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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Woche 52... Half way there

Im doing this different this week- im going to write this big letter first, to make sure i save time to get everything important in! Plus, ive been thinking a lot about my letters, i decided its probably not that interesting to you guys back home to hear about all the places ive been traveling... it would probably be better if i updated you on the people we have been teaching- because we ACTUALLY have been teaching- like alot! Believe it or not, we have a lot of people on the brink! Ill give you the update:
Maria Rosar- she is from Portugal, she was the miracle story about walking into the church from a couple weeks ago. Her new baptismal date is the 1st of march. She was struggling to make it to appts. (aka she was always an hour late) but she has made some amazing progress this week. This last week she asked us the question "how can i know this church is true?"- something i feel like we explain often- but we committed her to pray about it, and she came back and recieved an answer! The last step is getting her to church on sunday. She attends a church in portugese in the city, and doesnt want to stop attending that church... but we are working on it. She will definitely be baptised!
Frederic Schmid- Hes a younger guy (28 or so) from Germany. He had a major accident a few years back that messed up his brain a little bit. Hes been recovering a lot since then. The elders in the past had taught him, but he had problems with smoking, drinking, and girls- plus he was a little bit crazy in the head. Well, he also walked into a meeting we had at the church, announced he had quit smoking, quit drinking, left his girlfriend, and was ready to change his life. He wants to be baptised on the 1st of march as well. He is still a little... hard to talk to sometimes because he can get way distracted and off topic, but he seems to be understanding the lessons well. Before he was afraid to come to the church meetings, be he came for the first time just yesterday and he LOVED it!
Julia Stocker- She is 31, Austrian (yahoo!) and is a professional flute player. and when i say professional, i mean she is the best i have ever hear. like ever. shes amazing. Shes been investigating continuously for about a year now- Elder Garrett and I are the 7th and 8th missionaries to teach her. SHE IS PERFECT! The nicest girl you would ever meet. She has so many questions about the Book of Mormon- every lessons is like a question and answer fest. This last week we really focused on the doctrine of baptism- she read the verses we gave her so that she was prepared for the discussion, and she knows the church is right. But she doesnt quite FEEL the desire described in Mosiah 18. She wants to help and serve others, but she doesnt feel the desire for baptism. So she also promised to pray for the desire to develop in her. We fasted especially for her yesterday, because she is so close and perfect!
Rohrer Family- This is a family. Elmer and Sabine and their son. They are all germans, and they live in Überlingen. Sabine has had contact with the missionaries for over 30 years- her sister is a member in Idaho, (sealed in the temple) and her mother is a member in another branch in Germany. She has recently given up drinking and has decided with her husband its time to settle down in life a focus on whats really important! They are so humble and sweet- i asked them this last week "whats holding you back from joining the church after all these years?"- and she thought about it a long time, and said "i dont really know!" WOW! She is so prepared, and when she comes, the whole family will come too. She works sundays, which is the only problem really. But we are working on that!
Sandra Schäfer- She is the wife of Christian Schäfer- aka the worlds greatest human being. Christian is the son of Horst Schäfer, an elderly man who converted back in WW2. Christian has been inactive his whole life, married outside the church, and just recently became active 2 years ago. It is absolutely astounding to see. The Light of Christ just beams from his face. When he looks in your eyes, its like you can see the love of the savior. He is the most humble yet noble man i have met, and his story of coming back is incredible. The spirit just resides around his being, and you can just see that he has become pure through the atonement of christ. Anyways, his wife was never a member, but his 14 year old daughter was baptised when he came back to church. Sandra has also observed the change that has taken place, and started to come to church with the family. In the past she would come once every 8-10 weeks maybe, but she hasnt missed a week in 7 weeks, and participates very actively in the discussions. I approached Christian about her, and he said the last thing holding her back is that she smokes. But she approached him of her own free will and is starting a 3 week program this week to stop smoking! So we havent officially taught her anything... but I have been praying and fasting for her, and i just know that it wont be long before they come together as a family in the temple. It is one of the best things ive seen on my mission so far.
We teach many others scattered here and there... but those of the ones who we meet with the most often, who are really making progress in the gospel. This branch is AMAZING for missionary work. they just love it! The Lord has brought together so many pieces of the puzzle together, and we are really living so many miracles. Its just added fun that we travel all over too! I ask myself often how we manage to do it all... truth is i dont really know!
this last week we spent monday in Austria, Tuesday and Wednesday we traveled back and forth from Freiburg (twice haha) and Thursday and Friday we spent the whole days in München for Mission Leadership Council- saturday was the first day we just got to spend in Singen. it was GREAT! I totaled 24 hours and 45 minutes in trains this last week! Talked with a lot of strangers, read a lot of scriptures... and i survived! I guess i could be a commuter someday... only if they install a better train system into Utah!
Life is sweet and good. I mentioned at the top... i guess its been a year. I felt like it would be more dramatic, buts its really just a little sad. I dont like to think its half way gone! Guess its just time to buckle up for the rest of the ride! Year 2 here i come!
I love you all!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

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