Thursday, December 29, 2016

Croatian Christmas (Week 49)

Birthday Package from Home

Hello all!

This week was absolutely amazing. So many good things.

First of all, we had a lot of member appointments. So Sister Harger and I decided to come up with a good spiritual thought that goes with Christmas. We came up with an object lesson with a Christmas tree, so we lugged part of our fake one all over Hamburg on Monday. Then we decided that was a lot of work, so we made one from a freezer pizza box and used it at all of our appointments. Object lesson: the Christmas tree might have a lot of nice things on it, but won't stand without a stand. The point is, like it says in Helaman 5:12, that Christ is the only true solid foundation that we can build upon.

So, I turned 20 this week! We were so busy I didn't even have any time to think about it. Thank you thank you thank you everyone for all the emails! I'm so sorry that I don't have to respond to lots of them, but it made my day. I wasn't really expecting it to be anything special, but it was an awesome birthday! Schwester Glöyer invited us over for lunch. She made me cake and painted our nails for my bday. It was so sweet!

We had Zone training meeting this week. Sister Harger and I were asked to give a 20 minute theme on obedience. I've studied it a lot throughout my mission, because we hear it all the time as missionaries... but I feel like every theme I've ever hear on it doesn't quite hit it on the head. Anyways, it went pretty well even though I am not very good at giving themes. The whole meeting was super awesome, and it ended with a white elephant and President dressed up like der Weihnachtsmann. :) We had to recite a scripture auswendig in order to receive a gift.

Christmas Eve was pretty interesting. We had an appointment with a family, which we thought was an eating appointment and they thought it was just a  spiritual thought. So we ended up really hungry and a lot of extra time. So we went to a Döner laden (the only place open on Christmas Eve because it's Turkish). Later, we had an appointment with the Jensens. We ate legit American Turkey, potatoes, Rotkohl, super yummy ginger ale. Then their kids acted out the nativity for us, and we sang together. The kids opened all their presents and it was super fun to be there with them. Their Christmas tree had real candles. I love Germany.

Sunday was great because we had church, then an eating appointment with the Schmidts. Peggi came to church, and the talks were perfect for both her and Eunice. It was such a blessing to go to church to worship and remember my Savior on the we celebrate His birth. My heart has just been so full this entire week! At the Schmidts, we basically grilled meat on this hot plate thing on the middle of the table. And we played Tabu in german, which was hard. But Melanie and I won! Then we went to the church and I skyped my family. I'm glad we only skype every 6 months, because it's hard. It's the only time I ever get homesick. I love y'all so much.

Monday was a bonus Christmas Day, because Germany has two. We had three eating appointments. We ate breakfast (more like brunch) with Schwester Franke (typical Brötchen with meat on it), lunch with the Ewerts/Giesens (lamb, potatoes, Rotkohl, and jello.. fun fact, "jello" auf deutsch is "Gottesspeise" or food of the gods. Lol), and dinner with Ana N, a sister in our ward from Croatia. She's so cool, and her nonmember sister's family was there. She made us Croatian food and it was so fun. She made a dish called "sarma", which was basically meat and rice covered in cabbage. It was a mixture of English, German and Croatian.. haha. Her kids were adorable. Hopefully, we'll be able to teach them, because they're so cool!

Anyways, that was basically this week. Sorry for the food explanations. You're welcome, brothers. It was all delicious. Also, I opened your Christmas/birthday packages from you guys and also from family in Arco! So fun. THANK YOU! Our ward also gave us a ton of chocolate, marmelade, and other fun stuff. We felt so loved.

Happy New Year! As a district, we decided to pick one Christlike attribute and focus on developing that next year. Every day is an opportunity to come closer to Jesus Christ. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful for my family (and friends). I am thankful for my Savior.

Alles liebe,
Sister Simpson

P.S. Sister Harger and I went to the Hamburg Art Museum today for like 4 hours. We saw some Picasso, Monet, Renoir and a ton of other amazing art! 😱We LOVED figuring out the bible stories to the old paintings we saw.. it was SO COOL.
Christmas Eve Döner (pronounced: dun-er)

President as the Weihnachtsmann

Christmas tree with echt candle.. yes that's me playing the piano

Croatian friends :)
Croatian friends :)

Christmas Eve

Us + Kalle (Christmas eve) with our owl light keychain we got

Art Museum in Hamburg

Art Museum in Hamburg

Old Jesus paintings (plus bible)


Double Picasso ft. sister Harger

Christmas Skype December 25, 2016

FROM LYNETTE:  We had a lovely visit on Christmas day with Sister Simpson.  We had planned to talk at 10:30 a.m., Idaho time (18:30, German time).  Our church got out at 10:20, and we literally sped home from church, so as not to miss her call.  I may have even left two of my kids who didn't come out to the car with me quickly enough. They literally ran home from church.  :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Old Friends, New Friends (Week 48)

Eunice's baptism Friday!

Sister Daines facetimed in

The Lopez's invited us over for dinner for our birthdays on

With the Lopez family. I love them

we helped Rachel with personal progress.

Hey family! Frohe Weihnachten diese Woche! 

The first part of this week was busy saying goodbye to people (for Sister Daines), planning for the baptism, and transfers. I miss Sister Daines, but Sister Harger is also great. It's always an adjustment, but...

Thursday, we went caroling as a Zone. It was awesome. We all met at Hauptbahnhof, hen went to Wilhelmsburg, Altona, Langenhorn and ended in Wartenau by the Weihnachtsmarkt. It was FREEZING but so fun. We would sing as a group and a couple of us would hand out Christmas pass-along cards for the Christmas initiative. Our ZLs were either super awesome or didn't want to sing, because they handed out cards every time, and the rest of us took turns. It was so cool to bear testimony of Jesus Christ through song. Missionary work is kind of like caroling: sometimes you sing as loud and as beautifully as you can and people just walk by, but it is totally worth it for the people who stop, listen and appreciate the message. We weren't very good, especially by the end after hours of singing in the freezing cold, but "Stille Nacht" was so powerful. Lots of people stopped for that one. Probably the spirit. 

This week was awesome. Eunice got baptized on Friday night and it was so awesome. It was a beautiful service, right down to the prayers. You could feel the love and support that the members have for Eunice, and the spirit was so strong. Lots of ward members came and she definitely has a good support system in this ward, which is good because her mother is anything but supportive. She was confirmed on Saturday by the bishop. It amazes me how prepared she was and I feel blessed to be able to take part in her journey, but she was definitely well on her way before we even came into the picture. 

Eunice wanted to sing "Stille Nacht" as part of her baptismal program, but the English/German versions were too high. So I did the only logical thing and transposed the entire song. I think she didn't realize that "just going a little lower" is a lot easier said than done. There is certainly an easier way to transpose music, but my stressed out brain couldn't handle it, so I just rewrote the entire song, because I wasn't about to ruin the musical number at her baptism. The funny thing is, we practiced it before the baptism and it was still too high. After all that work. So if anyone ever wants me to play "Stille Nacht" ever again, you better believe I will play my version. #bloodsweatandtears

Also, huge miracle: Peggi moved back to Hamburg! We met with her this week, and while we were there, she called the elders in Munich and I got to talk to them about her. It was awesome. She told us how much we had helped her come closer to Jesus Christ, which was awesome. I am so excited to keep working with her. 

Other highlights: we went by on an old lady in our ward, because the bishop hasn't been able to contact her.. turns out her phone was just broken and she was loving the lack of communication with basically everyone. Haha. We gave her some Christmas cards to give out and showed her the video and she loved it. Haha. We also met with Frau Byo, who continues to get happier as she reads in the Book of Mormon and meets with us. She just needs to get married, dang it! We read a chapter in French together because sister H and I both spoke French once upon a time. Fun stuff. 

In relief society, the lesson was about making room for Christ. Well, actually it was about following the example of Jesus Christ, which goes along perfectly with the Christmas video this year, but someone brought up making room for Christ. I have been so happy this entire Christmas season, and it has kind of perplexed me. It helps that I am in an area that has basically become my home with people who I love, but I believe that the biggest thing is that my life is completely centered on Jesus Christ. It is easy to get caught up in the festivities, but as one of the elders in my district put it, why would you have a birthday celebration for Jesus and not invite him? So my invitation/Christmas wish for you is to find out if Christ is there, if you don't know that He is. And if you already know, then do something because of that. Study His life. Pray to feel His love, because it never faileth. Share it with others. It is the best gift we can give, in return for the best gift ever given. It is my testimony that He is there. He is here with each one of us. Invite him into your life. 

I love my Savior. It's why I came out here, and it's why I am here. 

Merry Christmas y'all. Love you lots.

Sister Simpson 
Ha ha

Caroling in Hamburg

Sister Harger and I at church

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Epistle for the Week (Week 47)

Trying to take blood test but veins too small.. this was after one
upper and one lower arm attempt

Treating ourselves after traumatizing German dr experience.

Treating ourselves after traumatizing German dr experience.

Hola from Deutschland!

Happy Dritte Advent! The week always flies by and then it's Monday again.

Monday, we had Familie Heim Abend with our GML's family, and we invited Eunice and it went really well. Then we met up with the Bremen sisters and did a super Tausch in Altona (all 4 missionaries in the same area). I was with Sister Maier for all of Tuesday.. we actually had to take a small break so sister Daines and I could anmeld (we've had this appointment set up since October) but luckily it went quickly. Yay, I'm finally legal here! We did a lot of finding, but it was a good day and we've been really trying to share the Christmas Iniative and it's been pretty cool. It was a pretty uneventful Tausch, except sister Daines accidentally got on a train and went to Pinneberg (neighbor zone). Haha, oops. We also had a meeting that night with our ZLs and Distrikt leaders in our zone and it was good to talk about the transfer together.

Wednesday was another Tausch, but first we had district meeting. We took a ferry (because our Monatskarte works with some of the ferries) to get there and it was exciting. We ran into Ashley Rackham, so that was cool. The elders for district meeting did an object lesson where we basically made a super cool giant snowflake, but talked about how in order for us to become something more, we have to be bent and cut up a little. But God has greater vision than we do. Our trials are not to break us, but to make us into better, stronger people. We went on Tausch with the Elmshorn sisters and I stayed in Altona with Sister Peck. She's super awesome and I really like her. She has been here for just a few months and it was crazy because I still feel like we're the same mission age. But it was cool to see how much I've changed. She had a lot of the same worries/concerns that I had, but I was able to share my experiences with her. I really love being able to work with the sisters here.

Friday/Saturday was Tausch number 3 with the Spanish sisters in Wartenau. I was with Sister Díaz from the Dominican Republic. She's also technically my grandbaby. I love her. We went caroling to help some missionaries in Langenhorn. I spent the entire 24 hours trying to learn Spanish. It didn't work, darn it. We met with this sweet Brazilian lady who is just super stressed. After a while, I realized I wasn't contributing anything, so I played with her very distracting 6 year old on the couch so she could focus while Sister Diaz taught. Haha. She would try to speak French to me, but it was extremely difficult to understand.

After we tausched back on Saturday, we had 3 appointments and they all klappt, so that's a record for me. One with a neu bekehrt who just moved into our ward. She is so cool. Chrisantia is from  Zimbabwe and it was SO COOL to hear her story. She's been through a lot and is still trying to find peace, but we are so excited to work with her. We also met with Frau Byo again. Her faith is growing and I think the gospel is growing brighter in her eyes, but she works on Sundays and has some problems keeping her from getting married, so she is still not really make "progress". I love her and I just want to help her understand why/how the gospel can change her life and her family! Our last termin was with Eunice and our GML, Bruder Lopez. We planned her baptism and then taught her about all of the commandments. I've been pretty stressed about her baptism, but she's pretty excited and the ward is super excited, so everything should go well on Friday. She's super awesome. We talked about the law of chastity and she basically bore her testimony to us. Her mom is not supportive in the slightest, so we've been praying for her heart to be open and to help Eunice, because this is  hard for both of them.

On Sunday, we missed our 2nd bus because our first one was late, so we were barely on time for sacrament meeting. Later in the afternoon, we watched the General Conference broadcast. It was awesome.  Finally, today, we went to a Dr. Appt for sister Daines. It was long, she had to get a blood test, and Germany definitely doesn't have to same rules that America does when dealing with blood. Also her veins are teeny, so it took about an hour and a lot of poking and prodding for them to finally get enough blood. Poor sister Daines. I got a little queasy. Maybe nursing is not for me.. This doctor basically looked like a vampire and charged 300€ for the stupid appointment. It was a memorable last Pday together.

Oh yeah! Transfer calls were Saturday. I had to wait basically all day to get mine (sister D got hers at 11:30 saying she was leaving, but we were on Tausch so I had to wait unto 19:30). Sister Daines is going to be in Neu Brandenburg/Prenzlau to be with my old comp Sister Koch, and I will be staying here with Sister Harger. I'm excited to stay for Christmas and to be with Sister Harger, but I'm going to miss Sister Daines. We've had a lot of fun together and I really love her. Let this be a lesson to y'all not to judge a book before you read it, because I definitely had a different opinion of her in the MTC.

I love being here. This Christmas season is meaningful. I loved the talks in the devotional about Christ and how Christmas wouldn't be meaningful unless we had Easter. I was reading the Book of Mormon this morning and came across this verse: "22 Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God pleadeth the cause of his people; behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again." (2 Nephi 8:22) Christ has done
everything for us. The way home is prepared, we just have to ask for his help. We can't make it alone, but thankfully, we don't have to.

Well, sorry again for the epistle. My journaling time is basically non existent, so this is my Bericht for this week. Haha. Here's to a new week.

I love you! Frohe Weihnachten!
Sister Simpson
district pic

Wartenau Christmas party (we helped set up)

Sch. Glöyer from Brazil

Training with STLs, ZLs and DLs

Sister Diaz

district pic

Tausch treat (McDonald's.. real classy. I refuse to spend money there)

Ferry ride to DM

Found Waldo


Kung Fu Panda Rock (at wilhelmsburg waiting for our DL)

Making giant snowflake

Check out the Christmas tree dresses in Ritzy Hamburg


Sister Harger (my future companion)

Sister Harger