Monday, March 25, 2013

Elder Eaker, Bodily and Young at Zone Council.

Yea, real Rootbeer!  A rare treat in Germany.

60 Missionaries Come to Stuttgart Bahnhof (train station)!

March 25, 2013
Servus Zusammen!

This week was a rather busy, but a very good week. First of all things are going well with our investigators. We met with Sebastian and we taught him what we had planned for that day and he absolutely loved how everything makes so much sense with the gospel. After we were done he asked if we could keep going and so we went over the next few points that we were going to talk about in our next appointment with him. The young single adults in the stake here are also doing reall loved how everything makes so much sense with the gospel. After we were done he asked if we could keep going and so we went over the next few points that we were going to talk about in our next appointment with him. The young single adults in the stake here are also doing really well to try to make him feel welcome and integrate him into institute and their family home evening. We got y well to try to make him feel welcome and integrate him into institute and their family home evening. We got the chance to meet with Frau Weichelt as well and it was a super spiritual appointment. I don't know if it is the typicaly Ukrainian thing or not, but it is sometimes hard to tell what she is thinking or how she feels about something because she does not show it in facial expressions very often. However,  the one thing that is great is you can feel just how excited she is for her baptism. She has met with missionaries on and off for the last 6 years and in that time her mother, sister and daughters got baptized. She now feels that this is exactly what she needs and what she has been missing out on. We had a former missionary who served in Stuttgart, who lives in Germany, visit our ward yesterday and he was one of her original missionaries in Stuttgart. He was so excited to hear the news and see that the Lord had been helping her all this time. For Frau Weichelt's baptism she asked if one of the new converts in our ward, Stephan Bullinger, could baptize her since he had helped her a lot through all of this as a joint teacher and in the church and he was absolutely thrilled. This will be his first time he gets to baptize someone and he felt really honored for the opportunity. As for Luis, his medical test will be over this week and we will be able to meet with him on a regular basis. We talked to him and he explained how he was really looking forward to being done with the tests and meeting regularly.

In addition to the missionary work in our own ward, things are also going really well for our entire stake (zone). After my first transfer in Stuttgart we had had no baptisms and 2 people on the baptismal list. After this last transfer we had 2 baptisms in the zone, and 9 additional people with baptismal dates. Even though the transfer has just started we have already had a baptism in one of the areas as well as  two more additional people have been added to the baptismal list. It's amazing to see the kinds of miracles that have been taking place in our zone, and its been so great to see how much the Lord has been preparing these people. Elder Davies and I came up with a zone vision one night after a really good day that we introduced to the district leaders this last Friday for the beginning of the transfer. Our goal is to have at least one baptism in every area in our zone, in addition to those who are already on the baptismal list, within the next two transfers. It will take a lot of work and prayer, but we all feel really good and excited about this goal. We have already had those two new baptismal dates since the beginning of the transfer, so we are off to a great start. It's been great to see all the excitement with missionary work going on and I have felt a huge love for the people. It's been so great to see the Lord's work go through and see how it has helped so many people. This is one of the happiest times I have had on my mission.

This week was transfer week though and pretty much the whole mission was transferred. Very few people stayed with their companions.  Elder Davies and I were a few of the lucky ones. On Thursday when the transfers took place, Elder Davies and I had to be at the train station to make sure everyone got on the proper train and gets  the right connection. We had about 60 different missionaries come to Stuttgart Bahnhof (train station), to either take a train elsewhere, to come in, or to switch trains. There was a lot of coordinating going on that involved a lot of running with luggage and printing off train tickets. Anyway, there were no complications and everyone made it on their trains all right.

We now have the sister missionaries in our ward and so Sisters Bice and Jencks will be working with us. Sister Bice was with the group above me in the MTC and will be great for the area, and Sister Jencks is a new missionary who was one of Leslie Bangeter's piano students as well. Apparently we have met before at a piano recital. Their apartment isn't finished yet, so they are living in a hotel for the next 10 days or so.

We also have a lot of new missionaries in our zone this transfer. We had the opportunity to do the trainer/trainee meeting this transfer that President Miles normally does and it was way exciting to get to work with them for a little while.

Well I just found out that we have to go right now, so I will talk to you all later.  Hope all is well. I love you lots!

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen
P.S. I received the Easter package this week, thank you so much. The Fruit Roll Ups are already gone, and we are probably being too creative with the remote control cars in our apartment right now.....

