Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Rain is great -- but hail is HUGE…bring it on!"

Hallo my wunderbare Familie und Freunde!!

What a wonderful and exciting week these past 10 days were!! It was kind of hard not emailing on Monday, but because of many appointments we were able to change our Pday to today, Wednesday.

My heart is so full and bursting with love, appreciation and gratitude for my Savior and His Gospel!   I have seen so many tender mercies and miracles from the Lord this week. First off, last Monday Sister Clark and I were able to meet with our investigator Barbara again, and following we were able to meet her son, Andreas, and his family. Andreas and Barbara have a very close connection with my Uncle Tony, and what a blessing it has been to live here in Göppingen and make that connection. Upon meeting Andreas, his wife Andrea, and 2 year old son Paul, Sister Clark and I couldn't help but both have a very strong feeling. I can't really describe that feeling, but all I can say is that the power of the Holy Ghost as a missionary is crucial in the work. We both have a good, positive, warm feeling about Andreas; what that entails we yet have to find out, but we invited Andreas and his family to our next meeting with Barbara sometime next week. He happily accepted and is excited to meet.

This week, Sister Clark and I had EIGHT lessons!!! EIGHT!!!!!!!! :) Truly a miracle!! I know eight doesn't sound like a lot (ah South American missions..) , but coming from an area where 1 or 2 lessons a week is really good...this surely was a blessing from the Lord. Every day of the week we had a lesson with either a new convert, less active, investigator, or member family. Four of those eight lessons were less active lessons--something that Sister Clark and I as a companionship are focusing on. We know that is through the prayers of our members, you at home, and our faith as a companionship that is bringing these appointments to pass.

Funny enough, most of our appointments this week were spent trying to dry off! This past week was WET WET WET here in Southwest Germany. It has been very warm and humid, and the rain makes it even more humid, but I haven't experienced rain like this in a long time!! On the way to one of our less active lessons, Sister Clark and I were caught in hurricane-worthy winds and rain, and upon getting on the bus we were wringing out our hair and clothes in an attempt to get dried off. Everywhere we have gone the past 4-5 days it has rained (as I write I look out on some dark clouds coming our way). But oh well!! As you very well know I LOVE the rain and thunderstorms; the only real irritation is my wet shoes and socks at the end of the day. Bring it on!

Sunday Sister Clark and I had an experience that really strengthened my testimony of 1) listening to the Spirit, and 2) being prepared.  It had been a really cloudy, rainy day, and at 6:00 we headed off to our weekly appointment with Schwester Böhm, an amazing older woman in our ward who can no longer attend church because of health problems. As we were leaving the apartment, we noticed the dark clouds headed our way. Because our appointment is in walking distance, we started our trek to beat the storm, but with not forgetting after our prayer feeling prompted to grab our umbrellas.

As we walked through the Füßgängerzone, we noticed the clouds getting darker, a little bit of lightening, and the clouds then suddenly turning green. Childhood memories came back quite quickly, remembering the time when I was about 10 as we drove to Chicago and experienced tornadoes in Nebraska. Sister Clark and I picked up the pace, and as it started to get really windy and rain we got out our umbrellas. We reached the bottom of the very big hill where Schwester Böhm lives at the top, when I started to feel unsafe. There is no cover or shelter of overhangs going up this hill. I turned around to see Sister Clark struggling to open up her umbrella, and I said 'I'm not feeling safe....are you?' Sister Clark said that she, too, felt uneasy. Within about 5 seconds we started to hear clinking noises all around us, and initially we thought people were throwing things at us. Another five seconds passed, and we recognized we weren't getting thrown at, but that tremendously large size hail began to fall from the sky. Sister Clark looked at me and yelled 'RUN!!', and we sprinted up the hill. Every street we looked for an apartment to get cover from, an overhang, a store to run into, but there was absolutely nothing!!  Everything was closed because it was Sunday evening. It looked like someone had taken a giant bucket with millions of golfballs and poured it from the sky. With Sister Clark's umbrella still not open (it had popped out backwords from the wind, kind of like in Mary Poppins?), I stayed in front of her, kept yelling to keep running. The hail was coming down incredibly hard; I haven't been this scared in a long, long time. I looked over my shoulder at one point to see how far behind me Sister Clark was (thankfully just a few feet), with her umbrella still not functioning, and I looked to see the hail falling around her, but not over her!  Sister Clark finally got her umbrella open, and we continued our run up the hill.

Angels were certainly with us that Sunday evening. We made it to the top to Sister Böhm's apartment, where we found shelter in the overhang. We could have paused to klingel (doorbell) someone to let us in, but many apartments don't have an overhang, and with the hail coming down as hard and furious as it was, we could have been injured had we stopped running. The hill we ran up was a long, steep hill, but we were able to run the entire thing at a full sprint. Sure, call it adrenaline. Sure, thank our morning work outs that we were 'in shape enough' to run it. But I am certain that angels carried us up that hill. Had our apartment been a minute away we would have turned back, but the closest and safest place to seek shelter was Sister Böhm's. I am grateful that we obeyed the prompting to bring umbrellas, rather than ignore it and think we could 'outwalk the storm' or, if it did rain, to just get a little wet. Because we had umbrellas, we were protected. Only one piece of hail hit my umbrella, and bounced off---same with Sister Clark. Call it coincidence that hail didn't rip through the thin umbrella material. Whatever you wish to call this experience, I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for His missionaries and I know that the power of prayer, and faith, when on the Lord's errand, brings safety, protection, and guidance.

Yesterday, we met with Monika Buchholz, a less active in our ward who was baptized by Uncle Tony exactly 20 years ago!! I was a little bit nervous meeting Monika initially, but within a few minutes of being let in and talking with her, things warmed up and we had a wonderful get-to-know-you conversation. Monika showed me pictures of Uncle Tony and his companion Elder DeLaMare from 20 years ago---hahaha...Cute, Uncle Tony!! :)   As the conversation went on, it lead to more Gospel related subjects, such as Monika's baptism 20 years ago and the importance of living with faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Sister Clark and I were able to each share our testimony on faith, and we shared John 3:16. The Spirit was very strong in that room; although Monika has not been active for about 18 years, and has had a lot of hardship in her life since joining the church, it is with a smile I express that her testimony is just as strong as it was when she was first baptized. She knows the Church is true. She doesn't come to church, and for reasons we are not exactly sure. But, Monika did express a desire to start coming back, she just doesn't know how or when. Sister Clark and I have another appointment with her next week. Maybe, Mom, as a family (just as a family, with Uncle Tony) to pray for her? Join us in prayer this week as we try to figure out what to teach Monika to help rekindle, build, and strengthen her already very strong testimony. She has a great love for Uncle Tony and Elder DeLaMare and will never forget the wonderful experience she had with them.

This week we also have a new investigator, 10 year old Ainoa (eye-no-ah: kind of like 'I know a person....)! Her mother is a less active who has began to come back to church, and her brother Pierro, 16, is a strong, active member of the Church. Friday night Sister Clark and I felt prompted to stop by and say hello to the Giraldo's. We took a conference talk that we like and some brownies. Sister Giraldo is a really sweet lady, from Peru, who found a good job opportunity here in Germany after a sad divorce. Ainoa was away with some friends, so we didn't get to talk to her. Sister Giraldo expressed to us, as we talked for a little while, that she wants her daughter to be baptized. She wants Ainoa to have a testimony and to have the happiness that she has since coming back to Church and regaining her faith and testimony. Monday we had our appointment (FHE activity) with the Giraldo's. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and gave Ainoa her very own copy. We wrote our testimonies inside (we even made her a cute little bookmark) and shared our testimonies verbally about Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon. Cute little Ainoa was very excited to begin her homework for this week to read 1 ´Nephi. Our next lesson is Monday evening: we cannot wait!!

Thank you to all my friends and family for your support, prayers, and love. I feel it everyday. Missionary work is the hardest thing I have ever done, but as I climb this mountain, I have felt myself get stronger. I am a missionary! I have a deeper understanding of this Gospel than I have ever felt before in my life. I am so grateful for this work. And as much as I miss you....I don't ever want to come home!! :) I want to be a missionary for the rest of my life! And i only have 16 months left. Each day I recognize more and more to seize the moment, and cherish every second I have here in the full-time service of my Lord and God.

I love you all!! Do me a favor and read Mormon 9, Ether 12:6, and read 'Mountains to Climb' by President Eyring. These three readings gave me a whole new outlook on things, and have blessed my life immensely!

Can't wait to write you Monday!

Liebe Grüße,
Your favorite missionary in Germany

Sister Natalie Hannah Motto
Natalie and her companion found a Lindt Chocolate factory outlet in Geislingen…SCORE!!!! 

"My "look" on one of the dryer days this week"

"Rain doesn't scare me!"

"Uh oh Sister Motto….we missed our train"

 What Natalie does a lot….ride trains and wait for them at the "bahnhof"

In one of her favorite little villages…Geislingen, Germany

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 8 "Slow but still a good one!"

Grüßle von Göppingen!!

My wonderful family and dear friends,

What a week! Today I start my second transfer! My two month mark is fast approaching....where has time gone?!

This week was a slow but still a good one. Mom, I got the conference edition November Ensign last Monday and the Sharpies on Thursday...thank you thank you!! :) Last Monday we had a 'Sister's Pday' with the Stuttgart drit in Stuttgart. We went to Feuerseekirche, a really neat church in Stuttgart, and did a little bit of window shopping.  We ran into our Zone Leaders while there, so we stopped and talked with them for a while. It's always great getting together with other missionaries!

After Pday, Sister Clark and I had a dinner appointment with the Familie Kindermann, and was joined by Sister Giraldo, a less active in our branch. She is from Peru, and doesn't speak German very well, but she gets by (just like Sister Clark and I!), and in fact we studied a little bit of German with her. We gave a thought on Elder Holland's talk 'Lord, I Believe', and shared our testimonies on faith. Sister Giraldo has shown great faith as she's started coming back to church, and we are so grateful to have her in our ward. "Lord, I Believe" from Elder Holland is one of my FAVORITE talks!

Tuesday was once again District Meeting, and following we had our finding day in Ulm. Finding days are long, hard, exhausting, but actually really fun. I enjoy the chance to be in a new area and contact there. Ulm is a very pretty city, and hopefully this transfer, on one of my pdays, I will be able to climb the tallest cathedral in Germany, the Münster!!

All of our appointments we had scheduled for this past week fell out (that's ok -- there is always a reason for everything, especially when it comes to the Lord's work), so we did a lot of street contacting and dooring, and sadly without too much success. It's always hard to have slower weeks like these, especially when you want to end the transfer strong. This week Sister Clark and I have already scheduled 8 appointments, 6 of which are with less actives, and 2 for our investigators. We also have a quite a few member appointments. As we plan accordingly, expressing faith in the Lord and putting our trust in Him, He will bless us with success!

Friday was transfer calls! I'm very good about getting out of bed right when the alarm goes off, but I LEAPT out of bed at 6:30, because that's when the calls start coming! I don't know why I was so nervous, but I wasn't able to shower or get ready until we got the call. I'm happy to say that Sister Clark and I are both staying in Göppingen together for another transfer! I sure love Sister Clark and am so grateful for her powerful testimony and dignified example as a missionary and representative of the Lord. She is so wonderful and I'm excited to spend more time with her!  Yay!

Saturday we participated in a musical fireside in Ellwangen, about an hour away. Ellwangen is a really charming city; it was preserved during the war, wasn't bombed, and so it is a wonderful, historical, quaint and very "german" German village! We were able to grab some lunch with our elders at a hamburger place (everyone got hamburgers except for me....I got a wienerschnitzel and spätzle. Uh, hello.... I'm in Germany!! Thanks Mom and Dad for teaching me to appreciate this food!:-) and then went to the church to run through the fireside and practice for a while. I am so grateful I brought my piano music! The fireside was outlined by the first lesson from Preach My Gospel, and with each point we had a musical number. I played Dr. Hatch's arrangement of 'Our Savior's Love', and also accompanied Elder Garrett on the violin. I am so grateful for music and the powerful testimony that can be shared through it. I'm grateful for the opportunity of being able to play that music; I can't yet quite say everything that I want to in my testimony in German, and playing my arrangement that night helped me convey my testimony of the Savior. Our darling Neubekehrte (new convert) Sister Hausmann came, and we rode home with her. I can't wait to show you my area one day! This area is such a beautiful region of Germany-- it really is breathtakingly beautiful. I'm so blessed to live here!

That's all for this week! Like I said it was really slow, and actually quite difficult because we didn't have lots of appointments. But Sister Clark and I still work hard, and have the resolution to work even harder this next transfer. I'm excited to see what mountains the Lord has set me to climb; this transfer I will be given a lot of new responsibilities along with my training. I'm actually really nervous for it, but I know that it will be for my benefit and growth.

I love being a missionary! It is the hardest thing I have ever done mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and even sometimes physically. But I can testify to you of the great and powerful Assistance that is given to me every day. I know I've only been gone for just shy of two months,  but I already feel a change in myself. I am a sponge, learning new things every day. I have come to recognize the importance and strength that daily scripture study and prayer brings; I'm actually saddened that I didn't understand this at a younger age, and that it has taken me until I am 19 years old to finally understand. But that's how the Lord works! We learn through experience. Sometimes it's hard to see the finish line when we are going through something hard, but I know that as each of us continue holding fast to what we know to be true, and(quoting Elder Holland) even if that foundation of faith that we have is minimal, the Lord will ALWAYS stand by you. He does so because He LOVES you.

Even more than before my mission, I have come to love and cherish the Book of Mormon with a deeper and distinct appreciation. I look forward to my personal prayer time every morning and night. Both offer me overwhelming strength and bring me so much peace and happiness.  I have come to recognize what a great blessing this mission is for me, and even no how it will affect my life afterward. Because of the magnificent, purifying power of the Atonement, I have been made better -- as can each of us. I am striving each day to learn to be a better companion, friend, daughter, sister, and missionary. I am so grateful for this mission.  Many have asked me why I chose to serve a mission and sacrifice 18 months of my life to the Lord -- it is because HE LIVES, He loves me and He has given me EVERYTHING! 

Remember that I love you all, and I am so very grateful for your support. It means the WORLD to me to know that I have an incredible team of family, friends, and loved ones supporting me. Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me and sustaining me in everything -- I love you!

Have a wonderful week!! Next week my Pday will be on Wednesday (we have special permission from President Miles to go with our Neubekehrte down to Tübingen to spend Pday with her, and her only day off is Wednesday) so I won't be able to email you until then. Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Liebe grüße,

Sister Natalie Hannah Motto

Feuerseekirche in Stuttgart

A little pday shopping (both window and actual:)

Loving being able to play the piano!

Our district sister p-day 
L-R Sisters Stewart, Clark, Motto, Green, Jenks

Lunch after district meeting.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 7 "Feel the love"!

Liebe Familie und Freunde,                                                                      15 July 2013

Hello from Göppingen! I cannot believe this first transfer has come to an end! It seems like I've been here for six months rather than six weeks, but at the same time the six weeks have flown by.   I've learned so much this week!

This week was a good one! Last Monday was our zone Pday in Stuttgart at the stake center, where we had our 'American Day.'  We had hamburger, watermelon, veggie trays, and icecream. It may seem silly, but that hamburger made my week! I am so grateful to be here in Germany, there is nowhere else I would want to be at this time, but I do love and appreciate my beloved USA more and more each day. There are so many blessings that come from being an American, and I am so grateful I was born in such a nation where the restoration of the Gospel was established and flourished.  So on this "American Day" our entire zone (33 missionaries) played a game of good German fußball (soccer) all together.  I love the time we get to spend with other missionaries; there is a sense of unity and support that you get from being together.  It's wonderful!

Tuesday Sister Clark and I turned right back around and went back to Stuttgart again for Zone Training. We talked a lot about our goal of becoming the Miracle Zone, having the goal to see miracles occur every day here, and to help perform those miracles. We got to practice role plays (every missionary just LOVES role plays........???) and practice teaching other companionships in German. We were later joined by the AP's who were tausching (exchanging) with our Zone Leaders later that day. Sister Clark and I got lucky enough to practice the role plays with our AP's, Elder Gubler and Elder Hemsley. Both are excellent missionaries with incredible German. It was really intimidating at first, but it was great getting positive feedback from them, as well as some constructive critiscism to make our German and teaching skills better. After the role plays we got our mail that was sent to the mission home (we get those once a month at interviews or zone training or conference) and then Sister Clark and I bid farewell to one another, and we went on Austausch (split) ! I went with Sister Jencks and Green and stayed in Stuttgart, and Sister Clark and her trainer Sister Stewart went to Göppingen. The austausch was awesome! Although I have met Sister Jencks before and Sister Green was my MTC companion, it was a really good experience to go on Austausch and see how they do missionary work, especially in a drit (threeseome). Missionary work in a big city is definitely different from quaint little Göppingen!  I really enjoyed learning from their strengths and gained many insights as to how I can improve as a missionary.

We had a dinner appointment that night with an American family, the Wells, from Orem Utah (they are related to the Mathesons in the 17 ward!). The sisters here in Stuttgart are over both the military ward and German ward until there are four sisters, which then they will split responsibilities. It was wonderful being able to make the connection with the Matheson family, and to have a family dinner just like home! The Wells are an amazing family and I feel really blessed to have met them. Wednesday before our switch back at 4, I got to go contacting in the big city! That was exciting!! I decided I like talking with people on the street and bus usw (etc), rather than door to door. Sister Jencks and Sister Green taught me how to be more 'up front' with people, and when you have the prompting to talk to someone, just do it! :) It was good to switch back and be with Sister Clark again in the afternoon. I really enjoyed tausch, but I really like the dynamic Sister Clark and I have, we're becoming better and better friends each day, and I really like the way we work together. She is fantastic. She's so in tune with the Spirit, and it's amazing as the junior companion to see her growth as my trainer. I wish I could have her as my companion for the rest of my mission!

