Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

            I am glad that you guys survived and enjoyed Snowbird. It hasn't stopped raining here and I don't think it will. It just rains every day, that’s how it is. I have no rain coat yet, we just wear suit coats and I bought an umbrella. The rain is normally pretty warm, but some days, like to day, it’s actually pretty cold. It’s pretty nice right now in summer, but we will see what it is like in winter. Who knows? Maybe I won't even be here. Transfers are in another 3 weeks, so maybe I will be transferred.
            Anyways, we had a sweet farewell to the Condies. It was in Stuttgart for the Stuttgart zone. It was way good, they gave us some great advice about teaching with the spirit and then helping investigators recognize that they are feeling the spirit, and it was just great. After the farewell I went to Heilbronn with Elder Sills on a comp. exchange. I have no real clue where Heilbronn is in relation to Stuttgart. I just know its North and slightly westish. About an hour train ride from Stuttgart. We had three appointments fall out, so it was an interesting experience. Then we switched back the next day. And guess what? While I was in Heilbronn Elder Patchett and Elder Neumayer (Elder Patchett's companion) committed Donna, one of our investigators, to baptism. She said yes! Her baptism is scheduled for July 9th, and we are excited. Donna is about 35, from the Philippines, married to a German and has 3 children. Her sister is actually a member in the Philippines and referred her. Donna is really religious, and she was attending church every week fairly regularly before I came, but she hasn't been to church since I've been here. We have also only met with her one other time since I've been here. She has a REALLY BIG problem with the plan of salvation. The fall is really difficult for her to understand. She was given 2 Nephi 2 to read, and she got to the part where it says that if Adam and Eve hadn't eaten of the fruit they couldn't have children, and she said that was totally wrong. God gave them the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth before they ate of the fruit, and that means that they could have children. She pretty much shut down right there, wouldn't read any more, and stopped coming to church. So a few weeks ago when we met with her we talked about it, and man, she was driving me crazy. I think that the problem was that the lesson was in English, and we thought we could logic our way and convince her. It totally didn't work, and both Elder Patchett and I had the feeling after that lesson that we needed to just drop that issue for now and give her something to do, a real commitment that would strengthen her faith in God. And then it all worked out perfectly. Elder Patchett and Neumayer met with her at the church, in front of the baptismal font, and had a 3rd lesson. Elder Patchett said it was super spiritual, and in the end they helped her recognize the spirit and then committed her to baptism. She seemed excited, apparently, but the problem is that she didn't come to church yesterday, even though we called Saturday to confirm she would come. We think there might be an issue with her husband because he is Atheist and might not like his wife converting. So we are praying a lot for them and hoping when we meet this week we can help her and hopefully talk to her husband.
  Besides that, this week has been a lot of falled out appointments, but we have met some pretty sweet people off the street, so that is just a testimony builder to me that there is no such thing as failing in this work. As long as we try our best and do what we can do, the Lord will use us exactly as we are supposed to be used. Sometimes our limited mortal view prevents us from understanding the purposes of the Lord, but as the Lord told Joseph Smith, the works of the Lord can not be frustrated, neither can the come to not. The Lord knows the end from the beginning, of that I can testify, and I know that the Lord has a plan for Donna, and as long as Elder Patchett and I continue following that plan then we will be able to help her. Thanks for all of the love and support.

Liebe gruße
Elder Terry

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011

Stephans Dom.

           Hello from the Rainy city of Waiblingen! I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying Snowbird, even if having a Gilmore Girls marathon isn't exactly what I would consider a vacation... but yes I got the package, thank you very very much, I have missed the taste of American peanut butter! So I've been enjoying the package a lot, so thank you. Don't worry about the whole e coli thing, we are being very careful. 
As you noticed I'm sending quite a few pictures, some of them are from the MTC, but I hope you still like them. 

Well this last week has been interesting. We have been working way hard, and we found 2 new investigators from old investigators. One is Ziyad, he is from Iraq, is Christian, and doesn't speak very good German, and the other is Frau Klein, she owns a restaurant, is from Hungary, and her son died like 6 or 7 years ago. Hopefully we can help them remember the gospel of Jesus Christ and progress towards making covenants. We are having a hard time finding investigators off the street though. The people are way way nicer than in Wien, they actually stop and listen to you, but they just say that they have no interest and or that they already have a church and don't want to change. I guess I am going to have to come up with some more clever things to say, and do a better job of testifying to people so that they can feel the spirit.

Roman arch at Welzheim
            We have had some cool adventures this week though. On Wednesday we had an ausstellung, which is a street display thing, in Heilbronn, which is like an hour north of us. A pair of missionaries that are in our district work there, so we went there as a district to help out. Unfortunately, like it has every day this week, it rained. So that made it a little bit harder to talk to people, but it also made it more fun. I ended up talking with some German who believes that we need a strong leader, like Hitler, to make all the decisions for us because people are dumb, and that Christ was crucified because Pilate was a weak leader. It was a really interesting conversation, and in the end he just walked away because he couldn't convince me we needed another Hitler. Lovely Germans!

            Anyways, we have had some little successes with a few Muslim people we have found dooring. Muslim people are actually the nicest in my opinion, and I've kinda learned what things to say to keep them talking because as soon as they see that we are from Jesus Christ they totally tune out. But we found a young man dooring, and we ended up talking about what happens after this life, and he seemed genuinely interested, so explained what we believed and then talked about the Book of Mormon, and he wanted one so we gave him one with some chapters to read. Unfortunately he is going on vacation for 2 months, so it will be a while before we can have contact again.
             We also found another Muslim young man who was interested in learning more and said that he would love to meet with us sometime and talk about religion. So that was cool too. 
This coming week is going to be a lot busier though, we have a goodbye to Pres. Condie zone conference tomorrow and then I'm going to Heilbronn for a companion exchange for a day with our district leader, and we have a service project planned for this week. I know that as we continue to work harder and harder and trust the Lord that the blessings will come, and whether we have 4 investigators or 50, we are engaged in the work of the Lord, and it is AWESOME!  I don't know what you could say to Adam to help him remember, but don't hesitate to share your testimony with him. The spirit is what is important, not your words. Like Elder Pearson told us in the MTC, everyone here already knows the gospel. They all chose it in the Pre-mortal life. And at the end every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. So everyone is somewhere between knowing the gospel and knowing the gospel. The secret is that only the Holy Ghost can help people remember what they know. So just bare testimony to Adam and the Holy Ghost will bring it back to his remembrance. I love you all and enjoy your time at Snowbird! 
Elder Terry


