Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 5! (February 14-20)


With the 4 of us (#1 and 2) : Sister Hammer, Me, Sister Voigtleander, Sister Darton

Some of the Sisters in our zone...

Hallo Mother!!! Did you get the letter I sent? It was so scatter-brained. I sent it on Thursday, so if you don't get it today, it'll probably come Monday.

Soooo... On the devotional on Tuesday,  Elder Ronald A. Rasband came. It was pretty cool. He gave us a talk of his called "The Divine Call of A Missionary" and we studied it beforehand, and then he walked around and talked to people, and they could ask him questions. It was not what I expected, but it was still pretty cool. I thought some of the questions were bizarre/random (just not what I would have asked an apostle of the Lord if I could ask him anything), but I learned something from every answer he gave. It was pretty incredible. My favorite thing about Tuesday devotionals is discussing them afterward in our district, because I learn a lot from what they learned. He talked about how our mission calls are specifically for us and come directly from the Lord. We sang "Nearer, My God to Thee." In case you were wondering, I did not hit the high F or G. There were 5 parts, so I just sang something loudly and in a choir of hundreds of missionaries, I don't think my awful notes made that much of a difference. I mean, I was probably close to something, right? I hate not singing, especially in such a powerful part. Oh by the way, I don't think the church posts MTC devotionals. They broadcast the whole devotional to all the MTCs in the world, so that was cool that I got to be there, and I was on the screen while a girl was talking (behind her) for like 5 minutes. I mostly just thought, "ACK! Don't do anything embarrassing" because thousands of people could see me. I don't think I did. 
We had an AWFUL lesson with Bruder Nielson (Austin). It was so scattered and at the end he talked to us, and we both (sister hammer and I) both cried. Haha, I could see it in the moment from the outside and thought it was so funny (because this poor 21 year old teacher had to deal with 2 crying sister missionaries), but I was mostly just frustrated and I just felt alone during the lesson, like I was doing it on my own. So I'm probably doing something wrong because I'm not alone, and God will help me. That was the first real time I'd cried since being dropped off, and I think it all just came out. Haha. We decided to try just talking to him (austin) in the next lesson, and to try to work on things as we go, so he can "pause" and give us feedback and whatever. It's been helpful.
Apparently, I am the oil lady. Haha. Elder Passey was sick, and so I offered all of the sisters on-guard one night, and it was funny to watch their reactions. Also, I took some peppermint the next day and they all wanted to try it and that was also funny to watch. I like oils. Not a crazy amount, just a normal amount. 
The other day, Sister Voitglaender asked Sister Hammer to pass her a napkin, and she gave her 6. Sister V said, "What does this mean? You think I'm a messy eater?" and then Elder Hughes said, "You're a 6 napkin missionary/sister/woman." I didn't catch the last part because I was drinking and inhaled my water because laughed because I knew where he was going with that. Johnny Lingo for the win. 
I ran 3 miles on both Wednesday and Thursday.. That is 30 laps. My heel has been hurting so I rested it this weekend and I might go to the doctor next week.. I'd rather take care of it now than it getting worse in Germany when I don't understand the doctor. However, The record for the mile in the gym is 6:44, so you better believe I'm going to break that before I go. I can finally set some record. Ok, actually, if my heel hurts, I won't because I'd rather be healthy for my mission than mess it up because of my stupid pride. 
We were writing out practice german sentences for separable prefixes and the verb was "to reject" and Elder Passey said, "We reject the prophets." We laughed and joked about it, and then Bruder Nielson read 2 Kings 2:23-24 with us and it was funny. Not really spiritual at all, sorry.
Last night, I guess I was snoring at midnight, and Sister McCrary couldn't sleep, and so she said a prayer that I would stop and I took a weird breath and then stopped. She told me that was her miracle this morning... Haha. Oops.
We got out flight plans last night!! We meet the the MTC travel office at 3:50 AM on Tuesday, March 1, and our flight leaves SLC at 8:30. We fly to Chicago, to Frankfurt, to Dresden. Crazy. It is going to be a LONG day. We'll get to Dresden around 11 am German time (I think) on March 02. And the Berlin/Frankfurt missionaries have different schedules. Sad day. I'm bummed we aren't going to Paris. I was going to write in a French BOM and give it away. I actually made a lot of plans for that airport. Oh well. 
I love the Book of Mormon. I love studying it every day. I've always read it, but I've never completely realized how applicable the stories can be in our lives. It's amazing. I learn so much every time I read it. I really really love the scriptures, the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. 
Sorry about the weird, random email. This week was good. I miss you. I love you. I will write Benjamin and Nate a letter if I have time today. I love hearing from you as often as you write. I hope your ski trip was good, Mom. I miss you! 
Tell all the Arco people "Hi." Aunt Teresa and Uncle Dave both wrote me. Was Mike and Nicki's wedding this weekend? That's exciting for them. I hope it was good. 
I love you!
Sister Simpson

Week 4! (one week late)

My p-day is saturday. Here is my letter from last week:

Hallo! Wie ghets?
This week was great. It goes by SO FAST! 
So Sonnstag (Sunday), was fast Sunday. I guess I'm really good at fasting, or maybe just tough, because my whole district acted like it was the end of the world. It was like fasting at home with brothers, haha. Fast and Testimony meeting was in English, ans Sister Ha, the Korean sister learning English AND Deutsch, bore her testimony in korean. It was cool. I probably could have sat and listened to everyone's testimonies for another hour. It tells me a lot about people. I hit my head on a chair on Sunday.. and I had a bump right above my eyebrow. Not my finest moment. Dinner at the MTC on Fast Sunday was INSANE. It was glorious, and we ate sooo much food. Sunday is also ice cream day. I felt like the very hungry caterpillar. Sister Voigtlaender and I raced each other to drink another glass of water after we finished eating. Don't do that. It was a bad idea. Sunday's devotional was with Jenny Oaks Baker, the violinist. She played some songs with her kids, and talked in between. My favorite was Abide With Me. It is amazing the effect music has on people. I swear no one would move until she started talking again. After that, we watched a film on John Tanner and then Music and the Spoken Word. 
Montag: We had a lesson with Austin (Bruder Nielson). We asked him to pray to begin and he said the Lord's Prayer. I guess we hadn't taught him how to pray from his heart yet. (Bruder Nielson was really proud of himself for remembering that one auf Deutsch). We forgot to teach him how to pray that lesson. It's a good thing we are learning all of this now. I learn so much about how to teach every class. And it is so hard in german because I am not very good. I have been blessed so much to be able to speak as much as I can. I really can't do this on my own, and Heavenly Father blesses me all the time. I ran 2 miles for exercise time. The first one was 7:11, then we went to play volleyball (but it was a lame game), so we ran again. I ran a 7:15. It feels SO good. I love running. Also, Sister Bartlett sent me a package of the cutest cupcakes I've ever seen. We enjoyed eating them! I need to write thank-you's today!
Dienstag: Quote from my journal: "Today was definitely the best day I've had so far." We had service and we cleaned the toilets and urinals in like 20 bathrooms. So actually, that was not my favorite. But, at breakfast, I was Bryce and he told me Rachel got her mission call. I basically ran away from him because I wanted to hear it from her. So yeah, I waited 13 more hours. (funny, I actually opened the dear elder from Shaelyn first, so I didn't even really hear it from Rachel. It was okay though, because I got more info from her than Rachel anyways. Kennewick Washinton, May 3!!!!!!:) We has our 3rd lesson with Austin and we taught him about prayer. I felt like I could speak to him, and I could feel the spirit, and it was AWESOME. He called us back in and talked to us and he was so excited. He told us that was the best lesson we had taught him so far and that the difference between monday/tuesday was "night and day." We always have things to work on, but it was so exciting. I love missionary work! I can't wait to actually start (But, I really do need all the time in the MTC). I ran a 6:52 mile. It was sweet. I could have gone faster, but the 10 laps with 4 corners every lap is a little hard. I'm afraid I'll biff it one of these days. For choir, we sang "Be Still My Soul" and it was amazing. Elder Edward Dube spoke at the devotional. When he was on his mission, it was extended by 3 months. His little brother waited for him at the bus stop, but he never came (because it was extended). In the 3 months, his little brother drown. He was so sad, and wanted to come home, but his mission president visited him and said "Your mission isn't over until it's over." So he stayed and he said that he was so grateful that he did. It was a great message of giving our time to the Lord and serving him with all of our hearts. Rich and Talisha sent me a package with cookies and valentines. I hung them up by my bed. It made my day. :)
Mittwoch: Funny enough, Wednesday was really hard. Everyone was really distracted and it was hard to focus and I was annoyed at things and then annoyed that I was annoyed at them. Running was a nice break. Funny story: Wednesday is when all the new missionaries come in. I thought it would be funny if I said "Welcome to the MTC" to the Armenian elders in our zone, because they've been here for 6 weeks. We saw them after dinner and Elder Webb said, "Welcome to the MTC" to me right when I said, "Welcome.." They stole my joke! I was so mad. Elder McGavin didn't hear that, and we saw them a few minutes later and he said the same thing to me. Meine gute. We had a lesson with Stephan (Bruder Alston) and it did not go well. I talk so much more than Sister Hammer, and I just feel really bossy all the time. It's not very balanced. And I didn't feel like I could communicate clearly. We taught about the Atonement/Repentance/The Word of Wisdom and it felt disjointed. So I drew the analogy I came up with while I was preparing the lesson and studying. We are falling in a tunnel. Gravity is the "natural man", aka the natural things that keep us from being like God. When we sin, Satan has a chain pulling us down to him. So there are 2 things trying to pull us down. Our goal is to make it to the top of the tunnel, Eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. There is a rope that is right next to us as we fall. That is the Atonement. It is ALWAYS there. Always. We just have to reach out. And as we repent, the chain that satan is using to pull us down disappears, because when we repent through the Atonement of Christ, our sins are forgiven and it is like we never committed them in God's eyes. Jesus Christ helps us make it out of the tunnel. Stephan told us that that made sense to him, and a few days later, told us that he understood the Atonement personally because of that. That was a blessing, because I was worried that we didn't do all we could and so he missed the point. 
Donnstag: Thursday was also really hard, but only for the first half of the day. We taught Austin, and it was AWFUL. We talked to Bruder Nielson afterward, and he said that as the investigator, he felt like he could have left the room and we would still have kept talking. It wasn't personal at all, and we were just teaching a lesson, not a person. We have a lot of things we need to do better. I don't ever want someone to feel like that again. Bruder Nielson came into class after that and ranted/talked/droned on about Companionship study, and I caught on pretty fast because we had just taught our lesson like that.  I didn't know if he was doing it on purpose (He was), but it was good to experience it from the other end. Then we talked about how we felt, and he told us that all of us have taught lessons like that. We watched a video from a MTC devotional with Elder Holland about teaching and it was so good. We had more study time, and I could not focus and everyone was talking and I was loosing it. Sister Hammer could tell I was loosing it, so we went into an empty classroom and she studied and I just unwound and pondered. It was quiet and I could think, pray, and reason through everything. That time was a tender mercy. I thought about why I came here, and why I am here now. I am here because I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am happier because of it. I believe that God has a plan for each one of us. He is SO so good, and He knows everything. I have been so blessed in my life, and I know that is not just for me. I believe with all of my heart that there are people who have been prepared and who are being prepared to hear the gospel in Germany (and everywhere). I believe that God has been preparing me, and that he has given me experiences and abilities that will help people there. And I mean that in the least-prideful way possible. It is bigger than me. There are people who are yearning for the peace that only Jesus Christ can bring in their lives. Heavenly Father often answers the yearnings of our hearts through other people. I am amazed by the people He has placed in my life, and the impact they have had on me. I am so so grateful. I ran a bunch for exercise time, and felt better. At the end of the day, we talked in our district about re-focusing and it was good, and had been so much better since then. 
Freitag: I saw Alyse in the travel office. Our elders had to go and said they saw her, and told us to go say "hi!" so we did. It was so fun to see her! For lunch, they had bratwurst and "german potatoes" and I felt obligated to eat it because I'm going to germany in 2 weeks-ish. Hopefully it is better there. :) My new treat is called the PB and honey rice crispie treat. You put PB and honey on a rice crispie. We ran, then taught bruder Alston. It went much better and it was quick and was so much better than the last 2 lessons. We also taught TRC, 2 older gentlemen, one from Germany, and one who served his mission there. He told us something which I understood to mean " I served my mission in germany for 40 years." I think there was some sort of miscommunication in there. Next week we skype germans. (ACK! I am scared for that.) We found a "Narnia Hole" in our room. There was a blank covering (like it could have been an outlet but someone changed their mind.. they have them in every room), and we unscrewed it and found a piece of paper with an elder's name in it, from 2002! We all wrote our names, years, and missions and put it in there. In another room, there were 2 ugly ties. Haha.
Favorite german thing to say: Ich bin begeistered. (pardon my spelling.) It means "I am excited." Also, Meine Gute and Gute Himmel. (My goodness and good heavens).
Well, I am out of time. I love you all. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all need Him, every day. I am trying to be better about repenting every day. I love being here. God is so good to us, and I know that we will recognize tender mercies and miracles in our lives every day as we look for them. 
Thank you, everyone, for the love through letters and packages and prayers. Happy Valentines Day. "If you don't have anyone, just remember this is a holiday to remind you of that" (Sister Darton's friend, Jefferson. haha).
Ich Liebe Sie!
Sister Simpson
P.S. We should have called my blog "Boise to Berlin." Ugh.
We matched!

