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!!!

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