So, my first area is in Schwenningen, Deutschland. We are in the Black Forest, so it is super beautiful. I will start from the beginning.
Wednesday morning we woke up at 3:45 in the morning. It was super early. We got prepared for the day and then headed off to the Manchester airport. We got there and then lost two sisters. We found them 3 minutes later so that was good. We then had luggage problems. Tons of missionaries had overweight bags and the airport people took their carry-ons and made them pay to ship it. Crazy! So we then headed to the security line. It was massive. There were at least 200 people there. Luckily, we somehow got into the fast track lane and got up to security pretty fast. Then the security people were having problems. Some missionaries needed to get checked and a ton of missionaries bags needed to be checked. We were running low on time for our plane, so we almost had to run to the gate. We got on and everything else went smoothly.
Well, everything went smoothly until we got to customs in the München airport. They pretty much detained us for two hours before President Kohler could come down and solve the problem. They interrogated him and then let us all go. For some reason, they thought our group of 16 was just traveling around the Alpine countries for two years. It was way weird. So then we went through customs and my bag was the only one not on the baggage claim. It was a little crazy, but they started up the roller thing and my bag came out. All is well, right?
Yes, so we went and met some other missionaries and then got told we were going finding on a train. It was just a tad scary. We went to the train and just started talking to people. It was just small chit chat and then they had to go, so not much teaching. Well, on the second train, I paired up with Elder Hunter because he had no Book of Mormon. So we sat next to some guy and just said Hallo, guten tag. He literally got up and went to the other side of the train and started to look at us like we were freaks from another planet. And the next guy started yelling at us at how we didn't believe in the Bible. And why we couldn't speak Deutsch, yet we were in Deutschland.
We left and then went to the mission home. That night we had some training and then went and had dinner with the Kohler family. They are super awesome. They have a son who is 17 and a daughter who is 14. I don't remember what we had for dinner but it was good haha. So we then sat in a big circle and learned who would train us and where we would be trained. Elder Annen was the only missionary being trained in Switzerland. We have 5 missionaries serving in Austria and then 10 serving in Deutschland. I was the only missionary to see my companion that night since he was in the office. We then had an amazing testimony meeting. It was extremely cool to see how much everyone has grown since the first day we were in the MTC. We have some amazing new missionaries. The next day we had more training and then went to the train station. It was really sad seeing everyone who I got extremely close to leave, but I do rejoice in the fact that we were going to do amazing things in the world. So it also brought a smile to my face thinking about that. Well, it was then our turn to leave at 2:15. I traveled with four other goldens so that was nice. I got to see them one last time and talk with them. We then got off at our our stop and started to take bags off. It turns out we lost three bags. It was sad because one of the goldens lost their bags. Man, those two days the adversary was really working on us. The adversary was really trying to keep us out of Deutschland and keep from having a Christlike attitude. However, we prevailed and made it!
So, I said bye to the final missionaries and it was just myself and Elder Cavin. Man, he is super awesome. He bought me a Döner. It was really good. So, everyone told me that I was super lucky to be getting Elder Cavin because he is such a hard working missionary.
Well, now I can say that I was born in Schwenningen (another missionary term). So these past couple of days have been crazy insane. My companion is the District leader so he is quite busy. We stayed in the apartment a lot on Friday. I had to watch some video because we are in a car area. We also had to do weekly planning. However, we did have a lesson. It was in English so that was pretty cool. On Saturday, we traveled a bunch. We first helped a family move and then went to the District Leader meeting in Singen. We took a train there and had the meeting there. So, President Packer's grand daughter is actually one of the Sister trainer leaders in our zone. So that is way cool. So something that stuck out to me was something she said after the meeting. Elder Cavin asked her if he could use their lesson on teaching being effective in the district meeting. She said something like this. I appreciate that you asked me, but it doesn't really matter. Knowledge is knowledge, and knowledge is from God. It was definitely eye opening. I mean that is the whole reason we are missionaries. Because we have the knowledge of the restored gospel and want to share it with every one of God's children.
