Monday, July 29, 2013

GruB euch!

Liebe Familie, 
So Hot!   39 Celsius = 103 Farenheit

Greetings from Heilbronn! So great to here from you and hear all is going well back home. We are doing great here as we finish up another week in the fields of Germany! Summer has really come into full action this last week as we hit the 100s this weekend. Well at least I think it was in the 100, we hit 40 degrees Celsius and im not quite sure what that converts into but we will just say it was hot! The thing is its not just hot outside but in public transportation as well. We were in a train Saturday coming back from Stuttgart and it felt hotter in the train than it did outside. We were dripping sweat and we were just sitting there. Its pretty unusual at least that is my thinking because during the week we received a call from the Branch Presidency saying that we will only be having Sacrament Meeting at church Sunday. It gets pretty hot in the building and with no air conditioning its uncomfortable for the members to be there 3 hours. So Saturday rolls around and we were for sure feeling it but then the strange thing is Sunday morning rolls around and it had rained the night before and it was actually cooler than we had thought. We still only had one hour of church but it was nice having it cool down after a warm weekend. Church was still really great too! We had some members from Northern Germany visit and the dad had actually served here about 30 years ago and the mom had served in Finland and so Elder Lappalainen made a new friend right away! Church is always so great, we dont have many members in this branch but you can feel the love they share with one another and its neat how they take in the new, like our new Spanish Family.
We had the opportunity to visit them this week as it was one of the boys in the family birthday and so we brought him a simple card and chocolate bar. He was so grateful for it and said to us we are his best friends. It sure has to be tough for him in this new place and we can be such a big impact in his life at this time and so we are hoping to become great friends with him and his family. It was neat to meet with them and before we left we asked if there was anything we could do for them and they said to just come to our home and teach us so we dont forget. To be in a place with a new language I can see it easy to forget things of the gospel but even as normal members with busy lives we can sometime forget the basic and main principles so its great to always refresh and renew our knowledge of the gospel. 
On Saturday, I had mentioned we went to Stuttgart and what it was is we had a meeting for the District Leaders for this next transfer, I dont believe I told you last week but this next transfer I have the opportunity to be the District Leader. It will be a humbling time to be able to learn to love and serve the other missionaries. It will be a challenging task as well but what I do know is that the Lord has a great task for all of us and a way for us to be successful. Sometimes Satan can get a hold of us and put fear into our hearts and bring our weaknesses out but how great to know that we can put him behind us as we put our trust in the Lord and know he is there and willing to help us. Just last night we were talking with an older lay, she was probably in here 60s or so and we were talking about our life on earth and how we have experiences. She asked us how old we were and we responded and then she said that we couldnt be telling her that what we were saying was true, we havent lived long enough and havent had enough experiences to really know what is true. She was right, in the fact that we were young and havent lived through alot but it was so neat as I responded back with my testimony that I knew these things to be true and I felt that the Spirit was working through me and not just letting her know that but also strengthening me in what we are teaching is the truth. It would be a lot tougher as a 19 year old going around talking to people if this wasnt true but know that this is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a great time to share this message to these people both young and old! 
I love you all, und Alles Gute! 

Hey just a fun thing for maybe kay and the rest of the fam. Elder Lappalainens brother is serving a mission too in Sweden and he is actually working with Derek day! Small world! hae a great week!

Liebe Grüße, 
Elder Jerman
Elder Lap and I near a Coca Cola factory.
 Not really German, but a fun picture of us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

