So this week I went on my first austausch or in other words my first companion split. So I got to do some missionary work in Nienburg for a day. This is a somewhat small Dorf west of Hannover. And Nienburg definitely felt a lot more like Germany to me than Hannover seeing as it is so multicultural. But anyways so right when I arrive there with Elder Gerhartz who is currently serving in Nienburg and is also the district leader. We head straight off to an appointment with a weniger aktiv (less active) member. And Elder Gerhartz tells me that he is a little crazy. So I thought hmm this will be interesting. So we ride our bikes over there. This is also a first for me since being on my mission. Seeing as in Hannover we just use the Bahns and hoof it everywhere. So we get there and right when I walk in I know it is going to be very interesting. So the first thing I see is a coffee table filled to the brim with big empty bottles of beer and cigarettes. The place is an absolute mess. The only clean spot in his tiny apartment is his bed which has nothing but a sheet on it. The TV is on but is on a broken channel with the constant buzzing sound going off. So I am laughing to myself and just telling myself lets do this. So of course I sit right next to him while Elder Gerhartz sits in a chair across the table of innumerable bottles. So most of the time while we were visiting him, we just listened to him talk. And Elder Gerhartz didn't say much which I knew means there is nothing to say or no way you can respond to something like that. I could barely understand what he was saying but all I knew is that it was weird. What I did catch though was interesting. Like for some reason every time he has the chance to have some little aside with me. He would turn to me and say "Jesus came to me in a dream." And he told us that our wives will be named Emmanuelle and Issai. And he would stop in the middle of what he was saying and look up and ask god what he should tell the missionaries. After I had given a pray he wanted to say one of his own too. Of which he prayed to Jesus, Mary Magdelen, and Aphrodite. And he said many others things as well. But to say the least it was the oddest experience I have had since being here. And somehow we got him to agree to come to church. The rest of that day was pretty standard and we taught a couple people after that. To say the least though I am happy I am not in Nienburg because it is very interesting there at the moment. However I was surprised by how many people are being taught there at the moment. Elder Gerhartz is a pretty good missionary.
Another thing to note during this week is what happened last Saturday. The missionaries from our area in the city of Hannover which is only six missionaries got invited to a Polynesian get-together in a dorf not too far away. Where we would give a short lesson to everyone there and have some food with them. And it was really interesting to see a bunch of Tongans and other Polynesians all gathered together in Germany of all places and even speaking the German language. Just imagine some of the energy you see when watching Polynesians at a party and then just picture them all speaking German. It was very odd to say the least. I never thought I would be eating buried pig even less Polynesian food or be hanging out with a bunch of cool Polynesians while serving in Germany.
Yeah so this week was a very interesting week to say the least. Something else that I have come to the knowledge of while being in Germany is that there is not a lot of variety or options of food here in Germany. All the grocery stores are small and don't have a ton of options. Even just eating out here there isn't a whole lot. Or truly a whole lot that is worth getting. I mean you can find decent German and Turkish food just about anywhere but when it comes to anything else it is just not very authentic or very good to say the least. So the stuff me and the other Elders eat at our apartment most days doesn't really vary from what we would be eating back in the states. Actually less options in my opinion. But whenever we are fed by the members it is always good food. So it is always exciting when we have an eating appointment which only happens once maybe twice a week.
But yeah the mission has been great so far and I am very glad to be here. It seems to me that a lot of people in our area are ready to be baptized or just need a little push, they are so close. Hopefully if everything goes right I will be able to see my first baptism next week. This is very exciting to say the least. But oh mensch have i met a lot of really good people. Like this one tall man from Iran named Reza. He wants to be baptized so bad but he struggles with drinking and smoking. This last Sunday when he came to church and talked to me and my companion you could just tell how upset he was that it was so hard to stop smoking. I know he can do it though. And just yesterday we talked to a man named Michael (not pronounced the same). He is so troubled by his past and would constantly say that he was searching for the full truth and has been in the catholic and envangelish (protestant) church but yet he still feels like he is in Finsternis which means darkness. We walked with him and sat down and talked with him and had a really heartfelt conversation and he really opened up to us. It was very interesting to have this 39 year old man really lay his life down for us. So before we had to go we got his number and his address. And will definitely be teaching him this week. Or another man that we met the other week his name is Mark, he is from the Philippines but has been living in Germany for 20 years. It was just so interesting to see how he lit up after hearing us. And getting to know him a little and what he wants in life. It is just amazing to see how the gospel can affect all these people’s lives. And how it can give them exactly what they have expressed to us. Now it is up to them, if they keep the commitments that we give them I know they can get what they need or that they can receive answers their prayers.
And because of that I have been thinking a lot about prayers and blessings and answers this week. That in my mind it is simply to strive forward with faith. To do what you can to receive these things and to just simply have the desire to have faith to know that these things will come and be answered. In Alma 5:45-46 alma talks about he knew of these things to be true and even asks the how do you think i know of these things to be true? And then goes on to explain that he fasted and prayed many days to gain this knowledge and then you go to D&C 9:7-8. And it talks about that you must study these things out in your mind that ye should take more thought than to merely ask the Lord. So do your part and be faithful and be led not into temptation thinking that your answer will not come. If you keep striving forward with faith that it will come then it will come. But aw yes there is still so much more to learn while I am here and there is still so much I must do to help people find their own answers about this gospel and their very lives.
But in ending on a more informational note, I want to say to anyone who is sending me letters or packages that I have not received any. It is because the mail that gets sent to mission home will only reach me about once a month. I will probably have to send my apartment address in the future if I want things more often or if you want to get these things to me faster. But anyways thanks to all those that read these letters. And I think and pray about everyone and I hope everyone is doing alright.