Monday, October 28, 2013

Finnish cinnamon rolls (October 28)

I can't believe another week has passed! This week was jam packed!

On Tuesday, we had a "Area book finding day." This is where we called old untersuchers (investigators) in our area book. We got a couple contacts, so I guess we will see how it works out. I thought it was a wonderful idea! It was also fun to get together with our district. Plus I got to try Finnish cinnamon rolls :) haha the joys of having a foreign companion. This week we presented the YW activity. Now, this was wonderful and the YW loved it. So mom, maybe you want to give the sister missionaries a call. We had 4 stations to show the life of a missionary. 1. Card stamping 2. Mapping out the members homes on a map 3. Calling old untersuchers (investigators) to see if they had interest and scheduling appointments 4. giving object lessons (with the most random stuff we could find). It was wonderful for us (we have enough cards to last us a year, native German speakers whipped out some of our phone calls, and we now have a map of where the members live) and they loved it! They were awarded points and we had a price for all of them at the end. They enjoyed asking us questions about how the mission works and it was fun to help them come up with object lessons to really make their minds think. haha great activity.

I was able to get my Austrian visa all worked out this week. Glad that is over and done with.... you would think those office people would be able to speak English.... No one told them that I haven’t studied law words in my language study... haha. We had interviews with the mission president this week. It is always really nice to be able to just sit down and talk a bit with President. He is a very inspired man. We had stake conference this weekend, in Wien, and we were able to hear from him and his wife. Every time sister miles speaks, its amazing!! The adult session talked a lot about temples..... man oh man do I miss the temple. We stayed the night at the Wien sisters apartment. My first interaction with a four-person apartment, kind of crazy. We had 6 people trying to get ready. Good thing no one told us until too late that there was a time change... so we ended up having 2 hours. blessing. 

I really love the spirit. This week, we visited a member. Our spiritual thought, was nothing like what we had planned topic-wise, but was way above what we expected the spirit level to be. We had a wonderful conversation about what faith means to each of us. Then, as we were wrapping up, I remembered that we were wanting to find some service to do. After asking, she brought out a pile of laundry that she needed ironed. She's a bit old, and we can tell, it really helped her out. It was really cool to see how the Spirit was able to remind me to ask, then we spent 20 minutes to do something that would have taken her much longer.
Speaking of the Spirit, we had a wonderful lesson where we talked about baptism. This man has been an investigator for a while, but after telling him we knew he was ready. He told us he had a dream of being baptized by immersion in the exact font in the church. It was amazing. He is prepared. I am very excited to meet with him again and to hear if he got a confirmation for the date.

We have been meeting a lot with our 2 new converts. It's really cool to see the excitement they have over the gospel! It's been a busy, Spirit filled week! Here is a picture of our beautiful ward house.

Have a great week!

Sister Regnier

Monday, October 21, 2013

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord (October 21)

Well my last week in Passau was JAM PACKED. It was crazy. We went to Schärding on Pday. It was seriously so cool! Schwester L­­­­_____ said she would be making a album on Facebook, if you haven't seen it already. We all had a BLAST. We went on a tree top walk, I felt like a straight up kid, but it was just really fun to see all the adults, and kids playing on a giant playground together. haha. I really love the Passau members.

Tuesday and Wednesday were frantic. I had to re-prepare for my Austrian Visa. You know all that paper work I had to do before my mission? That was all for Austria, not Germany. The German visa is really simple. We had to prepare for the Austrian visa just in case our first area is Austria. Well, my initial visa expired, and I had to get the stuff from Germany, cause I have "been here so long" anyway. We went to the M___s and the S____s on Tuesday, it was so fun. I love seeing their personalities. Germans are just so different than the typical person at home, regardless of membership in the church. And, I love it! I love it so much! The people here are great! At the S____s, we had Roclette, a Swiss specialty food. So good… Hands down best meal I have had here. We are getting one of those Roclette things when I get home. Schwester H___ met us at the train station to say goodbye. Man I love the Passau members! The next day, we had a Venezuelan  breakfast at Frau D__'. She is so fun and so fun to talk to. We actually solved the problems of the world. Her and her daughter really would fit into the church perfectly, but who wouldn't? After that, we had to run, and when I say run, I mean sprint to the bus, which we missed. Which made us miss our train to district meeting...... first for everything right? Kind of stunk. We had made lunch for everyone, so we ended up eating it with the elders on the train. It was actually quite fun. After District meeting, we went to say goodbye to Schwester L_____. She gave me a bunch of movies in German and a HUGE winter coat. It is really nice, but I have never owned such a heavy article of clothing. Overall, saying goodbye to these people have grown to love, was one of the hardest things ever. I love them so much, and I really feel like I am part of their family.

I finally experimented making my first schnitzel. It was dang good, if I do say so. It is so easy to make. I wish I could learn how to make more of the foods I eat here. The next day was transfer day. My suitcases were so heavy..... All our Umsteigen (transfers) were a PAIN. The elders were so willing to help, until they found out just how heavy my bags were... haha. so funny. SO I got on the train at 10 in the morning, and walked into my new apartment and 10 at night. Wow. What a day. It was crazy. I was able to see Sister Garrett at the Salzburg train station, for a second, because we were having to RUN to our next train. It was extremely stressful. Let me tell you, Austrian trains are SO NICE. They were also so much faster. We were going 200km/hr once when I looked, I don’t really know if that is fast, but it’s WAY faster then the deutschebahn. The train ride was so pretty I can't get over it. I got to meet a lot of new missionaries, it was really fun, just very, very long. I met up with my companion in Wien. My new district is crazy young (mission-age wise)! Our district leader, is one transfer older than I am. I am the next oldest (tied with 2 others). Can you imagine, me one of the oldest missionaries? It’s really unusual.

Graz is very different. I cannot understand the language, and there are so many buses and trams I may never figure out how to get back to our apartment. My first day here, was extremely overwhelming. I miss Passau more than I ever would.

It was really cool, because we had a open house at the church on Saturday. It was really well put together. Afterwards, there was a concert. It was really, really cool. I enjoyed myself a bit too much. The members are very talented here. Sunday, was a bit overwhelming as well. Church was three hours, haha not used to that. I met so many people, but I only can remember one familys’ name... and that is because we went over for dinner at their haus after the baptism ( the Brook elders had a baptism, the font is in our ward building). Wow, it was a pretty car ride, the neighborhood was so cool. I am working hard on my German eating etiquette. From that eating appointment, I'm seeing it may be a bit more important here. I just can’t figure out how to use a fork in my left hand.... haha.

Well that is my week. It was crazy busy.

The song, “I will go where you want me to go,” stuck has been in my mind a lot these last few days. We sang it in church, and I felt pretty bad about my feelings towards this new area and my feelings about just not wanting to learn this "new language." Specially while singing, "Ich rede was do mich heißt reden O herr, und vie do willst so will ich sein."

During Personal study, this quote from Elder Scott stuck out to me: Scriptures can calm an agitated soul giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in ones ability to overcome challenges in life. I really like it. And it really is true. The scriptures can get us through anything, we just need to USE them!
That's all for now.

Have a wonderful week!
Liebe Grüße

Sister Regnier

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of ............Miranda (October 14)

That’s right folks, I am headed to AUSTRIA!!! ahhh. I can't believe it.
This week has been a pretty busy one, as always.

First, I would like to update you on Frau B____. We went by on her for the millionth time, and she finally was home! I don't understand how these little old ladies are always "unterwegs"(going places). Anywho, we made some American cookies, thanks for the brown sugar mom! We brought some to her and she was just loving it. When we were leaving I said enjoy the cookies, and she said, yes, yes I'll read it.... bahaha. She is so funny.

This week, the Andersons, the ehepaar (senior missionary couple) came to check our apartment. Afterwards, they took us and the elders out to lunch. It was really funny, because 3 people came up to us saying "Oh the Missionaries! Where are all of you from?" (We went to lunch in the very touristy area). It is actually really fun for people to recognize who we are.

This week’s weather was crazy. One day, its super hot, one day it's the coldest I have experienced yet. We have come home soaked to the bones multiple times. Not fun.

This week we had a finding day in Landshut. It was so fun! Last district meeting, we gave everyone a challenge to come up with ways to naturally find. So the Landshut elders made a list of 50 natural finding ideas (conversation starters) with a point value attached. We had a little competition. We would have to talk about the thing in the conversation and as long as we talk about the gospel as well, we get the point value. It was actually really fun! I had some really great conversations! I met one guy, my favorite guy ever. He was sitting on the bus, so I leaned over to him and asked him if he lived in Landshut. I then asked him where a good place to buy lederhosen is (easy 2 points). After that, this guy just went off about his life. He asked me if I happened to know Arnold Schwarzenegger-- he was so excited when I told him I came from California. He whips out a picture of him when he was younger, and a couple more. So cute. So this old man, he is a retired bus driver. So now "Just from the love of (his) heart" he rides the buses, and when someone has a walker he jumps out and helps them. How cute is he. This finding day just reminded me how much I LOVE talking to people. I really love it. Getting to know people is just the funnest thing. I am so glad the Elders put this together, because it really made our conversations stretch. We also went to a baptism in Landshut this week. That ward reached their goal for 3 new members this year!!! The ward is so excited! On the way home, I thought I saw Schwester K____, so we walked by on the train to see if it was her, but we both decided it wasn't and sat somewhere else. Then when we pull up to Passau, we see the same woman. We are awkwardly trying to get a better look at her, because I have never seen someone that looks so much like someone. Then I was kinda thinking it was her, just put on a little weight and chopped off her hair. Then we go ask if this woman needs help with her suitcase down the stairs. " Hallelujah" it was her. I don't think it sounds that funny. But trust me. I am still dying. While we were chatting, this punk kid about our age walks up and asks her if she needs help. He then walks and chats with her until the next set of stairs and helps her again. Seriously? My heart melted. It made me so happy to see someone helping someone like that. It was seriously so sweet.

So Friday morning, we got the transfer phone call. We were ready; the Passau Posse was treating it like Christmas. We didn't go all out like the elders, who slept on the couch. The elders even made us the best cinnamon rolls that I have ever eaten. We were just waiting for the call when Elder Goubler finally called and went on and on about how great Passau is (he was also born here). After that, he said that I need to pack my bags, because I am going to serve in Graz, Österreich! I will be greenie busting (A term that means being a companion with someone who just finished training) a Finnish sister! Wow, oh wow. I am very excited, who knows how this is going to work. I bet it will be interesting not having a common first language. I bet she can speak great English, but still. It will be cool. I am going from the most east area in Germany to the most east area in Austria! I am going from the smallest branch in our mission, to what I was told is the BIGGEST WARD. WHAT?! I don't even know how to do that! Everyone just keeps telling me how pretty it is. Supposedly, Wien(Vienna) has the best Christmas markets, and I most likely will be there for Christmas. Wow. I was full of excitement, until the first time the words came out of my mouth that I am leaving Passau. Ouch. This is actually turning out to be more difficult then I expected.

This week, I was asked to teach the Relief Society lesson last minute. I was really worried for it, but wow. Heavenly Father knew exactly what the schwestern (Sisters) needed. It was crazy. It was the Lorenzo Snow lesson on Missionary work. It went so wonderfully. We laughed and cried. It was perfect. It was really cool to see the spirit work through me like it did.

Another, very spiritual experience I had this week was finding M___. We decided to go visit some old untersuchers (investigators). We had just visited this guy a couple weeks prior, however, he wasn't there and we doored out the whole apartment. This time, he again wasn't there. But then I just pressed another klingel (bell). I don't know why, afterwards I actually regretted it, because we had just doored this complex. But, this one guy, klingeled (opened the gate) us in. We introduced him to the Book Of Mormon and he asked if we could come in for coffee and talk about it. We actually had to go catch a train. So we gave him a book, made an appointment for next week, and he promised to read the introduction. WOW. It was so cool. On my mission, I have never had one of those huge, go this way, knock on this house experiences. But this just happened, without me understanding. It proves to me, the Lord works in mysterious ways. It was really cool.

Well, The H___s' are taking us to Schärding today, so I don't have much time. This week will be busy full. Today I have visiting Schärding and FHE. Tuesday consists of THREE eating appointments, (I don't even know how that happened). Wednesday, District meeting. Thursday, 7 hours on the train. Woot Woot.
Have a great week!

Love you!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crowning Moment (October 7)

This week has been a thought provoking week. I have done much reflection, and then conference took it to a whole new level. Being on a mission is cool. This week I read Faust's "What I want my Son to know before he goes on his Mission." Way good!  I would HIGHLY recommend it to every missionary! On Tuesday, during our district meeting, Elder Anderson talked about the Law of Consecration. What has really stuck out to me is that this is the time that I am consecrating more that any other. There is no point to waist any of this precious time. I need to constantly ask myself if I am doing all that I can do to fully fulfill my purpose as a missionary. One thing I LOVE about having a companion 24x7 is the interesting conversations we often have. This week, we were talking about the success that our friends who are serving missions in other places throughout the world are experiencing, and how the work can be so different. Obviously, there are a lot differences. Especially when you compare to the experiences of missionaries in South American and in US. But one thing I absolutely LOVE about my mission is the relationship the missionaries have with the members. Back home, we have the ward members and then there are the missionaries. There the missionaries aren’t as integrated into the day-to-day happenings of the ward. Here the missionaries are a huge PART of the ward (and I don’t only mean because Passau Missionaries make up a third of the congregation :) ), and not just IN the ward. Our relationship with the ward members is completely different. We are really able to help the members as they tell us their trials and we participate in many facets of the ward. And this, I LOVE.

This week, we had a wonderful miracle. We had an appointment in Pocking, with our new investigator. However, when we got there, no one answered. Feeling a little sad after taking the effort to get there (an hour-long train ride) we finally concluded that out appointment wasn’t going to happen (I even knocked on the door.... I don't think they do that here....). Well, we had an hour to wait for the next train, so we decided to visit our other investigator who lives in Pocking and who we haven’t seen for a long time. I have made many trips to Pocking, and I have only reached phoneless Frau M____ once before. So my faith wasn't where it should have been. However, God decided to bless us anyway. She was there! It was amazing. She let us in and we were finally able to teach her how to pray. It was wonderful. She asked us to start are lesson with a song, "like the ones they sing in church." We didn't have our German hymnbooks on us, and didn't have any memorized. So we asked if an English would be ok. She happily agreed and said she would probably understand most of it. She loved it. She then asked us what “I am a child of God” meant. Her English is about as good as my Spanish. This elderly woman is so incredible and so cute. I can't believe how self-sufficient she is. When we were leaving she told us that our visit was the "crowning moment of her day." Good thing the Book Of Mormon uses that in the introduction or I would have been completely lost because I wouldn’t know those types of German words :)

The other lesson we had this week was with the Chinese family. Always interesting. I have SO much respect for those who give talks with a translator. It is so hard to keep your train of thought. However, the spirit was very, very strong in this lesson. It was amazing. She told us that she had prayed with her husband and explained how the spirit talks to her. She told us about how she feels when we come to visit. She compared it to how different it is from when the Jdubs visited.... :) The things she said were amazing. She already has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and she loved what we told her about the Plan of Salvation. She lives far away, and I don't know how she will get much out of church. She has a lot of faith and hopes that one day she will be able to come to church. Keep her in your prayers.

After teaching the Chinese family, there is something else I pondered. The respect and love that I have developed for this Chinese family, and even the Chinese people, its through the roof. I see a Chinese lady on the street, and I bond and I feel a Christ-like love for her. With all my exposure to Africans as a missionary, you better believe that when I see someone from Africa, I have an instant bond and love for them. It is hard to explain, but as a missionary, it has been really interesting how much my love for the people, specifically the types of people I teach, not only the German people, has grown. I seriously love people before I get to know them. I see people differently and that is something I have never really experienced prior to being a missionary. It's dang cool. I hope that makes sense.

This weekend was SO MUCH FUN!

Saturday, we left early in the morning to go to Munchen. There we had a RS conference. We had a couple of speakers, we had lunch, did a service project, and watched the RS conference session. It was so much fun. For the service project, we put together Christmas care packages. We included necessities and a toy and wrapped them up. It was AMAZING how many packages were put together. I wish I had a number, the pile was huge. We then watched the first session of conference. My favorite part was from Carole Stephens who talked ever so briefly about getting to your goals, but not missing the beautiful flowers along the way. I LOVE that. Then we slept over at the Munchen sister’s apartment. In the morning, we headed to Landshut to meet our district for a pre-conference lunch. We intended to help make lunch, while the elders were at the Priesthood session, however, our train went really really slow, and we got there over an hour late..... It was ridiculous. But Sister Anderson is the greatest and made a delicious lunch for us all. We then watched the Saturday night session and then we watched the Sunday sessions live. S___ came. he absolutely loved it. I can't count how many times he said it was such a privilege to hear from such inspired men who know just what we need to hear. He was ecstatic when we told him that it happens twice a year. haha. He really liked Holland’s talk. He is just so powerful. I really appreciated the topic he picked. I think that would be really, really helpful in some people situations and opened eyes of people in other situations. I really like that he said if we understand His love, our problems seem easier. That is the truth.

Uchtdorf's was a classic. That was wonderful. and really answered the question why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints (BZW. Kirche Jesu Christi der heiligen der letzen tage) is so great.

Another thing I really enjoyed was Maynes's talk, about how our ability to endure is parallel to our testimonies and our strength of conversion. This conversion, as Oscarson stated, is received by exercising our faith.

For sure, the "crowning moment" of conference was Ballard’s talk. I don't know how many times we will be told about hastening the work, before we, as members, realize the importance of doing missionary work! We had a meeting with our Stake President between sessions. He is the best stake president ever. He was FIRED up! We talked about how if every member could just talk to one of their hundreds of friends about the gospel, what a difference it would make.

Is inviting the missionaries over for dinner missionary work? Absolutely not, no matter how much we missionaries love it, it is not what we really want to see. Members really need to get in there and start harvesting the field. I am so pumped for the progress that I am sure our church is seeing and I hope everyone takes it upon themselves to paint the nametag on their heart. Ballard promised us as we pray, our fear will be replaced with confidence. You can even do it in your mother tongue! It is so simple, we need only to pray for help and guidance. I think the best thing you could do is this. Next time the missionaries ask if you have thought of anyone you can share the gospel with, and just reply with no we will think harder this week. Ask the missionaries to kneel down and pray with you on the spot. Ask them to pray throughout the week that you will have a missionary experience. But you yourself have to pray as well. It is so simple, to put in Ballard’s words, Go and do as the Spirit directs. WOW. If you are not as pumped as I am, go watch that video from the broadcast again, where the woman’s grocery bag breaks, and the son invites his friend to his baptism. Man oh man, yes I sound like a preacher, but this has eternal consequences! Be willing to share the gospel with those around you, and the lord WILL PREPARE A WAY because like Nephi says, "denn Ich weiss den Herr gibt den menschen kinder keine gebote ohne ihnen einen weg zu bereiten." (Nephi 3:7)

And that is all I have to say about that :) Told you this week was thought provoking.
Have a great week! Love you tons.

Sister Regnier