Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Let it Snow!

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the work is soo delightful- and since we've got lots of places to go... Let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!!
It SNOWED!! :D This morning (for PDay) right after jogging in a winter wonderland (which was fun, except for the fact that I almost slipped like 4 times) Sister Williams and I grabbed our gloves and before it was even light outside built a huge snowman! (and a little baby one to match!) We are pretty darn awesome- aside from the fact that it got knocked down 3 hours latter… that awkward moment some little kid destroys your winter dreams…

This week was really something magical though- Christmas in Germany... one down, one more to go. We were invited over to members houses for Christmas eve or Heilige Abend and also Christmas day- it was so fun to see how the spirit of Christ was in each of their homes. We sat next to Christmas trees and sang songs about the birth of Christ and shared stories together. Although it was different than home, it was still special to see the celebration.

But I have to say that the climax was the 60 minutes that I was able to talk with my family. (just have to say you guys are the best) It was so fun to be able to talk with you and hear your voices. I was worried that I would get more homesick after skyping but the complete opposite happened- I just got more excited to do missionary work. Earlier in the year I was having a hard time, I would get distracted thinking about home all the time and missing you guys. But after praying for strength I began to realize that Heavenly Father would help me. I received the assurance that thinking about home would not be a distraction to me, but a strength. And seeing you all at Christmas confirmed that for me. It made me realize just how much the Gospel has blessed my family- it is because of Jesus Christ that we can be together forever, and that joy that I feel is something I simply can't keep to myself! Now whenever I look at our family picture instead of wanting to go home, I want to go outside and share this glad message with anyone who will hear! 

Liebe Gruße
Sister Shurts
From the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Our matching Christmas sweaters

 the unfortunate amount of chocolate we have recieved for
sister williams birthday and christmas... because how horrible
would it be if we got too skinny! 

Christmas Dinner

Opening presents

Christmas Eve

Sister Williams and I have a fun little Christmas party

Christmas  day with the elders at familie bruhn!

Our Snowman...and child

Our snowman dies

Snow day

Christmas morning

Monday, December 22, 2014


Soo I am warning you all that I am in a VERY christmassy mood right now... so I'm not sure how this email will turn out because I am sooo distracted and will be able to see your beautiful (and slightly crazy) faces in approximately 80 hours 16 minutes and 25 seconds!!..... AHHHH :) Can't wait for my Skype time with my FAMILY!!!!!

I really don't even know where to start! But remember that awesme miracle story from last week as we went dooring and met the Familie Wichman?! We met with them again and showed her the He is the Gift video and she LOVED IT! We had a fireside at the church yesterday about what the meaning of Christmas is- and she actually came! and brought her husband! :) I am so happy about this Christmas miracle. I know that the lord will bless us as we continue to have faith that he will touch the hearts of the people we meet!
I have been impressed this week by how many cherrished Christmas traditions have to do with skype... I mean light! (gah see people that was an accident!) The candles on the advent wreath, the Christmas markts alight, the glowing Christmas tree, the warmth of the fire, the star of David. But most importantly the light of Christmas is the light and love that comes from Christ.
I was thinking a lot about how light is a comfort something that we naturally seek out, from the little sister who needs her night light or the warm rays of the sun. A lot of people don't understand who God is. They say he is in us around us and near us- but the concept that is not understood is that he is a literal person. Think about the light from the sun. We all feel the rays on our skin individually- but they all come from a physical and real thing in the sky. Just like we can all feel Gods love as the rays of the sun, we can know that he is real, that he cares about each one of us individually and that because he loves each and everyone of us, he sent is son to give us a way to return to him.
With our big push of handing out more HeIsTheGift cards we have talked to a lot of people this week. From abstract art therapists to computer engineers, but no matter what walk of life these people are in- they still feel the excitement of Christmas (side note- some old lady on a bus was so excited about Christmas she popped out her dentures and showing them to me explained that they were her Christmas present to herself...awkward..)
 The weather here in Germany is like Oregon right now- no snow but a lot of rain! feels just like home! :) Find ways to enjoy the Christmas season and think about what gift you can give. The one true gift that I can give to repay the Savior is to give him myself. Wholly and completely- and that's the thought I wanted to leave with you guys!
Merry Christmas
I love you all
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

A few pictures from Michaela's ward Christmas Party (the rest can be seen at: Herne Ward Christmas Party)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Little Christmas Miracle!

