Thursday, July 31, 2014

Week 6: From Preston to Munich

 Last week I received an email from the MTC president with Michael's letter of departure attached and a few group pictures.  It made me super excited for him.  These 6 weeks just flew by!
 The picture above is a group shot of the Alpine German-Speaking "Goldens" the morning they flew from England to Germany.   I think their smiles say it all.

As you might imagine, I was pretty anxious to hear that Michael had arrived in Germany and super excited to hear where his first area might be.  Finally around 4 p.m. our time I received an email from his Mission President who told us where he would be serving.

Dear family of Elder Albrecht -

We are delighted to tell you that Elder Albrecht arrived safely in Munich this morning.  He is tucked away in bed now after a long day of orientation. 

We thought you might enjoy these pictures from this evening. His new companion is Elder Cavin , and they will be serving in Freiburg Zone and Schwennigen Area

We are thrilled that he is here and are very impressed with his preparation and enthusiasm.  He will be a great missionary.  Thank you for all you have done to help him become the fine young elder she is today.  We love him already, and we will do all we can to help him grow as a missionary and have a successful mission.  Your son’s preparation day is on Mondays and that is when he will be emailing you home each week. If you would like his apartment address where he will be serving, please email him before next Monday and ask him to give it to you in his first email next Monday.  If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.  May the Lord bless you and your family at this wonderful time of missionary service. 


President and Sister Kohler

Alpine German-Speaking Mission

He was 100% correct that we enjoyed the pictures.  Michael's smile says it all, he's exactly where he wants to be.   I prayed immediately for him and his new companion, that they might get along and be patient with one another.  I've already heard great things about his new companion so I'm excited for Michael.

Now, I just need to wait patiently until Monday to hear from Michael himself!

Pointing to is area and holding a picture of his new companion.

Michael with President & Sister Kohler

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 5: The Fight for Truth

Week 5: MTC -The last week

Youth Conference! It sounds so cool. Is it on campus like at Mizzou? It sounds super fun. How long are you staying there? I hope the weather is nice and that your plan goes well. I'm sure it will be awesome. You usually make plans that keep the attention of the youth(:

So, I have gotten a couple letters, but not the package. I hope they get here on time, but I am sure if they don't, the MTC presidency will send it to my mission. So, thank you so much for the iPod. I cannot believe it took 9 hours for the songs to download! (Mom note:  It took 9 hours to sort through music and make the playlist, not download, lol)

So, we don't get a P-Day next week since we leave super early on Wednesday morning. But I do believe we email you that morning before we head out. And I think we email you once we get settled at the mission home. So, that pretty much means this was my last P-Day. I can't believe I have been here for almost five weeks.

I hope that Ryan will be able to come to church this week so they can assist Ryan with their project. Tell them I said they are doing an awesome thing for Ryan.

I cannot really say this week has been that slow for me as it has been for you. When do Neil and Daniel start school?

Haha, is the back room being normal? You clean a little of it, and then something just explodes back there and it becomes messy again?

I really enjoy the letters I receive. They really come at the right time. Letters are sometimes the best support I can get over here. But, you are doing an awesome job supporting me. And I can never receive too many letters ;)

I'm not sure if anything strange happened here. Another missionary and I almost died today if that counts for something. We were cleaning the top of some counters, and Elder Griffey was getting off the counter and he slipped and almost fell on me and almost smacked me with a cupboard door. But he caught himself and did not hit me.

I will write a letter about my spiritual highlight. It was so crazy and insanely good, but very deep and inspirational. President Durkin was definitely listening to the Holy Ghost.

So, all of those pictures are mine. Even the ones of the Apostles. Don't you just love it?

It is nice to hear that members are coming in to fill the shoes of those who left. I bet Cezar is just ecstatic that there is another trumpet player in the ward. How  many people have moved into to the ward?

