Monday, February 24, 2014


February 24, 2014
Dearest Family:  Dad, Mom, McKay, Heather, Nakita, Andrew, Hayden ÜÜÜÜ 

Guten Tag!  Today is a beautiful day here in Deutschland, and the SUN IS SHINING :D.  
So, pretty much this week was a week of MIRACLES.  
We met a small, young family on the street one of my first weeks here in Berlin.  They were from Serbia and since this initial meeting we haven’t had any success in meeting with them again.  They live in a Auslanderheim, which is where people live who have migrated here from other countries.  (Being a missionary has helped me to have so much more patience . . . :)).  I don’t even know how often we have been there and our lessons have fallen out.  
One day we were there, and surprise, our appointment fell out.  We were pretty discouraged, but we made the best of the situation.  We changed our attitude and determined that we would find a new person before our next appointment.  Literally right after, we walked into a young woman and her grandmother and brother.  BAM!  More people from Serbia!  They received the Serbian Books of Mormon.  
So . . . A few days later we find ourselves back at the original Auslanderheim.  Now we are trying to meet with the original Serbische Familie and the second . . . Unfortunately once again we didn’t make it past the grumpy old man at the front office once again.
Why do we keep trying?  Well, We are missionaries and that is what we do!! :)
So we went on. . . I had four books of Mormon in my backpack and they were all in Serbian . . . 
As we are walking along the road we start speaking to a man.  He spoke no German and no English.  But hey, the gospel of Jesus Christ is for EVERYONE.  He speaks Serbian!  Serbisch!  
We pulled out the Book of Mormon from my back pack.  We held it up to him and his eyes got so big.  He was so excited and so happy.  He only really understood our words when we said ''Jesus Christus'' or ''Jesus Christ''.  But we would come to find that it was not our words that would get to him.  He couldn't understand our language, only the language of the Spirit.  He almost started crying as we spoke to him. He held up his arms and showed us that he had goose bumps. I showed him the picture from a pamphlet we had (Also in Serbian!!) of Joseph Smith and his vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son.

 He read the last two paragraphs in the Book of Mormon from the introduction : 

''We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See 
Moroni 10:3–5.)
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.''

This experience really showed me the power of the Holy Ghost in conversion.  Here was a humble man, who was open to the power of God coming to his heart and bearing record of truth.
Since this initial meeting we have been to visit him and his family.  (Again at an Auslanderheim, except  somehow this one actually likes us and the fact that we are from the church . . . ).  Picture a one room apartment with several beds surrounding the walls, a small table, and a tv in the corner.  Picture us sitting there not understanding anything one another was saying but understanding each other all at the same time.
We prayed together that we would understand through the Spirit what one another was saying.  At first the Father wasn’t even there.  It was just the mother and two sons.  The Book of Mormon placed carefully on the table.  The mother especially was so eager to listen to us.  It was obvious that she had talked with her husband.
We watched ''The Restoration'' in Serbian with them.  There was such an intense feeling of peace in the room.  I felt such joy that I almost burst into tears.  The man walked in right at the part where Joseph Smith is in the grove praying.  Then he is visited by God and Jesus Christ.  There was such a sense of excitement in the room among the members of the family even though nobody said anything.  
Then we watched the part where Joseph Smith Senior gets baptized.  At this point the mother almost leaped out of her chair.  She pointed to the tv screen and then pointed to herself.  She had such a smile on her face and then she pointed to her husband and at her children sitting around the room.  
They already know that our message is special and of great worth.  They have already received a testimony from the Spirit that what we have is in fact true, the word of God.
When we talked to them about church we pulled out one of our cards with the address on it.  One of them stood up and ran to a cupboard and pulled out another card exactly like the one we had.  It was a little crumbled, but you could see that it had been carefully placed in a safe spot.  It was the original card we had given to the man when we met him.
We went back to this Auslanderheim yesterday because we planned to meet with this family again.  We brought a man with us who can speak Croatian, great ol' Miroslav!!  I am starting to think that these languages are the most helpful languages because EVERYBODY in this auslanderheim has this language in common no matter who they were or where they were from or what their native language was.  So pretty much, we didn’t even make it past the front staircase in this apartment house because EVERYBODY wanted to hear from us and hear about our message.  So we will be going back tomorrow with probably bags full of books in pretty much every language we have.  MIRACLES.
Another incredible experience we had with J***  He has really been reading in the Book of Mormon lately. I think he is a classic example of someone ''feasting upon the word of God''.  He told us about the feeling that he gets as he reads in the Book.  ''It's like I am an empty barrel, and like I am getting filled with water. It is a special feeling.'' He described the overwhelming feeling that comes over him, like a cloud of feeling that surrounds him.  HOLY GHOST!!!  I just don’t understand one thing though.  He KNOWS that God is real, and that Jesus Christ is the son of God.  He has received a testimony from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  That our church is in fact the true church.  But he is still scared of baptism and the commitment because of his Chinese identity.  How can he overcome the fear that he has to be baptized?  I have faith though that he can overcome anything though.  Just like my phrase that has become a part of me . . . I can do all things through Christ.  I know that he can too.

I love you all!  I hope you have a great week!


Monday, February 17, 2014


17 February, 2014
I remember so well, when my Mother would sing to me the words of a song before I would go to bed at night.  "I Am A Child of God."  Now, years later the words come back to me and they mean something so special.  Such comfort and peace comes from such a simple phrase.  A phrase of truth.  Ich bin ein Kind von Gott.  I am a Child of God.  Do we really know that?  Do we really believe that?  If we do, what does it cause us to do?  How does this knowledge affect our lives?  
Gospel--Good news.
Yesterday a young man spoke in our ward.  He was baptized just a couple years ago, and he is the only member in his family.  He looked out at the group of us sitting there in the chapel.  "You really don't know how lucky you are to have the gospel in your life, unless you have had to live without it."  I know that my own testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my knowledge of God, is one of the most dear things that I have.  I cannot take that for granted.  And yet, for the majority of my life I feel like I have taken it for granted.  It has been a journey of now over eight months, away from friends, family, and all that I knew.  To see suffering, to see that the world is just not a fair place, to see that the world is a diverse place.  Love is powerful.  Human pain and joy is the color of humanity.  I know how precious a knowledge of God is.  And I cannot ever take it for granted again.  The Gospel.  The Good news that this world needs. 
Enthusiasm--from the Greek Enthousiasmos.  "GOD IN US."
To be happy, to be enthusiastic.  That is a choice we make.  Just as it is to recognize that God is with us.  And with that recognitition it makes a difference in our life.  Like recognizing the light in the dark.  Recognizing the warmth in the cold.  Recognizing the joy that can always be in us.  
As missionaries the first lesson that we normally give begins with this basic point:  God is our Heavenly Father. our Heavenly FATHER.  Gott ist unser himmlischer Vater.  Another statement of truth that brings such comfort and such peace. I think about how remarkable it is that we have the ability as children of God, that we can communicate with him in prayer.  We can communicate with our Father.

"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. . .Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart" (Bible Dictionary, Prayer).
Prayer is a way for us to speak with God.
Earlier this week I was caught up with many thoughts. I had been studying in the scriptures, and studying personally about the qualities of Christ.  I found myself writing, "I want to be like Christ."  I am sure that I have vocally expressed this thought on many occasions, as well as written it in ink on paper . . . But in this moment it meant so much more.  I am so fascinated by words and the meaning we give to them when they are reflections of our own hearts.  The desires of our own hearts. I found myself in my bedroom where I knelt down and just cried unto my God.  My heart felt so full of gratitude, of love, of feeling.  I really just felt like my Father in Heaven was there listening to me.  Like he really cared about me and loved me.  I prayed for all the people that I know need a special blessing at this time.  And it felt so good that I wasn't praying for me, I was praying for THEM.

It made me think a little bit about Enos in the Book of Mormon.

2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. 
 5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
 6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
I testify from my own experience that God lives.  He loves us.  Faith has a healing power to it, as we turn to Christ.  True repentance brings us to joy.    

I think about Jus*** this week who has been praying every day and putting forth the effort to read in the Book of Mormon.  He still doesn't feel like he has felt anything?  
The thought came to me this morning as I was praying in my personal study.  I can't really pray and ask specifically that somebody will do something, for to do so would be disrespecting their god-given agency.  But I can pray for my companion and I that we might have the ability given to us from God to say what these people need or invite them to act in ways that will help them to feel.  I can also pray that they might feel the Spirit as they act on what we invite them to do.
I reached my 8 month point this past week.  Crazy how that happens.
I love you all!


