Monday, April 27, 2015

"Sister Shurts, everything that God does is good and right"

"Sister Shurts, everything that God does is good and right"

We were able to spend 6 hours with an Apostle of the Lord on Friday. It was supposed to be in preparation for the IPads that we should have received, but Elder Bednar opened the meeting with a statement. He said "this meeting is not about IPads" He then asked us what we thought of that statement. The entire meeting went like that. We would ask questions and he would teach truths. The way that he answered our questions and prompted our thoughts and guided our revelations was masterful. It created the perfect atmosphere for the spirit
As Elder Bednar spoke he predicted an event that we might have with him in the future, but as he spoke I felt an assurance that it will happen to me someday. Someday I will speak with him again and I will tell him that I was one of the missionaries in the Frankfurt Germany mission in April of 2015, and I will look him in the eyes and tell him how much this day has changed and blessed my life. I cannot wait for that day- I want to be proud of the missionary that I have been and the person that I have become. I truly felt the spirit bear witness to me that Elder Bednar is an apostle of the Lord.
I was also able to meet up with old mission friends- it was so much fun to see my old companions and old district members! I can’t believe that I have already been a missionary for 7 months! The best part was, in the crowd of missionaries all of a sudden I spotted Kristyn Helmick, (a member from our good old small town, Dairy Creek Ward) and I squeezed through everybody and tapped her on the shoulder and she saw me and screamed and I screamed and I threw my arms around her! :D We ran outside and talked for like half an hour about everything. :) Oh it was so nice to see her. She loves her area and she loves missionary work, she is doing so great!
Our marathon day ended super late that night (it began at 3 o clock that morning) and we got home super late- but we were richly feed and spiritually uplifted. I don’t have a lot of time to write about the rest of the week- we were able to meet with a lot of people in our ward. We took Besmir to institute which he really enjoyed and I was able to go on a Split this week with the Sister Training leaders!
It seems to counter every great joy there is deep sorrow- On Sunday as we approached the church we encountered one member of our ward in tears. And found out that Schwester Quada, a young sister and her daughter had been killed while they were in Africa. You have to understand that I have been with this lady at least 2-3 days a week for 7 months. I loved her. She was the sunshine that entered the church each week and her bright testimony could be felt by everyone around her. In Relief Society, Schwester Tewes told all the ladies that she had been murdered in Africa, and that sound that followed was heart breaking.
Looking around at those women, as the tears fell from their loving eyes. Watching them hold hands in consolation and pray for each other and comfort one another taught me an important lesson about how we are truly hear to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. This ward is one big family, there is so much love here- and as a part of it, I have become a member of this family too. I was being comforted and hugged- sweet ladies wiped the tears from my eyes when they were truly the ones in deeper pain. My friendship with Schwester Quada had only been 7 months- not years and years.

These people are truly special sons and daughters of God. Schwester Emmerlich took me in her arms too and said, "Sister Shurts, everything that God does is good"

That has been my rock these last couple days. If we didn’t trust in God, then the whole world would become dark. The only way that there can be any hope in this life is through Christ. Once we internalize and understand the great plan that our father in heaven has created for us, no goodbye is forever, death losses its sting and light chases away the darkness. I have a testimony that death is not the end; that our purpose here on earth is so that we can live again- because Jesus Christ did. Everything that God does is good. 
Sister Williams and Elder Peatross and me, it is fun to get together with our old district. 

Sister Helmick and me!!! So fun to see my sweet friend!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard is the sound of water running in the church!

The most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard is the sound of water running in the church!
We had such a crazy week. But it has been the best week of my mission. Besmir Aliaj, a man we have been teaching was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this weekend!! We arrived at the church early and filled the font you could hear the water running throughout the church. The bishop came in and shook our hands paused and said, “Sisters do you hear that?” I smiled really big and said, “it is the most wonderful sound that I have ever heard”

As we were setting everything up Elder Stout called out, “Besmir is here!”  Sister Davis and I ran to the front. Oh my goodness he looked so happy. He walked in with his cousin and he was glowing, I am not even kidding- he was positively radiating. Sister Tewes gave him his white clothes to get into. I walked by once he was all in white and I am pretty sure part of me died and went to heaven haha. He looked up and smiled at sister Davis and I, a little sheepish and a little scared, but so happy. The members started arriving and we began our meeting in the chapel. Right before I walked in Bruder Roth came up to me and said, “Besmir really makes a good impression today, you can see it in his eyes”  It was totaly true though. I gave a talk about baptism and focused on the fact that this is a step. It is not a destination. How Besmir will now be on his way to coming closer to Christ, but that each week, day, hour is there for us to learn and improve.
 Then we all walked into the Font Room and sat down,  Elder Stout and Besmir walked into the font. Once the witnesses were there Elder Stout said the baptismal prayer and Besmir was baptized! I was so nervous and excited I wanted everything to happen slow motion so that I wouldn’t miss a moment of it. After he was baptized we all went back into the chapel to wait for them to get dressed. When Elder Stout and Besmir came in the chapel it was as if a light went on in the room,  If I said that Besmir was glowing before it was nothing compared to right then. He was wearing a white shirt and tie… which didn’t quite match his jeans, but it wasn’t bad- but he had the biggest grin on his face ever!  The Bishop bore his testimony about the joy Besmirs choice will bring him. As he stood up he also said, “as I was looking into the congregation I saw that Sister Shurts was smiling the whole time, as if Sister Davis had told her a funny joke, But I believe that it is because she is filled with joy.” And that was the moment I knew this was all right- if this is the only baptism I see on my whole mission it would make all 18 months worth it! And I still have a year to go! Man, I cannot wait to see who else will come unto Christ. I cannot believe that the same guy we met on that train station in Febuary is the same man who was baptized today. He has become a new person through Christ.

The next day (Sunday) Besmir came to church in a white shirt and tie, and was just shining. In sacrament meeting Bishop Nabroztky invited him to come to the front of the Chapel where he sat down in a chair and then some Priesthood holders in the Gemeinde came around him and put their hands on his head- and then with the authority of the restored priesthood Bruder Tewes blessed him and he received the holy Ghost. That moment was powerful.  After the blessing he stood up and Bruder Tewes gave him a bro hug, and then in turn each other man in the circle embraced him. That was a holy moment for me, because I saw Besmir as a son of God, as a great strength to the Lord! :D Now we just gotta get him on a mission!

There were so many other things that happened this week, but this was truly the highlight! I know this gospel is true. I have truly experienced the indescribable joy that comes from bringing a soul unto Christ, In Doctrine and Covenants 18: 15-16 it says,
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

I love you all so much!
Liebe Grüße
Sister Shurts

From the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Besmir's Baptism day. Besmir surrounded by missionaries.

Me, Besmir and Sister Davis

This is the cake I made.... sister davis named it, The cake that got run over by a car that we ate anyways. 

Loridanna and Larissa at familie ciu ciu 

Monday, April 13, 2015

First Week of the New Transfer

Well, it has been another eventful week here in Herne!!
Sister Davis and I have been thinking a lot about what goals we want to make for this transfer, and I just get so excited when I think about all the things that could happen I can't pick one specific goal!! haha but i'll get back to you all next week about our goals!
Biggest news for this week is that our Albanian Investigator Besmir Aliaj recieved all the lessons and had his interview and IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!!! :D People... I had no idea that someones elses decision could make me so happy!! This man has willingly made so many changes in his life to follow God. He grew up in Albania where he helped take care of his family. His mother is Catholic and his Father is Muslim, but at a very young age he decided that he wanted to follow christ and although Christians are only 10% of that country he decided to follow christ. He moved to Germany about 7 months ago in search of work, and as we met him in Febuary he said that he really wanted to learn more. Since that moment he has quit smoking and drinking, and committed to so much! It is such a miracle to see the changes that people make in their lives when they turn to Christ.
We are going to have to postpone the dates for several of our other Investigators, just because they are not quite ready yet. Familie Ciu Ciu, needs to go to the City Hall to figure out what papers they need in order to get married! (we are gonna hear church bells in Herne soon!) As soon as that happens though that family is going to get baptized. Now all we are waiting for is for her daughter to get her birth certificate and then travel to Germany! We are praying very hard for Frau Hellhammer, we have not been able to get in contact with her all week, and we are not sure why, which is why we had to postpone her date- keep her in your prayers!
This week Sister Davis and I got to go and visit an old mining museum! It was soo cool, the Ruhr Gebiet in Germany is known for its mining systems. We got to wander around underground and climb onto old mining tools... (not sure if that was allowed.. but nothing said we couldnt...) It was fun to spend a little bit of time just seeing everything. Both sister Davis and I are History nuts, so we were in heaven... but underground haha!

Earlier this week I had a really cool experience, I wanted to do better at contacting people, and so that morning I had made a promise to Heavenly Father before getting up and ready for the day that I would talk to a certain amount of people. We had been out an about all day, and I was tired and we were headed home, and I was one short of my goal. Which was still really good compared to what I had been doing before. But, as we were walking home I pictured myself saying my evening prayer and saying... well Heavenly Father, I almost did it. I really wanted to make the Lord proud and show him that I could live up to my goals. So I told sister Davis that I wanted to klingle one building. So we turned a corner and found a random house. We walked up to the steps and I reached up and pushed the bottom klingle. It buzzed open and so we walked up and there was a man standing at the door. He say us and at first shook his head and in broken English said "no! no interested" I immediately thought of a talk I had just read by Elder Ballard "A fireball missionary starts when an investigator says "No!" So instead of just walking out and counting my contact I asked if at least we could show him a cool video. He shrugged his shoulders so we pulled out our BecauseHeLives cards and he searched it on his phone. While we were waiting for his internet to work I started talking and explaining the video and our purpose here. It was so cool to watch his face- as he changed from being standoffish to more and more interested! And im just like "WOO-HOO GOO SPIRIT!! WORK THAT MAGIC!" haha turns out his internet was way to slow to watch the video right there... but he said that he wanted to learn more- so we got his number, name (Thomas) and gave him a book of mormon!!! :) That was just such a cool experience because it was like heavenly father was testing me to see if I would hold up my end of the deal- and because of that he blessed me with that experience.
Ich liebe euch alle!
sister Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Here we find Sister Davis in her natural state...

Family!!! I found Zwieback!! just like off Sendung mit der Maus!! as you can tell... i was a little bit more than excited- and made sister davis take a picture in the middle of the store!!! 

And here we find Sister Davis with her little Stickies... haha she is almost as excited as I was about the double toasted bread!

Its a MINE!!! We got to see a little bit of the History of our area.. and as History nuts, sister Davis and I were more than pleased!

and more mine pics

I climbed into a yellow... thing... im sure there is some name for it.. but idk it- and touched the bright red button- sadly nothing happened. 

Needless to say... I have a problem of wanting to climb into things- 

A really cool old bike system they used to pull coal through the mines!

This is the view from the very top of the Zeche (mine)

View from the tower

Monday, April 6, 2015

Guess who has two thumbs and gets to stay another 6 weeks in Herne???

Guess who has two thumbs and gets to stay another 6 weeks in Herne??? This chick!!!!!!!
My prayers have been answered!!! We just had our transfer calls on Saturday... AAANNNNDD I get to keep working in the Ruhr Gebiet! I was so worried about leaving, Herne truly has become a second home to me, and everyone is so nice! This week Sister Davis and I had a little bit of extra time so we decided to klingle some apartment buildings. Behind one worn wooden door a cute old Turkish lady came out and talked with us for 30 minutes, she was soo sweet. She didn’t have any interest in the church but just enjoyed talking about God’s love for his children. I was able to bear my testimony that I know that God loves each and every one of us no matter what, and that his greatest desire is that we will return home to him. Before leaving her doorstep- this cute old lady tottered back into her tiny apartment bustled around and came back out with a little bag of Easter cookies. That was the cutest response to knocking someone’s door that I have ever had!

Next on my list of announcements is IPADS!!! Woo-Hoo!!! haha Elder Bednar is coming to our mission this month to spend an entire day with us to teach us how to share the gospel using modern technology- the entire mission will be coming together (so I'll be able to see sister Helmick!) 

This week has been amazing- Here in Germany everyone goes to the Church building to watch conference. I was impressed with the mindset that they have about General Conference- I feel like at home I used to think about general conference as kind of, a day off from church- we get to stay home in our P'J's and relax and not go anywhere. But here everyone dresses in their Sunday best and goes to the church to hear the words of the prophet and apostles. It was not a 'day off' for them but rather a day where they made an extra effort to come to church. It was fun to stand at the entrance and greet everyone coming in. Germans have this cute little cheek hug thing, that is soo not American... I used to be super annoyed by it... but I love it now! My favourite thing is ‘old grandpa Bruder Riebe greetings’- he is always so excited to see the sisters that he jumps up and says "Sisters!!" and since he can't give us hugs, he gives the next person around a hug, usually his wife, or sometimes a stranger- and says that hug was for us! haha I lOVE these people!  All of our investigators are doing well. We are still praying that legally things will work out for Familie Ciu Ciu and also that Frau Hellhammers husbands heart will be softened. Besmir has also made a lot of progress and has committed to stop smoking! I am so happy for them all and the changes that they are making in their lives.

I’ve decided to start collecting treasures, as in moments. And this week it was an appointment with Familie Ciu Ciu. Sister Davis and I both knew that they needed to receive as stronger testimony of the book of mormon. So we decided to read the first four chapters of Nephi together but with a little bit of a ‘Michaela Twist’ ;) We started reading and then all of a sudden I told little Adrian that he was Nephi and that his Dad had something very important for him to do. Adrian who had been poking his sister perked right up and stared intently at me. I said that his Dad wanted him to travel ALL the way back to Jerusalem to get scriptures!!! 3 whole days!! “Adrian sind Heiligen Schriften wirklich so wichtig?” (Adrian are Holy Scriptures really so important) He looked at his mom, and then nodded and said yes. I turned to each of the kids and kind of spontaneously gave them each a role and we acted the first four chapters of the book of mormon out as a family. The treasure was sitting there and having all the kids ready to say their lines, the mother was laughing the father kept asking what was going to happen next and Sister Davis was reading in the scriptures. It was such a miracle to see the stories begin to come alive to them. It is so important each of us to truly become captured by the messages in the scriptures- so that we too can apply the lessons taught into our own lives. I know that the book of mormon is true, and that we can each recieve a witness that it is from God. 

Liebe Grüße
Sister Michaela Shurts

from the scribbled notes of a sister missionary

Dying our Easter Eggs for our little tree!

Posing with our Gemeinde Missions leiter Left to right, Elder Stout, Bruder Oydowski, (Me!) Bruder Tewes (one of my favorite people ever) and Sister Davis

My Easter candy stash!

Sister Davis caught me unawares in this one... with my ex-umbrella (ex.. meaning i left it at the ciu cius and the broke it accidentaly... sigh.)

aaaand me wandering down a cute old street :)

Us hiding under our umbrellas at a bustop to keep dry... it was freezng. we had to make a tent.