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.