Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eine Woche der Wunder

Meine liebe starke Familie,

Ich liebe euch mit meinem ganzen Herzen! Herzlichen Glückwunsch Anna!!!! (Happy Birthday Anna) cue the orchestra and flashing lights... „Zum Geburtstag viel Glück! Zum Geburtstag viel Glück! Zum Geburtstag alles gute! Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!“ that's the happy birthday song in german! to pronounce the "z" it is a "ts" sound. probably one of my pet peeves, just ask elder hall :) Or you can just sing it in english with a german accent saying an "s" sound for any "th" "Happy birsday to you, happy birsday to you! haha, I probably shouldn't make fun of german accents :)

Did I mention that I love all of you! Every single one of you reading this email, or not if you forgot about me already. I love you. 

As the title of my email reads, this week was filled with miracles! This was the most successful finding week of my mission (numbers wise). We found 5 new investigators! Erstaunlich. I am so grateful to the lord for his help this week. We worked really hard.

The week started out a little rough because everyone was cancelling on us. Members were a big help this week. I love the members of this branch! They are always so good to us. Every week one of the german members gives us some cake she made, and other members always bring us american food from the Base. We may have eaten an entire bottle of spray cheese this week. That stuff is actually quite tasty. Oh food is my weakness... However, Elder Hall and I go running Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week, plus running for trains and busses. Or running 5ks home to get home on time before we had to call the mission president. oops. But, we made it! Success.

On thursday, we had an appointment to meet with the syrian man we met last week contacting along the Danube river. We took a 50 minute bus ride to get out there, and weren't expecting to teach his 3 friends as well! When we got there, they had chairs all set up around their table and offered to make us tea. when we explained to them ghow we don't drink tea, one of them ran to the store and bought some fanta and mini cakes. we ate two bokes of these little cakes. (Imagine eating two entire boxes of oreos in about ten minutes) They just kept stuffing our mouths with food and handing us more when we were done. Meanwhile, only one of them speaks english, and all of them speak arabic. So, we taught them the restoration using many pictures form the Jospeh Smith's testimony pamphlet, and from the book of mormon. As we spoke, the syrian who spoke english translated for us. they all seemed very intent and were amazed at the answer Joseph recieved to his prayer to know which church is true. The spirit was so strong. And then we taught them how to pray and used an Arabic pamphlet. Teaching people to pray is one of my favorite things to do. We are so excited to start teaching these faithful people. And next time, we are going to bring Khalil along with us.

So, I have gotten 4 new investigators on my misison a couple of times on my mission, but have never broken it. We were determined to break 4 and get 5. unexpectedly, on saturday night, we taught the step mother of a recent convert who was visiting his family in regensburg for the weekend. Remember a long time ago when we helped with a move for a recent convert's non member dad? Well, this is the same family. When we got there, the step mom asked us if we were americans or germans, or half. She is from Africa, so she can't here our accents when we speak german :) We explained that we were misionaries and she got really excited and told us that she had met with missionaries like us with name tags in berlin 15 years ago. They came over and read the bible with her once a week. So, she told us that she wanted to read the bible with us again. We sat down and started teaching her! Africans are such a faithful people. I feel so priveledged to meet so many wonderful people from everywhere on my mission.

I love you all. I know this church is true!

Liebe Grüße,
ELder strong





Meine liebevolle Familie,

Meine liebevolle Familie,

Well, I am not gunna lie, It feels very strange to me that Emma is home now. It's like a part of me is missing. Emma, you have been such a wonderful example and friend to me. You have helped me so much while I have been out here on my mission, more than you could ever know. Whenever I need strength, I think about my sisters serving missions along side of me. My mission would not be the same if it hadn't been with you and Sarah.  I hope that I can be as good of a missionary as you are.

The lord has blessed us so much here in Regensburg. I had one of the most amazing experiences of my mission this week. So, I am not sure if I mentioned it last week, but we met this proffessor at the university of Regensburg about 5 weeks ago and he gave us his office address at the university. So, after 3 times of going by he was finally there and we set up an appointment with him for last tuesday. We went by for our termin and he wasn't there... so we waited and he came running around the corner 5 minutes late and took us to a classroom to meet with him. He asked us how much time we had and told us that he had about 15 minutes, so we said that we have 15 minutes as well and he almost screamed "Perfekt!" He is the most excited, bubbly, slightly crazy person I have ever met. I can definitely tell he is a math professor :) We started with a prayer and then asked him what he expected from our visit. He said, "well, we have ten minutes, so I expect you to tell me all about your church in 10 minutes. It would be easy if we had 2 hours, but it is alot more difficult in 10 minutes" Challenge accepted. So, in 10 minutes we taught him a simple lesson of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, focusing on Joseph Smith and the first vision. I will never forget the moment when I started sharing Josephs Smith's own words: "I saw a pillar of light..." and he gasped, litterally gasped and looked at us with pure joy and excitement. He ate up every word that we said and took it to his heart. The time was short and rushed, but the spirit filled the room. I can't wait for appointment tomorrow!

We also had a Ward Halloween party this week and Elder Hall and i switched nametags for our costume. It was a lot of fun! The Germans celebrated Alle Heiligen and the grave yards were full of people! It was worse than a busy day at disneyland. The whole city was visiting the grave yard.

Well, That was ll of the excitement for this week, Thank you for every thought and prayer. I know that they are heard and give me strength. If it weren't for all of the prayers offered by loving families, friends and members of the church, this work would be alot harder. I know that the Lord gives my body stregth and renews me as he has promised. I know that the Lord is always at my side labouring with me in the vineyard. Es ist Wunderbar.

Ich Liebe euch mit meinem ganzen Herzen! Die kirche ist wahr!

Love,
Elder Strong

-- 
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Street display, Wallhalla, pizza

Liebe Familie,

Sorry this will be a shorter email today, but I would like to let all of you know of the love and appreciation I have for my siblings. I am so grateful for Emma and Sarah serving faithful missions. For Elders it is a commandment from The Lord to serve a mission, but Sisters truly sacrifice so much to go on missions and always give twice as much as Elders can! I am so grateful for them and their service. I love you Mary, Harrison, Benjamin and Anna! Thank you for your prayers and loving hearts. And of course my loving father and mother who have raised us in righteousness. My love for my family is one of the reasons I am here on my mission! I want others to know how the gospel can bless their family.

Well, from our potential investigators last week, we found two new investigators this week. The young student turned us way, and the girl fom Macedonia was ignoring us, but the man from Brazil (who is actually from Portugal) became a new investigator! along with another student that we met, Raja, from India! So, we lost some and we gained some! 

Shanny, our investigator who was going to be baptized on the 25th hasn't received an answer to know if the Book of mormon is true, so the date has fallen out and we haven't been able to set a new date with her yet. Plus, we have a lot to teach her, and she is always very busy. This week we met with her once and talked about how she can know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is hard because we have had to meet in a cafe due to the lack of being able to get a member to the appointment.

We had an awesome street display on Saturday as well! We gave out 19 Books of Mormon, and got 3 addresses and one phone number! 14 german, 2 english, 1 arabic, 1 turkish, and 1 russian!!! We brought Khalil, our recent convert a long, and he was amazing! He can speak Arabic, Turkish, Curdish, and English. But I taught him how to say "Kennen Sie das Buch Mormon" in german so he could talk with more people. He was fearless! And he also has the gift of discernment. He would stand and look out into the crowd of people and then come tell me that we need to go and talk to someone. He came up to me and told me we needed to talk to a young man who was standing off in the distance talking to some friends. So, we went and talked with him and he was very interested in our message, we talked to him about the restoration and gave him a book of mormon. Khalil is legit!

I love you all!
Liebe Grüße 
Elder Strong
p.s picture from Wallhalla last week on pday!

-- 
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong








Sunday, October 19, 2014

I love bearing witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Letter from Oct. 13)

Liebe Familie,

We had a couple miracles this week! A couple weeks ago, we were about 15 minutes early to an appointment, so we doored some people in the area where our investigators live. We doored this lady from Iran and gave her a Book of Mormon and asked if we could come back sometime to teach her more about it. So, last week we went back to see her and follow up on her Book of Mormon reading. Sadly, she told us she hadn't read the book and that she didn't have time to hear our message. As our back up plan, we planned to door all of the other doors in the building and the building next door. In the process we found two people who invited us to come back. One was a family who blew us off when we came back to visit them, and the other was a young college student who has been in Regensburg for just 4 days starting his study at the university. he took a Book of Mormon and invited us to come back this week! 

I also sort of stocked someone this week... Here's the story: Two weeks ago, we helped a recent convert's non-member dad move houses. It took almost the entire day to help him, and it was a lot of work, I have never been so sore in my life. Of course he was moving to an apartment on the top floor with no elevator in the building. Everyone always lives on the top floor. Anyways, he is from Mozambique and speaks portuguese. Therefore all his friends helping were from Brazil or Portugal. One really nice guy from Brazil was driving us in his car between the two houses and as we were driving I noticed that on the back seat of his car, was a paper with his address written on it. I saw the address, and it just kind of stuck in my mind. When we got home I still remembered the address. I took this as a sign that God wanted us to visit him. A little reluctant, we went by him. I was mostly nervous that he would ask us how in the world we got his address and kick us out, but it was fine. We knocked on the door, and the son and wife answered the door. He was in the shower, but as we explained who we were, his wife yelled something in portuguese to her husband, and she told us that we could come back anytime after 5:00 during the week. Hopefully this will work out well!

We also decided to do some family history contacting this week. So, I pulled out my Pedigree chart, some family history pass along cards, some "How to start my family history" sheets and we hit the streets and doors. We had some great conversations and really helped some people to see how important family is in our church. One door we knocked on was a 19 year old girl from Macedonia. Her german wasn't perfect, so when we started introducing family history she began to tell us her life story and how her family is spread out through the world and not happy together. She was very sad, and her dad kicked her out of the house because she was dating a christian. We promised her that if she builds her family on the gospel of Jesus Christ, Her future family can be happy. She was so thankful that we told her that. 

Lot's of little miracles have happened this past week. We also had some disappointments with our current investigators (We met with none of them this week) But we were opened to lots of opportunities to find new people! this is the work of the Lord! I love bearing witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary and preaching the gospel every day. I love wearing my missionary name tag! I love this gospel! I love my family and friends!

I liebe euch! 

Elder Strong

-- 
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

I love the Book of Mormon! (Letter from Oct 6)

Meine liebe Familie,

I love you all! More that you could ever possibly imagine! I pray for ech of you every day. I sent you all letters today, and am excited to hear back from all of you! let me know when you get it :) And Dad, I sent you a special package with something yummy that i knew you would appreciate the most ;P I hope it all arrives safely!! luckily I am in Germany where the postal system is very safe and organized... unlike mexico... :)

This week we really focused on less active and recent convert work because we only managed to have one investigator lesson this week! But it was an awesome lesson let me tell you. Yesterday, we watched General conference with Shanny, who has a baptismal date for the 25th of oktober and her 3 year old son. They came over to our ward mission leaders house and we watched the Saturday morning session of conference. It was such a powerful experience for us all.

I love general conference! We didn't get to watch it all this week, but we hope to be able to watch it throughout the week and next sunday. I love having the opportunity to listen to the words of the prophet and apostles. They always have an inspiring message to share with us. One of my favorite talks from the conference was the talk by D. Todd Christopherson. He talked about how God is the creator of all things and he has set laws and truths that are eternal and unchangeable. There is a right and a wrong, and we need to choose the right. We need to find the way that God wants us to go. For God's path is straight and narrow, and there is only one way back to him, that is through Jesus Christ. God and Jesus Christ have restored their church on the earth today by calling prophets and apostles and giving them priesthood authority. Baptism through the authority of Jesus Christ is entering through the gate on the pathway to eternal life. 
watch here:

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the prophets and apostles who have been called in these latter days. The Book of Mormon is truly the evidence that God has restored the church and called a prophet in our day. This book enters into my soul with power everytime I read it, testifying to me that it is true. This week I finished the book of Ether in the book of mormon. Ether 12:27 is one of the most beloved scriptures of all time in my heart, but it teaches me so much every time I read it. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become STRONG unto them."

