Monday, June 27, 2016

Sommerfest! (Week 23)

Liebe Familie,

Every week is full of incredible experiences. I love this place, this ward, and these people.

We had a lesson with Peggy. We actually didn't plan anything, because we needed to just see where she is at, and it was perfect because we just taught her based on her needs. She's still working towards baptism, and she is getting closer. She feels super welcome in the ward, and they are starting to recognize her and get to know her.

We were on our way to service this week, and Sister Fulton brought up a contact we've met with a few times. She's from Cuba and her German is super funny because she throws in random Spanish words. She can't walk very well and when we showed up, she was getting home from grocery shopping. So we brought her groceries up the 4 stories to her apartment and then said a prayer with her. It's pretty cool to see how the Lord will use us to bless other people if we listen to Him. I've learned that the Holy Ghost and love can be felt through any language barrier.

We've gotten a lot better at finding. I actually like it. We've met lots of cool people and most of the time, they are nice, so it adds to my love for the people here. We focused on giving out invitations for the Freiberg temple open house in August (because we have 600 invitations). Also, we've been giving them to members and trying to help them invite their friends.

This week, our ward had Gemeinde Sommerfest. We invited TONS of people (neighbors, random people on the street, investigators, etc), and not a lot of other people came, but we had some less active members there, Farshid and Peggy came, and some members brought their friends. It was great! It rained, so that wasn't prima, but everyone just ate in the church until the rain stopped and then the kids played in the wet bounce house, and the elders played soccer with some of the kids (and older brothers in our ward:). One of the members brought a guitar and we sang German campfire songs around the fire pit. It was so fun. They had a cake contest. The men make cakes, a jury judges them, and then they put them all out on the table and it is a free for all. That's my kind of activity. The whole ward gets super into it. It was hilarious. Peggy was one of the judges and she loved it!

We didn't have a lot of people come to church, but we will keep working with them. I translated in Relief Society (2 English sisters), which was a little rough, but I have noticed that my German has gotten a lot better. It is nice to see progress and how God is really helping me to learn this language. I've noticed that it come faster and better when I am focused on understanding and helping other people, rather than just learning and understanding this language. I've learned so much from the two sister ward missionaries, Schwester Faber and Schwester Wendt. I love watching them, because they are always reaching out with love, lifting and helping other people like Christ did. That is what this gospel is all about: coming into Christ and helping other people do the same. That's how we can be the happiest! We are not here on the Earth just for ourselves; Jesus Christ didn't do a single thing for himself. He always turned outward in love instead of inward.

We are working hard and I love it. I love being a missionary. I love  these people, I love Altona, I love this country. I realize more and more everyday why I am here. I may be a very mediocre missionary, but thank heavens God doesn't expect me to be perfect. Es kommt nicht alles auf einmal. His plan for us is perfect. He is our Father, and He gave His only begotten Son for us. Christ is the way that we can essentially become perfected. He understand completely our failures and  shortcomings and He knows exactly how to help us. He is the source of true happiness, true peace, true light.

I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Sister Simpson

P.S. This is the last week of this transfer. Crazy. We'll see what happens.

We found the cutest macaroon shop ever. I would come back and work here. They are so good!
Candy binge of two girls at their time of the month. Ha ha.

Monday, June 20, 2016

I am not witty enough to make cool subjects for my emails (Week 22)

Hey family!
This week was a little rough on appointments. We had a grand total of 3. We had one with Frau Klie. She's super old and super German. Like, she remembers World War II. She likes to talk and talk and I really wish I could understand what she's telling us because she obviously has seen a LOT, but it is really hard. We brought the two ward missionaries in our ward (Schwester Faber and Schwester Wendt, who are basically the cutest old German ladies) and it was perfect. We taught her about Joseph Smith and he First Vision. We told her to read in the Book of Mormon, and she started on 1 Nephi 1 and has just kept reading ever since. We were able to find her a ride to church, which was a miracle, and she really liked it. In all our stress/excitement of getting her to church, we forgot to explain what we do. She loudly told the elder passing the sacrament "Danke Schön". Sister Fulton explained that we are quiet during the sacrament, and so when the water came around, she said it quietly. She keeps telling us about what she's been reading in the Book of Mormon and she loves it.

We met with Peggy this week. We talked about reading the scriptures and praying every day. We've been reminding her all week to read. She told us Sunday morning that she didn't feel like coming to church but she knew she needed to, so she did and she really enjoyed it. The ward is so fantastic and she really feels welcome. We are still working towards baptism with her, which is why we are focusing on the Book of Mormon. I really love Peggy. She has a special place in my heart.

Frau Byo didn't come to church.. I think maybe she got called into work or something. We met with her later in the day and talked about keeping the sabbath day holy and tithing. She totally gets it and still wants to come to church. She has seen how God has blessed her life and she is super grateful.  She's even paid tithing before to her old church because she felt so grateful to God. God is really preparing his children to accept the gospel.

We went by on one of the Africans who we ran into the other week because I felt like we should. He wasn't home, but we had a nice chat with his doorman. He was super cool and he told us that  the  world is crazy, but he knows that his relationship with God is most important.  We talked about where we can find true peace (in Jesus Christ) and gave him a temple open house invitation.

Our less active woman, Helga, "tschüssed" us for no reason. We called to remind her about our appointment and she said she didn't want us to come by or meet with her anymore. I know she felt the spirit when we met with her. If nothing else, she now has a Book of Mormon.

Church was great. The turnout was probably less than normal (no WA came again), but we had investigators there! The speakers in  sacrament meeting were solid and both classes were great. I understood a lot more that I have in a while. Also, later last night, we went by on a few former investigators and less active members. We had done a ton of finding all week and hadn't found anyone to teach. It was a miracle! We made 3 appointments in that hour there. 2 with former investigators, and one with the sister of a less active. It was a tender mercy from the Lord. I had been fasting for help with something I'd been struggling with, and I know that this was an answer to my prayers.

I knew that a mission wouldn't be easy. I know that following Jesus Christ is rarely the easy. It wasn't easy for Christ's disciples, for Amulek, or for Job. But I know that it is always worth it. God refines us through our trials and as we rely on Him, we come closer to Him. Christ is always there to help us, no matter what we are struggling with. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ with all my heart. I am thankful for all the lessons He is teaching me and the people I meet. It is a blessing to feel of His love for the people we meet and talk with, even just for 5 minutes on the bahn. I am thankful for this opportunity to serve my fellow men. I know that the words of King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon are true, that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." What a blessing it is to serve my God, who has given me all that I have and all that I am.

I love you! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson

Other highlights: on Monday, sister fulton's knee was bugging her. Her nerves felt weird and she had a bump. She thought it was a spider bite and she worried about it all day. She ended up crying as we walked home (and me trying really hard not to laugh) and ended with me looking at it, noticing there were no bite marks, and plucking out the ingrown hair that was the actual problem. Haha. Thank heavens we are not in South America. We couldn't handle it. 

The man at Sister Fulton's favorite ice cream place knows her order. ("Einmal Zimnt, ja?")
We brought the elders to the less active woman's house. She thought Elder Pilling was new, and so she talked to him in either really simple German or English the whole time. We got a kick out of that.
(He has been out for 23 months). He tried really hard to show off his German, but she wasn't picking up what he was trying to put down.
Also, we made as much progress as possible, but really, there's just not room for everything in that apartment. She tried to have elder Pilling drill into the cement ceiling (it didn't work) and I had to go
in the tiny, dark closet to find the drill while she told me (in German) where it might be.
Also, it crazy rained this week, while we were doing weekly planning. Like 6-7 inches in an hour. Whew. The little path by our house turned into a stream!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Miracles (Week 21)

Hey family and friends!

This week was CRAZY, but c'est la vie. We are doing great. Sister Fulton is super solid and I love serving with her. We are good friends and get along really well.

We helped a lady in our ward with family history.. Again. She is from Haiti and their records are not very good. She'll probably have to go to Haiti for everything, but we put her mom into family search, and she can be baptized for her when the temple reopens! She made us Haitian lunch: fish, rice, avocado, and it was delicious! Schwester König is literally the cutest person ever.

The Junge Damen (young women) asked us to come pass our fliers for the ward Sommerfest with them. We went door to door on the road of the church and passed out invites. We had 2 girls with us and it was SO FUN. They were so excited and people literally could not say no to them. I wish they'd come with us all the time. :)

At Zone Conference a few weeks ago, Elder Adler promised if we did 7 things, we would see success in the next month. So we reread them and started to focus on doing these things. (Deciding to be joyful every day, praying to find your investigator a friend for church, etc). The next day, in the span of 2 hours, we talked to 3 separate African guys who recognized us and knew about the church. It is pretty rare that anyone talks to us first, and I know that God was showing us that He is prepared to keep His promise if we do our part. (One of them complimented us on our English. I think he thought we were German.)

We've been seeing blessings all week.

Another random tender mercy. We were buying cookies at your typical Deutsch chain restaurant, and the man said, "ah, Sisters!" and gave us an extra cookie.

We went finding with our Elders again. I guess Elder Pilling/Sister Fulton were talking to a Turkish guy who only spoke Turkish and Italian. They ordered him a Book of Mormon and at the end he said, "Grazi" and Elder Pilling said "de nada". Haha, wrong language.

We got to go to a piano concert at the Stake building. It was not a proselyting event, but the guy in charge wanted some missionaries to be there, so we listened to Ukrainian Vasyl Kotys for 2 hours. He was incredibly talented.. Also very expressive. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It also ended late so we got to sleepover with the sisters there.

We helped a less-active woman in our ward "renovate", and it was good to serve. We called her earlier in the week and she said, "Sisters, I actually was going to call you and ask for help, but I didn't have your number!" We had 4 appointments on Saturday and all of them fell out. We took a nice long walk through the German countryside from one appointment to the next, so that was nice. (This is my place). We rescheduled with Abraham and met with him the next day.. He told us that he doesn't really believe in God. We asked him to do an experiment and read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and pray to God, and promised him that if he does that, he will know that God is there.

We missed the bus to church, which I was super grouchy about (it comes every 40 minutes so we were basically going to be super late). But we took the bahn and found another bus and ran into some members from Utah who are backpacking through Europe and trying to make it to church, we we showed them. Also, we made it right at 8:57. That was a hug tender mercy. Church was awesome. We finally got a new bishop. He invited TONS of less actives to church, so everyone but us knew who the next bishop was.. Haha. We normally have 70-80 people, but yesterday there were 120! The chapel was packed and it was fantastic. Also, a random man heard about our church from a friend and just showed up, so that was awesome!

The Euro cup started this weekend for Fußball, so all the German cars have German flags everywhere. It is awesome. They played their first game last night. How do I know they won? I heard fireworks at 10:50 last night while I was trying to go to sleep. Haha.

We met with the Helen Mensah (from our area book) again and taught the first lesson. She is super sweet and we are excited to teach her. Also, we met with Frau Byo and answered a few questions she had. She hurt her foot so she couldn't come this week, but she said she will come on Sunday! (If you want to, pray that she comes and has a good experience!) We didn't meet with Peggy because she was busy/out of town, but we have an appointment for this week.

I love the gospel and I love sharing it with people. God is teaching me so much, and I can truly see His hand in my life everyday. Jesus Christ is the source of happiness and light in our lives.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson

P.s. We ran 3 mornings this week, and ended up running/walking significantly on the other two days... Sister Fulton called it "hell week". She hates morgen sport but loves me, so she went running. How nice it that?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sweet is the peace the gospel brings (Week 20)

Hallo Familie!

Last week, like the truly exciting human beings we are, we went to Staples for Pday. And today I am hemming the pants of an elder in my district. One of these days we will do something that is cultural and cool.

We had a good week. Elder Nay left, which was sad. The new elder, Elder Pilling, is from Burley, Idaho. He goes home in 4 weeks.

We had some great lessons this week. We met with Leslie finally. She told us she wants a little break from the missionaries right now, which I could see coming. We had a good lesson with her and her husband (who is a member) about the Book of Mormon and read about the 2,000 stripling warriors in Alma 56 and 57. We challenged them to read it as a family and pray together every day. The spirit was stronger than I've ever felt with her. Even though she wants a break, I know that she will get baptized one day. And we are still her friends.

We also got to meet with Frau Byo. She had read 2 Nephi 31 multiple times in the few weeks since we'd seen her. We talked about God's plan for us and why what we do now (have faith, repent, keep the commandments, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, endure to the end) is  important. When we truly understand where we come from and where we are going, the things we do now matter. After we'd explained everything, we asked if she had any questions and she said, "how long until I can get baptized in your church?" Hopefully she can come to church this week and also talk to her husband to make sure he's okay with it. It was beautiful to see everything click in her heart.

We met a family from our area book, Helen and George. They are from Ghana and have two adorable little boys. We got to meet Helen last week and have another appointment this week. I don't know if I've mentioned Shanna before, but we met with her again this week. Her mom and sister are both members in our ward but she was in Ghana when they joined the church, so she isn't baptized. She is 18, has been here for 3 years and is trying to finish her German school. I love her. We brought the ward missionaries, Schwester Faber and Wendt. They LOVE Schwester Wendt, and it is so cute to see the friendship between this little old super German lady and these super African woman/girls. The gospel truly unites people, because if we are truly trying to serve and love as the Savior did, cultural, ethnic, religious boundaries don't matter. We are all children of God.

On Saturday, we went by on a TON of contacts. We seriously walked around all day long. My allergies have been SUPER bad. (I've probably sneezed a couple hundred times in the last week.) No one was interested or home and we were both super hot. The last woman we planned to go by on was a less active woman that we had been asked to try to meet with. It was our third time trying to meet with her, and we were tired and hot, but we made the walk anyway. She was home, she let us in, and it was a miracle. She has been less active for basically her whole life because of how she was treated by her family, who were all members. She's also made some lifestyle changes that aren't great. She prays every night and she knows God is there. We felt prompted to shared the "mountains to climb" video and she could definitely feel the spirit because then she completely opened up about everything. I don't know all the things she's gone through personally, but Christ does, and He can help. I am so excited to help her come to know Jesus Christ. It'll be a long process, but it is such a blessing to be a part of this work, especially for this woman.

I know that God loves His children. I know that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has shown us the way back to God, and that this will bring us the most happiness.
Love you all. Have a great week.
Sister Simpson

P.S. Sister Fulton loves the Christmas Song "Far far away on Judea's plains." So she sings it a lot and now sings the words of "sweet is the peace the gospel brings" to that tune. We basically only sing Christmas or American patriotic hymns for comp study every morning.


We walk past this building every week for district meeting. So for me, that's 14 times. Sister Fulton noticed it her first week (but I was speed walking and didn't notice her reaction). So she decided to wait and see how long it would take me to notice. 7 weeks later, I noticed. Haha. (This is the quote that President Uchtdorf's quoted in General Conference:) 
Elder Uchtdorf:
As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness. Earlier I quoted a German author who lamented the destruction of Dresden. He also penned the phrase “Es gibt nichts Gutes, ausser: Man tut es.” For those who do not speak the celestial language, this is translated as “There is nothing good unless you do it.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

Snail Appreciation

(She must have tried out her mad photography skills on these snails)

Hallo liebe Familie!

We went finding with our elders this week because we were having a
rough go (because we are both so new). It was super helpful. Elder
Smith and I talked to people in front and Sister Fulton and Elder Nay
followed behind and talked to the people we didn't. It is scary to
just walk up and talk to people, but sometimes we have cool
conversations and you never know who is ready to receive the gospel.
We met one lady who first thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses, and
then thought we were Amish.. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she
seemed super interested in it. We had a couple long finding days, but
nothing feels better than coming home exhausted in the evening from
working hard.

We had a lesson with Abraham (Pakistani Chemist). It was good and we
ended up giving him a Persian Book of Mormon because the German one
was harder for him to understand. He prayed at the end, which was

We also has a lesson with Peggy. We talked about the atonement. (Our
analogy on the Atonement was about how we fall into "pits" (because of
sin, weaknesses, trials, transgression, sorrow) and how the atonement
is a ladder, and Jesus Christ is down there reaching out to us. We
access His Atonement and His help through prayer.) At the end, she
prayer that "Courtney and Mariah won't fall into any pits." She is so
awesome. I don't think she realizes how much the gospel will help her
with everything she's gone through, but she has the desire to learn
more and to make he right choice! It is super cool to see her faith
grow every time we meet with her. We are still working towards
baptism, and I know that she will as soon as it "clicks".

We had Zone Conference! Elder Adler, of the quorum of the Seventy, and
his wife came. They are German and it was awesome. We sang our song
and it was beautiful and powerful. I love music. [It was "O Haupt voll
Blut und Wunden" (O Savior Thou Who Wearest A Crown - the words are
amazing) to the tune of "If You Could Hie to Kolob". And we totally
nailed our Alto part. Yay for 2 non-singers.] It was wonderful to hear
from our mission leaders, our mission President and his wife (who may
be some of my favorite people ever), and Elder and Sister Adler. Elder
Adler talked about how the gospel is meant to bring us joy, and so we
need to live with more joy and make that decision every morning when
we get out of bed. God wants us to be happy! His entire plan is for us
to be the happiest we possibly can. Sometimes that means going through
super hard things, but it only increases our capacity and appreciation
for joy.

We got our transfer calls Saturday night. We had Gemiko (ward
correlation?) and a ward activity, and Elder Smith was freaking out
the whole time. However, nothing is really changing, at least for us.
Sister Fulton and I are both staying in Altona for the next 5 weeks.
I'm pretty excited. Actually, our whole district is staying the same
except for Elder Nay. :( We came to Altona from the MTC together.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! (On Saturday). 46!!! Wow. (Funny story: Farshid and his girlfriend, Fatima, were talking to us last week. Farshid is 39 and Fatima is 35 and they asked how old our parents were and were like "woooaaahhhhh" because they are closer to your ages than ours. Haha) do you have any birthday plans?
We can go to the temple with an investigator or New convert (to do baptisms) or if someone goes through and invites you. And we are encouraged to, so hopefully I'll get to go. Also, I could possibly have the opportunity to be a temple sister for the open house in August  for a week (Freiberg is closed right now), which would be awesome.
Well, I love you all. I love being here. I can't believe it's almost
June. CRAZY.
Sister Simpson

How great is this photo? Go me. (Our bus ended at an earlier stop and
we had to wait for the next one).