Monday, December 30, 2013


December 30, 2013
Dearest Familie,
Oh how wonderful it was to see you on skype just a few days ago!!! I hope the rest of your Christmas was wonderful and that you are getting all ready to party for the New Year.  
Something that has really been on my mind this week is endurance.  If we endure well, we shall earn a great reward.  I have truly witnessed this principle this week, and literally seen the blessings pour into my life.  
As far as appointments go, this week we didn't have that many.  But we did have member appointments for each of the days of Christmas (24, 25, 26) and Sister Darrington and I felt like we were welcomed in like family members!

I told you a little bit about how Alej** and I had to say good bye to each other last week . . . What a sad but wonderful day.  Sad, because she is moving to England and I am not sure we will ever see each other in person.  But happy, because I was able to once again learn from her charitable and loving Spirit.  In the midst of a crazy move she took the time to drive down to the church to see us, give us each a wrapped gift and hand written letter, then drive to the hospital, thank the hospital staff again for taking care of her when she was there two months ago, and then come and sing to Schwester N** whose health seems to be rapidly declining in her old age.  Alej** has truly touched my life for the better.  She has such a big, loving heart, always smiling, and always ready to serve when she is needed.  I got her address and we plan on staying in contact!  Perhaps someday I can go and visit her just outside of London :) And we are referring her to the missionaries in London which she is very happy about.  
Sister Darrington has also titled this week: Sister Shelley's roller coaster week.
On the 26th talking to you all on skype was absolutely wonderful.  I apologize for all of my emotions, but I hope through my tears you were really able to see how much I love, care about, and appreciate you all.  And I hope you could see the joy I feel as a missionary through the apparent pain that I am sure you saw. That really helped me a lot seeing all of your faces and knowing that you are all doing well. 
This night after skyping I actually had a really scary experience.  My emotions were all running very high still, but I just broke down again and I think I had an anxiety attack.  I just felt so weak and incapable of going on.  Sister Darrington was there for me the whole time, but even after I thought I had re-gained my composure I just lost it all over again.  She went into the kitchen to make me a cup of tea and I just curled up in a ball on my chair and started bawling.  But she just listened to me and helped me calm down.  Once again it was turning to my Father in prayer, reading in the scriptures, and practicing ENDURANCE. 

Heidi and her missionary companion, Sister Darrington, who has stood by her side through good and bad times...and even carried her at times..

At district meeting that morning I felt impressed to ask for a priesthood blessing.  When Elder Gibson asked me if it was for comfort or for sickness I felt impressed to ask for a blessing for sickness.  It hit me as I said that that I have really just been emotionally sick the past several weeks, afflicted by ongoing stress, worry, anxiety, and depression.  So Elder Gibson applied a small drop of consecrated oil to my head, and Elder Schmidt gave me a blessing. 
It was the shortest blessing I have ever received, but one of the most powerful.
There were two things that were said that really helped me
One, a promise that my family would be safe and protected. 
Two, that the Lord needed ME.  Even though this day ended up being the hardest of my mission yet, I endured through a few more trials, but I have seen a miracle occur the past few days since this blessing.  It's like the worry, the stress, the fear, the anxiety, EVERYTHING was lifted off my chest.  
Moroni 8:16.  "Perfect love casteth out all fear."  That is my scripture.  You know how much love I have for the people here, you know how much love I have for you, for the Lord, for my companion, for my friends.  I know how much the Lord loves me, I know how much you love me, and I can't even number all the people who have just poured out their love to me over the past several days and throughout my mission service.  I have a testimony of love.  Pure love can overcome anything and everything.  Light in the darkness.  The power to overcome. 
I also have an increased testimony of the priesthood power.  Dad, brothers, all men in my life…  Don't neglect this wonderful opportunity and privilege to be a vessel and servant of the Lord's power here on the earth.  I experienced a miraculous healing this week through the priesthood power and that is only the beginning of the extent of God's priesthood power.  
I was reminded at the Krankenhaus (hospital) by my wise Langenhorn Grandmother Schwester Neilsen the necessity of trials.  "The Lord has seen it fit to put me through just about everything.  Because I know that he loves me.  I needed to learn tolerance and patience.  I just wish I was a better pupil.  I'm not the fastest learner."  Our time on earth really is a time to learn and grow, a time to truly become.  
We met with J** on Saturday and talked about baptism.  The thing that marvels me every time we talk with him is that he always says, "We believe . . ." "We believe . . ." as he includes himself with "Us."  It is incredible to hear somebody develop a testimony of the restored gospel in such a way.  He spoke about the special spirit he feels in the church, about how he knows that it is the right place to be.  He wants to be baptized but he has some concerns that we will work through together.  He is seriously being welcomed in by our ward so much and it makes me smile seeing the reality of a ward "family."  He came to church yesterday and stayed for all three hours and then set up his cello after the third meeting and played in the chapel for those who wanted to hear and were still there. 
President Kosak has a couple quotes that he likes to throw around a lot.  One of them "Abraham had to learn a little bit about Abraham." and one from Joseph Smith, "I have figured out for myself." 
For me personally it is really cool how much my eyes have been opened up this week to changes and sacrifices that I can personally make that will help the work here change for the better.
 It's like all the things that I have ever learned in the MTC, in district meetings and zone meetings are all just starting to click.
This week has been one of a lot of thinking and self analysis. I have learned so much just by going to work each day and from my personal studies. Every day is really only what we make it. And I can choose that :)
I love you all!  Have a great week.

Sister Heidi Elaine :)   

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Christmas Eve Day we received one of the best presents ever..lots of pictures from Heidi's companion.

Christmas Day (10:30 p.m.) we skyped with Heidi. She looked just radiant but many tears were shed...she is so homesick right now.. and missionary work is so hard. . The cold, humid gloomy winter German weather is affecting her normally happy, spunky self.  There are days when both she and her companion  struggle with keeping their spirits up..  She is really having a difficult time right now. Even though they have been  teaching some amazing people she feels like she is disappointing us and the Lord because she hasn't seen any of her investigators  baptized. A few have been so close but have had trials come their way. 

Rejection is hard as she tries to share the gospel with people on the streets of Germany. And it hurts her to see investigators that she dearly loves not accept the truthfulness of the restored gospel  ...not willing to keep their commitments of reading the Book of Mormon, attending  Church. or sincerely praying about the gospel truths they are being taught. She love the church members and her investigators and feel so much of their pain and sadness. Her heart aches when their heart aches...   
She has developed such Christlike love for the people she is serving.   

She has also been really homesick this month...I think with it being Christmas time...  I am just so glad she has such a great companion, Sister Darrington. She and Sister Darrington have worked through their challenges and have become extremely close...I was so happy to hear that. 

Heidi needs lots of support from  family and friends. Please send her your love and encouragement through email or letter. She will be so happy to hear from those she loves. 

                                                               P.Day in Hamburg .

In the tower at the top of Michaelis Church..They climbed hundreds of stairs to reach the top and were rewarded with amazing views of all of Hamburg, Heidi said it was like a Hamburg Eiffel Tower! :D

                                       Heidi and her companion, Sister friends!!!

Walking through an old tunnel that goes under the Elbe river ..they came up on the other side of the Harbor.

                         P.Day in Hamburg  - Heidi, Sister Darrington and the Elders in their district.

                                                     Celebrating the  3 Days of Christmas.

Heidi visiting a dear member in the hospital. She reminds Heidi so much of her Grandma Shelley who passed away several years ago.A tender moment together.

                                                                 Traveling on the Bahn

                 Church  members showed so much love to Heidi and her companion during Christmas .

Gifts  from church members.

                                     A member made this glass vase for Heidi. What a treasure!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow - LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]

23 December, 2013

Dear Family,

WE HAVE REACHED THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS.  And I have officially passed my 6th month mark by almost two weeks.

