Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I´m not lying. Keep your apartment clean!

Hey mom! So, this week was good! We started off with a great P day, where we cleaned! I don´t know if you knew this, but I´m not the neatest person in the world, and, even though I worked housekeeping for 3 years, I don´t enjoy cleaning. But it had to be done, so now our apartment is Spick and Span! So nice :) Having a clean apartment is such a great help. I´m not lying. Keep your apartment clean!
So, right now is probably the hardest time for missionary work here in Germany because of two things. One, normal school is out now, and everyone is trying to squeeze in their vacations (they only have 6 weeks for summer in this poor, deprived country) and the college students all have their exams right now. There´s no "finals week" here. It´s more like "finals 3 months." But, inspite of this, we still get work done! Yea yea! 
We have good number of part member families here in our ward, and now we´re starting to try and do more with these families. It´s really nice to work with these families, because the investigator already knows a lot about the church, has probably been to a few meetings, and already has a good support structure and friends in the church. We were working this week with one family, family Szymczak (don´t even try to pronounce it right) and the i"friend of the church" in the family had a ton of questions and problems about certain things in the gospel that are really simple, they just don´t understand completely, and they get scared. For example, they thought that a patriachal blessing was something big and special that only men could receive in the church, and they didn´t think that was fair to the women, but we helped them understand what they really are, and why we have them. Whole experience has really shown me that if we disagree with some part of the gospel, it´s probably because we don´t understand it.

We also did a service project this week for some awesome members who moved. They now live right across the street from us, and can spy on us through the giant windows in our apartment. The move was good, it´s just... well... They moved to the 5th floor of a really old building. And they had a lot of boxes and furniture. And no elevator. It was hard. We were with this family and other members, constantly going up and down stairs for a good 4 hours... Let´s just say, we got really fit that night... And I´m still sore.
Well, I´m running out of time for this email. I have some other stuff to do, but I wanted to end with a quick spiritual thought.
John 17:3 And this is alife beternal, that they might cknow thee the only true dGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast esent.
Receiving eternal life is getting to know God and Jesus Christ. Deeply, and fully. We do that when we read his words, and pray to him. We can´t get to know him, unless we talk to him, and we hear what he says back to us. In Sunday school yesterday we had a lesson about listening to the spirit. To demonstrate it, the teacher took someone, blind folded them, and then had someone else tell them how to get back to their seat, while only whispering through a tube. After they did that, the teacher had everyone write down something that blocks the spirit on a piece of paper. She took the paper, crumpled it up, and puit in the tube. After doing this, they repeated the activity, but the blindfolded member couldn´t understand what the other one was saying, because it was all muffled and blocked. 
If we want to receive life eternal, then we need to be willing to give up certain things that will block the holy ghost, and block us from getting to know our heavenly father, and Jesus Christ.
I love you, have a great week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

German is a lot different than gospel German

Hey mom, thanks for ordering the tie, I love you :) And thanks for giving the stuff to John, I´m glad he got that before he left. Did he like the Hawaii tie?

So, this week was... Something. We spent most of our time with one amazing member, brother Adolf. He helped us out with 3 joint teaches this week, and they were great. The first one was Tuesday with an older woman who we teach. She´s really nice, and she really likes me. Sometimes maybe a little too much... But anyway, we taught her the plan of salvation, and man, it was such an amazing lesson! We centered it on the family, and how we can go through this whole plan with our families, and she told us as we were talking that she felt something really special whenever we came, a calm peace in her heart. We were able to bear testimony that that was the holy ghost telling her that what we´re saying is true, and she got so excited! I hope we can continue to teach her. She´s really, REALLY old (like 85) and she´s in and out of the hospital a lot, but we love her. Then, right after we were finished with this appointment, we were driving back and I had the impression that we should go by on a woman that we´d met a few week earlier. She investigated the church for about 3 years, and then lost contact with the missionaries. We went by, and man, that was something totally different. She let us in, but she just wanted to fight us, and explain why we´re wrong. It was actually kind of funny, her biggest problem with the church right now is what goes on in the temple. She doesn´t understand why it has to be a secret, and why we couldn´t explain it. Then, brother Adolf asked her "What did you do for your work? How long did you do it? Ok, you worked in medicine for 20 years, you know a lot about it, right? Explain it all to me, so that I can understand it, and do it all in the next 15 minutes.... You can´t! It´s too complicated. In order for me to understand, I would have to study and gain experience. I´ve been going to the temple for over 40 years, and I still don´t understand everything, so how can you expect to understand it, even if we explained every detail to you?" This really helped me out. I don´t understand everything that goes on in the temple, and I don´t know if I ever will in this life, but I know that it´s from God, and I know that it´s true. I´m so glad for the opportunity I´ve had to come here to Freiberg. I´ve gained such an appreciation for the temple. It rocks!

To say thank you to brother Adolf, we helped him fix his internet... I want you to imagine this situation. The computer was probably older than me, it had an operating system that wasn´t super compatible, they still use DSL for their internet, the person you´re trying to help is really old and has no idea what any of this stuff is, and on top of all that, everything is in German. And, let me tell you, computer German is a lot different than gospel German. It took a little time, patience, and prayer, but we finally fixed it, and now he can email his nephews again. Hip hip, hooray!

Not a pedicure, but helping with an ingrown toenail

So... Elder Drazin. Yea, we get along really well :) he just reminds me so much of John, it´s crazy. And we were wearing sweaters because it was sweater weather, around 55 degrees that day. That was a fun exchange :)

Thank you for being yo awesome mom, you rock! I love you! Thanks for all that you do. I hope you have a great week! And please send me those socks!!! :)

Love you!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Great Week!

Hey mom!
So, this week was up and down, but overall great! So, remember my
letter last week? Well, we met with our investigator, and he had
discussed baptism with his wife, and she told him that he couldn't
meet with us any more until he finishes his studies 😕he's been in
Germany for 4 years, and they want to go back to China as soon as
possible, so... Yea. We were really upset for a while, but then we
decided that we did our part. We taught him, invited him, and gave him
the option to use his agency to choose, and that's what he did. But
it's ok. We still love him, and he is still our friend Smiling face (black and white)️

After this lesson we were able to meet with 2 great families in our
ward and we discussed the plan for Europe given by the area
presidency. It's a really great plan, with 3 goals:
1. Double the active membership of the church in Europe

2. Become temporally and spiritually self reliant

3. Discover the blessings of enabling the salvation of our ancestors.

I really love these goals, and the plans that the brethren gave us to
accomplish them, and it was really great to meet with these members
and help excite them about this work, the work of salvation.

Also, did I tell you we started an English class here? We started it
with the Hubrichs just to offer a service for some of the people here,
and also to help the church here get a little more exposure. So far
it's been great. We've had a lot of support from our ward, and we've
been able to help some people.

There were two other things from this week that I want to tell you
about, the first one was our zone conference in Leipzig. Once again,
my hate for that city has grown. I don't understand why, but every
time I've been in Leipzig there's been a problem with the
transportation. We either had a train fall out, or our first train was
late, which caused us to miss our connection, or something else. This
time, we drove there with the Hubrichs, and, of course, there was a
ton of road construction, an accident, and the GPS took us to the
wrong church... I don't like that city.

But despite all of the transportation difficulties, we still made it,
and we got to meet President Fingerle! He is awesome! I already love
him! His son was also there at this conference, and I was talking to
him for a while, and it was a little weird at first, because it seemed
like he already knew me a little bit. Guess how? He follows the blog!
Shout out to president Fingerle's son!

The conference was really good. It was all about the temple and family
history, and I felt pretty special because I'm serving in Freiberg
right now Grinning face with smiling eyesGrinning face with smiling eyes We had a great time together, and learned a lot. After
the conference we went on exchange, and I came back to Freiberg with
elder Drazin. Haha, he's a funny guy. He really reminds me of John. We
had a lot of fun together, and we got work done! We found a new
investigator together, and had a couple really good conversations with
the people here. I love that guy :)

Well, that's all from my end. I hope you have a great week!

Love you,

Elder Oliphant

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hi Mom!

Hello Mom! 

Wow, I´m glad you had fun on your vacation, that sounds like the trip of a lifetime. I´m glad you got that opportunity, and I´m really glad that Riley is doing so much better :)

So... This week went by really fast, and it was HOT! WAY HOT! Man, I almost died like every day. Plus we don´t have air conditioning, so there is no escaping the heat. The only thing keeping us alive is the ice tray that the Hubrichs gave us. So nice :) I love them so much!

This week we had an exchange, and I stayed here with our new district leader, elder Hall. Did I tell you what happened with our district? Well, before it was just 4 elders, us and the elders in Meissen. Well, they closed down the branch in Meissen, combined it with the ward in Dresden, and then split the ward. So now there are two wards in Dresden, but because of this change, the Meissen program combined with one of the elders programs in Dresden. So now we´re in the Dresden district with Elder Hall, Elder Drazin, Elder Morales, Elder Randall, Sister Flake, Sister Kooyman, Sister Kady, and Sister Stephens. And also Elder and Sister Hubrich :) It´s a party :) But anyway, we went on exchange, and he is an amazing leader. I really feel like he´s there just to help us achieve our goals.

Speaking of goals, we set a goal to have a baptism this month. We´ve been working a lot with one of our investigators from China, and this week we gave him a baptismal commitment for the 25th of July! We´ve been really excited. He came to church and loved it. He said he was really trying to think about what he needs to do, and we got a text this morning saying that he´s made a conclusion, but he wants to tell us in person. We´re meeting tomorrow, and I am so nervous, it´s crazy! We´ve been praying non stop for him, and I really hope he´s gotten his answer. 

We also started using the bike more this week, and I ripped two pairs of pants! :/ It´s just way to hot, and the sweat does not work well with church pants and bikes. Fortunately sister Hubrich can sew pretty well.

One last thing about the week. GRILL PARTY!

We meet with a few of our new converts every week here, and this week they grilled for us! It was really good at first, but they had SO MUCH FOOD! And in Germany most of the meat that you can grill comes pre-marinated, and it´s the same sauce! SO it got old after a little bit. But it was really nice of them to do that for us :) I love them!

Well, this week we´re going to be meeting President Fingerle, we´re going to find out if our baptism will happen, we´re going on another exchange, and we´re going to still be biking in the heat.

Pray for us!

Love you, 

Elder Oliphant

What a week!

Wow, what a week we´ve had! So, It´s been so busy, I don´t even know where to begin... 

Well, remember how I said I´d be training? I figured out why. There were 5 Elders originally coming to our mission, but but during the MTC one of them, decided that the language was to hard, and he couldn´t do it, so he went to the MTC presidency, and they switched his call. Ok, great. They told president Kosak, he planned for 4 elders instead of 5. No problem. Well... This missionary later decided that he wanted to come to Germany, so they switched him back. I would´ve been fine, except they didn´t tell president Kosak about it. So He didn´t find out about it until Tuesday, when he received the flight plans and saw that 5 elders were coming. So, he called me, and Elder Benitz got transferred to Berlin, where he´s in a triple companionship, and guess who on of his companions it? Elder Glissmeyer. 

So, I went to Berlin one more time, and picked up Elder Teuscher! He´s such a great guy! I´m way excited that I can have the opportunity to work with him. And since we picked him up, we´ve been working! We had an appointment on Thursday with Li, a great investigator, and Elder Teuscher had the great opportunity to invite him to baptism! He needs to think about it, he´s really new with religion, but we´re confident that he´ll be baptized in the coming month! Please keep him in your prayers!

Friday we had our district meeting, and it was a little different than normal. Last transfer we just had a 4 man district, us and the elders in Meissen. Well, the branch in meissen got combined with the ward in dresden, and then the ward spit, so there are now two bishops wards in Dresden! It´s wonderful :) The Elders programs in those two cities combined, so now we are part of the district in Dresden, and we have 6 elders and 4 sisters! A lot bigger than before. We also gave a lesson in District meeting about finding, and Elder Teuscher did a great job. In German :)

We also had another Sport evening where we played some soccer with a couple members and investigators, and we had 3 eating appointments. We´ve been seeing a lot of miracles here, and we´re going to continue to see them. 

I hope you have a great week!

Love you!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm beat!

Hey mom, I just want to apologize in advance, I'm really really tired.
We woke up this morning at 4:00, and caught a train to Berlin.
President wanted to talk to my companion, and man, I'm super glad that
he did, because I got to say goodbye one last time to president Kosak.
What a great guy. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to work here
with him, he's great! After our meeting we had permission to go out
and see some sights in Berlin, and we did! We saw the Brandenburg
gate, the holocaust memorial, a couple other cool buildings, and the
Berliner Dom. Wow. So pretty. And, because we're clergy, we could go
in for free! It's a really pretty church, and there's a ton of
symbolism in everything, most of which points to the savior. It was a
great experience. We wanted to check out checkpoint Charlie, but we
didn't have time... Nächstes Mal!

So, that was that. This week. It was pretty good! Two weeks ago we
were looking at our work, and trying to find out what we could do
better. After a lot of prayer and discussion, Elder Benitz and I
decided that we needed to work on our finding, and we set a goal in
faith that we would find 12 new investigators before the end of the
month. This was a pretty big goal, considering that last month we
found 2, but we knew that when we worked hard, the lord would help us.
Since then we've found 7 investigators, and have 4 new potential
investigators that can become real investigators this week! We've bee
working super hard, and the lord has been blessing us. I just want to
tell you about one of these guys, his name is Sam. He's from Africa,
and when we met him on the street he was super excited to meet and
talk with us. We met him on Sunday, and he completely excepted
everything that we taught, and at the end of the lesson, he prayed and
said "Lord, thank you for the truth that we have learned today." We
are really excited to see where things go with him.

This week we also had our first sport evening, and we played
basketball. It was great. For the first time since the MTC, I got to
put on my basketball shoes. Oh it felt so good to finally play again!
We're going to be having this every week. This week, we had two
investigators there! And I hopefully this week we'll have even more!

Ok, well I'm going to try and sleep a little bit now. Please have a
wonderful time on your vacation, take lots of pictures, and say hi to
Riley for me Grinning face with smiling eyes