Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dear Family





This past week was filled with some pretty big milestones in the life of Sister Brooke Terry.



Milestone #1- December 23rd. aka the best day of my mission to date!

    You’ll never believe what happened!!

                The night before, sister Hamner and I decided we'd go to Sonneberg to follow up with the book lady I talked with on the train the other week. I knelt down to say my nightly prayer after planning and said something along the lines of:

“Heavenly Father, this is all on you. We found the address of a Schwimmbad in Sonneberg on the internet, but I have no idea if it’s the one she works at. If it is the one she works at, I have no idea if she'll be working tomorrow...and if she is working tomorrow, I have no idea if we'll be able to find her because I don’t remember her name!!

                Well, the next morning rolled around and I wasn’t feeling too well and we got home later than expected from a member breakfast appointment, so we just decided to bag the Sonneberg plan and stick around the apartment to finish up studies. As soon as we made that decision, I felt incredibly unsettled. 10, 15, 20 minutes passed and the feeling remained, so I looked up at Sister Hamner and said "I think we need to go to Sonneberg"...and as soon as I did so, the unsettled feeling was replaced by complete peace.

                We found the Schwimmbad really easily--it wasn’t too far away from Bahnhoff. As we walked up, the reality of how unlikely it'd be to find her hit me, and I almost wanted to just turn around and go home...but Sister Hamner kept walking, so I did, too. We entered into the front doors, started towards the front desk AND GUESS WHO TURNED THE CORNER AT THAT EXACT MOMENT?!

                I waved and she came over to Sister Hamner and me! We chatted for a couple seconds, but I could see she was busy, so I went in for the kill pretty quickly. I asked if her and her family had time to meet with us and she said "ohhh, I don’t know. My husband really wouldn’t be too interested and my kids are too young to understand anything you’d teach"

I thought, “There is NO WAY everything worked out the way it did today so that she could reject the invitation to meet with us!! So I said "what about you individually? Would YOU be interested to meet with us?"

                AND SHE SAID YES.

                AND SHE GAVE US HER NUMBER

                AND OH MY GOSH I ALMOST PASSED OUT.

                Isn’t the Lord INCREDIBLE?! Look at what He did!!!! The bad feeling I got when we decided not to go & her turning the corner as soon as we got there? NOT COINCIDENCES.

               They were manifestations of the Lords power.

               They were proof of His hand in this marvelous work.

               Get this, though: after she agreed to meet with us, she asked if we wanted to go ice skating...well, neither Sister Hamner or I understood her, so we just smiled and nodded (like missionaries always do when they have no idea what the heck someone is saying to them). She motioned for us to follow her and the next thing we know, we're walking into a rink and the lady is asking us our shoe size so she can grab us skates! I looked over at Sister Hamner and whispered "soooo...we could either admit that we had no idea what she was saying and leave....OR WE COULD GO ICESKATE CONTACTING". We chose the latter (naturally) and gave our He's the Gift cards to the other skaters.

                In summary (I repeat), best day of my mission to date.



Milestone #2- My first German Christmas (:

                We spent Christmas Eve with the Neugebauers...which was SO FUN.

                Tender mercy time: I prayed that morning and asked Heavenly Father to send me a few more angels to help me get through the day (I was having a rough time thinking about family/what fun y’all were having without me)...and He did!! The 3-year-old Neugebauer twins. We were sitting on the floor playing a game, and one of them came up, put his arm around me....then shoved me to the ground and body slammed me! Then the other one jumped on me! And they were messing with my hair and covering my mouth with their hands and probably farting on me too....like Matt, Ben and Seth would have been doing had I been home! It was wonderful!!!


                We spent Christmas day with the Wunderlichs! The Bamburg elders had nowhere to go, so that amazing family took our whole district (8 missionaries) in!! We played games, chatted and had a delicious German goose dinner...and I GOT TO SKYPE WITH YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. 



Oh my gosh.

That healed my heart and broke it at the same time.

I just love y’all so much.

Like, you have no idea.


Milestone #3- I had my first (and hopefully last) disgusting dinner appointment!!!

                It took place the day after Christmas (also a holiday here in Germany).

   The family fed us chicken liver soup.

   Chicken. Liver. Soup.

   And uhhh funny, I didn’t know what it was until AFTER I put a junk load of it in my bowl.

   So congratulations to me, I ate like 7 chicken organs (barf, barf, barf, I WANTED TO BARF).

   Never eating with them again.



Well, that’s all for this week.

I love y’all a lot.

TALK TO YOU IN T-6 DAYS



Love,

Brookieeeeee

Monday, December 22, 2014

FAMILYYYYYYYYY!!!




Okay, before I rant about HOW STINKING EXCITED I AM TO TALK TO Y'ALL IN 3 DAYS, let me tell you about this past week!!!

Maria. Let’s begin with Maria. She's a 20 year old mother from Slovakia who has been living with a 50 something year old man, Herr Fink, for the past year. She's been meeting with the missionaries for a long time, but has never progressed (doesn’t do her reading, doesn’t come to church, won’t move out, won’t quit smoking...all that fun stuff). Wellllll, we stopped by her apartment earlier this week to set up an appointment, and guess what she told us!? SHES NO LONGER LIVING WITH HERR FINK!!! And right after that, she said "oh! And I’ve been reading in The Book of Mormon!" 
SHE HASN'T READ FROM THE BOOK OF MORMON IN FOREVER.
Oh my gosh I think I died and went to heaven.
BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE??
SHE CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY, TOO!
I WAS LIKE OH MY GOSH PINCH ME I MUST BE DREAMING, OH WAIT NO THIS IS REAL LIFE, YAY.

More good news: operation Santa Claus was a hit!! We put together TONS of Christmas goody bags (containing an orange, a he's the gift card, and a Mormon.org card), stapled chocolate to “He's the Gift” cards, and wrapped a bunch of Joy to the World DVDs! Then we shoved elder Goodrich in a Santa suit, walked down to Markplatz and spread a junk load of Mormon Christmas cheer. ‘Twas quite awesome.


OH. Before I forget--a bunch of people have been asking me about the language (i.e. how it’s coming/if I use it often). Well. Let me tell you.
I have been incredibly blessed. The language hasn’t been a problem at all! Don’t get me wrong, I sound like a complete ignoramus when I talk (nothing I ever say is grammatically correct) but people always understand me and, for the most part, I can understand them!!
THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL.

Okay. Back to my beautiful week. I went on a split to Jena!! I actually go on TONS of splits. Sister Hamner is the sister training leader, so we go on exchanges just about every week. I love it because the break is much needed sometimes, but hate it at the same time because I feel like between that, district meetings and other meetings throughout the month, we're never in our area! No Bueno.
Anyway! The split! It was incredible!! We talked to one amazing person after another. I'll tell you about one of them!


We were on our way to contact in a neighborhood when we saw a girl carrying a suitcase ahead of us. As she approached, the spirit whispered "ask if she needs help"...so I did! And to my surprise, she accepted (no one ever accepts help here)!!! We walked down to Bahnhoff with her and talked the whole way! When we got there, she asked if we had time to sit with her while she waited for her train. We ended up getting her contact information to give to the Berlin missionaries (that’s where she’s from) and she accepted a Book of Mormon as well!!
After she got on her train and we began walking away, I was overcome by the spirit. I have no idea how to adequately explain how I felt, but this much I CAN tell you--Charlotte (that was her name) WILL get baptized on day.
The spirit made that very clear.

I finally met the Frenkels! Shout out to Jessica, Nils & family back home!
OKAY.
RANT TIME.
I CAN’T WAIT TO TALK TO Y’ALL, THE ANTICIPATION IS KILLING ME, I LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME SO MUCH YAY, YAY, YAY, FAMILY, FAMILY, FAMILY, WOOHOOOOOO, I LOVE YALL SO MUUCHHHHHHH, I HAVE THE BEST FAMILY ON PLANET EARTHHHH.

Okay. Rant over.

Gotta go!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!
TALK TO YOU SOON (:

-Brookie

P.S. PLEASE TELL ME YOU HAVE ALL HEARD THE REALMS OF GLORY SONG. It’s on replay at my apartment all day every day. SO GOOD. I wish I were at home to jam out to it with y’all!! Ugh I miss you so much!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miracles, miracles, miraclessss!




