Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Well, here are some of the thoughts I had: as mom asked me to write down what I learned. I hope they make sense. I love you all! I am happy to see you soon!
So what did I learn from this experience? To tell you everything would require maybe a few years and there would be a book published out of what I would want to say. But I will try my best to express my feelings so that I can get the main message across. There will be small added things and I will emphasize everything in bullet points to keep my thoughts more organized. Ok, here we go.
- I have learned that the Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool we can use to find our direction in life. I have seen through the small, but what seemed immense at the time, difficulties that I faced on my mission, that I enjoyed my personal study of the scriptures. As I pondered about the reason why, I realized that it was because of the power of the Book of Mormon and other holy scripture. It is truly my daily bread and I see it so. As I read in the Book of Mormon daily, I felt a feeling of peace and comfort. Not only that, but I was able to use the scriptures that I read as friends to help me throughout my day. Now, I have become addicted to the Book of Mormon. That will be something that I will have to make sure that it is being done daily, and in the best conditions, before I start my day.
- I have learned the importance of setting goals. Sometimes, the most important thing is not reaching the goal, but living a life where I am constantly striving for a goal. I am not perfect at this, however, I have seen that through setting goals, I can become someone better, and reach that goal that Christ Himself gave us, to become perfect, even as He and the Father are perfect.
- To follow that, I learned that perfection is not reached in this life. It was not obtained during my time being a missionary. But it is a goal that should always be at the front of our minds, and that is, to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. scriptures teach us how to reach this goal and what life paths we need to take in order to accomplish it.
- I learned to always pick up after yourself, and that means immediately, and to not follow the "I will do it later" rule
- I learned the importance of cleaning
- I learned that it is always better to be early than late
- I learned that planning is a life habit for success
- I learned that exercise is the key to energy and being awake throughout your day
- I learned how to sit through a 6 hour meeting and not fall asleep and actually pay attention
- I learned how to bear my testimony
- I have learned how to adapt myself to my surroundings
- I have learned how to be a good listener. It requires love, patience, and eye contact every now and again
- I have learned that the best of things are hard to do, but not impossible
- I have learned the German Language and have a basic structure of the language
- I have learned to trust my God. He is the one that knows all things. He even knows the thoughts and desires of my heart. And when I put my trust in Him, and do what He wants me to do, then our vision becomes one.
- I have learned that when you are full, not to eat anymore.
- I have learned the importance of keeping track of time.
- I have learned to love general conference and our general authorities. They are truly our watchmen on the tower. What they have to say to us is inspired and leads us back to the presence of our Eternal Father.
- I learned the importance of laughter.
- I have learned to capture the good moments, and sometimes that includes a camera.
- I have learned that it is important to greet all of our friends and family at church and notice that they came. Sometimes that requires talking to them for a while and seeing how they truly are doing. A handshake is good, but a handshake and concern for their well being is better.
- I have learned the importance of having the gospel in the home. A home centered on the gospel is a fortress against the things of the world. I have felt that in multiple occasions in the homes of the members that I was standing in fortified homes. That requires also effort and occasionally talking to your family even when they are sitting in the same room. Or even a weekly family home evening would be good as well.
- I learned to check the laundry and make sure that no colors got mixed with my whites.
- I have learned the importance of always having a study journal while studying the scriptures. I have no idea how to really use one, but whenever I had one, my study of the scriptures was a lot better.
- I have learned how quickly I can invite the Spirit into my life.
Feeling His presence is as warm as feeling the sun on my face. (And I lived for almost a year of cloudy skies and not really seeing the
sun.) When you can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost, then you know that the Comforter is with you, and that God is with you.
- To add to that thought as well, I have learned how quickly we can drive the Spirit away through our thoughtless words and actions. I have come to know that when I cannot feel the Spirit, there is almost a void in my feelings. A hole, that is not filled. That has become a warning bell for me and I need to then do the things to have the Spirit back in my daily activities. If that means a physical or mental removal from a certain place is necessary, that I will do it.