Thursday, before Geminderat (ward council) we met with our GML Bruder Fromm, to discuss what we wanted to talk about at Gemeinderat in pertaining to the broadcast last Sunday. As we sat and talked outside, a man came over and asked us what we were doing and what we were talking about. I could smell him from about 30 feet away--whewwww...he was completely drunk!  (That was a first)  Bruder Fromm told him we were talking about our church and the man got really interested. Bruder Fromm took over (Sister Clark and I couldn't understand a word this man was saying, considering it was crazy thick Schwäbisch and he was pretty drunk) and began telling him about what we believe. The apperance of this drunk man changed as he listened very intently to what Bruder Fromm was saying. The man asked if he could have a copy of the Book of Mormon. Sister Clark and I had left the one we were going to bring at the apartment! Because we live about 10 minute walk away from the church, we ran back to get it. Literally, we ran. Sprinted, actually, both ways, and exactly 8 minutes later we arrive at the church, out of breath, and gave the man a Buch Mormon. I don't know if he will actually read it, or even if he will remember anything we taught him, but at least when he sobers up he will have that Book of Mormon and may be curious enough to read it, whether this week or in 15 years. You never know. At least we are planting seeds everywhere!

Friday is our day for weekly planning! After spending the entire afternoon planning, Sister Clark and I decided to head out and do some contacting next to a nearby cemetery. In the evening there are a lot of people out enjoying the cooler weather, so there is a wonderful opportunity to talk with everyone! usual....everyone avoided the 'Zeuge Jehovas' (Jehovah Witnesses) and wouldn't listen to us. 'Ich habe kein zeit!' (I don't have time) or 'Kein interesse' (Not interested) are often comments preceeding 'Doofe Jehovas', among other not very nice things. Nobody understands and knows that we are the Mormon missionaries!!  Sister Clark and I discussed this, trying to figure out how we can help the people of Göppingen Germany know we are the Mormons, a peculiar people, with a beautiful message about our Savior Jesus Christ. We need to step it up and preach with more power and boldness.  We have a important message of the Savior and its not for us to ever become complacent with this message.  We need to stand up and testify- this message is so important and will bring eternal joy to these people!  If only they knew!  We also made the goal to not go back to the apartment until either A, it was 9:00 and we had to be, and B, we gave away a Book of Mormon.

Not even five minutes after our conversation, as we turn the corner to walk down by the church, and a man wearing a bright blue tshirt walks by. He looked really happy and had a very special countenance about him. We stopped him and said hello, and tell him that we are unterwegs (on our way) talking to people about the Book of Mormon. He got really excited and said, 'You're the Mormons!'  We smiled and said yes!, and he told us how he really admires our religion. He says that he feels the love from God every day of his life, but he wants to feel more (this guy was great..he was asking all the right questions!). We told him a little bit about the Book of Mormon, and both gave our testimonies that if he read it, he would know it was true and would feel that love from God. He said, "Okay, I'll take your book, but only if I can feel the love coming from it.'"  (Uh....ok, whatever!) So he put his hand over the book, similar to a swearing in ceremony, and was in deep thought. I thought it was a little, really odd, but I don't think I have ever prayed so fervently and was pleading with God asking Him to testify to his heart that this book was true. I was definitely praying...... 'let him feel the love! let him feel THE LOVE!'  :)   After a good minute and a half the man turned to us, smiled, and said, 'Yes....I feel it. I feel a very strong love. Can I have this book?"  YES!!! (Silent Whoot-Whoot-ing!)  We gave it to him, gave him our contact information, set up an appointment and went home. This was definitely one of the funniest memories I have had so far, next to singing at a funeral of a cremated man in a forest, but I can promise that everyone can 'feel the love' as you read and study the Book of Mormon. I know that reading it every day has blessed me: I have never felt so whole until I read the Book of Mormon regularly. I challenge everyone to do so!!

I hope you all have a good week!! I challenge everyone to find a missionary opportunity this week, then write me about it! :)

I pray for your saftey and well being. I love you all, my wonderful friends and family! Thank you for the support and love you give me. I know I say that every week, but I wouldn't be able to do this work if I didn't know that I had such a wonderful support crew. I love you all!

Until next week,

Liebe Grüße!
Sister Motto

Monday, July 8, 2013

Week Six "Last Week Was A Wonderful One" or "We can speak anything except high German!"

Liebe Familie und Freunde,

I'm short on time today, because for P-Day we are headed to Stuttgart to have a late 4th of July BBQ with the American members from the international I'm sorry that I won't be able to write you all back today! I promise I will next week.

Transfer calls are this week....I've already been out for one whole transfer!! Where has time gone? Actually, it's gone rather slowly, but now that I look back it has flown. The days truly go by weeks, and the weeks by days.

Last week was a wonderful one! Tuesday we had District Meeting in Ulm. We talked about the importance of prayer WITH faith, and a prayer OF faith. Really, it comes down to if you are willing to listen and apply the will of the Lord: that is prayer WITH faith. We also talked about obedience as missionaries. We have heard that obedience brings blessings, and exact obedience brings miracles. Elder Garrett applied it really well, and said that 'Exact obedience is a mindset.' It is! You could be following the rules word for word in the little white handbook, but if you don't have the mindset or attitude of exact obedience, what good will it do for you? I love district meeting each week. I love being with other missionaries and hearing their testimonies: it provides a lot of support and strength to one another. Following district meeting, it's tradition to get a döner and Magnum ice cream, and thus, we have created 'Döner Dienstag.' (Gyro Tuesday).

After we got back into Göppingen after Distriktversammlung (District Meeting), Sister Clark and I had a less active lesson, which ended up falling out. Just as we had asked ourselves in Salach when we didn't have a train, we questioned 'Why are we here? Why did this appointment fall out, and what does the Lord want us to do with the time?' Within 5 minutes of heading back to our apartment, we ran into a middle aged woman, who we stopped and asked if she had heard about the Mormons, and the Book of Mormon. She had, her friend is a member, and she very happily accepted the book. It was wonderful! The Lord has His hand in every detail of our lives.

Thursday, Sister Clark and I had planned to meet with Monika Buchholz, who had called us last minute, she having been called into work. We were really sad to have not been able to meet, but we left her some cookies and a note for her Taufe Jahrestag (baptism anniversary) with her daughter. We let her know of your love, Uncle Tony, and I will be sure to give her that email from you this week when we meet. To celebrate the 4th of July, Sister Clark and I drank some A&W Rootbeer given to us by a member, ate some good old peanut butter, and did weekly planning. I thought a lot about how grateful I am to be an American. I am truly grateful to be here in beautiful Germany, but there has something to be said about being an American. I will never, ever take for granted the blessings and rights we have.

Friday Sister Clark and I went to Geislingen, a beautiful dorf about 20 minutes from Göppingen. Geisilingen is your typical, quaint and lovely German village: cobblestone streets, red roofs, nestled up against some beautiful green hills with a fortress looking down on the town. Beautiful red, pink, and purple geraniums hung from every lamppost and window--and it happens to be the day I forget my camera!!  It's ok, Mom, I will take it with me when we go next week to follow up on some less actives. We did some street contacting and dooring, but with no success. We gave away a few pass along cards, but that was about it.  We talked about how we could be such better missionaries if our German was as good as our English! Sometimes....all the's really difficult when you are trying to get thoughts across but don't have the vocabulary to do so.

About 5:00 we went back to the train station to catch our 'Zugle (train), as they say here in Schwäbisch land, back to Göppingen. Sister Clark and I speak quite a bit of German together, but we do speak quite a bit of English as well out in public, because then people recognize we aren't JW's and are more willing to talk. As we waited for our train we were speaking English, and an Asian lady asked us, in English, for assistance in figuring out what train we were supposed to take. She was headed to Switzerland for a business trip of some sort, and didn't speak very good German, so we were able to help her out! We didn't talk about the church with her, but we are grateful we were able to set a good example and image as missionaries.

On our train ride home, which is only about 10 minutes, we sat next to 3 individuals, a German woman and 2 Nigerian men. One of the men asked his comrade, in English, who we were. (We will call him Sam for the story's sake). Sam's friend explained, 'Oh! Those are the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latta-day-Saints. They like the Jehova's, telling people bout their Mormon bible, but they lots nicer.' Sister Clark smiled and, in English (suprising the two men that we spoke English), offered Sam a pass-along card. He apologized and said he didn't read German. Sister Clark said, 'well, I have some English cards at our apartment,....' and before she could finish I excitedly got into my backpack and said, 'I have an English Book of Mormon!' Sam looked at me kind of funny, but I smiled and gave him the book. We explained to Sam and his friend how we believe the Bible to be the word of God, and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of His Son, Jesus Christ, and His coming to the America's. Sam asked us 'which book is superior in your church? The Bible or this book?' and we were able to explain how the Bible and Book of Mormon testify of eachother. We were able to clarify some misconceptions about our Church and answer Sam's concerns about what happens when we die (Basically, we gave the Plan of Salvation lesson in about one minute and 45 seconds. It was great!) We read the introduction together and invited Sam to read the book. He said 'I will read this book religiously, and then I will decipher whether or not it is true.' Is that not the PERFECT lead in to reading Moroni 10:3-5? I read those verses to Sam, and it was incredible the Spirit that filled that small little corner of our train car. Sam was so intent. I finished verse five when over the speaker came, 'Nechste halt, Göppingen.' We were stopping already? But we just got started!! Sister Clark and I gave Sam our emails, because he wanted to let us know when he finished the Book of Mormon. We refered him where he could look up to meet with the missionaries in Nigeria. Sister Clark and I got off the train and I turned to her and said, 'What just happened?' I placed my first Book of Mormon! And, ironically enough, I did it in English -- which was still a wonderful feeling. Had Sister Clark and I just not talked about wishing we could share our testimonies in English more often? The Lord has a sense of humor:)

Saturday was finding day for Göppingen! We went to Uhingen (I really dislike saying that name--hard to pronounce correctly in German.). Our whole district met at our Bahnhof, we went to lunch, and then´we went FINDING, AKA old school missionary tracting, dooring, and giving out copies of the Book of Mormon. It was a long, hot day, but we did find some potentials and gave away a few Bücher Mormons.

