Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 16….Stuck on the S-bahn and Service and All Horses Go to Heaven

Servus liebe Familie und Freunde!

Hello from wet, rainy, chilly Göppingen-- fall weather is finally here!

This week was great! I am still exuberant and blessed to be a missionary!  Every morning I get the butterflies reminding myself that I'm a missionary in the most beautiful land in the world, Germany!  Sister Woods and I get along so well and we are already in sync.   Although we have a different dynamic than Sister Clark and I did, we compliment each other really well and it's been a great experience learning to work with others, and forging these new friendships that will last forever! Sister Woods is fantastic and I love her so much!

This transfer has been a little different than my past two. This month in our distrit we got another set of Elders in Ellwangen (about an hour away from Göppingen and in a beautiful region...also about 20 minutes from Dinkelsbühl..a charming little town which my parents like to visit).   We also got the Waiblingen (just north east of Stuttgart)  branch into our area: we now have 8 elders and 2 sisters in our district. 10 missionaries!  And that many more missionaries to contact many more investigators!   We now go to Waiblingen for district meeting.  Waiblingen is beautiful, has a great ward, and I'm excited for this change. (Except for maybe the fact that there is a horse slaughter factory right across the street from where the elders live, and right next to the church. You can imagine my, well, disappointment and disgust.) To which my loving and dutiful district leader said, "Don't worry Sister Motto…I'm sure all horses go to heaven" :)

Last week, on the way to our first district meeting in Waiblingen, we traveled with the Ulm elders to share a 4-man body ticket. [A more economic way to travel for missionaries is to "use" buddy passes when possible]  As we were all traveling together on the S-bahn to Waiblingen Hauptbahnhof, we came to an abrupt halt at an unplanned stop on Nürnbergerstraße, 8 or 9 stops away from our planned destination. Some individuals on the S-bahn tried to exit, but the doors were stuck, and wouldn't open. Many people were confused and began to be frustrated that the S-bahn wasn't going. To be honest, our group of 4 missionaries was also initally a little upset and stressed, because we were going to be late for district meeting. After about 5 minutes, a DeustcheBahn worker came and told everyone to get of the S-bahn. There had been an accident: an individual had been killed, and was hit by the S-Bahn. Immediately this rush of a heavy weight settled in my heart, and immediately was sobered by what had just happened. I knew I wasn't the only one who felt this way, as the Elders and ourselves moved to the side. We were told to wait until the polizei arrived, and then we could leave. Many people were, as you imagine, very upset and saddned, and in shock, at what had just happened. As we umsteiged (disembarked) the train and tried to take another mode of transportion to get to Waiblingen, I stood next to a lady who was very distraught. She expressed to me her sadness over what happened to this gentleman who had been killed, and how awful it was that he had died. I expressed my sadness to her as well, but then was able to share my testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the fact that we will live again. I don't know what happened to that woman, but I am grateful for the opportunity I had to share my testimony and share a small light and joy that this Gospel brings. It took us 2.5 hours to take a 15 minute route to get to district meeting, but we were able to finally make it and get everything done we needed to that day.

Saturday the missionaries in our zone had the opportunity to attend the adult session of Stuttgart Stake Conference. It was a really neat experience being able to speak with both the American members from the international ward, as well as the German members, from our stake. The theme of this stake conference, given by our stake president Präsident Schneider was 'Warum?'...'Why?' The three things that were focused on in each talk was "Warum habe ich, warum soll ich, warum bin ich?" or, in English, "Why do I have, why should I, and why am I?" Many of the speakers used these three things and tied it into faith. Why are we a faithful people? Why am I a faithful person, as an individual? For me, I liked tying this theme into "Why do I have this calling, as a missionary? Why should I do this work? Why am I a missionary?" I felt the Spirit very strongly as I reflected upon these questions after stake conference, and gave it a lot of thought.  The Lord is shaping me to be the best person I can be. I feel it every day, and I am so grateful for it.

I am so happy that the Benson's (a senior missionary couple serving in Stuttgart) daughter called you and asked you for the piano book.  It was wonderful to be able to perform piano again and share my testimony through the beautiful hymn arrangement.  You know how much I love playing the piano and being able to have someone feel so moved and touched by the Spirit because of it is a great blessing!  I'm glad you could ask Dr Hatch to sign it for the JAE. (young single adult).  

I am overwhelmed with gratitude that Julee sent so many relative names to find and contact!  What a blessing for which we have been praying!  We are in the process of locating the exact addresses and to plan out our week so that we can make the most of our time in those particular areas.   Keep praying that her relatives will be prepared and ready to hear the message of Jesus Christ.  Thank you again! (Sidenote....Kevin has a sweet wonderful lady who helps out in his office and when finding out that Natalie was in Göppingen, told us that is where her mother was from and then proceeded to give us over 15 names of living relatives still in that area who she would like Natalie to contact about the Church! We are still overwhelmed how this happened and consider it to be such a tender mercy)

 On the way home from the stake center to Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (we weren't able to spend the night with the Stuttgart sisters, so we had to travel back to Göppingen before coming back Sunday morning for the main session), I was standing next to a lady on the S-bahn. (Hey....I am getting so pro at public transportation. Remember Mom & Dad, like you once lovingly "threatened"  to stick me somewhere in Germany and have me find my way back -- now I could probably do it!) This woman gestured to me and asked me to sit by her, so I did. We'll call her Jane. In broken German Jane asked me who I was, and who all these people with nametags were, and why we had the name of Christ on it. I told her we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that we were the Mormons. Jane, who is from the Ivory Coast, had heard of us before, and our 'little blue bible'. I smiled and told Jane and her friend about the Book of Mormon, how it is another testament of Jesus Christ, and His apperance to His people in the Americas. This woman kept asking why we needed the Book of Mormon, when we have the Bible. She then took out her worn, torn, and obviously very loved Bible from her purse. She told me that "this Bible is all I need to know Christ." I then had her turn to the scripture in Eziekel 37  where it tells about the stick of Judah and Joseph, and explained to her how the Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph, and is simply another witness of the Bible and of Jesus Christ. These 3 minutes I had to talk with this woman and her friend made me recognize the importance of always being a good example as a missionary, and being ever prepared to talk to whoever, and to answer any questions they may have. I was able to tell Jane about the restoration, and of Joseph Smith, and how the Gospel has been restored, and that she could know that by reading this Book and praying about it. Even on a crowded S-Bahn, I was amazed at how strong the Spirit was as I taught Jane. I offered the Book of Mormon to Jane, and she intially rejected my offer, but as she exited the S-Bahn she hurriedly caught the door again and said, 'Yes. I'll take it.'  She left so fast, I didn't have time before the S-bahn doors closed to get her information.  Thankfully, our contact information is in the Book of Mormon, so hopefully we will be getting a call soon to drop by a French Book of Mormon.

We also just got news that our apartment next transfer will be turned into a 4-man (or in our case, woman) apartment!! It'll be shoulder to shoulder, but I think overall a good experience. If that's the case, I can see myself possibly staying in Göppingen for 5 transfers. But you never know! It's all in the Lord's hands. :) Regardless where I am...I love working hard and serving here. Come what may and love it!

Have a wonderful week! You are always in my prayers and thoughts. 2 Nephi 25:26

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Motto

1 comment:

  1. I love the part where she talks about having butterflies every morning. How charming is that? What a light she brings to the mission field, and the Lord has entrusted her with this beautiful gift of a connection to Goppingen where she "happens" to be serving. Miracles abound!