Monday, May 23, 2011

Week of May 23 from Prenzlau

Tag everyone!

Well this week was really one of the least productive weeks of my mission i would have to say sadly. So there´s not a whole lot to report. We talked and talked and talked, but NO ONE was listening. We havent been able to find a new investigator in 2 weeks and all of our other ones are having real problems. Sometimes i feel like i´m losing my mind here, but what else can i do besides more missionary work?

On the cool/new kind of things... I HAVE MY GERMAN DRIVERS LICENSE!!! :):):)  I can now officially drive in Germany for the rest of my life. The cool thing about German drivers licenses is that they are good for eternity. People still drive on like 70 year old crumple up paper licenses. I have a really really cool brand new shiny one though.:)  I was way excited for that. NO ONE thought i´d be able to do it without my original American one to hand in. But seeing as the Prenzlau DMV people probably give out a new license once ever couple weeks and the two workers were two really young cool people, we were able to talk it out and work it out to where i just had to take an oath thing that i lost it. I was excited, i brought my Book of Mormon and Bible and everything in case i needed to swear on it... but it was anti-climatic and i just had to sign a piece of paper. It took like 7 weeks for it to get here, but it didnt cost near as much as the 1500 Euro germans pay and i didnt have to take ANY tests, so i cant complain. It doesnt matter a whole lot at the moment i suppose, even though we have the biggest and spread out, but at the same time least populated, area of the mission with the worst transportation system... we still dont have a car for some reason. But i´m working on that. This area would benefit IMMENSELY from a car. There are SOOOO many cities, even bigger than Prenzlau, that we just straight up cant get to.  But anyways, I gave the worker at the DMV a chocolate bar with a thank you card... a thank you PASS-ALONG card that is! I really hope she looks at the website and gives us a call, she´s way nice and cool.

So the mission right now is having this HUGE push about "fishing with nets" and driving people into our net "the INTERnet" So we have brand new more internet friendly cards and they want us to just get them all out to people as fast as we can. We´re really buying into it here, and in the past 3 days we´ve gotten 1000 of them out. Either just giving them to people after you talk to them, or throwing them in mailboxes along the way. The motive is to use our re-designed german non-member friendly website to drive in media referals. We´re really buying in, because Prenzlau has in the distant past historically had great missionaries, and many many missionaries far better than i ever am have worked their tails off using the old techniques and have produced 0 lasting converts. So this new thing is really all we have. The church uses 0 media here to advertise, so we´re generating are own media so to say. We´re really really hoping that it works. We planning on having a card in every mailbox in Prenzlau by the end of this transfer.

This Sunday was the first sunday i havent either had to teach sunday school or give a talk since i got here, even though i had to be prepared to do both. :I Haha, i had everything prepared and then President Büttner pulled a surprise showing and took everything over.:) I never thought i´d find so much joy in seeing a new presiding authority walk in the room.:) I still conducted sacrament meeting though, i´m getting better at it the more i do it. It´s not like it´s way hard or complex. It´s just a bit different in German.

Well i cant think of much new to report. This is probably the hardest time of my mission to stay motivated at the moment, i have to keep finding new ways to push myself, because there´s not really much else pushing me at the moment.  I just gotta enjoy this P-day and the welcomed rest. I got up at 6 this morning and cleaned for 3 hours, so i´m ready to relax now before having to hit the streets again. Thanks so much for all the support, i set a new PR for mail this week in Prenzlau, so I love you ALL! Haha. Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Ott

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week of May 16 from Prenzlau

Well unfortunately this won´t be the longest and most informative email i´ve ever written, you see i´m in Berlin AGAIN for another P-day. It took us a little while to get here so email time is short. So we´re here today to get together with a few other missionaries and we´re going to end up spending the night because we have a Zone Conference here tomorrow. We going to head over to a big lake and play around a bit with some other missionaries.  But yes, not a whole lot new in Prenzlau, but as the title of this email eluded to, we totally got it ballin here in Prenzlau this last week!

So we keep looking for more and more ways to get more involved in the community, and use our talents to change the perspective of the missionaries here. So the other week we printed off a couple flyers and put them up on the streetball court here in town, and well, people actually came. Not quite enough to go full court, but it was enough to get a few good games in and get the heart pumpin. We had one guy who´s been an avid german street baller for years and is just always looking for games, and then this other guy who´s like 6,7 and built like a stinkin TANK! Along with a few other people. But these two guys were way cool, we had a nice little conversation afterwards about why we were here in PRenzlau and exchanged numbers and the whole deal, it was way cool. It´s going to become a weekly thing, so we´re hoping maybe it catches on a little bit more. We also have a sweet connect at the local like community center, and this last week we were invited to play BADMINTON with elderly people!!! Now for those of you who know me deeeply, you know already i have a deep passion and desire for Badminton, so that was way way way cool.

Our two investigators on baptisimal date had rough weeks as well. One who was in the hospital just had an operation, dont know exactly why at the time, but ya, she´s pretty sick. The other has a brain tumor and is having some real health problems, not cool, but we´ll keep working with them as much as we can. It´s hard to finally have two progressing investigators and then to see them struggle like this... but we cant do a whole lot about it right now.  We set an all time high for lessons this week despite of that though, which is way way cool.

In church we had a good meeting. My talk went really well which was good. Our branch has been having some rough times lately, and some of the members have been having a hard time. With the branch president being gone so long and everything, i was really hoping to lift the branch this last Sunday. I was really happy that everything went well, and it was a really solid Sunday.

Well not much else new to report, i gotta go, but i love ya´ll soooo much!!!! Thanks for everything you do for me and the people here!

-Elder Ott

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week of May 9 from Prenzlau

Liebe Familia und Freunde!

Well hello once again from the splendid city of Prenzlau!  Not much new to report this week i suppose. My new companion is here safe and sound, not sure he likes the city here too much, but he´s way cool and pretty chill so i have a feeling this will be an okay transfer.

So mother´s day was naturally a very special day for me because I TOTALLY SKYPED WITH MY FAMILY! That was pretty much the highlight of my week i´d have to say. It was so awesome to be able to see their faces and talk with them. I´m way happy our mission allows skype... but i can see how lots of missions don't. Those couple minutes after you hang up the phone and know that it will be 7 months before you talk to your family again are pretty rough. But it wasn't as bad as i thought it was going to be i suppose.

On the missionary side of things, this Mother´s Day was horrid for Church attendance. We had 6 members there today, which is was sad because that´s a really small sad number, but really good because i had an hour Sunday school lesson that got dumped on me Saturday... so overall wasn't my best most well prepared effort, it still went good, but an hour lesson on Honesty is a bit hard with little preparation. It´s kinda like... ya... just be honest? Not way too complicated. But of course we were able to have plenty of controversial discussions about honesty, so that filled up the time a bit more. I also found out i will be speaking in Sacrament next week again! Woo hoo. That means out of 4 sacrament meetings i will have attended aside from the 2 fast and testimony meetings and GC and Distric Conference, i will have had half of the meeting to talk in 3 of them. I also called myself to be the branch music leader (who doesn't enjoy just a little bit of unrighteous dominion) so ya, i knew there was a reason i brought my baton from home.:)  It will be fun to conduct sacrament meeting, pass the sacrament, lead the hymns, and be one of the two speakers... all i can say is too bad i never finished learning to play the piano.:)  But ya, it puts a lot more pressure on you knowing that if you should have investigators at church, and well just in general actually, a large portion of making the Sabbath enjoyable and uplifting rests on your shoulders.

So our two baptisimal candidates are both having a very hard time at the moment. One is like spiraling down in depression, and the other is physically in the hospital very sick. And most all of the other new people we found just didn't show up or weren't there for appointments this week, so ya, it´s gonna be another very long, very hard week here Prenzlau.  We´re launching our new youth basketball league project here this week though, so hopefully that will spark a bit of interest and get a new perspective on us here in Prenzlau.

Well anyways, the work is hard as can be here, but it moves forward, unbelieveably slowly at times it seems, but still forward. I dont know how i haven't given up sometimes, i don't know how i just keep talking to people despite the 97% fail rate of a good conversation... but i echo the words of Gordon B. Hinckley "It´s not as easy as they say it is, but it´s not as hard as you think it is" Somehow the Lord finds a way to give his servants strength, over and over and over again. In the name of ..... oh wait haha, ya that´s just how it is.:) Love you all so much, thanks for all the love and support. Have a wonderful week!!

-Elder Ött

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week of May 2 from Prenzlau

Hello Family and Friends,

Well Transfer Number 4 comes to a close and a new one begins. This last week went like most other ones in Prenzlau, only a bit more on the drastic side. Normally the week starts out solid and progressivley gets more and more hard and time consuming.  This week, the week started out absolutely AMAZING and ended up absolutely devastating. Ha, i really wish i could have written this email on like Wednesday, because i was stoked out of my mind, but oh well, it´s a rollercoaster sometimes.

So it all happened Sunday night last week. We had just had a couple really rough weeks and were feeling kinda discouraged, and i was really really frustrated. So we decided to have a super week this week. Tons of work, and only German 24/7.  Well, Tuesday rolled around and we had just the most amazing experiences ever.  We got a message from this one lady who lives a little ways away in a small dorf, she met with the missionaries once before and is way way way cool! The appointment was WAY spiritual and the spirit was  way strong. I felt really strongly to commit her to baptism, so i did it, and she totally accepted. Her baptism date is the 14 of June, and she was way excited.

Then we hopped up on a train to Neu Brandenburg because one of the ZL´s wanted to tausch with me, he´s a way cool Elder from Sardinia. He´s way tiny, but was a World Master Kung Fu artist. Haha, it was crazy the next morning when we were working out he showed me his pushup routine... INSANE. Pushups on fists, pushups on wrists with the back of your hand on the ground (I mildly injured myself in that attempt) then pushups while doing a handstand (didnt even try) then pushups, starting with five fingertips, the after 5 he lifts a finger up, until he is eventually doing it with just his thumb, haha and then he does the same thing on one hand. 5 Pushups on ONE THUMB... ridiculous. But ya, learned some crazy cool stuff from him, and we worked our tails off that day. We were a bit late coming back to prenzlau because someone committed suicide on the train tracks and the train in front of us ran over him, it took 45 minutes to get back going again, (actually happens more than you´d think here) but ya, and then we had another appointment with a fairly new investigator.  We taught a 2nd lesson, POS, and when we were talking about the spirit world he asked the money question... "where am i going"  We explained that it depends on what we do here, and that same familiar prompting i felt ealier that day came back, and he was committed to be baptized on the 11th of June. So ya, pretty much one of the most blessed days of my mission, President couldn´t believe it when i had to call him a second time to report a baptisimal date, it was amazing.

We continued through the week working hard and speaking German, we made out some way good appointments and ended up with 4 new investigators, which is mind boggling for Prenzlau, i really dont think that´s ever happened here before, or in a long time at least, and it was just way awesome.  Then Friday, things kinda fizzled out again and we were left with nothing to do and no one to meet with, i HATE that feeling of looking at your planner and just seeing a blank white sheet of paper... worst feeling EVER.  But ya, Saturday morning we had transfer conference call, and well, my companion is leaving amazingly. He stayed a really short time here in Prenzlau. Anyways, i will be getting a new Senior companion, and for the 3rd time in a row, it is his first time ever being a Senior companion. He´s been out on his mission about 1 year and a couple months, and will be coming up here from a littler program in Berlin.  I was kinda shocked because i had heard a lot of hype about things getting shaken up a lot, but i cant allow myself to be to surprised i guess. I´ve heard a lot of interesting things about my new companion though, and lets just say, i´m anxious to see what he´s like.

Well now for the fireball that came at the end of the week. Both of our investigators who were so excited to be baptized, pulled a no-show at church... it´s not tooo bad i suppose, i mean we met with both of them multiple times and they know they have to come to church to be baptized, and they both wanna be baptized, so hopefully we´ll find a way to get them there, but i was just really really devastated not to see them at church. We´ll keep meeting with them however, and hopefully we´ll get them there. There was however, like a record number of people at church, (since i´ve been here anyway) and it was only fitting, because i had to conduct a sacrament meeting, and naturally there should be as many people as possible there so that i can more effectively embarrass myself. Oh and also it´s only fitting i should have to make a bunch of announcments and read two letters from the Area Presidency and District Presidency... oh how fun it is to be humbled. Ha, no, it actually wasnt too bad, a little different, but it wasnt too big of a deal at all. 

Well anyways that´s kinda it for now with me, I really hope we can get these people back on track here, and i´m still trying not to lose my sanity here, next week will be a big one for sure. I hope everyone has a wonderful week back home! Thanks for everything!

Herzliche Grüße,

Elder Ott