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!