Monday, 9 July 2012

July 9, 2012, Forst

Dear Family,
Haha! It’s funny that you guys had a 4th of July party too! The 5 Elders that I’m serving with in my district are from the United States, (the Sisters are from Switzerland) so, I celebrated it too.  I never thought I would sing the American national anthem in Germany lol. Weird, but I guess that’s what happens when District Meeting is on that day. So we fried up some ranch burgers and the Sisters made Swiss Bread and we had a little District party, haha. It was a lot of fun.
Then, afterwards, Elder J and I had an “Umtausch” (companion exchange) in Forst together. We had 2 appointments planned, and for the rest of the time we had to do some finding. We put Herr P on the 15 step “quit smoking program” and asked him to commit to quitting smoking, but he said it’s tough because everyone at the alcoholic “Heim” (where he lives) smokes. But he understands it, and said that he will try. We set up another appointment with him for Saturday, but it was raining like crazy on that day, so he didn't show up. We're really trying to help him but it’s tough when we only see him every week and a half. We're not allowed to teach him at the Heim, so when his legs don't work we can't teach him. All of our appointments are hits and misses, but we're trying, and he has been doing his part too. After our appointment with him Elder J and I did a lot of finding. Everyone seemed to be relatively friendly....weird haha! Nah, just joking, but it was really cool. We made out 3 new appointments and managed to teach about 4 more lessons to people on the street. Most of the people we talked to already knew us but listened to our message and talked to us a bit about it. It was good; I had fun with Elder J. The exchanges are cool because you get to switch things up for a day and have a diff comp. It was a hilarious time.
We “tauscht” back on Thursday and then Elder V and I had to plan a “Thema” (message) for Zone Conference. It was on what we do most of, “finding”, haha! Nah, it was really good and I thought a lot about a couple scriptures I found in the Book of Mormon - Alma 31:34-36. It talks all about what we do personally and as a companionship. (34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. 35 Behold , O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom, that we may bring these our brethren again unto thee.) And verse 36 was cool because every time we are about to leave the apartment, we say a prayer on our knees and then get up and give each other a hug and a slap on the back to get a bit more excited. (36 Now it came to pass, that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Ghost.)So when it read that I laughed and thought it was so cool. Also you can tell that Alma really cared about the people because they are his brethren and their souls are precious. It made me look at Forst differently when times get hard and I wonder why I’m doing this. It’s really about learning to love the people, even when they don't love you at all.
After we planned our "Thema" we had our Ward Mission Leader Meeting at his house. His wife fed us some dinner, and then we looked outside and it was pouring rain. More rain was coming down than I had ever seen before. He lives about 10 minutes away from our apartment when riding bikes. So after our little meeting he offered to drive us home...we thought about it but we decided just to have fun and ride our bikes home, hahaha! The sky completely darkened from the heavy clouds and it was raining so hard. By the time we got home we looked like we'd gone swimming or something lol. I was completely soaked through. Then there was lightning and thunder like crazy. Every 5 seconds we saw a flash of lightning, and it was constant, for like 2 hours. It was sick! But then I realized my English scriptures got soaked from being in my backpack. So things that I marked with pen leaked through about 5 other pages. But I let them dry and it’s not too bad now. So ja, Donnerstag really was a Donnerstag (Donner=thunder; Tag = day)
    Zone Conference was pretty cool. It was in Dresden, so on the train on the way there, we played UNO with the Sisters. President and Sister Kosak are really cool. They have a new blog for the mission, its
They are really excited to be working with us. President Kosak gave a really good “Thema” about being focused and following Christ's example. He talked about how Christ was focused on his mission his whole life. From his first words about Him needing to be about His Father’s business, to him saying it's finished. It was good and they're really friendly.
 Elder V got a little scared because he's ready to get transferred, haha. They told us that we were in heaven, here in Forst, and that we have an easy place. I'm not too sure if they were just joking or not, but they said it, like 3 times throughout the day, so I think they're serious. It's easy member-wise because they feed us and are way cool, but work-wise it’s definitely not easy, haha. So Elder V is convinced that he's staying another transfer, and if he does, that would be 6 months that he would be here in Forst. And likely, I would also stay here in Forst that long, because I would leave a transfer after him...oh boy! Naja, whatever the Lord wants, I guess.
 I've definitely learned a lot from this place. I've been setting goals for myself and I “schaff” (complete) them. I started a gold star thing, so when I complete all my goals for the day I get a gold star. Actually, I tried to buy gold star stickers but couldn’t find any so I bought smiley face stickers and I just use those instead. It has been keeping me motivated. I guess we'll see what happens though with transfers on Saturday. I feel that I’m going to get a new companion, which will be interesting, but nothing is for certain.
   On Saturday we tried to do finding in the pouring rain cause our appointment fell through. It was tough because not too many people were out and they didn’t want to talk with us. A Jehovah’s Witness confronted us and talked to us for a little while. He wanted to know a bit more about the missionaries from the Church and what we do. It was good and he was pretty friendly until we started talking about the Book of Mormon. Then things headed in a different direction and we ended up having to say good bye to him and leave. It wasn't going anywhere good, so we left. Elder V was a bit ticked, but we kept going and kept talking to people.
We then checked on an investigator and as we got to the doorstep of the building, I knew that he would be home. As Elder V “klingled” I said,”He's home.” We waited for a bit and then he answered and let us up for a lesson. We had a way awesome lesson with him about what he read in the scriptures the previous time. His name is Herr N. We read Alma 40 (from the Book of Mormon) with him and answered a lot of his questions. He asked questions as we read and it ended up being a really cool lesson. We're going to teach him again on Tuesday and Jonas B (he leaves on a mission in 1 1/2 weeks) said he'd joint teach with us. We're excited for that.

  Sunday was good, Church was good. Elder V gave a 10 minute talk. He tied it in with President Kosak’s “Thema”, about following the example of Christ. It was really good. By the way, he caught a cold, so I’m hoping that I don't get it from him. So far I’m healthy, so that’s good. We had a really good time at a member’s house at lunch time (Dieter G's family). It was our first time ever eating at their house and they made us Schnitzel with mashed potatoes. It was fun. We did our weekly planning and then went to the B's house for a BBQ. He had a lot of family there and it was cool. Sister B is way cool, I love her. She's hilarious and so cool. We also had permission to watch one good man so we borrowed it from her. Definitely a really good movie.

Other than that nothing too new is happening with me. Forst is tough but I’m learning from it every week. Before I left the MTC, the teachers told us that “we are not on missions to plant seeds, but to harvest”. “How much you harvest will depend on your faith”. So it is a bit hard to realize that every part of the mission is different and that sometimes all you can do is plant seeds. I've been keeping track of little blessings from the Lord everyday which has been really cool. Definitely helps when you look at the good things instead of the bad things. Not always easy, but possible, ja.
 I think about you guys all the time and wonder what you’re doing. That’s a good idea mom, I think R might like to make some jam with you this year. I know that her and her mom would really appreciate you checking up on them.
 Time is so weird. It just seems to keep moving forward. Some days seem so long and other days seem so fast. And then it is Monday again and I get to email and have some fun with Elder V. I'm so glad he's my Trainer; we have a lot of fun together and work hard. He's hilarious and we always seem to laugh about something and then talk seriously about something else. We're a good companionship. It'll be interesting to see how things play out with transfers.
I'm glad you guys are doing well and that the weather has finally gotten better. It’s really random here still, but seemed to have rained every day this week. Sunny in the early morning, and then cloudy and rainy by midday until we fall asleep. But hopefully it gets better too. It gets really humid here too which just makes us sweat all the time. Hopefully the humidity goes away with the rain. That would be “prima”.
  That’s funny that you mentioned Elder W who visited Trail Ward; I was thinking about him this week. I was wondering if you guys knew his contact info. He was an awesome missionary and worked really hard in Trail. That’s so cool that he came back up to visit everyone. I can't believe he's done his mission already.
 I'm glad everyone is doing well, and I’m doing well, too. Hope you guys have a good week and “bis” next week!

 Love Elder Lüning!

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