Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 10

Spooky Graveyard Shortcut

Hey Mom! Spring break sounded really fun! I want to hike Angel's Landing. Sam McKinnon told me about it and it is her favorite, so I have always wanted to do it. I wrote you a letter and the boys postcards and sent it on Thursday.. So you should get it in a few days. I got your letter on Tuesday and it was awesome! Thank you. Also, Sarah Van Dam wrote me! I love mail. I get my Ipad on Thursday. Happy day! I am excited to see my MTC friends.
Happy Birthday Benjamin! And Jacob yesterday! Happy days. 
Last P-day, we found a mexican place and we bought burritos. So good. We went out and ate them by the water, and then went to H M to go shopping. It was fun! Some weird guys came and handed us roses and showed us pictures of a generic cancer kid and asked for money. I have heard not to take the roses, because if you don't give them money, they start screaming. freaky. We met with Farshid later that night, and he told us via google translate that he has felt the power of Satan less in his life since he received the priesthood on Sunday. We love him a lot. He is such a cool person! 
We also went grocery shopping, but forgot to bring bags and didn't want to buy any, so we carried our groceries home. We got lots of weird looks because we were just these silly americans carrying their carrots and eggs and chocolate. Haha. 
Tuesday, we went to go find a contact we had never gone by on, and we took a 'shortcut' through this HUGE park that turned into woods. We eventually found a road and a graveyard was on the other side. So naturally, it made total sense to go through the graveyard (thank you, Sister Porter). It was also great in size and after an HOUR of walking around it, we were thoroughly freaked out and lost. There were lots of bushes and it was overcast (it was probably really peaceful) but I was just thinking how it would be a great place for someone to kill us because no one would ever find our bodies. We eventually found the road and tracked our way back to civilization. We never found that contact. :( 
We went on tausch (exchanges) this week. We live close to Sister St. John (sister training leader) and Lichtenberg, but we just went to their area. I was with Sister Lichtenberg for the 2nd half of Thursday, and we went to an appointment that fell out. So we kligled a building and when someone would let us in, we knock on doors and talk to whoever would talk to us. We asked them questions about if they believe they see their families after they die and if they could ask God a question, what it would be, and we had some cool (from what we could understand) discussions. We talked to a lady on the street with her little baby and she believed she will see her family after she dies. We talked about the Book Of Mormon and I gave her one. They are going to meet with her next week!! It was awesome!
We slept over that night and ate german food. The next morning we got up and did out studies, then Sister St. John and I went to an appointment that also fell out. We went by on a couple contacts in really sketchy Hamburg. It was cold and really rainy, so not super fun. It was nice to talk to her, because she is at the end of her mission and she started like I did (no german), but she can speak really well now. 
We went to help an investigator who is super pregnant clean her apartment. She is super poor and it was so cool to be able to help her, because I was literally getting nothing out of it. I had a realization while I was scrubbing walls: I am a representative of Jesus Christ and I KNOW for a fact that if he came to that apartment complex, he would spend time with her and help her because He loves her. 
We had district meeting on Saturday night (because we messed up the regular schedule.. oops). We came out of the church and it smelled like smoke. Worse than summer fires in Boise. Most of Hamburg smelled like it (I don't know why) but we all had headaches because it was so bad. Also, in Germany, they have no school on Friday and Monday, so Saturday was a party day. The bus stops were completely full of teenagers and young adults. It was a little crazy. Some people drove by us and asked us where the party was (like we knew). Elder Nay gave everyone we passed pass-along cards, although most of them were probably drunk. 
There was a baptism for a YA that some of the elders in our zone taught, and they sang a song that Sister Porter accompanied for, so we went to that. On the way there, we saw a cute african family with an older german couple, and they sat by us and we talked to them. They were from Berlin and came from Hamburg for Easter. 

MOM QUESTIONS: How was your Easter? Did you teach anyone today?
The weirdest Easter I've ever had. I didn't understand most of church, it wasn't really focused Christ, and we had no eating appointment.
  How is your ward? How are the members?  Do they struggle or are they solid?
Our ward is awesome. There's 60-70 active members, I think. They are super cool. 
Is there just one ward in Hamburg?  
No there's more than one.. It is a big city.  We are on the outskirts of Hamburg, so like a suburb.   
Have you met with Peggy lately?  
We went to Mass today with her! I was thinking I wanted it to be in Latin, but then I realized it would probably be in german, so I wouldn't understand it anyway. It was interesting. I've always wanted to go to mass and it was a cool experience even though I didn't understand most of it. 
 What does the architecture like in Hamburg?  Any old beautiful churches and buildings?  
It's pretty cool. There are cool parts and normal parts. I lost my camera charging cord (have you seen it?), so I will take more pics when I get my Ipad.
Sorry about this long dumb letter. The church is true. I studied in 2 Nephi this week. I love in the Isaiah chapters, when Isaiah is talking about all the wickedness in the world, but despite all of that 'his hand is stretched out still.' He is ever merciful and loving and wants us to come to him. I love the talk 'Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet' and the story he shares about the boys in the canyon. I love what he says ''This Easter I thank Him and the Father, who gave Him to us, that He still extends unending grace, although He extends it with pierced palms and scarred wrists.'' That talk is one of my favorites and is SO worth reading. He will not leave us alone, especially in our times of trials. I am so thankful for His untimate sacrifice for us.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson
The Church in Hamburg

Hamburg Zone

We found Mexican Food

This Mustang and the bld. behind are the same color

German food and Exchanges

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Beware the Devil Schnitzel! (Week 9)

Angel Baby Gift from Peggy
Hallo! This week was quite a week. I hit my 2 month mark! It feels like I just left, but also feels like it has been so much longer. Time is a weird thing. 
I made a list of highlights from this week so we can skip the boring things. So here you go:
We watched the Face to Face with Elder Holland. It was really good. My favorite part was his testimony at the end about Jesus Christ and his favorite titles of Christ. And also 'Rock of Ages' at the very beginning. If you look up the program and watch only the first 7 minutes, it will totally be worth it. We are a little obsessed. Don't ask how many times we have listened to that song. Sister Porter poetically analyzed it, and it is also our alarm in the morning. So so good!
Quote of the week: (well, technically last week, but it's a good one). In Altona, they have these weird distorted metal human statues everywhere (there's only 3, I think), and we passed one in particular that had a big belly and was wearing a diaper thing. Haha.  Aiden, the 5 year old child of a investigator and a member, on the bus on the way to church saw this statue and said, 'Look! A human man baby!' Uhhh....
We visited with Peggy, and she made coffee cake and we drank peppermint tea and it was super fancy. She lives in this BEAUTIFUL part of Altona. She told us basically everything she's ever gone through in her life, and we listened and talked to her about it and tried to teach principles of the gospel that will help her. She is incredible. Her faith is basically the only thing she's had through her whole life. We introduced the Book of Mormon to her and explained that God loves all of His children, that it is a record of Christ coming to the Ancient Americas, and that it helps us to understand the Bible and teaches us the gospel of Jesus Christ. She was so cute, she said, 'This is kindof like a miracle'. We haven't been able to meet with her since then, but she is so so liebe and we are hoping that she will be able to recognize the truth in the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of our visit, she gave us a wax angelbaby (we called people angelbabies in the MTC, which is why I was so excited) that an Austrian nun made and gave to her and it is really old. We hung it up in our apartment. We are going to hear Peggy sing in a Catholic mass on next Monday
Also, this week , I've realized how I have had specific trials and things that have happened in my life and the life of people I know that can bless other people. I can testify of things I believe with all of my heart because of things that I have gone through. The gospel gives us healing and the strength to endure any trial. I know that. I know how much it can help us. 
Last P-day we went to IKEA (for 4 hours). We ate meatballs and schnitzel, then walked around the ENTIRE store. It is deceptively bigger than it seems and it seemed pretty big. Anyway, 3 of the 4 of us didn't feel so great the next day. Or any type of great. It was not fun. I am calling it the devil schnitzel. We were out all day and I found a public bathroom that cost money.. Everything was automatic and the door didn't shut all the way. It was a little sketchy. But a blessing nevertheless. I'll stop now. 
On Monday night, we went grocery shopping. We got off the bus and some guy started yelling, 'Sisters! sisters!' He was a guy who Sister Porter and Sister hendricks had had contact with before, but couldn't get ahold of him. He wants to learn english, so I think we'll start doing an english class. It was a cool miracle. 
We went contacting/finding a lot, but one day we were trying to find someone but we didn't have his last name. So we klingled the whole building, and this lady buzzed us in. She had like 5 kids in her apartment, and this little boy (18 months?) came running into the hall with the biggest smile/his mouth wide open in amazement. He was SO cute. And then another little boy about the same age did the same thing. Haha. If only I had that effect on boys my age (JUST KIDDING).  It wasn't the apartment of the man we were looking for, and the lady was babysitting and only some of the kids were hers, but we might try to go back because she was really nice. 
We volunteer at the international school, and the last hour we help in the library. We were checking to make sure all the books were in order and I saw Anne of Green Gables and pulled it out for a minute. A little 6 year old girl saw me do that and grabbed it when I put it back, looked at it for a few minutes, then put it back. Cute cute. Mostly, service reminds me that the real world exists. And by that I mean elementary school world. We get to talk to the teachers in the preschool because we serve them lunch, so that is pretty cool. 
Thursday we did an English fast all day. It was hard, but really good. We've been using more Deutsch ever since. Yay for progress. Yesterday, at church, I realized my frustration with the language is less because I don't understand anything and more because I can understand if I had time to think it through and if I could recognize all the words, but people speak too fast and I get behind and lost. But it is coming. 
The other day, I saw a lady around our age crying on the bus. So being the awkward person I am, I wrote, 'I hope your day gets better..' on a sitcky note and something about if she wanted to talk to someone, she could call us, then put that sticky note on a pass-along card and gave it to her when I got off the bus. But she didn't really take it and just looked at it, so I set it on her arm and got off the bus. And then felt really stupid. Probably shouldn't do that again. I was just trying to be nice.
This week, I studied the Atonement of Jesus Christ a lot. We've been sharing the Easter video with basically everyone who will meet with us. The 1st counselor in the mission presidency had a lesson with the Persian Pals and us last week and he talked about Moses 1:39. Christ's work is our immortality, the promise to every person that we will live again. It is what we think about and remember when we take the bread of the sacrament. Christ's glory is when we work with him to repent and work towards eternal life. We remember the blood he shed in the Garden of Gethsemane when he atoned for the sins of the world. He paid the price for all of our weaknesses and shortcomings. He knows perfectly how to help us. (One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 53:3-5) I love the titles of Christ throughout the scriptures. I loved the 3 Elder Holland shared: The bright and morning star, the high priest of good things to come, and the alpha and omega/beginning and the end. Christ is the hope of a new day, then sun that ALWAYS follows and drives away the darkest night. He is the source of all the good things in our lives. He loves us so much and wants to help us. He has a bigger end goal full of great things than we could ever imagine.  And he is the beginning of our lives, he gives our spirits and our bodies new life, now and after we die. He is there at all points in our lives. I know He lives. I know He loves us. I know God loves all His children and that we can learn of Him as we study the example and life of Jesus Christ, who in all things strove to emulate the Father. God is so good. I hope you all have a great Easter! (Quote from a baptist church one of Sister Porter's friends on a mission in tennessee: It's not about the bunny, it's about the lamb.) 

Sister Simpson
p.s. Deutsch goof: 'Was sollen wir essen? Wir haben Auge...' (translation: What should we eat? We have eyes.) I meant to say Eier, which means eggs. 
other weird things for brothers: You've heard of the man bun, but have you heard of the Man scooter? Literally, man with grey hair and serious clothes riding a scooter. Weird. Also, General Conference is like the Mormon Superbowl, but better. Woot Woot, go team!  

Mom questions:
Do you go to member's houses,  a library,  or do you have an ipad? 
We go to a church building that has 2 computers. I get my Ipad a week from thursday. When I have my ipad, I can get emails when we have wifi and read them throughout the week, but can't reply until Pday.  
If so,  do you write letters from home,  or do you have to take it to a place with wifi? Can you read your letters during the week,  or just on pday? Did you get the letter i wrote yet? 
Haven't gotten it yet. Anxiously waiting. :) I sent Lizzy a postcard. I will send the boys some today (or once I buy stamps). I hope your spring break it good! I am jealous/not jealous. Have fun!!!! I love you guys!

Sister Porter with the Angel Baby

We found a leaf while contacting

we played on this saucer thing on a playground one night while we were contacting and it was a little
scary.  (I promise we do work, 
and we are working hard.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

#Hallelujah—An Easter Message about Jesus Christ (We are sharing this on my mission in Germany)

Week 8. "I never know what to put here" Mariah

Hallo! This week was awesome. Here are my highlights!

Dienstag, März 8: We had zone meeting and it was all auf Deutsch, which made for grumpy Sister Simpson. We had an essen termine (eating appointment) with an english couple in our ward, though, so that was fun. 

Mittwoch, märz 9: We visited with a Sister in our ward who told us about all of her frustrations and how her life isn't fair. Not going to lie, I felt like I couldn't tell her that Christ would solve all of her problems.. I felt like I didn't understand that because I haven't experienced anything like she had. (Pause: See Samstag for that answer). We also had a lesson with our 'Persian Pals.' F (speaks Farsi and a little English) was baptized the week before I got there, H (speaks german, english and farsi)has been a member for a couple years, and K (speaks Farsi and German) is a recent convert also that has been taught by different elders. They are So COOL. Seriously, I love them. F has a super cool conversion story. He lived in Iran and he was successful. He had an architectural job, a car, a house, a girlfriend. One day, he ended up in a Christian church, and decided to follow Jesus Christ after that.  He had to leave the country, so he escaped and made it to Germany. Then he found the missionaries and wanted to be baptized, but had to wait for the VISA office and there were a whole bunch of miracles that happened so he could be baptized. He had such a strong testimony and love of the gospel. He only speaks Farsi, so we/the other sisters teach him in english and H translates. Those three have become best friends because they help each other. They are so cool. 

Donnerstag: Happy b-day Lizzy! We went finding, and at the end we met this nice lady who wanted to talk to us in english. She talked to us for 10 minutes about what we are doing there, and we gave her a pass along card and then we had to go. I keep hoping she will call us. We volunteered at the International School. We served lunch to the little preschool classes, and then helped out in the library. Later, we went to the Kita (daycare). I was nervous because I don't understand kids and don't really know 'du sprache' but I just played with animals with a little boy and it was fun. We had an essen termine with another english family in our ward and we talked about Joseph Smith. The husband is from Australia and his wife is from the Phillipines and is not a member. They are so cool and I really love them. We talked about Joseph Smith.

Freitag: We had lunch with a lady in our ward and her 8 year old daughter. On the way there, these 2 ladies across the street smiled and waved at me. So I checked to make sure they were waving at me and waved back. Then Sister Porter told me they were the Jehovah's Witnesses. Haha, figures. Missionaries are nice, friendly people. We taught (in german) an investigator named M from Egypt about the Godhead, and one of our new converts came with us. It was such a blessing to have her with us because she could explain her testimony and how she came to know, and I couldn't understand much and she could. We had to go to the bathroom super badly on the way home and we went into this mall and found a free bathroom!!! There aren't many free bathrooms in Germany, let me tell you. It was a miracle.

Samstag: we went running and found a zipline. Need I say more. We went finding for like 5 hours, and it was deceptively nice outside (as in it looked nice but was actually FREEZING). We saw 3 kids under the age of 8 straight-up smoking cigarettes. We were distrubed. We would go pass people and ask if we could ask them a question and they would look at us weird and say No. They were not very friendly and we got really discouraged.  We went and kligled in the apartments nearby and I said hi to a russian guy  and then he talked at us about how all religions are good and have some truth and he's read the Koran and the Bible and they all have the same 10 commandments, and he showed us his Buddha necklace and told us he wasn't married and I actually didn't understand that much because he was speaking german with a russian accent. haha. He talked at us for 30 minutes, I kid you not. We were freezing and lost all of our body heat. We went to give him a Russian Book of Mormon yesterday, because he wanted one.. We left it on his doormat to his apartment. He made up for all the lack of talking from everyone earlier. Haha. We had a lesson with a man from Nigeria named Chima. He has a whole bunch of financial stress and struggles right now, and we taught about Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ can give us peace in our lives. Our trials might not go away when we want them to and the way we want them to, but I know that Christ gives us peace in our lives in the midst of them. There is no other source that will help as much as Jesus Christ. I can promise you that. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us perspective in the our trials. 

Sonntag: Präsident Fingerle came and spoke in Sacrament meeting. He spoke in German and Sister Pohl translated for the english speakers (and H translated from English to Farsi for F). So cool.  A sister in our ward spoke in English about prayer and the peace she has had in her life because of Prayer (John 14:27). I have been trying to make my prayers more meaningful and it has been incredible. She invited her german teacher, and her name is Peggy. She was really touched and cried through her whole talk, and clapped in the middle. :) She came to sunday school and we talked about Jesus Christ and His life. It was probably the coolest Sunday School lesson I've ever been in. Elder Smith described the last week of Christ's life, and the spirit was so strong, you could literally feel it. It was so special. She told us that she loved both meetings because it was so personal and applicable in our lives. I love that about the gospel. It is so so So personal. We are meeting with her on Tuesday, and I am so excited. We taugh Relief Society about Jospeh Smith. I learned a lot preparing for that. We split the sisters into groups and they basically taught each other. Joseph Smith is such a good example. He was christlike in his example of Charity, he was humble and his entire life was led by God by seeking revelation from Him. He not only endured, but endured well. I am so thankful for him and all he did for the church. He always knew who he faced: Jesus Christ. 

This week was really cool. I have seen how the spirit works within people, and have seen them come to realize that they have a Savior who loves them, who suffered for not only their sins so they can be forgiven, but for their sorrows and pains. Christ suffered for the sorrows and pains of EVERY person who has or will ever live. If you think about the awful things that people have gone through, that is incredible. He is the source of peace and light. In Him, we find new life, now and after we die. What an incredible gift! (I love the new Easter video. Share it with people!! We are using it all the time. ) I studied John 15:4-12 this week. I love the idea that Christ is the vine. He connects us to Heavenly Father. Without Him, we a just a branch, but with Him, we have life. We can become so much more. I love this gospel. I am so thankful to be here and to have the opportunity to share the message of Jesus Christ with everyone I meet. That message brings love, peace, eternal happiness.

Love you all. Till next time.
Sister Simpson

Sister Simpson and Sister Porter Singing...You Are My Sunshine

We realized that this song doesn't really have a super happy message, but it reminds me of you, Mom. I love you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Week 7 (February 29 - March 6) ALTONA! Hamburg!!

President and Sister Fingerle, and Sister Porter (Her trainer)

Hey y'all! This has been the craziest week ever. No joke. I took notes out of my journal.
So I am in Hamburg. My area is called Altona.  If you were to ask me how I've felt this last week, my answer would be, "like elder calhoun" from The Best Two Years. I am Elder Calhoun. *embarrasing. I am soooooo excited and just so new. And I can't really speak. More on that later. 
27 Feb: Packing with 6 girls = CRAZY. enough said
28 Feb: last day of ice cream. They pulled out Graham canyon at the end, Sister Darton saw and said, "Sit down!" and the 4 of us didn't argue. We may have already eated 2 bowls of ice cream. #worthit
Sang "God be with you 'till we meet again" in church.. Love them. Took pictures as a zone. Great day. We sang |come thou fount" at devotional. I thought it was cooler than "Called to Serve." (we sing that all the time)
29 Feb: I am a great packer/didn't bring that much stuff. We had out last classes with our teachers. We practiced their favorite hymns so we could sing them. Also, we had a testimony meeting with Bruder Nielson, and interviews with Bruder Alston. They told us about the people they taught on their missions. It was SO cool. I was so excited to leave. It was hard to say goodbye to them though. They have helped me so much! At 9:30, we sang "God be with you till we meet again" again as a zone and said goodbye. They it was crazy/frantic packing in the residence hall. Went to bed at 11:45
01 March: Woke up at 3 Am, rode bus to the tracks to the airport, talked to family (!!!), flew to Chicago. That airport was HUGE. We had 15 minutes to go to the bathroom, exchange our money, get food, and call people. It was crazy, but we did everything but exchange our money. On that airplane, I was in the middle row of 3 with no one next to me. We could watch disney movies, so I watched "inside out" and part of "up". The girl ahead of me watched this movie with bradley cooper in in 3 times!!! I slept off and on for about 4-5 hours. Funny story: a flight attendant asked me about "us" and I told her we are missionaries. A man asked if I had ever seen the BOM musical (no) and he said he loved it. So I went and sat down and then thought about it and grabbed the BOM I brought with me and went back to him and said, "You said you loved the musical. Have you read the book?" and gave it to him. He looked at me weird, and then I went back to my seat. Haha. It was SO awkward. I am so awkward. I should have said something, anything less weird, like my testimony. 
02 March: Frankfurt! We bought food in the airport, but mostly it was boring. Sister Wahl talked to a lady next to us and basically taught the whole first lesson about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It was awesome. It's dumb, but I was scared to talk to anyone. We flew to Dresden (OUT for the full 45 minute flight). We met President and Sister Fingerle. We got in a huge bus and drove to Radebeul, which is where President Monson dedicated the country. We read the prayer he said and had time to pray and decided what we are going to do with these 18 months/2years. It was a really cool experience. I get to go back right before I come home, and we will do the same thing, only in german! We drove to Freiberg (we stayed in the hostel by the temple) had lunch, then had to take care of check-in stuff. I definitely fell asleep. Sleep deprived plus jet-lagged is not a good combination. President let us go to bed at 7.. So I slept from 9-6:30, which is probably the most sleep I've gotten in 8 years. haha. 
03 March: We had morgensport, german food for breakfast (SOOOOO GOOD!), had a meeting with President Fingerle, watched a temple video and had time to spend on the grounds. The temple is under construction until May (?) and it is dedicated in august, I think. We got out trainers next, then took pictures outside, ate lunch, then left. We went to Berlin and stayed with some sisters there. It was me, Sister Porter, and 4 other sisters who are so fun. The sisters we were staying with left later than we did, so we stopped to get dinner (finally) at like 10:15. We ate these Duner things.. basically the leg of an animal that is illegal in the US. They have them everywhere. They shave off meat and put it in a bread thing with sauce and vegetables. It is a lot like the gyro place, just with bread instead of pitas and different meat. It was yummy, but we all felt it the next day. We got to the apartment at the same time as the other sisters.. aka 11:15pm. I was so tired from lugging my luggage around all day, on and off trains. On the walk from the train station to the apartment on cobblestone with everything, I was Hating life. One of the trainers helped me out, but I was SO tired and cold and frustrated. I hate traveling. They were nice and gave us (new missionaries) the beds. 
04 March: We (now only 4 of us, the other 2 went to their area a different way) left early and took a train from berlin to Hamburg. We slept on the train, then bought food together, then left. A couple hours later, we made it home. Finally. I unpacked, we studied and she explained the area book to me and the people we teach/work with. I was mostly just miserable and tired and wanted to get out and do something missionary-like. I'm learning it is finding and teaching, but there are other things that have to get done too. 
05 March: So another funny story, the elders dropped off the 2 sisters we stayed with in Berlin, and we helped unload their suitcases. We ended up with an extra suitcase (one of the elder's) and sister porter thought it was mine and I thought it was hers.. We made it all the way back to Altona before they called us and we realized we had it. So we mailed it and bought some food. We studied, then went contacting (where we go talk to people who have talked to missionaries in the past to see if they are interested). We didn't have anyone, most people have moved, but it was so fun! It was rainy and I just loved it. We had district meeting. On the way home, there was a lady across from us reading, and there was a crazy guy doing stand-up comedy or something (we didn't understand), and I felt like I should talk to her. I waited too long, until she was about to get off, and I asked her what she was reading, and then basically said goodbye. Then I was kicking myself, and on our next Bon we got on, there was another lady.. It was mostly empty, and she was sitting across the aisle with our backs facing (we were kitty-corner facing away) and she kindof turned towards me so I said, "Hallo, wie ghets?" and she looked behind her (no one was there) to make sure I was talking to her and said "gut (or what ever), and you?" and I said, "gut, mein deutch ist schleck." and then sister Porter took over. Haha. They had a nice conversation. I smiled. 
06 march: Church! We greeted people. I forgot my name and almost introduced myself as Sister Hammer. Oops. I also didn't really understand anything.. haha. I just smiled the whole time. One lady told me that I would eventually learn it (I think). The bishop invited Elder Nay and I to bare our testimonies. I went first and smiled and tried to speak from my heart. We have english speakers in our ward, so Elder Smith had to translate the whole meeting and he told me my testimony was the easiest. Gut gut. I didn't understand anything in Relief Society. Like 0 %. Oh well. :) We went to the Jensen (pronounced "yen-sen") house for lunch. By the time we ate, I probably would have eaten a branch if that is what they gave us. It was soo good. Potatoes/eggs/ham all cooked together, and green beans and Super good pickles, and this stuff called Quark for dessert. I love german food. So much. Sister Jensen speaks perfect english, and it was so nice to talk to her after church and not understanding anything her kids were saying. On the bus ride home, we talked to a lady. I said "hello" and Sister Porter was on the phone, and I didn't understand what she said back to me, but sister porter was like, "Elder Smith, I'll call you back" and jumped in. Danke Himmel. It was a lovely conversation, from what I got out of it. Oh, later, on the bus later, two girls (like 10 and 16) heard us speaking english and asked if we speak german. We said and explained that we are missionaried for the LDS/mormon chruch. ("die mormonen"). The little girl asked if we'd ever seen them and we were super confused and they kept saying "demonen". We figured out later that they probably thought we said "demons." So those poor girls think we are the demon church. Great. That's just what we want. I think they understood we didn't understand. We had a meeting with out ward mission leaders, who are english and super awesome. On the way there, we were talking about movies, and we both hate scary movies. She asked if I had seen the 6th sense, and I haven't.. I was trying to think of 50 first dates and we were just standing there and Sister Porter said, "I see dead people" in a weird quiet voice and I looked around a little freaked out because I had never seen the movie. She laughed pretty hard. :)
07 March: We went running this morning. Our 30 minute run turned into 90 minutes of being lost and trying to find our way back home.. 6 miles later, we made it home. My fingers were so cold. We asked like EVERY person we saw for directions.. We were so far away that they hadn't even heard of our street. Hahah. Good times. 

Love you all! I love Germany! I know God loves these people. I can feel it. He love you and He loves me!
Sister Simpson

p.s. I\m out of time rn, but I will hopefully have a few minutes later to reply to your email, mom. Thank you for both of them. I love you. I like your talk!!! Have a great day! Tell Dave thank you for his dear elders (and brandi) and Sadie Shelton that I will try to send her a postcard, and I'm sorry I haven't already. I need to reply to courtney's email too. 

 Mom questions:
Are you on a bike?  Do you ride the bus?  Train? 
I walk/public transportation. (First day thought: "Ew"; Current day: "AWESOME!") There is NO public transportation in Boise, Idaho. It is insane here. Thank you Mom for the handsanitizer. It is probably the reason I am still alive.
 What is your trainer like?  Where is she from?  How long has he been out?  Does she speak German well?  Is she speaking it with you all the time?  What is your favorite thing about her? 
My trainer is Sister Rachel Porter from Oregon. She just got done being trained (we had a HUGE group, so most of the sisters she came in with are training) and she's been here for 12 weeks/2 transfers/ 3months. She's my "mom." (Her "mom"/trainer is actually Sister Darton's trainer. So Sister Darton is my aunt. Missionaries are weird.) I actually saw her open her call on youtube before I came. She and her twin sister opened their calls and one went to Berlin and the other to Frankfurt on the same day. Cool/weird that I saw that before I came. She is so awesome! I am so excited and I love her already. She is super funny, everyone loves her because she is super cool. She is very comfortable to be around and super easy-going. I was so tired/in shock the first few days that I'm sure she thought I didn't have a personality. Haha. Also, I would be lost and probably curled up in a ball, crying, without her, because I'd be lost and don't speak German. She took 3 years of german in high school, and she's pretty good. I like her a lot. 
 What area are you serving in? 
Altona.. just outside Hamburg 
 Are there other missionaries in your area?  
We have 3 elders who serve in our ward with us.. Elder Smith (7 months, super smile-y and friendly, just a funny funny guy, very american sounding german), Elder Jacobe (from England, his parents are Philipinno, speaks taglog/english/a little german, waiting for his Visa to go to the SLC North mission, 7 weeks) and Elder Nay (in my MTC zone, took german in high school, SO nice)
How far away is the church? Do you ride bikes to get there?  Bus?  Catch a ride with other members?
30ish minute bus ride.. It is just inconvenient to get to. It is the house of an old ship captain that was destroyed in the war (assuming WW2?). The church restored it. It is so cool and in a beautiful area. We have eating appointments after church, and members drive us to their houses, and to the bus/train station so we can get home after.
What is your mission president like?  Is he native?  Does he speak english to you or german? 
He is sososososososososo nice. Probably the nicest person I've ever met. I love him. (President Uchtdorf nice). I had a 5 minute interview with him and chose to speak danglish.. The whole first two days, they would speak in german and either an AP or Sister/President Fingerle would translate to english. 
 How is the language coming?  Do you understand more than you thought you would?  How was your first door approach?  
Uhhhhh... welllll.......... hmmm. "that ain't the language they taught me in the MTC!" I can understand mostly other missionaries (I struggle with vocab with them), and I'm still working on understanding germans. I have, however, perfected the smile-and-pretend-you-know-what-they-are-saying look. I know they know that I can't understand. Haha. One day I will speak german!!! *noble knight voice
Döner shop

cramped train car

klingling, aka I love missionary work

sleeping on the train

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Week 6 Last Email from the USA! (February 21-28)

This is an awful picture, but here's my hair. It's a little on the short side (A LOT), but it will grow.

Ok, so fun fact. I cut my hair this morning. Actually, I chopped it. It's pretty short.

Anyway, this week was so great. Here are my highlights:

We were writing letters in our residence hall, and Sister Darton was bored.. So she switched all of Sister Balls/McCrary's stuff because they were doing laundry. Everything was exactly how it was, just in a different closet/bed. It was so funny. They laughed (Sister Balls wanted her top bunk back.) Then I helped Sister Darton take their mattresses to the room of some other sisters in our zone. Sister Balls and McCrary didn't think that was so funny. We did. We did bring them back in and put everything back eventually.
We went to the temple. I was feeling really weird and homesick before we went, but it was so good to go. It gives me perspective and it brings such a peace into my heart. I love it. I talked to one of the other german teachers here. She is from Germany and she is so smart. She served her mission in California, and she knows: German, English, and French really well, and Spanish and Russian. Holy Cow! She is in the 321 French class at BYU, but we took 201 at the same time. I am out of practice, but it was super fun to talk to her. It was a tender mercy because I miss speaking french. That night, Sister Darton taught me a country dance in our room and I taught her some folk dances from my class at BYU. It was so fun. We decided we hope we are companions over Christmastime in Germany. She is awesome. We have since repented for dancing in the MTC, and we will learn more when we are companions.   

We had choir and sang "A Child's Prayer." He brought his son and another little boy to sing with us and it was so cute. I miss little kids. He told stories about his experiences as a father and how much he loves his kids, and likened it to Heavenly Father and how much he loves us. 

I went to the Doctor for my heel.. They got me right in during my exercise time (and it went a little into class time and I was stressed/felt bad for being late to class, but Bruder Nielson ended up having a training meeting, so we didn't miss anything). The doctor sent me to a podiatrist, and that was another little miracle, because they were able to get me in the next day. I felt kindof silly, but I was actually really scared that it would get worse and that I'd have to go to a doctor in Germany. I have been praying super hard (auf Deutsch) for Heavenly Father to heal my heel. 

We cleaned toilets. Last service!! Sister Hammer and I went to the outside world (aka the doctor). He looked at my foot for 15 seconds, then talked to me for 15 minutes about all the problems I'm going to have for the rest of my life that will have to be surgically corrected (nothing related to my heel). Ugh, ich hasse the doctor. I would rather not know everything that could possibly be wrong with me. I don't know how right he is, because Dad and I have the same feet and he's fine. I wish dad would have been there. Anyway, he gave me some advice for my heel [Feel free to take this all out before you email this to everyone: (he thinks my shoes are putting pressure on where my Achilles connects to my heel.. or that I have a buildup on my bone or something that rubs). I decided I was just going to have faith that it would go away. He prescribed me an antibiotic so I take that when I remember and put deep blue on it before I go to bed and have faith, and it has felt a LOT better.  I know it wasn't a made up problem, and I did talk about it and Dad kindof looked at it once, but we didn't have a lot of time.] Anyway, all is good. I'm fine and I'm going to Germany and the Lord will bless me! Sister hammer and I grabbed a sack lunch before we went to the doctor, but didn't eat it until we came back. We ate outside. I got a ton of honey all over my orange so I wanted to wash it off, and Sister Hammer decided to brush her teeth, so we walked back to the classroom and we looked ridiculous. My hand was GLUED to the orange. I made her swipe her card to open the door and I also made her laugh and she drooled out toothpaste. We laughed so hard. We are ein bischen dysfunctional. I have decided that being covered in honey is now one of my fears.. For the Devotional, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom spoke, and so we sang all primary songs. She is so cute, and just so happy! There was a group of little kids who sang with us and it was awesome. 

We had taught our second skype lesson to a lady in Germany (actually she lives in Utah now.) We taught her last week too, and we talked with her about how we can study the scriptures better. She is SO sweet and it was so fun. We don't understand everything she says, (and I'm sure she doesn't understand everything we say), but it was a great experience. We just love her. We also took these stupid german grammar tests that we all did very badly on (I got a 23% and a 41%.). I say stupid because Bruder Nielson decided to take it too and he got an 87% (granted, he speed-took it). We apologized for our scores and told him that we hope he doesn't get fired, haha. After he took it, he said, "Well, we might all be leaving the MTC at the same time. You to Deutschland, me to McDonald's." It was just a progress thing, because I don't think you're supposed to get 100%.

We had In-Field Orientation. It was 9 hours long. It was basically "everything we haven't taught you about that you need to know before we send you into the world". I didn't feel good, so that wasn't fun, BUT it was fun to hang out with different missionaries all day, and I did learn a lot. One sister I talked to told me about how she joined the church: her friends invited her to a stake dance and then to church the next day. She told me that before that point in her life, she had been happy, but that day at church, she felt something in her soul. That was really cool to me. The gospel gives us perspective, and it brings a different kind of peace and happiness than anything else in the world. It changes us. Another thing we learned about was baptism. We don't want people to be baptized because we want the church to get bigger. We want them to get baptized because that starts them on the path to returning to God. Conversion, (knowing the doctrine of Christ and knowing how to receive revelation how to apply it in our lives), is how we will continue down that path. God loves all his children. You don't know who is and isn't ready to hear the gospel. He is preparing everyone. I wish I would have shared the gospel more before my mission. It makes me so happy and my life has so much more meaning. Listen to the spirit and share the gospel with the people you know!!! 
After it ended, we had dinner, but Sister Hammer and I decided to nap instead because I didn't feel good. She ate a hotpocket from the vending machine and I slept for 25 minutes. I felt better afterward. We had study time, and we watched these health and safety videos for an hour and a half (they were required for us).

Sister Voiglaender and I ran the mile. (My foot didn't hurt all day.) Originally, we thought the record was 6:44, but it was 6:25, so adjusted our splits and a lady came and timed us. I matched the time and ran 6:25. I know I could've gone faster, but that's okay. It was awesome and felt really good. I thought about trying again on Monday, but it doesn't really matter. I'm glad I ran it, though. During class with Bruder Alston, Sister McCrary was really thirsty, so I gave her my waterbottle. She laughed while drinking and spit water all over herself/into my waterbottle. It makes me laugh out loud everytime. :) We had class with Bruder Nielson, and we had one question that was supposed to only last for 5 minutes, but it turned into 2.5 hours of talking about the gospel and our duty on earth. It was AWESOME. Seriously. We were all so excited and I learned SO much. I love the scriptures and the gospel. It is beautiful and symbolic and SO applicable to us. Bruder Nielson is a great teacher and I am so thankful for his example. Friday was one of the best day I think I've had the in the MTC. I love it here. I have been so blessed to get to know people, to have great teachers and I have learned so much. I'm going to miss my district so much. I love being a missionary and I am so excited to go to Deutschland (Also very nervous.. but I know Heavenly Father will help me). 

I've been studying God, and how I can learn more about Him and my relationship to Him this week. Elder Holland said that when Jesus Christ came to Earth, He was showing us "who and what God our Eternal Father is like, how completely devoted He is to His children in every age and nation." It made so much sense to me. They are one in purpose. They both want us to return to them and to have lasting happiness. We come closer to God when we are trying to learn of the Savior and follow His teachings and when we pray. Prayer should be hard.. It should be a form of work. Ether prayed all day and all night. I'm trying to get better at praying more earnestly and with more focus. The Lord rewards us for our efforts, and He will give us what we truly want and desire in our hearts. I am so so SO thankful for all of the blessings God has given us. Please share His love with the people around you, because EVERYONE needs Him and everyone needs our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ich Liebe Sie!!

Sister Simpson

p.s. Mom, I got your package. Thank you SO much! I love you, and I'm so sorry you had to pack up my room. That's a lot of stuff. I can't wait to talk to you Tuesday morning. Sorry, I probably can't write you a letter before I leave. I have to pack (ACK!). I love you pii! I hope the wedding was great!!
p.p.s. Please tell Sister VanDam that I LOVE the CTR ring she sent. She gave me the CTR ring from when she served her mission. So So So cool. I will try to write a thank you to her

The beds we switched (hahahaha)

Sister Hammer, Sister Voigtlaender, me

We are making korean hearts (apparently). We love Sister Ha!

I think this is the letter that got returned for postage.