27 October 2008

Week #22 (10-27-08)

I can´t believe how fast the time flies when I am here!! I feel like every few days is Monday. So Last Monday we had an appointment with a nice older couple. We brought a man from our ward, Bruder Wächter, that was about there age. The investigators just asked him question after question. It was pretty good because Bruder Wächter served a few missions with his wife over the last 5 years, so he did a great job. We kept trying to get into the conversation, but it didn´t really work....good thing the Tea tasted good...only kidding!! They ended up saying that they weren´t really interested in meeting with us again. The man said that he didn´t really believe in God and he wouldn´t even let us pray. You can´t find out that God is there if you don´t pray, but he is just not ready to accept an answer even if he got one. They are a really friendly couple and maybe one day they will accept our message. Then we went to FA (FHE) with the JAE´s (YSA) and we played a board game...in German of course. You pick a card that has a word on it, then you have to either draw a picture, act it out, or explain it in words. They let us use our dictionaries, but otherwise they weren´t very easy on us. It was really fun and we did pretty well...we actually won!! I didn´t like it at first because I feel so bumb auf Deutsch, but I sucked up my pride and played and actually didn´t do that bad!!

We took our P-day on Tuesday last week and Sister Buynak and I went to Detmold. It´s about 30min on the train and it is the cutest city!! It is very German. We saw so many cute buildings and even took a tour of the castle there!! We had so much fun...it is so amazing here!! The Castle was so HUGE and amazing. We didn´t get to take any pictures on the tour, but it was cool. They had HUGE portraits on the walls of people who had lived there and also family members....I didn´t get all the details because it was in German, but I understood enough to know what she was talking about. There was this one room with animal heads and antlers all over the walls!! It was so dark and scary...she said that it was the men's room, which was obvious compared to the other rooms that are so open and bright. There was this one room that looked like a ballroom and it had red walls with nudie angels on the celling. I took a design class at BYU-I and it was cool because as I was looking at the furniture and the designs on the walls I remember learning all about it and the time periods and what they mean, but I have forgotten it all now...I just remember learning about it!! I also forgot the word for my pitch pipe the other day....4 years of college are escaping my head. Oh well...life goes on. I just hope it comes back quick when I need it!! :o)

On Wednesday we met with O!! She is SOOOO amazing. We found out that she is married and that her Husband lives in another city because of work and she lives here because of school. She said that they see each other usually once a week!! WOW...I wouldn´t be able to do that. We brought Schwester Adler along as our Joint Teach and it went well. It was a really long appointment...like an hour and a half or more, but we taught her a lot and answered a lot of her questions. Normally we meet 3 times a week for only 30-40 minutes...so since we are only meeting once a week then if it´s longer it´s ok. She agreed to read in the Book of Mormon and pray and she is really excited to meet with us again this week. She didn´t come to church on Sunday, because she was out of town, but she is coming to Stake Conference in Hannover on Sunday!!

On Thursday we went and visited a Russian girl named N. She normally comes to our English class on Wednesday, but hasn´t been there for the last 3 weeks. I´m so glad that we stopped by because her mother-in-law is in a coma and she was really fragile. We sat and talked with her for a while and I really had a gift of tongues experience. I have a hard time knowing what to say to console people in English let alone in another language, but the Lord really helped us to know what to say and what to ask. I didn´t understand all the specifics, because I don´t know German medical terms, but through asking questions I found out that her mother-in-law has blood in her brain and she is only living because a machine is keeping her alive. It was really sad, but we bore our testimonies about God and His love for us and a little bit about the next life. We even prayed at the end and the Spirit was really strong and I know that she felt the Spirit while we were there. It was a really cool experience. We are going to go back this week and see how her mother is doing.

