Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mariah's Homecoming (By Lynette)

It's been a great few weeks! Mariah came home July 14 and life is good! My friend,  Rachelle Bird,  describes having a missionary come home as childbirth,  without any labor or delivery pains.  You look forward to them coming, do some nesting, count the days,  see them coming through the gate, then finally holding them in your arms is just the best feeling.  It's been great to have her home.  Balance is restored in our family.  We were at a Simpson reunion in Oregon this week, and as our family was on a hike,  I looked ahead and saw all 6 of my kids hiking together and it was the best site in the world. 
She has shared many of her experiences, and her mission report in church was wonderful.  What a treasure it has been to watch her serve, share in her experiences, and witness her testimony grow.  Really, what more could a mother want for her children?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Adieu und Alles Gute (Week 76)

Liebe Familie,

I ate an entire can of Rotkohl this week. By myself. 680 grams, Monday to Sunday. As part of my crescendo plan, I have resolved to eat another one before I go home. (Important side note: can you find Rotkohl in the US?)

Anyways, I could talk about my week or I could talk about the last eighteen months. I don't think I will ever be able to really describe what my mission has meant to me, nor will I ever be able to repay my Father in Heaven for giving me the opportunity to come on a mission. I found a scripture in Alma that described my thoughts it pretty well:

"36 ...Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of
this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost
from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my
God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people,
whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his
bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my
great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever.
Amen." (Alma 26: 36-37)

I know God exists, and that He is our Father. He is aware of us and He is mindful of us, wherever we may be. He loves us and He wants us to return to Him. I have felt His love more on my mission than any other time in my life. I have seen the difference that Jesus Christ can make in a person and I have seen that glimmer of faith and hope grow into something powerful. It has changed me and it has changed people I've come to know and love. I know that God knows and loves every single soul here in Germany and I am so thankful to have been called to share this message with these people. I love my Savior so much. He is the
hope for the world on a very personal level. He is the reason I came out and the reason I am here. I know that this church is His church. God has given us a prophet to lead us and guide us, and He has given us the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which contain the teachings and doctrines of Jesus Christ and help us find our way home to our Father. Jesus Christ is the most important message to the world, and it has been an honor and blessing to wear His name over my heart for the last 18 months.

God is so good. I love this country, but more importantly, I love these people. And I know that God loves them. Thank you thank you thank you for your love and support and prayers.

See ya soon!
Sister Simpson

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rain (week 74)

sister Harlow made me take pics for my 17 month mark

getting rained on

getting rained on

Liebe Familie,

Whew, this week flew by. It rained a ton and it was awesome. There was a rainstorm one night and the lighting was crazy.

We did a lot of finding. It was great! We ate in the Mensa this week and talked to this cool dude. He mentioned that he wanted to work on his English, so we invited him to our English class. Luckily, he didn't come (I was freaking out because we are still trying to build our English Class up so more than 2 old german men come). Maybe this week! We went out to Wolfenbüttel for a day, which is a small Dorf outside of Braunschweig. We walked around a ton, trying to visit less-actives who weren't home. But in the last 20 minutes, we gave out a Book of Mormon to a really cool lady and met another lady who is willing to meet with us.

We met with quite a few less-active sisters, and it's been good to get to know them and try to help them grow their faith. We practiced teaching about the  Restoration and Book of Mormon with one of them, and it went really well.

Saturday, we did a street display with Elders Hite and Cakir. It was awesome, I love street displays! We were able to give away some copies of the Book of Mormon and found some solid people who have interest. Sister Harlow was on fire, talking to everyone who walked by. One of the ladies in the bakery across the street came outside and asked about the Book of Mormon and I talked to her for a few minutes and she really wanted one. Also, there was a little stage set up down the street for a little Saturday morning farmers market or something in Innenstadt. For about 40 minutes, they played The Beatles and it was awesome. Nothing like good background music.

Church was great. They made some boundary changes so it was the last Sunday for some members who will now go to Hildesheim next week, so everyone was pretty sentimental and lots of people talked about having faith to set out in unfamiliar territory, like Lehi and his family. Heavenly Father has a plan for us but sometime it takes a lot of faith to follow it. He always blesses us when we obey and act in faith. Anyways, we were supposed to teach gospel principles but no one came/stayed, so we got to go to an English Sunday school class. We ate with the Weiland family, and their cute kids crawled all over me, haha.

Today we played basketball and ping pong at the church with all the elders and it was super fun. We also made very lame tacos (durum wraps, greasy meat, cheese, sour cream, and salsa). It was nice to move around and hang out with the district.

Anyways, at Gemiko this week, Bruder Jobs shared some thing that I really liked: "Eine Biene ist gewiß kein Adler, aber sie kann Honig machen." A bee is no eagle, but it can make honey. Heavenly Father creates each of us, and gave us all specific qualities and characteristics. It does no good to compare ourselves to others. We should work hard and do things with the talents and abilities that He has given us. You are who you are for a reason. God has put you where you are for a specific reason. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of faith to open our eyes to see the good that we have and the good we can do in the world around us.

Love you all. God is good! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson


Braunschweig Rathaus (we live right here)

Löwen Brötchen (apparently it's a Braunschweig thing)

Löwen Brötchen (apparently it's a Braunschweig thing)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Path of Discipleship (Week 73)

Sister Mogensen

Sister Harlow's first Berliner

Car ride to our Essen Termin yesterday. Party!

Car ride to our Essen Termin yesterday. Party!

Hello all,

This week was good. We had interviews with President Fingerle and district meeting in Hannover. It's always fun to see other missionaries, and district meeting was awesome. We did an activity where we picked random things and had to teach a gospel principle from it, so I taught about commandments from piano.

We also had Tausch this week with Sister Mogenson and Rose. I got to go to Köthen to be with Sister Mogenson. We trained together way back in round one of Hamburg last year and it was fun to get to work with her. She is such an fantastic missionary. We ate lunch with Schwester Sickel, who is the twin sister from Schw. Winkler in Marzahn, and it was awesome. She basically bore her testimony to us the entire time, complete with quotes from General Conference and President Hinckley and tears. It was beautiful. We also taught a woman who has read all of first Nephi, and we talked about how we can find out if all the things we teach are true. We read Alma 32 with her and talked about 'testing the seed' and at the end she said she will come to church. Also, they have bikes in Köthen and i was on cloud nine riding them around. 

Back in Braunschweig, we had a 'pass off appointment' with a lady whose husband was less-active before he passed away. She was originally taught by sisters and didn't like them, and once they left, the elders have been visiting her and she loves them, so this hand-off thing will be interesting. That's basically the story of our lives here, everyone loves the elders. The ward is super excited to have us, though. We also visited a (kind-of) less-active lady, Schwester Schwarz, who is having a rough time right now, but we sang some hymns with her and read in the Book of Mormon and she was so happy. She's so cute; she tells us every Sunday how much she loves the Book of Mormon and how thankful she is to be a part of this church. We also visited Schwester Klemt and her 3 crazy kids. They were so excited for us to come over. They live far away and its hard for her to come to church without a car, but they came for the sacrament this week!  They had to leave early and the kids were really sad, but we're going back this week. 

Saturday was great! We had a ward activity: the talent show and then we all grilled together. Sister Harlow played the piano.. I didn't do anything. Sorry, Mom, I've barely touched a piano in 18 months. It was a good little show, though, and it was great to visit and eat with all the members afterwards. The Iranian brother came with his family because the Bishop's wife picked them up, and then an older couple brought them to church on Sunday! I was put in charge of helping them find scriptures in Farsi during Sunday School. The ward has really embraced them and I hope everything goes well so they can stay here. They are such awesome people and she is really interested. 

We had an eating appointment with the Luschins yesterday, which was a blast. She's from Texas and we ate tacos!

We went finding today, and we've been trying really hard to talk to everyone around us. We met this guy from Albania who speaks albanian and french, and I had a conversation with him in french, which is a huge miracle because I don't really speak french anymore. It was very basic and slow, but I could still communicate with him. He's muslim and doing Rahmahdahn (the month of fasting, which I can't spell) right now, but he was very nice and invited us to eat his dinner with him tonight. Haha. 

