Alright let's do this thing! Okay so first off....yeah! I don't know this week was filled with some interesting experiences I guess. Not that they were bad just that they weren't the ones you were looking for. Usually a missionary is looking for the miraculous kind of experiences where lots of wonderful families get baptized and then they refer us to their other wonderful friends who have big big families who also want to join the church and partake in the wonderful blessing of the gospel. Well we didn't get any of that this week but we still had fun while doing it.
First and foremost this week was basically characterized by boldness and conversations done in the most random of places. Where does it all start you ask? Actually first, it starts in the most common places, namely on the streets of Cottbus where we decided to ask people some not so run of the mill missionary questions. Usually the favorite questions are: what brings you joy in life or what does the family mean to you, or something along those lines. But after about an hour of finding or so, we were starting to get a little impatient with the German people shall we say. So instead we started to ask them what the word humility means to them and interestingly enough, none of them had any idea what to say. It was actually quite intriguing. We stopped a couple of young guys that looked to be in their mid-twenties or so. At first they see us and you can tell they are kind of making fun of us but when we stop them and ask them this very question, one of them just looks at the other and says yeah ask him, he definitely needs it and then the other guy was just speechless and looked like he was really uncomfortable until his friend finally said look guys we gotta go and then left. We weren’t trying to mess with people or anything but I felt like they had a little bit of a reality check. Once again we were not trying to troll people but it was very interesting to see how they reacted. One lady, after we explained to her that those of humble hearts will receive answers from God, told us at the end of the conversation after taking our card, yeah when I am humble, I will get a hold of you. That was also pretty funny comeback.
Anyway, let us get to the other ways that we talked to people this week. So on Thursday we had a Zone-Conference in Leipzig, we took a long train ride with everybody in our District, which of course is fun but that is also the problem. Usually when you start to get bigger groups of missionaries together, all they want to do is talk to each other and not anybody else. So the whole way there we talked to each other and that isn't necessarily a sin or anything but just time lost for doing missionary work. So we get to Leipzig and we have our conference and of course that is good and it was nice to see a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while. On the way back the train was more crowded, so we weren't sitting very close to one another. But after a few stops and after a few more people got out, I stood up to go see if any spots cleared up over where the others were sitting and to my surprise no not really, but I decided to talk to my good buddy Elder Schulte. I just stood there in the middle of the aisle. There are people all around us and there is this girl with headphones on and I can tell that she keeps looking at me and because the mission has made me crazy than ever before, I just kind of wave at her and smile which causes her to take out some of her headphones to try and find out if I am trying to say something to her. I tell her that it wasn't anything really, I was just excited. And then I went back to talking to Elder Schulte in the middle of the aisle. After a couple of minutes, she asks me whether or not I wanted a seat. And of course I am not going to decline the offer. So she and apparently her two other friends who I didn't even know where her friends moved some of their bags and made a seat for me. So to shorten things up a little bit, we had a nice conversation and talked about why I was in Germany and everything. Now there were seats opened up. So I go get my companion who was still sitting in another part of the train and bring him to where we are. And this is where the cool part comes in, we were all sitting in the same area but we weren't sitting right next to each other like we were on the way there. So there were people amongst us. And to my lovely surprise, the Elders from Forst started talking to a lady across from them, my companion started talking to a lady across from him and then after a few minutes, I started talking to a lady across from me and because I was sitting right next to the sisters they joined in on the conversation. So it was really cool, we were all talking to people on the train and it was great and the time went by a lot faster. And in the end we even teamed up and ended up giving a lady a Book of Mormon. One of us talked to her on the train to Cottbus and then when we all got off in Cottbus and the Forst Elders hopped on another train to go to first this lady also got on the same train, so we told the Elders to go sit next to her and give her a Book of Mormon if they feel moved to by the Spirit. And guess what it totally worked!
So the very next day we were also in train again on our way to Lübbenau, where some members invited us over for lunch. And because of the success from the other day I took it upon myself to risk the awkward and talk to some more people, which led into me hurrying to get someone’s number before getting off the train in a few seconds. But on the way back it was a completely different experience. We sit across from this small Asian girl in the train, who was sleeping and her head was even bobbing. And I told myself okay if she wakes up then I will talk to her and of course like ten seconds later she wakes up and I'm like oh well okay. So I kind of startlingly say hello to her which causes my companion to laugh and because of that I start laughing so there is me and my companion just trying to stop laughing but failing miserably at it and in the meantime this lady is probably thinking these guys are rude for laughing at me because I was sleeping or something like that so it just made it even more awkward but as I said before I am crazier than ever before and so I went ahead anyways and talked to her and I come to find out that she is from Madagascar, who would've thought that? And I am just asking her simple questions, but she is just getting more skeptical by the second and even asks me why I am even asking her questions but the conversation continues and she is even asking us about our church but in the end she basically just rejected us like we were crazy or something but the best part was the very end where we were back in Cottbus and the train is packed so we have an entire audience standing there listening to us and seeing all of this go down and yep we basically kept talking just to share our beliefs to all the people who were listening whether they wanted to or not. It was definitely one of the more awkward experiences of my mission. But you can't always have perfect experiences.
Okay so i quatsched a whole lot haha, but i just want to say a couple more things before ending this letter to you wonderful readers out there. You truly never know the effect that you will have while you are on a mission. I still don't feel like I have had a very big effect but then week while talking to other missionaries at Zone Conference. I found out a couple of things. First, remember back when I was in Bremerhaven? Where Alex the 21 year old German was baptized? Well, Elder Pilling and I had our worries about him but he has been keeping strong and not just that because of his joining the church and the effect it has had upon him. His grandma is going to get baptized! So woohoo for that! And also I heard something else crazy, so when I was in Weimar and Erfurt for that very short period of time, I got to know an Iranian student named Amin and I love that guy and I am still in contact with him even up to this day. When I knew him he was still living in Weimar but now he is in Dresden continuing his schooling there, I thought he had lost contact with the missionaries in Weimar quite a while ago or shortly after I left. But when I was in the tram on the way to the train station in Leipzig and talking to the Dresden Elders,one of them just happened to be a good friend from my original MTC group and as I was talking to him he started telling me how they had an investigator that wanted to transfer over to a school in Utah, in particular to BYU. Right then and there I asked him what the investigators name was and then he said Amin and I literally laughed. He has been meeting with them and with the sisters and even came to church a few times and yeah it was just crazy to have that happen. I am the one who got him interested into coming to BYU or at least to Utah in general. I will tell you what kind of conversation spawned this desire in him if you ask me when I get back home from my mission. So the moral of this story is yeah once again you never know what kind of effect you can have. So don't lose courage and always remember that you can always do something more!
Well I love you and I hope you have a wonderful week! Woo! I'm out!