Monday, April 4, 2011

Week of April 4 from Prenzlau

Well i dont necesserily know how i´m going to write all that happened this week, i also dont remember how to spell the word necessarily... haha i´m not going to beat myself up over it.
So wow, this week was a really really really hard one. After visiting most of our investigators here in Prenzlau, it was obvious that the people being taught were either extremely mentally unstable, or making absolutely NO progress. Either way i was instructed from the branch president, mission president, and the Spirit to stop regular contact of the missionaries with them. That means, complete program rehaul, aka starting from SCRATCH. A lot of missionaries tend to hang on to investigators in small cities to keep their numbers alive, or in other words they hang on to the lessons, not the investigators. But ya, we arent going to do that here in Prenzlau anymore, haha and although our numbers this week were absolutley hideous, at least we are using our time the way it is supposed to be used.
Speaking of time, i´ll recount how we spent our time this week. FINDING.  Finding finding finding. We basically walked around every day, for most of the day, and talked to people on the street and then did doors in the evenings when everybody was home. The results were a few appointments, of which 0 went through, and i met someone else with the last name of Ott and had a good conversation until i tried to bring it back to the Gospel at which point she just walked away. The persecution this week was also a new high for me. I had some teenagers hit me with a rock as a rode by on my back, one man threatened to crucify me, and had various people cuss me out in German, haha it was not good at all. I was getting SOOO frustrated. For the first time on my mission i thought maybe i was wasting my time, until quickly my thoughts were corrected... this is the Lord´s time, and he called me here to spend it in Prenzlau and my opinion on whether or not it´s effective is irrelevent. So i´ll just keep working. No matter how many people mock me to scorn, or yell at me, or completely ignore me and wont even acknowledge i´m talking to them, or throw stuff at me, or swerve at me with their motorcycle because they think it´s funny to see me have to move out of the way (yes that happened too), i will just tell them "okay see you tomorrow" and try and move on as nicely as possible. It´s really hard, and at times i feel really alone, but it´s not bad to have to swim in deep waters sometimes.
Aside from trying to find people to listen to you, it was a tender mercy to be able to be strengthened at our zone meeting and also General conference this last weekend. I had a really good interview with my mission president and we shared some revelatory moments together. Conference also opened my eyes. We were only able to watch the first 3 sessions and the priesthood session, but overall it was very good, even in German. It was weird how badly i wanted to here the Brethren´s voices and how bad i wanted to be strengthened by other latter day Saints! I really was hoping to hear their voices, somethings lost in the German translation just by not being able to hear the actual voice, but i still learned a lot. President Uchtdorf´s priesthood session talk about not living below our abilities as priesthood holders really opened my eyes and made we realize the power we´ve been given.
That power is going to be needed here in Prenzlau too. Somewhat unfortunately i guess you could say, i ran into our District President and 1st counselor of our mission in Neu Brandenburg at General Conference. I introduced myself and he said, "i know exactly who you are, i have hear about you" haha a little creepy to here from someone like that. But long story short, i guess he asked president to send a missionary to prenzlau who could maybe stay a while, and lead the ward because the branch president´s political career is taking a lot of time. So ya, somehow that was supposed to be me and now i´m a counselor in the branch presidency here haha.  It wont change a whole lot i dont believe, i´ll just have to do some more meetings and conduct church meetings and stuff, and preside while the branch pres is gone, but ya, never in a million years thought i´d serve in a branch presidency at the age of 19... hooray for missions. Hopefully it all goes well, i dont think it will change much of anything for me.
Well we´re definitely going to start doing some new things here.  I talked with our branch pres and we have an appointment with the Mayor next week to talk about changing the perspective of the Church here in Prenzlau. We are also working with the city soup kitchen and political refugee home to try and find some more service activities. After talking with the mission president we will also be ordering those helping hands vests for service for the mission. Just like the theme in Conference, i feel like service will change the perception of the "black suit people" here in Prenzlau.  The church for some reason has also not pushed media advertising here in Europe much at all either. So president is having completely new pass a long cards printed, with the purpose of driving people to our internet site and generating our own media referals. We have also remodeled the site to be more investigator friendly, and the first time they get on the site a splash page pops up where they select the pass a long card they recieved, and basically with one click we can get media referals. It´s based of the theory of fishing with nets, not with single lines anymore. So ya, once the cards are printed, we´re planning on getting one in every mailbox in Prenzlau and seeing if we can revolutionize the work here.
Well a lot going on here. I´m not to excited for the hours of finding ahead, but i am excited to see if the work and the new ideas will change this place. Ya it´s hard getting completely shut down time after time, but you just gotta look at it as if you´re one person closer to finding someone who´s been prepared for you and not that you´ve found another one who´s not ready.  So there´s the update on the mission so far, haha prayers would be gladly recieved for this places sake.  I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
-Elder Ött

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