Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 22, 2014

Our most successful display yet :)
Hallo everyone!  Well, before I tell you about my AWESOME week, thanks for all of the emails.  Sounds like life is going well down there.  Mom and Dad…as cool as it would be to have you come to Germany, don’t worry about it.  It will be sweet just to fly home with all of my friends in January and to see you at the airport.  We will just have to plan a family trip to come to Germany next summer so that I can see everyone :) Or if that doesn’t work, Taryn and I will come out here.  She always seems to find a way to do crazy trips, so I think it would work out.  So Taryn, next summer, Germany?  I want to see everyone again.  Mom, I have absolutely no idea what my BYU user name or password is...  I’m sorry.  I am freaking out enough knowing I’m going home on the 16th.  I thought it was the 21st!  5 days less than thought.  Shoot. 

Anyways, let me tell you about one of the coolest weeks on my mission. 

Aiyana's fashion show 
So first, there’s Aiyana.  She is getting baptized this Saturday!  I literally cannot contain my excitement.  Last P-Day, she wanted to go shopping with us to try to find some modest skirts, because…well in Germany, that’s pretty dang hard.   So we went to just about every store possible, and she either didn’t like them or they were a millions euros (okay, exaggerations, but expensive).  Finally, we told her to go sit down, and Sister Heywood and I just went crazy and got every skirt in the store and had her try them on for us in a little fashion show.  FINALLY we found one that was just too cute.  We ended up buying it for her, (It was only 10 Euro!) and telling her that she couldn’t wear it until her baptism.  You should have seen her beam after that.  We met with her again on Tuesday, finished all of the lessons, and then went over the baptismal interview questions with her, because she was way nervous.  After we were done, she was just like "Wait, is that all?" Yup!  She is so ready.  Her testimony is so strong, and she is just bereit.  She has her final interview tomorrow with our district leader and then on Saturday, AIYANA IS GETTING BAPTIZED.  I couldn’t be more excited. 

Second, Raphael finally came back!  He was at church yesterday, and watching him walk in in his fancy little suit just made me beam from ear to ear.  He was just smiling and saying that he had missed us and was happy to be here again.  Turns out his little trip was a job interview at a University down somewhere, but he rejected it because he just started getting to know us and the branch here and he didn’t want to leave it.  SERIOUSLY.  How much cooler could this guy get?  And he wants to go to the baptism on Saturday.  I really hope he can, because if he feels the spirit there, well then, fill that font back up and let Raphael get in! 

We also had a way fun FHE with Anna’s family.  We played Bananagrams and did a mix of English and German.  Good stuff, and yours truly won. 

I love working with Sister Heywood.  Days just seemed jammed packed with greatness.  We had two street displays this week, and through them, we were able to find a couple of potentials, and we were able to give out 12 Books of Mormon this week.  That’s really good for us.  We had a couple of first appointments with a couple people, which sadly didn’t go anywhere, but we also found this way awesome girl named Ola from Nigeria, who is amazed by the three kingdoms and the Plan of Salvation.  We are meeting with a woman from Brazil tomorrow with the cutest little boy ever.  Yesterday, we were walking and a guy from Nigeria came up to us, asked us if we were from the Church of Jesus Christ and we said yes.  He said he had heard a lot about us from a friend of his that we talked to on the bus a few weeks ago.  He also said that his dad was a member of our church in Nigeria for the past 15 years, and that he has been bugging his son to find this church in Germany and join it.  So we got his number and are meeting with him this week!  SICK.  People just seem to be crawling out of the cracks.  It is great.  We have a goal to find some Germans, though...because for some reason, none of them are ha-ha. 

But I think that the coolest story by far is from Elkin.  So flash back to my email from August 18th...  Over a month ago... 

We had a really cool miracle this week.  So we were trying to find this potentia’ls house, and we just couldn’t find it.  Well, we didn’t want to just go all the way out here, get frustrated that it wasn’t there and then give up and leave, so we decided to go dooring in the area.  Well, like usual, nobody had interest, and it was getting late, so we decided to head to the bus stop to go home.  At the bus stop, there was a guy, who kept looking at us, and he had way broken German, but he kept saying awkward little comments to us, and smiling.  We were a little weirded out, but felt like we should talk with him.  The bus came, and so we got on, and he sat down across the isle, and didn’t really look at us.  Well, behind us in the bus was this black lady breast-feeding her baby, which was completely awkward, but then the bus hit a bump and her stuff went everywhere.  So Sister Heywood went and helped her, and came back and sat closer to the guy.  Then, she just started talking to him.  Within a minute, we learn that he is from Spain, so I practically jump out of my seat, and start speaking to him.  Turns out he is living here, but has seen our church everywhere in Spain, and wanted a Book of Mormon.  He told us all about his life, and we ended up getting off the bus with him, taking him to the church, and giving him a tour, and setting up an appointment for tomorrow night.  Thank you, Sister Heywood.  We now have a potential Spanish investigator, and I am so excited!

Well, my letter the next week, I never told you what happened to this guy, because I was just so disappointed.  That day that we were suppose to meet him, he gave us a call and asked to reschedule the appointment for the next day.  Well, I missed the phone call, and for some dumb reason I had forgotten to ask for his number that last week.  When he called, the number showed up as private, so we had no way to respond to him.  I was crushed, and just prayed and prayed that he would call back again, because I didn’t want him to think that we just ignored him and didn’t care.  Well, flash forward to last Wednesday.  Over a month later.  We were on our way to an appointment, when all of a sudden, we were getting onto a bus about to leave and Sister Heywood grabbed my elbow and pulled me out of my seat yelling, "That’s Elkin!"  We shouted to the bus driver to let us out of the bus, ran out and jumped onto the bus that he got on right before it left.  Sister Heywood ran up to Elkin screaming his name and I just laughed out of surprise.  We talked to him and cleared up the issue of the call.  He said that he still wanted to learn more and asked to meet the next day.  We met on Thursday and had the most amazing lesson ever.  We introduced the Book of Mormon and he just ate it up, sitting there asking what more we could tell him.  We ended up meet with him Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and we are meeting with him again tonight.  I just love teaching Elkin, AND I teach him in Spanish.  Sister Heywood just tells me what she wants to say, and I translate it.  It is amazing.  And at the end of every lesson, when we start to wrap it up, he just asks us, " I have 10 more minutes, what more do you have to tell me?" I still can’t believe our luck.  He is so prepared, and he loves the Mormons.  He always says that we have this special glow to us, and he wants to know more about why we are so different.  He just asks us questions about everything and eats it up.  The only sad part about it is that he is going back to Spain this week, and he doesn’t know for how long.  It could be a week, or two or two months.  He has no idea.  He has to get documentation stuff cleared up for Germany, but Spain isn’t in the best spot right now.  I am going to be crushed when he is gone.  But until then, he is just soaking everything up, and hopefully he can continue to meet with missionaries there and will be back in a week!  I have no idea though.  All I know is that Elkin is awesome, and that I am so glad that Sister Heywood say him on the bus last Wednesday. 

Lucky took us out to a Chinese buffet.
I think I ate enough for 10  people!
There’s always so much more that happens, so many more miracles, but right now, I am just counting my blessings.  Sister Heywood and I work awesome together, and we are just seeing miracle after miracle up here in Münster.  I feel like I just crawl into bed at the end of every night.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I even stayed up till 10:30.  We always seem to crash after planning when we should be writing in our journals.  But that’s just how I would have it. 

It’s going to be another busy week, and definitely one that I will remember.  Get excited for pictures from the baptism!  Just 5 days!!! 

I love you all.  You’re all great.  I hope that you have a fantastic week, and I will see you around January 16th.  Ahh, weird.  But until then...bis nächste Woche! 

Love you!


September 15, 2014

My trainer, me, and my golden! So precious. 
 Hello Family! 

Mom and Dad, it sounds like you two had a really good weekend at the temple!  I think that it is really cool that you were able to do work for so many people in our family.  I know that they are sure happy and grateful for everything that you did.  Troy, I hope that you do well on your phone interview and get some more calls.  Ill pray for that.  Taryn, I am sorry that you are so stressed out and don’t really know what to do next.  Have you ever considered serving a mission?  It’s a nice year and a half break where all you really need to worry about is other people’s salvation…ha-ha.  But really.  Maybe that could help give you some guidance or direction?  I don’t know if you have ever considered it, but maybe you should.  As far as going home, I think I will just stay until January.  I love my mission, and I don’t want to regret what I might miss out on, even if it was just three more weeks.  A lot can happen in just three weeks.  As far as still coming out, if that is still an option, then ja.  I didn’t know if you could since it would be the end of January with work and school and everything, but that would be cool. 

Our fail of an English class opening. Two
crazies and two cute Asians that named
the teams dragon and panda.
Anyways, this week.  Interesting week.  But first things first, Aiyana will be baptized in 2 weeks!  Well, less than 2 weeks, now.  I am so excited!  We are just finishing up the lessons, and then she is READY.  This week, we taught about the Word of wisdom, which she said that she had never done any of it, and never wants too.  Quite refreshing after seeing everyone and their mom smoking in Germany.  Seriously, EVERYONE here smokes.  Its sad how used to it I have become.  I feel like I will go home and just be so confused because people won’t smoke.  I don’t even remember, do people even smoke in America?  Auf jedenfall, we also taught about service and missionary work and then today, we are going shopping with her and helping her find a cute, modest skit for her baptism.  Then we are teaching about the priesthood!  I am super excited to go shopping with her...  I am getting sick of my skirts…ha-ha.  Tomorrow we are going over the baptismal interview questions, and then she will have her actual interview next week.  We will practice the baptism and then, SHE WILL GET BAPTIZED.  She will be my first investigator that I have taught, and actually get to see the baptism.  I am SO EXCITED.  Oh man.  That’s going to be a great day. 

We also had our English Club kick off this week.  That ended up being the biggest fail ever.  Four people came... two cute Asians (which was good), and then two weirdos.  Sorry, but true.  One guy was definitely crazy.  We tried later to go dooring at student dorms to invite more people to this week’s club, but that ended up being a fail too.  We did get asked on two dates, though. 

I think the weirdest one however was one guy.  His room was pitch dark and he cracked open the door, and asked us what we wanted.  We invited him to our English class, and he said, "Do you have any weapons?" Uhhh.....what?  We said no, and he told us to prove it and hold our hands up, so we did, then he said, “Turn around.”  Um sorry guy but I am not turning my face away from you.  I told him no and said, "Will you just take our English flier".  His response?  "No, I dont trust you." Okay guy...didn’t want you there anyway.  Definitely some strange ones.  But they make for some really good stories later.  If only I had a book for all of my dooring experiences.  I have yet to actually find anyone interested in gospel that way though....if any of you have any tips, I’m all ears. 

We got super lost on the way to a
less actives and ended up in
Everswinkel. I hate
Everswinkel now. 
We had some extra time on Wednesday, so we decided to go and visit a less active that lived pretty far away.  But she had been someone I had wanted to visit for a while.  It ended up being quite the adventure.  We got off of the bus too early, in the middle of nowhere, and had to wait another 30 minutes for the next bus.  There was absolutely nothing around, so we couldn’t even go dooring or anything.  But it ended up being for a reason, because we ended up getting there right when she got home.  We had a nice visit with her.  She wasn’t really interested in coming back right now, because her family isn’t super supportive.  We offered to do service for her, and she seemed really grateful.  We are going to go back once she gets back from her cruise.  It ended up being a really good visit, but we missed our bus home by ten minutes.  It was getting late by this time, and the next bus didn’t come for another hour.  So we tried doing some contacting without luck, and finally got on the bus, which didn’t actually end up taking us the entire way home.  It ended up dropping us off at that same stop in the middle of nowhere and the next bus came in an hour.  Just our luck.  We finally got home, super late.  Well, now we know.  Visit Sister Bausch during the day. 

Anna’s doing well.  We helped her out with Seminary this week, and on Wednesday we are going to teach their family how to have a Family Home Evening.  She is really excited, so I am also excited.  I love that family, and Maya is making treats so it’ll be good.  As long as it isn’t more Georgian delicacies.  Sad part of that day, her dog ate what was left of my shoe.  It got really destroyed.  Sister Gionker said it was about time someone took the matter into their hands to make me buy new shoes.  I am going to miss them though. 

Our other investigators are doing well too.  Raphael FINALLY got back from his trip.  He texted us this morning, and said that he missed us and has been reading in the Book of Mormon and is excited to meet with us.  That will be good.  It has been forever I feel like since we have seen him.  The rest…well, we managed to get Books of Mormon in Urdu and Arabic, so we have been teaching them a lot from the Book of Mormon.  I am so grateful for that book, and that it is translated into so many different languages.  It has really forced us to use it as the center of our teaching, which is great, because that’s where the spirit really comes into play.  Elicia came to church this Sunday, and really liked it, although she said that her head hurt afterward because of the language...  I understand, Elicia!

The Sethi Family! 
But probably the best part of this week was on Friday.  We were able to go down to Frankfurt to hear from Elder Ballard.  It was a lot of traveling, because we missed a ton of our trains due to Verspätung, but the 9 hours of travel was totally worth it to hear from an apostle of the Lord.  The second that he walked into the room, the spirit was so strong.  It was just an added testimony that this man, other apostles, and the prophet are all called of God.  This church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, really is the Lord’s church restored on this earth today.  He talked a lot about the power that we have as missionaries, and that we are the way that these people will feel the spirit and feel the truth.  He stated over and over how conversion is all about FEELING.  At the start, it is almost never the doctrine, but the way that investigators feel that make them want to continue.  He said that our attitude and outlook have to be in a way so that others can feel this spirit.  If we don’t carry it, there is no way they will.  He said that we really need to study the doctrines so that we can teach them in a way that will help them personally, and want to make changes in their lives.  I love what he concluded with.  He told us, "But above all else, get to know the Lord." That is what we are here to do, and when we do that, we will be able to help others too.  I know that he is called of God and led to say what Heavenly Father wants us and needs us to hear.  What Elder Ballard said on Freitag was exactly what I needed.

I am excited for another week here in Münster!  I love Sister Heywood and am so glad that I can work with her.  She is a great companion, and this is a great world!

I hope you all have a wunderbares week, and I will talk to you all next week!  Love you.


September 8, 2014

Celebrating it right...
one year in Germany!

I think I need a new pair of shoes :)
Hey Familie!  Sounds like everything is going well over in the States.  This last Thursday was my year mark in Germany.  Krass, I have been away from America for a full year.  That is just weird to think.  As far as coming home, I feel more and more like I will be coming home at the end of January.  At the beginning of every Zone Conference, President gives announcements about how he encourages us to stay until the end, and that when he was younger he took block classes, and that he wouldn’t less us know until the end of September.  So as of now, I just have the mindset that I will be missing the semester by less than a month, so if that is the Lord's plan, I will just go with it.  But I would go absolutely crazy staying in Fort Collins.  I would want to go out to Provo after a week or so and live with Cassidy and McKenna and get a job and work until block classes in February or something.  That sounds good to me, so I would be fine with that.  So then I would still need a contract for winter semester.  I’ll email Cassidy and ask for her mom’s email.  So, looks like I will see you all in January!

Which really is fine with me.  We had transfer calls this week, and I will continue to train Sister Heywood in Münster for this transfer...  no surprise there.  What is really weird for me to think about is that after this transfer (yes, I know it just started) I only have 2 left.  I have officially hit the double digits.  I am on transfer 10 out of 12.  I don't know where the time has gone, but I will definitely make the best of the time I have left.  It’s just too great a place.  This week though, I realized just how awkward my whole life is as a missionary.  Dont get me wrong, it is absolutely wonderful, but I have become the queen of awkward. 

The Vermillions took us Vapianos after our
cleaning checks on Wednesday.
It was DELICIOUS. I love that place. 

Why?  Well to start, we had one of our most awkward appointments ever on Tuesday.  On Monday, we got a text from a girl named Karina.  She said she was a recent convert from Düisberg, and was in Münster for the week, and asks if she could meet up with us and read in the Book of Mormon with us.  Sounds cool, right?  Thought so, too.  So we meet her at the train station and are walking back to the church, asking her questions about her life.  She gave one-word answers and then just awkwardly laughed at the end.  Then we start reading Enos, and asking her questions, and she just stared at us.  Didn’t say anything, except laugh.  I had no clue how to make it less awkward.  So we kept it short, and then at the end, after the prayer she just sat there for another 10 minutes expecting who knows what.  We tried to make some awkward small talk but luckily our phone rang so I ran out of the room, leaving poor Sister Heywood there.  Okay, this just doesn’t do it justice.  Just know, it was awkward. 

Our gift to Aiyana so that she always
 looks towards the temple...the
Denver Temple and the
San Antonio one! 
Then we taught Aiyana the law of chastity.  My favorite!  Sad part, after that appointment, this seems like a breeze.  We had a great appointment, and she asked us questions about our dating life back home...good thing that took me about zero seconds to summarize.  She just laughed at that.  We taught it from the for Strength of Youth and talked about modesty and dating too, and she agreed to all of it.  Afterwards, she stayed back and played the piano and sang with us and just chatted.  I like this new version of Aiyana.  She loves Sister Heywood too.  She just thinks she is the cutest thing ever.  She wanted to go shopping with us one P-Day so that we could find modest skirts to wear to church.  We all know that is almost impossible in Germany.  That was a good lesson.  We also taught her about the temple and geneology on Sunday after church.  There is a temple trip a few weeks after her baptism for the Youth.  She is going to try to find a name and take it on the trip.  She is super excited to go. 

We also helped out Anna with her newspaper route again.  She started a new school and has been really stressed lately, and so we wanted to help her out.  She also didn’t come to church for a little while, so we have been worried about her.  We tried to have a lot of contact with her and her family this week.  I just love Anna.  She is just so cute, and I don’t want her to be so stressed out.  That has got to be hard, being only 16 and the only one in your family that is a member.  We will just keep working with them!  We are going over on Thursday to teach them all again, so that will be great.  I love the Toidzes.  And good news, Anna came to church! 

Thursday we had another appointment with Andreas and the elders.  They tried to make out a baptismal date for the 20th, but he kept saying that he is not ready.  I dont know how to help him, but I just love Andreas.  Today we got some more beautiful clothes from him, and ate fruit from Turkey.  It was ...  interesting. 

I just love this branch!
It was a sad week this week because we ended up dropping a couple investigators.  Hard to do when you don’t have too many to work with, but the Lord will definitely bless you when you do what is best.  Like on Saturday.  We went to a Pakistanian birthday party.  Quite the night…I will never forget.  We found this family in the area book.  They are from Pakistan.  We called them up and they invited us over last week.  There was a huge language barrier, but they are the nicest family I have ever met.  They invited us over for their son’s birthday party, so we went and that was quite the experience.  There were a ton of families there from Pakistan all speaking Urdu, but there was one family with four daughters, all raised in Germany.  We talked with them the whole time and they were just fascinated by what we do.  At the end, their mom said that they want us to come over this week and teach their familie some more…so sick!  We drop a few, and find some more.  Thank you, awkward birthday parties. 

When I came to Germany, I expected to have a language barrier between the Germans and me, but I never expected there being so many different languages here.  That isn’t even the problem.  The problem now is that all of our investigators right now (except Aiyana) aren’t even native Germans...ha-ha.  Never saw that one happening.  It has really taught me about the power of the Book of Mormon and of the spirit.  We may not be able to communicate as well as we would like, but there is power in the spirit and in the Book of Mormon.  The language of the Spirit is what really converts them, so I have had to rely on that a lot lately. 

Raphael has been gone all week.  I really miss that guy!  But we called him on Thursday to see how he was doing.  He responded by saying that he hadn’t forgotten about us and that he thought about us all the time.  He said that he has been reading in the Book of Mormon every night and thinking a lot about baptism...and this was all before we even asked him more than, "How are you doing?" He is so great.  I really want him to get back soon so that we can meet with him, because he just makes me so grateful to be a missionary.  But in the meantime, we are on the hunt for some more Raphaels and Aiyanas! 

Our last district picture of the
transfer...time has flown!
Well, another transfer is gone, but I am beyond excited for this Friday.  We are having a mission wide conference, and Elder Ballard is speaking to us.  Which means that I will get to hear from an apostle of the Lord and see all of my mission buddies.  This is like Christmas times ten.  It will be a great day!

Also, yesterday, Charles (my investigator from Heidelberg) got baptized!!!  I got to call him after his baptism, and he answered the phone saying, “Sista Teeples!  I miss ya so so much.  Thank ya for everything ya did for me.  I wont ever forget ya." Oh man, I love Charles!  And now he is baptized!  I couldn’t be happier right now. 

Gotta love the mission!  Good things happening, and even better things to come. 

I love you all, and hope that you have a GREAT week.  I will talk to you all next week. 

Bis dann!

Sister Teeples