Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey there!

   So this week has been good. We had Herr XXXX fast with us and come to church yesterday. It was amazing having him there. We got to talk to a lot of people so that is always good. It's interesting when we talk to people and ask them if they believe in God and they say no, they believe on the other side. Well, if you believe on the other side don't you think there is a God then? A lady told us that good things come from the other side and we explained good things come from God and Bad things don't. You would think if people could just read the Book of Mormon they'd see that Mormon wrote about that!
  Trends in Germany are very 80-90's. People wear fanny packs, they roller blade for exercise and have funky hair. It's funny and I love it :) 
   It's interesting how everyone's lives revolve around Christ even though they say they don't believe in him. For Easter everyone is doing hard core spring cleaning because they say their homes have to be clean for Easter. Hmmm...who makes us clean because of Easter? What are they preparing for? The resurrection of the Savior, that's what! It's cool but strange at the same time because people don't see how Christ actually plays a role in their lives.
  Every week we go to ASB to serve/play/hang out with these old ladies with dementia. There is one, her name is Frau Kluger, and she looks like Nana. I walked around and hung out with her this past week. She is my favorite. Maybe this week I can get a picture with her. Sometimes when I ask her questions she responds as if she is in the middle of a conversation. Its funny but kind of sad too. 
-Ariel Nell

Fast Sunday

Herr XXXXX came to church!!!! Do you know what that means?! It means he is on his way to being the strongest member in the gospel. It was such a reward to see him at church. We got him to fast with us because we did fast Sunday the week before conference. And hopefully he'll take the train with us to Braunschweig to watch Conference this coming Sunday. The work is slowly moving but its going. We do a lot of work with the members and supporting them and visiting them often but we manage to find time to go finding or follow up on contacts.

Since our ward is so small when we do fast and testimony meetings everyone is expected to share their testimony. When we don't have everyone at church then the meeting ends early. That's what happened this week, we ended 15 minutes early. It is still good to hear everyone's testimony. It is really humbling to hear all the members bear their testimonies of the Sister Missionaries and how grateful they are for us. It just re-emphasizes to me how hard I need to work and how strong of an example I need to be for the members. I like having the opportunity of bearing my testimony so much. Its probably one of my favorite things to do next to teaching people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hotlanta Already (letter to Mum)

I have to say its absolutely hilarious that everyone is concerned about my hair. (Dad wrote her about needing a haircut) Y'all are funny!!! 
   This week, Thomas Göcking a member, gave us German flags and cups and Halberstadt pens and a book about Halberstadt. It was really sweet of him. He calls me the little one. It seems like this nickname will follow me all around Germany. Thomas is probably the only German that loves American things. He is always sure to update us on the news of things that happen in America like the tornadoes in Kentucky. He prays for us and our families all the time. He loves you guys too! 
   Transfer call was Saturday and Sister Openshaw and I will both be staying in Halberstadt for the next transfer. This one is only a five week one instead of a six week one.  President told us that our mission is the largest mission in Europe. I think that's just crazy! So because we live in the boonies it's planting season right now and some days we go outside and there is a horrible poop smell from the farmers fertilizing their fields. The fields are all a beautiful lime green :) 
   We ran into a lot of angry people this week who liked to yell but also people who believe in God. It is always such a treat to find someone who believes in God. It is a rarity here.

Try and see if you can find Thomas' apartment, look for the American flag...

We made Sister Stewart try on a bunch of clothes


My district, Elder Reeves, Sister Stewart, Sister Faeber, Elder Wagley, me, and Sister Openshaw

Schloss in Braunschweig that is now a mall, super cool inside

Me and Sister Openshaw today (3/19/12)

Hello, Hello, Hello (letter to Dad)


I eat potatoes ALL the time. Germans just love their potatoes. Being in the east is most definitely different than the west. A member told us this past week that Halberstadt was bombed with schratnel bombs and then fire bombs two days before the war ended. About 82% of Halberstadt was destroyed. I love the members here. They all feel like my family. Sometimes they're a little crazy but they love us too and really rely on us. We have been stopping by some less actives and it's really amazing how just a quick visit, spiritual thought, and they're inviting us to their birthday parties. Something the mission has taught me is to show love for everyone. I'm not perfect because there are those people who can get under my skin sometimes but as I show love for them they begin to have a change of heart and show love for others.

