Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dear Familyyyyy,

     Last Monday, RIGHT after I got off the computer, Sister Hallmann got a call from the mission travel office. Her Visa application was approved! We spent about half of this week staring at a computer screen filling out papers, scheduling appointments, paying the German government money...it was a blast (ha). We're taking a field trip to Frankfurt tomorrow night and meeting with the consulate on Wednesday morning, and if all goes according to plan, Sister Hallmann should be on a plane headed to the MTC next week! Transfer calls are this weekend and I’m pretty nervous to find out who my new comp will be...wish me luck!
     Despite all the time we spent at the computer, this week was an amazing one! On Monday night, we did FHE with Sister Freitag and her kids. We were JUST about to start the lesson, when Sister Freitag said "I have to tell you something. At church last week...I felt something. I don't know how to explain it, but I had butterflies in my stomach and just felt really, really happy". She compared it to feeling in love...and Sister Hallmann and I were like "AHHHH THAT WAS THE SPIRIT. YOU WERE FEELING THE SPIRIT. OHMYGOSH YAYYY". We were all kinda freaking out a little bit.

     On Saturday, we got more exciting news! I've already told y’all the first part of this story, but I’m going to tell it again because I want to. A few weeks ago, a member in the Ramstein military ward invited us over to eat so she could introduce us to her German neighbor. We got there, and they had JUST started making food. We sat around for a while, but then got up, explained that we only have an hour we can spend at member’s houses for meal appointments and asked if we could do doors in the neighborhood while we waited for dinner.
     We'd been dooring for a while, but no was home and those who were home weren't interested. We had worked our way up the street and spotted a yellow house back down at the other end across from the Bodkins. I wasn't in the best of spirits, and (as I have previously explained) have a theory that people who live in yellow houses are ALWAYS nice, so we decided to knock on that one last door then go check on dinner. As it turned out, an inactive member of the church lived there! She had no idea her neighbors were members—and her neighbors had no idea she was a member either! They assured us that they would go over and introduce themselves, though.
     WEEELLLLLLLLLL (you haven't heard this next part, so if you just skimmed over that last paragraph, start paying attention again)...We saw Sister Bodkins in the church parking lot on Saturday and she informed us that, Kira (yellow house lady) is active again! Better yet, her husband is a non-member and wants to start meeting with the missionaries!!!!! I pretty much lost it. Seriously one of the highlights of my mission thus far.

     On top of that, the Lord has blessed us with three new investigators this week, two of which have baptismal dates!

     AND AS IF LIFE WEREN'T EXCITING ENOUGH...GERNERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND. Hahahaha, I remember watching the fall session in the MTC and thinking "I’m not going to live to see the next general conference" BUT HELLO ITS ME I’M ALIVE. I’m so excited! For those of you who have no idea what im talking about, take a seat.
     Just like in times of old, the lord has called prophets and apostles to lead and guide us. Twice a year, we have the privilege of having a big conference and hearing from them!!! And guess what?! YOU CAN LISTEN TOO.

Here’s the link:
Live General Conference

     I promise there is no better way to spend your weekend (: 

     As you watch, keep Matthew 7:16-20 in mind: 
 “16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 
 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 
 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” 

     I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. I know that, just like in the primitive church, there are men—prophets and apostles—called to direct us through revelation received directly from God Himself. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Joseph Smith translated it by the power and authority of God. I know miracles don't cease to exist, prayers are still heard and answers are always given to the honest at heart.

I love y’all so much (: 
Talk to you next week!! 

- Brookie

Sunday, March 29, 2015

An Unexpected Email from Dave and Ellen Eldredge

We got another awesome surprise from Dave and Ellen Eldredge. They sent a great email and A LOT of pictures! Enjoy!

What fun we had!! Wish you could have been here but maybe this is the next best thing. Hope they get through to you ok. I will try three at a time and if that does not work, will revert back to two at a time. There are 25 taken here tonight. 

Here is the next set of three pics. Hope they are getting through. Nothing back yet so maybe they are going through. Sorry for the blurriness of some of them but tried a different shutter speed without the flash. The clearer, brighter ones are with the flash. 

Here are three more. What a delight they are to have in our home. Thank you for sharing them with us. 

They finally get out of the house and are at the train station getting their tickets. It has started to rain lightly. We never tire of having them in our home or of working with them. 

Getting tickets and a discovery!! Hope you are enjoying these as much as we enjoy taking them and sharing them with your families. 

The 67 is quite blurry due to the change in setting on my camera to try and get the sign of Bruchmuhlbach Miseau in the background. The one with the flash was not visible but you can make out the other even if it is blurry. Love that Train station for sale sign that they are pointing out. If you buy that you won't have to walk far to catch the train-if you can afford it. More fun, seven pics left I think.

The train is finally finding it's way to us as you see in the last picture. They got home safely, by the way. We called them a little over an hour ago and all is well. 

Hope you are enjoying these. We are closing down to the end of those taken today. Hope your computer memories are handling this ok. The one on the train is quite good. Taken with the changed shutter speed and for some reason fared better than the others. Maybe I move on some of the others.

The last wave from the train. The other two wee taken earlier at our Br. Pres, Pres. Baader's son Louis' baptism. They had a lot of family visiting. Many from Salzburg, Austria. Hope you have enjoyed these pics. We hope to have the sisters in our home next week to watch general conference via computer. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the day. You now should have 9 sets of three pics each if they all got through to you. 

It is midnight now that we go off of DST tonight so best call it a night. 


Dave and Ellen

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Family,

     Exciting news!! We set another baptismal date this past week!! We had a lesson with Donaldo and Edison on Wednesday, and they brought Donaldo's roommate (Ronaldo) along! Sister Brough and I (we were on another split. Sister Hallmann wasn’t feeling well again) taught the Restoration, and then turned to Ronaldo and said "hey, your friend is getting baptized on the 11th of next month. Will you continue to meet with us so you can be baptized on the same day?" Then Edison said "I've already asked him. He said yes." HA. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! EDISON IS ON A ROLE. Gosh, I love that kid. 
     Speaking of Edison...I GOT TO WATCH HIM PASS THE SACRAMENT ON SUNDAY!!! Ahhhhh I was literally choking back tears. He's such a rockstar. 
     Guess what else happened on Sunday?! Ellenore came to church!!! You remember Ellenore? She's the sweet old lady that Sister Knutson and I set a baptismal date with last transfer. We've had to keep pushing it back because she hasn’t been coming to church...BUT SHE FINALLY CAME!!! And....SHE BROUGHT A FRIEND WITH HER! WOOHOOOOOOOO. 

Here's a list of a bunch of other awesome things that happened this week: 
     1. WE GOT TO WATCH MEET THE MORMONS AT ZONE CONFERENCE. It was glorious (hehehe...get it?). 
     2. We also got to watch the "Because He Lives" Easter video that the church is releasing on Saturday. Get excited, y’all. It’s really, really good (:
     3. I made a new friend! A 4 year old little boy from Syria! He was at the bus stop with his mom (who Sister Knutson and I actually gave a Book of Mormon to last transfer) and was talking to me as we waited. When the bus came, he hopped on, sat down, and then patted the seat right next to him as I walked by. Then he laid his head on my shoulder AND I JUST ABOUT CRIED. Later on that day, the same little boy was playing outside of our apartment complex with some friends. When he saw us walking up, he ran over and wrapped his arms around me...and just stood there hugging me for like, 2 minutes straight. I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THIS CHILD OR WHY HE LOVES ME SO MUCH BUT I DONT CARE. He's my favorite. 
     4. Friday evening! Get this: We had a lesson at 4:00 with a potential investigator and dinner planned for 5:00. We waited around for the lady at Rathaus (where we agreed to meet) for a while, but she never showed (BOO). We walked home, contacting unterwegs and ended up getting home a quarter after five. We had a little bit of street time planned before our lesson with Donaldo and Ronaldo, so we had a decision to make—change our plan, take our full dinner hour and do no streets or stick to our plan, give up 15 minutes of dinner, and hit the streets. We decided on the latter...and “Praise to the Man” hit it right on the head, "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven"! In those 15 minutes we found two new potential investigators—one of which was named Wendy, who was out walking with her two little boys and husband. We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and bore testimony that through the gospel of Jesus Christ—which is outlined IN the Book of Mormon—her family would be strengthened and blessed. She exclaimed "REALLY?!" Then we told her she could keep the book, and she was even more excited when we told her about, and marked, 3 Nephi 17 (where Christ blesses the little children). Before leaving, we got her number and she said we could come over and teach her more sometime this week! Both Sister Hallman and I are really looking forward to that lesson (: 

In summary, the Lord is literally pouring his blessings upon us right now. It’s been such an amazing week! Can't wait to write again next week and share more wonderful miracle stories!! <3 

Love y'all lots!!!!(: 

- Brookie

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dear family,

This week was...oh my heavens, I don’t even know. Crazy. Weird. Wonderful

We spent Wednesday morning in the hospital...and the rest of the day locked inside our apartment. Sister Hallmann woke up urinating blood, so we took a bus to the krankenhaus and partied there for about 2 hours. She's alright...just had an infection of some sort, so they put her on antibiotics and told her to go home. And stay there. For 3 days.

Luckily, I got permission to go on a split with the American Sisters on Thursday! Sister Brough sat inside with my sickly companion and Sister Williams and I taught Ellenore!! At the end of the lesson, we invited her to pray, which she is always willing to do...but only ever says the Lord’s Prayer. Earlier that week, we taught her that prayer is personal—a communication, not a recitation. She didn’t feel comfortable praying like that on Tuesday, but promised she would after our next lesson...AND SHE DID! 

There’s something special about hearing someone pray—REALLY PRAY—for the first time. It’s one of the things that has brought me the most joy as a missionary, for sure. 

On Friday, we had a lesson planned with a woman named Oshi. One of our primary kids got baptized the Saturday before last, and a member (Schwester Thompson) invited her to come. After the taufe, Sister Hallmann and I invited her to come to church...and she came to that too!! We got her address and set up an appointment. She lives in a village called Rodalben (a little over an hour away). Neither sister Hallmann nor I heard the name called over the train intercom, and we TOTALLY MISSED OUR STOP. 15-20 minutes had passed before we realized we needed to get off and turn around. The train going back didn’t come for another 30 minutes, so by the time we got into the village, we were already an hour late for the appointment. We logged her address into our navi...and found out that we had a 30 minute walk ahead of us. However, that 30 minutes turned into an hour because OUR NAVI IS INCOMPETANT...or so we thought. We finally made it to her street and realized that the apartment number she'd given us didn’t exist. So we called Sister Thompson, who described the building, and sure enough, there it was at the end of the street. As we approached it, both Sister Hallmann and I felt incredibly uneasy BUT WE HAD A POTNETIAL INVESTIGATOR ON THE LINE (no, obviously I didn’t learn anything from The Sarratov Approach). It’s hard to explain, but there was a very real force pushing me in the other direction...which I chose to ignore. We found her name on the klingle, and reluctantly went up to her room. We were standing at her door...and neither one of us was moving a muscle. After about 10 seconds, we both looked at each other and were like "We gotta get out of here". We bolted down the stairs and out of the building, took a look at a sign on the door outside...and found out that the building we were so obviously prompted to leave...was a mental institution. 


We called Sister Eldridge afterwards and she was like "that explains why Sister Thompson was so adamant about not going when I asked if she'd be joining you two for the lesson!" 

The members might not care too much about our well-being...but luckily the spirit has our backs!!

Then Saturday rolled around. Ohhhhh Saturday. The Eldridges called in the morning to inform us that there'd be some big left-wing right-wing political demonstrations...and the protesters would be coming right down out street. We walked outside to contact a potential investigator a little while later and were pretty much surrounded by cops. The Eldridges called us back a little while later and were like "umm yeah, we're picking you up and getting you out of Kaiserslautern today" (THE MEMBERS DO CARE— DONT WORRY MOM). We ended up visiting a couple families in the branch who live way out in no-man’s land and never get visitors. CRAZY STORY: The Kalweits (an elderly couple we stopped by on) have a bunch of pictures in their family room. I was going around looking at them, and Brother Eldridge picked one up and handed it to me.


When we got back to Kaiserslautern, we had a lesson with Edison. At our very first lesson with him, he brought two friends along. One was being super immature and laughing/making jokes the whole time, but the other one was actually listening and participating. Edison brought him to church last week, and brought him to the lesson on Saturday too. As we were walking to classroom in the church building, Edison turned to me and said "Hey, he wants to get baptized." I responded by laughing (my body’s natural reaction to SHOCK), but managed to pull myself together and shout "OKAY!" After our lesson with Edison, we turned to Donaldo and said "hey, we're holding a baptismal service on the 11th of April. Will you meet with us and prepare yourself to be baptized on that day?"



The lord is blessing us SO MUCH!!!! (:

Love y’all, lots!!!
Talk to you next week <3 

- Brookie