October 25, 2010

LETTER #49 - HEIDELBERG

HI!
Things in Heidelberg are going good! Unlike Eric though I'm putting on my winter coat and not getting sun burnt at the beach. It’s about time to wave goodbye to the sun here for a while ha. ahh stupid winter. I've decided the only good thing about winter would be snowboarding. I can't currently snowboard though, which means there’s no good thing about winter. Therefore no reason to have winter! We should skip it. Just kidding that’s selfish some people like winter for some reason. Plus that would be contrary to God's plan. So there must be winter. Other then the weather getting really cold all the sudden things are good!

Aunt Moana said Danny met Elder Loynes! Well I guess it'd be Brother Loynes now ha sad. That’s way cool though, I was gonna tell them to have Danny find him there but I guess it worked out anyway! Pretty funny how things like that happen. 

So the week was cool though! Monday we went to the Family Home evening thing they have with the young single adults at the church each Sunday. A member named GianLuca invited one of his friends a few weeks ago and said she was gonna be there again that time. Well we aren't actually sure if they were friends before he invited her or not. It may have been that he was on the tram on the way to the church and just invited her to come with and she did! GianLuca is awesome like that. And she's awesome like that just to come! We scheduled an appointment for later in the week with them though, which was also awesome. The appointment was Saturday night right before the stake conference adult session. We met them there and there were already a bunch of people there getting ready for conference. So we walked around looking for a room and the only empty one was the baptismal font room! Coincidence? Nope. Ha it was cool though. 

We set up chairs in a semi circle thing in front of the font and had the lesson. It was us two Elders, GianLuca, Bianca, Franzi(another one of his friends) and a member from the Darmstadt ward. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and opened to read a part of 1 Nephi 6 and as we said what we wanted to read GianLuca started laughing and looked at Bianca. Then he pulled out his phone, went to a text and showed it to us. Basically Bianca had a question earlier in the week and read in that chapter and got an answer and was so excited she texted GianLuca and told him about it! So we just talked about that experience for her and continued. The spirit was way strong the whole time it was really cool. They are all pretty young but their desire to strengthen their faith in God is so strong! I learned and continually learning from all these people! It was pretty awesome though, then after our lesson they went and enjoyed stake conference!

Tuesday was pretty cool too. We had lots of plans to end the night and to stay busy and for some reason things weren't working out. All out appointments and plans just didn't work. So our backup plan was to go visit some members. We went by and were able to talk to them and share a lesson with them. The wife isn't a member but she sat in the whole time. It was really cool though the spirit was really strong and everyone was feeling it. There was just like this presence in the room. Hard to explain but way cool. We hadn't planned an actually lesson out with them since we had lots of other plans before them. But as I said the opening prayer I thought of something to do and after as I began that Elder White had scriptures and stuff that went perfectly with it. As we left he said he got the same impression during the prayer. It was a really cool experience and then we understood why everything earlier hadn't worked, we were supposed to visit that family that night.

We had that happen a few times this last week where all our first plans didn't work but everything led perfect to our back up plans. At first it was always kind of frustrating then at the end of the day you'd look back and realize how perfect it all went. It’s pretty amazing how God guides us in his work. It is such a blessing to be able to experience this guidance. People think going on a mission is like a '2 year sacrifice' and something we 'have' to do. I've experienced such the opposite. Serving a mission is such a blessing. Its almost like we're tricking God (...which would be bad...and also not possible. but that’s not the point). We come to do his work and serve but we're really getting all the joy. 

Like stuff back home when you agree to do something that to other person seems like you are making the sacrifice. But then you know you actually get lots from doing that. Like working a job for a few hours and getting paid a ton. You walk away feeling like you just got the better end and they got the short end of the stick. I don’t know if I'm explaining this very well ha. But that’s what I feel like sometimes. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I've talked to a lot of Elders who have had to 'sacrifice' way more then I did to serve a mission. You can see their glow and joy. They have no regrets about it. I'm not trying to make you all jealous ha I'm just saying. It’s a very humbling, amazing experience God allows us to have. How amazing it is also depends on what we put in to it. 

I think president Monson said in conference you get what you pay for. You put a lot in you get a lot back. It even says that in the scriptures. I can't remember right now exactly where but I know I read it in the Book of Mormon....maybe Doctrine and Covenants, it’s in there though! In all aspects of life though not just mission. Church each Sunday for example, you prepare yourself for it, go with the right mindset, you get lots out because you put a lot in! Or you go each Sunday because we are supposed to go, and you come back as if it wouldn't have changed anything if you hadn't of gone. We've all had Sundays where we have experienced both. But why have the later one! What’s the point of that. Obviously it’s a commandment from God. We're supposed to do it no matter what. Then why not do it willingly, joyfully, and get lots out of it. The gospel is so simple. Willingly acting is so much better. As we obey our faith is strengthened, our will to obey is then strengthened, and it keeps going. The Gospel is real. Faith is real. The blessings are real. Try it and see! I hope you've all been working on being 'of God'. Continue to do that as you continue to press forward in the Gospel. I love you! Be happy and have a good week!
Elder Puriri

October 21, 2010

LETTER #48 - HEIDELBERG

Family!!!
We had a pretty cool week this last week. I'm seeing parts of Germany that  when I got my call, I never thought I'd see! This week I was in Darmstadt and then in Karlsruhe. Darmstadt is actually the home ward from Pres. Uchtdorf, its a pretty big ward. One of the biggest in Europe actually. While I was there I was with Elder Damstedt. Its pretty funny his name is 2 letters different from the name of his city he is serving in. He has been in Germany for about 8 weeks now but also did an exchange in Germany before his mission so his German is pretty good. It was one of the more random days on my mission ha. 

After lunch we went back out and were walking to the church for an appointment and talked to a kid in his early 20s, after we had talked for a little he goes 'So I'm really interested and would like to hear more and I have time right now, do you guys want to go sit down on that bench right there?' I kind of just stood there in shock for a second and just said 'Sorry what?' and he repeated and I was like 'yea of course! Lets go sit down!' It was sweet, so we sat down, prayed and taught him about the restoration! He switched contact information with Elder Damstedt and will meet with the elders there. It was cool! Then we got up and hurried to the church. That appointment sadly fell out, so we decided to go do doors in the near. I dont know if you actually say that stuff in english but I dont feel like holding delete and going back and fixing that sentence. So went to go do doors and on the way we talked to a man who was muslim, as we were talking to him I saw a lady riding her bike towards us and so I stepped to the side to let her go by. Then she stopped right next to us and starting shaking all 3 of our hands and just said 'jesus?' and started telling us about how Jesus lives and she was kind of shouting halleluja and amen a lot. Then she started basically tearing the muslim man apart saying that she was told by Christ to be a missionary and trying to tell him how it is. We probably could have just kept walking since they were in a heated conversation about religion and it wasn't accomplishing much. But I found it kind of entertaining so I stood and just listened to her and was trying to keep from laughing. Then the man got mad said something and walked off. Then she turned to us and started telling us we need to find the truth and was telling us about a prophet she met the other day. And other miracles and stuff she has experienced. It was kind of crazy/funny/ultimately sad. Then she prayed for us right there and rode off on her bike! I dont know if she took a breath the whole time she was talking to us then she just said bye and left! I was kind of confused. 

We continued on our way to do doors at place that should have taken 15 minutes to get to but instead took 45. While doing doors we started at the top of this apartment building and worked our way down and we were about at the 3 floor now with like 8 or so behind us. Up until now we had just gotten a lot of closed doors. Then as we walked down the stairs to the 3rd floor I asked how much time we had left and Elder Damstedt said 15 minutes and that we could probably just finish the building and I said "well I hope we dont finish the building in 15 minutes." And I said a little prayer hoping that we would find someone. Then on that floor we were only able to do 3 doors! because each one wanted to hear more so we talked for a bit at the door and made out appointments for later in the week. I called the elders in Darmstadt yesterday to find out how those appointments went and they said all 3 went good and that they will continue teaching them! It was such a cool miracle. Its funny how things like that happen. 8 previous floors nothing at all, then on one floor just 3 back to back. We learn to wait and be patient and to expect that blessings and results will come.
 
Then we had this lady named Marion call us my first day here in Heidelberg and make out an appointment for Tuesday night last week. We met her at the church with a cool member there and were able to teach her. She told us that she was in a clothing store waiting in line and Hans Peter(a member here) just started talking to her and they ended up talking about the church and he gave her a Book of Mormon, invited her to read Moroni 10:3-6 and to meet with us. And she did both! Its so awesome when the members do missionary work. They always find the coolest people. We then met with Marion again Saturday night and taught her about the restoration. It was a very spiritual lesson. The Missionary Couple here was with us and Marion was way open and ready to listen. She is already very faithful and is Christian and everything. But as we taught her I could see her eyes like lighting up. From her comments and questions throughout the lesson you could see that what we were telling her was filling in holes in her beliefs and what she knows. 

The restored gospel is such a blessing. We are not left with doubts, or holes, and when we have questions we are invited to ask and seek and promised we will find. I've put it to the test continually throughout my mission and have been blessed to see that God fulfills his promises to us. I have seen many people who I've had the privilege to teach put this to the test and who have been blessed to receive the answers they were looking for. Marion is one included. At the end of the lesson we asked her if when God answers her prayers and lets her know that our message is true, if she would be baptized. And she said, yes of course. It was a really cool thing to experience. We invited her to church and she came. She loved it! In Sunday School I was sitting next to her and she was taking notes throughout the whole thing and asking me to write down the scriptures for her that were being quoted so she could read them later. She is a really cool lady.
 
I am really grateful for the people that I have been blessed to meet on my mission. I learn so much and they motivate me even more to be better. They're desire and wish to come closer to God is contagious and rubs off. In all honestly that is one of the best things we can do. To inspire others to want to come closer to God. I read a verse this morning that made me think a lot about this. Moroni 7:13 ''But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.'' We must be 'of God'. Giving others the desire to do good, to love God, and then serve him. I've always read this verse and thought about the scriptures, prayer, and other things we have to remind us to do good. Today though I thought that can mean people to! In order to invite and entice to do good continually we must do this ourselves. So my commitment to you all this week is to be 'of God'. I hope to hear how it goes!
 
The gospel of Christ is a blessing. I know because of this that God is our Heavenly Father. That he sent his son Jesus Christ to atone for us. Therefore making it possible for us to be perfect. And because God loves us and this knowledge of what Christ did is so important, it was restored to us through Joseph Smith. I am far from perfect, but I'm trying to get there, as we all are. Because of my Love for God I will try to share this message with everyone I can, and I hope you will all do the same.I love you all so much! Have a good week. Be of God, and be happy.
Elder Puriri

October 19, 2010

LETTER #47 - HEIDELBERG

Hello!!
Sorry this is coming on Tuesday! We had a meeting yesterday and moved  p-day to Tuesday, that won’t happen too often though. When it doesn't come on Monday though just know it will come later in the week.
It has been a pretty cool week though! First the pictures attached are from leaving Nordhausen Wednesday morning, it was pretty weird! Then the last picture is the first picture I took in Heidelberg, it’s a beautiful area! I'm excited to have the opportunity to serve here now. My companion is Elder White from up state New York. He's a way good Elder and it will be fun serving with him. In Heidelberg there are also sisters and a senior couple, we don’t have as much interaction though with them. We see them a couple times a week. The ward is really big though!! It’s so different from the places I've served throughout my mission. There is quite a bit of youth and families and stuff it’s really cool. 
Sunday was really good! It was the first time I've had 3 hours of church in like 7 months. Sacrament meeting was really cool though, I got to help pass the sacrament and the testimonies were all way cool. I also had the chance to get up and introduce myself and give my testimony. It was a good meeting. After church I went around meeting as many of the members as I could, I met a ton and now I have no idea who is who anymore ha. I'm going to have to look through the ward list and match names with faces and try again next Sunday. When I meet them though I shake their hand and tell them my name and then they go 'ok' and look at my name tag and get this confused look and try to read my name out loud. Then they say 'what you just said though isn't what is on your tag...' Plus in German it’s that hard 'R' and pronouncing 2 right after each other like you would have to in my name is kind of tough so they struggle while trying to read it out loud all slow. It’s kind of funny though listening to them try. Then I just have to tell them to treat the 'R's like 'D's then they get more confused and say but it says R on there. Then I have to explain about the Maori name and all. Then they say cool your dads from New Zealand, is it nice there? Then I have to say I haven't been over there yet and they say oh where to you live? And I say St. George, Utah. And they say so your Dad is from New Zealand and your mom is from Utah? And I say No My dad is from NZ and my mom is from Canada. Then they get even more confused ha. Then I have to continue explaining! This is the conversation I had at least 15 times on Sunday ha. And basically with everyone I've met throughout my mission. It’s pretty funny though. With one member on Sunday he said oh your moms from Canada with Norwegian background so that’s where you get those eyes. And I said maybe but my dad’s grandma is Samoan/Swiss so that may be as well. Then I mentioned in there somewhere about Grandpa Ahmu being Chinese then he just got confused ha. Our family history is crazy and confuses people. It is a very cool heritage though and I'm grateful for it. So yea that’s what Sunday was like!
On Saturday we met with a man named Baizai from Iran. He has a pretty insane life story. He's converted to Christianity though and talked to the missionaries on the street a few weeks ago and started asking them questions about Christ. We met the day I got here and gave him the last 3 chapters of 2 Nephi to read before we met again on Saturday. Then he called us Friday night and started telling us how important baptism is and that Nephi said this and Nephi said that ha it was way cool. Then Saturday he asked when he could be baptized like right at the start of the lesson. So we set a date as a goal with him and told him we'd help him prepare for that date. His faith in Christ is already so strong and he just wants to learn so much. He keeps asking us what he can read and what he needs to learn then he asks us to call him and ask him questions about it to make sure he understood it right. He is a pretty cool guy!
Yesterday we had a meeting and it was a really cool meeting! The spirit was so strong the whole time. I learned a ton and realized how much more I can do and what more I need to be doing. It’s kind of overwhelming to think about it all and I felt a bit inadequate. Then I thought about Luke 1:37! This scripture has helped me so much. We can't do it alone and that’s the reality of it. Nobody can do it on their own. We may try and we may think we know better but we don't and it’s as simple as that. But with Gods help we can do ANYTHING. It’s crazy to think about but really, anything. If our faith is strong enough and we are worthy and following the spirit, we can do anything according to Gods will. Things that I have realized are most important in this; first of all our motivation. Our ultimate motivation is LOVE. Next we must have the FAITH that it can be done. Then the COMMITMENT to do what’s required of us. LOVE to motivate us. FAITH that it can happen. COMMITMENT to make it happen. Then we push forward no matter what. We just have to have the faith and trust in God then when we wear out our lives in doing all we can in pushing forward in Gods work when we just can't do anymore, when we are too tired to go on, we can know with the utmost assurance that God will carry us (D&C123). We do not become discouraged because we know that where we are imperfect or inadequate, God is perfect and adequate. Where we would fail, he prevails. In Gods strength we can work miracles! I have experienced this and know that it is true. When we do our part, God will do the rest. Simple concept, so much power. I love you all! I hope you are all doing good. Find the good, push forward. Have an awesome week!
Elder Puriri

October 5, 2010

TRANSFER BRINGS CHANGE OF ADDRESS

Dear Sister Puriri,
Your wonderful son and our Elder has a new address:

Kirche Jesu Christi
Elder Puriri
Dossenheimer Landstr. 53
69121 Heidelberg
Germany

We will miss him here with us in Nordhausen, however the Lord has called him to another part of the vineyard. He has labored and worked diligently with us, and the wonderful saints in Nordhausen. They will miss him dearly. There are some Elders that truly touch the hearts of the saints they work with, and he has given his love to them through council, and messages of inspiration at church, and in their homes.
 
We will now need to track him on his website that you do for him, and will of course upon our arrival home in March next year, continue to be watchful for his work. We will miss him, and will always have him in our prayers. We will miss him for our planning lunches that we have every week as well. We would love to know when he arrives home and will be giving his homecoming address in church, and hopefully come to that meeting. Please let us know.

Sincerely
Sister Muhlestein

LETTER #46 - NORDHAUSEN

Hello family!
Conference was amazing! We haven't had a chance to hear the Sunday afternoon session yet but we might be able to tomorrow. It’s been amazing so far though. Saturday afternoon we went down to Erfurt for conference and watched the Saturday morning session. Then we stayed with the Erfurt elders for the night so we wouldn’t have to go home then come back down for conference Sunday. While we were there the zone leaders phone rang and they just had it on speaker and it was one of Presidents assistants and he said yea we just wanted to tell you guys you’re staying. None of us understood what they were talking about until we realized that was their transfer call. We totally all forgot and were thinking they would come Sunday night. Then our phone rang!
 
After 6 months and 3 weeks I'm leaving Nordhausen. I wasn't really surprised but I didn't realize how attached I've become to the city, its going to be sad to leave. I have been transferred down to Heidelberg though. It’s a little bit bigger city up in the mountains and in the south of the mission. It’s supposed to be pretty beautiful so I'm excited. My companion will be an Elder White, he is from the Hamburg mission and that’s all I know about him. It will be good though. Leave on Wednesday, its going to be weird!
 
This past week was pretty good though. We did a tausch with the Elders in Weiman on Wednesday which was pretty good. I was in Weimar with E. Goodrich. We went and taught this young couple they had found the day before. They are both early 20s studying chemistry at the University in Jena (a city close to Weimar). They had the book of Mormon for one day and had read up to 1 Nephi 14 so that was pretty sweet. They had a lot of questions about Joseph Smith though so we taught a bit about him. As we were telling about him I started talking about how he had his question and read James 1:5 then I recited it, then I was talking about the first vision and I said that to them as well in Joseph's own words. It was such a cool experience. I haven't actually memorized either of those, or so I thought. Usually we open up to both and read them with the people but we didn't have time this appointment. So I was basically just trying to tell the story and they both just came out!
 
As I was telling about Joseph Smith's first vision I said 'yea I can't remember it in his exact words right now but...' then as soon as I said then it just came out of me. I was really right about there in my sentence then I just started saying 'Ich saw gerade ├╝ber...' (The beginning in German) and the whole thing came out perfect. I felt like I wasn't even speaking. It was like I interrupted myself in mid sentence it was kind of funny. The spirit came so strongly though. It’s amazing the power that that story has.
 
As we were on the bus later I was talking to Elder Goodrich about it and told him that was the first time I've actually ever just said it like that and he didn't believe me. I've never really sat down and tried to memorize it. Elder Gassman has been memorizing it this transfer so I hear him saying it throughout the day and I guess I just learned it like that and the Holy Ghost brought it to my memory in that exact moment. It was a really cool experience.
 
At General Conference yesterday there was an investigator from Nordhausen that came down with a member. During one of the breaks Elder Gassman and I were outside and the investigator was inside with Elder Muhlestein. Then when we came back in the baptismal font was open and Elder Muhlestein, the member, and the investigator were standing in front of it. Then Elder Muhlestein tells us, yea he asked to see the baptismal font so we showed him and answered some questions he said then he asked when he could be baptized! So that was a cool miracle as well! We will begin to meet more regularly with him and help him prepare for baptism. He was a bit stand-offish to baptism before but I think the spirit of General Conference changed that!!
 
I am so grateful for these experiences we are blessed with as missionaries. It is also such an amazing blessing that we can hear from Prophets of God!! Their words are so inspired. Revelation is such a real thing and we all have access to it. God loves us and wants to help us as I have said before. Therefore he gives us ways to receive revelation from him. Now we just have to be patient and wait for the Liahona copy of General conference. Our notes will have to do until then.
 
Something that I really liked was said in the closing prayer of the Saturday morning session. The brother asked that we would be able to keep the spirit we feel during conference and be able to say 'your will I will do, and your words I will keep'. We feel such an amazing spirit during this and as Elder Holland said, we pledge anew to be better. If we work on keeping the spirit we felt we will be able to achieve this. It is not something that we can only feel 2 times a year. It can and should be a feeling that dwells with us. Motivating us to be better. We owe that to God, to our family, our friends, and to ourselves. As Elder Scott said, you become what you want to be by consistently being what you want to become. It takes a conscience and consistent effort like Sister Beck said last conference. We should be set on becoming better each day and settle for nothing less. Because really, if we are still the same at night when climbing into bed as we were that morning when climbing out of bed, what was the point of the day? I will work to keep this spirit so I can say to God 'I will do your will, and your words I will keep', and I hope that you will all do the same. Ponder in your hearts the words that were spoken to us this weekend. I love you all so much. Be happy!!
Elder Puriri