Sunday, January 5, 2014

December 9, 2013

The Christmas Market
First off, family, I have translated a letter!  Yea.  Turns out it is an excellent contacting tool for the old people.  Every train I got onto, I went and sat next to an old woman and asked for help.  Here is what I discovered...

My loving Aunt Hilda and Children,

I wanted to take some time to write to you.  I've waited on the post for a letter from you for a long time.  Please write to me again.   Joseph has been gone in Italy for work for three weeks now.  He will probably be gone for half a year.  It isn’t good for me to be so alone.

(Here's the name I can’t read....  it is something like Klaüschen, or Kluischen, or Kleidchen...  I really don’t know.  I will go will Klaüschen) started school on the 1st of September, and Monika has been sick for a while.  She has pain in her throat and a very high fever, but she is a wonderful, loving child.

So many cute little shops at the market...
Summer is almost over and now comes the long winter.  And how have you been? Are you healthy? It is a great blessing, health.

And what is Wanda doing? Is she working at home or is she with her Uncle? And (Büben...  still don’t know what that is.  I think its son...)? Is he a soldier yet?

I want to drive down to Berlin this year, but it isn't possible.  It will now be nine years since I have seen my mom and dad. 

The kids are growing so quickly.  They all need new clothes.  Monika is all grown up now.  I want to take a couple pictures of (Kluis?) when he starts school.  I will send you one.  But for now, I will close.  Stay healthy, Aunt Hilda and write me soon.

Also, (Kluischen?) has a birthday on the 3rd of October.  He says to tell Aunt Hilda to send him something good.

Now for today, I will send you all my best wishes, and give you all my love from (Klaüschen?) and Monika.  Please write soon.

So there you have letter down, a million to go.  Hopefully that helps a little bit!  It was kind of fun doing it, and getting it all translated.  I definitely couldn’t have done that a few months ago.  Speaking of the language, I feel like something is finally clicking.  I am able to understand more, and it is coming more naturally.  I am almost to Alma in the Book of Mormon, and I can understand almost everything I read.  It is pretty cool.  I still have a very long way to go, but it is coming. 

Also, the weather has been just as cold here!  I have never been so cold before.  Every day, I put on a hundred layers and I am still cold.  President made the zone leaders postpone zone training last Friday and all the missionaries had to stay inside all day because the wind and snow was so bad.  So we got some solid weekly planning time in...yea, haha.  Mom, Cassidy is doing well in Brazil.  She has some pretty crazy stories, but she loves it.  I have written to Ben a few times too.  He is doing well.  I actually just got an email from Megan today too.  She is doing well, stressed out with finals, but then again it sounds like everyone is.  Taryn, I have three hours of study every morning.  From 8-9 we have personal study, and then from 9-10 we have companionship study and then from 10-11 is language study.  We then eat lunch and head out for the day!  It is getting dark at like 4:30 now...  completely ridiculous, so we might be changing around our study schedule. 

I got the best package this week from the ward.  I got a huge paper Christmas tree with all of the kids pictures on it and then a book with all of their favorite Book of Mormon heroes and pictures.  I freued myself like none other when I opened that package.  It was so great. 

So this week...  it was kind of a hard week, but I was still able to see some really cool things happen.  This time of year is really cool, but at the same time it is hard, because everyone says they are really busy so, "call back after the new year", which makes it really hard to make fast appointments.  On Tuesday, all of our appointments fell out.  We had four planned, two with investigators, and they all were cancelled.  We ended up finding for the entire day, but had no success.

Wednesday made it a little better though because we had an appointment with the Mendel's, an older couple in the ward.  Turns out, they love the sister missionaries.  When he found out that Sister Weber had been here for 6 months and me for three, he just looked stunned and said "And you haven’t visited me?!"  Whoops.  He gave us a ton of chocolate and good food.  He is probably the only sarcastic German I have met so far.  His family loves America.  They asked us so many questions, and it was hilarious.  They were amazed by Walmart—haha. 

