Sunday, September 1, 2013

August 21, 2014

Hey, Everyone!  Happy Mittwoch!

Thank you for all of the emails and Dear Elders.  I love hearing what is going on with everyone.  My favorite letter this week was from Tim because it was in all German and I actually understood it.  How crazy is that?  I've been here an entire month now!  And on Fritag I get my flight plans.  I don't think I've ever been so excited / nervous before.  In two weeks, I will be in Germany where I won't have any clue what is going on around me, but it will be so fun.  I cannot wait!

So, Family….

Mom…I love that story you sent me.  It was so awesome and inspirational.  I need to remember to have faith and remember that with the Lord's help I can accomplish anything—especially while I'm on my mission, because this is His work, not mine.  And yes, I got the cupcakes.  My district says thanks. 

I got letters from Teresa and Matt this week.  I sent Matt one back yesterday so it should get there soon.  Aunt Shelly sent me a cool package so tell her thanks for me!  It's crazy to think school is starting now because that's the last thing on my mind right now.

Dad…That is so cool about the blessing and your job.  I know that the Lord will bless us as I'm away.  I'm not worried about things back home.  I'm going to be 100% focused on the people in Germany.  Also, tell the missionaries hi for me and that I am proud of them.

Taryn…I'm glad you had such a great time in Thailand and that you are back home safe.  It's so weird for me that you are literally five minutes away from me right now.  I feel like the MTC is its own little bubble, completely separated from the world! 

Troy…Oregon sounds like a blast!  I'm glad you are having fun there.  Tell Alyssa hi for me.  I read the 4th Missionary.  It was so good.  Every time I wasn't reading it, I wanted to be.  I finished it in two days and I just want to read it again.  It really is life changing, so thank you.  It is circling around my district right now.  They all want to read it.

This week, probably the coolest thing in the entire world happened.  Both of our investigators said that they would be baptized.  But that wasn't even the coolest part...  listen to this story and remember that it is 100% true.  My teacher was playing his own investigator while in Germany, and this is exactly how it happened.  (We understood this all auf Deutsch!)

Joseph had been unresponsive.  We taught him about everything:  prophets, the Restoration, the Book of Mormon…everything.  He wasn't having any of it.  He asked us to teach him about life after death.  We gave him Alma 40-42 to read and we said that we would come back the next day and teach him about the plan of Salvation.  We went in yesterday and he started our lesson for us.  He told us to take out our Book of Mormons and go to Alma 40.  He said that he wanted to read to us a certain part—verses 11-13 where it talks about the spirit world. 

As he read, he started crying, and then he told us this story: He had been a drug addict.  He was addicted to Heroin and because of that, his wife and daughter left him.  When they left, he couldn't handle it so he decided to quit cold turkey.  When you quit like that, your body can't handle it.  So he was rushed to the hospital, where he was proclaimed dead for 2 hours.  He woke up to find himself in a body bag on his way to the morgue. 
While he was dead, he was in the Spirit Prison.  He said it was exactly how it was described in Alma, and that it was the greatest Hell he could ever imagine.  While there, he saw Spirit Paradise and longed to be there.  He prayed to God and said that he would do ANYTHING to get over there.  He then proceeded to tell us that he knew it was true.  He knew that because this was true, everything else was.  He said he would do anything and believe anything we taught him, because he knew it was true.  As he shared and truly became a missionary to us, he asked us to be baptized.  My companion and I just sat there, dumbfounded for a while, because that was the last thing we were expecting. 
It makes me so excited to go to Germany.  There are people out there seeking for the truth, and we have it.  Once we are able to answer their questions, they will know it is true and do anything to have it.  How cool is that!  So don't be afraid.  Be bold, and most importantly get to know them so that you can know what they need most. 

On another note, I can't get enough of my afternoon classes.  They are my favorite classes because I just have such a great teacher.  Bruder Birkensha (I just found out he was Josh's RA at Helaman last year...  how crazy is that?) is seriously my favorite person.  He is hilarious, but he is also so in tune with the spirit.  He knows exactly what to teach, and what to say according to our needs.  He said something really cool yesterday, while we were discussing the second lesson.  He told us "When you change your questions, you will change your life.”  How neat is that?  When we change our approach or ask a different question, we will change our entire outlook on the situation, and our lives will be changed.  He also did another Book of Mormon activity with us.  We each wrote down a personal question we had been having and then we read Ether 12 together.  And once we were done reading, all of our questions had been answered.  The Book of Mormon is powerful.  It really does have the answer to everything, and if you are looking closely and studying it sincerely, you will find an answer.  And it can be found in any verse or any chapter, because it is written for us.

Another cool thought from Devotional last night….the speaker reminded us that we as missionaries have a big name to live up to.  He then explained how Joseph Smith was the first investigator; Christ and Heavenly Father were the first companionship to come and answer his questions.  I've never thought about it that way.  When we are going out as companionships, we are simply doing the same thing that Christ and Heavenly Father did for Joseph Smith—answering the questions of the soul and letting them know the truth. 

Today, my companion and I went to the bookstore and bought the Book of Mormon Children Stories in German.  We are going to have story time every night and read a story from it, to help practice when we tell them to our investigators.  I'm so excited!

I can't leave without telling my funny stories:

·         We had TRC on Friday, which is basically like home teaching.  For 20 minutes, we go speak with German speaking members and leave with them a spiritual thought.  One of the old ladies that we met with would say something in German and then whisper it to us in English so that our teacher couldn't hear.  So great. 

·         On our way back from TRC, we saw Sister McMurry's uncle, who volunteers for TRC sometimes.  He wrote home to her mom to tell her mom that he had seen Sister McMurry.  She got a letter from her mom today.  Apparently, her uncle told her grandma that we were the “cream of the crap.”  Her grandma gets confused with English sometimes (She's from Germany.) so she told Sister McMurry's mom that we were the “crap of the crap.”  So now we know that we are the “crap of the crap.”  Isn't that nice?

·         Our sisters were in a lesson with their investigator and they were telling the story of Christ appearing to the Nephites.  They asked him what he thought about it and he just burst out "Mensch!  Dass ist TOLL!”  (Man, that is cool!)  They couldn't stop laughing. 

·         Our zone has starting translating our sayings literally.  So everyone goes around saying "Kuhl geschichte, Bro." (Cool story, Bro.) or "Heiligen Ku!”  (Holy Cow!).  Our teachers just shake their heads at us, but we all know they want to join in.

·         Also, another classic Savannah moment…as I was walking from writing emails last week, I was talking to someone, not looking at where I was going and I ran into a pole.  I had a huge bruise over my eye, and when I went into class, everyone just made fun of me…especially my teacher.  Justice was served, however, because he walked in with a black eye on Monday from playing Frisbee, so we make a great bunch.  We have matching bruises now. 

·         The sisters played a nice prank on us.  They got the worst smelling car fresheners ever, snuck into our room, and put them in our vents.  Our room still reeks.  But we are getting them back...  the elders are giving us alarm clocks and so we are hiding them around their room and setting them to go off at random times during the night...

Well, I will leave you with a spiritual thought.  You know the Story in Matthew Chapter 14?  The one where Jesus walks on water?  Well, you should really try to relate that to our experience here on earth.  We are stuck in the middle of waves and storms, and once it gets too bad and we think we can't make it anymore, we will humble ourselves enough to turn to Christ and ask for his help.  That does not mean He has not been there the whole time, but he can only help us when we let him.  We all have our agency and must let ourselves let him in.  When the apostles thought that they couldn't take anymore, they called out to their Lord and cried out for help, and Christ was there.  In the middle of a huge storm, He stood there unaffected and outstretched his hand immediately to give them aid. 

We must remember this story.  In the middle of your hardest struggles and storms, I would challenge you to look past the winds, the clouds, and the waves.  Look past the distractions of life.  Look past your fear…and find your faith.  Find Christ. 

I love you all so much.  Thank you for the influence you have had in my life and for allowing me the opportunity to serve.  I cannot believe how much I have grown and learned in this past month.  I am so excited to go to Germany and to share about the Atonement and about Christ to everyone.  I know how much of a blessing it has been in my life.  I know I will be so lost come two weeks, but that's okay.  I must look past my fear too and find my faith.

Ich liebe euch veil….

Savannah Teeples


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