Monday, December 29, 2014

Hi, It seems like I just talked to you : )

Hello family!! since I emailed you on Friday i was worried I wasn´t going to have a lot to talk with you about, but then we had miracles happen! Don´t you just love those?
So Sunday morning we were getting ready to go to church, I decided to wear my lucky tie, because we had a big day planned for us. We went outside, picked up our bikes, and we were off to church. 3 minutes later my back tire was totally flat! Oh It was so frustrating. So we walked the rest of the way to the church and were a little bit late. Not the best way to start off the day, but it´s alright, because what happened next was amazing.

 As we were sitting in the priesthood meeting (they have that first here) one of our members came and told us to go outside. So, we went outside. There was a woman standing in the doorway. She said "Hi, my name in Blessing. Is this a Christian church service?" OHHH MAN!!! We were super excited, and we showed her to the relief society. A little later on we met back up with her, and she told us her story. She´s from Nigeria, has been in Germany for 3 months, and she left her house this morning looking for a new church to go to. AHHHH!!!! How cool is that?? This to me is a huge testimony builder on the power of prayer. I prayed that we could see a miracle that day, and the Lord answered my prayers with this "Blessing". After church we went back outside to the bikes, and remembered my tire was flat... man. Fortunately one of our members had a bike pump with them! Unfortunately, my tire was flat because there was a hole the size of a quarter in the tube... This was awful, because we had 3 appointments for that evening, all of which live pretty far away from each other and we needed the bikes to get to each of them. Fortunately, brother Pruin came to the rescue! He walked us back to his apartment, where he took my bike and gave us one of his to use. Hooray for members!!! What a crazy exciting day we had. Our other appointments that night went very well, and we got 3 new investigators. all in all a pretty good day. And all because of my lucky tie!! Haha, just kidding. It just shows how the Lord will help his servants, when we ask him for it. We need to make that first step, to humble ourselves before him. Then, and only then, will we see the blessings in our lives that he is just waiting to give us.
I´m loving it here, and I hope all is well with you, wherever you are :)
With love,
Elder Oliphant

East and west German christmas isn´t really different, it´s more north and south. The south has a lot of christmas traditions, like the pyramids and the räuchermenschen, and the nutcrackers, and yea. Pretty much all of them. Except for stollen. It´s a type of bread that they make here in between Christmas and new years, with raisins and nuts, so naturally our ward gave us 4 loaves of it for Christmas! Yay us

You can thank Elder Smith for all of the pictures this week

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hallo meine familie! 

Oh it was so good to Skype with you, I loved seeing you! Also I got to see Elder Smith´s family. It was great to see you, but man. His sister is CUTE! ;) Also his family told me they read my blog, and they said i do a great job writing home. Just saying ;) Man, I don´t even know what to write you about, because we just talked yesterday. Well I can tell you about the weihnachts pyramids. Yes they are very, VERY expensive, but they´re cool, and I bought one O_O. But mine is very small, and it was only like 10€. Not too bad. They don´t have a lot of the really big ones here, those (and all the other cool German Traditions) are mostly in the south, near Leipzig and Munich. And I am literally as far away as you can get from there and still be in Germany. Sweet :)

But we still had a ton of fun this Christmas. Our ward is super fun, and. Yea :)

Now I can also tell you about some of our investigators! This last week we found a new investigator named N****. He´s from Syria, and he speaks Arabic and a little English. It´s really hard to teach him, because of a really big language barrier, but it doesn´t matter, because we aren´t the real teachers here. When we teach him it is 100 percent the spirit. He is such a cool guy. We´re actually going to teach him again tomorrow. We also have another investigator named K***** (maybe I´ve told you about her before, I don´t remember) and she´s been an investigator for 3 years. Yea, a LONG time. We had a lesson with her this last week, and it was the first time I actually led a lesson in German. Normally Elder Smith would lead and I would try to get in a word. This lesson however, I was forced to lead, because Elder Smith wasn´t there. We had an exchange that day, and I was teaching with Elder Perez, our district leader. It started off really shaky, but as we got into it the spirit came in and took over, and we taught a really good lesson, and we´re planning to commit her to baptism this coming week! Wish us luck!

This was at the MTC

Plate Lady

Ok, I guess I do have a good amount to write about. There´s so much missionary work going on here. We see miracles every day.
I love you,
Elder Oliphant
P.S. Here on my mission, the first thing I gained is a testimony on the blessings that come from OBEDIENCE

PPS. I need names of your and dads parents, their siblings, and grandparents and their siblings, if possible. We have a "meine familie" packet that we need to fill out, and I need names, birth/ death dates, marriage/divorce dates, pictures and stories for my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. I´d look it up myself on familysearch but we have to do it during our email time, and I´d rather email my parents :) 
Also Elder smith said he has a blog. have you found it?  

 (Editor's note: if you know Elder Smith's Blog address would you please leave it in the comments?  I have looked and looked and cannot find it.  I may or may not have more pictures of Elder Smith to share ; ) )

Thursday, December 25, 2014

First Christmas

We are so grateful to the Finke Family for having Chase on Christmas Eve and Christmas and sharing their pictures.

And then letting him Skype from their home

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Good Week!

Oh what a week! We worked so hard this week, we are kaput! We had our Zone conference though, that was so much fun! We had to go to Hannover, though, and that was cool, because I´d never been there, but to get there on time we had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. 4:30!! And then our train took forever, and we got lost in Hannover. The train system there is crazy good, way better than Salt Lake, but it´s also really confusing if you´re not from Germany. So we got lost and finally made it to the conference, and we were the last ones there. The conference was great. We learned a lot about "The gift" and how we can use that, and about other stuff that we can do to make the mission better, and us better missionaries. The best part though, was in the middle president Kosak pulled out a horn he got from Israel that´s made from a rams horn. He then looked at me and said "You´re a trombone player, right?" So I went up, took the horn, and played it. Afterwards he said I was the first person he´d ever see play it! I knew that trombone was good for something ;)
The conference was great, and sorry... I forgot to bring my camera :( next time!
This week we also got our water heater fixed (Finally!) Now we can take nice hot showers again :)

 Hair cuts here are really expensive, like 20€, so we cut our own hair. I needed a haircut, so I cut it, and It looks awful.. Sorry
Hair Before

Hair After
We had a little miracle this week, we got a referral! I know it doesn´t sound like much, but this is the first one I´ve received here, so that´s kind of a big deal, right? We got it while we were doing doors, a lady referred us to her neighbor. Man, that street. So many weird people live on that street. We knocked on one door and a man answered. We explained who we were and he said to us "nein, ich bin nicht ein Deutsche Frau" and slammed the door... We got a good laugh out of that one, mostly because he was telling the truth, he wasn´t a German woman. We also met a woman that had over 100 plates sitting on her lawn, and who said the only thing she knew about Mormons is that the women can´t have short hair, and she wasn´t going to grow out her hair! There are some interesting beliefs about the church out here..
(Editor's note.  Since Chase said the only thing he missed was his car I took pictures of his car with friends, family and the cat and made him a calendar)
Johhny G

That calendar is awesome!!! Thank you SO MUCH! I love it. How did you do that? Oh I don´t care, it´s awesome! And don´t worry, I won´t open up the other package until Christmas. Speaking of which, yes we will be able to skype for 30 minutes! We´ll probably do it with the Finke family ( the ones with the throwing axe) Just because he´s really the only person who knows how to do it. When we skype it will be around 8:00 AM Utah time christmas morning. Please send me the skype address so I can give it to brother Finke and we can get that all set up. Man, I love the Finkes, mostly becasue they all speak English, but yea :) I´m super excited for Christmas, it´s going to be great!
Love you,
Elder Oliphant 

Downtown in Leer. It´s called a weinnachtsmart

Homemade Doner

REAL Rootbeer!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

The District

Ohhh mom, you´re KILLING ME! You bought an x box now? :( Man, oh well. It´s ok because I´m here and I love it! This week was so interesting! We took a different approach to our finding. Instead of knocking on doors and asking if we could share a message that will help them, we´ve started asking people if we can serve them. Most of the people we talk to are very proud and are thankful for the offer, but respectfully decline. Even when this happens, it´s still a little success, because now their vision of Mormon missionaries is nice young men who just wanted to help them out, so even if we can´t teach them it gives them a good thought for the next set of missionaries who come around. 
While it´s great when these people say no thanks, it´s awesome when they say yes, and that´s what happened this week! We were on our way to an appointment, and we saw a woman sweeping her driveway. We stopped and asked her if we could help. At first she was all weird about it, and thought we were just trying to get money out of her, but then when she realized we were just trying to help her out she really opened up to us, and she let us come back and help her rake her leaves! We´re also planning to go back this week and clean out her gutters, and then we´re starting an English class for her, because she want´s to learn English! Man, I´m loving these Ammon Experiences :) 
Elder Mitchell finished his mission and went home??? OHHH NO! :( I love elder Mitchell:(( That makes me so sad :( He was on my team in the turkey bowl, and we had so much fun with that. He took the ball, and I just ran in front on him and cleared his way ;) man, I´m gonna miss him
This last week we decided to buy calendars, because.. We needed calendars. We went to the store and I bought a sweet car calendar! Oh it´s so awesome. I´m very happy with it. Elder Smith bought a calendar with... Horses. yea, horses. he´s a pretty interesting guy, but I love him... 
Deutsch ist nicht sehr schwer. Ich bin in Deutschland für nur ein monat gewesen, und ich kann vieles verstehen, und auch vieles sprechen. Ich mag es wann ich ein brief von bishoff bekommen, und es ist auf Deutsch. Ich liebe diese sprache. Ich willte miene zeugnis in kirche geben, aber unser zweig präsident hat mir geblockt... traurig.. aber alles gut! Ich liebe deutschland, und die loite hier. 
Ich bete für euch jeden tag, und ich hoffe das alles gut nach hause.
Elder Oliphant
P.S. I could totally be an engineer. My favorite pen broke, so I fixed it with a sewing kit. Dad, you were right. Those are handy!

Ok Explanation of pictures.

That is what my hair always looks like after I take my helmet/ hat off. That´s actually not as bad as normal.

That´s the christmas tree our members set up in the church

That´s two bottle of Ibuprofen the Bateman family brought for me back from their trip to America.

Elder Smith pondering in our train. That´s where
 we do most of our serious thinking

My awesomely fixed pen!

My sweet calendar (That´s a Saab!)

His... horses

Monday, December 1, 2014

German Thanksgiving/Thoughts on food

December 1, 2014

Hey mom, 
Sorry I haven´t been as good with pictures/letters. But this week I have lots of pictures with people, so dont worry :) Ok to answer your questions really quick, Yes I know brother Hanson, tell him hi! There arent really that many restrictions on emails, I haven´t written you any bad things because the worst thing that happens is when appointments fall out. Do you want to hear about that? Check the pictures to see what we do on Pday. Besides what´s on the videos we clean, sometimes nap, play the piano (Elder smith is teaching me), and yea! 

OK! So this has been a week of miracles. We found 5 new investigators. 5! That is crazy for us. Normally we find two or three, five is really something, and everyone we´ve found has been so prepared. We are seeing miracles every day out here. The people are amazing. Also this week we´ve had so much food! We bought a ton of food, because we needed to buy more for thanksgiving, but we bought a lot more than we actually needed, so we don´t need to buy food this week. We still will, but we don´t need to. The only problem with all of this food we have also been fed my members a ton this week! We had thanksgiving on Thursday, lunch and dinner Saturday, and lunch and dinner Sunday. We just don´t have a chance to eat all of our food. 
Ok, now I´m going to talk a little about thanksgiving. We had in in Oldenburg (Which is not a walled city) at the home of one the senior missionary couples, the Bensons. They are so nice, and there was so much food! Everyone was supposed to bring something that they normally would have at thanksgiving. I brought a salad, Elder Smith made chicken dumplings (SO GOOD!), Elder Wilde made potato dumplings, Elder Williams brought mashed potatoes, Elder Rasband made a fruit salad, Elder Youngblood brought chocolate chip cookies, the Porters (our other senior couple) brought green beans, banana bread and a chocolate cake, and the Bensons had the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Oh it was all so good, and man, we all ate so much food. On the train ride back I thought I was going to throw up! It was a great experience, but it was awful. 

So yesterday we had a farewell for a sister in our branch who is going to Scotland on her mission. This family (the F******s) invited us over for a little dinner after church, and when a member offers to feed you, you never turn it down. Not just because it´s free food, but because sometimes they actually will get offended, and it´s really important for us to keep a good relationship with our ward. So we went to dinner, and this family is amazing. They are the German equivalent of the Meyers. They have a little farm house which he built, and they have a bunch of old cars. He says he is the most redneck a German can be. I said "no way, you don´t even have a gun" his response was "Boy, I don´t need one." He then took us into a back room where he keeps his Swedish throwing ax. He claims to be able to stick it into a log from 20 meters, but I think I´ll have to see it to believe it. I´ll probably have the chance to see it later, but not yesterday.
I love this place. I´m having spiritual miracles every day, and we´re really making a difference here. Tomorrow we have 3 appointments (Wish us luck!) and it can only get better from there.

One quick story from this week.

We were going to an appointment on Friday, and it didn´t take as long as we thought it would to get there. We had ten minutes, so we decided to do some dooring for a little bit. 1st door, no answer. 2nd door, Kein interesse. 3rd door. Hallo! du bist mormon? Oh ich habe eure bibel, und ich liebe es! She had received  the book of mormon from missionaries a year ago and she has been waiting for them to come back ever since. We made an appointment to teach her tomorrow! The Lord truly works miracles for us out here!

We have this little lego policeman in our apartment

Oh he´s so great. We use him for roleplays. He´s a great listener, and friend. But sometimes, he just looks too mean. Sometimes he´s just a bad cop. I decided to give his a little help with this :) 

​Great fun with him now :) He´s so much nicer

Ich habe euch lieb. So viele! Ich wunsche euch ein shönen tag, und woche! Bis später! 
Elder Oliphant
P.S. Ich kann deutsch :)