Anyways. It's going well here. Lots of learning, lots of growth, lots of stretching. I hope y'all had a great week.

eurer Schwester Simpson

I rediscovered this quote from Elder Holland this week. I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ for the rest of my life. I am so thankful that I am here in Germany, literally wearing Christ's name, and serving Him. It is a blessing that I will always be grateful for. It's sometimes lonely and people reject you and are rude, but it will always be worth it because it is true. 

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword” to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live.'
We live right in the middle of town.


Finding in a park

Monday, June 12, 2017

Castles and Stuff (Week 72)

Well, this week was good. Hope y'all have a great week.
Lg, Sister Simpson

Von meinem iPad gesendet

Just kidding.  Last Monday we went to a castle (Wernigerode) with our GML and his family. It was great except we both got carsick on the drive. There was a modern art display called "Duckomenta" where the artist repainted a whole bunch of classic art pieces with a Donald Duck (or Mickey or soemthing) in it. I thought it was hilarious. Monday night, we were at the Dauvens, who invited two of their friends over. We ate dinner and then had a really good discussion about God together. Yay for member missionary work. I love the Dauvens.

On Tuesday, we went with our district to eat lunch in the Mensa (university cafeteria). It was awesome. We sat by a girl who is going to Arizona for an internship in a couple months and it was cool to talk with her. We also went by on one of the female contacts the elders gave us and she was so nice! She was a little hesitant to let us in because she had just gotten home from work, but we had a great discussion and she's super nice.

After district meeting on Wednesday,  we went out to a contact in the middle of nowhere who apparently had moved. So we klingeled and ended up having some great conversations. One lady told us that she's been looking for the right religion and she hasn't found it yet. We talked to her for a long time. She wasn't interested in meeting with us, but she is honestly looking for the truth, so we gave her a restoration pamphlet and invited her to pray about it.

 We had an eating appointment with an old couple in our ward and a newer sister, which was super fun. The food was great, she made amazing Rotkohl, which is my favorite, and then Bruder Jobs showed us old videos of ward talent shows and activities. He really wants sister Harlow and I to do some funny act on Saturday at the ward talent show.

Other than that, we did a lot of finding. We tried to walk around Innenstadt one day and it happened to be "Senior citizen day" so there were a thousand old Germans walking around who didn't really want to talk to us. In general, though, we've discovered that people respond better when Sister Harlow stops them because she's innocent and very obviously new, and then I can keep the conversation going. People are normally very nice. We were klingeling Saturday night (which was not going well because EVERYONE was at this party in Innenstadt) and some grouchy lady came and yelled at me and was very very rude, which kind of killed our happy finding spirits. It happens, I guess, I just don't understand why some people have to be so rude. I'm still working on Charity, it just makes me appreciate the Savior that much more because I know He loves both of us; me and that lady. He loved the people who verbally attacked him, said awful things and mocked Him as He was suffering and dying for all of mankind.

Sunday was great. One of the less active ladies we visited really wanted us to sit by her, so there was no awkward where-to-sit-when-you-have-no-
investigators moment. There's a guy who came to church who was baptized about two years ago in Armenia but is from Iran. He got up super early to get to church on time because the buses and trains don't run early enough on Sunday morning. I had a good conversation with him (in English, not Farsi). He told me he wants to bring his wife and daughter next week, who aren't members, so hopefully he will. After church, there was a baptism for a girl named Swiss, who was taught by the Halberstadt elders. She's so cute and was so excited to be baptized. It was awesome to be there and to remember the feelings I felt at my baptism. Afterward, we ate with the Kretzshmar family, who have the cutest kids. It was awesome. We talked about building and strengthening our foundation on Jesus Christ. I can honestly say that that is one of the biggest lessons I've learned on my mission; God keeps his promises and if we build our foundation and our lives on faith in Jesus Christ and commit to follow Him, we cannot fall, no matter what storms we have to weather. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church on the earth, and that it is lead by a prophet who is called of God and in His  authority. It is here to help us to weather the storms of life with our families and eventually, return to live with Him. I love what Joseph Smith says about the Book of Mormon: "man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” There's truth everywhere, but the full truth is found in the Book of Mormon and the church of Jesus Christ, and we can come nearer to our father in Heaven by following the teachings from that book.

I love the Book of Mormon. I love my Savior with all of my heart.

Sister Simpson