29 September 2008

Letter #18 (9-29-08)

Ok, so transfers came...can I get a drum roll please?? I´m staying in Bielefeld for my 4th transfer and Sister Buynak is my new companion!! (Buynak like Buy-nah-k). Sister Jones has served with her and said that I will like her!! I´m excited. She has been out for 5 transfers, that´s about 9.5 months on the mission and about 7.5 months in the field!! She is pretty young still...only 2 transfers older then me...so I´m a little nervous. I´ve always been able to rely on my comp if I don´t understand or if I don´t know what to say. Sister Jones says her German is good, so I shouldn´t worry. But she also tells me that my German is good and it totally isn´t!! :o) It will be fine, because it is what the Lord wants!! It will be a growing experience. I´m excited because I remember how much I grew when Sister Jones first came. She pushed me a lot harder then my trainer and I learned a lot. It will be good!! I will tell you all about her next week!! Sister Jones and I are heading up to Hamburg on Thursday morning and guess what?? We get to take an ICE train...don´t know what it stands for, but it is FAST!! It only takes about an hour to get to Hamburg and on a normal train it takes about 4 hours or more and you have to change trains 2 times!! We get to do that because Sister Jones has to be to the mission home early and my new comp will be in Hamburg with her old comp because her old comp is going to pick up a new missionary. I don´t know if that makes sense at all, but we are going to be meeting in Hamburg and then riding back on the train together. Not many missionaries get to ride the ICE train, so it will be cool!!

Ok...so enough about me!! Now it is on to the really exciting stuff!!

S - We met with her 3 times last week, she came to English class, and also FHE at a member's home. She is doing SO good and is very excited for her baptism. She invited us over for dinner tomorrow night and also one of the YSA in the ward as well!! She is also coming to FHE again at Sch. Poplinz house!! The one wrinkle in the perfect picture is that she didn´t come to church yesterday. We went by and visited her and she wasn´t home. I really hope that she comes today...her baptism interview is at the church at 5pm!! I really hope that she is there and that she is still going to get baptized!! I just hope that she didn´t get scared!!

Frau A - She is also doing good. We only got to meet with her once this past week because she is really busy, but we taught about Child Baptism because she had so many questions about it!! We taught her from Moroni 8 and she found it really clear and really seemed to understand that it is not necessary. Her concern was that she didn´t want her children to be sent to hell. She wants her children to always be with her!! She has a lot of good questions and sometimes has a hard time staying on the lesson topic. I think it might just take her time to understand everything. She is Catholic and they have a lot of strong beliefs that are wrong and it is hard for them to understand what is right. They say that they follow the Bible, but yet in many ways they don´t...like the way they baptise. Jesus Christ was NOT sprinkled with water. She also has a hard time that we don´t pray to Mary...Mary was a great woman, but God has asked us to pray only to him. Frau A is wonderful and is really searching for the truth!! She came to sacrament meeting yesterday and even brought her 3 beautiful daughters!! They are the most beautiful girls I have ever seen!! I will try to get a picture!! We are meeting with her again tomorrow!!

O - I don´t know if you remember her. We met her on the street and invited her to church and she came!! We tried to set up an appointment, but she was too busy that week. She said she would come the next week and we could set up an appointment then, but then she sent us a text and said that she had a visitor and that she couldn´t come. Then we lost contact with her. We tried to call and tried to text her, but nothing. That was a really long time ago...probably almost 1.5-2 months ago!! Guess what?? She came to church yesterday. I was so happy to see her and she us!! It was so wonderful. She told us that she was so sorry that we didn´t have contact. She had lost her old cell phone and didn´t have our number. She said that she missed us and knew that if she came to church that she would find us again!! And of course she did!! She stayed for all of church and just like last time, even took notes...she is better then I am because I (a member) don´t even take notes!! :o) She says that she has so many questions and wants to meet with us. We have an appointment tomorrow and I can´t wait!! She is so awesome! It was an absolute miracle that she came to church!!

B- She is a new investigator of ours!! She is meeting with the Jehova Witnesses and she doesn´t believe in God. We tried to get her to pray, but she said that she didn´t see the point because she doesn´t believe that there is anyone there listening. The Spirit was so strong as we met with her. She didn´t have time to meet with us this week, but she gave us her number and said that we could call and set up another appointment for next week. I know it is possible for people to believe in God...it will just take a lot of faith on her part to just and find out for herself!! She is a cool girl and open to new ideas...that must be why she meets with the JW´s!! lol (Sorry that was not nice at all!! They are good people just walking in the wrong direction!! I apologize!!)

Well I think that is all we have going on right now. Sister Jones and I have been planning a music night for the ward which is on the 17th of October. Our mission Präsident also challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days...in English or German. I have chosen to do it in German because I really need to improve my German and I think that this will be a great help!! He has asked us to highlight every time Christ´s name is mentioned (including pronouns and other names He has), to highlight every time He speaks including when a prophet says "Thus saith the Lord", and also to highlight all of Christ´s attributes. So far I am on track, but I have been reading everywhere possible. I was even reading on the Bahn and this cute old lady asked me if I was studying and I got to tell her about the Book of Mormon. It was really cool.

I want you to know that I know this church is true!! I know that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and that he restored this church to the earth!! This church is the same church that Jesus Christ organized when he was on the earth. He calls prophets to lead His church...always has and always will. Christ is real...he loves each of us...and will come again!!

Sister Jones

25 September 2008

Letter #17 (9-22-08)

Can you believe it has been 6 months already?? CRAZY!!

Well I don´t have much time to write this week because we have district activity today. We are going to Minden (about 30 min north) to see the big monument thing!! IT should be cool!!

S is doing great. She didn´t end up going on vacation so we get to teach her this week and then she will be baptized next wednesday!!

I´m doing good to!! Just plugging along, trying to be a good missionary!!
I love you all and will write more next week!!

Sister Jones

17 September 2008

Yeah...more pictures!!!

Here are some pictures that Christi has sent....
everything in quotes is what she said about the pics.


"So Germany has the funniest signs!! Miteinander geht mehr...directly translated doesn’t make much sense (directly "together goes more"), but it means (as you can see from the pic) Together works better."

"Not a very useful Umbrella...the wind must have done it!!"
(look in the garbage)

"Riding bikes in the pouring rain...can you see where the line of wetness is?"

"Alicia at her baptism"

"S, who is getting baptized October 1st!"

"This is Svetlana that I think I told you about..if not, let me know!! 
She has gone back to France!! Sad!"

"Gemeinde Essen (Ward lunch) 
We made an American Sister Jones cake. 
The YW loved the fact it was cake mix from America...
they LOVED it!! lol!!"
Christi's b-day was August 8th and her mom sent her a cake mix to make her own cake.  Pretty sure it is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting...Amen little YW that is delicious!

Olaf Wessely and me....he accidentally dropped this noodle thing in my apple juice at lunch...it was so funny. He turned red and we all laughed..with him of course. Sister Jones and I were almost crying we were laughing so hard!!

16 September 2008

Letter #16 take 2...

Here are Christi's answers to questions asked by her mom:

"I still love the country, which looks more and more beautiful everyday. The people are growing on me...I think when I know more of what they say I will need to try really hard not to be offended!! They are very blunt!

P-days are fun...we don't do much, but sometimes it is really nice just to not have much planned. Today we went and bought groceries and now we are doing emails. Then we will go to some stores so sister Jones can buy some stuff before she leaves!! Next week I think we are going to this really cool place that is supposed to be VERY German. I hope we do because even the Germans talk about how cool it is!!

My favorite food?? I don't think I have been talking much about the food lately. Ok, so the main meal for Germans is Lunch. Almost all of our eating appointments are at 1:00 pm. The main thing we eat are potatoes (pealed and boiled) with some type of meat and sauce. Sometimes a vegetable as well. I don't like gravy, but I love the different sauces they use for their meat and potatoes!! We also always have Nachtisch (dessert), which is ice-cream or fruit (like fruit cocktail) or Quark (pronounced Qvark). Quark is SO good!! It is like yogurt, but so much better. It is illegal in America because of the amount of live bacteria in it!!! Weird but true!! It is so tasty!! MMMmmmm....Oh, sorry I got distracted with Quark....back to my favorite food. I had this thing at this members house about a week ago and I almost died because it was so good. It was this meat stuff rolled in thin slices of ham and then cooked in this delicious cream sauce, served with potatoes (of course). I only let myself have one helping because I was already full...there aren't many members that let you do that. Most of them tell you to eat more...2 helpings is required at most houses. I just need to learn to take smaller helpings. The food here is really good though....I LOVE it!!

The weather here is so strange. When I first got here it was hot and then it was freezing for a week and then it was warm again. Lately it has been so beautiful...perfect temperature without much rain. But about 2 days ago fall came and now it is cold again. I don't think it would be as bad if we weren't out in it all day long. I'm going to look for a fleece jacket and see if I can find a cute one that I can wear under my jacket. The leaves are falling to the ground, but they don't have maple trees here that I have seen, with the HUGE leaves that turn all sorts of beautiful autumn colors!! It is still beautiful...they have such beautiful countryside that it makes up for it!!"

15 September 2008

Letter #16 (9-15-08)

This week has been cool!! We started teaching this woman named Frau Angelas. She is from Sri lanke (don´t know how to spell it in English) and she speaks English and German, but she prefers to be taught in English. We had 3 appointments with her this last week and she prayed about the book of Mormon and said that she had a feeling that she had never felt before in her life. It was so cool!! We are meeting with her again this week and hope to put her on baptismal date this week or next week!!

Speaking of Baptismal date....S is doing so well. We taught her about temples and she really liked that we do work for those who have passed on...she has some family members who have died. She is progressing...although she will be gone for 10 days on vacation, but we planned her baptism with her and so everything is pretty much set when she gets back!! WAHOOOO!! :o)

We had a very interesting Sunday. There was this Stake Woman´s Conference in Hanover that we got to go to...well S said she was going to go...that´s why we got to go, but then she ended up not showing up at the train station. We had already bought a ticket for all of us and a ward member, so we just went anyways. It´s a little over an hour of a train ride to Hanover. It was a really good meeting...from what I could understand. Diana, the ward member who came with us, went back with another ward member in her car...because it is faster and she had to get up early. Well it´s a good thing because we had an interesting ride home!! I guess there was a Fußball game (Soccer) that night and there were SO many people waiting for the train. There was another train coming in about 25 minutes...so we decided to wait....bad idea. It was even more packed and there were a ton of drunk boys...yes boys..between the ages of 16-25. There were drunk people sitting on both sides and we were crammed in the middle of the 2 sides of the train car with a bunch of normal people. Things were fine at first because it was so packed that no one noticed how we were dressed or our name tags. Then the train started to empty out and I was sick of standing against the doors that kept opening to let people in and out. So I moved out into the middle of that area and just balanced myself as the train moved along...wrong choice. I immediately felt about 8 people just staring at me on one side through this glass door. I refused to look because I knew that they were drunk and crazy. They were all looking at me for SO long as I just stared right ahead. I finally looked the opposite direction of the staring boys and this guy waves at me from the other group on the other side. I looked right at sister Jones and we both thought the same thing..."Oh no, they´ve noticed us!!" I moved back against the door by Sister Jones and we were then bombarded by 5 or 6 of them. They came right up to us and we were just stuck against the wall. They were asking us who we were and why we were dressed like that. They kept asking if we were nuns and we said no about a million times. They said that only nuns wear shoes like ours!! I think my shoes are cute, but whatever!! :o) They kept mocking us and asking why we didn´t have a cap on our heads. One of them got right up in my face and pointed at my name tag with his beer bottle. I thought it was going to spill all over me. They ended up offering us a beer and asked us to party with them...we of course said no. It was a little scary because they were pretty drunk and unaware of what they were really doing and so we kept trying to find a way out as they stood around and talked to us, but the only way out was to get off the train because we would have had to walk by all of their friends to move to another car. Soon it cleared out a bit and only 3 of them hung around. One of them was speaking English to us and kept swearing, which I hadn´t heard in a long time...German swear words just don´t pierce my heart as much as the English ones. One of them kept asking me what we do for fun...why we don´t party. I told him that I have fun doing what I´m doing and he kept asking why we don´t party...I don´t really think he was understanding that we don´t party like him!! It was a LONG train ride..about an hour and then it was finally over. We ended up missing our connecting train because the train was so slow, so we didn´t get home till 10:00pm. An hour later then planned!! Lesson learned? ALWAYS take the first train!! lol

It was an exciting week!! I love missionary work and all the excitement it brings!! I know this is the work of the Lord and that He is watching over me!!

Have a great week!
Sister Jones

08 September 2008

Letter #15 (9-08-08)

This week was a pretty good week. The language is coming better...not perfect, but better!! :o)
We spent a lot of time working in our area with our family, but have seen no success at all. Every contact that we get ends up not being interested any more. Strange, but thats the way things are. This is our last week with them and then next Sunday we should have someone that they can bring to church!! We have a lot of work this week to get that accomplished, but it is possible!! We will do it!! The Lord is on our side and was with us when we chose this family and this area and also when we set our goals with this family...this is what the Lord wanted and now we just need to find this person/family!!
S is doing well!! We taught her about Tithing and she agreed to live it when she gets baptized!! She is doing so well. The only problem...because there is always a problem...is that her ex-husband got kicked out of his girlfriends place and is staying with her temporarily till he finds his own place. He needs to move out before she can get baptized!! We are trying to work that out...S knows and she is trying to get him out faster. She is so wonderful.
Well that´s about all for this week!! I will write next week and tell you what happens in this area with the members we are working with!! It will be something cool, I just know it!!

Sister Jones

01 September 2008

Letter #14 (9-1-08)

So this week we started working officially with our family in the Gemeinde for our Tag-Team Missionary Work!! (we were asked to choose a family in the ward that we could work with for 3 weeks and work together to do missionary work.) We were in their Gebiet (area) EVERYDAY for at least an hour...if not 2 hours. We did doors, talked to people in the near by park and did SK (street contacting) on the streets by their house. They are so wonderful and SO excited about it. The wife even came with us to a contacts house, but sadly he was not at home. She started asking us questions like...how we approuch people on the street and what we say when we go Tür zu Tür.(door to door) Mostly she just wanted to know how we started talking to people about the Gospel. We told her and she was really surprised that we were so bold. The nice thing about being a missionary is that we can be bold...we have a name tag and wear funny clothes and that is our calling, to talk to everyone and be bold. I thought it was cool that she was asking us questions about it because I can really see the desire in her to want to learn how to do missionary work. So I hope that as we meet with her and her husband, work in their area, and take her with us more that she will be able to see what she can do as a member missionary. We had an out of our bubble week this week with them and she totally took it to heart. She tried to talk to a co-worker about the Gospel, it didn´t work out the way she wanted to, but she put forth a great effort and I know that she learned from that and what she can do differently next time!! They are the perfect family to work with and I really am glad that we are doing this. Sister Jones and I both really like the area...when we are there we just feel so happy and good inside. Their goal at the end of the 3 weeks is to find someone that we can teach in their home and that they can bring to church.

Sonja is doing so great and is so excited to get baptized!! Her date is now officially the first of October...the day before Sister Jones goes home!! She is so ready and I wish she wasn´t going on vacation, but we will just pray really hard that nothing changes while she is gone. We actually met Sonja´s sister on Sunday and taught her the first lesson and set up 2 more appointments this week. She was already taught by missionaries a few times, but it was 2 years ago!! She commited to reading in the book of Mormon and praying about it!!

So our family (the one we are working with) told us that it might be good to go to the park on Wed and Thursday because it is supposed to be nice, so we of course listened to them. We found a family that was sitting on one of the benches and talked to them and both the mom and the dad were interested in what we had to say. They gave us their contact info and we are going to visit them today. How cool would that be to teach a whole family...a mom, dad and 2 kids!! It´s like a missionaries dream. I hope that it works out.

I love this work and I´m trying everyday to do better and be happier. I love the Lord and I´m so greatful for what He has done for me. This mission is just a small thing I can do to try and repay him...I will never be able to repay him, but I will do all that I can to bring others to the knowledge of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!! This church is true and it is lead by Jesus Christ Himself, through the living Prophet Thomas S. Monson.

Sister Jones