Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hallo Familie!  

I cannot believe that it is already Monday again.  Where did this last week go?  Troy, it freaks me out when you say that I am half way done.  I still feel like I just got here, and still don't know anything.  I've got to step up my game—haha.  The fact that you are all thinking about coming out here is awesome.  I would also love have you meet all of the incredible people that I have met and to see where I have spent my life.  Pictures just do not do these things justice.  I could never come close to trying to explain everything to you when I get home.  I am sure Troy understands exactly what I mean.  Präsident Schwartz would be just fine with it—a lot of missionaries go into drits for the last few weeks of their mission.  We get a new mission president in June, and so who knows what he is like.  He can't be better than Präs though.   

Have I already said that I can't believe that it is already Monday?  This week is going to FLY BYE, too.  We have Zone Conference this Thursday in Frankfurt, which means we have one less day to go out and do missionary work.  I will be on a split in Darmstadt on Wednesday.  We are so packed this week, and we can’t fit in everything that we want too, but it is going to be GREAT.  I feel guilty writing emails right now because I feel like I should be out proselyting—haha.  But I guess I can tell you what I have been up too. 

Last Monday, after Sister Petersen and I spent P-Day walking around the castle. (Yeah, we took a 15 minute stroll up to the castle, and walked around the gardens.  Just another day in Heidelberg.)  We went over to Gianluca's place and met with his family.  It was great.  His girlfriend was down visiting him and asked if she could go out with us the next night.  We had nothing planned, so she said we could go out oh man it was so great. 
So Mimi went out with us on Tuesday, and we went up to Boxberg to go see a less active family that Bishop wanted us to visit.  Surprise!  They weren’t home, so we ended up doing doors, and like always no one let us in.  We stopped and prayed and told Heavenly Father that we weren’t going home until we found someone that was prepared.  It was getting late and we had to be home at 9, but we didn't want to leave.  We finally got into this apartment building, and a man answered his door.  I had prepared a Book of Mormon on miracles and we started talking to him about miracles.  He told us how one time he was driving and fell asleep and somehow he woke up, and was still driving on the road, completely safe.  He said it was only through the hand of God that that was possible.  Dad, it reminded me of the time that you fell asleep on your car trip with Troy in the back, and you said that you woke up to feeling a hand guide your wheel back onto the road.  I shared that with him, and he let us in.  We ended up being there for an hour and didn't get home until 10:30. 
Our night with Mimi
This man was GOLDEN.  He has a 13-year-old son, Justin, and a wife.  The son was there, and so we talked with them for about an hour.  We read from the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 11, and we were all reading 2 verses and then when it got to Dietmar's turn (the dad), he ended up reading about 10 verses and then stopped and looked at us and just said, "This happened!  This really happened.  Christ died for us and did all of the miracles.  This is true!"  He went on to say that if he knew something was true, he would do just about anything.  He said he has always wondered why there are so many churches.  We are going back tomorrow and praying that his wife will be just as open, but we are just so excited.  There really are prepared people out there!  We just need to find them, and when we show God that we really are serious about it, he will lead us there.  There are so many Dietmars and Justins just sitting there, waiting for us to find them.   
The Taylor Family with Kristin
Naomi and Kristin are also both progressing.  They always read what we give to them, and have amazing questions about them.  The sad part is that Naomi is going to Peru for a month and a half, and Kristin is going to the Jordan desert for 2 weeks on a spiritual excursion, so we can’t meet with them.  We told Kristin to bring the Book of Mormon with her and read from the beginning about Lehi and his family traveling through the desert, because that is exactly what she will be doing over by Jerusalem!  After this, she will be able to relate better to them than any of us can. 

Danielle came to church again with her husband!  It was so great to see them there.  She seriously a different person now—so much more confident and happy.

Sister Hull
Sister Petersen and I have also done a lot with family history this week, and I have found out some cool things.  We were showing it to a less active family (which got them so excited, and they are coming to the church this week to check out the family history center) and I saw something really cool.  Everyone always asks me where the name Teeples comes from.  Well I traced the Teeples line back as far as it goes, and guess where he lived...  HEIDELBERG, GERMANY.  How crazy is that?!  I have work to do here, family! 

 Besides that, Sister Petersen and I have just been trying like crazy to find people to teach.  We set a goal to give out 7 Books of Mormon, all personalized with our testimonies in them, and we did it!  We didn’t even have our street display.  It was amazing how much of a difference it made.  These people were really grateful and interested.  They were more excited to get these books and to read from them, than any other time I have handed out a Book of Mormon.  Best part, they knew exactly how to start reading.  That is how we found Dietmar and Justin!  We wanted to do one on miracles, and that is exactly what it took to get them to open up. 

The work really is hastening.  Sister Petersen and I are hoping we stay together one more transfer, because we are getting on fire.  We know what to focus on, and what works for us.  I think that is the key.  Every companionship has something that they are good at and that they can do well, and we are figuring it out.  Time is going by too quickly.  At the end of this month are transfer calls again, and we are not ready.  But until then, we are going to hit the road and go find some more people that are ready to hear the gospel. 

Thank you for praying for all of the people that I am working with.  I love seeing a difference in their lives and seeing the Holy Ghost work in them.  I am hoping that Dietmar’s family is one of those prepared families, just waiting to be baptized.  We have our mission Baptism Day on April 19th, and Sister Petersen and I are praying every day to have someone ready for that day.  I know that if we work hard, it can happen. 

I love you all!  Thanks for the emails and the support.  I am so lucky to have you all as my family (and my friends).  I hope that everything goes well back home! 

Much Love,


Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 10, 2014

Everyone dressed up and had a huge parade and
everything. Here were the Quellengeisters.
They were hilarious!
First off, MISSION CALLS.  AHHH!  I got an email from Ethan this week, and it was the first one that I opened because I was just so excited about it.  Sorry Mom, even though you beat dad, it was still better to hear from the source.  I can't believe that they are going to Peru and Ecuador!  Holy cow…that is so cool.  I wanted to go to Peru so badly…and Ecuador, man.  I have met a ton of people from both countries, and I have to say, they are some of my favorite people that I have met here in Heidelberg.  I can’t wait to hear where Matt is going!  Man, I am excited for next week’s emails now. 
Also Mom, I just talked to Sister Hull last night...  I LOVE Sister Hull.  Remember Sister McMurry, my MTC comp?  She was trained by Sister Hull.  And Sister Lyons, my other MTC friend?  She is in a trio with Sister Hull right now.  And she is also my Sister Trainer Leader.  So what I am trying to say, is yes, I know Sister Hull.  I will actually see her tomorrow at Zone Training. 

Their group on the trainplatform...waiting
to board for the Fasching's Parade
This week was another awesome week.  Sister Petersen and I both woke up one day this week feeling like Goldens again.  We are both just wanting to see some big miracles, and by that I mean baptisms.  We made a big poster and it is hanging on our wall right now.  It says, "How can we get as many baptisms as possible.  We have been praying to know how, and have starting doing a couple new things to see; we have already seen some cool things.  There is a family in our ward with four kids that are old enough to be baptized, but haven’t because their dad won’t allow them.  Well on Sunday, after praying for that, the wife of a non-member came up and invited us over for lunch on Friday.  We are excited.  I know that baptisms aren’t everything, but every DDM when we quote our purpose as missionaries, it is to invite others zu Christus zu kommen, indem wir ihnen helfen.  We are inviting them to come to Christ, and helping them to take upon them the ordinances, which include baptism.  I am here to help others with their eternal salvation, and so that is the goal that we are working for.  Sister Petersen and I feel like everyone engraved it in our minds that Germany was a hard mission and that we probably wouldn’t get a lot of baptisms.  We are here to call Quatsch on that, and see some miracles.   
Cathy is doing a lot better.  Sie will ein neue Wohnung finden, und sie found one that she is really excited about.  She is praying that she gets it and we have been praying too.  If she gets it, she can finally move out of the shelter and come to church again, which means that her daughter could come and be baptized.  We are all praying for that miracle.  We are planning a "Kindertauftag”—haha. 

This week, we went on a split with Sister Schiffmann and her daughter Anna.  They are both new converts and it was awesome.  I went out with Anna, because she knows some Spanish also.  We taught our Spanish investigator, Noemi, and then visited another Spanish family in the ward whose son was just baptized.  It was great and Anna loved it.  She told another Young Woman about it in the ward, and now Thelea and Anna want to do another split with us.  Sister Schiffmann also wants to go out with us again, and so do a few other people in the ward.  We are so excited, because that means we can do double the appointments.  We have packed our schedule jam tight, and it is great.  This week is going to be cool. 
I have never seen Bismarkplatz so packed
before...the day of the parade.

Danielle is officially considered reactivated!  Sister Petersen went to see her this week with Sister Shiffmann and the Relief Society President, and then Danielle came to church with her nonmember husband and took the sacrament for the first time!  Mensch, that was just so great.  She has made so much progress and I am so excited for her.

Kristin is also making progress!  We talked about baptism the entire time last meeting.  Beth and Bryce sang another song for us, and then we started teaching the lesson, and the spirit was so strong.  We asked her thoughts on baptism, and she told us that when she went to Loveland to study abroad, it was the first time she heard about adult baptisms.  She loves that concept.  She said she wishes she could be baptized again and choose for herself...  GOLDEN answer.  So of course we asked her.  She said she doesn’t know it is true yet, but when she does, she wants to get baptized.  We are excited.

Gianluca and Jocina helped us out this week.
We even managed to get a huge poster of Christ.
The street display was a success again.  Gianluca came with us and talked to one person for probably 30 minutes.  He found out they live next to each other, and invited him to church.  He picked him up and this guy stayed all three hours and probably an hour after just talking to people.  It was really cool.

I learned something important this week.  So one of Sister Petersen’s and my new wishes is to hand out more Books of Mormon to people that are really ready.  We prayed about what we should do and came up with a cool idea.  During study, we have been picking a topic that we want to learn more about, like faith, life after death, miracles, hope, etc., and finding scriptures that go with it in the Book of Mormon.  We have then been preparing Books of Mormon that go with those subjects to hand out to people, and have written our testimonies in the front with an experience of how we gained a testimony in that specific subject.  Then, before we leave the apartment, we pray that we will be able to talk to someone that needs to hear about this specific message that day. 

On Thursday, during language study, I felt like I should prepare a Book of Mormon in Spanish.  I found scriptures about prayer and wrote my testimony in it.  That day, we got on a bus and I heard some people speaking Spanish.  I awkwardly got out of my seat and started talking to them.  I immediately was shut down and they said that they didn’t believe in God.  I was confused, because I really felt like I should talk to them.  We got onto our next bus, and I heard some more Spanish, so I started talking to the little girl, and then to the mom.  The more we talked, I learned that her Aunt was Mormon and that she had a Book of Mormon, but that it was in German.  So of course, I gave her mine in Spanish and then we ended up getting her number.  It was a testimony builder that sometimes Heavenly Father prompts us to do something simply to see if we will be obedient.  Once he sees that we will follow what he asks, he will lead us to the people that really need us.  He has to trust us first.

I have studied and learned so much about miracles in these past two weeks, and I love the concept.  Yesterday, I read a talk from Holland called "The Ministry of Angels" and I LOVED it.  Moroni 7:35-37 have become some of my new favorite scriptures.  I thoroughly believe that when we ask in faith, God will send down the powers of heaven and show us miracles.  We just have to have faith and work for them. 

I love my mission, and I wish I could tell you even more about what has been happening, because this week has just been packed with cool things…but I want to have time to email Matt and Ethan back…and my other friends that finally wrote me!  I love you all so much and I hope that you all have a great week!  I pray for you all every day! 

LOVE YOU ALL.  (Mom and Dad, I think it would be REALLY cool if you found a way to come out this winter.  You would be in heaven here.)

Sister Savannah Teeples

P.S.  Mom, you would be proud of me.  Last night, I shaved my legs for the first time in 3 transfers...that’s about 4 months—haha.  Down side?  I cut myself really badly, so I have a big bandage on my leg. 

P.S.S.  If you haven’t sent out my Easter basket yet, I would LOVE a new skirt or two that is stretchy and brightly colored.  I am getting sick of all my dark skirts, but I can’t find any here. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 3, 2014

Beautiful Germany...
Thanks for all of the letters this week, Familie!  I love hearing from you all, and I look forward to hearing about what is going on back home.  I also love the little add-ins about Sparky.  I can't wait to see that little mop again.  I can't believe that it is already März.  I am over here having a little freak out because tomorrow is the 4 of März and that means that I have been in Deutschland for 6 months.  6 MONTHS.  I remember thinking before my mission that after being in Germany for 6 months, I would be fluent.  Haha—funny joke huh?  Some days, I feel pretty good, but most of the time, I still just barely slide by.  I realized that coming into the mission, I really had no clue what to expect.  I know, though, that the Lord is helping me, and everything that I need to say or do, I am able to.  That is a blessing.  Just having a little midlife crisis though—haha.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow I will wake up and be completely fluent! 

This was probably the weirdest week on the mission for me.  Sister Petersen and I called so many people, and tried to schedule so many appointments, but for some reason nothing was working out.  Well, like always, Heavenly Father has a better plan that we do, and we saw exactly why we couldn’t get any appointments scheduled. 

Tuesday was probably the weirdest day.  I don't know how much I can say, but that morning, we got a really weird text from a less active that we have been working with.  We ended up dropping everything and spending the day with her.  The senior couple came up with us, and we all just spent a while talking.  The whole way up, I was praying for help.  Dad, it is exactly like what you were saying in your email—I had no clue what to say or do on the way up, but as we got there, everything just flowed perfectly.  By the end, she was a lot calmer and happier.  It is always amazing to see how the presence of the Holy Ghost can change someone.  I think one of my favorite things about the mission is the appointments when I can noticeably see a change from the beginning of the appointment to the end. 

The next day was probably one of the most exciting days for me.  We have been working a lot with Danielle.  She has been making a ton of progress in coming back to church.  We were with her on Wednesday, and she said that she wanted to meet with the bishop.  While we were with there, she called him up and made an appointment for that night.  She was nervous to go, so we took the bus down with her and waited while she met with him.  I wish I had a picture to show of when she walked out.  She looked so happy and comforted.  She said she was so glad she went, and that the bishop gave her a blessing and it was exactly what she needed to hear.  I was so happy for her. 
The next day, we met with Kristin.  I just love her.  She is making so much progress and I am super excited for her.  We asked her to read Alma 32 about faith, and then the one question that she had from the chapter was the one verse where it talks about baptism.  We ended up talking a ton about what baptism means and signifies and gave her 2 Nephi 31 to read.  She was really excited about.  She is so prepared, and I love meeting with her.  Troy, it’s funny that you mentioned opening with hymns, because for that lesson, Beth and Bryce, the members that we teach her with, started out the lesson by singing a hymn with the guitar.  It was amazing.  The spirit was instantly there and stayed the whole time. 

Let the March Madness begin...
The week, district meeting was way kühl.  Elder Boyd gave an awesome lesson to introduce something we are doing this month.  He showed a Mormon message, "Flecks of Gold" and talked about how we as missionaries are always looking for those big miracles that sometimes we overlook the small flecks that add up to these big things of gold.  He challenged us to be more as the prospector and collect the small flecks.  Well, this week, our Zone started our own version of "March Madness" where we have a focus week every week, to reflect on all of our goals that Präsident has given us and also to think about all of the miracles we have witnessed and share.  Our district decided to name our team "The Prospectors" because we are cheesy like that, and every night, we had to call up our "Prospector Buddies" and tell them about the small flecks of gold that we saw that day.  It has been cool, because I find myself looking for and appreciating all of the small wunders that happen throughout the day.  It is cool to hear about their success too. 

Probably the coolest wunder that we saw this week was when we decided to do a visit to a past investigator that Sister Petersen had worked with.  We ended up meeting her entire family and sharing a thought with her daughter.  Her Tochter told us how her mom's mom had just passed away last week, and that this might not be a good time.  She then changed her mind and told us, "Actually, that might be exactly why you are here.”  It was so cool.  We ended up going back on Saturday and teaching Frau Schill the Plan of Salvation.  It was amazing.  At the end of the lesson, she told us “Thank you.  I know now that my mom is in a good place."  It was so great. 

Probably the funniest thing that happened this week was our street display.  This week in Germany was something called Fasching, which is this crazy carnival where people dress up and get drunk and everything.  We had to be in early every night since Thursday.  Needless to say, there were a ton of tourists—especially from Japan.  They were EVERYWHERE.  Sister Petersen can say about three Japanese words and so she kept saying them to all of the tourists, and they were so excited.  I think we are in about 300 Japanese tourist pictures now, rocking the nice peace signs.  Sister Petersen pulled out a Japanese Book of Mormon, and one of the girls was so excited.  She was just like OOOHHH WOOOAAH.  Oh man, it was so priceless. 

I am really excited about is a fiesta that we are planning with the Spanish group.  At the end of this month, we are going to do a "Fiesta de los Paises" which is a party of the countries.  Every other month, we will do one on a country that a member is from.  Well, most are from Spain, so that is our first focus.  Sister Petersen and I are in charge of ideas, so we have been meeting with all of the families from Spain and getting ideas for activities.  Can I just say, that this is going to be the best Spanish party anyone will ever go to in Germany.  We are going to advertise it like crazy and hopefully it will be awesome.  We are really excited.

Well I hope that you all have a WUNDERBAR week.  Go find your own flecks of gold, and then share them with me!  (Go watch the video too.  It’s a good one—haha).  I am really excited for March.  It will really be a month of miracles!  Sister Petersen and I have high hopes, and we are excited to see what will happen.  I wish I could remember what verses they were, but I found some cool scriptures in John about harvesting and reaping, and that is exactly what we plan to do.  I can’t wait to go and find some gold. 

I love you all.  I can't wait to hear from all of you next week.  And I am hoping that tomorrow I become fluent, and that I forget English and won’t understand your letters at all.  That would be cool.  Pray for that for me—haha.

Love, Savannah

Oh, I forgot something else.  My ward is just so cool.  My bishop wants us to really gain the wards trust and so he is setting up something where the missionaries will meet with a member daily.  It'll be just like in the US, where the missionaries have a dinner appointment nightly with members.  That is just a fairy tale here in Germany, so we are so excited darüber.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 24, 2014

Here's some classy graffiti in the tunnel near my
neighborhood.  I crack up every time I see this.
This week's straßeausstellung...Damien on the left
Hi everyone.  How's it going?  I'm writing my email at the end of my P-Day today, and I am just exhausted.  We had another awesome P-Day.  Last Monday, we did that hike that we did before with a ton of missionaries.  It was so fun.  Then today, we went up to Neckersteinach, where there are four bergs right next to each other.  We went and explored all of them, and it was way fun.  We went with a couple from our ward and the elders.  I can’t believe how I can travel 20 minutes and just see these amazing sites.  I am going to miss it when I get home.

Sounds like things are going well back home.  Dad, Matt forgot to email me, so hopefully he will next week.  I want to hear where he's at with everything.  Also, whenever you tell me about all the snow back in the states, it is just foreign to me.  It has been the mildest winter ever here.  Today, it felt like summer.  We were so hot that we had to take our coats off.  It’s great. 

I thought that this was a classy ad...
Besides that, it was another good week here in the Promised Land of Heidelberg.  We've been making a lot of progress with all of the less actives and investigators that we have been working with.  We showed the film "Finding Faith in Christ" with Danielle and she just loved it.  She asked to keep it so that she could watch it with her husband.  It’s starting to scare me.  There are about 5 DVDs that we show people, and I am starting to get them memorized.  We show Glauben an Christus Finden the most though, and I can seriously quote the whole thing.  I find myself knowing exactly what they will say next.  "Ich sage dir, steh auf." What a touching scene.  The Restoration is also a good one.  "Ich kann das alein tragen!" Its really freaky, because as missionaries we just find quoting these things hilarious.  My sense of humor is going to be so bad when I get home. 

Tuesday night, we probably had my favorite appointment that I have had since I have been on my mission.  It was with the Familie Rodriguez, which is Damien’s family.  Oh man, it was a hoot.  They are so hilarious.  He was going off telling stories about his mission and all of the things that the American greenies would say.  Their culture is so great.  I was rolling I was laughing so hard.  It makes me so grateful that I can understand what they are saying, because I just love them so much.  We had a really spiritual lesson afterwards (I had to add that part so it seems like I did missionary work).  But really, it was just great.
From the top

Thursday was another great day.  We met with Erika for the first time, and it was probably the best first lesson I have had since I have been auf mission.  She is so prepared.  Sister Petersen and I felt like we should focus on the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how it has helped us in our lives.  Then her daughter, who is a new convert, bore strong testimony of it and how she feels it so strongly when she reads im Buch Mormon.  The Spirit was so strong, and Erika could feel it.  We asked her if this feeling that she had right now was something she always wanted to feel.  She said yes.  We promised her that she could through baptism.  She said that she would have to think about it, but I think that she will.  I can't wait to meet with her again.  

Friday was crazy.  We had three eating appointments that day.  I swear that is the curse of the mission.  You have none the entire week, and then they all end up being on the same day.  We were so full.  But we had a nice mix that day.  We had an English, Spanish, and German lesson that day.  We met at the Taylors that afternoon, and taught Kristin again.  She had some questions about what she had read im Buch Mormon, so we ended up talking about that the entire time.  She said that she prays every time before she reads the Book of Mormon, but that she still hasn’t felt the truth.  She feels good, but doesn’t know if that is an answer or not.  We talked a lot about how we can receive an answer and how it may not be some big feeling, but that it may come slowly.  She said she will continue to pray.  I think that she will be one that takes a little time, but eventually, it will come.  We also had a really good meeting with the Conchas that night, a family from Peru.  We talked a lot about member missionary work, and they are going to make a family mission plan for how to do their part in the ward mission plan.  It was great.  That night, we met with Helen, our investigator and Carmen and Bruder Girnus.  We had a good lesson on faith.  I love visiting that family.  They are so nice and Carmen is hilarious. 
Besides that, I am really excited about the new elder that came in, Elder Hendersen.  It seems that he has a lot of good ideas and we are going to work well together.  We are going to start advertising more at the university and for our Spanish activities.  On Saturday, we had another Straßeausstellung, and it was great.  Damien came and helped us out, and we ended up writing the Plan of Salvation in German and Spanish.  He loved it.  He was able to speak to three people in Spanish and in an hour, handed out two Books of Mormon to two of the Spanish girls.  During our appointment with them on Tuesday, he was raving about Reese’s that he had gotten from one of his companions on his mission, and so I brought him some.  Man, you should’ve seen the look on his face.  He was so excited.  It was priceless.  
Another beautiful sunset...

I learned so many cool things during study this week, but I wanted to share one with you today.  Since I have worked with so many Catholic people since I have come to Germany (Everyone is either Katholic oder Evangelisch), I have really wanted to figure out what the Book of Mormon has that the Bible doesn’t.  This week, I decided to compare the Sermon on the Mount to the one in 3 Nephi to see what was different, and it was really cool.  The one that I found the most interesting was in 3 Nephi 12:6.  It is talking about those that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.  The Book of Mormon adds "with the Holy Ghost.”  I really liked that, because we believe that we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It reminded me of our lesson with Erika, and just made me grateful for all of the times that I have felt the spirit and how it has helped me in my life.  I really liked this activity, because it made me dankbar für all of the small and simple words, here or there, that were lost and how big of a difference they make when they are put in.  I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon.  
This work is great.  I just love it.  I am excited for this transfer.  I cannot believe that today marks my SEVENTH MONTH mark on the mission.  How crazy is that?  Seven months ago, I was being dropped off at the MTC.  It doesn’t feel that long.  I feel like I still just got here, and now I am almost hitting my half way mark (especially if I go home a transfer early).  I need to make the most of it every day!  
At the top of the fort...

Have a great week everyone.  Mom and Dad, I challenge you both to try to hand out a Book of Mormon by the end of March.  My ward has handed out 150 in the past 6 months, and our bishop just asked us to order 200 more so that he can set them back out in the foyer.  It really does make a difference, and you will be giving someone the best gift that he/she would ever receive.  
Oh and Mom, I'll keep thinking about my Easter basket, but no scarves or tights.  It is seriously like summer here.  As of now, I am just thinking about deodorant.  Real American deodorant.  I will need more by then.

Ich liebe euch!


Love this!

Another picture of the amphitheater...
This is one of the Nazi rally amphitheaters....
it's huge!
Most of my district...

Saying goodbye to Elder Stimpson