Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 14…Ainhoa's baptism and transfer calls

Hallo Familie und Freunde! Transfer three has BEGUN!

This week was a busy one, and one full of changes! As you can see....I cut my hair! I've been wanting to grow it out, but my layers have been hard to do so, so I cut my hair up to my shortest layer and am starting fresh with my hair. Having short hair is WEIRD, and I really don't feel like myself with it, but I know my hair is going to grow out fast(er) and, hey, change is fun and different! And I'm blaming Sister Clark somewhat on this....she was the one who put the idea in my head. :)

Earlier this week we went to Eschenbach, a little dorf in our area where some of my ancestor's on my dad's side are from. Eschenbach is a very small dorf, but absolutely beautiful. It's a nice town, with bigger homes and a gorgeous Evangelisch church in the middle of the city. Sister Clark and I were going to do some dooring and streeting, but we decided to walk around more and see what we had to work with, and we decided that we are going to go to Eschenbach for our Finding Day next transfer! We both feel like it has a LOT of potential, and we are excited to head there and do some good ol' missionary work. We didn't have success finding any ancestral names at the cemetery (Kevin has some distant grandparents from this region who we are trying to "find") but we will be going back to go to the Rathaus/ City Hall to see if they have any information of where Michael Wahl could be buried. We will see, and I'll keep you posted!!

Friday was TRANSFER CALLS.  I knew this day was coming so I'm a little prepared but sad nontheles that Sister Clark and I are being split, and Sister Clark is being transfered to Vienna! I'm so happy for her and I'm happy for me to stay in this wonderful corner of Germany.  Friday morning we went to the visa department place to pick up my visa (which came! I can stay in Germany!! --[when she got her new and renewed passport last week she had to get another visa to allow her to proselyte and live in Germany), and right when we arrived at the place our phone began to ring. Sister Clark answered, put it on speaker, and I couldn't help but smile as I heard my favorite "hick-German" accent from President Miles. President Miles has excellent German, but by far the best Cedar-City raised, Texan-sounding Aussprache (dialect)  I have ever heard. President Miles told us that Sister Clark will be working with Sister Harman, a sister from my transfer group, in the international ward as Sister Training Leader. Sister Clark is SO excited, and I am really happy for her. Funny enough, this transfer is a tausch, or exchange: Sister Harman's trainer, Sister Woods, who was also Sister Clark's MTC companion, is coming to work with me in Göppingen!  Yay!!  I am excited to work with Sister Woods, and see what big city, fast-paced missionary work she can bring to help speed up the work here in Göppingen. Change is always hard, and I sure will miss Sister Clark, but I know I will love Sister Woods and will be learning a lot this coming transfer.   Time is flying here and there is so much work to do!!! Slow down please.

A banner weekend -- Ainhoa's baptism was Saturday! What a beautiful experience that was!  Those sacred moments are why I am a missionary.  We got up a little earlier so we could meet the Giraldo's at the Bahnhof and travel to the Esslingen gemeindehaus together. We don't have a baptismal font in Göppingen, and the nearest one is about 30 minutes away in Esslingen, near Stuttgart.  Cute little Ainhoa was so excited and happy to meet us, even at 8 in the morning. She even brought her hamster, Luna, to the baptism, so that Luna could spend the special day with her too. (I find out more and more that ten year olds are the same, wherever you go in the world!) We arrived at the gemeindehaus/ward building with plenty of time to help the Esslingen elders set up chairs, get everything ready for the refreshments after the service, get pictures taken, and greet everyone. Ainhoa kept asking when the service would start, because she was so excited!  When it came time for the actual baptism, the water in the font was actually a little too warm; the past few baptisms had been ice cold, so they cranked up the heat a little more, but perhaps too much. Bruder Fromm (our GML/Ward mission leader) and Bruder Fingerle, who were the witnesses, opened the doors to the font and steam poured out. It was like a sauna in the tiny little Primary room! Ainhoa looked so beautiful in her little white dress as her brother Piero lead her into the water. She cringed a little because of the heat, but that didn't defer from a great big smile on her face. Sister Clark and I waited on the side and stood with Sister Giraldo. The service was beautiful, and there was no denying the powerful spirit in the room as Piero baptized Ainhoa. It was a very special moment for Sister Giraldo to see her little girl baptized. The three of us were pretty emotional, but there were only tears of happiness!  Regardless of who you are, what generation you are from, how old you are, what place on earth you live...this ordinance is assigned and required for all of Heavenly Father's children.  And it was that enlightenment that came to me, understanding again why this work -- bringing His children to Christ -- is sacred and necessary for our happiness here on earth and our salvation in the hereafter.  After the baptism, I gave Ainhoa a great big hug and asked her how she felt. She gave me a great big hug, squeezed me as tight as she could and said, 'I'm so grateful I followed Jesus.' Cue the floodgates!  Ainhoa has such a strong testimony and of her Savior Jesus Christ, and even though she is only 10 and doesn't fully understand everything in the Gospel quite yet, she knows how important it is to do all we can do follow Christ and His example, and strive to be like Him.

After Ainhoa's baptism we still had the afternoon to go out and work, so we decided to head North to Bolheim, a dorf outside of Heidenheim, to follow up on a referral we recieved Friday. This referral is from a member in California, to go by her aunt and uncle who are 94 years old. We figured it would be best to follow up on this referral as soon as possible... :) Cute little Gretta, the wife, answered the door. (Mom and Grandma: she reminds me a lot of Jeanie Ruderhauser. Tiny, little, but sweet and very talkative). We talked for a little bit, making the connection with her niece in California, and explained to her who we were. Gretta was eager to learn more, but sadly she and her husband didn't have time to meet right then, but we made an appointment for next Saturday when they do. Gretta is Evangelisch, Hans Katolisch, and the two are very open to learning more about the Gospel, because they had heard so much about it from their niece. Yes, another shout-out for member-missionary work!!! We gave Hans and Gretta (yep...just like Hans and "Gretel"...Brothers Grimm should have met this couple)  a Book of Mormon, encouraged them to start reading, and they gladly accepted. We are so excited to have these two cute investigators.

That's it for this week! Tomorrow we have zone training, and Thursday I get to meet my new companion. Lots of change, but change is good and I am so grateful for it!!  Bring it on!

Thank you in particular to my ward young women for their letters: I sure love you sweet girls!! As well as to Brother Healey, the Shipps, Nelsons, and Travis' for their letters. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to show how much you support me and care.  I love hearing from my ward family back home! :)

Have a WONDERFUL week! Love you!!!

Liebe grüß,
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto

Our "band" of missionaries from our district

 "Hello Germany -- I love you!"

Making Spätzel for Sister Clark

Ainhoa's baptism day -- she was so excited, she even brought her hamster:)

Attempting to style and curl my new shorter hair
At Ainhoa's baptism

In Eschenbach

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