April 29, 2013
We had a wonderful week this week. The baptism for Lena Weichelt went very well. It was super spiritual and simply wonderful. Stefan Bullinger who has been a new convert since last October in the ward had the chance to perform the baptism, and then on Sunday I was able to give the blessing to confirm the Holy Ghost to her. She was very spiritually in tune throughout it all. The bishop asked her to bear her testimony in church on Sunday after she received the Holy Ghost. It was one of the more powerful testimonies I have heard. She doesn't express emotions very much like most eastern Europeans do, but you could tell she meant everything that she said by the spirit it brought. She talked about how it took her a little longer to realize the church is what she needed; her mother was baptized in 2000, her one sister a year after and then her two daughters were baptized two years ago and now she was finally baptized. She talked about how when she realized that the church was true and that she had experienced feeling the Holy Ghost, she couldn't help, but act and work towards being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. I think she went up to almost every member in our ward that she knew at the end of sacrament meeting and told them thanks for helping her through all of this time. It was a cool experience to be a part of and to see the Lord bless her.
For the baptism, Lena's daughter was supposed to perform a musical number, but right before Elder Davies and I left the apartment to go fill up the baptismal font she called and said that she hadn't had the opportunity to practice this week, and so she wouldn't be able to perform the piano piece. So, I called Sister Bice, since she was a vocal major at Snow College and asked if we could put something together for the baptism. So while we let the baptismal font fill up, we put together an arrangement of "Come Thou Font" and performed it an hour later for the baptism. It was really fun to do and it seemed to go well.
We had transfer calls this week. It's hard to believe that 6 weeks have already gone by since the last ones. Anyways, Elder Davies and I are staying together. This will be our third transfer together which is the longest companion I will have had (all the others have been 1 or 2 transfers) in the field, plus if you add the MTC that's another transfer and a half. It's been great working with him and we are really good friends. It will be weird getting a new companion later since Elder Davies and I know how to teach and work with each other so well. Our whole district is staying the same, too, which I am glad for because it is one of my favorite districts ever. When all 8 of you work in the same city and see each other so often and 2 of them live with you in your apartment you bond pretty tight.
As for the work: We are still trying to figure out what happened to Lxxx. His friend who is a member of the church hasn't heard from him in about 3 weeks. So we are not sure exactly what happened, but we are on a search and rescue mission to figure out where he is at. On the flip side we had a really good appointment with our new investigator named Kxx. He was the one Elder Davies taught on the austausch last week without me, but he is super chill and absolutely loves the Book of Mormon. He listens to what we have to say and always makes a remark after he thinks about it for a second, like about how much sense the gospel makes and that it all just sounds like wisdom from above. Before we met him he said he had been really trying to build a spiritual connection with God, and that was why he let us come back and teach him. He hasn't been a big fan of going to churches in the past and so getting him to church will take a little work, but other than that he is golden. We challenged him to baptism and he said he wants to study and hear more about the gospel before he commits to anything, but he understands the importance from what it sounds like and has nothing against it.
We had an austausch with the Tubingen Elders this week and during the austausch Elder Stricklin and I went by on an old investigator. His name is Jxxx and he had won the Mr. Universe competition earlier in his life. He is now 64, so not in the crazy body building shape that he was in before, but I still wouldn't want to get in a fight with him. He had trained with Arnold Schwartzenegger. He took steroids earlier in his life and it fried his brain a little bit, but he was super excited to see us when we showed up at the door. He really loves missionaries and was so happy that he hadn't been forgotten by the church. We are not sure how much we can do, but we told him we might come by every third week or so and invited him to come to church.
This week the International Elders have a baptism. The guys name is Ralf. He is being taught by the International Elders even though he is German, because Ralf had lived in the US for about 15 years and is going back in a few months, so it made more since for them to work with him and they were the ones who found him anyways. There is the possibility that he might end up coming to the German Ward just because he is German. He hasn't quite decided yet, though he is leaning towards the International Ward. Either way there will be another baptism in the city of Stuttgart.
So each week on Tuesday we have dinner with the Wells family, which is the family from Orem who lives here in Stuttgart. Because of his job as an author, he can pick and choose where they live and they decided to come live here for a couple years since she speaks German and his books have been selling really well here. He also really likes playing board games, and has been working on his own that will get published here at the end of the summer. So the company told him to test play the game a lot, so this week we came on Monday for family home evening and he played the game with us and the sisters so we could work out any flaws. It was great and he said he would get us all a free copy of the finished product that he would ship to us once he was back in Utah next March. We don't know what the game is called yet, but when it comes out in stores I will be able to say that I was one of the very first people to play it. Also the Wells family asked if we needed to call home on Mother's day so we officially have connections for the Mothers Day call. I will get more of the details to you next week.
That is the main extent of what happened this week. I hope you all have a great week, I sure love you all.
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen