Monday, September 29, 2014


Well I would just like to start off by saying I am sooo happy hair grows back quickly.

Last Monday we went to go get myself a haircut since it was way too long for a missionary. I would normally put it up, but non-gelled it went down to about my eyes since the last guy who cut it clearly forgot my bangs. Anyway we went and the woman was obviously not a native by the sound of her German. We discussed the length of my hair and we agreed that we would take 4cm off and then go from there and see if I wanted to go shorter like 6 or 7 were her words. Well she ran back and got the machine and Elder Arts was sitting behind me on the sofa and we talked real quick. She came back and started buzzing it away, and it felt a little strange. Like the buzzer was struggling or something. I thought to myself, "Hmm..must be low on battery or something". Yeah that mindset got blown to pieces when Elder Arts did a horrible job of hiding his loud laughter. My smile quickly turned to horror as the buzzer came around the top of my head, buzzing everything but what looked to be 4mm off. The haircut lady asked me if it hurt, to which I said, "No, not really, just to watch". Yeah this is probably the shortest I have ever had my hair. My head is cold, the wind tickles my head, and the church members told me I look like Al Capone without a cigar haha. Sometimes I wear my Russian hat around the house to keep me head warm, and it still takes me by surprise when I scratch my head or look in the mirror. Luckily hair (for me) grows back!! After that she did the final touches with a razor, to which she cut open my ear! It bled for a good 30 minutes! And yes I had to pay full price. Looks like I have to teach myself how to cut my hair! 

This week we helped out a woman in our ward whose husband just had a massive stroke. He's in bed all day now and can barely speak. At least I think he can. Anyway, we went over and she is doing awesome. She is so strong; even though the doctors told her he won't live another year. We helped her get rid of a bunch unwanted stuff in her basement as well as move some stuff around in her house. She was so grateful for all that we did, and so she made us dinner. Holy cow can Germans cook. Us missionaries have a saying that goes, "I was filled (or emptied) by the spirit", meaning that when stuff tastes amazing or we have two dinner appointments back to back, we can eat tons. I have a testimony of that! I have eaten so much on my mission, I can hardly believe it sometimes! That appointment was awesome because we both really enjoyed serving her as well as eating her food. It's as simple as that. Give me good food and I'll be your best friend.

This week Elder Arts called one of his converts that lives in Herne, and the guy wrote an index of the Book of Mormon by hand that took 11 months. Want to know why? The guy made the index for every word in the entire book!! And now he's doing it for the bible! Now I am sorry but at least when I was at home playing video games with my buddies I was...hmm..that's a tough one really. Which one is better!? He also is turning the Book of Mormon into a board game, and is in the process of showing it to investors or whatever. Hopefully it's good! This week we also got a new mission leader in our ward, and he is way cool and I think we will do a lot of awesome things together. We also had a member come over to our place and put up two light fixtures for us since we only have one in the main living quarters and hall. Man our apartment looks completely different!! It's unbelievable haha. Lastly, I have been working on my testimony of Jesus Christ a little more than usual, and I think it has been helping me out with the stress of everything. 

Well that is about it for this week, or as far as I can remember. I am sure I will forget something like I always do. I just want to say real quickly how much I love service though. Before coming out I was kind of reluctant to take any time and go out of my way to go to help people with moves or anything. Now it is the thing I look forward to most. I really love the people here and all I get to do for them. They really are special, and although they may be stubborn, are still children of God. Thanks for all those who read and as well as those who write. It's fun getting mail from home! Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Hey All, Hope it was a good week for you as it was for me.

This last week we called our friend we met at Dunkin Donuts and he has been reading in the Book of Mormon without us asking and wants to meet with us this week! Sweet! This week Elder Arts and I started a 40 day fast of sorts. The idea is to get rid of any old bad habits from home and maybe things that we are still holding on to. Just little things that might be distracting! 

This week I also got my Visa! I must say, it feels nice not worrying about being an illegal alien! Not that I was yet, but it was getting close! 

We were supposed to have had a baptism with Daniel Rippel, but his mom wanted him to put it off so she could come. Naturally we did that, and ended up meeting Daniel and his mom last night and discussed it with the new Bishop. This week we also met with Daniel and his cousin, Alexandro. Alexandro is 15 and also wants to be baptized! I explained to him that after Daniel is baptized he can baptize Alexandro. Right after I finished he was like, yeah no I want you to do it. Well ok, I won't argue with that!! I mean I am a cool guy, what can I say! Haha just kidding. Daniel and I get along really well too. The language barrier isn't even a barrier anymore. We just understand each other and he gets that my German sucks. Just yesterday we developed our own inside joke! That kid is so great, and just loves meeting with us. He's such a cool friend and we have so much in common! It makes teaching him feel so natural and so much more like a friend teaching a friend than a teacher teaching a student. 

Just a few other small things. This week we ran into a guy from Orem Utah, so it was way fun hearing someone speaking English. We also got stuck in the rain and ran to our appointment-soaking wet, which was not only refreshing but also really fun! It's weird because I'm not kidding; it's always something we laugh about when we are running. We also got stuck on our Bahn from that appointment back to Cologne and it broke down for about 75 minutes. It was fun, but let me just say that I would love to shake the hand of the genius that invented sweat pants. I went home and changed into those babies so fast! 

So last week I mentioned that I left out a story since I didn’t have time, and that I believe less and less in coincidences. Well today I have time! We were riding home for the night thinking we would get home early. I looked over and saw a guy wearing a USA jersey, which isn't uncommon at all. People wear the American flag more everyday than most people in America do in a week. It's weird. Anyway I thought nothing of it and went on with my thoughts as we went home. Well the next stop he came over and said "Hey Elders!" Now either you're a member or you are making fun of us for both having the first name. Sure enough, he was a member! He was from Uruguay originally but works right now for the American Government. He was in the city trying to find his hostel for the night and came across us. We had time, so we helped him find his hostel only to find that it was booked because of the huge marathon the next day. We ended up helping him out around Cologne and found him a good place to stay. I say I don't believe in coincidences because in the 4th largest city in Germany with over 2 million people, we happened to be on the same train with some member of the church who just so happened to run into the only elders in the city. For me that is no coincidence at all, to me that is a miracle quite honestly. 

Well I am off to go get a hair cut and go to a skate shop, and maybe some other places. I hope everyone has a great week and finds some time to eat some chocolate. That always does me good! Have a good week and enjoy your chocolate! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hello from Germany!

This week was awesome! So much happened and I just love it when we are busy! What 19 year old says that? this last week we visited one of our favorite couples, and they just love us and think I'm hilarious. Haha, no wonder I like them! The husband even spoke to our mission president when he visited our ward and begged him to let us stay in Cologne. They are such a funny couple! 

This last week Elder Arts totally messed up! We currently teach two Daniels and we had to put off one of our appointments with one because he couldn't make it anymore. Well luckily it was a day in advanced. We went to the other Daniel's because we had them both on the same day, or did anyway. We showed up and nobody was home! Turns out Elder Arts thought it was the other Daniel that rescheduled haha. Well the other one ended up falling out too anyway.  We ended up teaching Daniel Ripple on the steps of the Dom which was way cool! I love having a huge church nearby. We even studied the scriptures inside on Sunday since we left for an appointment too early. 

That day we also met with our good friend Erik, the one that cant move or talk, and we shared a way cool story from the Book of Mormon and he really related it to himself. He asked us "How do you overcome internal conflicts? And don’t say prayer!!" We both laughed and he did too, but we had a really good discussion with him and I really hope we helped. I'm so excited to visit him this week! 

This week I also had Rolladen, which is rolled up beef that has vegetables inside. Oh meine gute...that was one of the best meals I have ever had! These Germans sure know how to cook! And I thought they only liked sauerkraut..haha just kidding.

We also had our mission wide conference. We now have in total 252 missionaries in my mission. Wild huh? We also have 88,000 around the world. Pretty a scripture in the Acts chapter one or two talking about sons and daughters going forth in the last day and proclaiming the gospel and I thought, Hey that's me! haha. 

On our way to the mission conference our bus broke down haha. We had to pull over because the belt from the engine to the radiator fan broke, so the engine was way hot. In fact I heard a beeping noise over by the driver. Good thing it didn't seize up or anything. Anyway, we had 30 of us missionaries on this bus and I think every non-member got talked to and asked if they wanted to be Mormon! Way funny. Elder Arts also complemented the driver on his tie and he says "Oh thanks! Want one? Here follow me!" He gave him his extra tie. What! What a lucky guy! As a missionary we collect ties since it's the only thing we get to see different about our dress. After our replacement bus came, we finally made it to our conference, just in time. We had an apostle come and we had a really good conference. We also saw another one of the speakers at our big church conference on Sunday. He told us a story of how quite a while ago he got to be with the prophet every day for a week or two! It really helped him change his perspective and desire a strong relationship with Christ, which is something we can all have. It's something that I am trying to work for. 

Well I am way bummed because I have a whole story I didn't even get to touch on, but it’s time to go! I will say that the longer I am a missionary the less I believe in coincidences. I just want to say thank you for the letters and wish you all a great week. 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Hello all!

This week has been really good! This week the entire mission is going down to Frankfurt for a mission-wide conference with one of the apostles from Salt Lake, so that will be cool having sooo many missionaries there. This week we had an appointment with our friend Erik. Erik has Cerebral Palsy and so we are going to try and visit him once a week now that I am staying 7 more weeks. Erik can't talk, but the guy is actually way good at video games! He actually likes one of my favorites too haha, so I talk about the game after the lesson and he sits and smiles and laughs. It makes me so happy every time we visit him. I can't explain it, it just makes me so...joyfull? Not sure if that's the right word, but it leaves me smiling for quite a while, and usually makes my day. 

This week we also got a new bishop and we had the most random appointment with him ever. We were just about to put some pasta on and we got a call from him and his wife. An hour later we were there! He then drove us to our split where we swap companions for a day, and then drove us home. He got blitzed twice! Getting blitzed is when you drive too fast and this box radars you and flashing way bright. What it does is it takes a photo of you the driver, and your plate. That way they can mail you a ticket. It's quite evil and I hope they never get them in America!

This week, us 4 missionaries in Koln put together a conversion story meeting for all of the members. Only about 20 people came, but our golden investigator or my good friend Daniel came! It was awesome and I think he really liked it! Afterwards we played basketball with him and rode home most of the way with him. We had to reschedule his baptism date until the 19th, but this time it is set in stone. He is so ready and is such a cool kid! He continues to come to church and brings his cousin who is 15. We might even start teaching him too, we just need permission from his parents. Daniel is also going to institute this week all the way in Dusseldorf. I don't really know how to explain it other than a mini sunday school for young people in the middle of the week. 

Last night we spent a great deal of time at the old bishops house. We helped get dinner on, had dinner, and had a spiritual thought after. The bishop and his wife just opened up to us about how hard it has been being bishop the past 5 years. It's amazing how I have started to develop this love for these people, because all I want to do is help them. Bishop drove us home at the end and called us his friends which made me feel awesome. He then gave us a hug goodbye and drove off. It was great too because it wasn't one of those hugs where it's just like ok bye here's your hug. There was love behind it from both ends, and I wouldn't trade these two years for anything. I have learned so much already!! 

Well today we are going to the Dom again with a bunch of elders and sisters. We are going to be climbing to the top so it should be way fun! I've already done it, but it really never gets old. Oh and an anti war parade just passed us by with a giant fake missile. Wow. So yeah, happy as can be and just about as busy as can be. Hope you all have a great week. Thanks for everything and thanks Sister Johnson for the great email, I loved it!


About pics below:
1. REAL MOUNTAIN DEW!!!  Compliments of some friends who were so kind to pick it up at a military base
2. Hohenzollern Bridge - crosses the river Rhine in Koln.  Since 2008 people have put love padlocks on it
3. Elders and Sister missionaries
4. With the new bishop and his wife
5. Kevin, Daniel and Elder Arts
6. Kevin and Herr Zeitel

Monday, September 1, 2014

Why hello there!

This week, like all others, has been exhausting and busy! Hopefully you all are having less busy lives! It actually hit me that this week I will have hit my 4 month mark, and that by next transfer I will have been out almost half a year. Is this real? It goes by so stinking fast, why did high school never go by this fast haha. 

Things here have also been very, very busy.  Almost every night we get home late, and on Sundays we normally retire at 8. But last night, instead we came home at 930. Koln is just so huge it takes forever. Getting to my last appointment last night took 1 hour and 45 minutes from the church.

Daniel Rippel had an awesome appointment with us on Saturday as well as with a return missionary who went to Portugal. On Saturday we taught him and he brought his longboard!!!! I rode it and it felt soooo good. I showed him a few things I could do and he loved it! He's a great guy. He came to church the next day and brought his cousin too. It just so happened President Stoddard and his wife were there and so we introduced them since Pres is so excited about him.

Transfers are this week, so I may or may not stay in Koln. I have begun to fear since we have so many new missionaries coming in, that I will end up training. In all reality, it is not all that uncommon for guys as recently out to train. So if I do please keep me in your prayers!

A few other things from this week: We saw a blimp way up close, and you could almost see the person flying it. It was so cool! They bring it out for football games. We also had zone training this week and it was awesome! I loved it! We considered ourselves Zions camp because we are here to rescue the people. And for some reason we had our ties around our head haha. Even sisters.  Some members took us to Subway this week and we had an awesome talk there. I decided that I knew God loved me a lot because they played 2 or 3 awesome songs at subway that I really like, plus I saw a lamborghini.

On Friday the entire mission is going to Frankfurt to hear from Russel M Ballard. Pretty neat huh! We are pretty excited.

Today we are going to visit a cathedral over past Leverkusen and Bergisch Gladbach. It won't be quite as large as the Dom, but then again nothing is. 

Have a good week this week everyone!