Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 13 -- Lot of "Train-ing" this week!

Hallo Familie und Freunde!!

 This end of this next week brings me to my 3 month mark -- where has time gone?!  I know that I am in the most beautiful country, preaching the everlasting Gospel, being happier than I have ever been and loving every day! And these past 3 months have flown by.....

 District Meeting was this week and was wonderful.  We talked about baptism and confirmation and were each asked by Elder Fletcher, our district leader, to reflect on our own baptisms and the feelings we had that day, and how we can make our investigator's baptisms (when they come) that much more special. I thought of our sweet Ainhoa who is getting baptized on Saturday, and thought of how young she is in contrast to her amount of faith. I remember the day I was baptized, almost twelve years ago in Chicago, in freezing COLD weather, at the Naperville ward building and while Papa was the mission president.  It was New Years Day and I remember going over to the Petersens for soup afterwards. I don't remember many more details pertaining to the actual baptism, but I do remember the moment I was confirmed a member of the Church and recieved the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The rush of warmth I had go from my head down to my toes is one I will never forget. My heart is so full as I reflect upon this memory, and my heart swells even more as I think of Ainhoa and her baptism on Saturday. This sweet girl is so ready, so accepting, and so willing to follow her Savior Jesus Christ. She is the ideal example of childlike faith!! Everyone needs to teach a 10 year old the Gospel, but that's just my opinion:)  I love that I have a little brother who is also 10 and how Ainhoa's faith reminds me of my super tender hearted and sweet and faithful brother Jameson.

Our day trip to Munich was wonderful!! (Natalie had to go to the US embassy in Munich to renew her passport) We got to ride a SUPER nice train on the way to Munich, which got us there in about an hour and a half. The ride was BEAUTIFUL! I am seriously the luckiest Missionarin in the entire world. I have the most beautiful mission in the world!!!!! As we passed rolling hills, open fields, and little villages, I couldn't help but get emotional and feel so grateful to serve in Germany. We met Sisters Smith and Jenson, 2 of the Munich sisters, at the Bahnhof (train station), and the four of us took the S-bahn to the US Consolate. I really hope I get to work in Munich or Vienna one day; the energy and pace of a big city is something totally different from small-town Göppingen, and I would love to experience the contrast and learn how to do missionary work there. Sister Clark couldn't come into the consolate with me, so Sisters Smith and Jenson 'babysat' while I was inside.:)  It was really, really weird to be alone as I waited for my appointment. I guess you could say I felt sort of exposed. (Another thing Natalie and I have in common...I had to go to the Berlin embassy while on my mission to get a new passport -- it's quite the experience)  It's a strange feeling being alone, after you have had someone with you for the past 3 months for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I talked with a cute, young, newlywed American couple that is living in Germany for school, and I told them a little bit about myself as they asked why I was living in Germany. Even a friendly conversation with other people is a great form of missionary work! I was in the embassy for about an hour, and afterward the four of us Sisters did a little bit of street contacting on the way back to the Bahnhof. It was so fun! I love talking to people in a big city -- such a different feel and culture! Our train ride home was about 3.5 hours long(obviously not on the nice ICE) was unique and exhausting day, but we got back into Göppingen safe and sound, and that night finished teaching Ainhoa about the commandments (Word of Wisdom and Chastity) we needed to before her interview Friday.

Friday was Ainhoa's baptismal interview! Elders Chapman and Fletcher came from Ulm, and we met at the Giraldo's for Ainhoa's interview. She LOVES the Elders, especially when they speak a little Spanish with her. As Elder Fletcher conducted the interview in the family room, the rest of us talked with Sister Giraldo in the kitchen, and got to hear her conversion story. Sister Giraldo's testimony of the gift of the Holy Ghost brought tears to my eyes as she expressed her desire for her daughter to have that same gift, and how excited she is she has made the decision to be baptized, in her words 'into this Church, the only true and right Church.'  SIster Giraldo has been less active, but ever since my first Sunday here she as been attending regularly. She is such an amazing woman; I sure love the Giraldos!!! (Oh, and Ainhoa 'passed' the interview with flying colors!)

This week I felt like I was always moving back and forth -- maybe it is because I went on so many trains!! Saturday was Finding Day in Ulm. On the train to Ulm, Sister Clark and I sat next to a cute family headed south  for Urlaub (vacation). One of the little girls in this family, with big blue eyes and red hair, kept staring at me. This little girl, Amanda, is about 4 years old. I complimented her cute pink dress, and we started a conversation. She told me I talked funny, and asked where I was from. I told her that I am from America, and Amanda's darling blue eyes got huge with excitement and said, 'mein Papa ist aus Amerika!' My dad is from America! Her father, noticing that we were talking to his daughter, turned and smiled, and we started a conversation with him. This gentleman, from Louisiana, married a German, started a family, and has lived in Stuttgart for 15 years. He has quite a few friends who are members of the Church, and we had a pleasant conversation with him about our service in Göppingen and in general as missionaries. This gentleman was quite impressed that we were so young, and with the work that we do. He was very friendly, and as our train stopped we said goodbye and wished them a safe trip. It's hard sometimes, knowing that you COULD talk to people about what we believe, seeing as that is our job, but sometimes it is better to keep the conversation simply friendly, and leave room for curiosity. We left with warm handshakes and huge smiles and I thanked him for talking to us and hoped that he could run into more of our "missionaries" sometime soon:) There is no doubt in Sister Clark's or my mind that this gentleman will be more receptive to the Gospel and listening to his friends after our conversation with us.

For Finding Day, Sister Clark and I were assigned to work with a lady from the Ulm branch, and together we did follow-ups, street contacting, and a little "dooring". It was really neat being able to work with a ward member! Missionary work simply isn't possible without the members! (By the way, thanks so much for that talk by Elder Ballard, Mom! Everyone should read it!!) We walked a total of maybe 3 or 4 miles before we met the Elders at the Bahnhof after a few hours to eat lunch. It's always fun being with our district and hearing about the work in each of our individual areas! It's hard on finding days with not lots of success.....none of the people we were assigned to follow up on answered the door, or we got yelled at and told to go away. Yep -- Missionary work is HARD.  That being said, it is ever more important to work even harder, to push through those hard days, and give our best so we can find those who are ready, willing, and prepared to hear the message of the Restored Gospel. I was reminded again that nothing that is ever worth anything great, like our salvation, our eternal happiness, ever easy.

After Finding Day, because we had a few hours, Sister Clark and I went to Heidenheim to meet with Queen and Sarah. We gave a message from Alma 37 and talked about the importance of prayer and the comfort it brings into our lives. Little Aisosa, Sarah's two year old daughter, was VERY excited to read in the Book of Mormon. She would not let the copy we let her hold go, and as we left and took the Book of Mormon with us, Aisosa began to cry and say 'Buch Mormon! Buch Mormon!' So, naturally, we gave Aisosa her very own copy of the Book of Mormon. :)

Yesterday, Sunday, Sister Clark gave a wonderful talk in Sacrament meeting, using the talk you sent to me Mom! Thank you for being inspired to send it in German..that was a huge blessing for both of us this week. We are trying really hard to get our ward to do missionary work, and give them that courage that they need, and the Member Missionary Work talk by Elder Ballard was perfect. The members were so intentive as Sister Clark spoke; I know it was what they needed to hear! And Sister Clark did a great job! :) Her German is getting SO GOOD. I played the organ, so I got out of speaking. Maybe in two weeks when our organists are back from Urlaub I will have to speak...but until then..... :) Being in a small ward has been an eye opener for me because you don't necessarily just serve in ways that you think you are good serve EVERYWHERE because the entire congregation is counting on you -- one day an organist, the next day...who knows.  I'm better understanding that it is not where you serve but how you serve, thank you Mom!

Transfer calls are this Friday; we will have to see how things go!! I feel an approaching 'mountain' coming my way; whatever it is, I know not. Whether or not I will conquer it is a different story: all things are possible in the Lord, and I know He will give me mountains that will help me become the best missionary, friend, sister, daughter, and Natalie and Sister Motto I can be.  

Thank you for all your support and love. I couldn't go about this work without such a fantastic support group. I love you!!!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Natalie Motto

In Munich with Sisters Clark, me Smith and Jensen

Natalie on her way to Munich to get her passport renewed via the nice ICE fast train…

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 12 "Yep -- STILL love the rain!"

(Bummer for us…no pictures this week again….:(…..Yes!  I do expect pictures every week…isn't that what modern technology for?? :)

Grüß Euch Familie und Freunde!!

Hello from rainy Göppingen! Yep -- STILL love the rain!!!  

This week was a little slower, because Sister Clark got sick. She woke up Tuesday morning with a really bad headache, and Wednesday and Thursday had to stay in because of a pretty yucky migraine. We have been working with the mission nurse to get her all healed up, and thankfully she is doing much, much better. I've been able to practice my little nursing skills, and although it was hard to stay in and not work, I am so grateful Sister Clark is better and this week we can compensate! :)   I'm so glad for the power of prayer because I've been on my knees a lot this week that Sister Clark would soon heal and feel better.  It's hard to have someone you care for deeply not feel well.

Last week we met with Ainhoa quite a few times in preparation for her baptism. It is so exciting! This sweet little girl has taught me more about childlike faith than I could ever have imagined. Her faith and incredible desire to follow Jesus Christ is to be admired. It is now, as an almost 20 year old young woman, that I recognize how the Lord says we need to be more childlike in our faith. We taught Ainhoa the third lesson, about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the importance of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ainhoa is so excited to be confirmed so she can have that 'warm blanket' and Comforter and Friend always with her.

Saturday, after a week of healing (for Sister Clark) and planning for this upcoming week, we went to Esslingen to show Ainhoa and her mother the baptismal font. We walked through the process of going into the font, and talked with her brother Piero of how to baptize her. Piero just turned 17 and Ainhoa is very, very excited for the chance to be baptized by her big brother. I love the time we get to spend with Ainhoa, Piero, and Sister Giraldo. My heart swells with warmth and joy in thinking of this beautiful promise Ainhoa is about to make. I honestly, truly, and deeply love the Giraldo family. My heart gets heavy of the thought at one day when I get transferred from Göppingen, when I will leave them. That being said, I am so grateful that our branch has a good relationship and friendships with the Giraldos, so they will feel more welcome and stay active in the Church (so important, you are right Mom & Dad!)  I am also grateful for the chance I will have to keep in touch with them, when I do leave, and maintain that special friendship and bond between missionary, member, and convert.

Sadly we have not heard from Destiny in about a week and half. We are praying we will have the opportunity to meet with him this week, as well as that he will come to church. Right now he is not progressing, which saddens us because of his goal to be baptized, but we know that the Lord will bless us and Destiny with strength as he progresses forward. It is always hard when your investigators do not progress, but it is with faith and diligence that we continue onward and know that as servants of the Lord, when we do all He asks, we will be blessed.  Due to the time spent in the apartment we were also unable to visit with our other investigators.  I missed our daily routine this week -- getting out into Göppingen, finding people to talk with about our Savior, helping our investigators testimonies grow and develop.  It made me appreciate that we are able to do that every day and so this week I have a strengthened focus on setting our sights on success in His work.  Although I really disliked being cooped up, I have faith that the Lord will take care of His work when we couldn't. :)

This week is a promising one!!  We have more lessons with Ainhoa, a meeting with a few less actives, Finding Days for our district (dooring, streeting, follow-ups, etc etc) district meeting, a "field trip" to Munich (to renew my passport at the US Embassy) and preparation for Ainhoa's baptism!  We talked with some wonderful Germans on the street who appear to be searching for "something" and we are praying that we can share with them the PLAN and why they are here on earth.  I'm am so grateful for what I've learned in my home, in church, and in the temple about WHY I'm here -- my joy is great!!

It is with great happiness that I express my deep love and huge appreciation for thís work.   Some days are so hard and exhausting and in those moments I never want to give up, pack up, and go home because I have the constant reminder of what (more like WHO) I represent.  My testimony grows in those moments when I realize that wonderful things come to those who sacrifice and those who work hard in righteousness. There is nothing like that ONE moment on your mission, when your ten year old investigator looks at you with big brown eyes and asks, 'What does it mean to have the gift of the Holy Ghost?', and then the Spirit fills the room as you testify what an incredible blessing the gift of the Holy Ghost is in your life. It is in that moment you pass somebody on the street, when everyone as walked a different direction or refused you, who finally will listen to your message (it's even better when they take a Buch Mormon!) It's moments of quiet peace during personal study, as I sit and ponder a question in my heart, and through sweet personal revelation, an answer is given, and I KNOW why I am here. I KNOW why I am a missionary. It cannot be put into words. It is felt in the drive and urgency to proclaim the Restoration of His Truth to an unknowing people, His sons and daughters, that only begins to explain the way I feel about this work.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. Your prayers, support, letters, love, emails, and thoughts are such great sources of strength, and I am so thankful to have such a great 'back up crew' at home in Utah. :) Thank you friends, Lindon ward members and family who have sent me loving and supportive letters and cards this week -- it truly boosted and buoyed me up!  You are very appreciated. 

I love you all, and I wish you a wonderful week!!!

Bis nächste Woche!

Liebe grüße,
Sister Natalie Motto

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 11 from Natalie "Being a missionary is wonderful!"

Liebe Familie und Freunde,

What a wonderful week has past!  I realize I say that every week...but it's true...being a missionary is wonderful!

Last week, we were able to have zone training and zone conference in the same week, one Tuesday, one Friday. Kind of felt like I was living in Stuttgart all week because we were there so much! I have developed a love for Stuttgart though, and enjoy the time we have to be there. At zone training, we talked a lot about the Christlike attributes as found in Preach My Gospel. (I LOVE Preach My Gospel! It is a wonderful tool and I am so grateful for it.) We focused on knowledge, which is interesting, because I have never really thought 'Knowledge' to be considered a Christlike attribute. I then stumbled upon a quote by Elder Russell M Nelson that says 'The glory of God, indeed, is intelligence.' We must strive and learn all we can in this life so that we can more strive to be like our Father in Heaven! I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for all that I have learned while here on the mission. 

Wednesday and Thursday we had Austausch (exchange) again! Because of the new calling the church has made for Sister Training Leaders in each zone, we have the opportunity to go on exchanges each transfer -- something different from what you did, Mom! (We also never got emails, iPads, instant pictures either!)  This week, Sister Clark went to Pforzheim to work with Sister Holman, and I got to lead the exchange here in Göppingen with Sister Ackerman. I was so nervous! Sister Ackerman was trained here in Göppingen as well, so it was nice to have that extra 'security blanket' with Sister Ackerman knowing the area if we were to get lost (which we didn't up until the last few minutes finding our way to the Eislingen Hauptbahnhof.) Sister Ackerman and I had the opportunity to meet with a few older women in our branch, a less active, and did some follow-ups in nearby Eislingen. I love each opportunity on exchanges, because I learn so much.   It's always weird working with another missionary who is not your companion, but I really enjoyed working with Sister Ackerman because she is such a hard working missionary. She has a lot of opinions and isn't afraid to say them, but she is a great example of someone with a firm conviction for the Gospel and rock solid testimony of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel. She has a great command of German as well, so it was great working with her and being able to work with someone outside of Sister Clark with my language skills.  Even after all that,  it was great being able to be reunited with Sister Clark. I am so grateful that we have a strong friendship and bond and that we work really well together: I will be sad the day I have to get a new companion!

Zone Conference was fantastic!    At Zone Conference we were able to hear from President and Sister Miles, as well as our Stake President here in Stuttgart, President Thomas Schneider. President Schneider has come to Göppingen and spoken in Sacrament meeting a few times, and I have had the opportunity to meet him and talk with him, but in German. It was a little odd to hear him speak in English at zone conference! He gave wonderful feedback to us as missionaries in his stake and how we work, and how we can better work with the members. He said that as missionaries, we strive to develop and have the qualities of faith, charity, love, etc, in doing missionary work. The members have those traits as well! The one trait we have, that they don't, and that we need to help the members develop, is courage. Courage to invite their friends to church, courage to invite the missionaries over with their friends, courage to share the gospel. It was an interesting but enlightening perspective, and the frustrations we have had in the past working with our members has now changed to, 'what can we do to help them have courage?' I am so grateful for the church leaders here in Germany. Although different from home, and oftentimes I find myself heartsick for my homeward and stake, I am forever grateful to be in the service of these wonderful German people and the members here.  

At the close of zone conference we had a testimony meeting, where all the missioniaries who had not previously attended a zone conference had the opportunity to share their testimonies. It was great! I was able to share my testimony the night (two months ago exactly!) I arrived in Munich, and I was grateful for the chance to share it again. I can already feel a growth within myself!! It was also a neat experience to share my testimony with my trainer there, my wonderful and sweet companion Sister Clark. She has become one of my dearest friends, and as this transfer comes to an end I am saddened to think she may be leaving. At least we have two weeks left together; make every moment count, gel? President and Sister Miles both shared testimonies and thoughts on the work here in Stuttgart.   We LOVE the Miles, and are so incredibly grateful for their service to us. They are a stellar example of missionary work, and living Christlike attributes.  I hope to be like them one day.

Saturday we were able to teach Ainhoa again! This sweet little girl is progressing so well. Her childlike faith and developing testimony is something to be envied; she is one of God's prepared to hear the message of the Truth and she cannot wait to be baptized! Yesterday during Sacrament Meeting Sister Clark and I sat with her, and saw her write in her journal, 'Am 31 August wird ich taufen lassen! Ich bin so begeistert.'  (Translation:  On the 31st of August, I will be baptized, I am so excited!) Her baptism will be Saturday August 31. We can't wait!

We have not been able to get a hold of Destiny for a while. We have been praying that we will be able to meet to help him continue progressing, but it's been difficult. Satan works the hardest when he knows good things are about to happen and I know that Destiny is being challenged and needs to be reminded that Heavenly Father loves him and that he can overcome whatever road blocks are in the way of finding eternal happiness through the first step of baptism.  I know prayers in his behalf would be a great blessing and example of faith as he progresses towards his ultimate goal of baptism and confirmation.

Queen is doing well. She has started reading the Book of Mormon, and we are hopeful to make the 2 hour trainride to Heidenheim on Wednesday to teach her. We also have a potential investigator named Abi, who is also from Nigeria. (We have joked about that if we keep teaching the way we are, they will need to make a Nigerian branch for Göppingen!) He met with the elders in Ellwangen, who are in our district, and because he lives in our area Ellwangen referred him to us. We are so excited to teach Abi; from what we hear he is 'hungering and thirsting' after the truth and is yearning to learn more.

Hopefully we can meet with Barbara and Andreas this week! Barbara has a lot to do, as she is getting ready to put on some kind of play, but we are praying that the next time we teach her, Andreas can be there. Sister Clark and I still cannot deny the fact that we felt a very strong spirit upon meeting Andreas; we know that there is something wonderful in store, and that perhaps it is his time to accept the Gospel. All we can do is pray, fast, and follow the guidance of the Spirit in what to teach him and Barbara so that they will be receptive and accepting of the Gospel.

All in all, it was a great week. For some reason I got a little bit homesick, but because I recognize that it's AUGUST and that school is almost starting!! Didn't school just get out? :) (Natalie is one who has always LOVED school and would start counting down in August when it would start.) Give this next school year all you've got! Work the hardest you ever have. It'll pay off! :) Time has gone by very fast! 

Keep the flame of your faith burning, my wonderful family and friends!! This Gospel brings so much happiness, who wouldn't want to share it? Although I have hit lows and highs and have been challenged beyond my beliefs here on the mission, it is safe to say that I have never been happier.  This work is sacred and special,  it is glorious and great and it is His work.  I am grateful to be able to share the truthfulness of the Gospel to Heavenly Father's children in Germany at this time!!!  

Until next week!!

All my love,
Sister Natalie Motto

Monday, August 5, 2013

Natalie's Week 10…..Teaching Queen….yep, her name is really Queen!

Grüßle von Göppingen!
Liebe Familie und Freunde,
Wow, so much has happened in the past five days since I last wrote that it seems like it's been two weeks!
For starters, Wednesday was awesome. Sister Clark and I had the opportunity to go to Burg Hohenzollern with our recent convert, Sister Hausmann. The drive down south to Tübingen was beautiful; the landscaping here of Southwest Germany is breathtaking. The green rolling hills and wide open fields and meticulous farms and little dorfs (villages) scattered throughout has given this area of Germany it's quintessential charm. Burg Hohenzollern is built up on a big hill looking over the valley--truly majestic and breathtaking!! Not quite as stunning of an exterior as Neuschwanstein, Burg Hohenzollern is still very beautiful and almost elegant. It actually kind of reminds me of Hogwarts in Harry Potter. It was wonderful being able to do the tour (we did the German one and understood it!) and see the inside. It is simple but really pretty -- a wonderful example of the Prussian royal palace.  Had it been allowed I would've taken pictures of the interior. A little bit of nostalgia hit as we did the tour: seems like yesterday I was at Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee with Mom and Dad!! As we were doing the tour a guy came up to me and Sister Clark. He's from Idaho, but lives in AF! He served his mission in the Ukraine and is in Germany for some jump-roping camp of some sort for youth. It was really neat talking with an American member of the Church; definitely something you don't get to experience every day out here in Göppingen. It's always nice to be recognized as a member of the Church, no matter where you are in the world. (Granted I think the nametags helped a little bit…)

Thursday.....well. As you can see the title of my email, we set a baptismal date with our investigator Destiny!!! Our lesson Thursday evening was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. Sister Clark and I have been praying to figure out what we could teach Destiny that would help the Gospel 'click' for him, and as we taught about the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, Destiny had a lot of questions about eternal life and living with God again. At the end of the lesson, Sister Clark and I both shared our testimonies of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how being baptized with the right authority and by the laying on of hands being given the gift of the Holy Ghost has changed our lives and been a source of great peace of comfort. After a moment of silence I turned to Destiny and asked, 'Destiny? Will you be baptized?' The invitation has been extended every time we've met, and every time he said he didn't know and wasn't ready. This time, after a moment of silence, anticipating a completely different reaction, Destiny smiled really big and quietly said, 'Yes. I would like that.' We were THRILLED! In my excitement, I turned to him again and said, 'So, will you be baptized?' Destiny laughed and said (in his really thick African accent) 'Sister Motto, you heard me. I said yes!' We have set his baptismal date for August 31. We are so happy for Destiny! I know prayers of strength and faith in his behalf will really help him avoid temptation as he prepares to be baptized. We are hopeful that one day Destiny can return to his native Africa and build up the kingdom of God there.

Saturday we met with our new investigator, Queen..yes, her name is really Queen.  We met Queen last Sunday when she came to church with her member friend Sarah. Queen is also from Nigeria, and is living with Sarah with her two kids to avoid persecution from her abusive husband. She is a very neat lady and is incredibly receptive to everything we teach her. We read out of 2 Nephi 25, and read verse 26. We talked with Queen about who we are as missionaries, and gave the lesson of the First Vision. Queen was incredibly intent, and after we closed she asked 'Where can I have that book?' We told her we brought that particular copy for her, and she excitedly took it and told us she would begin reading that day. About three minutes later as we were talking with Sarah, Queen said, 'I want to be baptized into this Church.' At first confused but nontheless excited, we talked with Queen about how we were very pleased with her desire, and if we could continuet teaching her we would love to set a date for her baptism. Queen is a honest and enthusiastic example of those indivudals we seek to find: completely prepared, humble, and ready to follow their Savior Jesus Christ. We have another appointment with Queen on Saturday, and I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday evening we met with Ainhoa and her family. Our last visit we gave her her very own copy of the Book of Mormon and a personalized bookmark. This lesson Ainhoa showed us that she has been marking whenever it talks about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, being obedient, and so forth, in 1 Nephi. She was so excited to tell us she read the whole first chapter, all in German! (Ainhoa is bilingual and speaks Spanish with her mom and German with everyone else). We enjoy teaching her in German because she is very forgiving of our grammar but also corrects the mistakes we make.  Such a cute 10 year old girl!

We talked about the Plan of Salvation and how it blesses our lives. Sister Clark and I even made visuals to help our cute 10 year old understand the Plan of Salvation. Ainhoa has earlier expressed a desire to join the Catholic church just like her friends, because she likes the concept of being able to feel God close to her. We talked a little about recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit was very heavy, but not in an uncomfortable way. As the golden, it's my job to extend the invitation of baptism. So I did! I asked Ainhoa if she wanted to be baptized, to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to have the gift of the Holy Ghost, so she and her family can live together forever? Ainhoa looked at me with her darling big brown eyes and whispered 'yes!' Ainhoa, too, will be getting baptized on the 31 of August. We are so excited for this sweet little girl to make such a big step!! I know prayers in her behalf, as well, will bless her family and Ainhoa as she prepares to get baptized.

We had so much success this past week here in Göppingen. We had THIRTEEN LESSONS. That's more than we had all my first transfer!! I can testify that the prayers in our behalf are being felt and the blessings thereof are coming to pass. Our prayers that our members would know how to work with us are finally being answered, as our ward gives us referrals and prays and fasts in our behalf. We are so grateful to be 'on fire' and to be simply power tools in the Lord's hands here in Göppingen. We are so lucky to be a part of the 'Taufgartt'/Stuttgart zone! Right now we are the most successful in our whole mission!! :)

On a different note, my prayers and thoughts go out to my beloved 21st ward members, particularly Sister Glenn and Grandma June, at this hard time with Brother Glenn's passing. He will be dearly missed, but what a magnificent example he is for all of us to follow! I know I'm thousands of miles away, but my heart is with everyone in my ward family at this time. I pray for you all, and know that I love you!

Congratulations to Alex Opfar and Tori on their weddings!! :) I am so happy for them!!!

Sending my love across the mountains, plains, and seas. Missionary work is the best, gel? (There's some Schwäbisch for you. Many people say 'gel' instead of 'oder' here in Schwabland.)

Thanks again for your letters, emails, and prayers. Keep it up :) I pray for you every day, and I love you!!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Natalie Motto