Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bednar, iPads, Investigators

Liebe Familie,

We received some great news which I forgot to tell you all about 2 weeks ago... oops, things have been busy:) but, We recieved the word that Germany is getting Ipads!!! Elder Bednar will be coming this friday to introduce them to us and train us on how to use them in our proselyting efforts! We are so excited #1 to see elder Bednar! and #2 to get ipads. Woohoo! It will be a crazy day. I wasnt' asked to play the organ this time, but Sister Roderer who I sang with a couple weeks ago will be. She is an AMAZING musician. my goodness. I will have the privilege of being the chorister for the Bednar Meeting :) :) :) So much less stress. All I have to do is wave my arm back and forth :D also, Sister Rodere and I will be singing another duet this week in church.

This week we found 2 new investigators! We were going by on one of our investigators because we hadn't gotten a hold of him for about a week. We went by at exactly the right time, and we were let in to teach a lesson to his family. His wife had been in Greece sionce we met him a couple wweks ago and so she sat in for the lesson as well. We taught her the restoration and she was so intrigued by what we had to say! She asked amazing questions and While we were teaching the lesson, the husband also bore his testimony of the book of mormon, and he isn't even a member yet! He was so worried that his wife didn't know it was true yet, that he was trying to convince his wife with his whole heart that it ws true. She isn't sure if it is true yet, but we invited her to read it and ask God if it is true. Sadly, they didn't come to church this week even thought we went early to take them with our bus tickets sionce we can take two extra people on the weekends. We think they were asleep and didn't hear the doorbell, because no one came to the door. Oh well, they will come next week for sure!

The other new investigator was found while I was on a split with an Elder in Wetzlar, so I haven't met him yet, but I hear he is wonderful, however, he might be a little crazy... Apparently he pulled out some marijuana at the end of the lesson! Yikes. We will see how this goes next week.

We also had another group of youth come up from Abu Dhabi United arab Emerates this past week to do a Youth Missionary Fireside at the Temple in Friedrichsdorf. It was such a joy to get to know each of them. We did it similarly to the one we did last week. One of the youth had prepared a talk about missionariy work to begin and it was beautiful. tHen we introduced ourselves tot he youth and each shared an expereince from our missiona nd why we decided to serve. We had 10 missionaries in attendance. Then we had a practice teaching with the missionaries section where each missionary was paired up with two youth and we taught them how to teach the second lesson. After that we played a missionary olympics game. At the end, we had a question and answer session where the youth were able to ask each of us a question.The youth were so excited to work with missionaries since there is no proselyting allowed in their country. Some of them hadn't seen missionaries in a long time. One of the youth leaders told us he hadn't seen a  missionary in 5 years! We felt so honored to be able to work with them.

Well, I think that is everything for this week! I am trying to give as much detail as possible :) Oh yeah, we also had two street diplays this wek and our zo0ne gave out 50 books of mormon this week! yay!

I love you all :) :) :):) :):):) :) 

Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

Youth group from Abu Dhabi United Arab Emerates

Monday, April 13, 2015

Youth temple trips and service (letter from April 13)

Meine sehr geliebte Familie und Freunde,

I am dead. Literally i haven't done so much in one week in my life. I can't even put into words everything that happened this week, but it was crazy. 

First, We had transfers this week and they closed the american elders area, so we were helping them out alot this week. And helped them get everything packed and ready for the sisters to move in to there appartment. Our district shrunk a little bit and it feels very strange to have more sisters than elders in our district. It doesn't bother me because I grew up with 4 sisters, but my companion only ever had brothers, so he has no idea what to do! Hopefuly I can help him out. He is serving as the District Leader and Zone Leader right now because there are no other elders in the district. Woohoo!

Among preparations for transfers, we were also planning a Youth conference "MTC experience" fireside for a group of 50 youth from the Nürnberg stake this week. We spent hours preparing for that and then an entire day with the group of youth from 8.00 in the morning to 7.00 at night. We had two 4 hour sessins. The first was 8.00 to 12.00 for a group of 25 american youth, and then a second session from 1.30 to 5.30 for a group of 30 german youth. It was a huge success! We played a game called missionary olympics where we had the youth answer a question about missiary rules and life and then play a game about missionary work. We split them into two teams and then played the different activities like sewing a button, finding a random language book of mormon, blowing up balloons for a street display, shining shoes, tying ties, make-up, a side bag relay... etc. It was so much fun! It made my life when a girl came up to us afterwards and said, "are you gunna come back next year? I just loved this so much, I just want to go on a mission so bad now!" It made me happy that we made a difference in that little girls life.

Also this week among all that craziness, we had 4 different service projects come up. We helped paint a less active members house, we helped another member carry a washer machine and dishwasher, we helped another member with some work around the house, and we helped a members neighbor with a move.

It was crazy, but amazing. And, guess what we have this week?!?!? Another Youth conference to plan for a group of youth coming form the Middle east from Abu Dhabi, I am so excited to work with them :) 

I am so lucky, look at all the awesome experiences I am having, this is preparing me so much for all the future things I will have to plan :) I love my mission

Es gibt einen Grund für alles, was wir im Leben erfahren. Meistens, wissen wir gar nicht was der Grund ist, manchmal fühlen wir uns verloren, verwirrt, oder enttäuscht. Aber ich weiß dass die Hand Gottes in allem ist. Eines Tages wird alles, was wir erleben Sinn machen. Egal wer wir sind, oder was es ist. Gott ist für uns da. Ich weiß er ist da. Er liebt uns.

I love you all and miss you dearly.

Liebe Grüße,

Elder Strong

Frohe Ostern (letter from April 6)

Liebe Familie und Freunde,

I felt so much love this week during the easter season. We were able to share the video for the easter initiative #becausehelives a lot with people this week and it was wonderful.  Each time we watched this film it inspired people and brought the spirit so powerfully :) I love this church! 

Most importantly I felt closer to my savior Jesus Christ this week as we were able to listen to the Prophets and Apostles of the Lord. What a fitting event for easter sunday. If you missed General conference, watch it! It will change your life.--> www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2015 my favorite talk was from the Saturday Afternoon Session from Wilford W. Andersen. He talked about the music of the gospel.

We had a lot of things happen this week! We had a Zone training Meeting this week and Sister Roderer and I sang a duet at a Musical Fireside in Frankfurt. these two events with all the preparation took up a lot of our time and efforts. 

I received a stronger testimony of the power of the priesthood this week. I was feeling very ill last week and had a cold and my voice was gone. I was feeling terrible and needed good health to be able to sing at the fireside and speak at the Zone training meeting as well as make it through our two splits. So, I asked for a priesthood blessing. It was the first one that I had asked for on my mission and I felt prompted by the spirit to ask for it. I know that that priesthood blessing was from God, As I was consecrated with oil and blessed I felt the spirit rush through me and a powerful love of God in my heart. The next morning I had so much more strength and was able to accomplish everything we needed for the week. The power of the priesthood is real. I know it.

I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time! I love you all so much and I miss you :) 

Liebe Grüße,

Elder Strong

Monday, March 30, 2015

I love you all! Miracles are happening (letter from March 30)

Dear Family,

Have you watched the new Easter Video yet? It is amazing. I would just like to share the words of the video with you all today:

Wherever He walked, Wherever He taught, Wherever He healed, He changed everything. Then everything changed. The man they called Master, Messiah, Friend, was gone. But the greatest miracle was yet to come. He is not here. He is risen. He Lives! And because he lives, if you reach out, call out, cry out, He is here. Then, now, always, He is here. During the good, the bad, the in-between, He is here. No matter who you are, who you were, He is here. No exceptions, no lost causes, at all times, in all places, He is here. He rose on the third day. He lives today. Find Him. #BecauseHeLives.

