Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From Kiel- December 21

Moin moin,
Well hello again, i cant believe i´m already sitting back at this computer typing another email, i cant even think about what happened in between haha, everything is just so mushed together here.  We just got back from playing indoor soccer though, we played at a really really nice facility with the other Kiel elders and some of the way cool members. It was really really fun. Trying to learn the German soccer slang is pretty cool too, i usually just reverted back to my old spanish words i learned playing in peru and they all thought it was pretty funny, especially the guy who just got back from the Barcelona mission. Man it was so fun to get out and moving though, it´s weird how much i miss sports now that they´re so few and far betweeen, i just love that feeling of air moving past you´re ears. I was also the clown as it turns out because i wore my Hertha Berlin jersey, haha like one of the worst teams in Germany as it turns out, so ya, it was all good fun though. I actually held my own pretty well though, it was just an all around good time. I´d still like to get my hand on a basketball here though, it´s  still funny seeing the church courts with the euro keys for me.
Well it definetly wont be a good week to have to recover from complete muscle dystrophy however. This week was really really rough as it turns out. We got tchuss´d by a couple investigators and have over TEN fallen out appointments! It´s one thing when someone tells you to come by and they arent there, but it´s another thing when you have a set appointment and time and they have a card with the time on it and your number. I dont like that feeling waiting at the quatchbox hoping it will buzz only to have to turn around and work the streets for another hour after having planned out a lesson and everything. But nah ja what are you going to do? Just find more people i guess. :)  This was kinda supposed to be our ´harvest´ week we thought, which was good because it is incredibly hard to set things up this time of year, but looks like we are going to have to have the faith to change that now. Which isnt a bad thing at all, challenges like that are fun i think.
So our bright spot in the week was our friend JZ coming to the christmas social concert thing. (I dont even know what to call half these things in English anymore) but ya, it was a way good concert and he seemed to enjoy it. One of our really money inverstigators cancelled coming the last minute, so we were excited to see him. Haha he´s a character. While he was younger he was deamed "unfit to live in society" or something like that, so it was fun to take him out.:) He is like taller than me and wheres long leather skirts and a big Ushenka, haha it was funny to see the members reactions as they walked thru the door. They were warm and friendly though, we truly have an awesome Gemeinde!  He made one decently good friend. Haha we´ve been hinting baptism lately, so we asked this friend if and when he´s been baptised, and he was like "Of course! once when i was eight and then when i was 22!" Haha it wasnt good at all. It´s never good to have to explain excommunication to an investigator this early haha. But ya it was a really nice little concert, and it really lifted my spirits anyway. Most of the songs were sung in English oddly enough, which was weird cuz i though like the English songs came from lots of german ones, but it was beautiful none the less and i understood most all of it!:) Everybody speaks english here oddly enough it seems like though...
Had my first zone conference this week too. It was really neat. It was fun to hop on a double decker train and take it down thru the pure white german countryside to Hamburg. Hamburg is a really cool city as well. But got all my christmas stuff... which consisted of one package and a box of german copies of the Book of Mormon.:)  But ya it was really nice. I gave my golden testimony and a bunch of the German elders came up afterwards and told me they were really impressed with my german, which really made me feel good, i needed a confidence booster in that regard. It seems like the more i learn, they deeper holes i find myself getting into. But ya, i still love the language and it´s all good.  We did a big white elephant gift thing too, haha i bought a little pink hello kitty journal with a padlock on it, and the senior couple elder here in Kiel ended up with it haha, it was a good time. I got a lego set. We have Zone conferences every other transfer now, and my zone, the Neumünster zone, is always combined witht the Hamburg zone.  Oh and i got selected to be in the bell choir too, i picked a money bell too, A sharp, haha i had to ring it like once.:) But anyways, it was overall a really fun meeting.
