Monday, September 30, 2013

WEEK 10 .."Teaching by the spirit"

"Toto I don't think we are in Kansas anymore"
"Sister Nilson, I don't think we are in Germany anymore"
There are so many foreigners here that I feel like I am serving an international mission here.... it is so cool!!

We had a lesson with E*** this past week and we taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This lesson was incredible! ... E*** is so spiritual, so sincere, and so ready for the gospel.  In this lesson we were able to gain his trust even more than we have and understand what his needs really were.  He opened up to us with some of his questions and we were able to resolve many of his concerns.  From the outside you wouldn't think he had any, but that's why WE MUST RELY ON THE SPIRIT!  We must ask inspired questions.  We ended up focusing on repentance "die Umkehr" and testifying of Jesus Christ and the infinite Atonement. He pointed out that repentance for him means something different than what it means to us.  In his eyes he sees us as perfect.  He explained that his sins were bigger and worse than anything that we would ever be capable of doing. And that it was harder for him.  What was really touching was how he defined repentance though.  "Repentance isn't just when you stop doing something.  That is for the world to see.  What really matters is what is in your mind and in your heart.  God knows our true desires."  We were able to help him understand that it was possible to repent, no matter how big or small his sins are.  We felt impressed to share Ether 12:27 on how God can turn our weaknesses into strengths as we come unto Him.  We were also able to read in Alma 7 the verses of Christ's personal sufferings for US.  The Spirit was so strong in this lesson.
 He also had some questions about baptism.. about what to expect, why we are baptized, and what difference it would have on his life.  My favorite way to explain baptism is as "das Tor".  Baptism is the gate that lets us enter along the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.  We were able to address all of his questions with scriptures and with personal testimony.  One thing he said was so sweet.  "Well, when Christ got baptized two doves came down from heaven . . . so what's going to happen to me?!" was so sweet.  We were able to read in John 14:26-27 about the Holy Ghost.  After we are baptized we get the gift of the Holy Ghost as our peace and comfort.  That really touched him because he has had so many hard things in his life lately . . .He had taken our baptism invitation very seriously and brought up that he didn't think he could repent completely and be ready by the 26th.  "That's exactly ONE MONTH from today!"  ... Sister Nilson spoke up and bore her testimony that he could do it.  If he really wants to be ready, he could do it.  We both bore testimony on the power of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.  If he prays, reads, and obeys every day he can do it.  We invited him to repent from his sins, to read, pray, and continue in this path and he agreed.  It was amazing!  We will be meeting with him twice this week and we are praying that he will still be baptized on October 26th.  It is perfect that General conference is this weekend because it goes along perfectly with what we are planning on teaching him.

Af*** also showed up to church yesterday wearing a new suit, and with a renewed  desire to return to the church and learn more about the gospel.  We are meeting with him on Tuesday and we are going to talk about the possibility of him retaking the lessons and then being re-baptized.  We are very happy for him.  He got baptized right before I came here . . . but then a lot of hard things came up and he never was able to get the gift of the Holy Ghost.  He relapsed.  Started smoking again, and only just barely returned.  

We have had a mold problem in our apartment since I came here and I think it has been making me sick.  But the ward members are helping us take care of it so we are hoping that we get it cleared up soon. . . . It is one of the reasons this week was so bad is because we had to spend a lot of time cleaning up our apartment, rearranging stuff, so that we could take care of the mold problem.

Also, do you have any more information about our family coming from  Zwickau?  Do we still have family living there?  A man visited our ward yesterday from the Zwickau ward and I was able to talk to him.  Pretty fun!

This work is incredible.  The work of salvation!  I am so excited for the coming two weeks of this transfer.  We are going to make it our best weeks ever.  150 baptisms here we come!!!

Thanks for everything!

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley  

Heidi and  Mirja...  whom she has grown to love dearly!! Mirja recently moved in upstairs from Heidi and  is  a member of the church. 

Dinner with the S*** family  in our ward.  She is from the Philippines and he grew up in East Germany.  (This is the family who has influenced us in our vegan/gluten free/lactose free diet ;)).  They made us Lobscos (don't really know how to spell it).  But it is a dish famous to Hamburg.  It has cold pickled herring (yes, FISH) that is rolled around a pickle or something.  Then you eat it with red beets, a fried egg, and with potatoes and corned beef.  Normally you eat it all mixed together, but we ate it all separate.  It was actually pretty good!  Not something I would want to eat every day . . . but it was yummy :)
( ***I did a little research on google.  The German dish   is actually  Labskaus. It is is a one-dish meal made with mashed potatoes, corned beef and beets. It’s bright red from the beet juice and served with a fried egg, pickles and pickled, rolled herring (Rollmops).) 

 Sister Nilson and me making African fufu with  Abel ( The  member from the Ivory Coast that I have  become good friends with.) What a tasty lunch !!!   It was delicious and extremely filling.

Excerpts from a letter we received... "AN AUTHENTIC GERMAN BIRTHDAY!!!" LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]

Excerpts from Heidi’s letter that we received last Saturday.

HAPPY DAY!!! Receiving a letter in the mail is like a million Christmases put together!!! J Makes for a very happy mother!!!!

