March 26, 2012
Were you expecting GutenTag as normal? I decided to throw in some Bayerish Deutsch. Why?
My first assignment as a Missionary for Die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage is in Rosenheim, Deutschland!
If you take the shape of Austria, my area is the part of Germany that fits in the bosom of the big clump and the long stretch of land that make up Austria. It's deep south in the heart of the great state of Bayern. You can see the Alps decently well from the city itself, it's not like Orem with our mountains, but they are still close. However, there are parts in the area that are right at the base of our mountains. Where we are located we are close enough to both Schloss Neuschwanstein and Salzburg that we could visit both on P-days. The ward here has about 50-60 members. It's mostly catholic, but from everyone we've talked to no one really practices. There are a lot of Jehova Witnesses (so far we haven't had to run into them). The city itself actually looks more Italian (at least based off what I've seen in movies). The train system here is not very good, so we are one of the few areas that get to bike a lot, yay!
My trainer is Elder Field. Dad I think you'd love him. He is from Ashford, England (south of London), but his dad grew up in Birmingham and was baptized shortly after you were there on your mission. His dad is Terry Field just in case you might know him. He has a great English accent. He only has two more transfers left til he goes home, so in 5 weeks he'll have as much time left in his mission as I have served. More than likely I will stick with him for two transfers because of the training program and then I will see him off. He is super great and a super hard worker. His first area was Vienna and then he has pretty much served in Switzerland since then. His German is super good and he is very knowledgeable about the scriptures.
So, German people are kind of hard to understand. I can understand Elder Fields and everyone else who speaks German if their native language wasn't German. But it's taking a lot of work to understand the Germans themselves. The Bayern accent is kind of hard to understand and the dialect blows my mind. Apparently Bayerish is the hardest type of German to understand after Swiss German, at least that's what President Miles said (by the way President Miles and his wife are the coolest people you would ever meet and yes Sister Miles is the daughter of Elder Russel M Nielson). But like all good things, it just takes work and I'm better at understanding today than I was when I first got here; things will continue to pick up. When we bore our testimonies to the ward on Sunday, a number of the members told me that they were really impressed because I had a really good hold on speaking the language for a new missionary. At least I think they said that. I might be able to speak German a tiny, little bit, but I can't understand very well. That's one of my goals for the next few weeks (and I guess the whole mission). Since we got off the train from the Mission home to Rosenheim, Elder Fields and I have only spoken German to each other to try and help me master the language. The only things he has said are the meaning of words when I don't know them, but he tries to explain their meaning in German first. I am really glad we're doing this so that I can become more fluent.
As far as Investigators, or Untersuchers, we don't have any progressing right now, but we are hoping to change that this week. We've made a lot of appointments and we're really going to push inviting them to Church, Read the Book of Mormon, pray, and and other goals that are specific to the time. We had a really cool story this week though. We went to visit this guy named Mohammed. We couldn't find his house exactly so we asked his nieghbor Huseyn (yes we were in the Little-Middle-East part of the town) where he lived. We explained the Book of Mormon to him and asked Huseyn if he would like one. He doesn't speak German and only a little bit of English, so he asked for Russian first and then said he wanted a Turkish one too. On the way back Elder Field's bike broke and we couldn't get it fixed really for a long time (still broken, he'll need to get a new one). But the next day when we went back to take the book to Huseyn he said he didn't want the Russian one anymore and just the Turkish. On our way back from talking with him we did some street contacting and came up to this lady at the bus stop. We began explaining our message and she seemed intrigued. We asked her if she would like to read something from the Book of Mormon and she said she couldn't read German very well, but if we had a Russian book she could do that. Well, we just had the thing she needed. She seemed thrilled. She read a little and then agreed to meet with us on Wednesday. Had we not asked Huseyn if he wanted to learn more, hadn't grabbed the Russian BoM for him, and had Elder Fields bike been working we wouldn't have had a such a cool experience as that. I don't know what will happen with this lady (her name is Ulga) but we'll just have to find out.
Mom and Dad, yes emailing me this way is the best, thank you. I am so glad Tyson had a good baptism day, I am super excited for him. Dad it sounds like there have been a number of interesting things in the sporting world. Thank you for keeping me updated. It sounds like the ward is doing really well; I am excited for Brother Parker and his new job, congratulations! Let Bishop and Sister Rife know that they're in my prayers. I hope all goes well for them and let them know that they have been amazing examples to me and have done so much for me. Mom I hope the surgery goes well. It may be considered minor, but that's still nicht spaß. Let me know if everything goes ok. Thank you two so much for your great examples to me. I have really come to realize more than ever how much you two have done for me and I know I wouldn't be here without you. You mean so much to me and have been such a crucial part of my life.
Tell the Grandmas and Grandpa that I hope all is going well for them. I have really enjoyed their letters. I haven't been able to write too much in the last few weeks so I haven't been able to get very many letters out. I hope their health is good and that they are having fun. Amber thank you for all of your letters. After Mom and Dad you've been my number one support as far as Dear Elders go. Like I said above I haven't had a lot of time to write so sorry I couldn't get back to you. I hope everything is going well for you. I am sorry about the roommate deal not going through and I hope it all works out. Just tell Sadie that she needs to get a job and start paying some of the rent.
I have an address for my place in Rosenheim, (funny enough we live on Heilig Geist Straße or translated Holy Ghost Street), but I think it's still best to send the letters or packages to the Mission home just because I am not sure I trust our mail system with our apartment. I'll pick up the letters when I go to Munich every other week. Well for now I have to go. I hope all continues to go well and that you're having fun in America. I love you all.
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen