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

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