Watch it here: helives.mormon.org    or if you want to watch it auf Deutsch: erlebt.mormon.org

It is such a beautiful film. My favorite part is when it tells us to "reach out, call out, cry out!". It brings back so many feelings of all the times I have called out and cried out in prayer to God to feel that he is there. Crying out for him to be with me in times of trial and pain and loneliness. He is there. He is always there. Sometimes it is so easy to lose sight of that simple principle. I know that if we strive to always call out, cry out, and reach out to God in our words and actions every day. We will always feel him there. I love my savior so much! I am so greatful to be a laboror in the vineyard of the Lord. I am so greatful to be a part of the marvelous work and a wonder that is so often prophesied of in the scriptures."Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do amarvellous work among this people, even a marvellouswork and a wonder" -Isaiah 29:14 I know that this is the work of the Lord.

We had a great week here in Wiesbaden :) We found 3 new investigators this week! We had a random family show up to church this week.The family is from Greece/Albania and they the cousin of a member from Italy. they came with thee cousina nd we taught them in the investigator class and set up a return appointment for theis week! We are so excited to start working with them more closely :)

We also had a random person call us from a card we handed out on the street! Our efforts are not in vain :)

Saturday we did 3 different service projects ight after another. one for an active member, one ofr a less active, and one for a friend of a member! It was a great day :) It was also my Birthday and it was the best birthday ever :) the sisters Sister Eschenmann and Sister Roderer made me "death by chocolate" cupcakes and the elders ELder Ball and Hales made me a cake and surprised us at our appartment that night :) On suinday SIster eschenmann put up a sign in the front door of the church that it was my birthday and soall the memebrs came up to me and wished me a happy birthday :) It was so nice.

 I love you all! Miracles are happening :)

Liebe Grüße,

Elder Strong

We went to Kurhaus for Pday and took a selfie

birthday cupcakes

Monday, March 23, 2015

Temple, Pakistan, Music, Less Actives and Craziness (letter from March 23)

Liebe Familie,

These past two weeks have been full of miracles and craziness, meine gute. In the past two weeks I have been a part of 4 musical numbers. We also had Zone Konference and Mision Leadership Council back to back. 6 hours each! I may have almost fallen asleep at the end :) Super fun.

Last sunday Sister Roderer and I did a musical number of I stand all amazed. She sang and i played the piano. Let me just say that her voice is that of an Angel, I felt so priveledged to play for her. Then at Zone COnference, we did the same number, plus I sang I know that my Reedeemer lives. Then the next day at Missionary Leadership council I accompnaioed a missionary who plays the flute. It was a crazy time preparing all of thosennumbers as well as fitting in our busy schedule, but it was so much fun! Music has a way of touching the soul and enlightening the mind. It gives me the extra strength I need to do this work! Music is deffinitely an essential part of life.

Let me tell you about all the missionaries in our area along with this picture of all of us at the temple last week :) From left to right. the first two sisters are with eLder Melanson and I in the WIesbaden German ward. Sister Roderer is from Cache Valley, Utah. She studied Flute Performance in New York and is fresh out on her mission. Sister Eschenmann is from France and is a convert of a little over two years! She has so much fire and can give out 50 cards in 20 minutes at our street displays. We love working with these two sisters. After myself, we have Elder Melanson from Portland Oregon! He is a wonderful friend and we work very well together. I am so grateful for his fire and positive attitude all the time! I learn from him every day :) Next to Elder Melanson is Elder Hales from Utah and his companion Elder Ball, also from Utah. They are serving in the Wiesbaden American Military ward. Then comes Sister Brown and Sister Peterson also from Utah and serving in the Wiesbaden AMerican Military ward as well. Missing from the picture is our wonderful senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Stevens, who work at the State Archives representing Family search. They take pictures of all the records for the entire state of Hessen, Germany and download them in to family search for people to index and research! Amazing. That brings us to a grand total of 10 missionaries all living in the same city! crazy! It makes for some awesome street displays :)

In the past two weeks, ELder Melanson and I have been on 4 splits! woohoo. Each time I have stayed in Wiesbaden since I am the only driver. And I loved them all. I got to meet many missionaries and we had a lot of fun together :) We found some good potential investigators and had some awesome appointments.

One success of the week was with a less active! SO, about 4 weeks ago as eLder Noorda was preparing to go home, we were at the church preparing some of ELder Noordas paper work to go home. As he was working on stuff I decided to call some random less active members form the list. One person I talked to for 20 minutes about how his wife had past away, we set up an appointment for three weeks and I got his updated address and info. We met with him two weeks ago and then yesterday, he came to church for the first time in a while! It was amazing! 

We alos finally contacted these two friends form Pakistan yesterday and they became new investigators. We have a member in the ward who is the first member in pakistan and he was able to join into the lesson over the phone! It was very exciting. We believe they will be baptized :)

I love missionary work! This is truly the work of the Lord. I challenge all of you to pray right now and write down the name of a friend who you want to invite to meet with the missionaries, and then do it! YOu will  recieve so much joy when you share the gospel.

I love you!

ELder Strong

Frankfurt Temple

Me and Elder Hawker (who is in Uncle Barrett's ward in Las Vegas)

Old Book of Mormon

Me with an original copy of the first german Book of Mormon in 1852 At MLC. Behind me are our sister training leaders Sister Gardner and Sister Taylor

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I love you (letter from March 17)

Liebe familie,

Today we visited the temple as a district and had a wonderful time! I am sorry about the lack of time, but it is impossible to write emails today. I will just send some pictures later tonight :)

I love you all!

Liebe Grüße,

Elder Strong

Monday, March 9, 2015

We are working hard (letter from March 9)

Liebe Familie,

This week was great! Elder Melanson and I are working so well together :) we have struggled to find new investigators this week, but we are working so hard and seeing many miracles :) 

Yesterday we had an upsettng experience. We were talking to a man on the street who was really interested in the gospel and just as I was explaining the first vision and the spirit was the strongest, a man rides up on a bike dressed in some irish gettup and tells the man to be careful and not speak with us. THen he went off about how we are terrible people and that he knows everything about our religion and we should just go home because we aren't helping anyone... rude. The man who we were talking with felt weird about the situation and walked away leaving us with the crazy guy to talk with. 

Needless to say, we did a lot of finding time this week. But, we have good hings in the works and are excited for the dfuture and what it has to bring to our area. We are planting seeds and looking for every oportunity possible to share the gospel. as soona swe get out of the car, we talk with as many people as we come accross. Yesterday, after church we did some contaking in the park and started talking to a really nice couple on a bench. At first they were closed off, then we just asked them about the city of wiesbaden and how we love coming here to germany to meet so many kind people. tHen they opened up a lot more and took a book of mormon to read.

We also talked to a young girl about 16 years old who is interested in learning more and another 16 year old boy who we will be meeting with at the church tomorrow. He told us that he wanted to read the book of  mormon and learn more because he remembered his pastor having reccomended the book once. We will see where that goes!

When I left Regensburg, I thought I wouldn't need to translate ever again, however, to my great surprise, I moved up to another kind of translation. I get to use a microphone and speak into people's ears during sacrament meeting now. Everyone who needs translation sits with a little head set, and then I have a microphone in the back and tranlate over the speaker as they talk. It was actually a lot easier in regensburg because yxou translate every sentence back and forth and have time to think between each sentence. Now, you have to translate as they speak 100 miles pr hour. It is definitely a new adventure :)

I have never loved being a missionary more than now. I feel that I can talk to anyone, anywhere, without fear of rejection. It doesn't hit me so hard anymore when peope reject me, I just stay happy and move forward to the next person. I've learne that when we choose to be happy in all situations, we can find more energy and purpose to keep working :) 

I know this gospel is true!

Liebe Grüße,
Elder Strong

ps I am trying to put pictures up, but the computer won't let me... sorry