Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 16, 2014

Leah wrote this note as I bore my "farewell testimony".
Her mom wouldnt let me keep it because she
wanted it. Leah drew her dad at church, who has
been inactive for years. She said that I had to
come back and speak again, so that
this could really happen. 

First things first, thanks again for all of the birthday wishes, and Happy Father's Day Dad! I hope that you had a great day.  Sounds like things are going well there, like always.

And this is Charles. Probably my favorite person I have
taught on my mission. I am really going to miss this guy. 
Well, I'm leaving.  On Thursday, I will be leaving my favorite place on earth.  I can honestly say that I am shocked.  I wasn't expecting to go, but I am.  What’s more, all of the sisters in the Zone are staying together, except for us.  This is all of their FIFTH transfer together.  FIVE.  That is unheard of.  I am now going to be serving in Münster.  From what I have heard, the missionaries are great there, there are more bikes than people in the city, and the branch has about 15 people.  It is going to be a HUGE change from our ward here in Heidelberg, but if it is where the Lord wants me to go, I guess I will go.  I am really going to miss Heidelberg though.  Yesterday was a really sad day, saying bye to everyone, but I know that change is for the better. 

My birthday surprise from the Elders...
Our street display in Speyer on Finding Day. 
But for my last full week here in Heidelberg, it was a great week! We had a little bit of everything happen.  On Monday night, we had our sport’s night.  Charles, Obinna, and Abbey came, and it was great.  Everybody loved them.  We played Ultimate Frisbee, and they had never even thrown a Frisbee before, but they were amazing.  My team won! (Yes, I have actually gotten really good at Frisbee ...  you should all be impressed!) Afterward, Anna officially started her mini-mission.  Can I just say, I love this girl?  She is seriously the cutest, and she has the best conversion story, and strongest testimony, and she really helped my German.  Overall, I just love her and am so glad she was with us all week. 

Us with Anna - She was the best mini missionary ever! 
Tuesday, we went to the Schiffmans.  Kind of comical...Anna’s very first appointment as a mini missionary was with her family...whoops.  Oh well, it was great.  They fed us a classic German meal.  With Rot Kohl and all.  Taryn, that is the red cabbage your home teacher were talking about, and yes it is delicious.  I was so excited when I saw it on the table.  I might have eaten a little too much.  After that, we stopped by to visit a former investigator.  Her life has been really sad for the past couple years, and she opened up the door and let us right in.  Her husband passed away two years ago, and she said that she hoped that she would see him again.  The Sisters will be going back this week again to teach the Plan of Salvation.
It was a good week!
On Wednesday, we had Zone Training, and Rochelle, the elders recent convert, spoke.  It was great.  She gave us some really good advice on things that investigators need and want, versus what we probably shouldn’t say.  Her testimony is so strong, and she was just saying how much the gospel has changed her outlook on life in just a short amount of time.  It was great! That afternoon, we met with another past investigator and made a new appointment.  That marks 7 new investigators in the past two weeks, and a ton of new potentials.  Success! At least I can say that I am leaving this place in a good state for the new sister coming in. 
The Janatas 

Thursday, we had a finding day down in Speyer.  The are struggling down there, so three districts when down and we just spent the entire day down there finding.  We split up into four groups and just went off for the day.  My group did chalking for the first part and then just went street contacting.  By the end of the day, the Speyer missionaries had a ton of potentials and a few new appointments.  It was great! I got to talk to so many cool people. 
And heres Yannick, my pal. Oh man, this kid is seriously
 my favorite... they are all my favorite!
Sister Wrathall with Michelle....Cathy's
daughter that we are teaching. 
And then it was my birthday! It was a really good day.  During our lunch hour, there was a knock on our door, and I opened it to find the elders there.  Elder Hendersen played his guitar and they sang me Happy Birthday, and gave me a bunch of random gifts.  It was great.  Later that day, we went to Schwester Breitenhuber's home.  She told me that sometime after 12 am, she prayed to Heavenly Father asking him to help me to have a good birthday.  She said that she told him, "She is 20 now, but please help her to always stay as pure as she is now".  She said that she prayed and then while she was praying, she feel asleep haha.  Oh man, I love that lady. 

Wraps at our favorite place...
And saying goodbye to Cathy...
Here is part of the Spanish Branch. They are
seriously great. Man, I will miss them. 
And the Schiffmanns...they are the family
that translated a few of our family letters for us. 
That night, we had an appointment with a new investigator, Monika.  It was an amazing appointment.  We planned to just have a zero lesson, and just explain what we did as missionaries, and who God was for us, but somehow the lesson ended up being completely focused on baptism.  She said that she felt peaceful for the first time in years and that she wants more than anything to smile freely like we do.  We promised her that when she was baptized, she would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and that if she stayed worthy, she would always have this feeling with her.  She just sat there and asked us, "Really? Always? I want that."  We have an appointment this Tuesday with her, and plan on setting a date with her.  Anna loved her; she wants to come with us again this week. 

That night, we went home and ate cake and had a little party for my birthday :)

Saturday, we had transfer calls, I cried, and then we went to the Janata's home.  That night, we had an appointment with Dana and her family again.  We watched the Restoration DVD, and they said that they could feel something while they watched it.  The 15 years old said that she had time, and wanted to read through the entire Book of Mormon to know if it was true.  This family is great.  I know that there was a reason we got so lost that one day.  If we hadn’t been on the "wrong" bus, I would never have talked with Dana.  They want to see where the church is, so the sisters are meeting them at the church this Saturday.

Sunday, Charles came to church again! When he found out that I was leaving he told me that it wasn’t going to happen.  He said that he would pay for me to stay, if I would just tell him who to talk to.  Oh man, I died laughing.  He said that I couldn’t leave because Sister Wrathall and I were the ones that brought him to the church.  He's great.  The ward just loves him and he loves them.  He just loved the English Sunday school class.  He told me that he would miss me, but that there were people in Münster that needed me too.  Oh man, that guy is great.

This week, I get to say bye to all of my favorite people, and then I am off to a new adventure! I am sad to leave, but Heidelberg is doing great, and is in good hands.  This place and these people will always have a special place in my heart. 

Well, I love you all.  Have a great week.  Next time I write to you, I will be on the opposite side of my mission! 

Love, Savannah 

June 9, 2014

Our Day with Vi
Hi Familie! Thank you for the birthday wishes :) It’s weird to think that I will be 20 on Friday.  No more excuses of just being a little teenager.  Sad.  But I am excited too! I haven’t gotten the package, but I am sure it will come! If that massive Christmas package was able to get through, this one will work.  Hopefully...haha.  If I get it, it will probably be after transfers, which will be next Thursday.  Speaking of which, we have transfer calls again on Saturday, so how about you all pray once more that I can stay here in Heidelberg.  Thanks! 

Mom, that training sounds very interesting!  I wish I could have seen you doing it...the image in my head made me laugh.  Dad, I am glad to hear that Trevor, our Explorer, is still a member of the family.  That would be sad if he was gone forever.  Troy, the entire internet cafe was looking at me as I read your email because I was just laughing so hard about the question story.  That is just classic! And Taryn, that slip and slide thing sounds awesome.  I want to do it when I get home.  I miss water.  It is SO HOT here.  I wake up sweating and it is just torture not being able to go swimming in the river right outside of my house! 

Anyways, I have to say thank you for all of the prayers this week.  I can say that they were definitely answered and that things are starting to look up again! The mission is just a rollercoaster of emotions, and the downs seem like nothing when you are at the top. 

Gelato2Go...the Best Eis
in the World!
The start of the week was good.  Monday for P-Day, we went up to the castle with a YSA from Mannheim.  Her name is Vi, and she is super cool.  She was baptized last year, and it was just great to talk with her all day and hang out.  The next day, we helped Cathy some more and taught Michelle again.  Since a 10 year old doesn’t really find the Book of Mormon interesting, we have been using the picture book, Book of Mormon, and reading stories from it while teaching Michelle.  Not gonna lie, I find it more interesting sometimes too.  While we were in Eppelheim, a member called us and asked to go to her neighbor’s house with her and teach her the plan of salvation.  So we went and met Frau Engel.  She is an old lady, but actually has interest.  She wouldn’t make out a return appointment, but she said that the next time we were in the area, to call her and come by.  So that was cool. 

Exciting story.  So this transfer, my mission president made a rule where from 9 to 9 we are only allowed to speak German.  (The majority of us are American, so it is just too easy to start speaking English.)  Well, on the way back from Cathy’s, my companion and I were just speaking to each other in German.  After about 10 mintues, this lady got up to get off of the train, but came over to talk to me, and asked me if I had been in Germany for a while.  I said I had been here since September, and she was like "Wow, your German is perfect! Your accent and everything…I would’ve thought you were here for a long time."  That was a pretty good boost for me :) 

Working with Sister Hull...I Love Her!
Wednesday night, I went down to Darmstadt for a split with Sister Hull.  I love Sister Hull! We had a really good day and she used me to visit some Spanish less actives, which I wont complain about. 

Friday, I was back in Heidelberg.  We met with Frau Breitenhuber, and she made big progress! While we were talking to her, she stopped us and said, "One day, you will have to show me how to get to the church.  I don’t want to go inside yet, but just so that I know where it is." Well, we took that and ran.  After our appointment, we told her we would love to show her right then.  She looked really nervous, but next thing I knew, we were on the straßenbahn to the church.  We walked around it, but she was too afraid to go inside.  But it was exciting, just seeing her there, at the church, walking around it and talking with us. 

Saturday though, was our miracle day.  We met with Dana, the lady that I met on the bus last week after being completely lost.  Turns out, about 20 members of her family live right next to each other, and they were all there when we got there, just hanging out.  There were tons of little children just running around like crazy.  We met all of them and they were all super nice! When we started to actually teach, Dana and two of her sister-in-laws wanted to sit in.  It started out a little rough, with a little bit of a language barrier and kids coming in and out, but the spirit soon took over.  We were able to have a good discussion and made out a return appointment for the next week.  One of the sister-in-laws is 15 and super legit.  She wants to even come to the young women activities! 

After that, we had an appointment with a guy named Charles.  We met him about 2 months ago, but were finally able to get an appointment with him.  He is from Africa, and extremely difficult to understand, but has an amazing testimony of Christ.  Best part, he brought another African friend with him.  We showed the restoration DVD and afterwards, they both said that they believed it was true, and that they would read in the book of Mormon and pray to know if it was truly the word of God. 

What does that mean? We found FIVE new investigators in ONE day.  Heavenly Father blessed us for sure.  That night, a firework show went off outside of our apartment.  Pretty good ending, I'd say.

And Sunday was the cherry on top.  The Spanish group is officially a Spanish branch! It was an interesting sacrament meeting.  They translated everything from German to Spanish, and it was one last big combined meeting.  And then, to make it even better, about 15 minutes after it started, Charles walked in with ANOTHER African friend.  After church we talked with them, and they said that they liked it.  His friend said that he would be there next Sunday too, so now we will be teaching 3 Africans directly after church next week. 
Our Picture of the Week...

I have definitely seen Heavenly Fathers hand in the work this week.  I feel like I was in a drought, and then all of a sudden there is just a ton of rain and plants growing.  This week is going to be great! We have a ton of appointments and Anna, a young women in our ward, is doing a mini mission with us! She will be with us all week.  It will be a great week and a great birthday! I think I will be crushed if I get transferred out of here this week. 

This morning during study, this scripture really hit me.  Alma 39:17-19. 

 17 And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject.  Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand.  Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?
 18 Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people as well as unto their children?
 19 Is it not as easy at this time for the Lord to send his angel to declare these glad tidings unto us as unto our children, or as after the time of his coming?
It was just a testimony to me that God is always the same.  It never changes.  This gospel has been on the earth before and during Christ’s time, and it only makes sense that it is here now, today.  I know this is the true Church of Christ, and that I am doing his work.
I love you all! Have a great week.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 2, 2014

Hi Familie! And Friends..

Troy, I am so glad that you feel like the MCAT went well.  I have been praying for you and it sounds like Heavenly Father heard and definitely helped you.  I'm glad.  I am anxious to see how you did and where you will be going to medical school! Mom, glad that you have had a good week.  Dad, I can completely relate to your week.  Sometimes things are just hard, but I know that they will get better.  It's normal to feel overwhelmed.  But I have learned that we will never be given a task that will be too much for us.  Our Heavenly Father will always be there for us.  Taryn...well don't know what to say about her...that stinker didn’t write me this week. 

Well, it is officially June! 12 days until I am no longer a teenager.  Weird.  Hopefully, I can see some birthday miracles, because that is sure what we need right now! Let's just say, I am glad that is it Monday again.  It’s a new day, a new week, and a new month, so that means a fresh start, right? Miracles galore should be happening this week. 

This is how I look and feel
after a long day on my mission.
As for last week, it was, well, interesting.  Tuesday we had an appointment with the Vogts with the senior couple, the Leonhardts.  The Leonhardts speak no German and the Vogts speak very, very, little English.  Well, Bruder Vogt speaks very little.  Sister Vogt knows absolutely nothing.  So we spent most of the time translating between the two families.  It was pretty comical.  Elder Leonhardt would think that he understood something, and respond, but would be completely off subject.  Sister Leonhardt drank some of this drink, and made a gross face, and then we told her that Sister Vogt said she made it herself, and she got embarrassed...overall, funny.  And they gave us a referral, so that was good.

That night, we went by and stopped to see Danielle.  She hasn't been to church forever, and every time we have called her, no one answered…so we decided to finally go by.  We get there, and her husband let us in and then Danielle came and just started crying.  Life has been hard for her lately.  I know that the spirit definitely told us to go by.  I am still worried about her, but we were able to listen to her and help some of her concerns, and so it was overall good. 

Sometimes I really hate phone calls, so
I do all I can to make them better.
Sometimes, I'm just done. 
Wednesday was also...interesting.  Our appointment fell through again, and then we were had an appointment scheduled with a referral that we got from church headquarters.  She lives out in the middle of NOWHERE, and I have never had so many things go wrong trying to get to an appointment before.  First, we didn’t realize that our train split, and so we got on the wrong one, and ended up missing our connection.  So we had to go back, and by that point, we missed our bus, and so we tried to take another one, thinking it went to her place also.  Well, THE SIGN LIED.  It lied to us.  It went nowhere close to her house.  By this point, we were on a bus, out in the middle to absolutely nowhere (I don’t even know if we were in our mission at this point...), with only a crazy guy on the bus, and the bus driver hitting on my companion and singing American songs to us.  By this point, we called the referral and rescheduled the appointment for another day.  Well, at least one good thing happened.  I felt awkward from the driver staring at us through the mirror, and so I got up and started talking to the only other woman on the bus.  Turns out that she is from Romania, and knew a Mormon there.  She always wondered, but her never talked to her about his religion, so I said we could meet with her and teach her about what we believed.  So I got her phone number and we will be going there on Saturday.  A lot of chaos, but success! 

I find this picture really comical. They are
in a drit right now in Karlsruhe, and just
seeing them walk down the
street makes me laugh. 
Thursday, the elders and us both had nothing, and so we spent the day finding.  We had a street display, and it was actually quite successful.  It was a holiday, so there was a ton of people, and a lot of people stopped.  We had a lot of good conversations, and we found some people that were interested, but of course none of them live in our area, so some other lucky missionaries have some golden referrals now! 

Friday, we met with Schwester Breitenhuber again, and also finally made our way to the referral, Hannah.  Hannah was a disappointment.  We did our usual null lesson, and then asked her if she wanted to learn more, and she said "Überhaupt nicht!' (Absolutely not!)  Awkward....  Well, we don’t have to worry about getting lost in the middle of nowhere again.  Our lesson with Schwester Breitenhuber went really well.  We talked about repentance and forgiveness, and although she didn’t want to admit it, she felt the spirit testifying to her.  She also made us these really nasty salmon sandwiches, with raw salmon on top.  While she was reading a scripture or whatnot, Sister Wrathall and I would stuff the salmon into paper towels and our bags.  After the lesson, I couldn’t find a trashcan, so I went to the bathroom and tried to flush it down the toilet, but it wouldn’t flush! Luckily, I finally got it to work, so no worries. 

A golden in Darmstadt came up here for a
split.  He is hilarious.  He just loved all of
the gelato shops and wanted
to go to all of them.
Saturday, we helped Michelle and Cathy move some more and then taught Michelle.  That night we met with the bishop, and it was great.  I just love that familie. 

Sunday, I heard some of the coolest news that I have heard in a long time.  THE SPANISH GROUP IS BECOMING A BRANCH.  I will be in Germany when our mission gets their first Spanish branch.  I don’t know what it will mean as far as who we work with and how missionary work goes, but we will see.  I am so excited for them.  How cool is that? My little group gets to be their very own branch.  Cool stuff happening.  I had a dream the other night that I was training a Spanish native and we were over the Spanish branch and had just doubled the membership.  Now lets make this a reality...haha. 

Oh, and to answer your question, the next transfer starts June 16, so the new mission president should be coming in sometime around there...don’t know exactly.  I don’t really want to think about the fact that Präs is leaving. 

Well, I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Please pray for me that we will be able to find people to teach.  I feel like we can find people but then they never want to learn more or progress.  So hopefully we can change that this week. 

Love you all!