Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Billy May's Ghost

This past week was great and I was really really really happy to see and talk to you on skype. Only six months to go, then we can skype again! 

Aaaanyhow, we went to the Ward Mission Leader's house for Christmas dinner and it was divine. Their children are the sweetest and I had so much fun! The WML works for McCain, and so he gave us a bunch of coupons to get free stuff. Also, the place I bought my coat and boots at gave me a 20 dollar gift card, so I bought a shirt for free! Woohoo! Life of a missionary, you always have to budget and look out for free stuff. But it's great and I have learned to appreciate what I already have so much more.

This week it was below -40 again and it snowed A LOT. So we drove around with our snow shovel and just helped a bunch of people by shoveling their snow for them. One family hadn't shoveled their snow in quite a while, so it was so dense and icy underneath, that it was pretty much impossible to get rid of...not even the Elders were able to clear their pathway...and then along comes the crazy German. I got rid of ALL the ice and Sister Day and Sister McPhee were able to shovel it away. It was fun. Buuuut the next day my knee was really swollen and stiff and my shoulders hurt like crazy. I'm fine now, but those two days were really rough.

Even though this week was the coldest I've experienced so far, we did have one day where it warmed up to a toasty 0 degrees! It was soooo nice! We were seriously considering not wearing jackets, but then our brains started working again and we bundled up before leaving the apartment. Yesterday it was absolutely freezing again. It was so bad that we were told not to go outside for too long. We walked from the car to the church (about twenty steps) and my shoes froze. I wasn't wearing my boots because of church, but I might wear them next Sunday. Also, I breathed on my hair and it froze. So I couldn't touch it until it defrosted, because I didn't want it to break off. We had originally planned to go looking for this one former investigator, but we had to cancel that. Instead we dropped off some chicken noodle soup at the house of another investigator, because her daughter was sick. That was fun.

I already mentioned the snow...there is so much that ALL the cars just slip and slide around...so far nothing has happened, and I am positive that nothing will happen, but the streets here are just one big ice-rink. Thor would love it, he could just whip out his ice skates and skate around the city of Brandon!

This week our car got stuck twice. So funny. We've always managed to get out just fine, but only because the people here are so nice and willing to help out three girls wearing skirts and boots.

There's a girl in the ward here who loves science, so we always take about explosions and stuff like that and now apparently I'm her favourite Sister Missionary. That's a lot of pressure! Now I have to start being a good example as well?! Just kidding, I'm trying my best. So far nobody has complained about me. This Thursday the Elders as well as Sister Day and I were quoting Nacho, and Elder Schmidt said that his favourite quote is the one where Nacho is talking about how he knows the gospel...so I quoted it and said "People think I don't know a buttload of crap about the gospel, but I dooooo." That got me some weird looks and I apologised for using undignified language. Did I tell you about that? It has been quite hard for me not to say words like "cool" and "awesome", but I've been really good. Sister McPhee is the best at reminding me. Whenever one of those words slips out she'll say "what was that?" as if she didn't quite hear me, and then I'll correct it and not feel too bad.
On Thursday we got this giant box of pralines from "Billy May's Ghost". It was from someone from the ward who is just the sweetest person ever. We sent him a text message thanking Billy May's Ghost, because he didn't actually want us to know that it was from him. I love this ward so much. The people are fantastic and so willing to help and support the missionaries. The bishop is just incredible. He teaches Anatomy and physiology at the college here, so you two would really get along well!

I am glad that things are going well in Solingen ward. The ward finally needed to wake up and start helping the missionaries. It was no wonder we weren't seeing any success. I am glad Elder Ruff finally managed to get the members pumped up for missionary work. He is an incredible missionary! How were the pancakes?

I absolutely love being a missionary and this really is the best mission in the world!! I know I tell you that every week, but it's true! Thank you so much for supporting me and being amazing.  Have fun with Peter and I will write to you in 2014!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Most Rewarding Work Ever!

I don't think that I'm going to write you a long email today, because then I won't have a lot to tell you on the phone. I don't know if I told you this last week, but we will be skyping at two from here, so that would be nine over there? I hope that that's okay.

I'm trying to teach myself Spanish...so far it's going okay. We have a lot of Spanish speaking members here in Brandon, and I would like to be able to talk to them when they invite us over for dinner.

So...today is freezing...it's minus 46 degrees. I walked outside without my gloves on and within about twenty seconds my hands were stiff. Sister MP doesn't like it when we go outside without our gloves on, because she's scared we're going to get frostbite. She's so nice and she really takes good care of us. It was so cold today that when we were sitting in the car our hands and faces were steaming. I have never ever seen that before. Also, when you walk outside here you can't breathe in through your mouth, because the cold air makes you cough. And when you breathe in through your nose everything freezes, which is the weirdest feeling ever. 

We went to Zone Conference on Friday and stayed in Winnipeg until Saturday morning, but I'll tell you more about that on Skype.

It's official! C is getting baptised! I am soooooo incredibly happy for him. He is the sweetest! He wants to get baptised on the 14th of January, we'll see if we can prepare him on time. We've worked out this plan so it should be fine.

We went to a members house this week and she had a picture of her daughters dog on the fridge, and he looked like Otto!! Only smaller. I really miss Loki and Otto. Can you please send me pictures of them? I would love to see them and show the pictures to my companions.

We went to a bible study group yesterday and it was great. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow though.
People here really love Christmas and they looooooove decorating! Some of the houses look really crazy with all the lights and blow up snowmen etc.

Alrighty, that's enough for today, I'm really excited to see you on the 25th!
I love you lots and I love being a missionary! It is the hardest, but most rewarding work ever!

Sunrise in Winnipeg. The photo doesn't do it justice

 Our Christmas Tree

Monday, 16 December 2013

Merry Christmas From the Brandon Sisters!!

It is so cold here, but so far I haven't lost any fingers or toes, so all is good. We had -33 degrees one day and that was rough, because I still didn't have my coat or my boots...yeah, I finally got those today.

On the last night in the MTC we had the privilege of hearing from Elder Cook. It was absolutely fantastic. I don't even remember what exactly he said (I did take notes though) but at the end of his talk he said that he knows that Jesus Christ lives and that he has heard His voice. I knew that apostles were special witnesses of Christ, but just hearing him say that...it absolutely blew me away!

So, the flight here was really good, I got to sleep for an hour, and then we already had to get up to go to the Travel Office, where they made us wait for like half an hour...They took us to the airport in a bus, which was really nice, because usually missionaries get dropped off at the Train Station and then they have to take the train to the airport. Everything was fine, we did self check-in, so it was only 60 dollars for the bags. And everyone at the airport was really friendly. I slept for about two hours on the plane to Minnesota and then we landed there. It was reeeeeally cold there, so I was able to get a feel of what it would sort of be like in Winnipeg. The plane to Winnipeg was tiny! It could only fit like twenty or thirty people in it. And the flight was really smooth, I really enjoyed it. When we got to Canada we had to wait outside for our bags and I almost died it was so cold. When we finally got inside we got a couple of stares (I'm getting used to them) but the people that actually worked at the airport were super friendly. One lady was like "it's the missionaries!" That was definitely a proud moment for me. I was the first in my group to make it through immigration, which is weird because I'm from Germany and they were all from the States, but hey, I'm not complaining! The Mission President and his wife, as well as the APs were there to greet us. Can I just say that we have the best Mission President in the entire world? And his wife is just incredible! I am so happy that they will be there for my entire mission. We got to spend the first night in the Mission Home and eat real food. I almost cried. It was glorious. I even had some of Sister Thomas' banana bread and I loved it. I might learn to like bananas out here! I doubt it though, but that banana bread was delicious. The Mission Home is beautiful, and it was so nice to be there. 

The day after that (Thursday) we went to the chapel and had this orientation meeting for all the new missionaries. There we were also assigned to our areas and trainers. While at the MTC and in the Mission Home I had the feeling that I was going to stay close to Winnipeg, or even in Winnipeg...lo and behold, I was assigned to serve in Brandon, a city only two hours away from Winnipeg. I am serving with Sister Day (who was in my MTC group) and Sister McPhee, who is our trainer. I love them both! I am so incredibly happy with this assignment. Nothing to complain about. Our apartment is the cutest, buuut...we don't have duvets. So that kinda sucks, but we will be in Winnipeg on Friday, so we'll look in the mission office for duvets. So I have been sleeping in the warmest sleeping bag ever. It is amazing, except for the fact that it all bunches up around my waist and I can never really get in or out of it. 

Brandon is the best. I love it here. It's really cold, and there is so much snow EVERYWHERE! On our first night our car actually got stuck in snow and we had to push it. We weren't really successful, and then out of nowhere this huge, burly Canadian man shows up and just picks the car up and pushes it. I was impressed. And a little bit shocked. But more impressed than anything else. It's so cold, that when snow gets in your car, it doesn't melt. It stays there for days. And we have to plug our car in at night. Our beautiful car that we named Sheila. I love her, she takes me everywhere and I never have to walk. You know you're in Canada when you walk outside in -12 degree weather and feel like taking off your coat because you're too warm.

