Monday, May 23, 2016

Stay out of the kitchen Mariah. Love, your Mom (Week 18)

Flour and Water Pancakes

Homemade bread using baking powder instead of yeast

Hallo Liebe Familie (und Freunden)

Basic Summary:
We did an "open your mouth" day on Tuesday, which is actually stupid because we're supposed to always open our mouth. We tried extra hard and talked to a TON of people and it was awesome. We definitely saw miracles and it affected the rest of our week. We didn't meet with any of our normal people this week (they were busy), so that was schade but we did meet some cool new people. We found a man named Abraham in a park. He came to Deutschland from Afghanistan 50 years ago to study chemistry. I'm excited to teach and get to know him more. We taught Relief Society in church about President Monson's talk "Choices". It is a great one. We also met an old woman and she talked to us (mostly at us) for 45 minutes. But we are going back to talk about the Book of Mormon and she has read a little in it. We gave a super brief church tour to a guy who called us and wanted to meet with us. We went finding in a park and a guy started yelling at us because he had a headache and we were talking (like 20 feet away), but we went and had a nice conversation with him. He wasn't interested, but ended up being really nice and we shared our testimonies with him.

Honestly, every week is hard, but I have seen how God has answered my prayers. Sometimes it is by someone leaving money in a vending machine so you can buy Toblerone, and other times it is by getting to know a family in your ward that you can still be friends with Germans even though your German sucks. :) And sometimes it is just the feeling that you are not alone and that God sees what is in your heart.

This week I heard a parable that I really love. (See bottom to read it).

I was raised by eagles and always taught that I was an eagle and that I could fly. It is because of wonderful parents and leaders and
through the gospel of Jesus Christ that I am here. We are all truly Eagles in God's eyes. He knows our potential and He wants us to fly.
He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, so we can learn to fly. We (every human being) have a divine heritage: God is the Father of our spirits. He
knows what we can become and He knows who we really are.

The scripture that I chose for my mission was Doctrine and Covenants 84:88, which says, "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round
about you, to bear you up." I know that I am not alone. God is with me here, and this is His work. He wants us to be happy! I know that it is
through Jesus Christ that we can be happiest. It is through Jesus Christ that we can realize and reach our full potential as Eagles.

Love you all! I hope your week is Wunderbar!!
Grüße liebe!
Sister Simpson

P.S. GOOFS for the week. On Saturday night I decided to make bread. A lady in our ward gave us a recipe a while back. I didn't know what
yeast was in German nor could I find anything that looked like it, so I just used a packet of something I found in our pantry. (Sister
Porter had used it for something before.. Maybe brownies?) It was baking powder. Unfortunately, I think the yeast was important because
it became a nice dense dough ball instead of bread. (We still ate it..It's kind of like thicker hard tack). After that didn't work, I decided to make pancakes. We had flour and sugar, so I figured if the pioneers could eat it, I could. It was certainly something. Do I feel closer to my pioneer heritage? No. Did I still eat it because my other option was a dough ball? Of course. Let it be known, I am not a baker
and I should not experiment in the kitchen. Lesson learned.

Parable of the Chicken Eagle (title written by your truly; everything else written by anonymous)
There was a farmer who found a baby eagle in the wild and brought it home and placed it on his farm in his chicken coop. It soon learned to eat chicken feed and behave as chickens do. One day, a naturalist who was passing by inquired of the owner why it was that an eagle, the king of all birds, should be confined to live in the barnyard with the chickens. “Since I have given it chicken feed and trained it to be a chicken, it has never learned to fly.” replied the owner. “It behaves as chickens behave, so it is no longer an eagle.” “Still,” insisted the naturalist, “it has the heart of an eagle and can surely be taught to fly.”
After talking it over, the two men agreed to find out whether this was possible. Gently, the naturalist took the eagle in his arms and said, “You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” The eagle, however, was confused; he did not know who he was, and seeing the chickens eating their feed, he jumped down to be with them again.
Patiently, the naturalist took the eagle, on the following day, up on the roof of the house and urged him again, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self and world and jumped down once more for the comfort and familiarity of the chicken coop. 
On the third day, the naturalist rose early and took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high mountain. There, he held the king of ALL birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. You belong to the sky as well as the earth. Stretch forth your wings now, and fly.”  The eagle looked around, back toward the barnyard and up to the sky. Still he did not fly. Then the naturalist lifted him straight toward the sun and it happened that the eagle began to tremble and slowly he stretched his wings. At last, with a triumphant cry, he soared away into the heavens. It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens longingly; it may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the life of a chicken. He was an eagle even though he had been kept and trained as a chicken.

Pretty buildings

Monday, May 16, 2016

We found MEXICAN FOOD and PEANUT BUTTER! (Week 17)


Liebe Familie,
Well, as always, the time flew and I can't believe it is P-day again.  Last week, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Hamburg. It was quite an experience. It was very loud, very expensive. Sister Fulton was in heaven (see picture). I'll probably never go back.. Wasn't that impressed with their "gourmet" 3€ water. Today we played football. Imagine me and sister Fulton and 20 elders in a park in Hamburg playing American football. It was a little crazy. I tried, but I'm not very good. I did get ran into a few times. And I stopped some people so that was sweet. Pday fun.

We went on Tausch (exchanges) this week. It was nice to mix it up and learn from having a different companion for a day. We visited with a lady in our ward and tried to help her do her family history work. She's from Haiti, and basically has no information, so all we really did was help her get on to family search. She is going to have to research in Haiti to find all the information. Crazy. But I really love her and she's super solid. The rest of our appointments fell out, so we went by on a less active. She wasn't home, but we met a lady as we were leaving and ended up talking to her about the Book of Mormon and she seemed really interested. It was a miracle!

Also, we talked to a guy at our bus stop about the Book of Mormon. We gave it to him and told him how it has helped us and how it can answer all of life's questions. He told us that he just began a relationship with a girl and they both are new to dating... He asked if the Book of Mormon could help with that. (¿Alma 39?) He was very friendly and gave us a hug when he got on his bahn, even though we both tried to shake his hand. Haha.

We had a fantastic lesson with Peggy this week. She had a rough week and we talked about trials, what happens after we die. We all knelt down to pray together and it was incredible. The spirit was so strong. We all cried. She wants to get baptized, but she's worried about how her mother will take it, so we are praying that she will have to courage to pray about and make that choice and that her mother will be supportive. It has been such a blessing to see this change in Peggy. I love her!

Peggy and Leslie both came to church. Our Sunday school class was full and it was awesome!

So actually, it was kind of a hard week. (Lots of people cancelled on us). We need to always be talking with people, and I want to do better, but it doesn't always happen. I feel like the Angel in The Forgotten Carols who just really wants to sing but can't get it to come out.. (Sorry if that doesn't make sense. Thankfully, the forgotten carols is good at all times of the year, so you can just look up "Handel's dream" on YouTube and can listen to it. Beautiful.) So that's what we will be working on this week, because we are commanded to open our mouths, so I need to do my part so the Lord can do his.

We gave a Spanish Book of Mormon to a lady a while back and this week we went by and followed up. She let us in and talked to us for 10 minutes. She's super interested, super busy and super hard to understand (I haven't really learned Spanish yet, haha). She is Cuban and told us about all of her medical problems (her adult diaper). Throwback to my days as a CNA. We love her already.

Sister Fulton and I were talking about why it is so important to give 100% as missionaries, as members of the church, etc. It may seem, sometimes, that the church/gospel requires so much of us. And it does.  God has blessed us so much in our lives. Our blessings are without number. He requires so much, not just because where much is given much is required, but because we have a divine heritage. Our spirits were born of heavenly parents and we have the potential to become like God, perfected beings. But we can reach our full potential only by continually giving our best, trying every day to put 100% into serving and loving others, repenting, being humble disciples of Christ. We are not perfect, but as we try every day to reach that 100%, we will get better and better until we are perfected through Christ. We always need Him, no matter how good we become. We are saved by His grace, but only when we are doing ALL that we can to live like He did.

Well, that's all I have. Love you all!
Sister Simpson

P.s. We found two fantastic things this week: peanut butter and a Mexican restaurant. The peanut butter will do until I can find American stuff and we'll let you know how the Mexican food is when we go.

I am a photographic genius

Hard Rock Cafe

My 13€ meal ($15)

Tausch (Exchanges)

Cool Field

We watch Mormon messages when we eat.. This is what happens because they are frequently sad/touching

Cute flowers

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mountains to climb (Week 16)

Excuse how tired we look.  This was at 6 a.m. on our way to a meeting in Berlin.
Hallo Familie!

It was so good to skype with you guys. I love you so much! I can totally see why we only do it twice a year, because it was a little weird to go back to missionary work.

This week was so crazy! We went to Berlin for the trainer/trainee meeting. It was cool to get the same meeting from a different perspective. I learned a lot more this time. It was a long day (6hours of travel by bahn).

We tried to invite a family to our ward activity, but they weren't home. We went to Rossmann, printed off 2 invitations and left one at their house. Then we met a lady at a bus stop and talked to her. She told us she didn't know what she was going to do with her kids on the day off school. We had an extra invitation so we gave it to her. It would be a cooler story if she came, but it was a blessing to see that small miracle.

We met with Peggy and Frau Byo. I love these two people. It is amazing to see the gospel change them, little by little as they act on their faith. Jesus Christ takes away all sorrow, guilt, grief and pain when we let him.

So Christihimmelfahrt is German Father's Day. Basically all the men go out and get drunk. So all of the missionaries were supposed to stay home and read the Book of Mormon all day unless they already had appointments. We had our ward activity that they really wanted us to go to, so we went to that but read the rest of the day. The ward activity was at a park in the woods. We wore Pday clothes and it felt like we were camping. So weird! We played Fußball on a super small field with 20 people! It was nice to visit with ward members. We also played badminton. I think it is my sport. It is also the only semi-athletic thing I can beat Sister Fulton at (besides running. She's not a fan).  Honestly, I wanted to do the Buch Mormon Tag, but it was still a good day. I read all of 1 Nephi in one day, and I tried to apply all of the stories and teachings to me in my life. It was pretty cool to see that these words are meant for us now. I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON. I know it is the word of God and I am so thankful for it.

We helped with a Straße Aufstellung (street display) in Stade for the sisters there. It was good to watch other missionaries and learn from them. It was also really good to just get out of my comfort zone. A street display is when we set up a table with copies of the Book of Mormon and with a family history banner and talk to the people passing by. Honestly, it never got easier to talk to people, but I did get to
talk to a girl about my age about the Book of Mormon and how it has helped me through the trials in my life. She took it and said she'd read it. Two elders in my district did something called "street preaching" where they just share their testimony very loudly and read from the scriptures. They are the "oldest" missionaries in my district, and they did a good job and it was nice to see them get out of their comfort zones.

The weather has been so nice. The train ride back from Stade was super long and slow and so hot. I don't know how I'll survive the summer. My feet swelled up and it was only 70 degrees. The sun has been out every day for 8 days and the Germans are loving it!

So, yesterday, while we were eating dinner, Sister Fulton and I watched the Mormon message "Mountains to Climb". And we both cried through the whole thing. It is probably my favorite and I invite you to watch it. I thought about all the trials that I have gone through and mostly that I've seen other people go through. People ask me all the time "why do bad things happen to good people?" and "why is there so much suffering?" I wish there was an easy answer but there's not. President Eyring says "I cannot promise an end to your adversity in this life. I cannot assure you that your trials will seem to you to be only for a moment. One of the characteristics of trials in life is that they seem to make clocks slow down and then appear almost to stop.
    There are reasons for that. Knowing those reasons may not give much comfort, but it can give you a feeling of patience. Those reasons come from this one fact: in Their perfect love for you, Heavenly Father and the Savior want you fitted to be with Them to live in families forever. Only those washed perfectly clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be there.
    If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word."

The gospel gives us peace. Jesus Christ is hope. It has changed my life, and I hope it will continue to. It gives us the strength to change and to endure faithfully our trials. I know this. I have seen it in the lives of the people I love. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe that this gospel and message of Jesus Christ can change human hearts. I KNOW that He has been with me at every high point and every
low point in my life. I love Him. I am eternally indebted to him.

I love you. Have a great week!
Sister Simpson

Video link:

All these pictures were taken by our house (also at 6 a.m.):

Mother's Day Skype

Joyous day!  We got to Skype with Mariah at 5:30 a.m. on Mother's Day!  It was worth getting up early to be able to see that happy gave and hear her cute voice!  <3

Monday, May 2, 2016

Iranian Food (Week 15)

Flowers from the Qasims

Hallo Familie!
This week was awesome! And Crazy!
We went to visit one of the ward missionaries in the hospital. As soon as we got off the bahn, I realized we weren't in our area anymore. Cue freaking out. I called our DL and ZL and they told us we were fine. Obviously, I'm very new at this (missionary work and training). I felt super guilty and she didn't even end up being there because she has gone home that morning. 😐 Later that day we had an appointment that fell out at the church, so we went by her house and she was there, so
we visited with her. She is so sweet.
We found a guy in our area book from Burkina Faso [I looked this up. It is an African country in western Africa, directly north of Ghana] and he agreed to meet with us. We met with him outside his apartment because we didn't have a joint teach. He had a friend visiting from Burkina Faso who came out and listened to. Let me explain how complicated this whole situation is. Amao, the guy in our area book, has no religion but believes in God, has a BAJILLION questions, speaks German, French, and some African language. Mohammed is muslin and speaks French, the African language, and a tiny bit of English. So teaching both of them at the same time is SUPER difficult. We tried to answer Amao's questions, and sister Fulton shared a scripture and I pulled it up in French on my iPad and Mohammad read it and his face just kind of lit up. It was beautiful. It started raining so we decided to meet again the next day. We brought our JAE friend Steffi with us (I love Steffi!). We attempted to teach the restoration. The thing with Amao is that he has so many questions, so we'll be explaining/bearing testimony of one thing, and then he interrupts and asks a completely unrelated question. He believes in God but no afterlife, and he and Mohammad got into an argument  (Mohammad, in English "That's not logical!"), which eventually morphed into French because Amao doesn't speak English. Haha. It was so funny. It was so clear to me when the spirit was there in that lesson (when we were testifying) and when it wasn't (when they were arguing/convincing each other). If nothing else, I learned to recognize the spirit and what invited/drives away the Holy Ghost. We challenged them to read and promised that they would find answers in the Book of Mormon. Mohammad said he would and challenged us to read the Quran and told us we will never have questions again if we read it. (From what he shared, apparently it is very specific).
We went by on a contact family this week. They are refugees from Iraq. I love the Qasim family! There are 4 kids (2 boys, 2 girls) and the parents. When whatever government thing came in, they decided to leave, and the government blew up their car. They all escaped together (a HUGE miracle). They are qurdish/curdish. (Mom, will you research that religion and send me what they believe?)

A bit of info about the Kurds: This is the region they come from.  Most of them are Sunni Islams.  They oppose ISIS.
The kids speak pretty good German, and the parents are learning. They asked us to stay for dinner, so we ate Iraqi food. It was delicious. However, the mom is super nice and gave us literally 5 helpings. I was full after the first helping. At one point, I said a prayer because I didn't think I could eat all of that food. It was a different kind of rice, chicken, salad, and nuun bread. I made the mistake of not checking my watch.. It's staying light for a while now and I didn't realize how late it was when we got there until we finished dinner. . We tried our best to hurry home, but we were definitely late and had to call the DL and ZLs again. I was very stressed. I will probably never make that mistake again. We went back the other day to help the mom learn to ride a bike. It was super fun. Also, we gave them an Arabic Book of Mormon (we couldn't find a curdish one). They were super excited. I believe
that they were brought here for a reason. I love this family.
On Saturday, we brought 3 people to soccer at the stake center (Amao, Mohammad and Eva, a girl sister Porter and I met.. She didn't realize that sister Porter isn't here anymore and was a little surprised. When we met her, Sister Porter talked to her for 40 minutes, and I just tried really hard to understand.) Anyway, she has no interest in the church but is interested in doing things for P-day and soccer. Soccer was a blast! And I'm still sore.
We're singing a song for zone conference, and Sister Fulton and I are altos... The only altos. Neither of us are singers, so it should be interesting.
We met with Farshid this week. We were waiting at the church and going over our before mentioned alto part. I thought I heard something so we were about to go downstairs and then Farshid was right there and scared the daylights out of both of us.
I made dinner yesterday. I even cooked chicken. Go me! Sister Porter would be so proud. I just copied what she did. She's a whiz.
We met with Frau Byo this week. She is basically "golden". She believes in God and prays to him. She read the chapter we gave her in the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and believes it! I LOVE her. She's praying about a baptismal date and working on getting work off so she can come to church.
Well, if we didn't get enough goofs for the week, I slipped and fell down a couple stairs at Altona Hauptbahnhof.. Haha :)
You asked about Sister Fulton. I love her! She is a hardworking and super fun. Quite a character. She swam for BYU, she cooks her Mac and cheese with a STICK of butter (Gag). She is sassy, loves geography, spices (and chocolate). Also, she met One Direction. We have a lot of fun, and we're both  new, so we can just take what we learned in the MTC and apply it and learn tons!
I love the gospel. I love missionary work! I get to see people learn about and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. It changes everything. He is there for us always. I was reading about Abinadi today, and I think we think of "enduring to the end" wrong. It's not "hang in there." It is testifying of Christ through your trials and challenges, doing what you were sent to the Earth to do. I love the Book of Mormon with all of my heart. I KNOW it is the word of God because I have studied it and prayed about it. It feels different than any other book I've ever read. It is how we know that God is there, that Jesus Christ died for us and opened the way to return to our Heavenly Father.
Sorry for the long letter. I love you all! Have a great week.
Sister Simpson