Monday, October 31, 2016

Berlin, baptismal dates and African food (Week 41)

Hello Family!

Happy Halloween! We celebrated this morning by eating pumpkin spice waffles that our GML's wife made us. Also we are carving pumpkins together as a Zone later so it will be fun. We can't go out after 18 so it will be a weird Pday. We have a new area book app and we have to put our entire area book in it so that's what we'll do.

This week was good. We went to Berlin for a Tausch with the STLTs, Sister Porter (my mom) and Sister Sommerfeld. It was a bit hectic because they had a lot of stuff come up, but we had a competition to see which companionship could hand out the most cards. Unfortunately, Sister Sommerfeld and I lost, but we had an hour less of finding time. While we were waiting for our train, we met a guy at Berlin Hauptbahnhof in McDonald's who was wearing a BYU hat.. he was from
Shelley Idaho. That was cool.

We set a baptismal date with our investigator Ana (the one I wrote about last week). She was so happy and we made a plan so she would feel worthy and be able to repent by then. Unfortunately, 3 hours later, her boyfriend-who-thinks-he's-her-husband showed up (he left and wasn't supposed to come back until next September). The whole situation really just stinks and basically, I don't think it will work out unless she makes some big changes in her life. We were really bummed and talked to the bishop about it. At this point, I don't know what will happen, but I know if it is the Lord's will, He will provide a way and hopefully, Ana will have the courage to follow it. Satan tries so hard to make us miserable like him. God is trying just as hard to help us. He sees our future and He promises good things to come. I am thankful for our trials and challenges, which refine us and help us become more like the Savior. With trials comes the hope of the future.

Other than that, we have been looking for new people to teach and found some promising people. We talked to one Russian lady while looking for a lady that we are supposed to visit teach. We are going back later this week. We visit taught a woman in our ward and her boyfriend was there. At the end of the lesson, he asked about the Book of Mormon. We happened to have one in English and gave it to him. He was super interested, so hopefully, we can teach him and reactivate her together.

Life is good here. We have a lot of fun and are working hard. Transfer calls are this Saturday. We'll probably both stay, which is fine by me.

Have a great week! I love you!
Sister Simpson
we got permission to have a joint eating appointment with the
elders with a less active lady and her daughters, one of which is not
a member. We were super excited and then they wouldn't eat with us, so
it was awkwardly just us and the elders eating together and the other
3 ate in the other room... ugh. She calls us all her white
children, though. Haha :) and thank heavens for Elder Keck, who can
eat food like my brothers, because there was so much!

Ana and baby

happy Halloween y'all

Monday, October 24, 2016

Die Zeit geht schnell! (week 40)

Hump day!

We had appointments with Frau Byo and Steven, a new guy we met who was doing a street display for some charity thing. He's from Togo and we taught him about the Book of Mormon so that was awesome. We did some service for a less active sister in our ward, whose daughter isn't a member. We taught Shana before I left. I LOVE Shana. She's 18 and so cool! They both came to church on Sunday. We are dinner yesterday with Quionying and her husband, who are both from China so it was amazing Chinese food. She joined the church a few years ago in London. Her husband is super smart -- he tried to explain to me what he does for work (something with research and lasers). He was speaking English, but not my English, haha. 

We had a ward family history activity on Saturday. It was mostly ward members, but we got to talk to them about the "my family" packets that you can fill out and why family history is important. It was actually a really fun activity. Before my mission, I was not at all interested in family history. I would look for names and take them to the temple if I could find them, but I didn't care at all. I have felt my heart turn to my fathers, like it says in Malachi. It has been so cool to learn about my heritage (shoutout to everyone who puts stories/memories on family search) and where I come from. And I have found a lot of family names that I can bring to the temple. Super cool.

We had a Tausch with the sister in Langenhorn, Sister Haynie and Vail. Sister vail came to Altona with me, and Sis Daines and Haynie went to Langenhorn. Most of our appointments fell through, so we did a lot of finding. But it was good. We talked to this nondenominational Christian man who was handing out Jesus calendars.. I tried to build of common beliefs and talk about Jesus Christ, but he just kept throwing bible verses at me and eventually told us we were going to hell. I guess he probably meant well, but it wasn't very nice, haha. Anyways, he had a cool conversion story, but he dismissed my love for my Savior because I hadn't spent 30 years of my life doing drugs and then received a new heart from Jesus. I thought a lot about it and I believe that he has received immense help from Jesus Christ, but I know that just as surely as He helps us make big changes, He also changes our heart every day and every moment that we repent. I've always tried to do what's right. I don't need to cross the line to know that Christ's way is the best and that He is always there to help me. I have felt His constant support, love and help in the last 9 months. I am thankful for the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and for a God who gives us answers when we ask Him. I am thankful for this special time in my life when I can devote all my time and energy to serve God and find His prepared children. My heart has been stretched as I have felt the most intense sadness and inadequacy, but also the most incredible joy and love. I will forever be thankful for this time to be a missionary and teach people about Jesus Christ.

So we had an amazing appointment with Ana. I met with her a few times when I was here before, and she had so many problems that I just thought she was Pandora's box. I didn't think she could or would change. That's pretty sad to admit. In our lesson on Thursday, though, I was so amazed. I was praying to help and love this woman. Her Book of Mormon was out and open (which is amazing because it is very hard for her to read). She was feeding her sweet 5 month old baby and telling us about how he can feel the feeling (the spirit) that we bring with us every time we come. She could recognize it. She wanted to change and was trying to and the spirit has been touching her heart as she reads and prays. We taught her about the commandments and how they are given to us from our loving Heavenly Father who really knows what is best for us. We had an amazing discussion about the law of chastity and what God expects from us and how we can repent. At the end, she told us how grateful she is to God that He never leaves us alone. He sent His son, so our sins can be washed clean and we can be forgiven. She told us that she will be alone when she gets her own apartment, and that one day, her baby will grow up and leave her alone too, but that she knows that God will never leave her alone. I know that God's light changes us if we let it, and He has a greater future in store for us than we can possibly imagine. He sees us for who we truly are. 

Thanks for all the love and support! I hope y'all have a great week! Good luck at state! Benjamin, GET A HAIRCUT.
Ich liebe euch!

Sister Simpson

P.S. Because it was both of our hump day(s?) this week, we scrounged up some money and went to Vapiano's for dinner (aka the best place on earth). That's basically all the celebrating we did. Also, funny story: Just like dad, I like to keep the heat off and the windows open (because I sleep on the top bunk and so the warm air rises and I get hot). Sister Daines HATES it. Last night, she slept in sweats, a sweatshirt, 2 extra blankets and a heated rice pack. Apparently, she was done with that because this morning, she shut the windows, cranked the heat and put sticky notes all over the apartment for me. Haha. I just turn it down when she's not looking. :)

Quote of the Week:
Sister Daines: "Oh no. I angered it."
Me: "What am I, an 'it' now?"
Sister Daines: "No, but the part of you that likes running is."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Moin Moin Moin (Week 39)

Hey family,

This week was insane. We had two Austausches. We had Zone training meeting on Wednesday. It was one of the best meetings I've ever been to, which is funny because I knew almost everything we were going to talk about. One missionary shared experiences that have helped him develop the Christlike attributes in D&C 4. I am so thankful that I get to serve here and I am thankful for the Lord's help and lessons He's taught me. Christ is always there to help us in our lives.

After that, I went to Stade to be with Sister Jackson. We are basically the same person. I love her! We did a lot of finding and met some cool people. One lady had gone to SLC on a dance trip and had a
Book of Mormon. She said she would read it. We also gave one out to a very nice woman who was walking through innenstadt with her son. We klingled a building and a very irate lady yelled at us and threatened to call the police on us. That tries my patience.

I also had a Tausch with sister Gomez Bravo (from Chile) in Altona. She's in Wartenau and she and Sister Diaz  (Dominican republic) have a Spanish program. I learned a lot from her. She is super  awesome and teaches very well. We had time after our eating appointment, so we tried finding at  20:00 when it was dark and it was interesting and a little sketchy. Lots of finding. But it was good!

We met with Frau Byo and showed her the restoration film. She loved it and it's so cool to see her progress. Unfortunately, she didn't come to stake Conference, but we are working with her. She's our only consistent friend that we meet with regularly. We are working on it. Life is good here. We have a lot of things to improve on but we're working on it and doing our best.

We had stake conference this weekend and it was awesome! The spirit was so strong. Today, we went to St. Michaelis Kirche again and went on a harbor boat tour. It was super fun.

Sorry for the short email. I don't have a lot of time. I love you! 
 Sister Simpson

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Christmas Rittersport (of course we bought all of them... we've
only eaten one in the last week though. We decided to do no sweets
until our hump day.
Hallo family!

What a week! The nice thing about whitewashing an area you've already served in is that I already know what's going on. I love this ward, so church was awesome. We (the 3 new missionaries) got up and bore our testimonies to introduce ourselves. We ran into Farshid on the bus on Tuesday (he's been kind of MIA for a while apparently) and he came to church! I was super excited. There is a new sister in our ward who is from China but joined the church a few years ago in London while she was studying/working. She is super solid and taught the gospel principles class. One of the ward missionaries is helping out a family friend and letting her stay with him for a while. He brought her to church and she is super awesome! Her name is Eunice and we are hoping that we will be able to teach her. After church, the ward had an Erntedankfest, which is kind of like German thanksgiving.. there was a program with poems and singing hymns and then of course lots of delicious German food. One of the sisters made pumpkin pie bars and I about died. Some less-active members came, Eunice stayed, Quonying brought her non-member husband so it was a good activity.

We spent a day in Berlin for a leadership conference and it was awesome to hear from President and Sister Fingerle. They focused a lot on the Book of Mormon and how it helps us come to know Jesus Christ. I have a lot of new ideas about how to study the Book of Mormon and how to better teach from the Book of Mormon. We also make the trek out to Stade as a district to do a street display. I was walking around with Sister Hançer (who is from Turkey) and we saw this Romanian man begging on the street. We went over to him and we couldn't give him money or even really communicate, but we prayed with him and when we finished, he had tears running down his cheeks. It was really sweet.

The Lord really blessed us this week. The majority of the time in our area was spent finding. We didn't see a lot of success in our finding, but yesterday, we received two referrals from members online and this morning, a former investigator called us and wanted to meet this week. So good things are happening and we feel really blessed. I know that this is the Lord's work for His children and He blesses us as we work hard.

Today I read "the hope of God's light" by President Uchtdorf. I was reflecting on how Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and I though about the experience we had as we went by on Frau Byo yesterday. Her daughter answered when we klingled and told us that she wasn't home, but when we told her it was the missionaries, Frau Byo came on and let us up (she came to church twice after I left and then every other appointment fell out.. so we didn't know what's up). She told us her story about all the people who have wronged her here in Germany in the last 20 years as she has tried to adjust and adapt. She had so much hurt in her heart. (Her point was that she doesn't trust people because of these experiences). We listened and then had the opportunity to bear testimony to her, in that dark little room, of Christ's light and the hope that we find only through His Atonement. There was no physical light to brighten the room, but I could feel the spirit lighten her soul and her burdens. I know that He carries our burdens. He walks alongside us along the beach or through the cold deep water. He is always there to steady us and root us to solid ground in the hopes of better days. He is the rock that Helaman counseled his sons to build upon, promising that he is the "sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12). I know that '[we] can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [every one of us]'. It is such a blessing to see these people touched by the spirit and God's love. It is a blessing to feel His love in my life. I hope you all can feel the hope of God's light in your lives.

I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson

P.s. You asked about the STL stuff. We have a conference once a month with President and all the Zone Leaders that we have to go to in Berlin (that's what we had this week). We have 5 sister companionships that we go on Tausch with. I'm excited! We have 2 this week. We work with the Zone and district leaders to help the sisters who are having problems together. Mostly, the only thing that has changed is we make a lot more phone calls after 21:30, which means I am about a week behind in my journal.  I like getting to know a lot of the sisters the sisters, though. Also, Sam Bennett (from MV) is one of my Zone leaders, so that's funny. It's fun to see him, although it's hard to remember his name is Elder Bennett.. :)
Harbor! It was incredible!

We were at the church doing family history work, and then a group
of 4 people from Peru walked into church. One guy lived here and spoke
German, and his 3 siblings were visiting for a funeral. One of the
woman from Peru was a member (which is why they stopped by the church)
and we talked to them for a while. They were so sweet! They all kissed
us on the cheek when they left, including one of the men... awkward.
We tried to avoid it. I've not had much practice diverting stuff like
that (lol).

Monday, October 3, 2016

Altona Round 2

Sister Daines and I on the bus getting home on time

Sister Lopez gave me this hat and sweatshirt. #freeclothes


Hey! General Conference was AMAZING. I love it, every time. It is such a blessing to hear from these prophets and apostles.

Leaving Stadthagen was hard. Packing is a real struggle. I love the ward and our friends there, but they are in good hands. Sister Koch and her companion are exactly what the ward and area need. We got to say goodbye to the Gills before they went back to America. We had an appointment with Schw. Heumann, but she was sick and cancelled. We stopped by later and told her I was leaving and I was so glad I got to say goodbye to her. She told us she was so thankful we came because it is a whole lot less awkward talking to us than the elders.. :) Also, we FINALLY got to talk to a referral from Präsident Fingerle that he gave to the elders, and we've tried meeting with every week since I've been in Stadthagen. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and she told us that she is really  interested in learning more and is going to start reading. I'm so excited for her! I left before our last appointment with Herr Nicola, but that's okay. He's super awesome and I am really excited for him. He's so close!

Coming back to Altona has been one of the weirdest experiences. It smells familiar, like home. It is different, but the early darkness and cold reminds me a ton of my first transfer here. The Lopez's are
still here, and Janina and Schw. König. Peggy isn't (I think I forgot to tell you that she moved to Munich.. But the bishop has been helping her, so she's in good hands). We're making new friends. :) It is very convenient to already know my way around, though.

Sister Daines is great. She and I were in the same MTC group, so we'll hit our hump day together this transfer. We are going to be pretty busy with tausches and we are working on finding people to teach. We have a couple people to teach from Sisters Fulton and Diaz. Gina Ramm was a woman who is originally from America, and is friends with a member in our ward. I know her and I am super excited to work with her again! She's super awesome. Also, we have Ana, who is also a former investigator that I knew. She has a bit of a difficult situation, so we just do what the Bishop asks us to do. We had a lesson with her already and she loves the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized, but it is going to take a lot of work. After our appointment with Ana on Friday, we made it all the way home before Sister Daines realized she left her iPad there. So we went back to get it and were late to our next appointment.. Haha. Also, the night before, we though we (sister Daines) locked the keys in the apartment, so we knocked on our hausmeister's house and he gave us the spare.. We walked up and they were just in the key hole in the door. Oops. This is going to be a great transfer. I cannot count the number of times I've said "oh boy" in the last 5 days.

We still go and help out at the international school every Thursday. It is super fun, because we just help the preschool teachers to help manage the kids during gym, lunch and recess. We also help in the
library. And the teachers in the whole school love the missionaries, and they are really interested why we are here. The kids are hilarious, so I really love it.

General Konferenz was great! I did a lot of thinking about questions I had and things I want to do and I learned a lot. I really liked all the focus on joy. We are here to have joy, despite our circumstances,
through focusing on the Savior. I loved the story he shared about the early saints in super awful circumstances who were happy and cheerful.  Optimism is something I've always admired in other people and I want to work on being happier. To quote President Hinckley, "life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." I hope you all learned something from Conference and have something to work on for the next 6 months.

Alles wohl. Have a great week!

Sister Simpson
Schwester Heumann

Watching the Saturday afternoon session on Sunday afternoon in
Altona bishops office

Eating dinner (frozen pizza) at the church between conference
sessions yesterday. Elder Keck bought tuna pizza, so that was rough.

Quiche at a French cafe in Hamburg for Pday (yay free wifi). We
also went to the Meßmer tee museum and finally found the prickly pear
cinnamon tea I've been looking for for a month