Friday, April 26, 2013

Liebe Familie,

I wrote some emails today before I wrote you. I sent one to Elder Rechter, he was my AP during my first transfer here. I figured I will just copy and paste that email to here because it is a pretty good update of how things are going around here. Then I'll make it a little more personal.

"I have so much to report. I guess I'll start with the most exciting.

My dad told me before I left on my mission that you don't know the effect your mission has until 20 years after you come home. Well I know you haven't been home for twenty years, but do you want to hear a cool story about your mission that you don't even know about yet?

Once upon a time Elder Rechter gave a little Sri Lankan family a simple pass-along card. Fast forward a month and Sister Leavitt and Sister Chard go to teach these people. They have the heaviest accent and we can't understand pretty much anything they are saying, so we just spit out the restoration and get a second appointment and leave, feeling very frustrated that we could not communicate. We fast the next sunday that the language barrier will be broken and that we will be able to teach these people. We go to our appointment with them and the dad wasn't there. Before we even start the lesson, our joint teach asks (inspiredly) What does your Mann do for arbeit? Suddenly the lady goes off about how he has no job and he is an alcoholic and drinks all day and she is alone with the three adorable children and he doesn't love them. (Straight up Herzschmerz)  We bore some mad zeugnis about the healing power of  Jesus Christ. I don't think she necessarily understood what we were teaching her, but you could tell that the spirit was touching her heart and that she could feel the love that we and that Jesus Christ has for her. She still asked "Why does God give me all these problems?" but we testified to her that even though life is difficult, Jesus Christ can bare your burdens with you and make them lighter. Not sure what she understood, but the whole family came to church yesterday and loved it. They just said "Next sunday again, oder?" Story to be continued...

But pretty cool, eh? This family needs the gospel. Thanks for giving them a passalong card. They have two little boys. One is twelve, one eleven, and a little six year old girl named Kaaviya, who is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Anyway, there's the beginning of the things you don't see until after you get home.

And Jose hasn't been in church still. We got back in contact with him though! We went by, he wasn't there. We left a note asking him to call us. He did. At 11:30 p.m. We were both asleep. Sister Chard thought it was the alarm so she just wanted to die. She looked and saw it was Jose, but she didn't react because she was asleep. I grabbed the phone and tried to use an awake voice, but it didn't work. I pretty much have no idea what he said, but he had been in France and was sick for a while and wants to meet with us again. So far no appointment though. We'll see what goes on. I can't believe I can speak German in my sleep though!

I could go on forever, we have been seeing so many miracles. And Sister Chard is my best friend. We're having the time of our lives.

Tonight we'll teach Leah, a fifteen year old girl, and Martin, an 18 year old boy. I have to tell you the story of how we found them, it's really awesome. But I'll save it for the letter. I'll let you know how the lesson goes too. "

So that is pretty much a report of what is going on around here. I will tell you the story of Leah and Martin sometime because it is a good one, but for now I have to sign off. I love you all so much. Please keep sending me emails, I appreciate them so much. And letters are also wonderful. I don't have a ton of time to respond, but I'll do my best, and trotzdem, know that I think about you and love you and appreciate the letters and emails.

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Sister Mary Jane Leavitt

Family and all those I love,

I promised last week that I would write a better letter. Tricked ya! I have even less time today, so I will write a list again of cool things.

I went on my first split this week with Sister Tuschling. She is amazing. She has been a convert for almost 3 years and a missionary for 16 months. I learned a lot from her in the couple days we spent together.

I was a mother of two last week, which I forgot to mention. I had another golden who had no companion who I watched over for a week and a half until everything got in order. It was an adventure, and we had a lot of fun zum Dritt all together. Her companion was a sister from the Berlin mission who got transferred here to Frankfurt. She had been out for about six months and she was made aware of her changing assignment the night before she was to switch missions. Alles ist verrückt. But it is so awesome to be here at this crazy time.

The work is doing well. We are really focusing on helping members do missionary work. We are doing no "tracting", just appointments, and contacting on the way.

Being a missionary is crazy. I am wearing pants right now and it feels so unnatural. I know why people are weird when they get home, because you have such a focus here in the field and it's weird to think about ever being a "normal" person again.

I have almost reached my 2 months in the field mark. Has time flown for you too? Because I feel like I have been here for 2 weeks. I am almost finished with my second transfer. Weeeiirrrrddd.

I started Reading Jesus the Christ by Talmage. Wow it's interesting. I think it's really important to really know who Christ was so you can try to become like him and build a relationship with him.

I love you all so much. Please tell America that I love her too. Germany is so so wonderful, but I love America so much. God bless America!

Have a wonderful week. I really will try to send a better letter next week.


Sister Mary Jane Leavitt

Hallo meine liebe Familie und schöne Freunde!

Liebe Grüße from Deutschland.

It has been a crazy week. It is about to be another crazy week. First of all, we have transfer calls on Saturday. I have almost been here a month. Weird right? I am really nervous though because Sister Kreth is going home, and Sister Mosher has to travel all the time, and 11 new sisters are coming in this month. Which means the days of my being trained are just about over and perhaps the days of being a trainer are about to begin. I can't think of it at the moment, or I'll have a heart attack. I barely speak German and we all know how well I can find my way around, so I don't feel very prepared but the Lord qualifies who he calls I guess. I'm going to need extra help from him though if that turns out to be the case. You will hear next week I guess.

Where do I even start with this week.

I think I'm just going to tell you about Sunday, so I can save a little time to tell you more about Germany and Friedrichsdorf and all the cute little places around.

On Sunday we did a musical number in church. We started preparing last Sunday here and there and probably got about an hour and a half of practice all together. Sister Kreth and I sang, Sister Mosher played the violin and Daniela, from our ward, played the piano. We invited a bunch of people to come hear us sing and come to church, so the pressure was on. The song ended up being okay, but the exciting part was, so many people came! We had 5 investigators at sacrament meeting! Sister Kreth and I were sitting at the back and looking around at everyone who was there and we were trying to hold in our excitement, but we couldn't wipe the giant smiles off of our faces. It was so awesome. One of the guys who came, we met on the Bahn this week on the way to Frankfurt and invited him to come. We were so excited it was ridiculous. I think it may have affected our singing, but oh well.

Another awesome thing that happened: Nora came to church for the first time in a few years! It was so awesome and I think she really had a good experience. We're all just friends and we love spending time with her. Sister Osterloh, the FHV (Relief Society) President had Nora introduce herself in Relief Society and then told Nora that she had been at her baptism four or so years ago and told her what a beautiful day it was. That was so awesome and I think Nora really remembered how special that was and how special she is. It was awesome.

After church (our church starts at 1:30!!) we had Gemeinsames Essen, basically just a ward potluck dinner after church, which went really well. Alan, the guy who we met on the Bahn came to it and was able to talk to a few of the members who are also Italian. Two of our other investigators came as well and I was able to get to know a lot of people in the ward a lot better.

We also made some brownies for the potluck, but because we had such a crazy morinng arranging everything for church and going to meetings, we made them one step at a time, hours apart. At one point they were a bowl of butter and coco and a bowl of eggs and sugar. Then we had to go somewhere so we left them there. When we got back the sugar and egg mixture had foamed and hardened, but we just hoped that they would still work so we stirred them up and finished the batter, put them in a pan and into the fridge because we had no time to bake them. Then when the potluck started, someone found the brownies in the fridge and put them out on the table and started cutting them up! Thankfully Sister Kreth saw before anyone ate them, but we thought that was pretty funny. Finally we put them in the oven to bake and got them out right as Gemeinsames Essen was over, but we cut them up to find that they were undercooked and runny. We decided to eat them anyway because we figured everyone had already eaten, but no. As soon as they were out, everyone was congregating in  the kitchen. People were raving about the brownies and the bishop even went in the other room and shouted "Es gibt Brownies in die Küche!" We found it hilarious because we thought we had made some pretty bad brownies, but we learned that GERMANS LOVE BROWNIES! The bishop told us "You Sister Missionaries, don't leave this room before you give my wife the the recipe!" It was pretty funny. Sorry I just told a really long story about brownies, but it was quite the adventure.

Speaking of adventures, I'll tell you a little bit about a crazy missionary embarrassing moment we had this week. We had just gotten out of an appointment late and we had to catch a bus to our next one. We got to the bus stop and a bus pulled up. It wasn't the right number, but we figured it would go to Bahnhof (the train station) anyway and we had about five seconds to decide so we hopped on. Everyone sort of gave us weird looks, but we didn't think much of it because that is not exactly uncommon as a missionary. The bus driver even opened the door back up again, but we didn't get the hint. We started driving to the next stop and it didn't take us long to realize that every passenger on the bus was about 13 or under. We realized we had hopped on a school bus and we just cracked up. At the next stop we hopped off and started running to Bahnhof to catch our Bahn. As we ran a probably ten year old boy said "Ihr seht aber hübsch aus!" So we were basically dying trying to sprint and laughing so hard it hurt. We must have looked so crazy, but it was so funny.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you a little more about Germany, but I will next time because it looks like my time is about up. I will try to attach some pictures, but you might have to wait another week.

I love you all so much and I am so happy when I hear from you. I feel so blessed by everyone's letters and emails. Keep it up! You are all so wonderful.

Viele Liebe,

Sister Mary Jane Leavitt

Meine Liebe Familie und Freunden,

Right now I'm sitting in an "Internet Cafe" in Bad Homburg. By internet cafe I mean a bedroom sized room filled with computers that smells like cigarette smoke and mustard with the sound of German/Turkish babble and a lady watching an American T.V show that she thinks is hilarious. (Sorry Ian, you already read that.) But I am happy to be here because it means...EMAILS! And it's pretty awesome that I'm just sittin here being a resident of Germany. Well this week I get about double the time I did last week to email home which I am grateful for, but I have about half as much news to tell you.

First I will tell you that I have another companion. Sister Mosher. She has been my companion all along but I didnt meet her until I had been here a week. She's the Austauschkönigin (Transfer Queen or Coordinating Sister) So she is gone more than shes here, but she is really awesome. It is really great when me, Sister Kreth and Sister Mosher get to work together in a Dritt (Trio). We all bring something different to the companionship and it is awesome to learn from each other.

This week has been a roller coaster in every way. I have had really good days and really really hard days. I have had hours that seem like days and days that seem like weeks, but I have also had days that seem like hours and hours that seem like minutes. It has been a crazy week. I can't believe I have only been here for only one full week. I also can't believe this week is already over. I can imagine this is what it will be like for the next 18 months.

This week we had a lot of really awesome lesson plans that went right along with some really disappointing fallen out appointments. So geht's im Leben I guess though. It worked out just fine, but it makes for a pretty boring email.

We did have a good appointment yesterday though with a girl named Nora. She is so funny and laughs at everything... especially at our bad German. We made pizza with her after church and ate way too much of it. Then we watched a Mormon Message with her and the spirit was strong... even if you had no idea what the message was saying (me). Watch some of those Mormon Messages though (auf Englisch of course) because they are really awesome. Especially the new one -- Mountains to Climb. It is incredible.

Eating way too much is a pretty common occurance around here. It think there is a missionary stereotype that tells everyone that we are always hungry and can eat about three times as normal humans. So I pretty much stuff my face at every appointment we go to in the name of being polite... but hey, it's better than starving and hopefully all the walking balances it out.

Also the running. We go jogging every morning which is surprisingly wonderful. I really hate running and I am really bad at it, but we run through the forrest and field next to our appartment early in the morning and the sun is rising and the birds are chirping all around us. It is absolutely beautiful. Not many people, even the Germans, get to see that because its so early. It is a really great way to start your day. I imagine there are similar sights to see in Cedar City, but they are probably taken little advantage of. Especially with the freezing cold weather.

Germany is so beautiful, especially Friedrichsdorf, and I can't believe I'm here, but that is about the end of my report this week. I love you all so much and I really love hearing from you! Keep sending the emails, but it would be awesome if you could send some snail mail too. Either way I love hearing what is going on, especially all the crazy stuff. Thank you for your emails this week. Hope to hear from you all again soon!

Viele Liebe,

Sister Mary Jane Leavitt