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!

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