January 3, 2011


Hello hello,
It’s a brand new year! This last week was pretty good. My new comp., Elder Anderson, is from Walnut Creek, California. He's been out 18 months. He's pretty sweet it’s going to be really good serving together. New years was actually really cool! We were allowed to watch the fireworks. So a bit before 12 we went up to the 11 floor of our building to a senior missionaries apartment with some other missionaries and watched the fireworks from their balcony. It was pretty out of control. In Germany everyone just gets their own fireworks and lets them off and they are like the big fireworks that shoot up into the air and explode big. So all over the city there was tons of fireworks it sounded like a war and went for a solid 25-30 minutes. I took lots of pictures and videos. I'll send you some pictures next week.
So that was actually pretty fun. Except in the morning it was lame. Getting up at 6:30 is tough anyway then after going to bed at 1:30 it was way hard. We had some other elders staying the night with us as well and as we got back to our apartment and were getting ready for bed we were all out of it and way tired and one elder just says 'I have no idea how I stayed up late back home'. Then we all thought about how dumb we were staying up late all the time back home wishing we would have taken advantage of the time and slept more ha. Another lesson learned on a mission.
Anyway, last week was pretty good. It was a week for figuring things out and dealing with transfers and all but it was good. Elder Anderson and I went out our first night together and were able to find a cool new investigator which was way cool. We were doing doors and I was up for the next door and I rang and as soon as the doorbell rang the guy inside starting yelling and kind of cursing in an annoyed way about people bugging him (we could hear it as he was coming to the door) so jokingly but also kind of serious I said to elder Anderson 'you’re up right?' and he just laughed and said nope you’re up. So he opened up and I started talking to him and he almost closed the door so I kind of put my hand on the door long enough to finish what I wanted to say and he opened it back up and listened. At the end he was listening and said he didn't have time right then but that we were welcome to come back. So we did and we were able to introduce the Book of Mormon to him and make out another appointment! This will be fun being able to teach him. He is from some city close by Berlin so he speaks with a Berlin dialect that is way strong. I have to listen way carefully to be able to understand what he is talking about. Elder Anderson had never heard a Berlin dialect so he couldn't even understand him for the first 15 min or so until he kind of got used to it. So that was funny.
Then last night we went by on this contact we had who wanted a book of Mormon in Twi, a language from Ghana. So we went by and this Black guy stuck his head out the window saw us and invited us up. We were able to introduce the Book of Mormon to him and his wife and make out another appointment. It was interesting because he is a minister of another church. He was very sincere though in our discussion and said he would like to read the Book of Mormon and see if it is true. I'm really excited to work with him and his wife more. He wants a book in English though because he hasn't read Twi in so long it’s harder for him then English. So I glued one of those inserts you sent to me mom, in the book and we’re going to give him that. That will be cool. Now we have a new week ahead and it’s also going to be a good week! We're going to be really busy and its going to be fun.
So remember when I told you about how the mission had this goal for 200 people. Well by the end of the year we didn't make it. We were around 160 I think. So I thought about this a lot wondering why it was like this. I had heard the stories about the meeting when they set that goal and how it was really spiritual and how they felt it was God's will. But in the end it didn't work. I have also thought about that a lot in setting weekly goals or transfer goals. Where you feel like they are approved by the spirit, then in the end you don't get them. I was confused a lot about this. And I couldn't believe that God would set us up to fail.
Last transfer Elder Moffat showed me a scripture, Hebrews 11:39-40, and I had been thinking a lot about that as well. So this morning I decided to study those verses and figure this out a little more and organize my thoughts about this all.
Hebrews 11: 39, 40 - And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
God knows what we need to experience in order to learn, grow, be refined, and molded into what he wants for us. He knows that in setting higher goals/expectations (expectations of ourselves) we push ourselves. We struggle, we stretch, we reach, we fall, and we get back up and become stronger in the process. When we fall, we can look back and learn, recognize, and figure out what can be done differently. We become more through these experiences than we would in setting lower goals/expectations which do not require as much effort on our part.
So I figure we need to work hard to recognize God's will and what he wants us to strive for, then go forward in faith and optimism, conquering the challenges and setbacks we encounter. Always learning, growing and becoming. So with our mission and the 200 baptisms; I think now we look back and figure out what we could have done differently in our work, and change our mindsets to be better servants of our God and brothers and sisters.
I believe there are things we can recognize and learn and there are things God wanted us to learn, to recognize and to change in order to bring his work forward quicker. We would not have noticed these things had we set a lower goal and reached it. We would have thought the way we were doing it was good enough, and may not have been willing to change. I believe this is why God allows us to feel like the higher goals/expectations are what we should strive for even though he knows in the end it won't turn out as we planned. He knows the struggles and hardships we will encounter along the way are what we need in order to make the necessary progress.
Of course this is not always the case. Lots of time we do meet our goals and our expectations. Other times we don't, simply because a lack of effort on our part. However, when we do all we can to the extent of our knowledge at that point and don't succeed, I believe this is why. I probably still have lots to learn here but I am not as down about not reaching our goal because of what I learned this morning. We may not always receive the promise, but God has provided us with something better through our struggles. We needed the promise in order to work through the struggles. I'm really grateful for study time, and the things we are able to learn. God gives us all he can so that we can learn lots and come closer to him.
I hope everyone back home is doing well. Have a wonderful week and be happy!
I love you all
Elder Puriri

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