The Ward here is sooooo nice! Very much like Solingen. People here cannot pronounce my name, but they all try so hard! And I just love it here. I'm sorry, I think I've said that before, but I really do. We have an eating appointment for every day of the week. I am going to get fat. I already have difficulties zipping up my skirts. But I really worked out hard this morning. Jokes, I didn't, you know me. But I tried.
I also tried pickled fish yesterday. One of the ward members brought out this jar of pickled fish and crackers and told us to eat it. Sister Day was hilarious, she put a piece in her mouth and spat it back out, gagged and apologised to the member. He thought it was hilarious. I cried because I laughed so much. I actually managed to swallow my piece. I did eat a ton of crackers though. It was so funny. I absolutely love that family. We are spending Christmas Eve with them and We're spending Christmas day with our Ward Mission leader. I am so excited.

We had a lunch at this volunteer organisation thingy where we help out, and I accidentally sat next to the mayor (I had no idea who she was at the time) and I gave her a Mormon.org card! Plus, this week we got a new investigator and I gave out my first Book of Mormon with Sister Day yesterday! And one of our investigators wants to be baptised! I am so happy for him! Everyone said the work here would be slow, and it is, but it's still better than what I expected.

Oh, another thing that really shocks me here...the prices! EVERYTHING here is so expensive! Three dollars for a small loaf of bread. Three dollars!? We are sooo incredibly lucky that the members feed us so much.
Alrighty, a lot more happened, but this email is getting super long. 

Snazzy Christmas tree at the airport

With Sister Day and Brother Z. just before eating pickled fish

Future Missionary!

Merry Christmas from the Brandon Sisters!!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

We Cried

This last week was incredible. Especially the last three days. We had to say goodbye to our dear sweet Elders (they're going to Chicago) and that was rough. We cried. I really am going to miss the MTC, even though the food makes you sick and the schedule makes you crazy.

I got to go to the Salt Lake Temple last Friday and do a live session. Soooooooooooo amazing! It's definitely different to go through the Temple as a missionary. I received such clear personal revelation it was kinda scary. But now I know what kind of missionary I need to be. 
I have realised just how amazing and important prayer really is. Brother S. had us pray for fifteen minutes and at first I thought "that's soooooo long!" but then when he told us to finish up I couldn't believe how quickly the time had flown by.

Relief Society this Sunday was really cool. The second counselor in the YW general presidency was there and she spoke to us. I never thought that I would actually enjoy Relief Society, but here at the MTC it's amazing!
I am going to miss my teachers so much! We found out that we weren't even supposed to have that many teachers. We had Brother B, Sister K, Brother L and Brother S. I don't really know any of the other teachers, but they definitely have to be the best. I have learned so much from them in these three short weeks, it's unbelievable. They all said that we are ready for the field...I'm not quite sure if I believe that. But I am definitely ready to leave the MTC. 

We taught our investigator (who is actually Brother B) the law of Chastity and when I asked him "so Michael, do you know what the law of Chastity is?" he said "yeah, that's when you give money to the poor!" I almost lost it. Almost. We explained to him that that's charity and then told him what chastity is. So funny. Also, he came to church again! And he brought his entire family with him. So incredibly cool. Yesterday we taught him for the last time, which was really sad, but I managed not to cry. Our teacher (Brother B) said that Sister Ashton-Korn and I have taught Michael better than any other missionaries so far. And we follow up better than anyone else as well. Woohooo! Success! But seriously though, we really worked hard. Brother Burdette told us that after our very first lesson we taught him as Michael he wrote down that we were already ready for the field. That really boosted my confidence in my teaching abilities. Sometimes I just feel so inadequate when I see how other Sisters teach, and then I have to remind myself that I'm not like them. I'm me, and I teach differently. 

I am really excited to meet my Mission President and his wife tomorrow and to finally eat normal food! I think I've gained weight...either that or my skirts are getting smaller. And when I'm in the field I'll be able to exercise every day...here there is no time! I've had to get up at five in the morning on numerous occasions just so that I could study the scriptures. No time for that either! But at least I have learned how to be a relatively good teacher and I hope that I never forget the skills I have acquired here.

My district sang in sacrament this Sunday. We sang "Joseph Smith's first prayer" to the tune of "Come thou Fount". It was incredible. I saw quite a few people crying, including one Elder. Afterwards the wives of the Branch Presidency told us that they were so touched by the spirit. They all had tears in their eyes. They are the sweetest.
Sister Ashton-Korn's mom sent me some of the softest socks I have ever felt in my life and some cards to help me memorise "The Living Christ". And Sister Day's mom sent me the cutest little Christmas baggie with some nail polish, a nail file, some lipgloss, some christmassy smelling face wipes, a little notebook, some chocolate and a Canada pen. sooooo nice and kind.

