Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And another Austausch! (exchange)

Guten Tag!

I hope you all had a great week! This past week I feel like I have learned a lot. I am so grateful for the chance to be on a mission. As I have learned this week to put aside my pride and fear and just go to work, I have found so much joy. 

Sister Clark and I have officially become the "Austauschers." As Sister Training Leaders we go on three exchanges every transfer. We will be doing our last exchange for this transfer tomorrow with the Sisters in Freiburg. They are a 4 hour train ride away from us! We are meeting halfway at the Bahnhof in Karlsruhe. Karlsruhe just happens to be in the Frankfurt mission. No worries, we cleared it with President Miles. The train connections in this part of the mission just use Karlsruhe as a big transfer point, it would add a couple more hours of travel to avoid it. I am excited to work with a Sister I haven't even met before. This is her first transfer here in Germany. Hopefully I don't corrupt her too much.

This past week we did Austausch with the sisters in Pforzheim. I got to work with Sister Holmstead! This is the third Austausch I have done with her. We went to the MTC on the same day, but since I was fast tracked I came to Germany before her, but we will be going home on the same day! She is one of the best friends I have made on my mission. It was a joy and a pleasure working with her for the day. We rang A LOT of people's doorbells, and Sister Holmstead seized every opportunity to teach and bear testimony. She is a big example to me. It was also nice to relate to another missionary who is going home soon.
We continue to make slow but steady progress on visiting every member on the ward list. The ward is also trying to clean up the records and find out if people still actually live where it says they do on the ward list, so we will be reporting back on our efforts to the Branch President.  Sister Clark and I have been working lately on planning effectively, and it is amazing how many good things things we find to do.  The Lord has blessed us a lot. We have had new ideas come to us of things to try and we have been able to get in contact with some people that we weren't able to reach before. 

Yesterday a family in the branch invited us over for lunch after church. We drove home with them. There were 7 people (all of them adults or teenagers) and 5 seats in the car. It was a bit of a tight squeeze; luckily they don't live too far away. 

The weather is crazy, crazy right now. We are wearing jackets and scarves, and it is almost June! The members say that some parts of the area may be getting snow next week! Where is summer?!?
I want to say thank you for all the prayers that have been/are being said on our behalf. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your faith and for your good examples to me. 

Ich weiß, dass Gott mich liebt. Ich mache jeden Tag Fortschritt, um zurück zu ihm zu gehen. Ich weiß, dass wenn wir gehorsam sind, segnet der Herr uns mit Frieden und Freude.
(I know that God loves me. I'm working every day to go back to him. I know that when we are obedient, the Lord blesses us with peace and joy.)

Ihr seid super! Bis bald! (Your are the best! Take care!)
--Sister Stewart

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Austausch (exchange) Angels

 Hello everybody!

This past week was great, we have been kept hopping with all the things we have to do. 

This week we did Austausch (exchange) with the Sisters in Stuttgart! I went to Stuttgart to work with Sister Jencks. We visited an older member who lives in a nursing home, and she gave us some bead angels she had made. A funny story: one time I was on Austausch in Graz and one of the members gave me a little angel! So this was the second time that I received an angel on Austausch. They are both sitting on my desk. As I look at them I just think about how much God loves us and how He will always send people to help us. He sends angels, from both sides of the veil, to help us to feel of his love. As Sister Jencks and I were visiting with this sister, I couldn't help but feel how much God loves her and how precious she is in His sight. 

Working in the city was weird because it was so familiar. I have spent so much of my mission in big cities that I feel so at home there. It's funny because after serving in Munich and Vienna for a while I just wanted to get out of the city, but now I miss it. Don't get me wrong, I love serving in Göppingen, but I also miss the hustle and bustle of the city and the smooth glide of the U-Bahn as opposed to the bumpy buses we take all the time here. Sister Jencks and I had a good day, we taught a less active member and we found a new investigator! The apartment in Suttgart the sister missionaries live in  has been redone (they replaced the Elders there, so there was a lot of work to do :) ) but it is a lot smaller than the apartment here in Göppingen. Stuttgart is a beautiful city, its set into some hills that are covered with trees, and everything is green now that it is spring! 

Thursday we watched the Restoration DVD with one of our investigators. No matter how many times I watch that movie, I always learn something new and feel the Spirit. That was really nice. On Saturday we were in Ulm to help the Elders with a street display. Basically we just went to downtown Ulm and talked to as many people as we could about Jesus and the Book of Mormon.  It was a long day, and we didn't see a whole lot of success, but I still feel good about it. The morning was hard, but then after lunch Sister Clark and I went down a quiet side street and prayed and from then on I felt a lot better. I know that Heavenly Father is proud of us, even when others use their agency not to listen. 

Sister Clark and I have decided that we really need to find new investigators. We are going to be focusing on that by visiting all  the members on the ward list and former investigators and then tracting around those addresses. I have found that finding works better when you have a specific place in mind to go rather than when you just show up in a neighborhood and start knocking doors. So our goal this week is to conquer the ward list! There are lots of people on there I have never heard of/seen before, so I am sure it will be an adventure! 

Ich weiß, dass wenn wir zum Himmlischen Vater beten, antwortet er uns. Er schickt uns die Frieden und Trost, die wir brauchen. Ich habe gelernt, dass ich mehr oft beten soll. Er ist immer bereit zu helfen, ich muss ihn nur bitten! Ich weiß, dass unser Himmlischer Vater uns alle liebt. Er will, dass wir zu ihm zurückkehren. 
(I know that when we pray to Heavenly Father, He answers us. He sends us the peace and comfort that we need. I've learned that I should pray more often. He is always willing to help; I just need to ask him! I know that our Heavenly Father loves us all. He wants us to return to Him.)

Ich hab euch leib! Mach's gut!
--Sister Stewart

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mission Tour and Leadership Meetings and lots of fun stuff !

Sorry if this is a little shorter than normal, we are doing P-Day in Stuttgart today! 

The highlights of our week:

·         We met with one of the members in our ward and then called on a less active who lives in the same town. We were able to go by and see her! That was awesome because we hadn't seen her since February!
·         We met with Destiny, our very favorite African! We read in the Book of Mormon with him, and he is loved it.
·         We went to Munich for the Mission Tour! Elder Teixeira from the Area Presidency came and talked with us. We stayed in the Mission Home on Thursday night and then went to Rückert Straße, the same chapel where I went to church for the first 6 months, for the meeting. It was great.
·         Sister Clark and I along with the other new Sister Training Leaders, took part in what is now called the Mission Leadership Council (formerly the Zone Leader Council). It was great!

·         We got to talk to our parents! Hooray!

 I learned a lot this past weekend, but something that really sticks out in my mind is how important our calling as missionaries really is and how important it is that we give ALL our might, mind and strength to this work. There is a lot expected of us, but that's okay because God is there to help us. As we dedicate and consecrate our lives, He will help us. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn so much on my mission and I know I will continue to learning for the next 2 and a half months. 

Ich habe euch lieb! (I love you!)
--Sister Stewart

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Frühlingfest (spring festival) = very full trains

Guten Tag!

I really enjoyed this past week, even though we weren't able to actually meet with any of our investigators. But you know what, that's okay.

Monday we went to Ulm. The other people in the District weren't too excited about climbing the Munster, so we went to IKEA instead. It was lots of fun :) There's food there and everything. Then we did family home evening at our ward mission leader's house, which was pretty awesome. He and his wife are the best.
Tuesday we went back to Ulm for District Meeting.

Wednesday was a holiday in Germany. The celebrate Labor Day on the 1st of May. We went to the ward picnic and played some Uno. Then we went and visited with Schwester Hausmann, one of the new converts. Then we went from door to door for a little while.

Thursday we had to sort out lots of fun stuff involving visas and bus tickets in the morning. Then in the afternoon we went and visited Schwester Demel, one of the old ladies in our ward, and then we went from door to door for a little while.

Friday we planned! Then we went from door to door for a little while. Then we had dinner with a member.
Saturday we went to Stuttgart! We helped out with a stake youth activity about missionary work. The train on the way there was pretty full of people on their way to Frühlingfest (pretty much like Oktoberfest, except in the spring and in Stuttgart, not Munich). They had decided to get a head start on their alcohol consumption, so that was fun. Then on the way back home, the train that normally goes was broken so they put us on a little bitty train. It was packed to bursting, literally no room to move. It was a fun adventure on German trains. 

On Friday we will be going to Munich for Mission Tour! Elder Texiera from the area presidency will be coming! I am very excited, the meeting will be held at the building where I went to church for the first 6 months of my mission!

Something interesting that happened this week --- We got a call one night from an "Unknown" number. Whenever that happens, 9 times out of 10 it is President Miles calling. And whenever President Miles calls, you know your life is about to get a lot more interesting. As I looked at the phone, I wondered if this meant we would be getting another visa waiter. Sister Clark was in the bathroom. I answered:

"Hallo, hier spricht Sister Stewart"
"Hi Sister Sister, hier spricht President Miles. Wie geht's?"
"Gut, wie geht's Ihnen?"
"Mir geht's wunderbar! (he always says that) Are you two working hard?"
"Oh, you know, we try our best, President."
"That good, because that's what we need. Hey, can you put me on speaker phone so I can talk to both of you?"
"Well, Sister Clark's in the bathroom right now..."

So I talked to President for a couple minutes until Sister Clark came out of the bathroom. Then I put President on speaker phone and he said ---

"The structure of mission leadership is changing. There is a new position being created called Sister Training Leader. I would like to call you, Sister Stewart, to be the head Sister Training Leader for the Stuttgart area and you, Sister Clark, to be the assistant. Will you two accept this calling?"
"Well, sure President!"

I have no idea what this means. I do know that we will be attending the Zone Leader Council which will now be called Mission Leadership Meeting. We are also in charge of organizing exchanges for the sisters for whom we are responsible, which includes the sisters in the Stuttgart zone and the sisters in the German part of the Zürich zone. Fun times! We have our first meeting on Friday, so wish us luck!

Ich bin dankbar für die Zeit, die ich habe, auf Mission zu sein. Es ist wunderbar! Obwohl ich nicht perfekt bin, ich weiß, dass ich einfach mein Bestes geben muss.
(I am grateful for the time that I have to serve a mission. It is wonderful! Although I am not perfect, I know that I just have to the best I can.)

Ich habe euch lieb!
--Sister Stewart