Maybe I just love this scripture because I am a STRONG. But The Lord has blessed me so much in my life and I  am forever grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For the opportunity I have to become stronger every day because of him.

I love you!
Elder Strong


-- 
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

here is a picture of the beautiful city of Regensburg. This bridge was builtby the   romans almost 1000 years ago! Regensburg used to be the most northern city of the roman empire. therefore there is a lot of italian influence on the city. Of course we have the beautiful Regensburger Dom in the background. beautiful :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

I LOVE being a missionary! (Letter from 9/29/14)

Liebe Familie,

Well, today we are hosting the district for a little pday here in Regensburg! We are going to go and see the Walhalla, a cool parthenon like structure overlooking the donau river. Beautiful. I love all the cool things there are to see in Germany.

This week has been a little bit slower than others, but we got our recently baptized friend, Khalil, to Nürnberg this week for institute. We showed him how to get there so that he could go by himself the next time. He had a great time with all of the other young single adults and they had a great class prepared as well. We ended up getting home around 10:30 that night because of the trains, so we probably won't be going again...:( schade! But, it was a wonderful experience to take Khalil.

Remember the african investigator who came to church last week? Well, she now has a soft baptisimal date for the 25th of November! She has such a strong faith and knows that if the book of mormon is true, that she will have to be baptized into this church. Please pray for her that she can recieve an answer to her prayers! We love teaching her. It's a little difficult because we meet her at a cafe due to the lack of having a third man, and we've only had one real appointment. She is awesome though!

I LOVE being a missionary! I get to literally wear the name of Jesus Christ over my heart each and every day. I have the opportunity everyday to tell those I meet that I have been called by a prophet of God to share the message of Jesus Christ. I LOVE it. I Love the power and authority of my calling. The church is true! 

I love you!
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

Baptism (letter from 9/22/14)

Liebe Familie,

This week was the greatest. First of all, our investigator, Khalil, from Syria got baptized and confirmed this weekend!!!! He asked me to perform the confirmation, and I felt so honored to do so. What a great experience it has been teaching this humble man. He has been through it all escaping from Syria and traveling here to Germany. We have felt the spirit so strongly in teaching this man, who has chosen to follow the Savior and be baptized. I have learned so much from him and my testimony of this church has grown as we have taught him. We hope to get him to institute this week in Nürnberg.

We have just been experiencing miracle after miracle here in Regensburg. I love working wirth Elder Hall. He has such an amazing missionary spirit, and is giving his heart and soul to this work.

This week, on monday after doing family home evening with Khalil at a members home, we were walking home because we had missed the bus. On the way, we saw this man leaning against some railing on the sidewalk. We stopped and asked him if he knew our church. We got talking, and he was excited to see that two young american boys would dedicate two years to serving for their church. He had been waiting for his wife, who had been on a 4 day business trip in München, so as she pulled up in her car, he invited us to come home with him to teach his family more about our church. They sat us down around their table with their two boys ages 9 and 11 and they got us some water. They asked us many questions about why we are here and what we are doing. We just bore testimony of this church being a blessing for the family and introduced to them the book of mormon. We could tell that they had a lot to do, and their kids were getting ready for the first day of school on tuesday, so we asked if we could come back at a more convenient time to share our message with them. They were thrilled and invited us back for lunch this friday! We are so excited! This branch needs more German members, and they will fit perfectly into the branch! What a blessing form the lord.

Three or four weeks ago, I shared the story of the less active family from Africa that we found. Well, her daughter who isn't a member invited us to meet with her, and has been super busy ever since our first appointment. This week, she texted us apologizing for having no time to meet with us and said she would come to church. And she did! She speaks perfect english, and german so she will also be an excellent addition to the ward. She has a three year old son who had a great time in the primary class as well. Also, one of our investigators, who is basically member whose parents won't let him be baptized, translated for the sunday school class! 'twas an amazing sunday!

I love you!

Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

-- 
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong