Monday, June 24, 2013


Meine Familie! 

We meet once again after a week full of just about everything and I mean that in a missionary kind of way. Its crazy how time flies and you wonder where it goes. The time has gone by but the experience are left still to be shared to and remembered. I love be able to write to you and remember the week I just lived as a missionary here in Heilbronn Germany. Heilbronn is quite the place and being my first city I dont really know what else is out there but I have heard there are prettier places. Dont get me wrong I love Heilbronn but its been fun to talked to people who have traveled a little more than me and then have them asked what am I doing in Heilbronn? And why Heilbronn? One night we were at the train station waiting for our bus to take home and there was a group of people close by and they saw us and one yelled out to us in English. I was curious how he knew English so we starting talking and then they got on the same bus as us. We talked some more and he asked me if I liked Heilbronn and I responded that I did and he was pretty surprised! It was just a good time to speak in English and know whats going on the whole time. Actually sometimes its weird to speak English, for instance when we are streeting and someone says that they cant speak German so we start talking to them in English and at times I have a difficult time because I am used to German mode and have to really concentrate to switch back to English mode. Other times its totally the opposite when I speak in German and the person says in German that they cant speak English. Pronunciation here is really big and they can usually tell right off that you are not from around here. It can be hard at times for them to understand and it is an important part of speaking the language but at the same time it can be a good way to tying it into why I am here and what I am doing! Oh how great the many and simple blessings we receive from the Lord to help us out in this work. 
I know for sure we could not be doing this without the help of the Lord. Especially us two young Elders who doesn't have a lot of experience and so are relying a lot on the Lord. I am learning twice as fast now without having a trainer which knows just about everything and you can just follow around. Every moment is a learning moment here in Heilbronn and its really a blessing for us. Even in the small things, for instance this last week we forgot for a couple nights in a row to charge our phone and so one day it died on us. I thought no biggy, we would just charged it that night and have it ready for the next day. Well it didnt quite work out that way. The next morning we turned it on and it asked for our PIN number. I had no idea what it was and so we went a day and a half without having a phone! Oh man and how important is it for us to have our phone, I didnt realized how much we used it until we were without it! On that note I have heard that for missionaries they are getting new technology or something to use, our mission president sent us a letter today telling us about it and just told us to "keep doing what we are doing" for now and we will get more instructions in the near future. But crazy how this work is moving forward as the world does! But its just what we need, it will be great if we can start using these things daily! But back to realizing things we use so much until we are without them. We had a really neat opportunity this week to visit a member of our ward who is in the hospital. He has just recently gone blind and it was a very moving experience to sit and talk with him. He is such a loving man and has a great faith in Jesus Christ. Walking out of there I realized how blessed we are with so many things that most of the time we dont even remember. Also that how important it is to keep our faith even through times of struggle. This member told us that through this experience his faith has grown and his love for his Savior has grown. What a great example of humility. He could be complaining about his situation but instead saying that his faith is still growing in the Lord even at his older age. Faith really is the base of everything and not just faith but faith in Jesus Christ and its through that faith that we hope even in times of hardness. He really does bless us as we endure to the end and I mean the very end. Just yesterday we had a little more time until we had to be home and so we decided to walk home from bahnhof and talk to people on the way. We werent having any luck and no one was wanting to talk. We were almost home and actually had a really good talk with a younger coulple who were pretty interested about what a Finnish and an American where doing here but not too interested in what we had to say. Then we had one more street to cross until we were to home and we saw one last guy, he was pretty young and we were just about late but I decided to talk to him anyway. At first he wasnt too interested but as we kept talking and brought up the Book of Mormon he got a little more interested and by the end he took the book and said he will read it. We took down his contact info it will be great to meet with him again! Talking about the Book of Mormon we had a lesson this week with a women that had a friend that had talked about the Book of Mormon before and she was interested in having one and reading it. We had never had the opportunity before and then we meet her and gave her one and had a lesson with her! It was great and the Book of Mormon is such a big part of what we do. Through it and the Spirit of the Lord is how everyone and I mean EVERYONE can receive their own answers to their prayers and their own answers that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he through the power of God translated the Book of Mormon. This is the truth and it always will be the truth. I love you all and wish you a good week. 
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Jerman
Mosbach - drinking water on hot day

