Monday, April 27, 2015

Mission Conference

Hey mom! So, we had quite a week! As you know there was a mission conference in Berlin on Friday. We were super excited for it! We got our travel plans, and because there´s no train straight from Freiberg to Berlin that would´ve gotten us there on time we stayed the night in an Apartment in Halle, a city outside of Leipzig. We bought our tickets to Halle, and from there to Berlin. The day after we bought them we got news from the office that the DB (German train network) Would be on strike Wednesday and Thursday, and that there weren´t going to be any trains running. NO TRAINS! This was not good. We needed to get to Halle on Thursday, and the train was really the only way we could get there. So we called the office and they found a bus that went from Dresden to Halle. Everything was all fine and dandy, and we were back on schedule. Sadly, Satan didn´t want that to happen, so the bus fell out! Our last hope was to have someone drive us, otherwise we would be walking to Berlin. This is where the great senior mission couple comes in to the picture. They were so nice, they volunteered to drive us all the way to halle! Our trip was saved :) Elder and Sister Hubrich, look them up! (they have a blog). 

So we got to Halle, and there had the worst nights sleep... ever. It´s a 2 man apartment, and we had 8 people staying in it. I ended up sleeping (or trying to) on the floor with a pillow and a blanket that´s too small. Elder WIlliams spent the night on a broken couch. We both slept for about 2 hours and were hurting the next morning, at 4:00 AM when we had to get up and catch our train to Berlin. Now, here´s where it gets interesting. We got to the train station in Halle, met up with the sisters that were staying the night, and went up to the platform just in time to see that out train to Berlin was cancelled! NO!! We didn´t know what to do, so we said a prayer, and went to the information desk. To make a long story short we found a train going to Berlin from Leipzig, so we went back there to catch the train. Funny, because 6 of the missionaries in our big group were actually serving in Leipzig! But anyway we made it! We were the last people there, but we made it! 

So, the conference. It was awesome! We had 2 great members of the 70 come and teach us. Haha, they were so funny! Elder Kearon is literally the most ADD person in the world! So funny! He was in the middle of bearing his testimony, and he just turned, looked at an Elder, and said "where are you from? Australia?! Sweet! Anyone else here from Australia?" My new favorite General authority. So we got all the training for ipads! We got training manuals, had a Q and A, and a long discussion about pornography. It was actually really cool and informative. A big reason for us having Ipads is to teach us how to use technology responsibly, and to help us "Inoculate" the next generation so Pornography isn´t such a big problem. Really cool. We got everything we need to use IPads responsibly... Except iPads! Apple made a mistake with the order. Hopefully we´ll be getting them soon. 

It was a great meeting, but it doesn´t end there! We still had to get back to Freiberg, and because of the strike we couldn´t really plan our trip back, because we didn´t know which trains would be going. So we bought a ticket back to Leipzig, and found a train that would get us back to Freiberg at a decent hour. Now just one more problem... The train coming in to Leipzig was a little late, and we missed the train back to Freiberg! So we ended up staying the night in Leipzig with 2 of the Elders there. We finally got home Saturday morning and just collapsed from only having about 5 hours of sleep in 2 days. 

So.. what´s the Moral of this story? Missionaries will do anything to further the work of the Lord with Technology, and I hate The DB.

Have a great week,

Elder Oliphant

Some answers to questions:

We write Emails late because it takes a long time to walk to the church, and it´s up a big hill, and we usually spend our work time up here anyways.

U.S. Snickers are pretty different. I´ll send you some. I´m planning to send a package next transfer, when I get some new nametags ;)

It has only rained once in Freiberg

We walk, or have the senior couple drive us :)

So with skyping. We should have our Ipads by then. When would be the best time for you? Do you have early or late church? I don´t remember. And I know that it´s possible to have 3 way skype calls, so you can set that up with Riley, and we can all skype together! :)

Also, we will be using facebook a lot with the ipads, so that means my facebook account needs to be more appropriate for a representative of Jesus Christ. Can you start deleting things and cleaning it up? I mean with everything. I trust you :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Freiberg Temple!

Hey mom!

So It´s been kind of a slow week. Elder Williams has had really bad canker sores in the back of his throat for a while, and this week he really wanted to get rid of them, so he took some pills he had that are supposed to help with sore throats. Benedryl... He took Benedryl. In the middle of personal study he went, sat on the couch, and fell asleep for 3 hours... SO FUNNY! Haha, he was way upset about it, but I thought it was hilarious. So during his time asleep i got really good at solving a Rubik's cube. My record is 1 minute 7 seconds.

As far as work goes this week was pretty slow. We only taught one real lesson to an investigator named herr WOLF! Haha, he´s a funny guy. About a year ago he was walking down the street, looking all sad, and a guy came up and talked to him. He asked him what was wrong, and if he wanted to be happier. Unlike most germans, he said yes! This nice man then invited him to come to the Mormon Church with him. It turns ou this man was a member of the church, who went off  and left the church to join some indian religion. Even though he did this, he knew that the Church was good and could help this guy! He´s been coming to church pretty often since then, but for some reason has never read the BoM, or met with the missionaries. We went by and asked him if he had a little time to meet with us. He invited us right in and we taught him, and he accepted a soft baptismal commitment! We´re planning to teach him again this week, and hopefully get a date set.

Another exciting thing happened this week. We got a missionary couple in our ward! They´re here to supervise the Temple construction, but they want to help us out too! They´ve invited us over for dinner in an hour, and we´ll get to know them better/teach them how to do missionary work ;)

I learned something this week during my studies that I´d like to share with you. It´s Helamen 5:12. I´m sure you know this scrpiture, it´s a really good one. 

 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundationthat when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is sure foundation, foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

TheĆ½ cannot fall. That doesn´t mean they shouldn´t be able to fall, or that it´ll be hard for Satan to make them fall, they CANNOT! It is completely impossible, no matter what anyone says or does. If we build upon the foundation that Christ is we are safe. Yea, we´ll still have trials, We´ll still have bad days, we´ll still have dates that don´t go well, but they are not enough, and can never be enough, to take us down.

One more exciting thing for the upcoming week. We´re getting iPads on friday.

Love you :)

Elder Oliphant

Monday, April 13, 2015

New City, New Companion, Elder Williams from St. George

Mom... Do you  know how many times I have sprained my ankle? You really went to the Emergency room? Is everything going to be ok?

Anyway, I made it here to Freiberg, finally! That train ride took forever, but fortunately I wasn´t alone. Elder Perez was with me for a while and Sister Kooyman, who was in my MTC group, travelled with me. We had a fun train ride, but I´m glad to be here. And it is a beautiful little town. There are mountains here! Well, hills, really, but more than Leer! It´s also in the heart of Erzgeberg, where all of the cool wood stuff comes from, like the smoking men and the Christmas pyramids. We have a really big ward here, and they are so cute. Yesterday we had our fast and testimony meeting, and they put up a little microphone on the stand and all of the primary kids ran up and bore there testimonies. Super cute! We also have, of course, the beautiful temple. Did you  know that when it first opened it was the smallest temple in the World? Then they remodeled it, but it was still the smallest? So now there adding on to the back, and making it bigger. I wish I could go in, but sadly I can´t. Not right now. Hopefully though it´ll be open before I go home and maybe I´ll be able to come back!

Well as well as having the temple here, I also have an awesome companion, Elder Dalton Williams! You should´ve told me you were going to st. George, because he´s from there! We were really good friends in the MTC, and now we have the chance to serve together :) I´ll really miss Elder Timmerman, I learned a lot from him, and he really helped me out a couple times, but this next transfer is going to be great :)

I really don´t know a lot about the Area, I´ve really only seen 2 streets, so could you look up some things to do here? Also things to do in Dresden, because we´re planning to go there for a P-day, it´s only like 30 minutes away or something. Thanks :)

I do know however that miracles happen everywhere. This last week a member was driving us to an appointment about 20 kilometers away, and we got there and the lady wasn´t home. Lame, right? We were a little upset, but the great member rose our spirits when he took us to McDonald's and got us a Big Mac. Did you know I´d never had a big mac before? I  hope the ones in America are better, because it wasn´t very good. But anyway, as he was taking us back, Elder Williams got the Impression that we should go by on an investigator that lives a little out of the way, and is almost never home. Fortunately, he followed the spirit and asked the member to drive us there, which he happily did. We knocked on the door and this woman was home! She let us in, and we taught her about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and invited her to watch General Conference and pray to receive a testimony of living day prophets. Little Experiences like this are what really keeps me going sometimes. When we look for the miracles in our lives, we will find them. 

I love you,

Elder Oliphant

P.S. Tried Spaghetti Eis. Loved it!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Transferred to the East!

Hey mom, so transfers. I´m getting on a train Tuesday morning, and going to Leipzig. I then have a train from there to Dresden, where Elder Williams will pick me up and we´ll go together to Freiberg! I´m really excited, except my train ride is as long as my plane ride was when I came here...

Just so you know, we had a bonfire because it´s an Easter tradition here in Ostfriesland! It stems from an old pagan tradition, where the people would make a big fire o burn up and scare away the evil spirits. It´s really just an excuse now for the people here to go a little redneck, but it was fun! I enjoyed it.
Elder Williams has been there for a transfer.
So did you enjoy general conference? I loved it! I really liked Elder Ballards talk where he talked about "raising the bar" and becoming a better generation, and also president Uchdorf´s talk about grace. Those two really spoke to me. I really liked the overall theme of the resurrection, and also the family, two important topics to always remember. 
Yea, go ahead and send the missionaries a text and ask them when they want to go (to Airborne trampoline park). I don´t know if they´re allowed to do stuff like that, they don´t have anything like that here in Germany. They don´t seem to like things that bring people happiness, like the gospel. 
We switched our pday because of appointments today. Last day in Leer. Wish me luck!
Elder Oliphant

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Another Week

Ok, yes, president will be at this meeting, and I have no idea where he stays of how he gets here. As long as charlie is reading his scriptures every day and praying, I wouldn´t be too worried about it. He´s a good kid,and what music do you want to send me? You can usually send it through an email and then I can download it here, but a cd or a usb work, it doesn´t really matter.
Ok, so this week was really long, and I honestly don´t remember most of it... I know that we worked hard, and we helped some people out. We also gave the fifth sunday lesson to our ward about the ward mission plan. It went really well! We started out by showing part of Elder Bednar´s talk from this last conference. That was a pain in the neck! We only had a dvd player with a tv to play it, so I had to download the video, then convert it to the right format, and then burn it to a dvd. It was really frustrating but in the end I was triumphant, and, like the prophets have said, the computer was the servant, not the master. After we showed this video we went through each point in the mission plan and talked about what it meant, how we do it, and then we had a member give testimony about how it can work. It was going really well, and it ended with a bang! The last point on the plan in that we work really hard to make sure new converts feel loved and stay active, so we had a woman named Margret talk about that. She´s a recent convert from Africa, and she gave a strong testimony of how our ward had really helped her feel loved and how "giving herself to christ has changed her life." She´s really made me think about myself, and I´ve been asking myself "have I truly given myself to Christ?" Yea, I´m here on a mission, but just being out here isn´t enough. I´ve decided that is my top goal right now. To give myself to Christ. If you have any ideas about how I should do this, please let me know :)
This was not the only good part of our Sunday, I also gave a talk about how we can share the gospel with our friends. I talked about the Example that Ammon has set for us, and how he just went to serve the people, and be an example. I said that the best way to share this gospel is to seek out opportunities to serve and be examples to others, and that as we activly seek out opportunities, the Lord will help us find them. After I spoke, a great member named Jonas spoke. He recently returned from his mission in Greece, and he spoke about living with Christ in the center of our lives, and how we should try to show the same love to others that he shows to us. Honestly, this was probably the best church service I have ever attended, and one of the most powerful events of my mission so far, and I´m so glad that it was shared with the 4 less active families that were at church. It was a fantastic day.
Thanks for all of your support and prayers, I can feel the love that you all have for me and this work :)
Elder Oliphant
Service project?