Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

Hello again.  Another week has passed.  Crazy that it goes so quickly.  This week was amazing and so busy.  We had our normal meeting and we went hiking which was super fun!!!  We then had some new investigators come from referrals from the office.  It was great.  We met with one on Tuesday and it is this crazy old couple from Italy who speak OK German.  They really wanted to give us coffee and we had to keep saying that we don't drink coffee.  So they gave us herbal tea instead.  It is crazy how much tea I drink.  I don't really care for it, but everyone here drinks tea.  And that is what they offer every time you go there.  And sometimes I ask for water, but my companion loves tea, so she usually says we would love it.  Super funny.  But if you put enough sugar in it is tastes ok.  :)  My companion told me I eat too much sugar and she wonders how I do it every day.  Also how I don't eat very much.  She cooks for us luckily and I should probably be a better companion and cook for her sometimes too... But that will maybe come sometime down the road.  :)  Anyway... back to the Italian couple.  They really have some good friends who are all Mormon who they know from Italy which is really nice, but they really don't understand us too good.  It is really funny.  The guy told my companion that her German was really terrible when really his German is terrible.  But hopefully we can help them understand how important the church is.  But honestly I think it will be awhile with them.  But they are really sweet and nice.
We then had lunch with one of the members.  She is awesome.  She has 2 kids and she is from Finland, but she went on her mission to Germany. I love her and her kids.  Her little girl speaks fluent Finnish and is learning German, so she doesn't really talk to us.  She understands, but she is refusing to speak German right now, even to her parents.  She doesn't want to let go of the Finnish. But she is super cute anyway.  
We had a short lesson with our investigator this week, but her baby got vaccines and reacted not too good.  He got a really bad fever and got sick and so we only stayed for a minute.  We are really hoping we can get her on track for her baptismal date that we set for the 7th of December, but we will see.  
Something interesting that happened this week was we did a Skype lesson with some elders in Switzerland.  They have a Mongolian less active, so my companion was helping them out. I just sat there the whole time and ate food at the members house.  It is really bad how much I eat at the members.   I have gained a little weight that I will need to work off when I get home.  But it was really cool to see her speak Mongolian and help someone.  We are now going to start doing that every week with them.  He understands German, but not super well. 
We also teach an English lesson every week.  I teach....  Which is always interesting.  My English isn't that good, and sometimes she asks why and I have no idea why, I just know what sounds right.  Shows how much I payed attention in school...  :)  But it is ok.  It actually really helps my German, cuz I have to sometimes speak to her in German, or she asks what some words mean and I have to know all the words I'm teaching in both languages, so that helps.  
Then on Saturday we went out to a referral from the office.  It was 1:45 minutes away which was hard, but she was awesome.  She is only 17 and she was an exchange student in Montana for 1 year.  She stayed with a family and went to church, young women, and seminary the whole time she was there.  She really understands everything, except a few details that no one took the time to explain and she didn't want to ask cuz they seemed so basic.  She said she knows the church is true, but she has to think about being baptized.  So pray that she will be baptized soon and see how important it is.  Also that we can start teaching her family as well.  Her parents have some background in the church cuz her dad was also an exchange student and did the same thing she did.  She is just a little more interested than he was.  We are excited to start teaching her and get her set for baptism.  The hardest part is the distance.  We traveled for a total of 4 hours the other day just to get there and back.  And cuz its so far away we can't stay for a long time and she only has time for 1 a week since she is in school.  So....  a lot of obstacles, but we will work it out.  She is really cool.
The confirmations went soooo good yesterday.  We are super excited for our 2 newest members.  The ward loves them as well and we really hope we can get their German better soon so they can communicate better.  But the spirit was really great.  We also had the primary program this Sunday which was awesome.  We only have about 1/3 of the kids here, but it was just as good as it always is.  The kids were sooooo well behaved.  (not that kids in American aren't) :)
This week is going to be really busy.  We have transfer calls on Saturday and then depending on what they say, if we leave it will be next week on Thursday.  I think something is going to happen to us, but I don't know what.  It will be interesting to see what God has in store.  We also have a tausch this week (exchange).  So I am going to Stuttgart for a day to switch companions.  It will be fun.  We have such a busy week planned.  We also have a dinner on Friday this week with a family to have Thanksgiving.  I am really excited for that.  Our members are so good and take such good care of us. So you don't have to worry about eating my share, I have my share here.  Tell Grandma and Grandpa that I say hello.   
I am really praying for snow this year.  I am hoping we get some.  But it is still really warm here. I am going out in just long sleeve shirts every day.  It drives my companion crazy, but I love it.  She said today that she is embarrassed to be with me, so I guess I should stop.  But I really hope it gets cold and we have snow soon.
I think that's all for the week.  I love hearing from you and all my pictures are in Dropbox, but here is a few. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.  Love you loads.
Sister Poll

Monday, November 17, 2014



All things are wonderful here.  It has been an amazing week and really busy.  The baptism went amazing.  It was wonderful and so spiritual.  The members were so supportive and loving which was awesome.  Usually here they do baptisms on Saturday and confirm the next day in Sacrament.  It is a preach my gospel thing.  I think they do it with all converts.  But we really wanted more members there and since everyone lives so far away we decided to do it after church so more people would be there.  That means we had to wait a week for the confirmation, which is sad, but oh well.  But the baptism was really great.  For some reason this computer is not working and I can't get my pictures to show up... So next week I guess.  Sorry.  But really both had such a strong feeling of the spirit and they loved it.  After they both hugged one another and had the biggest smiles on their faces.  This is what the gospel is all about.  Bringing this happiness to everyone.  And they just kept saying how happy they were.  So awesome!! 
That was really the biggest thing this week.  My talk in church went OK I think.  Everyone told me it was good.  I don't know if they just said that to make me feel better or if they really understood it, but it was fine.  And then I played the piano for a musical number at the baptism.  That was interesting.  I only had like 1 hour to practice this song and it actually went OK, up until the last 2 pages where I butchered it.  I ended early and luckily they realized and it actually sounded ok, but needless to say my piano skills need some work.  It is at the top of my to do list for when I get home.  I am really regretting that I let so much of it go.  I am sad that I can't play as good as I used to, but I have repented and I will get back up to speed asap.  
Things here are starting to get a little colder.  I need a jacket now when I go outside, but the other day I actually went with just a 3/4 shirt.  My companion thought I was crazy, as did every German I saw on the street, but I didn't really care.  But every one here wears coats every day even when the sun is shining and it is warm.  They all have coats and scarves and everything.  It is kind of funny.  But I heard that we probably won't get any snow here for Christmas which is sad...  But who knows.  Maybe.  We have transfers again in 2 weeks, so we will see what happens.  I think something is going to change.  We had interviews with President this past week and he mentioned that there may be a change coming.  I will keep your posted.  
I am jealous that you are going to a rodeo.  That would be so much fun!!!  I would totally go if I had the chance.  I really miss all the farms and animals and everything that I was surrounded by on a daily basis.  When we went to that farm last week I just felt like home.  (They were Holsteins by the way.  Some black and brown ones.  but I didn't ask due to my lack of farm German vocabulary...)  The milker is really cool actually.  I washes the teats and everything.  It uses a cool laser system that shows exactly where the teats are and then it puts the milkers on. 
Yesterday was an awesome day. We had the baptisms, which were amazing and then we went out to visit one other investigator.  We got a baptismal date set with her, and we really hope she will keep her appointments so that we can make that date.  It would be awesome.  Even though this week has been stressful preparing for baptism, it was so worth it.  Then we missed our train by literally 10 seconds even though we ran.  So we went by on a potential cuz the trains only come every 30 or hour here.  And we caught her at home.  It was really cool cuz we gave her a book of Mormon a few weeks ago and talked a little about it.  We have been trying to go back, but she is really busy and doesn't have a regular schedule so we can't make an appointment.  But we caught her at home and it turns out that she has been reading the BOM every night and is in Second Nephi 31 already.  We talked for awhile and she has a ton of faith.  She will for sure be baptized one day.  But she was struggling to believe in Joseph Smith and prophets, cuz he is just a normal man.  She believes in God, but the whole prophet idea now and that Joseph Smith was important is not something she really wants to understand yet, but she said the BOM is one of the best books she has ever read and she feels so good when she reads it.  We are really excited for her.  Hopefully things work out.  I think as she comes to read more and learn more that she will find for her self the truth of Joseph Smith and prophets.  We are praying anyway.  :)
So that was really cool yesterday.  We are really being blessed here.  Thanks for all your prayers and support.  Things are amazing, not always easy, but really great.  I love and miss you all and really hope that all is well there.  I love you and will try to send more pictures next week.  I am super sad that its not working, but what can you do?  Today we are going to a waterfall (hopefully) and doing a little short hike.  I am really excited to get out a little.  Love you tons, and think of you always.
Sister Poll

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wow what a busy week it has been. We had some great lessons and we are super excited.  The baptism is next Sunday (the 16th) right after church. And then the next week we will confirm them.  They are awesome.  We thought this week that we ran into a small snag, cuz she is still married.  So we thought we would have to get permission from the husband to baptize the son and all these things.  But it turns out that it will be fine without.  Since he has no contact with them and hasn't seen the kids or helped with anything in a long time.  But they are both doing really well and so excited to be baptized.
Our other investigator is doing ok, we need to really work with her, but we found out that she is only 24 and so that kind of explains the way she has been acting. She hasn't quite figured out that she needs to rely on herself and not just others.  Lucky for her her husband takes good care of her. But she really is amazing and we hope that this week we can set a baptismal date for December.  So keep her in your prayers.  
Those are really the only people we are working with right now.  Our others investigators have no time or dropped us.  They won't answer their phone or don't want any more contact.  So we have been working with a lot of the less actives in the ward this week.  There are so many of them.  We are working really hard with Bishop to bring them back.  It is really sad and one of them we see every week.  She promises us every week that she will come, and then she is never there.  It is really sad, cuz her kids are learning from her that church isn't as important as it really is.  But we keep praying that she will come.  This week when we visited, we were really blunt with her.  I just said, "you know church is important. You have a strong testimony.  Why don't you come?"  Turns out she has some issues with people in the ward, so that was some helpful information.  Hopefully we can fix that and get her to realize that people aren't perfect and she needs to come to church for herself and to come closer to God, not to worry about people.  So we will see. It is really sad how many less actives we have here.  We are trying really hard to get them to come back.  It is just as important and new baptisms.
We also visited this super cute older lady who is less active cuz she can't really walk so well and can't get to church.  She has a super strong testimony though and she loves when we visit.  She was talking to me and she is kind of deaf so she shouts a lot.  And so not only did I get yelled at, but I didn't understand half of it.  After she just smiled at me and said " It will come one day." and then laughed.  She totally caught me that I didn't understand.  but its great.  She is awesome. 
We also went to Münchin this week to have Missionary Leadership Conference, since we are sister training leaders.  It was awesome.  There has been a strike on the trains and so we had to take the ehepaar's car (the older couple missionaries car) with the zone leaders.  They are in a threesome and so there were 5 of us in the car.  Which wouldn't be that bad, but the cars here are miniature size.  No room.  And we were like that for almost 4 hours there and 4 hours back.  And the elders drive crazy!!  They haven't driven for so long, plus one is used to driving on the left side of the road, so that was something else as well. He would sometimes drift and we would remind him he was in Germany, not England.  But the conference was really good.  It is so awesome to be taught by the mission president and to see sister Kohler as well.  They are amazing.  I always learn so much from them.  Turns out that we have to now teach our zone what we learned from President, so that will be fun.  That is on Tuesday.  Then we also have our interviews with him this coming week.  I am really excited.  Things are going really well. 
Church this week was awesome.  The only surprise was the counselor came up to me and started talking in English (unusual, cuz they usually talk German even if I don't understand everything) and said he needed a favor.  I asked what and he said he needed a speaker for next week....  I asked if he needed me to find someone for next week and that made him smile.  So next week I have to give a 5 minute talk in German, so prayers would be appreciated...  I am a little nervous already.  

I think that's all for this week.  Things are going well here.  It sounds like things are going well there also.  I miss you all a lot and I appreciate all the updates.  Things are going good with my companion as well.  I think of you always and you are always in my prayers.  Love you!
Sister Poll

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Guten Tag!!!!

My companion is doing well.  I forgot to mention that we got made sister training leaders.  To be honest, I am not exactly sure what that means....  We have an extra meeting that we have to go to and we also have to help teach our zone training meeting, so that will be interesting.  I have no idea if it is going to be in German or not....  Hopefully not.  I am not getting as much practice on my German because all of our investigators are English speaking.  But we try to speak German outside as much as possible. So that really helps, but sometimes people talk to me and I have no idea still.  I am trying to get out of the habit of just saying "Ja" all the time.  Cuz sometimes they ask me a question and I just say ja, then they smile and ask it again.  It happens all the time.  I am learning to laugh a lot.  Lots of hand gestures also helps.  But the ward is really great.  They will say the same things over and over again for me so that I can practice, and I am starting to call people on the phone.  That is harder cuz I can't see them and go by body language as well. But I am doing ok. 
Our baptism is still on schedule.  She is 36 years old and so prepared.  This week we taught about the Word of Wisdom.  She was struggling to understand the concept of coffee.  She drinks about 1 pot a day and and didn't see why it was a problem to drink coffee, cuz "it doesn't hurt her." but once we explained a little, she told us that if it is God's will, she will quit.  And then we took her coffee machine away.  that was funny.  But she gave it to us willingly.  And she is doing awesome.  She came to church this Sunday and stood and gave her testimony.  And it was amazing.  She is really excited for her baptism and constantly wants to learn more.  She is golden.  We are really praying that Satan doesn't get to her.  She has to have an operation on her leg from a past time when she broke it.  So we are also praying that it isn't before her baptism.  Cuz that is how Satan works.  Her son is 11 years old and then she also has  a 5 year old.  They look older though.  And their names are so cool.  This family is awesome.  We are super excited for them all. I will defiantly send pictures after their baptism.  We are so excited and the ward is as well. 
We also have another girl and she is doing great.  Her problem is that she depends on everyone to do it for her.  So this week we told her she had to find her own ride to church, cuz she needs to start being responsible for getting herself there if she is going to be baptized.  She has been depending on us to find things and when if something goes wrong it is our fault. So this week she was upset cuz she got already for church and no one came to get her.  And I asked her rather bluntly if she found herself a ride. She said no and that the same man should have just come to get her.  I probably wasn't the nicest to her but I told her that he had no idea if she was coming and that he wouldn't just come if he didn't know and she needed to call him.  We had a little tense discussion about making sure things are scheduled and not just relying on people to take care of her all the time.  But hopefully now she understands and she will not be so angry about it.  :) I was super blunt with her and maybe I should have used more kindness, but I think she needs someone who will just tell her how it is.  And I am more than happy to do that.  :) 
These people are kind of friends.  Some of them live in the same place and that is how we have come in contact with them. Because they are all from Africa they live in a small building in the cities in tiny rooms.  They really don't have much, but they get to live there for free so that's nice.  Now both investigators are good friends cuz they come to church every week so that is nice. 
Sometimes I just think that people should understand the way that I do.  When I feel the spirit and they don't I wonder what is wrong with them.  And I wonder how they can't see how great this gospel and this church is.  And so I am adjusting.  And to remember that they have their free agency to choose is important.  I know that I am trying my best to teach these people, and even though it is not perfect and someone may be better at it than me, I am giving my best. And that makes me a good missionary.    Sometimes I feel like I am not good cuz my numbers are low or cuz I feel like we don't use our time as effectively or cuz our lessons don't go well.  but I am learning that I am not perfect and people are not perfect.  And it never will be. And sometimes like you said, people don't listen.  And sometimes they seem golden, and then choose not to follow through.  It really is sad, but they can choose.  And I am learning that Agency is a true blessing, but it is also so frustrating.  I just really want them to understand how great this gospel is.  It is worth so much more than anything they have, but they don't understand!!!  But I am trying my hardest to tell them. And that is all I can do.  Getting out of my comfort zone is hard.  It is still hard for me to talk with people on the bus or train.  I am not good at it, but every day I am trying to be better.  And that is what is important.  And your right.  Sometimes we don't know the impact we make.  Even if someone doesn't get baptized, they may tell their friends about the gospel.  You never know.  
I love you all and think of you always.  I am always thinking of you and praying for you. Thank you for your support and all that you do.  It means everything to me.  Love you!
Sister Poll


Transfers came through and I am staying here with my companion.  We are both really excited since we have 2 hopefully 3 baptisms this transfer. This next transfer will be 6 weeks long I believe, but if not I will let you know.  I'm glad that you got all the barn stuff taken care of so when it rains now it won't be an ice sheet there.  I really miss working on the farm, and I know this may backfire on me, but I can't wait to get back to it when I get home. :)
Things are going great here.  We have our baptism all set.  They have it set for the 16th of November and they are super excited for it.  P just says that she is already a member so we keep praying that she accepts all the commandments ok.  She took tithing really well even though she has such a small income and everything.  Now we just have to get over the last hurtle of the word of wisdom, cuz we think she drinks coffee.  So pray this week that she will stop and be accepting to it.  Other than that we are super excited for her and her son.  They truly are a miracle to us and we are super grateful that the Lord sent them to the church.  And I am super glad that we get to teach in English, although it is a different kind of English.  I really have to talk slowly and simply, which is really hard for me.  And she told us the other day that she is getting better at understanding me, so even when you talk in the same language, there is still a language barrier.  But it is better and we really love her.  I think her exact words were " I love sister poll, but at the beginning I had no idea what she said.  Now I understand everything and if I don't I ask" So that was funny, and humbling.  This week she cooked some Nigerian food for us.  I told her before that I couldn't eat very spicy food, cuz she asked.  And when we were eating she said that she made it mild for me so that it wouldn't be too bad.  I think I could have breathed FIRE after the first bite.  And my companion who likes spicy food and eats it well said the same.  It was the hardest things I have had to do so far was to keep putting bites in my mouth.  Luckily it tasted really good, but I drank a whole 2 bottles of water and needed some yogurt after as well.  my companion took the fall and helped me eat some cuz we were sharing a plate and eating with our hands like in Africa.  It was really cool but honestly I felt that food burn my whole digestive system.  It was the worst thing.  And then she told us that it wasn't even spicy. I just looked and her and told her straight up that she was crazy since I was crying from the heat.  She just laughed at me. It was interesting, and defiantly something I will not forget. No more Nigerian food for me. 
Also our other investigator is doing well.  She has committed to baptism, but we are not sure if she will be ready by the same date.  We need to work hard with her and get her less dependent on everyone bringing her to church and things.  But she is also amazing and one day she will be baptized.  We hope really soon. 
This week has been pretty focused on these three people. We also have another investigator who is 21 and a student here and she is cool.  We meet with her as well and she is from Africa but speaks really good German.  So that is nice that it forces me to practice since the rest of our lessons are in English.  We think she has some real potential. And then she also decided to cook for us this week. And guess what is was.  Nigerian food.  With peppers in it.  Man it was also spicy, but not as bad as the first one.  I will be so good at eating spicy food by the time this is over if this keeps up.    
This week we need to find more people to teach.  We are super focused on the ones we have which is awesome, but we need to be working on that as well, so that is our goal.  We are really glad that we get to stay together even though sometimes we have some communications issues.  We are also glad that we are staying here in Tübingen.  We love it and the people are awesome.    I know this is where we are supposed to be and that I am here for a reason.  I am learning so much and growing and I am so grateful for your support and love from home.  I miss you all and think of you always.
Sister Poll