Monday, June 17, 2013

Liebe Familie,
Sister Smith and I are safely in Ludwigsburg. It was a bit of a struggle to get here, but we are here!
Our last few days in Neumarkt consisted of meeting with a few people one last time, getting the area book ready, and packing! It was very busy, but we got everything accomplished and made it to Bahnhof in one piece!
Elder Nelson came to town this week! We had the opportunity on Tuesday to make another trip to Munich to see him. The Salzburg, Munich, and Stuttgart zones had the opportunity to be taught from him. We also were taught from Sister Nelson, Elder and Sister Soares, Elder Kiron, and Elder Fingerle. It was so powerful, and we learned so much! We also got to shake all of their hands (all of the listed people were the recipients of our handshakes - we did not shake all hands - only the right ones). It was also fun to see other missionaries I hadn't seen in awhile. :]
It was really crazy, though, on Thursday, because there were two of us with six suitcases. Normally on transfer day, one missionary has not suitcases, so you have four arms for three suitcases. We got to Bahnhof 45 minutes before the train would leave and had 10 minutes to spare. We struggled getting the suitcases all the way down the two flights of stairs, then all the way back up the other two at the train station. A man watched us as we struggled with the remaining suitcases, and I may, or may not, have had some un-Christlike thoughts. But I repented when I got to the top and he said, ''I would help you, but my knees are really bad. Why do you have so many suitcases?'' We told him we were moving to Germany. Sister Smith talked to him while I printed the tickets. He asked her why we were moving, and she explained how we are missionaries and we have the possibility every six weeks to move. He asked for what church we proselyte. We told him, and he pointed across the street (at our church), and asked, ''That one?'' We nodded excitedly, and he said, ''So you are Mormons...'' He then explained how that morning he had had some questions about Mormons. He asked a Catholic priest who told him we believe in Scientology, live on farms with other mormons, and brainwash our kids. He asked us if that was true, and we cleared up his confusion. He asked us other questions about what we believe, and was very excited to learn that we are quite normal people. We didn't have any pass-along cards with us, so I wrote down the website of the church and told him if he had further questions, that was a good source to learn about what we believe and who we are. The train pulled up, and he hurried into the train to get someone to help us with our suitcases. He then stayed with us until his stop. He talked to us more and told us he had visited the Adventisten church awhile ago, as they have a lot of good things. But he said they didn't have all of the truths and were crazy to think the Sabbath has to be celebrated on Saturday - so, he wouldn't get baptized. Then they started being mean to him and kicked him out of their church if he wasn't going to be a member. I told him, ''I'm not just saying this because it's my church, but if you visit our church, you will feel very welcome, and no one will be mean to you because you aren't a member. In fact, they will be very friendly.'' He got very excited and asked when we had church. We told him, and he repeated it, making a mental note. He then said, ''You know, it's weird. Just five minutes before I met you, I was wondering what Mormons really believe. Then I met you!'' He was so cool, and hopefully he comes to church and the Neumarkt (now) elders can help him.
We had other missionaries to help us at all of the other stations, so that was good. We missed our Umsteig in Munich because our train from Salzburg was 15 minutes delayed due to high water, and we only had a ten minute Umsteig. We pulled into Munich, and other missionaries helped us off the train and told us we had about 20 minutes until the next train left. They brought us into the center area with the other suitcases and told us to wait there while they figured out which Gleis the train was on. Then, they would come back to help us. We waited about 15 minutes, and they never came back. So I realized I would have to figure it out myself. I looked at the board and found a train headed to Stuttgart in... I looked at my watch and saw that it was to leave right then! I looked down at the Gleis, and the train pulled away. So we had to wait ANOTHER hour for the next train to leave! But we bought pretzels, and all was well.
We got into town, and the Ludwigsburg elders were waiting to greet us. They helped us get to our apartment and tote our suitcases up the three flights of stairs. The ward went all out for our apartment. It is very cute, and I will send pictures next week. The elders quorum picked out the bedsheets and toilet seat. The toilet seat is a picture of a cow standing in a field staring at the guest of the WC. We felt like we were still in Neumarkt with the cow:] One of our beds has Barbie bedsheets, and the other one is Disney princesses. Sister Smith does not like pink, so that was really funny:] I sleep on the Barbie bed. The ward was giggling themselves silly on Sunday when they were asking about them. They kept telling us they had other sheets for us, but we really didn't care. There are house plants everywhere, so that has been nice - we both love plants! And it has been fun having the closest thing to a pet we can have. We have a great neighborhood to run in, and we get to see the Ludwigsburg palace everyday on the bus as we get into town.
The ward is awesome, and we already have some friends in the primary (President was saying it was the biggest in the mission!). This week, we will be doing a lot of finding, but we have a lot of great goals to do that! We are so stoked to get going!
Have successful weeks!
Sister Stephanie Reid

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