- I have learned the value counting my many blessings. Counting my blessings has helped me in my missionary life to see that God is always with me. It is also very humbling to know that He is very proactive in my life. I have learned how to count my blessings, by noticing the things that brought me joy or whenever I was grateful for a experience or sometimes a warm smile from a stranger. Those small blessings have brought me lasting joy.
And the list goes on and on. I can imagine myself adding things to the list in certain circumstances and by always remembering the wonderful things that happened on my mission. I think to end my learning process, I have learned that I am a Son of the living God.
That is the most powerful connection I have with the God who gave me life. He is watching out for me and is always by my side. I have seen how He helped his Son, Jesus Christ, and I know that He is standing there, willing to help me as He did him. As I read more about the life of Jesus Christ, I am at awe at the wonderful message that He shares with me. Not only what He said, but what He did for me has changed my life. I know that God and Jesus Christ live. Jesus Christ is my Redeemer. For God so loved the world, and that includes me, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him, shall have eternal life. I believe that. I know that Joseph Smith was a chosen Prophet of God. He ushered in this last Dispensation of the Fulness of times. What does that mean? I know through the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith restored the lost pieces of the Gospel that was taught in the Bible. Through the help of the Book of Mormon, another Testament of the Jesus Christ and His gospel, he was able to find answers to His questions. I believe that the Prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson is his authorized servant today, to receive the revelation for this church, for us as a body. This church is true. The Book of Mormon is true. That I know.
And these experiences that I have made, I leave them for anyone to read, and close in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love you All! See you soon!
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Well, this week was a mile marker for lasts. We had our last zone training meeting. It was weird, I have to be honest. I didn't really know any of the missionaries that were there and so it was just a new for me. I also was asked to bear my last testimony at a zone training meeting and that was also weird. I just remember watching other people and giving their last testimonies and now it came to me. But I have gotten to the point that I love sharing my testimony. If anyone ever asks me, I love to do it! So that was good.
We spent also two days in Oldenburg, because our district leader is there and so we both went there for exchanges. That was fun. I was with our district leader and he is learning Persian on his mission, and so he had this little skype conference with other missionaries, studying the Persian langaauge. I was just sitting in the background, twiddling my thumbs until we could go back out to work. But overall it was really good.
This week, we have been working really hard with our Persian friends.
Unfortunately, we found out yesterday that they are not able to be baptized. We sort of knew this, but in the middle of the week, they sent us a text message and we thought that they had some legal things explained, but it turns out that they are still not elligble for baptism. But that is ok. Like I said earlier, I know that one day they will be able to do it. Other than that, we did a lot of finding.
Sorry, the weeks are going by really fast and so I am sorry that there is really nothing else to report on. I am happy. I am working. Trying to do my best and forget the rest. I am not going to lie, some days it is really hard, but then there are those moments, where I think that I can keep going. So I try to have the keep going moments more than its really hard moments.
I love you all and have fun with the week!
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Well, it is official. I am no longer 22. (No more Taylor swift song of her singing 22) being 23 really feels no different. I just woke up with back pain and was like great, the old is starting to settle in. But I am going to get that checked out this week. And for the birthday we went out to a Mongolian restaurant. So that was good. Thanks for all the love and support!
We had a lot of finding time this last week and we saw some good success out of it. We found some people who would like to meet with us and that was good. I am looking forward to this week. We even found a guy who speaks Portuguese and so I am able to do some small talk with him. Hopefully, by the end of the week I will be able to say some good gospel stuff with him. We even met with a teenager this last Saturday, and it was really funny because she was soaking it all up like a sponge, but didn't really talk. For me, it was a little funny. But I hope that she wants to keep meeting with us. Bremerhaven has been an interesting city. We live in a crazy part of town, but I guess that is makes it interesting. It has been fun. I even had some friends in Hamburg come and visit me this last week. That was great. Turns out, that their family comes from Bremerhaven and a small city in the area, so it was great to see them.
These last few weeks I have sure learned a lot. I have seen how much the lord has been helping me even when it comes to finding. It's hard to explain, but He is even helping me to endure to the end and keep pushing forward! I am excited to be able to tell you all this in person. Oh, and Hana will be in my prayers. Is everything ok with the baby and everything. I have no idea what that means. Keep me updated please!
I love you all and we shall see each other soon!
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Well this last week went by like a flash. It is weird to be in my last area on my mission and I will explain to you why. But I hope everything is going good back at home. Hey, my first question is... Have we heard back about BYU? Do I need to do anything else on my side? I havent submitted anything on my side, but if i need to, I can take some time next week to do that.
Ok, so the week started off really well. My days in Flensburg ended off with a really high note. We met with the new convert in our branch for the last time and we were just really saying goobye the whole time. Afterwards, we asked him if he would say the closing prayer for us as we parted ways. He then started to cry as he prayed to bless and guide me on my travel to Bremerhaven. He then said after the prayer thank you to me for the things that he learned. I never knew that our meetings meant so much to him but he said that he learned a great deal about the plan of salvation. We had to laugh together a little about that, because we had one appointment where we talked alot about deep doctrine of the plan of salvation and we both left that day confused, but just laughing. I will surely miss him. It was such an honor to get to know him. He was also sustained to recieve the Melchesidek Preisthood so it will be sad that I wont be able to see that. And then afterwards, some of the ward members threw a little going away party. I was happy for that, but at first a little upset. I dont like going away parties. It was first a family home evening but then it became a goodbye party for Elder Bretzing. But I was still nice and thanked them for what they did for me.
I am in another little branch here in Bremerhaven. About 20 active members who come to church. My first few weeks have been fun. My new companions name is Elder Rogers. He is a great kid and I hope that I will be a great support to him for my last few weeks. Its funny, because he tries to get me to talk about how I feel about going home and so I always joke that he is more trunky than me, but he is great. Bremerhaven is a beautiful city and I am happy to end the summer in another harbor city. It is alot cooler here and I am happy for that. We really have no investigators here in Bremerhaven, except for 2 Persian couples. I still dont know their names right, but we will call them my persian friends. They are amazing. I remember, the first time I met them, that they wanted us to pray before we did anything else. Like that was funny. Usually I ask if we can pray but they beat us to it. They are refugees here in Germany. And they were able to get permission to stay here but because of the status as refugees, they cannot be baptized. They are soo ready. They even call themselves Mormons. They have been explained the rules and are waiting patiently for the day that they can be baptized. But they have been such a pleasure to get to know and see how they are doing is amazing. They even come to church in white shirts and ties. And they are all really so warm welcoming. Before the end of our first appointment, they were hugging me and letting me know that I was their brother. Man, what a great group of people. We also had a street display in Bremen, because the sisters there do one every week. That is also a beautiful city. Everyone was making fun of me because I didnt let a single mom and stroller pass me without talking to them. When missionaries saw a mom and a stroller, they let me talk to them. I guess I am trunky. But that is ok. I thought it was funny. This district is definately one of the different ones I have been in on my mission. But I am looking forward to working with these missionaries.
Ok to the question to mom, yes.... we will go somewhere for my birhtday. But dont think that I am going to make a big deal out of it, because I aint. But I will be excited to see you at the end of the month. That will be a great birthday gift for me. I also was just not planning on emailing on that last week of my mission and just tell you in person what I learned. Can I do that? Or do I need to write?
Well, I love you all and I hope all is well. I always say this at the end of my emails so you know that I am leaving. We hear from each other next week!
Last Zone conference of the Mission
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Well, like it said, this last week marked the beginning of the lasts. We had our last Zone Conference. Well... my last one. Elder Adler from the 70 talked to us and that was great to hear from him. He promised everyone there success in, and he used these words, within the next month as they follow what we learned during that meeting. I immediately thought to myself, hey I only have 1 month left! I am starting to understand a lot more what it means to trust our leaders and their promises they give us. We also had an area seventy at our stake conference this last weekend and he is from italy and he promised everyone there that if they do the things they learned at stake conference, they can double their numbers before 2020. He even gave them a promise that they can double their numbers by next Stake Conference if they start today. And he said that he is not one bit afraid to give us that promise, in the name of the Lord, because our church leaders have also promised us these things and we can do it as we follow their council and guidance. So these next few weeks will be great. I can feel it. And I think there is still yet something that I need to learn.
