Monday, January 30, 2012

Ariel's First Zone Conference

(Excerpts from an email to Andre)

    This past week we had zone conference in Hannover. It was so much fun to be with other missionaries. I really loved all the lessons given. We talked a lot about listening and listening for understanding. President gave a really awesome lesson about the Doctrine of Baptism which made Sister Stewart and I think about it for several days after. It's interesting how when you mull over things in your mind you can learn new things. Basically President taught that as we are baptized we become Christ's children. Mosiah 5:7 talks about it. Normally we think about becoming Gods' children but this specifically says Christ. President said that Christ is considered the Bridegroom and the Church is his Bride and we are their children when we are baptized. I found it really eye-opening and made a lot of sense to me how Christ is the father as well. Not just him being one in purpose with the Father (God) but that he is our Father when we are baptized. Cool huh?

     We had this one guy we went by to give a Polish Book of Mormon to and asked if we could come in for a few minutes and explain a little about it and that turned into a two hour lesson. It was incredible and really amazing how much he knew the scriptures. We're very excited to go back and visit him.

More Pictures :)

I'm not sure what this picture is, I can't really tell :)

Half-timber homes in Innenstadt

A snowy Friday morning :)

Hi ya!

     Well this week was harder than the last but we came out with two new investigators! On Friday it snowed. It was so fun to see and ride around in. I like how snow makes everything white. It’s like seeing it all for the first time again. Friday night we were riding home from visiting a member and we rode past these two guys walking on the street. One was so very kind and threw a snow ball at my face. Luckily for me he didn't have very good aim and so he only got my chin and cheek. 

     Saturday we were going door to door in a neighborhood that was pretty fancy. Sister Stewart and I rang the doorbell at one house and this lady peeped through her window under her blinds at us. I smiled and waved to her and then she put the blinds down. We thought for sure she wouldn't bother to open her door to us but sure enough she did. Then she told us to come in, to take our coats off, and have a seat in the living room. We were so shocked we thought we got trapped in some bible bashing home. But that wasn't the case at all. This woman, when she was our age, had two LDS friends and so she knew a lot about missionaries and a little about what we believed. She was so friendly and open. She also teaches German to those who learn it as a second language and so she could understand me just fine! We were able to teach her about the Restoration of the Gospel and set up another appointment to talk about the Plan of Salvation. It was a really neat lesson that Sister Stewart and I learned that you can't judge others. You have no idea who people are until you get to talk to them for a bit and learn from them. It was even more fun that before we left our apartment on Saturday I prayed that we would be able to find a new investigator that day and low and behold 30 minutes later we found one. Pretty neat!

   We met twice this week with a less active member who was so gracious enough to help me translate my talk for Sunday. I really learned how much can get lost just in translating it from one language to another. You never realize how many things you say that are ideas or idioms that can't be translated. Thanks to the less active member and Sister Stewart we were able to get it translated as close to what I meant as possible. After Sacrament on Sunday a member at Church came up to me and said my talk was toll (great) and that it left an impression on him. One of our investigators at church told me ''Sehr gut Gemacht!'' (Very well done!) It was funny. He even brought a friend to church. I was impressed! 

    I've been playing piano in PV (Primary) and it is a lot of fun. I love sitting in on the sharing time lesson because they tend to use smaller words that I can understand and when they do use a bigger word they ask the kids what it means and define it so it’s great for me to learn German and church language better. So - most members are really impressed that my ancestors are Italian. Sister Stewart says that Germans love Italians so it’s a good thing I’m Italian! This week I got to eat some Stollen and it’s like Pannetone but more dense with powdered sugar on top. And at our eating appointment we ate Roladen which is just a bigger version of Uccelletti (the little birdies Dad loves and we normally eat on his birthday) with a pickle inside. It’s funny to see these things that I know and how another culture has them too, just in a little different way.

    It snowed again Sunday and has slowly been getting colder throughout the week. Last night when we were done going door to door and heading home we passed this bank that always has the time and temperature and it said -5 Celsius! (23 degrees Fahrenheit) Buh!! Soooooo cold! I successfully had three layers over my entire body except for my hands. I have sure learned how to layer here!
   Anyways, I love you all! Have a fabulous week!
-Ariel Nell

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pictures from Celle!

The Schloss or Castle in Celle

Cool tree in a huge pot! That's in the French Garden

A picture of Innenstadt or atleast a part of it.

Sister Stewart preparing for the rain on Saturday.


(Excerpts from Ariel's email to Andre)

I love reading you emails and just getting caught up on all the things you all are doing! I can't believe Ellen got LASIK! Sorry LSU was an epic fail :( I hope when I come home that we'll have an awesome season. And Les Miles has a habbit of leaving one quarter back in that no one likes. Jefferson is the one he favors but isn't as good as Lee. I miss going fishing with you and riding aroudn in the car listening to Jack Johnson with you. Some of my favorite memories from growing up was just running around doing stuff with you.
So this week went flying by for me. Mission time is really weird! I think its because we just work hard each day to find people to teach and do the Lords work and we're not focused on numbers or anything like that. Last night as we did our weekly planning we reallized that we got 5 new investigators and 14 ''other lessons'' which is like unheard of in our mission. The Lord really does bless us as we just do our best to work hard. My mission president told us when we got here to start right, work hard, and finish strong. He said it in the context of our missions but I've really been focusing that on everyday. I have it written on a piece of paper on my desk and its something I look at to remind me of what kind of missionary i am. Its hard going out into the rain everyday, knowing that I'm going to get soaked and have to come home to change only to go back out again. Something I think about a lot is something you told me. You said you knew you had to love the work and have a desire to be on a mission when you had to walk two miles in the pouring rain and were just soaked. I think about you experience a lot and I try to follow your example of having a positive attitude and not care about getting wet.
Sister Stewart and I are friends with all the crazies here in Celle :) One is a Russian lady who speaks a mixture of Russian and German to us. On Thursday all our appointments were falling through and we were going by investigators to see how they were doing but we were having no success. After trying to check up on one investigator we came out of the building and there was the Russian lady. She was so excited to see us. She asked where our bikes were and put her bags that she carries around in our basket and told us to walk with her to her house. It was so hilarious. She was telling us how we need to walk on the grass cause its so much lighter and out of the mud. And she felt my calf because i told her i was wearing three pairs of tights and she didn't believe me. She thinks sister stewart and i are crazy for wearing tights and skirts when its freezing outside ( andso do we). I definitely think the Lord put her in our path that day to give us a good laugh. We stopped by a monument and she started crying and we had no idea why and then she stopped and we kept going. You'd love to talk to her.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


(These are some excerpts from Ariel's email to Andre and Ellen)

Your weekend sounded like so much fun! I loved the picture of you two. Its so nice to see all the trees and the beautiful mountains.
All that food wasn't mine. They had a lot of left over treats from Christmas that I have slowly been giving away to homeless people here in Celle that we're friends with. Theres a Russian lady, who loves getting treats from us and says her grandkids love it too. Its fun to do little acts of service. Sister Stewart and I volunteer 3 hours a week at the city tafel. The tafel is where stores donate all their food that is expired or no one will buy it. We sort through the fruit and veggies for the good things and then the tafel feeds people who have no income, are poor, etc. The help them take a weeks worth of food home. Its fun to work there and to work with natives of Celle.
My German is coming but it is no where near perfect. For the most part I can communicate what I want but there is still so much vocabulary that i need to learn so i can be even more specific. Sister Stewart and I do a good job of teaching half and half. I need her help when i ask questions though because sometimes i don't understand the investigators response.


Ariel has requested that we not post any specific detailed information about the investigators she teaches the gospel to while on her mission. She wants to respect their privacy and their lives as they embark on a wonderful experience with the gospel. We will be editing sections in her emails about any investigators, so as to provide privacy.


Hi ya!
     We have three bike helmets in our apartment so no worries that I haven't been wearing one. I don't have any very good ideas of how the lord measures our worth. Only that he loves us more than most people understand and comprehend. Our worth to him is infinite. I really like that kids book ''you are special''. I think thats the best way to describe it. You are of worth because he made you and he loves you. Sister Stewart and I went into a book store the other day and i say that book in german. I really thought about getting it but didn't. Maybe another day.
     I'm not suffering riding my bicycle, so don't worry. It's just that I'm working harder than I need to but its good. It's a great way for exercise and gets my heart pumping. Sister Stewart and I are the only missionaries in our area. The next closest set of missionaries are our district leader and his companion and they are in Braunschweig which is an hour and a half train ride away. Every other week we go there for district meetings. The off weeks the meetings are held here in celle. We meet with our district once a week. There is us, a set a Sisters that are serving in Hauberstadt, and then the district leader and his companion. Every companionship has a cell phone and President texts us everyday with up dates and if he really needs to contact us he will call us. Each week we write him an email and he'll respond to that too. We don't see him except once a transfer for our zone conferences.
     So guess who gets to be the new primary pianist?? ME! I'm really excited to spend singing time with primary here. I got to play the opening hymn this past week but it was ward conference (Gemeinde konferenz) so they didn't do a singing time. After the ward conference we had Geminde Essen which is a Linger Longer. Let me tell you, Germans know how to do linger longers! No one ate until everyone was there. We set the room up all nice, we ate on real plates with metal forks and spoons and there was so much food we probably could have fed the stake. It was really impressive.
     Yesterday Sister Stewart and I chose two areas to do doors in that are about 40 minutes apart. It was surprising how successful we were. We came home with 5 new appointments and we were able to give a Russian and a German Books of Mormon away. Its really hard sometimes getting used to customs that are unspoken and trying to not offend or make people angry. This is something that I am learning everyday.
     So right now we are teaching a few investigators - a family and two men. One of our investigators is preparing for baptism in February. He is a really neat guy who has a deep love for the savior. We teach him in English. There are actually many lessons that we teach in English. Our other investigator right now is retired and loves to chop wood. In his home they have a wood burning fireplace that acts as the heater for the house so he loves preparing wood for that. We teach him in German. He has a really funny sense of humor and is quite interesting to teach. We told him last week we'd make him ''American cookies'' and bring them to our next appointment and he told us to write it down in our planners and not forget.  It was funny :) The family of investigators are wonderful. The Dad is in the military. There is a base here in Celle so there are actually a lot of military families. The kids are really interested and it's fun to cater the lessons so the kids can be involved as much as possible.The support from the members is good. They like to come out and teach with us and they love having us in the ward. 
    Thanks for all your thoughts on how full time missionaries can work with ward members. It's very helpful. In ward conference it was neat to be able to sustain the Prophet and the Apostles as Prophet, Seers and Revelators. I think anything I remember in English is neat to do it in German. When we sustain callings they literally ask who is for and who is against and to show it. I like it :)
   Thanks for your help with finding this man who repairs woodwind intruments. If we have time Sister Stewart and I will probably give him a call and see what he thinks. (Ariel's Dad searched for a woodwind repair person in Celle for Ariel after she wrote in her last email that one of her oboe keys were sticking. What a good Dad :)
-Ariel Nell

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lagniappe (a little bit more)

(These are some highlights from one of Ariel's letters to Bryan)
There is a girl, the only young woman in our ward, Tabae and she wants to email you (Bryan) and write you letters. I told her no thanks :)
This past week Sister Stewart and I got proposed to by a man on the street as we were inviting him to church. She says that happens lots. We also did doors and got to go into two of them. One of them was the scariest experince of my life and the other was an old man named Dieter. We spoke to him for an hour about religion and then he said that he wanted us to come back and to teach him what we believe. Crazy huh!? He believes in God and in nature but not in Jesus Christ. A bit strange because he is not Muslim or Hindu or anything like that.
There is a mentally impaired member, Schwester Krupka, that we visit each week. She calls me the little one and Sister Sewart the big one. It’s funny. Sister Stewart and I have signed up to do service at the Celler Tafel, a place that distributes food that stores won't sell anymore but that is still good. They were impressed and surprised that we asked them. So tomorrow we get to go work for three hours. I'm excited!
I've been collecting pictures of all the gnomies I find and i'll be sure to attach the most recent one. Lyndel should have the other two.
-Ariel Nell

Pictures from Celle

Celle, Germany

Ariel's apartment

Ariel's apartment kitchen

Ariel's aparment

Another gnomie :)

Ariel in East Germany

Back to the Grind


    It's so fun to hear from you all! I think Mondays are like Christmas! The first thought in my mind this morning was, "It's Monday!"  ( this is because Ariel gets to read emails and write emails to her family on her P-days - Monday). To pronounce Celle its like sell-ah. So like to "sell a" apple. You just put the two together :) Yes, I live in an apartment building. Everyone in Germany lives in apartment buildings. Very few people live in homes. If they do live in a home, they most likely are attached to someone else. Our apartment is really nice and perfect for just the two of us. We actually have a washer and a dryer in our apartment so we're living the high life. I will try to send some photos of our humble abode. Sister Stewart is wonderful! I love working with her. She is really helpful and fun to talk to. She absolutely loves the outdoors, doesn't wear make up or bother doing her hair fancy, so we get a long great. She is studying Art at BYU and will finish her mission with me in March.

    I love riding the bike. I think it has helped me maintain good fitness here. My stomach has some nice abs coming along. No, I haven't been wearing a helmet. I ride an Excelsor I think? It's pretty big bike with a basket on the back. My gears aren't working right now so its stuck in the 2nd and 3rd gears which I also think helps to keep me fit. I'm working harder than I have to every time I ride. I'm starting to think it's like that story where God tells a man to push against a bolder and he does but is never able to move it. Then the man goes back to God and says that he has failed him because he wasn't able to move the bolder and God explains that was never his intention but told the man to look how strong he was. And that's when the man noticed that he was big and strong because he was pushing against the bolder. God never told me riding a bike was going to be a breeze but that it would be for my benefit.

    So in most apartment buildings there is a Keller (celler or basement) where all the residents can store their bikes at night. We don't have to lock our bikes in there because the door locks. When we're riding around town we have a bike lock that we use to lock the front two tires together. And yes, it is freezing here. Sister Stewart has taught me in the ways of wearing thermals and two pairs of tights and sometimes long socks too. This past week signs have told us it has been between 4-11 degrees celcius (39 - 52 Farenheit). On Thursday we went out in the morning to do some work and set aside time before our lunch break to come home and work in our area book to follow up on old contacts. As soon as we got home it began hailing and raining. So we ended up staying inside way longer than planned. When it finally calmed down a bit more we went out and as soon as we did huge lightening and thunder started up, hail came, and fat rain drops. We pulled off somewhere underneath an overhang and I pulled out my white handbook to see when it would be okay to stay inside and thankfully it said we shouldn't be on our bikes in bad weather. We gratefully went home and studied and planned for the rest of the evening :)

   So Germans may not have huge homes but they definitely drive nice cars, Mercedes, BMW, VW, Audi. They also drive the hummer of prams or strollers. I have never seen such huge strollers. It's like straight out of Jane Austen period big. They certainly take the safety of their kids seriously. The neat thing about German strollers is that they have this sleeping bag thing attached that zips up the kids legs to be warm. I want that for my bike!

    So Sister Stewart and I tried to take a member with us to teach a lesson with an investigator. Before we went in we explained what we planned on teaching and what he could help us with. Then we got into the lesson and the member went on a 45 minute rant about the restoration and Sister Stewart, me or our investigator didn't get to say anything. On Sunday this member got called as our new ward mission leader. Sister Stewart and I just had to laugh. This will be fun and definitely a learning experience.

So something cool that the members do here that I thought that the Dunwoody ward could try out is that each family picks a street in our area. They pray about it and then we go to the families home, say a prayer with them and then do doors(tracting) on that street. It has been really effective! We got two appointments out of a tiny street that the Gefeke family prayed about. After doing doors (tracting) and finding appointments we go back an report to the family. It's really neat and I'm surprised at how well it works.

   So last P-day I tried to play my oboe and it didn't work. Three keys were not working the way they were supposed to and I could get any sound out of it. I prayed about it, tried to fix it, and left it alone for the week. This morning I pulled it out and it works! Now only one of the keys isn't working all the time and it's just not closing all the way which would make the instrument not play. I was able to practice for an hour today and it was magnificent! I miss it! Its like my third arm! So no worries, all is well and the oboe is working!