                                                                                                                    Montag September 16, 2013
Liebe Familie

Here are a few funny things about Germans and Germany ( At least in Hamburg ). They are the most BLUNT people on the planet.(* She just loves the German people with all her heart..even their bluntness) Haha…If they don’t like something, they tell you... if they do like something they tell you ! They also have printed toilet paper here which is really cool! Haha..I know that’s random…Ours has fish printed on it ( that seems to be the most popular ) but I did see some at a ward members house that had puppies and flowers!’ll have to ask Adina if it’s really like that everywhere in Germany.

whenever we go to a lunch or dinner appointment they always expect us to eat so much!!! The fact that I am small isn't an excuse to them. It only makes them give me more food. ..Goodness, I’m trying to lose 8 pounds and it’s pretty much impossible when we’re being fed dessert and huge meals so many days a week! Sister Nilson and I are loving our new diet though-our ALMOST vegan diet. We made tofu frikadellins from scratch the other day and they were very delicious! We also have been eating just soy milk and other lactose free yogurts and such. We feel pretty good!

Also, I know I have already said this…but I feel so at home here! There are so many artists in this ward. Mom, when you come back to Germany in the future I am so excited for you to see all of these people that I love. And I know you would appreciate their art.

Yesterday we had a really funny experience teaching a Muslim family. (very blunt like the Germans but the nicest people ) On the phone before coming to their home, the man was expressing annoy talking to Sister Nilson . “ How do you expect to teach my family and me when you can’t even speak German?” So Sister Nilson tells him not to worry because her companion (ME) can speak very good Deutsch, much better than her. Way to put lots of pressure on me! Even though the man was still a little annoyed when he met with us in person...he was flabbergasted that Sister Nilson has only been learning German for 7 months. When the man asked me how long I had been in Germany I told him “7 weeks “ and he seriously almost fell off his chair. Hahaha. He looked back and forth and then said, looking at Sister Nilson, “But she speaks so much better than you! Let’s just say I am feeling EXTREMELY blessed with learning German. I wish you could just be a fly on the wall here in my lessons or even on the street to see how incredible it is! I can’t believe how far I've come in three months.
And can you believe I spoke I church?! I know this is crazy but I wasn't even that nervous- I think I was more nervous for my missionary farewell talk. My ward here is so amazing too. There is one boy in the ward who is just pals with Sister Nilson and me. Remember J Wolf ? (The 14 year old boy I wrote about at the beginning of my mission? ) He brought the music to the song “ I’m leaving on a jet plane” to church and wanted me to sing it with  him. J
                                                                                                                       Montag 23 September 2013

Sorry, it’s taken me a week to get this letter sent off! P.Days are always so crazy…You should know that I spend all my time on the computer emailing our family- because I LOVE YOU ALL and want you to experience my mission along with me.

This whole day has been absolutely incredible! It is definitely a good start for this week! ( Haha…lots of yummy food, meat , sugar, chocolate…Now I can go back to my vegan/vegetarian diet… Yeah for tofu and carrots!! :D Haha..I know I’m weird:D
I’m so excited that you will be able to meet Mirja and Danny in a couple weeks! Mirja is seriously the “Germaniest”  woman ever!! So funny, blunt and fun to be around. I just love her!!  She just moved into the wohnung right above ours and it’s so much fun!! I think I mentioned in my email that she reminds me a lot of Alison Ainge…  I’m sending a little surprise with them for you all!

She also included another small letter in the envelope:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               23 September 2013
Meine Geburtstag!! ( My birthday!!)

Hello! I’m just sitting here on the Bahn on my way into Hamburg and wanted to write you a little message.!:D First off, thank you so much for the birthday package! I opened it up this morning after my birthday breakfast and I was so happy! Thanks for making it special:D  I’m glad I have love from at least part of our family…cough cough..sinc e only part of you like to write to me..Haha hopefully you’re still there and remember me!
How was turkey dinner? Wow, I am so jealous I had to miss that! (***  We celebrated Heidi’s 20th birthday (without her..) and made a turkey dinner with all the trimmings…and went around the table sharing our favorite memories of her and even blew out candles on her birthday  cake (Pumpkni pie J) Everyone made birthday wishes for her as they helped blow out the candles…)

Please let’s have turkey dinner the Christmas I am home- Next year!!! Nobody celebrates Thanksgiving here! I am very excited for Christmas here. Christmas is HUGE! Rather than just a day, it is three days long. There is a lot of time reserved for being together as a family. I also heard that there are great big Christmas markets in the town centers where everybody sells stuff- like Christmas decorations and gifts and such.. sounds pretty cool! I wonder if I’ll still be in Langenhorn at Christmas. I sure hope so! Christmas just isn’t Christmas unless you’re at home with family , but Langenhorn is feeling pretty close to that! We’ll have to see!!
So as I said, right now we are heading into Hamburg to a city called Wartenau. It is about 45 minutes from Langenhorn and we travel here about once a week- always for district meeting and occasionally on P.Day ( like today)This is where the Elders are serving (Elder Gibson, Elder Bekat, Elder McKean and Elder Luning. And there is a senior missionary couple! It is also where the stake center is !  Everybody is just wonderful here…:D
Today we are celebrating my birthday ! YAYAYAYAYAY!!! And also Elder Luning’s - he turned 24 last Monday. We are planning on doing a barbeque (nobody does that here! ) And also having some cake and ice cream! I’m feeling pretty lucky that my birthday happened to fall on a P.Day.

…A bit later today…
( SO here’s the story of her birthday celebration- I don’t think we can even begin to compete with the  celebration  the Elders gave her ..) :
When we got to Wartenau the Elders were already outside grilling. They had a grill with charcoal and everything! So we had a variety of meat (McKAy would have been in heaven) , a salad , potato salad, (very German) and chips! It was so yummy! And today was such a beautiful day that we were able to eat outside :D  (The last few P. Days it has been super rainy and cold ALL day! ) After eating, Sister Nilson and I went into the city to quickly grab some souvenirs so that we can send them with Mirja when she comes to Utah! We only had a little time before Elder and Sister Nuttall would be there with cake and ice cream…so we quickly practiced our Olympic speed walking and quickly traveled between bahn stations . ( I found a couple things I’m really excited for you to see! :D)
We then arrived back in Wartenau and had cake and ice I felt so loved!! Homemade chocolate cake , sprinkles and all, and chocolate ice cream too!! Om nom nom :D
***Then all the Elders brought my chair to an open place in the room and they all surrounded me. They began singing to me… an original Birthday song in German It was the funnest thing ever! I was very startled when they all took a hand on my chair and proceeded to lift my chair up in the air (more like toss it ) and throw me up and down while continuing to laugh and sing in German! Hahaha… that is what I call a birthday song!! Elder Luning’s family comes from Germany and it’s a song they have sung in their family. ( I think they may have made it up) Then  Elder Luning taught it to the other Elders . Pretty sweet huh? :D So yes, my day has been AMAZING!!!!

 Heidi's birthday breakfast. Her favorite... homemade Banana  chocolate chip pancakes ...and Heidi and her companion  decorated their pancakes with faces for the occasion!! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

WEEK 9 in GERMANY ...Heidi von Hamburg LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]


If you buy a box of trash bags for 89 cents, expect the trash bag to split open and trash to go all down the stairs . . .  This happened last week, but we still weren't convinced that we needed to buy new bags.  Then it happened again this week!
Banana chocolate chip pancakes are so much better with a bar of European chocolate broken into pieces.  There is no such thing as chocolate chips in Germany.
Persian people are even more bold and blunt than Germans…
 In a lesson this week, this Persian man from Afghanistan kept going off about Sister Nilson in our lesson calling her a body builder, calling her fat, asking her how much she weighed as a baby, how much she weighed now, telling her to eat apples, on and on ….   Thank goodness this man is easy to love… otherwise he would have gotten punched in the face hahahaha. The hard thing is that it is all part of their culture, and this man didn't mean any harm by his comments. He was just playing around…
Sister Nilson and I have compared President Kosak to God…

He has a sense of humor, he is so loving, but at the same time you just have to FEAR him.  Sister Nilson called President earlier in the week to ask a question about one of our investigators (After the AP's asked us to), and let's just say the call was a little bit scary.  It ended up with Sister Nilson in tears, and then President comforting her, 'Are you crying Sister Nilson.  My dear, sweet, Sister Nilson.  You don't need to cry!'  Haha let's just say that the stresses of being a missionary are always high.  And sometimes tears are a little bit too close to the surface.   

We had another great lesson with H***.  He surprised us by bringing his panflute and playing some patriotic American songs.  WOW, I don't think I have ever seen anyone play an instrument with more passion!  We've seen great progress in H*** this week.  He has decided he wants to meet with us more often to hear more of what we have to say.  ( He made this decision after we invited him to be baptized ).  Even though he is being very cautious and wants to take his time before he commits to a specific baptism date, I feel like he already knows everything is true.  His questions have become more sincere and he has been very open to everything we have taught him.  We are meeting with him
 on Wednesday!

We met with E*** this week, and we set a baptism date for him on the
 26th of October!!!  When he showed up to his lesson he was very tired and he told us that he had had to sleep the entire night in his car, go to work, and then he came to our lesson on his break from work.  (He would return to work after).  He has so many problems going on in his life right now, but he knows that it is important to make time for God and to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  After talking about his problems for a minute he just stopped and apologized.  He explained how much he had to be grateful for and that he didn't want to tear us down with the negative things that were occurring in his life.  I was so touched when he started talking about joy and what joy really means.  'Joy is different from happiness.  Joy is what we feel as we come to know God, and as we follow His Son, Jesus Christ.'  He explained the difference between happiness and joy, and that joy was much much better.  Something that was more lasting, something that lived within your heart.  It was the PERFECT introduction as we talked about the Plan of Salvation.  He absolutely loved it was we talked about families, and how they are a blessing from God in our life.  He has three little kids that he loves very much.  We talked about the Atonement and what Jesus Christ went through for us.  He suffered and was crucified so that we might have faith and repent, and have a way to return to Him.  He just soaked up everything we talked about. Every time he speaks or prays I feel the spirit.  He loves Jesus Christ so much and he is so thankful to God for all that he has.  He has many problems going on in his life, but he makes time for our appointments because he knows how important it is.

We also made FUFU with A*** this week!!!! ( A recent convert of a year who is from the Ivory Coast    Oh MEINE GUTE IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER!!!!!!  We used the church kitchen, put on aprons, and he played some country music as we cooked.  We were so excited!  So A*** taught us how to cook some 'real' African food, I was able to practice my French, and we were able to talk to him about his life.  He's really been having a hard time lately living a Christian life midst all of the people who are constantly rebelling against God and the rest of the world.  
The fufu soup recipe called for a jar of peanut butter which I wouldn't have expected!  A*** pulled out the jar and dipped his finger in and then offering us to do the same.  He said that growing up Africa, every time his Mom would make the recipe as he was a kid he would always grab the peanut butter and eat it up before she could use it :P.  I just thought it was fun hearing about that.  The Fufu was actually really yummy, and SUPER FILLING.  Imagine ten thanksgiving dinners all at the same time.  We also had a little bit of dessert that Eric had brought for us from the bakery that he works at.  It was a good lunch :)  I LOVE A***!!  

We had Zone Conference this week which was incredible!!  We have already been able to apply a lot of what we learned.  We received a lot of referrals from ward members this week and we contacted them immediately and then got back to the members.  I have never had such success before!  We were able to go to church yesterday with a woman who has not been in a couple years and she was just waiting for us to stop by and invite her.  It really helped that we had member support to help us in our efforts. When we went to this woman's house she was all ready and waiting, wearing clean clothes, and freshly groomed.  :D

I kinda had a break down earlier this week . . . Just missing you all so much!  Missionary work is really HARD.  I love it so much, but it is hard.  Everything isn't as easy as it sounds.  The only way one can truly understand is to experience it…. 

 My heart is so invested in the work which proves to be a bad and a good thing.  It is good because I love the people so much, and I work my hardest to help them.  I swear I can feel my heart stretching and tearing as it grows to love more people and as it suffers as I see people I love go through their own heartaches. 

 I also was just overwhelmed this week because I just feel the need all the time to be perfect.  I want to do so much, but sometimes (more often than not) I feel like I'm not doing enough…. 

 I feel like my clothes need to be more tattered, like my shoes need to be more scuffed, and like I need to have some dirt on my face or something.  I know that sounds kind of weird, but sometimes you just don't feel like your efforts are even doing anything

 I was thinking about each member of our family earlier this week.  Talking about how I was going to miss seeing you all for the next several months and it just made me so sad.  But then it really hit me.  I can't settle for mediocrity.  I have to constantly serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, to make you all proud.  So I cried for several minutes….  Let Sister Nilson hold me in her arms.  And then I went to bed, praying to God first, and recommitted myself to continue in this work. 

Today is my 20th birthday… Holy crow I can't believe I'm twenty!!!!!  …and it is unbelievable that I am living in Hamburg Germany.  I never would have imagined this a year ago.  And wow, look at where I am today.  I feel a lot different than I did a year ago.  It feels good though :).  We made chocolate banana chip pancakes for breakfast and then decorated our pancakes with faces.  It was so DELICIOUS!!!
 And then I opened my presents and my mail that I have received!   I did get your package in the mail!!!  Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! I waited till my birthday like a good little girl too and I opened it this morning :D.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU :D :D :D.  
 I absolutely loved the pictures from New YORK Mom!  I love our family, and I love the photos of my family in France  ( LOVE LOVE LOVE JACQUES, NATHALIE, PAUL, MARC, MARTIN, ET FRANCOIS! :)).
 Mother, thank you also so much for the cute birthday card with all the little photos of everyone.  That especially made me smile.  I love you all so much!  

Sister Nilson and I are headed into Hamburg today to celebrate with our district, do some grilling and have some cake.  I feel like I am radiating happiness right now because it is my birthday and it has been made so special!  I am sorry I don't have time to attach photos.  I had to answer a lot of emails this morning . . .

Have an amazing week.

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley
Blondie in Berlin (Heidi von Hamburg)


By the way I think French is actually easier to learn than German. . . I went off the French directions when we died my hair because I understood them better ;).  But ya!  Holy crow I wish you could hear my German; it's getting so much better!  I'm reading the Book of Mormon in German right now and it is amazing that I can understand everything!!

Also, EXCITING NEWS!!!   Two people in my ward here, Mirja and Danny,  are coming to the United States next week and they are coming to visit you !!! I am going to make up a little package and have a little surprise for you and send it with Mirja.  They would be coming on October 5 sometime before lunch time (on their way to Logan).  But if you would be there to welcome them and say hi that would be so awesome!  And you could meet some real Germans that are members of the church!  Let me know if that would be okay so I can tell Mirja.  She actually just moved into the apartment right above ours.  She reminds me so much of Alison and Linnea. She is so much fun to talk to… I am excited for her to meet you!


                                        Zone Conference - September 2013 - Hamburg Zone


Picture of the birthday card we sent to Heidi...that she mentioned in her email. So glad she loved it!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

WEEK 8 in GERMANY "Ich Brauch dich Allezeit" ( I Need Thee Every Hour") LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]

September 16, 2013

Liebe Familie :)

This week was so GREAT!  So guess what!  Yesterday I was given the opportunity to speak in church.  When Bruder Diener asked Sister Nilson and I a couple weeks ago if one of us would be open for the opportunity I was so thrilled.  I was so excited for this invitation and I exclaimed that of course we would be up for it.  It would be a wonderful growing experience.  Haha, I think he asked Sister Nilson to speak first (2 sundays ago) because she wasn't as excited as I was.   So the last two weeks now the ward has had the opportunity of hearing from US.  :D.  My experience was so incredible.  I loved being able to stand before the ward here and share my testimony with them.  I chose to share my testimony and thoughts on Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer.  I have thought very much about this this past week.  Often times I ask people, "Wer ist Jesus Christus für Sie?"  Who is Jesus Christ to you?  And this week I've really had the same question going through my own head.  I have Christ's name printed on my nametag:  The Church of  JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.  I am his representative here on the earth.  It has really become my testimony that he really is the head of this church.  This is His true church on the earth.  I held up my missionary planner that I have decorated with pictures and scriptures about Christ.  It's my reminder.  I read the scripture that I had hand-written there.  A scripture that always just touches me everytime I read it.  1 Johannes 4:9, "Liebe Brüder, wir wollen einander lieben; den die Liebe ist aus Gott und jeder, der liebt stammt von Gott und erkennt Gott, wer nicht, hat Gott nicht erkennt; denn Gott ist Liebe. Die Liebe Gottes wurde unter uns dadurch offenbart, dass Gott, seinen einzigen Sohn in die Welt gesandt hat, damit wir durch ihn Leben." As I was bearing my testimony on Jesus Christ I got a little emotional. I also read off the second verse of "Ich Brauch dich Allezeit" (I Need Thee Every Hour).  That song has a special place in my heart.  I could barely make it through those words without bawling.  So much meaning in those words.  I need Jesus Christ. Even though I knew my words were very simple as I spoke, and my grammar was not 100 percent correct, it didn't even matter.  I was speaking completely from my heart and I felt like I was able to testify with a power that I had never had before.

This week we watched one of our investigators change right before our eyes.  Dear H***.   It has been difficult at times as he has had  so many complicated questions . . . but this lesson was quite different.  Sister Nilson and I started off by singing for him.  We sang, "Ich Brauch dich Allezeit" and it really brought the Spirit.  He still had questions but I could sense a new sincerity and I could tell that he could feel something throughout our lesson (the Spirit!!!!).  As we bore our testimonies of Jesus Christ and God at the end of our lesson he began to cry.  I have never experienced this before.  It was so powerful.  Up until this point he hasn't believed in Jesus Christ as God's son.  But he felt something as we spoke.  Sister Nilson asked him outright if he would be baptized into Christ's church as he came to have his own testimony that what we said was true.  He didn't answer directly, but in between quiet tears he said that he would after he prayed about it and received his personal answer. We invited him to say the closing prayer and he humbly bowed his head with a new reverence.  Most importantly is that he closed in the name of Jesus Christ. (Normally he just closes by saying, 'amen.') Wow. It's incredible watching people respond to the promptings and the influences of the Spirit.  It's incredible watching people ACT on knowledge they receive.  I actually gave my talk yesterday in church inspired by this visit.  Sadly he walked into the church right after I sat down (the trains run very irregular on Sunday and he had to wait a long time for it to come).  He was at church though and he stayed for all three hours and loved it.  

We are keeping Af*** in our prayers, but I feel like he still needs time to sort out the complicated affairs of his life before he is ready to recommit himself to baptism and progress in the gospel.  From the times that I have met with him, I do sense a sincere desire in him to come unto Christ and lead a life after His example.  Unfortunately, all of the trials in his life currently are keeping him from that now.  

We are still meeting with E*** and should be extending him a specific baptism date this week.  He had stuff come up with work during our last appointment so we had to cancel.  Sister Nilson and I really feel like he is prepared for the baptismal covenant.  We hope that he can repent and make changes in his life so that he can be baptized by the end of October or beginning of November. Wow, and I am still so touched by this man's personal relationship with God.  He is so meek and humble.  He lives a very successful lifestyle which isn't always a common thing in this area (especially for foreigners).  But even with his success he still realizes his dependency on God.  He is not prideful, but grateful.  

 I also wanted to share an experience that happened last week that I forgot to include.  We had a Sunday dinner appointment at a woman's house in our ward.  After church it was super crazy and we all crammed into her small car with all her children. ... As we arrived at her home  I quickly learned that her husband was not a member of the church, and that this Sister in our ward had her hands very full with working full time and managing her home life.  She was so embarrassed that we had to see the messes all over her house but at the same time she was so grateful to have us there.  She hadn't even started the dinner so we ended up helping her prepare it which took quite a while......  It was so hard to see this wonderful woman in our ward (that I have never seen complain about anything) deal with so much stress......  We always share a spiritual thought before leaving and I was a little bit apprehensive as to how it would be.  Sister Nilson turned to me after the meal and asked me very directly if I would give the spiritual thought.    I hesitantly agreed that I would and I said a silent prayer that I could share something that this family needed, specifically this sister in our ward.  Right then I had a specific scripture come to my mind. Doctrine and Covenants 78:18.  (Once again, thanks so much to Bruder Alston who shared this with me before I left the MTC).  I kind of fought with the thought a little bit thinking that if I shared this scripture with this family, or the husband they would show disrespect and that it would not help them at all.  But the thought came to me again, No, it is not being shared for the husband or for the family, it is being shared for Sister C.  It turned out that sister Nilson and I just met alone with this woman in an upstairs room.  The one place that it was quiet.  She tried inviting her children and husband but they didn't care and didn't want to come.  (A sweet young deacon in our ward was there taking care of her kids, as I guess he always does and he ended up coming in for the spiritual thought).  I opened up to this scripture and introduced my own experience of when this scripture was shared with me.  When I was in the MTC, so scared of leaving everything behind and coming to Germany.  As I placed the scriptures in front of her I could see her beginning to tremble.  She began reading the verse, "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. . ."  She just broke down in tears and couldn't finish it.  She passed the book over to this young man (only 12 years old) and asked him to finish it for her.  He read it so sweetly and she just continued to sob.  She really needed the reminder that God is there in her life.  She has had such a hard life and continues to have so many trials.  I reminded her that she was not alone.  It was such a sweet moment where Sister Nilson and I were able to bear our testimonies and share our love for her.  This woman is incredible.  I have so much love for her.       

This entire week has been great.  So many new experiences.  I look forward to hearing from you all soon.  I LOVE YOU ALL.  ICH LIEBE EUCH :)

Sister Heidi Shelley

My favorite place in the whole world.  Die Familie Mensen.  Schwester Mensen is an incredible artist :).  She made us a complete feast for our lunch appointment and had the table set so beautifully with candles and everything.  I just had to take a photo.  Lunch was so yummy.  We listened to classical music all during the meal.  And before the meal I was looking through some of their books, so many art history books, classical literature, and history books.  I LOVE IT.

        Me standing in the coolest archway.  Scarves have pretty much become a necessity.  love love love scarves.  

Om nom nom.  Tofu frikadellins and all natural hair.  Now I'm eating all natural and looking all natural.  Haha ;).  Really though, tofu prepared properly is so delicious!!  

Also, I bought a box of hair bleach/color from the grocery store last week.  I still can't believe I did that.  And then had Sister Nilson apply it to my hair (Wow, I must really trust her with my baby . . . ).  It was pretty much the scariest experience of my life but my hair looks great!  Perfect hair color for only 8 dollars!  I'm feeling pretty lucky :). . .  It was super funny though because we totally didn't know what we were doing :P

My missionary planner :)

Monday, September 9, 2013


                                                                                      September 9. 2013

Moin moin!  It's been a great week for Sister Nilson and I. 

We have had such success!!!!  Oh my goodness I love this area. 

Last Monday we met with A***(from Ivory Coast, french speaker, and my best friend :D).  Our lesson with him was incredible.  He was so happy and so different from any other time we've met with him.  His faith has become so much stronger since we met with him.  We invited him to have a part in missionary work and he was so excited!  We gave him a Book of Mormon in German and invited him to give it away and he accepted the challenge!  He kept on talking about Paul in the Bible and how he has always been one of his role models.  He was so nervous, but we bore our testimony that when we share our testimony with others it helps us to be stronger ourselves.  And since he is always struggling with problems in his life it would be a good way for him to turn outwards rather than inwards.  He also told us something that was really touching.  He said that he has been trying to pray every morning when he wakes up, to thank God for the new day, and he has noticed a difference in his life.  He still hasn't done that much better with reading the scriptures on his own, but on the days that we send him a text with a scripture and our testimony/experience, he always remembers it.  As members we can help each other so much by just supporting one another and strengthening each other in the faith.  AND, he told us that he will teach us how to make fufu!!!  So we are probably doing that this week or next.  Yeah, I love A***!!!  And we speak a little French together which is fun.

It's really been incredible for me because I have been able to relate very well to him and another less active member in our ward. Sister Nilson said she has never seen these people happier since I came here. It's such a testimony to me that I am where I am supposed to be.  There is something unique about me that I have been able to get through to these two people in our ward.  And together Sister Nilson and I have something special and unique about our companionship in the way we teach and show our love for others.   

We had a wonderful lesson with our new investigator, E*** this past week. He is the amazing man from Ghana!!!!  The Spirit was so strong and I was able to invite him to be baptized. HOLY CROW.  He said that he would.  I felt so guided in what I should say to him, and I felt like he was so ready. He wasn't sure if he could come to church yesterday but then he surprised us by coming into sacrament meeting about half-way through.  We were on our forth week of no investigators at church (SO ROUGH), and I almost started crying I was so happy!  He had such a big smile on his face and he looked great!  We were singing a congregational hymn and immediately Jakob (My owl city buddy) shared his hymn book with him, and everybody welcomed him in.  In our investigator class we talked about missionary work and it was super cool.  E*** is awesome!  He was expressing his feelings about Germans in contrast to Africans . . . Here in Germany he said that religion is not that important to many people.  Almost everybody calls themselves 'Christian' except they don't live like it.  He said that in the North of Ghana it is so hard for people who want to follow Christ.  If you want to be baptized into a different church or even attend church that is contrary to the will of the tribal leader, he can take your wife from you, destroy your property, life, and everything.  He explained that in that situation, people realize better how precious a knowledge of God is.  How precious it is that you can be baptized into God's true church.  And for him, he is ready to make this commitment here in Germany.  When he speaks about God it just touches me.  I am excited to work with him more. 

Do you remember that woman I wrote about who I met at TAFEL (service project) who was so friendly!  We gave her a church tour a few weeks ago but she was very cautious with us. Holy crow she is so receptive to the spirit, and I know that God has heard the prayers of sister Nilson and I in her behalf. She came to our stake primary activity on Saturday with her fiance and her little girl, and she was immediately taken in by everyone. We had given her a tour of our church a few weeks ago, but she wanted another one at the stake center with her fiance. She wanted him to see our church too!  All of her comments were so sweet, and she could sense the spirit in the building. A man asked her if she was a member and she said, 'not yet!' I am so excited to see her progress. She told me privately that she felt something in our church that was different than anything she has ever felt before.  She knew that it was God's church on the earth. She recognizes that she has been prepared for the gospel, and she told us that before she dies she needs to be baptized into God's true church on the earth. She has so many questions, and with every question she asks we always have answers for her!  I gave her a Book of Mormon in Spanish and she was so excited to read it. She was so careful with it! She also explained to us that she knew that her fiance wasn't as prepared as she was to accept the gospel, but that in time he would. She told us that she wanted us to give him the German book of Mormon ourselves. We gave it to him, bore our testimonies, and gave a little introduction to the two of them.  We heard A*** telling him to go and put the books carefully in the car, 'These books are like the Bible, they are scriptures,  they can't just be thrown around.  You need to be careful with them.'   I almost feel like this woman could be a missionary with us! She is so enthusiastic about the gospel and it is so inspiring to me. She was even saying, "I think it is great that all of the members of the church pay a percentage of their income.  I would pay 20 percent of my income to this church!"  She loves the Spirit that she feels and the goodness from the members.  She said that the thing that she loves the most is the service she sees rendered by church members and missionaries.  She loves that we live Christian lives.   We are always trying to better ourselves.  She said that in Mexico she saw Elders and Sisters running around serving people, and here in Germany (we are a little more scarce ;)) but we do the same thing.  We ran into her and her little family yesterday and she jumped out of the car almost while it was still moving.  Running over to us she said, 'sisters!  Sisters!  I have begun reading in the Book of Mormon!  I'm only on page 5 but I have started reading it!'  She had lots of questions for us already.  She said that they would give us a ride to wherever we were going just so that she could talk with us more about the book of Mormon.  She said, 'we were just talking about you! I was telling R*** that you Sisters are always so HAPPY!  But he says it is not possible.  But look, you two are smiling right now!  I know that it is because of the church.  I want that for us too.'  

I was feeling a little discouraged a couple weeks ago, because our investigators weren't really going anywhere, and I felt like they just had no desire to progress in the gospel. But now meeting A***and E*** (man we invited to be baptized), I see very clearly that there are prepared people. We just have to find them. We can invite, and invite, and invite, but unless people have a desire there isn't anything else we can do. 

Everything is going wonderful here.  I am excited for this next week.  Hope everything is wonderful there.  Love you all!

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley

Friday, September 6, 2013

Heidi's Birthday!!

Heidi's 20th birthday is on September 23rd!! :D  I am sending her birthday package today!! :D :D
I know she would love to hear from her family and friends..and if you really want to  surprise her you could even send her a birthday package. :D You can contact me for her current address . Or send it to the mission home address (although it will take her longer to receive it)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

WEEK 6 in Germany...another amazing week!! ( LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ] )

                                                                                                                                                             September 2, 2013

Hallo Familie :D

First off, I have GREAT NEWS!!!  Transfer calls were on Saturday and  I'M STAYING IN LANGENHORN!!!! :D :D :D.   I pretty much made myself sick waiting for this news, because I wanted to stay so bad.  But now I am, happy day!  And Sister Nilson is finishing my training.  YIPPEE :)  I love her!  

We have had great success with our new investigator "H".  He really recognizes the power of the Book of Mormon and he is very sensitive to the Spirit he feels as he reads from it.  We had a joint teach  for the first time at our lesson and it made a huge difference. (  A joint teach is  when a  church member is present at an investigator's lesson and  is able to share his testimony of the gospel principles being taught )  Sister Nilson and I set some goals to bring more members to lessons because they really make a big difference.  It was a really neat experience actually because our Joint Teach just barely got home from his own mission two days before!!!  He served in the London, England mission, and he was so excited to help us out.  We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation, and we all got to bear our testimonies.  It was super neat!

So two Sundays ago a man showed up at church that we had never seen before.  His name is "E" and he is from Ghana.  He was really led to the church by the Spirit.  He told us later that he had lost his keys and so he ended up sleeping on the Bahn all night.  He just went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until morning . . .  He said that he saw somebody dressed up and knew that he needed to follow them and go to the church.  So he ended up in our church building!  (After having barely slept at all!).  And then he ended up staying for all three hours of church!  We met with him a couple days later and I was so impressed with this man.  One thing about this guy really inspires me.  He explained that without God in his life he just doesn't feel satisfied.  Despite the fact that he prays occasionally and occasionally reads from the Bible, he wasn't feeling satisfied in his life.  He had such an open and honest heart.  He had actually met a few times with missionaries from our church back in 2005, but it didn't really go anywhere because he was so busy with work and everything.  Sister Nilson and I bore our testimonies on the Book of Mormon, and on the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was really powerful.  We are meeting with him again this week.  As we were talking with him I sensed so much love.  He obviously loves his kids a LOT, and he has such a strong love for God.  He wants God in his life, and he's searching for a better relationship.  We really made friends with this guy and enjoyed our visit.  As we were leaving he offered us some cake that he had brought home from work.  It was the most beautiful and delicious cake ever!  This guy was unreal!  He has a car, he has kids that he loves, he has good work, and he has an apartment.  And he is living here legally!  All of these things are kind of hard to come by.  Not to mention that he is honest, nice, hard-working, and is seeking for God in his life.  I'm definitely excited to see what happens with him.

We met with Mac and Amy this week which was wonderful!  Mac is the one whose screen play reading we went to several weeks ago.  He really is a man of many talents!  Mac is an American who was a member of the church at one time.  His wife, Amy, is the sweetest, most loving person in the whole world.  We had the most powerful lesson, beginning a lesson on the Plan of Salvation, we talked for a long time just about love and what it means.  We used the scripture 1 John 4:7-9.  They both belief in God as an energy, rather than a being, along with many other different ideas.  But I find it very neat that Mac still believes on the Bible and on the Book of Mormon.  His mission truly had a big impact on his life and he talks about it often.  As we were talking to them I couldn't help but think about Tanangyl.  This guy totally reminds me of him.  He is just so friendly and down to earth, but he has a fierceness about him at the same time.  (Haha I hope that makes sense).  Mac is so talented in so many different ways, and he is so generous!  He gave us a bunch of MonaVie stuff for free, (over a hundred euros worth) (He is very high up in the company and works as a European representative for the company), a list of over a thousand German words with English conjugates, and lots of great advice.  Our lesson was very powerful.  I love them both so much!  We sang "Naher, mein Gott, zu dir" at the end of the lesson which really brought the Spirit.  Mac ended up showing us digital pictures on his computer from his own mission that he served 21 years ago.  The thought came to me very strongly as we were leaving,  all of our investigators are so different!  Everybody we interact with comes from such different worlds.  And yet the message is the same.  There is ONE gospel.  There is ONE God.   

We also had a very interesting time meeting with a Catholic Priest.  Thank you to Bruder "W" in our ward who saw his photo in the newspaper, called him up, and then invited him over to the church.  Bruder "W" had initially invited him over to do his genealogy, and I don't even know if they got to it.  We were there for almost two hours and we just talked about the gospel and the differences between our two religions.  This man was very intrigued with our temples, Bruder "W" showed him several pictures of the interior.  It was a very good experience. And it was so sweet to see Bruder "W" bear his testimony of his beliefs, of God, of the church, and of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Bruder "W" is a convert, and he loves the church so much!  Before we left Bruder "W" asked us if sister Nilson and I would sing a song for the priest.  He requested "Naher, mein Gott, zu dir." (Nearer, my God, to thee).  Last time we sang that for a lesson, Bruder "W" was almost in tears.  We sang again and had a similar response.  The Priest was so kind to us and so respectful.  In closing he said that perhaps we would meet again sometime.  And with a half smile, "I guess we'll see who is right in the end."  There was one thing that I found very sad as we spoke with him.  In his beliefs there is no hope for people who do not hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in this life.  There is no hope for people who are not baptized.  Our church has so much restored knowledge that other churches don't have.  Our church has so much hope.  We have Jesus Christ in the center of everything, and we know clearly where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going.  I am so grateful to be a member of this church.  I am so grateful that I have been raised in a home where gospel principles have been taught.  And I am so grateful that I have taken this path in life.  

Overall, this week was wonderful!  We had so many appointments and we were always on the go!  Everyone in the ward here just received personalized missionary books, and the members are super excited to have their own missionary experiences and write them down.  Sister Nilson and I went door to door the other day, and we were a little bit discouraged because of our lack of success.  We realize that we really need member help.  With their help and support we are likely to have a lot more success.  

The Langenhorn area is doing really well though!!  We are excited to see our investigators progress this coming week and in the coming 6 weeks!

Also, I have started the best new diet!  I'm a vegan!  Well, almost . . . I'm still eating eggs . . . and I'm eating meat sparingly on occasion.  But it's really great!  This man in our ward read a book called "The China Study" and I was really interested in what he had to say about it.  You should read it!  Also, you should look online for some healthy yummy recipes of what to do with Tofu :)  We are also just sticking with Soy products  like soy milk, soy yogurt etc.  It is amazing how good you feel when you eat healthy!  I feel great!  

I love you all!!!!  Adina sounds like a really sweet girl!  Tell her hi from me :D.  I also hope you have a wonderful time on the Shelley family trip!!! Good bye for now!!!  Alles Gute!


 Weekly planning on our balcony!!!  I love being outside!  We finally decided we needed to make it more of a fortress though because people were always looking at us when we were out there.  And so we made it all comfy :D

                                                                P.Day!  Vising the Rathaus.... So excited!

Ich und meine Mitarbeiterin!  This was us in front of the Rathaus and us inside, very excited :D  We went on a tour and it was incredible.  

                                                                     Eating Wienerschnitzel next to the harbor  

St Peter's church

                                                                       Golden ticket! :D

Awesome door handle at St. Peter's!