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 ward....so 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 time....it'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 tomormon.org 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.