I can drive in Germany until June 26th legally. I can't get a license until I get my passport back and right now the Mission office still has my passport as they are trying to get me registered to work here in Germany and then they'll send it back to me. The mission office will help me in getting a license.  I don't plan on getting a hair cut anytime soon. From what I have heard from other missionaries they have had some pretty scary experiences here getting their hair cut. From what I have heard it is about 40-50 euros.

-Ariel Nell

Hi ya!

Weather in Georgia just sounds fabulous! We had a glorious day on Friday, this past week but then it got very cold again. I've been told it won't get warm till the end of April. And there are probably only a few months where we don't have to wear tights and then they go right back on.
   So this past Saturday we had transfer calls and Sister Openshaw and I are both staying in Halberstadt this next transfer. This transfer is a 5 week one so it ends April 23. Tomorrow is the first day of this transfer. I am about to hit my five months mark on my mission and it seems so slow and yet so fast. I think Einstein should have written a theory on mission time. 
   So today we traveled to Braunschweig where our district leaders serve and the Celle sisters met us there. Sister Stewart goes home tomorrow so it was our last time to hang out and play. We just ran around the city, went to H&M, ate brötchen and bratwurst, and ice cream :) On our way home I saw this old man walking down the street so I went up to him and started talking to him and introduced us and the church. He was quite a funny man. He said he didn't believe in God and that God has done nothing for him and then he told us he prayed right before an operation he had recently that all would go well and all went well. He started crying when talking about his dad, got into an argument with a man that rode past us on a bike, I thought he was going to hit him with his cane, and then he hugged us. So strange and yet so very entertaining!

   I hope ya'll have a wonderful week this week! Love you!
-Ariel Nell

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pictures for you

The building I live in, the third story windows and the church building

Inside our building, the entrance to church

The four different churches you can see from a distance. Those are just the ones with big towers.

Spring has Sprung

I am quite jealous to hear about all the warm weather. It is still cold here, lots of wind last night and today. We haven't had transfers yet, transfer call will be this Saturday. Transfer call is when all the missionaries call in to a conference call and President lists every area and who will be serving in it for the next transfer and then everyone moves on Tuesday which is the first day of the new transfer. I am still with Sister Openshaw and will most likely stay in Halberstadt with her but you never know, the Lord always has the bigger picture in mind. This past weeks we only had exchanges, where we spend the day with another Sister from some other part of the mission. I stayed in Halberstadt and a Sister from Bielefeld came to me. So that was just for a day, not a transfer. It's possible to be with a companion twice. There is one Sister in our mission who has served with the same Sister in two different cities at two different times. President leaves in July and the church released the name of our new mission president maybe two weeks ago? His wife actually has family in Cottbus and Sister Openshaw knows them!
   All of our members are very different from people from home, they don't really remind me of anyone from home but if you can imagine the breakfast club group, thats what I think of, except that they're all over 50.They're a fun group and I love working with them. Questions that people ask regularly? There aren't really that are normal, everyone asks different questions. The hardest hurdle to jump over is that there is a God. If people have already jumped that one then it's that God has a body. Thats one of the frist principles of this gospel to be lost, the nature of God and Jesus Christ. I am super proud of Eli for finding such a neat scripture about that in the new testament! 
   Sister Openshaw loves to wear fun colors because when she was student teaching she found that the students were a lot more receptive to her when she looked more inviting and friendly. The way she dresses here really makes a difference and people take us seriously. I think color is a very good thing for the easterners.
   So stories for this week :) Sister Openshaw and I teach a lady from the ward every Tuesday morning. She put this strange looking drink in front of us and Sister Openshaw and I planned on not drinking it - 1, cause it looked scary and 2, because its really frustrating having no control over what you put in your body since the members force us to eat so much. At the end of our visit the member said, ''Why haven't you tried your drink? You think I gave you something bad like tea.'' We immidiately said no and began drinking quickly. We stopped and asked her what it was because it tasted funny. She went to the kitchen to bring back the container it came from. Then she read it to us and we found out it was black tea. GREAT!!! Drink your drinks, it's not tea.....oh wait, it is! That was super annoying. We told her to not drink it anymore and she got frustrated and asked, ''Well then what else is there to drink?'' I told her water.
   We received the fine for my parking ticket this past week, are you ready? It was a whopping 5 euros! That was certainly a tender mercy! We had zone conference on Wednesday and that was wonderful! President talked about how as people on earth we see things as past, present, and future but because God has a higher vantage point he sees everything as the present. That's why we need to trust in the Lord because he has a better view of everything! President explained that God gave us the gifts of time, agency, and the atonement. Agency and the Atonement become building blocks because of the time we use. He refenced a talk by Robert D. Hales from last conference called ''Waiting of the Lord''. Sister Openshaw and I have actually used it recently in teaching an investigator. I really loved what Elder Hales had to say about the patience we need to have on the Lords time. Maybe you all should check it out! :)
   Well, I love you all and hope you've had a wonderful week. Be good! Oh, and let Auntie Jean know I got her package! Thanks for the face wash! My face loves me now :) Love ya'll
-Ariel Nell

