May 6, 2013
Well we had another baptism in our ward this week! The International Elders had an investigator named Ralf who was to get baptized on Thursday. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but lived a long time in New Mexico and was planning on returning there in a few months so that's why the International Elders were in charge of the teaching because they figured he would be in the American ward until he moved back. It was originally planned this way for awhile, but then two days before his baptism Ralf decided it might be better that he should be in the German ward until he moves back to America so that he could help his own people who he could relate to better for the time being. We were kind of surprised by the announcement, but we were deeply impressed by his commitment to serve the Lord as best as he could and the ward was excited to have another new member. The international elders still went through with finishing all the teaching and performing the baptism, and will continue to meet with him with us as well. Ralf is a very spiritual in tune man who has been searching for the true church for a long time. He found the International Elders on the street one day and somehow just knew he had to talk with them. Since then he has been making quick progress. We weren't able to see his baptism because of some unexpected events which I will explain later, but it apparently went really well and he was confirmed on Sunday. They were originally going to have the Stake President confirm him with the Holy Ghost, but the International elders had not been able to get a hold of him so about five minutes before sacrament meeting started they asked if I could do the confirming. I was really glad to do it and it was a really spiritual experience. After the ward confirmed him he teared up and said how he felt like part of a big family. He had grown up as an orphan not knowing his family and so such an experience for him was something really touching to see.
You couldn't help but feel the spirit through it all. The ward has been really excited about missionary work as of late. They have been able to see three baptisms back to back these last three weeks, when they normally see two a year or so. You can't help but feel the spirit of the Lord touching the people in Stuttgart. Great miracles have been happening here.
This Thursday was transfer day. There weren't a whole lot of changes in our zone, but we had to be at the main train station to help send people off and help people get coordinated to their next destination. However, there were some unexpected problems with the mission secretary's computers and the train time schedule wasn't given to us until the morning of travel, so we didn't know what to plan for. Also in the rush of everything it was hard to proofread so we had a few wrong train times. Also a number of trains got delayed. It was little confusing and stressful, but it worked out in the end. However, we had to miss Ralf's baptism because of it since it takes awhile to get from the train station to the church and we never knew what to expect, and when the final people came in the baptism was over. But the sisters from our ward were there as well as a few members, and of course the international elders were in charge of the baptism. The important thing was that Ralf got baptized.
This week we had a really cool experience. We went on kind of a search and rescue mission to figure out where Luis had gone. No one had had contact with him, but we had his address. The directions to his house though were terribly confusing and we spent about an hour and half walking all around to figure out how to get to his apartment. It had been a little difficult because I had eaten something wrong that day and was feeling really sick. We called Luis's friend to get reclarification on the directions, but we ended up more lost than before. Finally, I had the feeling we should say a prayer to find him. I offered the prayer and after I closed Elder Davies said he had the feeling we needed to talk to the first person we saw no matter what. I thought he meant for directions, but he had meant about the gospel. Thirty seconds later a young man was walking down the street. We went up to him and as soon we said something, there was a huge smile on his face. I can't remember everything that we discussed, but he ended up being one of the most amazing people I have met. He was a college student at the local university, named Julian, studying architecture, but swalloped up everything we talked about. We even got to read a lot of the Book of Mormon right there on the street with him. I can't really put it into words, but after we finished talking with him Elder Davies and I knew that that was the whole reason why we had been there that night. It was Heavenly Father's plan that we would run into him. We also had a strong feeling that the perfect member to bring on a joint teach, who would be a really good friend for him in the church was Sebastian. He has only been a member for two weeks, but he is already going to play a big role in missionary work. We have an appointment with Julian this week. We are still looking for Luis, but we have hope for him and in the mean time we found another person ready for the gospel.
On Friday we had our transfer meeting with the district leaders. We have two new district leaders in our zone now. One of them being Elder Moon, and the other being Elder Chapman's companion which means I will get to work with both of them on austausches (since we get to choose who works where for the austausches). I am excited and this week I will be going on Tuesday to Ludwigsburg to work with Elder Chapman - so it will be like old times in St. Pölten.
On Saturday we had a stake youth activity that many of the stake missionaries were invited to since it was based on missionary work. Half of the youth in our stake is from the International ward so they needed us to translate from English to German or vice versa. We also got to teach the youth how to do various missionary tasks such as teaching lessons and contacting. They called the youth to mini missions in various countries and they would go to classes where they would learn about the country from members who had served in those countries (mostly international ward members since most German members tend to serve in either Germany or England). Elder Davies and I got to translate for Brother Wells from our ward who had served in Mexico. I learned from it that Cinco de Mayo is only celebrated in America, so in honor of a Mexican-American holiday yesterday we went to Taco Bell on the American base today. Anyways, it was a really fun activity to do with the youth that I hope they enjoyed as much as we did.
Speaking of the Wells. . . I will be calling home from their house on Sunday at 8:00 Utah time. Just thought you'd like to know. I think we will be skyping, but if not I will call from their Utah line number. I love you both. I hope you never worry about how much you did for me as parents, because you have both done more than enough
I hope you have a great week. I am excited to see some of you on Sunday. Hope you have a great Mother's Day Mom! Love ya'll.
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen