Wednesday, July 27, 2016

6 Monate - WHAT? (Week 27)

These were taken the day we took Mariah to Utah, for the MTC.  Michelle DuBois was getting chemo and we popped in for a quick visit and hug goodbye.  We will all be forever grateful for that time. Michelle worked her magic, encouraging Mariah and talking her through any doubts or concerns she had.  #welovemichelle

May our lives be filled with more "Glad I Did" moments than "Wish I Had"'s

Liebe Familie,

I can't believe it's already been six months.. And at the same time, I
can. Time is such a weird thing. I am so SO thankful to be here. I am
thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who know me, loves me,
challenges me and blesses me.

We saw lots of little miracles this week! I was feeling a little
discouraged and was wondering why I haven't seen many miracles. I
realized it is because I haven't been looking for them. I prayed all
week to be able to recognize all the ways that Heavenly Father is
blessing me, and it was really amazing.

On Tuesday, we went by on a former investigator and they let us in and
invited us back! They are an older couple; the Frau is German and the
Mann is from Haiti or something. We also went by on another former
friend of the church and she answered the door and told us today was
not a good day. Her mother had recently passed away and she had just
found out that her best friend's son passed away. She teared up and I
felt so much love and compassion for this woman. We told her that we
would pray for her and gave her our card, which I realized later said
"Familien sind ewig."

We had Zone Training Meeting this week. Our Zone Leaders did an
activity to show the importance of family history work. They had one
room of people who had known about and done the homework, so they got
to relax and eat chocolate. Then in the next room, a couple elders and
I who hadn't known about the homework got to do a 7 minute workout (a
workout app on the iPad)... (So we did crunches, push-ups and wall
sits in our church clothes - their suits and my pencil skirt.) The
other group sat around while one Elder tried his best to fish our
names out of a huge bucket of names and take them to the temple, so
that we could "upgrade" to the hangout and eat chocolate room. Haha.
It took a while. We did the whole thing again, but this time, all of
the 3rd group helped and it didn't take long at all for them to find
all of our names. The point was that when one person is trying to do
all the temple work, it takes forever, but when we all work together,
it is so much easier and better. There are people who are waiting for
the blessings of salvation who just need our help to do it for them.

We klingled a lot of buildings this week.. Most of the people are
pretty nice, but not always interested. We met this cool lady who just
moved from Venezuela to Germany 6 months ago. Later in this week, we
met a very friendly (very Catholic) Polish man. He was not at all
interested in changing his beliefs, but we had a nice conversation
about why we were here as missionaries and what our church believes.
He told us we should find some handsome Ausländer Jungs to marry...
Haha, nein. We also met this little girl on the bahn (she was
traveling with her mom and aunt, who are Muslim and from Turkey). She
was 7 years old and stared at me the whole train ride. She kept asking
me questions and complimenting me. I asked her about her family and
showed her pictures of mine. :) She's my new little friend.

We met with Schwester Heumann again. We taught her about God's plan
for us and why we are here. We also met with another former friend of
the church with the Senior couple missionaries in our ward, the Gills.
We talked to him about the Book of Mormon, how it was written by
ancient prophets and about people from thousands of years ago for us
and for our time, and how we can learn about Jesus Christ from it. We
also talked about how everything builds on the Book of Mormon, because
if it is true, then Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God and he
translated it by the power of God. That means that this is the true
church on the Earth. The Book of Mormon is a challenge, and invitation
to find out for yourself. Moroni 10:3-5 promises us that if we read it
and pray about it with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in
Christ, we will know for ourselves that it is the word of God. I love
the Book of Mormon.

I was sad to hear about Michelle and I definitely cried. She is such a
special person to me. I won't see her again for this life. But I know
that I will see her again. I know that because of Jesus Christ we will
all be resurrected. This gospel brings me so much hope; Jesus Christ
brings me so much hope. He is the promise that we will live again,
that death is not the end. I was reading a talk from General
Conference this week called "And there shall be no more death".
His daughter lost her fight with cancer too. But she knew (and I know
Michelle knew) that Jesus Christ is the source of healing, both for
our physical bodies and our spirits. She said, "... someday I will be
healed and someday I will be whole. Someday I won’t have any metal or
plastic inside of me. Someday my heart will be free of fear and my
mind free of anxieties... But there is a cure, so I’m not scared.
Jesus has already cured my cancer, and yours. … I will be better."
Sometimes our 'cancers' are not just physical. Sometimes it is the
pain and heartbreak of losing someone you love. Sometimes it is
feeling of complete inadequacy. Sometimes it is hopelessness. Whatever
it may be, I believe with all of my heart in the power of Jesus Christ
to heal what has been broken. I don't understand it completely, but I
know we can trust Him. He was broken by the weight of the world, He
endured all so that we don't have to bear our burdens alone. I love
Him. I am so thankful for this chance I have to preach of Christ, to
learn of Him and to follow Him.

I love you. I hope you have a great week.
Sister Simpson

P.S. Today we were interviewed by the local newspaper.. (Set up by our
ward publicity chairman, or something like that). There's a young man
in our Gemeinde who goes to his mission in England this week, so it
was us 3.. Thank heavens he was there. :)
picking blackberries today on the side of the road (yay for a tall
companion who can reach them.. Haha:)

Zone Training Versammlung

auch unser Gebiet

Bückeberg (eine kleine Stadt in unser Gebiet)

Bückeberg (eine kleine Stadt in unser Gebiet)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 26!

Liebe Familie!

What a week! The only actual appointment we had this week was with our new convert, Schwester Heumann. She is doing well and it is fun getting to know her and teaching her. She has a lot of faith and she is a really neat lady. Other than that, we went by on a lot of contacts and met some interesting people. We met a woman from Sri Lanka, and we found a Book of Mormon in her language, Tamil, and brought it by. Also, we talked to a german man on the street. Well, actually, he talked to us but I'm not quite sure what about. The only things I picked up were: horse, our shoes, meat, kids, gloves, war and church.. Ich habe kein Ahnung. 

We have been getting to know the members. There are lots of returned and future missionaries and overall, the members are pretty open to sharing the gospel and coming with us to appointments. We had an eating appointment on Wednesday, and we were going by on contacts before it and it started raining. We waited under an umbrella, hoping it would ease up. Eventually, we had to leave and then it really started pouring. We arrived at their house 10 minutes later, COMPLETELY drenched. Haha. They gave us dry clothes to wear so we didn't drip water all over their house. Yesterday, at out eating appointment, the members took us in the backyard and we all picked berries. (They told us they hunt for berries because the words for bear - Bäre - and the word for berries - beere - sound the same :) I was in heaven. Then she heated up some of the raspberries and we ate it with ice cream. YUM. 

Our area is super spread out and there's a lot of travel time required to get out to the other two main cities, so that makes it difficult to get a lot done. We were also on Tausch this week in Hannover, with our STL Sister Baird and her companion, Sister Harger, who was in my last district. Sister Harger and I got to visit two cool Italian members and talk to them about the temple. They also fed us dinner and it was delicious. Then the next day, Sister Baird and I (and the elders) helped a woman move. He non-member mother, sister and brother-in-law were there, and we got to invite them to the temple open house too. I am super excited for the temple! I've been studying how the Freiberg temple was built and the history of the church in Germany, and it is so cool. The Deutsch members are strong, and they have a great heritage. 

On Sunday, I gave a talk in church on missionary work. I studied and talked about how missionary service is our responsibility as members, not just for the set-apart missionaries. It's not really missionary work: it is simply being open and sharing the things that bring us the most joy and happiness in our lives. What a blessing the gospel is! God has a plan for us. We are not here by mistake, and He wants to bless us. He wants us to be happy. His gospel shows us the way to be happiest and if we follow His commandments, we will receive eternal life, which is the greatest of all God's blessings. Because we have been given this knowledge, we HAVE to share it. We should want to share it. So I invite you to share part of your testimony this week with someone and help them come closer to Christ. Sharing the gospel is a commandment, we learn in 1 Nephi that 'the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.' That is why we can do hard things. God is our strength, and with Him as our foundation, we cannot fail. 

Well, I hope you have a great week. I love you! Take care! Eat lots of raspberries and blackberries for me! And good luck with swim champs!

Sister Simpson

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cute picture from the mission blog!

I found this cute picture of Mariah and her  "greenie" on the Berlin Mission blog.  Her companion reminds me a little of Anne Hathaway.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Whitewashing in Stadthagen (Week 25)

Malia and Alana at the church in Altona

Sister Koch (Mariah's new greenie)
Hallo Familie!!

This week was so crazy! We had my last Persian Pals on Monday. I love Farshid, Hadi and Korush. Afterwards, there was a stake YSA barbecue for the 4th and Elder and Sister Johnson, who are going home.. We had to bring a less-active or an investigator in order to stay. No one we had invited showed up, so we were a little bummed, but the wife of a member in our ward was there, so we got to stay and talk to her! Also, we were just sitting down to eat and the Fullmers/Malia walked in... The church circle is pretty small. It was fun to talk to them a little about their trip.

On Tuesday, we were getting everything ready to leave, and we ran into Leslie Hansen, which was another tender mercy because I got to say goodbye to her! We traveled to Leipzig and overnighted there with Sister Hammer, my MTC comp, and Sister Gines. Then we left early Wednesday morning to go to Freiberg and picked up our new "goldens". Sister Mckinsey Koch is my new companion. She's from Chicago, she was studying business at BYU, and she is super sweet. We had a 7 minute window between Elder Barboza's train getting in and our leaving, in which to get the keys and phone for our new area. Traveling with all of our stuff was not fun. But we made it! A member picked us up at the bahnhof and drove us to our apartment. It is very nice and significantly bigger than my last one. I was pleasantly suprised by how well the elders cleaned it. The member took a picture of us and put it on facebook, and 20 minutes later we got a dinner invitation for the next day.  Our apartment is right across the street from the church, so that is super nice.

The rest of this week was a lot of trying to figure out the area and everything. This area covers Stadthagen and 2 bigger towns, which you can only get to by a very long and out of the way bahn ride. We do have bikes, so this week I will be teaching Sister Koch how to ride it. We live right across the street from the church. We are one of four sister companionships who are whitewashing (I think). A big group of Elders just went home and not so many came in, so that's why. The Elders here left 3 investigators, one of which was baptized on Saturday. We got to meet with Frau Heumann the day before, and we will be teaching her to new member lessons and helping her integrate into the ward. We still haven't met the other investigators, but we will hopefully this week! (We had an apponitment with one family, but we got on the wrong train and so we didn't make it.. but our Bishop and his wife were our joint teach and they went anyways.)

Church was the highlight of my week. This ward is HUGE and we felt very welcomed by the ward. Also, I can now understand basically everything that is going on in german, which is a huge blessing, because I would be feeling very lost otherwise. There are young men and young women, and some returned missionaries. The members are super willing to come teaching with us, which is awesome. Our GML (ward mission leader) is super nice and excited about missionary work. I am excited to be here!

I was reading Alma 37:6 this week, which says 'that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.'  I know that the small things we do often have the greatest impact on us in the long run. Things like meaningful scripture study, heartfelt prayer, and keeping the Sabbath day holy keep our spiritual bucket full. It is so easy to forget these things because they are so simple, but when we do these things, our faith grows and our foundation solidifies until we have a solid foundation that will be able to withstand the storm. 'And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty stormshall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.' (Helaman 5:12)

I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve my God, to represent my Savior, Jesus Christ, and to love these people here. Thank heavens God is willing to work with small and simple people like me.

Until next time. I love you! I hope you have a great week!

Sister Simpson

My address:

Jahnstraße 17
 31655 Stadthagen, Deutschland


Leipzig at 5:15


Stadthagen Countryside

Transfers!!! (Week 24)

 Happy 4th of July!

Big news! I've made it 6 days without a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth. Haha. But the actual big news is that I am leaving Altona. I am going to Stadthagen, in Hannover zone. I am whitewashing an Elders program and training again. Sister Fulton is the new sister training leader, will be staying here in Altona and will also be training. It will be an adventure for both of us. I love the people here in Altona, but I've heard really good things about the ward in Stadthagen and I'm excited. Elder Pilling is going home and Elder Smith is going to Olsnabruck to be a Zone Leader, so Altona will be getting 2 new elders as well.

Last p-day, we went to St. Nikolai kirche and read all about Hamburg during and after WWII. It was really cool to see pictures of the devastation and how much these people have rebuilt this city. The coolest part was the next day, when we met with Frau Klie and Schwester Wendt and they talked about that time and I understood exactly what they were talking about. Frau Klie actually left Hamburg for a while after the war and Schwester Wendt was born Silesia, and she told us she slept in a drawer for the first few years of her life. They lived through history and experienced it.

The young women in our ward are making a missionary short film, so they asked us to be in it as the missionaries. Haha. It should have been simple, given that all I had to do is exactly what I've been doing for the past 5 months, but it took a while. You bring in a camera and it changes things. Let's just say I was not destined to be an actress (or a missionary on the District).

We met with Peggy this week. She's still has some challenges that she wants to overcome but she wants to do what's right. We invited her to be baptized again and she said yes! We had been praying about a date and felt that we should let her choose. She picked August 13 as her date to work towards! It feels good and I am SO excited for her to take this next step, even if I won't be here.

We found an interesting man this week. It started out so perfectly: he told us he had seen missionaries before in Poland and that he's been praying to find some direction in his life. We were super excited. Then he told us he must "speak with himself" and ran off (I think he went to pee) and it went steadily downhill from there. We told him about the first vision and bore testimony to him and then things got weird. He told us he has hallucinations and all about his girlfriends and unfortunately, he did not skimp on details. He also told Sister Fulton that she looked like one of his girlfriends, and "what would it be like if we had a relationship?" Long story short, we got the heck out of there and we will be giving the new elders a referral. Haha.

Church yesterday was fantastic! The three of us leaving (Elder Smith, Elder Pilling and I) bore our testimonies. Peggy came 25 minutes late to sacrament meeting, but in Sunday School, the lesson was on the sacrament and she loved it! She prayed at the end and asked for forgiveness for missing it and told me later that she will do better to prepare for the sacrament. It was also a good reminder to me of how important that meeting is. We have the chance every week to remember the Savior and all that He's done for us. When I got baptized, I remember feeling pure and clean, and I wanted it to last forever. But it didn't because I made mistakes. God doesn't expect us to be perfect and He gives us the opportunity every week to be born again as we renew our baptismal covenants. It is such a blessing to be able to partake of the sacrament and be cleansed of our sins. We can start every week with a clean slate.

We had an Essen termin with our relief society president and her daughter. And then we had Gemiko (ward correlation) with the Lopez's. Because 3 of the 4 of us are leaving, they decided to just do dinner and play chicken foot at their house for the 4th. I'm going to miss them. They are so awesome and are a great example of lifting where they stand. This ward is full of solid members who are doing their best. I feel so blessed to have served here. I have learned so much from the examples of the members.

Anyway. This week is going to be super crazy. The elders assured me the apartment will be clean (skeptical face). The good news is that we'll probably overnight with the sisters in Leipzig (aka Sister Hammer, my MTC companion!) I love you and I hope you have a great week.

God bless America!
Sister Simpson

P.s. Farshid is doing well. Yes, Hadi is back from the USA and we do Persian pals every week. Also, we did have a lesson with Frau Byo. We taught the law of chastity, and found out she's not married. So we are working on that but I know she'll get there eventually. She has to talk to her man.