Thursday, June 29, 2017

German American Friendship Festival on the military base.
Hello! Today we went to a Deutsch-Amerikanisches Freundshaftschaftsfest (German-American Friendship festival). It was my first time on the military base. It rained SO HARD. It rained through my umbrella! But then like typical German weather it stopped as fast as it came and it warmed up leaving everything and everyone drenched. It was fun. 

Last Saturday we had an Umzug (a move) for the Martin family. I LOVE this family. They're from Spain and they are all hilarious. The best part of the move was getting the entire kitchen down the stairs. Their stair case is super weird and super long and windy so it was interesting trying to get everything to fit. The funny thing about Germany is you take EVERYTHING out of your apartment when you move. You don't just keep the drawers and the sink in the kitchen you take it all with you and you have to build your own kitchen. We had a lot of people there so it went by really quickly. 

On Sunday Bright got the priesthood! He going to be passing the sacrament this Sunday so we're excited and he's excited. We even took him to a lesson to help us teach! It's been so much fun to see his testimony grow. He has so much faith and honestly, he's a better example than I am! It's also been really cool to see so much of his conversion process. We found him, taught him, he got baptized, has received the priesthood, and now is helping us find and teach others. Bright is a miracle. He even brought a cool friend from Kaiserslautern (woo woo) to our last appointment. 

Dorothy, we are not in Kansas any more.
We got to teach Salman finally! He has so many questions it's fantastic. He really wants to know who Jesus Christ is and he's willing to experiment on God's word. He's extremely optimistic and loves coming to church. He's making a lot of friends with the ward members too so that's great. 

We got to teach Jorge! He is Lorena's husband. Their family is SOOOO cute. Jorge works a ton and Lorena wanted to learn about the gospel so she asked us to just start teaching her. We met with her a lot this week. We're helping her learn German. She needs a lot of love and support right now, she only speaks Spanish so Sister Kryzanski and I are pretty serious about learning Spanish now too. Aber Deutsch macht es ein bisschen schwer (but German makes it a bit difficult).

This week I studied a lot about receiving answers to prayers and recognizing the Spirit. I wrote down some questions that I wanted to find answers to; some for me personally and others for investigators. After studying about how to receive and recognize answers I paid careful attention throughout the week for my answers, specifically HOW they came. At the end of the week there were easily 10 different ways I had received my answers. Some were bigger than others. I wrote down my questions and then next to each I wrote down what the answer was and how I received it. James 1:5 is the theme scripture of this week: "If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God; who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not."

I encourage you to keep a journal of experiences you've had of God answering your prayers, or how you felt when you received a prompting from the Spirit or any kind of experience similar to that. It builds our testimonies because it was our personal experience written down in our own hand writing. When doubt comes you'll be able to read through your experiences and remember how merciful God is. 

Freundlichen Grüße,
Sister Luymes 
Panaramic view of the square in Wiesbaden (?)

Cool rooftops.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our investigator, Salmon takes a selfie
Well it happened again. I had a nice email written out and it got deleted. I'll just write out some bullet points from this week. 
  • it been super hot lately, currently it's lightening and very humid but it hasn't rained yet.
  • We set a baptismal date for July 22 for our investigator Elizabeth 
  • When Elizabeth and her three children came to church, they got to meet Sister Gill and her children. Both families come from Pakistan. It was the most amazing Pakistani collision. They were speaking in Urdu and wearing their traditional dresses. It was AWESOME!
  • Sunday we had Father's Day lunch with Elder and Sister Snapp. They are wonderful. 
  • Sunday evening to Tuesday were pretty blegh. Sister K is sick and it been awful weather. 
  • Yesterday we got to meet with Sister Özdemir and it went really well. 
  • We over did it on the member appointments because we got home late pretty much everyday. We have awesome members. 
  • Yesterday we had our last interview with Präsident Stoddard. It was also Sister K's leavers interview. We were in Friedrichsdorf for 4 1/2 hours because they were waaaaaay behind on interviews. We got home at 11 pm last night. 
  • Präsident Stoddard is amazing and I'm really sad to see him go. He's such a loving person. Präsident Boyer comes on June 30th
  • Our friend Salman from German class came to church and we found out we can actually teach him because he (very surprisingly) meets the requirements to be a refugee and be taught! 
I have a testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the church of our Savior and Redeemer here on this Earth. I know that Jesus Christ leads His church through a living day Prophet and He will continue to do so until He returns again. 

Freundlichen Grüße,
Sister Luymes 
Pakistani Food

Homemade Pizza

who can resist a tire swing?

Drink stalk with buckling = bendy straw

This is the church the SLC temple is rumored to be patterned after

Sis K is getting trunky to go home

District outing for ....Pizza!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Personal side note to mom...

We had an interesting experience while finding in Bierstadt (yes a place is called beer-city here). The first man we talked to asked us if we recognized him. We had never seen him ever before so we said no of course. He then announces " I AM HE!" We obviously aren't getting it so he said "I'm JESUS." He explained that he loves to write scriptures on the advertisements here in Wiesbaden so therefore he's Jesus. So that explains why on literally ALL advertising here there are scriptures scribbled on it. So there we go we found Jesus.

The next person was a woman who came up to us and said "OH YOU ARE MY SISTERS!" And grabbed us and pulled her into a huge hug. She was pretty tall and really strong so there was no kind of resistance. She then starts going on about how she doesn't eat pig and believes only in the Torah and believes in Jesus too, but not the New Testament. She was proud that she was not part of any church at all. The funny part was she was very animated and asked us "and why should we not eat pig?" And her little boy starts jumping up and down yelling "unrein unrein unrein!" (Impure impure impure). It was funny because she was so animated about pig meat and she had her little side kick next to her egging her on. The next question was "and what do the 5 husbands of the Samaritan woman represent?" (Referring to the one Jesus met at the well) and the side kick yells "I KNOW!" And the woman shhhed him and then he screams "FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES!" And starts dancing around screaming that again. I was pretty scared because she started dancing and getting close to my face and yelling five Books of Moses too. I just didn't know how to react and I was trying not to laugh. This might have been a "had to be there" moment, but just imagine the most ridiculous version of what I described and that should be accurate enough.

Today's a holiday again so we're going hiking!
Meet our investigator, Liliana.
This week were BUSY.  The poor elders were trying to organize a finding activity for the whole district and we just couldn't make it because we had too much going on. For like 3 days in a row we would get home late, I'd eat get ready for bed, my head would hit the pillow, I'd close my eyes, hear the alarm go off, open my eyes, get up and go again. It's a good thing PDAY came, we needed a break in our hectic schedule.

Speaking of our schedule we're about to break our record for food appointments in a row! Sister Kryzanski and I felt like we needed to get to know some of the other members in our ward so we made a goal
last Sunday.  Every person we talked to -even just small talk- we would ask when we could come over in the next 2 weeks. It totally worked because we have a week straight of food appointments! This last Tuesday to the next Monday we have a food appointment at least once a day. What I love about our ward is it's so international that we get a really good variety of food too. Tuesday, we had classic German Schnitzel, last night we had some Ghanaian  food, tonight we'll have Pakistani food.

Some high lights of this week were Bright (of course), our new investigator Lilly, and our new friends Iman und Shamon.

We got to teach Bright the gospel of Jesus Christ with Ben (exchange student from Iowa). It was so much fun because we were acting like old friends. Bright has been growing so much and has learned so much! Ben 
was a perfect and I was blown away at how well he was teaching. He's turning in his mission papers soon he's going to be an awesome missionary. Bright will also be receiving the Priesthood on Sunday which we're really excited about!

Lilly we found a couple weeks ago and we were able to teach her. Man, I wish I had the Bible memorized. She had a lot of awesome questions about what we believed. However, she started the lesson off by saying she wanted to distance herself from us. We asked if we could teach her what we believe and she agreed (thank goodness). What's interesting is she's a member of a church, but she doesn't agree with most of its doctrines. She's very spiritual and wants to know the truth, but she's very skeptical (she even admitted it). We taught her and the lesson took 2 hours because we would explain one small point and she would have a million questions and wanted 3 scriptures to back it up. It was probably the most meticulous first lesson I've ever taught. Especially as we talked more about the restoration she wasn't very open to the idea of modern day prophets. The cool thing was we were both following the Spirit and were able to answer most of her questions AND come up with a solid amount of scriptures for everything. She agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon so it worked!

Iman and Shamon are two Pakistani men who came to our German class on Tuesday. We have 3 students now so improvement! Afterwards they asked us who was in charge of this "program" and and we thought they wanted to complain to our "boss" because we were pretty disorganized. We told them that we were the ones in charge and they almost started crying because they were so grateful! It was a really sweet moment. We ended up giving them a church tour and they promised to come to church on Sunday. They're adorable and so nice!

Because of Lilly Sister K and I have been having AWESOME personal and companion studies. We wrote down her questions and we've been finding answers! Everyday I'm so grateful for modern revelation and personal revelation. We can all ask God our questions and he'll lead us to our answers.

Herzlichen Grüßen,
Sister Luymes
Wiesbaden market

We "doored" this place and when no one answered
we went in and it turned out to be a wood
room perhaps for storage with trash cans.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Last picture with President and Sister Stoddard
before they go home and I get a new President.
Umm -- I guess I'm taller than they are.

This week was a blur and I can't honestly remember what notable things happened. Sorry! I didn't even take very many pictures so I can't even make up for my lameness.

I'll just talk about missionary life in Germany. Our apartment is on the 5th floor and our neighbor across the street is a professional pianist. He plays in the evening time most nights and when the weather is warm enough we both open our windows and we can enjoy hearing him practice. It's absolutely wonderful. I love to sit on the windowsill with my scriptures and or ice cream and just relax.

In Wiesbaden the people are really nice (compared to my last area). It's a good sized city - not too big, not too small - and there are 6 missionaries here (2 Sisters, 2 Deutsch Elders, 2 American Military Elders). We see each other mostly only at church and meetings or when we plan to meet up. There are a lot of parks here so we go walk around some beautiful areas and talk to people. At our last Zone Conference the Europe area Presidency came out with a list of the most successful contacting techniques. Street contacting has led to the most baptisms in Europe. Dooring and member work are near the bottom of the list. As a missionary in a new area one of the first things you try to do is basically memorize the transportation system. In Kaiserslautern we only had busses and trains; in Mannheim we had busses, Strassenbahn (trams), and trains; in Wiesbaden we only have busses and trains; and in Frankfurt they have busses, Strassenbahn, underground bahns, S-bahns (rapid rail), and trains. Basically the bigger the city the more complex the system. It's fun :)

As for teaching we use English often and of course German. However, we use a wide variety of translators. In person, over phone, Skype, and when desperate Google Translate. On my iPad I have the Book of Mormon downloaded in all the available languages and if available a video in that language. People really react when you have something in their language and you attempt to communicate with them even if there's a language barrier. It's pretty cool what the Spirit can communicate without being able to communicate very much.
Friedrichsdorf and Frankfurt Districts
Each ward I have served in have all been between 50-70 active members and have had varying desires to help with missionary work. Wiesbaden is hands-down the most willing and able of the three I've been in. The members ask us when we have appointments so they can come teach with us. It seriously helps SO much just to know that someone is willing to come with the missionaries. Even just offering us a ride to go by people or less active members who live far away makes our day. Especially here because 75% of my area consists of tiny, tiny Dorfs (towns) that take 3 hours with train to get to. I haven't even been to 70% of my area because it's just impossible without a car. Some areas have cars and some don't. Getting a driver’s license is extremely difficult to get if you're from California so I don't have one.

My mission President AND my companion are leaving this transfer so there's been a lot of good byes already. We had a cool Q&A session with President and Sister Stoddard. They talked all about change and how change is mostly good and helps us grow and learn. One of my favorite quotes from them was this: "the world tells us to do something extraordinary, but the Lord invites us to become something extraordinary." I feel like I've learned a lot about the difference between doing missionary work and becoming a missionary and the Lord's servant.  Unsurprisingly, the latter requires a lot of change and repentance which is never easy, but always worth it.

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Luymes
St. Bartholomaus Catholic Church in Frankfurt

Random street in Frankfurt with a "peacock" mural
for my mom. (mom says its a phoenix not a peacock)

Romer Square - Frankfurt

Respect your Elders Soap --
only if the Elders bathe with it of course.

Sister Krysanski says she's hungry!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bright's baptism with Bro Jens Tiebing (our ward mission leader)

Bright is baptized! He was so excited and so prepared! We've had a heck of a time the past two weeks trying to teach him and getting him prepared, but he basically came prepared all by himself. Last Thursday was a mission dream come true. We taught our golden investigator in a member's home and then we all ate a delicious German meal. Best thing that could ever happen on my year mark.

Bright was shining in white and Jens Tiebing baptized him. Then on Sunday Bruder Van der Put confirmed him and did it in English so Bright could even understand. It was one of the most beautiful confirmation blessings I'd ever heard. Basically all of Saturday evening and Sunday I couldn't stop smiling because I was so happy. I was so impressed with how the ward took care of him and didn't need extra prodding to talk to him and introduce themselves.  I wish you could all meet Bright because he's basically the coolest person ever.

On Tuesday we went finding and had a really awesome day and found a lot of new people with some awesome potential. At the end of the day we were feeling SUPER blessed. We were tired, exhausted, my feet hurt really bad, and we were starving. Trotzdem incredibly happy. Then our dear friend Sister Lourido called us up and said that a friend of hers started talking about this church they had started going to in Ecuador right before they had moved to Germany. It ended up being our church! And they'd even met with sister missionaries while they were in Spain for a couple weeks! She set an appointment up for us for yesterday.

We met with them and were able to help teach the mom and their daughter German. It was a little interesting because they only speak Spanish.  SIster lourido speaks Spanish and helped during the tutoring part, but then she she left the room to distract the kids while we (attempted) to teach her about the Book of Mormon in Spanish........................ it went better than I expected. Sister K had taken one year of Spanish and couldn't understand anything she was saying. I took 3 years of Spanish and could understand surprisingly well. However, speaking was the real hard part. German was so easy to speak, but if I thought really hard I could remember the Spanish words I used to know. We used the Book of Mormon a lot to clarify what I was trying to say and I tried (desperately) to bear my testimony in Spanish. She started crying and I could feel the Spirit.... so I think it worked. OR I offended her horribly mal schauen. The family will be coming to church on Sunday. JAWOHL!

Miracles are real. No doubt about it. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve what the Lord has blessed me with.

I've made a goal to read the Book of Mormon front to back again so I've been reading in 1 Nephi. In chapter 15 Nephi had just finished having this awesome experience where the Lord basically answers all of his questions. Afterwards, Nephi's older brothers are giving him a hard time because they still have the same questions and don't understand how Nephi knows the answers. I like this part because then Nephi gets sassy with them he says: "And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?" He then explains to his brothers that he had simply prayed and ASKED God his questions. And God answered. His brothers get pretty humble after that. This passage really stuck out to me this week because I feel like people ask the same questions over and over again and when we give them an answer they give us a hard time. Then when I ask them if they've ever asked God, their answer is always no. God loves it when we sincerely ask Him questions. He hears us and He will answer our prayers when we are obedient to His commandments and in His timing. (James 1:5-6)

Liebe Grüße
Sister Luymes

Niedernhausen -- The Center of the World!!!