Hey friends and family,
After a great week of working with members and missionaries on the Easter initiative, this week was dedicated to making online proselyting come to life. We are the first mission in Europe (except for London and London south) that is authorized to use Facebook. This past week we visited the Zone conferences and gave training on how to effectively use Facebook to make our work far more efficient. Of course face to face is how missionary work, works. But Facebook will help us to get new opportunities and to reach more people than ever. Elder Bednar said that it’s an essential tool in the latter days.
This past week, after posting a couple of things about Christ, Elder Lex and I received a friend request from a man. We asked him if he knew us and he said “no, but I saw you posted a picture of Jesus, and I was attracted to that.” He chatted, exchanged stories over Facebook chat. He told us all about his faith and how he had just read the Bible for the first time in his life. We then met with him two hours later, shared a thought, gave him a Book of Mormon and made our another appointment. Can you believe that? Things like this are happening every day, it’s really amazing. The members are also really stoked that we are on Facebook. It gives them another way to help us. Instead of “cheering in the stands,” it shows members to how to “play with us on the field.” In any case, the Lord is hastening His work.
The Easter initiative #FürstDesFriedens is in full swing. You’ve probably seen in pictures, but our car is wrapped with #FürstDesFriedens and a big pictures of Jesus. It’s always fun when we are driving through Berlin or other cities in the mission. We roll down the windows and tell anyone and everyone to watch the video on Mormon.org. Red lights, cross walks, sometimes we drove slowly and just start talking to random people. It’s fun–we’ve had some great experiences. Lots of funny ones too. Just trying to be effective while having a car!!
You may have seen my post on Facebook. As a mission we are doing exactly what our prophet and his apostles tell us to do. We are reading every day in the Book of Mormon daily as well as closely studying the words and acts of Jesus Christ. You too??
An update with Maryam–she will be getting baptized next week in Neukölln along with her sister! That’s good news! Both of their husbands are new members so this is exciting. Eternal families!!
FYI- next week will be my last mass email as a missiaonry before I go home. So stay tuned, it’ll be a really really good one. Yes, I know…I’m near the end. It’s the fourth quarter, but there’s still plenty of time left on the clock!! I will do what I’ve been doing since day one– Just go harder and harder. Nehemiah of the Old Testament says “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” I love this work, I loooooove Berlin! Catch me next week for one last time!
You guys really are the best.
Pictures (not in this order)
1) Temple selfie
2) W/ Elder Miller
3) W/ Sister Busche– goonin
4) Berlin and Leipzig zone in front of Berlin stake center
5) Das Wort Gottes
6) With Elder Ausobsky and our good friend, Manfred
7) Kathi- my 12 year old secret agent
Hey friends and fam,
This one is rushed. Apologies in advance for weird auto correct errors and bad grammar.
My week was a lot like last week, yet fulfilling and exciting. The lord is moving at a fast pace.
We went on interview tour week two with President Fingerle and had the chance once again to visit every district meeting and share the video as well as our vision and goals for the coming easter initiative. In the evening we met with various ward and stake leaders from each stake with a meeting on how members can contribute to the initiate. These meeting were always a ton of fun. I don’t know if you can tell or not, but this initiate in very very professionally well done- and just really set up for success. That’s really cool to see for many German members.
Of course… These meetings were running too smoothly, something had to go wrong at some point. Our blue Opel car (der combo) finally gave in. On the autobahn, our car wouldn’t shift gears (for the combo, that’s normal). We ended up having to sit there for a couple hours before we were towed away to a small village and then had the van brought to us. In the end it took 12 hours to get from Berlin to Oldenburg. But we made the meeting happen at the end of the day and had a great meeting in the evening.
Of course, the exciting part of the week was Facebook becoming approved thus starting online proselyting in the Berlin mission. The Lord and His prophets repeatedly say that the gospel will reach every nation and tongue on the planet. Spencer W Kimball said that we need to “find a way” to make that happen. Elder Bednar stated clearly that Facebook is the tool that we have in missionary work that will help us to “flood the world.” To say the least, we are thrilled. And we expect things to really take off. Last Saturday we pulled 16 missionaries together from around the mission and trained them to use Facebook for missionary purposes. Over the next few weeks we will train and test and train and test and we expect slowly more and more missionaries to start online proselyting in Facebook. This won’t take away our normal form of missionary work on the streets, but rather enhance and accelerate it. For the generation of people ages 15-28, the main method of contact is through social media. We are excited to reach out and help others in more creative ways. It yeah…it was super weird posting stuff on Facebook the other day.
