Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 11, 2013

Hallo Everybody!  So glad to hear from all of you this week.  Sounds like life is good back home, but I can bet that it is going even better.  Seriously, I think that this was by far my favorite week on the mission, and I can't believe it is already over.  It just makes me want to relive it over and over again, which is exactly what we plan on doing. 

This week, we started by teaching Debbie.  I don't really feel like she is grasping the importance of what we are teaching her.  She likes how she feels when she meets with us, but she isn't really ready to change.  We are meeting with her this week, and being direct about our purpose here.  This is the test.  If we notice true desire and commitment, we will keep meeting with her.  If not, sadly, we will have to say Tschüß.  This gospel is one of action, not only faith, and so she needs to be truly converted.  I pray every day for her because I see so much potential.  She just needs to see it herself.

We went to Sister Hertel's again...the cat lady.  I feel like I can never go to her house without coming out with an interesting story.  About halfway through the lesson, my left eye started killing me.  It starting watering and I could not keep my eye open.  For about 20 minutes, I was sitting there, rubbing my eyes, and crying.  The elders and Sister Weber are all enthralled in the lesson.  They looked over at the end to see if I have anything to add, only to see me crying, makeup running down my face, and a blood shot eye.  You should have seen Elder Allen's face...  priceless.  We quickly went to the church where I washed it out.  The walk there was interesting.  I couldn’t see, so Sister Weber led me the whole way.  It was pretty comical.  I looked ridiculous.  It made for a good laugh.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Feucht with Sister Lyons.  She wasn't my MTC companion but she was one of the girls I roomed with.  We always said we wanted to be companions together at one point.  It was such a good split.  On Wednesday, we went and visited on of their potentials, Paul.  He is from Africa (seriously, the Africans are the BEST…and they all speak English!)  It was a good appointment.  We took a less active with us, and she was amazing.  She bore her testimony throughout the lesson, and even offered a ride to church for him.  It was a cool lesson because Sister Lyons and I really had to rely on each other for help.  He asked many difficult questions, but between the two of us, we were able to answer them well enough.  He believes pretty much everything we do...  except the Book of Mormon and Priesthood authority, which are the two things that really do make our church different.  We stressed the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it, which in turn would give him testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that we have prophets again on the earth.  Hopefully he takes that commitment to heart. 

Walking in Rottenberg
Thursday we spent the whole day tracting because we did not have any leads.  We packed up a bunch of cool DVDs, pamphlets, Book of Mormons, and went and conquered Feucht.  Well, kind of.  We had a ton of great conversations, which was awesome for Sister Lyons and me.  We both have only been in Germany for two months, so naturally our German is not so great.  But, we tried out best, and when we both bore testimony about what we believe, the people we were talking to were not able to look away.  The coolest part though was one woman that we talked to.  I went up to her with the faith survey, and she started talking to us.  The funny part was when I asked her the last question and she had no clue what I said.  I ended up just showing it to her and she read it the exact way I had...and then understood it.  Really??  Is my accent that bad?  People cannot even understand when I read a question...haha?  Oh well, she ended up asking why there was so much evil in the world.  We were able to bear our testimonies about agency.  We then gave her a book of Mormon and told her to read 2 Nephi 2 and it would answer her question.  She said she would give it a shot.  We ended up walking by the park 20 minutes later to see her sitting on the bench reading the Book of Mormon.  It was really cool to see her reading! 

That night was kind of a bust...Sister Lyons locked her keys in the apartment so we had to go back to Nürnberg to get the spares...whoops.  At least we had just bought cookies.  These are the best cookies, and they are only sold during Christmas.  So basically we eat as many as we can.  Also, I tried a new fruit this week.  It is called Kaki or something.  I have no clue what it was but it looked good so I bought it, and it was.  You should look it up for me and let me know because now I am just curious.
We had Zone training the next morning, and it was AMAZING.  It was an answer to so many of my prayers and questions, and the spirit was so strong there.  We talked about the importance of acting our role as missionaries.  We are called as representatives of Jesus Christ.  We have been set apart in this calling, and have been given power from God to do His work.  But how easy is it to forget that when we get rejected or afraid when trying to talk to people?  They talked about the importance of the first few minutes when we meet someone.  We must really let them know that we have been called of God to share his gospel, and that this message will change their life, because it has changed ours.  This is my calling, and I must live up to it.  It is hard and scary, but our message of Christ is what will really change people.  Someone in my district really took this to heart, went out and invited someone to baptism right there.  Well, guess what?  They have a new investigator now.

We also had our street displays this week.  They were SO COOL.  Somehow, I was dumb enough not to take any pictures of the event.  It is okay though, we have one more Saturday, and it will be the best yet.  We had 1,000 fliers for our fireside next week.  Within our two ausstellungs, which was about 6 or 7 hours all together, we handed them all out.  It was amazing.  We talked with so many people.  It was a wake up to me about how much I learned.  Friday night, I had a 20-minute conversation with a man about what we believe in.  I was able to basically teach the first lesson about the Restoration, and bear testimony.  I gave him a Book of Mormon, too.  It was awesome.  I was able to have a real conversation with him, and understand and answer his questions.  All the elders found a new investigator too, and many people said they would come to the fireside.  So exciting.  Thanks for all of the pictures.  We made a really cool poster and laminated charts.  They were a huge help with explaining.  All and all, I am super excited for the one on Saturday now, too.  You would not believe how many conversations we had with people.  A ton of members came and helped.  Bishop Lange was so excited and talked to so many people.  The elders’ investigator, Joseph, was there and he did work too.  He handed out so many Plan of Salvation pamphlets and fliers and was just so excited doing it. 

And then…Sunday…man oh man.  This was by far the coolest weekend on my mission.  Joseph Sande was baptized yesterday.  I have never seen someone look so happy as he did as when he walked out of the font.  His testimony that he shared afterwards was so pure and sincere.  He radiated joy.  It is amazing how much he has changed since I first met him.  The joy that this gospel brings is so tangible and noticeable.  After the baptism, we went and met with Lisa.  She had been in Heidelberg for 3 weeks with her best friend, Laura, who was baptized back in February.  She was casually talking and then said, "Oh yeah, guess what?  I am getting baptized on December 26th with Laura's mom in Heidelburg."  WHAAAAAATTTTTTT!  Can you imagine our shock?  She then proceeded to ask us if we would meet with her weekly so that she could be prepared for it when the time came.  Uhh, yes.  I am so excited for her.  She lives in Nürnberg, and she will be moving to Heidelburg next summer, but until then we will be able to work with her.  Her family abandoned her and Laura's family has taken her in and loved her.  They are her family now.  She is so excited to be baptized.  She gave us like six hugs yesterday because she was just so happy.
It was just such a cool week.  Between the ausstellungs and the members helping, the baptisms, Lisa, and the split in Feucht, it was just so great.  The ward is really growing on me.  The members are awesome, and I will be really sad if I get transferred the next transfer.  I HAVE TO have Christmas in Nürnberg.  Then I will go anywhere.  The Lord's will is above mine, though.  Speaking of which, this week for personal study, I made my focus on the atonement.  In Preach my Gospel, there is a huge list of chapters that testify of Christ and his atonement.  I have started to go through and study that list, and it has really helped my testimony of Christ grow even more.  I would invite you all to go and do the same.  Abinidi is the perfect example of what we learned in Zone training.

Well, I love you all.  I have a ton of pictures to send, and I don’t know how many I will be able to send today.  Have a great week, and Mom, don’t stress too much.  It sounds like it will be a hard week, but pray and you will be supported through it.  Also, it is so strange that Thanksgiving is coming up.  They don’t celebrate it here, but Sister Preis does something for the missionaries, which is another reason I hope I stay here.  We will see.  Christmas stores and lights are starting to pop up everywhere.  SO EXCITING!

Well, bis nächte woche. Ich liebe euch...

Savannah Teeples

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