Monday, February 27, 2017

Letter to Lizzy about Berlin

Hey there, my favorite little sister,

SORRY it took me so long to respond. Hamburg was a pretty big city, but Berlin is bigger. The buildings aren't too tall like NYC, But definitely bigger than anything in Boise. I've seen some apartment buildings over 20 stories tall! You can fit a lot of people in that. Berlin is split into different wards/areas with different missionaries because it's so big. So we cover the north/eastern area. There's City parts but also lots of neighborhoods and if you get really far out, it's basically the country. It's very pretty, and I'm sure it will look great once the plants start growing and everything doesn't look so dead. ;) the "pretty" downtown part of Berlin isn't in our area, but we can go there on our pday and we've seen some cool stuff. We saw a famous, pretty, old Lutheran church, the Brandenburger Tor, and also part of the Berlin Wall. Berlin is growing on me.

 We haven't been very busy. We don't have many (any) investigators right now, so mostly we try to meet with less-active members and help them come back to church, because when we stop reading our scriptures and praying and coming to church, than we forget our testimonies. So these people who haven't been doing that need help remembering the gospel and the things they need to do that will help them be happy. We do a lot of finding, so we talk to people on the street or ring their doorbell and ask them if they want to learn more about Jesus Christ. We went by on a cute old lady who we Thought was an old investigator. She let us in and was really excited to all about Jesus. She still had her Book of Mormon from the missionaries before. She had the cutest toothless smile. We went home and looked up her name in our records and turns out, she's actually a member, but she's so old that she doesn't remember. Haha. She loves Jesus though.

E's baptism was special. It was cool to see how Heavenly Father prepared her to find the church and be baptized. We, the missionaries, didn't actually do much. We taught her twice and she kept coming to church and then decided to be baptized. So we finished teaching her. The ward really reached out and tried to help support her and feel welcome, and that made a big difference. I was just so excited that she decided to make this decision to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. She is planning on moving to New York and wants to get married and start a family, so she's going to have a big impact on a lot of people. 

You asked about journal writing: we have time every night to write in our journals. I've realized that it's a waste of time and energy to write the dumb things I do every smile day (like eat breakfast, etc) so I try to just write about the good things that happened, funny things, basically anything that I might want to remember and also my thoughts about the things that happen. I write a lot about important things I learn too. You don't have to write everyday, but when you have big things happen it's good to write in your journal. I tried to always record the things that I knew would become memories.

Have a great week Lizzy! I love you! Sorry my response is so late!
Your Sister Simpson

Hey, I made a time lapse video for you of the bus ride from a train stop to our stake center via bus. So you can see part of downtown Berlin! I made it from the top of a double decker bus (like Harry Potter). They use those buses sometimes in downtown Berlin. 

Multis sanguis per via fluit (Week 57)


So happy. Also we found the Berlin Wall in Hamburg.

Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg)

Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg)

Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg)
The title of my email is Latin, because my super cool comp studied Latin + Hebrew before her mission.. and this is the only thing she can remember from Latin. It translates to "much blood flows through the street". Gross. I guess if it was "much sister runs through the street" it might be applicable. And probably would have been a better title for my email. Read on for details...

Hello Liebe Leute,

This week was great. Lots of good stuff.

We made invitations for our Gemeinde Fasching activity. Fun fact, Germany celebrates carnival. So we tried to invite TONS of less active members and went überall in our area to deliver them. The good thing was that there were a lot of less-active members and non-members there on Saturday. Our GML told us we should definitely be there, so we dressed up (Sis W in my dirndl, me in my African shirt) and then it was basically just a dance with children running around everywhere. So actually not very effective to get to know people or make conversation in general. We did relieve the activity Planner sister from her dishwashing so she could go dance with her husband and we washed those dishes like Profis. And then we peaced out because like we said, there was really no point in us being there. Fun though. Germans go all-out when it comes to activities, I am always impressed. 
Your local Marzahn Sisters

I spy my comp in a dirndl (and a box)

Gemeinde Fasching

We also went on Tausch with the sisters in Delingsdorf, which is actually in Hamburg. So I spent a lot of time in a train. We had a mission wide "Harvest Day" and it was awesome. We all fasted on Wednesday and then went finding on Thursday. We got about a million texts from the miracles from all over the mission. Sister W and I went to a Mensa (cafeteria) for lunch, because we are trying to work more with young people. We had to go early in order to catch our train, so there was actually no one really there, but I guess we needed a warm-up. I haven't eaten in a cafeteria since the 8th grade (außer MTC, but that doesn't count), but the food was good and hopefully we'll be able to get to know some cool people who are interested in the gospel! Anyways, like we said, we then took a train to Hamburg and then Sister Gines came back to Marzahn to be my companion for 24 hours. We klingled a student housing complex by our house and we had some cool conversations with some people. We were talking to a 20-something year old girl from Syria, asking her questions about what she believes/explaining our beliefs, and then her roommate, who had been listening, appeared and started asking questions as well. It was super cool.

The next day, we had an appointment with a less-active sister, Schw. Neundorf. She's so cool, I really like her. She told us about how she joined the church, why she joined the church, and why she's inactive. She has lots of questions and doubts, but she has a testimony of the basics and that's so cool. She just needs to approach her doubts with faith instead of abandoning it. I know there are answers to her questions, but what's important is not that we answer them; she needs to learn to act on her faith and go to the source of truth. I know that God does and will answer our prayers.

And here is where things get exciting. When we were leaving the apartment, Sis G asked, "do. I have to bring my backpack?" and I thought about it and decided we probably had time to come back before our train left. I'm an idiot. Also still new here. So our Termine went later than I thought, we were on our way home and I looked up Bahn times. The Bahn we needed (in order to make it to Berlin Hbf in time to make our train to Hamburg) left 12 minutes after the Bahn we were on arrived to Biesdorf (our station). Our house is a solid 8-10 minute walk away. But we HAD to make this train, and it was tight, but close enough that we had to try. So, I told sister G the plan, then mentally prepped myself to run home, grab her stuff and run back. Also, keep in mind that I have gone running maybe 4 times in the last 5 months. Our train gets in, I run all the way home (with sis G trying to stay in sight/sound), grab her backpack, and run back to the train station. The construction guys thought it was hilarious. I said about a million prayers. And we made our train. Once we got into Berlin Hbf, we had 4 minutes to go down 4 levels to catch our train (and Berlin Hbf is not well organized). After more running like crazies and praying, we made our train. Heavenly Father really blessed us. And I believe part of it was because He knew I would do whatever I could to make it happen.
#blessed #schaffedthetrain

Sunday, we went to Young Women and it was awesome. We sang in ward choir, had an eating appointment with the Ortlieb family, which was super fun, and went to stake choir. Lots of singing.

I read this super awesome story this week in Numbers, after Moses parted the Red Sea and the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians. God had promised them (and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) the land of Canaan. Moses sent 12 spies to see what was up/check out the land. They came back with reports of how great it was and also how well it was protected by the people there. 10 of the 12 said, "the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great. … We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we." The other two disagreed, saying that they could do it. So, the people were faced with a choice: faith or fear. And sadly, they all chose fear, except these two super rad rulers, Caleb and Joshua. "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it us. … Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land. … The Lord is with us: fear them not." I love these two. They knew that the Lord was more powerful than anyone; they also knew that He had covenanted with them that they would posses this land, and that God always keeps His promises. Anyways, long story short, the Israelites traveled forty years in the wilderness until all the unfaithful people had perished, then the Lord's promise was fulfilled and Caleb and Joshua got to experience/live in the "land flowing with milk and honey". If we hold onto our faith and have faith in God, He will help us conquer our fears and will fulfill his promises. I love that: be grape-gatherers, not wall-watchers! That was a message I needed this week. 

I have you love! Ihr seid wunderbar!
Someone pooped on the Bahn

Seriously, people?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Exchanges With Old Companions (Week 56)

sister Fulton.. reunited at last

Valentine's Day pancakes

Leaving notes by less actives

Well, it has been another week, and a bit of a crazy one at that. 

We did a lot of finding this week. Luckily, the weather got really nice and so it was basically spring. I told Sister Wilson that we had no termines because God knew that the sun would shine on Tuesday and Wednesday and it would be glorius. God loves us. :) 

We got to meet with the Hansen family for FHE on Monday. It's super cool because I taught them in Altona in my first three transfers there, and they moved to Berlin before I went back! Since then, they had a baby girl. I'm pretty sure I wrote about them before: Leslie isn't a member, her husband Mark is, they have two adorable children, one of which really likes me and the other just stared at me across the table all through dinner. They're from Austrailia. It was so fun to catch up with them. I love the Hansens! 

In all of our finding, we got a couple return appointments for this week, so that's good. We stopped by on one old lady. She's technically already a member, but she's really old, so she doesn't really know she's a member. But she does still know that Jesus is important and was really excited to see us. So we are going back to meet with her this week.

We went on Tausch twice this week, with the sisters in Greifswald and Prenzlau, Sisters Fulton, Thompson, Daines and Koch.. all my old companions, except Sister Thompson, but she basically is now, lol.  We met the P sisters on Thursday and Sister Koch and I went to Prenzlau. We visited a nice old lady in their ward and did some finding in their area. We all planned on meeting in Prenzlau (its between Berlin and Greifswald) and exchanging back with Prenzlau and starting our tausch with Greifswald. Unfortunately, the sisters coming in from Berlin (Wilson and Daines) got in one minute before my train left from the other platform. So sister Koch and Fulton waited on the gleis that Sis Fulton and I needed, and I waited on the gleis where Sister Daines would get off, Sister Thompsen would get on and go with Sister Wilson to Greifswald. Sister Wilson would give me the ticket I needed, the keys and the phone, and then Sister Daines and I would run to my gleis and try and make our train. Sound complicated? It was. Thankfully it all worked out, although I definitely lost Sister Daines in the crowd of people as I was weaving through them like a mad(wo)man to make my train. Oops, sucks to suck Sister Daines. :) In Marzahn, Sister Fulton and I went by on lots of people, all of which had moved/weren't home. It was fun to be with two of my old companions. I love them a lot. We exchanged back on Saturday in Prenzlau again, and all ate together at McDonald's. Precious. 

Church was good, as always. I was asked to share a spiritual thought in sacrament meeting because they needed someone to speak, so I did. I said that I've been here for 3 weeks, and I think everyone took that to mean that I just got to Germany. The lady who taught relief society told me she tried to speak slowly and clearly so I could understand. Lol. We sing in the ward choir, which is nice, and this week we joined the Stake choir, because they want the missionaries' help. The stake choir director is american and a little crazy, but it's fun.

For my 'spiritual thought' in sacrament meeting, I shared the story in Matthew about Christ feeding the 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. I love it, because sometimes what we can do (our best efforts) do not seem like much, but the miracle of Christ and the Atonement is that Christ makes our best infinitely enough. I've learned that as a missionary, I am not perfect. As a person, I'm not perfect, and sometimes that really gets me down. But Christ sees our honest efforts to do good, and He can and will make up the difference as long as we do our best and rely on Him. And that is why I love Ether 12:4: '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.' That hope comes from God in Jesus Christ, His Only-Begotten Son. I love the gospel and I love sharing it.

Love you! Have a great week!

Sister Simpson
Tracting in sun

Tracting in sun

Street art

driving in Prenzlau


our Gemeindehaus

me after 60 minutes of learning The Farsi alphabet and learning that
every letter changes form depending on where you write it. #sodone

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cleaning Profi (Week 55)

Tausch with Sr. Sommerfeld

Spandau Austausch (basically the best day ever because
appointments and THE SUN!)

Spandau Austausch (basically the best day ever because
appointments and THE SUN!)

Spandau Austausch (basically the best day ever because
appointments and THE SUN!)

Another week has come and gone-

So cool story- about a month ago, I wrote about going by on a less-active woman in a hospital in Spandau with Sister Sommerfeld while we were on Tausch. We sang "Nearer, my God, to thee". Well, they've met with her every week since and when I was there again on Tausch this week, Sister Sommerfeld and I had an appointment with this sister. She was dressed and sitting on a chair, waiting for us (we had missed our bus and were running late). The change was amazing! Everything about her was just lighter. She's read 80 pages of the Book of Mormon and loves it. She told us she was so excited for us to come. We read together, sang some hymns. We bore testimony of our Heavenly Father who loves us and blesses us when we do what's right. She told us that she really hopes that He does and that she hopes He will open her heart to more joy. She was so precious. It's moments like this that remind me why I am so blessed to be here.

We were pretty busy for the rest of our Tausch. Sister Sommerfeld and I walked all over Spandau, from appointment to appointment. She's an awesome missionary and I love learning from her. We taught a 13 year old about tithing using a rittersport bar. She's so cute! She's basically come to church every week for a few years but her mom wouldn't let her get baptized until she turned 14, which is this month! I'm excited for her!

In Marzahn this week, we had a Termin with a less active sister named Jenny. She has lots of pets and likes animals better than people. :) She has lots of questions and likes to debate things; she really doesn't understand the plan of salvation or who God is, but she believes in Him so that's a start. We went by another day this week and helped her clean her apartment (gross, cat hair!). I am basically a service cleaning Profi, I've done it a lot auf Mission. Nothing like service to help you develop some Nächstenliebe.  Friday was district meeting/interviews with president Fingerle, which means waiting around for your interview all day. But it was good. I talked to President and I start learning Farsi (aka Persian).. so that's crazy. We'll see what all that means next week. I taught myself numbers from the Book of Mormon.

Sunday was great! By this point, I actually know some people here and it's fantastic. I love this ward! Church was great. We didn't have any investigators come, so we were invited to go to the Young women class because there was only one YW. We had an awesome lesson on the plan of salvation. Then we had an Essen Termine with the same YW and her family. It was so fun.

The work is going. I'm thankful to be here. I'm thankful for the peace and joy that the gospel brings. I know God is there and that He loves all His children. He blesses us every day, we just have to look for those blessings.

Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson
My dear comp

Sister Fingerle and us

Monday, February 6, 2017

Frische Luft in Ost Deutschland (Week 54)

Downtown Berlin

Sister Wilson at Mexico embassy

Foggy finding (can you feel the cold?)

Foggy Finding
At the Mexico Embassy

Well, this week was probably the craziest week ever.

Monday, we had an appointment with my dear friend, sister König. She's the best, and I'm really going to miss her. She made us Haitian food again! She's incredible. Tuesday, we had three appointments, which is a lot. The first one was with Peggi. Because she hadn't read, we talked about the Book of Mormon, why it is important to have faith and act on our faith, and how Book of Mormon can be a guide for us. We gain strength from reading the scriptures. We also said goodbye, she told me not to wear my name tag because "it's not safe". Im not She gave me a cute little angel necklace to protect me, lol. Next we had Frau Byo. We were a little worried because she's been acting a little weird and it has been a few weeks since we've met. Turns out, she doesn't hate us, she just is really struggling. She just cried and talked to us for an hour, and we just told her how much God loves her. It's very humbling to be here and feel this incredible love that God has for each of us. Anyways, after these two good but kind of depressing appointments, we went by on my black family, the Blanksons. It was a fantastic end to a somber day. They let us in and we got to visit with them. She gave me this super sick Dashiki tunic thing. So nice of them. Tears were shed. I love the people here, I miss them!

Wednesday was mostly moving and being tired.. lol, I procrastinated packing until Tuesday night. Bad idea. It snowed in Marzahn so we had to get my suitcases through it. Murgle.

So my new companion is Sister Wilson. She goes home the transfer after this one and I love her. She's hilarious. Also, she has amazing german. I'm doing a 24/7 deutsch transfer, which mostly just means I don't have too much to say a lot of the time. Haha. My area is on the outskirts of east Berlin. It's pretty different from the West. Zum Beispiel: everyone here speaks Russian as a second language rather than English. The ward is bigger than Altona, and technically has around 500 members, but only 80-90 come to church. We have lots of work to do. Also, Leslie and Mark, a family I taught in my first 3 transfers in Altona, moved here in October, so that's cool! I get to see them again. This ward is awesome and I am excited to be here. It's freezing and I haven't seen the sun since I came here, but life is immer noch prima. I'm so thankful to be here!

I know that this work is the Lord's work and glory. I love being a missionary. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth. God is there. He hears and answers our prayers.

Have a great week! Love you all!

Alles liebe,
Sister Simpson

P.s. Today we went to the Berliner Dome and Brandenburger Tür. Pretty cool stuff. There's so much history here!

Berliner dome

Berliner dome

Berliner dome

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Burning books and an extremely long trip to Freiberg (week 53)

Book burning



Snow in Hamburg (ft raincoat from DI)

Pday at Vapiano's


It's been another week here in Altona. And a pretty slow (and verrückt) one at that.

We started with a Tausch with the Elmshorn sisters. I was in Altona with sister Jarrett-Clark and it was awesome. She's really cool and it was fun to work with her. We went to the international School and she LOVED it. I mean, who wouldn't love just talking to 4 years olds?  Haha. Tuesday evening, we tausched back and then had a mission-wide apartment cleaning evening. We had an dinner appointment with the Lopez's and helped their daughter, Rachel, with personal progress, in the middle of the cleaning hours, so I ended up cleaning until I went to bed. It felt really good to have a deep-cleaned apartment. My bathroom cleaning skills are prima.

Wednesday, we had a general missionary Broadcast and it was awesome.  Our district met and made crepes before, and then we watched it like General Conference. Pretty cool. It talked a lot about how important repentance is for us and the people we teach. They also changed the daily schedule that we follow a bit.. now we have two extra hours of pday in the morning. Sister Harger and I celebrated that today by doing absolutely nothing.. :)

Afterward the broadcast, the Stade Sisters overnighted and we burned a book.. (just a stupid philosophy book that makes no sense, was probably written by Satan, and we had it in our apartment for some reason.) It was definitely written by Satan.

Thursday, we were supposed to have a lesson with Eunice before we left.. she was very late, so it ended up being about 10 minutes of setting up family search and then we had to peace out. We went to Freiberg and had our mission leadership council there the next morning. We got to go to the temple! It was so amazing. I love the temple. Everything worked out and it was so good to be there and feel the spirit. Freiberg is one of my favorite places on earth because of the temple. MLC was good because we discussed the Missionary Broadcast and how to apply it to our mission. We talked about a lot of other good things. It was weird having it right before transfers.

Anyways, after that, the week basically went downhill. Our Gemeinde had a temple trip planned, and Eunice was going to come to Freiberg on Saturday with the Lopez's. We thought, "cool, we'll be in Freiberg on  Friday, why don't we just stay and do baptisms with Eunice on Saturday?" So we did. Friday night, Eunice texted us and cancelled.. So we were basically stranded in Freiberg for 24 hours before our train left. It was the LONGEST day of my life.. not to mention we were waiting for our transfer calls. There's 24 hours I'm never going to get back. Oh well. We did do weekly planning and hopefully the apartment there is a little bit cleaner now. Good riddance.

Sunday was pretty chill. I played the organ in Sacrament Meeting (but I didn't play it like an organ.. I'm definitely not that talented, I just played it like a glorified piano). I was so focused on playing Vorspiel and picking the songs that I forgot to tell them I was leaving Altona.. oops. So Elder Wilkinson got called up to bear his testimony but not me. I told Bruder Giesen after Sacrament Meeting. I was sad but luckily, everyone was combined for third hour so he announced it then. I LOVE ALTONA. There were lots of goodbyes. I felt like I was leaving my home ward again. I love this place and these people. Who knows, I could come back again ("all good things come in threes" -germans), but I'm pretty sure this time is for good.

Oh yeah! I'm getting transferred this week! I'm going to Berlin, Marzahn! I will be STL with Sister Wilson, who goes home in 3 months. I'm sad to leave but excited for a change. #goingtotheeast I feel a little jipped that I only got 7 weeks with Sister Harger. I love her!

Sacrament meeting's topic this week was repentance, and it was so good. One of the brothers talked about why repentance is important to him, and his simple testimony was so powerful. Christ changes us when we repent. It is so beautiful. We can truly be born again. When we turn our lives over to Him, He can magnify the good in us and bring it out. It is through repentance and obedience that we become what He wants us to be. In our Sunday school lesson also about the Savior, we talked about how Christ is the perfect servant leader. He has done literally everything He can for us, and He leaves the decision making
up to us. We have the choice to follow Him. I am happier because I choose to follow the Savior, even when we have weird weeks like this one.

I'm thankful for you. I'm thankful for the incredible people I've met here. I'm excited for Marzahn.

Liebe Grüße
Sister Simpson

Hymn 293

Crepes (check out my super chubby cheeks)


Snow in Freiberg

After traveling for 8 hours at 10 pm #waitingforourbus