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!