Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Liebe Familie,
I'M GOING TO GERMANY!!!!!! (I did not even push the caps lock button down during that, emulating the excitement of the situation; I did, however, release the shift button for the apostrophe, as it would make no sense to have quotation marks. I was not quoting anyone. I am quoting myself. Not many people use quotation marks to quote themselves. But the rest was typed while holding the shift button down.)
We got our flight plans on Friday. They usually come on Thursdays, but apparently there are a lot of us leaving this week, so the travel office got backed up. Anyway, I've got them!! It was so exciting when they were finally in our mailbox. They were in our mailbox around 11 (someone was in the building and checked), but we waited until after language study and lunch to get our flight plans. It was more like Christmas that way. Also, if we had gotten them before language study, no way were we going to be doing any studying after that. So we waited. Sister Young ate so quickly - she was not the sneakiest at hiding her excitement. Then we walked with our elders from the lunchroom to the post office. We had to go out some doors, down some stairs, down a small sidewalk, in some more doors, and in some more doors again before we could get to the post office. Then we stood in the lobby while Elder Richards walked down the hall to get our flight plans. We stood, paced, and sat while we waited. Elder Richards soon came around the corner, and we had our flight plans!! He handed them out, and we all read them. I could not believe my eyes. I was so excited!! We all were. We were not exactly quiet as we discussed our plans. Oh, the joy in the air. We are taking Delta all the way, so not too thrilled about that. But the joy of actually going to Germany is overriding all of that. :] 
I suppose at some point I should let you know what these plans are. So I will make that point this point, as it will probably make the most sense. Ahem. We are leaving the MTC at 8:00 am Tuesday morning. We fly out of the Salt Lake airport around 11:30 (again, am that would be heck-a long if it was pm). (I will probably make my phone call at this point, so be on guard. If there is a particular number you would prefer I call, please send me a letter, as I will not be allowed to check my e-mail again before this time.) Elder Moon was saying his mom looked up the flight, and we are flying to Seattle first, and then to Amsterdam. Apparently we have a 2 hour layover in Seattle. So this would be another plausible spot for a phone call. I am not positive if we are going there, though. But a couple other kids were saying the same thing, so I don't know. Regardless, we arrive in Amsterdam at 8:30 am their time. We have an hour layover there, and then we fly to Munich. It is so crazy how real it all became! :D
Our teacher, Bruder Corey taught us a neat German word about three weeks ago. He said that after he was in Germany about six months, when he would tell people he felt like he could finally speak German, they would say, "Oh yeah? Can you say Streichhoelzerschaechtelchen?" It means little match box, ps. I have been practicing that word everyday for the last three weeks. I could finally say it! (I even had a native German tell me I could say it very well.) So, I worked it into my talk for Sunday. Every Sunday, we are all expected to write a talk on the topic assigned. Then, when we get to sacrament meeting, a member of the branch presidency announces which two lucky missionaries will be giving his/her talk. I worked the word Streichhoelzerschaechtelchen into my talk three times. I talked about how faith is like a little match box. When you have it, it's nice, but it's not worth anything until you do something about it. I then read the scripture in Jakobus 2:17 where it says that faith without works is dead. I said that you have to strike the match box, and then you have fire. And then your possibilities become more and more endless, the bigger your fire gets. It was a lovely analogy, and I got to say Streichhoelzerschaechtelchen. Three times. I told my district and a couple of my other friends in my zone about how great my talk was. My district took the liberty of telling the branch president that I had a great talk prepared. Elder Ruff said he would secretly pray for me to give my talk, just so he could hear me say that word. I laughed a little, but I think we can all see where this story it going. Yes, President Dunn called me up as the first speaker, and Elder Wells (an Elder in my district) as the second speaker. I just shook my head and smiled. Elder Ruff turned around and silently laughed. Sister Young asked if I wanted to use her talk. I told her that I had written this talk, and now I needed to give it. So I did. Everyone thought my talk was great! So that was nice. :]
I also gave the musical number in sacrament meting. Sister Young played the violin, and I accompanied her on the piano. We played a medley of "Amazing Grace," "As Now We Take the Sacrament," and "How Great Thou Art." It was so beautiful! I was worried I wouldn't be able to play since I had stubbed my finger the day before (as per usual, I wasn't doing anything cool. I was playing kickball with our district. Our zone set up a kickball tournament - we have brackets, and everything. We had won our first game, but we got clobbered on Saturday. But it's probably best that we lost so we can do real work-outs during Sport. Anyway, I'm fine :]), but it was great! We got so many compliments, and we brought some people (aka the wives of the branch presidency) to tears (and they claimed they were the good kind of tears).  
My birthday was most excellent. My roommates bought me Swedish Fish and Reese's Pieces. They also gave me cards signed by my district, District A (we're good friends with that district), and my roommates I had for my first two weeks here (what forthsight!!). It was so great! My district loved the cake, so thank you very much!! It was exciting to get cake in the mail. My teacher, Sister Covey, taught the class the German song they sing on birthdays (which is a lot happier sounding, and more fun to sing than the one we all know), and everyone sang it for the closing song for our evening class. Other members of the district shook my hand and/or wished me "Happy Birthday" (usually auf Deutsch) every time they saw me. And Elder Gauchner sang me "Zum Geburtstag viel Glueck" repeated four times (since he didn't know the third stanza) first thing in the morning. So, all in all, it was a great birthday!
I am glad to hear Dad got some great food in Denver and that he got to go to two ball games. That would be so cool! I am also glad to hear it sounds like the rest of the family is doing well! I enjoy getting your letters. :]
Bis spaeter!!
Sister Stephanie Reid

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