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Sunday, May 25, 2014

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Woche 67- Pranks... and stuff.

Gutele Morgele!
Wie gehts euch???
What a week- working with Elder Rozan tires me out. its been a blast. Im not sure if ive ever worked so hard on my mission! Ok thats probably a lie, we always work pretty hard. But Elder Rozan is seriously a beast, and we have been tearing it up!
This past monday we split our PDay for half on monday, half on tuesday (ill explain in a sec) so we went in the afternoon to visit Natalia and Kristina. Natalia is in the hospital for cancer, and we met her daughter Kristina in a train. they are from russia, but Kristina was born here so she is fluent in both, and natalia also speaks great german. When we went, their grandma was there also- so we actually taught all three of them! The lesson was very spiritual, and they are very interested. Sadly, Natalia is really not doing well- so i would even ask that you include her and her family in your prayers- Natalia Schäff is her full name. We have given her a blessing, but she is too weak to recieve any more visits right now, so all we can do is pray.
That evening, we got surprise invited to our branch presidents home to do family night- because the girl who came to church last week (charlotte) wanted to observe a normal mormon family for her school project- so we came and helped explain the church a little- it was awesome!
Tuesday we met with charlotte AGAIN very early in the morning to finish the interview about the church. Sadly, i think her interest was just for the project, but who knows, maybe she'll contact us again in the future for something! Then we went to Stuttgart for our District meeting. Our district includes Heilbronn (just us), Ludwigsburg (2 elders and 2 sisters) and Pforzheim (2 elders)- its an AWESOME district- and our DL is Elder Smith from Ludwigsburg. he is in his 5th transfer so hes still pretty young. The reason we split our Pday was because we were going to Stuttgart anyways for the meeting and we wanted to see the Porsche Museum! Its not open on mondays, so we got permission to go on tuesday. it was AWESOME! im not super huge into cars and motors (dont get me wrong. i love cars. but im not the guy who can just list off car facts ya know?) so that was really sweet.
Wednesday we visited a less active sister named Sister Adam- she is actually very close to coming  back to church! In the evening was the real story of the week...
We went to a small village about an hour away, to visit the Zander family. when we get to the city, we get a phone call, and they tell Elder Rozan that we are too early, and that we should kill some time before we stop by- so elder Rozan suggests that we go door to door in the mean time. Dooring is not my favorite activity, but i didnt want to waste the time, so we started. The 2nd door we knock is this couple. They seem moderately interested, and actually let us in. statistically speaking, the number of times i have just been let inside by someone when we were going door to door on my mission... 3. so this is like a huge miracle and im pumped and moderately flustered. we start trying to teach them, and they ask all sorts of questions. this goes on for about 30 minutes- when they start showing us around their house. They had us a "wedding book" from their wedding- and i look through it, i start seeing familiar faces from other members living in the stuttgart stake. then it hits me. This was the Zander family. as they say the realization dawn on my face the three of them start laughing their heads off. Elder Rozan had planned it with them and they got me really good. I was so shocked and embarrased that i didnt see it sooner. Suddenly i realized they had a picture of the temple hanging on the wall that i didnt noticed earlier, and several other things. maaaan... i got pranked. Thats the couple thats been sending you photos.
Im starting to run out of time, but the other best part of the week was sunday! Kristina and her grandma came to church and LOVED it! Plus this guy came from Boston for business and visited the church and he was so nice and friendly and hes going to take us out to dinner sometime this week. such a sweet place. I really love this branch so much. Missions are good.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 66- Heroes get remembered kid... but Legends never die.

Grüezi aus Heilbronn!!
I got here safe- no worries! Im just happy to be here- Heilbronn has already been so good to me :)
It was soo amazing to talk to you guys yesterday- you all look a little older (in a good way), a little wiser- i guess thats just what time does to you!!
This email is in the memory of those legends who never die: Elder Janis (my trainer), Elder Orchard (my really good friend the AP), Elder Robbins (also a great friend- his mom is in dads class), Elder Root (an awesome missionary- also trained in St. Pölten!) Elder Botcherby, Elder Gibbons (my Zone leader in stuttgart)... they all finished their missions last week. I cant even begin to imagine it! Those guys were my heros when i first got here- they were the legends that inspired me to work harder! Now people are starting to call me old guy... is that how life is supposed to work out?
Well this week has been one of emotional ups and downs for sure! Monday tuesday and wednesday  were full of emotional goodbyes- we did a final P-day at the Gurneys house- they cooked us a pot roast and potatoes- just like mom makes them. oh man it was so good! Then we taught Athena once again. Tuesday was my final Zone training meeting (atleast, one that i was in charge of haha) saying goodbyes to all those amazing missionaries was hard! And wednesday we did a final finding day in Konstanz- we ate chinese food at this resteraunt- biggest waste of money. we spent 4 euros for a glass of water! are you kidding me!  Then that evening i went to visit Frederic and Maria one last time (the new converts) and that was hard too! I was up pretty late wednesday packing... and then i got on a train first thing thursday mornign! Saying goodbye to singen was the hardest thing i have had to do on my mission so far. Saying goodbye in St. Pölten was hard too- but i had so much ahead of me that i was ready to tackle- then i wasnt in Göppingen long enough for a deep emotional connection- but i just really loved Singen! And when i said goodbye to the Gurneys- i cried and cried and cried. they are the most wonderful senior couple in this mission- probably in the whole world. I love them with all my heart- it was like saying goodbye to my own grandparents! atleast i will see them again! they live in Lehi!
But now its all HEILBRONN! Elder Rozan is a beast. His mom is Ukrainian, his father from Africa. He was born in Ukraine, moved to spain when he was 5, joined the church when he was 6 (or his family i mean) and that all equals: a huge black ukrainian spainard, who has a solid testimony, isnt afraid of anything, and speaks russian, spanish, english, german and french (random i know haha) IM SO PUMPED! we are really going to tear it up! we have already seen some awesome miracles- 3 people came to church! One is a girl who looked up and just came to church, the second was an old investigator who just decided to come to church randomly, and the 3 was a girl we met whose mother is currently in the hospital next to the church, and went right after the church to give her a blessing- now they are all investigating! We have simply worked really hard and we have already found and set appointments with tons of cool people- this week is going to be stellar! I wish i could tell you more names, but i havent really met most of the people we are teaching right now- so next week! stay tuned!
I really love it here. Missionary work rocks. the gospel is true!
Alles Gute!!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 65- HEILBRONN! und Marias Taufe :)

Guten Morgen liebe Familie!
I guess we have two huge announcement from the week...
1) MARIA GOT BAPTISED! WOOO! It was so spiritual- we'll talk about that later
2) I got TRANSFERED! Im going to the lovely city of HEILBRONN! It is the farthest northern city of my mission, and is directly above Stuttgart. It is a small branch (what else is new!) but the chapel is awesome i hear. It will be the biggest city ive served in- with 110000 people! Super exciting- and the best part- my companion is Elder Rozan! He is black and from Spain, and he speaks russian! I have now had a Romanian, and Italian, and a spanish companion! pretty exciting stuff!
The week was pretty wild- it rained alot. But we had Elder Dyches from the Seventies come and visit us last week- it was sweet! We had an all day meeting down in zürich on wednesday- and he just spoke to all the swiss missionaries (we get added in with the swiss just cause we are so close) and then he spoke to all the leaders of the mission on thursday and friday in Munich. We had two elders spend the night tuesday night before the meeting, because it started so early, and we live only an hour away from Zürich- one of them was Elder Phillips! He replaced me in St. Pölten way back in the day- so we were able to talk about all the people from back then :) It made me so happy!
thursday, before the leadership meeting- we had a massive finding day in Munich by the Frühlings Fest! ever heard of Oktober Fest? well, its a HUGE festival in October in Munich, and its a MASSIVE fair ground in Munich called Theriesen Wiese- well that is about 3 minutes from the church house! and in the spring, they do the Frühlings Fest which is the same this, just bout half the size. so as everyone was coming and going from that, we did a big publicity thing, and opened the church for church tours! we got lots of people in Lederhosen and Dirndl coming through- because thats the traditional dress at festivals. Elder Garrett and I talked to some way cool people! Friday, when the seventy talked to us, he talked all about Agency and Responsibilty. My favorite quote from his talk: The Determined man finds a way- the other man finds an excuse. NO EXCUSES! It was so powerful- and thats the meeting where president Miles announced transfers- and i found out i was going to Heilbronn!
and then Saturday was the baptism!!!! It wasnt very well attended by members... but those who came really had a good experience. Maria asked me to baptise her, so i did- it was the first time ive ever baptised anyone! The water was REALLY low in the font for some reason- but luckily maria is very short, so it wasnt so bad. I was just 2/3 out of the water myself haha. On Sunday she recieved the Holy Ghost from Elder Garrett- the ward is really ready to recieve her- she will need tons of support to stay strong!
Saying goodbyes in the church was hard... real hard. But I know its not forever. I have LOVED my time here in Singen! We have been so busy, it has seemed to just FLY by. I wished i could have developed deeper relationships with the members, like i did in St. Pölten- i think i was just so busy with Zone Leader responsibilities that my mind wasnt always 100 on the area- im very excited to fully focus on the ward and the investigators in Heilbronn!
I uploaded all my photos- i hope you enjoy them!
I love you all, and I love the mission! It is SO worth it!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Woche 64- Don't blink or you'll miss it!

Geuta Morge zämä!
Oh how the time flies- if you blink you'll miss it! This week was just one of those weeks where everything just went too fast... and im not really sure exactly what happened! But i guess it did! Tuesday we had District meeting down in Kreuzlingen- the Elders there dont seem to be too fond of us (its a german/french companionship- and they dont really care for americans...) but we are working on that still! When we finally made it back from Kreuzlingen, we had to put our suits on and get straight on a train to Winterthur, Switzerland to meet with the stake president- the meeting was essentially pointless, because they just changed the boundaries of our zone, so before we had a couple wards in St. Gallen stake that we would report on, but with the changes, Konstanz/Kreuzlingen is the only ward in our Zone that belongs to St. Gallen stake- so we will not attend that meeting in the future! There was a minor uproar by the stake presidency though- President Miles asked Elder Garrett and I to evaluate the zone boundaries (as far as travel times and cost efficiency goes- because in the past, zones were just drawn on stake boundaries) so we reconfigured everything in the swiss area, and it really is more time/cost effective now, but the stake people were all frustrated with the change. i guess thats how everyone reacts to change- dont even consider it first! haha oh well. Wednesday was the day before Sister Gurneys birthday- so in the morning we went and bought her flowers (gerber daisies are her favorites- i know my flowers :) ) and we had to store them in the church during the day. We rode a bus out to a little village called Tengen to eat lunch with an elderly couple in our ward- and the bus ride was an hour one way... so it was pretty boring, but luckily the spring time here in beautiful, especially out in the countryside! On the way back, Elder Garrett and i were the only ones on the bus, when these two annoying teenage girls got in and came and sat RIGHT NEXT to us. they were so obnoxious- just trying to be way flirty and annoying. so we just pretended to fall asleep so we could ignore them. The afternoon was crazy and almost a disaster! We went with the sisters to visit a sister in our ward in the hospital, and we had planned to go straight to sister gurneys house afterwards to deliver the flowers, so we had to take them with us to the hospital. naturally, we couldnt bring them in the room with us because this sister would assume they were for her, so we left them at the front desk. we sat and talked with her for about 30 minutes when we left to catch the bus. the sisters distracted her while we took the oposite exit to go get the flowers and make our get-away. WELL this sister came with the sisters to meet us at the front entrance, so we make a rash move and threw the flowers in the bushes so she wouldnt see. We were really stuck, because she wanted to wait at the bus stop with us until the bus left, and we didnt know how to recover the flowers without her seeing! As the bus pulled up and we started to get on, one of the sisters dove inthe bushes and grabbed the flowers while she wasnt looking and we all got onthe bus and made it our without hurting anyones feelings. we should have just bought two sets of flowers eh? Sister Gurney really loved them though, so i guess it was worth all the fuss! Thursday i left for München in the morning to do exchanges with the Assistants! my train was delayed in a city called Ulm, so i was stuck there for about an hour, but i eventually made it to Munich! I worked with Elder Orchard- he is going home in just few weeks! But he is still working just as hard as ever, so i was able to learn alot! We had a few appts. so we were driving around the car alot. and on the way.... we had to stop at take a pictures. So its hard to describe, but ALL OVER southern germany are these big canola fields- they are all over and they are huge, and right now they are BRIGHT yellow- they look so cool and it makes the ground look like a big green and yellow checker board- did i mention everything is soooo unbelievably green? anyways we stopped to take a picture in one of the fields- and it looks pretty cool i must say :) when i have time to put more pictures up i will! Friday afternoon i began my journey back to Singen- a trip that should take 3 hours... it ended up taking 6 1/2 because of SO MANY train problems. sometimes Deutsche Bahn (the germany train system) just has sooo many problems. but i made it back eventually! and we just crashed, because saturday was a HUGE day! it was Marias baptismal interview! we had met with her a couple times in the week to make sure she was ready- and it was looking good! So we had to wake up early to take an early train to Konstanz so that we could pick up Elder Sardoni, the district leader, and elder garrett stayed there to work in Konstanz. Maria PASSED the interview! She seemed so happy and excited. Elder Sardoni stayed to help us teach a few more lessons as the other elders traveled up. Long story short, we had most of our lessons for the week planned for saturday, and two of them showed up at the same time! Markus and Athena! luckily we had Benji there as a joint teach, so we were able to split up and teach everyone- sheesh it was wild. Sunday was stressful- maria didnt make it to church! She called to tell us that her sister showed up and dragged her to the catholic church- we are not sure what to do, but we think we are going to go through with it, because if her sister wasnt there, there would be no problem and she is otherwise very excited... we will see! Lets all pray that it goes through!!! Sunday evening the huge rainstorm blew in (and its still continuing now) and our afternoon consisted of walking around without umbrellas and getting SOAKED. just another day in the life of Elder Bartholomew.
Boom- and suddenly we are here. this week should be crazy too- Friday we find out the next transfer! Its pretty much 100% sure that i will be transfered, so i guess i will report next week what its happening to me! I wont officially leave until the 8th of may, so i will write next week from Singen as well, no worries. I have loved Singen so much! I cant describe with words- this place has been so special and miraculous. and being able to serve as a Zone Leader has taught me so much about missionary work, and about being an example! I hope i get to train again, so i can put all this knowledge to work- sorry Elders Parkinson and Dickson- i wasnt quite so wise when i trained them haha. 
Congrats FIRST to mom and dad for their anniversary last week, and also to Scott and Julie for the new baby Dallin! Im so happy for you!
I love you all!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew 

Woche 63- Frohe Ostern!

what a wonderful Weekend! Im not sure how many of you have seen the Video on "because of him"- it has gone viral in our ward because we have it in German and the members have been sending it to all their friends- it has been an amazing missionary tool for sure! I love the siplicity of the video- it really the emotions of easter time :) The german culture really has a Focus on easter- everything has been shut down for the whole Weekend because everyone is in the church! I guess thats nice :)
Im at a members house now for  PDay for easter- they had a friend over, so we were able to have a lovely easter message- and then we spent the day out on the sea- the town is called Überlingen! its absolutely amazing in the spring time.
This week has been WILD! I was gone tuesday-wednesday in Konstanz on exchanges with Elder Riser (my old ZL) and then in Bad Säckingen thursday-friday with Elder Mongia! So I wasnt really in Singen all week, but things are going well! Maria is progressing great! she was taught all the commandments, AND she came to church ON TIME! it was truly a miracle!
Cool miracle Story from last week! We were in the middle of Zurich on tuesday for the Meeting with the Stake President, and after the Meeting, we were at a subway Station waiting for the subway when we needed to buy subway tickets. we had 10 franks, but the machine wouldnt take bills! we didnt have any coins, so we tried  asking strangers if they would trade us for coins, but no one would give us anything! Then right before our subway came, the SISTERS in Zurich showed up randomly in our subway Station! In the whole City of zurich, they came into our Station, and they were able to get us tickets! miracle!
The most important News for the week though is that Maria is progressing towards the 3rd of may! lets Keep praying for her!!!
Im sorry its short but i dont have time and i cant reallly think of anything else to say!
I love you all so much! and i love the Gospel! Missions are the best!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew 

Woche 62- i think i ran out of clever tag lines.

guten morgen liebe geschwister!
Well, today elder Garrett and I are going to visit Rheinfall- the biggest waterfall in europe! Its about 20 minutes from our house with the train, so we figured we'd check it out! hopefully i can fit everything in with the time i have left!
monday i went to a doctor and got that all sorted out! I had bronchitis- so they gave me and antibiotic and something to help me sleep- and that was nice! Im pretty much better now, and i FINALLY slept through the whole night last night without getting up to cough! it was my first full night in 2 weeks. what a relief! tuesday we went down to Konstanz- we got re-districted, so now Konstanz is in our district and we meet there for district meeting. there are 4 elders there- 2 americans, a german and a french man! i spent the night down there for an exchange with our district leader Elder Sardoni! Kontanz really is a beautiful city! I felt bad though cause i coughed all night and kept the other elders up... oops. Wednesday elder garrett and i came back together... and all our plans fell through. we were walking out to the middle of nowhere trying to find a persons address, when me met a kid, pretty much in the middle of the forest. he was way nice and so curious why two americans were wandering through the forest telling people about jesus. so he took a book and said he'd call us! I guess God helps us get lost for a reason!
thursday morning we left again for Offenburg (about a 2 hour train ride through the black forest- it is one of the prettiest train rides... ever. it is so incredible.) to do an exchange there! This time I took Elder Durrant back to singen with me! we had some AWESOME appointments! we met with Maria again- she is doing well. then we took a train to a little village where we taught a man named Donat. he is about 20 years old, and it really open to learn about god. in our lesson about the gospel, he told us he believes he has finally found what he is looking for! He wants to start developing his faith by reading, praying and coming to church! He cant come for a couple weeks, but he is definitely progressing! in the evening we met with Athena- our investigator from China- we talked all about the Book of Mormon- she agreed to read but refuses to pray to know if its true :( she says if its really that important, god will just tell that it is true, she doesnt need to ask. way lame! But she is coming slowly. she already says our church is the very best. Friday morning we took a train WAY far out... to a tiny village possibly outside our area... its too small to see on a map, and so we dont know which side of the border it is on. But two ladies from our area book live there. we had to take 2 trains and 2 buses to get there haha but they were sisters and they were pretty open- their names are Masu and Heilady. we are going back in a couple of weeks to check up.When Elder Garrett came back from Offenburg, we were supposed to go to the Simon family again to do family home evening (they are the awesome referall family- Meli is from peru and martin in german) and when we showed up, they were too stressed at the moment, and they asked us to come the next day- that was ok for us.
saturday we were supposed to teach maria again- she was 1 1/2 hours late for her lesson. She has stressed me out so much since ive been here in singen haha. But she told us how grateful she was for the church and how excited she is to finally get baptized after waiting so long! We almost were going back to the Simon family, when she called and asked us to come on monday- but when she called she said: "i wanted to thank you for coming yesterday. When i saw you two coming up the hill, i was filled with a power and i couldnt even speak. i knew it was the holy ghost. even though we couldnt meet, i was grateful to see you, because it gave me the strength to overcome the stress" WOW. Elder Garrett and I were speechless after that. so we are exctited to go there tonight! It was good that we didnt leave saturday night, because right after marias lesson, a member family showed up from Ellwangen (elder Garretts previous ward) to visit Elder Garrett! they were on vacation in switzerland and black forest, and decided to stop and see our ward and tell Elder Garrett hello! and they came just at the right time! They were able to come to church the next day- Julia came too unexpectedly! It was so good to see her... Maria came to church... right as the meetings were over. we really need to work on being punctual!!
Well, that was my week in a nutshell and everyone we were able to work with this week. the time just keeps flying away from us- its crazy!
I hope all is weell back home. I am praying for you all!
I love you!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 61- when sickness attacks...

Liebe Familie! 
First off- sickness is the worst thing ever. i have been extremely blessed on my mission to never really suffer from anything too terrible- ive never really had a companion that did either! But this last week- disaster struck. I may or may not have bronchitis. It started about last tuesday, and has gotten progressively worse each day. Its not terrible during the day- the worst effects are at night. I havent slept properly in days because i cough so much at night! That just leaves me tired, fatigued, and uneffective during the day. but we are trying our hardest to keep going! The mission nurse has ordered me to stay home... but there is so much to be done, we have to compromise a little bit. hopefully things start getting better soon!
This last week we said goodbyes to several missionaries going home- Elder Pope, my district leader, Sister Drury- one of the sister training leaders- and Elder Horlacher, my old companion :( It was hard to say goodbye, but i  guess all things have their seasons! We were then able to welcome a bunch of new missionaries into the zone! This transfer is only 5 weeks, so it already feels too short!
We havent had much contact with many of our investigators this week due to the sickness... but we were able to meet with Maria again! we met with her twice this week, and she told us that she wants to be baptised on the 3rd of may! And now that she has her own apartment, her sister cant hold her back anymore! Its a miracle! Maria was also able to come and enjoy conference and meet many members. I think she had a great time. She is still a little shy and quiet, so she ran off pretty quickly, but she is doing great! Thats the biggest news of the week i think!
Conference was SO AMAZING. So many home run talks. I am still spinning with so many spiritual smack downs from the apostles! I think the main message i pulled from conference was that the time is NOW to stand up for what is right, and become the person that we know we should be, and that god wants us to be. The time is NOW to choose a side- no more fence sitters, no more foot in the water, foot on the sand. The time is NOW to be a disciple of christ. So powerful. I know that these men are called of God to speak to us, and i am so grateful to have this privilege.
Im sorry its short but the week was kinda crazy and just... blah. But this week should be better! no doubts!
I love you all! Thanks for everything!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

March and April 2014 Pictures