Monday, April 30, 2012

Funny story! We couldn't find a public bathroom anywhere to change out of our P-day clothes so the only private place to change was this Catholic tomb in the Cemetary of Kiefersfelden.  Notice I now wear gloves to protect my hands!
The golden colored building is where Mozart lived.
Shops dedicated to these Mozart chocolates.
On the border of Austria.

April 30, 2012 . . .There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...
Actually it was a missionary named Elder Bodily who did it three times on Saturday while riding his bike around. He also killed a bee with his forward while riding. Bugs seem to like him.
Anyways, enough of that. What's more important is that my great friend Jake Harmer got his mission call to Ribeirao Preto, Brazil this week. Jake if the shout out during my farewell talk wasn't enough, here is another. I am super excited for you and know you are going to be an outstanding Missionary. I wonder if the Brazil MTC food will be anything like Tucanos. Elder Harmer, you are about to embark on an incredible experience and you are going to love it. There are people there who are ready to recieve you and they are going to love you.
Well, this week we had a lot of fallen out appointments, but that just means we have a lot of time to street contact and door and we're hoping that this next week will go well with the appointments we made out through searching. Familie Bobi and Stephan are our investigators who are right now making the most progress. It is always a great treat to meet with Familie Bobi. We went over the Plan of Salvation with them this week and they thought it was something really good. We found out that Evisha the wife never had gone to school so she had problems with reading. She approached us about whether there was a way we could get her a childrens version of the Book of Mormon so that she can read that along with her husband reading to her from the actual book. We are getting that for her and every Wednesday for an hour we're going to help her with learning to read. She seemed really happy about that. They have had a lot problems with their families in the past, but they have strong faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and recognize that it is only through them that they have made it through. They actually invited us to a Lamb BBQ with them on Sunday; that should be a lot of fun. Stephan has been diligent in coming to church. The ward has been good at befriending him when he comes. He is usually super busy during the week so it is hard to meet with him, but he likes our message and is very interested in continuing to learn more. Mohammed and Ali have kind of stopped coming to church during this whole Italy situation (we still don't know yet whether they need to go), but they have been very diligent in studying the Book of Mormon, believe and follow everything, and I think they will start coming again to church once they know if they can stay in Germany. The big problem we have is that because their residency status in Europe is unstable and they may have to go back to Syria one day, based off the Church policy we probably won't be able to baptize them because of the Middle-East culture in certain areas. If they ever returned there are many who would reject them because they converted from Islam and there are some extremists in unstable countries like Syria who would even threaten to kill them because they converted away. If that's the case they will most likely not be baptized unless something changes in the future. But what is the important part of all of this is that they understand our message and believe it and if they do not have the opportunity to be baptized in this life, they will in the life to come. What I know is that Heavenly Father has a plan for all of his children and if they will hearken unto him, he will take care of them.
So, I thought Mother's day was this upcoming Sunday, but as I found out 10 minutes ago it's not until the 13th. I will be really excited to call home.
We had a tragic death this week here in the Rosenheim area. Pegasus, my bike, has bitten the dust. This last week it was having a lot of problems and then finally this morning it just decided to fall apart. I'm not sure at this point whether I have to pay for a new bike, but we will figure it out later tonight.
I'm getting to that stage already in my mission where my mindset is turning into "As a missionary I don't have a lot of free time and I'd rather use my money for other things - so lets save both and do something that I can get away with since my mom is not here" and I gave myself a haircut in ten minutes. I kind of struggled at first but it turned out all right. I don't think it looks too bad, but I think Ally McGinn will keep me as a customer when I return home.
Soccer is an essential religion here in Bayern, German. Probably all over Germany as well, but Bayern is the Texas of Germany (in more ways than I have time to explain) and they treat Soccer as seriously if not more so than Texas does with Football. On that note the big European tournament between all the club soccer teams has been going on and FC Bayern of Germany and Chelsea of England are facing each other in the championship. The people here have been going crazy over it and it gets brought up in almost every discussion. Sometime in the summer they will be having the European tournament where all of the country teams will face each other. Germany is ranked either 2nd or 3rd going into it and a lot of the games will be held in Munich. President Miles has mentioned we have to be careful around that time with proselyting and dooring because there will be a lot of angry Germans if you try to disrupt them from watching the games.
I am hoping to get a few letters sent out this week, so thank you to everyone who has been patient in waiting for a response. Mom and Dad thanks for continuing to keep me updated on the ward and everyone. I am sending a package home that has a number of random things including something for Brittney and Brandon and the kids and Amber. Tell Cade, Cameron, and Weston good job for getting their Eagles and that Cade is free to borrow my scout stuff anytime he wants. I am really greatful for the ward for all of their support and this fasting for the missionaries thing they are doing. I know it's helping with the work here in Rosenheim and I'm really grateful for that. I hope all continues to go well for everyone.
I want to take the chance to bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. I finished reading through it again yesterday and I know that its message is true. I know that Heavenly Father can reveal personal revelation to everyone through it and by this book everyone can find peace because of its ability to draw us closer to the Savior. One of my absolute favorite parts of becoming a missionary has been the increased amount of time I have been able to read and to share scriptures in the Book of Mormon with others. When you need direction in life, I know that this Book combined with prayer will lead the way to what you need. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs wiedersehen

