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