Monday, December 26, 2016

The past three days have been a glorious German blur of lights, food, singing, and conversation. And what is left to show for these three days? An entire drawer full of chocolate and German sweets.

Starting with Heiligabend (Christmas Eve):
We had mittagessen (lunch) with a woman in our ward Kim. She wasn't quite finished with the food when we arrived so we offered to help. She said she had a bet with a friend to see if she could cook for
a group of 5 (the Elders were dabei – with us) without any help. In the course of 20 minutes she shattered the entire glass bottle of olive oil, had to mop the floor, and the fire alarm went off because some residue in the pan caught on fire. We had a wonderful vegetarian meal (the meat didn't make it) and had Apfel (apple) Marzipan for dessert. After all was had we drove together to the Kirche (church) for a Weihnachtsandacht (Christmas night). (Basically, all the churches have a worship on the 24th)

We heard the story of Jesus, sang songs, and heard some words from the bishop. Later we rode home to the Bishop's home where the REAL fun was had. We had Raclette (look it up it's the best thing ever). Basically you grill your own meat on a mini grill on the table.  Then you have your own tiny pan and you put potato and vegetables and meat in it. Then put a slab of cheese on it and put it under the grill to let it cook/melt together. It's great for when you have guests over because you just talk and eat. After our meal, the Bishop said he had a surprise for Sister López. He brought out a SANTA PIÑATA! I wish I had taken a picture of her face. He had never had a piñata before, but wanted her to feel welcomed and at home so he got one from Amazon. We had a great time hitting it in their entryway while sister López sang the piñata song. They also made faux margaritas for us. We played puzzles and watched a Christmas family film and ate tiramisu.  It was a great night. 

Weihnachtstag 1 (Christmas Day)
We had church where we received bags full of candy and sweets and tiny presents. This ward loooooooves the missionaries. We had mittagessen bei (lunch with) the Familie Lempke. The meal consisted of pork and gravy, potatoes, and rotkohl (red cabbage). Then a huge piece of cake afterwards. They were nice and didn't make us finish our cake when we were full. Afterwards we SKYPED THE FAM! Woooo! And after that the whole district celebrated together and communed after saying goodbye to our families again. We *cough* I made French toast.

Weihnachtstag 2 (Christmas Day 2)
Today we all helped a family move and cleaned their whole house for them. It was fun because the Siebert family was dabei (there) and they have 2 kids our age who just got back from their missions so they were cool to hang out with. We had mittagessen (lunch) with them and hung out with Familie Siebert for our PDAY. They're so cool!

On a more serious note. This season has been amazing! I am so sad that I only get one Christmas season as a missionary in my whole life. The Spirit that is felt specifically around the time of our Savior's birth cannot be compared. We've been sharing our Christmas initiative Light the World, Der Welt ein Licht. My companion(s) and I have studied the word "light" and I'd like to share my favorite observation:

In the Book of Mormon the sign for the savior's birth was a full 24 hours of light. This is perfect because the light of the world was coming into the world.

3 Nephi 1:19 

"And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given."

In Exodus 10:23 there was 3 days of darkness and only the children of Israel had light in their homes. I'd like to observe that because of their faith these people ALREADY had light in their homes and in
themselves which allowed them to have light through their darkest days. "They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."

Light is a sign of life and warmth. We draw closer to it when we find it. We say "follow the light" when we're in a dark tunnel. Jesus Christ gives us light so that we can have it through our dark times. He gives us light so we can follow him. He gives us light so we can feel the warmth of the Spirit. He is the light and life of the world.

 I'm so grateful to have his name on my nametag every day and I'm so grateful I made a covenant to take upon his name. I'm grateful to celebrate the birth of our Great Redeemer and celebrate what all He means to me and for the world. I know that He is the Son of God and through him we can return to our Heavenly Father.

Ich wünsche euch ein frohe Weihnachten (I wish you a Merry Christmas)!
- Sister Luymes

Mannheim District eating something yummy again.

A Snowball Dream -- aka yummy, chocolaty goodness.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Skype on Christmas Day. She sounded so great and happy,
and said she hasn't had a bad thing to eat yet.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Meet Sister Lopez from Mexico City.
The first from Mexico to serve in Germany!!!
After a VERY accidental trip to Bonn (hi Sister Williams!) I finally made it to Frankfurt to drop off Sister Weiler and pick up my trainee.... SISTER LÓPEZ! She is not only from Mexico City but she is the VERY FIRST missionary from Mexico to ever serve in Germany. We're making history in Mannheim! 

Sister López took 2 years of German in university before her mission so she has pretty good German already. Her English is slightly better. We've decided to switch off every day between German and English because she needs to learn both. But hey! Hopefully I'll pick up some Spanish along the way! Con suerte  aprendo Español en el trayecto. Hoffentlich ich kann ein bisschen Spanisch lernen. 

Basically, picking up Sister Lopez, getting back to Mannheim, and getting her settled in seemed to take up the whole week somehow. We hit the streets her first night and got 2 potentials. The next day we had a finding activity and we got 3 potentials. Sister López is a little shy until you get to know her and then she's really loud and fun. This doesn't make it very easy for her to get up the courage for her to talk to people. But she's doing awesome! The Gemeinde (members) love her especially since she's NOT from America. Suddenly we had a bunch of people in our ward who speak Spanish and they all got to practice with her. Hopefully she had a good first impression of them. 

We had zone training this week as well! The Heidelberg zone consists of 8 companionships so it's REALLY small compared to the other zones. It’s fun because we actually get to know each other and can hang out on P-Days. 

God has definitely been merciful on us this week. Between Sister Weiler and I missing our Umstieg (transfer) and going to Bonn and showing up 1 1/2 hours late for the pairing meeting, Sister López and I missing our train back to Mannheim, and taking the wrong Bahn (train) almost every day. We haven't had to buy any extra tickets or gotten in trouble or gotten lost. Seriously I'm not sure how we got away without paying €264. However, I am SO grateful that he watches over us. Sometimes it feels a little overwhelming to be training and taking over an area I'm not super familiar with but I know He's got my back. It's going to be an interesting and adventurous transfer if it continues this way. 

This coming weekend will be amazing! Christmas is a 3-day event in Germany: Heilige Abend (Christmas Eve), 1 Weihnachtstag (Christmas Day), and 2 Weihnachtstag. We have a weekend full of eating appointments, service, and Skyping with the FAM! Wahoo!

Liebe Grüße und frohe Weihnachten (Love, greetings, and Merry Christmas)! 🌲 

- Sister Luymes 

Sister Adrienne Luymes
Germany Frankfurt Mission
Kirche Jesu Christi 
Corneliusstrasse 18

60325 Frankfurt, Germany 

Farewell to Sister Weiler - its been short but sweet

Mannheim District taking advantage of
the Winterfest market and goodies.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Adrienne's new companion fresh from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) -- Sister Lopez.
This picture was sent complimentary of the mission secretary who saw them off on the train to Mannheim. His comments were written in both english and spanish so we assume that Sister Lopez's family speaks spanish. We hope she also speaks english or these two are in big trouble trying to communicate with each other.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The obligatory Companionship Christmas Pic
This probably seems really early to have transfers already, but it was only a 5 week Versetzung (placement) and the next one (that starts today) is a 7 week one. Sister Weiler was transferred to Wetzlar. And the big news is....After a short 5 weeks in Mannheim I have been called to be a TRAINER!

Q: Do I know the area well enough to get around?
 A: Sort of...... good thing we have wifi.
Q: Do I know the investigators, weniger aktiv (less active), and ward well enough?
 A: uhhh I know the important people haha
Q: do I feel confident enough in German and my missionary capabilities?
 A: I'll definitely be relying on the Lord for help, but I feel
prepared and confident in German and how-to-missionary.

It was pretty funny how it all came about. I wasn't even in Mannheim when President Stoddard called me. I was in Heidelberg with Sister Clifford (my STL) on a split. We called him to get permission about something and he took us both completely by surprise! He called me to
be a trainer and released Sister Clifford as the Heidelberg Zone STL. We were both pretty shocked.

As for the rest of the week it was pretty good. Nothing too crazy happened. One of the Elder's investigators got baptized on Saturday! Kevin is so sweet and so cool. He found the church on his own and asked to meet with the missionaries. 2 months later he was baptized!

The same day as the baptism we had the ward's Weihnachtsfest (Christmas party). It was so cute! People performed songs and the kids performed a play. Then we ate a bunch of soup. The missionaries sang an "Amerikanischer Lied" (American song) Rudolf the red nose reindeer. Elder Ashton (from England) wasn't to happy to be grouped in with the Americans. It was a hit though! We also sang Weiß Weihnacht (White Christmas) with some women in the ward.

So the next 2 days will be cray cray. I go to Frankfurt tomorrow for a bunch of meetings and get paired with my Golden (brand new missionary). We'll stay in a hotel overnight, then have more meetings on Wednesday and head back to Mannheim.

Wish me good luck!
- Sister Luymes

Farewell to Sis Weiler - she doth protest!
Mannheim District Christmas Photo - trying to be cool and aloof!
Engelchen (little Angels) --we put up +80 of these things
for our service project.

Random cool looking home we found while dooring.

Monday, December 5, 2016

This pizza thing (I forgot the name) was
yummy but gave me garlic and onion
breath to last a lifetime
First off thanks for the birthday wishes and emails they made my day. :)

Between Tuesday and Sunday we prayed and even fasted for Manuela that she would have a good experience on Sunday. We both knew how important her first impression of the Gemeinde would be. It was fast and testimony meeting (basically open-mic night Mormon style). I just sat there as almost half the ward and even visitors bore the sweetest testimonies. All of them bore testimony about the Plan of Salvation, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the truthfulness of the church. Sascha told his conversion story about how he came to Germany not knowing any German. His first apartment he got was completely empty, but somebody had left a Croatian Book of Mormon. He read it 3 times and found the address to the church. He was baptized soon after. It was hands down the best testimony meeting I've ever been to. By the time it was Relief Society Manuela was participating and commenting and had made some friends even! GOD IS GOOD! He is SO good!

I got to serve all day on Wednesday. My only birthday wish was to give back.  So we visited a bunch of people in the Pflegeheim (nursing home) and we helped the ward make decorations for our Weihnachtsfest (Christmas fest). Elder Ashton (he's been out 4 weeks) even made a cheese cake (sort of). It was more like a smoothie on graham crackers.

Thursday was insanely awesome! I won't go into all of it because it would take too much time. However, after a miraculous day Sister Weiler and I were walking home and she said she wished that it didn't have to end. So I said it didn't and talked to a woman looking out on
the bridge. She ended up inviting us into her apartment where we had tea and muffins and taught the first lesson. Go Raja!

WINNER OF THE CHALLENGE: Sister Weiler's dad and my cousin Aaron Toone. The noodle letter language is Tamil. Of course the Book of Mormon is translated in Tamil. And yes there are missionaries that speak Tamil. We're trying to get in contact with them!

Speaking of translations, our Skype lesson with the Bulgarian missionaries went way better than I imagined! Diminitrova even said he'd get baptized when he got an answer! Even though we weren't the ones teaching him and don't speak Bulgarian, it was cool to feel the Spirit and see other missionaries teach. We have another appointment this week so things are looking good.
Skype with the Bulgarian Missionaries - Don't know their names.
I can't describe how cool it is to be serving in Germany right now. There's so many people from all over the world here. It's pretty sad to here about WHY they had to come to Germany, but it's pretty inspiring to see what people sacrifice for their family and beliefs. When I got my call I thought I'd be learning German so I could communicate with the German people. However, I've learned German so that I could speak to people from Germany AND all over the world.

Ich weiß dass Gott unser Himmlischer Vater ist. Er hat ein Plan für uns, selbst wenn unser Laben schwierig ist. Wir können zu ihm beten. Er liebt uns so sehr dass er sein Geliebter Sohn gegeben hat. Durch Jesus Christus und sein Sühnopfer, wir Friede und Freude in unser Leben haben können. Ich bin dankbar für mein Seit im Mannheim zu dienen. Ich bin dankbar für euch.

I know that God is our Heavenly Father. He has a plan for us, even if our burden is difficult. We can pray to him. He loves us so much that he gave his beloved son. Through Jesus Christ and His Atonement, we will make peace and joy in our own lives. I am grateful to serve my time in Mannheim. I am grateful to you.

Liebe Grüße
- Sister Luymes

Christmas Fest booth -- chocolate tools anyone?

Christmas Fest in Himmel
Dampfnudeln! Lecker-- steemed noodles(? or buns), delicious

Out dooring and found Jesus's house again.
He wasn't home.