Monday, June 26, 2017

Rain (week 74)

sister Harlow made me take pics for my 17 month mark

getting rained on

getting rained on

Liebe Familie,

Whew, this week flew by. It rained a ton and it was awesome. There was a rainstorm one night and the lighting was crazy.

We did a lot of finding. It was great! We ate in the Mensa this week and talked to this cool dude. He mentioned that he wanted to work on his English, so we invited him to our English class. Luckily, he didn't come (I was freaking out because we are still trying to build our English Class up so more than 2 old german men come). Maybe this week! We went out to Wolfenbüttel for a day, which is a small Dorf outside of Braunschweig. We walked around a ton, trying to visit less-actives who weren't home. But in the last 20 minutes, we gave out a Book of Mormon to a really cool lady and met another lady who is willing to meet with us.

We met with quite a few less-active sisters, and it's been good to get to know them and try to help them grow their faith. We practiced teaching about the  Restoration and Book of Mormon with one of them, and it went really well.

Saturday, we did a street display with Elders Hite and Cakir. It was awesome, I love street displays! We were able to give away some copies of the Book of Mormon and found some solid people who have interest. Sister Harlow was on fire, talking to everyone who walked by. One of the ladies in the bakery across the street came outside and asked about the Book of Mormon and I talked to her for a few minutes and she really wanted one. Also, there was a little stage set up down the street for a little Saturday morning farmers market or something in Innenstadt. For about 40 minutes, they played The Beatles and it was awesome. Nothing like good background music.

Church was great. They made some boundary changes so it was the last Sunday for some members who will now go to Hildesheim next week, so everyone was pretty sentimental and lots of people talked about having faith to set out in unfamiliar territory, like Lehi and his family. Heavenly Father has a plan for us but sometime it takes a lot of faith to follow it. He always blesses us when we obey and act in faith. Anyways, we were supposed to teach gospel principles but no one came/stayed, so we got to go to an English Sunday school class. We ate with the Weiland family, and their cute kids crawled all over me, haha.

Today we played basketball and ping pong at the church with all the elders and it was super fun. We also made very lame tacos (durum wraps, greasy meat, cheese, sour cream, and salsa). It was nice to move around and hang out with the district.

Anyways, at Gemiko this week, Bruder Jobs shared some thing that I really liked: "Eine Biene ist gewiß kein Adler, aber sie kann Honig machen." A bee is no eagle, but it can make honey. Heavenly Father creates each of us, and gave us all specific qualities and characteristics. It does no good to compare ourselves to others. We should work hard and do things with the talents and abilities that He has given us. You are who you are for a reason. God has put you where you are for a specific reason. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of faith to open our eyes to see the good that we have and the good we can do in the world around us.

Love you all. God is good! Have a great week!
Sister Simpson


Braunschweig Rathaus (we live right here)

Löwen Brötchen (apparently it's a Braunschweig thing)

Löwen Brötchen (apparently it's a Braunschweig thing)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Path of Discipleship (Week 73)

Sister Mogensen

Sister Harlow's first Berliner

Car ride to our Essen Termin yesterday. Party!

Car ride to our Essen Termin yesterday. Party!

Hello all,

This week was good. We had interviews with President Fingerle and district meeting in Hannover. It's always fun to see other missionaries, and district meeting was awesome. We did an activity where we picked random things and had to teach a gospel principle from it, so I taught about commandments from piano.

We also had Tausch this week with Sister Mogenson and Rose. I got to go to Köthen to be with Sister Mogenson. We trained together way back in round one of Hamburg last year and it was fun to get to work with her. She is such an fantastic missionary. We ate lunch with Schwester Sickel, who is the twin sister from Schw. Winkler in Marzahn, and it was awesome. She basically bore her testimony to us the entire time, complete with quotes from General Conference and President Hinckley and tears. It was beautiful. We also taught a woman who has read all of first Nephi, and we talked about how we can find out if all the things we teach are true. We read Alma 32 with her and talked about 'testing the seed' and at the end she said she will come to church. Also, they have bikes in Köthen and i was on cloud nine riding them around. 

Back in Braunschweig, we had a 'pass off appointment' with a lady whose husband was less-active before he passed away. She was originally taught by sisters and didn't like them, and once they left, the elders have been visiting her and she loves them, so this hand-off thing will be interesting. That's basically the story of our lives here, everyone loves the elders. The ward is super excited to have us, though. We also visited a (kind-of) less-active lady, Schwester Schwarz, who is having a rough time right now, but we sang some hymns with her and read in the Book of Mormon and she was so happy. She's so cute; she tells us every Sunday how much she loves the Book of Mormon and how thankful she is to be a part of this church. We also visited Schwester Klemt and her 3 crazy kids. They were so excited for us to come over. They live far away and its hard for her to come to church without a car, but they came for the sacrament this week!  They had to leave early and the kids were really sad, but we're going back this week. 

Saturday was great! We had a ward activity: the talent show and then we all grilled together. Sister Harlow played the piano.. I didn't do anything. Sorry, Mom, I've barely touched a piano in 18 months. It was a good little show, though, and it was great to visit and eat with all the members afterwards. The Iranian brother came with his family because the Bishop's wife picked them up, and then an older couple brought them to church on Sunday! I was put in charge of helping them find scriptures in Farsi during Sunday School. The ward has really embraced them and I hope everything goes well so they can stay here. They are such awesome people and she is really interested. 

We had an eating appointment with the Luschins yesterday, which was a blast. She's from Texas and we ate tacos!

We went finding today, and we've been trying really hard to talk to everyone around us. We met this guy from Albania who speaks albanian and french, and I had a conversation with him in french, which is a huge miracle because I don't really speak french anymore. It was very basic and slow, but I could still communicate with him. He's muslim and doing Rahmahdahn (the month of fasting, which I can't spell) right now, but he was very nice and invited us to eat his dinner with him tonight. Haha. 

Anyways. It's going well here. Lots of learning, lots of growth, lots of stretching. I hope y'all had a great week.

eurer Schwester Simpson

I rediscovered this quote from Elder Holland this week. I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ for the rest of my life. I am so thankful that I am here in Germany, literally wearing Christ's name, and serving Him. It is a blessing that I will always be grateful for. It's sometimes lonely and people reject you and are rude, but it will always be worth it because it is true. 

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword” to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live.'
We live right in the middle of town.


Finding in a park

Monday, June 12, 2017

Castles and Stuff (Week 72)

Well, this week was good. Hope y'all have a great week.
Lg, Sister Simpson

Von meinem iPad gesendet

Just kidding.  Last Monday we went to a castle (Wernigerode) with our GML and his family. It was great except we both got carsick on the drive. There was a modern art display called "Duckomenta" where the artist repainted a whole bunch of classic art pieces with a Donald Duck (or Mickey or soemthing) in it. I thought it was hilarious. Monday night, we were at the Dauvens, who invited two of their friends over. We ate dinner and then had a really good discussion about God together. Yay for member missionary work. I love the Dauvens.

On Tuesday, we went with our district to eat lunch in the Mensa (university cafeteria). It was awesome. We sat by a girl who is going to Arizona for an internship in a couple months and it was cool to talk with her. We also went by on one of the female contacts the elders gave us and she was so nice! She was a little hesitant to let us in because she had just gotten home from work, but we had a great discussion and she's super nice.

After district meeting on Wednesday,  we went out to a contact in the middle of nowhere who apparently had moved. So we klingeled and ended up having some great conversations. One lady told us that she's been looking for the right religion and she hasn't found it yet. We talked to her for a long time. She wasn't interested in meeting with us, but she is honestly looking for the truth, so we gave her a restoration pamphlet and invited her to pray about it.

 We had an eating appointment with an old couple in our ward and a newer sister, which was super fun. The food was great, she made amazing Rotkohl, which is my favorite, and then Bruder Jobs showed us old videos of ward talent shows and activities. He really wants sister Harlow and I to do some funny act on Saturday at the ward talent show.

Other than that, we did a lot of finding. We tried to walk around Innenstadt one day and it happened to be "Senior citizen day" so there were a thousand old Germans walking around who didn't really want to talk to us. In general, though, we've discovered that people respond better when Sister Harlow stops them because she's innocent and very obviously new, and then I can keep the conversation going. People are normally very nice. We were klingeling Saturday night (which was not going well because EVERYONE was at this party in Innenstadt) and some grouchy lady came and yelled at me and was very very rude, which kind of killed our happy finding spirits. It happens, I guess, I just don't understand why some people have to be so rude. I'm still working on Charity, it just makes me appreciate the Savior that much more because I know He loves both of us; me and that lady. He loved the people who verbally attacked him, said awful things and mocked Him as He was suffering and dying for all of mankind.

Sunday was great. One of the less active ladies we visited really wanted us to sit by her, so there was no awkward where-to-sit-when-you-have-no-
investigators moment. There's a guy who came to church who was baptized about two years ago in Armenia but is from Iran. He got up super early to get to church on time because the buses and trains don't run early enough on Sunday morning. I had a good conversation with him (in English, not Farsi). He told me he wants to bring his wife and daughter next week, who aren't members, so hopefully he will. After church, there was a baptism for a girl named Swiss, who was taught by the Halberstadt elders. She's so cute and was so excited to be baptized. It was awesome to be there and to remember the feelings I felt at my baptism. Afterward, we ate with the Kretzshmar family, who have the cutest kids. It was awesome. We talked about building and strengthening our foundation on Jesus Christ. I can honestly say that that is one of the biggest lessons I've learned on my mission; God keeps his promises and if we build our foundation and our lives on faith in Jesus Christ and commit to follow Him, we cannot fall, no matter what storms we have to weather. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church on the earth, and that it is lead by a prophet who is called of God and in His  authority. It is here to help us to weather the storms of life with our families and eventually, return to live with Him. I love what Joseph Smith says about the Book of Mormon: "man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” There's truth everywhere, but the full truth is found in the Book of Mormon and the church of Jesus Christ, and we can come nearer to our father in Heaven by following the teachings from that book.

I love the Book of Mormon. I love my Savior with all of my heart.

Sister Simpson

Monday, June 5, 2017

In with a bang, out with a bang! (Week 71)

A few of my favorite people (Part 1)

Hansen's ❤️

Before freak storm

20 minutes later

Kira ❤️
Hello family. We are now beginning the last 6 weeks of my mission.  That's freaky.

It was a crazy week. Monday, we had dinner/FHE with the Hansen's and had a really good conversation about staying active in our faith and being an example. The spirit was strong and it was an awesome goodbye lesson. The Hansen's were one of the first people I met on my mission, and it's been so fun to be with them in Altona and Marzahn. They are a very special family.

Tuesday was crazy. We had my Farsi Skype, then went to Kira's. It rained like crazy on us, then  stopped as we walked to her house, then stormed like crazy while we were in our appointment. We had a good discussion with her and it went really well until the end when her visiting teachers  showed up and one of them said something very rude and inappropriate about her not being able to receive revelation, and so that went downhill really fast. We did a lot of damage control and it ended okay, but I was pretty mad. Don't gossip. It's never done anyone any good.

We also met with a really cool student from Tunisia. We thought the elevator in her building was broken so we walked up 18 flights of stairs. And it was super hot and humid from the storm so we showed up at her door and were a complete mess. She was super cool and really interested in the Book of Mormon, so we are excited to work with her. After that, we ran home, grabbed all my luggage and met a bunch of other sisters at Peter Pane by  Hauptbahnhof and ate burgers before splitting up into groups of who is going where for transfers.  The elders came "to help" and eat. Then I dragged all my stuff to Spandau with Sisters Earl, Vail and Ellis (we had to get up early the next morning to go to Freiberg and pick up out trainees).

Wie gesagt, we got up early and travelled with all my stuff to Freiberg. We made it there safely, and proceeded to drag my stuff to the hotel. My suitcase didn't like the cobblestone and one wheel burned off. So we called the office and made them come pick us up. We had the normal meeting and got  paired up with our new companions. My new trainee is Sister Sloan Harlow from Brigham City, Utah. She actually went to high school with Sister Hammer, my MTC companion.  She's awesome and I'm really excited for this transfer. We made it to Braunschweig with my suitcases and her stuff in safety. Our GML, Bruder Jobs, picked us up with the elders and we wie to the church and ate dinner that the Young Men made for the missionaries. Afterwards they helped us bring all our stuff back to the apartment.