Sister Heidi Shelley

                                                                     Lankwitz district

Zone Training Meeting Berlin South 02-14

Monday, February 10, 2014


February 10, 2014
News from Heidi :  a few short emails in answer to a some of my questions  and her weekly family email:
I received news that Eric, Ev**’s brother  who we had begun  teaching in Langenhorn, , was baptized yesterday!! Isn’t that so AMAZING!! He was so prepared for the gospel.
Sister Hansen and I are getting along really well. She is really sweet. And this week we had  such an amazing time!!!
I'm kind of  developing a love for EVERYTHING here.  Ha ha I have a growing growing growing list of things I want to study when I get home, things I want to do, etc. :)

 Liebe Familie,
I am sitting here struggling for words to type . . . Normally my fingers just fly across all the keys, and I just can't stop!  But today, I just want to say something that is really meaningful.  I almost feel like the prophets in the Book of Mormon . . . It was a hard process, but they reserved the limited space they had for the things of their heart.  The spiritual matters.  Their words are what we read today. The words that help us, motivate us, and give us opportunities to learn more about the world and about ourselves.  Words can be a very special thing.  Words can be simply spoken, written, or said, but depending on the heart and intent of the deliverer they could mean something completely different.  It is my goal to say things that I really do believe, things that I really mean, things that are really important for me, things that I hope will in some way help you.  
Here are some of the thoughts that have been on my mind this week.  
Life is a gift.  Take a second and close your eyes.  Open your eyes and try to look at EVERYTHING around you.  Think about what a miracle existence is.  Life is a gift.  I think about how wonderful it is to know pain so that I can know joy.  JOY.  In life we will find light and dark, happy and sad, and I am determined that the complexity and completeness of these emotions and experiences can be labeled by the umbrellaed  title of BEAUTY.  I think about how my Spirit responds to light, to good, to warmth.  We are spiritual beings having a physical experience.  God lives.  We can find him in our life.  The Spirit is real.  The Spirit testifies of truth. I have learned personally, that the Spirit can lead me to what is brighter, to what is warmer, to what is happier and better. 

Last night we sat in the kitchen at the university housing.  Mir***, our joint  teach,  had the idea that we could bear our testimonies to M***, that he might be able to feel the Spirit testify of our words.  It turned into a very personal, and touching situation.  M*** had felt the warmth of our words.  He had felt SOMETHING.  He pulled out a photo of himself when he was only five years old.  That was on his first trip to Mecca. In our meetings we often talk about feelings, about the Holy Ghost, about the reality of God touching people and touching hearts.  What feelings had he had as he had visited the holy city of Mecca?  What power had he felt as he had prayed five times a day his entire life, out of obedience, but also out of love for God?  
To be gathered together as believers is a powerful thing.  Allah?  Heavenly Father?  Somebody has to be right.  I wouldn't be here though, if I didn't know myself.  I know that God lives.  I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God.

Pages turn in German, English, and Arabic . . .

We read together . . . 
3 Nephi 11: 32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.” 

As we sat together, we talked about our feelings.  Our Spirit responds to goodness, to light, to God.  We don't tell people that they are all wrong, that we are all right.  We tell people that God lives and loves them.  There is truth upon the entire earth.  But we are claiming to have a fullness of the truth, as it was restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.  We have a prophet today.  God is the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER.  He loves his children.  He wants them to be happy.

 Yesterday J*** came to church.  Man, I love this guy.  Here is the text we got from him in the evening after asking him about his church experience.
"I learned something new for me. First, I know the 16 prophets today. Three of them were Mr. Smith, one is Thomas, and Brigham Young. They looks upright! Second, I find I have overcome the indisposition of church when I saw some lovable faces. Third, I am happy all the day. Is that enough? I think you changed me somehow, and bring me to somewhere with brightness."
To watch somebody experience the joy of learning about the gospel for the first time is an incredible opportunity.  In the first couple visits we had had with him he literally had a glow about him.  Then, the doubt set in.  Did this really happen?  Is this really true?  I see what a destructive force fear is when battling against faith.  Yes, this really did happen.  Yes, this is really true.  But how can we KNOW?  We invited J*** to pray, we invited him to go to the source of all truth.  That is, let him ask of God.  
Turning pages in Chinese and English . . . 

James 1:5
 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth  not; and it shall be given him.”
I have a testimony.  I know that anybody who wants a testimony can also have a testimony.  I know that if we have questions that we can find answers.  I know that God lives.

J*** wore his suit to church yesterday, and he just had a smile on his face!  Did I change him somehow?  I think not.  But I believe that I helped him to find the way that he can change himself, or at least allow himself to be changed by believing in God.  To read somebodies own words telling me that I helped them come 'somewhere with brightness.'  That fills my heart.

I love being here.  I am grateful for my life.  I am grateful that I have this time to serve my God.
Love you,
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley
That one Blondie in BERLIN.

Sister Hansen and me!! :D

          P.Day:  Visiting  Berliner Dom- The Cathedral church in Berlin  is the largest church in the city.

I stood  inside of the Church and looked upwards at one of the most beautiful artistic masterpieces.  So incredible!! 

We climbed  the stairs to the top  and looked out over the city of Berlin :)

What an incredible view of Berlin!!

This  painted building is  an apartment building in our area.  There are a whole bunch of apartments with the cutest murals. Berlin has a lot of history, so a lot of the city is really old but there is also a lot of modern influence.  LOVE IT :)

Me and the little  green man.  He is called the Berlin Ampel Man.  It's the little green guy that appears when you cross the street . . . 

               Me with the Berliner Bear.  There are so many of these fun guys everywhere in the city! 

 This one of me by the fitness bear . . . I was very enthusiastic and excited to be outside and talking to everybody                        . . . We made a joke that I was like a little puppy being let off my leash . . . :D 

                                                           Buildings near the Berliner Dom.

Standing on the line where the Berlin Wall once stood.

 My  package arrived!! That package was filled with so much love!!!! You should have seen how happy I was when I opened it :DDDDDD    I love the apron and the cook book!!  In this photo I had made some homemade spaghetti with smoked tofu with LOTS OF delicious vegetables and it was so delicious!! :D


                                    OH MEINE GUTE I GOT TO SEE SISTER NILSON!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Monday, February 3, 2014


February 3, 2014
Dearest Family,
I just read President's email and a point of it really stood out to me.

"in the scriptures we find an example of a young man who obeyed his father’s directive that the family depart into the wilderness leaving their belongings behind, who went back to his hometown to retrieve things his father asked him to get and who was asked to help build a boat and depart for a promised land.
Normally, we would identify that person as Nephi, and it would be right too. But let us take Laman - he did the same but it didn't change him. He went through the motions, but he was complaining and murmuring, and he did not receive a change of heart that brought about conversion."
How true is that?  
I am almost to my halfway point on my mission.  At times I have murmured.  At times I have complained.  I have tried.  I have failed.  I like to think that I have succeeded.  Sometimes it's easy to question that though.  I want to be like Nephi though.  I want.  I know that "to want" or "to desire" is to precede something better.  
As I have been serving in Berlin for about a month now, I feel like I am finding some of myself that I've been missing a little bit.  The part of me that is a little stubborn, sometimes a little too competitive, that will not give up easily.  I really am trying, working hard, and I am really enjoying the work.  
Before I tell you that J*** is getting baptized on March 15th, I have to quickly knock on wood.  **klopf klopf**.  But Yeah, J*** is planning on getting baptized!! On March 15th!! After teaching him about the Plan of Salvation and about the Gospel of Jesus Christ he was feeling a little overwhelmed.  We sat there in the community kitchen of the Student apartments and he admitted shyly that he was a little bit confused. I really love thinking about the people here and putting myself in their shoes.  What would it be like to sit on the other side of that wooden table hearing some young girl tell me who God was, that he loves ME, that he has a plan for ME.  God wants ME to be baptized.  How would I feel?  I would probably feel a little confused too.  It was about two weeks ago that J***told us that he was uncertain if there was a God or not.  But in this lesson, we stopped at this point, and we invited him to say a prayer.
 We invited him to pray and ask for understanding, for peace, for a confirmation that what we taught him was true.  He spoke the prayer, and his sincere Chinese spoken English words really touched me.  After he ended his prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, I asked him.  "J***, how do you feel?"  He looked at me like I was slow or something, and then clapped his hands together!  "I'm ready to go!  What more do you have to teach me?!"  He described the good feeling that he gets when he meets with us and reads in the scriptures.  J***recognizes and identifies the influence of the Holy Ghost in his life.
He came to church yesterday, and I got to translate the Sunday school lesson for him from German to English.  In part of the lesson we read in the manual about steps we can take to come closer to God.
"We can know God if we will:
1.    Believe that He exists and that He loves us (see Mosiah 4:9).
2.    Study the scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:14–17).
3.    Pray to Him (see James 1:5).
4.    Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21–23).
As we do these things, we will come to know God and eventually have eternal life.
·  Ponder what you can do to draw nearer to God." (Chapter 1, gospel principles).

I asked him if he believed that God was there.  Yes.

Does he believe that God loves him?  Yes.

At the last point, I asked him to ponder himself on ways that he could draw nearer to God. "Well, I can get baptized!!  And I can read more in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.  Just like I read in 2 Nephi 31 and in the other chapters I've read!"

Let me restate the fact that I love Asians. 

Also, listening to Y*** Y***and J*** speaking excitedly in Chinese about “who knows what” is music to my ears.  Even if it is during sacrament meeting. . . 

Sorry I don't have a lot more time to write, but I hope you are all doing well.  I will keep on praying for you.  Please remember to pray for me as well :D


Something I also say when I leave people is "Tschüß!! Papa!!"

Ich liebe euch :)