I really hope that you pick up when I call you, otherwise all the time on my card will be gone and I won't be able to call you again...so pick up!

This last week it has been absolutely freezing. It got to -14 degrees and I almost died...but that's because I refuse to wear my coat so that I can get used to the cold. And so far it's working! I don't even get cold anymore when I go outside! And I haven't been sick in ages. By ages I mean for two and a half weeks...So we'll see how quickly I adjust to the temperature in Canada. Please please please pray that I will get along well with my trainer. I would like to start off in the field with a trainer that I like...and if it doesn't work out, then maybe it's because the Lord wants me to be more patient. But still...please pray.

How was church yesterday? And more importantly, what does it feel like to be a Heilpraktiker and to not have to worry about exams anymore??? I am so incredibly happy for you! That is amazing! How are the dogs? I really miss you guys, but only when I write you...there is no time to think about home! The Lord really is hastening the work, and that means that we also have to walk, think and work faster than before. But I love it! I am so happy to be a missionary and I am so grateful that Papa has made all this possible. My teachers told me that ever since I told them about him they pray for him every day. I hope that everything goes well for him and that Heavenly Father is blessing him! He deserves everything that is good in this world!
Alrighty, I'll send you some more pictures...I love you and I like you!

 Our amazing District before the Elders left


The Power District with two of our teaches

Sister Ashton-Korn, Brother B, Brother S and meeeeeee

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Power of the Priesthood

On Thursday we had a Thanksgiving devotional and guess who spoke? Only Elder Russell M. Nelson. And who sang in the amazing choir? Sister D. It was sooooooooooo incredibly cool! As soon as he walked into the room the spirit was so strong that people were crying! Including me! And everyone stood up and waited until he sat down...it was such an amazing feeling to realise just how many missionaries were there and to feel the spirit in that way. The choir number was really powerful and I loved it! So many exclamation marks...but I'm just really excited.

On Thanksgiving we had this humanitarian Project thingy where we packed 350280 lunches for children that are less fortunate. We made lentil casserole bags, and all you need to do is add water and bake it. So cool. To see all the missionaries working together like that...it was amazing. And NOBODY complained and everyone was happy!
This week my companion got really sick and needed to get a blessing. The food here does really bad things to you. I don't know what it is...she unfortunately made the mistake of drinking the Orange juice...but hey, Power of the Priesthood! She is fine now and has been healthy ever since she got the blessing.

On to more happy things...our investigator wants to get baptised! He has made so much progress and I love him! He is so open to the gospel and is trying so hard to keep the Word of Wisdom and give up smoking. He is amazing. And just to clarify things, he isn't really an investigator, he's one of our teachers and he rates us on our teaching abilities and all that. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he said that he has never seen people teach it so well. He said we were the first missionaries to actually explain the Spirit World correctly. Boo-yah! We prepared sooo much for that lesson and prayed really hard that he would be able to feel the spirit, and he did!
The fries really are awful! I think they take old MacDonald's fries from the night before and give them to us. Nah, they don't really, but that's what they look and taste like. Nasty stuff. The food doesn't give me that many problems anymore, I have learned what to avoid and I water all my juice down. 
I know I said this last week, but I LOVE my district, my teachers and my companion. I have learned so much from them this past week and I will really miss them all! They are amazing.

I'm doing just fine without my phone, music and all that. No problems at all! All is well in Zion.
If you ever have enough time and you manage to find it, watch the "Characters of Christ" Devotional by Elder Bednar. It is Life-Changing!

It has snowed so much here, in fact it's still snowing! But it's really pretty, especially with the mountains in the background.
I really miss the dogs...if you have time, please send me pictures. And send me pictures of JJ and Thor! I miss my little bro!
Thank you for your prayers, I really appreciate them. Never before in my life have I felt so vital and happy. I'm tired every single day, but I have more energy than ever before.
Never have I received revelation so quickly. One of our teachers told us that "the Book of Mormon is worthless, unless we use it for personal revelation and to bring others unto Christ".
Another quote that is said here ALL the time (I love it) is: "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles".

Oh, another thing, I made a bipolar man cry this week! He said he felt the spirit so strongly, and that made me so happy! I really am trying to be the best missionary I can, and I know that even if I don't baptise anyone, my main purpose is to help them feel loved.
Stay fresh and know that I love you!

Lots of love,
Sister D

This is with a few of the international missionaries at the Provo Temple. The two Elders on the left and the blonde sister next to me are German.

 I found Papa's car!

With my companion (next to me) and another Sister in our District

Sister Wilson

The Elders are going to Arizona and the Sister next to me is my companion!

It's snowing!!!!

Everything here is so big!!!