So other mission news, one of my trainers good friends, who is actually my god father as it turns out with his companion just got made AP. It was a big shocker i guess, most people thought our swiss ZL here in Kiel was going, but nope it´s Elder H from Hannover. We talked to him and he said he´s "look out for me,"  whatever that means here.:) But ya i met him at mission conference and he´s way cool, so it´s cool to know an AP already. Both of our AP´s were from Luxenburg, but one just went home. Funny story actually, when i first got here i was riding with them and they were speaking french really fast together, and i was really tired, but i just remembered hearing them and having one of those Elder Calhoun moments. "that´s not the language they tought me in the MTC" haha it was scary. But ya anyway, this mission leadership stuff is weird, really doesnt look like a fun job. I thought people always wanted to be AP, haha but leadership is like the plague out here.
Well not really much else to say from this end, i wish i had more stuff about my week, but like i said we really werent able to teach much and we´ve mostly just been talking to people. We´ve had some harsh rejections, ha but i´d rather not write about them right now. Anywho, hope you all have a merry christmas back home! Dont loose it´s true meaning. The message of the holiday is the best gift you could give. Love ya all!
-Elder Ott

Monday, December 13, 2010

From Kiel- December 13

Howdy ya´ll, how´s it going? Well just had another amazing week here in Kiel! Really though, it´s like every week has so much in it i cant even begin to describe it. I´m going to try day by day this week, probably won´t help, but here we go anyway... :)
Monday- Had a really chill p-day, didnt do a whole lot, just cleaned and went shopping mostly. Every Monday we hav our weekly teaching appointment with UB though, the ex JW russian lady. She is super nice, and really wants to understand the Gospel, but she keeps getting held up on dumb little things. She still cant understand for the life of her why Jesus Christ had to die, she thinks that it´s ´thou shalt not kill..... PERIOD´ She just cant believe that! It´s really bizarre, she just doesnt think God would deliver his son here to be killed, and that he would never kill anyone. We have been going about it so clearly and simply and nicely, i dont know what more we can do, it´s hard not to just pull out all the OT scriptures about God killing hundreds of people, and threatening to kill people. I mean Moses killed somebody, and Paul too. Ya that´s probably not the best way to go about it, but i mean ha, people die all the time, God just works like that. Last time i tried explaining how death is really just a short thing that can lead to an eternity of glory and happiness, it´s really just perspective to me, but until she understands the atonement better i dont know how she´ll progress. Christ had to die to loosen the bands of death! I dont know, we gave her Alma 7 to read, so we´ll just keep working.
Okay this day by day thing isnt going to work, that was like the most uneventful day of the week ha and it took forever. Well anyway, so Tuesday was awesome. There´s a member who is good friends with my trainer named Luckie. He´s like a millionare from Jamaica... hands down one of the coolest people i ever met. Haha he got on a train and came all the way up to Kiel to see his ´grandson´ for three days. Haha he´s such a dork. So quirky and hilarious, and so generous and nice. We still did missionary work of course all those days, but he´s help us get around and eat with us and stuff. He is really the bomb. I´ll have to scrounge up some pictures of him, but ya we had a LOT of fun.  It was kinda frustrating this week though, we had a LOT of appointments fall through, so it was tough, but we´ve talked to a TON of people this week. Thursday we had Mission Conference which was amazing. Haha got the full story from Elder VM. He was at a members house talking about his GF and the member wanted to see her so they got on Facebook and bam, haha her profile pick was her and this guy. Haha so funny. Next letter of course was the dear john, they are getting married this month. But it was WAY cool to see some old MTC friends. There was only 4 there, but it was way cool. Got to talk to Sister W again, my good volleyball friend, and it was just really nice. Mission conference was off the chain too. Elder Texiera from the 70 straight up challenged our mission to lead Europe even further into the fight. Our mission is the biggest in Europe and is just behind England in Baptisms. But we are doing a lot better than the other Germany missions, and he told us to blow our own numbers and standards of excellence out of the water until the ´dont even matter at all´  It was pretty cool. Midway into his lecture he straight up stopped and said ´do you want to see what im talking about´ and sent out 2 companionships and the AP´s to go pray and contact for 30 mins and come back and report. Ha 30 mins is like way hard to get anything in. They came back though and had made 10 APPOINTMENTS placed 2 BOM´s and committed 2 People to come to church!!! Those are like weekly numbers for Germany. It was simply amazing. He said that was all by the spirit too, he hadnt planned it, he just felt to do it and that he would ´be sharing that and talking about it for a long time´ While they were gone we all stayed and prayed for them. It showed us the power of prayer, faith, and specific goals.  Yesterday at our eating appointment we invited the family to pray for us throughout the day to find success, we had made the Specific goal to make 5 Appointments with people with our finding time. We made 6! It just always works! Specific goals, with specific prayers, that´s the secret. :) Oh and to be held accountable, we had to report back to them of course.  But ya it was pretty cool. 
 So the senior couple that works at our outreach center here went home today, we just got a new couple, havent met them yet but they sound really cool. I really like the C´s. They spoke 0 German, but they really loved the people here. Ha we took them out to eat with the ZL´s before they left, but the dumb ZL´s planned it right after one of our eating appointments... oh my gosh... worst essen termin ever! Haha we had rice covered in mustard with Sardines and Kod nuggets in it... it was like fear factor status. Haha it was just this way way old lady, Frau B, haha it was soooooooooooo bad. I ate it all though. Haha and when we left she gave us both chocolate bars, which we of course totally broke into as soon as the door shut, but haha they tasted really funny and as it turns out they were loaded with alcohol! Ya they have alcohol filled chocolate bars all over here. We just assumed she was a member and wouldnt give us them though, so ya we repented. It tasted nasty though. But ya, not the best day for food. But the rest of the weekend was pretty slow as it turns out. We did a LOT of contacting. We kept track and walked 25 kilometers saturday, it´s crazy. I really like talking to people on the street now though. Ha, i whipped out the digital recorder too, so i´ll try sending that today, cought a street conversation or two. I´m not sure how legal that is, but hey im just making some voice journals.:) so ya i´ll try to send those.
Well what else can i say? Another great week up here in Kiel, i just love it to death up here. i could serve my whole mission here i feel like sometimes! But ya, time to go limp out onto the street (we´ve already been walking a lot, and we played squash for a couple hours this morning, which is like my first athletic activity since the MTC, haha i think i sprained my anke and pulled my groin, it was way way fun though, it´s like the handicapped cousin of racquitball, i really like it) but ya. Onward, ever Onward! Love ya all and have a good week! Hoorah für Israels
-Elder Ott
p.s. I´m making a list of all those who write me here, and im checking it twice... lots of people on the naughty list. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

From Kiel- December 6

Guten Morgen von Kiel!
Hallo. Well i cant believe it, but this transfer is already more than half over! Crazy. I´m already feeling sad about having to say goodbye to Elder B, and we probably still have one more transfer together! That´s gonna be weird saying goodbye to him and having him go home... kinda like in the Berlin airport when we first got there and we met the missionaries going home, that was way way weird. Anyway ya things are really going good here. We had a lot of appointments fall through this last week, but hey they were all right addresses so we´ll keep on him. We picked up 4 new investigators this week too. Man can i just say how diverse this place is. Already i have tought in an actual lesson, a Muslim, an ex Jehovahs witness, a couple Rasta Farians, a Buhdist, a Scientologist and who knows how many catholics or prostestants. Well i take that back, we didnt actually teach the Scientologist, we more or less just talked about it because he lives next to us and we´ve been at the same bus stop a couple times. Haha, but man Rasta Farians are the cooooolest people ever! I cant remember if i said last week or not, but we made friends with a way cool one from a tiny store that sells African stuff from ghana, he gave us some way cool bracelets and invited us over Christmas day to eat Fufu, it´s like some food from Ghana, like this mush everyone eats with there hands. Ha i dont know if we´re actually going to do it Christmas day, we´ll have to talk to him this week when we go back by, but he´s really the coolest guy ever. Oh ha, and one of our new investigators we found is an old guy that´s been a butler like all his life, and he is soooooo crazy awesome. He is like a old creepy guy who wears butler clothes and like talks like a legit butler guy, is name is JZ, i´m way excited to teach him. Then one of our new investigators is a 40 year old Buhdist lady. We were contacting on the street and while we were making an appointment with an african guy, she just made eye contact with me and smiled really big, after we made the appointment i went and talked to her, we found our she had just moved in and when we offered to help she hesitantly accepted our