Christmas is just around the corner!! And I can't wait! This week it was soo fun to talk to people on the street about christmas. All the people at the Christmas Markts with their Gluhwein and old man pipes (gotta love germans) would let us stop and chat with them for a bit about what christmas was and I would get the opportunity to bear testimony of Jesus Christ and of the gift he is to us.

So, short little christmas miracle story- this week Sister Williams and I were walking to an appointment and we had about 15 extra minutes. I saw a cool yellow building and nudged sister williams and said "Hey lets Klingle (what we call ringing the doorbell) that apartment building" So we walked over to it, hit the buttons under everysingle name. But everytime someone let us in we got in about one and a half sentances before they shut the door on us. We didn't have that much time left- but for some reason I still felt like ringing some doorbells. We kept walking I was just like- lets do one more- there was a number 1 and a number 24- and I asked sister williams which one I should pick- she shrugged her shoulders. I looked up at the sky- and said in my heart, heavenly father- we have 10 minutes. There is someone to meet or something to learn here but I don't have time to ring  both buildings- which one should I go to.. and I felt like doing number 24 (it may have been because the house was cute - I am my mothers daughter) but regardless we klingled one name and got nothing... we were about to walk away when I felt like reaching up and ringing the name above it. The door buzzed open and we walked up. To our surprise there was a teenager standing at the door- we talked to him for a bit, he said he wasn't religous but his mother was- so I asked him if his mother was home. He walked into his apartment and then this lady comes out, in one hand she had a lighted cigarette and with they other hand she beckoned us in and said the most magical words I have ever heard. "kommen sie bitte mahl rein" Come on in... Sister Williams and I stepped in after we got over our shock and sat and talked to her for a while. Since we didn't have that much time we asked if we could come back next week... AND SHE SAID YES!!!! AHHH :D
That was just one of the many small miracles that happened this week. The hearts of the people are softening just as the weather is getting colder! We met with new investigators this week, and less active members who all want to come to church! All that I can say is that heavenly father is blessing us here, and as long as we work hard to do our best I know that miracles will happen. Thankyou for your prayers and support!
I love you all

Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Contacting!

Dear friends and family...

We have had a week of contacting! But we have kept it fun. We do surveys at the Christmas markets and ask people what christmas means to them. Almost always we get the answer stress, or presents or family or celebration of peace.. but so far- there was only one little old lady who put it so simply and perfectly. I asked her what christmas meant to her. And this cute little german lady looked at me and in a matter of fact way said- well obviously the birth of Jesus Christ the hope of the world. I just wanted to give her a hug right there! Because for her it was soo clear, We celebrate christmas to celebrate the gift of hope. The gift of Jesus Christ, and the light that he brought into the world. I know that he was more than just a prophet and more than just a righteous man- he was the savior of the world and the redeemer of mankind!
The other day Sister Williams and I were taking the train home and there were two old drunk men singing some serendades to us in french... needless to say we got off at the next stop- bless their hearts. Even though we meet lots of wierd people- there are the awesome golden ones in between haha- As we were contacting people in the the city earlier this week a man came up to us and asked us what we were holding in our hands (the christmas #He is the Gift cards) He told us he has been in Germany for one year now with his family. He was so excited to talk to us- then all of a sudden he saw our name tags and laughed and threw his hands up and said, "WHAT!! there are women in your church too??" We were so confused then, he went on and said that in Brazil he lives next to this big church building thing, where there are a ton of men in suits and name bagdes... but they all have the same name- sister williams and I smiled at each other and I said, 'Elder?' He clapped his hands and shouted "Yeah! thats the one!" ... we are pretty sure he lives next to the Brazil MTC.... I have no idea how he doesn't know anything about mormons yet! But... that means we get to teach him!!!! YEESSSS!!! I was thinking a lot about that experience and about how the spirit prompted us to go contacting that day- in the FREEZING COLD! we could have contacted on warm busses or trains, but we decided to go into the city- and that is where we met Cecir. We got his information and have already met with him once! :D  Tender Mercies of the Lord
Anyways this week has been great- I am excited to see what the next week brings
all my love
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Here's a cute excerpt from Michaela's journal (she sends us her journal separately from her letters):
December 1st 2014 - Montag
DORTMUND!!! zone p-day! woot-woot! We did emails and then some shopping and then caught a train to Dortmund where we ate some delicious bratwurst, I bought some christmas presents... aaaand we walked around forever to enjoy the atmosphere. My cheeks hurt so bad, i was smiling so much! I mean like I AM IN GERMANY!! aaahhhh There was a stage in dortmund, with this old bayrish dude singing old german folk songs and a bunch of germans dancing polka around! and little lebkuchen shops and lots of beer! :D I LOVE it! I also liked all the little fairy tale displays, they had Tischlin deck dich, and Die sieben Ziegelein and Hansel und Gretel. We walked around with the Herne Elders for a while and then met up with Gelsen Kirchen. I didn't spend that much- I just hate spending money! That evening we did FHE for the ward at the church. We showed them the cool new Christmas Video that the church put out!  
Me and Sister Williams

The biggest Christmas tree in Germany

Setting up for the ward Christmas party

a knitted sleeve for a post outside.. in case it gets cold


Monday, December 1, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!!

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.. Everywhere we go!
there's a tree in our windowsill, one in the town as well
and were teaching people everywhere we gooooo!"
there... thats all my creativity for this week! haha but it also most of what I have been thinking about. As most of you probably know the church is doing a world wide "Christmas Initiative" for this next month and IT IS SOOO COOL!!!  this is the website of amazingness ----> http://www.mormon.org/christmas  or just christmas.mormon.org
Check it out and share it with your friends.. Gah! I can't even describe it- it is awesome. Christmas time is wonderful! We had dinner with a cute old german lady on sunday to celebrate the first Advent and she brought out some delicious soup. Oh it was so good, we talked and ate it- and when my stomach was pleasantly full, and the timer went off in the kitchen- she excused herself and then came back in with a pot of Goulash, then a plate of Knödle... then a bowl of Rotkohl... and then a pot of veggies.... I guess the soup was just an appetizer but I was already full. So somehow I downed another plate of food and then she told us we were both too skinny and she loaded our plates again!!! hahah but wait! theres more- she then came out with a bowl of fruit salad and a dense german apple cake! Oh my goodness... I have never been so full in my entire Life! To finish it off she handed us each a chocolate bar for the road! hahaha Let the Christmas season begin!

This month is the perfect month to invite people to learn more about Jesus Christ, I've been spending a lot of time studying the life of Jesus christ. This month we are inviting people to discover, embrace and share the Gift of Jesus Christ- and I have been thinking a lot about what that means to me personally. This week on the train home from Dortmund, we were sitting in a quad with the elders and just talking about the new Christmas initiative when after a while a girl sitting on the other side of the isle asked us what church we were from. I spent the next 15 minutes talking to her about joseph smith and the restoration and the Book of Mormon! Before she got off, she gave me her number and we are going to call her back this week! But it taught me that there are people who are ready everywhere, and I can't just wait for them to start talking to me- I need to talk as well. I mean, what would have happend if she had not said anything and I had not said anything- I would have missed to chance to teach her!
This Christmas I want to take the idea of discovering, embracing and sharing the gift of Jesus Christ to the next level. I don't want to do what is a 'realistic' number- I want to have goals that requre faith and hope to be accomplished. But I know that with the lords help, we will touch the lives of many people here in Germany! Remember in your hearts that the now is a time when peoples hearts will be softened and they will be more open to learning about their savior and redeemer Jesus Christ.
Fröhliche Weinachten!
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

The local Christmas Market!!

Christmas in Germany is AWESOME!!

All the sisters in our zone