I am out of time! I'm so sorry to cut this short but I want to let you know how much I love you and thank you for the support and love you give me!

I know with my whole heart the Church is true. (Mom, I just sent you an email from Brother Ron Clark. Please read it, and feel free to put some of it up on the blog. THIS IS WHY I AM A MISSIONARY.) This work is not mine, but the Lord's, and how deeply, truly, eternally grateful I am to be His mouthpiece.  (Natalie and her MTC Companion, Sister Green were able to teach a real investigator from Springville at the MTC.  They had an amazing teacher experience.  Natalie just got an email from Brother Clark and forwarded on to us. In this email, he told Natalie how grateful he was for the teachings that night and because of the Spirit he felt there that night, he went home and prayed about what had been taught.  He received an answer to his prayers after reading the Book of Mormon and he and his wife were baptized the following week!! They also have plans to serve a mission themselves next year! )

Lots of love!

Your missionary, Sister Natalie Hannah Motto
Loving German Cars (For my Uncles Tony & Dell & Matt)

The State in Germany of Baden-Württemberg claims...."We can speak anything -- except high (proper) German" (which is true!  They are hard to understand!)

Natalie was gifted a few American goodies at an american Fourth of July BBQ she went to with some American members.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stuttgart Interviews/District meetings- Goppingen District- Holman,Holmstead, Fletcher, Kinghorn, Garrett, Peterson, Motto, Clark

Stuttgart Interviews/District meetings- Goppingen District- Holman,Holmstead, Fletcher, Kinghorn, Garrett, Peterson, Motto, Clark

Week 5 "Grüßle!"

Liebe Familie und Freunde,

Hello from sunny, bright, Göppingen, Germany! (Or should I say 'grüßle!' -- common way of greeting 'round these parts)

This week was a wonderful one! Started it off last Tuesday with interviews with Presdient Miles! Sister Clark and I spent all day in Stuttgart, spending time with our zone and Sister Miles while Presdient Miles took us out one by one to interview us. My interview was wonderful. Presídent Miles and I talked about Göppingen and how wonderful Sister Clark is as a trainer, and then we talked about the connection with Uncle Tony serving here. President Miles was very intent as I told him about the connections I've made with members and investigators and less actives here. He expressed to me that it was a confirmation of revelation to send me to Göppingen: when he was praying about where to send us new goldens, and with what trainers to match us up with, President said he felt impressed to first send me to Vienna to work with Sister Woods (who was Sister Clark's MTC companion, by the way). About fifteen minutes before our testimony meeting where we would be getting our assignments that Wednesday night, President felt prompted to change my call to Göppingen, and he did. He said 'The Lord works in mysterious ways, Sister Motto; I see now why I had that impression to send you to Göppingen.' I know that this work is not mine; it is the Lord's. But what a blessing and MIRACLE it is to be serving where Uncle Tony did, making the many many connections I have because of his wonderful service here, and how I can help 'reap' the seeds he planted 20 years ago. What a beautiful miracle! I'm so grateful for President and Sister Miles; they are truly incredible people. I love them so dearly and am saddened that they get released next July! They do so much for us missionaries, it means the world to us all that they do. I now understand the love Grandma and Papa have for their missionaries in Chicago and at the MTC, and the love the missionaries have for them! (By the way, President Miles sends his warmest regards and love to Grandma and Papa, and hopes all is well with them.)

Thursday we met with Barbara Reik, Uncle Tony's dear friend. She is one neat lady! It was a little difficult communicating with her, because I'm not very good at conversational German yet, but it was wonderful talking about Uncle Tony and how she met him and the connection he has with her sons. We have an appointment sometime next week when we can meet Andreas and have lunch! I'm really excited. Sister Clark and I didn't really know where to begin in terms about talking about the Gospel with Barbara, but we were able to share our testimonies about prayer and the importance of faith. She's a special individual, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to befriend her and help Barbara come closer to her Savior Jesus Christ. We were also able to get in touch with Monika Buchholz, who has been less active for about 18 years. We have a Termin (meeting) next Thursday! She was THRILLED to hear that I was Tony's niece and immediately complied to a meeting. This is what the missionaries have wanted for a long time now, to get in touch with Monika and her family and here I have the blessing and opportunity to do that! We are praying that all goes well!!

Yesterday, Sunday, we went to Stuttgart to watch the broadcast from last week with the new media announcement. HOW AMAZING WAS THAT?!! Sister Clark and I could not stop taking notes during that devotional. So many prayers on our end were answered as to how we want to do missionary work, and how we can help our little branch get excited about it, and to help us in  this great endevor to find those who are seeking the truth. I loved the emphasis on member-missionary relationships and the importance of working together. When the members work with us as missionaries, there is a different source of strength and power and Spirit. Every member a missionary!

I am so grateful for the branch I serve in, as well as the members darin....within....(I'm already forgetting English words; they should have sent me Danglish speaking instead of German). Our branch is actually really small, but the members are strong. Sister Clark and I have made it our goal this transfer, and next, to build & strengthen this small branch. Yes, we will do our best to find investigators through street contacting and klingeling usw (ringing doors, etc.) , but through a lot of prayer we have both come to the understanding that our calling together, here in Göppingen, is to build our branch. Our biggest focus is the less actives, helping them reignite their testimonies they have. It will be hard, but Sister Clark and I have already seen miracles happen in these short 3 weeks of being in the field, and we know there will be many more to come as long as we continue being obedient and faithful. Sure, it's hard. This work is HARD, and in ways I never thought it would be. But I've developed this desire to constantly be working. I've already been on my mission one full month, and it seems like only a few days. Sometimes it feels like eternity, but it only feels like that when I am being selfish. There is no room for selfishness in the Lord's selfless work!  I'm being humbled every single day. From the time I wake up to the time I lay down to sleep, I am being cleansed, humbled, sanctified in the Lord's work. I have a deeper understanding of His vast, profound, all-consuming love for His children throughout the world, especially here in Germany. I understand the power, majesty, and perfection of Almighty God. I am an imperfect teacher, missionary, human, doing my best in His perfect, eternal and ever-loving gospel. 

To all my friends and family who are preparing to leave, or who are thinking of serving a mission--there is no work like the Lord's. It is hard, and it is definitely not what you are expecting it to be. But it is BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL.. I love every minute; I want to do this the rest of my life.

I am also learning more and more each day to love this quaint, quiet and sleepy, very rustic Göppingen. I'm learning to love the fact that I live in an apartment above a nursing home. I'm learning to love the (actually quite obnoxious) sirens from the ambulance down the street every 20 or so minutes. I'm learning to love the people, seeing them as sons and daughters of God-- my brothers and sisters.  And if you didn't know :)  -- I love the food (shocker!) & culture.  What a wonderful place to serve my Heavenly Father!

Great news!! We have a new investigator! His name is Günter Schall; he just moved to Göppingen as was being taught a little by the Freiburg elders before he moved. We taught him this morning, and spoke about Hoffnung (hope) and faith, and who we are as children of God. Herr Schall was very stuck on the thought of the evil and darkness in the world, and why there is 'no happiness'. We explained to him that, through Jesus Christ, we can find the happiness and peace we seek for. Please keep Herr Schall in your prayers as he begins to read the Book of Mormon and find out for himself about the truth. I know that is it the role of the Holy Ghost, and the agency of the investigator that truly converts them, but I know that prayer and faith in their behalf will soften his heart and help him understand. Thank you for your prayers in Destiny's behalf as well. Our investigators: Frau Seyock, Herr Schall, Destiny, are all incredible souls who I know were among the valiant pre-mortally; Sister Clark and I are simply there to help remind them of that divinity and the enormous love our Heavenly Father and Savior have for each of them.

The language is coming well. I have had many Germans comment on my grammar.....thank you Herr Embley and Frau Lindsay for DRILLING that into me! I understand quite a bit, and am learning more each day! Schwä schwer (hard, tricky) to understand. But I'm getting there -- with lots of patience and prayers! All in preparation for Bäyerisch when I get transfered someday, eh? I've said it before and I'll say it again...I have a firm testimony in the gift of tongues!! I may not understand word-for-word what someone is saying, but I'm able to understand the context and overall message, and respond accordingly.

Thank you, my dear family and friends, for the support and love you give me. I wake up every morning feeling the strength from your prayers and thoughts, and it means the world to me. I am so grateful, as a missionary, to know what kind of support and love I have. Thank you thank you thank you! Thanks to those who have written! I love coming home from a long day to find mail in the mailbox, to hear how things are back home. I'll write back as soon as I can! Time is limited on a mission, because it is not my own, it is the Lord's, but know I appreciate your letters and I will write back!

I love you all!  Remember the basics: faith, prayer, scripture study, obedience, and selfless service make for a happy life. I promise you.

Liebe grüße,

Sister Natalie Motto

Waiting for the bus.....

Waiting for the train.....

Little village of Kuchen (cake!)


Rainy days are awesome

Kuchen in the background