After the meeting, it turns out the train we needed didn't actually run that day so we were an hour late to a baptismal interview which was in Bad Säckingen. It was fine because the Elders just switched around their lesson and the interview. So we finished and headed to the train station and again it turns out our train didn't run that day as well. So, Elder Cavin bought myself and him Döners. We then headed out to Singen. We waited and then found out our train ran 40 minutes later on Saturday. So we went out finding. Normally we don't find outside of our area but we weren't going to waste our time. So, we went out and started talking to some guy. It was super cool. I didn't say much but I understood almost everything that was being said. Way cool. We called up the Zone leaders and gave them this guy's number and told them we were going to be late. We ended up getting home at 10:10. That is and hour and ten minutes late! It wasn't a problem though because neither of us knew the train times.
On Sunday we went to my first church meeting in Deutschland. I didn't understand much in Priesthood and then we planned JD's baptismal service. As it turns out, I will being giving the Holy Ghost... I'm kind of nervous, but it will be a super cool experience. We then had Sacrament meeting and I gave my testimony. I felt like my Deutsch was super bad but everyone told me it was really really good for a missionary who just got on the mission. That was super comforting. Oh and one of the little boys made me a little key chain made out of that plastic string stuff. How cool! So we went home, ate lunch and then started our fast. Saturday was a bit hectic so we forgot to start it, so I am actually still fasting right now. Anyway, we went with the other Elders to a lesson and it was pretty cool. I understood a couple different things. She was talking about cirrhosis in the Liver and we had no idea what she was talking about. she was like infection, disease. She then said the word again, and I was like, Oh! Cirrhosis! It was cool to see how the Lord is helping me understand the language. So then we continued weekly planning yesterday and still didn't get finished. There is just so much to do! Anyway, now it is today haha.
Other cool news, I will get to go on exchanges 7 times this transfer, since Elder Cavin is the District Leader, with every Elder in the district as well as one of the zone leaders.I will get to do exchanges in Schaffhausen Switzerland. So I will have served in Switzerland for two days. Switzerland actually lets Americans in the countries for three months which is two transfers. So President Kohler said he will probably start sending Americans over there for two transfers. Way cool. And our mission is actually getting iPads soon. So, I wonder how that will work out.
So my companion is amazing. He works super hard and really takes care of me being a golden and stuff. Yeah, he is from Scotland and actually played proffesional Fußball before he came out. Yeah, he is super cool.
Oh, and the Elders we share an apartment with are Elder Ridd and Elder Wilkens. So you actually spoke to Elder Ridd's mom. Cool!
We actually haven't been fed by the members yet, but on Wednesday we will.
I got the two packages from you. The Gift of Tongues bag was clever. Haha, it gave me a giggle.
So, sorry my pictures are bad because we have been super busy...
Anyway, I am excited to hear about Youth Conference. It sounded fun from your description.
I bet Brother Housel will just be amazing. I will be excited to hear how that goes in December.
Well, I guess the only thing I am struggling with is not seeing all the missionaries from the MTC. They were just so amazing and now I am not with them. I just can't wait to see them further along in my mission. But, I know they are off doing amazing things in this mission so I don't have to be too sad and worried.
So, one thing that has been emphasized immensely this week is that we need to let ourselves change. We cannot expect Jesus Christ to change our desires and actions. We need to put in our own effort. We need to have the desire to change. We also need to be open to how the Lord will change us. We cannot say we want to change but then harden our hearts to what the Lord has for us. We need to seek out our answer through the scriptures, prayer, and living the Christlike attributes. That is when we will begin to see the change. I also learned that there is no such thing as staying still in our progression towards eternal life. We can move forward slowly or fast but we will be making progression. However, we cannot think that we will stay still with the same testimony and same desires if we stop enduring or changing ourselves to be like Christ. Once we stop our progression forward, we begin to digress into a state of apostasy even faster then how we were progressing. We can never stop, we must continually move forward with faith.
Ich weiß dass das Buch Mormon wahr ist. Ich weiß dass Joseph Smith einen Prophet war. Ich weiß dass Jesus Christus und Himmlische Vater uns lieben. Ich weiß dass mein Erlöser lebt. Ich fühle den Heiligen Geist jede tag. Ich liebe das Evangelium. Ich liebe euch! Chow!