Schon wieder? Menschenskinder, Montag kommt schnell. Frodo, you.....
Hey! It's good to see you're all still alive and well (except you, Dad, but you'll overcome it, just like every other hindrance in your life that you have passed with flawless grace.) I honestly wasn't sure if we were gonna live through New Year's Eve over here, the city exploded at midnight, and didn't die down for a solid three hours. The city was just littered with fireworks like I've never seen. Alcohol, fireworks, cigarettes. Good combination. It sounds like you guys had fun! And now life is back, and Mom's vacation begins. :)
In regards to the package, I apologize, it just costs so bloody much to send a package sometimes, so I had to keep it really light and scarce, but I thought I'd tried to show you kinda what Germany has to offer in a tiny sample. The sock-ties are for whomever, every elder out here has like 10. I'll get around to sending better gifts later, when it isn't so expensive around the holiday season!
Transfers happened! But this time, I'm not leaving, Elder Shively is, and someone new, Elder Colson, is coming to me. I hate to see Elder Shively go, we only had one cycle together, and it was way too short. But the success in Karlsruhe is taking off right now, so I'm excited to get a new companion and get him right into the action!
Things are going swimmingly..? That just jumped in my head, but I don't know if we really say that in English...? But they are! Elder Shively and I have seen miracles happen this last cycle, and they're continuing! Herr Döschner is progressing towards his taufdatum on the 25th, and we're meeting with him tonight to see how he is doing. We have three other investigators with whom we want to set baptismal dates this week, if everything goes according to plan! One, David, has been on vacation the last three weeks, so we're excited and just waiting to finally meet with him again, because he was making really solid progress. The other two, Saidu and Wojtek, are also looking very promising, and we feel good about them.
We also found a way solid new investigator this last week! She was an old referral on our referral manager website that hadn't ever been contacted, so we gave it a try, called her up, and right away set up an appointment in a cafe! We met her this last week, and had a way good discussion, and then found out she really wants to learn English! She is Hungarian, and she teaches school here in Germany, and always hears the kids speaking it, and when she heard we teach English, she wanted to pay us and bring us to her house to meet and teach her husband and kid too! We told her we do it for free, which made her even happier. And the best part is, is our Ward Mission Leader is also Hungarian, and speaks fluent English, and so we will be bringing him along to speak Hungarian with her, also teach English, AND help introduce the Church a little more! We're really stoked to see where this is headed. :)
We also had another super cool "Erfahrung" this week with Saidu. He was way busy over the Christmas break, but was excited to meet with us again. So we got to his apartment and asked him how his reading assignment went (2 Nephi 2 and Alma 42, because we were going to teach the Plan of Salvation this time). He began giving us a perfect summary of the chapters, and told us that he had read them both multiple times, just because they were so rich and deep. He then said that while he was reading about God being a God of Justice, he thought about past mistakes he has made in his life, and knew that if he wanted to be happier, he had to start being better. He then had a very strong impression to stop drinking alcohol. He doesn't drink hardcore, but he drinks every now and then nonetheless. We hadn't even mentioned the Word of Wisdom up to this point, and he has already quit his bad substance habits. We then had a really solid 2nd lesson about the Plan of Salvation, and at the end I asked him if he had any questions for us. He said, "Yes, actually. How did you do that..?" I thought Shively was doing a magic trick or something that I couldn't see, but he looked just as confused back at me as I did at him. I asked him what he meant, and he went on to explain that the night before, there was a documentary on the TV about people who had had "death" experiences, and saw the other side. They all talked about this place they referred to as " a kind of paradise", "peaceful", "so wonderful", and so on. He thought it was a way interesting documentary, and it really got his mind going about it. Then we came the next day, and suddenly started talking about the exact things and answering the questions that this documentary had had. He told us he knew this was a sign of the Lord's hand in his life, and that the Lord was showing him that what we were teaching was true. Shively and I could barely believe it! It was such an incredible experience, and he is progressing so fast.
Well, I think that's enough about myself! We have to catch a train to Döschner's pretty soon, so I better start wrapping up. But I hope you all know that I love you! I'm so excited for this new year. Everyone needs the chance every once in a while to get a fresh start, or go at things from a new angle. I recommend you guys look up President Uchtdorf's "The Best Time to Plant a Tree" talk on lds.org, about the new year. There are so many opportunities before every single one of you, you just need to go out and get them. Make this the year you accomplish whatever you had in mind! Like it says in the scriptures, we were made to either act or be acted upon. To act is much better, I think. :) The Church is true! Always was, always is, always will be. I love it, and I love this time as a missionary.
I hope you guys are having the best new year already! Dad, you get better and keep cheering for the Y, even though they're...the Y, Syd, keep going hard on the homework, and take the occasional The Chocolate breaks when your head might explode, and don't wreck my car. Mutti, just know I love you, and enjoy getting back to the usual schedule. :) I love you all, and I'll see you all soon!
-- Elder McGinn