Sunday, December 25, 2011

Week of December 24 from Berlin

Frohe Weinacht!

Merry Christmas everyone! Wow this was one of those quick weeks, and the next couple days are going to fly by as well I´m sure. We have a shortened P-day today, then at 3pm we´re headed to the church for the final choir practice... yes I´m singing in the choir at a Christmas concert... AGAIN. It will be way fun though. We have a couple really fun songs and I just hope the other tenor and I can hold it down..:) For those of you who don't know, in Germany Heilige Abend (Christmas Eve) is the man holiday celebrated, so all the kids will open their presents this evening and we´re going to be with a SUPER awesome family in the ward. We´re way excited! We totally have the best ward in the mission.

Hmmm, so what did we do this week? Well before I left on my mission I was given the address of an exchange student and a BOM which I was to give her. I never thought that I would serve here in Berlin, but it happened, and I was able to meet with her and give her the book. It was really awesome to finally be able to take it out of my suitcase and give it to her. I don't know how much interest she really had, but the contact is now there and we´ll see what happens.

Probably the main thing we worked on this week was transfers. We spent many many hours sorting them out, praying about each companionshiop individually, and then looking for confirmation that everything was right. When we first sat down and looked at the chart with all of the missionaries in the mission, I thought to myself, "There´s no way this is going to work out!" There´s just SO many people and SO many factors to consider when doing transfers. But when you do it bit by bit and rely on the Lord for your guidance, everything works out and comes together PERFECTLY. It really is amazing. It´s the coolest thing when you´re praying about companionships and one that makes perfect logical sense just doesn't feel right and later you find out exactly why it didn't... just knowing that for those few brief seconds you were worthy to be guided by the Spirit is SWEET. So ya, we got everything worked out and had a great conference call, and next transfer is going to be EPIC! :)

Other than that, we just tried to get outside and do some normal missionary work, despite this time of year being so hard. We talked to lots of really cool people, and got quite a few to commit to come to church this week and to the concert tonight. One other thing that we did, which was probably the highlight of the week, was district christmas caroling. Our whole district loaded up in the big blue bus (Opelus Prime) after district meeting, then headed to meter pizza. It´s where you get a HUGE pizza 1 meter in diameter. Then we spent most of the day going by on less actives and investigators and singing christmas carols. It was one of those mission memories you´ll never forget- all loaded up in the van with one guy with a guitar just singing away. Good times.:)

Well I´m super excited to talk to the fam tomorrow. I still feel like next christmas I'll still be here in Germany, but the sad reality is that the time is flying by. Christmas time on a mission is FAR different than at home, and we all miss our families lots, but we have a family of 4 in our apartment and are enjoying our German Christmas together! Have a wonderful Christmas time. I hope we all feel the real Spirit of Christmas this year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week of December 17 from Berlin

Well another week on the road is come and gone, and it looks like we´ll have a few weeks now to stick around Berlin. It´s nice to be back in my own bed. :)
We had a great week of Christmas Zone Conferences this last week. We started off Tuesday here with the Berlin and Neubrandenburg zones in Berlin. Wednesday we drove off to Hannover combined with the Oldenburg Zones, then the next day to Hamburg with Neumünster, and we finished up yesterday in Leipzig with the Dresden zone visiting. It was so great to see all the missionaries and feel the Christmas Spirit in all the different zones. It´s so fun being able to see all your old companions at least once a transfer and reflect with them. It´s just a special time of the year as well, and I feel a little bit more into the Christmas "mood" this time I think. I feel great today, but that´s probably also the fact that it was my first full night´s sleep as well. This last Tuesday night was the worst though. Because we had so many finisher missionaries going home right before Christmas, President made a rare exception and had us help get all 13 of them shuttled around and off with all their luggage. Normally president keeps finishers very isolated so that they don't "contaminate" other missionaries, but this time we took them to the no-mans land of the Wall where we dedicated ourselves as missionaries (at the beginning of our mission) to have them report on their mission, and to the airport and everything, just because we didn't have enough drivers. Man, I can totally see why we usually stay away from them. Seeing your good missionary friends walk through that terminal to go home is HARD and WIERD. We always liken missions to our lives, and when you go home you "die", and so for me that was the closest thing to an out-of-body experience a missionary could have. Anyway, that was a tangent. So that night we loaded all their suitcases into the van to take them to the airport for their EARLY flight. Problem was, we didn't get the van back to the office to load until around 12:30. After loading we got in bed around 1:20 or so, then got up at 3:30 to get them back to the airport... it was a great way to start off a week of already limited sleep. But as always, we had all the strength we needed and everything went well.:)

The ZoCo´s went great though this wek. We gave a Thema on miracles and how they´re everywhere when we look for them- macro-miracles or micro-miracles. We watched the last minute of the 1980 Soviet vs. USA olympic hockey game where at the very end the guy announcing the game yells "Do you believe in Miracles!?" It was great and the missionaries were super energized to see more miracles in the work I thought. These last four weeks of the year we launched a little something called "The Advent of Miracles" where starting every Sunday of the Advent time, we have specific goals and things we work on, and as we pray every day to see miracles and write them on the Advent Wreath Calendar we sent everyone, we expect to see them and see a jump in the work. We´ve seen SO MANY amazing miracles and it´s really just sweeping through them mission like a wild fire. The first week we focused on finding, and we reported the best finding numbers the mission has ever had (we measure it by New Apps. Every day you´re supposed to make out at the very least 1 appointment with someone new (tracting), and as a mission with 210 missionaries we average 6.8 per companionship that week CRAZY!) The second week we focused on Joint Teaches (having a member at lessons) and reported the highest number per companionship on record. The whole focus has been responding to the Europe Area Presidency´s letter calling for inviting people to come to church, and we´ve had the highest rate of investigators at sacrament meeting in 6 months! We are really just seeing tons of macro-miracles, and the micro-miracles are just everywhere every day.

One of the biggest miracles happened to me personally this last week. So I´ve written a couple times about the miracle with this investigator my trainer and I found a year ago in Kiel and how she is going to be baptised in October and how I got to teach her on a surprise Tausch a couple weeks ago. Well, in the short time I got to be there, we talked about if she had prayed to know if her date was right. Well a couple nights ago I got off the phone with the Kiel ZL´s who had just gotten off the phone with her, and apparently she had woken up a couple nights ago not being able to sleep and decided to she had to pray about what we had talked about. And she got a powerful answer.:) She´s now going to be baptised on the 7th OF JANUARY!!! Haha, it was such a wonderful miracle! I get to go back up and have been asked to speak at it.:) So now, not only do I get to go back to Kiel for the baptism of one of my greatest Kiel friends, but I´ll be spending the day there doing work too!!! Yep, Merry Christmas! Life doesn't get any better.:):):)

So anyway, that´s basically what´s been going on with me the past week or so. Transfers start being decided this next week, so we´re gearing up for some late nights with pres. I´m super excited though! Have a great week, love you all so much!
PS Oh ya, and I found a wild hedgehog outside the office this week.:) They´re like rats for Germans.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Week of December 10 from Berlin

Well, we had a lot slower of a week this week, but it was still pretty busy none the less. It never ceases to amaze me, the logistics and just work involved in running a mission of over 200 missionaries- truly mind boggling- but ya, there´s always something to do. Good news this week was that we were able to get out of the office a lot more and just do more missionary work. I love trying to figure out how to run the administrative type of service, but at the end of the day, I think the ministrative service is more enjoyable.
So we started off the week with our normal office staff meeting, which increased our big looming to-do list right above our board, and then got to work trying to get all the little immediate odd-jobs done as quick as we could. It ended up being a pretty busy day though and we only managed to slip in a half an hour of e-mail time to make up for our giving up a p-day the Saturday before. Tuesday was a bit better, but we had a blitz transfer and president pulled an Elder into the office, so now we officially have 2 office elders to help lighten our load a little bit, which is really really nice. We got him picked up and all settled in as well as tried to stay on top of our busy work schedule. Most of our preparations this week went toward preparing for the big ZL telephone conference we were going to be having. It´s crazy trying to manually generate so many reports and putting so many numbers into excel sheets.  Man, you just start to feel like a number cruncher sometimes. It was cool though, I got to lead the status reports on the conference call and everything went very smoothly. That´s probably been the weirdest part about this new assignment I´d say-  just having to do all these things that I always would make fun of the AP´s having to do when I was a Zone Leader. But anyways, president gave an awesome Thema and it was a good conference. The other thing we worked on this week was an upcoming mid-transfer transfer. Transfers are actually pretty crazy things as it turns out, and this only affected a handful of missionaries, so I´m sure I´ll have a lot to say after we do it throughout the whole mission.  Basically we three sit together and talk about possibilities, but then spend most of the time in prayer asking if the decisions made were correct and praying about EVERY companionship. It´s definitely one of the most intense revelatory experiences I´ve ever experienced and it´s definitely one of the most cherished experiences as well. Waiting either for the warm burning in the bosom or feeling the peace that comes from a yes answer or the stupor of thought or cold feeling around the heart that comes with a no. One thing´s for sure though, EVERY assignment a missionary gets in this mission is confirmed through the Spirit, so I dont think I´ll complain ever again about where I´m put.:)

Well aside from that... it´s been good to get out lately. We kinda just took over a new area in Berlin called Dahlem, and it´s kinda rough to get things started. Basically when we leave the office to do missionary work, it becomes pure finding. And since we´re on the road every other week it´s kinda difficult to schedule appointments, but we´re trying. We only have a small handful of investigators, but we´re trying to increase the numbers little by little. It used to be that the AP´s had another set of missionaries in the ward who could help out a lot when time was tight, but without that now it makes things a bit harder. The great thing though is the AMAZING ward. It really is just the best ward ever. We had our ward christmas party last night, and it was just a blast. We got lots of non-members out to it and it was just really good. Santa came and after he had had all the kids come up and gave them presents after they sang a song or said a poem, the ward had us come up and they gave us a gift as well. We didn't really know any songs or poems... so we just qouted D&C 4.:) You could just feel the love though and it was a great experience.

Well aside from that, not much new I suppose. Hitting the road again next week for Christmas Zone Conferences so gonna be another fun week. Not as much traveling as for interviews because more Zones will be combined, but I´m excited to get back out to all the beautiful cities again.:) Well hope the holiday season has started right for you all as well. It´s been rough here without snow- I WANT SNOW- but we´re still loving every minute of it. Hope you have a fabulous week back home. Love ya!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week of December 5 from Berlin (kind of)

Wow! Well we had a really crazy week on the road last week, and sadly it ate all of our p-day, so we only have a couple minutes to write today.  I´ll see if I can maybe explain a little bit what has been going on.

So last week we had a normal busy office Monday- taking in numbers, generating reports, sitting in meetings, then packing everything and getting ready to hit the road Tuesday morning at 6 am. Tuesday we headed over to Dresden, which was way way cool to be back there for a little while. It was fun seeing a lot of friends still in that zone and just being in that city again. Afterwards we enjoyed a nice dinner with the Pimentels in the beautiful central garden in Dresden, which made it a very enjoyable evening. We then drove over to Leipzig where we slept and got ready for interviews. Leipzig was one of our bigger zones, and president started interviewing at 9am and we didn't finish until 8 pm. It´s amazing how much time he takes to worry about the individual missionaries. During that long time though I got to do some finding with an old MTC friend.  We found a couple really cool guys, and taught a lesson with one of the ZL´s, so that helped break it up a little bit. Then we loaded back in the van for the 2 1/2 drive back to Dresden to reload on supplies (which we deliver when we go to visit the zones) and get ready to hit the long leg of the trip. We got home late and I wasn't asleep until 1 am, then we woke up at 5 am and made the super long drive to Hannover where we stayed for a day.  I met back up with my good friend from St. George. After that we headed up to Hamburg where we slept over, had interviews, and the next day we drove all the way up to KIEL! Sooo epic being back in that place again. I taught the one investigator we found my first week in Germany, and it was just so so so so so cool! After FINALLY finishing interviews and having given our half hour workshop 12 times, we were able to make the long 4 hour trip home to Berlin.
So ya, yesterday was a crazy missionary Sunday.  We still had 5 investigators at church somehow, and today is actually almost even crazier, just trying to get caught up on all the work we missed last week in the office. Good news is though, that president has just called 2 office elders to help relieve the burden a bit because it has been getting bigger and bigger lately. So ya, that´s kinda where I´m at right now, just trying to take a deep breath before we plunge back in for Zone Conferences in a few days. It´s been very enjoyable though, being able to spend great quality time with president and with an awesome companion.

As far as missionary work is going... our new baptismal date had a lot of problems this last week, but she got lots of help from the ward and is doing a lot better at the moment. This family we´re teaching from the RLDS church did end up coming to church and that was super awesome to see them there. We are building a really good relationship with them and hope we can keep getting to know them a bit better. Other than that though we just didn't really have time to teach people much.  We just weren´t really home at all this last week. Oh I found out something really cool at church though... so one of the young families in our ward has a mother who is from the Suttner family back in St. George. I used to play golf with her younger brother and danced with her younger sister in social dance sometimes... weird how small the world is. This ward here in Dahlem though is really just super awesome!

Well there´s lots of little stories that happened as we travelled this week, lots of little miracles too, and as I try to think of what I could share there´s only really one experience that comes to mind. So that morning we woke up at 5 am to leave, we were a bit bummed to have to go get all the ice off the huge van and about how cold and miserable the morning was going to be... but for some reason as we came outside to get all the ice off, we realized that even though all of the other cars were caked with ice, ours didn't have a trace of ice anywhere. How it happened I cannot really say, but we counted it as a tender mercy and are super thankful for it. There are so many little blessings that attend you as you do your best to serve others.  The tricky part is just recognizing it sometimes.  :)

Well, love you all and hope to hear lots more from you soon! Have a great week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week of November 26 from Berlin

Wow, I can't believe that it´s already P-day again.... I really think that this week was one of the fastest of my entire mission, maybe even life haha. I can't put my finger on it because technically we didn't have quite as much to do as last week. I think the key was we taught a lot more and did more back-to-the-basics missionary work which felt really really good.

So I think I´m starting to settle in a bit, getting used to the office a bit more. I´m starting to get the dust knocked off of my old computer skills and am starting to get a grip on things. It was really weird having to relearn how to do everything in German haha, but it´s coming slowly but surely. This week we mostly just prepared to travel for mission president interviews which began yesterday and will be going all through next week. It´s kinda frusterating. I´ve learned though with our whole situation, we finally have a week to do more missionary work, but it´s hard to make out appointments because we will be gone the next week and a half, but ya, we do the best we can. We had some awesome teaching appointments this last week though, including one in which we set a sick baptismal date with an awesome elderly lady. The other cool one is kinda a long story, but here it is... so the RLDS church had a ward here in Berlin, but there´s been a lot of contention in the church leadership here and in America, and well, long story short, it dissolved and now we have a way awesome RLDS family more-or-less "investigating" our church, which has proved to be one of the most unique experiences of my mission. We had been working to make an appointment out with them for a while now and finally had our first one last night. It was super awesome. We started with the doctrine we have in common (the Restoration through Joseph Smith) and they shed a few tears and could feel the Spirit. So ya, we´re teaching them regularly now and they have a LOT of potential we think. It´s so interesting working with people who believe pretty much everything you believe already, but just with a couple subtle twists. It´s awesome though and they are amazing people. We also found a bit of time this week to go by on an old exchange student who lived in St. George from here in Berlin... no one was home, but we left her a pass-along card with a little note on it and our number, so that would be awesome to get to see her sometime.

So on the other side of the job, mission president interviews in Berlin went well. We had the chance to give our workshop for the first time and work out all the kinks for the next 15 times we´re going to give it haha. Got to see a lot of old friends though. The Neu Brandenburg zone came down and did everything with Berlin, so I got to see the senior couple from Prenzlau as well as the two elders working there, along with an elder I was with there for 2 transfers, and just lots of other missionary friends. I´m SUPER EXCITED for next week though... let me count some reasons why. 1-Tuesday I will be back in Dresden and see all my friends in the zone 2-Wednesday I will be in Leipzig and see another old mission friend and MTC friend of mine 3-Thursday I will see Paco for the first time on my mission in Hannover! 4- Friday I will get to spend a day in Hamburg, one of my favorite cities in the mission and then... DRUM ROLL PLEASE 5- SATURDAY I´LL BE IN KIIIIIEEEELLL! I´m returning back to my home town for the first time in almost a year! Ah I´m so so so excited.:) And coolest is, I just got a letter a while ago from a lady we met right when I got there on the street who will be getting baptised who I have a good relationship with, and the Kiel ZL´s have made out an appointment with her and I´ll get to surprise her and teach her again. Ah I´m so excited.:):):) It will be AWESOME to be back there again! I love that place.

So anyways, there´s kinda a rough outline for my next week I guess. I´m super excited to get out there and see the missionaries. I´m still working on getting down all of their names and assignments... it´s not as easy as I had hoped. But I´m stoked. And I´m super super excited to spend a little bit of time with president as well. I love that man so much, and am elated to be able to spend some quality time on the road with him.

So ya, I´m doing wonderful. I hope you all are doing just as well yourselves. Love you all so much and thanks for all the love and support. Don't be afraid to write me.:) Love you all! Hoorah für Israel!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week of November 19 from Berlin

Well survived my first week here in Berlin.  It was just a wonderful, but crazy week here in the office. 1st weeks of the transfer are always the worst I hear, so that´s a good sign. It was a great experience to get to see so many things though and just learn so much. My last email was pretty short, so I will try and get caught back up a little bit on what has been going on this past week.
So I got here to Berlin Sunday night.  I arrived, dropped my luggage off, then headed to an appointment with a member family here in the area. Then we came back and headed to bed. Monday was when the race started though. We started off taking the numbers from the whole mission.  That was pretty crazy.  I always complained because it took so long as a District Leader from 3 programs, then as a Zone Leader taking numbers for like 15, and now we´re kickin' along at like close to 50.  It´s good though-the computer makes it easier. Then we had to stick it in a program to generate some reports, then we had a staff meeting, followed by putting together some more reports for our weekly meeting with President, then we met with him, discussed some things, and then went out to eat with the office staff. Then we came back and got to work on getting things ready Zone Leader reports and Stake President reports. It is hard because I haven't seen a computer in over a year really and I have no idea how I would run all of these programs in English... much less German. But we found a way somehow. Then we spent a lot of time getting things ready for the new Goldens coming in.  We picked them up from the airport on Tuesday. That was really cool because it was exactly a year ago about that I was getting to Germany and having all of those exact same experiences that they were having. We took them out to do their first mission finding time and then got them all back to the hotel for the night. I thought driving in Dresden was bad, but Berlin is pretty crazy itself. The car we have is pretty cool though.  It´s a Chevy Cruz, the only non-Opel in the mission, and the only stick shift, so it was good to go back to those manual days again.:) The next day we had all of the finishers coming in, among other things, and it was pretty crazy as well. Thursday we mostly just got ready for our Zone Leader Council, and Friday we had it, and well that´s just a fraction of what has been going on, and now I´m sitting here at my computer trying to explain it haha. It´s good to be busy though, so I won't ever complain about that.

So I would have to say probably one of my favorite parts of this job so far has been getting to work so closely with President and his amazing wife. They are just two of the most amazing people that I think I know. You really never realize the amount of work that goes on in a mission until you´ve been through the office I don't think. Just the logistics of it all- there´s just so much that needs to get done, and our mission president and his wife do it very very well. The 2 couples here in the office are amazing as well. They take some long nights sometimes, but they are just always so happy and upbeat. I think I´ve come to realize the past couple days just what an amazing/weird thing a mission is. Who sends a bunch of teenage boys into Europe, give them a huge city, a car, and money with little or no supervision, and then expects them to teach people about God... and they do it! I´ve come to learn quite a bit lately that missions are really a lot more about turning young men into what we need to become than I maybe thought earlier. Ya our role is important in finding people and bringing them to the church, but in reality the ones who are most often found, baptised, and become solid members are found by members, or by the Lord first, and then prepared for the missionaries. It´s helped me see that a mission means so much more than knocking on doors.  It´s about becoming someone who the Lord would have you be. It´s just a crazy thing that we do with these missions, but it´s one of the best things I think we do.

Well, can't think of too much else to say. We´re going to go see a bit of Berlin today we think, just try and take a deep breath and try and get some missionary work actually done this weekend. We seem to have very little time to proselyte, but try to squeeze out an hour or two in the evenings. We just re-opened kinda a new area as well, so it´s kinda like we´re starting from the ground up I suppose, so that doesn't necessarily make it any easier. But we´ve made out a few appointments and are meeting with a couple of people which is really cool. It´s crazy, that Mongolian family we found in Dresden, which was moving, is totally moving into the area where I am now... how crazy is that? Lost them, but picked them right up again on the other end... pretty cool. I´ll probably also have the oppurtunity to go by on a girl that a lady in our ward gave me here in Berlin before I left on my mission, so those are two pretty cool possibilities.

Well we´re gonna head out here in a bit, but I just hope you all know how much I love you and I hope you have a wonderful week back home.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week of November 14 from Berlin

SO much has happened this week and there just isn't enough time to even begin to explain it all... but just to rap it all up in a few words, yesterday I woke up in Dresden, and today I´m sitting in the mission office trying to figure out how in the world to learn how to be a good assistant to the president... and it doesn't appear to be an easy task.

So Saturday morning was a big surprise. I got a call a little bit before transfer calls where President surprised me and said I´d need to be on a train here to Berlin the following day. So yesterday I left Dresden at around 5 pm and got here to Berlin a few hours later. Everything following that has been purely trying to get settled in, and getting barraged with the huge number of meetings that come with the beginning of a new week, at the beginning of a new transfer, trying to get 210 missionaries situated and trying to get adjusted to the new circumstances... just not an easy task. But there´s lots of fun adventures awaiting the next 6 months, I´m almost sure of it.

Leaving Dresden was a bit weird. I was just totally expecting to stay there for another transfer with my dear Swiss friend, but you just never know what the Lord has in store for you I guess. The last Sunday was good though- 2 baptisms from people who I had once taught (not belonging to our program though) and just a nice peaceful last walk aroung the middle of the city talking to people. It was a crazy time to reflect. It´s so weird that with this new assignment, I can basically predict how the rest of my mission will go. Office equals 4 transfers, then I will have 2 1/2 where I can go out somewhere and die training a golden (hopefully). But now it's time to focus on the here and now and trying to figure out my role here and find how to lift, encourage, inspire, and bless everyone I´ll be working with the next little while. It´s been pretty humbling, seeing all that we have to do, but I know that the Lord brings you down sometimes just to lift you higher.

Well I don't have much more time this week. We´re trying to work out an error on some excel stuff to get a bunch of reports done... it´s going to be a LONG night. Hopefully I´ll have time to get everyone more caught up next week. But love you guys all so much! Pray extra for me this week. I´m gonna need it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week of November 7 from Dresden

Hola amigos!

Well I had an amazing week this week that´s for sure! It just started right, went well, and ended strong! I think it all started Monday with our family home evening activity. We met one of our investigators right before and he totally brought a way cool friend who was interested to hear about our message too. Now that probably doesn't sound like much, but here that´s kind of a big deal. Sometimes investigators are just like mushrooms- they come in bunches- and we´re finding lots of new people through this one! We also carved Jack-o-lanterns, and my comp and I carved an EPIC plan of salvation pumpkin haha.

The next day we had kind of a longer day.  Late that night as we were driving back to go see a contact by our house I got a phone call from a very familiar friend- none other than the branch president from Prenzlau! WOW, haha it was so good to hear his voice again! He invited us to grab a late night burger with him real quick, so we met up with him and I got to see him again! So so so good. He was down here for a meeting and had just finished his press conference when he realized he could find some time to meet with me, so we got to catch back up on alot. Golly I love that man...

Hmm... one maybe not so cool thing haha. So the elder´s program is helping an investigator quit smoking so they took all of the ash trays and cigs out of her house. Well they didn't have much time I guess so they brought it all home and tossed it on the table real quick. One thing they brought was this cool clamp thing, because poor people make their own cigs here to save money, haha. Ya, we didn't have any tobacco, but it peaked my curiosity so I fiddled with it a bit on our lunch break before we left. Well long story short, a guy came for a surprise apartment inspection, haha and in the middle of the apartment was a cigarette maker with tons of cigarettes everywhere haha. So ya, that took a bit of explaining... just bad timing I guess.:)

We also had our Zone Conference this week combined with the other big zone in the mission. It was pretty stressful but ended up being pretty good. I got to see most all of my MTC district reunited, so that was a really really cool opportunity! So many young missionaries coming into the mission though, it´s weird, and all of my friends seem to be dying. Sad. Anyways, we also had a packed house at stake conference too which was also good.

Well the last and coolest experience happened last night. So a couple days ago, before leaving for an exchange, I picked out 2 streets and said a quick prayer asking the Lord which street the elders should door.  I´ve learned that asking yes or no questions, or questions with 2 options seems to make it easier to feel a confirmation.  Anyways, I gave it to them. Well, they didn't ever get around to it, but we went there last night, and WOW, craziest thing happened. So we buzzed a guy who let us right in.  It was obvious after we saw him and started talking that he was from America. He´s from Detroit, and I can honestly say I felt in him one of the noblest spirits I´ve felt in a long long time. There´s no possible way I´ll be able to describe everything, but we´ll put it this way. He knows the Bible very well, but more importantly understands the Gospel better than probably 90% of our members. He said the opening prayer and prayed to "Heavenly Father" in the name of Jesus Christ. He has had many revelatory experiences throughout his life, and KNOWS the voice of the Lord. About 20 years ago, he was instructed to leave his church, not knowing 100% why. He has spent the last 20 years "searching" and "praying for the Lord to send more servants into the field to harvest." He is honestly one of the most remarkable men I have ever met. And even though he is decently well schooled in our doctrine (he studied to become a priest for 2 years) and I think is a bit skeptical, he knows, just as well as we do, that there was a reason for him meeting us that night. He said that normally he would have NEVER opened his door or answered the buzz because his German isn't the strongest, but that he was expecting something else and we had perfect timing. He´s leaving tomorrow to go back to America for 3 weeks sadly, but I´m anxious to see him again when he gets back. And that my friends was a testimony building experience which I needed desperately. I felt more edified and refreshed talking to him than with many other people I´ve talked to. What a tender mercy, which came as an answer to sincere prayer. I am so thankful for experiences like that. They build me and my testimony up, and help my testimony to sustain me and not vice versa. God is truly there, and he truly does answer prayers, even in mysterious ways sometimes. It´s true, I´m pretty much convinced.:) Have a wonderful week, love you all so much!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week of October 31 from Dresden

Liebe Familie!

Hey fam and friends, another week come and gone in the mission field. We got to do a lot of work in Dresden this week, so that makes me super happy, and it was obvious by the success that we saw. Put 2 more new people on baptismal date this week and taught lots of cool lessons with new people. We found a really cool new family from Mongolia the other day that has a lot of potential, so we´re super excited to see where that leads.
Well I´m sitting here trying to think about something cool that happened this week aside from commiting 2 people to baptism... it was pretty run of the mill missionary work basically. We did have a really cool day in a little town outside of Dresden called Pirna however. We drove out there in the car, and called the Stake President´s family to see if they´d pray for us while we were out there. We made out 3 new appointments, one of which was with another really cool young family.  We´ll find out what comes of it next week i suppose. It´s always awesome though to use the faith of the members to see success in the field.  It´s really weird.  You know when members take your invitations seriously, and when they do, something cool always seems to happen. So don't hesitate to pray for the missionaries every once in a while. ;)
Oh ya, and i almost forgot, i did have another cool thing happen this week... TEMPLE TRIP!!! I LOVE TO SEE THE TEMPLE! Wow, i thought that was last week, but it was this week... huh almost forgot. Totally met up with my missionary mom in Prenzlau there who was sealed to her deceased non-member husband! What an awesome experience! Awh, i just LOVE the peace you feel in the temple. It´s really just my favorite place on earth!
Well let´s see, that was the highlight of my week for sure, so now i suppose i should talk about the hardest part of my week... cheese. Ya, that´s right, cheese. I love cheese to death, but this swiss cheese stuff is ridiculous! I don't know how many of you have had Raclette cheese before, but that stuff is TOXIC. Our entire kitchen smells like gym socks.  Like bad bad bad gym socks. (sigh) It´s just not always easy having a swiss companion i guess. Haha, I´ve tried everything-incense sticks, cleaner, everything. EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE RICLETTE. It tastes great, but i could go another lifetime without ever having to see it again.
Well not much else. Happy Halloween i suppose? It´s not really celebrated here in Germany, but i hear it´s starting to catch on a little bit. Today is Reformation Day here, so we are going to go over to some members house after this and enjoy a nice relaxing p-day... awh I´m soooo excited for some quality relaxation!!! But ya, we´re definitely going to do some mean door to door tonight! And if we can't get an appointment, I´m going in for some candy!:) Have a happy halloween back home! So great to hear from all of you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week of October 24 from Dresden

Moin moin again ya´ll!

Well this week was definitely one of the tougher ones in Dresden i´m not going to lie! We were on the road a lot again and were just having problems getting back in the groove of things. Tuesday we got to drive down to a BEAUTIFUL little town called Schwarzenberg where we had our winter tire rotation. It was great as well because we have 2 Elders down there who we needed to tausch with, so it all worked our well. I stayed in Schwarzenberg and my comp headed back up the road to Dresden. It was actually quite funny, one of the first questions i asked the young missionary i was with was "so where are ya from?" and he was like "St.George Utah" Haha i had no clue. He totally went to Dixie High School though and we know a lot of the same people. Had a good Tausch there though. Next day we headed to a district meeting in a town a little ways aways called Annaberg where we tausched back and i got to see my long lost MTC companion who i haven't seen since Kiel, so that was really awesome. Got back on the train up to Dresden and had about a 4 hour train ride home... bleh. I love trains, haha but it´s been ridiculous lately haha. Thursday we had a normal missionary day, then Friday we headed to Leipzig for Leadership Training... where i was united with my other MTC companion.:) So it was an awesome week in that regard. This week will be a little less traveling though i hope... we are going to the temple tomorrow, and to Chemnitz the next day for a Tausch, and luckily our ZL council Friday is via conference call.

So there´s a little record from the day to day stuff about last week, but that´s not really what made the week hard... So we met with our most promising investigator this week. When he walked in , you could just tell that something was wrong. He literally looked almost possessed. He basically accused our church of having secret combinations and that we were designed to hurt people, it was really hard to hear, but we came back with the Atonement of Christ and tried to get him to release that he needs to be converted to the Gospel of the Church (which he knows is true) and not the Society. Tears filled my companion´s eyes and mine as we saw a burdened soul sitting in front of us who wasn't willing to give his burdens to Christ. No matter how powerful of testimony we bore, he refused to be comforted and there is NOTHING as a missionary more painful than that. We agreed on another appointment however and a fast together on Saturday... Saturday during the fast he called and said he won´t be having anything to do with us anymore. It was pretty sad. Satan won a battle. And thus we see how little perversions of truths, refusing to pray in the name of Christ, or be baptised because "you´re not clean enough yet" or clinging to many other books as holy scripture, eventually leads a soul from the path of righteousness... it was devastating.

Aside from that, we just had trouble getting in contact with people, and finding new people this week. Something just isn't clicking yet, and this area needs to grow more than it has been. I have no idea what it is yet, but really want to find it. I´ve learned a lot in my life about the blessing of having righteous desires, and how the Lord sees fit to give tender mercies to those who truly, and purely desire to do His will. So as long as the desire is there, and the effort follows, i know it will improve somehow.

On a happier note... our ward mission leader got married this week. And my favorite old missionary from Kiel, the Swiss ZL, came up to visit us real quick, and brought a huge package from my comps parents from Switzerland... i love Switzerland.:) It makes it easier to cope with a tough week when you´re swimming in Swiss Chocolate and Cheese. Awe man, i love the two C´s.:) It´s weird when i look back on this week how many little tender mercies found their way to me.  It´s weeks like this that make the good weeks seem better in the future.:) I hope you all have a wonderful week back home... i wouldn't mind a few more prayers to help find new people here in Dresden who are prepared to recieve the gospel.;) Love you guys lots!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week of October 17 from Dresden

Hallo ya´ll!
Well the leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground here in the heart of Saxony. It´s weird doing missionary work with a coat on again.. I feel just like a golden again doing missionary work in the cold, except for now i can speak german AND i have a car.:) But ya, it´s been super pretty lately, easily my favorite time of the year! I can´t think of a prettier city to be in either for my favorite season, so i cant complain at all.
Well LOTS happened this week, for example, i was in Poland.:) And no i´m not a rogue missionary, i´ll tell you the story of how it happened. So i got to go on Tausch (exchange) with a companionship this week in the city of Görlitz. It was really cool because i got to serve again with none other than my first companion in Prenzlau! That was really weird tausching with someone who you´ve already served with before, especially because of how much things have changed in the time between. Complete change of roles as well, which was funny, but it was SUPER awesome to see each other again and talk about those old Prenzlau times.:) But ya, on our way up to tausch with them, we missed a spot to change trains and ended up taking a MASSIVE detour (no not into poland yet) and saw lots of really cool cities way up in the top of our zone haha. We got turned around though and made it to Görlitz a couple hours later than planned. So Görlitz is a unique city, half of it is in Germany, the other half is in Poland, and both sides at once had elders from each mission. Now the polish elders have been pulled out though, so they gave all their area book and stuff to us (which is pointless because it´s in polish) and we now have the freedom to work in both sides of the city. So yes, on our Tausch we went to poland together.:) The McDonalds is way way cheaper there too we found out. Kinda a weird situation, but not many people can say they´ve been in Poland. I got to use my rusty polish as well.:)

The next day we had district meeting in Görlitz and it was kinda a special one. President came to it, which is definitely special because he seldom travels to District Meetings, and we were there as well, and it was the poor DL´s like first real district meeting haha. It was a great meeting though and it´s ALWAYS awesome to see President and get to talk with him a bit more..

The next day, Thursday, we went all the way up to Berlin so my companion couple baptise someone there. It was great to see a baptism... it´s been WAY WAY WAY too long since i´ve seen one, but the trip up there took FOREVER because we had to travel with the cheap trains. We left at 11:45 and got there at 5pm, bleh. The worst part though, was on the way back our train connection got messed up and we got caught in a sister city 2 hours away from Dresden at 10:00 at night haha. Luckily there was and Elders city 20 minutes away so we called and had an emergency sleep over with them, which stunk because it was WAY cold and all they had were bath towels to sleep with haha, but it was memorable i suppose. Got back to Dresden at 9 in the morning and FINALLY had a day of work in Dresden. Friday was literally my first full day of work in Dresden in the entire week, crazy, i love to travel, but that was a lot haha. This week shouldn´t be much better either, have to go down to Schwarzenberg for a couple days to work some stuff out down there, and then Leipzig this weeked for Leadership training. Someday we´ll get a full week of work though in Dresden, i know it haha.

Last night we had an awesome experience. We went to the church to meet with a new investigator, she didnt show up, but there was a man standing outside the church. We talked to him and invited him in for a tour, he accepted and it quickly turned into an awesome first lesson. He wouldnt make out another appointment, but i´ve learned to take joy in those moments where you help bring someone closer to the truth than they have ever been before. It also shows me, that sometimes there´s deeper reasons for being in certain places than we may sense, i´ve seen that over and over again on my mission.

Hmm, well aside from that, we had a rough week this week overall with investigators though. New ones just arent sticking and old ones arent making progress. Our main one who´s on baptisimal date has officially been so offended by the ward he refuses to go back now... most of it is from him though i think. So that really stinks. MEMBERS! PLEASE DONT TAKE OFFENSE. I swear, that is Satan's number 1 tool for drawing people away from the church. It´s all either false assumptions or pride, no in between, and it KILLS the missionaries and their work. So ya, that´s super super super frustrating, but oh well, we´ll just keep working as much as we can.

Hope you all have a great week back home, love you all so much!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week of October 10 from Dresden

Guets Mörgeli!

That´s swiss-german for guten morgen... swiss german is pretty much the coolest dialect i´ve ever heard.

So anyways, hi. Hope you are all doing well! First p-day of the new transfer. It feels so nice to have some peace and relaxation and to be back on schedule. I´ve decided that there´s a reason that the missionaries have the schedule which they have, and it makes them the most effective that they can be.

So the new comp is amazing, way smart and way awesome and i think we get along pretty well. Our district leader is also swiss, so i enjoy listening to them speak swiss german with each other.  I understand it sometimes, but other times it´s just so weird i have no idea. That´s one of the coolest things about german though, there are just so many different dialects, and some of them are way way cool. But ya, the next couple weeks have a big task ahead of them though. We basically have a MASSIVE list of people we found last transfer, with absolutely no structure or order or appointments made out, so somehow we have to pick up all the pieces and organize them. I loved my lost companion to death, and it´s hard to keep things going after he left. We´re super excited though to see what we can do!

So this week we had a ZL council in Hannover. That´s a really cool city. I just love taking those bullet trains through germany... but waking up at 3:30am isnt necessarily my cup of tea. Got to stay in Leipzig for about an hour though on the trip, and that´s a really cool city as well. It´s so much fun just to travel across germany and see all the different cities! We had a great meeting as well and learned a lot from each other.  We have a lot of great ideas to bring back to the zone this transfer. There´s so much to do in these big zones it seems like, 32 missionaries, 4 different districts, all pretty spread apart, sometimes it just doesnt seem like you have any time for yourself, but if i´ve learned anything over the past year it´s that the time you sacrifice to serve others always seems to get paid back to you in some way.

