Brianna sent us some clips of her apartment in Stuttgart which I have edited and put together to make it easier to watch. One of the reasons we love to travel is to see how people live in different parts of the world. The Mom requested a video it to find out how she's living and to be able to envision how and where she is is living.. Still trying to figure this out.
CAN WE TALK ABOUT AN AMAZING WEEK. Full of stress, naturally, but what's new in missionary life!?
First I will start with last monday. The Ehepaar (married couple) here in Stuttgart, the Bos' took us to an old medieval Hohenzollern castle a little south of Stuttgart. Because it is about an hour and half south of Stuttgart we were lucky enough to have to Bos' take us with them. The Bos' are amazing. I love them.
Hohenzollern is an old medieval castle that was originally built in 1000 something... It was destroyed a few times and rebuilt. So the current castle that we visited was only built in the early 1800s. It is a strategically built castle to defend the neighboring areas and has a dynasty of families and everything that still continues today. OKAY. The first room you enter on the tour has the family trees painted on the walls. JUST LIKE IN HARRY POTTER. I wanted to take a picture so bad, but had to be a good example. darn it.
It was most definitely one of my favorite things I've seen here so far and I felt like I had been transported in time. So cool! And it naturally had a gorgeous view.
The rest of the week happened. We had a zone training, which are always good! Nothing particularly stood out this week until Friday. We met with L on Friday morning. Everything was going very well, just preparing her for the baptism the next day, until she said the phrase, "Okay, I will tell you the truth..."
TALK ABOUT THE WORST THING THAT CAN BE SAID BY YOUR INVESTIGATOR GETTING BAPTISED THE VERY NEXT DAY. My heart completely stopped, naturally, and Sister E and I were on the edge of our seats. L continued on to explain that she cannot understand why the Lord is blessing her with finding money in random places so much recently. Like goodness gracious L! We were terrified, but the relief was so much sweeter when her concern was that the Lord was blessing her with money she didn't need. She is adorable. We explained to her that the Lord sends so many blessings that we sometimes cannot even hold them all when we follow Him and His commandments. Let's just say it was a HUGE relief and made me love her even more. She couldn't stop saying how excited she was to be baptised the next day.
Then on Saturday we woke up to, well not literal sunshine, but sunshine in our spirits and excitement for the Baptism (Taufe auf Deutsch) that day!! L looked absolutely beautiful in white and her excitement was even better. Elders Hunt and Killpack had an investigator also get baptised on the same day so we had a lot of ward members there and the love, spirit, and peace were so beautiful. The first thing L said when we asked how she felt after coming out of the font was, "I just feel so clean!"
I am sooo grateful for this week. Saturday was a little missionary "pay-day" cause it was a wonderful reminder of how much wonderful good the church can do. I am so very grateful for L and Bruder H and their desire to follow Christ and be baptised with the same authority that John the Baptist had. I am so very grateful for the chance we have to be clean from our sins through baptism. I know this Church is true. I love missionary work.
This week was really good!
We are preparing for our investigator, L's baptism next Saturday and we cannot wait. We are so excited for her. But the best part is how excited she is for next Saturday. I love hearing her testimony, because she knows this church is true. She always tells us how she has been waiting her whole life for the chance to be baptised as a member of Jesus's true church. And now since she is so close she can hardly contain her excitement. (okay, well maybe that's me, only because I know how amazing of a decision it is for her!!)
Recently we have been working on getting more people to come to Sacrament Meeting. Well a little miracle happened this week. L works every other weekend and normally isn't able to come to church on those Sunday's, but yesterday, even though she was supposed to be working, SHE CAME!! Her testimony of Church attendance has been strengthened so much recently and she knows how important it is for her to come to church. Especially since she's getting baptised soon.
Then G, the egyptian that was refered to us a couple of weeks ago, but haven't been able to see since, ALSO CAME TO CHURCH. It was amazing. And stressful. But he came. He doesn't speak very much German so we were concerned that he wouldn't understand very much. At the end of Sacrament meeting however, he said he understood much more than he had expected and that he loved church. TALK ABOUT ANSWERS TO PRAYERS. The whole time during Sacrament meeting I was just praying that he would understand and that he would be able to feel the spirit.
So yeah, yesterday was a really really good day.
This week, I can't remember which day, we were waiting for a Bahn when this man next to us starting talking to us. We were a little taken off guard, cause most people think we have conversational leprosy or something. AKA we usually have to start conversations with people before they'll even look at us, especially at Bahn stops. But he looked at us and asked if we were from Germany. We quickly told him we were from America. He said he had asked because we were different. But different from the Germans because we were actually happy. Well, if that doesn't describe Germans, I don't know what does. Nah, Germans are very happy people they just don't like people to know it. But that made us smile and feel good that our smiles and happy attitudes actually do make a difference.
Just like in Alma 37:6 & 7
"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass...to bring about his great and eternal purposes..." And just like we were told in General Conference the small and simple things like a smile can bring about great things. I know this is true. "Let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Have a great week and DON'T FORGET TO SMILE.
P.s. The pictures are from the castle Hohenzollern we visited today on P Day. Bro. and Sis. Bos a senior missionary couple we kind enough to take us with them.
This week FLEW by. Well lots of weeks fly by but this one in particular was soo fast because we had so many big events.
On Tuesday we has Zone Conference in Munich and that was sooo good. We learned to master the message we are here to share with Germany, and how to work better with members of our ward. But the best part was, I GOT TO SEE SISTER LANG!!!! (picture included) I was soooo excited to see her that I seriously shed some small tears of pure joy when I saw her and got to hug her. It was almost comparable to when Alma fainted out of pure joy to see his brothers after their missionary work. Besides the fact that we are only three months into the mission and it had only been about 2 months since I last had seen here. Oh that makes me smile to just remember it. See? We really are LANG lost sisters.
Zone conference was in Munich (München in Deutsch) which is THE home to Oktoberfest. That is a "little" party that happens there every year that some people know about... Anyway... So because of that EVERYONE and their dogs are wearing Lederhosen and Dirndles. And everyone is so beautiful and so spirited in their traditional attire. There were sooo many people in Munich. Soooo many people.
Then on Wednesday and Thursday we had exchanges (austausch) with the Sisters in Ludwigsburg. Sister Cook switched with Sister Earnshaw and so that means I took the lead here in Stuttgart. So that was a little terrifying. BUT sooo much fun. Sister Cook is so wonderful and we had a complete blast talking and learning, and waiting for appointments that didn't show. She is from Cache Valley, UT and was Sister Earnshaw's trainer so a three generation thing was going on.
Today for P-Day we went to Volksfest which is a mini, local version of Oktobervest that translates to People's party. We got some wonderful pictures and saw so much classic Germany. I was convinced into riding a ride with the Elders, and it was horrible idea. I have been motion sick for the remainder of the day. But hey, German amusement park rides are intense.
General Conference. LET IT BE KNOWN that I love General Conference. And this conference was just soooo special, with the three new apostles being ordained. The past month and a half or so I have been obsessed with a talk called, "Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying" by (the new) Elder Renlund from last General Conference. Then when I learned he was a new apostle of the Lord I was sooo excited. My testimony was strengthened so much this conference. I know the men and women who speak to us during General Conference are called by the Lord to lead and guide us. I know they are prophets and apostles of the Lord.
We had a less active come to the Women's session of Conference and we watched that one in German. So that was exciting. I understood about 65% which is pretty impressive actually.
I love you all! I hope you have a great week and enjoyed General Conference. Go watch it if you didn't get a chance to watch it all!
ps - here is a cool old church we found last week and a sliding turtle we found in a pond at a chinese garden this week! Then I accidentally dropped my pencil in this said pond and the turtle thought it was big food. psych turtle!
A couple of weeks ago we were told about this super cool World War 2 monument at this train station in town. So we made it as a goal that of we got a certain number of potential investigators we could go see it. Well, last week we reached that small goal, so last Monday for our preparation day (the day we get to be "touristy" as well as preparing for the week ahead) we went to see it. Well, after walking around a less than pretty train station and not seeing anything that could resemble a monument, we decided to see if it was in the nearby park. Well after waking for about 10 minutes down some pathway, with no monument in sight, we just kept walking until we ran into a castle/palace (it's a Schloss in German, but I don't really know how to translate that the best). That's right, walk for about 15 minutes in a park here, can't find the WW2 monument but instead find a castle. What is Germany? Now that Schloss is a nature museum and it's very beautiful. Still disappointed there was no monument though.
On Wednesday we went out to Stuttgart University to find some more people to share the Book of Mormon with. He knocked on this one mans door. He opened his door right away, and once we said we were from the Church of Jesus Christ, he told he was muslim. But then, this is where it gets good, he told us he has another friend who is a Christian. He took us right then to his friend G, who was just down a level and a few doors down. H and G are from Egypt and are studying here in Stuttgart. G has only been here for 20 days and has been looking for a church to attend. Well, we got his back on that one!! So that was an amazing little referal story.
Thursday night we had a lesson with Herr S. Herr S is about 60ish and is extremely interesting. The sisters met with him a couple of months ago, and it has been hard to make contact with him because he took a classic European summer vacation. It lasted about 3 months traveling to China and Tibet. That lesson was full of questions to be answered eventually and some very strong testimony bearing. Herr S believes in reincarnation, and because his wife passed away a few years ago, the Sisters last time taught him the Plan of Salvation. Reincarnation and the Plan of Salvation only slightly differ, right? Yeah, nah... So I bore some strong testimony that his wife was in Heaven, that God does have a purpose for us on the earth, and that we can live with our families after we die. He also hadn't read out of the Book of Mormon so we bore testimony about the importance of reading and praying.
Our thursday was absolutely crazy with a ton of appointments and cordinating Arabic Books of Mormon exchanges between the elders, etc. And during the regular course of this crazy day, we had two people call us just out of the blue from our old phone contacts. Or they were people who had our phone number from cards we passed out. Which never happens, either way. People never call us just out of the blue wanting to meet with us. So that was really cool and crazy as well.
I talked about the Austellung that we've been doing last week in my email. Well we have that permit until November so hopefully you'll be hearing more cool stories from it. This week I have one to report. Our table had many Books of Mormon in many different languages and within the first two minutes F came up to me and asked me what we were doing. I told him we were doing an Austellung for our church and we were talking about the Book of Mormon. He practically asked me if her could have a copy and when we could meet. LIKE WHAT!?!?!? So naturally I gave him a book and we scheduled an appointment for this Wednesday. F had seen a Book of Mormon and flipped through it a little at a hotel in Denver, CO. HALLELUJAH FOR THAT HOTEL. So when he saw it on a street in Stuttgart, he really wanted to know more. We're meeting with him on Wednesday and I cannot wait.
On Friday as well, we met with G. We brought him an Arabic Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlet, which he was sooooo excited about. He could not understand how two girls from America in Germany could find Arabic supplies. G is super cool. He kept telling us that we came at the perfect time and he admires Sister Earnshaw and I so much. He kept mentioning that our church is so different and there was just something different about what we believed and were teaching. Well he's right! We've got the fulness!! I'm really looking forward to see G progress, and to help him receive that fulness as well.
"The Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them...that they might receive the word with joy..." Alma16:16-17
This scripture describes this week. The people we met this week were and are currently being prepared by God to "receive the word... that they might recieve the word with joy." I know this is happening here in Stuttgart. I know the Lord is helping the people find his restored Gospel.
I love you all sooo much. Have a wonderful week!!
So we live in a little dorf (town/suburb) just outside of Suttgart called Weilimdorf. Right next to the train stop near our house there is an Eis Café (ice cream parlor) run by a bunch of Italians. They are marvelous and we usually stop and talk to them for a few minutes when going to our various appointments and such. They have asked us multiple times about the Book of Mormon and we have explained it before but they never really seemed to be be interested.
Because we meet soooo many people who speak so many different languages here in Germany, we have Books of Mormon in basically every language possible. A couple of weeks ago, we brought one of the Italians an Italian Book of Mormon in hopes he would read it and have some interest. But we weren't necessarily expecting much to come of it. We've followed up on him last week and he had only read a few pages. You know, the norm. He owns the shop so he doesn't have much time unless it's a slow day, when he will read in his off time.
Then this last Wednesday, we asked him where he was in the Book and opened a German one to see where he was. We opened up to Nephi expecting him to not have had much time, when we told us he was HALF WAY THROUGH ALMA!!!! No big deal, he is more than half way finished with a 630 page book (in Italian)! He said he had been reading it because it had been raining so much and business was slow. THANK GOODNESS FOR RAIN!! So now is the challenge of communicating he needs to pray about its truthfulness with his not completely fabulous German (and basically no religious vocabulary). Cause reading is one thing, praying is the most important step!
That same night we were headed to visit a less active and we're just riding the Bahn and we sat across from a man. We started a conversation about the weather (cause it had rained all day, once gain the rain was good that day). He then asked us if we were Mormons and of course we responded with a yes. He told us he was Protestant but he was currently angry at God. His wife has Breast Cancer and he has been angry with God since then.
That morning before, in my personal study, I read Mosiah 24:13-16 which says,
"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
I shared that scripture with him and had him read it right there in the Bahn.
We bore simple testimony of the truthfulness of that scripture. Even though burdens, trails, hardships, afflictions, whatever it may be, are very difficult and can feel impossible, God only gives us these challenges so our testimonies will be stronger. We will gain a stronger knowledge that the Lord does visit His people in their afflictions. But the Lord God will NEVER leave us alone in our trials. The Lord does strengthen us so we can overcome our burdens and trials. Even though we only ever want these trails to be taken away, the Lord knows how important they are for us to learn from. So He strengths is to be able to overcome our trials. He WILL strengthen us.
Even though the less-active we were trying to visit was not home, I KNOW we were supposed to be on that Bahn at that exact time for that exact man. The Lord is guiding our work to share the hope of the Gospel with his children. He doesn't want us to feel alone during our trials. That man was mad at God, but he did take the time to listen to us just a little. God is guiding our paths even if it is to share one simple scripture with his son who is struggling. I know that when we have trials in our lives God will send us little miracles to help us get through. For me, this Gospel is a huge miracle and blessing in my life to be able to get through trials and hardships. I know this Church is true and is the ray of sunshine on the dark rainy days.
Ice cream from the Italian Ice Cream parlor
The sunrise from our apartment kitchen. Weilimdorf is the cutest.
Also, we did an Austellung(presentation) this week on Königstraße (the main street in Stuttgart) and this is me. And Elder Donald in the background...
Liebe Familie und Freunde,
This week we had exchanges. I was sent to the beautiful land of Tübingen with Sisters Price and Friebe. They are both absolutely marvelous and I loved working with them in such a beautiful location. Tübingen has been around since 1500 and was not bombed at all during either world war. It is so classic and marvelous. So those are pics that are included.
We met with L this week. L is our marvelous investigator that will be baptised here soon in October. This week she told us about a dream she had. She was talking to her mother (that passed away a few years ago) about the new 'Mormon' religion that she is joining, and they were simply discussing it. L asked her mother if she thought it was a good church. Her mother proceeded to tell her that it was a good and true Church and that L should proceeded to tell her that she should join it. L told us that this was just one more confirmation to her that this Church was true and that it was exactly what she should be doing right now.
This was another confirmation for me that we really do have family on the other side of the veil that do communicate with us. We have family that now live with God and help us from their side of the veil. They watch over and take of us. Communication from God about what we should do and with answers to our prayers still happen. And sometimes that is through personal revelations. I do believe L received an additional answer through this dream. I am so excited for L and her decision to follow Christ's example.
The work is great here in Stuttgart. I love this Gospel and this work. I know that this Church is true and is restored on the earth today.
P.s. cigarettes are sold in vending machines here. crazy. there are no restrictions on the age here..
P.s.s. your everyday graffiti here. It's everywhere but this one was particularly wonderfully kind.
Leibe Familie und Freunde!
So in our continual quest to help others recieve the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ this week we made a goal to have at least one lesson a day. If that was with members, a less active, recent convert, or a new investigator we wanted the chance to teach every day. And we want to meet with every family in our ward in order to truly get to know all of them better and be able to establish more trust with them.
So to start with, we made a list of all the inactives in our ward and sadly enough, for Germany that is a ton of people. About 3 notebook pages of people, and that's is just the women in the ward. We found a few that we want to start working with and in particular families.
The Elders in our ward have been working with the M family recently and have been helping them come to Church and whatnot. Yesterday for lunch we had an appointment with a ward family (the F's) and afterwards the Elders had to leave pretty quickly. The M family lives near the F's but the Elders had to run off quickly to catch the train, so we went by on the M's instead. They're a less active/part member family. The mother is from Germany, and her husband is from somewhere in South America. The husband speaks a little bit of German, a litle bit of English, and Spanish. They have two adorable little daughters, that also speak those languages. Good thing the wife knows German, English, and Spanish (and turkish and arabic, but those weren't applicable here) so translating was very much needed. So I got to brush up on some of my spanish last night! He found the mormon message we wanted to share with them in spanish on youtube and we ended up having a great lesson with them. The M's came to church last week but didn't come yesterday. But while we were there, they commited to coming this upcoming week and everyweek! We talked about having the courage to read our scriptures, say our prayers, coming to church, and sharing the Gospel. They invited us to come back next Sunday and when we were leaving, the father was teaching his daughter how to pray. Talk about adorable!! It was quite the success. I am so grateful for this work. I know it helps families come closer to God, and closer to each other. And once gain, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Little did I know, my two years of Jr. High Spanish would come in handy.
This week I have learned the importance of keeping a positive attitude and trying new things. Working with members so much has paid off so much this week! Not in the sense that they have given us new investigators, but because we have been following what the Lord prompted us to do, we have been able to make a bunch of appointments, and find potentials even when weren't "finding." We also had great appointments with our neubekehrt (recent convert) and less actives. When I kept a positive attitude about the work, our investigators, and our efforts, the Lord blessed me so much and it was much easier to be a better, more dedicated missionary. There is a great quote from Elder Val R. Christensen from the October 1998 General Conference. He says, "If we place a little more patience in the process and a greater amount of faith inthe Lord, our challenges will find their way toward successful conclusions."
I know this is true. Continue in the faith. LOVE YOU ALL!
This week we had something of a miracle. We met a woman named T a few weeks ago. She seemed to be really interested in our message and particularly in the Book of Mormon. We had run out of English Books earlier that day and we only had a German one left. Since English is much better for her, we arranged an appointment that same week to give her an english copy. That quick meeting and exchange went well and we scheduled to meet again that Sunday. Well, time went by and she did not show up for our appointment that Sunday. So we were very sad but had to just move on with our day. This week we were going through our potentials that we hadn't made contact with and decided to give T one more phone call in hopes that she would pick up. AND SHE DID!! And we made an appointment for Saturday.
We weren't really sure how invested T sounded on the phone, so we were just REALLY hoping that she would show. After a series of events on Saturday, we were running late for our appointment. She called her once, didn't answer. Called her again and said she was running late too. God's timing is soooo perfect. If we hadn't been running late, we probably would have given up on the appointment if the timing wouldn't have worked out like it had.
We ended up having an amazing lesson. She had read in the Book of Mormon since the last time and we made a return appointment. God works in such mysterious ways, but he is just soooo good.
So our week was definitely a roller coaster. But overall the highs definitely overcame the lows.
A major part of our roller coaster this week has been the challenge of finding new people to teach. So I am now collecting ideas of how to find people to teach. So send them to me!!!
Love you all!
P.s. There is this giant pigeon on a roof of a house on our way to the church. we have noooo idea why it is there or what its for for or anything, but hey, it creates a great picture... also don't mind the fact that I'm not actually pointing at it...
This is Favorite Schloss (which means favorite castle) that we visited in Ludwigsburg last week on p-day. This was small compared to the beautiful one right across the street. But they are both just gorgeous. Actually the tour we got of Favorite was all in German... So I don't really know much about it... Haha!
Yesterday we have the epitome of all German dinner appointments. The Stuttgart Elders, (Killpack and Hunt), Sister Earnshaw, and I all went over to Schwester L's home last night. Sister L is this adorable 80-ish year old woman who lives in the center of downtown Stuttgart, in a beautiful white appartment building with this amazing spiral staircase on the second floor. And seeing as she is 80 years old all those stairs just makes me respect her so much. Her apartment is oh so sleek, has very tall ceilings, and looks just like movies about old Germany.
I was forwarned that Schwester L makes the missionaries very large amounts of food, and usually has us sing for her after. Singing I could do, but very large ammounts of food, I was not so sure about. (I'm pretty sure my stomach has shrunken in size in these two months, cause I simply cannot eat as much as before.) She made us the most AMAZING homemade Spaetzle, heaped it onto our plates, along with some delicious pork, a seperate plate of tomato salad, and then a whole package of grapes after we were all finished. Simply stated, through prayer, eating without thinking, and a little of Elder Killpack's help, I finished my whole meal. Because Sister L is the sweetest lady ever, we were very responsible to finish our meals. (If I can I will attach before and after pictures, Elder Hunt is featured in one of them.)
It was the most perfect German thing I have encountered so far. And it was sooooo schmeck (delicious). Yum, even thinking of it.
This week we had a lesson with our wonderful recent convert, S. He was baptised in June and has the strongest testimony of the atonement. Before he met with the missionaries he was had pretty much everything that could go wrong happen in his life. Like name, anything and he's either done it, or had it. Recently, he has been having a really hard time making it to Church and feeling accepted by the ward members. This week he made him cookies and brought him over some church talks and such, and we ended up having a lesson with him. S talks alot, but this time he really made HUGE improvements. He bore testimony about how through he grace and mercy of Jesus Christ he has been cleansed through baptism and the sacrament every week. We talked about how we are never completely clean and that's the reason we go to Church each week, to renew that cleanliness, and become clean for the upcoming week. It's a continuing process.
Also, this morning during my Book of Mormon reading, I came across 2 Nephi 15:25 which reads, "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his had is stretched out still." I know our Heavenly Father loves us, and no matter the things we do, or how bad we may feel, His hand is ALWAYS stretched out. As long as we take it and accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ to work in our lives. There is a new video series called "His Grace" on the Mormon Channel. And I am in love with them. They are so very applicable and wonderful. Here is the link: http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/his-grace
go watch some.
Love you all. Gutte Woche!
Author: Brianna Selph
Hometown: Murray, UT