Monday, June 6, 2011

June 5, 2011

            Well... I forgot to bring your letter with me, so I don't know if I can remember all of your questions, but I will try to give as many answers as possible. So first, our apartment is right across the street from a horse meat factory, so every Monday morning we get to listen to horses get killed. Yeah at least it’s not every day. I don't know what you meant by a park nearby, there is like some farm land and an open field and stuff, but not really any trails to run on. We have only gone running once unfortunately because Elder Patchett is a karate kid and not a runner, but I just normally do push-ups and sit-ups and stuff, although last week I bought a basketball because we live only like a 5 minute walk from the church, and we played this morning so that was fun. Waiblingen doesn’t really have anything to fun to do, definitely not like Vienna, but I am hoping that I will be able to convince Elder Patchett to go to Ulm for P-day in a few weeks, which is in our zone, to see a huge Catholic church, and I think next week we are going to go to a Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. The problem is that museums here are closed on Mondays so we have to change our P-day to go to museums so it’s a hassle. So if I don't email until Tuesday next week than that is why.
            (Regarding the e-coli outbreak in Germany he says…) Yeah, we received orders from Pres. and Sis. Condie to disinfect our apartment so on Saturday we went to the store, bought some bleach, cleaned everything and bleach rinsed our fruits and vegetables. And we can't eat lettuce for a while. I hadn't heard anything about the nuclear reactor stuff, if you want to learn about German news google Stuttgart 21. That is the big issue here. Some people want to modernize the Stuttgart bahnhof but a lot of people are against it. Anyways that’s the extent of news that I know of here.
            Well this week has definitely been an adventure. We have been going by on a bunch of referrals that Elder Patchett and his companion got last transfer but that they didn't go by on. So we have been going to the outskirts of our mission. For example on Wednesday we went to a little town called Weltzheim, which is two train rides and a bus ride away. It took about an hour and a half to get there. We went by on the referral and they weren't home, and the next bus didn't come for like 2 hours, so we doored around. We also found out that apparently Weltzheim was some border guard city for the Roman Empire in like 200 AD, and there are these cool old ruins of a wall and stuff, so we took some quick photos that I will send next week. Other than that we have been trying to talk to everyone, and we made out a couple of appointments with people off the street, but none of them went through.
            But we had a SUPER cool experience yesterday. A member from the branch in Elder Patchett’s old area apparently lives in our area right now to go to school, but he hasn't been coming to church at our ward, so we called him and set up an appointment for yesterday. He told us his address, which was Bürgestacker strasse 3 in Winnenden. Only it wasn't really in the city of Winnenden, but instead was in a little dorf outside of Winnenden but that technically belongs to Winnenden city. Anyways it was about 5 km away, with no bus, so we ended up dooring in Winnenden for 2 hours and then walked to this guy’s house. It took us about 45 minutes to walk there, and by the time we got there we were tired and super thirsty. Then we can't find his house. So we double check our map and it turns out that we were on Bürgerstacker strasse and we wanted Bürgestacker strasse, which was in a dorf on the opposite side of Winnenden. Needless to say, we were unhappy, and thirsty and tired. So we were sitting on the corner of the street pondering our misfortune, when this couple, probably in their late 50s, walked by. We decided we really needed some water so we asked them if they lived close by and if we could get some water for our water bottles. They were super nice and said sure, and so we started walking with them and explained how we had gotten mixed up. They lived on Bürgerstacker strasse and they said it happens all the time, and so not to worry about it. Anyways they let us in their house, gave us some juice and some pretzels, and we kept talking to them. They asked how we would get back and we said we would probably walk, but the husband said it was too far and he would just drive us. Then it started hailing and raining really hard all of the sudden, so the husband wanted to wait until the storm blew over so that the hail didn't dent his car, so we kept talking. They asked about why we were here and we explained that we were missionaries from our church and that we shared a message about the gospel of Christ. They said that they were Methodists but that they would love to learn more about our church. We taught them about the Book of Mormon, and bore testimony of it. We said a prayer before we left and blessed them and their house and they definitely felt the spirit. We left them a Book of Mormon and the wife told us to stop by if we were in the area again. The husband didn't want to make out a return appointment because he said that they were firm in their church, and that there were too many other people that don't know about God, and that our time is too precious to spend talking to them when we aren't going to convert them. Anyways they gave us their names (Marianne and Gerhard Haller) and address and phone number though, and they were seriously the nicest people ever. It was so amazing and truly humbling to look back and see how everything that had happened that day, even things from the entire week, had been shaped by the Hand of the Lord so that we could meet this couple on the streets of some little dorf that we should never of been at in the first place. I know that the Lord led us to them, and he arranged for us to meet them at the perfect spot and at the perfect time so that we could deliver a personal message from God to them. We are going to continue to pray for them to read in the Book of Mormon, and we are planning to go by again in 2 weeks or so with some thank you cookies and see how things are going.
            Well that was our amazing story of the week, and I know that we will continue to have more stories like that. The work of the Lord is progressing, even here in little ol’ Germany, and soon it will penetrate every climb and touch every heart. The Lord directs his work, of that I have no doubt, and one day all shall kneel and confess that Jesus is the Christ. That is the work in which we are all engaged. Thank you for all of your prayers and your fasting mom, they truly have helped me, and I love you.

Elder Terry