Monday, April 23, 2012

Looking down on Kiefersfedon.  Believe it or not, there is really a house at the top of that tallest mountain.

As far as we hiked. . . what a spirit up here. 

Kaiserbergen (Emperor Mountains)

Our destination, but ran out of time.

Austrian Alps

Where the Yeti lives - Austrian Alps in background.

The weather has not been kind to my hands!
View from a member's backyard.
First day with my new best friend, Pegasus. We put in about 100 miles our first week.
Rosenheim, Germany companion - Elder Fields who is from Ashford, England. 

April 23 - Hello Once Again!

So this email actually has to be kind of short because I spent the whole day at Schloß Neuschwanstein. Our district went together along with 3 members from our ward -Thomas Lübke (who has been amazing at helping Elder Field and I with joint-teaches) and Bruder and Schwester Jentzsch (he returned 2 years ago from the London South Mission which is where Elder Field lives). We had a blast at Neuschwanstein. Our district is full of really great missionaries who know how to have a good time. I would describe the castle as the German Hogwarts. Unfortunately, there was a little bit of construction on the back side of the castle (who would have thought) but it didn't really distract because it was neither too large nor stood out in the areas where you could take pictures. I can now say I have visited possibly the most famous castle in the world.

We received our transfer calls this week and as Elder Field and I expected, we will be staying together in Rosenheim. Our district is actually all staying together as well. 

This week has been really great. We had a number of appointments and accomplished a lot with visiting less active members and doing assignments that the Bishop required. We still do not know yet if Mohammed and Ali need to go back to Italy, but for now no news is good news. Familie Bobi is so incredible. Every time we have a lesson with them the spirit is so strong. I feel they have been prepared for this gospel and the Lord has given us such an incredible opportunity to teach them.

This week we were at the mission home for Mission President interviews and I picked up a number of letters and Dear Elders plus a couple packages. Kristy, I finally got your package that you apparently sent to me in the MTC. I don't know why it took so long, but thank you. Also, I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that Krisy (my dad's sister) had been in Rosenheim before. I now have a witness to agree with me when I say that it is gorgeous here.

Mom, thank you for having your own holiday so I can call home on the 13th. The plan at this point is I will probably use Skype at Bruder and Schwester Jentzsch's house. I will tell you specifics next week.

I have to go, but I love you all.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs wiedersehen

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kufstein, Kiefersfelden on the border of Austria with the Austrian Alps in background.

Die Hügel im Fühling sind lebendig, mit dem Klang der Musik

Or as we hear it more often: The Hills are alive in spring with the sound of music

With that in mind, guess where I am right now.

Elder Field and I decided to go to Salzburg this P-day. We actually ran into Sister Holmstead from my MTC district and her companion as we came off the train and we will meet up with the Salzburg Elders later when we tour some of the city. Unfortunately, our time got cut short here because the trains were having a lot of construction issues (I thought those were only in Utah) so we had to switch between them and buses and we have to leave on an earlier train now. However, we will still be able to go see some of the inner city and where Mozart was born and raised. And we'll probably just end up coming back again anyways for a p-day so it's not too bad. And by the way, last week we went hiking in some of the Austrian Alps in a place called Kufstein/Kiefersfelden so between the two I think this week would be a good time to send home some pictures mom. I'll send the card later. Oh and by the way I've noticed that whenever you attach pictures to emails (like Tysons baptism) I can't view them. You might have to send them in a letter, but only in the next letter or package you want to send so that you don't have to spend so much money.

Probably what I should have started with is Happy Birthday Amber! You are definitely one of the two best sisters in the world and I hope you have a fantastic day. Ever since the time I thought your birthday was March 16 instead of April 16 I have never forgotten it. Hope all goes well today. 

Now the important stuff. This week was actually a little slow because we had about 9 appointments fall out which means a lot of dooring since no one was on the streets to contact due to the rain. If there is one thing that Elder Field hates, it's dooring. The good side to this is (as he says) he needs a lot of pick-me-ups to keep him motivated which is usually a lot of chocolate. I don't mind dooring that much when it means we can grab a Milka bar to eat for it. It was also sad because we found out that Elder Fackrell, one of the Elders who came with me in my group from the MTC, went home this week. That was a little depressing. Although it might have been a little slow and sad at times, it was nonetheless, actually a really great week. First of all, we got to ride around on our bikes in the rain which I think is very refreshing. Second, Familie Bobi and Familie Dos Santos are back from vacation so we can get back to teaching them this week. Third, I got to test a lot of chocolate. Fourth, we finally found a working scale and I found out I've lost 10 pounds since I got to Germany (235 when I entered the MTC, 219 at the end of the MTC, now 209). Fifth, we have interviews with President Miles this week and he always makes me happy when I can hear from him. Sixth, its about a fifty-fifty chance that Mohammed and Ali can stay in Germany which is a much better chance than it was before. Seventh, Elders Davies, Gubler, Chapman, and Niedens and Sis Holmstead who all came in my group are all still doing really well and enjoying the work. Eighth, Elder Field is a really good cook and makes awesome food everyday. Ninth, and most important, we have three new investigators that we can possibly see making a lot of progress. 

 Our first appointment with one of these investigators was really cool. His name is Stephan. He was an old investigator from previous Elders but they had never met with him more than twice because he was always so busy. We were making a few calls this week and decided to try inviting him to church. He ageed to come rather enthusiastically. He came to church and really enjoyed it. After the meeting we were to have a dinner appointment with Sister Buchholtz. Without us asking or mentioning anything she went ahead and invited Stephan to come along to dinner. He agreed. At the dinner we had Elder Field and I, Sis. Buchholtz who has been a member for 12 years, Thomas Lübke who was invited originally because we needed a third man to go to a single sisters house and Thomas has been a member for 1 year tomorrow, and then Stephan. We got around to teaching Stephan and what was so cool was Thomas and Sis Buchholtz contribution to the lesson. They really ended up teaching about half the lesson and their testimonies were so powerful that Stephan knew without doubt that he needed to read the Book of Mormon and receive the answer from God. With the German culture the people tend to be a little more reserved and not really open up, but Thomas and Sis Buchholtz didn't stick to that and it just made for such a wonderful lesson. As Elder Field put it, it was the best example of member missionary work that he had ever seen.

Well that's about all the time I have today but I hope all is going well. Thank you all so much for your support, and mom and dad thanks again as always for keeping me updated on whats going on and how every one is doing. I love you all and I know that our Savior has an infinite love for us that can bring us such great joy in our lives. Because of him I get excited to work everyday in order serve him and our Heavenly Father. 

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Postcard from Elder Bodily depicting the town of Rosenheim, Germany.  His companion and him traveled on bicycles about 100 miles the first week. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hallo!  Ok that's not too German, but it's commonly said here.

Anyways, first of all thank you so much for the wonderful emails and letters this week. They were truly touching to me. Mom and Dad I got your letter with Elder Davies and Elder Stapleton's blog posts this week and I also got Grandma Bodilys and those were really great to receive. President Miles said there was a package and couple letters for me at the mission home so when we go for interviews in the next week or so I'll be able to pick those up then. Thank you all. Also Sister Bangerter I got your email. Unfortunately I can not send emails to anyone directly but family, but I was able to read what you said and I loved the spiritual thoughts that you included. Thank you. Just so you know, there is unfortunately (ironic, I know) a lot of piano players in my ward so I don't get to play as much as I did in the MTC. But Elder Field and I go to the church on Mondays to write letters for a little bit and during that time I practice.

So first of all-Investigators:
Familie Bobi:
So they are in Serbia for the next two weeks, but we are so excited for when they return. We had an appointment with them last week before they left. After we had given our lesson, the wife, Evisha, told us a story about how she had been walking down the street when a random women, almost yelling, told her she should go back to church. She thought it was weird, but it still played on her mind. She wanted to go to church but by nature Greek Orthodox members didn't really like the catholic church and they weren't fond of  the Jehovah witnesses which were really the only two types of churches in the area (besides ours). So that night she prayed for help that she could find a church she could go to that she would like that God would want her to go to. The next morning is when Elder Field and I found her on the street. The weird thing of it all is that we were on our bikes when we street contacted her and normally we don't stop when we are riding. Neither of us can explain why we stopped, but we did and it has been part of an incredible story. Bobi asked us for another BoM so that they could take it to their family in Serbia. I am so excited for them!
Mohammed and Ali:
We received some bad news this week. They may have to move Italy. They moved out of Syria illegally because of all the political and social problems there and the European Union has a rule that if you are leaving in situations like that you can register to become a citizen of a country, but you have to stay in that country. Their family checked in to Italy and then moved to Germany because the conditions for them were really bad in Italy. There is a possibility that they can stay here so we are praying hard. They believe in the BoM, that Christ is our savior, and they've been to church three times in a row now. We are really hoping that all goes well for them. Prayers for them would really be appreciated.
Alex is a new progressing investigator. He met once with the missionaries before, but stopped after the first lesson. Three months later (which was two Sundays ago) he had the impression he should start learning from the missionaries again and go to the church. That's when we found him at general conference. He was deeply impressed with President Monson. During our lessons with him he has been asking a lot of really good questions (he is very smart and has thought over the Bible a lot) and was impressed with what the church believed in. We have high hopes for him. Oh and he is our first native German progressing investigator!
Herr Münzberger and Jacky Dos Santos were both out of the town this week so no new news on them.
The Rosenheim ward is super amazing, the members are really incredible people. The only problem is we have the lowest activity-level ward in our mission. We have 40-50 people come to church each week, but that is only about 20-25% of the members in the area. That has been a huge focus this last week (and will continue to be) for Elder Field and I. We have been visiting a lot of less-active members, doing service for them, and meeting with a lot of them to try and help them start coming more frequently. A few of them came to church this last week so we're going to keep working with them.

OK so I don't have a lot of time so hopefully next week I can explain and say more but for now Mom I'll answer your question about the way my mission is set up and then say more later. In my mission we have President Miles and he has a companionship of Assistants to the Presidents or APs. In the mission we have 7 stakes: Munich (München) and Stuttgart in Germany; Vienna (Wien) and Salzburg in Austria; Bern and St. Gallen in Switzerland; and the the Zurich stake which is mostly Switzerland with a little bit of Germany. These 7 stakes make up the 7 zones in our mission where we have a companionship of zone leaders for each: Elder Tyler Stapleton is a ZL in Vienna and Elder Andrew Terry is a ZL in Bern. In each zone you have 9 to 12 wards or branches (two-thirds are wards). A companionship of Elders serve in each ward, with an extra companionship in a couple of the Vienna and München wards because there are so many people. Because the Sister Missionaries are the better missionaries, they go to the wards where the most people are or where the most work is being done so that we can ensure that there are really good missionaries for all those investigators. The seniors go wherever needed. Every three or four wards make up a district where there is one district leader in each. My district is the Rosenheim ward, München 1st ward (district leader and his companion), München 3rd ward (the ZLs), the Sisters from München 3rd, and Brother and Sister Covertson.

I have to go real quick, so I'll hurry. Connor Pearce, congratulations on making student council, that is so awesome! You'll do fantastic I'm sure! Jake let me know as soon as you get your call as to where you are going, I'm excited for you.

I know this Church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through him we can all be happy. It's amazing to see the light in our investigators when we or them talk about Christ. I am so grateful for all he has done for me. He is my Lord, my brother, and my friend.
Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012
Servüß zusammen!
Wow what a week! I think I finally understand what they really mean by a mission being the hardest thing you'll ever do. But at the same time, I am so happy that I am here! Elder Field has been keeping us very busy; there hasn't been a moment where we haven't been doing something. I realize already how critical P-Days are to give you a rest. I have however, never felt so good about doing so much work. It's definitely a rewarding feeling when Elder Field and I can come home completely drained, with no energy left, but completely and spiritually edified. I can honestly say that so far I have given my best everyday.
I'll start off with explaining about some of our investigators:
Mohammed and his brother Ali (Yes probably the two most common Middle Eastern names there are):
They are super awesome. They come from Syria and they speak a little bit of English, but hardly any German so our lessons are in English with them. They are 16 and 17 respectively. They are Muslim by the book, but as they put it they don't practice really. The missionaries before us found them and started teaching them a little before we got there. They have in three weeks read from the beginning of the Book of Mormon  (in Arabic) to Alma 13 and they love it. They started meeting with the Missionaries because they wanted to learn more about Christ and now they completely believe in him. They pray in his name and look up to him. They are really nice whenever we come over and we actually played soccer with them on Saturday for an hour (by the way, I know I'm in Europe. I stink really badly compared to everyone at Soccer or Füßball as they call it). It takes a little longer to go through all the lessons just because all these principles are new to them, but they accept them with a lot of enthusiasm. The hardest thing for them was coming to church because when they lived in Syria, Muslims were not allowed in Christian churches so they are getting over that. But, they have now come to church twice and one of those being General Conference. We told them they only had to come for one hour, but they stayed the whole time and enjoyed it. We have another appointment with them tonight.
Familie Bobby:
Their last name is not really Bobby but that's what the father (Bobby) told us to call them because their last name is something like JHNior234iqiawevuzg43vbqweruo and no one can pronounce it. The dad is born and raised in Rosenheim but him and his wife are of Serbish decent. They speak both German and Serbish in their family so we gave them a BoM in both languages. They are super enthusiastic about the Church. They are Greek Orthodox by trait, but believe more in the Christian faith than in what their Church says. They formally met with the Jehovah Witnesses, but dropped them because they were "too different", and didn't feel right with them. We street contacted the mother on Thrusday, and had our first appointment on Saturday. Before we even had the chance, they asked if they could come to church. Wow. They came to a session of conference. They have three kids and were impressed with how they could tell from our church that it was so family oriented. They are going to Serbia for 14 days on Tuesday, but they said that they want to read the BoM and come to church when they return. I am so excited for them. They seem ready for the gospel.
Jacky doesn't speak too much German but her husband (who is a member) speaks both very good German and Portugese. They are from Angola. She was taught by the last missionaries, but we're probably going to have to go over a few points with her because they seemed to brush over them rather quickly. We are way excited for her though. She really likes what she learns. Her and her husband have two kids and there is a great spirit felt when we go to their house.
Herr(Mr.) Münzburger:
You would guess by his name that he is German, but he is actually Uruguayian. But he did grow up in a German speaking town in Argentina, and moved to Germany when he was 18. He is catholic, but doesn't agree with everything they say. The older missionaries found him and gave a brief overview of the gospel and it really made sense to him. He can't meet too often because he is super busy throughout the week, but he wants to meet with us at least once every week and more if he can work it out.
These are the investigators we have that seem most excited about the gospel and we have high hopes for them. They are such great people and I love them. I'll keep you updated on their progress.
Real quick before I forget, Dad you'd never believe what's playing here in this email-cafe-mail place. Bon Jovi. I guess Germans have good taste in music. It is really weird whenever we hear music from the radio playing. There was none of that in the MTC and not in our apartment, so it just feels almost out of place. Oh, and then a few minutes later they started playing Coldplay. What is this music? It's so foreign!
So, there is a reason we are one of the only areas in the mission that gets bikes. I think I've biked more in the last week than I have in the last 5 years. Saturday alone we biked (Elder Field told me in kilometers and then we translated it to miles) 40 miles. I know that's nothing to what Amber and Uncle Robert are doing, but for me with a shirt and slacks it's alot. We usually average about 20 miles a day.
So every week I want to share something cool and interesting about the German people or the country itself. apple juice is completely different. It's hard to find apple juice similar to what we drink. What they have here is super fizzy mineral water tinted brown with a little apple taste. Drinks here in general are different because they never use ice, but they are still good. On our first week Elder Andrew Terry (one of my good friends who went to Timpanogos who is a grade older than me) sent me, as a welcoming gift, a liter of a drink called Uludag. I was scared at first because it smells like toothpaste. However, it tastes like a refined version of Mountain Dew without caffeine. Seeing as I already loved Mountain Dew, I quickly fell in love. Also they have a drink called Zitrine which is kind of like Sprite but better. I might have been disappointed in Germany's apple juice, but they easily made up for it.
Mom and Dad: Mom I hope everything is going ok. Mom you are such a trooper with your sinus surgery. There are not many who are as tough as you with everything you go through, (reading dad's email the surgery didn't sound fun, with passages only 18% open, aspirating blood into the lung, and the doctor even doing a lot more than he already thought he was), but I'm glad you'll be ok and that you'll be better than ever afterwards. Dad, Elder Field's dad lived in the boundaries of the Sutton Coldfield ward. He would have been there when you were there. The only problems we realized is that yes, he wasn't baptized till after you left and he is about 6 years younger than you, but it's likely you could have seen him. Tell Brother Parker that if I ever get the chance to serve in Italy to send me some of the names of the people he knew well in that area in case I run into them. Thanks for keeping me updated on the sporting world. It doesn't matter to me either who wins the basketball championship. Good job for Jimmer though against the Jazz. More importantly thank you for keeping me updated with the family and ward. I hope all is going well for the Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins; I really love the support, it means so much. I hope that all goes well for them and that they know I am so grateful for everything they've done for me in my life. I am also very grateful for the support of the ward. Tell Bishop Rife thank you so much for the leadership notes he sent me and for his book on Divine Virtues. I have been reading a little from it every night after I finish writing in my journal. He has been such an incredible example to me, one of the most important in my life. Him and his family mean a lot to me and I'm appreciative of everything they've done for us. I really love our ward we have some incredible individuals living so close to us, it's such a blessing. So Dad as far as your questions go, one of Elder Field's great loves is cooking. His other great love is cleanliness. This works for me because I would go crazy if he was a slob and since I'm not much of cook, I always help with what I can, but he knows exactly what to do so our meals are always taken care. Mom I still haven't had a day since January 18th where I didn't make my bed. Thank you  both for your emails they are so comforting and uplifting.
Brittney, Brandon, Bekah, and Buddy: Again I am so happy for Buddy and his baptism this last week. Brittney and Brandon you've been such great parents to both him and Rebekah. I hope all is going well with your business Brandon. I think you have a really good boss; I would know, she was basically one of my three moms. I had the epiphany this week that I may not have written you a thank you letter for the care package you sent me for Valentine's day. I hope I did, but if not I'm sorry and I really appreciated it. I don't know why that popped up, but I thought I'd let you know I appreciated it. Brittney and Bekah, from what Dad says you're coming along quite well on the guitar. You two should keep it up because that's really awesome. Buddy, keep playing hard for me. I know you will. Just remember always that you are my favorite nephew.
