Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's been a white week---in a good way!

This week started out with Snow on the ground! All of Germany was covered in a light blanket of white. It was so beautiful and so fun to be outside and enjoy it all. My catch phrase of this week has been, "Sister Davis is there anything you can't do?". She has traveled everywhere and tried everything. Anytime I think she must have exhausted all of her possibilities she goes and says something nonchalantly like, "Oh I built my own Bee Hive" or "I've got a scubba diving permit" or "I was once crowd control for the queen of England" and it is seriously all true!!!! Let’s just say I am excited to learn a lot from her!

So aside from the white snow... there have been some other exciting white things this week. First and foremost. We set a BAPTISMAL DATE WITH OUR INVESTIGATOR!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH :D Cicero Joseph, or Brother Joseph (because that is just way more fun to say) is a man that we met a month ago as we were contacting in Weihnachtsmarkts and after having met with him a couple times we committed him to be Baptized on Febuary 21st. Annnnddd drumroll... he said YES!!! At first I was worried that he didn't understand what we were asking, but on Sunday he came to church and loved every single minute of it. During each of the meetings he felt the spirit so strong, we watched the Restoration DVD in Portuguese so that he would understand and throughout the whole thing he was nodding in agreement and explaining to us why it was true!!
After Sacrament meeting, I turned to Brother Joseph and asked him how he felt. He said he was at peace, that the world was a million miles away and he felt like he could focus on Christ. I said that he was feeling the spirit. And he pointed at me and told me that I had said it perfectly. I then told him that after he is baptized he will be able to feel that spirit all the time. He nodded and thought about it, and then smiled. I didn't have that much time- and I wish I could have been clearer. But I think that he understood- I told him that I was excited for February- for the day that we had committed him to earlier for baptism. And he smiled and nodded. He loved church and instantly connected with so many of the people. I have a lot of faith and hope that Heavenly Father will help him understand what I failed to explain. Because I know that I am still learning so much- I am so inexperienced and can't imagine teaching these lessons all by myself! I am so glad for the spirit, because I know that heavenly father will make up the difference for my weaknesses.
Other than that, this week has been amazing. We have talked to so many people- and given out a ton of Books of Mormon. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing us. Right now I really do feel like Herne is going to explode with missionary work! I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants and these words touched my heart about the excitement that I feel about serving as a missionary, (Section 128:22)  Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
I hope you all have a wonderful week, and know that I am grateful for your prayers. Heavenly Father is blessing us here. I love you all
Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts

From the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Sister Davis and I after a long day of contacting in Bochum 

it is starting to get way cold- so we have short hot chocolate breaks a lot 

we broke our door.... this puts a whole new meaning to the phrase "but the board in the hole" hehe 

world war I and II memorial in Dorsten 

Time for new boots?

Enjoying the snow together

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Welcoming Sister Davis to HERNE!!!

4th transfer and 4th companion!! Well like you all heard last time I got the call that I was training and so in the middle of this week Sister Williams and I said our last goodbyes (we spent the night doing facials and talking and ugly dancing... good times) then I headed up to Frankfurt (a 3 hour bus ride) and met up with all the other trainers. That was a fun adventure- once we got to Frankfurt we hopped a couple different streetcars (strassebahns) and got to the Frankfurt Chapel where we had dinner with all the new Goldens (newly arrived missionaries)! There are 4 sisters that came in with this group- they were sooo jet-lagged it was hilarious talking to them because it was never in complete sentences!
That night we had our Trainers meeting with President and the AP's. I took soo many notes. But I think the biggest thing that stood out to me was some advice that Sister Taylor told me before. She said, "Sister Shurts, the most important thing is to follow the spirit and be yourself- because you love this work and when your golden sees that she will learn to love the work, too."
That night we slept at a hotel! the Marriott... oh yeah! Then the next morning we all had a delicious breakfast and went into the meeting room with all the Goldens- we recapped a lot of what we talked about in our Training meeting-  Theeeeennnn. They said they would be announcing the companionships. Last time they started with the elders so I started messing with my papers not expecting anything, when all of a sudden the first name they call is "Sister Shurts!" I was so surprised I dropped my papers and bolted up and kind of squealed, "AH that’s me!!" haha it was embarrassing. But I introduced myself and that I was in Herne! which is the best Gemeinde (ward) in Germany because it is. And then they held up the picture of my Golden and announced, "Sister Shurts will be serving with SISTER DAVIS!" AHHH I've got a Golden!! Sister Davis is a cutie. Sisters can serve at any age- and Sister Davis is no exception! She is 32... she was in high school when I was 2! - I think it is so cool that she made the decision to serve even though she is older. We talked the whole way home (about 3 hours) and she owns goats, and chickens and loves Doctor Who and draws- so we are basically the same person.

While in Frankfurt we went to the Hauptbahnhof (central trainstation) for transfers! It was a lot of fun to see people again for the first time in 3 months. Sister Blackhurst was there- she got called to be a sister training leader this transfer! I'm soo happy for her. She kind of freaked out with me when I told her I'm training and that it feels kind of weird to train someone 12 years older than me haha she laughed and then gave me a hug and told me they have the best sister for the job. We'll see in 12 weeks haha.
Our first few days together have been great- Golden Power is real. That is what we call having someone new on their mission. We have talked to so many people and already got someone’s information!

While we were on a bus to visit some members we met an old man- he was on crutches and so I asked him if he broke his foot. He went off and off about some story where he broke his hip and had to have his leg shortened. We then started talking about how there is hope with God- and he said he couldn't see any hope. I was so grateful that I had the spirit with me, because I immediately thought of Ether 12:4 and read that to him. I then told him that he could keep the book of Mormon. He was so touched. He told me that he hadn't met a nice young lady like me in years- if it was polite to say so. We then told him that we could visit him and share our message with him. He was soo excited and gave us his address and his name and wrote a big "Danke" at the bottom. He then gave me his pen!
I also met  a German Mountain Man on the bus. He had the biggest beard and so naturally I had to talk to him! He said he owns a wolf in Yellow Stone... and he goes with Rangers to track it down, and this year he is going to give it a hug. (What?) He also plays Santa Claus at Christmas time and in the summer he goes to medieval festivals as a knight! I gave him our card and a Book of Mormon. Hopefully he calls!
Anyways, that was my crazy week! Sorry it was soo long, but I am excited to see what this next transfer will bring. I love you all!!

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

Sister Williams and I enjoying some CurryWurst. sooo good!!! 

last pictures with Sister Williams

goodbye pics with the district!

From left to right: My Golden Sister Davis (my daughter or the one I'm training), Me, Sister Williams (my mom or my trainer) and Sister McMurray (my grandmother or Sister Williams trainer). 4 Generations! ha ha What!! 
Herne Missionaries, and the replacements... *tear...sob* 

SISTER DAVIS and me - our first selfie
I took this picture as we were walking to an appointment in Marl- #missionary life

Monday, January 12, 2015


You know that feeling you get when you don't quite feel ready for a change but Heavenly Father does and then all of a sudden you are taking over your area and training a brand new missionary? ... yeah. That is the biggest news of the week. I got a phone call from our mission president and he told me that he had been on his knees in prayer and felt that I was ready to train this transfer. I'll be heading down to Frankfurt on Wednesday and then pick up my golden and head back up to Herne on Thursday. I have to be honest though- aside from the fact that I am scared to death, and nervous and not feeling ready- I AM SOO EXCITED! I just keep thinking back to 4 months ago when I got to Germany and how different everything was and how ready I was to work. In this mission we call new missionaries 'Goldens' and if you have one in your district you've got special 'Golden Power' There will be two Goldons in Herne, since Elder Stout will be training as well. Pretty much it is going to be awesome.

Sister Williams and I are enjoying our last week together- we have had a lot of goodbye appointments and a lot of planning and getting ready for this next transfer. We met with Cicero Joseph our Brazilian investigator and that was such an amazing experience. It was one of the best lessons that I have ever had actually. We taught the 1st lesson, because last time we talked about the plan of salvation. The amazing part was that despite the language barrier he really understood almost everything we taught. As we spoke with him our words became clear- I know that the holy ghost was testifying through our lips. Sister Williams bore testimony of the book of mormon and how the church has helped her life and right there in that small bakery in germany tears fell down her face and mine too as I told Cicero that I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore his church on the earth today. He looked at us and his own eyes glistening said that he could feel the holy spirit. We read with him Moroni 10:3-5 and he read it 3 or 4 times over... and then put his hand on the book of mormon and said- "Das ist die Warheit" "this is the truth" I could have jumped up and down for joy right then! And then to top it all off he asked us that because of the priesthood being restored if that would mean he would need to get baptised again! and we were both like YES!!! haha :D Oh my goodness! Hopefully the next time we meet we can get a baptismal date!

I was on cloud nine, and I knew the spirit was with us. Because whenever we have the spirit with us, there are always multiple miracles. On the Strassenbahn home I sat next to this lady from Russia and we started talking and I told her that I was a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I said I would be able to bring her a book of mormon in russian... annd *drumroll* she said yes, and gave me her number and address!!! And that was just one day this week!

I have been thinking a lot about how to train this transfer. I want to make sure she feels comfortable- like for example giving her a heads up that almost every morning the shower sporadically decides to spray water from Antarctica...  But aside from that point I want her to get excited and see success but mostly learn to rely on Heavenly Father. I am so humbled that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to train a new missionary even though I am also really fresh on my mission. I have so much love for these people and I know that with faith Heavenly Father will help us work miracles!
Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missioanay

City Hall in Herne

Sis. Williams and me int he freezing rain

My hair is long enough for a pony tail!!

Happy in Herne!

Some random dude that we talked to on the street.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Well, I can't believe that it is already the new year... I am going to be a missionary for the entire year of 2015! Here in Germany they call New Years Eve "Silvester" and oh my word, are they crazy!! We didn't think that there would be anything exciting so we just went to bed- then we both got woken up to a warzone outside our window! I bolted awake and pulled up our shutters and literally like 5 feet away from our window there were a gazillion bright streams of lights- and loud bomb noises that shook the glass! Now I understand why president said we had to be home early! We spent the night cleaning and making goals and ugly dancing (which is what we call doing interpretive dancing as awkward as possible to MoTab and Lindsey Stirling and letting out all our stress- it was a blast)

But as great as that was I have to say that my favorite part of the evening was thinking about my goals for the next year. Both sister Williams and I are fresh on the mission so we each have over a year left and we both want to make this year count. We planned into our evening, an hour where we could kneel down and pray to Heavenly Father, and ask him what he wanted us to become in this next year. It was such a cool experience something that I will always remember. Something that I want to focus on this year is to magnify my calling without magnifying myself, and to really give everything to the Lord. This is a quote from Preach My Gospel that I loved,
"I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life onl to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life" Elder M. Russel Ballard

I think I have realized in these past 4 months just how much I can change- There are so many things that I can work on and so many things to improve- I could make lists and lists. However, one thing that I realized as I was making all the lists was that we all need to keep my eyes set on the highest goal in life. When I did pole vaulting in high school, our main goal was to get over the bar. However, when I focused on that goal, when all I was looking at was the bar I would knock it over almost every time. My coach would come over and usually ask one question, "Where were you looking?" I usually replied the bar and he just shook his head as usual and said, you need to aim higher. Try and kick the clouds and you will get over the bar. We all have goals in life, and it is important to achieve them but it is always more important to remember where we are looking as we are striving to achieve them. When our ultimate goal is Heaven and we are always looking up and trying to ‘kick the clouds’ Heavenly Father will help us become who we want to be. It may not be what we expect but it will always be what is best for us.

As I have thought about all these things this week we have been able to meet with a lot of people and teach the gospel. It was a fun week to talk to people about how their Christmas was and how they celebrated the New Year; but even better was being able to talk to them about the possibility of change through the gospel.

Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts
from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

ps check out the epic photo bomb in the sisters pic.. hehe