Liebe Freunde und Familie,
I have never seen so much lederhosen and so many dirndls in my entire life!! Must be that Oktoberfest has officially started and is speeding full ahead into the coming month of celebration. Man, can this city celebrate!! I am overwhelmed with the beauty of this place and the decorations and flowers and life that happens every year here. This past weekend has been really fun to play "guess the tourist" and "I think they're American!" on the U-bahns and pedestrian zones and to see the stark contrast between Oktoberfest "tourist" goers and the humble citizens of Munich on their way home from work. These two days are only but the beginning of an exciting and interesting time here in Bavaria and I look forward to what the coming weeks have in store! I feel so blessed to be a missionary here..serving in Germany..in the Alpine Mission..assigned to this wonderful Munich ward.
Sister Ahlm and I had a great week this week! Sister Ahlm is definitely getting the hang of being a missionary in Munich! Her inhibitions to speak with others is diminishing as she is putting great faith in the Lord that He will place the right words at the right time in her mouth. It has been a little like watching a young bird learn to fly. I get satisfaction out of her growth -- I can assume real motherhood has some similarities. Her faith is rubbing off on me and I feel rejuvenated and I am reminded of that marvelous "Golden" power each new missionary brings.
Today there was a funeral for an older woman in our ward. As part of that I had the privilege of accompanying Angela Brower, a member from Munich 3 ward, and a professional Opera Singer. She has been here in Munich for 6 years singing for the Opera, and when we went to practice with her, she gave us a VIP tour of the opera house! There are no words other than....WOW!!!!! HOLY COW! It was MAGNIFICENT!!! Angela sang beautifully and I felt so honored to be able to accompany her on the piano. Sister Ahlm and I joked as we went back to the Ubahn station that we were sewer rats, having just enjoyed an incredible taste of history and music, and then we were going back to our "dominion." Yeah....we practically LIVE on the Ubahns.... :)
Earlier this week we were blessed with spectacular weather, including blue skies, warm sunshine, and a crisp cool breeze every once and a while to remind us of the oncoming Autumn. Beautiful, 5 star weather, I must admit, makes missionary work much more enjoyable (although it is wonderful in rain or shine!) Humorously, our enjoyment of the "Goldener Sommer" as the Germans say (literally translates to "golden summer") came to an end Friday evening when we got stuck in a torrential downpour following our appointment with the Muntean's. Sister Ahlm and I were soaked from head to toe, but in that situation what else can you do but laugh? ("Embrace the Rain" and "Water doesn't hurt anything but brown sugar" floated in my mind from my mother) Our appointment with Adrian and Adele went really well. Sadly, the missionaries in Romania never contacted them, and the Muntean's found it very difficult to keep their commitments, so our job now is to help them get back up to the speed in which they were flying. They recommitted to read and pray, and are really excited for General Conference, in which we hope that they will attend. The idea of a living prophet really interests them, and we hope that General Conference will be a turning point for them.
We met with our favorite Tibetian trio this week! Tenzin, Ngawang (the former monk), and Namdul (a new investigator), and talked once again about the Plan of Salvation. Ngawang is having a difficult time understanding the premortal life and resurrection, and with his very strong Buddhist background that is understandable. It has taught me a lot of patience to teach people here on my mission with no Christian background, and I am that much more grateful for the knowledge of Christ that I was so lovingly raised with. Tenzin came to church on Sunday and LOVED it! He hasn't been in a while and mentioned how much he loves coming to church. He's progressing really well now on his way to baptism!
We did a service project at a refugee home Wednesday where we were able to help give out clothes and body care items to individuals from all over the world fleeing here to Germany. It was an incredibly humbling experience. The entire time the song played in my head "Because I have Been Given Much". I have indeed been given much, from a loving family and hardworking father who does so well providing for all our needs. I have also been given much in terms of the Gospel. How grateful I am to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And not only that, I am so grateful to be a full time missionary with the priviledge of being able to share this Gospel message.
We met with the Ojo's again this week! This time both Brother and Sister Ojo-Osemwegie were there and we had a wonderful discussion on General Conference. In that appointment I felt so much love for this family, and couldn't help but think that they are maybe the one of the many reasons why I am here....It is without a doubt I know I needed to meet them, to feel their love, to hear their testimonies, and to share mine with them.
One scripture this week in my personal study of the Book of Mormon stuck out. It"s short, simple, yet powerful. In 2 Nephi 2:25 it says
in vs. 25 "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
Our purpose here in life is to have joy!!!!! And joy you and I will all have as we embrace the everlasting and eternal truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Our Savior lives!!!!
I love you all my friends and family! I am so grateful for you and for your prayers. Know I am doing well, and that this little missionary soldier keeps trekking on come hard days or rain or shine because.... I love this work, and I love the blessings that come from it. Let us all throw in our sickle with all heart, might, mind, and strength.
All my love,
Your Alpine, Bavarian Missionary
Sister Natalie Motto