Monday, February 27, 2012

All of Munich!

Hello family, friends, and acquaintances! 
I hope everyone's week has gone well and that winter hasn't been too crazy. This week I finally started wearing shoes other than my boots. My legs feel so free!

First off for the most exciting piece of news-- Sister Pingree and I have been given permission to work not just with our ward, but with all the wards in Munich! There are four wards here, and we will help with teaching female investigators, visiting female less actives, and in any other way we can. We are the only Sister Missionaries in the Munich Stake, so we will be an important resource for the other missionaries and members. We are so excited to be so busy! The wards here can really benefit from the help of Sister Missionaries. There are some things Elders just can't do (sorry, Elder Stewart, its true). We have been unleashed from our area and can travel all over Munich to help the members here. Hooray!

Another interesting side note that I keep forgetting to mention- Our mission will soon extend into Italy! There is a part of Italy just across the border with Austria called Südtirol (South Tyrol) that is primarily German speaking. When the mission borders changed, the area became part of Italy and the German speaking members were forced to go to an Italian speaking ward. Many of them chose not to do that and have lost contact with the Church. Our mission is sending a senior couple there to start an LDS German Speaking Group with the 5 members that we know are there (there use to be about 50 before the borders changed). President Miles wants to send proselyting German speaking missionaries to the area soon. So our mission will cover 5 countries- Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy! How cool is that?

This past week we had appointments with some of the less active sisters in our ward. We shared the talk by President Uchtdorf : "Sie sind dem Herrn wichtig." (You are known by the Lord) It talks all about how God never forgets us and that each one of us is important to him. Sometimes it blows my mind that I, am unimportant little human, am known and loved by the creator of the universe. I know He knows and loves each one of us, because we are His children. He wants us to return and live with Him, and I know He has provided the way for each of us to do that.

One cool thing about being in a big city like Munich is how international it is. Sister Pingree and I keep running into people who don't speak German! We have met people from Spain, Turkey, Brazil and various other places. We have started carrying an English Book of Mormon in addition to the German ones.
Yesterday we had Stake Conference. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake for all of the Stakes in Germany. We got to hear from Elder Nelson and President Eyring! It was weird for me to listen to talks from Apostles dubbed into German, but I did manage to get some good notes down. One thing really impressed me from Elder Nelson's talk, he talked about how God sees us not how we are right now, but as we can become. He then talked to parents about helping their children become the people that God wants them to be. I took that counsel and applied it to my situation as a missionary and asked myself "Am I helping my investigators/less active members/my companion become the people God wants them to be?" I know that one of my purposes as a missionary is to help others come unto Christ. Sometimes I get caught up in all the little details, but yesterday I realized that the most important thing I need to be doing is helping EVERYONE around me become a better person. Well, Heavenly Father must think I'm up to the task or He wouldn't have called me here, so I'll do my best!

Ich weiß, dass ich eine sehr wichtige Aufgabe habe. Ich hoffe, dass ich Glauben an den Herrn entwickeln kann. Nur durch ihn kann es dieses Werk schaffen. Ich bin so dankbar, für alle die Missionare, die hier dienen und die überall in der Welt dienen. Zusammen werden wir es schaffen!
(I know that I have a very important work. I hope I can develop faith in the Lord. I can only do this work through Him. I am very grateful for all the missionaries serving here and throughout the world. Together we can do it!)

Alles Gute,
Sister Stewart

Meghan- Thanks for the e-mail! Visits from friends aren't really allowed, sorry. Hopefully one day we will get to do a grand European tour together!

Elder Stewart- Keep up the good work!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Durch den Herrn ist alles möglich (Through the Lord everything is possible)

Guten Tag!

I can hardly believe I've already been here in Germany for over two weeks! After the first few days, the time has started to go by a lot quicker.
One of the coolest things we get to do in this area is work with the young single adults. There is an outreach center here where they have Family Home Evening, Institute, and other activities. We've been able to help out a lot with that. There are some awesome young adults here and I have really enjoyed getting to know them. They come from all over the world and have such strong testimonies. At Institute last week, we talked about David and Goliath. One of the things that the teacher pointed out was that David prepared 5 stones, but then only used one to kill Goliath. The lesson I took away from that is we need to prepare as much as possible for whatever might come our way. I have learned as a missionary that when I am well prepared, I am better able to carry out the tasks that are expected of me. I may need to study more scriptures than I think I'll need for a lesson, and then when I'm teaching the Spirit will tell me which one will be best. I have to build up the spiritual reservoirs for the spirit to draw on.
One of the first days in our apartment when we were leaving we met our downstairs neighbor, Frau Brandl in the stairway. She is very nice. She asked us what we do and a little bit about the church. We told her we were missionaries who teach people about Jesus Christ. She said "Sure, feel free to come by sometime." So we did! We baked her some cookies and took her a Book of Mormon and taught her most of the first lesson. When we asked her if she prays, she said “No she doesn't really pray like they do in the Catholic Church, but that she just talks to God.” That's exactly what prayer is, talking to God! She is so prepared for this message. She is Catholic but has problems accepting some of the things the Catholic Church has done in the past. When we explained about the Book of Mormon, she said "So I need to read it. I'll find a time when I'm not distracted to read it." I don't think a missionary could ask for a better answer from an investigator than that. We couldn't get her to commit to making a return appointment, but we live right above her, so I think we'll be able to sufficiently bug her :)
On Thursday evening, we went to a Zumba class that they have at the outreach center (don't worry; we got permission from the Mission President!). The reason we went was to meet a friend of one of the young adults who goes to the class. We met a lot of really great young women, and hopefully we'll be able to invite them to church this week! (We ran out of time last week- we live kind of far away and we had to run to catch the S-Bahn).
On Sunday I translated Sunday School and Sacrament meeting for a new convert, Hui. Hui is a Student from China who speaks pretty good English and is learning German. She got baptized in January. Translating is hard work! Sometimes German words would slip into my English, or my English sentences wouldn't make a lot of sense. Thankfully Hui got most of what I was saying.
Ich habe gelernt diese Woche, dass ich dieses Werk nur durch den Herrn machen kann. Er weißt, wer bereit ist. Er kann durch mich wirken, um Leute näher zu ihm zu bringen. Ich bin so dankbar für die Gelegenheit, die ich habe, den Herrn zu dienen.
(I have learned this week that this work (missionary work) can only be done with the Lord. He knows who is ready. He can work through me to bring others closer to Him. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord.)
Ich liebe euch! (I love you!)
Sister Stewart
Maddy- E-mail me your home address and whatever mission addresses you have, please!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Herzlichen Grüßen aus München! (Warmest Regards from Munich!)

Servus! (Hi!)

I have successfully made it to Germany. To get here we flew from Salt Lake to Atlanta, and then Atlanta to Munich. The flight was looooong. I probably only slept about 3 hours on the plane. When we landed in Germany, it was about 8 in the morning. The very first thing they do is hand you a Book of Mormon and tell you to go place it. I talked to a couple people on the train. They were very nice, but not so interested. At least I talked to somebody!

When we arrived at the mission office, the Assistants to the President had lots of training for us. We were only allowed to take a 20 minute power nap. They used to let the missionaries sleep for three hours when they first got here, but they decided to try something new this transfer. So I went about....30 hours without sleeping. Fun times. I did sleep very, very well my first night in the mission home.

My mission president is President Miles. He interviewed all of the missionaries who arrived on our first day. As I was talking with him, I felt the Spirit confirm to me that he is called of God to lead this mission. I know as I follow his counsel, I will be blessed.

After all our training, they took us to the mission home and we got to meet our trainers and find out where we would be serving. My first area is the München 3 Ward and Sister Pingree is my trainer! There haven't been sisters in this area for a long time, so Sister Pingree and I get the fun task of "white-washing" which basically means starting from scratch. I think I am serving in an area where Kevin Göhring served, his name is in our area book, so that's pretty cool.

We got in our apartment on Wednesday (after forgetting the keys and having the Assistants bring them to us-whoops). The apartment is VERY nice. It is a little bit out of the way, but Munich has a great public transportation system that we've been getting ourselves familiar with.

The first thing I noticed when I landed in Munich is that it is COLD. There is snow frozen onto the streets everywhere. I am very thankful for my boots and my black poofy coat. They have done a very good job of keeping me toasty.

On Sunday we got to meet the ward. There are some amazing members here. Sister Pingree and I introduced ourselves and bore our testimonies. In sacrament meeting one of the speakers was talking about the parable of the talents (in Matt 25). What he was saying really hit home for me, especially when he then read in D&C 60:2-3,13. The Lord has given me this amazing message to share with other people. It is my task to have courage and open my mouth to share it with others.

One thing that makes it easier for me to talk to people is that I already speak German. I have gotten compliments from lots of people on my German. The only reason it is so good is that I have been studying it for over 10 years! I hope that as I spend more time in Germany, I will be able to improve my German even more.

I am so grateful to be here serving in Germany. I know the Lord will help me as I seek to find His elect and invite them to hear His voice and come unto Him.

You can always write me at the mission office address, but here is my most recent address. NOTE: Be sure to include the "Kirche Jesu Christi" otherwise, they won't deliver it to me! Send packages to the mission office address

Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Sister JeanMarie Stewart
Francestr. 6
80997 München

I love you all, thank you for all the support you give me!! You can e-mail me and I'll read it on Mondays. Include your address if you want me to write you back! Time is limited, but I'll try to write to as many as I can.

Ich weiß, dass ich ein Himmlische Vater habe, der mich liebt. Er wird mich in dieser Arbeit helfen und segnen, wenn ich seine Gebote halte. Ich bin so froh, hier in Deutschland zu sein.
(I know that I have a Heavenly Father. I know he loves me. He will aid me in this work and bless me when I keep His commandments. I am so happy to be here in Germany.)

mit herzlichen Grüßen, (Warmest regards,)
Sister Stewart

Caramellas- thank you so much for the cupcakes in the MTC! I shared them with my district and they loved them!

Aimee- thank you for the cookies and bread! They were amazing!
Translations by her father based on College German, the mistakes are his.