Pictures from the Hannover/Oldenburg Zone Conference

Oh Happy Day...When Jesus Was Born!

Excerpt from an email to Andre

Everything is going good. We did exchanges this week and that was really stressfull. I was sooo glad to have Sister Openshaw back. Members mostly feed us lunch. Lunch or Mittags is the biggest meal here. Germans fast lunch to lunch so they can break it with Mittags. Most Sundays we have an eating appointment and friday evenings a member feeds us dinner because she loves us so much :) At every meal we eat some kind of potatoes. Mostly just plain boiled. I am not a fan of potatoes but that had to go out the window as soon as i got to Germany. We had chicken last friday for the first time in forever, it was AMAZING!! My body is craving good meat. I have found that I am not satisfied with eating anymore :( I think it may be because food is very bland here. I look forward to my bowl of cereal every morning :)

I could say the first vision before I left the MTC. When I call home for mothers day you should just remind me and I'll recite it for you. I think I am doing fine teaching lessons. There are times where it is difficult for me to express exactly what I want to say but I manage my way around it and the investigator or member can understand me. Talking on the phone is hard. I am still a very talk-on-the-phone-in-german person. I'm getting better.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Excerpt from a letter to Lyndel

Well for a funny story this week.... Every week we go to ASB, a place for old people and we serve on the floor with those that have dementia. We play really simple games with them and talk to them. Well this week, Frau Paets saw a larger lady walk into the room and she goes, ''uh, she's fat.'' Sister Openshaw could not stop laughing, and when Frau Paets noticed how funny she had been she has this cute little smirk on her face and this twinkle in her eye. She knew she said something rude but it was funny :) I asked a lady there, Rosie how old she was and she told me 25. She should be around 65. Its sad that she is stuck at the wrong age but at the same time it is such a blessing. How nice would that be to feel you are 25 for the rest of your life??
  Two weeks ago, Sister Openshaw and I were going door to door. There were some people on the street who happened to see us and one said to his friend that we were Hobo's begging. We were dressed up in our Sunday best so I guess Germany has really nice dressed hobos?? Ha.

pictures from this week :)

Stained glass in our house for Dad

One of the huge churches here in Halberstadt

Me and Sister Openshaw in front of the remnants of a synagogue

Me, Sister Openshaw, and Bruder Laü ( a member)


Hey family!
 I did get my valentines package - THANK YOU!!!! I got Claudi's package as well so I will write her a note and send it in the mail. Mum, I loved hearing about your experiences in a small branch and that you stayed with sister missionaries. I never knew you did that?! Were you staying with them to do missionary work or what?
 Dad, Christopher O'Reiley was LSU's artist in residence for the past couple years. He actually did a from the top recording in one of our theaters and performed many concerts by himself and with the LSU orchestra. It was so lovely to hear the description of his playing. Claudi sent me a CD of classical music and I about died. It is so nice to hear and listen to.
   Something that I have learned is that I LOVE the members here in Halberstadt. Like you said Mum, there is a lot less of a buffer so you get to know everyone really well. Everyone just has all their funny personalities. I love it! They're a bunch of fun crazies and I feel just at home ;) Everyone has THEIR spot in church. Should you sit in the wrong spot you ruin the whole set up and everyone gets pushed back a row. Yesterday we had sooo many people at church, it was wonderful. We met a girl who just recently returned home from her mission and asked when she could come on joint teaches with us. She is probably the only person right now who understands missionary work. We expected two investigators and a less active to come to church yesterday. Only one investigator came so we were a little heart broken but it was good that the one came. He is from China so we teach him in English because his German is not so good. A member was joking that they were going to fatten me up and then eat me and Sister Openshaw for the meal after our ward conference next week. Our investigator asked me if I could understand what the member was saying and told me I needed to be cautious. Haha! When learning a second language, jokes are not funny for a long time. You just translate them to literally in you head and it doesn't make  sense and you certainly don't laugh. I am slowly getting better and have actually started laughing at people's jokes. Although it's difficult because sometimes their jokes are demeaning. Its okay, We're working on teaching everyone about love for others and so far a lot of people have made some great progress. 
     So I got my first parking ticket last Monday. It was orange construction paper so everything was made better. We think it'll just be a warning though because when you get fined they normally put the amount on the ticket. I parked where we thought we were allowed to. Turns out, we're not :)
   We had 11.5 degree celcius weather the other day. It was fabulous! We walked around without sweaters on, HALELUJAH! But it has returned to cold weather. Hopefully it'll warm back up sometime soon. 
   I want to tell you all about another investigator we have. He is an amazing! I am not sure if I told you the story, but ten minutes before one of our appointments we saw him smoking. We planned to teach about the Word of Wisdom. We went in, had a fabulous lesson about the Word of Wisdom, committed him to live it, and guess what?? He HAS!! We had a fruit tea and cookie party Saturday night to celebrate. He is so in-tune with the spirit, its really amazing the ideas and thoughts that come to him. He loves to study the Book of Mormon, and even has a favorite scripture memorized! I haven't even done that in German yet (except D&C 4). Super cool.
   This week we have zone conference on Wednesday so we are headed to Hannover. After zone conference we will be doing exchanges. I'll be staying in Halberstadt but a Sister from Australia will be coming to me! I am excited to meet her and get to know her!
    Thanks for all your love and support. I pray for you all multiple times a day! I hope you all have a great next week! I love you!
-Ariel Nell

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hannover Zone Conference pictures

Ariel was in the Hannover zone in her mission before she had transfers. These are pictures from their January Zone Conference.

Hannover Zone

Sister Missionaries at the Hannover Zone Conference

Elders & Sisters at Zone Conference

Lil Sis


LOVED your experience on the motorcycle. It just goes to show that the Lord speaks to us all in an environment that we will best get the message. It shows that God loves and knows you. Thanks for sharing with me. I love hearing everyone elses testimonies. That's probably my favorite: Sunday, fast and testimony meeting. Since there aren't too many members here everyone has the opportunity to get up and bear their testimonies. I am really excited to get up and in butchered German share mine.

Our week was really good. Halberstadt is definitely a different area compared to Celle. We focus a lot on the members here which was a hard transition for me. President has instituted a 7 new appointments for the week so everyday we try to get a new appointment. We were really good at getting them in Celle because we actually had finding time. In Halberstadt our time is full but not so much with finding time, we find as we walk places. We had President Interviews on Thursday and it was really nice to talk to him. He specifically explained to me that in Halberstadt our priority is to strengthen and support this ward. I am so grateful for President Pimentel. He really is inspired and he is down to earth and understands each area so well. The church just recently came out with our new mission president. His wife's family is actually still in cottbus and Sister Openshaw knows them so that's pretty neat.

Sister Openshaw and I get along great. I love walking with her or driving with her because we always get into these Gospel discussions. I have learned so much just by talking to her about the Gospel. She is really great to bump ideas off of and I love studying with her!