Monday, February 6, 2012

Hey friends!

This week has been a cold, busy, and very successful! We have so many progressing investigators now it’s crazy. We don't have much time for finding anymore since we're teaching all the time. Our Ward Mission Leader in our correlation meeting yesterday asked us how we found all our investigators since they live all over the place. I told him that our area is huge and so we make sure to get to all the areas, since that’s our job. I guess he was shocked that we bother going all over the place. But there really is only so much you can do when you've doored (knocking doors) a whole area

One of our investigators is so excited to learn about the Book of Mormon and he is so ready for the Gospel he just doesn't know it. He has read the Bible since he was 15 and so he strongly believes in everything that is written. That can get kind of frustrating when the Bible say no man can see God and then in other places man can see God. The Joseph Smith story is a lot harder for people to understand or accept than I ever thought. Regardless of the issue, if man can see God or not, our investigator really likes the Book of Mormon and he reads all over in it. Our lessons are always filled with his questions which make it hard to teach one idea, but it’s really neat to see because he is so excited to learn. We will be going back to him later this week to talk about the Plan of Salvation. He keeps asking us if we believe in hell but we haven't had a chance to even get to answer it.

We have another investigator who’s a young woman. She's 20 and she told us from the beginning that she is looking for the truth. She says she is Catholic but has been studying with the Jehovah Witnesses for a year now. It has been difficult to teach her. We will clarify something and it'll make sense to her. Then she will present it to the Jehovah Witnesses and they get her all confused again. She is really frustrated that there are so many different interpretations of the Bible and doesn't understand why it just couldn't be written simply and straight-forward.

Ready for a miracle story?? So we doored into a girl who asked us immediately when she could study with us and we set up a time. The day came for our lesson and she never showed up at the Church building. We waited around  for 30 minutes and then left. We stopped by her house to make another appointment. She said she arrived at the time we left and we figured that’s why we missed her. We set up our second appointment and the day came, we waited for an hour and she never showed. She called us later the next week to say that a family member passed away and she had to go to the funeral in a different city. We were starting to think she wasn't really interested. We set up a third appointment. The day came and she was really late, she still hadn't come so we called her house and as I was on the phone to her sister,  our investigator came home upset. She said she went to the church and no one was there. Come to find out, she had been going to the wrong church the whole time! So I told her we would be to her house in 5 minutes. We got there and taught her and her sister about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. It was an amazing lesson. The family is Muslim but the Mum gave the girls the freedom to investigate about Christianity. A little boy in our ward was getting baptized on Saturday so we invited them to it. They were both very excited! Sister Stewart gave her a tour of the church before the meeting and she said it felt good in the church and that she was feeling something she couldn't describe. This family has gone through so much. They're refugees here and have no friends. Our only young woman in the ward happens to go to the same school as the girl that came to the baptism. They became friends right away and our investigator kept telling us, 'vielen vielen dank' (thank you very much) for giving her a friend. It was really touching. Our one Young Woman invited the investigator to Young Women’s on Sunday and she came! We luckily have another ward baptism this coming Sunday so hopefully her sister can come to this one. It really has been a testimony builder for me to see how the Lord uses people to help his children.

For the baptism Sister Stewart and I were able to get three investigators there. It was awesome. One, a young man, was Muslim and then studied the Bible for 12 years and then joined an Evangelisch Kirche. I talked to him after the baptism and he goes, ''I love Jesus''. It was too funny and very cute. He also brought a Muslim friend who is investigating Christianity. Our investigator said that seeing a baptism is the first step to believing in Christ. After the Baptism Sister Stewart and I stayed and helped clean up the entire ward building. It’s been snowing everyday here this week so the salt that gets laid down to melt the snow gets everywhere and leaves a nasty residue on the church tile so we vacuumed and mopped everything.

Last night we visited a family that we doored into as well. We watched Glauben an Christus finden (Finding Faith in Christ). It was really neat to watch the movie with the whole family. The Dad says he is a free thinker and doesn't like that religion ''restricts'' people but allows his kids to think what they want. He was saying something to the effect of doubting that God and Jesus Christ exist and his 6 year old son goes, ''I believe in Jesus and God''. It was really cool to see this little person stand up for the things he innately knows. I was reading in Alma 32 that morning. Alma begins teaching the Zoramite people and then finds the poor people who are thrown out of the synagogues and begins teaching them. He tells them that God is merciful to all those that believe on his name and that he will impart his word to those that desire. Verse 23 ''little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.'' When I first read this it made me think of Mum’s student, who said that Martin Luther King Jr. was turning the world right side up. And then last night to hear that little boy say to his Dad what he believes was really neat. It really is important to learn from the little ones. They honestly teach so much and know so much as long as we listen.

We had transfer calls on Saturday and Sister Stewart and I are staying in Celle :) We're both excited. We have 206 missionaries in the Berlin mission now. Crazy how many that is but how thinly spread out we seem to be. Sister Stewart will go home at the end of this transfer. I'm not looking forward to that. So this past week we mastered the art of tracting in -9 degree weather. This is what you have to wear: thermals, two pairs of knitted tights, one pair nylons, an undershirt, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a short sleeved t-shirt, a dress, a sweater, a hoodie, a scarf, a hat with ear flaps, a puffy jacket, and gloves. Man was it nice and toasty! I'll be sure to attach a picture of Sister Stewart and I as we are tracting in -8 weather. There is a clock behind us showing the temperature. If you are able to zoom in you'll see the temperature. On our way to church yesterday it was -12. CRAZY!!! But you get used to it. Layering is essential.

Dad,  I really like your idea to get the ward involved in giving the missionaries referrals. I have yet to receive a referral but I do know how much more teaching we would get if the ward members could just open their mouths with their friends and share a tid-bit about the gospel. Our ward mission leader is really good about that. He told us yesterday that he gave all his tennis buddies (as they were drinking their beers) a pass a-long card and talked about the restoration and plan of salvation with him. He really tries to encourage everyone to have pass a-long cards or pamphlets in their suit coats.

I hope all is well and that you continue to have another fabulously fast week!
-Ariel Nell

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