Monday, January 27, 2014

Best birthday ever!

Liebe Familie!

Vielen Dank!! The box got here last week and awww! it was so sweet - thank you!  I had a fantastic week and a wonderful birthday!  
We had a little birthday party at District Meeting this week, (joint party for Sister Powell, Elder Peterson, and I)  We made red velvet cupcakes and cookies and it was just divine! We had some really cool discussions about faith and repentance and it just really gave me a drive this week to be more faithful and more consecrated.

Sister Harman's District with President Miles, 1/14/14

Culture story for this week! For Birthdays, everyone says Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag and they give you a handshake. It's so sincere and ah. Just fills you right on up with joy!  
My birthday was really the best day ever! We woke up, opened some presents, went to church, heard some of the best talks ever! (Elder Smith gave his first talk in German!) all about the Atonement and turning to the Lord in our times of need.  It was really cool to hear our members bear testimony of the truths, we put to use everyday.  With M, this week, we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. About faith being our foundation, repentance, being cleansed by Baptism, and feeling the comfort and inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  Everytime I teach these principles, I can't help but, feel incredibly grateful for the gospel! We know we aren't alone, that someone cares, that everything will ultimately get better and ah! It's just so great! 
 After church, (filled with hugs, birthday gifts and chocolate!) we went to the Schlien's, had lunch and an awesome lesson about missionary work! (About how we can help others come to Christ!), went to a Baptism! and then went to our GML's for a birthday party! (With a non-member there!) It was so great! I've never eaten so much chocolate, cake and goodies but, it was wonderful and made for one of the best birthdays ever!

Miracle story from yesterday at the Baptism, we had an eight year old boy in our ward get baptized yesterday. M has spent the last 3 weeks or so inviting EVERYONE. His neighbors, friends, family and, basically, everyone he could. There was an incredible turn out by both members (the PV kids did a musical number) and non-members and everyone loved it. Members were standing around afterwards answering questions and introducing us to their friends and family. It reminded me of the scene from our Hastening the Work of Salvation DVD, where the child grabs the missionary's hand to introduce them to his visitors. That literally happened to me, five or six times. I feel incredibly blessed to be serving in Ludwigsburg and to have the opportunity to be doing His work!

Basically, missionary work in the best. I love serving, teaching, and loving people.

Monday, January 20, 2014

And it's Monday again!

Hellooo Everyone!

And it's Monday again!  Not quite sure where this last week has run off to, but another one is gone. Cool things from this week include (but, are not limited to): Smores, cakes, cookies, ironing, pudding, pizza, family history, families, laughing, running, more running, walking, more walking, singing, teaching, more teaching, some more teaching, gave my first talk in German, birthday party for Sister Powell, getting lost and cleaning. 

As you can see, it's been an incredible week!   We had some great success with Genealogy and working with our members. We were able to introduce this lady to Genealogy, and while we were teaching her how worked, she asked if we could tell her more about the church as well.  Safe to say, we said yes! She'll be coming every Tuesday to our Family History Center to work with us!  The coolest thing - she's a referral from a member!  Everybody has something in the gospel that really interests them. Simply find out what that is and then through that it's so easy to bring up the other things in their life that they need but, just didn't realize they needed!

M, an awesome lady, who we are working with, has been quite ill!  She has something similar to pneumonia  and with two kids has been struggling to get everything she needs to done.  So Sister Missionaries to the rescue! We went over and were able to do some ironing for her, dusting, general just cleaning and make sure everything was taken care of. The poor woman has been working so hard trying to take care of her two adorable children, that it makes getting better  A LOT MORE DIFFICULT. That being said, she's the most humble and grateful woman ever and it has been incredible to see a light come into her life as we've talked about the Savior.  He really is the only one that can know what we are going through. To know that we are not alone is the kind of knowledge that can literally change your life.  I know it's made a difference in my life, watching others gain an eternal hope.  Not the kind of hope, like hey! I'll feel better in a week or two but, the kind of hope like Hey! No matter what happens in this life - I can turn to my Heavenly Father for strength and guidance! It's this bigger perspective that I just love so much!

Umkehr: repentance. In German, the literal translation means to turn around, to return.   I love this meaning! It just goes to show that when we repent, we can turn completely away from our past mistakes and start fresh. A fresh view on our problems, our friends, ourselves, our God!  This week, while I was reading in Psalms... I think it was 30:5. Anyways, I love how it talks about in a moment, we can repent and the sin taken from us.  We may weep and struggle to overcome what we have done but, then the morning will come and it will be brighter than ever before!  Sure, our repentance might take more than a moment to really do, but, when we do what we need to do - the sun comes out!  It's morning! Fresh, beautiful and this is where our Heavenly Father wants us to be.  We were able to teach a part member family this lesson this past week and seeing the joy that comes from repentance. Heck even the idea of being totally clean again, can bring joy to anyone. So if you're not feeling totally clean, what do you need to do to get clean?  Apologize?  Pray for His forgiveness? Talk to your Bishop? Commit to leave it behind you?  Whatever it is, DO IT!  You will never regret becoming totally clean again :)

Basically, this was just a wonderful week. Doing the Lord's work and helping people come unto Christ.  I've said it before and I'm going to say it again: Missions are the best.  The chance to be serving HIM. Blows my mind.  I'm so grateful! 

Thanks for all the love and support you give me! Now get out there and brighten someone elses' day!

Love you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

New investigators, transfers, seeing my mission mama, and preaching the Gospel

Liebe Familie,

Report on health: I'm healthy! No more headaches, no cold, nothing! Just good ole normal Sister Harman.  Sister Powell, my lovely new companion, was sick yesterday however so that was a bummer! But, today she's feeling a bit better so not too shabby!

To start: This last week was crazy! Amidst helping Sister Brinck say goodbye to everyone, getting packed up and ready to go - we had some great lessons! We met with this one less active lady, who was 4 children (none are baptized). The 9 year old daughter, L, stayed for the whole lesson and just kept talking about how much she loves the church. Afterwards, we cleared it with R and next week we should be able to set a baptismal date for L! Naturally, we'll need to teach her the lessons first but, her parents agreed (Dad isn't a member) that the kids should have the right to decide what church they would like to attend!  aka L can get baptized like she wants!  :) The work is getting better and better in Ludwigsburg. We dropped alot of investigators who weren't progressing but, the Lord has really opened up the floodgates and we've been able to find loads of new investigators. It's crazy how when we just put out trust in Him how much He really does provide!!

Thursday, TRANSFER DAY!  Wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be.  It felt really weird knowing that I would be taking over this area after only six weeks, but at the same time - we both just felt so peaceful about it!  At the train station, we had a little while to wait before Sister Brinck and Drury would be leaving for Lahr so we walked over to help the missionaries heading to Wien Zone (looong train ride) get everything in.  Walking towards this massive mob of missionaries, I heard a familiar voice! Without even thinking, I took off running and tackled Sister Woods in a hug!!  I GOT TO SPEND THE ENTIRE DAY WAITING FOR SISTER POWELL WITH SISTER WOODS!!! To say, I was surprised would be an understatement. I swear that first hug, I almost cried I was so surprised/happy!  It had been 3 transfers since I'd seen her and man. It was like Christmas being able to talk, laugh, and spend time together while waiting for our new companions.  Sister Powell actually ended up missing her train so she didn't arrive with all the other missionaries.  They had to pick up a later train and so I had to spend an extra 2 hours with the Zone Leaders (Elders Moon and German) and the Bensons (cute Missionary couple!) waiting for her. It was good to be able to get to know them all a little better. We ate some cake! (To celebrate Elder Anyanwu's birthday!) And then Sister Powell and I headed back to Ludwigsburg!

Sister Powell is from Arizona, is 12 days older than me on the mission (she was fast tracked! because she knew some German already), plays cello, loves singing, laughing, eating sweets of all kinds, and, of course, preaching the gospel!  We had met twice at different Mission Leadership Councils so the get to know you talk was easy!  She's great and I'm excited to get to work with her.
Interviews with President Miles this week went great and I can't believe we'll be getting a new Mission President this Summer. That's so exciting but, also a little bit sad! I'm sure the next ones will be just as wonderful as the Miles! 

Safe to say, it's been a crazy week - new investigators, transfers, seeing my mission mama, getting lost, preaching the gospel and making delicious food! But, as always, it's been another FANTASTIC week in the mission life of Sister Harman! 

Love you all!
Sister Harman

P.S. Missions are the best!  SERVE.. just do it! 
P.P.S. Really though, it's the best!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Surprise! Early P-day, New Years and Transfers.

Liebe Familie,

So Sister Brinck had a lovely explanation for why we are emailing today and, so therefore, I am using it haha

Surprise! It's not Monday. You may be hyperventillating right now, asking yourself why on earth your daughter/granddaughter/sister/friend/etc does not appear to be following the rules . . . but chances are, you're not. So, we realized approximately Tuesday that Monday the 6th is a holiday in the grand old Staat of Baden-Würtenburg (Three Kings Day, in case you were wondering) and Germans take their holidays quite seriously meaning that all of the grocery stores and internet shops will be closed. Which meant that we had to find a new day for our P-Day. Yay. We talked over the options, then talked to the Zone Leaders, then moved our P-Day to Saturday, deciding it would be better to surprise our mothers with an early e-mail instead of letting them think we'd died for two days.

With that cleared up! It's been a marvelous five days haha New Years' was absolutely incredible! We had the opportunity to spend it with some of the best members in Germany! The S family and the K family.  These two lovely families welcomed us with open arms and fed us some of the most delicious food ever. Raclette. Google it.  It's this delicious grilled cheese (like literally grilled cheese sans bread) and whatever you would like to put in.  Then the night followed with loads of games (you can imagine how happy that made me) and, to finish off the night, FIREWORKS! Not just little sparklers, more like the entire night sky bursting with color. Every direction is lit with shades of blue, green, red or white.  It was literally magical.   As soon as the clock strikes 12, every one (literally everyone) is out on the streets, setting off fireworks.  Since missionaries aren't allowed to light them - we just stood and watched but, it was so amazing that it didn't even matter.  I looked over at Sister Brinck and she was teary eyed. Ah. Made me so sad to think we only get one Silvester here in Germany! I guess I'll just have to come back to enjoy others :)

This week has been a week of miracles. This past week, I sat down and decided I needed to set some goals for this next year.  So during Personal Study, I took some time and decided what I wanted to be like in 6 months and how I was going to get there. Goals Set. Plans made. Then we did what any missionary would do - we went to work! 7 New investigators later, it's been a good week!  It's been really cool to see God's hand in our week, especially as we just went out and did exactly what we had prayerfully decided to do.  Especially, with the New Year still fresh, take some time and set some goals. Make them specific, realistic, and something you actually want.  Then figure out how to reach these goals, and wha-la! You're ready to start acting and making progress toward your new goals! :)  

I'm sure the part everyone is really waiting for..... transfer calls.  Surprise! I'm staying ;)  Sister Brinck will be headed to Lahr to work with Sister Drury and Sister Powell (currently, an STL in Salzburg) will be coming to Ludwigsburg to work with me! I met Sis. Powell before at Mission Leadership Council and I thought she was hilarious! I really hoped that we would be able to work together someday annnnd BAM! We'll be tearing up Ludwigsburg together :)  More details on her later (Transfers are on Thursday and it'll be back to normal Monday P-days so you'll hear from me again in little over a week!)  

Other than that, this has been the fastest transfer of my life, I've never eaten so much chocolate in my life, and I really love being a missionary.  

Love you all and have a great week!

Sister Harman