The Mountains!

We rearranged the room. Elder Hughes, Passey, Sister Darton, Voitglaender

I liked the corner of the room.. so I drew it on a notecard

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

No Letter This Week! :)

A very very long Saturday came and went without an email from Sister Simpson.  Sigh.
However,  I did get these darling pictures from our niece,  Alyse, who works in the travel department for the MTC. Mariah and her companion came in on Friday.
I'm wondering if her p-day got switched.  My friend's son had 3 different days for pday,  in his 3 weeks in the MTC.
I'm checking my email agonist every hour,  waiting to hear from her.  Letters from your missionary are the highlight of a patent's week!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Week 3!!!


So everyone always says that the weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks here. So true. I can't believe we are almost halfway. It kindof freaks me out because Deutsch is so hard. I can speak (brokenly) better than I can understand, which is SOOOO frustrating. I'll be in our discussion, trying to ask our investigator (our teacher) what he thinks about what we've been saying, or trying to discuss, or asking what he's struggling with, and I do not understand and can't help him. Ugh. I hope it gets better. Some days are better than others. Also, I am so EXCITED to go to deutschland. It is like 50 degrees there right now! It's pretty cold here. And it snows all the time. I love it. I'm going to buy lederhosen (and then I will wear them every halloween until I die.. problem solved. Ich hasse Halloween).

I've been thinking about faith, and how Enos prayed and it says a few times "because of thy faith" to him. As he exercised his faith, it grew. It's like a muscle. Sometimes we need to stretch it, and sometimes we are forced to because of life. I know the Lord answers our desperate cries for help. He has answered mine. I have a few quotes that I love. The first is from the movie Amish Grace.. He says "The Lord does not ask us to walk an easy path. But this I know - faith, when everything is as you want it to be is not true faith. It is only when our lives are falling apart that we have the chance to make our faith real." Also, Bishop Steele (will you check and see if he's on the email list?) shared this quote with me when I was meeting with him pre-mission. It is from "But if Not" by Lance B Wickman. "How do we properly exercise our faith? The Prophet Joseph Smith defined that first principle of the gospel as “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”. It is that defining phrase--“in the Lord Jesus Christ”--that we sometimes forget. Too often we offer our prayer or perform our administration and then wait nervously to see whether our request will be granted, as though approval would provide needed evidence of His existence. That is not faith! Faith is, quite simply, a confidence in the Lord. In Mormon’s words, it is “a firm mind in every form of godliness”. The three Hebrew magistrates expressed trust that the Lord would deliver them from the fiery furnace, “but if not,” they said to the king, “we [still] will not serve thy gods” (Dan. 3:18). Significantly, not three but four men were seen in the midst of the flames, and “the form of the fourth [was] like the Son of God” (Dan. 3:25). So with us. It is common in our secular world to say that “seeing is believing.” Whatever value this little maxim may have in the mundane affairs of life, it is an alien presence when we turn to the Lord in the dark hour of our extremity. The way of the Lord is best defined by a different maxim: “Believing is seeing.” Faith in the Lord is the premise, not the conclusion. We know He lives; therefore, we trust Him to bless us according to His divine will and wisdom." Anyway, those are my thoughts on that. They say it better than I can. I love the Book of Mormon. There are answers to all of our questions, not because it has it all, but when we read, ponder, and pray, God can teach us through revelation.

Last saturday night, we played bean-boozled. I was AWFUL/so fun. I got throw-up, jalepeno snot, and lawn clippings (the only one I actually ate). Sister voigtlaender is a champ and ate one of each at the same time and all of them were bad except lime. Haha it was SO funny. We were all crying.
Sunday, we went on a temple walk. I love it so much. I have lots of pics from that. For choir, we practice "Precious Savior, dear Redeemer," but it is a different arrangement for the MTC (by Brett Stewart). It is INCREDIBLE. I will remember it forever. I was in the 1 soprano section, and there was a jump to a high f.. It was nicht gut. I don't think I hit it. The song goes with Mark 4 when Christ calms the storm. It says, "Carest thou not that we perish?" I know he cares, because he suffered for our sins, for my sins, and our pains and sorrows and EVERYTHING> He knows it all, and He cares more than we can ever imagine. Jesus Christ is the cure for everything. Brother Eggett said we were supposed to sound desperate when it says, "curb the winds and calm the billows" (which was when we had to hit that note). It is probably me favorite song. I love it.  Look it up (on google). We sang it on tuesday at the devotional with W. Craig Zwick. You can probably see me, because I was on row f, like 4 seats from the edge in the middle. We're not supposed to look at the screen. At the sunday devotional, Matthew O Richardson spoke with his wife. I don't know why, but I loved them. He talked about being the best missionaries we can be, and not selling ourselves short. It was probably my favorite so far. It is a GREAT one to read.. I don't think MTC devotionals are on (I googled and found "Character of Christ" before I left.) We watched Legacy afterward and you can't imagine a room full of 18-21 year old young adults with 4 kisses in that film. It was very rowdy. I love the early saints of the church. I cried the whole movie. 
Sister Darton and I got in a "food fight" this week. I accidentally put pepper in her jello when I was peppering her soup, so it escalated, and she dumped her jello in my water, and then her hot cocoa on my sandwich. Haha. I hope we are companions in Berlin. 
Elder Passey has successfully tipped cows. We are so going when I get back. It was the funniest thing. I was trying to tease Elder Hughes because he was getting glasses, but I called him "two eyes" instead of "four eyes". Oops. 
I gave the elders my peppermint oil mints and told them they have to suck on them until they explode. It was the best. I cried because I laughed so hard. They were so scared, and then the little bubbles popped and they freaked out. Elder Passey said that he felt like he was breathing fire. Haha. Then everyone had one and the whole room was very minty. 
I was thinking about how great life is without a cell phone (at 11:30 when I couldn't sleep.. its a problem. And no, Dad, it is not because of my sleeping habits/patterns before my mission). I was then telling them (my district) the next day, and Elder Hughes said, "You are my cellphone," and Elder Passey and I started singing that to "You are my sunshine." Hehe. We are the same person.
Those are my funny stories. 
I love my district. I am going to cry when we part ways in the Frankfurt airport. I try not to think about it. 
Okay. I love you all. Have a great week!
P-Day clothes.. Classic Sister Missionary

I ran this road almost every day at BYU


So many temple pics!

My district...awe.

We love the temple!

Sister (Amanda) Balls

Funny Story. We were practicing teaching each other (i taught elder passey and he taught me) and we were supposed to be ourselves and not investigators. Bruder Nielson asked us after how we felt as investigators, and Elder Passey said something along the lines of "I thought we were supposed to be us/real people, not investigators" and Bruder Nielson freaked out and wrote that on the board and was like "untersuchers ARE PEOPLE!" and we were dying laughing and we all knew that just in case you were worried.. it was just poorly worded. it was just funny to see Bruder nielson do that.