We also had an appointment with Schwester Bruder... which in English would be Sister Brother.  I laugh every time—haha.  She is super old, but has the coolest life stories.  She told us some of them, and I was just amazed.  And plus, she made us the best food in the world.  I was sad I didn’t have a bigger stomach because I didn’t want to stop eating.  Her stories were just awesome.  I wish I had time to tell you some of them, but I just don’t.  Just know that there are cool people out there, and that I am grateful I can speak different languages, so that I can understand them.

Friday, after weekly planning, we decided to try and brave the cold because we had an appointment with the bishop and we really wanted to go over there.  We bundled up in all of our clothes and waddled to the train station.  It was a fun night.  We taught the little girls a really cool object lesson, and gave them a little present so that they could all write down their gift to Jesus and then put it up so that every time they looked at it, they would remember. 

We did the caroling in the Altstadt again...the zone leaders ended up being sick, so it was just us, the Nürnberg elders and an old lady from the ward.  Elder Ludlow and I were left talking to people and handing out “Joy to the Worlds” while they sang...let’s just say it wasn’t the prettiest thing ever—haha.  We were able to give out about 30 DVDs though. 

We had the ward Christmas party.  It was really fun!  I got to sit at the table with all the Spanish speakers.  The elder’s investigator, Blanca, was there so Giovanna and I got to talk with her.  There was a table decorating contest, and let’s just say the Missionaries table was...interesting.  I will send you a picture of it soon.  We made a tie tree—haha.  It was pretty.  Everyone else’s trees were amazing.

I was able to go to a Spanish baptism!  The elders in Ansbach had a baptism for their investigator, Ulga (in the email they spelt it Ugla, and all of the missionaries thought it was hilarious so she is known as Ugla now).  It was really cool. 

FRANKAS IS BACK.  I got a random phone call from a crazy person speaking really fast German.  It turns out to be Franka wanting to meet with us.  She dropped off the face of the earth for two transfers and then came back.  Sister Weber and I were freaking out.

As for our other investigators, Debbie was not really progressing again.  I called Debbie to see how her scripture reading was going.  I ended up talking to her Indian boyfriend, and he told me that if we went to his Indian temple, he would come to our church and check it out...  we need to see if that is allowed, but I could be going to an Indian temple!  haha.  And then, if her boyfriend came, Debbie would bis stimpt come to the church.  So maybe that will give her some good progress.  We will see! 

We finally were able to meet with Kathrin.  It was a great lesson.  In it, her Grandma told her that she had a dream that Kathrin was serving a mission.  Her response was "Whoa!  Where?”  Not the response I was expecting.  She finally agreed to pray aloud next lesson, so that was awesome.  Her mom’s baby is due really soon, and so we are hoping to have the ward bring her meals, and then hopefully her mom will be open to meeting with us again.  But really, we are just trying to find more investigators, and we are struggling.  It’s been hard for us when we get rejected over and over.  Now that it gets dark out so early, we really don’t know what to do.  We are going to have to be seriously creative if we are going to make it through winter. 

I did have a cool thought this week.  I was reading about Christ's birth in the Book of Mormon, and had a thought I hadn't had before.  It was in 3 Nephi 1, and all of the believers were going to be killed if the signs of Christ's birth did not appear.  They did, just like the Lord promised.  It made me realize that from the very beginning, from the very moment that Christ entered the world, he was a Savoir.  As a little baby, he was able to save an entire people from destruction and death.  That was an amazing realization for me.  I love the Book of Mormon, and I love how I always learn something new when I read it.

Wish me luck this next week.  We don't have a ton of appointments, and it is going to be freezing cold outside!  Hopefully we can change that.  I just am ready to go out and find someone really legit that is ready to hear the gospel.  It is a perfect time of year to share the message of Christ.  We get to have zone training on Tuesday, so I am looking forward to that!

Have a great week everyone!  Good luck on all of your finals.
Love, Savannah

PS.  I can’t wait to talk to you all on the phone in just a few weeks!  Keep smiling and remember to share the message of Christ with everyone you see.  It is the month when everyone takes a little more time to think about Christ’s birth and why we celebrate Christmas!  So take advantage of that!  Know that I am having a great, cold time in Germany.  

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