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So many miracles are happening in Stuttgart right now.

March 18, 2013
Servus Zusammen!
I think I am just going to copy an excerpt out of my letter to President Miles to give you an idea of what happened this week.

------Dear President,   
                I hope you are having a great week!   This week we had two awesome miracles happen. The first started almost two weeks ago at Zone Conference. During lunch Elder Davies and I received a call from a 19 year old named Sebastian Neugebauer who straight up told us that he wanted to meet with us and wanted to be baptized. We met this last Tuesday with him and right from the beginning we could tell he was one of the most prepared people we have  ever met.  He had lived with a family in Utah for five months on a student exchange program. He went to church every week except for one when he was sick. He was also very close to one of the kids in the family who they sent on a mission to California while he was there. He didn't think at the time that the church would be a big part of his life when he got home, but since he has been home for almost two years he has been thinking a lot about it. He started praying daily and going to church now again with his girlfriend (who is a member) and realized that it was all true and that baptism was exactly what he needed to do. Everything we have taught him in our last three appointments he understands perfectly and says he believes and that he will even pray about it just for sure confirmation. We set a goal for him for baptism on the 13th of April and he started coming to institute and reading everyday in the Book of Mormon. He is one of the coolest people I have ever met.                
                The second miracle happened on Friday on an austausch with Elder Harris. The night before we had received a call from a lady named Frau Weichelt who has been coming to church in Stuttgart for the last year and a half or so. She has two daughters who are both members and she has met on and off with the Pforzheim Sisters and Stuttgart Elders since she has lived here. She asked if we could meet the next day (Friday) at her house. We brought Elder Fiedler along as a third man since Elder Armstrong was working on the apartment for the Sisters in Stuttgart with some members. The three of us went to her house and we could tell that she wanted to say something,  but wasn't sure how to approach it. Right after we said the opening prayer she opened up and said, 'I actually have another reason why I wanted you to come over today. My daughters'  and mother's influences have helped me a lot, I've felt the spirit so much when I go to church or read the scriptures, and I have been thinking and praying about it a lot and I want to get baptized.' We were so excited and what added to that was on Sunday when she went around the ward telling people about her decision and how happy she looked and how excited the ward was for her. Her date is scheduled for April 27th, before she goes to visit her mother in the Ukraine who is a member as well. We didn't do anything to contribute to these miracles, but it was so great to see how much the Lord had prepared these people. It was a testimony builder for me and I have felt so blessed to be able to watch these miracles take place. The Lord truly looks after his children and helps them feel the spirit and come closer to him.-------

                It was really one of the most incredible weeks on my mission. Like I said we didn't really do anything, but it was all the Lord's work in preparing these people and helping them feel the spirit as they sought to come closer unto him. Sebastian was introduced to the church about two years ago and Frau Weichelt had been meeting with missionaries on and off since 2006 and all throughout this time the spirit had been working on them to help them prepare for the great blessings that would come. This last month or so I have just been so happy with being a missionary and this week really just put that over the top. It has been so great to be a part of the Lord's work. Whether there is a lot of success or not, or whether there are a lot of trials, I have really come to understand what kind of joy the gospel brings.

That means at this point we are working with three people who are preparing to be baptized: Luis Alcaraz from Colombia (May 25th), Sebastian Neugebauer from Germany (April 13th), and Lena Weichelt from the Ukraine (April 27th). So many miracles are happening in Stuttgart right now it is unbelievable.

Sebastian has been particularly fun to work with. He is around mine and Elder Davies' age and we have so much in common with him. He is someone I honestly feel was prepared for us to meet because we just click so well with him. By the end of our first lesson we were already talking about staying in contact after our missions. He is going to study piano in the University and so we had him play something for us and he might be the best piano player who is around my age that I have ever met, which is saying a lot because I have met some absolutely amazing piano players.

In addition to all the cool things that have been happening with the missionary work we have been doing a lot straight up manual work. We are working with the International Elders and a couple members from our ward to really finish remodeling our old apartment for the Sisters coming in. We got transfer calls last week (Elder Davies and I are staying together like we thought) and President told us that the sisters will be here in Stuttgart this Thursday so we have get in overdrive and get it all done. Dad you would be so proud of me, I have been in charge of doing all of the painting for the apartment. Elder Fiedler from the International ward is getting transferred so we will get a new roommate named Elder Tauche who is also a German. Half our zone is changing this transfer and Elder Root is leaving but Elder Chapman is coming from St. Pölten so I'm losing one mission son, but replacing him with another.

