MEINE GUTE. This week. I hope you all are ready for some crazy stuff. But to start: transfers! Gimme a drum roll please....no really. Drum your fingers on the table. Alright! And the dönner goes to....no one! I'll be eating that later. We got the call on Saturday, and I will be staying here in Erlangen, taking on another assignment! My sick companion (the good 'sick') will be traveling cross-country, basically back to my golden city! He has been transferred to an area called Solingen! It's right next to Düsseldorf. It's pretty small, but he's stoked nonetheless, and I am for him too! He's gonna kill it up there.
I am staying here to 'golden bust'. I'm getting a companion named Elder Hobson, who was also in Elder Anderson's group, and now that he is finished being trained, it's my job to 'golden-bust' this kid! Break him into regular routine, and make sure he's ready to take on the mission and share the weight, instead of following his trainer everywhere! I hear he's a magician on the piano too, so I am stoked. When I get that camera, I'll send you all some pictures. :)
She really did call! Haha that is so awesome. Sister Sutton is an American lady here who is living with a family in our ward, the Zink's, and is doing Geneology work out here for her ancestors from Germany! She travels around collecting names and talking to people, and is a very nice lady! She asked us last night at a party at the bishop's house if she could have our mother's numbers so that she could call them with her phone that calls the states for free and tell you guys that she sees us often! I hope you do get to talk to her, she's a great lady, and not just some Amway agent who's lying about knowing your son.
Bahama Mama, answer: indeed they do! I love pfirsiche! But they don't have a very large supply of them. Almost EVERY fruit that you can buy here is imported from somewhere else, so it isn't incredible quality, and I'd kill for another peach pie, but we all gotta make sacrifices, right?
Atta girl, Syd! Just doing work for the tennis team as a sophomore, that's how it's done. I honestly have no idea how the tennis system works, so do you guys have playoffs or anything? And if you do, are you guys gonna make it? Keep killin it out there, and don't take it for granted, cause you'll miss it when it's gone! I can promise you that.
Dadskies, transfers really are a lot of fun and stress! You're excited for change, but you also don't want anything to change because of how much fun and success you've been having! With transfer calls, we get a text from the AP's the night before with a conference call number and password, then the next morning every companionship in the mission joins into this conference call where President and the AP's give some announcements, release people, call people, and then go through every area on the mission map and read off who will be serving there! I really like how they do it, and it saves Pres a lot of time! And I love the Ehepaars out here (senior couples), they are so funny and helpful. I know that if you guys every get the guts up to go (yeah, that's a challenge) that the missionaries in your area will love you guys!
Speaking of Katia, that's the story I'd like to hit for this week:
So this week was what we call "Focus Week", and as companionships we all decided to focus on one of the key indicators from the Standards of Excellence (if you don't know what that is, just ask Griff or someone, they should know!) this week and see if we could reach it. Elder Anderson and I really wanted to focus on investigators in church. So we set out this week trying to do as much as we possibly could with our investigators. We tried over and over to set something up with Katia, but she was so busy the whole week in Nürnberg, and it never really got together. So we focused on other investigators, and she kinda drifted out of our minds. Then on Sunday, she showed up with her uncle's family, and her uncle, Bru. Buchmiller asked us if we would be holding an investigator class and if he could be a joint teach for that! So we taught her the third lesson, Das Evangelium Jesu Christi, and it was really solid, and she really took it in. Then right after that, Bru. Buchmiller asked us if we wanted to come over to his house right after church for lunch and then teach Katia again! So of course we agreed, and went over after church with them for another appointment. Elder Anderson and I really have had the feeling that we needed to commit her to baptism, so we set up a lesson for after talking about the sacrament, and how that tied in with baptism, and the third lesson, and a lot of different things. I was gracefully trying to work my way into the baptismal commitment, being totally sure that's what we should do, and then Elder Anderson just went for it, and I almost bit my lip off. I was so nervous about what she was going to say, and was getting my thoughts ready to respond when she said no, and then I realized that it was kind of silent, and realized that she had said yes! She agreed to be baptized this month!!! It took me a few seconds to wipe the shocked smile off of my face and continue on with the lesson, but Elder Anderson and I couldn't hold it in after the appointment. We went crazy for a little while in the apartment, and then kneeled down to say a prayer and thank Heavenly Father for the amazing thing that just happened.
I learned so much just from that one appointment. The Lord cares, and He knows when you're doing all you can, like we were this week. I also learned that sometimes, you just gotta ask, and throw that commitment out there, like Elder Anderson did. We both had the impression, and I was taking too long second guessing it, because baptisms are such a "notoriously rare" thing out here, and he just jumped right to it, following the impression, and she said yes! Our prayers and study and fasting have not been in vain, and we cannot wait to continue working with her up to her date of September 28th, and maybe even sooner! I thank you all for any prayers in her behalf. She has come to recognize her place in our Father's perfect plan, and is eager to take her place.
I love this Gospel so much. I love the changes it makes in people. I love the opportunity I have, not to teach people, but to be the instrument in the Lord's hands through which He teaches His children. I could not be more happier to be able to stay here in Erlangen, and see the fruit of our labors, because there is so much more going on here than just Katia, even though she is a miracle. The Lord's plan is perfect, and we are all where we are, when we are, for a reason. We learn from the good, successful times, just as much as the bad, unsuccessful times, as long as we stay humble and steadfast in prayer.
I love you all so much, and I'm glad that you all had such good weeks! I love hearing about how awesome everything is going, even though I'm sad I have to miss it! Keep the good news and crazy stories coming, and I'll try to do my part from over here! We're off to the Volksfest in Nürnberg right now to see Germany at its finest, so I'll let you all know how that went next week! I love you all, especially you Mom! I'll hear from you all soon!
-- Elder McGinn