Oh my goodness, what have I done this week? So much stuff going on, and now it is gone forever! Mensch, I wish we had had more time to just go and find people, but we were just all over the place. A 5 week transfer just makes EVERYTHING crazy! But we still found a couple people when we spent all day Wednesday dooring, and we also had luck and found out the reason for Landshut having a Russian branch of Jehovas Witnesses.... we found their homes! Haha. It was good, one of those days where you come home and are beat, but for a good reason.
Well, to start off, I enjoyed Google Office´s attempt at translating Dad´s email into German. It was terrible. Haha. I was trying to read it in German like it was, but I realized it went much better when I just read it and translated it into English, trying to read it and translate it instantaneously into what I thought Dad would be trying to say. Sorry Dad, it just doesn't do very well. But it was pretty good practice for me, translating it in my mind, so it was not fruitless! And I will gladly accompany you on some excursions into other lands and help you out with whatever German skills I have. That means we are visiting my mission sometime, right? Haha. Logan wants to too!
Well, I don't know what to say about the pictures of Nathan and Kate... I was caught somewhere between laughing and being astounded at how freaking different they look. Stop growing!!!!! What happened to Baby Kate? Or the Nathan who just sat in his room and read? They are making me feel like I was increadibly boring haha. Ja mai, so geht es. Hope they are enjoying everything. I bet everyone loves them at school and such. They sure are easy to spot.
Sonst.... I can't think of any other crazy things at the moment. So, let´s talk about Zone Conference, eh? (Why do I say that, "eh?" I don't think I ever said that before my mission... I think it must have been the "ge" of Kärntnerisch, now I am just using the same kind of filler words, interjections, as you will. You should be proud that I came up with that word, interjection, because I feel like my vocabulary has been destroyed and replaced by somewhat boring Denglish. That´s why I want to buy a thesaraus auf Deutsch, to make my speech more colorful, and not in a bad way... back to the story now.) Zone Conference was awesome!!! I had the greatest time. Everyone LOVED the trachten suit haha. I wasn't even THAT excited about it when I bought it (and I was pretty dang excited, so I am trying to emphasize how much all the other missionaries loved it). I feel bad, because Elder Stokes got his whole getup on, his shoes, pants, socks, cufflink shirt, vest and the jacket, and it cost him A LOT of money. And mine was €30... But, Sister Miles loved them as well (Pres. Miles said I looked great in it :) ) and got a picture of us after the meeting. But, that is not important!! If I could only let you feel the spirit that I felt at Zone Conference. It was one of the best meetings I have been to. I saw President and Sister Miles and all those who spoke to us in a different light. I saw them on their knees, praying so hard to know what they needed to do to uplift us missionaries, struggling in mighty prayer to Father in Heaven that they might know how to inspire us and help us become more successful. I saw them doing the same thing I have been doing, praying for the help of the Lord, because they and I cannot do this alone. I don't know how to lead and inspire my district, I don't know what I can do to help them have more faith in their efforts, and I saw them with the same questions, but on a MUCH larger scale. It was a testimony to me about inspiration, about prayer, and about the empowering gift of the Atonement. It made me want to listen to what the Spirit was telling me personally, I want to become better at recognizing and following His promptings, and I know it is possible, because the leaders of this mission are some of the most inspired and loving people I have ever known. The APs, Elder Sullivan and Elder Harris, what a picture of power! There are two men who know what God expects of them. I want to be a missionary like them, to have such power and such a strong Spirit. I love being a missionary!
We talked about planning and also about real growth. About how we need to make sure converts experience the joy of repentance fully before being baptized, and to have the biggest goal of conversion as being getting to the temple and making more covenants with God. We also heard from Pres. Auras about his vision for the stake of Munich, and especially how we can work better with the ward council and better support them in their goals for the work. (Because we as missionaries are here to build and strengthen the wards in which we serve. We are not in charge of the missionary work in the ward, the Bishop is.) We also had a senior couple from Switzerland there, he is a counselor in the mission presidency, and I heard him speak a little bit of Swiss German! Wish I could learn it. But they were awesome, they gave a presentation on the things we need to do to have success. He also spoke with power and with plainness! Plainness I have heard a lot about because I just finished 2 Nephi, and Nephi loves plainness. But it is true, the things we need to do are written plainly before us! There is a way to return to Heavenly Father, and it is taught to everyone, from kids in Primary till the day we pass away. It is simple. But this man from Switzerland, Elder Gysler, he was great. I talked with his wife afterwards and thanked her for what she said, for her testimony, and she asked me if I was German, kinda eyeing my suit. But I told her I was from Idaho, and also told her about my family. She was very nice. I thanked Elder Gysler as well when he came up. During their presentation he just bore testimony and let us think about what the Spirit was telling us. I can see him being a great story teller. And the spirit was there.
We did roleplays as well, like always, and the pressure was on when we had to do one with President and Sister Miles! Haha just kidding, it was not bad at all. A really good experience. It is easy to talk about things you know to be true.
Afterwards, I hung out in the kitchen with Elder Eaker and Elder Harris, drying dishes, and also with the Sister from Elder Eaker´s home stake. She asked me where I was from, and I said Idaho, and she said I had some kind of accent haha. I don't know if that means Idahoan accent, or if it was just some weird accent because I had been switching back and forth between Deutsch and English all day. Interesting. She also said I looked familiar, and we figured out that we were both at BYU, but couldn't find any classes in common. Maybe she saw Tyson. The compliment on my suit probably came from a German Sister who is waiting for her Visa to go serve in Washington DC, south I think. I figured if a real German liked it, then I chose wisely. But all in all, the Spirit was there at the meeting, and I loved it. I wish every moment of everyday could be that way, with so many missionaries and such a strong spirit. Oh, there was a great testimony meeting too, where the new missionaries and the ones who are leaving bore their testimonies. One of them, Elder Pitts, who is going home in a month or so (he was the one who trained Elder Botcherby), told us about how he aways wanted to go to the mission in which his father served, and he prayed every night since he was 5 to go there. And the Lord answers prayers, because he is here.
We had an exchange, I went to Neuötting with Elder Nicoll, and that was a lot of fun. We had a great conversation during study about the work, and about how easy it is to lose faith and get discouraged, because he feels the exact same way I did when I was new out here. It was good to talk and help each other recognize the comfort of the Spirit in our lives. Then we had a finding day in Passau on Saturday, and for some reason I just loved that place! I don't know if it was just my attitude that day or if it just reminded me of memories from our trip to Germany (a classic old city along a river, lots of people, etc.). But I was so excited. A large part of it may well be that it was a gorgeous day! It was warm and sunny, I had to carry my coat on my arm around the city for the whole time. I have worn my coat almost everyday for months! Spring is coming :) But I had the chance to work with two young men from the Passau branch. Johannes and Lukas Sagmeister, Johannes is 19 and almost done with his mission papers! I am so excited for him. And Lukas is turning 18 later this summer and will head out on his mission too! So, I got to walk around the inner city with these two for almost 3 hours, talking to people and trying to find some potential for the Sisters who serve there. It was great, I talked to A LOT of people, because I was then the only one with that duty as a missionary haha. But after a little bit, I turned to them and encouraged them to try too. So Johannes asked if I had another Book of Mormon, and he talked to a couple people. Lukas said he just wanted to watch and learn from me, but he helped out when we actually talked to someone. We talked to a lot of people, most of whom said "keine Zeit" or "kein Interesse," and there were many people who just wanted nothing to do with us. But I got much better at talking to people and just being kind and courteous, even to those who were big jerks. And, it was all rewarded. We found a couple people and got their information, but the best was a lady that Johannes stopped in the busy downtown (Johannes is just awesome, because I never even dreamed of talking to people on the street like we do before I was a missionary, but he is already doing it, practicing, like he told me he needed to do. What a stud!) So he stopped her and she talked with us, asked a few questions, and we wanted to give her a Book of Mormon, and so Johannes bore his testimony about how the BoM has brought him joy in life, and then he and I raced to find Moroni 10 haha. I won :) but I let him keep it up, and he shared verse 4 with her and then bore his testimony again, and I was able to bear testimony, and it was just awesome! He was so excited to tell the Sisters about our work when we all met back up at Bahnhof, and the Sisters were so proud of them and what they did. They told me good job haha, but I hardly did anything. So I got a picture with them, my two companions. And Sister Pingree told me last night that they both bore testimony about missionary work in testimony meeting yesterday :) Yes!!! That is success in my book, I was glad to accompany them on having such a good experience with real missionary work. Awesome :)
I bore my tesimony first again gestern! Hopefully I can keep up my record, because if I don't get up there immediately then who knows what excuses I will find to not stand up. I have done that my whole life (find excuses not to get up there) haha. Then we ate dinner with the Hopf family, who have been in Landshut only a week more than I have. They are great, and I feel like we should have lots of opportunities to work with them. Sadly Elder Stokes hasn't been feeling too well, and it peaked gestern after dinner, and so he laid in bed and I got lots of time to study for myself. It was great though. I love reading the Liahona´s and realizing how much I relate to some of the stories in there. The words of the prohpets are true, that I know.
Well, to end, I would like to share my thoughts from study gestern, when I finished 2 Nephi. I loved 2 Nephi 33:10-11, where Nephi invites people to decide whether or not the words of the Book of Mormon are from Christ. He says that they are, bears testimony that he was commanded of God to write them down, and says later that if people do not believe the words he has written and follw them, they will be spoken guilty at the last day. Well, aside from the power of Nephi´s testimony, I had this thought. Nephi said that we will all stand face to face with him at the judgement bar of God, and we will know that he was commanded to write those words in the Book of Mormon. I thought, that when I stand at the judgement bar of God at the last day and look at all the people I met and taught on my mission, or throughout my life, they will also know that I was commanded to bear testimony of those words which Nephi wrote. So, will I have fulfilled my duty? I would certainly hope so. It was like a variation of the quote from Pres. Eyring that I love, but it was a good reminder for me. And I hope it can inspire all of you to bear your tesimony of those things which mean the world to you and your families, every chance you get.
A quote then, from Pres. Gysler: "Wir dürfen mehr sein als wir jetzt sind." To the best I can translate it and have it sound somewhat profound, he said that we are all allowed to become more than we are now. Think about that. Only with the Savior can we do so.
I love you all and hope you continue to smile and see the Lord´s hands in your lives. He lives and is there.
Elder Jalen Gibbons