   Germans do this sport here called Nordic walking, basically walking with ski polls. It's hilarious and i think you should all take it up. People take their Nordic walking very seriously here. Oh and you can't just drop by and visit Germans. That's a no no. They do not like that at all . Good thing Karma and Stefan aren't German! :)


  Well I love you all and hope that you're enjoying being back at work even though you miss the vacation time from Christmas. It is so wonderful to hear from you all and what you are all up to! Thanks for all your love and support. Sure do miss you all!

-Ariel Nell

Monday, January 2, 2012

January in Germany

 Hi All!

So I am here in Celle. It was a four hour train ride here from Berlin. My new companion and trainer is Sister Stewart. She is from south Jordan, Utah and is really awesome. So a little about Celle...a Sister previous to me left me a history book about Celle and I've been reading it to get an idea of the city. Celle is what you would think of when it comes to a little German town. In Innenstadt (the city center) there are a lot of half-timber houses that are stores on the bottom and apartments on top. There are lots of cobble stone roads. So Celle was first mentioned in historical records as Kellu in 993 AD and considered part of lower Saxony. The book about Celle says there are about 70,000 inhabitants but Sister Stewart and I aren't sure where all those people are hiding. The Duke of Celle had a daughter, Sophie Dorothea and she was married to Prince George Ludwig of Hanover who was later crowned King George I of Great Britain. Cool huh? Celle has the oldest surviving tavern in Lower Saxony from 1378 and the man responsible for our modern techniques in agriculture, Albrecht von Thaer, did all his experiments here in Celle. There is a large statue of him on your way to the Bahn, I’ll be sure to get a picture of him. The oldest theatre in Germany is in Celle. Sister Stewart and I plan to go and find it some other p-day a long with a church that was built around year 1000 and has a 700 year old bronze baptismal font. 

             Our main mode of transportation here is by bicycle and I love it! It’s such a nice change from sitting inside all day long to riding a bike everywhere you go. In Germany there are bike lanes on the sidewalks and sometimes in the roads. Bike riders are really respected here. Sister Stewart said that bikes get the right of way most of the time. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to ride around in a skirt but it actually hasn't been too bad. My first full day of riding, it began to down pour on our way to an appointment. As I was riding I was thinking how painful rain is when you're riding the way the wind is blowing it. And then a piece of ''rain'' fell into my mouth and I realized it was hail. That sure was fun :) When we got to our appointment I was nervous to sit on this mans leather chairs for fear of leaving a wet spot, just like Mr. Willaby in Sense and Sensibility.

             Finding people on the street is really fun. I like striking up conversations with people just to get to know them but also to talk to them about the gospel. I approached one man in Innenstadt and introduced our selves and talked about Christ and he said to me as he was walking away, ''No English''. Sister Stewart yelled back, ''Its DEUTSCH''. It was funny. She said that the man was just a good example of German humor.  A lot of people seemed to be shocked with my size. We went to visit a member of the ward who has some mental disabilities and she said as she saw me, ''man she's little!’’ Germans are very blunt. You've got to learn not to be offended. 

Yesterday was my first Sunday and that I think was the most nerve racking. I can understand the gist of things in lessons but I miss out on all the drama between the members. Sister Stewart catches me up on it later though :) I stood up in sacrament and introduced myself and told the ward that I was looking forward to working with them. I made friends with a little old lady in the ward after church. Old people and little kids are the most fun to talk to. They don't judge how you speak the language and they enjoy the conversation. For dinner last night we went to the Stiegelmeier's. They're a really fun family. The mum is from Spain and so she and the three kids all speak Spanish, German, and English perfectly. The dad speaks English and German. So the dinner table has German and English constantly flying around it. A lot of Danglish, which is really nice for someone, like me still trying to be able to converse better. When Sister Stiegelmeier wants to chastise her kids then she pulls out the Spanish. It’s really fun and very entertaining. Sister Stiegelmeier reminds me of auntie Jean.

I'm feeling much better. I didn't eat real food until Saturday so I’m feeling much better. I think it was food poisoning from the food the fed us the first night, but no one else got sick. Maybe my body just didn't like it. Anyways, Hope all is well!! Love you!

-Ariel Nell


A little gnomie :)

The path where the Wall used to be

Funny toilet paper company. Sister Stewart loves the name :)

The Rathaus, I live across the street from it. That's the view from the front of our apartment

My entire district from the MTC with Bruder Hill(Back left) and Bruder Pedersen(far right)