Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 23, 2013

A View I See Everyday...
Hallo Familie!  It was so great to get your emails this week.  I also got a letter from Grandma so that was awesome!  I am so glad her sheep are doing well—especially Katherine and Patty.  They are the cool ones.  Mom, that is crazy about Ethan.  I am glad that he decided to switch rooms, because that definitely would not have been a good experience, and I am glad that Elliott and Matt are doing well.  You should tell them all to write me!  By the way, my first package never came.  I have no clue why, but it was not at Frankfurt...  I hope that it shows up eventually!  To answer your questions about my Christmas package, the things I would like are anything peanut butter (you cannot find peanut butter here), and deodorant.  Germans are weird sometimes, but naja.  Can you please send me some fat pictures, also?  My district wants to see them—especially the one of me with cornrows, and one of my whole

Part of My District at Doku Zentrum
body.  Send them out today through email so you do not forget!  I want to show everyone.  I love my district.  They are awesome— especially Elder Hathaway and Baker.  If they are not married by the time I get home, we will be great friends.  I also love my companion.  Even through the hard times, we find a way to laugh it off.  It has been hard but everyday gets better.  Dad, I am glad that there are so many service opportunities!  Take advantage of that!  I am also glad that you tried out the Book of Mormon activity.  Isn't it awesome?  Troy, I am so sad I missed the family dinner!  I am so glad that Alex is still weird as ever.  I cannot wait to see whom he marries.  That will be great.  He is a strange kid.  Taryn, that story was awesome.  That is something I am trying to do.  It is so important to always follow the Spirit because you never know who needs you the most at that moment.  Congrats on your test.  That is awesome!  Don't worry, your ward will get better.  My ward was super lame last year, but I made a few friends and that was enough to make my year awesome!  Just give it time. 

So this week…Man.  Last Monday seems like an eternity ago, but at the same time, I cannot believe I am already emailing you again.  We went to the Berg on Monday and that was awesome.  The woman that brought us took us to eat Bratwursts and then took us to the Berg.  The view was gorgeous.  I will send pictures.  Sometimes I still cannot believe that this is my life now. 

Inside View at the Berg
Tuesday was Golden Trainer Meeting.  SO FUN.  We took a train down to Frankfurt and I was able to see all of my friends…so great!  I also learned so much.  I was able to ride down with Elder Maine, Elder Dean, and Sister Lyons since they are all in my zone.  I talked with them the whole ride there and back, which was awesome.  Everyone has so many great stories, and it was so great to hear how everyone was doing.  It is amazing how close I have become to some of these people after only a couple weeks in Germany.

Wednesday and Thursday and Friday were probably the most upsetting, hard days I have had yet.  Remember how I said that we had a ton of appointments?  Every.  Single.  One.  Fell through.  Every one.  We spent the whole day trying to find new people and doing drop byes—with not much luck.  Two cool things happened, though.  First, we went all the way out to this less active woman with a nonmember husband, and we taught them about genealogy.  We showed them new family search and they got super excited about it.  Our church has a genealogy center so we told them to stop by and someone could teach them more about it. 
We also had zone training meeting on Friday, which was good, because I really needed it.  We talked a lot about being unified—unified as a zone, as a district, as a companionship, and with God.  It is something I am going to really work on, because when we are unified, so much more can happen.  It is no longer "me" or "I" but its "us" and "we.”  We talked about ways to accomplish the goals that our President has put forth.  We are going to try to make a huge genealogy street display and advertise for the fireside that we are going to have soon.  We are also trying to get a booth for the Christmas Market here in Nürnberg.  It is the biggest market in the world, and so if we were able to get one, thousands of people would see us.  We would have Christmas music playing, Mormon messages showing, and hand out Book of Mormons.  It would be so awesome; I really hope it happens. 

After the slump, we had an awesome Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday, we started doing service for a family in our ward.  They were moving, so Elders Hathaway, Elder Baker, my companion, and I went over and helped them move.  When Germans move, they really move.  They take everything!  Moreover, they lived on the second floor so we were carrying everything down a tiny stairway.  I think my favorite was watching the elder carry the kitchen sink (the entire thing) down.  They took the shelves and all.  Good thing German furniture is so light.  They rewarded us after helping them move...gotta love Butterkaks! And their water bottles are huge here!

We then had an appointment with Lisa, one of our investigators.  She is awesome.  She said that while she was in Berlin, she went to church three times.  When she went to church, she received answers to her prayers.  She knows that God is there now.  She just needs to be baptized.  She is so sweet and when we taught her about the Plan of Salvation, she just started crying.  She has had a hard life.  She is legally blind, and her parents do not have much to do with her.  We talked a lot about the power of the Atonement, and I could see it really touch her.  How awesome is it to know the purpose of life?  It is something I have always taken for granted.

We also met with Kathrin and her family.  That was a frustrating lesson.  The grandma just talked forever and we did not really get anywhere.  The hardest part is that she and her mom both know it is true.  They both have taken all of the lessons, but neither will set a date.  They will not do it.  Germans will not do it.  We do not know where to go from here.  We have focused so much on the why, but they just do not seem to understand!  We are fasting for that this next week and hopefully we will receive answers on how to help them make this commitment.

Sunday.  Oh Sunday.  I had the best time ever.  Before Church, my companion had a meeting, so I sat outside greeting people, still having no clue what they were saying to me.  Then Sister Loritzs came and I started talking to her.  Best day of my life.  She has lived in Germany for about a year and came from PERU.  I found someone to speak Spanish with.  She was so excited!  She has felt so alone and so it made her day to talk with me.  We seriously talked for half an hour and she wanted me to come over today so that she could cook for me, but it is P-Day.  We are going by next Sunday and she is going to show me pictures of Peru and cook for us.  I am so excited.  For once, my companion will be the lost one!  Haha!  You seriously cannot understand how excited I am right now to be friends with her.

Oh that reminds me…last Monday we had dinner with Caroline Rupp, a newly wed and newly converted.  Cutest couple ever.  She went to Utah State last year and was baptized, and wants her husband to be baptized so badly.  We are going to become good friends with them.  I have also become a huge fan of soccer.  We play every P-Day and Friday for sport abend, and it is so fun.  I am awful, but I am getting better. 

It is probably the best feeling in the world when an investigator comes to church.  Crazy Franke showed up yesterday.  She cracks me up.  Apparently, her and her boyfriend had a fight the other day and she wanted him out so she called the cops on him.  Oh, Franke…that is such a grandpa Keyser move.  She told us that she wants to go to America and have an American baby…of course the Relief Society lesson was on chastity.  Of course, she asked about plural marriages and our stance on that and the Relief Society went crazy.  I really have no clue what exactly went down, but Caroline, (my favorite person ever), told me I should be a bit embarrassed...  naja.  Franke cracks me up.

I just finished doing something awesome.  We went to the Doku Zentrum, which is a big historical documentation of Hitler's part in the war.  Nürnberg was one of the biggest spots for his campaign, and the most bombed city.  The history was very interesting.  Mom, you would love it. 

So spiritual thought of the day.  The best thing that I learned this week was how to know that I am enough for the Lord.  Sometimes, I feel like I am not living up to my full potential, which I am not, but that does not mean that the Lord is not proud of me.  I read the talk 'Being Accepted of the Lord" this morning, and it was really powerful for me.  In it, it said, that "having the Holy Ghost as our constant companion is the ultimate indicator of being accepted of God.”  For me, I just need to live in a way that I can always have the Holy Ghost with me.  When I do that, I can have confidence that God is proud of me and the progress I am making.  Along with that, I read in Matthew 25:14-29.  It is the story where the master gives the talents to his servants.  They go and multiply them, and one does not.  What I found interesting was that he says the same things to the person that ended up with four talents as he did to the one that ended up with ten.  He told them both "well done, my good and faithful servant.”  To me, this means that I really cannot compare myself to others.  We all start in different places in life.  We may begin with five talents, twenty talents, or even just one.  I may not be the best at street contacting, or German, but as long as I am improving every day, as long as I am working hard to increase my talents, God will be proud of me.  He will be proud of all of us, as long as we are trying, and improving, step by step.

I am thankful for trials.  Although they are hard at the moment, they make the small successes seem like miracles.  I will be forever grateful that the Lord humbles me enough that I can then live in a way where I must have the Holy Ghost with me, and recognize Christ’s hand in all that I do.
I love you all so much.  Alles gutte.  Immer. 

Ich liebe euch so fiel.


Savannah (Nanners) 

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

The Street where I Live
Hallo Friends and Family! 

First off, family…thank you for all of the emails.  I cannot believe what is going on in Colorado right now.  Those pictures of Fort Collins and everywhere around it are crazy!  I would have never thought that that could happen there.  It looks like all the prayers and fasts we had to end the drought were finally answered, richtig?  Just not in the way we quite expected it...  haha.  I have really learned how true that is. 

Troy, thank you for all of the stories you have sent me.  They are just what I needed.  I am trying to be 100 percent obedient and do the Lord's work all of the time.  Also, the baby is very cute, but you better wait to have kids until I get back.  I want to be there!  Taryn, sounds like everything is going well.  I am glad you are so confident that you will be the best FHE mama ever.  I just was put in charge is Heim Abend here, so we will be doing it together!  Also good luck with all of that running.  That sounds intense.  Dad, SO GLAD you are still your old self and having text messaging conversations with yourself.  Things never change at the Teeples house.  Mom, that is so cool that this is the city that Grandma Keyser’s letters were written to when she wrote to relatives.  Things are truly inspired.  Also, I have not gotten the package yet, but I go up to Frankfurt tomorrow for the Golden Training meeting, so I should get it then.  My new address here is:

Sister Savannah Teeples

Kirche Jesu Christi, Hagedornstraße 4

Nürnberg Deutschland 90478

I walk by this field everyday...isn't it beautiful?
Can I just start by saying that no one should be surprised when I come back my chubby 8-year-old self.  Our district leader committed us to eating chocolate every day and my companion and I have been keeping it a little too well.  There are pastry shops everywhere and so we randomly we decide we need a little pick me up ...  it happens frequently.  The members always give you something to eat.  Tonight will be the first night I actually have dinner with a member, but people here love to feed the missionaries.  There is always something there on the table when we go to an appointment and we have to eat all of it.  So pretty much, we waddle out from one appointment and try to make room for the next…but it is all so good that I cannot   help it.  We have many appointments with members this week, so I will be wearing my stretchy skirts.  My favorite food I have had so far, besides the chocolate of course, are döners.  I love them.  Amerika needs them. 

It rains a lot here.  It has been cold this week, and its only September!  So I am in for quite a winter...  hopefully we can stay busy so we will not have to be outside too much.  Culture wise, we ride trams everywhere.  The people here are either super nice and open to talk to, they look at you like a freak and ignore you, or else they yell at you until you leave them alone.  And I really do not understand anything they yell, so I just try to zone them out.  Also, the weirdest thing in Germany is the water.  It is nearly impossible to get normal water.  They drink the fizzy stuff by the gallons, so whenever we ask for water, I also forget how gross it is. 

So now about my week.  It has been an interesting week, but things are looking up.  I have learned a lot from experiences and we have seen many wonders.  We had many appointments planned with investigators and less actives, but just about every one we went to fell through.  We would go to a place where we were scheduled to meet, and they would not be home, or they would not show up.  So we had lists of lists of less actives to go by and teach and fellowship, but they were never home either.  So we started to get discouraged.  But this week I have learned a lot about how blessings come after the trial of your faith.  I have gained a testimony of the power of trials and that wonders will come after we have tried all we can. 

My entire district was feeling discouraged, so on Wednesday we held a district fast and held a district meeting to talk about what we can do better.  Our Mission President always talks about how the work is hastening, but we have not seen evidence of that in Nürnberg.  The missionaries that have been here forever have started to get discouraged because we try so hard, but we do not see much success.  Well, in our meeting, we decided we needed to consecrate ourselves 100 percent to the Lord.  We made a list of all of the things that were holding us back, and then got rid of it and wrote down everything we needed to do better. 

Our biggest goal was to work more with the members.  We are trying to plan an activity for before General Conference for members to come and bring their friends. (It is in the night here because of the time change.)  We also just want to fellowship the members so that they will be more willing to help us.  We have fasted and prayed that they will be more open to meeting with us, and we saw our prayers answered at church on Sunday.  So many people came up to us and asked us if we could come by this week, so I am super excited about that!  This week is going to be awesome.  I get to go to the Berg today, which is a huge fortress here in Nürnberg, and then I get to go to Frankfurt tomorrow and see all my friends from the MTC.  We then have tons of lessons with members, and some with some new investigators! 

So investigators… 
We got ahold of an old investigator, Franke.  She is a hoot.  She is a little crazy, but she is so nice and funny.  She loves learning and so she soaks up everything.  The only thing is that because she is a little crazy and has trouble focusing, it is hard to keep her on subject.  Think of trying to teach a girl version of Grandpa Keyser..that is exactly what it is like.  That is an accurate description, because I do not really know what either of them are ever saying.  She is funny.  Franke's boyfriend also sat in with us on our last lesson.  They are an interesting couple.  She is crazy and he is a little creepy.  They had a son together but he is not living with them.  He is an atheist and she loves God.  We tried to get through the Restoration and talk about God, but they had so many questions that we got distracted a lot.  We would be baring our testimony about one thing and then she'd blurt in a question like "How much is tuition in Amerika" or he'd ask me "Do you believe in the devil" or start talking about a sci-fi book, that is his Bible.  So really, who knows how much they actually learned.  I just wanted to scream, FRANKE!  PAY ATTENTION.  But na ja.  It is never boring with her. 

We also had another lesson with Kathrin.  It went really well.  She had received all of the lessons and so we went over the baptismal questions and told her that she was ready, and that she really just should be baptized.  After months, she finally committed to praying about a date.  We have an appointment with the whole family on Saturday.  We are really hoping to teach the mom too and maybe commit her to that date.  We are so excited.  The dad is a less active, so he is finally coming back too.  It is so cool to see people accept the gospel in their lives again and to bring their families with them.

We also made contact with another less active family, the Fosters.  He is American and she is German but they lived in America for years, so they both know English.  We had a really good lesson about the power of the Atonement and how it can help us in every aspect of our lives.  They are trying to quit smoking and want to come back to church.  That is awesome.

I think the coolest thing that has happened this week was on Saturday.  We had such a hard day.  Everything we planned to do was cancelled because of the rain, so we had no clue what to do.  We prayed and just begged Heavenly Vater to help us know what to do and to just be comforted.  Literally, 5 minutes later, our phone rang.  It was one of the sister's past investigators asking to meet with us again.  How cool is that?  We did nothing, but Himmlisher Vater knew we needed help.  He gave us just enough happiness to keep going.  We are meeting with her on Saturday and I am so excited.

I have learned so much about faith this week.  Missions are hard.  They are supposed to be, because Salvation is not a cheap experience.  When we have faith in Christ, He will deliver us.  I love the talk by Elder Holland, "Lord, I believe.”  Elder Holland shares the story from Mark 9: 17-24.  Christ heals the little boy because his Father begs of it.  He tells Christ, "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief" to which Christ replies that through belief, anything is possible.  That is all we need.  We just need a little belief and a little desire.  When we ask God to help us, He always will.  Holland says to "Hold to the faith that you have already won." and that is what I have tried to do this week.  I may not understand everything, but I know that this is His work and His hand is always in it.  I just need to trust him.  It also amazes me that all the trials and struggles I have that seem so big at the moment, seem so little now.  I cannot   even remember all the frustrations I have had this week.  All I can remember are the miracles I have seen. 

This gospel is amazing and it blesses lives.  It has blessed mine so much and I do not know where I would be without it.  I love you all, and I am so grateful for all of the love and support you show me.  Thank you for all of the prayers.  I know they are being answered daily, and even by the minute.

Can I just say that 3 Nephi 28 is an awesome chapter to read from the perspective of a missionary?


Ich liebe euch so fiel. 

Sister Savannah Teeples

September 9, 2013

At the MTC...Packing for Germany
Hallo from Deutchland!   

Forewarning...I don’t have much time and these keyboards are funky, so mom you’re in for a treat with editing :)

So, it’s been a crazy few days!  I am officially in Germany.  It was so fun to talk to you all and I love getting all of your emails.  My new area is Nürnburg.  It is in Southeast Germany and it is one of Hitler's main stomping grounds…pretty interesting.  The language is crazy.  They speak  Byrish here, which is a very strong dialect.  My trainer has only been out for two transfers so even she does not understand anything.  So pretty much I just smile and nod when my companion does...  seems to be working thus far…haha.  Oh well, it'll come eventually.  I can't expect to understand everything after only a couple weeks. 

My trainer's name is Sister Weber.  She is from California and she has been out about three months.  She just finished being trained herself, so really we are just learning together.  That will be quite interesting.  We both have the same problem about being confident enough to talk to random people, so that has become one of both of our goals.  We ride about a billion buses, trains, and u bahns (underground railroads) every day to get where we are going.  We are going to try to talk to at least one person on each one.  It is hard when I have no clue how to start a normal conversation, but naja, we will try.

New Missionary Arrivals to Germany Frankfurt Mission
My district is great.  There are ten of us, including an Ehepartner, which is the married couple.  They are over multiple areas though, so they aren't here much.  Our district is huge, so it covers a huge area, so all 10 of us are over one ward.  It is hard because our ward has only about 60 active members, so we all have to make sure we do not overwhelm them, but I am hoping with that many missionaries, we will have a lot of success.

On Wednesday when I got here, I was so dead.  That plan ride took it out of me.  We went to the main stake center and met our mission president.  I love him.  He is probably the nicest, coolest person I have ever met, and his English is so funny because his accent is so strong.  Whenever he says faith, he pronounces it “face,” but it is great.  He is so inspired with everything and I’m so grateful for that. 

We were assigned to our area and trainer on Thursday and then I left for Nürnburg on the train.  When we arrived, we went and did a finding activity in Ratsbaunhaf, which is a huge plaza.  We drew the plan of salvation on the ground with chalk and people came and talked to us.  We placed about six das Buch Mormons and we got an appointment with a woman named Beatice the next day...but she never showed up.

This mission is hard.  We only have one investigator right now, whose name is Kathrin.  She is 14 and her dad is a less active.  The missionaries have been teaching her and her mom, but neither of them will commit to a date.  We are hoping to change that.  There are also about a million less actives, so we are going to work with them a lot and hopefully find people through them.  We do many drop by visits, but they are never home.  Germany is hard because everyone lives in apartments, so you can’t really go door to door.  Yu cannot even get in to the building unless someone buzzes you in, and many people just ignore you.  So really, we need to find some more effective ways than just dropping by. 

Sunday was crazy.  I understood maybe 20% of what was said, but I loved second hour.  One of our less actives came for the first time in forever.  Her name is Maria Wolf.  She is from Brazil, and has been in Germany for about 3 years, so her German is not too good.  She spoke slowly enough that I could understand.  We spend second hour in the investigator class, where it was only her, the elders, and us.  She asked us a ton of questions, and for the things that she did not understand in German, I was able to attempt to explain in Spanish.  So that was awesome!    I also sat by her in Relief Society, and we were able to be confused together.  I read out of her Spanish book, and that was so fun.  I forgot how much I love Spanish, and it made me excited to have a reason to use it again. 

Oh also, story time…the wheels on my suitcase broke…so on the first day, we had to drag around my ridiculously heavy suitcase for about thirty minutes to my apartment.  My apartment, by the way, is brand new and super nice.  Germany is beautiful.  My area is beautiful.  I am going to send pictures so you can all be jealous.  The food is great.  We are going to go get some chocolate so I can try it before I head off to play soccer with some investigators and the elders...  that should be interesting. 

That is Germany so far.  It has been hard because all I want to do is teach, and I have really only had one chance to do that.  I WANT MORE INVESTIGATORS.  So, that is my goal this week.  I want to teach, so I will make it happen.  I love you all.  Always remember, this life has been given to your from the Lord.  He has given you everything, and even when things are hard or not what you expected, his plan is greater than yours is.  We need to have more trust in Him, and to do the things that he would have us do.  I am so grateful for the time I had at the MTC and for the things that my teachers taught me.  I feel so much more prepared, and I cannot wait to use them and to teach others about this Gospel.

This church is TRUE.  I know that.  I know that without a doubt.  I must be bold when I share it, because I have been blessed with so much.  Sacrifice and love go hand in hand.  I have a testimony of that.  I love the Lord so I will sacrifice everything for him.  This is a time to forget myself.  Forget the things that make me nervous and scared, and go to work.  Because this is the Lord's work, not mine.

I love you all so much.  I cannot wait to tell you about all of my new investigators next week!   (It will happen).  Hopefully German will start to come...  I feel like I really have not had a ton of time to practice yet.  I hope we will have more appointments this week. 

Bis später meine Familie.  Ich liebe euch!   

Sister Savannah Teeples 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

August 28, 2013

Our Flight Plans!
First off, before I forget...Happy Belated Birthday, Troy!  I understand now why you forgot my birthday while on your mission.  I forget to think about real life and the days just all blend together.  But thanks for all of the letters and emails family and everyone else!  I love getting them and hearing about everything going on back home.  It sounds like things are going well for everyone. 

I LEAVE FOR GERMANY ON TUESDAY.  Meine gutte, I am freaking out just a little bit.  I can't tell if it's from nerves or just because I am SEHR BEGEISTERT!  Seriously though, I can't wait.  We got our flight plans on Friday, and I think everyone thought our zone was crazy because we were just running around screaming.  It's seriously happening!  The actual plane ride is not going to be too fun.  We have to meet by the bus stop at 4:30 a.m. from the MTC.  Our flight from SLC leaves at 8:30 a.m.  Then we have a layover in Dallas from 12:20 - 3:55.  I get to call home during my layover, so I'm really excited about that!  From Dallas, we fly straight to DEUTSCHLAND!  Oh, man.  We will get there at 12:30 a.m. our time, which is 8:30 a.m. there.  So pretty much, as soon as we get there, their day will be starting, and we will be expected to keep up.  I'm seriously going to get no sleep for about 48 hours, but that's okay because hopefully my excitement will keep me awake! 

Once I actually get to Germany, I'm really going to have no clue what is going on.  My district has been doing some intense SYL (Speak Your Language) lately, and it's really helped...but let's be honest, my German is still pretty schlect.  I've realized that I can teach the first three lessons completely in German, but I still don't know how to have a normal conversation with someone.  So the first day, we are expected to go street contracting.  I'm going to be that weirdo that goes up to a random person and says, "Hallo!  Guten tag!  I have a message about Jesus Christ!"  They are just going to stare at me as if I'm crazy.  Good thing we have senior companions, right?

We found a watermelon!  My favorite!
Speaking about not knowing much German, yesterday we were sitting in class doing some nice role-playing.  We were talking about prophets and then my companion has nothing else to say so she just threw out "Will you be baptized?”  I was supposed to be playing someone with no religious background so I asked her what baptism was.  My teacher then proceeded to interrupt and talk to us.  We both heard the word "wasser" so we both assumed he has told us to go take a break and get some water.  We both stood up and started walking out the door.  As we were leaving, he looked at us and asked us "Wo gehen sie, Sisters?" “Uhh...  Wasser, Bruder Birkinsha,” we replied.  He just started dying laughing and told us he was talking about what baptism was...  komish.  Whenever I start to feel comfortable with my German, I go and do something dumb like that.  The best part is that my companion heard the exact same thing...  probably because we have been here way too long and are starting to only hear the things we want to.  Oh well!

Grammar, however, is quickly becoming my new best friend.  You wouldn't understand.  Every free moment I have, I spend with my grammar textbook.  Even right now, I want to go and read it.  What is happening to me?  I'm learning so much and I just want to learn more.  I have even fallen asleep reading and then woke up cuddling with my book.  What is happening to me?  But German is so cool.  The more I learn, the better I want to talk.  I can't wait to be fluent, even if I have a long ways to go.

The week has been rather rainy, and the rain has made us go even crazier than normal.  You can really tell who have been here a long time and which ones are the newbies. On the way back from the Marriott Center where the devotional was, it was raining really hard. Missionaries went crazy. When we got back to our classroom, nobody could focus. Instead of having our district meetings, we had a nice party in our hallway. It was much needed. A few nights ago, there was a lightning storm, so my companion and I popped some popcorn, lit a candle, got her blanket and sat by the window in the dark watching the storm. We got her headlamp and used it to read our Book of Mormon Children Stories...oh the life of a missionary.

So funny story for the week…we were outside eating lunch and bees came over and swarmed around us, so we ran away.  When we went back, Sister Erikson took a sip of her drink, and then started coughing and spitting uncontrollably...  and then her lip started swelling up.  Turns out, she had swallowed the bee and it stung her in the mouth!  Seriously, what are the chances?  Her lip was huge for the rest of the day and I couldn't stop laughing every time I looked at her!
So now for my spiritual thoughts of the week…

First off, you need to do the Book of Mormon activity that I do here.  I think it is probably the best thing I have learned while I have been here, and it has really strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  We taught it to the members during TRC on Friday and they loved it.  So before you start reading, think of a personal question. It can be anything from "How can I know I'm forgiven?" or "Why is it important to follow the commandments everyday?" or "How can I better fulfill my church calling?" and then pick a random chapter, any chapter in the Book of Mormon.  Think about your question as you read it.  Every time, no matter what, you will come up with an answer.  It will either be through a verse you read or a thought you have, but you WILL receive an answer.  How toll is that?  This book was written for us!  UNS!  Unser Himmlisher Vater knows us and loves us and knows what we need, so he has provided this book to help us.  So toll.  Go try it right now. 

Yesterday, we got to hear from Neil L.  Andersen.  It was an amazing devotional.  He talked about sacrifice and love.  He said, "We sacrifice for the things that we love, and we love the things that we sacrifice for."  He then proceeded to say that the greatest example of this was Christ dying for us.  What an amazing example of sacrifice and love.  He loves us so much, that he sacrificed his own life so that EVERY man could return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again.  That is the reason why I am on this mission.  I am sacrificing a year and a half of my life so that others can feel the love of Christ in their lives.  That's my purpose as a missionary.  We say our purpose every day.  "Andere ein laden zu Christus zu kommen, indem wir Ihnen helfen, das Wierderhergestellte Evangelium Jesus Christ anzunehem.  Dies geschiet, wenn wir Betrefeden Glauben an Jesus Christus und sein Suhnopfer uben, Umkehren, sick Taufen lassen, die Gabe der Heiligen Geistes empfangen, und Bis aus Ende ausharren."  The important thing is that we not only say this and we live it.

I realize now that our gospel is not just a one-time thing, but also a process.  I guess I have realized this all my life, but when you start to teach others about what the gospel is, you realize how easy it is.  Every day, we must have faith that Jesus is the Christ and our Savior.  Every day, we must repent, which can be done by bettering our thoughts and actions and daily living the commandments.  Every Sunday, we renew our baptismal covenants, and every day we must live worthy to have the Holy Ghost with us.  When we do, and when we endure to the end, Christ will bless us.  I think one of my favorite verses now is 3 Nephi 27:16.  Christ promises us that when we endure to the end "him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world."  How cool is that?  He says “him,” which makes it so personal.  I can just see us standing in Heaven before our Heavenly Father.  Judgment Day is not going to be some awful thing.  It is going to be a day when we stand with Christ, and when He wraps his arms around us, He tells us that He knows we have done the best we can.  Because of that, because we have lived and loved His gospel daily, He will hold us guiltless.  He will tell our Heavenly Father that we have done our best, and that because He loves us so much, and because He sacrificed himself to complete the atonement, we are able to be called blameless.  We are able to be clean. 

I am so grateful for that.  I want you all to go and read 2 Nephi 9.  It is amazing.  I felt the Spirit so strongly, and it made me realize exactly what would have happened to us without the atonement.  Also Jacob 5 when it talks about how the Lord weeps for His vineyard...  because He loves us so much!   

I love our Heavenly Father and I love Christ.  I cannot wait to talk to you next week and I CAN"T WAIT TO GO TO GERMANY. 

Ich liebe euch.  Tschüß!   

Sister Savannah Teeples