He will answer back

Here we are again on a great summer day. This week has been pretty hot and next week is suppose to even get a little hotter. I am thankful for being used to the heat and growing up where the weather is pretty similar. Elder Lappalainen doesnt really have that background growing up in Finnland where the summer is just a month and a half so its been fun to see him trying to get used to the heat. We are having a good time together, he knows how to keep things fun and he is a talker so its been good. We speak in German most of the day unless we are planning or studying together and I have really seem a improvement with my German. I was a little worried at the beginning of our time together but we really know more than I thought we would and there is no way that would have been possilbe without the Lord. Just this last week we found out that we will be staying together for this next transfer. My time here in Heilbronn is not over yet, and I am grateful for it! Its been neat this last week I have been better understood my role here and what I can do to improve. As a missionary and as a member of this church I have got lots to share and that light that is in all of us can really shine to so many people. Its a neat opportunity to be here and to be figuring out my part here and what I have to share. The gospel of course but also trying to share that love with them and what the Lord has given me to share. I dont remember who said it but it was the last General Conference. He said, "We all have something special to share and as loose ourselves in service and love we find ourselves." It is so true!! 
So this week we had some ups and downs in the work. At times it was tough and at other times I was loving the ride. But you know how it goes, what goes up must come down and I glad it does or else I wouldnt learn as much from it! Wednesday we had a neat experience. So a couple weeks ago we received a referral from Chruch Headquarters and that never happends here in Germany! Its pretty rare when someone wants a visit from the missionaries and so I was so pumped to go by on him.His name is Andreas and what was neat actually is where this guy lives when he requested a missionary visit we were on the same day in his city and actually on his street! When we met with him on Wednesday he said he saw us but it was after he had made the request. Oh boy but that sure is sealing the deal if I have ever seen one. To have him see the missionaries on his street after he made out the request. So when we met on Wednesday we went on a walk with him out in the fields (he lives in a pretty small town so there is lots of fields) and he said it was Gods plan that is what caught his attention and that there is really no other church that has that. Things have happened in his life that he has thought there must be a plan for me. We are excited to work with him in the next coming weeks. 
So then Thursday rolls around and the day played out a little different. We had a less active we wanted to go by so we went to the train station but the train for some reason didnt go so we decided to take the next one and go streeting until then. So when we came back the same thing happened with that train. We didnt really have a back up plan (which was not good, always have a back up plan!) but good thing we always have people on the streets here to talk to so that is what we did but there was no one wanted to listen to us and we had been going now for a couple hours. We decided to take a little break and get an ice cream. We then said a pray that someone would listen to us and then went back to work. Almost right after we stood up and started walking a couple came up to us and said they had seen us the other day but didnt have the chance to talk to us. We then talked to them and answered some questions. They didnt have further interest but oh man it was so awesome that right after our prayer the Lord answered back. Its not always that fast but I know that he will always answer back as we ask and then get up on our feet and just do it! 
Keep on moving forward. Love you all! 
Liebe Grüße, 
Elder Jerman
Elder Lap and I by the Neckar River that runs through the city.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Every Nation!

Oh man I just love hearing from you guys and it sounds like you are keeping busy as this summer keeps on rolling. Thats something I have learned, as we keep ourselves busy with good things to do our minds are focus on those good things and we have a fun time doing it. That is something that really happened this week. It was full of great things and I cant believe it is already Monday again and I am sitting here writing a letter! But lets just get into things for this week. First off you might of noticed but I didnt have too much time to write. We had a zone Pday in Stuttgart as we had a little 4th of July party with grillin American hamburgers and then playing soccer. Oh man it was so good to run after a ball after so long! Fun time and actually today we are going to a zoo in Stuttgart with our District. But no worries, along with all the fun we are keeping up the work too. 

This last week my companion and I decided we wanted to focus more on members and less actives. We dont have too many investigators and so instead of spending a lot of time finding people we would spend a little more time with people we already have to work with, and then find along the way (the way it should be) And it has just been awesome to see the Lord really helping us out in this and I really think this is what is branch needs. A branch has got to be strong and united within themselves first before bringing new ones in because it could just be a burden. It is so important to bring new people into this great gospel but it is just as important to bring the ones back that have lost their connection. Wednesday was just the coolest day ever! It was a day that really proved to us that working with these less actives is something we need to focus on right now! We had 4 less active lessons on that day! Thats great because we usually dont get that many lessons in a week! What a great day though, and what is cool is that 2 of them wasnt even planned. One we had during the afternoon was a less active that lives pretty far out there and we had no number for her so we just went by and at first she didnt have much interest but after talking for a little bit she let us in! Thats actually the first time that has happened where we go by on a less active and they let us in in the moment! Its so great to be getting to know these less actives and to start a relationship with them and so this next week we are hoping to meet with them and make some progress with them! It would be awesome to get these less actives back and there are many that we can. We have about 120 members in this branch and only about 30 active members. How great it would be to bring the lost back to the fold?! 

Well something else exciting this week is we had a new family move into the ward. And guess where they are from? Spain! Oh man I wish you were here dad! They dont speak any German and only one of the 3 boys can speak English. On Saturday we helped them move into their new home. It was fun spending time with these 3 boys and becoming friends with them. It would be something else to move to a whole new country and a whole new language, knowing no one. There dad has been here for the last year or so in Germany and now moved his family here. What a blessings we have in the church be there for them and try and figure things out. How great is this church and the members of it, and im not just talking about here but everywhere! I thinks its great we have members scattered throughout the world. Just yesterday in church we had someone show up that wasnt from our ward. He was a member from Bulgaria and his car had broke down as he was driving back to France where he lived. He spoke English so it was fun to translate for him. And you could almost call our branch a international branch. We had Germans, Spainards, a Bulagarian, a Finnish, and an American!  So great that this gospel is all around the world and is spreading every day! Love you guys everyone and hope you have a great week! 

Liebe Grüße,
Elder Jerman
Helping a family move from Spain to Germany

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rekindeling the Fire (Sparks)

Good morning family, I hope all is well back home. We had a great week here in Heilbronn! Sounds like everyone had a good 4th of July, it was a little different here and being with a Finnish it was just another day. But it was a good day, we had an appointment with one of our few investigators. His name is Herbet and it was good oh man but he sure is a little tougher. Its hard because we only meet with him every 2-3 weeks and so its hard to make progress and he is really stuck in his ways. Its not as easy as I had thought but has you make them realize the blessing of this gospel it will be the best decision of their lives! The hard part is just getting them to that point. Last night actually we were walking home and we stopped and talk with a lady and found out she is a Jehovah Witness. There are many of them over here and a lot of them know about the Mormons which is cool because not everyone does over here. It was a good talk but she was very set in her ways and didnt want to change. I am more and more understanding how much the Lord plays in their conversion. Its really all him and the Holy Ghost and we are here as instruments. We have to leave it up to the Lord to change the hearts of the people but we have to do our part too. One night we were taking the bus home and I started talking to this lady next to me asking how her day went. She seemed a little confused why I was trying to be friendly and talk to her and it didnt seem like she wanted to talk so we kept going and then a little later she asked me, "Are you a Mormon?" She then told me she knew a Mormon once and so we got going on a good conversation and it was really cool. As we do our part the Lord will do the rest. 

Something cool that has actually been happening these last couple weeks is the blessing it is to be a missionary! Just who we are on the streets and through the city. We have had a cool experiences that people have come up to us whether it be old investigators or less actives from a different area it is just the coolest to be here and to help some people make that connection. One day we were walking and a construction worker said, "hey there goes some Nephites." We were a little confused but started talking to him and found out he was a member of the church and actually served a mission here in Heilbronn but after his mission he had fallen away. Another day we were walking and someone behind us said, "You guys are still around?" It was a former investigator and good to talk to her and help her remember the times investigating the church. One other experience is we where in Ludwigsburg train station and had 10 minutes till our train so we decided to go out and see if we could talk with someone and the first person actually came up to us and said, "Hey you are the Elders" he was a less active actually from Frankfurt and so it was good to hopefully re sparked his experience. It is so wonderful to see as we do our part the Lord will not let us fall and he will lead us to those who need the help whether new or ones who have already been apart of it. We can be here to rekindle and re sparked. 

I love you all I hope you have a good week.
Liebe Grüße,
Elder Jerman
Elder Jerman and Elder Lappalainen in Eppingen

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

from Elder Merkley's letter

Things with Elder -------  have gotten a lot better. I am SOOOO grateful that I was with Elder Jerman for the last couple of transfers, because that kid taught me all about how great service is. He would always pray that we could serve and love each other, and then he always would do little things for me, and eventually I started following his example and serving more. I was really excited to try and apply that with my new companion, and I have really been trying to serve as much as I can this week. It has really helped. I have also tried to be super patient and just try to help Elder ------ as much as possible. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

An Exciting Time

Guten Morgen meine Familie! 
Time just doesnt seem to slow down. This week went by pretty quick which is a good sign meaning we kept busy with great things to do. To start things off on Tuesday we had a exchange with the Ludwigsburgs Edlers. I went to Ludwigsburg to work with Elder Morrill. It was great to get to know a new Elder and work with him. I love learning and working with these Elders here. So great to learn from them and see how they work. So Elder Morrill and I were off for the day and fun to figure out he is from Logan and that his sister knows the King family from Hyde Park! Dont take my word on that he was going to ask today but what a small world! We had a good time teaching two lessons with some really cool investigators. The one we taught that night was really neat, we had no time to prepare before hand. He just told me that we were teaching the 2nd half of the 1st lesson and then in we went. It hit me how important it is to be prepared for anything and how important study is! The more we study and begin to understand the more confident we are in our teaching. We also met with the Ludwigsburg Sisters that day and had a little meeting of how they are going to do things there in Ludwigsburg. Just a little background we got two more Sisters in our district this last transfer so there is 8 Missionaries in our district and both Sisters and Elders in Ludwigsburg. Even though I am not serving in Ludwigsburg it was so good to listen and to be apart of that meeting because now more than ever there are more than one set of missionaries in a area and communication is so key! Wednesday we all met up in Stuttgart for district meeting and also Interviews with our Mission President. It was great to meet with him and talk about my mission. I cant believe that I have been out as long as I have, I know its not that long but this is my mission, this is it! We talked about forgetting myself and by doing so serving and thinking about others rather than myself. And that was an answer to my prayers because lately I have been worry about changing and what I will become but as we work on strengthening Christlike Attributes and think and serve others we will be changed. Its neat that as we take care of others, the Lord will take care of us. 
So to tell you a little more on how our days go and everything thing I will shine a little more light on that subject because its been a little dim. In the mornings we exercise and get ready for the day and oh I have to tell you that just today we were able to go to this park that has a court pretty similar to the one at home that has a basketball hoop and soccer goals. They have been building it ever since I first got here and they have finally finished it and this morning we got to go there! I was so excited! So then we have studies and at 10 we go out usually to go by on a potential and do contacting along the way. Come back for lunch and language study then out again to contact and potentials to go by on or less actives. Then this past week during the evening we have met with members and had member lesson. It is so great to work with them and after this broadcast we got to see yesterday in Stuttgart about member and missionary work I am pumped to get things rolling here. I hope you have gotten to see it because it is super good and so exciting to know that this work is moving forward. One thing I got out of it was the importance of love and that it is out of love we do everything. Its an invintation of love we give to other people to come unto Christ. Love is the key! Its because of love that we act upon the promptings of the Spirit! Thanks mom for the that talk this week from Elder Uchtdorfs talk, let us all learn the language of love. 
One other quick thing this week, on Saturday we had a service project in Ludwigsburg with the ward and the city. We were at a school hauling wood chips. We had 6 or 7 wheel barrows that we would haul the wood chips up the path to this other area and then come back down to load up another from this big pile of wood chips. We were going none stop and it rained the whole time so by then end we were all drenched but it was all worth it. Every little wood chip counted and the path was tough at times including rain, mud, hills and holes but at the end it was part of a project that covered the whole area and it was a great sight. Now yes its a little weird to relate us to wood chips but its gets the point across that our part counts and we count. Let us take part in this wonderful service of the Lord! 
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! Happy 4th of July! 
Liebe Grüße,
 Elder Jerman
Outstanding in a field in Schwaigern