Thursday we had district meeting and a lot of finding/figuring out the area, sister Harlow ate her first Döner for district lunch, which is always a memorable experience. Friday was weekly planning and we had an appointment with a less-active lady. Jet lag has hit Sister Harlow pretty hard and she fell asleep, but the schwester just laughed. We also helped with the English Class that the elders do, hoping to meet/get to know some of the female investigators that the elders will give us.

Saturday, we had stake Conference in Hannover. Elder Boone (from the Netherlands, the one who spoke at SC in Berlin) and Elder Hirst (from England) spoke and it was great. We got a ride home from some members, then went right back to Hannover Sunday morning. Having Stake Conference the first week is hard because we didn't really get to know the ward, but I got to see so many Stadthagen people. I saw the Grafs, Schwester Hegemann, Schwester Steffanhagen, and Herr Nicola! It was so good to see them, my heart was so happy. He seems to be doing well, just super busy, but still meeting with the missionaries and getting ready for baptism. He's so good. We ended up having two eating appointments on Sunday, which was helpful to get to know the ward. Our original appointment cancelled and the elders got permission for us to come to theirs. The grandpa of the family was there and didn't like the elders at all and gave them a hard time. I met him on Tausch in
Lübeck one time, and he's super nice, he just wasn't having a good day, I guess. Haha. The food was great, though, and the family is super awesome. They told us about their kids sharing the gospel and
the wife had a prompting to write her testimony in the Book of Mormon and give it to one of the kids' friends' moms. Then we went to our GML's house and ate asparagus pizza with their family and two RMs that were visiting them. Their kids put on a concert for us because they're all very talented. We did the spiritual thought and Sister Harlow bore her testimony. :)

I am super excited to be here in Braunschweig. Our district consists of us, the Braunschweig elders, and the Halberstadt elders (who work in Braunschweig M-F and spend the weekends in Halberstadt, because Braunschweig is bigger). We are opening the sisters program here. It got closed a couple transfers ago, but now we're back because there are more sisters! Woohoo. The ward is great. I think some of the members are wary of me because I go home so soon, so I'm just trying to show them that we're here to work and I'm trying to teach/help Sister Harlow take over. She's a good one. The  visiting seventy, Elder Hirst, found Sister Harlow after Stake Conference to tell her that he had a strong impression that she's going to have a great mission. That was cool.

Right now, we're going to a castle with the Jobs. It's a holiday today, so everything is closed and we were planning on just chilling at home (the elders didn't invite us to "ball" with them), but they
called us and a castle sounded great. We were excited until we got in the car and are both feeling very carsick. It's been a long time since I've really traveled in a car. It will probably resume being fun once
we get out.

At Stake Conference, a lady shared this awesome story about this young boy in Hamburg during WWI who went door to door in a tiny Dorf begging for food for him and his family. A farmer gave him a 45 kg pack of potatoes and put it on his shoulders so he could carry it home to his family. This little kid had to walk all the way back to the train station. He made it about halfway there and felt like he couldn't go on any further. He knew if he dropped the potatoes, he would never be able to pick them up again and he wouldn't bring this blessing home to his family. But he couldn't go on. He remembered a story from the Book of Mormon, when there was a group of people who was in bondage and the Lord lightened their burdens on their backs because they had such great faith. So this little Deutsch boy prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help him carry the potatoes. And they were lightened and he made it to the train station. There were also police that would often steal food if they found it. This boy didn't have anywhere to hide 45 kg of potatoes, but he said another prayer and they didn't take his potatoes, and these potatoes kept him and his family alive through a very rough time. I loved this story. I know Heavenly Father is looking out for us and answers our prayers. He didn't send them a bunch of money or shower them with manna from Heaven, but he blessed this
little boy to find a kind farmer who had extra and then helped this boy to carry his potatoes. Sometimes the blessings don't come in the ways that we expect, but they do come when we are obedient and act in faith.

Love you lots. Make it a good week. :)
 A few of my favorite people, Part 2:
Sister Harlow's first Döner


Stadthagen (Nienburg) people!!!! Schw Hegemann, Schwester
Steffanhagen, Herr Nicola!