Monday, February 24, 2014

What. A. Week.

Liebe Familie,

What. A. Week.  We had transfers, and Stake Conference this week. As you know, nothing changed here in Ludwigsburg but, in my district, we have two new additions! Elder Rozan from Spain (straight from the MTC) and Elder Herzog from Wien Zone! It's really fun to have some golden power back in our district (Elder Smith here in Ludwigsburg is now done with his training) and an Elder I know from my time in Wien! Woo! 

haha so last P-day... That's a good story. Sister Powell has been having so issues with her feet, so we called up the mission nurse, got the necessary supplies and I had the blessed opportunity to care for her feet. Don't worry! I volunteered.. I didn't think we would find someone else willing haha  But, this Pday we have some workers coming to fix something in our bathroom so the only P-day like thing we're doing today is emailing ya'll!  We got permission to have the rest of our Pday on Thursday so we'll be heading to an Art Museum in Stuttgart! :)  

Also, questions about health and overall wellness.  I'm doing great! I'm fairly certain my asthma is gone, and my hip never bothers me annnd I am just happy to be here.  Sounds cliche but, God is really making everything work out so that I can just work hard here and not worry about other things! It's great! Sister P has been a little sick but, nothing too bad. She's been a trooper about the whole thing.  

Funny story from this last week, I was almost kissed by a Macedonian man.  (don't worry. I'm an expert dodger!)  

Random.  I met a lady from the Stuttgart International Ward - her aunt and uncle used to own a ranch in Meeker.  And she has a friend that used to live there too.  I don't know if you'll have heard of them, but, it was strange to meet someone who actually knew about Meeker haha.

Our investigators are doing as well as ever! I told ya'll a while about about this part member family, we've been teaching. We have an appointment with this family every Friday and we always bring a joint teach. Last minute, our joint teach fell out.  We called everyone imaginable, but, they were all busy.  We were still excited for the lesson we had planned.  We wanted to play a game with the youngest boy so that he wouldn't get bored and rowdy but, still keep the older teenagers involved. We had him be Samuel the Lamanite and everyone else were told to throw little pieces of paper at him.  It went over so well and then, the rest of the lesson, he was just ready to sit still and we were able to talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Why would so many prophets risk and, many, sacrifice their lives for a book?  If the message it contains is really worth someone's life, shouldn't we be treasuring the message they contain?  The Spirit did all the work and before we knew it, they were all agreeing to study daily in the scriptures.  Because the following day was Stake Conference, we made plans with the daughters to get ice cream together and then go to Stake Conference.  
The Saturday part of Stake Conference was so simple but, so powerful. Several new members of the church were asked to share their conversion stories.  About how they came to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is their Savior and that God has a plan for them. Then, the youth (12-18) and all the missionaries got up and sang The EFY Medley, A really really really beautiful song.  (If you don't know it, you should look it up and if you do know it, you should listen to it in German :))  Everyone was crying and the Spirit was palpable! 
Sunday Conference was also amazing. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake City, in which Sister Stephens, Elder Bednar and Elder Hales spoke.  This broadcast was specialized just for the people here in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It was incredible! All the speakers, really spoke to the needs of the people here and about the importance of family.  Making and keeping the covenants of Baptism and of marriage, a priority in our lives!  I loved it!  And, Elder Bednar, gave his talk in GERMAN! No translation needed.  He served his mission here 40 years ago or so and it was so cool to hear him speak the language of the people.  They loved it!  I think as English speakers sometimes we take for granted the blessing we have to hear from prophets and apostles first in our own tongue.  That blessing is often overlooked, but, man. It really does make a difference. 

Stake Conference was really incredible.  I felt really blessed to come away, not only with ideas on how I could help our investigators, but, also for me.  When we come to meetings with a question, whether it's a stake meeting or simply sacrament meeting. We open ourselves up to inspiration from God. I am really excited someday to go back to school, meet someone great, get married, have some adventures, kids, life!  But, there are so many things that I really need to learn before I'm ready to do any of that. It's silly, but, I had this big moment that told me why I needed to go on a mission!  So that I would be ready to weather the future.  This is really my preparation for the rest of my life.  Without my time here, I would be literally ill prepared for life after.  Not too mention there are people here I need to teach about the gospel!  So many people!  

Basically, I just love my mission. I love serving people. I love teaching people. I love depending on the Spirit. My Companions, the Lord.  And heck! I love German too! 

All in all, this week was incredible. I love serving people, making people laugh, cry and come to realize there is more to this life than what the world tells us.  I'm just really grateful to be here!

Thanks guys for all your do for me! I really appreciate it!!

Love you!
Sister Harman

Monday, February 17, 2014

An Amazing Valentine's Day!

Dear Family!

So this week. Crazy, super fast and full of finding new people! We actually did not get the chance to do family history this last week but, we will be doing it this week! So all is going well there! We have a million dinner appointments (Ludwigsburg is known for having lots of really delicious eating appointments!) The weather HAS BEEN really warm and it's been raining quite a bit as well.Still no snow though. And, (what you're really interested in all) transfer calls!

SURPRISE! I'm staying :) I was totally expecting to stay here with Sister Powell, so I'm just happy we were right! There's still loads of work for me to do here in Ludwigsburg and I'm not ready to leave yet! So with transfers, not too much is happening in my district, Elder Graver is getting Transferred to Klagenfürt in Austria, and Elder Wasden is getting a golden, and Elder Peterson is going to Vienna first Elder Duke is coming from St. Pölten to replace him. But since these Elders are in Heilbronn and Pforzheim, respectively, so it does not really affect, my work too much. All four missionaries in Ludwigsburg (including me are staying!) 

Anything fun and exciting this week? HECK YES! To start, we had an appointment load Sunday with a family that had been anonymously meeting with missionaries. We invited them to learn more about our church and very politely They DECLINED (They also Offered us Coffee, a crazy incense this stuff .. not so great for this Asthmatic! Haha). So we left the appointment quiet but hopeful, a little confused. We had really felt 'strongly that we should contact this family but, then they were not really interested. I just figured then, that meant that somebody in the general area must be super ready to accept the gospel! As we were walking back to the train station, I saw this lady with a really sweet hat - so being the friendly young lady, I told her I liked her hat. She turned around, saw my name tag, and proceeded to ask me if I taught people about Christ. I was super surprised and a little taken back I responded with the affirmative. SHE THEN ASKED ME IF I HAD TIME ON TUESDAY TO TEACH HER ABOUT OUR CHURCH. (Sorry a little crazy with the caps but, imagine this in my really excited voice). We scheduled an appointment that worked for us both. Flash forward to Tuesday morning, had a great lesson about the Restoration. Ines was getting so excited, she stopped us, pulled out her phone and called her brother, 'Come now! You've got to hear this! ' A little bit further in the lesson, she pulls out her phone again and calls a friend, 'Albert! Get over here! This is the word of God! ' Sister Powell and I just look at each other like what? Is this real? Anyways, long story short, we had an incredible lesson and all three of them wanted copies of the Book of Mormon and to learn more about our church. We set a return appointment for Valentine's Day and she asked us to bring some more Book of Mormon to give to her friends. 

February 14th. Day Friday. 9:00. Valentine's Day. On a whim, we decided to bring seven copies of the Book of Mormon with us. We sit down, start our lesson, when she stops us and asks if we could write a nice note about how we came to know God (or our testimony) and then we could go out with her to deliver all of these books. Again, Sister Powell and I exchange looks and begin writing our testimonies quickly in all books. Ines Introduces us to all her neighbors in her housing complex and we are inviting all people to come to know more about our Savior, Jesus Christ. We were able to give all these books away in about 20 minutes and she asked us to bring more when we come by next week. One thing she said just blew my mind, 'Sisters! It is Valentine's Day, a day of love. Should not we be sharing the love of God with those we love? ' (Translation but, it's pretty much the same!) I know this is a little bit of an echo of my email last week but, heck. Now I have an incredible experience to go with it. 
And an inspiring quote from one of my favorite Germans, President Uchtdorf 

"Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the  center  of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood.  Love is the healing balm did repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond did unites families, communities, and nations.  Love is the power did Initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source did over comes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire did warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. shoulderstand Love be our walk and our talk. "

Another really cool experience we had with  this part member family we've been teaching. The mother HAS BEEN inactive for about 15 years or so, the husband is American and is serving in Kuwaiit right now. None of their four children are baptized, and while the lesson was not really heart stopping this week, it's been incredible to see the progress they've been making as they just read in the scriptures, pray and make changes to come to church every week. They have not made it to church yet, but, I'm confident they'll be ready before I am transferred! The daughters are 16, 14, and 9, a little boy who is 3. Alisia and Jessica are just so ready for the gospel and when we talked about mutual, youth conferences, they were both just so excited! 

In other news, we had a day finding in Pforzheim on Saturday, Which was incredible! I looooove talking with people. I know sometimes it can be a little scary but, when you open your mouth - the Lord does make the most incredible things come out. I think I spoke my best German this past week when i was talking with random strangers. Ah! Tell Doc Bob hello for me! And if anyone else ever asks. I can not wait to report to the people of Meeker about all my dear and amazing experiences I'm having here. Basically, life is good. I'm happy, healthy, and serving the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength annnnd I love it!

It sounds so silly but, sometimes I feel like I needed to come out on a mission to show people that  totally normal, average girls quietly have a desire and the ability to serve the Lord. While sometimes it makes me nervous how much people look up to me, I've realized that what I do really HAS an impact and it can be a really positive impact. Really hit me this week that while I can not be perfect, I need to strive to be, in order to lift up those around me. Especially now that I'm considered an 'experienced sister' (do not know when that happened haha), Elders, Sisters, Young Women in our ward, investigators, members, look up to me and expect me to give an answer. I may not be a boy scout, but, I now REALLY love the motto: Be prepared! :)

Thanks for all the inspiring examples you've shown me in my life. Really. You've always been someone I could look up to for guidance, leadership, and an answer to the questions I've had. Even when you did not have the answers, you knew to direct me to my Heavenly Father and I'm just really grateful for that!

Sister Harman

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Liebe Familie! 

Happy Valentine's Day!  I know I say this every single week, but it's still true every week, this week flew by!  We had our Zone Training on Tuesday and then on Saturday our Zone Conference.  I always love getting together with all the great missionaries in our zone and learning together.  I swear, who would've known that 18-22 year olds could have such profound things to say. (Apparently, Heavenly Father :))

The lovely Sisters Harman and Powell
Something that really hit me as I was listening to the counsel given, is just how ridiculously important it is to be virtuous.  Virtue. To be clean. Worthy. Prepared. To do what is right, even when no one is watching.  It really goes right in hand with Integrity.  With that, Sister Miles talked about the importance of setting a good example. She really highlighted that it is through our example, seen and unseen, that people come to know Christ. People see us walking around with badges on everyday.  If one day, Sister Powell and I decided to leave the badges at home and go to a movie, EVERYONE WOULD NOTICE.  This world is no longer a world of anonymity. Technology has changed and made the world a much smaller place. People are watching our little lights and, while it might be easy to do, we cannot think for a second that our contribution is not noticed or important. It is important. You are important. 

President Miles then talked about the Book of Mormon. It's so simple. But, it's really true, the little things we do make a big difference. The advice to set a good example or to read every day in the Book of Mormon seem so cliche and are things we've heard million times.  But, the reason we keep hearing them, is because quite honestly, we're not doing it well enough yet.  We watched this video and man. If this doesn't make you want to read the Book of Mormon, then you might need to watch it again.

Stuttgart Zone February 2014

Fun story this week:  Got a referral from a member. Called her up, scheduled an appointment and had a super awesome lesson, where she was able to ask us all the questions, she has been having about the church but, couldn't find the appropriate setting to ask them.  She's in her 70's and is actually from Peru  (she married a German). She was a little disappointed neither of us spoke Spanish (we communicated in German). Flash forward to Sunday, asked around if there were any Spanish speakers. None. RIGHT THEN. A young guy from America walked in and said he just moved to Ludwigsburg for 6 months for an internship for Porsche.  Guess where he recently returned from? Yep! A mission in Peru! God really does put people exactly where they need to be when they need to be there! LOVE IT!

We are so lucky to have a God who loves us so much!  He gives us so much help to come unto Him! I'm so grateful to be sharing his love with others and to feel my love for others grow every day.  And while we're talking about love.... Happy Valentine's Day! Go get out there and share the love!

Sister Harman

Sister Harman's mom here:  We received pictures this week, no more pictureless posts for a while. :D  Gotta love  :D :D

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This week has been good! Just a lot of really weird experiences.

Liebe Familie!

This week has been good! Just a lot of really weird experiences.  I had an austausch with the Tübingen sisters which was awesome! I was able to work with Sister Wunderli from Hungary! She's crazy honest, absolutely hilarious and one of the hardest working Sisters I have ever met!  I had the opportunity to go work in Tübingen, which is a BEAUTIFUL college town.  There are a town of young people all studying at the University there. They didn't have any appointments set so we just walked around and talked to everyone. I set a goal for myself this last week that I would find a way to work the Restoration into my conversations faster.  I always get to the gospel in contacting but, I don't always go straight for the Restoration of the Church. Our Zone leaders kept hitting the importance of talking about what sets us apart as a church and using it when we contact.  I really liked it and decided to put it more into use. IT WORKS!  Had the chance to just talk to tons of people and here their stories. Their beliefs, faith, and really just about their lives. I love how you can ask a random stranger on the street or bus or train and, next thing you know, you're talking about the things that REALLY matter. Life. Death. Family. God. And why we are here on this Earth!   Basically, I just loved it!

Also, I'm really really really really sorry. I totally spaced bringing my cord again but, I really do promise next week you'll have pictures.  

Family History is still going great and the investigators in Wien I haven't heard a ton from.  I'm hoping to email Sister Clark this week to check up on them. Last I heard, it's going pretty well with most of them still. Although, it's been hard to get in contact with R :/  Investigators here in Ludwigsburg are just chugging along. We had a bunch of fall-out appointments this past week, which was a bummer but, the lessons we did have were SUPER great. Work with our part member families is just going better and better and ah! I'm so excited to see all these families head to the temple someday!

Cool Miracle Story!
We were going to have a finding day with our district last Saturday but, something came up with the Elders so they cancelled it last minute.  We didn't have any appointments set because we thought we would be in Heilbronn (another city in my district) so we prayed about it and felt like we needed to go visit this less active that lives literally in the middle of no where. It takes ages to get to her house so we figured that meant there was probably tons of ready people for us to find along the way! Sister Powell would sit in one area, and I would sit on the other and we just found loads of people from all walks of life, countries, and backgrounds that needed the gospel. I love how the Gospel really does have something really special for each of us.  For one guy it was the Plan of Salvation (seeing his deceased family member again), another it was knowing God loves her, another knowing that God wants us to be happy, another that we should have healthy bodies, basically 20 different people all with super conversations about some aspect of the Gospel.  

God is real! He loves us and wants us to come unto Him! Soooo let's make life easier for ourselves and get moving!

Love you!
Sister Harman