Not too many stories to tell from the past week.  It was a pretty normal week of missionary work. Hours of talking to everyone, calling tons of people you dont know trying to get to meet with them again, and teaching a handful of people... basically just expanding your comfort zone as normal. Usually in meetings when someone asks you what kind of sacrifices you bring to your mission, i think your comfort zone is always a good answer and it´s very true as well. I dont always know sometimes how it helps to stop a big group of cute college girls who you know will laugh at your accent and probably walk away (you almost never find appointments when people are in groups) i just know that Preach my Gospel says talk to everyone, so i just do it. I´m pretty sure my comfort zone has expanded greatly from doing so as well.

Hmm... well i guess in closing i could share a really cool quote from Elder Ballard that i really like. He said simply "count sacrifice a bargain" Ya it´s hard sometimes all the things that you sacrifice to do the Lord´s will, but when you think of the blessings you get in return, even without factoring in the eternities to come, i´m pretty sure the the sacrifice is quite a bargain.

Love you all so much! Share the gospel through your countenance with everyone you see this week! Have an awesome week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week of October 3 from Dresden

Hey family and friends!

So another week has come and gone in just a blur.  As normal, i have no idea what even happened this week when i sit down to write about it. I suppose i can start with the one thing i remember though, transfer calls yesterday!
So it´s a bit different being a Zone Leader because president usually calls you before to tell you what´s up, and because there´s only a handful of you, you can kinda pick who your next companion will be. But ya, so just like i predicted i got a way awesome missionary from Berlin coming to me in Dresden! He´s a really cool Swiss guy who was in my Golden Group when i got to Germany.  I always had the feeling our paths would cross somehow, and well, we´re in the position to be together for a long time now. It will be awesome to have a native german speaker for the first time, and best of all he´s swiss, and the people here LOVE swiss people.:) It was cool enough having an Italian when people asked if you were from America, since they think ALL mormons come from America, and now a swiss native german speaker... and swiss have the coolest accent as well.:) He´s a super obedient, super diligent guy too, so we should have a pretty crazy awesome time together. Also something cool about transfers- my MTC comp will be coming to the zone to serve with another MTC friend, and also an old companion from Prenzlau, so i´ll get to see them all  again.

Last P-day- yes we actually finally took a p-day this transfer- we got to go to a super cool place called the Säschische Schweiz. It´s like Germany´s version of the Grand Canynon. It was super super pretty and we could see the border of the Czech Republic standing on it. That means that in my three areas i have seen Dänemark, Polen, und auch the Czech Republic... how weird is that? Now i just have to go back over to the west and see Holland and it it will all be complete haha. We had lots of fun hiking and climbing though, and i totally felt like i was back in Zions again!

This week consisted of a lot of just talking to people. We find so many people here in Dresden, the problem is that they just don't seem to "stick." We´ve found 20 new investigators and have the contact information of over 40 people, which is insane for a 5 week transfer´s work. This next transfer i think will consist of a lot of sifting out for the people who are ready, and naturally of finding more new people. I hope it all goes well though. Another one of our baptismal dates fell back a bit this week and dropped contact with us for a bit.  I really hope he pulls out of everything okay.  We think his family might be pressuring him a bit. The other two are right on track.  The problem is that one of them just needs to get married! That´s the most frustrating problem, and Germany´s government doesn't seem to like to make marriage easy or encouragable. But oh well, we´ll see how everything goes.

Well other than that, there´s not much else. Had a lot of really really late nights this week staying out talking to people, so i´m pretty tired. Lots of crazy drunk people have been out this weekend because it was a holiday weekend, which always provides for some interesting stories. My companion made the mistake of giving cards to them, so we were getting phone calls all hours of the night from people who "wanted to just talk about the purpose of life" or people who were "standing on a bridge and were going to jump if we didn't talk them out of it" haha, it was entertaining at first, but got really tiring after a while.

This week should be a good one.  Lots to do and Friday i finally get to see the beautiful city of Hannover for a ZL conference.  Should be sick!

Have a wonderful week back home, love ya´ll so much!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week of September 26 from Dresden

Hey family and friends!

So once again it´s about time to flip the pages in the calender. I can't believe September is almost over!
So we had a pretty crazy week again this week. Had our first Zone Meeting-President interviews as a Zone Leader. It all went really really smoothly I´m happy to report, and I think the Zone was generally pretty refreshed and refocused on the missionary work. We did kind of a different thing for our presentation  Instead of focusing on one of the key indicators and trying to improve the zone purely from a statistical standpoint, we focused on teaching how the doctrine of the Atonement and Restoration can provide us with a never ending pool of motivation for the work. I got to use my favorite missionary quote of all time:

Obedience is the price,
Faith is the power,
Love is the motive,
The Spirit is the key,
Christ is the reason.

[Japan Fukuoka Mission Motto, 1991–1994]

Overall I think it was a super good and uplifting meeting. Afterwards I got to take a brand new Golden on his first exchange, which turned out to be a special occasion for me. This Elder was actually with me in the MTC while I was there  He didn't make it through and after 6 weeks he headed home to straighten a few things out, and well exactly a year later we were together again. I saw him and gave him a hug, and he said "Elder Ott, it has been 11 months and 2 days since the last time I saw you.  I missed ya man." It was super cool. We had a great time together and got lots of work done. I have all the respect in the world for that Elder!

Let´s see, aside from that, this week was actually a little bit rougher from a results standpoint than lots of the others I´ve had since I got here. Friday we had literally EVERYTHING fall out so we just talked to everyone the whole day long. It´s one thing when you have no appointments and you plan to do that, but it really makes for a long hard day when you´re not expecting to have to do that haha. We made out 8 appointments with new people though, and had a walk in lesson late that night, so can't complain much about that.:) We found 6 new investigators this week, which is a pretty big number that we´re happy about as well. So the work continues to go forward.
Yesterday we had a musical fireside at the Church... and let´s just say it was a "special" occasion for me. Haha, so my comp is a proud lover of singing in Italian, so we performed a duet in Italian haha. I think we were expecting about 30 people there, but around 120 showed up, so ya, I, Adam Ott, sang in Italian in front of 120 people. If that´s not evidence that a mission can change people, I don't know what is haha. It was fun though.  I also sang in the youth and missionary choir, so I had the oppurtunity to put my mad lack of vocal talent on display.:)

Hmm, what else is new? Oh, the air conditioning broke in our Opel Corsa, so we´ve basically been rolling around with the windows down all week. Nothing like rollin around a big city with the Best of EFY blaring out your speakers... yep those are the Mormons alright! :)

Well have a wonderful week all ya´ll back home! Love and miss ya so much!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week of September 19 from Dresden

Hey ihr,

Well another week is here and gone in Dresden and i find myself sitting in front of the computer yet again. Where is the time going? This week was probably one of the craziest of my mission, and most rewarding for sure!

I dont know where exactly to start, so i´ll start with probably the highlight i suppose... So, Wednesday, aka my first day as a non-teenager, was probably one of the top 5 days of my life. For my birthday i really only had one thing i wanted, and that was to see the Joseph A Ott grave in the St Pauli Friedhoff here in Dresden. So we headed out early in the morning to the grave to see it before we had to catch our train to Freiberg for the Temple. As we got there, i noticed that the cemetary was gimungous, and that it probably would have been a good idea to at least have somewhat of an idea where the grave actually was haha. I started franticly searching through the graveyard for his grave, but to no avail. We only had a couple minutes before i had to go, so i finally resorted to a very humble and sincere prayer. As i ran through the old cemetary, i saw a really tall white tombstone, and instantly knew i it was him... and it was. I fell on my knees in front of the tombstone and offered a simple prayer of gratitude, for many more things than the mere fact i had found the grave, and felt that quiet, calm, rejuvinating role of the Spirit come over for me just for that brief moment. It was a great start to a great day! Afterwards, we headed down to Freiberg where we did a temple session, and i guess it was Czech day haha so everything was in Czech. I dont know why that was necessary, because after talking with the Czech members afterwards they could all speak perfect english and german, but whatevs haha, i guess it´s always better in your mother language.:) I went through in german though, and it was amazing. Such a small, simple, beautiful temple.:) Afterwards when we got home, we put someone on baptismal date, then found a way cool american investigator, and ate at KFC, followed by a crépe night with glow sticks... truly unforgetable.:)

  Aside from that, we had a TON of success this week. This sunday, i had to leave the gospel principles class because we had too many investigators there and there werent enough seats haha, but that´s a welcome problem.:) I also had 2 way cool people come back to church after a long absence, so that was pretty epic as well. We put 2 more people on baptismal date this week, so we´ve got 4 we´re working with now, and there´s more to come. It´s just been awesome to see the spirit of missionary work flame forward in the city, and we´re super excited for what the future brings. We had some way spiritual lessons this week, one of which was probably one of the best of my mission. It was with a man about 55 years old, alcoholic, and has smoked since he was a teenager, and is just a super rough guy. We felt as we were teaching that he has a strong relationship to his family, especially his grandparents. As we talked about how the Plan involves us being together in Heaven forever he shed his thick skin and broke down in front of us... he had had a very very rough past, and he asked us with the sincerity of a child if he could make it to Heaven. He talked about a dream he has over and over about his family at the end of a golden tunnel in heaven, and about no matter how hard he tries to reach them he just never can. That´s one of those tender moments of a mission... a man broken down in tears in front of you, truly concerned for the salvation of his soul, and you have the oppurtunity to really testify to him of the true goodness of God and power of the Atonement to save all men, those are things you just dont forget.

