Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring is coming! (Week 61)

Weird tree

This beautiful park where we went finding

This beautiful park where we went finding

Breaking in our legs to the sun #tanning
So this week was awesome! We are getting ready for the Easter Initiative that starts on Friday. We've seen it and they're going really big in Berlin, with a giant poster on the outside of the stake center, all the mission office cars in Berlin have it on them, and apparently there will be posters in the Bahn stations and on some taxis. We are super excited and have lots of plans to help people come to know Jesus Christ better.

We had a pass-off lesson with a lady that the elders found named Martha. She is from Cameroon and has a little boy. She is so cool. She believes in God and she has a super cool story. She's already been through a lot in order to follow God's commandments. We taught the first lesson to her and she was very excited to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. At the end of our lesson, she told us that she prayed before we came over to know if we are God's servants or not. She said she believes we come from God and believes that we have the truth. Also she said she'd bring lots more people to our church, haha. We picked her up on Sunday, she came to church and loved it, despite not knowing any german. She is pumped and set on helping other people come closer to Christ. We're excited to teach her more!

The Labibs cancelled, Kira was sick, but we'll meet with them this week. Hopefully. :) we went on Tausch with the sisters in Greifswald, and I got to Tausch with Sister Hope, aus Australia. She's awesome and it was fun to work with her. Also, we went on Tausch with the sisters in Neukölln, aka the ghetto of Berlin. I was with Sister Hançer aus Turkey. I was in her district for two transfers in Hamburg and we've gone on Tausch a few times, so that was fun. She's super sweet and we had fun finding in the ghetto. She taught me some Turkish words that exist in English but have a different meaning in Turkish. For example: turtle = caterpillar, moose/muz = banana, and pasta = birthday cake.  I'm sure they're spelled differently, but whatever.

Like I said, Martha came to church and so sister Haynie and I were both translating for different people the whole time. We were pretty kaput after church, but it was great. I kind of got assigned to play the piano for relief society... lol my piano playing is pretty bad. They like having someone reliable so they gave me the numbers we'll be singing for the next month and told me to practice in my free time, haha. We had an eating appointment with the Winkler family. They have family in Boise. It was hands down the best german food I've ever had. Then we had stake choir Sunday night. It's been super fun to get to know members from all over Berlin. We're doing a Easter concert and it'll be in Marzahn, so we're going to invite everyone we know. :)

Today we walked all around Berlin in the sunshine and warmth and it was glorious. #keinestrumpfhosen. We also went to the Berliner dome again. Yay for Pday.

I've been reading the New Testament recently, and in Mark, the disciples tell Christ that they've left everything behind to follow Him, and Christ answers and says "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first" (Mark 10:29-31). I know that whatever things we have to sacrifice to follow Jesus Christ is worth it. I'm thankful for this time to serve Him. I'm thankful for everything that He has done for me. I can never repay Him, but I will sure spend my entire life trying.

Love you all! Make this week a good one!

Sister Simpson



Berliner Dome

Berliner Dome

Berliner Dome

Greifswald Tausch

Sister Hançer


Neukölln Tausch


Monday, March 20, 2017

These are a few of my favorite things (Week 60)

P-Day last week

P-Day last week

Ost Deutschland y'all

Elder Fischer, the missionary who taught peggi in Munich was at
stake conference this week because he just got home. So sister Fulton
and I talked to him. Haha

Sister Haynie and I emailing because we haven't taken any pics.

Hello family,

This week was pretty good.. We spent the first part of the week getting Sister Wilson packed and ready to go. She goes home in 5 weeks, so that stinks that she had to pack up and leave. We had a lovely time chatting in English on Wednesday morning until we went to Berlin hauptbahnhof and said goodbye/picked up my new companion, Sister Haynie. Transfer day is always fun because you get to see lots of missionaries. Sister Fingerle came for a while and bought us all McDonald's. Also, our ZL's bag got stolen because someone asked for directions and while the missionaries were helping, the guy's friend stole his bag from the pile of luggage. People are dumb. 

We met with Kira again this week! She's so great. We talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, because when we truly understand what Christ did for us and what He means to us, then we naturally are more willing to follow His example. Her faith is growing and it's awesome to see. I love when people sincerely seek the truth. 

We also met with the Labib family, from Egypt. They. are. the. coolest. family. We ate dinner with them and then taught them about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. They are probably some of the humblest, nicest people I've ever met and their kids are So cute. They committed to read the Book of Mormon together and pray.  

This weekend was a little crazy. The elders called us friday morning and told us about a 80th birthday party for an old schwester in our ward. They told us that we should probably go to talk to all the people who would be there. We ended up helping Schw. Rathe (the younger) set up, and then came back with the elders for an hour. We ate some cake and tried to talk to the people sitting next to us, which worked until people started playing the piano for their grandma Rathke. It was very nice and I had a conversation with the grandson's girlfriend, who played an incredible piece. Talented people. 

Saturday and Sunday were basically spent at the stake center. We had our district meeting, then went by on a less active lady in our area, then came back for the evening session of stake conference. Elder Boom, from the Netherlands, came and was the visiting authority. He was so cool and it was an incredible meeting. We sang with the young adults on Saturday night, and it was a miracle that it went so well. We sang the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version of 'Let us all press on' (except auf deutsch) from the last general conference, which is incredible and also hard, especially with not so many people. We also got to sing on Sunday. The choir was mostly made up of missionaries, but it is super fun and brings the spirit. I love music. We sang a fancy (hard) version of 'Love at Home' with the congregation and the organ and violin and it was incredible. There is power and unity that comes from singing together and I'm sure there were angels singing with us. After stake conference, we had an eating appointment with our ward mission leader, who is a super redneck German. He grilled up so much meat and it was so good. Thankfully, there were a lot of people to eat it (3 people from our ward, us, the elders, the APs because one of them served here, and the 4 Rathkes). We had our Gemiko meeting afterwards, then went back to the stake center for Choir practice, because we are doing an Easter concert as part of the 'Prince of Peace' Easter initiative. Lots of singing. Also, the bahns by our house were down this weekend, so we had to ride a lot of buses to get home. 

One of the speakers at stake conference talked about how our testimony is like a fire. Just like a fire needs heat, oxygen and fuel to burn, we need to read in the Book of Mormon, pray with real intent and go to church in order for our testimonies to burn (or start burning). The thing I love about the gospel is that someone can't really be convinced that it is true from someone else. There's nothing in the Book of Mormon that will trick you into believing it, but there is a power in that book. If you read it and honestly want to know if it is true, you will be able to feel it. God will answer our questions, but we have to ask them. If its really true, it will start to burn. The speaker also said, that if we're already doing those 3 things (reading BOM, praying, going to church), then we need to make them more meaningful in order to build our testimony fire. We claim to have the complete truth and to have a prophet of God on the Earth. That's either true or not. I don't understand why more people don't try to find out. Ask and ye shall receive. 

I love the gospel. I love Marzahn. I love Sister Haynie. I love singing. I'm thankful to be here!

Love you!
Sister Simpson

p.s. favorite things: cake, old ladies bday parties, choir, honest people, the Egyptian family named the Labibs, the Netherlands, the spirit, definitely the Book of Mormon, eating appointment parties
FHE with the Hansen's

Monday, March 13, 2017

We ate the Easter Bunny (Week 59)

Oh yes, the title. Yesterday we had rabbit at our eating appointment. I got super excited because I haven't eaten lots of weird stuff on my mission. Well, I have, but not a lot that I know what it is. Rabbit isn't even that weird. Döner is definitely sketchier.
Wiese Family (rabbit essen termin)

Liebe Leute,

This week was so great. So great. I think we were busy, but I don't even remember why.

We went on Tausch with the STLTs, Sister Porter and Garrett. I got to be companions with my trainer again, which was fun. She's a great missionary. We went to eat at a Mensa (cafeteria) at the university
with their district. We all just buy food, and then split up, sit by people and talk to them. The lady we sat by finished before we could talk to her, so we did a role-play about striking up/keeping up a normal conversation. Haha, I'm so awkward, and my goodness, it's gotten worse. Also, we had an appointment with a super nice, Albanian, less-active frau. Her grandchildren were adorable, and it was great. That evening, we taught mission prep at institute and it was super fun! We talked about adjusting and preparing for missionary life. One of the girls there just got her call to Lyon France.

We met with Kira again this week. It was an awesome lesson. I understand her struggle and I've had (have) most of the same questions that she has. We haven't really tried to answer her questions because she already "knows" the answers and I know she can find the answers on her own, we have been trying to focus on how to deal with doubts/faith. We read a talk from Elder Holland called "Lord, I believe", which I LOVE. She loved it and brought up Joseph Smith, who said, "For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it." He didn't know everything auf ein mal, Kira doesn't, and neither do I, but the cool thing is is that God works with us and as long as we remain true to the faith we have, it will grow. That has been my experience in the gospel. She committed to read in the Book of Mormon every day, and I know that even though she hasn't come back to church yet and is technically not "progressing", she's making progress. She told us that there are things that she knows to be true and one of them is the Book
of Mormon. It's been a great blessing to get to work with Kira because I literally just get it. I understand her and I can see where she's at in her faith and it. is. so. cool.

We got a referral from a sister who served in Berlin a year or two ago and is living here now. This family just walked into church one day (in her time). They met with the missionaries and had a baptismal date, but due to moving and everything they lost contact with the missionaries. But Rachel found them and we went by on them and they're so cool. They're from Egypt. We have an  appointment this week and they said they'd come to church, so I'm super excited. Helgina's (the other
referral from last week) appointment fell out because she is staying with someone right now while looking for a house and the lady doesn't want strangers there when she's not. We'll figure out a way to meet with her.

Saturday was super busy. We had Gemiko with out GML and then three member appointments. One was with a sister who comes when she can with her baby and nonmember husband. One was with a sweet older lady who is 85 and who has been taking care of her handicapped son, Frank, for 55
years. If that's not love, I don't know what it. Schw. Risse has had a crazy hard life but is so positive. (We're talking grew up in the war zone in Germany/Poland and escaped on a train as soldiers fired at
them and blew up the train car behind them). We talked about hope and I was so humbled hearing her speak about the hard things she's experienced and how her faith was strengthened through them. Not only is the glass half full, but it's half full because God is looking out for us. I just want to bring her around to all the people who ask us, "why does God let bad things happen? Where is He in the midst of all this chaos?" He's there. I know He is. We finished the day doing a FHE with a family in our ward. They made us Russian meat tortellini like things. I don't remember what they're called, but they were good. They eat it with sour cream. We taught the plan of salvation and Bruder Jeremies asked like a million deep and not super applicable questions. Haha.

Yesterday we had church and it was good. Sister Wilson and I taught (tried to teach) the gospel principles class on Temples and family history, but it ended up being more of a "what happens if.."
discussion between the members who decided to come.. oh boy. Helgina and the Labibs didn't come, but next week. It's also stake conference next week and we will be singing in the choir. Well, I will. We got our transfer calls, and Sister Wilson is going to Prenzlau to be with Sister Daines. I'm staying in Marzahn and my new companion is Sister Haynie. I love Sister Haynie, we were at the temple open house together. I'll miss Sister Wilson, but she's in my Tausch group so I'll still see her. And we will be able to speak auf englisch. That'll be nice.

This has been a hard 6 weeks, but I am being changed. My faith is growing and my testimony has been strengthened. It's very humbling. I know that the all-powerful God is there and looking out for each one of us personally. He loves us. Sometimes it's hard to see His effect on the world when you look at everyone as a whole, but I don't think He works like that, taking away the problems of  everyone all at once. He won't interfere with our agency, but He will bless us and answers our prayers. It's harder to see from the outside, but that doesn't mean that it makes His tender mercies any less important. And sometimes we have to go through hard things so that we can grow. And that's the real purpose of this life. I'm thankful for God's plan; that I know where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going after I die. We are never alone.

God is so good. The gospel is amazing (and true).

Love you all!
Sister Simpson

P.S. Today we went to Checkpoint Charlie for pday.
Train Ride



Gendarmenmarkt/beautiful Berlin

Gendarmenmarkt/beautiful Berlin

Gendarmenmarkt/beautiful Berlin

Gendarmenmarkt/beautiful Berlin

Schröder Family (part of them)

Jeremie FHE

Monday, March 6, 2017

The week I saw all of my former companions (Week 58)

The sisters at MLC

Well, it's been another great week here in Germany.

On Monday we went to Hamburg for pday (but really just so we could start our super tausch with the Lübeck Sisters at 18). Lübeck is beautiful. Also, I really like Sister Ha & Menlove, so it was a good Tausch. When we got back to Marzahn, we met with Kira again this week.  We found 2 super awesome talks that talk about rebuilding faith and how to "deal" with doubts. I've learned a lot from studying her questions and I hope that we can help her to find her own answers. We went and ate at a cafeteria this week, because our Zone made a goal to do that.. we're still trying to overcome our awkwardness but naja.  Trying our best.

We had a mission tour this week in Berlin. Elder Sabin came and spoke to us and it was amazing. He really knows the scriptures and he just talked for basically the entire conference, answering questions, talking about our purpose and about doing what we can do and leaving the rest to God. Then we were lucky enough to have MLC with him the next day too, and it was so cool to talk about impressions we'd received in the last few days and counsel with him about how to apply the things we'd learned. It was awesome to receive revelation that answered specific questions/concerns I had. The spirit was so strong.  He talked a lot about joy and enduring through trials, not just on a mission, but for our entire lives, and if we stay close to Jesus Christ, we will be able to endure. Ja wohl! Sister Wilson and I actually got completely different things out of it, so that's how the spirit works. It was an incredible two days. (He's speaking in conference, so look for him! Elder and Sister Sabin are awesome!)

Saturday was so nice! It was 17 degrees Celsius and sunny. There were so many people out on the streets and sister Wilson and I just tried to talk to everyone we passed. We talked to one lady about the Book of Mormon and she told us she wanted to come to church, so we gave her the information and told her we'd be there. She seemed really sure but she didn't come. So ist das Leben. But maybe she will one day. She's bestimmt in God's hands. I'm content to do what I can here, whatever that may be. Also, tender mercy of the week: we got a text from the GML (ward mission leader)  in Tübingen. There was a woman who was being taught by the missionaries there but just moved to Marzahn. She's super nice and we are going to be meeting this week!

Sunday was great. A less-active family came to church! They are deaf, which is why they're less-active, but the relief society president is awesome and learned sign-language for them. She signed Sacrament Meeting and all through relief society as she taught the lesson. It was amazing. I sat by this sister, and I literally have no way to communicate with this woman, but I tried to find all the scriptures so she could read them and show her love in other ways, aka smiling, because that's all I could think of. But seriously, though, shout out to the relief society president. Her theme was on the Atonement and how Christ is always inviting us to come to Him and that He'll bear our burdens. That's something I've experienced in my life. I cannot describe the strength that I've felt from Christ as I've turned to Him with my problems and challenges, however big or small they may seem.  It was touching to hear all the testimonies that people shared about Christ and His ability to help and lift and succor and comfort.

After church, we had an eating appointment with two missionaries (and the husband from one) who served here a couple years ago, who are here for internships. It was so fun to visit with them. The elders shared a part of Elder Anderson's talk from Conference about sharing the gospel. He says that the only actual motive we have is because of love for Christ and our fellow-man. That's why we share what we believe: we want others to have the same blessings and joy that we have. And I think a lot of times, we feel like we have shared the gospel with everyone we know and no one is interested. But it's like the story in Ether 2 - we can't forget to pray. That's the most important part! God knows these people and their hearts. He can surely guide us to help and serve the people who need it. It goes for missionaries and  members. Prayer is the key. Love is the glue. And God is the source for both. This is His work and it is so so good. It is eternal salvation and happiness beyond anything we can imagine on our own. I love Him. I know He answers prayers.

I have you all love! Until next week!

Sister Simpson

P.S. Today we got to tour the US embassy with all the missionaries in Berlin. It was awesome. So today I was on American soil (technically).  We ate lunch at this place called Peter Pane that has sweet-potato fries that are to DIE for and was also pretty expensive because I'm dumb. Then Sister Wilson and I went to the rittersport factory and made our own candy bars. Yay, pday.  
P.P.S. I saw sisters Hammer, Porter, Fulton, Koch and Daines at mission tour (and obviously sister Wilson as well), and then Sister Harger at MLC. Party!!


The MTC District


Good ol Biesdorf (where we live)

Sunrise this morning

Rittersport Place making my chocolate bar