Amber: I think it would have been funny if Sadie actually did pee on the letter I sent saying she should pay rent. Silly mutt. Anyways, way to give your bishop cookies on Fast Sunday. I can't count the number of times Mom has come down and reminded me it's Fast Sunday when I'm halfway through a cookie. We went to a family's house for dinner last Monday and they lived in the mountains. I'm pretty sure it was "Lord of the Rings" land. You would have loved it. I couldn't help but think that it was a strange coincidence that it was  David S BAXTER who gave a talk in conference about single mothers. Amber I know you might not have kids, but you have many of the same hardships and struggles as many of those single mothers who had to go through the hardship of divorce. What I do know is that like Brother Baxter said: the Lord is there for you. You might not be able to leave the hardships you have and go to him, but I do know he will come to you and give you the comfort, love, hope, and help that you always need. I love you and I know that Heavenly Father is looking after you through all of this and has something great in store for you.
Thank you everyone for all of your support. I wouldn't be here with out your influence. Today Elder Field and I have a lot of time to write emails so they won't all be this long, but I want to close with this before I go (Mom you can decide whether to share this on the blog or not):
This last week was the hardest week of my life. I have never been so overwhelmed in my life. I came into the mission field expecting to work hard, to be making a huge personal impact, and being on top of everything. What I found out is that it's not so simple. I'm working hard, but even more than I could imagine. With all of the biking, studying, teaching, language speaking, planning, contacting I am completely mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Elder Field is incredible; he is an energizer bunny and goes none stop. I am so glad he is my companion, but it took everything I had to keep up with him. This week I realized that I don't know nearly as much as I thought about the scriptures, about interacting with people, and about really what to do. It hit me really hard finally how long two years is going to be. What was the biggest downer more than all was the language. I wanted to come and start talking with people, start making a difference, and start helping. However, I got here and found I couldn't understand anything the people were saying. I wanted to really start being a great missionary but I just didn't know what to say. I'd get so lost in the conversations and just felt like a stray puppy following Elder Field around. On Wednesday Elder Field and I had Deutsch Study and I just broke down right in front of him and cried so hard. I really had never felt so far off from where I wanted to be and so overwhelmed. The thing that I felt has made the difference from this is what has come from inside. In the midst of all of this I still had faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I knew that there was a purpose for all things. And I knew that I wanted to give my best for our Savior everyday. Despite all of this overwhelming struggle, I did my best to remain positive, hopeful, and prayerful (I don't think I've ever prayed so sincerely in my life). The first real turn around for me was Thursday and Friday night. Those were the nights we had our first great appointments with investigators. That helped me understand the great joy that comes when we lose ourselves in the service of others. It was very edifying for me. What made I think the greatest impact is Saturday night and Sunday. General conference what was one of the greatest blessings the Lord could ever give me. If I had a testimony before of Jesus Christ, and this Gospel, and his love and care for us (which I know I had great testimony) it is nothing compared to how I feel now. This weekend has been one of the most Holy experiences I have ever had. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is our savior. I know that he is guiding me every step I take. I know that the atonement was performed and by it that we may have salvation. So I may not know German, I may not be able to understand the people, I may have been overwhelmed, but it doesn't matter anymore for I know that the Lord is my guide. I know that I am here to represent him here in Germany. Though I may be weak, with him I can have strength. I have felt his immense love and care for me, and it's indescribable. In the Sunday morning session (my sunday afternoon) of conference the choir sang "Come thou Fount" my favorite hymn. There is a line that goes "Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love, nay here's my heart oh take and seal it, seal it in thy courts above." To the Lord belongs my heart now and forever. My job at this time is to serve a mission here in Germany. I am a loved child of God, a brother of Jesus Christ, and because of that, none of these trials concern me anymore. I know my Savior lives and because of that I am completely happy. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen.