Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 19, 2014

Just another day in Heidelberg.  
Hallo Familie!  Thanks for all of the letters from this week.  Troy, there is a guy in my ward now that studied with you.  He says that you are smart and that you shouldn’t be worried about the MCAT at all.  So I think you will do just fine.  Taryn, life sounds as fun as ever.  I am jealous that you are going home this weekend.  That should be fun.  Say hi to everyone for me!  Also Sparky, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. 

As for my week…I ended up being a really good week!  On Tuesday, we went to see Cathy and Michelle and starting teaching Michelle the lessons for baptism.  I am loving it because she is just a typical ten-year-old kid.  Her question make me laugh, and it is really testing my ability to teach very, very, simply.  It is really great though.  We watched the Restoration DVD, and asked her if she believed that it was possible.  She said no, and we all just froze, until we realized that she thought that it was just fiction like every other movie.  We explained that it was just a reinaction (I think I just made up that word...) of Joseph Smith’s life.  After that, she said "Ohhh, I get it.  Ja, then of course I believe it.”  Dodged that bullet..  haha. 

Lost my keys for a day, and then
found them stuck to the bottom of
my makeup bag...they got stuck
to a magnet inside.  How does that
even happen?
We also had a really great appointment with the older couple, the Erbs.  Sister Keil came and joint taught with us, and she did an amazing job.  We taught the Restoration, and they asked a lot of really good questions, and the spirit was definitely strong.  Sister Keil shared her conversion story and how she came to know of the truth, and you could tell that they felt the spirit.  We are meeting again with them this week with Sister Keil, and so I am excited about that! 

Thursday was a really busy day.  We met with a few of our ward missionaries, and set up plans with them as to how they can help us and how we can get things started for the month of Invitation in June.  I am really grateful for them.  They all seem to be willing to help, and excited to do what they can to help us, so that is really cool.  I don’t know if I have told you this enough, but we have the best ward here.

We also had another good lesson with Kristin.  She is finally getting there.  I don’t want to get up on her because she is just SO CLOSE.  It was our last week with the Taylors there.  They are going to Utah for the summer so that Bryce can teach Religion classes at BYU, and I am bummed about it.  But for the last lesson together, it was really good.  We showed a film about Thomas S. Monson, and at the end, she said that she felt that he really was a man of God.  We started talking a lot about the Book of Mormon, and she said that she knew that the things inside brought her closer to God.  She knew that they were not wrong, and that they are good, but she wants to be certain that they are historically accurate.  That’s what she is waiting for.  Come on, Kristin!  She knows they are good, and that they testify of Christ.  I just want her to finally realize that she already knows it is true.  One day.  I know one day (hopefully sooner than later) she will be baptized. 
Sister Keil took us out to icecream after
our meeting. She is so cute!

On Friday, all of the BYU students had us over for lunch.  I don’t think I have realized until that appointment just how awkward I have gotten.  That was the most awkward hour on my mission—haha.  Seriously.  Just seeing them all relaxed and joking around with each other.  I didn’t know how to interact...shoot, I am in for a wake up call when I get home.  I didn’t feel comfortable again until we were outside and got on the bus and started talking to people about the Book of Mormon...  what has happened to me?  Haha. 

We also met with a potential investigator, Xinxin.  She is from China, and so the language barrier was really hard.  We introduced the Book of Mormon and she read it in Chinese.  She doesn’t have much religious background, so we have to take things really, really slowly and simply.  It amazes me that some people don’t even know who God or Christ are.  It makes me really grateful that I do.

That night, we went to see our less active, Schwestesr Breitenhuber.  She is slowly making progress.  It was a really good appointment.  She hadn’t had contact with the church in ten years, and last time, she told us that she is very grateful for us.  She said that since we had come by three weeks ago, she has felt more peace and happiness.  She said that she hopes we know that we are good missionaries.  It was really touching, and I loved seeing the subtle change taking place in her. 
The Elders at their baptism with Rochelle. 

On Saturday, we had Zone Training, and then that night, the elders had a baptism.  It was a really great baptism.  Sister Wrathall and I help Rochelle come out after she was baptized, and the smile on her face was just priceless.  She was so happy, and as we were helping her afterwards, she just said, "I’m sorry, I just feel so good, and cant stop smiling and laughing." It was a great reminder of why I am here.  To help people feel this excitement and joy that I feel on a regular basis. 

Yesterday was also a cool day!  After church, we went and taught Michelle again, and then had probably on of the best first discussions I am had with our investigator Jennifer.  She is from Africa and is just golden.  Her brother is a member somewhere else in Germany, and that is she got in contact with the church.  We watched the Restoration with her, and the whole time we were watching it, she was just smiling, and nodding and happy.  Afterwards, she said that she wanted a copy to show to her son.  We invited her to be baptized on June 14 and she said yes!  She said that she has had the Book of Mormon forever, but she has never really read it.  But after meeting with us, she said that it suddenly became really interesting, and that she is going to read in it "straight away.”  That was a really cool lesson, and I just can feel how prepared she is.

Also, something that is way cool.  Sister Schiffmann translated three of our family letters from the old German handwriting to modern German.  I have spent language study this week translating them, so I am sending them home to you today (or as many as I have time to type up.) They are really cool, and I am excited about them!  Hopefully they help. 

Well, I love you all and hope that you have a great week!   Just know, I know that this is a great work, one of miracles and power.  I am thankful every day that I can take part in it.  I wish I could tell you every single cool thing that happens on a daily basis, but there would never be enough time to do so.  Its something you just have to experience!

Love, Savannah. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 12, 2014

It's greening up with summer
around the corner...
Hey Familie! 

It was great talking to all of you yesterday.  I'm glad to see that not much has changed back home.  Dad still gets flustered and Mom asks about food, and Taryn and Troy just laugh at everyone...yup, that’s my family.  But I love it.  It sounds like things are going well back home.  I can’t believe it is snowing in Colorado still.  The weather was super hot here, and then all of a sudden, it got really raining...dumb.  We are hoping our Sport Abend still works out tonight!

Well this week was...  interesting.  We had eight appointments fall through.  I think that was a new record!  But good news, we got almost all of them rescheduled.
Our ghetto net...
Besides everything falling through, we still had some a good week.  Last Monday, our Family Home Evening for the JAEs (Young Single Adults) was a success.  All of the BYU students came and also a ton of our Young Single Adults.  It was great.  We realized about an hour before that Germany is really dumb.  We thought that all we would have to bring was the Volleyball net and a ball (which the church had), but in Germany, it turned out that you have to bring the ENTIRE thing.  Poles and all.  Well, the church had no poles, so being ghetto Americans, we decided to improvise.  We took the soccer goal poles and reconnected them so that they were a really long pole, dug a huge hole in the ground and then tied the net awkwardly to it...  it didn’t stay up straight, so two people had to hold it at all times so that it didn’t collapse...but it worked!  We played our volleyball.  And all the while, the other Germans looked at us as if we were crazy.  Naja.  We also had a sweet game of Ultimate Frisbee.  Two guys joined us and we talked with them for a while, and got their numbers, so that was a success.  They want to come again and bring their friends. 

This week, we worked with members on missionary work.  The Elders Quorum president loves us now.  He took us out to a really nice Chinese buffet, and some Young Women came with was a little awkward at first, but it was then really good.  He told us his conversion story.  He was baptized in 2007 and the missionaries just found him on the street.  He just was called as Elders Quorum president.  He is excited, but nervous.  I’m glad that he likes us so much now though.  We were at our ward activity, and he was just bringing us around and introducing us to all of the less actives and friends.  It was great. 

The last picture of our district before
Transfer 6.  How is that possible?
We also met with a really cool newly wed family, the VonRauchhaupts.  He served his mission in Australia, and she served in Temple Square.  They both want ideas on how to do member missionary work, and they want to help baptize a family...pretty cool goal I think.  They are hilarious too. 

Our ward had a really cool activity on Saturday.  It was a music concert.  People from the ward signed up and played their songs.  Many of the little kids played their trumpet / piano / recorder / whatever they play, and then many adults did something too.  Our ward is talented.  A few of them are in an actual band, so they brought their band and played for us.  We invited a ton of people, and a few came, which was cool.  There was a good turn out.  Many people invited their friends, and afterwards there was a dinner and we were able to talk with a ton of people, so it was sweet.  

Sunday was really cool, though.  As I told you already, there were 50 people in the Spanish sacrament meeting.  50!  That is bigger than some branches here in Germany.  Afterwards, there was a big lunch with all of the Spanish people, so we nosed our way in and got to eat with them.  There were a ton of nonmembers there, which I talked with, but sadly none of them live in our area.  Some of them live in Ecuador, so maybe Ethan will meet them at some point!  Haha.  Also, Cathy and Michelle came to church again!  Michelle loves church.  Whenever they go to leave, Michelle just looks at her mom and asks "Schon?" (Already?)  It’s great.  We finally get to go over there on Tuesday, and will see if Michelle wants to be baptized.  If she says yes, I am thinking June 13th...haha—my birthday.  We will see.  Lisa was a church in Heidelberg today!  She was here visiting the Schiffmanns.  I love Lisa!  She is so cute, and I am so grateful I got to play a part in her conversion.  I hope that I can still be here in Heidelberg when she moves here for good. 

Beth Taylor with her kids.
She’s traveling to Provo this summer
and wants to meet Troy and Taryn. 
Well, that’s really all.  This week, we have a lot of lessons planned.  If all goes well, it will be a good week!  We have been successful in street contacts with the Asian population…they’re open to talking with others. They love it, and they are so nice.  Pretty soon, I feel like all of my investigators will be Chinese people.  China needs to open up soon.  These people are just so open to the gospel!  We found three new potentials this week alone. 

Well, it was good seeing all of you yesterday on Skype!  I am glad that you all look so happy, and that I was able to actually see Taryn's face.  Oh and I DID NOT MAKE UP THAT GERMAN.  That is really how you say best friend. 

And Troy, I loved that quote that you sent.  It’s true, and is something that I have been realizing more and more lately.  This work isn’t for me, it is for all of the people around me that are searching.  I loved that point that you made where it really is a lifelong commitment and that when we realize that, it is a miracle that they are baptized.  I loved seeing Lisa this week, and seeing how see really is a different person.  She is just at peace, and she knows what she has committed too.  I hope that we can all realize that too.

Well, I wish you all the best.  Bis später!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 5, 2014

Sister Lyons....our nine month mark!
So, transfer calls were this Saturday, and I got the best news of my life!  I am staying in Heidelberg again!  Sister Wrathall and I are staying together.  The elders are staying together too.  This is the first time my entire area has staying the same...weird.  But, thank you for all of the prayers that I would stay—haha.  My dream came true.

There are these free give away book shelves
 everywhere in Germany.
That being said, it was great to hear from all of you!  I am glad that Taryn remembered to write to her only sister before she left on her cruise.  I was a little jealous of her, and then I remembered, "Oh yeah, I live in Heidelberg." Now everything is good.  Dad, that garden planter that you built looks really cool.  I hope that your "carets" turn out well.  Hahahah.  Glad to see that your spelling is still the same!  Troy, I am praying for you to do well on the MCAT.  I know you will do just find.  Also Mom, my shoes are completely worn...I might go buy some today, so don’t worry about that. 

As for next week, WE GET TO SKYPE.  Yay.  Four o'clock my time should work just fine.  We are going up to the senior couple’s house to do it.  They love having us over, so anytime will work pretty much.  So unless you hear otherwise, plan on that. 

As for this week, it was SICK.  Seriously.  I've found that in missionary work, things just go in waves.  One week, you will be so busy that you think your head will fall off from spinning so much, and other weeks, it feels like you are walking through mud.  Well, I guess that Heavenly Father decided we had had enough mud, because we saw so many miracles this week.  I can easily say that Tuesday was one of my favorite days on the mission.  We started out having a really great district meeting, and then we went to meet with a potential investigator, named Yue.

You can just put in books and
take them as you please, so
we but a nice book in.
Can you see it?
Yue is awesome!  She is a university student from China, and she is here getting her PhD.  The missionaries found her at a street display a year ago, and then the just lost contact.  But she wanted to meet again, and so we went over.  The entire time we were there, she was just smiling and eating up what we were saying.  She told us she was taking this really seriously, so she wanted to meet frequently, and she wanted things she could read from the Book of Mormon in between visits so that she could write down questions she had.  Can I just say GOLDEN?  I am so excited. 

We then had an appointment fall through, so we tried stopping by a less active’s house that the bishop asked us to visit, because no one knew who she was.  Well, we had tried many times before, but this time, she was home and let us in!  As we met, she said she usually didn’t let people in, but she felt like she should this time.  She told us that at one point in her life, she had a really strong testimony, but then she did things and it just went away.  But she wanted it back.  So, we are going to be meeting with her again.  Success. 

And then, we met with another potential, Jennifer.  She was also a previous investigator.  While we were there, she told us that a year ago, she was in a "baptismal course" and wanted to be baptized and then got sick and really busy with work.  She kept saying over and over how much she loved our church and then asked if she could start the course again to be baptized.  We were a little dumb founded—haha.  But of course, we said yes, and so now she is on her way! 

We had another good appointment with Kristin, and also Cynthia.  Cynthia came to church, so I had an excuse to go to the Spanish Sunday School, which is always great. 
Could you find this poem in English?
It would be something called
Jesus Wept or Jesus Cried.

Oh, remember that Greek girl that we found on the bus a couple of weeks ago?  We called her up, and she was like "Oh hello!  We can meet soon, right?" Uh, yes.  She said that she had a friend that wanted to come also, so she had to double check with her, but I think we are meeting with them on Friday, which I am excited for. 

Our Young Women doing missionary work...
The rest of the week continued on with miracles.  We found four new investigators, a few solid potentials, and met with a ton of members.  The members are great here, and the longer I am here, and the more that I meet with them, the more I love and respect them.  They are always excited to hear our success and to help us out in any way we need it.  It is great.  And to make it even better, there are twelve BYU students that are doing a study abroad / internship thing here in Heidelberg.  They will be here for three months!  We met them yesterday, and it was so weird being around so many Americans my age.

Tonight is going to be sweet.  Our ward mission leader and us planned a huge volleyball activity for a FHE type of thing tonight, and I think it will be a huge success.  A ton of people said they are coming, and a lot have invited friends, so we are so excited.  It is going to be a good day! 
Maria and her new baby...

Well, before I know it, this week will be over and I will be skyping all of you!  That is crazy.  I feel like I was just talking to you, but that was five months ago.  Time is weird.  Well Troy, thank you for sacrificing two hours of sleep to talk to me.  That means a lot to me. 

I love you all!  I pray for you every day.  Thank you for your prayers too.  I can see them in the work.  We have really been so blessed recently!  And I am excited to start this week.  I have a feeling it is going to be really good.

Love you all! 


April 28, 2014

A random hail storm...
“I’m halfway there….living on a prayer!”  I feel like that song describes my life right now.  Last Thursday, I hit my nine-month mark on my mission.  Holy cow, that scares me.  I can’t believe I have been out nine months already.  I really don't know where the time goes...  it just goes!  And now Austin Tyler is married?  What!  I don’t even know what is happening right now.

Well, it has been a good week.  It flew by again (It always does when we have splits).  Time on the mission is so messed up.  There are days that seem like they will never end, and that nothing will go right, and then there are days where everything is so awesome that you feel guilty going home because they went by so quickly.  Somehow, no matter how long or short the days feel, the weeks just fly.  Now it is April and almost May and then before you know it, I will be 20. 

Anyways, our volleyball activity is well underway.  We went over to Jessie’s and made invitations, and now the ward all have invites.  This week, Sister Wrathall and I will be going to the University and inviting the students there.  Hopefully, we can have a good turn out and see some cool things from it. 

Cathy is out of the hospital.  She is doing well.  She came to church again with Michelle yesterday, so that was exciting.  I think we will finally be able to go over this week and start teaching Michelle.  I sure hope so, at least. 

We had an interesting time getting to the district meeting this week.  It was in Karlsruhe, so we boarded the train heading down as usual, but our train ended up getting in late.  We were supposed to get off and get on another train to get down there.  There were probably at least thirty people that had to catch the connection.  We were all sprinting to our next Gleis to make it (which was funny on its own).  Sadly, we missed it.  It drove off as we got there and so we ended up just going to a bakery to drown out our sorrows (that is something I will miss about Germany.  I love their bakeries!).  We arrived there late, and had to leave early to make an appointment, so we had a nice thirty minutes at the district meeting.  Whoops... 

This is Lyndsey and Tyler...we helped
paint baby furniture for the arrival
of a new baby!
My split with Sister Lyons was great.  We got to celebrate our nine-month mark together.  HALF WAY!  I don’t know how that happened.  But it ended up being a really good split.  We got to teach Kristin together, and it went well.  It was really disappointing, because she said that she is not ready to be baptized yet (I just want someone to say YES).   She still wants to learn, and reads in the Book of Mormon every night.  She just doesn’t know that it is true yet.  But we had a really good lesson on who the Godhead is to us.  It was something that we had gone over before, but she still had questions, because she is a strong Catholic, and believes in the Trinity.  We had a good discussion, and the spirit was strong. 

That afternoon, we were supposed to meet with a potential investigator, but it fell out.  Actually, all four of our potential investigator lessons fell through this week...  maybe next week!  We ended up still having a good day though.  We dropped by a recent convert, and she was home.  We had a really good lesson with her.  Then we made phone calls to potentials and set up some appointments for this week, and celebrated our nine-month mark by making one of the Reese’s desserts that you sent me…which was delicious. 

On the way home from our split, something really cool happened.  Sister Lyons was telling me during our split, that their two most solid investigators were both found on the bus, which I found crazy because no matter how many people I talk to, I just haven’t found anyone solid that way.  Well, we got on the bus, and I was just thinking, hmm maybe today.  I heard this group speaking differently.  Three of them ended up getting off, and so I asked the one girl where she was from.  She told me she was from Greece, and we ended up having a really cool talk.  She thought it was so cool that we were missionaries.  We told her what we do, and she said that she wants to meet with us, not this week, but starting next week.  She gave us her number, and as she was getting off, she said, "Oh, can I bring all my friends, too?"  We couldn’t believe it, but we thought it was way cool!  So next week, we will hopefully have a ton of Greek investigators :)

Friday was a sweet day.  As I have said many, many times in my emails, I love our ward.  They are just great, and if you do end up coming out here, you will just LOVE them, and want to move here and stay forever.  Anyways, the Young Women wanted to do a split with Sister Wrathall and I, so of course we said yes.  Sister Wrathall went out with Anna, and I went out with Thelea.  It was great!  We went and taught the Schills, and it was a great appointment.  Her 15 year old daughter, Linda, sat in for the first time, and so we taught about the restoration.  Thelea hit it of with Linda right away, and did an amazing job teaching the first discussion with me.  She is going to be a great missionary.  She knew how to make them feel comfortable, and shared personal experiences and everything.

This is Little Bear...I can't get
enough of him!
After we both met with investigators, we came back together and did another chalking activity.  Our Young Women did great.  I told them if they both handed out a Book of Mormon, we would buy them ice cream (yes, I know, I bribed them), and they both got so into it.  They were just talking to everyone.  I was thoroughly impressed.  Afterward, they were just doing a play by play of everything that they said and that happened.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  I am just glad that they had a good time. 

Saturday ended up being really cool too.  I have never seen our church building so full before.  It was probably because after church we had a lunch in, with a great spread of food.  There were so many people there, including Cathy,  Danielle, and her husband.  Speaking of which, Martin, Danielle’s husband, called up the Elders this week and asked to meet with them, which is something none of us expected.  That was a miracle by itself.  And then, during the luncheon, one of the members came up to us, and asked if she could go out with us later that day.  We ended up going by to visit a less active that she visit teaches.  It went really well.  I love it when members just want to go and help us. 

Transfer calls are this Saturday, which I just can’t believe.  I think a part of my heart would die if I was transferred from Heidelberg.  I just love it so much…everything about it.  By the end of my third transfer in Nürnberg, I was ready for something new, but I am in my third transfer here and I feel like I just got here.  I just feel like there is so much to do here.  I would honestly be fine just staying here forever.  So how about you all just pray that I will stay here, okay?  Thanks. 

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week.  To go along with my thought last week, here is my favorite Mormon message. 

Love, Savannah