Monday, January 30, 2017

TRANSFERS: we're staying together. No surprise there.  I'll finish training Sister López.
CHANGES: Today is my last PDAY on a Monday. Starting next week my PDAY will be on THURSDAY. I'm not sure who decided to change that and I'm not too happy about it either. Mal schauen (take a look).

You also may have heard we have a new schedule. Especially on PDAY, we only have 30 minutes of study instead of 3 hours. I'm quite happy with the change, it allows us to exercise our agency to choose when we eat and do studies. We also have a major reduction to our key indicators. They want us to really focus on getting new investigators and getting them to church.

Other than those changes this week was a week of growth. Sister López was having a lot of personal doubts. There are of course the usual doubts that all missionaries have and especially new missionaries. However, this was waaaaay more than usual. The cool thing about it was being able to see the Lord help her. There were many times where he used me, other missionaries, members, and her scripture study to answer her prayers and mine. There were a couple of occasions where I didn't know what I could or should do to help her. Without fail, someone or something would come along and address her need and give incredible insight. Our companionship was strengthened and we learned how to really trust each other and the Lord.

One morning specifically I was feeling frustrated with myself, (I'll be honest) with Sister López, and with the fact that we had tried so hard to get our investigators to church and none of them had come. We were on the Bahn and I opened my iPad to one of my favorite general conference talks "The Master Healer" by Carole M. Stephens. I started reading where she quotes 2 Nephi 31: " have not come thus far..." immediately I had to stop because I was starting to cry. I felt so strongly that Heavenly Father was trying to tell me that he
had not brought me this far for nothing. He didn't bring me this far so that I could give up and turn around now. He didn't give me the experiences I've had without a reason. He didn't bring us to his children, even if it is only to their doorstep or only a first lesson, without a purpose. I continued to read:" Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." Again I had to stop reading because I was crying.

So we didn't baptize anyone this week, we didn't set a baptismal date, we were only able to teach 1 lesson this week. But I was filled with joy. I was joyful because I had become closer to my savior and so had my companion. We're starting the new transfer with renewed purpose and a better understanding about how we can bring others closer to Christ.

 Liebe Grüße
- Sister Luymes

Dinner at Elder Warr's favorite place -- Currywood.
It was the best burger I've had in Germany.

Treating Sis Lopez to the pleasures of German
ice Cream for the first time (in -4 weather).

Germans love dogs as much as I do.
(Beware, the little dog will bite)

Monday, January 23, 2017

We had some awesome stuff happen this week, but the absolute BEST part of this week was when someone called the police on us! Yes! I love it when people do that! (All sarcasm intended) 

We were in Weinheim trying to contact some people our Bischof (Bishop) had given us. We walked down a street and a woman drove by us. We stopped on the corner to look at the map to choose where we wanted to go finding. I looked up from the iPad and I saw the same woman in her car and she was taking pictures of us! We both felt really weird so I waved at her to let her know that we see her. She dropped her camera in her lap and drove off quickly. 

We only had about 30 minutes until we had to leave so we went dooring for 25 minutes. When we were waiting for the light to cross the street the police pulled up next to us and got out. We both looked at each other and said "you've got to be kidding." They came up to us and asked us if we had been on a Waldstraße (Forest Rd) about 30 minutes ago. I said probably. Basically, since Weinheim is such a nice area they get a lot of break-ins. They said someone called and was afraid we were trying to break into their neighbor's house. They asked for our Ausweisen (basically our permission to proselytize in Germany). The police woman took the Ausweisen and called someone to tell them that it was ok and they didn't need back up. We talked to the police man for a few minutes and he mostly asked if we were angemeldet (registered), where we lived, and how long we planned on staying in Weinheim. Just then our bahn (train) left without us. OH WELL! 

They let us go with no trouble at all. I was just amazed that I knew enough German to calmly talk to the Polizei. Couldn't do that 4 months ago!

Other than that adventure we went to Heppenheim today and hiked up to a castle. Since people don't have gardens by their house here, we basically climbed up stairs through the mountain side in between people's Gärten. It was fun, but unfortunately it was cloudy again! 

We had zone training this week and I got Christmas/birthday packages so that was cool. It was also very spiritual. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and how it, combined with the Spirit, is our biggest tool of conversion. 

I cannot tell you how much I love this book. The more I've read it and the more I've studied it, the more I am able to understand God's love for his children. It has explained the plan of happiness to me, it has helped me when I was depressed and ready to turn back, and it has answered some of my deepest questions. The great thing about it is that no one has to take my word for it. The promise in Moroni 10:3-5 allows people to prepare themselves (of course we will be here if they want help) and it makes them ACT on their own faith. We believe that people can receive personal revelation from Heavenly Father. When you want an answer (zum Beispiel [for example] is the Book of Mormon true?) and are humble enough and willing to act on your answer, God will answer your prayers. 

Ich weiß dass das Buch Mormon Heiligen Schrift ist. Ich bin so dankbar für mein Gelegenheit es auszugeben und helfen andere es zu verstehen. Ich habe durch persönlich Erfahrung gefunden dass es wahr ist. (I know that the Book of Mormon is Holy Scripture. I am so grateful for my opportunity to spend it and help others understand it. I have found through personal experience that it is true.)

Liebe Grüße! Schöne Woche!
- Sister Luymes 

P.S. So Gülserin is supposed to be baptized this week, but she got really sick and we didn't feel that she was ready so we postponed it until February 11. She's still excited though 
Gulserin (to my right) and her cousins

Cloudy day on Heppenheim looking down from the castle.

Goofing with my homie "S.Lo"

Obligatory District photo from Heppenheim castle.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hello Menschenkindern!

Thank you for all your prayers! I very distinctly felt your love and support this week. It means so much to me. I can't express how much gratitude I have for such amazing friends and family.

We had a mind-blowing miracle this week. Seriously on Friday I had trouble falling asleep because I was just in awe.

Julia was a potential we found 5 weeks ago, she hadn't been responding to our texts or calls until out of the blue she texted us on Monday apologizing for not answering us. She told us right then that her parents didn't understand why she was so interested in our church and didn't really like the idea of her meeting with us. We made a 5-min appointment on Friday. Just enough to get our foot in the door. We ended up talking to her for over an hour!

She got to know the church through a YouTube channel of a Mormon family. She loved it so much that she started watching mission call openings. She became so curious that she started researching the church on the church websites. She finally met some members while she was traveling in America. She told us "they looked so happy and I kept asking myself 'what do they have that I don't that makes them so happy?'" We asked her if she'd ever seen missionaries before. She said she'd always seen elders and when she saw the sisters on the bus (Sister Weiler and Sister Krysanski) she thought it was so cool. She explained that she didn't plan on talking to them, but something made her talk to them. She said "it was like my mouth had a mind of its own and before I knew it I was talking to them!"

She toured the Freiburg temple and absolutely LOVED it. She has read part of the Book of Mormon from the local library until she had to stop when someone else checked it out. We taught her the restoration and she knew almost all of it pretty in depth. She had even watched part of last general conference and said Präsident Uchtdorf was her favorite.

She ended up taking out a sheet of paper with notes and questions (I kid you not) that she had been preparing for over a YEAR! After we answered her questions and gave her a Book of Mormon we asked if we could meet again soon. She said she lives in Mannheim only on the weekends and lives at her Uni on the weekdays. She also has a part time job on the weekend and could only meet with us when she didn't have work. However, the biggest problem is that her parents wouldn't support her if she got baptized. She said they're very closed minded and she's tried explaining our beliefs to them, but they don't listen.

Even if I don't get to see her baptism, I will be forever grateful to God for letting me and Sister López be the very first missionaries to teach her. It was a testament to me that Heavenly Father really prepares people to hear and accept his gospel. He has been working on Julia for about 6 years and she's just now starting to meet with the missionaries.

Think about the people you talk to and work with every day. Family, friends, coworkers, media. Who are you influencing? Are you influencing them to do good and be their best? You don't have to start a YouTube channel to do that. Saying kind words and supporting each other is a great way to start!

Love you all!

Sister Luymes

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mannheim Wasserturn (water tower)

Well it was a week. We had three investigators Tschüß (drop/ say goodbye) us this week. We also had an interesting text conversation where a weird dude tried asking my old companion to marry him. Yeah..... it was an interesting week. However, Gülserin is still our shining star! ️ We've begun to plan her baptism with her already. She's super excited about the 28th and asks us if we think she's still on track.

Basically Diminitrova and Frau Neydenov (they both happen to be Bulgarian) just said they didn't have interest in meeting us again. Frau Neydenov even gave us back her Book of Mormon. And then the real
heart breaker happened when Manuelle texted us out of the blue and said she had too many "persönlich Schwierigkeiten" (personal problems) and wasn't going to have time to meet with us again. SAD!

It's was definitely rough the first couple days afterwards. However, I've been able to have peace. I've been feeling like we've been needing to use the members a lot more to help with our finding efforts. We've set up a lot more member appointments than usual so that we can start working with them. I know God has a plan for this area and it's worth it for us to go through a couple of frustrating days or even weeks so that His plan is able to be revealed to us.

I would say the biggest thing I've learned this week is that trials are what God uses to perfect us.
Hebrews 11:40 "God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect."  

It's ok though! I've counted my blessings and there are still more of them than trials.

A small miracle was that right after Manuelle's text Sister Tarbot (they were my senior missionary couple in Kaiserslautern they're basically my grandparents) called us and I was able to talk to her. Even though it was for a cleaning check, she was able to help us feel a lot better after we told what had just happened. We also got to see them on Saturday when they came to check our apartment. I'd never been so grateful for a cleaning check!

Love you all!
- Sister Luymes
Sis Lopez -- my flawless and most excellent companion

Monday, January 2, 2017

Heidelberg City and Castle in the snow.
This week was supposed to be super not busy and we thought we wouldn't be doing anything but finding all day long. Turns out we were wrong! We still did a lot of finding, but we ended up having quite a few appointments AND some awesome success during our finding.

Poor sister López hasn't seen any of the good parts of our area because we keep needing to go back to Schönau like 10 times this week. Seriously we were there every day! However, apparently, we needed to go
there because we found 5 new potentials and 2 new investigators. The first is named Jutta (pronounced Utah). We doored into her and she was pretty prompt at saying "kein Interesse" and cloying the door. We finished the apartment complex and started walking away. She started knocking on the window and waving for us to come back. She let us in and told us her whole life story and we were able to teach the plan of salvation to her. She started crying during the prayer afterwards and called us angels. She made us promise we would come back next week! She's so amazing and so prepared to receive the restored gospel!

The second is another Bulgarian family so we'll be skyping the Bulgarian Elders again. They were cool because at first they asked for a Türkisch Book of Mormon, but when we went back the daughter said they actually speak Bulgarian. We just happened to have one with us because of another Bulgarian potentia
l we went by who ended up turning it down. So, that was cool!

New Years was crazy! Unfortunately, we had a bad view from our apartment of all the fireworks, but it sounded like war outside. We were teaching Gülserin the morning of New Year's Eve and her family had just bought a bunch fireworks. They kept passing these HUGE packages of fireworks through the window. This went on for 20 minutes! They had a huge car load full of fireworks. When we were walking to church the next day there was debris all over the place and burnt marks where people had lit them.

Also! It snowed! Yesterday it snowed a little but today it snowed all day long. We went to Heidelberg Schloss today and it was GORGEOUS! Look at the pictures 😊

We've been watching the face 2 face sessions while we eat and my favorite scripture of the week is something that Elder Holland quoted:

Moroni 10:32-33
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Love you all and gute neues Jahr (Happy New Year)!
- Sister Luymes
Heidelberg City and Castle in the snow pics

Mannheim District