So ya, lots of new investigators this week, and we´re excited to see where the next couple weeks lead! Before i wrap this up though, i do need to throw in a funny story from last night... Sew, late last night we had to run some BOM´s to the boss of a resturant here on the Elbe. The boss is Italian, which is cool, because my comp is Italian. Haha he was super late and raining, so we both had our suits and overcoats on, all black. My comp walked in with his "kung fu world champion" swagger that he has, and his big ugly white companion followed him. The frightened bartender greeted us in Italian and my comp started speaking to him asking to talk to his boss, holding the books covered so they wouldnt get wet. Haha, it was totally a scene you would see in a Godfather movie. I was tempted to say, "lovely place you got here, sure would be a shame if anything happened to it" haha, and after the guy explained his boss was gone, we left the books there and talked a bit. He looked at me as we were leaving, and i was tempted to say the one italian sentence my comp has taught me, "dammi i soldi ho ti sparo bamm" which translated means, give me the money or i will shoot you in the face. (I only have him teach me mafia phrases haha) but i just nodded and said "si" and then said "buenos noches", which i later remembered is spanish, but i´m sure they all can understand each other.:) I love teaching people with my comp in italian though. There´s lots of italians here. It makes me feel like a golden again.:)

Well anyway, i hope ya´lls week back at home was as good as mine here! Love you all so much! The church is true! Have a great week.:)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week of September 12 from Dresden

Hallo geliebter Familie und Freunde!

First of, thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! I have a feeling this will be one of the most memorable birthdays of my life! So another elder in the elders program living in our apartment has his birthday the EXACT same day as me, so we´re going to make it memorable for sure. Starting off with the best birthday present i could ever have.... THE TEMPLE. Yep, we´re going on our transfer temple trip down to Freiberg for my birthday, so i´ll get to spend my birthday there, and to be honest, i dont think it gets much better than that! I´m super super excited to do my first German temple session in this historic temple! Afterwards we´ll have a normal day, probably have an insane crepe night and stuff, but ya, i´m excited. I can´t believe i´m going to be 20... that´s like.... old.

Well this week was full of many wonderful miracles. To cut it short, we basically got 2 more people on baptismal date, so we´ve got 3 on date now.:D And so many more with good potential as well! It´s all kind of been like a blur, haha, so i dont really know how or what to tell you all about my week. My comp is super intense, so basically we´ve been leaving the apartment early, sometimes 8am, and not getting home until late, zum Beispiel around 10:30pm haha, so it´s about as intense as you can get i suppose. So forgive me if my mind feels like mush right now. We didnt really have time to take a full p-day last week, and as soon as we´re done with emails today we hitting the street because technically the temple takes a p day away from us, so ya. That, coupled with the constant phone calls of missionaries in the zone, takes a large quanitity of mental energy... but i´m not sure if i´d have it any other way.:)

One awesome thing this week i do remember though, is that i got to head down to Chemnitz on exchanges, and that is a really historic and interesting city in and of itself. I knew it would be an interesting day when i saw the MASSIVE head of Karl Marx sitting right in the middle of the down haha, and the other communist memorial that said, roughly translated, "the individual has two eyes, but the party has many eyes" Haha, that was crazy. It´s interesting to hear all of the stories from the members about the Stasi and stuff here during the DDR. But ya, it was a beautiful city. I was in a trio with two of the missionaries there, and we got a lot of work down and talked to lots and lots and lots of people, which is always good.:)

Hmm.. .what else would you all like to know? I´m really drawing a blank haha. Well the freshest experience in my memory at the moment, was last night at around 10 i talked to this lady on the street and asked her how she would sum up her relationship with Jesus Christ. She said it´s a very personal relationship. So i thought, ´okay here´s some potential´ so when i asked in what way it was personal, she informed me that she was a witch in the 1300´s and was burned at the stake, and since then has been following the same incarnation pattern as jesus, she said they went through the Inquisition together and are close personal friends. Annnnndddd, ya i had the feeling not to ask too many more questions.

For real though, we really do see little miracles every day. Surprisingly, Dresden isnt as easy as i had thought. It still takes lots and lots of work to find new people, especially since we´re trying to work more in the non-ghetto areas, but it´s worth every drop of sweat. I just cant help but always feel that when i look deep into someones eyes on the street, that their soul is of immense worth to our heavenly father, no matter how scarred or torn their souls may appear. I really have a testimony that every soul
really does have great worth in the sight of God, and that it really is His work and glory to immortalize and exhalt them. It´s truly difficult, but it´s something that cant be measured in numbers. I´ve found, the worth of one soul completely blows the scale out of the water. Sometimes it take a bit longer than others, but when i look into the eyes of the people here, i really do sense their divine potential and love for them!

Hope you all have a great week back home! Sorry if i´ve been slow lately at writing people, but understand that time for that is not something in rich supply at the moment. Still love to hear from ya though.:) Love you all so much! Alles alles Gute!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week of September 5 from Dresden

Hola liebe Familie und Freunde!

So first things first. Yes i am totally sitting in a little internet shop underneath the Hauptbahnhof here in Dresden. I can hear the trains rumbling across the tracks above me every so often... and I LOVE THIS PLACE! Kiel always had a special place in my heart, but Dresden is coming on pretty quick.:) This is hands down the most beautiful i´ve ever seen in my life! Honestly... my first day we were walking through the center of the city, and i was literally BREATHLESS! I have to send you some better pictures this week, i didnt really get to take a lot, because i´ve got too many people to talk to now on the street, so i cant afford to look like a tourist with a camera.;) Really though, it´s like UNREAL how beautiful it is... but the most beautiful part is that there are so many people here who are willing to recieve the restored gospel!

So my first day i was picked up and handed the keys to the car and sent off instantly into Dresden traffic haha (i´ve got it down though mom, no worries) and we navigated our way back to the apartment where we were able to stay for about 10 minutes before we had to go pick up the other new elder (there are 2 elders in our apartment as well) and then it was off to the races. After we brought him back we went and got day cards for the city transit because our august kilometers were about up so we got to see Dresden on foot for a day.:) My new italian comp is great! He basically overhauled the entire program here so we´re finding lots of new people. So ya, we had an entire day of finding from 1pm and we didnt get home until 10:40 at night haha. Made out lots of appointments though.;) I was so tired i had a glass of water and fell right asleep haha. The next day was a long one too, and so basically i didnt eat for my first 30 hours in the city, so it was pretty crazy. We just work all day long and try not to let a second go to waste!

Friday we had to wake up at 5am to catch our train back to Berlin for Zone Leader Council, which was a really really interesting meeting. We get tons of charts and graphs about the numbers in our zone compared to the other zones, the mission, and the entire german area. We then have a couple minutes to review everything, and then we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our zone and what we want to do to make it better. I just sat back and took in most of it and tried to learn as much as i could. We had some round table discussions about different areas of concern in the mission, followed by some workshops by three of the zl programs, we were one of them btw, and that was good. Overall the transition to being a ZL hasnt been too bad. It´s just weird having your own phone and having people constantly calling you and asking you questions, or for permission and stuff haha. But ya, it´s good, i love this zone and all of the wonderful missionaries in it! We then concluded with a workshop from President, and headed back home. We didnt get home until like 9pm at night, so that was a pretty intense, but interesting day.:)

Saturday we had a Stake priesthood meeting, followed by a GML Schulung (ward mission leader training) with all the ward mission leaders in the stake which we got to sit in on. Learned a lot from that about our Zone and the concerns of the different areas in our zone.  It was great. Then the next day we had a normal sunday, haha 150 people at church was a bit overwhelming for me, but i got to introduce myself, and of course the ward is thrilled to talk all about the story of Joseph A. Ott here, everyone seems to know it pretty well. We had 3 investigators at church as well, which wasnt near as much as we had hoped, but still progress.

There are so many people here who are so ready! I cant wait to go even further and consecrate myself even more to seek out and find those who are there to be found! We´ve seen so many miracles already this week and i just know it´s only the beginning! The church is true! And lots of people here in Dresden are about to find out about it.:) Have a great week, love you all so much!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Final week in Prenzlau!

Well do i have a story for you people...

So i´ll hit the whole week a bit later, but we are going to talk about Saturday first.:) So, transfer call morning... my comp and i were making our traditional transfer call steak and egg breakfast, when all of the sudden i had one of those super strong feelings like "go put the phone in your pocket NOW" So i went into the other room, it was 9:30, (half an hour before transfer calls) and as i went to pick it up, i noticed it was lighting up and buzzing, i looked at it (apparently we had turned the volume way down) and saw that President was calling. I quickly answered, and my heart rate doubled i bet haha. Anyways, he said "Elder Ott, i just want to say how much i appreciate your fulfilling your assignment in Prenzlau, i´ve been talking with the church leadership in your zone and... they want you to stay there the rest of your mission!" I didnt really know what to say, President is an amazing and personable man, but not much of a jokester haha. He let it seep in for a second and said "take a deep breath elder ott, ACTUALLY i talked with the Stake President in Dresden, they want more baptisms, and i told them i´d send them someone who knows how to baptise, i prayed about it, and it was super clear, i asked again and it was made certain, you are going to Dresden as a Zone Leader"

So yes, there you have it. I AM GOING TO DRESDEN. Haha! I´m going from a city of 15,000 to a city of over 500,000, (twice the size of Kiel) where i´ll be a ZL in one of the biggest zones in the mission. (over 30 missionaries) AND my companion, is none other than the Italien world champion fighter i got to know in Neu Brandenburg already! So basically... i couldnt have asked for more of a dream come true! Ever since i was eight, and i got my book of remembrance as i was baptised, with the Joseph Alma Ott story inside, i have always wanted to go to Germany on my mission, and my dream city has ALWAYS been DRESDEN! Man i am sooooooo stoked. I will totally be able to take a picture at his grave. See the many relics of one of the most cultural city of the world, and, best of all, i get to go to the TEMPLE EVERY TRANSFER in Freiberg. I´m a bit nervous fulfilling the ZL assignment in such a massive zone, and there´s going to be so much to do. But i have a great companion, and i´m 100% ready to DO WORK in Dresden!

So ya, that kind of dominated my thoughts about this week.:) Gave my last talk here in Prenzlau sunday, and it went AWESOME. Said my goodbyes and now i´m just taking in the quiet before the storm starting tomorrow at 12:46 when i step off the train in the amazing Dreseden Hauptbahnhof!

Aside from everything, we had a pretty rough week as far as missionary work goes. Lost some more investigators (poor elder coming here is going to wonder what happened... he´s got a lot of good things and work to do though) but we did however gain one golden new investigator, which makes it all worth it.:) She´s way cool, and a friend of one of our members, so we can teach her with her friend there and there´s just an awesome spirit. There´s no doubt in my mind that she is going to get baptised!!!

Well jeez... i know lots more happened, but my mind is a little occupied with Dresden at the moment.:) It´s good to be on the move again, and try and apply what i learned here in a city and a huge ward at the complete opposite end of the spectrum! Well when i get excited (or come out of oral surgery) i bear testimony, so hear it goes... the church is TOTALLY true!

Love you guys all, and have a great week!

-Elder Ott

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week of August 22 from Prenzlau

Well we had a week of miracles again here in good old P-town Deutschland...

So the mission had the goal this week of achieving 21 Ballards (talking to 20 extra people a day and making out 1 appointment) and... WE TOTALLY DID IT! It was a great way to retire this Ballard system and move our Standards of Excellence! I´m pretty sure that that is the first time ever that anyone has ever had 21 Ballards in Prenzlau... and well now it´s the last as well haha. It was pretty crazy though. We had like a prayer tree thing going, so basically if you didnt have your appointment made out by 7pm you call your DL and ZL and then they have a list of people to call, so basically you just had a ton of missionaries praying for you! I had the chance to have Paco´s town, Hildesheim, land in my list to pray for, it was pretty cool. So that was pretty epic i must say, it´s crazy how when you have faith and prayers working for you, no goal seems impossible.

Aside from that however, we also somehow found a way to teach a lot this week too. Perhaps our biggest success however, wasnt teaching in the sense of gospel teaching. So we´ve done a lot of work at the Refugee camp here in the city, and we noticed that hardly anyone could speak german. They almost all want to learn German... but there´s no class here they can take. So i said to myself "self, why dont we teach a class" So we got the flyers out and everything, and well, first class we had 10 or 15 people, haha, the room was almost not big enough. A lot of them were from Afghanistan, and there is one guy there, kinda the ring leader (also a great investigator) who speaks a little English and Persian (the main language they all speak) so basically... I teach in german, my comp repeats it in English and then this guy says it in Persian. It was a big success though and the people really liked it. Some people in the community have heard about it as well, a lot think it´s great and some have even volunteered to help sometime, so it´s awesome. One of the watchmen at the camp keeps tearing all of our signs down, and some people try to lock up our building so all the Ausländers (out landers?) cant get in... but we still find a way to pull it off.:)

Well i dont know much else to talk about... basically just had hours of doors and normal teaching appointments this week. One interesting experience though... So we were doing doors in this little dorf, when all of the sudden this van came speading up to us and this tough-looking guy roled down his window and said "Hey... you guys spreading propoganda around here" I was a little scared because he looked like a crazy NPD guy putting up campaign signs (and they´re very anti-american) Anyways, i was just like, "well we´re talking with the people about a book that changes lives" and he was like "i know who you are... youre the MORMONS!" Now i wasnt sure whether to be scared or not, but the fact that he didnt call us JW´s (WHICH IS WHAT THEY ALLLWWAYYS CALL US!!!) roused my curiousity. I said "Well ya, that´s our nickname, people call us that because we believe in the Book of m...." then he interupted and said. "They talk about you all the time on South Park! I LOVE mormons! They say you guys are the only ones going to heaven" So anyways, he said he wants everything we can give him to read about us, BUT doesnt want us to teach or meet with him until he has read a bit. That was weird though... Media Referall???

Well, headed down to Berlin tomorrow for Leadership Training... gotta give a workshop there, hope it all goes well. Transfer calls coming up this Saturday as well... i cant help but think i´ve gotta go!

Have a wonderful week everyone back home! Love you all so much!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week of August 15 from Prenzlau

Halli hallo once again dear friends and family!

Still alive and kicken in P-town Deutschland, had quite a week this week, not sure how i´d describe it, but naja it was definitely a rewarding one... in the end anyway.

So basically our week went a little something like this, Monday... EVERY appointment fell out, Tuesday EVERY appointment fell out, we did have Zone Conference though (surprised that didnt fall out) Wednesday EVERY appointment fell out, Thursday FIRST APPOINTMENT we ate lunch with a the parents of the branch president in Templin, way cool, the father is not a member, so that´s an awesome opportunity at completing a family, but ya, afterwards everything else fell out.:) So basically Friday rolls around and we hadnt taught a single investigator all week! Not the most encouraging situation, because when appointments fall out that means that you basically have to go do another extra hour of "finding time" added on to the hours you already have planned. Sew basically we knocked on doors all week long.:) Friday though, we finally got in with a new investigator, 2 actually, then with 3 saturday, and two more sunday so that saved the week.

Tuesday´s Zone conference was super super cool, lots of little changes in the program. Sister Pimentel also gave an awesome thema based on the story of my ancestor Joseph A. Ott and it was a really cool experience. The big talk though was the taking away of the Ballard system. The ballard system is this, you get one ballard for talking to 10 extra people a day, 10 when your comp talks to ten extra a day, and then the third ballard comes when you make an appointment out. So you have the possibility of getting 21 a week. Ballards are basically how missionaries judge other missionaries and it´s aweful. For example, it was SUPER easy to make out appointments in Kiel, but here, you can talk to EVERYONE you see the ENTIRE day long and not even get into a conversation. So, you have all these missionaries who havent been in rough programs, whispering behind your back "he only gets like 16 ballards a week" and it´s super frustrating. It´s kinda like you're talking with people just to get a time and a place to meet so you can get your ballard instead of because you want find interested people. So anyway, that system got tweeked a bit so it´s a little better, and now i dont have this crushing burden of i have to make out an appointment today or else, haha it´s still there a bit, but hopefully we can focus on finding for the right reasons now. Prenzlau has really changed my whole perspective on numbers, even though to my absolute amazement, and concern, we actually stay above average in most categories.

Anywho, that was good, Saturday we had our mid transfer transfer-call. President said "and in the prenzlau district....(super long pause) no changes!" Haha so it was kinda a little adrenaline rush for nothing.

Our main focus right now is taking new investigators, which we´ve been finding a couple every week, and turning them into progressing investigators. It seems like most everyone who meets with us are just really nice people who love to talk about america, it´s super hard to get them to actually investigate the church though!

Past couple days have been kind of interesting. So basically there´s a political party very active here in our region, call the NPD. The NPD is literally the reformed Nazi party... yes it still exsits. It´s pretty shocking seeing some of their campaign stuff. "no more foreigners!" and all this stuff. One guy we are teaching in a city just north of us is from Chile, and some guys broke into his apartment and wrecked up all his stuff. They just had a big celebration because it´s like the 50 year mark since the Wall went up, and the NPD and Communist parties had these t-shirts and signs and stuff and they said "thank you for the 28 years of protection" with picture of soldiers with guns in front of the Brandenburger gate. Latest poll said that in the city right above us, the NPD have 20% of the votes, pretty crazy. They´re very anti american. I say that because we got thrown in to an interesting situation this last week up there. It was actually with a communist, so it´s different, haha but basically this guy tried to bash it out with us about how vile american was, pretty crazy stuff he was saying. It´s been weird kinda being in the middle of the big political frenzy lately.

Anywho, as said it was a long, hard week. Still dont have any progressing investigators, but we´re looking for them! Got to take a ride in the branch pres´s brand new Audi... WOW. That was a lot of fun. The german cars are something else, that´s for sure. But anyways, Sunday was very uplifting and was a great day leading into p-day today. It will be interesting to see what next week brings!

Have a wonderful week back home... love and miss you all so much!

-Elder Ott

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week of August 8 from Prenzlau

Over 20 weeks here now... that just hit me the other day as i was sitting in a meeting with the branch president after church on Sunday and saw another District Conference coming up on our agenda... I was totally here for the last District Confrence... haha will it ever end?

Naja, who knows?  Another week has come and gone in P-town, we worked hard, struggled mightily, but in the end when you look back you just cant help but see some miracles.:)

First miracle happened on Tuesday, so we had just come back from a few hours of doors and street contacting to have an appointment with a prospective new investigator in Prenzlau. I was really surprised when she answered the door with our card in her hand as she said "i hurried home just to be here when you got here." I was freaking out, like "this doesnt happen, she´s excited to meet with us" haha then she said, "I never ever wanted to meet with you guys, and never will, and i wanted to make sure i gave you this card back, please never come back" Haha... downer. So anyways, we decided to street contact our way down to an old investigator. As we were going over what we wanted to talk about with her, we decided we were not going to offer a baptismal committment this time... we have talked about it so much it´s become more of a plea than an invitation. So we started teaching about how we find peace in a life based on following the word of God, the whole time trying to fight the impression to commit her to baptism, well, finally i gave in and posed an actual firm commitment, and well, she surprised us and accepted! It was pretty cool. I would have never thought i would have seen 4 people accept a baptismal committment in my time here in Prenzlau, but somehow it happened.

