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

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