Monday, February 23, 2015

So, apparently, I need to start my own church in Jamaica...

So apparently I need to start my own church in Jamaica…
This week we got a call from an old Investigator by the name of JJ Prince, (a Jamaican, Pastor, Gospel Singer) that we had taught a little bit, and he was trying to convince me to come and preach in his church after my mission and spread the word of God- and then go to Jamaica. Because I “have the spirit and the power of a woman of faith” BAHAHA just thought I’d share that gem with you all.

That experience actually made me think a lot about how God established his church here on the earth; and how we are able to act in his name because we have that Priesthood authority.
We were able to teach that to a less active member in our ward this week. Schwester Zeshcky is an amazing lady who in her heart wants to come back to church but doesn’t have the courage to come alone. We went and met with her and started right away with a prayer which brought the spirit in immediately. We talked for a little bit about her desires to come to church and what is holding her back. And then we watched the Restoration DVD, which is an instant punch in the face from the spirit- at least for me. After watching that we sat in silence for a moment... and then we spoke a little bit about the restoration. Then all of a sudden I felt like I should say something... but I didn't know what to say- so I just looked at Schwester Zeschky and opened my mouth... and the words came. I told her that I have this feeling that I needed to tell her… about her family; and immediately after I said that I got all choked up. But with the power of my calling and with the spirit I promised her that if she would take the first step and go to church and be that example, that her family would follow, even her husband. I testified that all things are possible through the Lord and that the example of a mother makes all the difference in a home. I looked at Schwester Zeschky and she had tears in her eyes. And she told us that, that was what she really wanted- to have her family together. We only stayed for an hour but that was all we needed. We gave her a chapter to read and she said she would really try to come to church on Sunday. We walked out of that appointment and I was on cloud nine. As we turned the corner I asked Sister Davis to say a prayer of gratitude to God.

 Families are so important to Gods great plan for us. Schwester Zescky understood that she wanted to have her family together forever. The path that leads to eternal life can sometimes be difficult but I know that it will be so worth it.

That experience this week made it a little bit easier bear a phone call that we received from Frau Kirch. She told us that she didn’t want to meet with us anymore. I don’t really know why. But I was devastated- I never thought that I could feel so much for someone I had known less than two weeks. I am gaining a testimony that every child of God has their own free agency, and sometimes all we can do is pray for them and do our best to help them remember their divine destiny. In the end it is the decision that each soul makes personally in their hearts that leads to true and lasting conversion. 

Doing fitness with all the old ladies in our ward

Tante Inge and me

Sister Davis and her Spaghetti ice cream

A pretty old church in Herne

The Rameumptom (or the only castle in the Ruhr Pott. Funny Germany.

Elders climbing on the Rameumptom

Carnival on Rosen Montag

Carnival on Rosen Montag- We went to Gelsen Kirchen to see the parade

Our District Elders: Elders Stout, Cassell, Heil, Summerhays, Tilley, and Grow

The CASTLE!!...don't worry, it wasn't as high as it looks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The First Glimpse of Spring


Today we hiked as a district to the top of a large hill that overlooked the Ruhr Gebiet, it was a beautiful view and reminded me a lot about why I am here. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m a missionary in Germany! Once we reached the top we all sat down and had a little spiritual thought about our purpose as missionaries. What stood out to me was that I choose to come here. It was my decision and I volunteered. This mission in a small sense is an analogy of our life on earth. We all chose to come down to earth to be tested and tried. Are we living up to the potential God sees in us? What great things does our heavenly father have in store for us if we live up to become who we were meant to be?

This has been quite a full week. I really hope that I don't get transferred out of Herne because I feel like there is so much potential here right now. Early this week we meet once again with Frau Kirch. This was our first actual appointment with her in her home. We sat and talked with her for a little bit and then began to teach her about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t know who was being taught more in that lesson, her or me. J But whenever I learn something in a lesson we teach it tells me that the lesson went well because that means we had the spirit with us. As we were speaking to here I was once again amazed at the circumstances that had brought us together. Heavenly Father must really have something great in mind for her and for us.

This week we did a LOT of contacting… because that’s what you do when all your appointments fall out. It wasn’t bad though- it was a lot of fun, you know that feeling you get when you have this message about the coolest thing that has happened to humanity in the last 200 years that means that God has spoken to us and that we have new scripture and light and knowledge and basically the path to eternal life and you just have to tell everyone? Yeah… my week. Haha But as a result we got the information for some students from Albania and a couple ladies who live in Bochum! Seriously there is so much potential here right now!  

I love you all so much and I am so excited to be here in Germany at this time! 

Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Pictures from our split this week, sister Heywood and me riding bikes in the morning for morgen sport!! love her!! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Lord Fulfills His Promises---A week of faith!

So much happened this week I really don't even know where to begin! We still have not been able to get in contact with our Brazilian investigator. Sister Davis and I are actually at a loss as to what we need to do. That has been a big struggle for us this week- because our hopes were so high for him. But the Lord tests us and if we do our part he will always fulfill his promises.
The beginning of this week did not go that well at all, but we both decided that we were going to keep going and do our best, because on Monday we had decided to have a week of faith- to do everything in our part to increase our faith and to be obedient.
 On Wednesday As we were walking we passed a Laundromat, I saw some people inside, there was an old lady with a walker reading something- but I didn't think anything of it. We walked by and then all of a sudden Sister Davis started walking slower and slower until she stopped. She then looked at me and said, "I thiiink... we should..." I finished her sentence and said, "go talk to that woman in the Laundromat?" because right as I said that I had the feeling that it was what we needed to do. Sister Davis was scared and grabbed me and asked what on earth are we doing? What do we say? This is not normal. But... I felt very calm, and I told her that we will go in there and tell her the truth- that we walked by and had the feeling to come and talk to her, and then ask her if we could sit down. And that is exactly what we did.
Her name is Frau Kirch- and never in my life have I loved a complete stranger so much. She had a stroke a couple years ago and so her whole left side doesn't work- she was angry at God, at church and just bitter towards the world. I looked into her eyes and noticed how sad they were, it was like looking at an overcast sky, full of clouds ready to break out in a storm. As we spoke her countenance began to change- it was something I could literally see. Heavenly Father does bless us, he puts words into our mouths, and brings scriptures to our remembrance. Frau Kirch was sitting there and told me that she had spoken with countless people of faith and had gotten in arguments and hated speaking with them.
 As she said that I had one clear question come to my mind, I asked her, "So then why are you still listening to us?"
She stared right at me, almost into me and said, "Because I can see a light in your eyes, and it shines." then the spirit put another quiet question in my mind, and I waited a moment and then softly asked, "Do you want to find out where that light comes from?"
The woman looked at me and began to weep. I went right next to her and put my arm around her as the tears rolled down her face. When she was able to speak again she told me that she didn't have enough faith. I shared with her Alma 32, and told her that even when she only had the smallest desire that God will let it grow. As we were talking, the spirit once again prompted me to speak... how do I describe this? I don't know, but I know that the words did not come from me. I looked at her and said that I could also see into her eyes, I told her I knew that she had felt lost and forgotten by God, that she felt that he had abandoned her. That she had suffered many losses in her life that made it hard for her to believe- as the tears fell down her face on that beautiful day in a rundown Laundromat in Herne I bore testimony to her that God had not forgotten her, that she had a heavenly Father who loved her more than she could even know- and I knew it. I could feel his love, it pressed on my heart and on my soul. Heavenly Father sent us to her- of that I know. We sat there and talked with her for two hours, and helped her fold and gather her laundry. We spoke about the plan of salvation, about family, about the Holy Ghost and even baptism. We walked her home and got her number and set up an appointment to meet her.
We had our week of faith and God fulfilled his end of the deal. God is there. He is aware of us, and He loves us.

Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Test of Faith

This is a quote from a talk I recieved from a good missionary, and it kind of describes my week,

"To cause your faith to grow you may wish to measure your faith by the number of your predetermined righteous desires that are fulfilled. However you must always remember that when you exercise your faith in something that does not occur the way you desired it to, that your only object in view must then be to redouble your faith the next time. Prayers on the surface that appear not to be answered are the very times when some of the greatest prayers have been answered. One must double his faith in these apparent trials lest he lose it." Elder Cook.
We started this week with interviews with our mission president and with a district meeting all about faith. As we talked and discussed what faith is I felt a huge desire to increase my faith, just as the apostles asked the savior to increase theirs. As a result it has been a week of highs and a week lows. Early this week a lady in our ward that Sister Williams and I had worked with a lot passed away. But because of that I was able to really ponder what it meant to be a member of this church and to really believe that we will be with our families forever and live again with our Heavenly Father.

We had a great week of contacting, and experienced tons of little miracles as we gained more courage to talk to people and gave people Books of Mormon - one small miracle example happened as we were sitting on the bahn. This really scary looking man got on (he was tall and broad and bald and had his face full of piercing and tons of necklaces and also a gazzilion tattoos.) My first natural thought was 'I want to give that dude a wide berth'. But then I had the thought to go and talk to him. I immedietly reminded myself that he was a scary old mafia man and I don't want to do that. But again I kept thinking it- I kept trying to avoid it. We got off at our stop and he got off at it too, so I had the thought again you should go talk to that man-my response "silly spirit that is very inconvenient-i'de rather not"
but as soon as I thought the word inconvenient it rememinded me of what President Stoddard said during our interview earlier in the week- "sometimes we have impressions and we think, oh that was an inconvenient thought, but they turn out to be promptings of the spirit" at that point this man had walked into the bank so I told sister Davis, sorry but we have to wait out in the cold until this man comes back out. So we waited and then he came back out and I walked up to him and told him who we are and our purpose here as missionaries. I told him about the Book of Mormon and how it is a second testament of Jesus Christ. I asked him if he was religious- he just stared at me turned is head and pulled down his leather Jacket to reveal a very large tattoo of a cross! haha We talked for a little bit and ended up telling me that lately his faith has been dimmed because a lot of people he loved had died. I told him that I knew that God had a plan for each of those people and that we all are here for a specific reason and that we would love to share this message with him. He didnt want to meet with us, but he did take the book of mormon and said he would read in it. That experience was just a testimony builder for me, because I was able to see how a small thought lead to a chance to share the gospel.

We were startled last night by a call from our investigator saying that he wanted to cancel his baptismal date, needless to say it was a shock and we are both praying very hard for him and also that we can speak clearly and with the spirit in order to touch his heart so that he can rekindle his desire to be baptized.
I know that the lord has a plan for each of us, and that he loves us all very much- I have learned about trusting God this week and I hope to increase my faith in the coming weeks as I serve side by side with the Lord to help bring precious souls to him.
Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Our creepy German cellar

Sister Herne asleep on the Bahn (train)...I've worn her out.

Beautiful Sunset over the Herne canal