Oh my goodness, I almost forget. Well I got my last transfer phone call. I have been transferred. They call it in the mission being ghosted because you go somewhere for your last few weeks. So I am going to a city called Bremerhaven. Its more north, but another harbor city. I find it interesting that the lord knows me so much because almost all of my areas, I have served near a large body of water, or a large river that cuts our city into two. But I had to laugh at that. My new comp is called Elder Rodgers. I dont know him. I dont know almost all of my new district. Now I am starting to get old. So I will be there on Wednesday. That will sure be interesting.
It was weird here in Flensburg, because of Stake Conference, not so many members know that I am leaving. Shoot, they all thought I was going home this transfer, but I told them not til July. But I was able to say goodbye to a few but not all. That will also be somewhat interesting. I am going to also miss Elder Vasai. He will do great. We were somewhat bummed, but I am happy that I am going. I will get a little bit of refreshed energy working in a new area.
Well, that is basically our week in a nutshell. Alot of traveling. This week was the week that we also found alot of new people. It was really cool. We even had a girl come up to us in the bus just saying she wanted to learn alot more about our church and she was there for our appointment! So I am super excited for Elder Vasai to take over. It is all in good hands!
Well, I love you all and miss you and we shall see each other soon!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
I hope everything is going well back at home. To the questions from mom straight of the bat... I already gave Kevin my essays so ask him who they went. Do I need to submit them? If so, where? That would be great. It would be nice to work in the temple again and I will write that down. We have to see but that is something definately I will work on when I get home.
Ok, so this week was pretty same old same old. I am sorry to say that. We worked really hard and we are really trying to meet with our investigators, but there is really no progress being shown and no one came to church this last sunday. So its been tough. Not to mention the weather has just been super crazy, from really hot to raining and sticky and what not. But we keep going on.
I think something that has been my help this last week is finally getting back into the habit of whenever I open the scriptures to read them, that I have ajournal right next to me to write down notes. It helps me more to think and ponder about what I am going to say and what not. And so I was reading in Alma 38 where Alma is talking to Shiblon. What a guy he must of been because we learn that he really endured hard ships. From being in bonds, to being stoned by those he tried preaching the gospel too, and afterwards in verse 5, Alma teaches his son and us the following, " And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trails and your troubles and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day." Man that scripture has been running through my mind like crazy this last week. I have not had the trials and troubles of shiblon to that extent, but I have my own trials and troubles. With the transfer coming to an end this next week, I have been wondering a lot about what is going to happen. Lately, missionaries have been sent to some random area for their last transfer. But then missionaries stay for like an eternity in certain areas. So I have no idea what will happen. If it were up to me, I would like to go somewhere else for my last transfer. In fact, I was thinking asking President Fingerle about that in my email that I sent him today. But then this scripture came to my mind. God wants to help us and he is willing to do, he asks first that we trust Him, and what He has in store for us. He knows and understands my troubles and He is willing to deliver me out of my troubles, if I just keep trusting Him. So in the end, I decided not to ask my Mission President. I know that He has been called from God to be here and so I know that God will play the role in deciding where I will be for the last 5 weeks of my mission. And He knows that it is for the best. So that is like my spiritual thought for this week.
This upcoming week will go by really fast. We have alot to do and not so much time to do it. We have Zone Conference in Hamburg on Friday and then we have stake conference on Saturday and Sunday. So we are trying to meet with alot of investigators and hopefully we can get some really good appointments set out.
Well, I will tell you how it went next week. They come faster than we think! I love you all and I am grateful to have you in my life.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Well, since we didn't have the skype phone call, i thought I would write to you this week. Everything has been going on great here in Flensburg. Man, did a lot happen this week. But lets just dive on in...
It started off a little rough. The weather was great and I was super excited for that. And with great weather, we just walk around in our white shirts and ties. Now, I have notice a pattern. Whenever missionaries are seen in their white shirts and ties, that is when the always meet with weirdest people. For example, the beginning of this week was meeting alot of weird people. Alot of angry people. It was just not my cup of tea, if you know what I am saying. Some people were just taunting us and wanting to fight with us. I have no reason why. We had an incident where someone was trying to belittle my companion because he could not speak the language very well, and that made me really mad. That is something that I do not like one bit, but my comp was a champ and we walked away from these confrontations. But this week I guess, I also met some of the nicest people as well. For example, we had some visitors this last week from Nuremberg and they were just so nice. I sat down next to them at church and right off the bat, they knew my name, where I came from, and my job beforehand. (they read my little autobiography at the church building) And we were just laughing and having a great time talking about the most random of things. But it was great. When they left, I wanted them to stay. Buy a house here in Flensburg, or at least that they took me with them. But they were just up for the holiday. So I guess that was the Lord telling me, that there are also nice people here too.
We had an exchange this last week, and all the missionaries came up to flensburg. I went on exchange with someone who actually served with me in the MTC, but he is going home in 4 days. He is going home to see his sister graduate. That is actually also something interesting about the missionaries that I was with in the MTC. Most of us are being split and there are some that are leaving in 3 weeks. Then you have me and I go home the first week of July. But some of my friends are going home with me as well, so that will be fun. But anywho, this missionary for his last exchange wanted to see the danish border. So we took our bikes and in seriously 15 minutes we were there. We both got a picture with the sign and then we headed back into the center of town and started to talk with some people on the street. That was also fun. There are a lot more people on the street because of the holidays and the summer (even though it rained, hailed, and there was thunder and lightning yesterday during church). So that always makes it super fun to go to the middle of town and talk with people. But that also means talking with people from all over Germany. So I got to try to get some referrals for the other parts of the mission.
Other than that, life continues to go on. We are having a great time and everything seems to be doing really good. I am trying to handle the fact that the time is running out. I don't know if I am doing that really well, but I am figuring it out. Every time I see babies on the street, its like that scene from the Best two years where the elder was dear john-ed and when he sees the couple walking through town and he just stops and wants to try to follow them. Yup, that's me but with little babies. It doesn't help to also know that at home there are 3 new little faces waiting for me. But that is ok. The deed is done. I will just have to help with babysitting then.
Well, I love you all and I will let you know how things are going next week! But I will definitely send some pictures!
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Time for role call! Mothers day is fast approaching! Family Bretzing... ASSEMBLE! (You know, if I had it my way, I would not be calling this last phone call, because I am going to see you in 2 months anyway... but in order to keep good feelings and to protect myself from any injury when I land in America, I will consent.) But get your ideas and what not ready. Anything you have to talk about, prepare it! I cant believe that this day came already. But alrighty then. The phone call will procede at or around 17:00 hours here in Flensburg. (I believe that will be 08:00 back at home) But just be prepared at 07:00 in case I call early.
This week was really great. It started off with a really bad turkish haircut. I remember walking by this hair salon, and it was in the middle of town square so I thought it was going to be good and I read on the sign the words "oriental". So I was like huhhh, i wonder what that means. Yup, it was interesting. Let alone, the guy couldnt speak that much german. And he had some magical powers with his shears and so it looks pretty turkish. If you have no idea what I mean, you will see on sunday. But he also used a blow dryer, and I got to admit, that part of my hair looked really good. But yeah, that was the silly beginning of our week.
Alot of our investigators have been not really coming around. That has been sad. But the sun is shining, the church bells are ringing, spring is in the air. Leets home that people start having time again. I mean seriously, this is the first week where the whole week should be sunny. We are walking around in only sweaters that is how warm it is. And we have had a friend of ours at church lately. She claims to be a prophetess and she really likes our church. I forget if I mentioned her to you before or not, but everytime she writes us a text message as the "new member of our ward" But I just smile, and say to myself, soon.... But she has been hard to meet with and we fortunately made out an appointment for tomorrow and I hope it sticks. I am looking forward because she is actually a really nice lady and I am excited to share the gospel with her. She has even been reading alot in the book of mormon lately, so I have hope! Most of the rest of the week was filled with finding. We are going to start teaching german to some of the refugees or immigrants who have been having a difficult time learning the language. And it was just a wonderful expierence, because as we planned to do that and to give our flyers for that, we ran into some of the greatest people and almost everyone we talked to couldnt understand us in german! Which is great when you are looking for students for a german class.
But other than that, we are pushing along. My personal studies have been some of the greatest times on my mission. Lately, I have been reading the Book of Mormon and now I am taking some time to read some of the gospel topics that you can find on LDS.org and now they are on the gospel library app and that has been a great testimony builder. I just feel like I am being refined more and more to talk with people about our church. Some of the topics are harder ones to talk about, but it is always good to be informed and from the right sources too. So that has been great. You should see us during our companionship study, i look at Elder Vasai and I go, "Man you will not believe what I learned today!" Its great, the scriptures are great, modern day revelation is just great.
It is a small world if you met Elder Gallacher at the temple. He is great guy as well. Its weird to think that he is already home. But everything is weird at this point...
Today, we are going to viking museum so I will try to remember to take pictures and send them your way.
Well, I love you all and I am glad everything is going great back at home. We see us on Sunday!
Well, I really dont know how to describe this past week except for saying that it was interesting. Allow me to elaberate....
So the beggining of the week begun with us going back to Kiel to do an exchange with our zone leaders. That was really fun. We had a great time, and everytime I go back there, its like I never left. Which was super funny because I was able to go back to ward council and alot of people looked confused to see me again, and then afterwards somewhat happy. Of course there were some interesting expierences. But it was nice to see the members in Kiel.
By the end of the week we were back in Flensburg doing the work. Unfortunately almost all of our lessons that we had planned fell out. It was a bummer to see that happen. But we tried to make the most of it. We even had our Ward Mission Leader go finding with us and we did alot of contacting.
But the highlight of my week was actually my personal study and time that I had to read in the scriptures. It has been a while since I had a study journal, so last monday I bought a nice study journal so that I will always want to use it and write in it. And that has truly made such a difference this past week. I have been able to read and remember more in the scriptures. I am still no profi when it comes to having a study journal, but it is a small miracle that I am really grateful for this week.
The weeks have been getting harder here in Flensburg. It seems that we find people, and we have a great first meeting with them, but then afterwards, they never respond to our calls. I wonder why this is so sometimes. I think what helps is just really focusing on the small things that I can do to be a better missionary or maybe things that I ahve not been so focused on in the present time. But even though that its been getting tough, I am happy to be here and to give my all. I will still do all that I can to be able to see the fruits of my labors, but if it be the will of God that I help pave and prepare the way for the missionaries after me, then His will be done. I know that God is happy with what I am doing and that I am here right now. I come to know it through my personal study and the small little miracles here and there.
Well I love you all and I am very grateful for your prayers. They truly do help me and therefore I am grateful for all of you back at home. You are always in my prayers as well. I am looking forward to when we can see each other! But I still have an eternity to go so that is ok (only 9 more emails... that means 9 more weeks to do something!)
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
13 April 2016
Dear Brother and Sister Bretzing,
We are grateful to have had Elder Matthew Drew Bretzing serving in our mission. I’m sure his letters have shown the excitement he has experienced while serving the people here. As we approach the end of his mission it is time for us to prepare for his release.
Elder Bretzing will be released and fly home on 08 Jul 2016.* Until that time, we feel it is very important for him to continue to serve to the end with all his heart, might, mind, and strength. We will try to make the planning process as little of a distraction as possible and we encourage you to help him to focus on his missionary efforts as well. Nevertheless, Elder Bretzing will be informed about the details of his release and trip home. In order for us to prepare for his release with as little distraction to him as possible, we ask you to please email the following information to us at email@example.com as soon as possible:
1. Name and location of the nearest major airport to the missionary's home. (This is the airport where you would like your missionary to arrive.)
2. Any change in your address or telephone number since your missionary's mission call.
3. The E-mail address to which you would like your missionary's return travel itinerary sent.
4. If you desire to come to Germany to pick up your missionary, please let us know and also ask your stake president to contact me regarding the request. The Church currently "discourages parents from picking up missionaries." (Handbook 1 Section 4.10) Exceptions are possible, however, under the right circumstances. If approved, further instructions and a release form will be sent to you.
*If you have already made arrangements to pick up missionary at the conclusion of his mission, please disregard the above return flight date.
I hope that the last months of Elder Bretzing's mission will be among the most treasured. We are thankful for the efforts and dedication that he has given in service of the Lord. We are also thankful for the support you have given him in this work.
May the Lord continue to bless you.
Christian H. Fingerle, President Germany Berlin Mission
Well this week has been interesting. I got some good stories this time.
Well it started off well with two new friends that we have been teaching. They are both 18 and we talked to them on the street about 2 weeks ago. Well, we talked to one of them on the street and the other was invited to our appointment. When we had our first appointment, it was a great time. These kids actually have a lot of interest. They have asked some of the greatest questions. They have already read a few chapters in the book of Mormon, and they mentioned to us that every time they read in the book, they feel compelled to keep reading. They have a good feeling that comes from what they think is God. They really have no religious background, except for what they learned in school about religion. It has been really fun teaching them and we hope that they really want to keep learning more. I just have to pace myself, so I don't throw up everything on them at once with the gospel. But they seem to understand what we are teaching.
We also had an interesting event. We went dooring to find some less active members and we came across this crazy family who are Gypsies and also are members of another faith. They allowed us in so that they can bash with us for a little bit, but they were surprised with how much we know the bible and their faith as well. So they invited us over to their church meetings during the week. I agreed on one condition. If we went with them to their church meeting, they will come to ours. And they agreed. (unfortunately the agreement was not kept on their side. But that is ok, we love all of Gods children.) But we decided to go! And it sure was an interesting experience. I have to admit, they were very friendly with us and the moment we entered their building, someone was there to greet us and take us to our seats. We were seated with our friends. I remember the experience, because as I was there, I felt comfortable. I felt really comfortable because everyone who was present was really nice and friendly and trying to help us understand what was going on. But I remember vividly, that as I was there, I didn't feel the Spirit. Elder Vasai and I talked about it afterwards and we just felt that something was missing, and it was the Spirit.
And for me, it was just a spiritual confirmation that this other church we visited on the weekend is not Gods church. God has worked the same way ever since the beginning. He calls prophets to teach his people the gospel. These prophets hold his sacred Priesthood. And through my experiences, I have come to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I believe, just as taught in the bible, that He came to die for us so that we may one day return again to our Eternal Father. I do believe that these prophets of old testified and prophesied that one day would come, where there would be a falling away from the truth of God. They even explain it as a hunger in the land, but not a hunger after food or water, but after the truth from God (Amos 811). And it came. But they also preached about in the last days, that the gospel would be restored. And I truly feel that that has happened and that our church really is that church that Jesus Christ established, but now restored and will bless the lives of many. It blesses my life. Everyday. I remember sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday, and even with noisy children, the spirit confirmed to me like it did a long time ago that this is where I need to be. This is where God wants me to be. So that was a interesting experience this week, and I was grateful for the opportunity to learn more about myself and the things that God wants me to do.
So that was basically our week. This week we will be spending the beginning of it back in Kiel as we are having an exchange. I don't see anything really in the next few weeks were Elder Vasai and I have to do a lot of traveling, so that will be fun and we will be able to get a lot here done.
I love you all and I hope all is going well back at home. I miss you so much but I know that we will see each other soon! I love you!
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Well, as you can tell from the title, this last weekend was transfer weekend. I am still staying here with Elder Vasai and this next transfer is for 7 weeks. Which really was not a shocker because I am training him. So by the end of this transfer, I would have been in Flensburg for 6 months, almost 7. I cant believe that I have been here for so long. It feels really short, and yet, really long. But we do the best we can and make the most out of it. I am happy to stay with Elder Vasai and I know that we will have a good time.
This last week we went to the Freiberg Temple with our new convert in our branch. And that was really fun. The 16 hours that we were on trains was not really the best, but we got to get to know each other more and most the time I was out like a light bulb. But the time at the temple was the best. We had a tour from the temple sisters and then got to enjoy the time and the spirit that was there. One of the temple sisters is a good friend of mine as well so I got to say goodbye to her before she went home. But the best part was when we watching together a small little video about the temple. And boy do I sure miss that place. I just wanted to cry the whole time and I was just imagining myself getting to go there soon. I really miss the calmness and the stillness one feels as they are there.
I was also on exchange with a missionary in Neumunster and so I got to spend some of the time there. But other than that, the weeks are still a blur. I have to really concentrate to think what I did this last week.
I am so grateful that I have a journal. Its not the best and I am a few days behind, but it is just so nice and it is just nice to know that it is not all just one big day, but multiple little moments compiled in one big adventure. But saying this, it is sad because the middle part of my mission I was terrible at writing in my journal. So I will have to make contact with some of the old missionaries to get these memories back. But I guess as well I have the weekly emails, so that is good too. But I have heard that alot of my missionary friends and old companions are getting engaged and or married or seriously dating people. I find that so weird. It is a little scary to go home and to be kinda that odd ball out but I still have time not to worry about that.
And tell bishop that he needs to stay bishop until I get home. In august, he can get released. I just had to laugh when I heard that the elders and sisters get fed every night. I know that there are differences in missions and cultures and what not, and so its not like I am mad or anything, but here in our branch, no one really signs up for us except for on Sunday, and usually it is the same family each week. But this week, we had a miracle and another family invited us over to lunch during the week. That never happens here. But, I mean i still love the members and I know they are great. I don't understand how it can be hard on the ward back at home, but I will be able to get to know that when I get home. I think a good idea would to have the missionaries scheduled on a night and then right after, go home teaching or something with them. They would be able to go on splits then with the ward members and help with the home teaching, but I don't know I am not there yet.
Well, I love you all and I hope you have a great week. You are all in my prayers!
Well, General Conference has come and gone. That was awesome! I loved them all that I was able to see. We still have not seen the sunday afternoon session because of the time change, but I hope soon that I can read the talks on the gospel library app. For most of it, we were alone at the church building to watch it. We were asked to come to the church building to keep it open for those who wanted to come and only a few came now and again. For most of conference, it was Elder Vasai and I watching Conference in the nursery room because there it was being played in English and so that it would be better to understand for Elder Vasai. For one of the sessions, however, we were able to watch it in the celestial language with our branch president at his home. (I got a good laugh from that too and I thought in that moment all the Germans were laughing as well) It was really funny because since Elder Vasai cant grasp all of what is being said (even though his german is so much better in the beginning as mine at that time) He was having a hard time staying awake during it. And it did not help because our branch president was kind enough to feed us before, so we helped each other stay awake. Unfortunately, none of our investigators wanted to come and watch it with us. We have been struggling really hard to meet with people lately or find people who really want to learn more. Just today, I was calling people to see if they wanted to meet with us and no one was really interested anymore. Even as much as it trys to slow us down, there are still lots of opportunities to do good.
This past week was one really to remember, and it was because we were not at all in our own area. We had to do an exchange, the both of us, in Kiel and so that was always good to go back into the old area and see everyone again. Afterwards, we had to go to Berlin for another conference with new missionaries. We had some good times and I even got to spend the night in Hamburg again. It just all seems like the areas tend to blend together and that I never left. But it was good to be there. I was even able to talk to a few of the members there and that was just great. The pictures from the new missionary conference should be on the blog soon. Lets just say though that I am really happy to be back in my area. But I wont be staying for long. Tonight, I leave for another exchange with some Elders that are serving in the city of Neumunster. (Fortunately, Elder Vasai will be able to stay in our area and so meet with some of our investigators.) And then this coming Friday, we are traveling once again down to Freiberg. This time, for a different reason. We have a new convert in our branch and last week we found out that he wanted to go and visit the temple in Freiberg. It is a 8-9 hour trip down there, but that did not seem to bother him, for he wants to truly prepare himself for the day he recieves the Melchesidek Preisthood and is able to go into the Temple. So its something new in our mission, and we are able to join him and bring him down and spend the time with him. That will be just a treat and I will let you know how that goes. It has been such a treat to work with this new convert and see his progress. He will trully be a instrument in the hands of the lord. I am excited for him!
That is all the news and updates I got for this week.
Well, I love you and your all in my prayers
MISSIONARY TRAINING MEETING
GENERAL CONFERENCE APRIL 2016
LISTENING TO THE WORD IN THE CELESTIAL LANGUAGE