Monday, November 24, 2014

Attitude!

I'm going to start with a conversation I had with sister williams on the Bus earlier this week leaving our apartment..
"Sooo... Sister Shurts... guess what I just forgot.."
"... a book of mormon..?"
"nope.. remmebered that, something worse"
"...ummm what?..."
"The keys. on the kitchen table"
*dramatic pause.. with a touch of awkward*
"well sister Williams... This will be fun!"
Don't worry, we were able to get in touch with someone and after a long time of waiting and wondering some wonderful senior missionaries brought us an extra set of keys and some warm chocolate chip cookies! and then we got our heating fixed so we arn't freezing in our apartment! WOO-HOO!! its the little things that make life worth living! For example this week, like 3 people asked me what part of Germany I come from!! Im so gratefull that I can speak and communicate in the German Language and that Heavenly Father has helped me learn so much.
Our area has not seen very much progress for a while- and we are trying to get the ward excited about missionary work- but it has been harder than I thought it would be. I am learning a lot about putting trust in God. We do a lot of contacting because we need to find more people to teach- and sometimes we just don't know where to go. Sister Williams and I have been spending a lot of time praying and thinking about where we should go to find people to teach. One important thing that I have learned is that our attitude is everything. If we start our day, with the thought 'maybe someone will want to listen to our message..' we won't try to contact as much, or seek people out. But if we step out our door with the idea in mind, that Heavenly Father has prepared any number of people today for us to talk to- we will be anxious and excited to go and find them! I have been studying the parables of Jesus- specifically the parable of the lost sheep. We are leaving our flock (our family and friends) for a year and a half to find the symbolic one. On our front door, we have a big piece of poster board that says- FIND THE ONE - and then underneath we wrote down what attributes we can work on to be able to accompish that goal!
So even if a lot of our appointments fall out, or we get lost, or its freezing, or we get locked out of our apartment. It is so reasuring for me to know that Heavenly Father is in charge. Because he takes every single one of those experiences and teaches us something! I know that he is aware of where I am, and where my heart is, and the things that I desire- and I can't wait to see what this next week will bring!!!
Love sister shurts
from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

josefinenstra├če 19
44628 Herne
Deutschland


we bought a christmas tree!! Sister williams is the home decor lady! haha


Here's a excerpt from Michaela's journal about his sweet little lady (pictured above): OH MY GOODNESS!! today we had an appointment with THE CUTEST OLD LADY EVER!!! :D She is 84 and her name is Schwester Oydowski! She fed us cake and noodles and just talked our ears off. It was amazing, I felt like I was walking with her through the pages of a history book. She was telling us stories about how the 2nd world war started and how she was a refugee with her 7 siblings and her mother. She remembered her dad being part of some secret military group and how he left them. One time they were in town when a bombing raid started and they had to dive from ditch to ditch- she got really quiet when she said she can still remember the cold chill on her back as she saw a little boy on a porch holding the hand of his mother who had just been killed by an explosion. One aweful night they were in their small home when a bombing raid started - she was 13 or 14, and all that she remembered was that her Father had once told her to always stand in a corner if the house was being bombed. Miraculously their family was safe but they watched their house go completly to ruing right before their eyes. That night they took what they could carry and left all their belongings behind. One mother with 8 children and the trecked into Czecklaslovakia and then down into bayern. They were so poor- she remembered that any sort of food was delicious to her! Her Father found out that his family was a refugee and left his military group to try and find them for over a year! Finnaly he was able to find them and they made their way to Marl (which is where she lives now) 
... crazy story right? I love this opportunity that I have to be a part of this history- when will I ever get the chance to hear these stories from the mouths of those who lived them? 
us getting locked out, our new set of keys and the cookies they brought :)
how we look at the end of the day... well maybe its an exageration




Monday, November 17, 2014

Herne

I can't believe November is almost half way over! Sister Williams and I are nearing the end of our first transfer together in Herne! We have had a ton of fun adventures and experiences here together.
I am learning a lot about finding people and talking to people. I think one of my favorite things to do so far, is watch peoples expressions. For example, I'll be sitting on a bus, and a lady will get on and sit right across from me- I'll smile at her, and when she smiles back I usually say hi and ask her how her day is going. It is so funny to see how they react! Because it is always one of two things, they just look annoyed, and I can imagine the conversation in their head goes "why are you talking to me? normal people aren't nice! stop it!" or - and this is more frequent they are surprised and smile really big, and say its great thank you! <--- that right there is a favorite moment of mine. Because then we can actually talk and have a conversation and almost always it leads into missionary work. I have been thinking a lot about the preach my gospel chapter, "teach when you find, find when you teach". And how important it is to share your beliefs where ever you are. We don't need to set apart a specific time to find people if we are finding people all the time. I was thinking about the example of the savior- He took every opportunity to teach, he didn't wait until he had scheduled the time for it. That is one of my goals- to teach the way the savior taught.

We called up a man that we contacted last week on the bus and were able to meet up with him at the bahnhof. He is from Togo Africa and wanted a french book of Mormon. I marked one up and brought it to him, we sat down on a bench for about 20 minutes and explained to him what we as Mormons believe. At one point I felt impressed to ask him, why he even wanted to meet with us. Because at first when we contacted he didn't have any interest- but something changed his mind. He said that when I pulled out the book... he began to think. He said it started to make sense that there was another book that went along with the bible- just like the Koran. And he wanted to know which one was true- the Mormon book or the Koran. And that something inside of him wanted to find out more- just like a spark. We gave him the book and he said he would read for a couple days and then call us back!!! As we walked home from that appointment I was so happy. It was a little bit late, and the stars were shining and I turned to Sister Williams and pointing up said,
 "Sister, sometimes its nice to know that God is in charge of his work- and that we are his instruments"
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Lost at the train station

Marking up Books of Mormon to hand out

A very funny German cigarette ad

What happens to missionaries who don't obey the rules!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Adventures in Herne

Once upon a time... there were two missionaries who had both been in Germany for less than 4 months. They spent their day's in the cities and the train-stations gazing at the confusing routes and bus lines, wondering if they would ever figure it out so that they don't end up in random places they didn't even know exsisted!
But... I never would have guessed that the Lord would use my TERRIBLE sense of direction for a good cause! This week as we jumped from train to street car to bus- We were able to meet SO many different people. I think I am going to start a list of all the people I've met from different countries, (Tibet, Jamaica, Africa, Jordan, Portugal, Brazil etc). I am amazed at what miracles God works in our lives when we open our mouths. While I was on the Bus I felt impressed to go and sit by an old black guy, we talked for a little bit, but as soon as I said I was a missionary he put his hands up and shook his head, saying he was a muslim. I decided right then I could either be discouraged or encouraged. I decided to keep talking to him. The lady across from us joined the conversation and we discussed what faith was and how we get answers to prayers. I pulled out the book of mormon and read Moroni 10:3-5 and explained the purpose of the Book of Mormon. Then this man that I had sat next to after rejecting the idea asked me if he could have my book, and gave me his adress and number so that we can go visit him!!!! I got off that bus and jumped up and down I was so excited!!!! I think Sister Williams might have been a little bit emberassed!

This week people have just come up to us and asked us what we are doing here- what an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel. Heavenly Father helps us use every opportunity to teach, whether it is getting lost in Germany or having a broken bathroom. We had a plumber come over this morning because our water wasn't draining in our old apartment. As I was trying to remember what the German word was for pipe, he asked me about my badge. Then right there in that tiny little bathroom, I taught the first lesson to that old german plumber. Man... I can't even describe it. But being here in Germany has made me happier than I have ever been in my whole life.
It has been a great week, and I am excited to see what this next week brings
I love you all! thank you for you support and prayers!
Sister Shurts


from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

In front of a cool church!

Our cute bedroom

My cute apartment and my even cuter companion!

Making dinner ourselves on a night that we weren't invited
to eat with members.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Stand-in Twin for the Day!

Quote of the week... "Sister Shurts thank goodness you speak German!"
I'm in Herne now!! I can't believe that I'm already in a new area- but we all met at the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (main train station) that was a crazy adventure in and of itself- Sister Petersen and I had to carry 6 heavy pieces of luggage down 4 flights of stairs across the city of wetzlar up a crooked cobblestone ramp and then the Bahnhof all while rushing to catch a train!! my fingers and arms almost fell off I was SO tired! Once we got there I met my new companion Sister Williams!! She has only been out one transfer longer than me and just barely finished her training and those were the first words she said to me "Sister Shurts thank goodness you speak German!" haha- and what she has continued with all week! Our new little apartment is SOO much nicer (and cuter) than the one in Wetzlar!! I walked in and could turn around in a full circle and not hit anything!! haha But I really like it, it imediatly felt like home having a real desk to study at is nice too. Our first couple days were a little bit hectic but they are starting to calm down now.
20!!! wow that is wierd to think about- I have to admit it was really hard to wake up and not give my twin a hug, and share the moment with her. I can't believe that this is the first time in 20 years that we havn't shared this day together! On Sunday Sister Williams and I rode our bikes to church (now that makes me feel like a real sister missionary!) and then we stood at the entrance and welcomed the members. There was a cute girl who walked in and Sister Williams ran and gave her a hug and whispered something in her ear- then this girl (Alena) ran up to me and gave me a hug and shouted, "Sister! its my birthday too!!! we can be twins today!!!" After that she ran around all through church announcing that the new sister Missionary was her twin haha- it was quite funny to watch- her family was super sweet and invited us over for cake that evening. Although it wasn't the same as having Kiana there Alena was very sweet about making me feel at home.
During Church I was asked to share my Testimony on the spot (I still havn't quite gotten used to that haha) I stood up and as I was walking to the front I looked at all the people in the ward, Herne is one of the oldest Mormon congregations in Germany- I could see their belief and love for the gospel of Jesus Christ in their eyes- I am so excited to be a part of it!
I know that this church is true- I have felt it in my heart- I had a coach who told me once, that if I give him 100% then I will be amazed at the progess I make! Heavenly Father is like our coach- he knows what is best for us- He wants us to give him our all, and he will mold us and shape us into better people. If we give ourselves to Heavenly Father and his gospel 100% I know that he will work miracles through our hands. Although it is hard being away from my Twin Sister and family i would never trade this experience to be home with them right now. There is something special about being a missionary- something that makes me feel like I am part of something bigger- I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I am so proud to labor here in Germany in his name!
from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary
Sister Shurts

Missing my twin on my birthday!! Happy Birthday, Kiana!

Saying goodbye to Sister Petersen

Sister Petersen and I had to get all this luggage to the train station.

Saying bye to Sis. Blackhurst

My new companion in Herne, Sister Williams. 

Me, in heaven!! A store full of Playmobils!