Monday, June 24, 2013

Week Four -- "I Can't Believe I've Been Out 1 Month"

Liebe Familie und Freunde!
Hello from a rainy day in Göppingen, Germany! It's a nice change to have rain and clouds; this past week has been HOT and HUMID. And for those of you who know me really know how I love the rain! :)
This week was a week full of miracles and tender mercies. Last Monday, Sister Clark and I had an eating appointment with a family in our ward. While on our way, we recieved a phone call from Bruder Niedermeier, a man in our ward, saying he had made contact with a lady named Barbara Reik. Uncle Tony, while he was here in Göppingen, taught Barbara, and I guess somehow the connection was made that I am his niece and am serving in Göppingen, and she wanted to get in touch! Sister Clark and I found Barbara's record, which was quite bare, but found that she was contacted by some other missionaries in 2006, but didn't get taught any of the lessons. Bruder Niedermeier gave Sister Clark and I Barbara's number, we called her, and we have an appointment to teach her next week! What a small world....seems to be that wherever I go in the world, I make SOME kind of connection to my Brown family. :) This experience is definitely a blessing, and the handwork of the Lord.
Wednesday I went to my first District Meeting! We traveled an hour to Ulm, where I met our district. Elders Garrett (Provo), Petersen (Salt Lake): Dad you might know his dad....Gordon Petersen?, Kinghorn (Alpine) and Fletcher (Eagle Mountain) make up the rest of our district. They are great missionaries and have all been out for at least a year, except for Elder Garrett, who is a transfer older than myself. Our zone leaders attended our meeting, and we had an amazing discussion on how the Stuttgart Zone can become the "miracle Zone": how can we see miracles come to pass in our zone? For one, FAITH. Two, it's all about perspective. Three, we need to recognize the miracles and tender mercies we are given every day. As a result of this discussion, Sister Clark and I have started the "Wunder Wand", or Miracle Wall, at our apartment. Every day we right on a sticky note a tender mercy or miracle we noticed that day. As we've done this, we have noticed more and more tender mercies and miracles happening to us. An attitude of gratitude is the best way to be a missionary!After district meeting, I was able to eat my first Döner!! It. Was. AMAZING. It's tradition after district meeting, apparently, to get a Döner and Magnum icecream bar. (Good thing we do TONS of walking before and after....) :)
Thursday was probably my favorite day this week. Sister Clark and I had an eating appointment with Schwester Körner, an older woman in our ward with the testimony of a giant. She reminds me a lot of Sister Nelson and Sister Shipp--a wonderful grandmother figure who loves everyone, and who has a sure foundation and faith in her Savior Jesus Christ. After our appointment Sister Clark and I planned a brief presentation about the USA for our FHV activity that night, and then we got to meet with our investigator Destiny. Destiny is from Nigeria and has been living in Germany for a few years for work. He is a very faithful man, who has joined many churches to find the truth. Sister Clark and I had planned to teach him about the prophets, which we did a little bit, but felt prompted to teach him about the importance of recognizing the Spirit and reading the Book of Mormon, and how doing those things will help us overcome trials and hardships in our lives. We talked to him about the analogy of the refiner's fire, and how we go through hard times to help us become better. Destiny usually doesn't talk a lot, but he listens intently. After we told him that analogy and were quiet for a minute, he looked at Sister Clark and I and said, "I know when you're speaking, it's like someone is talking through you." The Spirit was one of the sweetest I've felt here on my mission; in that moment, Sister Clark knew, I knew, and Destiny knew, what we were saying was truth. It was incredible!Our lesson may have initially been planned out, but I can give witness to the importance of teaching by the Spirit!! The Lord knows EXACTLY what that individual needs to hear, and as His representative and vessel, I need to be ready and receptive to what He needs me to say. Even that moment was small and simple, there was a great Spirit. Sister Clark and I are teaching Destiny Thursday, and are challenging him to baptism on July 27. Hope all goes well! We know that if he is ready, which he is, Destiny will make the decision to follow his Savior and be baptized. We can't wait.
Saturday was wonderful! We spent the majority of our day contacting Salach. Door after door was closed on us, and the people on the street didn't want to talk. Many people here think we are Zeuge Jehova's, Jehova's Witnesses. It's really frustrating because we know that our message is so important and we don't like how we have that perception of being Jehova's, but we keep teaching and "klingeling" and contacting to find that ONE individual readý to hear the Gospel. Salach is a pretty little dorf about 20 minutes away from Göppingen. After a few hours, hungry and tired, Sister Clark and I went to the Bahnhof to catch our train....which didn't exist. Somehow we messed up our times and there wasn't a train going back to Göppingen that day! Tired, stressed, hungry, frustrated, we asked ourselvses "why are we here?" At district meeting we made it the goal to ask oursevles that question every time something got hard or something didn't go our way. Just as Sister Clark and I asked eachother that, a man came walking across the street. Jokingly Sister Clark said, "maybe this man needs our Book of Mormon." I thought he would walk right by, to be honest. But he didn't! We asked him if he'd like a pass along card, and asked him if he believed in Christ. He said yes, and asked us which church we were from, because we didn't look like Jehova's (thank goodness for the nametags!). We told him we were Mormon, and he was suddenly very interested. Sister Clark shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon, how it's another testament of Jesus Christ, about his coming to the America's. We asked him if he wanted to read it, he said yes, and in our excitement we walked/skipped away and forgot to get his contact information. BUT OH WELL! We gave away a Book of Mormon!! :) This experience was yet another miracle and testimony that the Lord has PERFECT timing. His timing is PERFECT. When we are sad, downtrodden, stressed, over the little things in life, there is no need to be! The Lord will bless us and give us peace and comfort when we turn to Him, are obedient and faithful, and as we do all He asks He will grant unto us the desires of our hearts...all in His time.
This week, Saturday, I will have been on my mission for a month! So crazy!! The days go by weeks and the weeks by days....nothing more true than that.
Thanks Mom for the packages!! The homesickness is beginning to fade, and I'm realizing it's because I'm trying really hard to WORK. Working brings the Spirit and just as President Benson says that as you work and turn yourself over to the Lord "there will be no homesickness, worrying about families, for all time and efforts are dedicated to the Lord." There is no room for selfishness in missionary work! I've learned that when I'm selfish, and thoughts are turned onto me, that I don't have the Spirit in the way I want to as a missionary, and I'm not receptive to revelation and promptings. So I need to be selfLESS. It's sometimes hard, but it's shaping me and molding me to be a better person. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!!
Keep writing letters!! ( OR snail mail are great)  I love hearing from you all!
Until next week,
Liebe Grüße!
Sister Motto
Natalie and her companion, Sis Clark, eating her first gyro (a necessary missionary staple!) in Ulm after district meeting.

In a little town of Wangen


Monday, June 17, 2013

I've arrived!! FIrst Week in Germany

Sorry this letter is so long! Much has happened in the past 10 days!

 Hallo liebe Familie und Freunde!!

What a CRAZY week it has been!! I have made it safe and sound to Germany: thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I feel them every day, and they give me great strength. Thank you.

 As you all know, I am serving in a small town called Göppingen, Germany, which is about 30 minute train ride from Stuttgart.  Uncle Tony served here?! I am so excited and happy to hear that! Perhaps there are seeds that are needing to be nourished and harvested, that Uncle Tony planted when he was here. You never know! 
Tuesday morning last week, we were up at 4 am, ready to head to the airport at 5. There were 27 Alpine missionaries, 18 Berliners, and 28 Frankfurters. SO MANY!! The work is blossoming here in Germany. Thank you, family, for the phonecall at the airport. I loved talking with you! From Salt Lake we flew to Minneapolis, from where we flew to Amsterdam and then Munich. My flight to Amsterdam was awesome! I sat next to a sweet, older woman (who kind of reminded me of Grandma) who was from Innsbruck, named Margritt Hoffmann. She was coming from Wisconsin after being at her grandson's highschool graduation. She didn't speak really any English at all, so I had the grand opportunity of translating and talking with her! We talked a little bit about the Church; mostly about why missionaries are always in two's, but at least I got to add my testimony on the importance of obedience, witnesses to testimony, and so on. After the flight Margritt asked how she could get in touch with some missionaries: pass-along cards are the best! I gave her one and directed her to What a great experience!

Upon arrival in Munich (Wednesday at 10 am Germany time), we were greeted by President and Sister Miles, along with 10 enthusiastic missionaries, who are currently serving in Munich. Before I knew it they rushed off our luggage, threw us on a train with a Book of Mormon and told us to place it, otherwise we wouldn't get dinner that night (or so the AP's told us...I'm sure Sister Miles wouldn't have agreed to that.) I was nervous, but so excited to talk with people! My companion, Sister Blohm (from Denmark) and I gave away quite a few pass-along cards and had some great discussions, but didn't place a Book of Mormon. We were simply planting seeds! Sister Blohm was cute and said that we didn't place a Book of Mormon because no one was ready to be "watered" yet. :)
Mittags was great- open face sandwhiches and fruit were on the menu: aside from the missionary from Germany, I was the only one who knew how to make an open face sandwhich. Thanks for raising me right, parents ,) We ate in the church building, because there were too many missionaries to fit in the mission home. I'm sure I look great in the pictures Sister Miles sent! (That was sarcasm. I was so tired and felt really gross!) The AP's and President Miles gave us a quick run down of what to expect, how to use our debit cards, and basic mission protocol. Following we got to take a nap in the chapel: who knew the pews were so comfortable? A delicious dinner of spätzle, goulash, brötchen, vegetables, and jogurht mit Obst followed our naptime, which was then followed by a testimony meeting where we found out where we were getting transfered to. As President announced and described Sister Clark as trainer, and the area of Göppingen, I felt suddenly at peace and still. I knew that's where I was headed.

Thursday morning we got up, ate breakfast (straciatella jogurt Dad!!), and went to the Bahnhof where we bid farewell to President and Sister Miles. I attached pictures- you can imagine the crazy scene it was with the luggage of 27 missionaries sitting in the Bahnhof! We weren't allowed to proceslyte but we did have people come and talk to us. I am loving all these little missionary experiences!!! The train ride from Munich to Stuttgart was GORGEOUS. Green, rolling hills and red roofed seems like yesterday I was doing the same thing with you, Mom and Dad via the Autobahn in our BMW! Sister Clark met me at the Stuttgart Bahnhof.  She is phenomenal. She just barely got done with training herself: she's only been out 12 weeks, but has the drive, diligence, patience, and preparation to train so early. She's from American Fork, and knows the Montoya's from being in their ward there.  Sister Clark is so sweet and I'm very very excited to learn all I can from her. We took a smaller train to Göppingen, took my things to the apartment, and then went straight to Gemeinderat (ward council). I felt kind of bad...I didn't really pay attention because I was so jet lagged and my head hurt from speaking lots of German. Our GML (ward mission leader) is Bruder Fromm, and he is so wonderful. He served his mission in Canada, as well did a counselor from our branch presidency, so when needed he spoke English to help me better understand what was going on. I'm so excited to get to know this incredible Göppingen ward, and to love them as much as I do my ward at home in Lindon.

Friday was interesting, needless to say! A less active from our branch passed away recently, and Bruder Fromm thought it would be nice if Sister Clark and I could attend the funeral. Wanting to be supportive in every way possible, we happily accepted the invitation. Schwester Weilguni, the primary president, had volunteered us for the musical number, without us knowing. I thought I could play an arrangement of Dr. Hatch's, but then we found out there wouldn't be a piano. 3 things I did NOT expect: (1) the funeral was held in the middle of a forest (2) where the man's ashes (he was cremated) would be buried and (3) our musical number would be acapella singing.  :)  As much as we didn't want to sing, Sister Clark and I put a smile on and practiced "Beautiful Savior" from the Primary book (which is in the German hymnal, by the way. So cool!) The funeral was ein bisschen interesting, I've never been to a non LDS funeral that I can remember, but it was still very peaceful and I definitely felt the Spirit. What a blessing it is to know about the Plan of Salvation! Sister Clark and I even had the opportunitý to talk to a few people about the Church while there.

Saturday we went to Stuttgart for a new missionary training meeting. Loved seeing Sister Green (who is serving in Stuttgart) again! We talked with the Zone Leader's, had our meeting, and then had lunch with a missionary couple serving with the YSA ward in Stuttgart. Sister Clark and I then ran (literally ran) to the train station to catch our Zug back to Göppingen. The public transportation is so great here in Europe--America needs to step it up a little bit.

Yesterday at church was wonderful! The branch I'm serving in, the Göppingen branch, has about 80 active members, 30 of them being kids. Lots of kids here! But I love it. The young women are darling, and all of them are Isabelle's age. The kids range from infancy to age 14, so you can imagine it being a little bit noisy during sacrament meeting. I had the opportunity to share my testimony and a little bit about myself with the ward: they love the fact they have two blonde, short, American sisters from Utah serving with them. I feel very loved and welcomed by the ward and I'm excited to serve them.
I sure miss you: homesickness has finally hit me, and suprisingly a lot more than I thought. I know what I'm doing here is right, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than in the service of my God, but the past few days have been ein bisschen schwer. I'm doing very well, though, in spite of the homesickness, and I'm working through it. The Lord needs me here and I am very very grateful to be one of his humble missionaries -- I can do this!
I LOVE getting letters, wonderful family and friends, so never hesitate to write. I will write back as soon as I can. There's nothing better than a long day of walking and tracting and getting a letter in the please write! :) And thank you to my dear friends who wrote me while at the MTC! Your letters give much support and comfort, and I'll reply as soon as I can.

Sister Natalie Motto
Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Gartenstrasse 15
73033 Göppingen

Know that I love you and pray for you every day. Pictures attached on the following emails.

Sister Motto
 german cemetery 

Alpine German Speaking Mission Home -- Munich, Germany

Early morning (5 am) departure to the SLC airport!

That's right -- Believe in Jesus!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sister Motto arrived safe and sound in Germany this morning! We just received a wonderful email from Sister Miles letting us know that she will be assigned to serve in Göppingen, (near Stuttgart) Germany (very small branch there) with Sister Chelsey Clark.  We are so happy to hear this and are grateful that alls well!,-111.547028&sspn=6.594605,14.27124&hnear=G%C3%B6ppingen,+Stuttgart,+Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,+Germany&t=m&z=12
Natalie with her mission president, President and Sister Miles

At the Munich Airport -- just fresh off the plane and ready to serve the Lord -- all 27 of them!!

The 27 who arrived with Natalie from the MTC today

Natalie is assigned to serve in Göppingen, Germany as her first area. It's a beautiful smaller city outside Stuttgart in Baden Württemberg! Even though she looks a little travel weary -- we can tell she is so happy! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Letter #2 from the MTC

Liebe Familie and Friends,
Here's to week two at the MTC! What an amazing week it was! It went really fast after Sunday: guess the rumors were true when "if you can get through Sunday you can get through your whole MTC stay." I can't believe I fly out to Germany in FOUR DAYS! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for helping me with my passport issue. I'm so grateful that I get to fly out with my group, instead of needing to wait. Thanks for taking care of me; I'll always be your little girl! :)
This week I learned a lot! Sister Green and I began teaching three investigators; Hartmut Heller, Ana Castro, and Rachel Everett. Rachel is our "TRC" investigator, and we teach her in English. Hartmut and Ana are taught in German, and are portrayed by our teachers, Sister Garlick and Bruder Hodges. Hartmut and Ana are two actual individuals that our teachers taught on their missions in Frankfurt. It's been a really unique experience practicing teaching in German; actually, it's been the hardest thing I've done. I can testify to you now the power and blessings that come through faith. Sister Green and I have been able to share our testimonies and teach Ana and Hartmut, with words coming to our mind that we didn't even know before hand. I said it before and I'll say it again: the gift of tounges is real! My German, although still poor, is coming back slowly and surely.
My district is wonderful. We've grown really close and have a great time together. We love sharing our favorite scriptures, singing hymns, and reading out of the Book of Mormon together in German. We spend our gym time playing volleyball against Sister Norton's and Elder Savage's district -- so fun! (Of course we always win, if you're wondering.) Sister Green and I have grown really close as well this past week. She is such an amazing girl! I've picked up on your nickname, Mom, and now we call each other "Schwes." I love hearing Sister Green say it in her slight Southern accent - she's a doll. It's been an interesting experience learning to live with someone 24/7. We communicate really easily, and I know I have definitely benefited from that. I hope we have the opportunity to maybe be companions in the field! I see Elder Church, Elder Corbridge, Sister Penrod, and Sister Godfrey frequently -- it's so great having some of my best friends here at the MTC with me.
The days go by weeks and the weeks go by truer statement has been said! Out of our 16 hour days, we spend a good 10 hours in the classroom. We are taught how to teach in German, and because our district is unique in the advanced program, and has all German speakers, we have the opportunity to have some language instruction. Frau Lindsay and Herr Embley would be proud that I taught my district the preposition songs (an, auf, hinter, in, neben etc etc). I've put those 10 hours to good use and have the missionary purpose and First Vision memorized, all auf Deutsch. I recited the First Vision, in German, with Ana, during our second meeting with her on Tuesday. I can't describe the powerful, warm Spirit that flooded the room. It's experiences like these that make me recognize why I'm serving a mission: I want the German people to know how much their Heavenly Father loves them, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Gospel has been restored to this Earth. Hurrah for Israel!!
This morning (Friday) we had the opportunity to go to the temple. It was bittersweet as I recognized that this could very well be the last time I go to the temple for 18 months. The Spirit was particularly strong in the temple, as I too realized that I would be leaving home, America, for a year and a half. There definitely is no place like home. Then again.....the power, peace, blessings that come from the temple bring me such joy every time I attend, that I wouldn't want it any other way than to teach people about the Gospel and to give them the opportunity to go to the temple themselves. I'm so grateful to be a missionary.
WOW. Thank you for sharing the story of Elder Haddock with me. My heart swelled with complete joy as I heard that he found his family. It is my firm testimony that we have witnessed a modern day miracle. I was so touched that I shared it with my district, and they too are in awe of the majesty and Omniscience of God. *great big hug to Sister Haddock!*
Time is short! 60 minutes isn't enough to tell you all I want to. Remember that I love you and pray for you. Thank you for your letters!! I LOVE hearing from you! (Shout out to Grandma and Papa, my family, Devan Bursey, Chris Hatch, and Carly Davis: thanks for the letters and packages! I've never recieved so many cookies and candy in the space of 2 days, ever.) There is nothing like a long, exhausting day and recieving mail. Please write! while you can -- I fly out Tuesday morning. I would love to hear from you!  
The Church is true!
3 Nephi 11:39, 41
Much love!
Sister Natalie Motto(Sister Natalie Motto, Unit 227, June 11, ALP-GER)

Natalie with her companion, Sister Green

Natalie with some of her PGHS friends who are also in the MTC....Sister Norton, Penrod, Elder Nate Church

Natalie and her sweet roommate and friend from high school, Sister Stacie Norton (Berlin)

Natalie and Sister Green

Natalie receiving her FIRST goody package from Mom and Dad -- STARBURSTS (to help with the saliva way to help someone speak German:)

Natalie and Sister Norton

Looks like fun-- studying hard!