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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It is worth it. Every step, every tear, every rejection, every success, every drop of sweat, and every shiver. there is no place I'd rather be.

Liebe Familie,

Oh what a wonderful and crazy week! People disappearing off the face of the earth as normal, but also, The Lord has blessed us with some wonderful miracles. And we had the best Zone Konferenz EVER! It was a pretty spectacular week :)

SO, as I mentioned last week... The Hotel Conference room where we have church was rented out for this week and so we were very worried that we wouldn't have anywhere to go to church on sunday except for the next closest ward, my last ward, Feucht. That would have been a little strange not to go to church with our members, so I'm glad it worked out differently. The Germans had to go find the next closest ward, which is out of our mission, so we couldn't go there. But, the Americans were able to organize a room on the military base in Hohenfells where we had church. We got a ride from the train station from our branch president and he signed us on to the military base. We met in a little room and used the couches and spinny chairs that they had in the facility to set up our chapel. We made it work and it was absolutely beautiful! The church is true everywhere. Whether your in a chapel, a hotel, or a storage room, the spirit is what directs those meetings and the spirit was definitely very present this week in church.

I love my mission! I love every experience I have had. Even when the rain comes pouring down, there is so much to learn from everything. And everything has a reason.

The Lord blessed us with another new investigator this week. Remember the less active family form Africa I talked about last week? Well, when we went there, we got the number of her daughter because the mom didn't have a phone. We tried to set up an appointment with the whole family, but it only worked out for her daughter. She invited us over and was super excited to meet with us. She was never baptized as a child, but remembers coming to primary when she lived in Africa. Their family has been attending the catholic church since they got to Regensburg, and has many problems with the catholic church. We taught her of the basic beliefs of our church and she was very impressed saying that we have already answered a lot of questions she has had! Amazing. Truly truly amazing!

We had an awesome experience this week with Josh from our branch. He is 18 and preparing to serve his mission. He came out with us and helped us teach some people. While he was with us, we found this man from Russia who gave us his address and wants us to come by! It was a miracle. I loved being with this member. He has such an amazing spirit and did so well in helping us teach.

We also talked to this guy last week on the street in Schwandorf from Slovenia and delivered a book of mormon in his native language. He said he would love to have us back another time at his house and gave us his address! His whole family will be there when we come by next time!!!! I am thrilled!!!!!!!!  I love teaching families :) It is the best feeling in the world to bring a family closer to Christ.

The feelings that I have felt and the experiences I have had on my mission are undescribable and irreplaceable. And like my dear sister Mary emailed me this week: "I know half the time you are searching for people, but once you share the message, doesn't it make everything worth it? I can't even imagine."

 It is worth it. Every step, every tear, every rejection, every success, every drop of sweat, and every shiver. there is no place I'd rather be.

Jesus Christus ist mein Erretter und Erlöser. Dank ihm finden wir die Friede und den Trost. Dank ihm können wir errettet werden und eines tages zu ihm zurückkehren. ich weiß, dass er lebt. Ich weiß, dass er uns liebt. Er will, dass wir glücklich sind! Seid Glücklich! Und wenn ihr euch unglücklich fühlt, denkt mal an ihm.

Ich liebe euch!!!!

Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Regensburg

Liebe Familie,

This week was wonderful :) We had two investigators at church this week and one of them became an investigator just this week! Remember the guy from last week who we gave our card to and he said he would call us? Well, how many times do we hear that one as missionaries... them: "Oh yeah, I know your church. ummm maybe if you just give me your card or something, I can call you when I have "time" :)Then we are just thinking, oh yeah sure your going to call us... And then... guess what!They never call. Except for our new investigator! He is from Afghanistan, and when he said he knew our church and would like to learn more, he was serious. He has lot's of problems in his country, so like all of the other middle eastern investigators I've taught on my mission. It is very dangerous for him if his family were to find out he is changing his religion to be christian. When he was in Afghanistan, he was working with a lot of american military, and one of his friends was a member of the church. I wish I could find this soldier and tell him how much of an impact he is having, because I believe that is why his friend is investigating the church now. God truly led us to find this man. 

We also have had a lot of success in working with less actives the past week. We have been working on going by a large list of names that the church has collected of members who location is not known and sent us their last known addresses. 90% of the names and addresses are wrong, but we have found two addresses that are real this week and it has made up for all the wrong ones! One of them is a family of 4 or 5 from Africa and they have a son who is not baptized yet! Lot's of potential there. we will be meeting with them tomorrow. The other one is a man whose wife answered the door and took our card for him to call us. We will be going by again this week! Two more families  that no one knew about who could come back to church! Exciting. The work is progressing here in Regensburg and the less active work is so important for the growth of the church here in Germany. More than half of the ward list are less active members. crazy.

I know that this is the work of The Lord. I have truly felt His hand guiding Elder Nelson and I in our efforts this week. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I am not alone. That God is always there watching over us and that I have a Savior who loves me. I am grateful for my family at home whose prayers I can feel helping me and giving me strength from day to day.

Vielen Dank!
Ich Liebe euch!!!!!
Elder Strong