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



I met my new companion (letter from 9/15/14)

Meine liebe Familie,

This week was crazy! Mostly because I was only in my area for 4 days of the week due to my call as a trainer and Elder Ballard's visit to the mission. My new companions name is Elder Hall. He is from North Ogden, Utah. He just graduated in 2014 and I am exacly one year older than him on my mission. He makes me feel so old! It's crazy. He is an amazing missionary already and has such a desire to serve with seinem ganzen Herzen, aller Macht, ganzem Sinn, und aller Kraft! 

Trainers left on Wednesday afternoon to Frankfurt, which takes over 4 hours of trains and busses to get to. Then, we met up with all the other trainers and drove to the hotel where all of the new missionaries, or "Goldens" as we call them in our mission were sleeping at. They were all exhausted from the plane ride and had spent the whole day at street displays and teaching appointments in the Frankfurt area. Then, we all slept at the hotel and the next morning on thursday, we were paired with our new companions! Then for the rest of the day, they had us go to three different street displays set up in cities around the frankfurt area in Darmstadt, Offenbach and frankfurt. SO, we spent the whole first day talking with tons of people! It was a great day and we got two numbers and address for the areas! Me and another Sister trainer had a hard time trying to teach this crazy man who came up to our stand in Offenbach. He told us that Jesus had appeared to him and that he didn't need to pray anymore because jesus is already in him. My goodness, it was hard to get away from him, all he wanted to do was bible bash, but I think we handled it pretty well.

We still have our investigator getting baptized this saturday! Please pray that everything will run smoothly. This man is so prepared to be baptized. This week, when we got back from Frankfurt on saturday morning, we met with him, and he tells us this story of some people who came to visit him about religion. All I am thinking is, "Oh no, the Zeugne Jehovas have been hear" next thing I know he is pulling out the watch tower magazines, and I was truly terrified of what he was going to say next. He then asked us if we had sent them by to test him. We said, "Of course not". He told us that he was just sharing the book of mormon with them and the story of Joseph Smith and allowing them to know that he is already a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints! I was so proud of him! He truly knows that this church is true with his whole heart and soul! I am excited for him.

It was so crazy this week. The hotel conference room was rented out for this week, so we had no where to meet on sunday. We need a new building and fast here in Regensburg. Meine Gute. So, we took our investigator up to the Feucht building on sunday where i got to see all the members of the feucht ward again, including president schwartz! Crazy. We had 8 missionaries in the feucht ward this week too, because the senior couple missionary from nürnberg was also visiting. Craziness. 

Ich bin von ganzem Herzen dankbar, dass ich ein Missionar des Herrn bin. Besonders hier in Deutschland dienen zu dürfen. Es ist das beste werk der Welt! Es ist das werk des Herrn Jesus Christus. Wenn ich den Heiligen Gest bei mir habe, kann ich dieses Werk machen! Allein sind wir stark. Aber zusammen mit dem Herrn, kann nichts uns zurückhalten.

Ich liebe euch mit meinem ganzen Herzen!!!!

Liebe Grüße
Elder Strong

My new companion Elder Hall and I.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Read the Book of Mormon!

Liebe Familie,

Well, we received news on transfers this week, and I will be staying in Regensburg. However, Elder Nelson will be sadly leaving to Solingen :( I will miss him, we have had a wonderful transfer together here in Regensburg. We have seen so many miracles together and I have learned a lot from him. I will be recieving a fresh new "golden" companion as we call them in our mission. I pick him up on thursday morning.

On friday we have our meeting with Elder Ballard and I have been asked to play some prelude and postlude music on the organ! I am nervous. Apparently I am the only missionary in this mission who has touched an organ, which I highly doubt, and there are many greater pianists than myself who could switch to the organ with no problem. But, I have been asked. Please pray for me as I prepare for this.

Aahhhh!!!! I am beyond excited this week. There are no words that can describe this wonderful and week. Remember our investigator from Syria that we found last week? Well, we met with him last monday night and set a baptisimal date for the 20th of September! My goodness. this man is amazing. He has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. He told us after we set the date that when we were walking down the street he could see something different about us. He had just been very angry at the world and then, when we talked to him, his mood changed. He took a german book of mormon and translated it using his translator app. He picked a couple random verses and said that he could feel that this book was different. He is studying this book in Arabic now with his whole soul. He said "there is no man who could have written this book, this book comes from God". Because of this, he knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that this is the true church. Read the Book of Mormon! This book is the word of God and anyone who reads it and asks God with a sincere heart if this book is true will recieve a witness of its truth and divinity. I know that this book is true!

Since Monday, we organized some appointments in two members homes where we taught the plan of salvation and the word of wisdom. He accepted everything! We also invited him to do a painting service project with the young men of the branch, and he had such a wonderful time. This branch has truly welcomed him with loving and open arms. I am so happy to be serving in such a wonderful branch :) We will also be having a family home evening at another members house tonight with him where we will be teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We also found a family of 4 this week! I'm not sure how interested they actually are, but they invited us back to teach them more, so we will see how this goes! 

The wrok is moving beautifully! I love you all so much and I know this gospel is true.

Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Miracles are happening here!

Liebe Familie,

Another amazing week here in Regensburg, Germany! Its been quite a crazy transfer because it seems we have been finding new investigators every week, and then we haven't met very often with any of them due to summer vacation and what not.

We received some very exciting news from the mission this week! Don't be too jealous, but two apostles of the Lord, Elder Ballard and Elder Bednar, are coming to visit our mission next week! During transfers next friday, everyone in the mission will travel to Frankfurt and listen to them! We are all very excited here :)

We found another investigator this week!!!!!!!!!!! The Lord is blessing us here so greatly. He is also from the middle east. We were having a very difficult day of contacting and going by on some potential investigators who all rejectied us. It was quite a downer day when wedecided to contact that one more person on the way to the train station. I get teary thinking about it, because we were right next to the train station, and we didn't have to talk to him. But we did, and now, this man has become one of our best friends. I feel a very close connection with the middle eastern people. He is from Syria and has been muslim by birth. However, He does not believe in the Muslim faith and is searching for a christian church! We told him that we are so glad we found him because this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. The very same church that he established on the earth 2000 years ago has been restored through a prophet of God today! We have already met with him twice and are focusing on baptism. He already has expressed his desire to be baptized! 

Miracles are happening here!

We are also focusing a lot of our efforts on the less actives here in Regensburg. It is amazing to see how these members can trust us so much to open their hearts and souls unto us. I hope that we are able to help these members through their trials and hardships, giving them strength to carry on. Some people have had HARD lives. I am so grateful for my testimony of the Savior. I know that he lives and that he loves us. He suffered infinitely for us. He knows all of our weaknesses. He as felt all of our pains. No matter how much pain and suffering we experience, we can always turn to him, for he has felt it all.

 I love you!
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong