Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 10, 2014

Hot chocolate
Well, I kind of miss hearing from Troy.  He's missed the past two weeks now.  Come on, boy, write me! I only have about 10 weeks left.  You can do it! But thanks for all of the other emails.  Taryn, your week sounded awesome in California.  That would be the life, just sitting there at the beach.  Mom, glad everything went well for your ground breaking.  That is sweet that it is really happening.  Hey Mom, I have a question for you.  I may have found a kindergarten buddy.  His name is Elder Lovelace, and I just found out that he is from Tomball, Texas.  He knows the Jensen family too.  And best part? Pretty sure he was in my kindergarten class.  How crazy would that be? Was Mrs. Labou my kindergarten?  If she was, than I really, really hope you have some kindergarten class pictures that you can send me so that I can show Elder Lovelace.  That’s your task for the week. 

As for my past week…I am still trying to get used to Frankfurt.  It’s just such a big change going from Münster to here, in every way possible.  It’s really hard going from such a huge, awesome teaching pool to literally no one.  Sister Sorensen and I have been talking to so many people, and we managed to set up three appointments with potentials this week, but they all ended up falling out.  And worst part was that two of them gave us false numbers.  That really hurt.  We are trying to stay positive though.  That’s our goal for this week.  Stay positive and hopefully we will be able to find some people that speak English and give us correct numbers and come to the appointments and have interest to learn more.  That’s not too much to ask for, right? 

But at least we have good members here.  We met with the Young Women’s president, Sister Bradford this week, and it was really good.  She is really cool.  She has literally lived everywhere…China, Norway, Germany, France, USA, and probably a million other places.  She is way on top of things and always looking for ways to share the gospel, and encouraging the Young Women to do it too, so its cool.  She served a German-speaking mission too, so she understands how important the members are. 

Luckie came down from Münster this
weekend for a wedding reception and
visited us. He took us out to lunch
on Saturday. It was awesome. 
The Relief Society president is also really great.  She is from Spain and is really excited that I am here to help out all of the Spanish speakers.  My poor golden.  We can’t work with German speakers, and now because I am here, she has to sit in on all of these Spanish lessons.  So we went by on three less actives this week that she asked us to focus on, and saw some cool success from that.  We got an appointment with Sister Munoz who is originally from Nicaragua, but luckily for Sister Sorensen she lived in America for a long time so she is fluent in English.  She has the craziest life story, which I’ll have to tell you about later, but she needs the gospel so badly.  She came to church last week, and noticed a difference, so hopefully we can get her to come again.

Another family is from Argentina, and they came to the ward Halloween party my first day here.  She has the most adorable 6-year-old twin girls and three older sons, but they went inactive when they moved here.  Because they couldn't understand church, so they just stopped going.  So hopefully we can help them.  We have an appointment with them tomorrow. 

And then lastly is the family Matos Montero.  They are our MUCH NEEDED miracle story for the week.  We decided to go by them and they ended up being home and letting us right in, which is apparently really rare.  She has been less active for about 15 years, and her husband (I am actually not sure if they are married) is not a member.  They have this adorable two-year-old daughter and are both from the Dominican Republic.  We got to know them, and left a thought and asked them if they needed anything.  She said that she needed the spirit in her life again.  She then went off forever about how great her life was when she was active and how much she loves the Mormons, and how they raise the children to be good.  She said that she wanted that again in her life.  We then asked her husband if it was something he would be interested in learning more about.  He said yes.  So we set up another appointment for this week.  They both wanted to come to church this week, but dumb thing was that it was stake conference in Darmstadt, which is about an hour away by car, so they said that they would just wait until next week.  So I am really hopeful about that. 

Our one other investigator, Henrietta is also doing well.  She has a baptismal date for the 22nd, but I think we are going to have to push it back a little bit.  But we are going there again tonight, and she is going to introduce us to some of her friends, so we are excited about that. 

Other than that, well, we are sure trying.  We spend a lot of time contacting, and it’s hard to keep my golden’s spirits up when we haven’t seen much success.  I can’t blame her at all.  I remember being trained, and let’s be honest, we didn’t have much going for us, and we didn’t really find anyone to teach either.  I couldn’t help but blame myself for it, because I knew I should have been doing more.  But I guess I am just being humbled again, and having to start from the beginning.  I am just praying for some success this week though, so that Sister Sorensen can feel like she is making a difference here in Frankfurt.  I just want to start her mission off right.  And end mine right too, for that matter. 

But whatever the Lord wants, that is what will happen.  I just have to remember that people have their agency and I am here to testify and invite.  So I will continue to do that.  I have made the Atonement a huge part of my study lately, and I have realized that when it comes down to it, there are two parts, one to make a bad man good, and one to make a good man better.  One part is possible through the mercy of Christ, and one is possible through his grace.  Well, I have tried to really learn about Grace and how I can use it more in my life, because I really need this enabling power right now.  Power to change myself, so that I can change my circumstances, and make this place better.  And myself.  So that will be my goal for the next ten weeks.

I love you all.  I hope that you all have a fantastic week, and I look forward to hearing for you all next week. 

Bis dann.


November 3, 2014

Well, I am in Frankfurt, and it is completely weird.  I feel like I am in a completely different country right now, which half speaking is completely true.  Its crazy to think that just at the beginning of last week, I was in Münster.  I really do miss that place.

FHE at Anna's home
Last Monday night, I had my last appointment with Raphael.  We taught the Word of Wisdom, and it was just great.  While we were teaching him, we explained how we shouldn’t drink coffee or tea.  He just stopped us and was like, "I am so sorry, I didn't know that this was a commandment from God.  I didn't know.  I had coffee this morning.  But I wouldn't have if I had known." I was not expecting that one.  We asked him if he would keep the Word of Wisdom, and he just went off about how he would keep any commandment that came from God, so naturally he would keep this one.  I just can’t get over how great this guy is.  After our lesson, he gave me this weird little bird statue to take with me so that I could remember him.  He said that he was looking around his apartment for a parting gift and saw it and how it was looking up to the heaven, and how he immediately thought it would be perfect.  Its kind of weird, but just the fact that it is from Raphael means that I will never get rid of this little statue. 

Thelea, my friend from Heidelberg, was
serving a mini mission this week, and
she stayed the night with us
on Thursday! IT was so great. 
On Tuesday, we went and said bye to the Jackwerths, Anna, Aiyanna and Chi An.  Those goodbyes were all really hard, but Anna and Aiyanna were by far the toughest.  I just feel so responsible for these girls.  They have become two of my best friends, and I will for sure miss them.  But I will find a way to go and see them soon. 

And then Wednesday we were off.  Bright and early.  We had to lug my suitcases all the way to the Bahnhof because it was too early for us to take the buses.  Sorry Sister Heywood....  The usual 20-minute walk took us about 40 minutes, ha-ha.  It was pretty awful, but the good part of that companionship is that we just laughed everything off.  So we finally got on the bus, and were able to make it down to Frankfurt for the pairing meeting the next day.

Chi An played me a nice good bye song
The weirdest part of it all was probably the fact that once I got here, I realized that I am not leaving ever again.  I am going to be here until the end of my mission and then get on a plane and go home.  That was a weird thought.  The other hard part was seeing Sister Heywood get on a bus to go back to Münster with her new golden.  Man, I miss her.  I really do feel like my best friend left me.  We did so much together and saw so many cool miracles, and we just got along so well.  I am really grateful for our time together.  Oh, cool fact…her new comp, Sister Johnson, knows Chloe Rudd.  Taryn, you have to tell Chloe that. 

My new companion’s name is Sister Sorensen.  She is 19 and from Sandy, Utah, and probably couldn’t be more different from Sister Heywood.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Sister Sorensen.  It is just really different.  She is just a sweet girl.  Really quiet, and doesn’t say too much.  Hopefully it’s just the awkward first week together thing.  But I can tell she just really wants to be a good missionary, so dafür, bin ich sehr dankbar.  She definitely wants to be obedient, so I know that we will see some cool things here. 

Our hike today...
The past couple days...they have been different.  I am still trying to get the feel for Frankfurt.  The elders passed us of one investigator, Henrietta.  She is cool.  She is from Ghana and has the cutest little one-year-old son.  We went there with them on Saturday and taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy.  The German Sisters also passed us an investigator that is 80 years old and have been investigating the church for 20 years.  We met her this week.  Yeah…don’t think she has much potential to progress, but she is really funny.   Other than that, we have been spending every day trying to find people.  The hard part is that we can only teach people that speak English, not German.  And well, we are in Germany, so that is kind of hard.  I really don’t know what I am doing right now, but I am just hoping that it will pick up eventually.  Our ward, they are intense.  I am going from my tiny branch to a ward of like 200 people.  And church in English, and with 3 hours? That is just weird.  While we were taking the sacrament, the prayers just were running through my head in German.  I realized that it is extremely hard for me to pray or bare my testimony in English. This is just all weird.  But on the bright side, the ward is excited to have sisters.  The Relief Society president and Young Women’s president are both awesome, so I am excited to work with them.  The weirdest part of this ward is that English is the second language for a lot of them, or they are from Ireland or Scotland or England, so the accents are all different.  It’s pretty cool.  There are also a ton of Spanish speakers, so I get to work with them.  So looks like my Spanish may be better than my German pretty soon.
We got to the top, and it was so foggy
that we couldnt see ANYTHING.
Not even the big look out tower.

Oh, today we went on a 7.7 km hike.  That was tiring.  I want to go to bed right now, ha-ha.  Really, this whole week has just been exhausting.  But that’s okay.  

Really, right now I am just trying to get my life in order.  I really don’t know what I am doing here.  We are just trying to find investigators, and live up to the wards intense expectations.  But I know that if we are obedient and try our best, we will be blessed.  I have a feeling in a couple weeks I really will like this place.  And I am here for a reason, so I will work and let the Lord show me it. 

Saying goodbye to this
creepy apartment
Sorry this letter is so short.  We got back late and I don’t have too much time.  Hopefully my next letter will be more entertaining, and I will have a lot of stories to tell you.  But until then, just know that I love you all.  I hope that you all have a fantastic week! 

Love, Savannah 

My two goldens...

My trainer, the other sister
she trained, my two goldens,
and Sister Heywood's
golden...quite the family tree! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

October 27, 2014

After the call, when we
realized we were getting split up 
Well, MY LIFE JUST GOT THROWN UPSIDE DOWN.  I think that Heavenly Father has a really big sense of humor, and I still don't get it.  Remember how last week I sent this to you?

Transfers calls are this week.  No matter what dad says, I’m pretty sure Sister Heywood and I will be staying together. 

I thought it was a 100% chance we would stay together and Elder Rock was getting shipped out.  I'd been making guesses of where the whole week.  Well, jokes on me.  On Friday morning, Sister Heywood and I were just going about our day, and just got out of another super awesome lesson, where we found YET ANOTHER FAMILY.  We got the dreaded call from President.  Turns out, my little golden is training here in Münster and I am opening and training in Frankfurt.  Holy Crap.  I have to open and train.  In Frankfurt International Ward.  Looks like my days of speaking German are over.  I am seriously freaking out right now.  I LOVE Münster (I know I say this every time I am transferred), but it is going to be the hardest thing saying bye to Aiyana, Anna, Raphael, Elkin, the Jackwerths, Sören...everyone.  I just love everyone.  This place--it’s like my little family, and now I am going to a big ward, where I don't even know where I live or the church is, let alone have any investigators or anything.  This is going to be a big test, and I am extremely nervous about it.  I just really hope that I get a good golden that is ready to go out and work...because this is going to be hard.  But the Lord's plan is better than mine--as much as I want to stay in Münster with Sister Heywood. 

Elder Rock teaching me how he relieves
stressed after I found out where
I was being transferred to. 
That being said, this weekend has been just a major freak out mode for the both of us, ha-ha.  I have been trying to get Sister Heywood feel a little better about taking over, and we have her weekend all figured out for her new golden.  I think the saddest part of this all is that I am going to miss out on Dorian's baptism this Saturday.  He's Aiyana's little brother, and after her baptism, he decided he wanted that too.  He is such a cutie.  But at least the Elders get to stay for it. 

District Ten
My little buddies...I'm
going to miss these guys
As far as the pre-freak out days, those all went really well, although we had a ton of appointments fall out.  We were still working hard and seeing success.  We have FHE every week with Anna and her family, and every week her little brother is more and more excited about it.  We taught the Plan of Salvation this week.  Well, actually, we had Anna teach us the Plan of Salvation.  It turned more into Leon teaching it to us.  It was awesome.  He was able to tell us so much about it.  Every week it just gets better.  We are going again tomorrow, so I can say bye to them, but I am hoping that we can make him into an investigator again, because that would just be so great for Anna to have her family supporting her again. 

We also found a really cool lady this week.  Well technically, the Elders found her through dooring, but asked us to meet with her since her husband works late every night.  She has three cute little boys and the youngest has Epilepsy.  She just loves them all so much, and you could just feel it.  She is not religious at all, but she opened up to us that since her youngest was born five years ago, she has lost all faith in God.  She doesn’t understand why some people would be cursed like this...both her and her son.  She just looked so lost.  All we could do is just listen to her, and then I just bore strong testimony of how much God loves her and that He has a plan for each of his children, and that He doesn’t want her to feel this way.  He wants her to be happy.  We said that the message we had to share would help her gain a relationship with God and answer all of her questions and doubts, and that we wanted to share it with her.  You could just feel the love in this room.  She said we could come back this week, and share more with her. 

Ola and Nurdjan... these
girls are HILARIOUS 
We also finally got to meet with Elizia this week.  It has been over a month.  But we walked in preparing to share about the Godhead with her (There is a massive language barrier, so we have to go reaaalllly slowly).  Then to our surprise, her whole family was there from Seria, including her two brothers, their wives and their children.  We sat down, just completely shocked, and had no idea what to teach, so we just started basic and talked about the love of God.  It was the most interesting lesson ever.  We would say about three sentences, and then one of the teenage girls or Elizia would translate it into Arabic for the family.  About after 5 minutes, one of the brothers asked us if we knew why there were so many churches.  We ended up teaching the entire Restoration, and at the end, they all wanted to come to church with us and want Books of Mormon in Arabic to read.  They were so invested in every thing we were saying.  It was just awesome.  About 5 of them ended up coming to church yesterday, even though they understand almost no German.  It was really cool. 

Monika, our hilarious referral
We had a sweet appointment about repentance with Ola and her friend Nurdjan.  We asked them what repentance meant to them, and I felt like they were just reading out of Preach My Gospel.  It was amazing.  We then read the story of Alma the younger together, and had an amazing discussion about it.  Ola has an extremely strong testimony about how through Christ, we can overcome all things, no matter where we are at, and it just really strengthened my testimony. 

We are meeting with Raphael tonight, for my last time.  He came to church yesterday and when I told him I was going, he just was like, "Noooooooooooooo!".  He is making us a spaghetti dinner tonight because it is his favorite meal and he wants to say goodbye properly, ha-ha.  Spaghetti topped off with the Word of Wisdom...  its going to be a great lesson! 

Sister Dröge and her son Sören.  AKA...
nicest family alive, and best Ward
Mission Leader this world could ever see. 
Taryn... expect a good letter in the mail soon 
We also met the craziest, funniest lady this week through a referral.  She was only here this week, for her dad`s funeral.  Her daughter is a member in North Carolina, and she has been trying to get her mom converted for years,  She figured that this would be a good opportunity for us to go offer to help, or share some comfort during this time.  So Sister Heywood and I were expecting someone super sad to answer the door, and we were role playing what to say to help her.  Well, that was a waste.  This women sees us and was just like, "MORMONS; COME ON IN." She let us right in, gave us food, and just started cracking jokes like crazy.  We were just sitting there so confused, thinking, "Is this the right lady?"  She was just talking to us, when the door bell rings, and she just stopped and started laughing, and says, "Oh this will be funny, here comes another Catholic".  It was this way cool guy from Mexico, and the appointment ended up just being Monica complimenting the Mormons the whole time and telling us everything she loved about us.  The guy was studying to be a Catholic priest, but wanted to come check out our church.  Not sure what happened in that appointment, but it was sure entertaining. 

Man, I am going to miss this place.  I am going to miss all of these awesome people, this branch, our investigators, and especially Sister Heywood.  I love that girl.  Hopefully I will like Frankfurt just as much, but right now, I am just scared out of my mind for what is coming.  Definitely going to end my mission with a bang.  Please just pray for me, ha-ha.  I need some help.  Sister Heywood too.  But if it is what the Lord wants, then I will go.  No matter how much it hurts.  I guess I will just really learn to rely on him and learn how to apply his grace and enabling power in my life.  Oh side note, go read that talk by Elder Bednar.  He gave a talk on the enabling power of the atonement at BYU a few years ago, and I read it this week and it has really helped me.  It opened my eyes to a whole new side of things.

We had fun playing your little
spider darts thing... until they
threw them all at me. 
Well, wish me luck.  The Adventure beings again!

Love you all.


October 20, 2014

Hey family! 

You always say that nothing much changes from week to week, but compared to how things were when I left, things are WAY different.  Taryn's probably going to Ecuador, Troy's been married for an Ewigkeit and is is applying for medical schools, Moms building a high school, and Dad is looking for his next great job.  That’s a lot of changes.  But life moves on.  Its going to be weird going home to that.  I tend to think everything is on still while I'm gone...oh well. 

Also, I got the Halloween box!  Holy Reeses, that’s a lot of food.  Thank you so much.  My district is rather excited about it.  We are going to have a pumpkin carving / Reeses eating party next P-day. 

Dad, as for your talk, oh gosh I have no idea.  All I can say is that the only real success we have here is through the members...but that is a worn out theme.  Honestly though, that’s hard, because most of my mission, we have been trying to find investigators to get the members excited, and right now our branch is so tiny that I need all the help I can get to help them do missionary work, too.  If you get any brain blasts from my past experiences...let me know ha-ha.  But look into Heidelberg...that’s where we did our most work with members, and cool things happened. 

Matt emailed me this week; well him and Ethan have been emailing me every week.  It’s been really nice and cool to hear about all their experiences!  Matt needs a reality check.  His email contradicted himself.  How can he not have many investigators and need more when he had 20 MEMBER PRESENT LESSONS?  That is UNHEARD of here.  We are happy when we can put a 3 in that column.  It’s a dream to have even 10 lessons with investigators in a week...or just 10 lessons total.  I can’t even imagine having 20 member present lessons in one week.  That boy, he needs to count his blessings. 

But, reality check here in Germany.  Sorry, I didn’t have 20 lessons, but I sure worked hard, so that’s okay.  Sister McMurray and I had a split on Tuesday.  It was the best split I've been on on my whole mission.  Sister McMurray and I just did work, but she was able to answer so many of my questions that I have been having lately, and so it was much needed.  I also happened to be there on the day that they got bikes, so naturally we switched around our plans a little so that we could ride the bikes.  It was such a blast.  We got lost, and ended up in the middle of nowhere and our GPS died.  We were just biking through these back roads in gorgeous green fields.  And then we finally found this less active that we were trying to go by on.  Let me just say, I have never been treated more like scum on my mission.  I've dealt with a lot (A LOT) of rude people, but never someone like this.  This guy answered and we asked him if he was Herr so and so.  He answered who’s asking, and then we said we were from his church and wanted to introduce ourselves.  He blew up at us and started yelling and cursing us out and shoving us, telling us to get out and that we knew the way out.  We tried asking him if he just wanted us to remove his name from the church rolls, but he wouldn’t give us the time of day and just shoved us off his property.  Goodness gracious man, I’m still a human!  But that’s okay.  We just got back on our bikes and road through some more gorgeous fields and laughed it off because we felt very missionary.  Bikes, dooring, rude people, getting lost...what could make for a better day?  But I loved every single second of it.  Maybe its just Sister McMurray, but it was a good day. 

This week's fruit experiment
Our investigators are doing well.  Ruano, our investigator from Mexico, is just solid.  He’s reading a ton in the Book of Mormon, wants to come to church all the time, and just soaks up everything we say, asking a ton of questions.  I wish I could understand and communicate with him better, because obviously my Spanish has gotten pretty bad, and his accent is totally different and hard for me to understand.  But I count my blessings for how much I do get, and that we can communicate enough to allow for the spirit to take over.  Teaching in Spanish really makes me feel like a golden again, where I mainly have to just sit there and insert my little comments and hope that the spirit can help me out during the silence.  But clearly its working, because he is progressing and all.  Ruano is solid.

We always find all the random fruits and test
them out.  Provides for entertainment,
but they don't always taste the best.
Ola is doing well too.  We watched President Uchtdorf’s talk about light and truth with her, and she loved it.  She said that she needed to change her thought process and read the Book of Mormon with the intent to prove that it was right.  She finally kept her commitment and read in the Book of Mormon this week.  2 Nephi 2.  She said that as she read it, she realized that it did teach what the Bible taught.  She’s finally making progress, and it’s all because she is giving the Book of Mormon the time of day.  That book is powerful, and really is the only way that people can gain a testimony.  If they don’t read inside, then they can never come to know if this is God’s church.  If they do, and most importantly do it with the intent to discover if its right, then miracles will happen.  Slowly but surely, Ola is making progress! 

We got a referral from Osnabrück this week, for a girl named Darlene.  She has been investigating the church for years, and moved down to Münster area to live with her mom.  We went to go meet with her, to find out that she lives 1.5 hours away...waayyy toward the end of our area.  WHY ARE THESE AREAS SO BIG?  We get there and had a great meeting, and she said that she believes that the Book of Mormon is true, and loves the feeling when she is at church, and just sounded like she is just ready to be baptized.  So I asked her way bluntly, "Why aren’t you baptized yet?"  Turns out she is lesbian.  We don’t really know where to go with that one, but I am just praying for some inspiration.  She is one of the nicest girls, though, and so we are going to work through this with her and just continue strengthening her testimony. 

We made cookies and a
card for Raphael's birthday.
Raphael.  I realized something this week.  I’ve worked with a lot of people for a really long time on my mission.  I have been working with Raphael about three months, not nearly as long as other people, but it seems like I have known him so much longer, and that he just needs to get baptized.  He seems like he is a member already.  Everything just clicks with him; I just don’t realize what the missing link is.  Last time he was talking about how he likes it when members live what they believe.  We are hoping as we continue to teach the commandments, something will strike him and he will suddenly stop us and say, “LET’S GO GET BAPTIZED.”  Some day I'll see a miracle like that. 

We haven’t been able to meet with Elkin this week.  He has been stressed out of his mind with problems with his Ex-wife and everything.  Dumb.  But hopefully soon. 

Lost on bikes in
beautiful Germany
Other than that, just lots and lots of contacting.  Fun stuff.  But its always worth it when you find that one woman sitting lonely on a park bench and you end up having a 30 minute discussion about the purpose of life and pouring your heart out about the Book of Mormon.  It doesn’t even matter when you find out that she doesn’t live in your area, because she gives you her information, and a hug and tells you thank you for the talk and that she wants to meet with missionaries where she lives.  That’s what it is all about.  I’ll get shoved out of mean less active doors and told nein a million times if I can have one nice discussion with one nice lady on one nice bench and maybe change her life.  I'll never know what happens, but that’s okay.  I like getting to share my testimony with others. 

Transfers calls are this week.  No matter what Dad says, I’m pretty sure Sister Heywood and I will be staying together.  But we will see. 

But until then, Ill go share the gospel with some more people and try to make a difference in someone’s life.

I hope that you all have a good week!  See ya later.