I can't say much about the pictures myself. We are doing the same thing every day and we can't have our camera everywhere as to not distract us. But, once I get into the field, I will have tons of photos all the time, so don't worry mother, just have patience.(:

So my week has been very similar but yet so different than the other four weeks. I have learned so much. So last P-Day was our last Temple visit here in the MTC. That day (even though I always stay until the end) I had a very strong impression that we should stay in the room just as long even though my companion wanted to leave early. We had prayed and read scriptures while in the Celestial room, it was so amazing. It turns out later that we wouldn't be going back. I am just so thankful for the impressions the Holy Ghost can give us. I also learned to rely on my Savior so much more as a missionary. I have really been trying to pour out my soul in prayer and strive to have a conversation with my Father rather than just a monologue. It has really opened my eyes to the things Heavenly Father wants me to see and to do. I have been blessed through these things. On Sunday, we had a lesson abut Joseph Smith and the many things that were brought to this world through him. During one of our District discussions, I was able to bear testimony of this great man. I said that I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. If this wasn't the true church on Earth, the adversary would not have fought against it as hard as it did. Joseph Smith knew exactly what he was doing and exactly how true the message was. He withstood do many trials and tribulations, as well as the Saints. They pushed on with a steadfastness in Christ and know we are here with an exponential growth in the church. What a wonderful example they are to us. It was quite humbling to myself. I didn't ever fully realize the fight for truth until I had said those things. It was such an amazing moment for me.

So, I keep learning Deutsch. The grammar is easy to grasp, but the vocabulary is not as easy.  On Saturday, we are only going to speak Deutsch. The entire day! No English, it will be extremely hard, but we will learn so much from it. So, two nights ago, I gave my first Priesthood blessing. It was a tad nerve wrecking because I didn't want to mess up. But it was such a learning experience as I put my faith into the Lord and let the spirit guide me.

I know that this is the true church here on Earth. I know that Jesus Christ leads this church through the living Prophet and Apostles. I know that what I am doing is a mighty work and is part of God's purpose and work. I am so grateful to be here, and to have the ability to bear witness of Christ and of the truths that His church withholds. I love you so very much. I hope and pray for the best for all of you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Week 4: Wherever the Lord Needs Me, I Shall Go

Week 4: The MTC
I seriously feel like I just emailed you yesterday. So, if you want to just copy and paste my last email that would be great...

Here is a picture of my wall.
Not all of my pictures are uploading to the computer so this is it. Sorry
But, we are Dan Jones' it today with a Welsh Book of Mormon. Haha, Love ya(:
I am just kidding, but seriously time is flying by! It feels like just yesterday I was saying goodbye to everyone, and I didn't know any German. How crazy! Well, I guess I will just say everything that happened, even though it might be the same.

So our food, is still good. We haven't had the same dinner yet. We had Fish and Chips again, and it was delicious.  (Mom note:  I felt he was constantly contradicting himself when he would say he hasn't had the same dinner then mention what he had again, but I realize those are either breakfast or lunch and not the actual dinner meal! We are getting fed so much food at every meal I might burst. And our teacher Bruder Field, said that on our mission, members will feed us twice the amount of food we are eating now. And we have to eat it all. I might come home just a tad bit bigger(; But he said that if we don't want to gain any weight, we have to run hardcore as soon as you wake up every morning, and eat healthy when we eat at our apartment. He lost 14 pounds on  his mission and he served in the same place as us.

Bruder Field also showed us some amazing pictures of the mountains and cities of our mission. They are so beautiful. I am so excited to serve there. He also said that Switzerland only lets in 10 American visas at a time. So we will probably never serve there, but that doesn't really matter. I will serve wherever the Lord needs me. Oh, and Lichtenstein has no members or missionaries there. But I wouldn't mind if Lichtenstein was opened and I got sent there. But wherever the Lord needs me is where I shall go (:

So, our Deutsch is coming along. I feel super discouraged sometimes when I hear other people, but then I remind myself that I shouldn't compare myself to others. Plus I remember that I am one of three missionaries who didn't have an affiliation with the language before this. The practice I had with Rachel was good, and helped with pronunciation. That is something I am actually good at. And the grammar. Many missionaries have a large vocabulary but like to translate directly which is horrible grammar. So even though I don't know a lot of words, I understand the grammar and can pronounce the words I do know. I am also really good at rolling my R's.

Our lessons are a lot better as well. I am starting to speak a lot more and testify in the language. We experienced the Gift of Tongues on a very small level this week. Andreus (an investigator) was asking a bunch of questions and we had no idea what he was saying but we somehow answered all of his questions and continued on with our lesson. How cool! But some of our lessons didn't go so well. Certain investigators are just tough and don't keep commitments and don't listen during our lessons. This is really preparing us for the field.

I love it here and all of the things I have been learning. The staff here is amazing and are so helpful. Our President and his wife are so sweet. They are just so knowledgeable about the Church. President taught us on Sunday the Order of the Church and it was so interesting. We learned a lot about the organization of the church. We have also been taught about Prayer and the power we can have through it. All of the devotionals here have been just super revelatory. Our leadership councils have all been about Patterns and it is so interesting. It definitely reminds me of Sister Fowers and all of her lessons(: We heard a devotional given by President Uchtdorf. He talked about the story of Christ and Peter. How Peter started out with doubt in His faith (walking on the water) and ended his life with complete faith and knowledge of our Savior(when he raised the man with weak limbs and was brought forth to the council). It was great insight to how we start out and where we can be.

I also have the first vision in Deutsch memorized. We worked hard on it and now we know it all!!!

So I love hearing about the service Neil and Cezar are giving to Ryan. I hope all goes well with their project. I know they will be able to help Ryan and that he will help with the Sacrament. I just love the Young Men and their willingness to serve others.

It is kind of weird thinking of all the people who won't being in our ward when I come back. So many people are moving so soon! Just wish them good luck from me and that I love them and their family(:
It does bring me sorrow, especially for his wife, that Brother Eyman passed away. But it also brings me great joy to know that where he is going is such a glorious and happy place. That he is living among God's people in heaven. I will keep Sister Eyman in my prayers for comfort and peace in her life.

So, I am super excited to hear that you are going to Nauvoo again. And that Neil and Daniel are going as well. I think it does make up that we explored Preston's church history, haha(: We watched the new Restoration video again but in Deutsch! It was so spiritual. The video is so powerful and testifies so much of the Prophet and of this Church.

So thanks in advance for the iPod(: I chuckled when I read what you said about the shuffle, so here's a shout out to Cypress for the iPod nano. Thanks a bunch(: So 264 songs, wow. That is a lot. How long did it take you to do that? But thanks for it(: I will have to look for a speaker for it or something for it.(Mom note:  I sent him speakers, oh he has little faith in me, haha)

So the House that President Hinckley lived in is not being used by missionaries.

Fun fact: The house that Heber C. Kimball and his companions lived in, the one where they saw a mass of demons or whatever that vision was, is kind of cursed. The vision made the papers and since then no one has lived in or even looked into that house. It is boarded up as well.

So Sister Wilkes said that her mom is pretty much technology handicapped. So it was kind of funny hearing her talk about how she was shocked her mom was on the group. Haha. It's cool to hear about how you are connecting with other missionaries parents. I am excited to see who I will meet and who you will talk to.

So apparently our mission is getting mini iPads. Someone's parents sent them an email saying that so who knows.

So the Lord obviously blessed me in the Temple, but He has also given me so much more. He has just placed small remarks in my life to uplift me when I need it. During testimony meeting, Sister Fenton read a poem by a missionary talking about how hard the mission was but then talks about how the Savior knows what we are going through. That He is there with His arms open for us to fall in. Then that we need to go forward each day with joy in this knowledge and with faith. That poem was so needed for all of us. It was so uplifting and really put our mission into perspective.

A lot of missionaries have really been complimenting my German and it helps so much, especially when I feel discouraged.

I try to help put our mission into a perspective from a converts side. Even though I was baptized at the age of 8, I still remember the other churches and the missionary lessons. I tell many stories of you and dad and how the gospel has blessed you. It is neat because I am one of 5 families who are converts. So many of these missionaries have ancestors who were pioneers. So I really try to testify of the gospel with these things in mind.

Funniest thing... You might not find this funny, but I will tell it anyway. One dinner, I was up getting a salad, and the dressing wasn't coming out. So I pushed super hard and the dressing shot past my plate and onto my coat. Oh goodness, it was so horrible but funny. Luckily Sister Edwards had some dry cleaning stuff I could use.

So I am writing everyone back. And I enjoy the letters so much. They bring a smile to me(: Note this, after 21 Juli, don't send any letters to the MTC, send them to my mission home.

Oh and I love the plaque and my little corner.

Ich weiß dass, das Buch Mormon wahr ist. Ich weißs dass, Joseph Smith eine Prophet ist. Ich liebe Gott und Jesus Christus. Ich liebe diese Kirche und unser leiteren. Ich liebe euch

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week 3: I Trusted God

Week 3: The MTC

 Wow, it seriously feels like I didn't have a life before the mission. It seems like an eternity ago. But it also feels like I just arrived here in the MTC. Weird...
Anyway, it is still amazing here, but sometimes it is a little tough. I am way behind everyone else in my German, and it is really frustrating. Everyone else either took German in high school or they grew up with it, so I feel like I have a huge disadvantage. That has been something I have been struggling with a lot, but Sister Fenton(the Sister who doesn't have any background in German either) and I just laugh it off. We are constantly using German and praying in the language. And every time we pray we ask for the Gift of Tongues. This past week I worked really hard overcoming these thoughts. I worked extra hard in Language Study and I try to learn new words or ask people to repeat what they said. And during one of our lessons, the investigator was about to leave for work and was pushing our message away. I couldn't follow everything being said during the entire lesson, but as my companion finished with first vision and our investigator was about to leave, I opened my mouth and just started to testify to him. I didn't really know what was going to happen but I trusted God and did it. It really set a nice mood before we left and gave him something to ponder on. I know this is just the MTC and our investigators aren't real, but I know that Lord blessed me with that moment to give me confidence and that if I keep working hard I will surely be blessed.
So after that experience, my German learning has been coming along a lot better. I know so  much more from the first week I was here.
England MTC Photo
Map of where the missionaries are from

Last week, I bought a Welsh book of Mormon and this week I bought a Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon. I know that sounds weird, but I like collecting copies of the Book of Mormon in other languages.
I did receive the SD card adapter and the music. and most of the mail. It takes about 6-7 days to reach us here, so there might be some mail somewhere over the Atlantic right now.
I would really like photos sent to me via snail mail. I personal like it better in person. I will send a picture next week, but my wall is covered with pictures you sent and of the apostles.
So today we had the opportunity to go to the Temple yet again. I don't think I will ever get over how peaceful it is there. It just brings me comfort and love from Heavenly Father. It also reminds me of my purpose here on a Mission.

So today we got stopped at ASDA(the British Walmart) and talked to some people there about the church. They said they have never seen this many missionaries. It was really cool and neat.
Outside of the flat President Hinckley lived when he served his mission in England.
So I thought it would be cool if you just got see any other parents who have kids in my mission. We have: Elders Hunt, Hunter, Samuelson, Griffey, Carr, Mourick, Annen, Killpack, and Howarth. We have: Sisters Cook, Wilkes, Fenton, Bushman, Smith, and Angeloudis.

Our 4th of July was fun. We sang all American songs, wrote on the board scriptures calling America the New Jerusalem. It was quite funny, especially since our teachers are all here from the UK.
I am super excited for Cedara and her mission. I know she is going to love preparing for and the MTC. One of the ESL Sisters here is going to the same mission. Sister Dias, that would be neat if they were companions. Some advice: get prepared to eat a lot and talk to lots of people back home.
So our Sunday was pretty awesome. Of course our devotionals were super amazing. Elder Scott gave a blessing to all those learning a second language, how cool!!! We walked around the Temple grounds and had a great testimony meeting. I said mine in Deutsch.
So I better get going, we are having dinner with an Area Authority.
Ich weiß dass das Buch Mormon wahr ist. Ich weiß dass die Kirche wahr ist. Ich liebe mein Familie. Ich weiß dass Gott uns liebt.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Week 2: Mission Through Christ

