Apparently when it's "Karneval" time here in Germany, nobody says Hallo anymore, and goes to crazy stuff like Alaaaf! or Helau! or Narri Narro! So I figured I'd share the love. :)
You guys had a killer week! Birthdays, baptisms, movies, and Mom's regular weekend sleep schedule. :) That's so awesome to hear about Paxton! That made my day. What an example he is. He now has something that so many people in the world don't have, and if they knew what it was, wish they had it as well! That makes me way happy to hear. :)
I haven't gotten my package yet, but we haven't had a zone meeting in a while! Our next one is a Zone Training Meeting in Heidelberg on the 11th, so I should get it there! I'm looking forward to it more than you realize. :) Thanks Mom!
No way is a Stockton here in Karlsruhe!? I have to find this team. If that's not a referral, then I don't know what is! Consider it done. :)
There's only one problem about finding him this week: ever since last Thursday and up through this week, it is Karneval/Fasching/Fastnacht time, it totally depends on where you are to find out what you call it. But it's the same thing everywhere. People dress up in crazy costumes, there are parades, plenty of drinking and smoking and loud music, confetti, and parties everywhere. It's a fun time, but can be pretty sketchy for missionaries! We got a text last Thursday from the AP's telling us that if we have something we could do inside that would be productive, to stay inside and do that, and to be indoors before dark! There's a Karneval tradition of wearing ties, and girls will cut them off with scissors and kiss you...know of anyone who wears ties a lot, every day to be exact..? Uh oh. So we missionaries are the ideal target. So it's recommended that we either always wear really ugly ties, avoid the city, or don't wear proselyting clothes until the parties are over! So it's been a week to remember! Plenty of oompa loompas, lions, tigers, bears, oh my!'s, jack sparrows, and everything else you can imagine. We're actually going to a parade with members right after this, but not in missionary clothes, so that we can blend in. So naturally, it's been a slower week! But it definitely still had its moments.
This week we met with a part member family named the Ammersbachs. Sister Ammersbach is from Venezuela and is a member, but Bruder Ammersbach, the German, is not. They have two little kids, Veronica and Kevin, who are 6 and 3. Kevin has been really sick lately, so they called us and asked if we could give him a blessing. It was such an incredible experience. I love having opportunities to exercise priesthood power. With Bruder Ammersbach not being a member, it was a powerful experience to have the power of the priesthood in their home, and we all could feel it. Bruder Ammersbach has been coming with his family to church for 10 years, but has never really felt the need to be baptized. But a change has started in him as his daughter gets closer to 8 years old and being baptized, and being able to witness the power of the priesthood on his young boy. He's beginning to notice how important this church may actually be to make his family the happiest, and we are ready and waiting for when he decides to learn more. But until then, we can't force him, and we won't complain about coming over each time to eat a new Venezuelan dish. :)
I really am so grateful for the priesthood. Sometimes it isn't recognized for the literal power it is, and we as priesthood holders take it for granted. There's a Mormon message I love called "Lightning Strikes" by Jeffrey R. Holland which I'm sure you all have seen or heard, which describes the power of the priesthood amazingly. I hope we all live worthily to be a vessel of the Lord in someone's time of need. The ratio of people who have the priesthood compared to those who don't is quite overwhelming, and shows us how important and rare we are, and how much we are needed in this world. Don't take your priesthood for granted. You never know when you may need it, or especially when someone else might. I love this church. We literally have the authority of God on the earth today which separates us from the world and sets us as a beacon and a lighthouse to wave tossed ships. Don't shy away from your calling and from your covenants, because there is always someone who needs you and watches you.
Jesus Christus lebt und liebt uns. Er, in alle Wirklichkeit, führt diese Kirche heute. Die Schlüsseln der Reich Gottes sind auf Erde, und der Pfad zurück zu unserem Vater im Himmel ist klar und deutlich. Ich habe euch alle lieb, und wünsche euch eine schöne woche. :) Ich liebe dich, Mutter!
** Jesus Christ lives and loves us. He, in all reality, leads this church today. The keys of the kingdom of God are on earth, and the path back to our Father in Heaven is clear. I love you all dearly, and wish you a nice week. :) I love you, Mother!
-- Elder McGinn