Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Liebe Familie,
This week was incredible. Period. We had a lot of member-present lessons, our investigators made a lot of real progress this week. It's incredible how out of such small things, the Lord really can bring about great things.
We met with the Nespers on Monday night, and the young women's president came. She is a JAE, and they really liked her a lot. We read President Uchtdorf's talk ''Your Wonderful Journey Home,'' and did a review of the Plan of Salvation with a large emphasis on their potential, individual worth, and divine nature. They really loved the talk, and, as always, the spirit they felt:]
On Tuesday, we were with the Nespers, and we brought Sister Kleiner's mom. She really bonded well with the Nespers. We sat down, and Tina told us she didn't want to be baptized - she has already been baptized once, and she doesn't understand why it would be necessary again. Beate said that she was unsure what to think. A friend of theirs had talked to them, and... Anyway, we said a prayer, and Sister Kleiner talked about her conversion story, and about how she was ''baptized'' twice. We also talked about how they need to find out for themselves, and we committed them to really pray about it that night. Then Tina asked if we drink wine in the sacrament. I have been so scared to bring up the word of wisdom with them because of what happened with Bernie, so I have been praying that it would just get brought up. And it did! We talked all about how we don't drink alcohol, and they said that they both don't drink - life is just better when you remember it, and it tastes gross. Then I asked what she thought of smoking. She said she wished she didn't. I told her we had a program that could help her quit, and she got all sorts of excited and said that Lena and Denise would quit, too:] 
We also met with Frau Dackson, and the member we brought was also incredible. Since she was also a young mother, they were able to chat about such things that Sister Brinck and I could offer no such experience. The bond was very cool, and Frau Dackson started asking important questions. She also really appreciated that there was someone there who knew how she felt and to whom she could go with her problems. We will teach her about the atonement next time:]
Wednesday night, we had an incredible fireside with Elder Fingerle. He talked all about member missionary work. He said that when the missionaries do the job on their own, it's like harvesting with a Sichel. That was nice at one point, but this is the 21st Century, and these days we harvest with tractors. The members were so pumped to invite everyone they know to our building dedication next month!
Thursday, we taught the Stop-Smoking-Lesson to the Nespers, and it went really well. We brought our GML and the elders. We gave them Grapefruit juice (you would not believe how hard it is to find unsweetened Grapefruit juice), mouthwash, and vitamin C tablets. Tina was so grateful that she gave Sister Brinck and me both hugs. That was the first time she has ever embraced us, but I think she really could feel our love for her. Then Lena and Denise came home, and Tina told them to sit down and pay attention because they were going to quit, too. They all agreed, and it was awesome!
Tina got kind of sick this weekend, so it kept her from coming to church. But it also kept her from smoking! She said that she had absolutely zero desire to smoke when she felt so gross. The Lord works in mysterious ways:]
Lena and Denise both came to church yesterday!! It was incredible! The young women were also really excited and very good at fellowshipping. We got a call from the mom and grandma (who had not come to church) that afternoon, asking us and the elders to come over that night. We did, and they explained that they wanted us to help the teenagers turn their lives around. They went on about all of these things they had done, and the girls got so embarrassed that they left the room. We told them that our job was not to help troubled youth. We talked about repentance and the atonement and how it really doesn't matter what we have done, as long as we repent and are trying to be better. The girls eventually came back into the room, and we read ''The Family: A Proclomation to the World'' with them, and kind of called the whole family to repentance. The spirit was so strong, and we committed them all to treat each other with respect and love and to hold a family prayer everyday. Then we kneeled for the prayer at the end. And then, the mom said, ''Oh my goodness, we just have to come to church this next Sunday.'' Then the four-year-old started crying because she wanted to go to church so badly, and they told her that she would come, too. As we were sitting in that lesson last night, I just thought, ''This is why we come on missions.'' This family has changed so much since we first met them, and they are changing so much everyday. Tina and Beate are also so excited about their baptisms, and Lena and Denise are excited to come to church next week and the Young Women activity on Wednesday:]
I learned a lot about the atonement this week - we taught it a lot, and I studied it a lot. It's a little long, but your homework for this week is to read and study this talk: http://www.lds.org/ensign/2001/03/missionary-work-and-the-atonement?lang=eng 
Have groovy weeks!!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, September 23, 2013

Expect to See Angels

Liebe Familie,
This last week was pretty awesome. A lot was learned, and a lot of people were brought closer to their Savior. 
