Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 20, 2014

Sunset in Heidelburg
Hallo Familie!  It was great to hear from you all this week.  Sounds like things are going well back home.  I am so glad that you got my package!  Mom, if you can't come pick me up, I'll just have to fill my suitcase with Rittersport.  That is so awesome that the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl!  Troy, I am so sorry that your life is so rough right now.  You have to go skiing and miss the Super Bowl.  Tough.  I am so glad that Matt got the okay to start his papers!  That seriously makes me so happy.  Tell him he needs to email me again, and tell me about it.  Also, Mother, a straßenbahn is like a bigger faster bus that runs on tracks...I really don’t know how to explain; it’s just aStraßenbahn.  At Zone training this week, I got packages from Troy and Alyssa and Aunt Shelly!  Thank you both so much.  They are amazing.  
Anyways, I am writing this email in an internet cafe right now.  I have my big new coat on that I bought last week for a steal deal, and it is so warm and comfortable.  I am more exhausted than I have ever been in my life, so sorry if this email doesn’t make a ton of sense.  I could sleep for about four days straight right now. 
But the good news…I am so tired because we did SO much this week.  There is so much to do here, and not enough missionaries in the area.  We are basically running around crazy every day.  We saw some ridiculously cool miracles this week.  I just love Heidelberg.

On Tuesday, we hiked up to the castle courtyard and sat there overlooking the entire city while we set goals for the transfer.  It was amazing.  We were right by this huge castle, and could see for miles.  We got the impression to work a lot with the members this transfer - German and Spanish.  After just a week, we have seen miracles.  Whenever we have a spare minute, instead of doing a random stop at a less active or past investigator’s home, we stop and visit the members in the area.  We give a short thought and then leave.  It takes a total of 10 minutes, and the purpose is to get to know the members and gain their trust.  It has been amazing. 
A stone we found outside of a house...
7 Jewish people were taken from here to
concentration camps
We had dinner with the Paulinos on Tuesday, the Spanish less active family.  We had a great time, and she talked so much.  They ended up coming to church on Sunday!

Wednesday, we met with another less active, Kathy.  Sister Pedersen has been working with her for a while, and we had an amazing lesson about patience through trials.  She said it was so inspired, and exactly what she needed to hear.  Her circumstances right now are really difficult, and do not permit her to come to church.  She really wants to.  She asked us to pray for her to be able to come to church.  She says once she is able to, she wants us to teach her 9 year old daughter and prepare her for baptism.
We also went and taught our investigator Melanie again, who is a daughter of a less active woman.  Her friend was there and we invited her to sit in with us.  Her friend ended up being really interested, and was asking a ton of questions.  She set up the return appointment, and is excited to meet with us.  She wants to come to church and everything.  It was such a miracle. 

Throughout the week, we really understood why we should we work with the members.  They are so ready to do missionary work that we don’t even have to motivate some of them.  The Taylors called us on Tuesday, and said that they knew a girl that wanted to come to church on Sunday.  They asked us to take her around...this is a cool story.  The Taylors are from America, and he is here as a teacher assistant to a university class about Mormonism.  There are about 20 people in the class.  For one of their final assignments, they have to attend the Fast and Testimony meeting in February, and attend all three hours.  We are going to have 20 nonmembers there!  It is going to be insane!  One of the girls, Christine, wanted to come yesterday.  She is amazing.  We ended up setting up a Termin with her on Thursday at the Taylor’s house.  I am super excited.  
The Janatas...they live in a nearby small
country town
Another member also called us this week also and referred her friend to us.  She ended up setting up Thursday night for us all to go out to dinner and get to know her friend, Anya.  Anya had a ton of questions, and we talked a lot about what we believe.  She then came to church on Sunday.  It was so cool!  These members are on fire.  It was a testimony to our feeling.  We have showed the Lord that we feel like we need to work together.  We have been working to gain their trust, and here, in Heidelberg, the ward members are just throwing referrals at us.  It is amazing.  In the last week alone, we had three new referals and contacted five of them.  We also got three new investigators this week, all through the ward members.  They really are the ones making a difference here.  That is how people are truly going to be converted. 

Friday was Zone training.  It was all about finding…something I usually hate, but now Sister Pedersen and I have so many potentials, it is almost humorous.  I feel like I have done absolutely nothing to deserve all of this, and that it is just being handed to me on a silver platter.  I think the Lord is looking at all of our efforts in the past four months and really rewarding us.  I am so grateful at how merciful he is.  We talked about using our talents to find those who are searching.  It was another conformation that we needed to work a lot with the Spanish group.  We called the Heckmanns up and arranged an appointment to meet with them and talk to them about it. 
Service at the Janatas
Saturday, we met with them and talked a lot.  They want us to go and visit all of the Spanish families in the two weeks - which is about 10.  It is going to be absolutely crazy.  We are supposed to set up family mission plans.  I also want to find out all of their talents and plan activities around them.  One woman teaches Flamanco, so I thought it would be cool to have a Flamanco night where members could invite their friends to the church and learn how to dance.  I figure, if we should use our talents to find, why not use the ward members’ talents as well.

Saturday was also Carmen and Bruder Gurnis' wedding and reception.  The ward did an amazing job.  They planned the best reception ever, with skits, songs, games, and everything.  A ton of people invited friends, and we ended up getting ANOTHER referral with a friend of the bishop’s wife.  We are now having an FHE with them and the friend next Monday night.  It seriously amazes me how blessed we have been.  
Carmen is a typical German...she is the
nicest, happiest person...but refuses to smile
for the camera.
And then Sunday...oh man, far the craziest day I have ever had.  We started off having to run to pick up Annie's friend at the bus stop, because Annie had to translate.  Then we introduced her to someone so that they could help her to Relief Society.  We ran in late to Young Women’s, where the bishop wanted us to help him teach about missionary work.  We then ran back, talked to Anya and Christine, and brought them to Gospel Essentials.  Then I had to introduce myself in the German branch, and then run and give a 5 minute talk in the Spanish branch, where I then had to schedule appointments with the Spanish families, while sister Pedersen ran and talked to the two referrals.  It was absolutely insane, and by the end we were exhausted.  We ended up both falling asleep in the car ride to a member’s house after church.  Whoops…

Having fun on
our costumes?
Man, this week….this letter really doesn’t even begin to describe everything that we did.  I hope it gives you a glimpse into everything, though.  What I am trying to say is that the ward is amazing, and is making us very busy.  We are so blessed right now, and we are super excited about everything that is happening.  President told me to pray for miracles, and I did, and now I am seeing them daily.  I guess now is my time to tell you all to help the missionaries in your ward.  Mom and Dad, if you haven’t yet, watch "Hastening the Work" because it is true.  Members and missionaries need to work together.  Pray for people to hear this message and then invite them.  We have been challenging people to invite friends over for FHE, where we can give a short thought and then play a game together.  We already have them set up for the next two weeks.  So I guess now I am committing you to the same thing.  You're welcome.  Life is crazy, but life is great.  Mom, if you spent a day with me, you would be would be waiting for the moment that you could crawl into bed at 10:30.  I am so grateful.  I know that because we have been working and serving every minute of the day, Heavenly Father has blessed us.  He continues to bless us. 

My favorite quote of the week, something that the Zone Leaders shared at Zone Conference that they heard from President Schwartz (who is the most amazing mission president ever)…“We are not saved by grace; rather we are changed by it".  I love that.  I read a talk called "The Grandeur of God" this week, and it is amazing.  Go and read it. 

Savannah Teeples

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