Tuesday, October 29, 2013


( She was having problems sending pictures so we only received some of them....more recent pics with her and her new companion should be coming next week. Keep my fingers crossed...)

                              Heidi's last days with her previous companion, Sister Nilson

Halloween celebration with Mirja.  Our last p-day together!  tear tear.  It was fun though.  Don't you like the matching thermal underwear that we bought from a street vendor? :)  We made dinner in a pumpkin, homemade bread, crystal light, and my birthday cake finally!


Charming restaurant we ate at on P.Day


My favorite...homemade banana chocolate chip pancakes....decorated "Heidi style"...
A Birthday face just for Heidi!! :D


Opening Birthday presents 

Me and Mirja!  Seriously, I opened up the door and she was standing there just like that looking so cute! :)

Jakob and his birthday presents to me!  He brought me over some chocolate cake, lots of soda cans, a new CDthat he made, chocolate, candy, oreos, it was so cute . . . :)  being a missionary is so hard when you can't just HUG people.  Goodness.

                                                  Celebrating my birthday with missionaries in  my district.

                                              Wearing the sweater a member gave me...:D

                                                    Sister Nilson and me...LOVE HER!!!


HAPPY DAY!! Another wonderful email...and finally some pictures:D  But many of the pictures weren't able to send..so hopefully we'll receive more next week. 

                                                                                                             28 October, 2013
Liebe Familie :)

Hallo once again!

This last week was INCREDIBLE.

Sister Darrington and I continued to see so many miracles as we worked together in bringing people unto Jesus Christ.

We met with D*** two times this week!

The first day we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" and actually experienced a miracle right there with him relating to prayer.

We brought a film over but forgot to bring our portable dvd player. (He told us at our first lesson that his was broken and that he hadn't been able to get it to work the entire time he had been there).  We asked if we could say a prayer with him, asking God to help us figure it out so that we could watch the movie.  He just looked at us like we were crazy but then agreed.  After we ended our prayer we just bounced right up and went over to the dvd and picked up the dvd player.  We put the disk in and then turned it on and pushed play.  The movie pulled up.  D***was FREAKING out (hahahaha) and insisted on us telling him what we did to fix the player.  We insisted that it was all God, that he wanted us to be able to watch the film . . . In the end he finally believed us.

We watched the film in Russian and then discussed it after.  We talked about Jesus Christ and his ministry, his nature and character.

In our first lesson when we first met with him he said that he was very familiar with Jesus Christ but he didn't know if he believed in him as the son of God.

But after we watched this film and bore our testimonies he had changed so much. His faith already seemed so much stronger.

We ended up talking to him about the full gospel of Jesus Christ:  Faith, Repentance  Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  The Spirit was so strong in the room.

We talked about how he was feeling

and he identified "good" feelings that he felt as we talked about God and Jesus Christ and as we visited him.

It was especially cool because even though his head was causing him a lot of pain (due to  his illness and surgery) he still was able to sense the good feeling that came from the Spirit.  He ended up saying that he would think about being baptized, even though we never formally invited him.

I think that is a miracle right there too.  We had to leave but we promised we would be back soon . . .

We went back on Thursday and decided to take a walk with him.  It was just such a beautiful day outside.  We picked up beautiful leaves (Mom, I sent you one ;)) and Dennis insisted that we were crazy and that they were all the same. 

Most importantly though we were able to talk more about the gospel, and about some of the other things that we had talked about.  We eventually returned back to his apartment and we told him that we could send missionaries to him once he was back in Ukraine.  

*Quick insert:  On the day that we went to contact the referral from Sister Bohne and found D*** we had also received another referral in the mail.  It was from Elder Roggow, whose family is from Langenhorn, and it was a note on there that he had received his Visa and was now in Ukraine.  We didn't know in what area he was serving, but then we saw Bruder Roggow on Wednesday and he said that Manuell (his son) is serving right in the center of Kiev exactly where D*** lives.  That is no coincidence.  

So we told D*** that!  D*** is probably the most independent person I have ever met haha, and he insisted that he could just teach himself what he needed to know without the help of other missionaries.  But he did give us his address and his email address so that we could write to him and continue to share things with him.  We will also be giving him the address to the church in Ukraine which I am pretty sure is near to his house . . . And hopefully we can convince him to let us give his address to Elder Roggow.

I just know that all of these events happened for a reason,

that the Lord wanted us to find him, and that he will soon be baptized.

Before leaving I gave him one of the leaves that I had collected that was in the shape of a heart.  I told him never to forget us, or what we taught him.

Earlier in the walk he told us that leaves will just die,

but we insisted that they could live on and preserve a memory.

I told him that I was going to tape them in my journal that night so that I could always remember him and how he touched my life.  I told D*** that he could do the same :). 

And that night I taped a heart shaped leaf in my journal just like the one that I gave him and wrote:   "I will never forget my  Russian/Ukranian friend with so much faith." 

Wow we already miss him.

This week we achieved more than I have ever achieved on my mission yet.

There were a couple days where I just collapsed onto the couch after coming back home.  The crazy thing is that I am actually in heaven.

I like how willing Sister Darrington is to just GO GO GO.  Ha ha.

Let the real work begin!

We found so many people this week who were prepared for the gospel, set up so many new appointments, and got so many new contacts.

Honestly it was a little bit eerie, I felt like the people were just coming to us!  

E*** and Afs*** have to have their baptisms changed because they have had such problems with attending church.

E*** is so ready to be baptized but he really needs to keep this commitment before he makes a larger one.

We met with him earlier this week and read from 3rd Nephi 11 and ended up having the most powerful discussion about Jesus Christ and the Atonement.

I have never heard someone speak about the Atonement with such strong words.

He understands what Jesus Christ did for him personally,and he clearly knows what it means to repent.

He is just amazing.

He came to church yesterday finally at the third hour and had two of his kids with him.  THEY ARE SO DARLING.  Oh my goodness.  He is such an amazing father.

ALSO, I got an early Christmas present!

A*** was able to come to church yesterday!

That is the first time he has come to church since I have been in Germany.  It was good to see him there dressed up :).

I was able to translate the meeting for him since he doesn't speak any German . . .

Who would have thought I would be able to translate an entire German sacrament meeting after three  months??  Definitely not me.

Please please please keep praying for Afs*** and E*** though.  They will be baptized this transfer, but they need the strength of our faith and the strength of the Lord.

Oh meine gute . . Mama . . . I love it here so much.

I better be here for another transfer after this one or I will cry.

As for my Christmas package . . . I would love it if everybody in our family would write me a personal letter or make me a card or something . . .

And maybe you could invite other extended family members or ward members to write something? I don't know that there is anything I need.

As long as I have your love and support from home I have everything I could want or need.

Thank you all for everything.  I love you all very much and I hope you have a wonderful week.  Love you lots!

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley

I will send  her package on Monday November 4.

Or you can send her a letter or package directly to the mission home address: 

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley     (CHRISTMAS )
Germany Berlin Mission
Zerbster Strasse 42
12209 Berlin



***You need to allow four weeks for package delivery this time of year.

Christmas Packages and letters  need to be received at the Mission Home by December 2nd . 

Now for some pictures...

Found this outside of a hotel.  It was pretty cool lookin ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Visitors from Germany in our home! :D

**I just realized I hadn't posted this blog which was written the first part of October)

At home here in Bountiful, Utah...

Germany doesn't seem so far away...
Last Friday (October 4) we welcomed two visitors ...Church members, Mirja and Danny from Langenhorn, Germany. They were visiting  Utah  to attend  The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints General Conference.  Mirja lives above Heidi and her companion. We had a wonderful visit with them!!! :D

Heidi sent our family some wonderful surprises from Hamburg...German  chocolate...yum yum... 

But the best surprise of all was when Mirja opened her Ipad and showed us a video of Heidi and her companion which Mirja had made the night before flying to the U.S. Heidi and her companion looked and sounded so happy..and they spoke German to us!! So fun!! And  so strange to hear my daughter speaking German. 

And the unexpected surprise of having a German exchange student in our home for the school year is absolutely wonderful.

Heather, me, Danny, Mirja

Heather, Adina (our German exchange student from Leipzig), me and Mirja

Most amazing miracle of miracles!! ( Langenhorn )

" I put one step in front of the other..."

October 21, 2013

hallo hallo moin moin! 

... most amazing miracle of miracles!!!

 A recent sister missionary who served in my area just returned home  a few weeks ago.  She worked in Langenhorn several months ago and lived in my same apartment! Since she has been home she has  had a certain  house come to her mind, and an experience she had while serving in this area...

She told Mirja about it, Mirja told us about it (along with very vague directions as to where this house would be), and so  Sister Darrington and I went off to find it.  We ended up following the directions to go "behind|" the Krankenhaus (hospital)and as we did so we came to house number 8 (directions from the sister). 

We went to the Klingel box and said a prayer.

We buzzed the second name down, spoke to a man over the speaker, and he let us up.  His name is D*** and he is 24 years old.

The first thing we noticed was that he had a huge scar running across the right side of his head.  He is from Ukraine, but he recently came here  so that he could have surgery.

We told him about the Book of Mormon, telling him that it had changed our lives.  We told him that it would change his life and answer his questions.

He became very interested and asked us, " Where can I get this book?!" 

We came by yesterday with a Book of Mormon  for him, and ended up teaching him the FIRST TWO LESSONS (The lesson on the restoration and the lesson on the Plan of Salvation). 

Holy crow, this guy is amazing.

After teaching the first lesson he just had one question for us.  "Why do people have to die?" 

So we ended up going into the second lesson.  After this great discussion, he didn't have any questions for us.  He just accepted everything we said. 

I asked him if he believed what we taught him. 

He thought about it for a minute and then said, 'practically all of it.'  But then after asking a couple questions, he resolved that he believed 100 percent of what we had taught him. 

I just looked at him incredulously and said, 'Wow. You have a lot of faith.'  His response was, 'well, doesn't everybody believe this?'  

The sad reality is that no, not everybody believes in "this".

Not everybody believes in God, Jesus Christ, or even Joseph Smith as a prophet.  Not everybody believes the Book of Mormon is the word of God, or that we have a prophet today.  

Throughout this visit, the Spirit was so STRONG.

I am not sure what this man's exact story is, but I'm pretty sure that a little over a month ago they discovered some kind of tumor or cancer in his head.so he came here to Germany for the operation.  He has been here for over a month and he will be returning to Kiev very soon. 
But then he will come back. 

Some of his questions broke my heart though, because I know that he fears that his own life may end very soon. 

Never before have we taught about the plan of Salvation with such meaning and never before have I appreciated it so much.

Suddenly God's plan for us...   
where we came from,
why we are here, 
where we are going... has so much more meaning. 

Before leaving this man, we told him that if he wanted we could visit him every day before he leaves to Ukraine, and he said,..." I'll be waiting." 

Yes, there are people prepared to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There are people who really NEED the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So we are hoping to visit our new friend D*** tomorrow.

Something else happened yesterday that just rocked my world. 

A*** called me up, and started speaking to me in French. . . He sounded a little weird on the phone, like he was going through puberty again or something (except for he is 30 years old . . . ) just that his voice sounded really high.  But then I realized that he was almost going to cry!

He was so emotional  on the phone because he said he hadn't seen me in so long and he had been thinking about me all week and how I could have left Langenhorn . . . (We actually met with him on Wednesday . ..).  He said that every day that he had been at work this past week he had just been so WORRIED. 

Worried that I would just leave, and that he wouldn't be able to say good bye or anything.  Oh my goodness, can I just say that I love A*** and that I love being a missionary???? 

I was able to calm him down a little bit, and I started talking to him about what I was reading in the scriptures in Mosiah 18.  I reminded him of his own baptism and compared his experience to the people in this chapter.  I also asked him to pray for E*** that everything would go through with his baptism. 

A***'s faith has grown so much since I came here!! It is amazing!! 

My new companion, Sister Darrington, is AMAZING. (She has been serving in Leipzig for the past 7 months).   I love her so much already.  I like thinking of her as small but deadly. 

She and I have so much in common it's crazy.  We are both "Go doers!".  I am already learning so much from her, and I like the new dynamic in our mitarbeiterinshaft.  She is truly a good missionary.  

E*** and Afs*** are preparing to be baptized on the 2nd of November and I am praying that everything will go through.

I feel like a mother preparing for a new baby or something . . . or even better--twins!  Sorry if that is pushing the analogy :P but holy crow, planning for a baptism in Germany is a lot of work. 

Thank you for your love and support.  I love you all, and I wish you well!


Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley  

                                           Picture of  me, Eric, and Sister Nilson  at the bakery where Eric works.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Best present from Germany!!!

Mirja visited our home during General Conference and surprised us with this video she had made of Heidi and her companion!! So wonderful to see Heidi's happy, smiling face and ..to hear her speaking German!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Transfer calls: Staying in Langenhorn!! :D...and a new companion!

                                                                                                                                                                  14 October 2013

Liebe Familie,

We had transfer calls this past Saturday . . . AND . . . dun dun dun dun....

I'M STAYING IN LANGENHORN!!  I am so excited. 

And Sister Nilson will be headed to Leipzig!  And my new companion is coming from Leipzig!  Sister Nilson  is pretty worried because she kinda already struggles with German and the accent there can be pretty crazy...

I am sad to say good bye to Sister Nilson :(  We've gotten super close to each other the past three months. Ha ha I don't know how willing my new companion will be to eat tofu and fruits and vegetables!  )  

You get really close to somebody after living with them for three months though, and I am going to cherish so many of the fun, spiritual, and memorable times that we have had with each other.  In writing my letter to president Kosak today I signed, 'Love, Sister Nilson' haha I think we can take that as a sign that we have been together for long enough ;)

I'm going to miss Sister Nilson, but I am also very excited to meet my new companion,  Sister Darrington. ( She  has been serving in Leipzig with my MTC companion Sister Rasmussen ) Sister Nilson knew my new companion in the MTC and she has said a lot of good things about her.  Sister Nilson is pretty laid back and chill, which has been hard for me at times because most of the time I am up on my feet ready and wanting to go and do.  Apparently my new companion is a 'go and doer' as well!

Ha ha, you should see how we organized and cleaned the apartment . . . it really needed to be done!  (Remember all the cleaning, organizing, and charting things I tried implementing in our home when I got back from college?? Haha gotta love your crazy sister/daughter;)). 

So our investigator E*** has told us that he works at a Bakery/Cafe in Hamburg and we have always talked about wanting to stop by sometime and eat there.  When he heard that Sister Nilson was headed to Leipzig he was so sad and wanted to see her before she left. 

So we went downtown into Hamburg today for lunch and finally ate there with E***. 

HOLY CROW.  Only on the most expensive street in Hamburg  with the most expensive food on planet earth.  I'm pretty sure that each of our meals were like 20-25 euro each . . . And then he insisted on paying for us!  (I didn't know that a baked potato with spinach and cream and a small little salad could cost so much!!).

He holds his hand up in the air and says, 'it is ok, I am African, I can do it!'  Haha we LOVE  E***.  We definitely feel very lucky for all of the cakes and pies that he has brought us home in the past . . . 

E*** is doing amazing though!!  It was so fun to eat with him there and talk like good friends.  He wants us to visit Ghana someday so that he can show us what the culture there is really like (We have heard so many crazy stories!!).  Also, I hope you don't mind but I invited him to visit us in the U.S. after my mission!  (I hope you get the chance to meet many of the people from here). 

We met with him earlier this week and had a GREAT lesson with a member from our ward present.  It is still so amazing and so humbling every time we meet with him. 

We talked about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, scripture study, and prayer.  Do you realize that all three of these things are commandments from God?

All three of these commandments truly show how much God loves us...because of the peace, the comfort, and the knowledge that we receive as we do these things. 

E*** has continued to have many trials come up in his life, and I know that if he will just remember these three things he will be so well off. 
One of the coolest experiences as a missionary is when you are teaching and you just feel like the exact words are coming to you that your investigator needs.

I can really tell a difference between lessons where the Spirit is so STRONG and others where it could be felt in more abundance.  My own spiritual and physical preparation makes such a difference.  I can't expect the Lord to help me if I'm not doing everything I can on my end.
I can't wait to see E*** get baptized!  Every time we meet with him he really shows how prepared he is.  Lessons with him are always very lively and engaging conversations where we all learn and grow together.  

This week started out with two very emotional experiences . . .

We met with Af*** and explained to him that he needed to be re-baptized . . . Which resulted in him bawling throughout the entire lesson.

Imagine a big burly Persian man reduced to tears, and then having to leave the room twice to regain his composure.

It was really cool to see how much baptism really means to him though.

He recognizes the significance and  meaning of such a sacred ordinance.  We set a new date for him to be baptized AND receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We set a date for the second of November. 

So if all goes well with Af*** and E*** we will have two baptisms this transfer!! :D

It was really cool seeing Af***'s tears go away and for a smile to come to his face as we talked about the HOPE the gospel of Jesus Christ brings.

All of us are imperfect and all of us are dependent upon the same God.  All of us must learn to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ to our own lives. 

The Gospel brings so much JOY!  

We ran into another Persian man  the same night after teaching Af***.

(This man previously investigated the church right before I got here but in the end he  blamed God for his problems and wanted nothing more to do with the church). 

My heart just reached out for his man.  It was obvious that he too had had a very rough life, and that he continued to be plagued by misfortune.  He LOVES his family though.  So much.

He reached up in the middle of our conversation  and patted his hand on the top of his head and then dragged it down across a bristly beard . . . 

"One year. And all my hair is white. From here to here.  I am getting so old." 

He just started crying right there in front of us.

The reality of time, of age, and of life sometimes just reduces us to tears.

But I see it day after day that the people who turn away from God, those who choose to despise Him are really those who are weak.

God is our strength. 

I like the line in Preach My Gospel that says "all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement."

I don't understand everything about life, and I don't understand why there is so much sadness and suffering.  But I do know that God LOVES us.  That He is ALWAYS there.  Er ist immer da.  Er will für uns ihm kommen.  

My advice to EVERYONE is to enjoy the time while it lasts.  Make today worth it.  Make tomorrow better.  Always look for reasons to smile.  And trust in God, when the times are rough and even when they are good.


Being a missionary is SO HARD AT TIMES.

We work so hard here, studying the scriptures, pleading with God on our knees, studying German, running around from bus to bahn... from house to house . . .

And honestly, most of the time we go home and we don't have that much to show for our efforts except for the fact that we tried. 

But nothing can replace the feeling you get when you know that you have done your best.

Faith brings miracles.

Sometimes we can't see the miracles until we look back and actually recognize them. Zoom out and look at the big picture.  Count your blessings.  Be grateful for everything and everyone that you have in your life.



I LOVE YOU ALL!!!  Thank you for praying for me and the people here. 
Love,  Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley