well. After that, we went to the Janßens, another member family in the ward, for lunch. We watched a video from "Hastening the Work" with them, and they really liked it. We finished the day with our studies and call-ins with the members of my district.

Well, we should have another good and busy week this week. We are heading to Dortmund for P-day today. We are going to hit up Primark and see what is up there. It is a sweet store where everything is super, super cheap but still good quality. We later on have a FHE appointment with our ward mission leader.
I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Busy Week in Hagen

Hey Mom!

This week in Hagen was probably one of the busiest weeks of my mission, if not the busiest. There are so many things to do here. It is interesting how my whole mission I was in areas where there was not much going on, and now that I am at the end, I am just constantly super busy, and I know this time is going to fly by.

We had a pretty sweet week here. On Monday, we did a lot of shopping for Pday. I got myself some BVB fan stuff as well as some new clothes that I have been needing. After we were done with our Pday activities, we went to our ward mission leader (Bruder Kleinert)'s house for FHE. There was a former investigator that came, and we all read and talked about 3 Nephi together. It went well, but the woman who was there doesn't really seem like the committal type. Bruder Kleinert said she has been the same way for years, so we probably won't get her as a progressing investigator any time soon.

Tuesday was really full of small miracles. We went first by a member whose birthday was that day, and it took a while to get out there. We weren't exactly sure where they lived, and we saw them on the street as we were going toward where we thought their house was. We had baked brownies for them, and they invited us in for a short time. They said it was the first time missionaries had ever dropped by on their birthday, so I think they enjoyed that. Later on, we wanted to have a lesson with an investigator, Abraham, but we didn't have enough time to reach him. We just ended up running into him on the street as we were trying to get a hold of him, and were able to make out a new appointment. When we were all finished there, we went to the church to talk with the bishop about missionary work and the ward. When we were done discussing those things, we had our English class with a member and a nonmember that another member had invited. We were going to then have a lesson with another investigator, Bernd, but he didn't show up. We gave him a call, and we were able to schedule a new appointment.

On Wednesday, we went by on an older couple who is semi-active right now. They were happy to let us in. They told us about their experiences living in the DDR and then we shared a message with them about holding to the Iron Rod. When we returned to the main city, we went to have our lesson with Abraham. He wants to stop drinking and change his life, but he doesn't have a lot of willpower and gives in easily to temptation. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and also offered him a Priesthood blessing, which he accepted. We ended the evening by planning out how we were going to work more effectively with the members and who we wanted to meet with in the coming week.

Thursday was also a busy day. The members of my district came to Hagen and we had a district planning session. There are various goals and initiatives for our mission from now until June when President Schwartz gets released, and we were asked to plan out some area goals in relation to them. After doing that, we all got some lunch together. There was another member with a birthday, so Elder Norman and I visited her briefly and gave her some birthday treats. We topped off the night with institute in Dortmund, which was good. I got to meet a couple more YSAs from our ward, and also our investigator, Frau Carvahlo was there.
On Friday, we went to Dortmund again for zone training meeting. It went really well and I learned a lot of things that I want to apply in my district meetings. When we got back to Hagen, we had that lesson with Bernd. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation. We may have taken it a little too fast, so we will probably go over some of the points again when we meet with him tomorrow. We ended the night by helping a less-active member move some cabinets in his apartment.

We headed to Dortmund for the third day in a row on Saturday. We had a district leader council where we discussed things that need to be applied in our districts as well as some good ideas to boost effectiveness in missionary work. Upon returning and after eating lunch, we had a lesson in Iserlohn with Frau Carvahlo about putting our trust in God like the stripling warriors, and it went relatively well. There was a member that helped us teach who is from Mexico, and he has been in Germany for about a year studying. He goes back to Mexico this week, so we all drove over to a member's work place after the lesson and had a surprise party for him. It was fun, and there were some nonmembers there we got to talk to as well as strengthen the relationship with other members.

Sunday was another busy day. We had church, and Elder Norman gave a great talk about the new ward mission plan in Hagen and how we can work together to reach our goals. Right after church, we went to an older couples' apartment for lunch, the Langners (related to the Langners in Langen). When that was all said and done, we met with a family, the Gens family, who is returning to activity right now. It was an awesome appointment. They have a 9-year-old daughter who suddenly said she would like to be baptized that day at church, so we are going to work on getting her taught and ready for that as well as helping the family return to activity. It is difficult for them; the wife is from Brazil and apparently the church is much more relaxed and fun over there, and here in Germany it is still good, but it is a lot more strict and down to business, but they still have testimonies which is awesome. It is a large family as well, so it will be really good for the ward here. We had a short lesson about the Restoration, and afterwards, they talked about wanting us over there every 2 weeks, which is a lot of progress. We are really excited to work with this family more closely.

As you can see, there is a lot to do in Hagen. I am super glad to be in this area. It is just awesome. We are going to have an even more busy week this week, so next week's email might be even longer than this one if everything works out okay.

Anyway, I hope you have a great week! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Good Start in Hagen

Hey Mom!

Well, things are going well here in Hagen. The city itself is really awesome, and I like the ward. I would say there are about 60-70 active members. We have a large concentration of YSAs here, and they are all really cool. We have a good apartment, a large church building, and lots and lots of people. It is definitely the busiest city that I have ever served in. I also like serving with Elder Norman. He is a really good missionary, a hard worker, and he is really charitable. By the way, did you know that Tyler Jaramillo served in Hagen? It used to be a part of the Hamburg Mission.

Elder Overall and I had a good few last days together. We went to the Wagners after P-day for family home evening, which is always awesome. After we ate and had a little lesson, we went upstairs and played Foosball on their new table they got for Christmas. I was a little rusty, but I did pretty well for myself. It was a really fun night.

On Tuesday, we got to do service at the Tafel again, and I got to say goodbye to all the people who work there. In the evening, we had one last short appointment with the Grassmans, who are a really great family. I spent most of the rest of the night packing my things.

Wednesday was our last district meeting in Darmstadt. We did a joint meeting with the Elders and Sisters in Darmstadt, and it was probably one of the best district meetings we have ever had. We talked a lot about having a Christlike relationship with our new companions in the new transfer, and it was great. When we returned, and after we finished our studies, we visited Bruder Jungheim, one of my homies in the ward, and then had a dinner appointment with the Mühlmanns. It was a really fun night, and a good last night in Langen.
Thursday was the big transfer. I finished my packing and then we headed off to Frankfurt around 11 a.m. We were there for quite a while, seeing as our train didn't leave until around 2 p.m. The train ride was about three-and-a-half hours to Dortmund, where I paired up with Elder Norman. We took a train to Hagen, and when we got there, it was already dark outside, so I didn't really get to see much of the city. We spent most of the night talking about the members and investigators there, as well as unpacking.

On Friday, we almost didn't leave the apartment before it got dark outside again in the evening. We spent a huge chunk of time talking about all of the members and the people we are working with, as well as making our plan for the next week. We did luckily get out while there was still a little light outside, and I really enjoyed seeing the city for the first time. It is big and has a ton of shops and people all over the place. As we were walking around contacting, we stopped a guy who was smoking and asked him if he would like to stop. He said yes, and we traded phone numbers. Hopefully we will be able to get in touch with him soon. We also had a sort of lesson with an investigator from Cuba, Abraham. I actually talked more to his friend who was there, teaching him about what the Book of Mormon is for. He was interested and said he wanted to read the book, but didn't want to meet right now. Oh well, maybe later then.

Saturday was an eventful day. We met with this guy Steffan after lunch for a little while. He had an accident in the past and now is a little handicapped, and he kind of just talked a lot. We didn't get to share much with him. He turned on this German gospel singer woman's music super loud and we could barely talk with him. It was a sort of strange appointment, and I don't know what the future holds for our appointments with him. After that, we headed off to Iserlohn, a city in our area, and had a lesson with one of the investigators here, Manuella. She is from Portugal, and she is really cool. She doesn't like meeting new people, so at first she was a little apprehensive towards me, but she started to warm up to me by the end. We talked to her about receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon, and she told us some of her concerns about being baptized. Hopefully in the next appointment we can help her resolve those concerns more. To end the night, we went to the Kramers. Bruder Kramer is a member that absolutely loves the missionaries. Apparently we have a weekly appointment with him every Saturday evening, and it was a lot of fun going over there. We ate dinner, talked a lot just about random stuff, and watched a Mormon Message with him. It was a lot of fun.

We went to church on Sunday, beginning with a quick correlation with our ward mission leader, Bru. Kleinert. He is an older man and seems pretty passionate about the gospel. Hopefully we can work with him to bring the work up to a quicker speed. After talking with him and meeting the bishop as well as a few other members, we went to Elder's Quorum. When that was over, we had the YSA Sunday school in the same room. The last hour was sacrament meeting, and it went well. Manuella was at church, and she seemed to enjoy it. I got to give my testimony at the end of the meeting, and it was good. After church, we had more time to just talk with the members and get to know them a little better. I talked a lot with some of the YSAs, and they are all really fun to be around. Elder Norman and I want to start working closely with them so we can help them get pumped for missionary work and going on missions. It should be awesome.

Well, that is about all for the week. There are a lot of differences I have to get used to being in Hagen (like the fact that there are people on the streets and that we have investigators), and I still need some time to learn my way around and also to learn the needs and concerns of my district. The district seems pretty cool so far, and there is some good work going on. Anyway, Elder Norman and I are going to hit up some shops for P-day, and I am planning on getting a BVB jersey if I can find one. It should be a good P-day. We have zone training this coming week as well as some more appointments with investigators, appointments with members, and institute on Thursday in Dortmund. It should be a sweet week!

I hope you have a good week as well! Love you!

LG, Daniel

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Area Transfer

Hey Mom!

I was really excited to hear that Dad got a hole in one! It´s about time someone in our family made one. I think we have all gotten really, really close from time to time, but until now, we have never seemed to be able to make it happen. It sounds like all in all it was a good New Year´s celebration. 

Well, I will cut straight to the chase considering I know you are anxiously awaiting the news about transfers. I am getting transferred to Hagen (pronounced "Haw-gin" kind of), a city just south of Dortmund! I am excited because it is not a huge city, but I think it is still relatively big and will likely be the biggest city I will have served in on the mission. Hagen is kind of close to Solingen, so I guess at the end of my mission we could see both cities in one day if necessary. So far as I have heard, the ward is around 100 active members, which some people would consider small, but for my mission so far, that is really big. My new companion will be Elder Norman. I already know him; he was trained by Elder Hunter in Gera at the same time that I was there with Elder Watts. He is a cool guy and a hard worker. He will be going into his 6th transfer. I am excited to head up north for what will probably be my last area. I can finally choose a side between BVB Dortmund and Bayern-München, which are the two biggest soccer teams in Germany as far as I know. Until now I hadn´t served too close to either one of them, but now it looks like I am going to have to root for BVB. I will remain a district leader there, and the other Elders in the district will be Elder Monson and Elder Haskell in Unna, as well as Elder Waterböhr (another missionary from Gera I knew) and Elder Richards in Paderborn. It should be a lot of fun, and I have heard that the work in Hagen is going quite well right now. I hope I can keep it up. Elder Overall will still be here in Langen and will be working with another one of the Elder Browns in our mission.

We had a really good week packed with member lessons. Monday started off with a pause in our Pday to have a lesson with Carlos. We basically just went over everything once again that we had talked about when we had the nonmember guy translating for us, just to make sure he understood everything and that he didn´t have any false ideas taught to him. It went well, and we think he will keep moving forward in his learning the gospel. After that, we finished up our Pday, and then went to the Dietsches for dinner, which is always great. We talked about the year 2013 and what we could do to make 2014 better and to make progress in the gospel and in missionary work.

On Tuesday, we had a lunch appointment with our Elder´s Quorum Pres. and his wife. We talked with them about new goals and things for 2014 as well. We had to be in that night at 6 p.m. since it was Silvester (New Year´s Eve). We live on one of the two busy roads in Langen, so there were a lot of fireworks that went off like gunshots all night. We fell asleep eventually, but were reawakened at midnight when the real fireworks began. We opened the shutters to watch them for a few seconds and then went back to bed. 

We had district meeting in Darmstadt with the zone leaders (Elder Stimpson and Elder Wardrop) in Darmstadt, and that was followed by a split with them. I went to Heidelberg with Elder Stimpson. Last transfer I went on a split to Heidelberg, but we didn´t get to see much of the city, so I didn´t think it was all that great. But this time we went down more into the heart of the city, and it was amazing. After the mission when you pick me up, that definitely is a place we need to go. On the split, we tried to contact a referral, but he wasn´t home. After that, we went to the home of some Hispanic people whose 9-year-old son just was baptized. We watched the Restoration with them in Spanish, and then promptly had to leave seeing as it was going to be tough to get home if we missed our train. 

We split back the next morning on Thursday. After eating lunch and doing some study, we had a great lunch appointment with the Voglers. We talked with them about the new year and about how faith is pointed toward the future. They have a potential referral family they have been trying to invite for over a year, so we decided to fast with them that 2014 would be the year when something positive with them finally happens. Later on, we went to the church to have our first English class again, this time with Steven Langner (one of the YSAs) and his girlfriend. It went well, and hopefully Elder Overall and Elder Brown can keep that going. We ended the night by visiting a referral from a member. The man was very nice and was pleasant to speak with, but he was not interested in our message. We gave him the opportunity though, and that is all we are asked to do. 

Friday morning was when I found out I was going to Hagen. Präs. Schwartz calls missionaries with new leadership positions/who are getting released on Fridays. He called during personal study, which is a little earlier than normal. Needless to say it was really hard to concentrate on studies after that happened. After all of that was said and done, we made our weekly plan. When we finished that, we headed to Neu-Isenburg to try and find some people at home there, but they were all gone unfortunately. We got back in the evening to what we thought was going to be our Bibelkreis, but we had forgotten to get the lesson to the sister who was teaching, and then she forgot to come anyway, so we just ended up watching a Mormon Message with everyone who came. 

Saturday was the official transfer call throughout the mission. There were a lot of weird things that happened this transfer, like Elder Bruneel is training in Darmstadt and Elder Bonzo is also coming down to be in a companionship with them. Elder Hutchings is getting a new comp in Idar-Oberstein, Elder Smith from England. They both were trained by Elder Hathaway, so that means they are brothers (according to missionary family trees). Elder Smith is really cool, and I know they will enjoy serving together. After the call, we went to the Noacks for lunch and talked about the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. Later, we walked to Schwester Sonn´s and talked with her about receiving the blessings of the temple. We couldn´t get a priesthood holder to come with on such short notice, so we just talked for ten or fifteen minutes at her apartment door. To end the night, we went to Peter Rojas´ for dinner. It is always fun going over there and hearing about experiences from his mission in Spain. 

On Sunday, we had church and I had to give my last testimony and say my goodbyes. It was kind of sad. I really liked this ward. After church and a lot of pictures, we went to Gary and Yvonne Hess for lunch. They made us steaks, beans, and potatoes (Gary is an American). Sister Hess asked us if we were still hungry, and I said no but Elder Overall said yes. He just wanted a little bit more steak but wasn´t sure how to say it and so Sister Hess ended up giving him all of the remaining steak, an entire tomato, and several toasted pieces of bread, some with cheese on them. After that we had a pumpkin pie, so needless to say, Elder Overall was super full. We then headed to the Kempeners for a light dinner, and we just had a really good time with each other. 

Today has been a good day. We did our shopping and then headed off to Darmstadt to check out an old hunting castle, which actually turned out to be kind of lame, but there was a pond and some forest next to it so we just chilled there for a little while. We have an appointment with the Wagners right after we finish emails, and I am sure it will be great. I can´t wait for you to meet the Wagners and the Kempeners and Mühlmanns and everyone else in the ward when you come and pick me up. It is going to be great.

Well, I hope that you have a really good week, and I will update you with how things are in Hagen with Elder Norman next week! Bis dann! Love you!

LG, Daniel