So there is this new member in our ward, K. She was baptized in Jan of this year. Her daughter was just baptized in August. We went and visited her this week and we were a little nervous. Kerstin works on Sunday so she can only come to church one time a month. She has a really strong testimony, but the ward and us as well are worried that if she keeps this up that she won´t be able to progress anymore. She can´t go to the temple unless she comes to church on Sunday...it is one of the 10 commandments to keep the Sabbath day holy and that includes going to church. She knows all this, but we want her to understand that if she puts her trust in the Lord that everything will work out. Her fear is that when she finds another job that she will have less time with her kids...she has a 2 year old and a 10 year old. She only works 2 or 3 times a week...here in Germany if someone works on Sunday then they get paid double...they do that because it is really hard to find people to work on Sunday. All the stores are closed and most resturants as well...it´s like a Ghost town in the city on Sunday. She works on Sunday so that she gets more money and doesn´t have to work so many days. I can totally understand that, but if she keeps the commandments the Lord will make it up to her somehow. My comp and I both have personal experience...we lived with single mom´s who never worked on Sunday. We didn´t see them much during the week, but they were always there on Sunday in Church. We bore testimony to her about how much our families were blessed and the wonderful example that our mothers set for us. I also told her that God has blessings for us, but he waits for us to keep the commandments and then he gives them to us. When we don´t do what he has asked then he can´t give us the blessings that he wants to give us. She knows what is right, but the sad thing is, is that she won´t do anything about it. We told her that we love her and that her family will be SO blessed if she will set a goal of going to the temple in January. The temple blesses familes so much, but she said that she couldn´t do that because she had to work on Sunday. She understood what we talked about, but she is just not ready to trust the Lord completely. It was really sad.

This week has been a hard week because we have talked to so many people and no one really listened to us. We don´t have very many investigators and we aren't finding people either....but the thing that I am excited about is that we only have 2 investigators, but they are both progressing and that is amazing!!! I love this work and I know that the Lord is in it. It is his work and this is his Church! It is true and I know it. I am here in Germany because there are people who need my testimony and I will shout it from the mountian tops to make sure that they all hear it!!

Ich liebe dich!

Deine Sister Jones

20 October 2008

Week #21 Letter (10-20-08)

Here it is definitely winter...ok well I guess just fall because I heard it gets a lot colder. It is still really beautiful. The leaves are all over the ground and are all kinds of colors. The sun is still shinning and so that makes the cold wind and weather not seem so bad. It gets dark really early here...earlier then I remember at home. It´s dark by about 6:30pm and when we change times this upcoming weekend then it will be 5:30pm when it is dark. It is really hard to do missionary work in the dark. We will just have to try and have more appointments at night, so we can do street contacting during the day when it is light. We shall see.
So this week was a challenge, only because our Präsident has asked us to teach 15 lessons a week and if we can do that we will receive many blessings...more happiness in our lives, better teachers, see more success and a bunch of others. So we plan and we plan and we plan and then we go to our appointments and the person is not home. We had so many appointments that fell out this week, but that is just the way it is. We are still trying to work hard to get our 15 lessons...we are doing our part and it is up to the people to be there!! :o)

We had an appointment with an older couple this week, Herr and Frau E. They are pretty courious about our church. They were an investigator in our area book, so sister Jones and I went by and made an appointment with them and then Sister Buynak and I taught them last Monday. The Man refused to let us pray and he said that he was very sceptical about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We told him that if he would pray and ask God, then he would find out it is true. He told us that he doesn´t really believe that he would receive an answer if he prayed. They are one of the nicest couples. It was never an argument...it was just a conversation. We have another appointment today and we are bringing a member with us...Bruder Wächter. He is about their age and him and his wife just got back from their 3rd mission..or something like that!! We wanted to bring them both, but we thought that maybe 2 members, 2 missionaries and 2 investigators would be to many people!! :o) We then went to Family Home Evening with the YSA and O came with us!! It was pretty good. They didn´t have a game or activity or anything...it was just us sitting around talking. Which is fine, but I think it would be more exciting if we did something. We can sit around and talk anytime (well not sister Buynak and me), but we get together on Monday to have fun!! We then had a lesson and that was good. O asked a lot of good questions and the YSA did a good job answering and explaining it. All in all it was a good night!! O was too busy again this week to meet with us!! She did come to church again though and she even stayed for and brought something for our ward lunch. She loves coming to church...she even takes notes. She has a lot of friends there already. It is so good to watch!! I love O, she makes me so happy. I really want to get her baptized so that she can have the fullness of joy that only the Gospel brings!! We have an appointment this week and I really hope that she will commit to be baptized!! She is so ready!! We shall see!!

We had interviews this week...which feels like so long ago!! lol!! They were really good. We had a zone meeting and then we had our distrikt meeting and then we had interviews. I love seeing Sister Thompson because she is always so happy!! It really boosts my spirits!!

We met with S this week and she is doing so amazing. She is reading every morning and evening in the Scriptures and praying as well. She is really excited for her new calling as well. She is so wonderful. She just needs more friends in the church. That makes it a little hard, but I think it will come with time. She is not like O...she is a little more quiet and reserved, but when you get to know her she is really fun and funny!!

