February 25, 2014 from Wilhelmshaven

Moin!

This is my first email from Wilhelmshaven. It is a nice little town in Northwest Germany with a large bay and a port. My companion is Elder Matthews from South Jordan, Utah. He has been out about a year. I’d best start from the begining. I was born in California in… Just kidding. I am just going to start from Tuesday morning when I left the MTC.
It was cold and dark as we left behind the world we knew and began our journey into the unknown. Which happens to be quite accurate. Sorry, I will move more quickly. We got on the plane at the SLC airport and then flew to Minneanapolis and from there to Amsterdam and then on to Berlin. I think I slept a total of 4 hours the entire time, so the first day was rough and pretty much a blur. I went finding with one of the four assistants named Elder Nelson. We found a guy named Nicholas and gave him a Book of Mormon. Elder Nelson did most of the talking, so it wasn’t too scary.
Wednesday night we stayed in a Hotel and got to sleep from 6pm until 10:30am the next day.(Germany does military time.) We then had to rush down stairs to eat breakfast before Sister Kosak showed up with the van at 11. I must have been really tired or something because the person running the breakfast bar didn’t understand me when I asked for water. You can probably tell in my picture on the blog. (http://germanyberlinmission2012-15.blogspot.com)
The train ride to Wilhelmshaven took the whole day on Thursday, so we didn’t do any work until Friday which was also our district meeting and weekly planning day. We ended up having only three hours or so to work, so we decided to contact a couple people and do some street contacting and tracting. We didn’t end up finding anyone and the people we went to meet with didn’t answer their door.
Saturday was District conference in Oldenburg, so we only had a couple hours in the morning to do work. We had planned on going to the Hohe schule (college) nearby to do finding, but on the way we had the feeling to drop by Herr R’s. Herr R is an older man maybe 50 or 60 that lives near our apartment. His wife recently passed away and he lives alone. He was a sailor for a long time and was always traveling around. He has been to parts of the world I have never heard of and speaks a little of 5 or 6 languages. We went to his apartment, and he was home which apparently a rare thing. We talked about prayer and told him that he could pray about the things we say (the elders taught the plan of salvation before I got here). He kept telling us that he doesn’t believe in God; he only believes in what he can see or feel for himself. He prayed once for help for his wife while she was sick, but she still passed away. Because of that, he says that he is done with God. After we left his house, it was time for the conference so we headed for the train. It was really interesting. One of the members of the mission presidency spoke about how members and missionaries need to work together. The buses don’t run early enough for us to have gone home and come back for the Sunday session so we stayed with the zone leaders in Oldenburg.
The next morning Elder Bednar and Elder Hales spoke. It was cool because Elder Bednar spoke German. Unfortunately, I was still under the effects of jet lag so I fell asleep during Elder Hales’ talk. Sorry Elder Hales. The Porters, a married couple that works with the ward, gave us a ride back to Wilhelmshaven after the meeting. When we were getting ready to go out to work, we both had the feeling that we should go visit Herr R again. We went by and just talked with him and he really opened up. We found out that he has been feeling really lonely and wants people that he can talk to and that will be his friends. After about twenty minutes he looks at us and said “I’d like to go to church with you. What time is the service?” I wasn’t sure if I had heard him correctly at first, but that was what he had said. After we told him when and where the meeting was, he showed us around his apartment. He told us stories about his uncle that served in the first world war and how his family has been in the navy for a long time. He is really an amazing man. We had a Skype appointment so we said goodbye and went to the Porters’ house to get ready for that. Our meeting was with Jan. He lives on an island north of Wilhelmshaven, so we got permission from the mission president to skype with him. We taught him the basic restoration, and he wanted to know more. He said that he could meet with us in Wilhelmshaven this week so that he could get a Book of Mormon to read. We are meeting him tomorrow at the church building, and we are going to give him the tour and a Book of Mormon.
It has been really amazing to see how much God will do when you choose to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I have seen in just the last couple days how much God with lead us when we are faithful.
I almost forgot. I had my first döner today. It was actually a dürüm. It was huge, and I only got about halfway through it. I am actually still full and I ate about four hours ago.
Thank you so much for all of your support and love. Bis nächste Montag.
Auf wiedersehen!!
J with doner
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