Monday, August 31, 2015

Teaching and baseball!

Another good week here in Offenbach! Elder Sommer had a god visit to
the temple last week, and I just toured around Frankfurt a little bit.
The work this week actually went pretty well too. It is pretty tough
finding new people to teach, but things seem to be moving along, and
we are still having a good time.

On Monday after PDay we played some basketball with our good friends,
Greg and Ajda, and we had a fantastic time and then taught about the
plan of salvation and helped them set up a genealogy account, which was
pretty cool. I am so proud of them! They have set so many goals on
their own and are challenging themselves. I’m thoroughly convinced that
I am here to learn from them, because I am not doing anything special
with them. It has just been so much fun to see them grow and become
progressively happier, and it really is true. Just makes me so happy
to see just two people taking these steps, and makes it completely
worth it being here if they are the only ones I end up teaching.

Hopefully that changes though! Recently we had the opportunity to help
some referrals with a move to a different apartment, and we had such a
fun time and I feel like we became close friends. We ended helping out
for about 7 or so hours, and we were both just dead afterwards, but
they really appreciated our help, and we are going to try to teach the
lessons to them this upcoming week once they are all settled in their
apartment. Super fun couple!

On kind of a funny note, during lunch hours and free time, we play
baseball because we found this big cardboard tube that had some maps
in it and we also had a small squish ball that we use, so we have been
playing in the kitchen every now and then. Sometimes an Elder will get
hit in the face, but its all fun. We had the other Elders over for
dinner hour
 Sunday night and we played then as well. We have to get
our energy out somehow!

Just a few days ago we had a street display in Offenbach that went
pretty well! We had the zone leaders there as well and in total I
think we gave out somewhere around 12 books. There were a lot of
really cool people we talked to, but there were also a lot of those
people that just aren’t ready...but one of those cool guys was super
interested and was a part of a religious group called Bahai. I have
only ever met one person that had that same faith, but they seem like
they are genuinely good people that try to help people, and so it was
really refreshing to talk to him.

Lots of good little things about this week like always, but I am
mostly excited for our two friends! I think we will be able to get
them in the water soon, and they are already so ready for it. Great
things are happening in Germany, just step by step. Summer seems to be
coming to an end, so I hope everyone was able to have a great summer
break/vacations! Thanks for all of your support and love!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Heavenly Father is a good listener!

Things are really starting to look up over here in Offenbach. We did a
number of fun things and we also had some fun success this week. The
work is picking up! Well, at least with two people it is, but I will
take what I can get! I’m grateful for any work that I have right now.

There was a senior missionary in the office that got
married this week, and so we were invited to go to the reception at
the church. It was strange but I felt like a normal person! The good news is
that I ate tons of free food as well as German wedding cake, which was
pretty dang good. President Stoddard, the mission president, was there
too! We felt kind of funny just being there, so we talked with him and
he didn’t think it was a problem to just leave. So, instead we went and
got an appointment with Greg and Ajda and then as we were walking, a
member from Coburg saw us and gave us two referrals that we are
meeting with
 on Wednesday! Pretty neat!

Also, a member from our ward invited us to set up a street display
beside her flea market stand, which was pretty cool. It was a pretty
dry street display, but I ran into this guy from Ohio, and so I
contacted him and we had a good discussion and it turns out he has a
good friend that is Mormon. He told us how much he admired what we
were doing, and then he told us he had to go. Well, about 2 or so
hours later I saw this guy again! He hadn’t seen me yet, so I started
singing the University of Michigan fight song and we both busted out
laughing. I gave him our card and I think he said he would tell his
friend he ran into us. As we were saying goodbye the second time, he
started singing the Ohio State anthem, which made me laugh. Talking
with him also helped me to realize the difference between Americans
and Germans....holy cow Americans are a lot easier to talk to! Not
just because it is in English, but we are just so different socially.
Gotta love my Germans though!

Greg and Ajda are doing fantastic and are progressing unlike anything
I have ever seen! It is so incredible to be a part of this, and we
have become close friends and I really do love them. We had some
really wonderful experiences this week. A lot of it I would like to
keep to myself, but I’ll share a few things that were awesome. They
realized the other day how Christ is actually important, that he wasn’t
just this devoted guy that died on a cross, but rather much much more.
We also gave them a small church tour, and as soon as they walked in
they felt the spirit. We also invited them to church and they LOVED
it! The themes that were talked about were awesome, and the members
were pretty much flocking around them trying to get to know them. It
has just been such a fun and wonderful experience for me. I really
don’t even think that they need me since they seem to be learning
everything on their own. My thought is that I am supposed to learn
something from them. They are so special, and true friends of mine.

Elder Sommer continues to progress well! We have continued working
well together and he seems to be pretty much adjusted to the culture
and everything. He is actually at the Frankfurt Temple today with
Elder Leppert, one of the other Offenbach Elders, since they both
haven’t gone yet and it is closing for two years. Today is just a
relaxing day for Elder Taylor and I. We are going to be going around
Frankfurt and just looking at all of the things we could maybe do.

Things are getting really exciting over here! Hope everyone is having
a good time back home as well. One of the biggest things I have
learned on my mission is about prayer. I know that our prayers are
heard. I know that the prayers of the people I teach are heard. I
promise that as you pray, you will be heard. You may not hear a voice,
but God will answer in his own way, and he also just a really good
listener! Love you guys!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fantastic week!

Exciting week for us this week! Maybe you will think so too. This week
I took Elder Sommer on our first contacting outing and I was really
nervous he was going to be kind of crushed because they really just
don’t go all that well most of the time. Well, within 15 minutes we gave
out all three books we had and we had to go back to the apartment and
get more! It was awesome!

Now for something that nobody else will really care about, but Ill
still babble about it anyway. With the trains here, we always get our
cards checked while we are traveling right? Well the people that do
the checking have the sweetest red ties that missionaries try to get
while they are here. I have been trying ever since I got here
and I finally got one!! It’s the coolest thing ever, and the guy just
handed it to me! Life is good people, life is good.

Later that same day, we had an appointment with a less active woman
from Utah, and she told us that her son would be there so that we
could come inside. Well, the only problem is that our rule calls for
the person to be 18 years or older and this kid was maybe 10. Elder
Sommer didn’t know about the rule since he is brand new, but it was
just eating me up inside that we were in there, so I asked if we could
go out to the park right next to her house and she was super
supportive of my request. I felt a ton of pressure because I had to
pretty much break into the conversation, but I was able to feel the
spirit once we made the decision to talk outside, and we ended up
having a pretty spiritual lesson.

On Friday we spent almost the entire day in Aschaffenburg because we
had so many plans, which happens like never! We had to make a lot of
connections, so we had an app loaded on my iPad to tell us exactly
where we needed to go in order to make it. As soon as we got to
the main train station it bugged out and I lost the information.
Luckily there was wifi, so I stepped to the side to load it. All of a
sudden we were approached by a guy telling us he was a member that was
trying to find the church! We had a great talk and we switched numbers
and have since been in contact. How cool! We then made our bus out to our
remote location and had a great and peaceful lesson. We were then able
to make it back in time to meet with one of our referrals and her dad,
who bought us lunch. We didn't teach much, but we talked and then we
brought up the Book of Mormon and testified and I think they both felt
something. With still some daylight left, we went by on a cool
potential that we had contacted a number of weeks ago, and visited him
at his shop right as he was leaving. He ended up giving us a tour and
asked us about our work and then told us he had given the Book of
Mormon we gave him to his mom, and that she was reading through it at
the moment! Way cool!

Fantastic week with a lot of miracles. Hoping that it keeps up, and
that I can only report better and better news. Hope you are still
having a nice summer! The hottest summer in 40 years over here looks
like it is finally over. Phew! Have a good week everyone!

Monday, August 10, 2015

More pics

Fun with the "Newbie!"

Hey Everyone –
It’s been a great week.  One of the highlights is that I found out some cool news that a member in my ward actually taught a woman that my dad baptized on his mission!  Pretty cool! I have been waiting for a connection like this my whole mission! Unfortunately she lives outside my mission, so I cant get in contact with her.

Training has been pretty interesting! It has been fun, a little
stressful, and a little tiring, but overall worth it. In our mission
the newly called trainers and trainees are overnighted in a hotel the
night before they are paired off, so that’s where I was
 on Wednesday
night. As I was lying in my bed I just kept thinking to myself how
strange it was that over a year ago I had been the one being trained.
I’m getting old! In the morning we were all pretty excited to hear who
we would be spending the next little while training. My companion is
Elder Sommer, and he actually has ancestors from Germany! His name
means summer, if that is a surprise! We have been getting along just
fine and dandy, and I’ve been having a lot of fun showing him around
Germany getting the privilege of getting him his first everything. It
is sometimes pretty strange because I have to explain even just simple
things I say because I denglish all the time, or because something is
a missionary joke, but its been pretty fun bringing a newbie up to

Before I turned in Elder Draper for my new guy, we had one last
appointment together with Greg and Ajda, which went pretty dang great.
They decided that they do want to be baptized, and asked if it could
have the possibility of happening in the next few weeks. We will see,
but for right now we are pretty pumped. There is still a lot to do,
but we are really hoping and praying that everything will work out, so
please keep them in your prayers if you would, they are such wonderful

I wish I could write and say that my week has been super eventful, but
really all it has been is bringing Elder Sommer up to speed, getting
him settled in, trying to get him legal, and a project or two. It is
kind of weird though, because I told Elder Sommer that we would be
using German a lot, but we have ran into more Americans in a period of
3 days than I have in probably the past 4 transfers. I keep promising
that he will actually learn and use German.

One last thing. This week we had our ward mission leader
conference(Gemiko) at a members house, and guess who showed up? Elder Arts! Elder Arts just finished his mission this week and it was so
good to see him and have one last dinner appointment with him. He
actually brought his dad and his sister too, and it was just so weird
to think that he won’t be a missionary by the time this gets sent out.
I miss that kid! But we had a real good time at this member’s house and
he made this incredible meat with some classic German foods, and Elder
Sommer absolutely loved it! So far I would say his favorite thing
about Germany is probably food because I keep taking him to get good
stuff like that and to get chocolate and ice cream.

Pretty much sums up my week in Germany. Its been quite different being
a trainer, but I’m really hoping to see some miracles and have some fun
with the newbie spirit that comes with training. Hope everyone has a
good week back home, love you guys!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Training a "Greenie!"

Hey everyone, this week was quite the week and a good amount of stuff
happened. This week we did have transfer calls, and it is no big
surprise that Elder Draper got transferred. With that said, on
Thursday I will be heading back from Frankfurt with a brand new
missionary! I don't know his name yet, but he should be landing in
Germany in just a few days. Elder Kelson also got switched to Essen
this week, which was very strange considering he only served here one
transfer! Offenbach is getting quite the change up.

Unfortunately I have some bad news, that being that Frau Woth called
off the baptismal date and told us she  found another church. Guess it
was just because she wanted to baptize her kids. I just don't
understand what the point in being baptized is when you don't even
remember it and never go to church again. Thats what a good number of
people do in Germany. Actually I think some of the churches are
actually closing in Offenbach. The church next door to ours doesn't
even have Sunday services right now!

As of this week I have a new hobby! Hedge trimming! Kind of strange,
but I really liked it and found it kind of relaxing in a strange way.
We helped out a lady this week with her hedge and we made it look all
castle like! Pretty fun service if you ask me.

Best news of the week is that we finally met with Greg and Ajda, and I
don't think it could have gone much better. It was a super natural
feeling and we just had a good time getting to know them. They had
some questions about the church for us which was something that we
expected, but their only worry seemed to be how not to look like an
outsider at church! They committed to coming next week since they just
started a new job, and had worked out with the boss that they would be
able to come from next week on. At least thats what I understood. It
was so cool to talk because we really got to see how long these
awesome people were being prepared. They both passed through periods
where they were mad at God, but eventually they turned around. Every
story they told pointed them to this moment, which they made clear
that they saw too.

One thing that excited me the most, was that they said that they
weren't so sure on meeting us just because of all the things going on
at the time, so they decided not too. Then, because we met them at the
hospital, they saw that it was a miracle and a sign that we were
supposed to start meeting. Hoping to get them in the water soon,
because it feels like I am talking to people that have been in the
church for years when I am with them. They already asked us for a book
for their neighbor, and love serving people. They offered us the lower
part of the apartment, but we already have one! Very excited to see
how things go from here. Hopefully they go through with the idea of
inviting us and their neighbors to a BBQ!

Last bit of news from me is about two of the three referrals we got a
few weeks back. We actually got in contact with them, and had a meet
up outside of where they live. It was just so peaceful, and as they
talked about the things they were struggling with, we shared a
scripture with them from the Book of Mormon describing how Christ
didn't just take his sins upon himself, but also knows how to help us
with our burdens and weaknesses. I know for a fact they were feeling
the spirit, and we really couldn't have asked for a better first
lesson/get together. The one is a less active that wants to come back,
and the other wants to join the church. Only problem is that they live
in the middle of nowhere and it takes us and members forever to get to
them. Still, every perfect sounding situation with investigators or
less actives has its own problems, I just hope we will have members
willing to sacrifice time to pick them up for church.

This week was fantastic, and it got me really excited to keep working
here. It is a little strange for me to  think that Elder Draper is
leaving after us only being together for 6 weeks, but starting a new
adventure will be fun. The idea of training has kind of shown me
though that I really dont have much time left here. Once I am done
training I will probably move to my last area. Time goes by so fast!
Sure hope everyone has a great week!

Liebe Grüße,