Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 11, 2014

The awesome text for
Aiyana's baptism
And another week has gone by!  I don't know how time is flying so quickly, but it is going crazy.  This was an awesome week, and from the sound of it, most things are going well back home.  Troy, I am glad that you and Alyssa had a good time on your vacation.  Mom and Dad, sounds like things aren't too different back home. Tell Grandpa thanks for the money, too.  It was really nice.  Tell my friends they can feel free to send me nice, hand written letters.  Ha-ha.  I will make sure to email Matt this week. 

Anyways, this was a crazy, kind of stressful week, but really good.  Troy, you are right.  I really do feel like my German exploded and I am loving ever minute of it.  I feel like when I started training, a wall just came crashing down, and now it is just getting better and better.  Teaching in lessons has become so much more comfortable and easy, and I feel like I am finally becoming the missionary I wanted to be.  Obviously, I have a lot more to learn, but I am able to understand so much more and say what I need to, and so it is just awesome.  And being with a native this week and hearing and having to speak German all week long has really helped.  It was exhausting, but I have definitely learned a lot just in the past week alone. 

So yeah, this week was my first full week with my golden and also with a mini missionary.  It was quite interesting, because Sister Nabrotzky could speak barely any English, and Sister Haywood struggles with German, but it went a lot better than I thought.  Sister Haywood is awesome.  She is really outgoing, so she doesn’t let the language barrier stop her.  Her German got so much better this week alone, because she was constantly talking to Sister Nabrotzky and people in buses and stuff that she is learning quickly.  I am thoroughly impressed! 

Wednesday made for some good stories.  We had an appointment with Anna again, and her mom and aunt were there.  I don’t know how much I have talked about Maikl and Maia, but they are hilarious, and crazy.  Well we were sitting there talking with Anna, asking about how EFY was and she was telling us all of these cool stories.  Then Maia came and pulled out this jar that looked like Vodka, and this black stuff.  I asked her what she was doing, and she told me she was "making medicine".  She held up the bottle and said that it was like Vodka and 100% alcohol, and that the black stuff was beeswax.  She started cutting up the bees wax and putting it into the bottle and told me that you let it sit,  it became medicine that can cure anything.  All you have to do is drink a little bit.  Sorry to break it to you Maia, but I think it just makes you so drunk that you don’t remember anything.  Not quite sure what the beeswax does though.  It was quite interesting.  They also fed us this Georgian treat that was really gross.  It looked an tasted like a candle.  It was on a string, and you dipped it in this grape juice / flour mix until it was thick and hardened.  Mmmmm…yummy! 

Our mini missionary, Sister Nabrotzky!
But the actual appointment ended up being really cool.  Anna’s cousin was there and had a ton of questions about our religion, so we ended up just answering them all and giving her a book of Mormon.  Sadly, she doesn’t live in our area, but she is going to check out a church where she lives. 

Sister Nabrotzky teaching
Sister Haywood German
On Friday, we had another miracle.  We were had our appointment with Rafael, the guy that we met on the bus.  I am not going to lie, I didn’t think he was coming.  I don’t know how many potential appointments I have had where people say they are coming and don’t, but Sister Haywood and Nabrotzky were so hopeful and excited I couldn’t say anything.  Well, we were waiting in the church, and it was about 20 minutes after he was suppose to come, and I was like, "Surprise,” and they were both really disappointed.  So we started packing up, when all of a sudden, the doorbell rang.  In walks Rafael.  We ended up having an amazing first lesson with him, and he had read part of the Book of Mormon and had a ton of questions about it.  At the end, we taught him how to pray and all knelt down and he said the closing prayer for us.  It was an awesome prayer, and the spirit was so strong.  It was awesome, and definitely a miracle.  Golden power!  We made out another appointment with him and will be meeting next Monday night. 

We finally had warm water!
That night we had a street display in Hamm with our District.  It was so successful.  I think between the nine of us, we handed out about 15 to 20 Books of Mormon, and got a lot of potential investigator numbers for the elders there. 

Saturday morning, we did service here in Münster.  Because of the storm a few weeks ago, everyone’s basements were flooded, so everything has to be thrown away.  So trash has been littering the streets and so we helped clean it up.  It was crazy fun.  And an interviewer came and interviewed us and took pictures.  So I got to tell them who we were, where we came from, and what we are doing here in Germany.  She got the name and address of our church, and so maybe I will be showing up in a German newspaper soon!  I also found a German silver dollar in the trash that is brand new so I took it and will be adding it to my collection! 
"Is there life after death?" Sweet
finding during our street display in Hamm

That day, we traveled down to Dortmund and had our "closing ceremony" for the mini missionaries.  We all shared our testimonies, and it was great.  It really was a week of miracles.  Sister Nabrotzky was awesome and I already miss her. 

Sunday, the youth that went to EFY went up and bore their testimonies, and Aiyana got up and bore hers!  She told the branch she wanted to be baptized.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  We are meeting tomorrow and setting up a fast date. 

This really was an awesome week.  We saw so many cool miracles, and I learned so much, and we also had our interesting moments.  I have never been so tired before, but it is worth every moment.  I love my mission.  I love the people I get to meet and serve with and work with.  I love feeling and learning from the spirit every day.  The mission is a special place.  I never knew I could be so tired and yet so happy all the time.  Its weird, but I love it. 

I hope you all have a great week, and I cant wait to hear from you all again.  But until then, stay safe. 

Ich hab´ euch lieb!


August 4, 2014

We got area mustache glasses for
us and our Ward mission leader. 
Thanks for all of the emails!  Its always good to have solid, long emails to read.  Makes the day better.  Although my friends are starting to slack!  But that’s okay.  I am glad that everything is going well back in the States.  It sounds like Taryn had a really good time on her vacation, and hopefully Troy is having fun on his. 

The train ride home from Gemiko
Our ward mission leader fits right in...
We had a massive flash flood, and
got completely drenched. 
Well, I am officially training!  Looks like mom already did her creepy Facebook stalking, but my little golden is awesome.  She actually reminds me a lot of Chelsea, my roommate from college, so it is awesome.  She is a great missionary, and I think that we will have a really good time together.  I love her German too.  It makes me realize how much I have learned.  After I got her, it was like someone turned on a light switch, and I suddenly understood German not perfectly, but a heck of a lot more than I did before.  And I am able to speak it a lot better too.  So that is really exciting!

Completely soaked from the storm...
We were completely soaked, so we
had to wear the elders nice huge
clothes during FHE that night. All
of the members laughed at us.
My group with all of the new missionaries
This week was absolutely crazy.  I can’t even believe that I was with Sister Busath at the beginning of this week.  On Monday, it was a beautiful day.  We went shopping for P-Day, and all of a sudden, we walk out of a store, and it was just pouring rain.  We had no umbrellas or anything, and so we just had to walk through the rain for the rest of the day.  We didn’t have time to go home and change and get stuff, so we all ran to the church, and we ran to the bathrooms and started squeezing out our drenched clothing.  Luckily the elders live right above the church, so they brought us dry clothes, but we got to wear t-shirts and basketball shorts during Family Home Evening that night.  All of the members laughed at us, but it was okay.  Probably my only time on the mission that I am allowed to give a spiritual thought in a t-shirt.  That night, we did the “soap and pepper and watch” object lesson to represent the atonement making us clean, and our crazy member got up and drank it mid-thought.  All in all, quite the evening.  
Here's my friends from my MTC group
that are all training with me this transfer! 

Then, the buses weren’t going, and so we had to walk home another 20 minutes in the down poor, arriving home only to find that our basement was filled mid thigh with water, and people were out with buckets, trying to dish it into the street.  So we got to stay up late helping with that.  Now, we still have no hot water in the building.  But luckily the washer works again.  All in all, completely crazy.  Münster was completely flooded within a few hours! 

Sister new companion
The next day, we met with a couple of members for Sister Busath to say goodbye too.  It was really sad for her, because she has been here for 8 months, but she handled it better than I thought.  I was impressed.  After that, we packed up, and on Wednesday Morning, we were gone.  I rode a train down the Frankfurt with Sister McMurray (she’s training too!) and a few other trainers, and we had to go  to a couple of meetings for trainers and everything.  Thursday, we got paired with our goldens!  It was nerve wrecking, but I got Sister Heywood, who is really great.  She’s super cute and happy, is 19 years old, and from Texas.  She is just ready to go work.  She has a ton of good ideas, so it will be great for here in Münster.  I got really lucky!

My old companion and
my new companion
That next day, we went to district meeting, and then we had an appointment with Kai.  We focused on developing faith in Christ.  His said that he didn’t really have a problem with that, his problem is more with people.  He doesn’t like how people say they are Christian or religious, and don’t really follow what they say.  He also wanted to know how people can actually live a good life.  So we ended up stressing how when people have a stronger testimony of Christ, when they study his life, and everything, they will be able to follow his example, and that is what makes a good life.  His questions made me really think 
Sister Heywood and our
new mini-missionary
and appreciate the gospel.  Yes, not all of our members follow everything that we believe, but I would say that one thing that sets our church apart is that we live what we believe.  We try our best to follow the commandments and follow Christ.  It’s not that we are baptized and we’re done, or go to church every month or so, and say we are good people.  No, that is why the “endure to the end” factor is so important.  We must make this faith part of our everyday life.  It starts with faith, which grows to a testimony, which turns into true conversion.  And it is something you much practice every single day. 

Michelle's baptism...
I'm so excited!
Then Saturday, we went down to Hamm to help the Elders out there.  They have an investigator that is a little crazy and were getting a little too attached to the elders in a non-missionary way, so they called our President and he said that we should start teaching her...  well thanks, Elders!  It was the most awkward appointment of my life.  She was mad at the elders at the beginning for  something that happened last time, and then she started randomly crying, and just weird stuff.  It was just a weird appointment.  We made out an appointment with her this week, but then apparently she told the elders yesterday at church that if they weren’t teaching her, she didn’t want to be taught, so, it looks like she will be taking a little break for a while. 

What a great day for Michelle
Sister Heywood is great.  She wants to practice her German, so we spent Language Study teaching her how to compliment people.  So she has this goal to compliment someone on every train and bus that we get on to start a conversation, and then she hands it off to me, ha-ha.  But this is great.  We have had some solid conversations, and I love how excited we get when we get off the bus and she replays the whole thing.  She even got up on Sunday and bore her testimony in broken German, but the branch just eats her up.  She will have no problem here.

Yesterday, we rode up to Dortmund and got a mini missionary!  She is 17 years old and lives in Bocum, part of the Herne ward.  She is super cute.  Its going to be intense having a native German with someone that speaks barely any, but it has run smoothly so far.  She is super relaxed and happy, and willing to help us both with our German.  I was super stressed about this week, but I think it will be pretty good.  And then after this, it will be like smooth sailing! 

Michelle's baptism
Well, that’s my week.  It has been completely crazy and a ton has changed, but I am super excited about it all!  It is exactly what I needed, and I am going to learn a ton.  Watch out, Münster! 

Also, our investigator, Aiyanna, and Anna were at EFY this week, and absolutely loved it.  I am super excited!  Cool things.  As I am writing this, her mom just texted us and said that it is official.  Aiyanna wants to get baptized as quickly as possible.  I am freuing myself right now! 

Oh man.  Also, Dad, I am going to want to visit all of the places that I have served for sure, and a cool other sights in Germany.  Don’t know where yet for sure.  But we should either go to Nürnberg or Heidelberg for the Christmas markets.

I love you all!  Have a great week. 

Sister Teeples 

Well, love you all.  Have a great week! 

July 28, 2014

The call when I found out
that I was training...
Well, I never thought I would see the day, but I didn't get an email from Dad this week.  I don't know what is up with him, but that was kind of sad.  I know I've been out a year, but you guys cant forget about me! 

Things sound crazy back home.  But, I guess I cant really say "home" considering as how none of you are in the same state right now.  Taryn is going to Oregon?  Troy is going skydiving?  Mom's stuck in a hotel after touring New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, and who knows what dad is doing.  Probably petting Sparky and watching a SyFy movie…ha-ha!

Last Sunday picture with Aiyana and Anna
Well, my entire mission got flipped upside down this week.  On Friday, I got a call from President, and he asked me to train!  So I am going to be training in Münster this next transfer.   Elder Rock is going to be training too.  So we are going to have two little goldens here in Münster.  Its going to be great.  It's going to be a massive change though.  I have never been with a companion younger than me, and now I am training.  And this area is going to be very different too.  Elder Ockey finishes his mission this week, and Sister Busath is getting ghosted to Wiesbaden for her last three weeks.  Elder Ockey has been here for a year and Sister Busath for 8 months.  So this area will be completely different.  But it will be good.  Things need to change and it will be really refreshing to get some new blood here.  I am going to miss them both a lot though. 

Our weekly street display
This week was pretty busy.  We had two street displays, and they were pretty successful.  We officially have no more German Books of Mormon.  We handed them all out, between us and the Elders, and gave out a ton of DVDs too.  One of the ladies that we talked to even came to church on Sunday…something that has never happened from a street display before to me.  She agreed that the basic truth had been lost, and she was curious to see what our church was like.  She told us that she liked it, and said that if she came next week again, then we could make out an appointment to meet.  So I am praying she decides to come back again.

Our Georgian feast...
We had a huge party at the Toidze's house this week.  That is our investigator family, Anna’s family.  It was a goodbye for Elder Ockey and Sister Busath.  I was fed a ton of Georgian food, and they sang Russian songs, and it was just crazy.  There were so many people there.  But at the end, we watched Because of Him, and went down the line of missionaries, and all just bore testimony of why Christ was so important to us.  The spirit came in as soon as that video started playing, and just got stronger and stronger as we all just bore solid testimony.  Then Anna bore her testimony, and it was just great.  Really great. 

We found a use for all of that scrapbooking
tape you sent me, Mom. It is now on all of
our districts phones, ha-ha.
We also had a really good lesson with Kai this week.  Anna came and taught with us, and brought Aiyana, our 14-year-old investigator, who is a daughter of a member, and together we all taught the Plan of Salvation.  It was a great lesson.  We were able to use our investigator to teach our other investigator, and it benefited them both a lot.  Kai just soaked it all up, and at the end, we asked Aiyanna if she believed it was true and why, and she said that she did, because she just felt a feeling in her stomach saying it was right.  She is going to EFY this week with Anna, and we are super excited, because we think it could be the turning point for her.  She comes to church every week with her mom, but she hasn’t been too interested in finding out if it is true for herself, but I think that this week is exactly what she needs.  I really thing that Aiyana Gionker will be baptized this transfer. 

Anna and Chi An didnt know what tacos
were! How crazy is that. So we threw a
taco night, and ate tacos. Pretty
expensive, but totally worth it.
Good old American food. 
I can't even put Sunday into words.  Our little branch sacrament room was pretty full with people coming for Elder Ockey and Sister Busath's farewell talks.  Anna Lavrentashvili gave her very first talk as a member during sacrament meeting, and that was the coolest thing ever.  Then Elder Ockey and Sister Busath both got up and spoke to the branch.  The spirit was so strong, and you could just feel the love that they had for the branch, and the branch has for them.  There was not a dry eye in the room.  I was in the back translating for an American couple, trying to hold back tears, and even this random tourist couple was crying.  I learned yesterday (well, I have learned this all throughout my mission, but I FELT the truth of it), the definition of missionary work is love.  President Schwartz would always tell us, “People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  These people, they know how much we care.  I love this people, and I am so grateful to be able to serve here in Münster.  Sister Busath and Elder Ockey did so much for this branch.  It has doubled in size in this past year, and its because of Love.  We have some big shoes to fill, but I am up for the challenge.  After only one transfer, I feel like this people are my family.  I am excited for this next transfer.  Nervous for sure, but excited.

This reminds me of Troy's
adventures on his Chile mission
Besides that, we had some good lessons with less actives and members, and did a lot of finding.  I freaked out about training, and Sister Busath freaked out about leaving.  Then I found out that I will be getting a mini missionary in addition next week, and I freaked out some more.  That is going to be interesting.  I will probably get a golden that barely knows German, and a mini missionary that barely knows English.  Let the adventure begin!

Oh, I almost forgot.  And I don’t know how.  MICHELLE AMOBI WAS BAPTIZED YESTERDAY.  Michelle got baptized!  I got permission to call Heidelberg yesterday to talk to Michelle after her mission, and I asked her how she felt, and she just said, "I feel really good!" Oh man, I love that girl.  After I hung up the phone, I just got this overwhelming feeling in my heart, telling me "She is safe".  She’s safe.”  That’s what this gospel does to people.  It saves them.  Its saved me, for sure.  Michelle Amobi is baptized.  Cathy is reactivated and happy.  What more could I ask for right now? 

Our District Transfer
I love you all.  Sorry that my letter last week was practically a panic attack.  Which is ironic, because I am freaking out a whole lot more right now.  But it will be good.  This is exactly what I need right now, and I know that the Lord will help me every step of the way.  He is there for me, and he is there for all of you, too. 

I hope that you all have a great week! 

Love you all, Savannah.