The next day we finally met with our new investigator again, the guard from the refugee house. That was kinda a downer as well. He basically said he put my birth date into a his astrology program on his computer at home (he´s big into astrology and horoscopes and all that)  and he basically said that it warned him that i have a gift of converting people to my causes, even if they personally dont want to be converted. So basically he said he didnt trust us talking to him about Mormonism any more because he thinks i would somehow "trick convert" him... i can honestly say i have never experienced that before. So ya, basically thus we see how Satan works with people through Heathen belief systems. He says he still loves us though, and will keep reading in the BOM, but that he will never be a Mormon. "Maybe in my next cycle of development after this life" he said... too bad, i dont think he knows how true that statement probably is haha.

After he, for all purposes, dropped us, it was pretty hard. The next day though, we were up in Paselwalk doing a bit of finding, when the oddest thing happened. So basically, i parked the car, got out of the car, and talked to the first lady i saw on the street, and she said "yes, i would love to talk to you, why dont you come up, my house is right across the street"  I kinda had to do that really hard blinking thing to make sure i wasnt asleep haha. I´ve had walk-ins before, but never with the absolute very first person i´ve talked to!? Well she´s an older more fragile lady, her house was full of dolls and knitted things, haha but then all of the sudden, i beheld a really tiny heart picture frame with the picture of a man in it. He was about 7 feet tall, his eyes were white, and he was wearing a leather overcoat. It was totally the Undertaker from WWF! Haha, i LOVE the Undertaker. So we had an instant connection. Basically our small talk at the beginning of the lesson consisted of favorite wrestlers and the technique of the Undertaker. Haha, back home my bf Elder Hatch and i would always play wrestling games, and i was always the Undertaker and he was always his brother Kain. Haha, who knew that was maybe preparing me to connect with this little old german lady who loves WWF wrestling haha. That was, honestly said, probably the LAST thing in the world i expected!

Well, the rest of the week was really hard. Lots of haters out here. Hardest part was probably when the cool family we were teaching in Templin dropped us, that really stung a bit. Definitely one of those more downer weeks when nothing seems to be going your way.  Hopefully this week is a bit better though. Got ZoCo in Berlin Tuesday, probably an Exchange later in the week.  We bought a district sand volleyball last week though, so now we can play sand volleyball on P-days, which stokes me out of my mind, but of course, it´s rainy today. Haha, i dont mind it though because it was scorching a couple days ago and i wanted to die.  But ya, should be a hard, but good week.

Certainly remains to me an honor to labor in the Lord´s vineyard this last time. I was studying Jacob 5 the other day in German.  It just hits me so hard every time how the Lord says multiple times "what more could i have done for my vineyard"  He sends instructions, has capable servants, he even works in the vineyard himself! But still, so many of the trees refuse to be tame and yield fruit. It pains him to the point where he even weeps over his vineyard. That´s a great parable, and insight into the Lord´s view of his work. Make sure to yield good fruit this week ya´ll! Love you all so much, have an awesome week! :)

-Elder Ott

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week of August 1 from Prenzlau

Wow... that´s all i can really say after a week like this´n WOW.

So we had a pretty good week this week.:)  Haha, i suppose i´ll set up the background by the one really sad thing that happened this week. So we were way excited to have our baptismal date "back on track" So the Elders met with him while i was gone, and apparently when he asked what he needed to do after he was baptised, they went ahead with teaching about Temples, work for the dead, and the Word of Wisdom. Ya, so his appointment fell out and when we went by he acted like he had never even known us and said he wont be baptised. After we left, he called me and said he was sorry, but we just had way too much deep stuff and he felt way overwhelmed, i tried to explain that we could go slower, i mean we had only met 3 times, but anyways, he´s gone now. That was a sucker punch to the gonads for sure. It was really sad and frustrating for me. I mean, it´s never the missionaries fault when an investigator drops out, but it really just stinks when you arent there for the last appointment.:( But, ya, it was just making us more humble and ready for a week of crazy miracles.:D

So we´ll fast forward to Wednesday. District meeting. So it´s early in the transfer and i wanted to do something to spice up the district, and well, so there´s a non active member here who was given the missionaries 2 nasty dark chocolate bars per week here for a long long time, and well, noone eats them, so basically we have a TON of chocolate and nothing to do with it. Sooo, i decided that as a district we would be building a temple with it.:D I got the dimensions for King Solomon´s temple from the Bible, using one litte square as a cubit, but it ended up being way too big, so we´re just going to build a normal temple.:)  It was a big surprise though, and i had a cloth over it and everything, so we sang "how firm a foundation" and then i unveiled it. The response was hilarious. It was basically exaclty how i imagine it went when the Kirtland Temple was announced. At first there were shouts of joy and excitement, but then came the murmuring "how shall we construct a temple?" "i dont even know how to work with chocolate" "How is it possible" So i put on my best Brigham Young impression and pulled out the old quote "I dont know how, i just know that as we remain diligent in our efforts, a way will be provided" I was going to pull out 1 Nephi 17:50-51 as Nephi built his ship... but we just left it at that. The construction is actually going very well... i´ll have to send pictures.

But yes, then Wednesday we drove down to visit the branch president and his family in Templin, which is unreachable without a car, thus the missionaries had not been there in years. They were so excited to be able to have us there! We grilled, ate, then we gave a spiritual thought from 1 Nephi 17:50-51, replacing the end with "instruct us where to find a family ready for the gospel" then we had them pick out a street to do doors, prayed, and we set off to go get it done. En route, they then called us and said they had just felt like they should call a family they knew and ask if we could come over. Well they accepted, we went over, taught them, they accepted, and want to learn more! We even gave the husband a blessing for the sick! SO SOLID. We are meeting with them again and are so excited. It´s the first member referal in years here! And they were so excited too, i told them we need to come back more often, he said "good, that sounds really good, we have a few more ideas" KA CHING. The members trust us, and the blessings are following. The mother of the branch pres, whose husband is a non-member even invited us over to eat with her, and maybe even teach her husband! It was really really big for the program.

The next day we headed down to Schwedt to do 5 hours of just hard core finding.  En route, one of my favorite dead missionaries, (an old ZL in Kiel) called me, he was back in the mission visiting and wanted to know how i was doing. It was sooo great to hear from him again. He´s one of the hardest workers this mission has ever had, and it really motivated me to keep pushing down in Schwedt. We made out multiple appointments! One of which was with another cool family! So we´ll see if we cant get Schwedt opened up a bit more.

The following day, we didnt have much going until out of nowhere, our SUPER GOLDEN investigator lady, who we made a baptismal date out with a couple months ago, called us and wanted to meet! So we did. She´s soooo golden. She reads the BOM EVERY NIGHT and marks it. And just knows it´s all true. She talked a lot about how much she wants to be baptised. The problem is just she cant get away from her husband, and she is so busy with her nursing school she just cant make time, she said she´s going to work harder though to try and come to church and stuff. We fasted for her, and i really hope she starts picking up. She says her 7 year old daughter still talks about the Restoration film we watched, and how much she loved it! AWHHHH, why are the perfect ones even hard to keep up with!  Cool to be back in contact with her though.

Sunday, well actually Saturday night i found out i would be giving the Sunday School lesson, and i just couldnt figure out what i should teach it on. Well Sunday morning, the answer finally came, and i wrote all the impressions down, and fastened together probably the coolest lesson i´ve ever taught before, it went so good, i really felt so much more like a mouthpiece for the Lord, ah, it´s just the best feeling!  Funny story though... so afterwards turns out my comp forgot his keys which contained the key for the bottom door of the building the church is in... and somehow that door got locked. Branch president wasnt there and no one else had their keys, sooo basically the branch got locked in the building. Haha people started getting pretty mad and stuff, but i just threw on the Legacy film for the kids, made a few calls, and got one of the sons of a member, who is not a member, to grab his mom´s keys and ride his bike down to the church to let us out. Haha catastrophe avoided... kinda fun though.

So later Sunday though, i got a call from the ZL´s in Oldenburg... clear on the other side of the mission. And pretty much the most amazing miracle ever happened. So, a couple months ago, my last comp and i were talking to people on the lake here in P-town. We talked to a really old guy and a young guy sitting together on a bench. The old guy was really grouchy and told us to get lost, so i just focused on the young guy, and then set a card down on the bench for him. Haha, well apparently he was visiting his dad here, and he lives in Oldenburg. The ZL´s there were doing doors, and he let them in. He said he had talked with missionaries before in Prenzlau, and that his dad was closed but that he thought about what we said and took the card home with him. He showed the missionaries the card, and they called the number on it... which was our number. Well, in the first lesson, he was committed to be baptised, and they said he´s just golden. Haha, what are the chances!!??  The smallest, tiniest town in the mission, to the ZL big city on the other side of the mission... really crazy!

Well that was amazing, but what really capped the week off was that we finally met with the refugee home watchman i talked about last week. He is LEGIT. We had an awesome first lesson. He promised to read the BOM and even had me sign it hahaha, that was a new one. But we will be meeting with him regularly now!  And we have his work schedule so we can work in the Heim now around when he´s there to avoid trouble with the other guards. The Lord really does answer prayers!!!

Sooo, all these experience lead me to determine once again that the Church is totally true!  I love Mosiah 4:11. When we really realize our own nothingness and call upon the Lord "daily" and plead with him to bring his work to pass through us despite our weaknesses, he not only can and WILL help... he WANTS to help. There´s very little doubt in my mind that when we are concecrated, humble, and actively seeking to do His will with pure desire, that he will help us!

Have a wonderful week back home everyone! Love and miss you all soooo much!!!

-Elder Ott