Monday, April 11, 2016

The Last Chapter

This is the email that I never really saw myself writing, but somehow
the time is actually here. I've thought a long time about what I would
say in my last email and what it would be like, it's just so strange
to think that now is the time. Almost two full years have passed since
I left my home in Rochester, and so much has changed all around
me...most of which I probably don't even know about haha. I'd like to
think that for these two years though, there were a lot of changes
that took place in me as well.

Germany has truly become a new home for me, and I have found some of
my closest friends among the German people. In fact, I don't really
want to leave it or them. But, even this roller coaster of a ride has
an end, and I'm nervous but at the same time excited to see what life
brings me next.

I hope that somewhere in my time here I was able to help someone find
light or hope for something better, and a lot of people say that two
years is a long time to offer, but you know what? It was worth every
single day. Not one day have I regretted my decision, not one day have
I looked back and wished I hadn't put my life on hold. This is the
greatest thing I could have done with two years of my life, and I am
so happy, grateful, and speechless that the Lord and the church
provide this amazing opportunity for clumsy, selfish, foolish, lazy
teenagers like me to serve others. I left a boy, but I hope I come
back a man and make something more of myself.

As this last week went on, the reality that it was my last week really
took effect, and I had it hard a few times, but this week was amazing
and I want to share some of my last mission memories with you all.

Last Monday I was having a rough start to my morning. Elder Lewis and
I decided to go get haircuts and the lady cutting my hair asked me if
I thought everything written in the bible and Book of Mormon were just
stories. Even though that would be easy, I told her I knew they
weren't because I had found out for myself that they were true. I
think she was impressed when I told her it wasn't because of my
family, but it really gave me the opportunity to be uplifted by
telling her what makes me happy in this life.

One night after a busy day, a member took us to get some curry wurst!
It was really good, but when we walked outside my stomach was telling
me that ice cream would be good to chase down the fries and curry
wurst. We were in luck when the building connected to our little whole
in the wall was an ice cream shop. It was so good, American ice cream
doesn't have anything on Italian ice cream. Anyways, we got talking to
the owner about what we do and he told us he'd love for us to come by
whenever we are in the area and business is slow and to just talk
about God. Pretty cool right? Hey who knows, maybe the missionaries
will start getting free ice cream!!

I love moves. Maybe it's just because I'm a missionary and it's
something out of the ordinary...but I love moves and clean outs. We
actually cleaned out the basement of the the church with the ward
which was way fun, and we found old church magazines from the 60s and
a bunch of other cool little treasures we got to take home. One of the
highlights of my day though was when our bishop let me ride his
electric longboard! It's got a handheld remote and it goes really

After the clean out we were given special permission to attend a
baptismal service for a couple in Duisburg that elder Lewis had taught
while he was there. We have such amazing members, and one of them was
kind enough to drive Annegret there and she loved it! I really do
believe it got her thinking. She's such a special lady, I'm excited to
see when she gets baptized.

On our way to a members house, a man in the train spoke to us and
asked us what we were doing and why we were doing it. It was really
cool to be able to testify to this guy about what we do everyday, and
he was really interested and wants to meet with us this week. He asked
for anything that we normally hand out but the only thing I had was a
Book of Mormon so I gave it to him. He was so surprised we would give
something like that away for free, but it was so cool to meet someone
with genuine interest. He'll be awesome.

My last day at church was really hard. I was really stressing out
about a bunch of things, and I was just having a really hard time
accepting that that would be my last church service with these members
and in German. But the Lord really helped me out, calmed me down, and
everything came out for the better. I'm really not much of a person to
cry, but I got up to give my final words to the congregation and I
totally broke down, but the spirit filled me and it was a special
moment for me.

I'll never forget these people, and I'm so grateful for their
lovingness and kindness towards me. They have set such good examples
for me, and let me just say how glad I am there is Facebook!! I think
I'm about as ready as I'll ever be to come home, so I'm excited to
hear from you all and see you again. So, wish me a good flight and
I'll see you soon!

Elder Andrew

Monday, April 4, 2016

My last full week!

Well I can't believe I'm to this point in my mission. I never thought
it would actually happen because it always seemed like such a distant
thing, but now I kind of wish it was far away again! I'll do my best
though to enjoy my very last week in Germany as a missionary for the
Lord. I've had my lows, but I've also had a lot of highs. Hopefully
this last week elder Lewis and I can rock it together!

I'm convinced it was meant to be, but we got some files to start and
organize a fast in our church and they came a little later than I
expected, but they came at a time where we were in a position to
present them to our ward mission leader who would help with all of the
processes. As we were there, he began experiencing severe chest and
back pains and we were very worried, so we gave him a sick blessing
and the ambulance was there minutes later to help him. I don't really
know any details, but I know that he's doing well, and I consider it a
great miracle that we were there for that very moment on that very

Later in the week we watched the restoration video with three of our
friends from Ghana, and they loved it! Their eyes were glued to the
tv, and they were so quiet and had such good questions afterwards. It
was so nice to meet with people that were open. It's so refreshing,
and makes it way more fun for me!

On Sunday we had a special visit from the Kozma family from my ward in
Köln! They drove all the way to Gelsenkirchen to help in our lesson
with our Hungarian investigators. It went so well, and elder Lewis
bore solid and pure testimony that really got everyone in the room
feeling the spirit. Unfortunately two of our friends have to go back
to Hungary, but I think it's a blessing in disguise now that they can
be taught the lessons and have their concerns addressed in Hungarian.
Cool, right?

A few other things happened, but I don't have time to write those. I'm
so excited to come home, but I'm a bit nervous. Can't wait to see you
all! Talk to you next week!

Elder Andrew