offer, so we cleaned windows and talked about the BOM. After we were done she said she really wants to learn more, and she actually took us to the Buhdist Zentrum here in Kiel and we got to see how they meditate and where they do it and stuff. It was pretty cool, not many non budhists get to go in there, so that was neat, i´m excited to teach her. Throw that all on top of the Dönner man and we´ve really made some sweet connections here! Get to learn see and do lots of cool things. We´ve been teaching lots of Africans too, so far we´ve talked with lots from Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, with some from Togo, Cameroon, South Africa, and i cant remember all the others, haha i love the black community here. So also this week i went on a brief exchange with another new Elder while our comps had to go to a leadership training meeting, he actualll spoke less German than i do haha, it was way scary, but really cool to go do missionary book without a fluent speaker to rely on. I made two appointments tho all by myself! And tought most all of a lesson! It was cool, scary. but fun. We were down in Neu Münster so it was also fun to see another city, we actually toured 2 churches kind of on accident haha, long story, but it was really neat. The churches here are soooo amazing, HUGE. Oh ya, which reminds me... so the next day i was on exchange with the DL and we were working down by the harbor, i had never been down there and he was really quiet and didnt care what we did hehe, so we just did SK (straße kontaktieren) down there. We got into a little discussion with some Zeugen Jehovahs and then we kept walking til we got to a peer... suddenly i saw a Santa Claus guy walking down the pier, it was really suspecious so we stopped to watch. Suddenly he jumped up on a support thing and started to walk accross the water on a tight rope!!! haha it was the most random/coolest thing ever. He almost fell in this one time and i got it all on video with a bunch of pictures, he would have like died the water was so cold... but here´s the most tragic thing ever, i dont know if it was because it was so cold out or what, but while i had my camera out, the screen just went blue and it said memory erased! ALL MY PICTURES ARE GONE! Except for a few random ones from before my mission. But the MTC ones i took to make up for the other SD card and everything are gone! EVERYTHING! I really almost started to cry. The memory card was like full, and now it´s all gone. I snapped one more of the Santa, so i still have that, but the sweet videos and everything are gone. And i had some amazing stuff on there i wanted to send for Christmas... ugh it´s sickening. I should have printed them off i knew it! Ya, so anyway, i dont know what to do now. Just take more i guess. i hope that letter with the SD card gets here too cuz i really need it... dont have it yet. Anyway, that was a long tragic tangent. Santa was way cool tho! I found the red light district accidently on that exchange to haha, that´s another story, good to know now though where to stay away from. These exchanges tho have really made me appreciate my awesome companion much more though, for sure. He´s so awesome. The others were just way awkward and in your face, ive never been beraded or sworn at so much as when i was with them, Elder B´s approach seems to be much more effective and.. nice? Haha i dont know. Anyway, i´m about out of time, but ya things are going great in Kiel. Ha oh ya, my trainer talked with Elder VM´s trainer at the training meeting... Elder VM just got Dear Johned haha, i shouldn´t laugh, but it´s just so weird to me. He´s doing alright though, he got over it in about a week it sounds like, so good for him. But ya anyways, mission´s are really something special, it´s still the weirdest feeling for me to be here in Germany as a missionary, love it though. It´s super hard sometimes, when that freezing wind is coming in off the Baltic and it´s snowing and 2 of your appointments just fell thru and no one´s listnening to you, but there´s just always a flame of comfort somewhere, a tender mercy, a little miracle, it´s really really sweet. Hope everyone back there has a good week, you should alll give the missionaries a referal.:) Haha seriously tho, do it! Love you all, Tchüss!
-Elder Ött <---- (i really want an ümlauted O name tag, but pres isnt going to let me it looks like, oh well) :)