Last Monday was an adventure in Hamburg with Sister Darrington and J***!  He knew where everything was and knew the coolest places to go.  He's a good kid.  It felt good to have hours of laughing, taking photos, and just talking. 

 We went to Michaelis Church and climbed hundreds of stairs to a tower that overlooked all of Hamburg.  It was like a Hamburg Eiffel Tower ;).  I liked looking down and seeing things from a new perspective.  The monumental Rathaus of Hamburg innenstadt was just a speck down below, the sun was beginning to set, and the cool crisp air was blowing my hair every which way, keeping me wide awake.

 J** also showed us this old tunnel that goes under the Elbe river that we walked a while through and then came up on the other side of the Harbor.  The sun was completely down and the night black even though it was still so early.  The moon was full overhead and it was that light, and the lights from the bordering buildings that were reflected in the dark water. How beautiful. 

 As we went back by the Rathaus to meet up with the Elders so that they could meet J**, I brought up the Book of Mormon and asked him if he had read in it since we had last given him a chapter to read.  We were able to talk a little bit about the last chapter he had read, and it was so natural for me to just share how much the Book of Mormon personally means to me.  

Time is going by so quickly.  I have heard it explained by another missionary like this:  the days feel like weeks, but the weeks feel like days.  That's really how it is.  Sister Darrington is only two transfers ahead of me and she hit her half way mark this weekend.  She has been really worried about it coming;  like me and many other missionaries here, we work so hard, but we worry about how much our efforts actually bring about.  Have I really done enough?  Have I really made a difference?  Several times leading up to the big day (Friday the 13th) we talked with one another, cried together, and really just felt blessed because of the incredible reality of the Lord's presence in our work.  I was praying for her leading up to this day because I knew that it would be hard for her, praying for understanding, and praying that she would be able to feel of God's love for her.  As I woke up on Tuesday this last week, I felt like I had received an answer to my prayer.  God had blessed me with an understanding of how my dear companion was feeling, and with what we learned in our personal studies we were able to share with one another in companionship study.  I explained the pain and the fear that I experience by constantly being rejected on the streets.  How tragic it is that even our "investigators" who are our friends, who we love and care about, even they commonly don't leap at coming to church, reading in the scriptures, keeping other commitments, etc.  Oh how I wish that I could get upon a wall and cry out to the world about the glorious message that we have.  God lives!  I was grateful for the feelings that I had come into my heart, because it is these feelings of courage and determination that give me the strength to stand strong in the faith even when it can be hard.  

Sweet Schwester J** was having a really rough time when we went to visit her earlier this week.   She explained that sometimes her faith is really high, other times so low.  She was just feeling so discouraged.  With the challenges that Sister Darrington and I have personally had in the past few weeks, we were really able to show our sympathy and love.  Sister Darrington especially showed such tenderness as she asked her what her needs were, both temporal and spiritual.  We ended up returning the next evening with flour, eggs, sugar, etc, Christmas music, and cooking supplies and we made cookies with her because it was the only thing she could come up with that could help her feel better.  We also brought a little Christmas tree that we had received from volunteering at the tafel and a necklace as a little Christmas gift.  It was an hour where Schwester J** was able to sit back and relax, sing along to Christmas music, eat dough out of the bowl with her fingers, and talk with people who really care about her.

 Standing there in the community kitchen I just took everything in. It is times like this where we are able to serve people that brings me so much joy.  It is so often the people who live in such humble circumstances who are just humble people themselves, and so easy to love.  

We received a call from a worried Bruder W** that his dearest "V**" was in the hospital.  We were on exchanges at the time, and so Sister Hansen and I went to the Krankenhaus the next day to visit dear Schwester N**.  We sang "The Spirit of God" with her, her favorite hymn since she joined the church so many years ago.  She had such words of wisdom to share, and once again I just couldn't help but think about Grandma Shelley as I sat by her bedside holding her wrinkled hand.  I wish I would have had a tape recorder.  I almost started crying.  We were able to remind her of the love that God has for her.  She doesn't need reminding though, because she knows this better than almost anybody else I know.  

Remember that experience I had a couple weeks ago  when we taught a lesson and I got really shaken up by it?  Well, I am really beginning to see how it is these situations that I go through, that shake me up or cause me to fall, that have really helped me to become stronger.

 We met with L** on Saturday evening and it was another Scientific proof talk for him, why God did not exist.  I felt so overcome with the Spirit as we were in the lesson, I was so active and alert, and I was able to speak with a power in my voice that I haven't experienced in a while.  When we are truly rooted it the gospel, when we are prepared for the storms and the winds, the help will come.  The Lord will give us the strength and the words that we need.  

We have continued to meet with Ev** and the children .  The children are so cute and they are all so smart.  One day we taught the plan of salvation, and we returned the next day.  D** got up and was able to the draw the plan out perfectly with a marker and explain it to the rest of his siblings.  He is only 9!  Together all of the children expressed their excitement of one day being able to go to the "Sun" the Celestial Kingdom.  That is where God lives and where we can be together with our families forever.  In an earlier lesson we reviewed the Restoration Lesson and talked more about the importance of the Priesthood.  We were able to ask each one of the children personally if they had a desire to be baptized into Christ's church.  Their innocent and sincere responses really touched me.  Even Ev** was very supportive.  And to add to the excitement of this . . . E** is actually back and meeting regularly with us again. 

Last night’s  tender experience that I have to share…  I was really having a hard time.
Again.  I really, really miss our family.  Missionary work is so hard.

 I ended up grasping one of my Christmas packages and just rocking back and forth.  "I just want to be with my family.  But they aren't here.  This has my Mother's handwriting on it.  I just want to hug her right now."

 There was Sister Darrington at my side.  She told me to stand up and close my eyes.  Before I knew what was happening she told me to keep my eyes shut tight and to picture my mother in my mind.  Then her arms came around me and just gave me the tightest hug she has ever given me.  My body just started shaking and I just kept my eyes sealed tight.  We both just started sobbing as we hugged each other picturing our mothers in our minds. She told me, "This is a squish.  Whenever you miss your mother.  just close your eyes and remember this.  She is always with you."

When I pulled back to look at her I had streams running from my eyes.  "Thank you.  That is the nicest thing that anybody has ever done for me on my mission."

Even earlier in the day I was feeling really weak (been a little bit sick the past couple days), and Sister Darrington just wrapped my arm around her neck, wrapped her arm around my waist, took my bag onto her own shoulder, and half supported me until we got to the bottom of 8 flights of stairs.  Yes, I could have walked the way on my own, but that's really who my companion is.  We just tackle the mountains together as they come!  Today we were talking about how cool it is that we have become so close in our companionship.  We really just each other with anything and everything.  And now we get to spend Christmas together as a family!

I am really excited for this week.  The members are making us feel very loved and we have appointments every one of the three days of Christmas.  Even Abel is going to make Fufu with us tomorrow! :)  Merry Christmas Family!  I can't wait to see your faces on Skype in just a few days!!!!

Love you,

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley 

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Just Keep Painting" - LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]

16 December, 2013 
Moin moin liebe Familie :)                                                           

Wow, I really love Langenhorn.  It really feels like home to me.
Even though it is incredibly hard to be away from you all at this time, it brings me comfort that I can spend this special season with such incredible people.  People that I have come to love so dearly.

Last Monday evening after eating dinner with a member family we went by the D** family. At our last appointment the mother and children told us that they have never had a Christmas tree before, but that someday they would have one.  Money is really tight right now, and her husband won't allow one.  They won't have any money for gifts or anything.
We had a tiny Christmas tree in our apartment that a member had made for us, and we decided that they needed it more than us.  So we carried that little pot with branches with tender loving care, through the rain, onto the Bahn, and walked the familiar path of mud and road to their small apartment.  It was late, cold, and rainy, but we were so HAPPY! 
Schwester D*** was the only one awake and she started crying when she saw the little mangled tree we were holding.  She invited us in even though we only had a few minutes, and we sipped apfel shorle and just talked.  It was so sweet how much the tree meant to her, but I think her emotions were more for the happiness she knew it would bring her children.  Even Herr D*** came out and was touched by our small gift.  He isn't a member, but in the past couple weeks he seems to be having a change of heart . . . F** who is 14 came walking out half asleep in her pajamas after hearing us talking and her face lit up so big when she saw the little tree.
The more we learn to give, the more joy we receive.  This is the meaning of Christmas.

 Zone Conference this last Wednesday was INCREDIBLE.  I love the energy and excitement of coming together with so many other missionaries.
It was fun to have four sisters spend the night in our apartment.  Sister Darrington and I woke up bright and early, did morgen sport on the floor in the kitchen in the dark, chatting, whispering, giggling, and talking to each other.
We whipped out a stack of crepes-her speciality, and a stack of chocolate banana chip pancakes-my speciality! And had a little buffet right there in our small apartment.  (It kinda brought back memories of Judene's "cruiseship" buffets at Grandpa's!).  
Mittwoch 11 Dezember "Here at Zoko!  Half the mission all together.  Lots of green and red-feeling pretty festive :).  It's been a good morning . . . 4 sister missionaries spent the night at our apartment-thank goodness we still have another couch randomly stranded in our living room or we wouldn't have had enough space! . . . Out the door in a rush dragging empty suitcases . . . It's Zoko post and CHRISTMAS= Christmas packages!!  It's a funny sight in the foyer with so many suitcases and so many coats!  This is the season!  It's fun being all together at this time.  Our mission family.  Sister Darrington and I are twins . . . red cardigans and black skirts . . . :D"
"Quiet music playing.  O Little Town of Bethlehem.  Getting ready to be taught and hopefully learn and share a little bit with others as well.  Oh what a wonderful day it is.  I sang out loud on the journey here, and my song is still being sung in my heart. 

Sister Darrington is reading in her small Book of Mormon beside me and writing in her small familiar notebook.  Tears coming from her eyes.  A sign of her love for the Savior and sensitivity to the Spirit.  Oh how grateful I am for her and for her example.  I know her Heavenly Father is proud of who she is."

Hearing President Kosak, Sister Kosak, the Assistants, and so many wonderful testimonies from fellow missionaries, I was so spiritually uplifted!
Sister Darrington was laughing at me because I wrote a total of ten pages during our time there in my little notebook, full of thoughts, feelings, impressions, experiences, and whatever it was that came into my mind.  My notebook has really become a good friend the past couple weeks . . .
We were able to watch "17 Miracles" together which is such an incredible film.  Half of the people were in tears around me, and we had a wonderful testimony meeting following.
 I'm pretty sure the film touched Sister Darrington more than anyone, she sat there sobbing the entire time, her small frame shaking.
I love her so dearly.  I had my arm around her and I let my head fall down and rest on hers and she just tipped her head to the side and let it rest on my shoulder.
This is just how our relationship is.  We have hard times, but we love and depend on each other.  
The next day I dropped like a rock.  I can't really explain what happens on these days.

  Donnerstag 12 Dezember " . . . [Yesterday] President Kosak showed us a painters video on YouTube.  It showed the steps of a painting in a sped up time beginning to end.  It related so well to me being an artist myself. 
 We have to begin somewhere and we just have to continue working.  It seems like every painting I do I get to a point where I just look at my canvas or my paper and I am just disappointed.  It had been looking so good . . . Why now does it look so awful?  What have I done?  Something that I've realized thought is that that stage seems to come in every painting.  I have learned to just keep going.  I just keep doing what I am supposed to.  I follow my intuition.  I mix paints, I apply them to the canvas.  I go back and forth from palette to painting.  Sometimes it is so fast and innate that I almost can't keep up with my hands.  Other times the work is so slow and precise.  The painting actually seems to be becoming.  I don't feel disappointed, but I feel rather proud.  I have done it!  The feeling within me is one of happiness, satisfactory.  I have done it.

As a missionary I wonder what stage of my painting I am in.  Last week I don't doubt I was in a pretty ugly stage-perhaps the colors just weren't right.  But I pulled through.  I kept going.  Yesterday and the day before I was completely elated.  I was loving the work, loving every minute.  Today seems to be average, just working harder on my painting.  I just know that I can't give up, just because the painting isn't complete yet.  I still have refinements :)

But just as when I am painting and  feel joy in every brushstroke, I want that here to.  Sometimes I feel a little discomfort because I don't quite know what will come from my efforts or risks.  But how am I supposed to know if I don't make them?  I will finish my painting :).  Whether it is of a person, a landscape, or something more abstract, I know not yet.  But I know that as I accept help from the Master, that it (I) will become something great.  I would change this quote from the poem that Bruder Davis shared in the MTC.  "Don't quit.  Keep playing."

I would say, "The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully.  You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, don't quit, keep [painting]."
I won't let you down, Lord.  I will continue painting.  I will do my best work.  I will try my hardest to make you proud."
It was after this study that I was reduced to tears once again, something that I couldn't explain.  Why is it that at times when I begin to feel so much strength, so much motivation, and courage, that I let fear and worry overtake me.  

Freitag 13 Dezember "Guten Morgen.  Today is a new day!  Yesterday after personal study I felt so filled-it helps me so much to take the time to write down my thoughts and feelings.  I prayed for us and once again I was come to feel the Spirit so strong as I was praying that I almost started bawling. . . . During the recitation of "our purpose" I had to seal my eyes shut firmly and speak with a wavering voice just to keep the tears from flowing freely.  I shared my thoughts from study with Sister Darrington from yesterday morning and as I spoke the words and thoughts just broke me down to sobs.  The emotional artist comes out as she talks about "her painting."  She just listened and she could tell how much of an impact this small video clip and discussion from President Kosak had had on me.  I realized just how much I miss painting as I described in tears my experience of mixing my own colors and beginning a new piece on blank canvas."
Depression seemed to hit me hard these two days, and I found myself on my knees on so many occasions feeling completely helpless.  On one day we had planned to do our weekly planning, and I just stepped into the bathroom to pray on the rug (such a great place, shared with me by Sister Darrington!). I felt fine, but for some reason I felt fragile again.
 I came out and pulled Sister in for a hug and we ended up just bawling together.  We prayed together, and she encouraged me with her words.  We went to visit Bruder Woelfl and Schwester Nilson, and I was so happy to be there.  Schwester Nilson reminds me so much of Grandma Shelley.  The way she sits there, speaks, just her very nature!  Before leaving she pulled me in for a hug, "God bless you."  "I love you."  I love you too.  So much.
 As we walked back home a random woman stopped us on the streets--a GERMAN woman--and just wished us a merry Christmas.  She greeted us so warmly with a hug and kiss and we didn't even know who she was.  I swear God put us in her path because he knew that I needed her . . . 

I pulled out the great missionary stress booklet which was actually great.  I know it is a little embarrassing, but hey!  That book is inspired.  Sister Darrington listened to everything that I was feeling, and just wrote down the thoughts that I had.
It turns out that my perfectionism and high standards can be kind of deadly, because too often I just feel disappointed in myself for not reaching enough.
Sister Darrington ended up making a list for me in which she titled, "The perfect missionary--Sister Shelley's Standard."  She then helped me identify two of the points that I wanted to work on and then set goals.  I love her. 
 Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I am back to my bubbly self.  We have been laughing, listening to music, and working well together as a team to convert the multitudes! Everything is going GREAT!  

On Friday we also had our ward party which ended up being one of the most exciting times of my mission yet. Schwester Salzinger and I sang  a duet … it felt so good to be singing again. We sang Petit Papa Noel in French which was so cool.  She even made me a lovely angel costume complete with a halo headband, and gold shoes!  Everybody kept on telling us how much they loved it.  
Even though there have been more challenges this week, I can say in complete honesty that I LOVED this week.

Once again, I learned a lot, and I feel like I am becoming more and more every day.


I love my companion.  I love Langenhorn.  I love being a missionary.
Love you!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The BEST and WORST week of my mission - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" - LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]


                                                                                                     9 December, 2013
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
"Do it because you want to, not because you have to."
"Pray always that you may come off conquerer; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." D&C 10:5
"Abide with Me 'Tis Eventide"

D&C 78:18.  "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."  

I would title this week, "The BEST and WORST week of my mission."
It's kind of ironic that the week with the most pitfalls, the most tears, the most fatigue, and the most heartache, turned into a week of self discovery, world awareness, an increase in love, appreciation, and gratitude, and an overall greater strength than I had before . . . 
**(Included are excerpts from Heidi's journal entries from this past week)
Sunday 1 Dec.  "Today has been a really rough day . . . At church, I feel like I barely made it through.  And all day I have just felt very fragile.  We went to a Termin tonight and the man posed so many questions that really just scared me.  He was trying to answer every religious question with a scientific answer.  I felt like my mind was elsewhere. I felt vulnerable and sick to my stomach.  I felt so schwach (weak).  I don't think I said more than five words during that visit.
But I just said a prayer right here at my desk.  Please let me feel of thy Spirit.  Please take away my fear, please let me feel of thy love for me.  I felt a warmth and illumination come flow through my body.  I've never had such an immediate response before. . .
Every day is a battle.  Right now as I turn to God in my discomfort and confusion I already feel more strength."
The week started out so hard. And it didn't help that the days were all gray, since Hamburg is a dark place during the winter.  Missionary work is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life.  Even harder than Chem 105! ;) 
As I struggled day by day to go on, I felt so alone.  My companionship  has not been an easy one, and even though the work for us has been going so strong, we seemed to have so many road blocks.
I read all week in 3 Nephi. I read about Christ coming and visiting the people there among the Nephites.  It was all so personal to me.  Feeling a little bit broken myself, the thought of healing was sounding pretty appealing.  As the outside world seemed to be coming at me from all angles, I found peace and comfort as I read in the scriptures.  Normally I don't write a lot of feelings as I study, but I started this week and it really helped me out.  
As a mission we are reading the Book of Mormon all together, planning to finish on Christmas.  We are encouraged to focus on the Atonement so that we can come to increase our faith and understanding of this miraculous reality.  I wish I could just share with you every entry of my journal from this entire week, because it really captures so many of my emotions.
Really though, as I read in these chapters in 3 Nephi I felt like I was one of the people there.  As I read about the people who went forth and touched the hands of Christ, let their fingers linger in the scarred holes there . . . who fell at his feet and let their tears wash his feet . . . That was me.  
Tuesday 3 Dec.  I read about when Christ went to leave the people, and they wept at this thought.  He decided to tarry a while longer with them.  My heart too, it was pained too at the thought of saying good bye.  I wasn't even there, but in a way I felt such an overpowering love and peace that the thought of my Savior leaving me just made me want to cry.
Then Christ instituted the sacrament . . . It was a way for them to remember Him . . .  How many times had I taken the sacrament and thought about other things?  The sacrament is such a special time.  A way to remember our Savior Jesus Christ.
I chose the song "Herr, bleib bei mir", "Abide with me Tis Eventide" to sing for companionship study.  Let's just say I made it through the first sentence without bawling . . . "Herr, bleib bei mir, der Abendnacht . .." 

"Abide with me this Eventide.  Please stay with me longer, don't forsake me.  This was the morning I realized just how much I love and appreciate my Savior Jesus Christ."
"I said the prayer for our companionship and I couldn't do so without bawling.  I was speaking to God in the name of Jesus Christ.  How could I not cry about this?"
I reflected back upon the blondie running around Hamburg, smiling everywhere she went, "changing Langenhorn one smile at a time."  What happened?  As I thought a lot about my emotions and thoughts, I realized that I had kept a lot of things bottled up. My companionship  has had so many challenges, and together we have fallen, become offended, cried, and just felt alone.  But we have really learned to depend on one another.  We have learned what it means to compromise, how to humble ourselves enough that we can receive correction, even when it hurts.  Because of her dominance and strength of character I realized that I had felt a little bit unneeded for a while.  I had become a little bit bitter...  She is an incredible missionary, but with how things have been there were times when we were going to work because we had to, not necessary because we wanted to.  Almost like we were being robot missionaries!  I am a girl.  I have blonde hair.  I am most of the time bubbly and "Happy go lucky" (according to Sister D**).  She is a tom boy at heart, a martyr always taking off her coat in the cold to give it to me, a beloved daughter of God.  We are different, that's it.  
So Friday resulted in an 8 hour companionship inventory, NO JOKE.  We were honest with each other as we talked openly about how we had been offended by one another, how we were feeling with the stress of the work, how we could become better, more obedient, etc.  We both cried, but it was amazing how much love there was as we talked.  It hurt to hear different perspectives.  But we listened, we made goals together, and we determined to change things for the better.  
Much happened between us.  I realized my own faults. 
I realized a greater dependency that I have on the Savior for the atoning power. 
I realized how lucky I am to have such a wonderful Sister as a companion.  Serving with her is such a blessing. I have learned so much this week.  So much that I will never forget as long as I live.  
Attitude makes up everything.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to open my mouth.  I choose to not be offended.  I am changing Langenhorn one smile at a time.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
7 December.  "I am a servant of Jesus Christ, called by His prophet Thomas S. Monson.  I am here to do His will, having been called because it was and is His will.  He has all power.  The power of the Priesthood is real-it is through the priesthood that God works and maintains order on earth.  I was set apart with this priesthood power by my Stake president in Bountiful, Utah- President Brian Taylor. 
I am here to proclaim.  When I think about proclaiming I think of boldness, even excitement.  I know something that perhaps others do not know.  I need to make myself heard.  What are these glad tidings that I must proclaim?  The tidings that I get to proclaim and want to proclaim?  
God lives! 
Christ is the Son of God, born on earth, and saved us all from sin.  It is through him that we are saved and redeemed.  These are tidings of such great JOY.
In a world so often bathing in darkness, this is a light of hope, a warmth coming to the clothe the children of men.  This message is true and everlasting.  What greater message could there be?  God loves us; he created a plan for us.
He has given us His word on the earth and knowledge so that we do not always need to be in darkness. . . I strive for faithfulness because I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that it is faithfulness that qualifies me for this blessing and all others. 
Christ wants my heart to be GLAD. It makes sense because I am bearing GLAD tidings.  Fear not Heidi Elaine Shelley.  God is with you.  He will not abandon me, nor leave me alone."
It also wasn't a coincidence that I opened up Doctrine and Covenants on this day and read along in the place where I am currently reading.  I came across the same scripture that Bruder Alston shared with me in the MTC. Doctrine and & Covenants 78:18.  "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."  
Yesterday, the day was once again a hard one for me.  But Sister D** lovingly reminded me to "Pray Always".  Another tender mercy.  That is the scripture on my missionary plaque.  That is my scripture.  A scripture that has actually helped me root myself in this gospel.  I will pray today, tomorrow, and the next day, I can never stop. 
What a week!  I have so much more that I can say.  So much that I have learned about what it truly means to love. 
What charity is.
How I can change myself to accomplish bigger and greater purposes?  How to personally increase my faith.  The scriptures have gotten me through the week.  Writing my thoughts down has helped me to see just how much God loves me.
One step in front of the other.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  It is all about selflessness and love.  Service.  Losing yourself in the work.  I know that God lives.  I know that this is his work.  Teaching the gospel is what brings a fullness of joy.  More so than anything else.
We may fall down, even scrape up our knees a little bit.  But it is the decision that we make to get back up that makes a difference.  It is our decision to reach up and accept help, and just walk the walk together :)
I will serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.  I will change Langenhorn one smile at a time.  

Love you all!!

Heidi :)

                   Heidi and her companion at the ward Relief Society Christmas Dinner