Dear Family,

Oh my heavens, this has been a week FULL of pre-Christmas miracles. I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with my debit card, shall we? I lost it. I searched and searched and searched all around my apartment and couldn’t find it anywhere. After about 20 minutes, I knelt down and said a prayer something along the lines of „Heavenly father, if my debit card is around here, please help me to find it so I can stop wasting time. If it’s not here, however, help me to come to that conclusion quickly so that I can call someone and have them cancel it before someone finds it and spends all my beautiful money.“ AS SOON as I got up off my knees, sister Hamner walked into the bedroom and said „have you checked your skirt pockets? “
Guess where my debit card was?
In a skirt pocket.
No problem is too small for our loving heavenly father! He is willing and ready to help us with anything and everything!!

Next miracle story.
Herr Neugebauer. His wife and kids are members, but he is very much an atheist. Sister Hamner and I ran into him at the bus station last week and had a really great conversation. Our church building housed a blood drive on Friday- and we saw him there, too! We sat together and talked a little bit more. At one point in the conversation, he asked us what our plans were for Christmas. I told him we didn’t have any.
This man has never wanted anything to do with the missionaries before...but he talked with his wife and now we‘re spending heilige abend with him and has family! Pretty awesome, right!?

Miracle story #3.
We were on a train headed to Nuremburg and I sat by this lady who was reading. I sat there for a while, debating whether I should disturb her or not...but she kind of intimidated me a wee bit...so I chose not. I scooted over and started talking to the lady in the seat across the aisle from us. When that lady got off the train, I sat back down next to the reading lady, and as soon as I did, she shut her book, looked up at me and asked „so, where are you from?“ and then we talked. For a really long time. I asked her about her profession (she does a bunch of different things), her family (she loves them so much), and her beliefs (she has none)...and she had lots of questions for me, too!! She wanted to know about the church, about my life as a missionary, about what we teach people. At one point, she asked „so what made you decide to leave your family and serve a mission? “
And I just sat there for a second, not quite knowing what to say...but the spirit whispered „go on, Brooke. Tell her why you’re here“. So I did. I said something like: “In the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, we know that we can live with our families for eternity. This knowledge has brought me so much peace and happiness, and I’m here because I want to share that knowledge with others, so that they can experience the same joy I’ve been blessed with my whole life“
I wish you could have seen this look in her eyes.
This lady isn’t religious.
She doesn’t believe in God.
She doesn’t believe in Christ.
But she believes in family.
She loves her husband and two little boys more than anything in the world...And her eyes lit up at the idea of being with them forever.
She invited me to her office so we could talk some more-Sister Hamner and I are going to stop by tomorrow!! WISH US LUCK (:


Lastly (this one is really, really good. Take a seat)!
Let me tell you a little about the Schlitmeyer family. Sister Schlitmeyer is the relief society president in our branch. She has two super cute teenage daughters and a husband who is not a member. They’ve been married for 20 something years- and he’s come to church with him family every single one of those Sundays! He’s taken the discussions, too, but has never progressed towards baptism.
We had a lesson with him and his family last Sunday. We planned on having this incredible lesson where we’d read the living Christ, bear testimony about the savior and invite him to take the lessons so that he could come closer to Him and he‘d say yes and we‘d all just be so happy and smiley and uhhh yeah no. That’s definitely not what happened.
Dinner took way longer than expected and both sister Hamner and I were mentally preoccupied thinking about when the next train would come and how we‘d get our bikes from the church when we still had 4 hours of studies to do. We read a little from the Living Christ, but Herr Schlitmeyer would go off on tangents and ask us unrelated questions and I was just quiet because nothing was going according to plan and I had no idea what to say.
I was sitting there, praying that Heavenly father would bless me to know what Herr Schlitmeyer needed to hear, when I heard a small voice in my head saying “he needs to hear your testimony, Brooke“.
So I gave it to him.
And guess what happened next?
Nada.
Nothing.
My testimony, our lesson, all of our prayers had no effect on him at all.
Or so I thought.
Before we left that night, we committed the family to read all of 3rd Nephi before the 1st of the New Year. Sister Schlitmeyer agreed, but the rest of her family just kind of half-heartedly nodded. WELLLLLL...they walked into church yesterday and we asked how their reading in 3rd Nephi was going....AND HER SHLITMEYER HAD READ 20 CHAPTERS.
20.
SO YOU UNDERSTAND THE SIGNIFACANCE OF THIS!?
HES NEVER READ FROM THE BOOK OF MORMON BY HIMSELF BEFORE...AND HE JUST READ 20 CHAPTERS.
IN ONE WEEK.
I’m not going to lie. I peed myself a little bit when he told us that. Or maybe it was a lot a bit. I don’t know. It was all a blur. A beautiful, wonderful, glorious blur. 


I love y’all so much!!!

Keep the prayers and emails and love coming!!

Love, Sister Terry

Monday, December 8, 2014

FAMILYYYYYYYY


      
              I’m about to tell you a really awesome story. Prepare yourself. Take a seat, if you will.
              Carrie (I sent a pic of the two of us a couple weeks ago) works at a school in our area. At said school there is a speaker/ performer every Wednesday night that the kids are required to go and listen to. She talked to the head master a few months ago and asked if we could come and give a presentation about our church...and the head master agreed! Surprising, right? Anyway, we got there, had dinner...and after we ate, one of the teachers went up to Carrie and told her the head master wanted to see her. When she came back from talking to him, all she said was "guys, be careful“...apparently, Mr. Master Man was nervous our presentation would turn into a preachentation, so we went back to the auditorium, deleted a couple slides from our power point that that could come across as “preachy“ and prayed for the best...and? IT WENT GREAT! Originally, we had a Q and A session planned for afterwards, but decided to dump that idea because we figured no one would care enough to ask anything, but we finished our presentation 15 minutes early, so we had no choice but to have it...and I’m so glad we did!! We were asked some really neat questions, ranging from „why did you decide to serve a mission to “what does your church teach about repentance? “ Even better, Carrie came to church yesterday and said that people have continued to bombard her with questions over the past couple days and one kid even asked her if we could come back!! That one just about killed me. How awesome is that??
                After that, we decided we had to think of some more bomb ideas to get the work moving in this area. We had a correlation and came up with some pretty good ideas!
#1: operation Santa clause
We‘re going put elder Goodrich in a Santa suit, wrap a bunch of Joy to the World DVDs and then hand them out to people around Coburg!
#2: Preach it- Puzzle Style
We purchased a 1000 piece puzzle and wrote down a list of invitations for members to extend to their friends and family. Each invitation is worth a certain amount of puzzle pieces...and the goal is to have the whole thing completed by the 1st of June!
#3: 4 Week Program? Yes Ma‘am.
We‘ll meet with a family once a week for 4 weeks. There’s this really incredible, inspired power point that we’ll use to guide our lessons, which will all be about missionary work. The goal is for the family to have someone for us missionaries to teach by the end of the 4 weeks. Sister Hamner had 5 baptisms in her last area, all of which were direct results of this program.
   Wish us lots of luck!! The work here is incredibly slow...hopefully these ideas are effective!!
                Elder Burger finished his two years of missionary service this past week! It was really hard to say goodbye and picture him at home with his family- especially with Christmas right around the corner. Made for a pretty hard day, for sure. 


I’ve been thinking a lot about Adam and eve, though, and have found comfort and understanding as I have studied their proceedings and related them to my own life.
Home is my Garden of Eden. Just like Adam and ever, however, God needed me to leave.
But why? Why couldn‘t I stay? Why did I have to venture out into this seemingly lone and dreary world?
            For the same reason my first parents couldn’t remain in their beloved garden.
            They needed to progress.
            The needed to grow.
They needed to have certain experiences, develop specific attributes and gain particular understanding, all of which could not/ would not have been obtained had they stayed put in their garden. 

Growth is painful, though.
And progress is hard.

But verses 4 and 5 of How Firm a Foundation have comforted me a lot.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supple
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine

I can’t think of anything more dross consuming and gold refining than a mission. However, I know I won’t be drowned by the deep waters of homesickness and feelings of inferiority.
The lord is with me.
Always and foreverrrrr (napoleon dynamite reference)



I love y’all lots!!!
Talk to you next week!

Don’t forget to pray for meeeeee.

Love, 
Brookie



PS: Nuremburg was a BLAST. Everything was so pretty and sparkly and Christmas-y! The whole time I was thinking “oh my gosh, mom would DIE OF HAPPINESS if she were here right now“. I had my first kinder punch (SO GOOD), my first Nuremburger (I CANT EVEN) and tried marzipan (FINALLY). It’s hard being away from home during Christmas time...but if I can’t be with y’all, I’ve decided that Germany is definitely the 2nd best place to be.
LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU (: