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!   

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