Week 2: Mission Through Christ
So, we do have P-Days, they are on Wednesday. So last P-Day was pretty fun. We went to ASDA, British Walmart, and I got to use some British pound sterlings. It doesn't feel that weird to use them. And I bought a Welsch Book of Mormon, it makes no sense to me but it looks cool.
At the end of our P-Day we watched a Devotional and it was so inspirational. The message from many of our lessons have been that we are not the teachers. In the conversion process for our investigators, we merely facilitate the conversation between them and God. It was really interesting and brought a new perspective to myself and many of the other Missionaries.
My German is going well. It was kind of difficult at first, but my district is amazing and constantly supports me and helps me out when I don't have a clue as to what I am doing. They are really awesome. And our teachers are amazing as well. They will repeat a phrase 6-7 times if I don't understand it. But, I am getting the hang of it. See: Ich spreche Deutch.
On Monday, we finished teaching our first mock investigator in German. It was extremely terrifying at first and I literally had no idea what I was doing. I just sat in the first lesson and listened to nonsense. But, we studied hard for each lesson after that and we had the Spirit there and we taught decent lessons. We got our first"investigator" to commit to being baptized, living the word of wisdom, go to church and go to the Temple. All in German! The Lord ceases to amaze me with His power. He has definitely helped me learn this language. But that will only happen if I study hard and seek diligently the gift of Tongues. So we are constantly praying for it.
And I have been given the opportunity to play hymns in a couple of our meetings here at the MTC. It definitely helps me remember what the Lord has blessed me with and how much more the Lord has in store for me and all of the other Missionaries. And it is so awesome to see how much talent everyone else has. There are so many pianists and we have a Sister who can play the Viola. She is so amazing and plays in our Sacrament meetings.
I do have a small list of requests:
Sheet Music:
-How Can I Be
-A Missionary Medley
-I Know He Lives Fireside book(it is blue and is composed by Michael R. Hicks)
-If You Could Hie To Kolob
-Any other random sheet music you find
USB Plug In with a SD Card Adapter
And you can send packages here to the MTC
I did receive the envelopes and stamps.
I will be sending letters back to everyone(they have stamps here at the MTC as well).
So our food here is fantastic. The chefs really do take time for our meals. We even had Fish and Chips. Oh mein Güte, it was delicious. We even had a German meal. It was potatoes, Cabbage, and Chicken. We haven't had a meal twice yet, but they are on a three week rotation. But they are revising the menu so we shall see.
So today, we had another opportunity to go through the Temple. It was amazing to be reminded of the Spirit held within the Temple. It was so peaceful and calm, and I received so many answers in there. The Temple is one place I desire everyone to be at. Knowing the happiness it brings to me. And I  received an answer as to when I might receive news of Cedara's mission call, which was that it was already sent to me(: And Cedara's call is so amazing. It truly does make me happy to see where she will be serving. I actually know some missionaries out there right now.
The Elders and Sisters that were called there actually left for the field this morning. They were leaving for the Scotland/Ireland mission and the Birmingham England mission. It was cool to see how they progressed here in the MTC for only two weeks. I just know that Cedara will do amazing things. And to think, I still have four weeks here with two other transfers for the ~UK missions.
We also had the opportunity to go visit some church history sites here in the Preston England area. It was really amazing. We got to see the house where Heber C. Kimball resided. We also saw the house where President Hinckley received his letter from his father and prayed and made the decision to serve the rest of his life in the church. We also visited the site where many English members were baptized, very cool. There is so much history it is insane. Our guide said that many local history books and parks have LDS history inside them and plaques and such. It is very inspiring. We also learned that prophets of old blessed this land here and that when Heber C. Kimball was leaving, he was overcome with that blessing and Prophet Joseph Smith explained it to Heber C. Kimball. We also got to see the place where Elder Holland receives some of his inspiration and confirmations, many people call it Holland's tree. We also got to see much of the culture here and the architecture. It is so beautiful here.
It makes me proud to see that Neil is considering his Patriarchal Blessing. I can testify that my Patriarchal Blessing has blessed me in my life and has helped me make many difficult decisions in life. It will bless him when he has received an answer as to when he should get it and he will be guided in so many ways.
I know that Jesus loves me and He loves each of you. I know that our Heavenly Father knows each of us personally and that He is waiting to bless and help us when we are in need. I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet who was called to restore His gospel back on this Earth and I know that he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. I know that we are in some of the final days and that the world is being prepared to receive her King. His work truly is hastening and His children in those areas that are closed are being prepared as well. I can see this through the many missionaries that are being called. These are hard times and the adversary is picking up his pace in the destruction of men. However, through Christ we can overcome this  and be triumphant in these latter days. I know that what I am doing, is truly God's work and that we are called of God. I know that this is all possible because of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Because of Christ's sacrifice, all of this is made possible and we are able to become heirs of His kingdom and receive not only immortality, but eternal life and exaltation.
Ich liebe dich!!!

(Mom Note:  I really need to ask him to explain pictures since I have no idea what they were doing.  They look like they are having lots of fun though.  I am assuming the group shots are of his district.)