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.

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