Monday, January 27, 2014


January 27, 2014

Liebe Familie,

This week was the COLDEST of my mission yet, and to be quite honest I am surprised I am still alive.  We had been having weather around 5, 6 Celsius and then it dropped to about -20.( -4 Fahrenheit)  Let's just say I made some people smile as I took some serious measures to ensure my personal survival . . .

I cracked and wore the Schwester Timm "Princess Coat."  MMM hmm.  It's pretty much like wearing a feminine sleeping bag that is decorated with flowers around the skirt part of it.  Then Sister Hansen, Meine liebe Mitarbeiterin, donated a knitted hat her grandmother had sent her . . . So I had a lovely magenta, turquoise cap on with a large flower off to the side . . . Add to that cheetah print ear muffs . . . And my enormous bright red mittens that are so big they could be hot pads . . . Buahahahaha.  We didn't find any "Neue Untersucher" on this day.

I think everybody needs to have at least one disastrous law of chastity lesson on their mission.  We had ours this week.  (Sister Hansen didn't mention to me that she has never taught his lesson before.. She opened areas her first two transfers and has had really hard areas which means not that  many progressing investigators. We like to make fun of "The District" movies sometimes, and we are proud to say that we used the classic "Er hat es gebrochen" or "He broke it" line. (I feel like this will only be funny if you are a missionary, but I will share it nonetheless ;)). 

This entire week I feel been thinking about the temple a lot.  I had some questions on my mind, and I just wished I could go to this holy place to think and ponder.  It's crazy how the desires of our hearts can be influenced over time . . . Honestly, before I came on my mission I didn't really understand the temple that much nor did I have that much of a personal appreciation.  I finished reading the Doctrine and Covenants this week and perhaps it has also affected me in some way.  I have such a deep gratitude for the saints that came before us, who began the  work of building temples that we might help with the salvation of others.  I am grateful for the opportunity that we have to go to the temple for ourselves as well.  I also have such gratitude for Joseph Smith and for his sacrifices and conviction.  I think it was in Doctrine and Covenants 135 that I read earlier this week and I concluded my personal study almost in tears because of the feelings I had in my heart regarding the Prophet of the Restoration.

Sweet Y** Y** agreed to a baptism date for the 15th of March. SHE DESIRES TO BE BAPTIZED.   She's different from anybody I have ever met or taught on my mission yet.  She has such a strong faith that has developed so quickly.  I was sitting next to her in sacrament meeting yesterday and at one point she just pulled out her Book of Mormon and began studying in 2 Nephi 31 again (The same chapter we had studied together the night before).  She asked me in a whisper what it meant to "feast upon the words of Christ."  She had the whole two pages marked up with a pen, with notes and thoughts written in the margins.  I was very filled with joy.  Y** Y**, she is already feasting!  Please pray for her though. She may need to return to China.  Even though the church is getting a lot stronger in China, there are no missionaries there.  I have never seen somebody so HAPPY and seen the gospel make such a difference in  somebody's life.

We met with Mo** last night and had another man from our ward present at the lesson.  The other man converted to the Church in 2001, and his own personal conversion story touched all of us.  Mo**wants to believe us, he wants to believe that Christ is the son of God, not just a prophet, he wants to believe that we have a living prophet on the earth today.  But he is scared.  It's like an internal battle within him.  A battle of feelings.  He just wants evidence.  At the conclusion of the lesson I began to speak and I know that the Spirit was with me.  I took my little pocket Book of Mormon in my hands (That book has become so precious to me!), and I told him to take his into his hands as well.  "Mo**.  You are holding in your hands the evidence.  This is the evidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  This is the evidence that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that we now have a prophet on the earth.  This is evidence that what we have taught you is TRUE."  He's so worried about overcoming this inner obstacle of feeling within him, but I told him that through the power of the Book of Mormon, he doesn't have to change his heart, his desires, or his feelings.  The Spirit will touch his heart, change his heart, and influence his desires and feelings.  I know because I have experienced this.  He has only been reading a little bit here and there every week, but if we really study, and search, and give the attention to the Book of Mormon that we should, we WILL find out for ourselves through God's Spirit that it is true.

I am so incredibly happy and content as a missionary.  I LOVE this work.  It has been so cold, but we like to say that the Spirit keeps us warm!

Thank you for all of your love and support.  I love you all so much.  Thank you for your prayers.

Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley  

The first week I was in Berlin I was in a drit ( threesome ) with Sister Hansen and Sister Ahrenholtz.

Me and Sister Hansen

                                               Sister Ahrenholtz, me and Sister Hansen


This was us with the sister who was sent home due to illness. P.S. I LOVE being right next door to  the mission office.:D

                                                      In front of Brandenburg Gate

                                                           Reichstag Building-Berlin

                               Me and Sister Hansen in front of the Reichstag building

                                                              Berlin Victory Column

                                    COLD WINTER DAYS IN BERLIN....BBBRRRRRR

Banana chocolate chip pancakes..of course!! :D:D

Monday, January 20, 2014


January 20, 2014

Heidi and I were able to chat for a few minutes through email early this morning. I have included a few of her comments.

“ I am so happy here in Lankwitz.

The ward is really small here - definitely smaller than Langenhorn. There are a lot of wards in the Berlin area.  This is just one of them, and it isn't really in the center of Berlin- more in the suburb area. But there are some really nice people in the ward, and it is so different because we serve with two elders and the elderly couple, too
We are working with so many incredible people.,and I am just LOVING my companionship and that we are so close to the elders and see other missionaries a lot.

Also, just wanted to tell you how amazing it is that since my priesthood blessing I have had NO homesickness whatsoever, no anxiety, no depression, no nothing.  I am just so happy! :)

It is seriously so cold!! I think I am going to buy a warmer coat today.”

Now for her weekly email:

Quote of the week:  "I hate blondes, but I can love you through Jesus Christ." -Schwester H***
It was also with Schwester H*** that we helped her throw her Christmas tree out of her third story level apartment last week. . .  Always an adventure!

More comical moments of the week:
We were out doing doors and we go walking up the stairs after a man rang us in.  "Hallo, wir sind die Missionarinnen . . ." The man seriously jumped back and squealed like a little girl hahaha it was so funny.  So I asked him, "What's wrong, you're scared of a couple of girls?" ... 
The word "Missionary" can have quite the effect on people!

I learned from Sister Darrington, "I will do whatever it takes."  We were talking to a man at his apartment and it turned out that he had supposedly read the Book of Mormon two times already but he had decided that it wasn't the word of God. I asked if he had prayed about it, but he had not.  I was just so intrigued by this man and was a little bit stubborn so my companion stood next to me in horror as he fetched a bible almost the size of me, holding it in his arms and opening it up.

 I then proceeded to read in 2 Nephi 29 . . .  " Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. . .

Let's just say, I think I have overcome my fear of talking to people :P

I have only been here for about two weeks, but it is crazy how quickly a place can feel like home.  I love the people here.  I love how everybody is different.  Everybody has their own story. There's something I can learn from every one of these people.

There is J*** from Australia with the coolest accent and the coolest dinosaur pajamas.  He claims to be Aethiest, and yet he prayed at the end of our lesson with the most earnest and sincere call to God that I have ever heard.  He just wants to KNOW.  He is willing to try because he's not worried of failing.  It just really touches your heart when you hear somebody really pray for the first time, really trying to communicate with their Father in heaven.

There is M** from Egypt who has half of the Quran memorized.  It is so hard for him to just change his way of thinking because Islam is so different from Christianity, specifically Mormonism.  Imagine believing with your whole heart that Jesus Christ was just a prophet, but to try to change your beliefs that He was and is in fact the Son of God.  He prayed just last night and asked God to help us find the necessary means so that we can teach him, show him the evidence that he needs, and really help him so that he can know the truth, to close the doors that need to be close and open the necessary doors that need to be opened. 

Y***  from China who is young, beautiful, and a master pianist. Just in December she had no idea who God was, and Jesus Christ was just a name that she had heard.  We have met with her a few times since I got here and her rate of progression is incredible.  She prayed at the end of our lesson earlier in the week and we challenged her to specifically ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet and whether or not the Book of Mormon was the word of God.  When we ask her if she felt like she had received an answer she just spoke of the feelings she gets when she prays.  "I feel so light when I pray.  Like everything is peaceful.  I just want this to become natural for me.  I just want all of these teachings and commandments to be a natural part of life for me."  It was so special that we could testify that that is why we have the commandments in the first place.  God loves us so much, and He gives us the commandments to help us find happiness in life.  She went on asking all sorts of questions about our purpose in life, and she just listened so intently to the answers and scriptures that we provided. 

J*** from China.  In meeting last night we watched "Finding Faith in Christ."  We shared our own testimonies of why we believe in God and Jesus Christ.

 Why should we believe in God?   

Not only does it bring us peace and hope.  But it helps us know our direction and purpose in life.  We are here on the earth to have joy, to learn, to grow, to make covenants with God.  Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy ghost, and enduring to the end.

 We didn't really have that much time to talk in detail, but we invited J*** to say the closing prayer.  We had taught him how to pray in the beginning, and by the end of the lesson he was thanking us so sincerely for helping him to become aware of God, of Jesus Christ, of his purpose here on the earth.  He was so grateful.  He prayed for the first time then.  Again, incredible for somebody who just an hour before had wondered about his own existence, wondered if there was a God, or some higher power.  "Please help me to know if you are really there God.  Please help me so that I can learn what I need to.  Bless me that if it is right that one day I might be baptized."  We hadn't even invited him to be baptized, but he knew it was something expected of him from God even without the invitation. 

We need a DESIRE.  It is the desire of these people that allows them to truly learn, and to allow the Spirit enter into their humble hearts.

I am so happy here in Lankwitz and it means a lot to me that people see in me one who is enjoying the work.  It's crazy looking back sometimes and wondering why I ever struggled, why I ever doubted, why I ever feared?  Then I realize that's just always how life is.  But it feels good knowing that I have overcome things that were once hard, and have learned things that were once confusing.  I am learning more to enjoy things that are hard, especially when I realize that doing hard things makes me stronger.  

I love you all!!
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley    

Monday, January 13, 2014


The following is from two short emails Heidi sent to us today. 

January 13, 2014

"God Be With You Till We Meet Again."
"I'm Singin' in the rain . . . !"

I don't have that much time to write since I sent so many pictures.

My last days in Hamburg

                                                 Gonna miss these feet standing together . . .

Love this girl.  This was new years eve.  We had a great night with our ward mission leader, his wife, and little son.  Even did some fireworks! 

                                                              In front of the opera haus.

But holy crow mother, I can't even tell you how crazy it was to leave Langenhorn.

Sister Darrington said she has never seen such a farewell.

I can't even write about all the people, explain anything let alone everything.  All I have is my journal with so many precious memories written down and I pray that I will have a good memory that I can share everything with you someday.  And I have so many photos that mean so much to me.

                                                           Saying goodbye to my first district.

                                           Hamburg Distrikt für immer! (Hamburg District forever!)

 Saying good bye to my "Langenhorn Grandparents" .Schwester Neilsen is back out of the hospital and back home again which makes me happy.  I love them both so much.

                                                                    Goodbye Mirja!!

                                                                   So much luggage!!

Bruder Wolff!  This photo makes me want to cry . . . reminds me too much of Langenhorn.

                                                              Our last day together!!

Goodbye Eric! I am so glad I was able to see Eric Tuesday morning and say goodbye before heading to Berlin.

Schwester Glen, also like a mother and grandmother.  She insisted on going to the train station with us so that we didn't have to go alone.  She treated us to lunch and we just love her. 

 I was so sad to leave Langenhorn, but I was so happy at the same time.  New adventures, new people, new experiences.

                                                                       Love this girl!!

                   Goodbye to Elder and Sister Nuttall and my dear companion, Sister Darrington.

                                         Elder Gibson and me. He has been a great district leader.

                                            All Aboard!! Off to new adventures in Berlin!!

 Saying my last goodbyes in Hamburg last Tuesday . .  . I can't believe that was just a week ago.  Feels like a dream.  

Saying good bye to Ab** was really like saying goodbye to a brother.  A brother I'm not sure I'll ever see again.  I listened to/watched a video on my camera just last night.  "God Be With You Till we meet again."  We are singing together for the last time, and the camera is turned to the scriptures and my precious golden star.  Till we meet again.  Everybody said it is not goodbye, just see you later.  It's not "tschüß" but "Aufwiedersehen."  Lump in my throat.
 He gave me his last words.  I was going where God wanted me to be.  He never thought the day would come that I would leave.  I left him with an envelope of photos and I wrote a few last words.  I wrote out the words to Doctrine &Covenants  78:18. " And ye cannot bear all things; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."   

I gave him something special to remember me by….something that was given to me by someone dear to me. . He cradled it like a treasure in his hands. He held it up to his heart. “I will keep this forever. I will keep it safe for you.”Shaking his black, coarse hands. Giving him a big hug.  Good bye?  Or just “see you later?”

                                                                           Abel . . . :(

                                                      "I love you my brother Abel."  Alma 17:2-3

 "Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had  searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and  fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with  power and authority of God." (Alma 17: 2-3)

Good bye J**  Read with him in Alma 32.  Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge, therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen which are true.  Please let us see each other again, still united in faith.  Great big hug.  

                                                         J**! So hard to say goodbye!

 H** came and met up with us at the train station.  He wanted one more chance to say good bye.  There he was at the Gleis holding a wrapped flower and a farewell note.  

I am SO INCREDIBLY happy here in Berlin though :)))
 I am loving Berlin!  Cobble stone roads, beautiful sunsets, a multicultural people.  

I am in Lankwitz now.  I AM SO HAPPY HERE. May be more multicultural than Langenhorn. 
 We met with people from Thailand, Egypt, Congo, Australia, and China . .
I have a lot of energy and excitement for the work. 
 Every day we have been out I have seriously talked to EVERYBODY. 
 It is so interesting and exciting, and I seriously don't know why I ever had problems with fear.  
I have to go, but I will share more next week.
I bore my testimony in my new ward yesterday and I was so grateful to stand before my new ward family.  I know that God lives and that is why I am here.

I am ready to go.  I am ready to do whatever it takes. 
Ich liebe euch! 
Sister Heidi Elaine