Monday, August 29, 2016

Sweltering in Stadthagen (Week 32)

Bückeburg schloss in our area

Bückeburg schloss

Evangelisch church also in Bückeburg

Sunday morning (perks of waking up at 6:30)

Hey fam!

This week was SO HOT. Like 35 degrees C all day with humidity. All the auslanders are used to it and the Germans just take off all their clothes or stay inside. As a missionary, neither of those are an
option so I was in survival mode all week. Ha. We drink lots of water, and eat lots of cold things (aka Eis and real ice). I also took freezing cold showers twice a day a couple times. Funny enough, we had
to run to catch almost every train this week. Thankfully it cooled down today, so hopefully the heat wave is fertig.

We met with Monika Peters, the woman who has been coming to church.  She is so sweet. She really wants to stop smoking and she asked what she has to do to be baptized into our church. So we started a stop smoking workshop (the church's SSW is AMAZING) and we made it halfway through before she realized that she would have to give up coffee for a week too. She decided she would need some time to think about that one, so we'll start again next week or when she's ready. It's going to be hard because she's smoked since she was 9 and its been 30 years but if she's willing, we are willing to help her.

We met with Herr Nicola again. He is from Romania and had met with the missionaries one other time before us. I seriously just love him. He has so much faith in God and wants to do the right things to follow Him. He told us he used to hang out with his coworkers but they drink and party and he felt that God wouldn't like that, so he stopped. We shared with him the plan of salvation and our ward missionary, Schwester Hegemann, shared her conversion story with him. He really just needs to find out for himself that what we are saying is true.

We went by on a little German woman in our ward who is 96 and can't come to church anymore. She was so precious and really loved having visitors to talk to for a while. Our bishop and his family also visit her every week, and she thinks he's an old missionary who brings by his wife and little boy. She told us that we can do the same if she's still alive when we have kids. :)

In our Sunday school class, we had a man from Bulgaria, a new sister in our ward from Taiwan (so natürlich I translated into Mandarin.. Just kidding, she speaks English too), and Schwester Rabe from
Colombia (Sister Koch tried to help h r follow along in the Principios del Evangelio manual in Spanish). Plus our German teacher and another German Schwester. Super fun.

We went by on a lot of "contacts", or people who have either met with missionaries before or have expressed interest in the past. Normally, I get tired of just walking to and from, so we klingle buildings on the way. We had a really good discussion with a man about how we can find peace in this life even when so many bad things happen. I showed him the Book of Mormon and he looked at it for a minute, but then handed it back to me and said, "this is nothing to us." It's so sad because I know that the Book of Mormon and gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace. For everyone, no matter how old or young, rich or poor, no matter what you have experienced or done wrong. I know people have
agency and can choose, but I just want to help them to see the light, so a lot of the time, I wonder if I said the right things or what I could've done differently. I know I can do things better, but as long as I am trying my best, that's all the Lord asks.

I read this quote from President Monson about the temple today: "Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God." The Freiberg temple will be dedicated on Sunday, so we get to attend the dedication via satellite in our Gemeindehaus here, and we've been working on helping Schwester Heumann to come and a few other people in our ward. I am so thankful for temples and the covenants we make there. I know it is the house of the Lord and the
symbol of our membership. Anyone can go and receive those blessings if they prepare themselves to be worthy to enter the house of God, and it is the most important thing we can work towards.

I love y'all! Have a great week! Good luck with all that running!
Sister Simpson

Quote of the week:
Sister Koch: "I want to title my email 'A taste of South America; The week we taught a lot of lessons and drown in sweat'"
I'm getting better at cooking (jk it is a recipe from our bishop's wife)

 the cute 96 year old German lady

Monday, August 22, 2016

When the sisters get together after weekly work is done. (Week 31)

Pday shopping with Sister Harger and Sister Wayment

Dirndl shopping (yes, I bought one.. I never have to worry about a Halloween costume ever again = success. I bought the one Sisters Koch and Johnson are wearing)

Wohnung special in the elders apartment

Freiberg ft. Kid shooting us

Last day in Freiberg

Dear family,

This week flew by. We were so busy at the temple. I worked video rooms (I have that film memorized), put on Überzieschühe, took them off, and worked the reception tent all week long. It was great. President Uchtdorf's son came to the temple open house one day. (Also, President Uchtdorf is coming next week, so I'm a little bummed I won't be there, but that's okay). Also, Sister Koch and I finally got to go through the temple on a tour! It is beautiful and the spirit is so strong (check out this link to see pics: ). I met people from all over Europe, because this temple services all the members in the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Poland, etc. Some people drove over 10 hours (with small children) to come to the temple open house. I met a family from Hungary who drove 7 hours to come here, and are coming next month to actually go to the temple because they haven't been able to go yet this year. Everyone laughs when I tell them that my temple was 15 minutes from my house because it is such a sacrifice here to come to the temple. But it is worth every effort, big or small. The temple is our goal and our focus. It is the house of God and it is where we can be sealed to our families forever. We learn of God's plan and why we are here on this Earth. I know that this temple is more than a beautiful building. There is a special spirit that you can feel, even before it is dedicated and given to the Lord as His house. The temple is so important to me, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work here and share it with other people. 

I got to take the new missionaries finding this week! It was so fun! I went out with two of them and gave out temple invitations, even though most everyone in Freiberg has already heard about the temple. They were exhausted and still on Utah time but so excited to be here. I love new missionaries and their enthusiasm! On Wednesday, the trainers/trainees went through the temple and then went to their areas (aka 4 sisters moved out of our apartment.. It's much better with only 4 of us). I got to see my friends Elders Castillo and Nay because they are both training, so that was fun.

We were super busy for most of the day every day, but we tried to stay in contact with our ward and friends in Stadthagen. We got a phone call from a sister in our ward. She told us a random lady came to church, loved it, wants to meet with the missionaries and stop smoking! She came again yesterday apparently, and we will meet her on Sunday. I know the Lord is hastening His work and I am so grateful to be here and to help Him help these people. I am ready to get back to normal missionary work.

Sunday, we went to church in Freiberg and then traveled home. Apparently Sunday is the day that everyone and their mother in this country travels, so it was a looong ride home. And I kept getting kicked out of my seat by people who reserved them. But we made it home (despite sitting in 6 different seats in 5 hours) and it is good to be back.

When I worked in the video rooms at the temple, I would read talks from in between groups and I was studying Matthew Cowley, who was a missionary in New Zealand, then later a mission president, then an Apostle. It was kind of a random thing to study, but the choir director in the MTC talked about him a little and I wanted to read some of his experiences. He has really neat experiences that happened because of his faith and the faith of the people he was serving. He saw great miracles because he believed that God had the power to bring them about. Elder Cowley only ever spoke about the basic principles of the gospel because they are most important. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple but it is so important. Christ is the only unfailing foundation that we can build our lives upon. When we pray in faith, the Lord will answer our prayers and we will be able to recognize those answers. When we have done something wrong, we can repent and be forgiven. Sometimes it takes a little bit more than that, but for the most part, the gospel is simple. Because of Jesus Christ, we can become better human beings, our nature is changed. His commandments are His instructions that help us become better, and because of His Atonement, we can repent and keep progressing. The path to God is known through revelation, both old (scripture) and new (personally and through prophets) and faith in Jesus Christ moves us down the path. God's plan is intricate, perfect and brings soul-filling hope and happiness. He will bless us with miracles if we have the faith to ask for them. He loves us and is always there for us. 

I love you all! I love the temple. I love God. I love Germany. 
Sister Simpson

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hallo Aus Freiberg (Week 30)

Hey fam!

Well, we didn't do much in Stadthagen this week because we were only there until Wednesday morning. We did serve our less active sister for a few hours, which was awesome. We did a mission wide "harvest day", where we fasted and prayed to find new people. We met lots of cool people when we went finding and found a couple of people who want to meet with us. So that was really cool. We also walked around Stadthagen and gave out hundreds of temple invitations. We had district meeting, then an appointment with some Spanish sisters in our ward, then we spent the night in Köthem with the sisters there. Then we left early and went to the Temple and got to work.

This week has been a little crazy. There are 28 sisters here total, but only 16 in the two (elders and sisters) apartments in Freiberg, and then 12 in Dresden, who we basically never see. (The elders are all in one apartment in Meißen). We wake up at 5 and do morgen sport. Sister Koch and I have gone running. Then we get ready (quite a production for 8 sisters in one Wohnung) and do personal study. We have to be at the temple by 8:30, and the tours start at 9 (and we stay until 17-18ish). On Saturday, it was crazy busy. I ended up working a video room from 9-13, and after the first hour, I was by myself. It was weird being alone. I basically just say "Hello. Welcome to the temple. You can ask questions during and after the tour. Please don't take pictures and please silence your cell phones." (But in many more words, because German). And the I press play on a video that explains what temples are, why they are important, and what we do in them. Then the people are led through the temple by a tour guide, who is a member of one of the wards here. Then they go to a reception tent and can ask questions and learn more. It's pretty simple and way more tiring than it sounds, but I love it. Worth living with 7 other sisters in a tiny apartment. (Speaking of, it is pretty awful.) I've met some cool people and I even saw a group of members from Altona! It was awesome.

On day one, Sister Hammer and I were in charge of taking off die Überzieschuhe (shoe coverings) for a little. We sat in the back of the temple across from the sealing room (haha it makes us all a little trunky;) and helped people take them off as they went outside. The temple is such a sacred place. It is not technically dedicated, so it is still just a building, but there is a special spirit there. It was so nice to just sit in the temple and feel that peace. One sister pointed out the similitude between what we were doing and what the Savior did when He washed the feet of his disciples. It is very humbling for us and for the people going through the tour. I am truly grateful to be able to represent my Savior and help show people why temples are so important to God.

On Sunday, we had church with 16 missionaries. There were so many visitors who are here helping with the temple that we all had to sit up on the stand. We had a huge gospel principles class. I helped Sister Stephens teach a primary class. Actually, she just taught and I translated for a little American girl in the class. Fun stuff. There was also a mini piano/violin concert after church, so we got to stay
for that, which was cool. There are no tours of the temple on Sunday, so Sister Koch spent two hours after church telling people that. We took them around the gemindehaus because it is also a visitors center for the temple, so they can see pictures. My German is not the greatest and I don't ever explain things super well, but hopefully it makes some sense. Most of them said they would come back, so that's good. The rest of Sunday was Pday. So we basically just relaxed at the Freiberg Sisters Wohnung and ate food. It was fun and weird. It feels kind of like girls camp or a family reunion where it is messy (like a hotel room) and chaotic and fun, but also weird and I miss real missionary work and our people in Stadthagen. This is going to be a long week, but I am super grateful for this experience to serve here. I really love the temple.

Today, I worked in the reception tent with Sister Harger and Sister Jacklin.  We give out little brochures that talk about the Freiberg temple and has pictures in it and answer questions that the visitors have. I love talking with people! Sometimes I don't understand exactly what they ask, but Alles gut. It is super fun and I like the  one-on-one interaction.

Well.. Life is gut. Here are some pics for y'all. I love you! Schöne Woche!
Sister Simpson
District meeting minus two sisters

We met this super cool former sister missionary who served in St.
George. She was here with her family and they live in Southern
Germany. They bought 8 of us ice cream. :)


Monday, August 8, 2016

Salut from Stadhagen Week 29!

We took a Book of Mormon to a Spanish woman we met a while ago. She
wasn't home, so we (Sister Koch) wrote her a note in Spanish and we
left it in her mailbox.  Thank you high school Spanish.

We found guitar Popsicle molds. So we made OJ Popsicles

Sister Hammer and I at Zoko (ft. Elder Larson in the background- he
was in Stadthagen right before we came in)

Was für eine Woche! It was crazy busy and it's only going to get
crazier. So, last week I was confused: transfer calls and temple
callings were completely separate. Every sister gets to serve in the
temple. So on Thursday, we go to the temple for 10 days. Woot woot! We
will be staying in the Freiberg Elders apartment (clarification: I do
not know where they are going, but they will not be there) and our
daily schedule will be from 5-21 instead of normal mission schedule
from 6:30-22:30 (the other sisters shift schedule is from 8:30-00:30).
Sister Koch and I are super excited. I LOVE the temple.

We also went to Hamburg for Zone Conference with the west half of the
mission. It was like coming home. (An elder asked me the other day
where I would live if I could live anywhere in the world. The answer
is Hamburg. :) We slept over at Altona with Sisters Fulton and Diaz
and a few others. Elder and Sister Charles (of the Seventy) were there
from England, and it was fantastic. They focused a lot on the Holy
Ghost and how important it is that we are worthy to have him as our
constant companion.

We had lots of appointments this week. We did a family home evening
lesson with a member family on Monday, whose kids just got back from
FSY (German EFY, a church camp for youth). It was cool to hear what
they learned. We also met with Schwester Heumann. She is the German
equivalent of a CNA and her work schedule is crazy so she hasn't been
able to come to church since she was confirmed, but she's doing pretty
well. We went with 2 sisters in our ward who visit teach her, and it
was very cool to hear how the scriptures have blessed their lives. We
had a lesson with Herr Nolte and talked about Jospeh Smith and the
Restoration of Christ's church. He listened to the Book of Mormon on
YouTube (he doesn't like reading) before we came because we reminded
him, but I don't know how interested he actually is. One of our ward
missionaries was there and she shared her conversion story and the
spirit was very strong and he related it to his work woes.. We had a
first lesson with Herr Nicola (with the senior couple, the Gills).
He's from Romania, but his German is very good. He is humble and has
very strong faith, and right now wants to know what the difference is
between our church and his church. I really like him. He couldn't find
his Book of Mormon, but we were talking and all of a sudden, I saw it
under his table. So now he has no excuse not to read haha. Of the
three investigators the Elders left us, one was baptized our first
week (Schw. Heumann), one is very shy and doesn't want to meet with
us, and the other (Martin) has been super busy. But we finally met
with Martin and his wife, Anya, at our Bishop's house. They picked us
up at the Bahnhof and we recognized them because Anya was holding the
Book of Mormon. I love them so much! They are the cutest. We ate
dinner at Bishop Schwing's and then taught them also about the
Restoration. Martin has met with the missionaries a few times before,
but Anya is basically brand new to religion. Schw. Schwing told us
that she thinks that Stadthagen got sisters for Anya. And finally, on
Sunday, we went by on a less-active woman who we've been trying to
contact for quite a while. And she was home and visited with us. She
told us about how she and her husband joined the church. And we are
going back on Tuesday to help her wash her windows. It was a busy
week, but those are always the best.

A brother in our Gemeinde shared an experience he had as he was hiking
a mountain in his mission in Switzerland. We are all hiking the
mountain (or mountains) of life, and we all want to get to the top and
live with Heavenly Father forever with our families. Sometimes it is
easy to forget about the other people on the trail and just get
ourselves and our families to the top, but that's not the point. We
can't make it on our own. We have all received help in one way or
another from someone else (especially Jesus Christ). We can't pass by
the people on our way. Christ always took time to heal and bless "the
one". I love the story in Mark 5, when the woman who had a blood
problem reached out to be healed, and Christ stopped and talked to
her. He found her amidst a great crowd of people. Because He loves
each of us individually, He takes the time to find "the one". If He is
our ultimate example, shouldn't we do the same? There is always
someone to love, someone to serve, someone to encourage or befriend.
Everything we do, everything we believe is nothing without charity.
Charity changes our hearts and changes our nature. We can study the
life and teachings of the Savior all we want, but unless we follow His
example and love and serve the people around us, we will never truly
come to know who Jesus Christ really is. "Wherefore, my beloved
brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye
may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are
true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons
of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall
see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified
even as he is pure." (Moroni 7:48) I know that love is the greatest
commandment. We will find true fulfillment as we strive to love Our
Heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus Christ, and our neighbor. "He that
findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my
sake shall find it." (Matt 10:39) I feel incredibly blessed to be
here. My German is far from perfect, I am awkward and not a very good
teacher, but I can love these people because I know that Jesus Christ
does. So doors may slam in our faces, lessons might be frustrating,
and days may seem never ending, but it is all worth it to find and
help that one soul. I believe in Christ, who ransoms me. Therefore, I
am here sharing that with my brothers and sisters that God has given
me the opportunity to. I know His plan is perfect. I have had many
experiences that have shown me that this is exactly where God wants me
to be. I am incredibly grateful to represent Jesus Christ and love and
teach God's children about His plan.

Love you all. I pray for you.
Sister Simpson

P.S. One of the girls in our ward got her mission call to New Zealand. So cool.
P.P.S. When will the Meridian Temple be finished?
P.P.S.S. I tried making bread again.. Good heavens, I must be doing
something wrong. Did I still eat it? You bet.

Monday, August 1, 2016

God knows best (week 28)

My firstborn, her firstborn, my secondborn and me

District lunch


Sparrenburg (for District Pday today)

Sister Fulton!


Hello All! Glad to hear that all is going well.

So, for lessons this week, we had one with Schwester Heumann. It went
well, and she is growing in her faith. She has a crazy work schedule
as a nurse, so she couldn't come to church, but we are meeting her
with her visiting teachers this week. We also had a lesson with the
older woman who I wrote about last week. We brought a girl in our ward
who is going to the Manchester mission in Sept and it went really
well. This woman has so much faith in God! She is super open and we
gave her the Book of Mormon on CD. Also, I love Anna and I am super
excited for her.

We had our trainer/trainee meeting in Berlin this week! We left our
apartment before 6am and didn't get home until 21! It was a long day.
Our first train into Berlin was 20 minutes late, (aka we missed our
next 3 connections) which resulted in super-stressed-Sister Simpson
running all over Berlin Hauptbahnhof. There are 5 levels there, and we
ran up and down most of them. We ended up almost being on time, but
missed the last bahn so we were 5 minutes late. #embarrassing. (We
passed Elder Powell, from Mountain View. He was leaving as we were
arriving. A huge group of Turkish elders just came into our mission
because of the stuff going on in Turkey, and Elder Powell is comps
with one of them now. So he was there picking him up.) The meeting was
great, as always. We were split into groups, and I got to be with
Sisters Fulton, Boza and Sommerfeld. We talked about what we need to
be doing better as trainers. It was nice to just see friends and to
talk about missionary work. I had a long talk with Sister Fulton on
the way to Berlin Hbh, which was great. On the train ride home, a man
leaned over and asked us how our church feels about eating animals...
We read about the word of wisdom with him in Doctrine & Covenants 89,
and he really liked it.

We also had a lesson with Ismail, a very friendly old man we met on
the street. Es ist nicht sehr gut gewesen. Haha, I don't think he is
interested at all. He was an hour late (not very fun for us or our
joint teach) and we couldn't even talk because he would just go off on
tangents about the family line that Jesus came from, which is gut, but
yeah, not exactly what we wanted to talk about. Or about random things
in the Old Testament. It was not very Christlike of me, but at one
point I wanted to hit him with the Restoration pamphlet because he
would interrupt me and keep talking.. Haha. All three of us were
pretty fed up and Sister Koch exclaimed, "Ismail! Will you read in the
Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true?" And to demonstrate his
level of Deutsch comprehension, he nodded and said "thank you" every
few seconds. Needless to say, we will not be meeting with him again,
bless his heart. After that ordeal, we took a much need ice cream

On Saturday, we went to Nienburg, a bigger city in the northern part
of our area. We tried to go by on a former investigator, but I forgot
to write down the house number. So we klingled the whole street, which
ended up being a lot longer than we thought. By the end, I had
forgotten the name we were looking for and was just offering the good
news of the gospel to everyone. In one of the last houses, the man
told us we could come back next week. It wasn't until we got home that
we realized that he was the man we were looking for. It was a tender

We got our transfer calls again (the sister got their calls 2 weeks
early because the transfer would have ended in the middle of the
temple open house). I was really hoping to be called to be a temple
sister, but we are both staying in Stadthagen for the next 8 weeks. I
would like to say that I accepted God's will right away, but I
definitely had a grumpy prayer with God (of which I have since
repented for). I know that God always knows best and that Stadthagen
is where I am supposed to be. It feels right and Sister Koch and I are
figuring things out and finding people to teach. I said a prayer that
night and asked why, but I was reminded of all the blessings that He
has given me. I am amazed at how selfish I am and how quick to forget
all that He has given me. I am excited for the next 8 weeks. Good
things are happening. A mission is hard work, but it is the best work
because it is the Lord's work.

I don't hear a lot about what's going on in the world, but I do hear
about some things. Crazy things are going on. A lot of people ask us
how God can let these bad things happen. I am so thankful for the
peace that Jesus Christ brings. I know that He is the solution to all
the problems in the world. People do bad things, and agency is an
essential part of God's plan. But I know that it is possible to find
peace amidst all the bad things going on through Jesus Christ and His

Have a great week. Tschüss!
Sister Simpson