Monday, August 19, 2013

August 14, 2013

My District
Hallo Mein Familie!  Wie ghets? 
First off, today is officially my HALF WAY mark at the MTC.  Can you believe I've already been here three weeks?  I am so excited to go to Germany, but at the same time, I feel like I still don't know anything!  But that's okay…I will live and learn. 

Thank you for all of the emails / letters / packages.  They are awesome.  Mom, to answer your question, yes I got the bread and yes it was delicious.  We had a great Schwesterfest that night with all the sister in our zone and we pretty much demolished the entire thing.  I also got my package with my shoes and everything.  Thank you so much.  They fit well and I think once they are broken in they will be great.  Mom, I love that story you sent me.  It's so true.  We need to learn to find joy in living in the moment.  I've learned that concept well here at the MTC.  There are so many days where I get frustrated, but I know that God knows my needs and my life better than I do.  I need to find joy in the good times as well as the struggles.  I also want you to know that my laundry is done and clean!  But not extra clean.  Like I said, I will live and learn. 

Dad, thanks for praying for me.  The Provo Temple has been closed since I've been here but it opened on Monday.  We finally get to go this afternoon for P-day!  I'm excited.  It has been too long since I went.

Troy, I got your package today!  Probably one of the most random ones, but great.  My district is excited about the cookies and I cannot wait to read the talk.  I hope it's as good as you say it is!  Taryn, I'm so glad that you had such a great time in Thailand!  And that you are safely home.  I loved your email.  Also, the scooter accident doesn't surprise me in the slightest.  Classic Taryn, right there.  And I'm glad you had a missionary moment!  The more I'm around my companion, the more she reminds me of you... it's basically like you're with me all the time. 

Kyla Cleverly...
Also, many thanks to all of my friends.  Lyska, I need your address because I don't have time to email every one!  And tell Matt that I'm writing him a letter as soon as I can.  Along with Christine and Katelyn and everyone else.  Tell Christine that the pictures from the kids were seriously the greatest.  I love them.

Cassidy hasn't received her visa yet, so she's been reassigned to the Billings, Montana mission until it arrives.  She and Kyla left on Monday.  It is sad / weird not to see them around the campus anymore, but I'm excited that they can go out and start teaching people! 

So this week was as crazy, hard, and awesome as ever.  It was hard because my companion and I have been sick practically the entire week.  I am finally feeling better, but it was a challenge.  But I honestly feel like the purpose of this week was to help me understand the importance of priesthood power.  We had Sister McMurry's brother and his companion give us priesthood blessings last week.  It was cool because it was both of their first time.  They were so nervous, but once they started speaking, I knew that the words were from our Heavenly Father and not from them.  We were still feeling pretty awful come Monday, so the Elders in our district gave us another one.  Elder Dean promised me that if I do the things that God wants me to do, that I will be blessed and that also my family will be blessed.  It helped me. 
Then, yesterday was probably the most frustrating day on the mission yet.  I realized how little we are taught about the importance of the priesthood in Young Women.  We were practicing the first discussion and our investigator asked us what the priesthood was and why it was so important that it wasn't on the earth.  I realized that I couldn't even answer it in English, and so there was no way of coming up with a response in German.  I was so frustrated afterward that I couldn't focus on the German grammar that Bruder Pedersen was teaching us in class.  He finally realized that we were so upset that he stopped what we were doing.  We had a district discussion on what it is and why it is so important.  Then, that afternoon, my other teacher, Bruder Burkensha, (probably my favorite person in the whole world) spent the last hour of class just talking with Sister McMurry and me about the priesthood.  We read the entire chapter in Doctrine and Covenants about the priesthood.  While I don't know everything, I feel better. 
I understand that without the priesthood, the covenants that we make here do not matter.  Baptism, the sacrament, temple covenants, everything, would mean nothing without the priesthood.  It is the binding power that binds what is here on earth to heaven.  Through it, we can receive the blessings of the Atonement, and without it, we are stuck.  I'm so grateful for my teachers that can sense exactly what to teach, and that the Elders are worthy priesthood holders that can give us blessings from God when we need them.  I know that it is what makes our church different, and what makes it the church of Christ.  We have the same priesthood that was on earth when Christ was here, and through it, we can act in God's name.  How cool is that?  Dad, if you have anything to help me understand more, that would be much appreciated!

This week, we made a lot of progress with our one investigator, Rich.  Sis McMurry and I are finally figuring things out.  We are figuring out how to apply the gospel to other's lives instead of just telling them about it.  The gospel will mean nothing to someone unless they understand how it will help them with their life.  Rich is in the military so we read the story of the Stripling Warriors with him.  We then asked him how he has seen the blessings of God's protection and love in his life.  The spirit was so strong when he answered.  We then bore our testimonies of Christ and asked him to bear his.  It was so sweet, sincere, and simple.  I don't think that he realized he had one until we asked him to say it aloud.  We then finally got him to pray with us.  After he said his prayer, asking God if he was there and loved him and if our message was true, he just sat there, almost on the verge of tears.  I really learned the power of silence in that lesson.  The spirit was strong.  These are real people and we are inviting them to come unto Christ and to see His love in their lives.  Our message is so great! 

That reminds me…this week, our teacher asked us to write the first discussion (the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) down in five sentences.  He then made us write it in one sentence.  Then four words.  And then one.  My one word was "Liebe" (Love) and my companion's was "Die Wahrheit" (The Truth).  It is amazing how simple our message is.  All of the things we teach tie together and they all boil down to one thing: God's love for his Children.  Everything we have and are blessed with is because our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us.  They know us personally and want us to be happy.

This Tuesday, we went to devotional, and Richard G. Scott talked to us.  It was so powerful to hear from an apostle of God.  He has been called of God and spoke His words.  He spoke on prayer and about the personal relationship that we can have with our Heavenly Father.  I found a quote that I really like from the Quorum of the Twelve.  It says.  "Of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to Deity, He has asked us to address Him as Father.”  How cool is that?  He is our literal Vater in Himmel and he loves us and wants to communicate to us.  Prayer is real.  Prayer is powerful.  He will bless us, answer us, and direct us in life….if we take the time to pray to him and then listen to his answer.  Elder Scott then gave us an Apostolic Promise.  It was so powerful.  He promised all the language speakers that we would have the gift of tongues through our faith in the Lord and through diligence and work.  I needed that.  His parting words were "Be good!  See you in the afterlife!"

Also, on Sunday, I watched The Character of Christ by Elder Bednar.  Seriously, it was the most life changing, powerful devotional I have ever watched.  Go try to find it.  Take an hour of your life, and watch it.  It teaches about the character of Christ.  Christ always stretches outward, while men always look inward.  I want to learn more about Christ and how to be like him.  If you can find it, please put in on my blog, because if the whole world could watch it, this world would be a better place.  I can't express enough how powerful it is. (The Character of Christ )

We also discussed how to invite the spirit in in a 30-second conversation, because sometimes that is all you got.  We decided that we first must know if it is true, and smile so that people can see our light.  We then must bear our message of simple truth.  Try it, it works.

So now for some funny stories....
  • Languages are awesome.  Elder Simmons was trying to explain how Joseph Smith found the golden plates under a rock.  Well he didn't know how to say rock, so he just said it in English.  Well… in German, rock means skirt.  So he basically said that Joseph Smith found it under a skirt.  Sometimes I don't know how our investigators / teachers keep from laughing in our discussions.

  • Sister Jeffery, probably one of the funniest people ever, fell asleep during personal study.  She was in a really deep sleep and then farted really loudly.  She woke up screaming to her fart and everyone just started laughing so hard.  It's now known as "pulling a Jeffrey" whenever someone farts.  Too classic.
There are so many more and I wish I could tell you everything, but I'm running out of time.  I love you all and I love getting all your letters.  I'll try to send some more pictures. 

Oh…I've finally learned the First Vision and The Purpose in German.  I'm pretty excited and I feel really cool speaking it.  German is fun!  But I'm still slipping some random Spanish in my lessons... it just comes out!

Love you all.  Ich liebe euch!! so much. 


Sister Savannah Teeples 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 7, 2013

It's official!
Danke, danke, danke for all of the letters!  Seriously, it was the best thing EVER.  I got so many letters.  Thank you Megan, and Tori, and Jacob, Sarah, Katelyn, Chloe, and Natalie Brown!  You guys are awesome.  I have either written you back and or will write you back, so look for your letters!  Sarah…I don't have your address.

Family, you are awesome.  Troy, I loved all six of your letters.  You are so komish, but I love you anyways.  Your German is just amazing.  Wow, Google Translate is just awesome, isn't it?  And I love the poem.  Also, I couldn't open the talk, so would you be willing to mail it to me?  I want to read it if it is that awesome.  Taryn, I miss you too!  Thailand sounds awesome though.  Pig blood and frogs?  Yummmmyyyyy.  And I'm glad you rode an elephant.  So much cooler than just petting it.  Mom and Dad, you two are awesome.  Thank you for everything that you do for me.  My district loves the food and everything.  They say Danke Muttie T.  Can you call and tell them I leave for Germany Sep 3?  Also, that hail storm in Windsor was CRAZY….I showed my whole district the pictures. So komish, but toll!  Also, the letters are all sooooooooo great, but you have the wrong address.  My address is Box 240, not Box 242.  Elder Nelson is getting sick of all my letters—haha.

The scripture of the Week is 2 Nephi 5:27.  Go look it up.  I love it because it shows very simply how God wants us to live…”after the manner of happiness.”  Short and sweet and awesome.  So be happy!

All of the Sister Missionaries
going to Frankfurt, Germany
German is coming along.  It is such a cool language.  I feel like a four-year-old, but for only being here two weeks, I am impressed with my progress.  I bore my testimony on Sunday for Fast Sunday in German, and I felt like such a boss.  This Church is true, and I am so glad if there is only one thing I can say, it is that.  The coolest thing I learned this week about German was that there are two words for promise.  One is “versprehung,” which is just a common use of the word promise, but then there is “verheissung,” which is only used by God and Christ.  It is a holy promise, and as representatives of Christ, I have the power to use it and to promise things from God.  Seriously, how toll is that?  What other language can you do that in?

We finished teaching Thorston this week.  Oh man, my companion and I struggled through that and we were kind of relieved when we were done.  Much to our surprise, we walk in to class the next day to find that he is our new teacher.  AWESOME.  He just started laughing at all of our expressions, because we were all so embarrassed.  At least he doesn't have too high of expectations now.  He is awesome, though…and patient, so that is good.  He has the funniest laugh ever.  Our other new teacher is hilarious, too.  Class flies by, which is good…I swear I am developing ADD sitting in class all day.
We got two new “investigators” this week.  They help us practice.  I learned that these “investigators” are actually real people that our teachers taught on their missions, so they know help us to be prepared for typical interactions, questions, and how to respond.  How cool is that?  Yesterday, we finished the message of the Restoration and bore our testimonies on the power of the Book of Mormon.  We read in 3 Nephi where Christ visited the Nephites.  Who would have thought after just two weeks of learning German, I'd be able to teach the whole first discussion?  Thank goodness for the gift of tongues, recht?

So, the mission has really changed my definition of what is funny.  It has not helped that my whole zone got sick this week and we have all been loopy of off medicine, but I am finding the most random things hilarious.  Here's what's funny after being in the MTC for 2 weeks.

First off, learning a new language is hilarious.  We all try to speak the language really well, but in reality, we have no clue what we are saying.  Auch, when we have our investigators read scriptures, we really have no clue if they are right.  We just hope and pray they are reading the right verse.  And then in our lesson, I was bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon, my mitarbeiterin gets ADD and just yells out "Konnen wir spechen sie Bruder Rich!?!”  Seriously, just blurts it out.  It was awesome German, saying, "Can we speak you Brother Rich?”  (Didn't even know how to say "call")  Then she tried to explain why.  I've never seen a person try not to laugh so hard in their life.  Those teachers have to hear the craziest things.  I don't think you will find this as funny as I do, but my definition of funny has seriously changed.  And at the moment, they are hilarious.

We lost Sister Fuller this week.  We were her companions for the day because her companion was in a meeting, and she was so drugged on cough medicine that we went into the room for a minute and she just ran off.  We assumed that she saw Sister Erickson, but she didn't.  We found her after like 2 hours.  We are going to buy her a child's leash or something.

Well, now time for my cool thoughts of the week.
  • On Sunday, we have to watch the video of the Restoration.  It was so powerful.  It really made me think about why a man would give up so much if he did not know that it was true.  Joseph Smith really did see God and Christ and through them, restored the true gospel on the earth.  The early saints would not have gone through so much persecution if they did not know without a doubt of the truthfulness.  I know I sure wouldn't go through all of this, if I didn't have a testimony.  What courage that must have taken to stand strong in the face of so much adversity.  It really makes me want to read Holland's talk on the Book of Mormon, so feel free to send me it to me.

  • I started reading Jesus the Christ this week.  If you haven't read it, go buy it and start reading it.  Everything you have ever / will ever want to know about Christ's life is contained in that book.  I have only read the first two chapters, but I have already learned so much.  I've never wanted to read a church book so badly.  What is happening to me?  But it has really strengthened my testimony of Christ.  I love that book.

  • I read something this week about the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ was either true or it was not.  Millions have proclaimed of its truthfulness, and I want to add my testimony and say that I KNOW IT IS TRUE.  I know that God lives and loves us.  Christ is unser Erloser und Erretter.  I know it's true.  My companion and I try to bear our testimonies about this in German every night to people.  Every time I share my testimony, I feel the Holy Ghost echo what I say.  It confirms to me that it is right.

  • I read something cool.  To pray with real intent means that whatever answer we receive, we must be willing to act on it.  It really made me think.  God will answer our prayers, but it might not be what we want.  We have to have faith that He knows what is best and follow the answer we get.

  • I know that I am a daughter of God and that he has given me this gospel in my life.  I have been called to be a representative in his name, and I can't wait to go and teach everyone about it.

I love you all, and I am so grateful for everything that you do for me.  Keep the letters coming and make sure you change my address! 

Tschussi Bussi Papa!! (That's how they say bye in Austria)

Ich liebe euch!!


Sister Savannah Teeples

Sunday, August 4, 2013

July 31, 2013

Hallo Familie!!

First off, I had NO EMAILS TODAY. What?! Mom and dad, I am so glad that you guys dear Elder’d me. Seriously, it was like the highlight of my day when I got that. But Troy, and Taryn! WHY? I expect some letters from you guys soon. And my friends! So today, I expect you to get on Facebook and tell allus mein friends that they are LAME and explain to them how to Dear Elder because I can't write to them if I don't have their addresses. Plus, I just want letters. Elder Maine gets about 50 a day and mein mitarbeiterin (interpretation: my companion) and I get none.

So, now that I got that rant out of my system, Hello! I loved getting your letters. Vater, I'm glad you still have a job and I'm praying for you every day. One thing I've learned here is of the power of prayer, but I'll talk more about that later. Mom, I can't believe Teresa got you to go and pick weeds. That's friendship right there. And also I loved the story of you scaring the sisters. Classic Mutte right there. Troy, Congrats on getting the BYU Pre-Med chair! I know that you will do great. Troy, I also found out that your name in German (spelt Treu) means loyal / faithful. Pretty toll…and Taryn, that is so cool that you got to pet an elephant! But not quite as cool as riding one.

Mutte, to answer your question, I have seen a TON of friends here. I've seen Cass and Katy and Brian and Tanner and Shauntel…and the list goes on and on. I've seen Cass so much and it's just such a great part of my day. Also, I can already tell you are in for a treat when it comes to correcting my grammar. German is so cool, but it is so weird. When you talk, instead of saying something like, "Help us to feel the Spirit" We say, “Helfen uns die Heiligen Geist fuelen" which is “Help us the Holy Ghost feel". I feel like I'm Yoda when I'm talking, and it's awesome!

My Companion and Me
German is hard, but for only being here a week, it is coming along nicely. I just need to remember that it has only been a week. It's frustrating because I want to know it NOW, but I can't. They don't mess around here at the MTC. The first day we got here, we went straight to class where our teacher was talking to us in only German. That's all he ever talks in, and it's so cool because I can actually understand him. I'm pretty sure we learned in about two days what took me two years to learn in Spanish.

We have a fake investigator named Thorsten (pronounced Torsten).  We had to start teaching him on Friday, after only one day of learning German. Seriously, it was the hardest thing of my life. I went in there and we were wanting to talk about the Book of Mormon, but I kept talking in SPANISH. Not English, not Deutch, but Spanish. Really? Oh well, he and my mitarbeiterin just laughed and me. But I'm trying my best to learn. We've already taught him four lessons, all in German. Seriously, I've been here one week and we've already done that. One of the lessons was actually amazing too. We were talking about Joseph Smith and we really got him to open up to us, and when I bore my testimony, I felt the Heiligen Geist so strongly that I started crying. It's amazing how the Holy Ghost is powerful enough to break through language barriers and allow us all to feel it. I'm really going to need to remember that when I get to Germany, because I have a feeling that I am going to be so lost. But oh well.

Oh, also, I realize I'm writing random words in German, but I am speaking and hearing German so much that it is just coming out, so have fun with that...

My district is AWESOME. I seriously love them so much. They have become my best friends and it's only been one week. It's going to be so sad when we all go to different districts and zones out in the mission. There are only 8 girls in my zone, and 6 of them are going to Frankfurt with me. Our zone does something different than everyone else in the MTC where the whole zone is shipped out at one time, so I'm really going to become close with everyone else. In my district, there is Elder Maine, Elder Dean, Elder Overall (we call him Uberall), Elder Shively, and my awesome mitarbeiterin Sister McMurry. Oh…by the way, we aren't called Schwesters in Germany. Apparently that's the name the nuns use, sooo…I'm glad I found that out…haha. Elder Maine is someone I would've been really good friends with in high school. He loves making fun of people when they do something dumb, so needless to say I've been laughed at quite a bit. Elder Dean is seriously the FUNNIEST person I've met. Ever. Elder Uberall is just extremely smart and happy and Elder Shively calms us all down. My companion (which is mitarbeiterin and probably my favorite German word I've learned yet) is one of the nicest people I've ever met. We work so well together. She brings out the best in me and we just have such a great time together. I'm so glad. Needless to say, I have the best district. I don't thing I've ever laughed so hard before. God put me with them for a reason. He knew what I would need and everyone has something different to offer. All the other districts in our zone are jealous, because we definitely have the most fun. (And study hard too, of course...but seriously, we are so diligent). My mitarbeiterin also loves to exercise. She does triathlons for fun, so needless to say, she kicks my butt during workout time. Oh that reminds me, Mutte, will you send me out my headphones, because I can listen to them while I work out in the gym. Oh, and auch, my district's word of the MTC is komisch. I probably hear / say it about 100 times a day. It means weird or awkward, and that is exactly what we are. Even our teacher, Bruder Pedersen, says it to us.

So, of course I've had a lot of embarrassing moments this past week, like speaking Spanish (which now is a mix between Spanish and German…weird), falling, and saying dumb things. Like today. We were doing laundry (which I was sooo excited about) and I took my clothes from the washer and put them into what I thought was a dryer. Well it was another washer. So of course I start it, and it locks the door and I can't get my clothes out until the load is completely done. And the worst part was that Elder Maine just stood there watching me and then started laughing once I push start. Really toll, Elder.

So I guess I should be spiritual now. I've learned so much here. I love the spirit that I feel and the happiness of the people around me. They are so uplifting and machvoll in their Glauben. I've really learned the power of prayer (oh by the way, I can say all my prayers in German now, which is SEHR TOLL! And my testimony too!). Sister McMurry and I pray for everything, and I've seen God answer my prayers. Even though Thorston is a fake investigator, we love him like it is completely real. We pray for him and pray to know what to teach him. It's amazing that when we pray to know what to teach him, everything we learn about in class and in personal study is exactly what we were going to teach. The Spirit really helps guide me and let me know what to say.

Also, you know my host from the first day? She was the best host ever. She left on Monday, but every night until she left, her and her friends would come into our room and give us a pep talk. And the coolest part was that every night, it was exactly what I needed to hear. She was exactly what I needed to get me through the first part. And best part now, starting today, I am no longer the new person on the block. Fresh meat came in today!

Tuesday night’s devotional last night was awesome. I really needed it. We watched a clip from Elder Holland and in it, he was saying why missionary work was so hard. He asked, "Why don't people just come flocking to our doors to hear our message? It's because Salvation is not cheap. It requires work and it requires diligence.” He talked about how even the Savior asked "Isn't there an easier way?" Well, why should we get it easy when Christ never did? We all have to go through our own Gethsemane to obtain blessings. I need to remember that. Speaking of talks, Vater, I have a request for you. While I'm in the MTC, I can't listen to talks on my iPod, and I really want some good General Conference talks to study. If you could Dear Elder me a talk a week or so, that would be AWESOME. Especially if you can somehow find this one from Holland. Danke!

Also, one thing cool I've learned…the sacred name of Jesus Christ that I have written on my name tag means nothing if I don't have it engraved in my heart. This gospel is centered on Him and we need to always remember that. We need to be bold with our invitations, because often times that's all people are waiting for. An invitation!

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. I'll need all the prayers I can get as I learn German and teach people.

Ich viess dass Gott ist unser Himmlisher Vater. Er liebt allus Kinder und dat Jesus Christi ist unser der Erretter. Dis kirche ist wahr! Ich weiss dass Das Buch Mormon wahr ist un der Gott ist. Die Worten der Propheten von Gott kommen und dass das Evangelium uns segnen und ist wichtig. Ich liebe mein God un mien Erretter. In namen Jesus Christi, Amen.


Sister Savannah Teeples

P.S. TELL EVERYONE TO DEAR ELDER ME. And I want Megan's address. There's something I want to send her. Give everyone my love and feel free to send me my headphones, Mom. And another one of my t-shirts, I use them for working out every week. And some cookies. My district wouldn't mind that.