Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 13, 2014

A little town near Heidelburg...beautiful!
Hallo everyone!  Thanks for all of the emails.  I love hearing about what is going on back home.  Mom, tell Grandpa Keyser that I say thank you.  That was so nice of him.  Sister Pedersen and I are going to hit up the after Christmas sales today, so I am excited.  Also, isn't that CRAZY about my freshman roommate Chelsea and her announcement of being pregnant?  She emailed me a couple of weeks ago and told me the news.  I about freaked out, but she is really excited, so I am happy for her.  I am glad you got the letter last week too.  I was nervous that the letter didn’t come.  Speaking of which, did you happen to get a small package from me yet?  There wasn’t much in there, but some amazing German chocolate, some lebkuchen, and also an ornament that I bought at the Christkindelsmarkt, so hopefully you will get it soon.  Also, let’s hope that the Broncos win this year.  It’s about time.  Taryn, sounds like you are taking school as seriously as ever.  Good luck with that, and you too, Troy.  I am just so impressed with your work effort!  

The castle three minutes from
my apartment
The castle at night..
Auf jedenfall, I am officially writing this from the prettiest place on earth - Heidelberg.  I feel like I am in a little dream bubble here.  We live in the Altstadt of Heidelberg, which is the really old part of town.  So we have all the old architecture there and whatnot.  It is all beautiful.  We live right by the river, which has a huge old bridge.  Cute little houses cover the hillside on the other side of the river.  Then literally three minutes from our apartment, is the castle.  Think of it…if you walk three minutes, you can see a castle!  It is gigantic and gorgeous, and it lights up at night.  We are going up there today so that I can check it out.  I am super excited!  

The ward is amazing here.  It’s about twice the size as the one in Nürnberg, with about 150 active members and only four missionaries—the zone leaders, my companion and me.  We get to work a lot more with the ward.  They are also very ready to do missionary work.  We have four referrals from the ward right now.  There are tons of people that invite their friends to church, and also invite us over to eat with their friends.  The members are just awesome.  There are also about 30 regular Spanish attendants.  I was able to meet some of them yesterday.  One of them, Hermana Heckmann, is the one that gives us the most referrals.  We are meeting with one of her friends tomorrow, and I am really excited.  I think this transfer is going to be amazing, because of the ward.  I am so excited.
My crazy district of Nurnberg

It seems weird to think that only last Monday, I was still in Nürnberg.  This week has been so crazy that it seems like an ewigkeit ago.  Last week until Transfers on Thursday, was pretty much time spent saying goodbye to everyone, which was sad.  I kind of still feel like I am on a super long split and that I should be going back to Nürnberg.  I am more home sick for Nürnberg than I am for Colorado right now.  Part of my heart will always be there with the people and my investigators.  They are all just so amazing, and I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to go back and visit them. 

On Tuesday, we ended up taking our P-day, because we weren’t able to on Monday.  All of the Nürnberg missionaries, and the Ansbach and Feucht elders played games together.  I ended up winning at Settlers, and Elder Allen was really annoyed because he has yet to win.  Caroline came and played with us too.  It was so fun, and I am really going to miss her.  That night we also went to Laura's for the last time.  She made us an Italian dinner, and we talked a lot about how we can get Nürnberg on fire for missionary work.  We ended up starting a Nürnberg Missionaries’ Facebook page, because president talked about it a lot.  We (or I guess its they now...weird) are going to try to meet with members at least once a week, and ask the members to add friends, or get on a post a quote or Mormon message or something.  Since people are more open online.  We think it will really help. 

Wednesday, I had my last distrikt meeting with my district.  It is weird to be in a new district, because I have been with Elders Williamson, Allen, and Sister Weber my entire mission.  (My new district leader was in the Nürnberg zone, though.  He is cool.)  We talked a lot about Book of Mormon—how amazing it is, and how important it is that people read from it.  It seems like there is such a strong force that works to get people to never open that book.  So many people we talk to say that they have one at home, but just have never read in it.  The adversary is working so hard against the people, because he knows that if they just read it, they will feel the Spirit and the truth.  It is truly the word of God.  If people have the desire to know that, they will.
My favorite people in Nurnberg!
After DDM, we met with the Ochs, who cooked us the biggest meal ever of Schnitzel and potato salad.  I about died as I waddled out of there, only to go to another less active who invited us over to say goodbye.  She ended up making us a meal too, and we had to force it down.  That night we met with Sister Canana and her granddaughters.  We watched the Restoration DVD and the little girls loved it.  They thought it was so cool that he was only 14, and the ten year old answered all of our questions.  It was so great.  We dropped by Institute that night to say my official goodbyes that night, and then I packed, which was the weirdest thing ever. 

Sister Lyons and me...on our way to
way to Heidelburg.  We saw Elder Baker at the
station during Transfers!

I am Heidelberg now and it is amazing.  My new companions name is Sister Pederson.  She is 24, and is from Utah—she is awesome.  She is extremely sarcastic, which is refreshing, because Sister Weber is always just so nice.  We are actually a lot alike, so I think it will be a good transfer.  We met with a less active that night, and then went to Institute for the first time to get to know the younger members, because we want to work with them a lot.
The next day, we went to the Vogts for lunch.  They are a senior couple that just got back from a mission (it is amazing how many members served missions here).  We gave the analogy of Abish and Ammon again, and they loved it.  They told us about all of the people that they are trying to work with.  It was awesome.

That night, was quite an adventure.  We were going to contact a referral, when our straßenbahn ran over something.  It turned out to be a man....he was still alive when he was rushed to the hospital, but it was still scary.  All of the lines were shut down, and we had no way to get home.  We tried to comfort some people and talk to them about life after death, but they were in shock.  We ended up having to walk for 45 minutes to the nearest trainstation to get home.  It was quite the adventure for my first day here. 

A view I see daily...amazing
On Friday, we contacted another referral, who unfortunately didn't have interest, and then we had a first lesson with a potential investigator, named Dominic.  I think that he has a lot of potential, but he really just needs to feel like it is needed and loved.  He has had a hard life, and he doesn't know if God is really there, so we are trying to show him that he is.  But I do think he has potential.  At the end of the lesson, he gave us both pepper spray and told us to watch out...  haha. 

We then met with a recent convert, and our investigator Helen.  Helen has a mental disability, but she is so sweet, and she understands enough to know the gospel.  She loves the Book of Mormon.  She wants to be baptized, but her mom won’t let her, which is really sad.  We will still work with her, and hopefully her mom will one day change her mind.

Houses across the river
Sonntag was crazy.  We went to church, and I was able to meet the ward, which I have already shared is amazing.  After church, we went to lunch at a member’s house with the elders.  The member invited over her friend and her friend had a ton of questions, especially about what we believe about life after death.  The elders are starting to teach her today. 

That night, we went to another Investigator, Melanie.  Afterward, we visited a less active family, the Palinos.  They are one of the Spanish families, and don’t understand English or German.  She was so excited that I could speak to her, and we ended up having a really good lesson about faith.  She invited us over again tomorrow for dinner, and so I am super excited.  I just feel bad for Sister Pedersen who doesn’t understand the language…but it was great to speak Spanish again.  Troy, I found a Spanish Preach My Gospel and have been studying from it. 
The Nativity set that I fell in love
with and bought...
This email is super long, and there is still so much more I could tell you.  Just know that this is going to be an amazing transfer.  Heidelberg already has some cool investigators, and the ward is open to helping us.  We will hopefully see a lot of miracles and success.  The Spanish people, especially, are committed to missionarywork.  And now that a missionary can speak their language (kind of haha), I think that big things will happen! 

I love you all and I pray for you all daily.  I hope that everything continues to go well at home, and just know that I am loving my mission.  These people are incredible, and I get to share the message of the Restoration daily.  I am in the best place on earth, learning two languages that I love, and am surrounded by prepared people.  I am so lucky to be here, and to have the opportunity to do the Lord's work.  My goal is to really study his life from now through Easter, and I feel like through reading the four Gospels and Jesus the Christ, I have learned so much of my Savior.  I love Him so much, and am grateful to have a personal relationship with him and my Heavenly Father.
Ich liebe euch so viel!  Viel glück mit alles...

Savannah Teeples

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