Kristy and Tristan I think that's awesome that you are going to be coming to Austria in September! It is definitely a great place to visit. You'll definitely enjoy western Austria in Salzburg and Innsbruck areas if you go there because they are absolutely gorgeous. If you make it to Vienna let me know, because I can suggest some great places to go there since I spent about a third of my P-Days there when I was in Austria. It also wouldn't hurt to take a quick visit to St. Pölten if you are close by.

Today for P-Day we went to the Rittersport chocolate factory with the International Elders. It's one of my two favorite types of chocolates from Germany/Switzerland area (which produce some of the best chocolate ever). I bought some cheap chocolate there that I will be sending home in a couple of weeks. The owner of the franchise, Herr Ritter, looked like the German version of Willy Wonka, crazy hair suit and all. After that we went on to the American base which was nearby to go shopping and go on a Taco Bell eating spree. Germans don't really like Mexican food and so you don't find it here at all, so we had to go get our taco fix.   Well I hope all is going well for you all. I sure love you a lot. The time has been going scary fast since I passed my year mark!

 Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

P.S.  Is it possible that you could get me Jacob Covey's email address since there is another Jacob Covey serving in Australia who got my email to him and also Elder McGinn and his trainer since I know a lot of missionaries in that mission.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Zone Conference group.  Elder Bodily (first row, left and in the center)  Sister and President Miles.
Loves being a missionary!  Pictures posted by Sister Miles on Alpine German Site.

I am very grateful for the chance to be a missionary!

March 11, 2013
Servus Zusammen!

Well I better address the natural mother concerns. I am doing all right now with my health. With getting a prescription you don't have to worry about sending it over; that's why I got to go on the American base so I could get some drugs from the US. I had permission from the mission nurse who is an actual doctor and I have been doing fine. All that is left is a sore throat, but otherwise I am completely recovered.

Well I've got some rather exciting news. We had Zone Leader council in Munich this week and while there President Miles told us about a new email policy that we have. All missionaries around the world are allowed to email essentially anyone now. The only exception is people of the opposite gender who live within your mission boundaries. Other than that though emailing is free game. This came from the first presidency and we are not entirely sure yet as to why, but as of last Monday this was the policy. However, with our mission rules we still have just a limited time on emails, so I will probably stick to letters in a large part, but it's still very convenient with the new rules. An interesting story, I do not know if I told you already, but my old companion Elder XXXX, his girlfriend is coming to our mission in June. He told President Miles who said they probably won't see each other at all during their time here.

Like I said previously, we had Zone Leader council this week along with Zone conference last Tuesday. The basic theme from Zone conference was working with Members and how to be more effective in this area. We had our Stake President come and talk to us for a while and he talked about a number of things relating to the stake and ward mission plans, but he also took a little bit of time to discuss the best way of how to work with Germans based off their culture. He gave us tips on what is the best way to get the German members excited and motivated for missionary work while not being over bearing and annoying to them. It was a very interesting discussion, but very helpful I thought. 

Our three main investigators have all been out of the town this last week because apparently this is their spring break time before they have their finals in school; but we had quite a miracle at Zone conference last week. During lunch an unknown number called Elder Davies and I and told us that he had been in Utah a number of times for schooling and that he had been going to church there a lot and wants to get baptized. Stuff like that is just amazing here and we were almost wondering if it was a joke, but we made out an appointment for when he gets back in Stuttgart which will be tomorrow. Hopefully everything goes well. 

One of the things that really hit me this time at Zone conference was the testimony meeting at the end. Every Zone conference they have all of the missionaries, who this is either their first or last Zone Conference in the mission, give their testimonies. There were two people in our zone who are going home in the next couple of weeks, one of them being a really good friend of mine since I have been out here. When they bore their testimonies it really impacted me a lot; this is the first zone conference I've had since I have been past my year mark and it made it feel like the time is flying by so quick. I thought about how much the mission has meant to me and how much I will miss the spirit of it when I leave. When these two missionaries bore their testimonies you could tell how much it meant to them and that it had played a huge impact on who they were now. I start feeling that for myself and how much my time here has helped me and allowed me to become happier and set me on the best course I could be on. I am very grateful for the chance to be a missionary and have the gospel in my life.

Last Saturday we spent time with the Bensons (the senior couple in Stuttgart) and the international Elders to start preparing our old apartment for the Sister missionaries that will be coming in next transfer. There is still a lot to do, but we fortunately have a member in our ward who does remodeling for his job who is getting paid by the church to take care of the rest of the apartment. It should be ready within a week and a half. By the way this transfer for some reason is only five weeks instead of the normal six weeks. We have transfer calls this Friday, but I would be quite shocked if Elder Davies or I go already. Since my time with Elder Davies in the MTC was equivalent to a transfer and a half, by the end of this transfer he will have been my longest companion and we should still have about two more transfers together after this one. All my companions have been with me only one or two transfers so far.

There was another baptism in our zone this week. It was in a branch called Heilbronn which has not had a baptism of any sort in the last 7 years. Elder Davies did the Baptismal interview for the man and then two days later we went to see him get baptized. It was an awesome experience for the branch.

Well that's probably it for this week. I love you lots!

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's called Walking Pneumonia

March 4, 2013
Servus Zusammen!

Ok Mom, you will need to close your eyes for the next few sentences. Ok so as of last Monday I started getting signs of a cold. We went and played basketball that day with some other Elders in our Zone for P-Day and I didn't play that hard or that long, but I could still tell that I was developing a cold. That night I was going to Ellwangen to do an austausch with Elder Root and on the train ride there I started feeling really sick. We had an appointment that night that went well, but afterwards when we headed home I started getting really dizzy. We had to go to bed early and the next day I had to sleep in a little while because I didn't feel right at all. It started getting better, but whenever Elder Root and I were outside I felt really weak in the cold. We had a lot of fun, but again that night I was super dizzy and weak. On Wednesday we went to Ellwangens district meeting and on the way back I told Elder Davies that I would have to rest when we got home. The next day was even worse. I had been having a super bad cough and sinus problems and after we went to our own district meeting and they gave me a blessing, and then I had to head back and rest for the rest of the day and had to do austausches with the International Elders so that one of them could stay with me and the other could go teach with Elder Davies at one of our appointments. That night I didn't sleep hardly at all. Friday night when I woke up I realized it had to be more than a cold so I called the mission nurse. I talked with her and she figured out based off all of my symptoms that I had a form of Pneumonia. It's called Walking Pneumonia and it's not the kind you have to go to the hospital for, but nonetheless she told me that I should stay inside for the next three days at least and just sleep in addition to some other things she told me to do. She said I would be fine as long as I did what she said and if a fever didn't break out; otherwise they would bring me into Munich to get checked up on by the nurse. Well it was a long weekend, but I am doing a lot better now. Now Mom you can open your eyes. The only thing we went out for was Stake Conference on Sunday and then afterwards we went straight back home. We did austausches now and again with other Elders so that Elder Davies could get out about now and again. It was not the most pleasant week, but it's now over.

However, on the good side of things I did get to do an austausch with Elder Root this week. It was so fun to work with him again and catch up on life. He is both a district leader right now and is also training which means that his companion Elder Kelly is my mission grandson. Although I was sick during the austausch it was still a lot of fun. Elder Root and Kelly also stayed overnight with us on Saturday night since Ellwangen is kind of far from Stuttgart and Stake Conference was early in the morning. That way they didn't have to wake up so early to make it on time. 

We found a new investigator this week named Ray. I didn't get the chance to teach him because this was during one of our austausches that Elder Davies taught him, but from what he explained to me Ray sounds like one of the most prepared people we have ever met on our mission. He is roommates with a less active member who decided he wanted to change his life around and start coming to church. He started talking to Ray about the church and the Book of Mormon and he developed a lot of interest. We are excited to see what will come with him. 

We weren't able to teach Luis this week because he was super busy, but he is still super excited about his baptismal date. We are in the process right now of getting his family in Colombia to find the missionaries and start learning from them. This coming week should be really good. We have Zone Conference here on Tuesday and then Zone Leader Council in Munich on Thursday. I imagine it will fly by. 

I hope you have a wonderful week. I love you all a lot.                                                              
 Elder Bodily   -   Gott Sei Mit Euch Bis Aufs Wiedersehen