Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hey everyone, and I hope you all had an awesome time during Christmas! Unfortunately I need to make this rather short since I am going to Düsseldorf in a few.

This week Elder Dean and I went to the markets one last time, and I was able to barter a guy down 5 euro and then get him to throw in some additional things for free that normally cost 3 euro. I was pretty proud of myself. Unfortunately I didn’t get to send that present home until just now. We also got all of our hair buzzed off since it was getting a little long, but luckily I still have some left this time. Since we had some stuff to do, we moved some time over to Tuesday, and we got to visit some really cool things that are normally closed on Mondays. We visited a cool old church and then we visited the Roman museum that had a ton of old relics and stone stuff. Definitely worth seeing! 

Christmas was fantastic! Christmas eve we took our investigator over to a family where we had amazing food and just a good time. They gave us new ties as well as a German candy that I really like. After that we went to another family and we opened gifts with them and then just hung out at the end. It was good to just kick back for a little. We got home around 11 and then we realized that we didn’t have our keys. After scrambling and calling the members, it turns out that someone had found our keys and turned them in at the front desk. What a Christmas blessing! The next morning we had a blast opening presents and we made a game of clay pigeons with the nerf guns and my RC Helicopter. Later in the day, we were over at a members house forever, and we were supposed to get picked up way sooner but the family got lost. Luckily we still got to their place on time and we ended up skyping our families despite what we thought to be a time crunch. After technical difficulties we finally got to see our families. Just like old times, it was fantastic!

This week we met up with a new investigator named Puke´ and she was super nice! She is way interested and I think she has real potential. We had a lot of fun, but we also had a really good discussion. Hopefully it ends in baptism haha. Lastly, we got a really cool referral from some elders way up north. This guy has driven them for missionary splits and has helped the church clean up after activities and his wife loves the church service so much more than her current. They feel different and happier around the elders too. Wow! So excited to meet this guy!

Well I am sorry this was a shorter one, but I have other things to do. I hope everyone has an awesome week and a fun new years eve! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas from Germany!

This week was quite an adventure! 

On Monday we had a pretty uneventful day up until the evening. We had four elders overnight at our place for the zone conference taking place the next day. We stayed up rather late and then had to get up way early and be on the bus the next morning by 730. The thing that made my pday, was that we went and visited the Solingen apartment with the elders. Sounds lame, unless you watch the video I took! They have a fan that they call "The lawn mower" because it spins so fast and because the blades are made of metal. There actually is a sign that someone put on the switch saying it will cut off your fingers yikes! So there is a second label on the highest speed called "Potato Cutting Speed". So, what did we do for part of pday? We threw potatoes into the fan and dove for cover when we started throwing more solid objects. Boys will be boys! 

The conference that we went to was pretty exciting, and I got to see a lot of really good friends. We talked mainly about obedience and the blessings it brings. It is something that is a process but that all of us are working on. We had a 1.5 hour bus ride and I was passed out for the whole thing after the long night. Everyone got their Christmas gifts too, and there was just such a fun exciting feeling of Christmas in the air! Everyone is very excited to skype and to open presents! 

Wednesday we started handing out He is the Gift cards at the Christmas markets, but we got stopped by the guy who is renting the space and told us we couldn’t do it. The sisters were there too but we split up. We called them 3 or 4 times, but they are notorious for never answering, so it wasn’t surprising when they told us the next day that the cops had told them to stop haha. I also had a split that night. Holy cow did everything go crazy! Elder Dean and I went to go deliver some BoM´s in Urdu to a member, but the streetcars were down for about 30 minutes because of a car crash on the tracks. We then got there and waited for another half hour, and by the time he showed up we had cancelled our plans and rescheduled to do our split early. Ready to go, we hopped on a regional train but two stops away from our destination we stopped because there were power lines down all over the area for some reason. All of the trains began getting 30 minute delays or falling out. Because of that, we had 2 really awesome contacts and the spirit was there.

We ended up getting on a smaller train that pulled right up next to us and it took us the rest of the way. We then had to wait for the other elders to come so we could split, but all the trains fell out on their end too. Finally we got together! I pulled in to Wuppertal around 9 thinking we were going to get home on time, but that was for naught haha. Elder Tischner saw a man in a wheelchair across the track and so we went over and took him down to the bus stop he needed to go to. We actually went all the way to his house to help him get in since he needed someone to carry his wheelchair up the stairs while he hobbled. We took him on the bus and met two really cool people, and ended up having really good conversations with them. As for the guy we were helping....he smelled really bad haha. The whole bus smelled, and when we picked up the chair we found out why. Use your imagination! As he climbed the stairs and walked to his apartment, I got mooned for a solid 3 minutes! Then, thinking that it was all over, Elder T asked him if we could come by the next day and teach him. My thoughts were something along the lines of "Are you crazy? This guy is one of the worst smells I have ever experienced!". As bad as he did smell, Elder T taught me that everyone is deserving of a chance to hear the gospel. We are taught that growing up in the church, but it is a little different when you experience or learn something. It’s like having a pilot who has had years of experience landing planes Vs. someone who has only read about how to do it haha. Hope that made sense!

Last thing for that night! On the other side back in Köln, Elder Dean and Nelson were going through the main station when they heard someone yell, "Elders! I need your help!". The guy was baptized a few years back, but is now homeless and an alcoholic and wanted our number and help. I haven’t heard anything from him yet, but if all of the train junk didnt happen, nothing would have! 

This week the sisters had a baptism! His name is Eric, and he is 11 years old. His mom is a convert from Brazil, but his Dad is not. He gets along great with the kids in the ward, and the service was great! We brought John too, and he really liked that. We ended up moving his date to sometime in early January because he wants his good friend to be there at his baptism. Hey I cant complain with that!  Ill stay updated with that

Today is long, so buckle up! The other day we had dinner at a Chinese members house with the sisters as well. The member had the sisters serve us up even when we wanted seconds, and wouldn’t let us do it at all! I laughed and said "Merry Christmas Kevin", but the sister didn’t think that was so funny and piled me up an absolute mountain of fried rice for seconds. I ate it. All of it. And continued eating and ate everything else they threw at me to the point where the sister called me an eating machine. I thought about swallowing my pride, but I was having too much fun thwarting her efforts so I just kept eating what was in front of me haha. Victory! 

Well there was a little more but we have stuff to do today like get haircuts...hopefully this time I come out with hair. We are also going to the markets and buying stuff one last time! Have a good week everyone, and Merry Christmas from Germany!

Monday, December 15, 2014


Last Pday we had over 20 missionaries visit Köln to visit the Dom as well as all of the Christmas Markets. I mean I cant blame them for wanting to visit the coolest city in the mission...just kidding! So I have already been to the top of the Dom twice, and since there were so many people who wanted to do it, I went on a mini split with Elder Ashton! It was only for an hour or so, but it was a lot of fun! After that, I tried to lead everyone around the Christmas markets so they could see them since I have known my way around for a while. They wanted to see everything but man they walked like a pack of turtles! Haha. Now I know Moses´pain haha. Nah, it wasn’t that bad, but it sure was fun seeing everyone enjoy the city I love so much. 

This week we had a lesson with a former investigator, and then his girlfriend came! It was really cool and we had a great discussion. We set up a return appointment and we also are trying to get appointments with two other former investigators.

Our Mission Leader, Casey, promised us blessings when if we would start contacting more. He said they would come through our efforts or by other means, and boy have we seen blessings! This week we got 3 referrals from in one day, and on that same day we got a text at 1 am from a former investigator. Needless so say we have tried getting a time together. I was warned by her previous missionary to keep my mind on teaching her and not on her. Asking what that meant, he said she was really pretty. Dang it! So, I’m hoping she’s not my type and I get past that! 

I would also like to say a quick but needed thank you to Brother Dance for going to the effort of getting my package to me here in Köln! It was awesome!  Great to see him, too.

On the 13th, we had our ward party! It was way fun and Santa brought us tons of food. Because of the package mom sent with Brother Dance, Elder Dean and I got all decked out in Christmas attire. One of the young men in the ward liked my tie so much that later he told me he had looked all over the Internet for it. He also told me that when I go home I should give it to him. Haha! Everyone loved my socks, hat, and tie, and I was asked several times if I was Santa. Our investigator John was there, and we think he really enjoyed it. We still have some things to teach him, so we pushed his date for baptism back a weekend. Things are starting to look up for him though! A member has started helping him out to get a job here since the process is just straight up ridiculous. So much paperwork and this and that.

This week was really good. Hope you are all having a good time back home, and that you have a white Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Markets!

I would just like to start this week out by saying that Elder Dean and I are pleased to say that John, our investigator from Ghana, will be getting baptized on the 20th of December. That is the plan now, but we are super excited for him and he is just a sweet humble guy. John has had such a hard life but he trusts that despite all that has happened, the Lord will help him. How right he is! 

We just got that news yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to share it, so now Ill kind of jump around on the news.

Last week just as well as this week, we will be touring the massive xmas markets of Köln with 8 or so other missionaries! Last week it was freezing, but for whatever reason Elder Dean wore shorts! Some people gasped and marveled, and then as we were leaving a cop came up and asked why he was wearing shorts. It was really funny and actually led to a great conversation. So that was a really cool day, and I am sooo excited to do it again! My favorite is Heumarkt, so if you get the chance to, look up Heumarkt Weihnachtsmarkt 2014.

I also had the opportunity this week to go to the Wupp-Nasty as we call it, or Wuppertal as everyone else calls it. I think our name is cooler. Well, I got adopted by an African family as their son from Michigan, which was pretty funny, but we also had a really cool lesson with a member family on the side of the mountain. Beautiful view! They have a son named Kevin, and he is serving in Russia right now. The reason it was so good though, is because I learned a truth; when the spirit teaches you something is true, just because the feeling goes away the next day doesn’t mean it isn’t true anymore. 

Because I am a missionary, it is expected that we contact people in the streets and trains everyday. I am terrible at this. Our mission leader asked us how the work was going, and I could sense he knew something, so I just told him. He gave us a really awesome pep talk and it really got me motivated to talk to totally random people. Something that I thought of this week is this question. How important is your word? After that, I made a contract with myself saying I would contact so many people each day. I signed it at the bottom and I have got to say I have not missed a single day. Things are just all of a sudden more fulfilling. It feels better! He also told us how when we contact people, we can make really funny stories. Boy was he right! I contacted a woman that night and she couldn’t believe I was from America because I was white! Apparently she thought everyone in America was black haha! The guy sitting at the other side of the train burst out laughing but never turned around. Such a funny night!

Other funny things from this week consisted of an American school bus turned into a party bus filled with dancing white haired women, a crazy man screaming at the top of his lungs, and me "sawing logs" while I sleep haha. 

That’s all I have time for this week, but hopefully it is enough. Have a great week, and enjoy the Christmas Spirit! Remember, Christ was the best gift we ever got!


Monday, December 1, 2014

No Transfer for me!

This last Pday was a lot of fun. A bunch of guys went and played Frisbee after going and looking at all of the crazy stores here in Köln.  Christmas is going up everywhere, and the city is busy. I also saw a Lamborghini Aventador on the streets....meine gute. I love my mission, and Xmas is going to be awesome!

We had our transfer calls and almost nobody got transferred. With that said I am staying for a 5th transfer in Köln, which I am mostly happy about. My district is so awesome and I must say that I think I have found 2 or 3 very good friends I will want to do things with after the mission. Also we have our Christmas already lined up with the bishop and the 24th lined up with 2 families. woohoo!! Hungarian food and traditional German food!

We had Zone Training this week, and it was so much fun! It was Christmas themed and everyone was wearing matching sweaters with their companion, so Elder Dean and I might go get one today. We had a lot of fun there, and one Elder had a singing and dancing hat that he bought. The messages were about the Savior and it was a great reminder of how much he loves us.

I also got the opportunity to go to Wuppertal for a split, and I got to meet so many cool people. It is so cool to see the special relationships that people attach to their elders, and it makes me glad for mine. I also tried two very good Berliners that were more American than they were German. One was filled with Nutella, so I guess that was German, but the other had frosting on top and was filled with vanilla pudding and blueberry filling! I will be going back to buy more this week when I go back to Wuppertal for another split! 

So every week we have a flea market outside our place, and so I found a pretty cool Adolf Hitler coin that I picked up. Not the best person ever, but a cool thing to have and buy when you’re in the country. We also ran into some Americans there, so that was way fun! 

Last thing! So with transfers, we as elders have what we call Dday. Dday is the day before transfers where President can call you to be a trainer, zone leader, district leader, or an AP Elder. Well, while I was gone Elder Dean switched Presidents number with someone else’s number. Well they called me and lets just say they do a very convincing impression! I totally bought it! It was so funny! 

That’s all I have for this week. Unfortunately, Investigators and other things just fell out one after another, so it wasn’t the most eventful week. Pray for me that I will be able to find people searching for answers. Have a good week!

Love from Germany,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Treasure Hunt!

Hey all! 

This week didn’t start out so good, but luckily it is over! I had the stomach flu, but on the bright side I spent most of one our days sleeping! I will say, that part was glorious. Luckily everything is gone but a very minor cough. Back to being a goof! We had an investigator class on Sunday at church, and one of our favorite families joined us and every time I talked the husband started laughing. Now I knew I was funny, but I didn’t know that just acting normal was enough to crack someone up! We love them, and they invited us over for the 24th in case I stay. They also heard about our situation with Elder Deans missing stuff, and got worried we didn’t have enough money for food, so they brought us two shopping bags of groceries on Sunday. So nice of them! 

We ended up meeting with Daniel, and to make things fun we made some American Brownies that my mom sent me a while ago. He loved them, and he and I alone ate more than half the pan haha. Elder Dean needs a haircut, and since Daniel just shaves his head, we were thinking that maybe he could just buzz him afterwards for fun haha. We will see! I will take pictures for sure! 

So during weekly planning, we went through a binder and found out that we have a basement where we can keep extra stuff. We had no idea, and since the church has rented our apartment for over 30 years we thought it would be filled with all sorts of treasures! We didn’t have the keys to the outside doors of the storage unit, but we found someone who did. After a long drawn out search, we found that our unit was missing the lock and only had some tile and two shopping carts inside haha. Normally in Germany you have to pay a Euro to use the carts, but not even those were there! Bummer! On the positive side, we got to explore the 3 level of the tower, which was just a parking lot. This parking lot, was filled with tons of old cars, old cars I have never seen! There was an old Jeep, a Porsche, a Ferrari; I think a few from East Germany and just a bunch more. So many of these cars have been there so long, that you can’t tell what the original paint color is because it is so covered in dust! I was like a kid in a candy shop, and wanted to buy and fix up all of them! 

We also got to go down to Wuppertal for a street display this week, and that was so funny! I think I learned some strange sort of sign language that goes along the lines of having no desire for something or just being angry. Getting rejected was so funny, and in a way it was a game. I would ask people if they wanted a free book, and then they would angrily say no, to which I would say that I didn’t believe that at all. The things you do for fun as a missionary! Haha. I also got a bet from a missionary to contact a group of three or more people all at once, and if I did he would buy me a berliner. Best free Berliner I have ever eaten! 

This week started out kind of slow and hard, but as the week went on I had some real gems happen, and got some prayers answered too. I love it here!! Well, we are going to go play frisbee and go shopping and look at some churches with the Solingen Elders, as well as show him all the old cars. Have a good week!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Good news everyone! I didn’t get my tie cut off! Turns out it is some time early next year. Still, Carnival began this week and it was so cool! Try Halloween x10. Everyone in the streets is dressed up. I’d say the difference is that instead of eating candy everyone is drinking haha. It was one of the coolest days in Germany, but 100% sure that it was the least sober for everyone else. Actually...the World Cup might have been tied, but that was going on while I was asleep. A few people pointed and laughed at us saying it was funny that we dressed up as Jehovah Witnesses. For whatever reason, people here just avoid them like the plague, so they avoid us sometimes. Kinda funny actually. On the first day of carnival, we got on a streetcar and some guys were joking around with us and they were dressed pretty crazy, so I asked if I could snap a photo. They said yes and then had Elder Dean and I take photos for them when we got off. They offered me shots, beer, and wine, which they claimed was alcohol free. Haha, so you mean to say it is grape juice? Fun...very interesting day. 

We also actually ended up meeting up with Daniel, and we had a very good talk after getting some hot chocolate. I only planned on buying him one, so when he saw that we weren’t getting any he bought us both one. Sneakily, I snuck like 5 euro back into his pocket haha. We have another meeting with him this week too, and I am very excited for that.

We also now have a new investigator named John! He is from Ghana and has had a very hard life. We are working with him and are trying to help him out. Yesterday we had him at church as well as another guy we taught. Yeah, that guy showed up for like 10 minutes, hit on someone, and then went out for a smoke. Right.

This week I had the privilege of going to Wuppertal for the baptisms of a small family. Not sure if anyone remembers, but on a split I went and taught them. It was an amazing experience and I got to see them baptized! The Dad baptized the Mom and the stepdaughter, it was so nice. They were happy to see me there, and it was just an awesome service where we got to talk to some non-members. 

This morning we also had the sisters over for brunch, but since they aren’t allowed in our apartment they just chilled in the halls while Elder Dean cooked and I served very yummy french toast. Today we will be joining them and many other missionaries in Bonn for the Haribo Factory! Woohoo sweets!

Well, that’s pretty much the week minus some drama haha, but who cares. Thanks for the letters and have a good week!


Monday, November 10, 2014

This week has been relaxingly normal! I am so sick and tired of losing things haha. This week we also had a split, so Elder Dean went to Wupertal because he wanted a break from Cologne. Once he came back, we came to the hilarious conclusion that within 7 days he had stayed in 5 apartments! 1. His own 2. Cologne 3. Frankfurt 4. Duesseldorf and 5. Wupertal. Nuts! 

This week there was a nationwide train strike, which was a pain in the butt! Trains are just about the only way we can get around here. Luckily we have buses but they are so slow and uncomfortable! I know, even as a missionary I am spoiled. 

I FINALLY got back in contact with Daniel because Elder Arts forgot to get his signature on his baptismal form. Kind of important haha. So we met up and had an awesome little talk, but he says it has been super busy lately, and that his Dad just makes it really hard on him because he hates the church. His mom is a member, but I think they are beginning to back down because of the Dad. Sad! We invited him to church and we also got a lesson scheduled in, but he didn’t show up to church and his mom hung up on me, which was very unusual of her. 

We are trying to grow our teaching pool.  We tried to go by on an investigator who has investigated the church for 40 years, but has never been able to quit smoking. Where did I find this out? The records of other missionaries from said 40 years! We actually got the wrong address, so we will be going next week instead.

Unfortunately our teaching pool is almost dry. We haven’t taught an investigator since Elder Dean got here, so things are sometimes uneventful. Tomorrow we have to be careful though because Carnival, a celebration biggest in Cologne, starts. For whatever reason, the first day girls go around and try to cut off guys ties and then give them a kiss. Ok? What a weird tradition! With that said, I will be wearing my tie that I bought for 3 euro. 

Today we are going to the big outdoor shopping center for Elder Dean, as well as going inside the Dom. After that we are going to the mini Carnival across the river, so hopefully I will ride a rollercoaster! That is pretty much it for now. Have a good week and thanks for the letters!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tough Week!

Hey Everyone -

This has definitely been the longest week of my mission!  Elder Arts was transferred and I got a new companion, Elder Dean. Elder Dean and Elder Bishop overnighted at our place, and since they weren’t from the area we had to pick them up from bahnhof. We picked them up after they had been waiting a little bit, and we took them back to our place only to realize Elder Dean forgot two of his bags right in the open back at bahnhof. Well it wasn’t even an hour we were gone, but we went back and they were gone. Everything that allows him to be here legally was missing, along with his debit and credit card as well as his church debit.

We had to travel to Frankfurt Sunday to get him a replacement passport.  When we got to the US Consulate they would not let me go in with him so I walked home by myself.  That was weird since I’m always with a companion!

So, everything worked out and we had a decent Pday yesterday. We couldn’t do emails because we had the bus ride back to Koln.  We were waiting on the other Tech Elders to let us in to the apartment and to swap train cards since they gave us their monthly pass on accident. Well, they got stuck in traffic. We ended up getting a text from the bus company telling us the bus had been delayed. The Elders came home and we swapped and grabbed our stuff. I asked Elder Dean if he grabbed everything, and he said he did, so we prayed before we left. We got to our bus finally after looking and looking and we made it by just a few minutes. I took a well-needed nap on the 2.5 hour bus ride home, and that was great! When we arrived it just felt like home. This place is like my new home. I love just about everything about it, and it just felt so good to be back in it. We took the street car home, and then out of nowhere this girl asked us for help in English. She needed help getting to somewhere in Bonn, which is not in our area, so I did my best and told her how to get to the main station in Bonn. We then got on the topic of religion, and she wants to come to our ward on Sunday! So maybe we will see her. We got her number and everything. Feeling great, we went up to our place where I said, ok you have the keys! Well, he didn't have the keys. They were in fact still in Frankfurt at the apartment, along with all the passport information we had just gone down to get. Locked out and the night drawing to a close, we called the Zone Leaders because they have keys to everyone’s apartment. Right? Well they happened to be missing one key haha. Can you guess which one it was? That’s right, ours haha. So they drove 45 minutes from Düsseldorf to pick us up and then took us back to their place to overnight. We ended up getting home a little after 12, and since we hadn’t eaten all day they fed us some really good leftovers. So finally, we got to 1 am. The ZLs both agreed we would all sleep in until 730 since all of us have had several rough nights lately. Things are looking up now. We had a great Zone conference in Düsseldorf, we have a hilarious story to tell, and we went on a split so Elder Dean didn’t have to come back to Köln for another day. As Elder Nelson and I came home, we checked the mail and there was a letter from Deutsche Bahn, and it said that they had FOUND HIS STUFF. We haven’t been able to go yet, but we will be certainly be going down as soon as possible. I called Elder Dean and he was soooo excited!  The both of us are good, but a few boring days would really do us good! Haha. 

Monday, October 27, 2014


This week was pretty good, but so many things fell through that by the end of the week we really hadn't had that much that had happened. P-day was very fun last week! We ended up not being able to make it to the very border because of time, but I did get to see both Holland and Belgium! We also visited the Dom in Aachen and the ceiling was most definitely lined with gold. A lot smaller than the Dom in Cologne, but a lot prettier for sure. Later, we had some extra time and Elder Arts wanted to go to a card game shop to pick up some cards for his mission buddy in Australia. There we ran into a girl who had always wanted a Book of Mormon, but had never been able to get her hands on one. She was so excited when we pulled one out of our bag haha. Anyway, we ended up stopping by the other day and she was very much interested, so I'm hoping that she turns into an investigator. Unfortunately since Daniel, things have been a little dry over here. I think that's kind of how it goes though in Europe haha.

We did have a bummer day because an investigator dropped us, but that happens every now and then. That's also what happens when you believe every little stinking thing on the internet. Ah! It still drives me crazy! I'll stop at that because I know I will rant about it for a good paragraph haha.

This week I got another package from Mom and lets just say I am living the good life with so many brownies!

We also had a very cool Friday night activity related to Halloween. We carved pumpkins! We even invited some Germans and they had so much fun! We got asked by the cashier if we were making soup and we said we were cutting them. You know us wasteful 'Muricans! But boy you should have seen her facial expression when we rolled up that shopping cart with 6 pumpkins. Priceless! After we were done, we cleaned up and went home leaving the pumpkins at the church, and then we realized we had to throw them out. The next day Elder Arts crushed one like Kahn in Star Trek 2 and that was pretty funny. Then I dropped one outside and punched my fist straight though one side and cracked the other side from top to bottom. Just when all of you thought I had grown up too! No, I assure you my personality has not changed a bit.

Lastly, we got our transfer call this week! I will be staying in Cologne for another 5 weeks for sure, so I will get to experience the xmas markets! Elder Arts on the other hand, is going all the way down by Nueremburg where even natural born Germans have a hard time understanding those people's accent haha. My new companion comes Thursday I believe, and his name is Elder Dean. All I have heard is that he is really funny, so I'm sure we will get along just fine! We had to let so many people in the ward know whether or not we were staying, and one of my favorites was so relieved when he heard I was staying haha. He said, "If you leave who is going to make me laugh?" Apparently I am funnier than I ever thought, but it's probably just because I'm an awkward fellow. Works for me!

Well that's about it for this week. Today we are going to Solingen to play Ultimate and hopefully do something else haha. Eine schöne Woche und bleib schön haha.


PS I rode a horse

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Street Car with the smell of death!

This week I got to read emails real early in the morning, which was awesome! Waiting to go to do emails is like going at the top of the stairs Christmas morning. Well, just a little! The reason that we went early is because we are going to Aachen today! Aachen has a huge church that is lined in gold, and after we visit that, we will be going to the border of three countries! There is a part of Germany where Holland and Belgium come together so hopefully we will see something cool!

This week we had a small problem getting to and from appointments. The Deustche Bahn decided to strike, making things rather difficult. This week we also had a very cool contact in a train. Those kind of things always just brighten my day. There are some people who will listen to you but maybe don't care, there are those that care, and then we have the "Elect", but who are really just a bunch of know it all don't bother me's. Steffan was way cool and he was really excited when we gave him a Book of Mormon. I don't know what will happen with him, but he got so excited when we gave it to him for free, and that was what made my day. This week I also had my first Italian pizza in Europe. Wow. It wasn't Costco pizza, but boy did I stuff my face! On the way back, we went to get on the streetcar and we saw a bunch of open seats. Pretty happy about that and unaware, we walked into the smell of death. I walked in and saw every. single. person holding their nose, but it was too late because I had already taken a big whiff. That's why there were so many seats! Well, that explains the cramped other end of the we joined them! Luckily it didn't smell over there, but exactly one half of it did. We looked back and there was a homeless guy sitting alone talking to himself and pointing around the cabin. Poor guy! I have noticed there are a lot of homeless people here!

This week we gave one of our investigators a blessing, that he would find the answer he was looking for, but also a blessing of guidance for work. Afterwards he told us he had goose bumps and couldn't describe the feeling he had. Yup! That's the spirit! It was really neat. So a few weeks ago we helped out a member from Uruguay to find his Hostel, and we got a thank you from him the other night. Well, just as we checked it we realized we had to go to get home on time. On the way home we ran into another guy that spoke english, and he too needed help getting to a hostel! So, of course we helped him out. That's what I love about here, you meet so many different people all from different places and have different stories.

Well that is kind of it for this week. This week we find out if we are staying in Cologne or not. Personally I want some change in my life. Either a new area or companion would be cool, but if not that is ok. We are still having a pretty good time in Cologne, 19 weeks is just a long time is all! Well, we will see. Have a good week everyone!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Scary Discovery!

Each week seems to go by so fast!

Quite honestly I think if I wrote home more than once a week it would be too much! There wouldn't be a whole lot to write about and the week just goes by so fast anyway! 

This week started rather odd when Elder Arts asked me to look in the microwave for him, so kind of cautiously I opened it. Well inside we found the long lost hamburger meat that Elder Arts thought he put back in the freezer. It was so nasty! These are the horrors that I experience as an Elder Haha. Not so bad though. Although, I did have somebody answer a door and they were wearing what seemed to be a towel around their waist. Yeah they were shorts, just pulled up so high he could almost tuck his moobs in. Sorry for the scarring image, but in my defense you are all here to read about what happens in my life haha.

This week I also had the opportunity to sit in a hammock hand-made by prisoners in Mexico! Our Ward Mission Leader served his mission there and brought one home for $50. Pretty cool, and pretty comfortable too. Our WML is from Kentucky, so we usually speak in English. Speaking of English, we ran into a ton of people from America this week! It is way fun because you just have this instant connection with them, so it is a snap to start a conversation with them. Generally German's have pretty good English, but it just isn't the same.

Since we don't always have plans, we had what we call a white day, meaning no plans at all. So, we did our normal study, our meals, and our weekly planning session. With the rest of the time in the day, we ended up doing some less active member go-bys to try and invite them to a big conference called stake conference. We didn't get any answers but as we were returning home we ran into an active member and his inactive sister on the train! Wow! We had an awesome talk and she even asked me if I was German. You could say I was pretty proud of my German then. We said goodbye for the night and then we ran into her and her daughter today on the way home from shopping. It was wild! The same person who I have never seen before I see two times within three days. Quite honestly I was blown away, but hopefully we will see her again, but this time at church.

The last part I would like to share took place just Yesterday. As most of you who read may know, Daniel was baptized last week, and just yesterday we confirmed him a member and gave him the Holy Ghost. Right after, he got up and gave a testimony that was so simple and so sweet. One of the first times we met with him, he had trouble getting here. Around here the train drivers have been going on strike a lot, and as he was on his way the driver announced he was going on strike and was stopping at the next station. Not knowing where he was, he wandered unsure if he would make our appointment. Somehow, he said he felt guided where to go and eventually found his way to somewhere he recognized. I love that guy so much! He is so genuine and so honest about everything. Plus we just have a lot of dumb little things here and there in common. So glad I am out here, because if I wasn't then I would never have met him. Sure maybe somebody else may have helped him get baptized, but we would never have become friends, and that is something I am very grateful for.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Please excuse my grammar. I have noticed that English is getting a little harder to write out. Stupid spelling and stuff! Have a good one!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week of Miracles

This last week was really special so I'm really excited to share my experiences with you all! Not only was this week spiritual, but it was also just a lot of fun as well, so that's what I want to start with.

So! This last week for P-day we went hiking and went to a gigantic bridge in sollingen where we hiked down below and played frisbee and soccer by the river. One of the missionaries that was there is a total red neck, which he too admits, and he caught a crayfish or crawdad using a stick! Everyone thought is was the funniest thing ever, and it started pinching him while we were trying to hang him from our name tags. The next day we had zone training in Düsseldorf and as part of an object lesson of multiplying the talents from the story in the bible, about four of us got to shoot a sister missionary with a nerf gun, but from really far away! Well, last but not least I was the first to land a hit! Second time too, and got her like 7 more times. I felt pretty cool being a crackshot, but then I realized I was A) shooting a girl, and B) shooting a nerf gun. Well it was pretty fun in the moment.

So, right after the zone training, I went on a split to Wupertal and I went with readiness to get it over with. Well, due to complications with all of our appointments both in Wupertal and Cologne, I ended up spending a second day there. I was pretty disappointed, but that soon turned around. We visited three guys from Africa for the second time, and I ended up using the scriptures to answer their question. As soon as I explained it, I felt the spirit telling me what I was teaching was right, but also told me of a simple way to explain it which worked perfectly. I then explained how God is always there and waiting for us, and so I extended my hand to one of them for a good minute or two, showing that it is always us that needs to make the effort to reach him. It was way cool. After that, we had a lesson with a family that spoke English. The mother was from Wupertal and had married a man from Utah that had left the church over 15 years ago. Together they have a little baby, and the mom has a 14 year old girl. Rather than teach the normal first lesson, we taught them the second lesson, and brought the Armor of God with us, which is a cool symbolic story in the bible. Elder Tischner built it all out of cardboard, and we put it on the dad as we read the scriptures! They really seemed to grasp the idea, and understood that it gives us protection, and that we need to wear it together and not just alone. Then that lead into the main lesson where we talked about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going after this life. I can honestly say that the spirit there was so strong, and the whole time. Together, Elder Tischner and I taught better than we ever had with any companion. We answered all of the wife's questions, which weren't entirely easy either. Afterwards, the wife said, "Wow, I am really impressed. You answered all of my questions that the Catholic church could never answer for me. That was why I left. I wanted you to answer these questions, but I stayed quiet because I figured God would tell you." I was blown away. That was why we taught the second lesson first, and all I did was go with it and teach what I had always been taught as a kid. During her prayer at the end of the lesson she thanked God for sending the right people at the right time. It just made me so happy! The whole thing! It made my week, and quite honestly it was the single best experience on my mission so far. Afterwards, Elder tischner asked me where I learned to teach. "I don't know man it was in English, all I did was talk!". I couldn’t believe it, and it just kept circulating in my mind the next few days.

After that, I have come to see that it doesn't matter how I want my day to go. God will make things happen in my day so that the things he wants to happen will indeed happen. That wasn't the only time this week, but it was the most definite I think. I spoke with Elder Tischner just the other day, and the wife said she kept asking God to know that the church was true, but she kept getting the same answer saying that she already knew it was. I'm happy to say that she has decided to get baptized, and that he and she have decided to set the goal to get married in the temple. Wow.

I have been so excited to write this, but I also wanted to write about Daniel. I am happy to say that on Friday our Bishop baptized him and that his family came along with his aunt and his family. I also gave my first talk in German, and that went really awesome! The whole thing just went awesome, and I asked him how he felt afterwards. He told me that he was nervous before, but that he had this really strong warm feeling inside. I was so excited to hear that because to me that is how the spirit feels.

This week has been spectacular. Probably the most event filled, miracle filled week on my mission. I am beginning to see things the way they really are I believe. That is, that good choices lead to happiness and not so good choices don't. This week during General conference one of the apostles said something along the lines that ignoring God's laws is like trying to ignore earth's. Denying gravity after walking off a cliff doesn't mean you will float! Haha, that one made me laugh. Anyway, I hope you all have a very good week and find what makes you happy. I have found what makes me happy. Thanks for all the letters and until next time.