Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 17, 2014

Two Castles that I See while
Waiting at the Bus Stop
Thank you for the emails this week.  Mom, I hope that you had a wonderful time on your little vacation this week!  That sounds fun.  I can't wait to get home and just sleep for days.  Elder McGinn described it the best this week.  "I don't understand why I am so happy all of the time, when all I want to do is crawl into a hole and sleep.”  The mission really is a weird place.  You are always exhausted, and yet happy about it.  Dad, thanks for the advice about the prayer.  I have done it a few times and it really works.  Taryn, so glad to hear that you are still as smart as ever.  I loved those pictures.

Elder Stimptson's Last Day in Heidelburg
So, transfers were this weekend.  Surprise!  I am staying!  Well, no surprise there at all.  Sister Petersen and I are staying together for the next transfer, and I am super excited.  Elder Stimptson is going up to Frankfurt to be Zone Leader there, and Elder Hendersen is coming down to Heidelberg.  I have heard he is super cool, and so I am excited.  He has been working as a university Elder, so he knows how to work really well with students.  So pretty much, we are going to be doing a lot of work down here in Heidelberg.  We are super pumped for this next transfer.  Cool things will happen. 
Another Beautiful Sunset
We had Zone training this week, and it was really cool.  Everyone did role-plays for different things that missionaries do on a regular basis.  Everyone’s role-play was super spiritual, and then Sister Petersen and I went up there.  Out topic was "Teaching the third lesson and making a baptismal date." Well, we had to use real life experience to help us with that, right?  Last time we tried doing that was with Melanie.  She told us that she would come to church every week, but two weeks ago when we called to remind her, she told us that she had to go jogging at nine. And then the next week, she said that "She had to eat breakfast at 10.”  Sister Petersen and I just laughed so hard at that one, and so we put it into our skit.  The missionaries just cracked up, because it is such an awful excuse.  But the thing is, it is completely normal and real.  Some of these people just have awful excuses, but they make for good stories later.  Needless to say, we stopped working with Melanie for a while.
On Wednesday, we had one of the most spiritual lessons since I got on my mission.  One of the members in our ward is pregnant (and not married) and she has been going through a really hard time.  She just doesn’t feel loved, and said she hasn’t felt true happiness since her mission.  Sister Petersen and I had no clue how to help her.  We felt helpless because she was just crying.  I started praying and asking for help.  I don’t even remember what I said, or how I managed to say it in German, but it was exactly what she needed to hear.  It is amazing to see how the spirit is really the one teaching, and that we have to rely on Him at all times.  He knows what people need to hear and how we can help them. 
Our Valentine's Message to the World

No different on my mission.  Broke a glass
while making a smoothie.  What a mess!
That night, we had a meeting with the Spanish group.  I am pumped.  This transfer, we are going to do work with them.  Damien offered to go out tracting with Gianluca and get us referrals from all the Spanish people they talked to.  They would seriously be the dream team, and so we are so excited.  We are going to have a street display in Spanish soon, and then they can just lead everyone over to us.  It is going to be sweet. 

Kristin is making a ton of progress.  We met with her this week, and taught about the Plan of Salvation.  She loved it!  She absolutely loved the idea of the spirit world, and that people will have the chance to accept the gospel after this life if they didn’t get to hear it while being here.  She just ate it up.  Next time, we will focus on the Atonement.  I am so excited about her.  

Daniele is also making tons of progress.  She is opening up to us so much, and she came to church for all three hours on Sunday...second week in a row!  We are meeting with her tonight, and I am really exciting.  I love less actives and seeing them embrace the gospel again.

Our Weekly Street Display

We also had a lesson with Noemi, a lady from Peru.  Sister Heckmann team-taught with us and we taught her the first lesson.  She loved the idea of God having a body and being our Father.  It is crazy to me how much knowledge I have taken for granted my entire life.  It just makes sense that He would have a body, but I constantly forget that that simple concept is so new to others.

We're getting pretty good at this!

I think yesterday was probably the best sacrament meeting I have ever been to.  I know that it is a bold claim to make, but it was amazing.  Our ward has four missionaries out on missions right now.  They all sent letters to the bishopric and then the bishop had youth from our ward read them to the Gemeinde.  They were all so cool.  It was amazing to hear the success stories and the testimonies of these missionaries.  Elder Stimptson got up and bore his testimony since he is leaving this week.  Then Damien spoke about his mission in Spain, and the things that he learned there, and then Gianluca gave his homecoming talk.  The spirit was so strong as all of these missionaries / recently returned missionaries describe experiences of watching people’s lives change, and then baring their pure testimonies.  The spirit was so strong.  I just loved it.  

We also had another meeting as missionaries with Damien.  He taught us how best to work with Spanish people.  He gave us some really good advice, and then shared a little thought with us.  I loved it, so I want to share it with you.

He told us how he was sitting in a conference and his mission president read them the story of Nephi breaking his bow.  It was a story that he had read many times, but then his president focused on something that he had never noticed before.  In 1 Nephi 16:23, it says that Nephi made one bow, one arrow and brought one sling.  That was all.  He didn’t have to make many arrows, or another bow in case it broke again.  Just one.  Nephi had so much faith.  He knew that the Lord would direct him where to go, and that with only one arrow, and the Lord's help, he would be able to get enough food for his family.  Damien told us to have that faith.  Believe that if you follow the Lord, that one effort will be enough.  He will bless us.
Valentine's appointment fell
through so we heart-attacked her!

He then continued to say that there are so many hidden treasures inside of the scriptures.  I have realized that too, and I love it.  Every morning during personal study, I realized something new.  As I think about the people that we will be teaching that day, something new stands out to me that will be perfect for them to hear.  It amazes me that the things that I need to hear and that I get out of reading the scriptures are completely different from what others learn from the same section of scriptures.  It is always so cool to read a scripture and ask others what they learned or thought about it, because it is never what I am thinking.  The spirit is able to testify to them according to their needs and what they need to learn.  I love that. 

I am so grateful to be serving here in Heidelberg.  As president likes to say, "The church is true and the book is blue.”  How true that is.  I found a scripture this week that I really like.  It is in Matthew 19:26, and it says "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible".  This is His work.  All things are possible with Him on my side. 

Have a great week!


By the way....for P-Day today, we are going to go on a hike today—the same one, with our Zone.  We are going to the Nazi rally grounds.  Have a good day!   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 10, 2014

The view across the river

Can you believe it?  This week is the last week of the transfers.  I feel like I just got here in Heidelberg.  This Saturday will be transfer calls.  We will find out what will happen next in our lives.  I have a feeling Sister Petersen and I will stay together, but she has already been here for four transfers, so I really don’t know.  I could be taking over this area, and I still don't know where I am going or anything.  That is the way a mission is, though…you never really feel like you know what is going on.  But somehow, it is still great. 
It sounds like things are going pretty well back home.  Taryn, I am sorry to hear about your friend, though.  I can't imagine that happening, but I do know that I am so grateful for the plan of salvation and the comfort it brings.  That is my favorite lesson to teach people, because it really gives them hope, and a sense of purpose.  It is great to see their outlook on life completely change.  Mom, I am excited that you get to go on a mini vacation this week.  That should be fun.  I can’t wait until I can get in a hot tub again—haha. 
As for my week, it was another busy week in Heidelberg.  I felt like something clicked in my brain this week.  It is officially easier for me to talk in German than in Spanish.  I can understand pretty much every thing that the Spanish people say to me, but I just want to respond in German.  I am really starting to understand German.  Yesterday was a really weird day for me.  We were in a meeting after church.  One of the members of the area presidency was at church and met with the missionaries, the bishop, and our ward mission leader.  Damien was there for the Spanish group, and he couldn’t understand German, so I was trying to translate for him.  It was hard, but cool that I was able to go from one language to another, neither of which were my mother tongue.  Heavenly Vater has definitely blessed me.  
The university and the castle at dusk

This week was a really cool week, and wir haben so viele Wunders gesehen.  Seriously.  Miracles have been jumping out from nowhere.  On Tuesday, we met with a referral that we had been given.  Her name was Petra.  She met with us as a request of her friend.  At the beginning, she just wanted to be informed about our beliefs.  She was closed off, and didn’t want to meet again.  She just wanted a few questions answered.  However, by the end of the appointment, she had completely changed.  She was crying and telling how lost she was and how lonely she felt.  She wanted to know the truth, but just didn’t believe it was out there.  Sister Petersen and I just bore powerful testimony of how the gospel is true and how it has blessed our lives.  The spirit was so strong.  By the end, she had agreed to another meeting.  She wouldn’t make an appointment with us right there, but said we could call her.  It amazes me how powerful the Holy Ghost is.  He has the power to touch these people’s hearts.  I don’t do anything.  I am just the instrument and the mouthpiece.  He is the one changing these people. 
Something cool happened this week—Gianlucca came home from his mission.  He is a boss.  He had just got home—on his way home he called and asked us what we were doing.  We said that our appointment had just fallen through.  He asked us if we wanted to go do doors.  HE JUST GOT HOME AND HE WANTED TO GO DOORING.  And what more...HE LIKED IT.  In 45 minutes, we handed out two Books of Mormons and had a new investigator.  It was sweet. 

We also had a really great appointment with Kristin.  She is very factual, and really wants to know what the Bible has to say about the Restoration, the apostasy, and everything else, so we gave her a "homework assignment" that has references to everything.  She found it so interesting.  We ended up talking the whole time about who she believes God is.  I could see things clicking in her head while we met.  Beth gave powerful testimony that God is an actual being and our Father.  You could just tell that Kristin loved that idea.  She loved meeting with us and I can’t wait to teach her the Plan of Salvation on Thursday.

The old bridge
On Friday, we had two amazing appointments.  The first one was with Nirvana and her family.  They are less actives from Mexico, and such a sweet family.  Damien came with us, and it was a great lesson.  I can just tell that he was an amazing missionary.  There is so much I can learn from him.  He just immediately loved this family and made them feel comfortable, and the spirit was so strong.  It is a shame he can’t speak German. 

Danielle was another great appointment.  She is another less active, and she is making so much progress.  The spirit was so strong during our lesson, and then she asked us an amazing question.  "Ich will umkeren, aber wie kann ich das Sühnopfer nutzen?"  (I want to repent, but how do I use the atonement?)  What an amazing question.  Good thing the spirit was with us, because I couldn’t have answered that on my own.  On Sunday, her and her nonmember husband both came to church for all three hours.  It was so cool!
Coolest thing though.  We were at church as this woman came up to me.  We had been given a referral and we had been trying to contact her, but hadn’t been successful.  Finally I emailed her daughter, who referred her, to see what was up.  Her daughter is a new convert.  Well it turned out to be the daughter and her mom.  They both came to church and the mom, Erika, just loved it!  We are meeting with her this week and I am just so excited because this woman is prepared.  I have never seen someone so happy to be at church before. 

Another cool thing happened this week.  We were sitting on a straßenbahn and I had a Book of Mormon on my lap.  The woman across from me started talking to me.  She went off about how she just loved that book and then she asked me if she could have it and give it to her friend!  We were shocked, but said of course, and got her number.  We are going to call her up tonight.  
Sister Petersen

I have been so blessed here.  I was nervous coming to Germany because everyone said how the people were so closed off.  Sure…this isn’t South America.  I am not finding 10 people a day to teach, or having tons of baptisms, but people are prepared here.  These people need the truth just as badly, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to teach them.  If there is one thing that I have learned on my mission, it is that Heavenly Father used to be a German.  When I think about President Uchtdorf, or my bishop, or Präsident Schwartz, especially Präsident Schwartz, I think to myself that this is what Heavenly Father will be like.  These people here…they are amazing.  I am so grateful that I can serve here and work with these people.  There really is a great work to do here in Germany. 

I hope you all have a good week.  If there is one thing I have learned this week is that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life in so many ways.  As I’ve studied this week, I have been thinking of examples of Christ’s blessing that I can share in my weekly teaching.  The important points that I teach in my lessons have really helped me personally.  I have shared so many personal examples this week, and it has confirmed my own testimony even more that this is the true church.  This is Christ's gospel.
Ich liebe euch! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 3, 2014

Hallo familie!  I got the package already that you sent off…that was fast!  The peanut butter cookies are already made and almost gone—haha.  Looks like I lucked out this winter.  Our German winter is not even bad this year.  I think I have seen snow maybe twice and it has never stuck.  I was worried for nothing!  My coat is so heavy that most days I am just sweating instead of freezing.  Also, I can't believe the Denver Broncos were destroyed.  Seriously, how is that even possible?

Auf jedenfall, can I just tell you that I had another amazing week.  Seriously.  Sister Petersen and I were planning for today and we had no appointments for tonight.  We were thinking we might just have to do a few visits to touch base with previous investigators and less actives.  Right after that, we realized that we have only had time to do two visits in the past five weeks.  We have been so busy that we don’t even have to fill time!  We did so many tracting vistits in Nürnberg that I lost count.  Missionary work here is just hopping.  The best part is that right after we finished planning, a member called us and invited us for dinner.  It looks like we will be busy again!  Ah, so great!

The beginning of the hike...

So let me start by telling you about the coolest hike we went on last week.  Sister Petersen and I went to hike Philosophenweg.  It didn’t take that long and so we decided to go to the very top of the mountain.  It took a while but it was so worth it.  There was a watchtower that was built around 1000 at the very top.  There were also some walls from 400 b.c.  and a well that was about a thousand years old.  We were able to go to the top of the tower and see the entire city of Heidelberg.  It was so cool.  We are taking the Zone there next week so it will be sweet.  Taryn, I really want to take you on it, so find a way to come and pick me up.  You would love it! 

Another picture of Heidelburg...even the
heavens shine upon Heidelburg!

Continuing on the hike...

Wednesday, we had a FHV activität, which is the relief society.  It was a “Get to Know You” activity, and the whole night just really messed with my brain.  People went around, introduced themselves, and told funny stories.  There were people talking in German, Spanish and English.  They started talking to me and after a while, I had no clue what language to speak in—especially when they started asking me to translate for each other.  Oh man, I am not that good.  That reminds me, the family that handed out the Book of Mormon last week—he came up to me on Sunday and told me that his friend had been reading in the  Book of Mormon and wants to meet with the missionaries.  Sadly, he is not in our area, but it was just cool to see.  He came to church and we were able to meet him. 

A view of Heidelburg part way up the hill...
Thursday was probably one of the coolest days.  We had DDM that morning, and it was really good.  Elder McGinn gave a great lesson.  He gave us all play dough and told us to make something like a fruit, and all of us made something different.  He said how we all have the same task and same goal, but we all have different talents and outlooks of how we can make and accomplish that goal.  We just need to continue molding and working with those talents in order to keep them fresh.

After that, we met with Kristin at the Taylors.  She is so golden.  She really wanted to know why the Restoration is so necessary, and how it can help her.  We talked a lot about the apostasy and how so many things were lost from the original church of Christ—like the authority, the organization, and key information.  Beth Taylor bore a strong testimony of how our Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today and forever, and how it just makes sense that He would send us a prophet again.  The spirit was really strong. 
Do you remember that girl that I told you about…the one that just walked in to sacrament meeting?  Holy moly, sie ist so bereit.  Seriously, she is so ready.  We had probably the best first lesson I have ever had with her, and one of the JAEs, (Young Single Adults) came and taught with us.  It was just perfect.  Jociena was baptized about three years ago, and she bore powerful testimony of everything.  It was amazing.  Johanna said that if she finds out it is true, she will be baptized.  I can see it happening, definitely, and I so badly want it to, for her sake.  She is really searching for the truth.  She can noticed the difference in her friend, and I can tell that she wants that happiness for herself.  More than that, she needs it.  She needs a place to belong and a place to call her own.  This church can do just that.  We just need to teach her in a way to invite the Spirit and feel Christ's love. 
The church and tower at the top...

Saturday was also great.  I went on a split with Sister Muncy here in Heidelberg.  The Elders and we did a Straßeausstellung.  We went to Hauptstaße, the main street, and drew the Plan of Salvation.  It was only an hour and a half, but we ended up handing out 8 Books of Mormons.  Best part was, I was able to talk to two guys from Mexico and teach them the Plan of Salvation.  Heavenly Father works in amazing ways.  Also, cool fact.  In the last week, our district has handed out 21 Books of Mormons...that is unheard of for our area. 

After the Ausstellung, Sister Muncy and I went to the church to meet a "less active named Cathy".  But really, Carmen and I just planned to surprise Sister Muncy.  She used to serve here, and while she was here, she baptized Carmen.  When she saw Carmen, she just screamed and the two of them just started crying.  It was amazing.  It made me really want to help more people come unto Christ and be baptized so that we could have that joy also. 
Our Street Display....

The longest German word I've ever seen!
There were so many cool things that happened this week, but I will never have time to describe all of the daily miracles that I see happen.  I just know that Christ's hand is in it all.  I love being able to teach these people the gospel of Jesus Christ and to feel His spirit bare witness of the truth to me and to the people that we teach.  This truly is an inspired and amazing work, and I am so blessed to be part of it.  Troy, I have really been studying the characters of Christ too.  It is my goal to finish the gospels before Easter and really study His life.  This week, I just finished Matthew.  One thing that I have really come to learn is that Christ always took the time for the one.  He spent his time with the poor and lonely of heart, because those were the ones that truly needed Him.  He always looked for ways to help those in need, and never passed an opportunity to serve someone else.  That is the key.  Serve others.  Love them.  Help them.  When they feel your love, they will also be able to feel Christ's love.  So many people out there just need to be loved.  They need to feel like there is someone out there that cares about what they need, how they feel, and really need to know that they matter.  It is our responsibility to be the ones to help these people…to do as Christ would and help them know that they really do matter.  We all do, because we are all God’s children, and He loves us all.  No matter what. 

An amazing breakfast feast...yum!

Also, one funny story before I go.  Well it was funny to me, but probably because my sense of humor is so messed up now.  Sister Petersen and I were just dead and joking about doing study in bed.  Well she opened up her bible and read Acts 20:9 and just starting dying laughing.  Just go read it and maybe you will find it funny too. 

Ich liebe euch,
Sister Teeples



Saturday, February 1, 2014

January 27, 2014

Five minutes from my apartment...
Mensch, it sounds like things are going great back home.  First off, I cannot tell you how excited it makes me that Matt started his mission papers and is already almost done?  Yay Matt?  This is a decision he will never regret.  I cannot wait to hear where he is going…and the twins, too!  That is so great.  Sounds like good things are happening with the Jensens.  Troy, I am now fluent in Chinese, Italian, French, Polish, and Hebrew, in addition to Spanish, German and English.  Isn't that cool?  And Taryn, sorry I didn’t send a shoutout to you last week.  You should send me a picture of your outfit, and then I will judge to see if I really am proud to be your sister...

This is where I!
Auf jedenfall, can I just say how much I love Heidelberg?  Really, though.  I thought I was having a good time in Nürnberg, doing missionary work, but this place…this is what a mission should be like.  We are so busy that we are have not even had time to go finding, or do a million less active visits.  We have so much to do, and so much we want to do, that we never have time to do it all.  It is so amazing.  I really do feel like I am in heaven here.  If I could stay here for the rest of my mission, I would probably be completely fine with that.  That being said, let me try to describe why I love it here so much.  So this week, we worked a lot with the Spanish people.  We went around and visited about three or four of the families in the ward.  Can I just tell you how much I love them all?  They are great people, and they love to talk.  Probably my favorite two visits were with the Villalobos and the Parros.  The Villalobos have four kids.  He is from Spain, and she is from Ecuador.  Their kids are so cute, especially the little two year old girl.  Every time you try to talk to her, she just starts giggling, laughing, and runs away. 

The Parros are an awesome family, super ready to do missionary work.  He talks to everyone that speaks Spanish and Italian, and she has a couple Spanish friends she has been sharing the gospel with.  This week, I translated the ward mission plan from German to Spanish.  The bishop wants every family to have their own family mission plan, and so we have been setting those up with a ton of families (and seeing a ton of cool miracles from it).  He wanted the Spanish families to know about it, too.  It talks about giving out referrals, handing out 150 Books of Mormon this year, inviting friends to church and more.  Bishop also wants every member over the age of 12 to read the whole Preach My Gospel by the end of the year.  Well, as Hermano Parro was reading it, he got to the Book of Mormon point, looked up at us and asked us for a book.  He also got up, took Preach My Gospel from the shelf, put it on their table, and said they would start reading it that night.  Yesterday at church, he told me that he gave the Book of Mormon to a man that he works with....  he gave it out within 2 days!  These Spanish people are so ready to do missionary work, and I think that we are going to see many cool miracles.  We also found out that they all really want to learn German, and so starting next Tuesday, we are going to be teaching a German class to all of the Spanish people and any friends they want to bring.  It is going to be a big test of my knowledge...haha.  

We also set up a Facebook page for the "Heidelberger Missionare" this week with one of the Young Women.  It’s going to be sweet.  We have been going to member houses and asking them to post a Mormon message, or add friends, and we have also looked up a lot of less actives, potentials and investigators.  It’s great.  We are going to have the Young Single Adult’s post about Institute and invite their friends.  We found a potential this week by having her add us on Facebook, and she said she will come to Institute on Thursday now.  It’s pretty cool.
This place was established in
98 a.d.--amazing!
Institute was great this week.  I talked a lot with Damien there.  His family moved here from Argentina while he was serving a mission in Spain.  He has been off his mission for about six months.  He is having a hard time learning German and it’s hard for him because he wants to share about his mission and tell stories about it, but he can’t.  He is our Assistant Ward Mission Leader.  We set up an appointment to meet with all of the Spanish families in two weeks and talk about what we can do together.  There was also a girl there from Mexico, who is a less active, and we found out that her dad is not a member.  She wants us to go over this week and so we are excited about the possibilities.

We also were able to meet with Kristin for the first time this week.  She is the girl taking the class about Mormons, and she had so many questions.  We taught her at the Taylor’s house, because he is the Assistant Teacher for the class.  She wants to learn why the Restoration was so necessary and about the Plan of Salvation, so we are excited.  We are teaching her again on Thursday. 
Another cool thing happened at church on Sunday.  One of the bishopric came up to us and told us that there was a girl in sacrament that we should go talk to.  Apparently, her friend was studying at BYU and she had gone to church with her one time while she was still in Germany and liked it.  She liked it so much that she looked up the address here and decided to come again.  She wants to learn more, and so we are meeting with her Thursday before Institute. 

Seriously, I do not know why or how we are being so blessed, but interested people are literally coming to us.  I feel like members are introducing their friends to us and people are walking up to us wanting to learn more.  The best part is, these people are NORMAL.  I feel like it is the missionary curse that the only people (most of the time) that you talk to on the street or unterwegs, and actually talk back to you, are the unusual people.  But all these people are normal.  The bishop and ward are so excited that I feel like it is just a domino effect and they are willing to help out even more.  This week is going to be great.  We have so many appointments that we are having a hard time scheduling them all.  That is a problem I will gerne take. 
I love Heidelberg.  I feel like while I am in this area, it truly makes me understand why I am in Germany.  I would live in this town forever.  The ward, the people, the city, everything, is just so amazing

Sister Pederson put on my Snuggie and
wouldn't give it back.  My Snuggie is amazing!
One of the Elders in my district said something that really stuck with me this week.  He said, "Attitude is everything.  So pick a good one."  I testify that that is true.  It is amazing how much being happy can change everything.  You have the opportunity to pick whatever mood you want. 

Pick a good one.
I love you all!  I hope that you have a great week, and that you enjoy yourself in whatever you do.  I know I will.  Also Taryn, I have no clue how to say sunflower oder Willowtree.  For some weird reason, those are words I haven’t thought to study during language study.  I should probably change my focus....
My 6 month mark...crazy!


Sister Teeples 

January 24th was my SIXTH MONTH MARK.  I have been out six months now!  It is absolutely crazy to think that.  We are celebrating by going and getting döners.