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Time of Change

What a great time of year! Over here in Germany we have made it out of the cold rainy weather and into summer. Even though I think we havent seen the last of the rain but so nice to be able to wear short sleve shorts! This week has been quite the week! A lot of great things happened and things are looking good for the future! I will start off with our 2 trips to Münich this week. We had one Tuesday and one Thursday. Tuesday the missionaries in Stuttgart, Münich, and Salzburg Zones had to oppourtunity to met and hear from Elder Russell M. Nielson. Id say we are pretty lucky having the mission präsidents wife as the daughter of an Apostle. So neat to be with him and have him talk and answer questions we had. It was a great time and what made it quite the story is that the train we were taking to Münich pretty much died I guess you could say so we had a delay and had to work to be towed and it took over an hour more than we expected but we finally got there and walked in late but luckily he hadnt spoken yet. As he got up to spake he said he was grateful that the missionaries from the wounded train from Stuttgart arrived safely. Then he said that we would need to take another picture as a group again because we missed the one at the beginning before the meeting. So afterwards we took and picture and then the missinoaries from the Stuttgart zone got to shake his hand. (since we hadnt before like the others) We got in a line and he came by and shook our hands, just going from one to the next. He came to me and shook my hand and I felt like I needed to say something so I just said, "Hello!" He stopped and looked at my name tag and asked who my parents were and I told him, then he asked if I was related to the Stringham Family. I said yes and he said that he loved that family, and then he moved right along! So neat to have a little talk with an apostle and talk about family which is so important in this gospel! 
Sister Nelson, Elder Russel M Nelson, Sister Brenda Nelson Miles and Pres. Miles

Missionaries with Elder Russel M. Nelson

Our trip Thursday to Münich was transfer day! Pretty weird Thursday morning packing Elder Merkly up and leaving for the last time after 8 months for him being here. But getting to Münich at the train station was great to see new missionaries fresh from the MTC having no idea whats going on and then also seeing my new companion Elder Lappalainen! And how great it was seeing him again since the MTC! Its pretty rare to work with someone you actually know beforehand! We really we get to use that as a strength as our relationship grows! We rode back into Heilbronn and dropped off his things and then went out to work. We didnt have an appointment and so we just talked to people on the street. Elder Lappalainens german is very similar to mine. We are about the same level but since he has been in Switzerland he knows a little Switzer-Deutsch. It sure is different being here in Europe surrounded by them and now having a European companion. It sure has it ups and downs. One really fun thing about it is when we talk to the people and they say that our church is only a American church Elder Lappalainen perks up and tells them he is from Finland! It is a little different though not being with an American who is many ways are very similar but how great it will be at this time on my mission to learn and to grow from a Finnish. The Lord really does know what companions and what area we need to become who he knows we can become. And who knows I might even become fluent in Finnsih as well! (Dont count on it though Finnish is 10 times harder than Deutsch) 
I do know that the Lord really does have things instore for us to experience. These last few days has been quite a change going from my trainer who knew a lot about missionary work and leading the way and now to having a companion who knows just about the same as you and trying to do what we as missionaries are to do. It is hard work but the Lord really will bless us as we try our best and take on the challenges he gives us. As we use the teaching of Christ when we have trials set in our paths I really believe that is when we become like Him and learn of his love for us. We can change for the better with the trials the Lord gives us. With that in mind I am ready excited and a little scared but I know this is what I need to become the instrument in the Lords work he knows I can become. 
Right now we are trying to find people that are ready to hear this great and wonderful message. Days can get long and seem tough but as we keep going and not give up, I know the Lord will bless us with people to teach! And with the Spirit leading the way I know we will find them. Hope you have a great week and I love you very much. Let us all be part of this great work! 
Liebe Grüße, 
Elder Jerman

Happy Fathers Day Dad! Not sure exactly when it is here in Germany but hope you had a great day yesterday back in the States! 
Munchen, Hauptbahnhof
New companion, Elder Lappalainen from Finland

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Message for Everyone!

Meine Familie!
Ah another great week in the work has come by and what a week it has been. There has been quite a bit that has happened and some new changes that will be taking place this next week. Lets see how will I can spell this all out, I will do my best. Okay I think I will start out with the biggest news going around which is transfers. These last 12 weeks (my first 12 weeks) we have been doing the training program and this last week was the last week of the training. We received transfer calls on Friday morning, before hand we were pretty sure Elder Merkley was going to leave the area because he has been here for 8 months now and that is pretty rare for one area. We didnt know what to expect and then the call came and we received what will be happening for at least the next 6 weeks. Elder Merkley will be going to Passau and will be training once again. I am going to stay here in Heilbronn and receive a new Elder. Elder Lappalainen is his name and what is crazy is he was in the same MTC district as me!! We know each other! I mean, this is just crazy! Transfer will be this Thursday and then we will go to work as two very young missionaries! Ah I am so excited and pumped up! It sure will be tough at times with the language and not knowing everything aobut missionary work but as we rely on the strength of the Lord I know we will learn and grow together. It will be a great time, a time of faith testing!
It has been a great time these last 12 weeks to work with Elder Merkley. He has taught me a lot and cant wait to put it to work as he moves on. He is really good at street contacting and I have learned a lot from him in that area and so it will be great to see how it goes without him. It has also just been so fun to learn from him and listen to what he has to say. He has a lot of good knowledge aobut the gospel and also about missionary work. Sometimes in companion study I set back and just love to take in all what he is saying and wish everyone could here what he is saying. Things like member work, finding and teachig. Just a very wise missionary. Our relationship has grown through the weeks and we have had a good time with another telling stories and really becoming friends. It will be sad to see him go but good as well to start new. Change is always good. 
Yesterday we had Stake Conference in Stuttgart and the Stake Präsident was tallking about change and how we need to change from good to better to the best. If we want to change we cant just be putting in the same input. We will get out what we put in. We need to change if we want a different output, a better output! We also had a 70ty there that talked to us. It was fun to have him speak in English and then have a translator translate. (Good German practice) But he had a really good message of drilling and how we have been given the area to drill to find that pure and beautiful water and that we cant give up on our drilling to quench our thirst and receive that water (or answer to a prayer) Keep drilling and we will be blessed! It was a great time to be with so many members gathered all together. 
Kind of a neat short miracle story was Saturday we had a finding day in Ludwigsburg and while we were going around talking with people someone said, "Hey Elders!" That hardly ever happens because so few people know about us, a lot of people think we are Jehovah's Witnesses. But anyways we went and talked to him and found out he was a less active and hasnt been to church for quite some time, we invited him to come to the Stake Conference and he did! Just neat to know that we can always be helping people in their lives. Something to go along with that this week was I really understood how cool it really is that no matter where you are in the world you can impact the lives of others because of the message of Jesus Christ we have to share. One day this week we wanted to go by on a less active, we had the name of the dorf (small city) but werent quite sure where it was. We took the S-bahn to one city and then a bus to the dorf and there we found out it was in a dorf inside the dorf. So we are talking about a very small dorf! We had to walk there and it was about a 2 mile walk but we were determined to visit this less active. And good thing we are in Germany because the walk was so pretty with the fields of Germany surrounding you! We finally got there and visited her but she had no interest with the church right now which was a bummer but then we went around to door. Someone was working in their garten and saw us waiting at their neighbors doorstep. She asked us if we were looking for "Familie so and so" we told her we were just going around sharing a message and she was interested so let us in and we had a good long talk with her and her husband. While we were there I just lot to myself how crazy it was that we were here in a dorf of a dorf talking about Jesus Christ and his gospel. Its so great to know this gospel really is for everyone! 
Im afraid thats all the time I have for this week, I love you guys and hope you have a great week! 
Especially you Alicia, Happy Birthday! Herzlich Glücklwunsch zum Gerburtstag! 
Liebe Güße,
Elder Jerman

June 6, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

from Elder Merkley's letter

Elder Merkley
We found three new investigators, which was pretty great. Elder Jerman and I have actually been finding a lot of investigators.
We are seeing SOOO many new missionaries coming in! They have been putting a second set of missionaries into a 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Good Week

Yet another week has gone by, and a good one for that! Fun to hear your summer is starting and you are enjoying the sun! We are not quite there yet with the whole sun shinning thing. The last couple days I have still worn my coat and scarf beacause it has been raining and it has been raining a lot! There is a river in the area and it is pretty dang high! But a coat in June? I have never heard of such a thing! Well I think we are just aobut to summer here and I sure hope so! 
This week we had another exchanged was again in our area, we had a good time and actually found too new investigators! It was really actually because we had some people we wanted to go by on and we got off the bus and started walking to one of them but I thought we should visit another first and it worked out perfect he was just getting off work and he let us in and had a great lesson. He is actually a former investigator in the area book we found that hasnt been with the missionaries for two yeatrs but now we are meeting with him and his girlfriend! The Lord really does lead us to the ones that are ready we just have to be ready and willing to listen. 
We found another investigator this week as well and have met with him twice already and that is hard to get sometimes in one week.I think it is so great to have this opportunity to be able to meet with so many different people from so many different back grounds both religious and language. Its pretty cool to be involved with both of them every dayand try and communicate in both ways. Its probably  two of thebiggest things differences we have in this world. 
One day on the bus I was talking ot this one lady who is from Turkey and she has been here for 33 years but you could tell her German wasnt the best. Its interesting to see people here that cant speak that well just because they dont speak it . Youd be surprised, when we were talking I would say we were just about on the same level of German. It was so fun thou to be talking with a foreigner and I being one too but we were talking the same language in a country not of our owns. This week we also met a 91 year old man that isnt interested in the church or anything but it was pretty´neat to meet him and for a little bit talk about his life and what he has lived through. We can learn so much from the people around us, everyone has a story and everyone has something to share. We all have the Light in Christ in us and he is counting us on showing that light to the ones around us. We cant take on the whole world but we an take that first step and serve the ones that do cross our path. I also have been learning aobut agency this week and how we have all have been given talents and the gift to chose and act for ourselves and I know as we work hard and fill our lif´ves with good things our talents will grow as we grow and we will help others along the way as well which Our Heavenly Father wants. Make your decision and go for it! LOve you all and have a wonderful summy week!
Elder Jerman