Hallo liebe Schätze,
Well it has been another week in the central heart of Germany. With the smell of Thüringen-Bratwurst in the air and the constant view of Germanland from the Autobahn. Well, this week could have been better but no fear it was not a waste by any means. So first things first, at the beginning of last week I got immediately on a train to Berlin with the Zone-Leaders to attend my very first Mission-Leadership-Training Conference. So I got to hang out with Elder Burri, my fine Swiss friend and also Elder Peterson who hails from the exotic land of Provo, Utah. We then spent the night with the elders in Tiergarten (the very heart of Berlin). So that was a good time. On Tuesday, the meetings began, I can't really say anything really exciting about the conference for all the leaders on the east side of the mission other than it felt like some weird kind of club for a second and I got to hear stuff before other missionaries did. Or when we were sitting down to eat lunch I sat about a chair away from President Kosak where I then proceeded to look him in the eyes and said to him.....'The last supper.' Haha maybe a little bit harsh but it made him laugh. I, then later almost completely wrestled with him after the conference, haha not sure how that happened. After the conference the Zone-Leaders and I made our way back to Erfurt and unfortunately had to spend a little bit too much time in Berlin Hauptbahnhof for a couple hours before our train came. I am telling you, I know Berlin-Hauptbahnhof all too well now. On the way back to Erfurt I had an interesting experience though, compared to on the way there were I mostly just slept, or compared to the last time I came back from Berlin with Elder Burri were we had the great pleasure of listening to some drunkards singing inappropriate songs almost the complete ride back, this time about a half hour before we would arrive in Hauptbahnhof, we invited an American that was actually sitting behind us to come sit with us. I can't remember where he was from but he has lived in Germany for about the last 7 years and actually got his masters degree here. So that was cool but here is where the interesting experience comes in. So the plan was that after we arrived in Erfurt I would get picked up by the other elders and then the zone leaders would get on another train and head to Jena where they serve. But what ending up happening is that if they went all the way to Erfurt they would have missed their train because of delays. So instead they got off at Weimar and left me on the train to make the rest of the trip to Erfurt. So, of course, naturally after the other Elders were gone this guy that we were sitting with unloaded all his questions on me about the Church that he had built up inside of him over the past 3 years that he has been in Germany. Haha, no companion to back me up but it was a great conversation nonetheless and I think I handled it well. But eventually after even more delays so basically after talking with him for about a half hour and finally arriving in Erfurt, I get out of the train with this guy and guess what? There were no Elders there to pick me up and I didn't have a cell phone. Haha good thing the guy from the train allowed me to use his phone to call them. But even then it felt so weird to wait out on this corner at like 10 at night with no companion. That was pretty trippy and I thought, oh man, this would be the perfect time for Satan to lead some crazy people to me haha because missionaries always experience weird stuff in situations like that. But after sitting on the corner for about 15 minutes the Elders finally picked me up in the car.
That was probably the biggest event during the week other than things like one of the families we are teaching tried to Tschüss us as we call it, or in other words try and break contact off with us. But lucky while I was on exchange with Elder Karpowitz we went by and saved the day and managed to get them back on the right track and apparently after it was all over it just ended up being some kind of weird misunderstanding, which still confuses me to this very moment. Have I also mentioned that my district has gotten quite a bit bigger? I know have 10 in all, with 4 of them being senior couples. It is very interesting to now be planning all the district meetings. But something else that has truly been a rewarding and a big learning experience is that as a district leader i am the one who is in charge of giving baptismal interviews in our district other than of course my own investigators. I say that because just today I had a baptismal interview with an approximately 60 year old man today who will be baptized this coming Saturday. First it is very impressive to see someone who is already a little bit aged making such a change in his life but also because none of his friends or his own kids understand why he is doing such a thing and are still under the impression that we are a cult. The wife wants to be baptized too but unfortunately is waiting until things cool down with their kids and they can actually see that we are not a cult in any sort of way. It is really awesome to see such faithfulness and willingness to follow Jesus Christ despite such opposition from his very own kids. But the second thing I wanted to talk about was.....really? I am now holding baptismal interviews for people? If you would have asked me that at the beginning of my mission or a year before my mission or really at all in my life. I would have told you that I couldn't see myself doing stuff like that or that I would have the capability of doing something like that. But yet here I am. It reminds me of what the visiting Area Seventies said to us last week during zone-conference. He explained a little about his life and that at one point he and his wife were going to go on a mission together but right before they were going to put their mission papers in. He was called to be a stake-president and that at first he didn't even want to be a stake president and he was kind of confused that why not a mission instead? Why did the Lord feel that he needed to be a stake president rather than going out on a mission with his wife. Later on he was eventually called as one of the Area-Seventies to be in Eastern Europe, one of the places he presides over is Romania. But it was very interesting to hear him talk about how he never would've thought that he would be called as a stake president and that even as a stake president he never thought he would have been called as a Seventy. And there was two things that I learned from this story one of them being that I am seeing the same thing in my own life. I am being called to positions and doing things that I never thought I would be doing. The Lord truly prepares you without your awareness, there is always the hope that when you follow the Lord he will make the best out of you, and it will be beyond your expectations once you truly realize it. And the second thing I learned from this story was that bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents, and seventies are called to do the work that they do. But a missionary, he or she chooses to take on the calling. When I really thought of it like that, it put more meaning into the decision that I have made and that I need to show even more through my actions that this was something that I chose, that I wanted to do. It just gave me a little more meaning I guess.
Well that is about all I have time to write about today. Hopefully I can get you guys some pictures of my district and of some of the missionaries so you can all see who I am talking about. Well I miss ya all, I have forgotten what America is like, all of the Elders in my apartment are sleeping in the same room, and I love ya!