Monday night, we had an appointment with the Dacksons, but the Lord had another idea of how we should spend our evening. Although that was a great idea, the Nespers needed us. We got the call from Frau Dackson a little before 6, and she just said, ''The weirdest thing just happened, and we can't meet tonight, but let's meet in a couple of days, okay?'' We had to hurry and come up with a new plan. I thought of the Nespers, and then the elders SMSed us to see what we were doing that night. We told them, and they said they were planning on visiting the friend who introduced us to the Nespers. We thought it might be a good idea to combine our lessons, and it was awesome. With the friend there, we started out by reading in Ether about the Brother of Jared. We discussed the ways how God answers our prayers, and the friend bore some great testimony. Then the friend had some questions about authority, and Elder Morrill said they were great questions, but they could answer them next time, as we wanted to get back to our original topic. I whispered that we could talk about it now, as that was a concept we needed to review with our investigators, too. So, we talked about it again, and we used the cup pyramid analogy, and they really got it this time. I said that that was why we had encouraged them to be baptized again. Then, the elders mentioned that the friend was getting baptized on the 10th of October, and I said that they could be baptized on that same day. I asked if they would work towards that goal, and they excitedly agreed. Then the friend said, ''Yeah, you should definitely come watch my baptism! It would be a great experience.'' Then they asked, ''But, can't we be baptized that day, too?'' They just kept getting more and more excited. Then they told us that the teenage daughter had gone to a church three times this last week and prayed and felt such peace. She had asked her mother if she could be baptized again, and if she could start meeting with us. It was such an evening of miracles!
On Wednesday, we were supposed to do some gardening for a woman named Chris who has been a potential investigator for awhile. She has been friends with some members for over 20 years, but she has never really had much interest in investigating the church herself. Anyway, we were supposed to do some gardening for her with the elders, but it was raining again. We had planned on this a few other times, but it kept being crappy weather on those days. So she told us to come anyway, and she would feed us lunch. It was delicious! Afterwards, we played Rummy with her, and we all just became better friends. The members later told us that she really liked us, and she kept saying we needed to come back. It was so good that we had that time to sit in her home and give her the opportunity to host (she said she loves having company, but nobody really visits her), just get to know her better, and help her build that trust. She is probably a lot more open now than she would have been if we had just gone to our corners of the garden and dug for a few hours. We simply found another way to serve her:]
On Thursday, we had Austausch with Lahr (near Offenburg), so we had to leave the mission (oh, no!) to do the trains. We went to Karlsruhe, but we were only at the Bahnhof. Anyway, Austausch was absolutely incredible. 
On our way to Stuttgart for our train to Karlsruhe, we stopped by to visit Grace. As we were looking for a map so we could find her (she is staying with her other son right now), a drunk man yelled at me for half an hour and told me I was stupid and brainwashed. I don't know why we couldn't get away, but he wouldn't let us leave. I was just quiet - fighting back in those situations does no good. But we eventually found Grace, and she was so excited to see us:] Anyway, then I went to Lahr to work with Sister Drury, and Sister Jencks came here to Ludwigsburg. 
It was an Austausch of miracles - one right after the other. First of all, we found 14 potentials on Friday (to give you an idea, 3 potentials is a pretty darn good day), and a lot of them were families! Lahr is being opened right now, so we had a lot of finding to do. But, Sister Drury is an incredible finder, and I learned a lot from her. Friday night, we were talking about all sorts of things and the conversation got to a topic that has seriously been a concern of mine for 5 years. I don't talk about it with a lot of people, as it has something to do with one particular line in my patriarchal blessing. And I, therefore, will not go into a lot of details at this time. But let me just say this. I felt peace about it for the first time in 5 years. My prayers were finally answered. And the advice she gave was further confirmed the next morning when I found a quote in a General Conference talk to confirm what it was she had told me. The Lord answers our prayers, and the answers usually don't come in the way we expect. But He does answer.
We had stake conference this weekend, and it was quite lovely. It was fun to see the other missionaries, and stake conference is always such a feast of spiritual knowledge. 
Elder Holland said, ''We must believe in miracles... until we wind up to the level when our heart is up in our throat and if we opened our eyes, we would expect to see angels.'' The only way the Lord works is through miracles, and this week was such a testimony builder of that!
Have groovy weeks!
Sister Stephanie Reid   

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Power of Paint

Liebe Familie,
This week was awesome. On Monday, we went to a Pferdmarkt in Bietigheim-Bissingen. It was a lot of fun. There was a parade. I will just say that German parades are a little different than American parades... For example, nobody threw candy. Also, the floats were pulled by horses! They featured people dressed in traditional costumes from all over Germany. We wanted to ride one of the rides so badly. We all studied the white handbook for a few minutes and determined it was okay. It was very long, and it spun us all over the place. It was so much fun!! Then we went to the little shops. It's always fun to see all of the crazy things available. Another town around here has a ''Sheepherder run.'' Girls who are sheepherders wear dirndls and run a 5K barefoot. 
Anyway, that evening, we visited Frau Dackson. We had a freaking awesome lesson planned about pre-earth life and why we are here. We planned on using a lot of scriptures in Abraham to teach it. Try as we might, we seriously could not get back in town quick enough to go home first and grab our triples. So, we had to plan another lesson really quick. I thought that a great idea would be to read 2 Nephi 2 with them, and talk about that - to get them excited about the Book of Mormon, and introduce ideas in the Plan of Salvation for next time. We got there, and Darchi wanted to play on the computer. But his mom said, no, as it is not a toy. He was pretty upset, but then we asked if he would like to read with us. He got very excited (because he loves to read, and we are cool), and he sat right down on the couch. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and we read 2 Nephi 2. Then, Frau Dackson started reading chapter 3, so we read that chapter, too. They wanted to keep reading, but it was starting to get late. So I had us skip to the last half of Chapter 4 to read the Psalm of Nephi. They just loved it. Frau Dackson told us that her whole day is just so stressful. But when we come, she just feels such peace. She repeated that thought a second time, but more to herself, agreeing that, yeah, she just feels at peace. Darchi was also so so grateful when we told him he could keep the Book of Mormon. We committed them to read and pray every night as a family, and they excitedly agreed that that would be a good idea. 
We had zone training this week. It was good to see everyone again one last time before transfers. We took lots of pictures, and the Pforzheim sisters brought all of the clothes that would be left behind in their apartment (as elders are whitewashing, and they do not need skirts), so we came home with some ''new'' clothes. I got a lot of them, because I was the smallest, and a small missionary left them. 
Wednesday, the elders and we went to Frau Dackson's apartment to paint it. It was such a fun service project! And Frau Dackson really liked having us there, too. Darchi was also home (school hasn't quite started yet), and he and Elder Piepenstock really bonded. We got paint all over, and it was very fun! 
We, however, did not finish, so we went back on Thursday to do the kitchen. Again, an excellent service project indeed:] 
We also went to Stuttgart to run off the train, and that was a hoot of a time!
Then on Friday, we had to help a less-active family paint their apartment. We got the living room done so quickly. The mother could not believe it when we were already done (we had just had a lot of practice...). That was really cool because the mom really opened up to us about her concerns at the end. She has such real concerns, and it will be so much easier to help her now that we know what's going on and that we have that trust built up.
We met with the Nespers again after that, and they are still doing well. Mandy called me to say, ''Hi!'' and to tell me all the things she had bought at the store that day. We gave her the Book of Mormon picture book so that she can read along when we are there. She loved it so much! We read in Ether 2 and 3 with them. Then Mandy burped in my ear. She also cried at the end when her mom gaving the closing prayer, so we had two closing prayers. It was an awesome day!
On Saturday, every plan we had (even our back-up plans) fell out. We got all of our studies done, which was awesome. Then we thought of a woman in our ward who always looks so sad. So we made her a nice card with lots of quotes about how much Jesus loves you, and we brought her some banana bread, too. We wanted to leave it at her house without her knowing it was from us, so we klingeled the neighbors to let us into the building. Only one neighbor was home, and she was very nice. We said we had something for the neighbor, so could we please come in? She came all the way to the outside door, and asked what we had so she could give it to her. We said we could just drop it by the door, and the neighbor insisted that it really was no problem. So we told her the name, and she repeated it back to us. We nodded, and she just said, ''Are you sure?'' I pointed to the Klingelbox with her name, and said that I was pretty sure she lived in that building. Then the neighbor pointed to the names on the Klingelbox and the mailbox and confirmed that she did live there. So, she took the things and said it looked very nice. It's always nice to do personal touches for members. That's also part of our purpose - strengthening members.
Wellp, that should just about cover everything! I hope all is well for you and that you have groovy weeks!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, September 2, 2013

Why would we run off a bus?

Liebe Familie,
This email will have to be short, but that's probably a good thing, too.
We visited Grace a lot this week. She is in Hamburg now for a few days, and we wanted to get her address so we could talk to the missionaries there to make sure she gets to church. But one thing after another kept happening and she was always, ''going tomorrow, but can you come visit me now?'' We have a really hard time saying no to her, so we visited her a lot, as we called her almost daily. But it was really good. Her faith and testimony are just growing so much. She really is trying to learn as much as she can. She was also asking us this week about how in Nigeria, they sing and dance in church. That is how one properly praises the Lord, she said. She was asked to give her testimony after her confirmation last Sunday, and she mentioned that experience. She said how in Nigeria, she would have said, ''Praaaaaaaise the Lord!!'' and then the whole congregation would say, ''Hallelujah!'' and then she would sing a song and dance for God. But she did not do that last Sunday (as hilarious as that would have been) because she noticed we are a little more reserved in our church. We taught her the word 'reverant' and explained that we do praise God, just not through dance in the sacrament meeting. She is so cute, because she really is trying to learn this culture and everything. She is constantly making comments like, ''I notice that when you pray, you...'' Every time we see her, she just has more and more light in her eyes. She is also excited about trying to get her sons involved:] We have a ward temple trip coming up soon, and we are excited to send Grace with them so she can do the work for her daughter. She said that she had a dream a little bit ago in which her daughter came to her, confused and asking for help. We really enjoyed the experience we had to teach her all about the importance of temples and the Plan of Salvation. It really sunk in for her this time as we taught. She really is making such progress in her conversion process.
We also met with Maria Dackson yesterday. She was sick, so we brought her some soup. She really seems to like us and is really searching. We will meet with her again tonight, so more updates to come!
The Nespers are also doing well! They are overcoming leaps and bounds with their fears, and I am, too! They have a dog, Cindy, that jumps on me and licks my hand while teaching. Bam. When we pray, the Lord can give us strength we didn't know we had.
We got transfer calls, and Sister Brinck and I are staying, Elder Morrill and Elder Piepenstock are staying, but the other two areas in our district will be whitewashed! It is so crazy, but the Lord know's what's up. 
That's all for this week, but I love you all! Have a groovy week!
Sister Stephanie Reid