So we were at the Wächter´s for dinner on Friday and Schwester Wächter said something really nice to me. The Elders and Sister Buynak were talking about all the cities that they have served in and when it came to my turn I said that this is my first. One of the Elders said...Oh yeah, I forgot that you are still in your Golden City. I was like, yeah...I think that some people in the ward have forgotten that too because they talk to me like I understand everything that they say. Schwester Wächter then told me that they probably think that because I talk like I understand everything. That my German is good enough that people wouldn´t think that I have just learned it. She said that ever since I got here she has thought that my German was good. That was a surprise to me because I think my German is bad. I mean it´s way better then when I first got here, but it is still not very good, but I was really flattered when she said that. A German thinks that my German is pretty good!! I still don´t have a very big vocab and I still struggle understanding people, but it´s coming. I love the German language...it´s a lot harder then what I thought it would be because I always heard how hard English is, but then again learning a second language is never easy!!

We had a street preach in Paderborn on Saturday and it was pretty good. Sister Buynak and I were only there for about an hour and a half because we had 2 appointments...which fell through...but it was still fun even for a short time. Paderborn is where the other 2 Elders in our Distrikt are. It´s about an hour train ride southish. It was pretty fun, although most people said that they didn´t have time. I really want to know what Germans do during the day because they always say that they don´t have time. I don´t know what Americans say, but I would be interested to know if it is the same thing or if it is just the German´s who never have time!! It just makes me laugh inside...mostly because I don´t want it to bother me.

We met with Frau A this morning. She left on vacation after S´s baptism and she just got back last week. She said that she only has time to meet with us one time a week...which is better then none. She said the Spirit was so strong. She asked us why Joseph Smith had so many wives. (a friend told her that) So we spent the first little bit explaining that. It´s hard to explain because I don´t full understand why. It went really well and I even told her that I don´t fully understand, but that God doesn´t do anything without a purpose. I think it went well. Our Joint Teach also really helped because she was a convert and also wondered the same thing before she got baptized. Then we taught her the Word of Wisdom and she commited to live it. She said that ever since Sister Jones and I told her that we don´t drink coffee, she stopped as well. Funny story. So we went and visited her before Sister Jones left and she brought us Coffee. We told her sorry, but we don´t drink coffee and I swear that we told her that we also don´t drink green and black tea. She then made us tea, but I guess she didn´t hear that, because I just found out today that she had given us black tea!! Oooppss!! Tea is huge here in Germany and we can drink fruit tea and herbal tea, but not green or black tea!! So she commited to stop drinking that as well!! She is still a little confused with there only being one true church on the earth, but we will hopefully clear that us next week!!

Sister Jones

13 October 2008

Week #20 (10-13-08)

Sister Jones and Sister Jones with really "useful" umbrellas, in the rain (good thing Christi is from Seattle and use to this weather).

Hey mom...I think a new pair of slippers may be on Christi's Christmas list.


Sister Buynak (her new/current companion)

Smores....are all German women this short, or is Christi just extremely tall!

S...at her baptism

Couple questions mom asked and Christi answered:

Do you get to speak English? We ALWAYS speak German to each other. This transfer is an only German transfer. We speak German day and night. Sometimes a few English words come out when we don't know them, but not too often during the day. We are aloud to speak English, but our Mission President has encouraged us to speak German from 9 am-9 pm...so we took it one step further and just speak it non-stop!! It's fun.

How was the ICE train? IT WAS SO COOL!!! Ok, so normally it takes about 1.5 hrs on the train to Hannover, but with the ice train we were there in like 30 minutes!! Although it was a long day. Our first train was 20 min. late which made us miss our train in Hannover. Although, we ended up catching another and were only about 30 min later coming into Hamburg. I then picked up Sister Buynak and got back on a train 30 min later, but this time it was a slow/normal train. We left Hamburg at about 3 pm and didn't get home until 8:30 pm. We ended up missing one of our trains and we had to change trains about 3 times!! It was fine though....we were just really hungry!! :o)

Letter #20 (10-13-08)

This week was great. We are trying to get in contact with the inactive members of the ward and get to know them. We spend a lot of time visiting them and calling them this week. We didn´t really see any success until Sunday when a lady came up to us and told us that she was Schwester Grasshof...a lady that we went to go visit and she just talked to us through this little box...she said she was too busy to let us in. Then she called us the next day and left a message and then she came to church. She even got up and bore her testimony in testimony meeting. We have an appointment with her this week. Our goal this transfer is to try and strengthen the ward by helping the inactives.

We have been speaking German all day everyday since Sister Buynak got here...it is an only German transfer. It is helping us a lot. I feel a lot more confident in my German...we even speak only German to the elders to, which was not the case before...it helps us help each other with our German!!

So Sunday was Fast Sunday and the ward Counsel and missionaries were fasting for specific investigators and members together. It was cool because we even broke our fast together. The ward here has a goal of 10 baptisms for the year. We have only had 4 so far so we have a lot of work to do. In Ward Counsel on Wednesday the ward asked us what they can do to help. It´s hard to think of what to ask them for. They come on Joint teaches and they pray for us, they talk to our investigators when they come to church. The problem is just finding people to teach. Sister Buynak and I were walking through the city for 2 straight hours talking to people one after another and we didn´t get any contact info. No one wanted to listen to what we have to say. So our Ward Mission Leader asked every organization to come with a referal for us next month. They all agreed!! I love referrals!! The ward also wants to plan a music thing for Christmas and they turned and asked me if I could do it...I told them I would but I don´t know if I will be here. That would mean I would be here in my Golden City for 7 transfers...that is not very likely. That is over half of my time in the mission field!! although I do love it here....by that time I think I would need a little bit of a change!! :o)

S received the Holy Ghost yesterday!! Wow the Spirit was so strong and she even got a calling. She is on the ward activities commitee!! That will be really good for her!!

I bore my testimony in church Yesterday (our mission pres has asked us to do that every month) and I totally cried....you know me!! lol!! I just felt the spirit really strong when S recieved the Holy Ghost and I was telling the ward about our experience on the street and I just cried when I bore my testimony about my Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ. When I first started to cry I told them that it´s ok for me to cry because I´m from America...they all laughed!! lol...I can´t believe that I was funny in German!! It was a great Sunday!!

Well I think that is all for this week...by the time Monday comes I have forgotten most of what happens...I will try and remember more for next week!!

Sister Jones

06 October 2008

Letter #19 (10-6-08)

Conference for me was SO great!! Man...it should really be more then just 2 times a year. Maybe like every other weekend!! We had an investigator (O) at conference, which was SO cool and to make it better...she brought a friend(Am). O stayed for all the sessions and the women's conference and Am watched all but the one on Sunday night (so women's and the 2 Saturday sessions). The way conference is done here is confusing, but it works. They tape Women's conference and then we watch it on Saturday at 4pm and then the Saturday morning session of conference Saturday night at 6pm. Then the Priesthood session is taped and they watch it at 11am Sunday and then we watch the tape for the Saturday afternoon session on Sunday afternoon 2pm and then we have waffles in the church because it is too far for most people to travel home and then back. Then we watch Sunday morning session live on Sunday night 6pm. We never get to see the last session unless we watch it really late (10pm-12am)...but I can just read it in the Liahona!! I need my beauty sleep!! lol

There were so many talks that talked about trials, depression, discouragement, and all of those painful things we experience in this life and how we can get rid of that. From what I got out of it, is that it is a choice. Elder Worthlin said that we need to laugh more about things that happen and not take it so seriously. Präsident Uchtdorf talked about hope and how when we have hope all of those feelings go away....we cannot let ourselves give into the temptation to lose hope. Präsident Monson talked about how if we don´t do something today we will just have a bunch of empty yesterdays. There were so many talks that I liked and I don´t have my notes with me, but I can´t wait to be able to read them again!! Wow...every single one just grabbed my attention!!

The Baptism for S was so great!! I can´t believe that she got baptized!! AHHHH!! The talks were so great and we even had an investigator (Frau A) and her 3 kids there and a girl in our English class as well!! It was a pretty good turn out from the ward as well. The best thing was how strong the Spirit was!! I just love baptisms because of how well everyone can feel the Spirit.

Sister Jones is now home..tear!! And now I have a new comp. Transfer day was a bit long!! We traveled up to Hamburg on the ICE train...the fast train. Normally it is 4.5 hrs from Bielefeld to Hamburg, but with the ICE it is only 2-2.5hrs!! But the ride back we had to take the slow train...I mean normal train!! :o) We didn´t get home till 8:30pm because we missed a train and had to change trains 3 times!! There is no direct train from Hamburg to Bielefeld...you know, they should really do something about that!! It was a long day, but good!!

Our German is not very good...she knows more words and my grammar is better, so we are able to help each other!! We are pretty much on the same page German wise!! She is great and we will help each other grow. This transfer is a non English transfer for us!! Only German...even with the Elders!! It will help us a lot...so far we have done really good!! I´m excited!!

Well she is waiting for me because I´m taking to long....

Sister Jones