Monday, January 23, 2017

One Year (Week 52)

Good times waiting for a bus

Langenhorn Friends

Well, I am super annoyed because I juste finished writing my group email, and then it deleted itself. Murgle.

Crazy that I haven't seen you for an entire year! I miss you! I've started rereading my journal entries.. so funny.

This week was good. We had two Austausches, one in Berlin. It was SO COLD. Sister Sommerfeld and I did a lot of finding. We did go by on some less active members. One lady lived in this hospital in the middle of nowhere. We went in and she told us about how she's been fighting severe depression. Looking around her cold dinky hospital room, in the middle of nowhere Berlin where the sun never shines (or so it seems), I could kind of understand. We didn't really know what we could say, so sister S suggested singing a song. She suggested "I am a Child of God" at the same time I had the district thought to sing
"Nearer, My God to Thee". Before I could say anything, she changed her mind to "Nearer, My God to Thee." We both aren't very good singers, but with the Spirit, it always sounds better. I know we're just 20 year olds in skirts and name tags, but I believe in the power of the Jesus Christ to lighten out lives and our loads, and I know that we have heavenly help in bringing this message to people.

Well, I didn't meet with any of our people in Altona because we had a double Zone training meeting, a Tausch in Berlin, and then I was in Langenhorn for Tausch. But they're all doing well. On the 20th (ONE YEAR!!), Sister Bolinger and I went kegeling with their ward for their ward activity (basically bowling without holes, I don't know if it exists in America). Not surprisingly, I am not the best, but it was a lot of fun. The next day, we had a skype class because sister Bolinger is learning Arabic, like a champ. We went finding and also met with one of their investigators.

Saturday, our ZL and DL wanted to meet with us because they thought we had companionship unity problems or something. We thought it was funny because we really get along. We're practically related. Sister Harger is my aunt's-husband's-friend's daughter, so we're basically sisters.

I was reading in Matthew this week. I've always wondered about what Christ meant when He said, "consider the lilies". Here are my thoughts: He is the creator of the world, and He knows every aspect of that lily. He sees the beauty in the world. AND He knows us and every aspect of us. He loves us, and we are worth saving. He has considered us, more than anyone else ever will, just as He knows a lily better than anyone else. Because of Him, we can reach our divine potential, which is more than we can even imagine.

Ich bin einfach dankbar, dass ich hier dienen darf. I am thankful to serve where the Lord wants and how He wants. The gospel of Jesus Christ is incredible, and living it brings a joy like no other.

Love you all!
Sister Simpson
Train ride to Berlin

Double ZTM


Monday, January 16, 2017

Miracles! (Week 51)


Dear dear family,

This week was awesome. Lots of learning, lots of growth, lots of tausching. Lots of planning on the go, which, according to the personality test Sister Harger made me take, I'm good at. Who knew?

We started Monday off by going on Austausch with the sisters in Stade. Sister Jackson and I were together and it was super fun. We taught FHE to an awesome family in our ward, and then made the cutest little memory jars with them out of old jam jars. Sister J and I are good friends and pretty similar, so it was great. We had an amazing lesson with Gina, the lady from America, Schwester König and Sister Lopez. It was awesome. Schwester König made this amazing Haitian bruschetta with tomatoes and avocado and olive oil. We talked about Jospeh Smith and the Book of Mormon, because she had questions about it. It was so cool to see the spirit work on her, because she committed herself to read in it and to pray about it. Sister Lopez was an awesome joint teach and the spirit was so strong. Later Tuesday, we had an appointment with Peggi. She's doing fine, a lot better now that she has her own place and her own life, but she still has a lot of other responsibilities and concerns. We're still trying to explain prophets and the priesthood, but we read in the Book of Mormon and she told us that she believes it's the word of God. So she's making some progress.

Wednesday was an interesting day. We didn't have any lessons planned (doch, we had one, but she cancelled). I was not excited at all, and was just trying to endure.. we had a long list of people to go by on. It was so cold and rainy and windy. We walked around all day, no one was home/interested. But, Sister Harger had been in Stade the day before, and her old branch president gave her a referral. So we decided to go by on this person before we went home. We stopped by and she let us right in. She told us Präsident Kahrs told her he was sending two sisters by and that they had something to share with her. She told us about how her husband had passed away a few months ago, how Präsident Kahrs has helped her a ton. and how she had always believed in God. She had been religious her whole life, but now just prays to God at home. Johanna is so cool! We told her about the Book of Mormon and she was so excited and thankful that we would give it to her as a gift. (We had been trying to give the Book of Mormon away all day, but no one wanted it.. turned out to be because Johanna needed it.) We read a little bit in it and she got so excited. She hugged us when we left and we're going by this week. It was such a blessing to meet this amazing woman who is so prepared. She just picks out gospel truths in everything! It was so cool.

Thursday, we had interviews with Präsident Fingerle and District Meeting. It went well. For district meeting, we practiced teaching lessons in a specific way and our district leader had a little too much fun dressing up, but it was solid and it was awesome to practice. I'm not a huge fan of role-playing in front of other missionaries, but it was great.

Friday was verrückt. We had weekly planning, then went on Tausch with Sister Rose and Smith in Delingsdorf. I stayed in Altona with Sister Smith, who is super awesome. I love her. We met with Peggi, I got a freak bloody nose that night (German tampons are good for something.. will send picture [well, you can maybe take this out, Mom] :),
and then we had another miracle day on Saturday. We went out to Wedel, which takes forever to get out there, but it was awesome. We went by on this less-active lady who I had never met before. She was amazing. She told us she never lets people in and didn't even know why she let us in. She visited with us, and then told us that she knows she should start coming back to church. Then she started listing all the things that she needs to do in order to do so. The spirit totally changed her heart. It was so cool. We're going back this week, and hopefully she'll come on Sunday! After we tausched back, sister Harger and I went by on my black family, the Blanksons. We were awkwardly writing them notes as they showed up with their groceries. We had a good discussion with Sister Blankson about service, and will hopefully get to teach the girls next time. I love them.

Sunday was amazing. We had ward Conference, and actually none of our investigators or the people we invited came, which was sad. I had to translate, which I am actually getting better at. The talks were amazing, our bishop and one of the stake president counselors played an amazing piano/violin duet to "I know my redeemer lives", and the women and men were all combined for this awesome Sunday school class while the rest of the stake leaders took care of the youth/kinder. Präsident Jensen talked about how we can share the light of the gospel through serving and loving others. He showed clips from the Joseph Smith movie, about how service and good works are our religion. I'm thankful for good, humble leaders.

 I was thinking about this week in general. Majorie P. Hinckley said, "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." This week, I was kind of just enduring, but Heavenly Father showed me that there are always shining moments. Life can get you down. But it can't keep you there unless you let it. I love the verse in Ether 12:4 that says, " Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." We believe in a better world because we believe in God. Because we believe in God, we have hope. I love this gospel. It brings me hope! I know God blesses us when we obey Him.

I am so thankful to be here.

Love you,
Sister Simpson
Random music store we went to today in a giant concrete bunker

Monday, January 9, 2017

Freezing Rain and Vögel (Week 50)

St Michelis Kirche

More from St Michelis Kirche

More from St Michelis Kirche

Hey y'all,

I honestly don't have that much to say about this week. It was pretty normal. We met with some people, some appointments fell out. We met with Gina/Schw. König (my favorite America/Haitian combo), went and helped Ana out (and decided to take a break because she's not making progress at all), and met with Peggi. We had an Austausch where I went to Elmshorn and we biked around, doing missionary work and it was awesome. We ate "manchos" (man nachos) with a bunch of elders for district lunch, invented the most amazing quesadilla ever (with potatoes and scrambled eggs), and had some great gospel discussions.  We went to church, I'm basically the Altona ward translator now (sorry English speakers). We saw the sun once, it was freezing and windy and rainy, and occasionally it was not so cold. Solid. (Thankfully I got tons of tights for Christmas, so we're surviving:)

Here are the funny/odd stories of the week:

So, on the way home from church, we saw a teenage boy rescue a baby bird, which then flew all over the bus, and the cranky old German lady yelled at him. We were totally cheering him on, #America, land of the free. The bird landed on Sister Harger's shoulder, so she feels connected to it. This other guy grabbed it and took it off the bus, so it was sad. We are hoping to run into this kid if we ever see him again because we want to talk to him. He has a good heart!

Also, on Saturday, it got really cold, but of course, it's Hamburg, so it was still raining (no snow! Good riddance!). It basically created a thin layer of black ice on everything, which made mundane activities like walking very exciting. It was so slippery that if the sidewalk was tilted, we'd slide around. We slid around from appointment to appointment (which all fell out, darn it). Another random German lady walking home with her groceries yelled at us for not picking up our feet because apparently it's bad for the "nachfolger" (Google translate says "Successor", I guess meaning the person walking after them.~~Lynette). We took about twenty normal steps before we went back to sliding, because a) she was going home to the warmth b) she was probably going the eat the food she bought and we were fasting, and c) ice skating is more fun. Sister Harger slipped on the dirt and I almost fell a few times, but other than that, nothing tragic happened.

 One of our appointments that fell out was with Eunice. We had planned on watching "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" with her, but she was 2 hours late and we had other things to do, so we ended up cancelling (yes, after two hours of waiting/Duolingo/trying to stay warm at the church). But then we had the movie on our iPads, so we watched it ourselves for dinner one day and it is beautiful. Also, it turned out okay, because we had this amazing lesson in FHV (relief society at church) about the restoration of the church and Eunice really liked it. I love Joseph Smith and I'm so thankful for the sacrifices he made, as well as all the early saints. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ so much! It's so true. No man could have made this all up. It's true. I know it is, and it has changed my life. It has changed me!

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)

Oh yeah, you asked for updates: sorry! We are starting to meet regularly with Gina, so that's awesome. Her dad is a member in America, so we got to know her and we are meeting this week. She's interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, which is exactly what we love to teach! Peggi is also going well. She's not super busy, so we're trying to meet as much as possible!  She's so awesome, it's such a blessing that she moved back! This is truly God's work!

Well, love you all! Have a fantastic week! Be careful with all that snow!

Sister Simpson

Sunday night we haven't taken any pics this week

Waiting for Eunice, Duolingo/staying warm

When your sticker rips

Beautiful moment in Hamburg :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Guten Rutsch! (Week 49)

Ringing in the New Year at 6 p.m. in our apartment with Crème Brûlée
Happy New Year! Out with the old and in with the new.
We had Tausch this week with the Wartenau Sisters. I stayed in Altona with Sister Gomez-Bravo and we found this super cool family from the Middle East. They let us right it and we promised to come back with a Arabic Book of Mormon. So Sister Harger and I came back and taught them the first lesson. Their German isn't super great, but their cousin was there and his was better, so he was able to translate. He told us that the Book of Mormon is old Arabic, but that he can understand it and he will read it. So that was cool.

On Sylvester (NYE), we met with Eunice. She gave us dinner and had an amazing discussion about prophets and why they are important. It was so cool. We ended with Joseph Smith's first vision and afterwards, Eunice said, "I'm so thankful that he was willing to make that sacrifice and give his life so that we can have this church on the earth!" It is a blessing to see her understanding of the gospel deepen. It has strengthened my testimony to be a witness of God's plan for her and how he has prepared her to accept the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The rest of New Year's Eve was spent at home.. Germans are a little crazy with the fireworks. We felt like we were in the middle of a battle all night. Our backyard neighbors set some off right by our house. We had to be home by 18, so we ate Crème brûlée from ALDI and worked on our area book planner app. We went to bed like normal (with tons of fireworks) but we both slept until 6:30. We decided to celebrate the new year at Mountain Standard time, so 8 am here. We just drank juice and went to church like normal.

There weren't many people at church, but Schw. König brought Gina, a lady we've been trying to meet with consistently for a while. We are meeting with them both this week. Also, Bruder Giesen spoke about a spiritual thought we had shared with their family over Christmas about making Christ our foundation and Helaman 5:12, and it was a tender mercy to see (and be reminded) that the gospel and missionary work is not really about we say, but the spirit through which God touches our hearts. It is humbling to be here. This has been the craziest year of my life and I can't believe it's over. I have spent the last 347 (ungefähr) days as a missionary and I would not take a single one back. There are hard days, but it is sooo rewarding. Unbelievably so.  And with the turn of a new year, I am just grateful to be here, to have such an amazing family, and be able to serve God by sharing what is so important to me! Life is good, and even when it's not, God still always is.

Happy 2017! Love you all!

Sister Simpson

P.S. We got to meet with Carly and Daniel today, which was awesome. I love them. :)

Sister Gomez Bravo


Latinas :)

When you're klingling and you find porn