Monday, May 29, 2017

Third Time's a Charm (Week 70)


my daughter and granddaughter

sister Johnson and Haynie

Schwester Ortlieb <3


We played a lot of volleyball this week. Monday we played beach volleyball as a Zone (not at a beach, obviously, because we're in Berlin). My team was not very good, but I really enjoyed walking in lots of sand. Afterwards, Sister Fulton and I went on Tausch. It was awesome, I love her and respect her a lot. We were laughing because I have one transfer left and when we met each other, I had only been here for one transfer. We went to a single adult activity, which was bowling.. I held my own, which is saying a lot because I'm pretty bad at it. It was about as big as my bowling career will probably ever get. 

The next day, we had an appointment with a referral, which fell out, so we did some finding and then met with a less-active named Sandra. She's having a hard time with her faith right now. It was very eye-opening. It went long and we had to stop by the house before we tausched back, but it was exactly where we were supposed to be. I had actually prayed to make our train as we ran to the station, but also said that it would be okay if we didn't. We missed our train, so we were just standing there, trying to stop sweating when a girl approached us and said, "oh, you're missionaries, you can help me!" She didn't really know where she was going so we helped her, and turns out, she was visiting some members who live near us and she served a mission with Travis Dowdle.. small world. And then on the same train, we met a guy who had moved to Arizona about 10 years ago and joined the church, then removed his name a while ago. He recognized us and came over and talked to us. He told us he has an appointment with the missionaries next week and that he really likes the church. As he left, he said that he'd give it another chance. It was a very simple thing, but Heavenly Father is in charge. It was cool to be where we were supposed to.

Sister Haynie and I tried to go by on a former investigator but ended up outside of our area.. it was on the border, but I had definitely been there before on Tausch. It was an adventure. We talked to a guy from American who was working for UNICEF. I forgot to tell him that our church works with them. We invited him to play soccer with our ward on Friday night. They really like sports, which is good to invite people to. We played volleyball with the youth that night.

Thursday was Christihimmelfahrt, which is (traditionally) the day that Jesus ascended into heaven but (here) is german Father's Day, when all the men go out and get drunk and do dumb things. We're not allowed to do missionary work, so we had our district meeting, and then grilled together and played volleyball. Then Sister Haynie and I read the Book of Mormon for a few hours. It was her year mark, so we also ate ben&jerry's.

Friday was Missionary Leadership Conference, so we were at the stake center most of the day. Thankfully, we don't have too far to travel. I got to bear my testimony at the end, which I was thankful for. It's always fun to see friends too. Lots of us go home soon, so it felt oddly like graduation. Lol. After MLC, we went to the Rathke's and grilled. They had invited some other ward members and neighbors and it was great.

Saturday, we got my transfer call early. I'm going to Braunschweig and will be training a golden for my last transfer. Woot woot! They're closing the elders program in Marzahn, so Sister Haynie is going to be very busy. I'm sad to leave her and Marzahn, but it will be good. I'm pumped. We spent the rest of the day trying to figure out sister Haynie's new comp and trying to find a self-referral from online.

Sunday, the elders and I bore our testimonies in Sacrament Meeting and then Sister Haynie and I taught the investigator Sunday school. Johannes (the young man who got baptized a month ago) blessed the sacrament today. He's so awesome. After church, we ate with the Wiese's. I love them. I love this ward. There are a lot of special people here. :)

Something that I stuck out to me this week is how willing Christ is to take us in. Alma says it better, of course: 

38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
48 ... I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.

Love y'all. (Congrats on beating the high-school dropout statistic, Jacob!) Make it a great week! 

Sister Simpson
beach volleyball

beach volleyball

elder Mika's dying pic

my MTC group at MLC

Gemiko (at the Rathke's) that's our ward mission leader with the sword. 😂

Gemiko (at the Rathke's) that's our ward mission leader with the sword. 😂

Monday, May 22, 2017

Peaceful Heart (Week 69)

So pretty (on our way to Gemiko- the meeting with our ward mission leader)

The yellow fields are my favorite.. apparently they make canola oil

So a lot of interesting things happened this week. We met with the Hansen's on Monday and did FHE with them. We had an awesome discussion about faith and the role it has played in their lives.

Tuesday was a white day, and our first that we've had in a long time. So we went finding. We were about to cross the street and a random guy came up to us and said, "Schwestern, can I buy you lunch?" We didn't know him so we said that we didn't have time and went to get on the bahn. But then we felt like that wasn't quite right, so we went back to this Thai restaurant where he was sitting with a Latina woman and said we have a couple minutes. Turns out, they are members of the RLDS church. They had recognized us as the sister missionaries (their church got shut down so they go to the LDS church in Dahlem when they go to church). We got to know them and it was awesome. He told us about what they believe and where we differ from each other and it was cool because I visited their temple when we were in Independence Missouri for Spring Break a few years ago. We tried to convince them that they should just come to Marzahn because it's way closer (they go to Dahlem because they feel at home there but can only go every once in a while because it's far away).

We finally contacted a referral from online who wanted a Book of Mormon. We went by earlier in the week and she want home so we klingled her entire street. Then Saturday we went by again and the dog was outside but no one answered. We were finally about to leave when she looked out the window and ran outside. I guess her Klingle was broken. We have an appointment tomorrow morning and are really excited!

We went on Tausch with the STLTs in Dahlem (Berlin). I was with Sister Baldwin, who came out with me and it was fun. We klingled a student building and had some good conversations and visited a newly baptized member. She wanted the elders to come do a service project (or so we thought), so we all made the trek out there. The bahn line was down so we had to take a bus and we go there an hour late. She lives in a refugee home in Glienicke, and we had to take off our name tags to go in. We showed up and she went out and talked to the elders (she didn't want us to know whatever they were talking about). We were super confused the entire time, but she came back and we visited with her.  She told us that she was not doing well, so we talked about trials and how God never leaves us alone. Anyways, the elders came back in, we said a prayer and then we left. They told us that she had asked them to translate a letter that she got from the government saying because of her sicknesses, she has to leave within the week and go back to Africa. We were all pretty fed up about how unjust that is to send a poor sick woman back to freaking Africa, but they contacted the bishop and another guy in the ward who is a lawyer. He read it, and turns out, there is a lawyer fighting for her so if she has a pretty good chance of staying in the country if it goes to court. Thank heavens for awesome members who are willing and ready to serve. Seriously, it touched my heart how they responded, and I'm glad it wasn't as bad as we thought. And I know that everything we talked about with her was true: no matter what happens to her, God knows her and won't leave her alone. He never leaves us alone, we sometime just don't recognize it.

Friday we had Zone Konferenz with Berlin and Neubrandenburg zones. It was pretty good and lots of fun to see people. We then came home and did weekly Planning.

Sunday was great. We ran into the bishop on the bus and had a good conversation with him and he gave us people to go by on, which is progress. Then we (the elders and sisters) had to do a musical number to "I'll go where you want me to go".. one of the elders was a bum and wouldn't sing with us, so we were a trio and we convinced my favorite young man, Vincent, to play the piano for us, it went okay, I was super nervous because I don't really sing but oh well. Hopefully it invited the spirit. But the greatest thing about Sunday is that the Hansen's came to Sacrament Meeting! I sat by Aidan (the 6 year old) during the sacrament and talked with him about Jesus, then sat behind Mark and Leslie and attempted to translate for them... I'm really out of practice. But hopefully they got something out of it and more importantly, felt the spirit and listened. They left after Sacrament Meeting but it was just so good that they came! We had a hellfire and damnation lesson in Relief Society about preparing for the sacrament every week. It was awesome. Schwester Winkler basically called everyone to repentance for being late to Sacrament Meeting and said, "if Jesus were to visit our Sacrament Meeting, y'all would be seated and reverent an hour before! It's the same thing! You should get everything ready on Saturday so you can be here on Sunday and partake of the sacrament." She's very bold. After church, we had an eating appointment, had some time to go by on some less-active ladies, had Gemiko at Bruder Rathke's, and did family history work.

Well, that's pretty much it. It got pretty hot this week. Also, at Zoko, all of my companions made fun of me for my very low heat tolerance. Haha. Also, I found a four-leafed clover. No one wanted to meet with us this week but we still saw a lot of miracles and I know Heavenly Father is blessing us. I'm thankful to be here. I know He supports us and lifts us up if we let Him. True peace is only found through him because he is our only source of redemption from all sorrow, sin, guilt, betrayal, hate and despair. And it's egal (no matter) what is happening around us because His peace comes not from a peaceful (or comfortable, ignorant) life, but rather from a peaceful heart.

Ich habe euch lieb!!
Sister Simpson

finding selfies

finding selfies

I illustrated our day in Sister Haynie's journal

our district lunch a few weeks ago when Elder Ausobsky made us schnitzel

Tausch with the STLTs (sister APs)

we made good food

giant spider outside our apartment... I walked around the corner and screamed

also from a few weeks ago, when I was in the drit and we visited
Happiness (I'm behind elder Ausobsky's head)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Drit Life (Week 68)

Skyping the fambam

Happy Mother's Day!
We went to east side gallery, the long
part of the wall, again. :)

East Side Gallery--Berlin Wall

East Side Gallery--Berlin Wall

East Side Gallery--Berlin Wall

East Side Gallery--Berlin Wall

So this week was a lot of Tausch. We went to Greifswald and then Sister Harger came back to Marzahn with me. It was a blast, she is awesome. We picked right back up. It was a pretty short Tausch, and also we had to go to a doctors appointment (for my bloody noses.. thanks to my dear companion telling Sister Fingerle. The doctor told me to use a tampon or tissue when it bleeds and to go to the ER if it doesn't stop. German doctors, they're brillant). We did have time to do a bit of finding, which was good. And get baklava. 

We also went on Tausch with the Spandau Sisters. I went to Spandau and got to be in a drit with Sister Vail and Ha. It was awesome. I loved every second. We met with a crazy African less-active lady named Happiness, and she wanted a blessing so the elders came. She made us delicious African food. 

We had a street display in Frankfurt (Oder) with our district. It was good. I had several good conversations and even met a Persian guy who was Christian and wanted a Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, the elders didn't bring one and my Farsi is pretty bad, so hopefully he calls the elders. Street displays are always great. 

Yesterday we had ward conference and we sang in the choir for it. It was mostly all about mothers because it was Mother's Day. They handed out flowers to all the mothers, but had too many, so this little girl came up to me and gave me some. I said, "ich bin keine Mutter" and she responded in English, "but you'll be one one day." It was the cutest thing ever, I had to take the flowers. None of our friends came to church, which was a little disappointing. We are trying to find new people to work with who have interest, so that'll be our focus this week. Here's to more fun finding stories. We did have an eating appointment with the Ortliebs. I love them so much, they're the cutest family ever and totally want to help with missionary work. Schwester Ortlieb says hi to the VanDams. :) 

I read these two verses in Jacob 6 the other day that I really liked:
"And how merciful is our God unto us, for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people; but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts."
I know that God has His hand constantly stretched out to help us. We may not always notice it, but it is there. He doesn't always take away our trials, sorrow or pain, but He can comfort us and fill us with his love. People ask me all the time "Where is God? Why doesn't he do anything?" I have asked myself the same questions. But I've learned that God loves us. I've experienced His incredible love as I've reached up to Him. He can't help us if we don't reach out to Him, but once we do, He will encircle us in the arms of His love. I've felt that over and over when I feel that I can't go on anymore on my own. His love in indescribable. I've always done things on my own and the reached out to God when I am desperate. But there have been days and weeks in the last year where I didn't think I could make it through the day, and I know that God held my hand and walked with me at the pace I could. His love and heavenly help is always there, whether we feel like we need it or not, in hard times as well as in good times, and I am so thankful for that. 

I love being a missionary. I am so grateful.

It was so good to see you Sunday! I love you all more than you know! 

Sister Simpson

I spy with my little eye two sister missionaries

On the way to Tausch #trainridesfordays

Tine cute german car in the middle of nowhere

How we feel after lots of tausching

Berliner Straße. We had to.

Just a street in the middle of nowhere berlin. Nothing sketchy. ;)

Trying to eat healthier like..

And then this very necessary Rewe run because hairibo was only 65 cents

DRIT LIFE ft nice weather

Monday, May 8, 2017

I Don't Know What April Was Supposed to Bring, But It's Still Raining (Week 67)


Our church, from the gondola

Lookout from the top of the mountain

View from lookout


Sister Haynie and I

Happy Birthday Naters! Also happy Mother's Day, I get to see y'all on Sunday!

I got to go on tausch with Sister Peck in Neubrandenburg. The last time I tausched with her, she was a trainee, so it was fun to see her progress. She's a fantastic missionary and I learned a lot from her.  We did some finding in the rain and it was freezing cold and beautiful. The first lady we talked to was actually the sisters neighbor and super friendly and we had a great conversation with her.  We almost got to help this girl who was canoeing down the river get her boat out of the water, by a guy on a bike rode by as we were running down the bridge to help and beat us to it. He was probably more helpful than we would've been.

We had interviews on Friday and the elders wanted our help, so we spent the entire day there trying to keep things quasi on time and running smoothly. We also had district meeting and made pancakes together there for district lunch. It was fun but a long day. And we didn't even get to eat burritos for cinco de mayo. Schade.

We had a hand-off lesson with a woman named Divine (pronounced "dee-veen" because she's French). She's young and looking to strengthen her  relationship with her Father in Heaven and we are really excited to start teaching her. She is from somewhere in Africa and speaks French. I think Elder Ausobsky had high hopes for my French but it's pretty buried, so I don't know how well teaching in French will go. It's a good thing she's studying german.

We also met with the Labib family with the counselor in the bishopric, Bruder Ortlieb. He was able to explain the priesthood and answer their questions that they had. We're trying to help them to see the importance of reading in the Book of Mormon to find out if it's true and understand the Holy Ghost. We are starting to meet with a newish convert from the ward, Jenica. She's super awesome. We're going to start reading in the Book of Mormon together. The elders meet with her husband, but she wants to meet with us, so we're down for that. :)

So right next to our church is this huge International Garden Ausstellung (IGA) that is a big deal here in Berlin. One of the Ehepaar missionaries in our mission or stake made it so we (the Marzahn missionaries) are now a part of this religious group committee that will be doing a "treasure hunt" thing at IGA for kids to get to know things about different religions. It won't happen until July, but we all met together on Saturday to plan it (us, some catholic ladies, some Muslim ladies, a Buddhist lady and the lady in charge). We got into IGA for free (it costs 20€ and I really wanted to go) and it will be a cool opportunity. After it was planned, we used our lunch time to ride the Gondola to the lookout over Berlin. It was awesome and totally worth not actually eating lunch before we started our fast. Haha.

Sunday was awesome. The great thing testimony meeting in East Berlin is that someone always shares an incredible story about them or their parents joining the church during or after the DDR. The members here are so solid and I'm strengthened by their faith and love for the gospel. President Fingerle and his family came so he could bless Jenica's new baby, so they stayed for gospel principles, which we taught on the millennium. #nopressure. Thankfully that meant the elders were on top of their participation game. Their new convert, Johannes, received the Aaronic priesthood, which was cool. He's so awesome. After church, we sang in the ward choir and then ate with the Schröders, one of my favorite families. Bruder Schröder told me a few weeks ago that ever since sister Wilson and I went over a few months ago, he's written in his journal every day (we encouraged them to record their spiritual experiences so they don't forget them).

Anyways, so that was our week. We had some more appointments with Kira, Lydia, and another less-active sister, but I was on Tausch and missed them. Martha has kind of fallen off the face of the earth. We think she went back to Cameroon to take care of her father's funeral, so hopefully she comes back irgendwann.

One of the elders shared an experience in testimony meeting this week. They were also at the IGA meeting, and at the top of the hill was a bobsled type thing that you could take down the mountain. They got really excited and decided the 3€ and 30 minute wait was worth it. They bought the ticket and were almost up when they realized that they had to go one at a time (would be split up) and came to the conclusion that it was something they probably shouldn't do as representatives of Jesus Christ. He said that sometimes we get really excited about things that may not be straight-up bad, but that we shouldn't do. It takes humility and self-control to take a step back and make the right choice. And that's how life goes. We have commandments from someone with a perfect, heavenly perspective to help us navigate life. To quote Elder Sabin from General Conference , "it is far better to follow the Creator than the crowd." "No one has sinned tomorrow." If you've messed up today, repent. That's why Christ suffered and died for us. There is hope for us because of Him.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Simpson