In other news, our investigator Maryam will be getting baptized on Sunday. We are suuuuuper excited! And will continue working with her a buch this week despite juggling a crazy schedule. We hope to use Facebook and video chats when we are on the go this upcoming week to make sure lessons are being taught every day. The work continues to move. We are simply trying to keep up with the Lord’s speed. We are really watching things hasten out here…it’s exciting to be a part of it.
In ending, I loved conference. Lots of words that hit me hard and really just filled me. I haven’t seen the last session yet which includes Elder Christoffersen, my fav, but a couple of talks touched me… I loved Elder Sabin’s talk about being all in. I also loved President Uchtdorf’s talk in priesthood in what it means to serve–and that they most important calling in the world is the one we have right now. And to selflessly serve in that capacity. My favorite talk (thus far) was from Elder Holland who taught us to sing with OUR voice in the “Lord’s great choir.” And not try to sing with the voice of somebody else’s. The loss of one voice diminishes the voice of every other singer. Each of God’s children is unique, and contributes a lot to the big picture. It’s our goal to get back to Heavenly Father. It’s also HIS goal to have us back.
God loves His children. All of them. As we learn from Elder Holland, one day the “Lord’s choir” will sing the final song- and luckily “the seats for this particular number are limitless.” As I said, God loves His children. A lot.
I love you all! Take care!
- Waiting for the tow truck.
- Selfie with President’s car (posted this on Facebook).
- The combo
- Giant banner is up! On the stake center here in Berlin. It’s massive.
- Elder Sabin’s wise words.
- With Elder Sabin
- Elder Holland quote
Keeping it short this week.
I’m tired. Very packed week (as they all seem to be). President Fingerle had interviews this past week in four of our eight zones. This go around, we tagged along. President spends the entire day doing interviews and as the other missionaries wait for their interview, we have the different district meetings going on throughout the day. Elder Lex and I would teach a lesson at every district meeting (4-6 per day) as well as a meetings with all district leaders/Zone leaders in the afternoon and then in the evening we had a giant meeting for all members that wanted to come and learn about the coming Easter initiative–those meetings were super exciting and we had lots of enthusiasm. Tuesday we were in Freiberg/Dresden, Wednesday in Leipzig, Thursday in Hannover and Friday in Berlin. My favorite part was getting to talk to the many bishops and stake presidencies around the mission about what we can do to work together and make this initiative hugely successful. It’s been fun working with them. There’s a lot of positive energy, a lot of hype.
What else is new? Well, you all know about my good friend Ali, who we baptized a few weeks ago. He will be baptizing five people tomorrow. Five! Two married couples as well as a mother and her son. Ali also invited friends to come to the baptism. Shouldn’t missionary work be like this all the time? The guy is a stud and the people love him.
We are also working with Ali as we have a woman set to be baptized on April 8. Her name is Maryam (from Iran). Her husband is a member and has been for almost two years. Now, his wife will get baptized and soon they’ll get sealed in the temple. Happiness.
This upcoming week we will be in Oldenburg, Kiel, Hamburg and Neubrandenburg. Life is good and there is a lot to look forward to. The field is white (and the weather is good 👍🏻)! I love Berlin and I love my mission!
I’ve been talking a lot about the Easter initiative that’s coming right around the corner. It’s all about peace and how we can find peace. Most people in the world will tell you that they’re not at peace or that in a world with so much trouble and evil that we just can’t find it. However we know that the Savior is constantly offering it. He says: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Sorry for the not too exciting email.
I love you all, have a great week!
1) Day of the week- at the temple (no, it’s not hanging on the temple)
2) pimping out our car
3) the crew takes Leipzig institute center
4) s/o to Marc
5) Berlin on Friday- got to see my good friend Simon
I had a great week here in the capital. 🏰
As I told you last week, we are giving “Vollgas” to make the coming Easter initiative a ginormous campaign here in Berlin and all across northern Germany. On Thursday we set the office up into a studio and broadcasted meetings out to every zone in which President/Elder Lex and I taught the mission on what we can do to set goals, to use our resources and to involve members to spread the message. We also showed them the actual initiative video itself which I think got a lot of missionaries stoked. In case you’re wondering, we continue to make things happen. We will have advertisements in Google as well as Facebook in addition to everything we have. Yesterday we went to the taxi companies in Berlin and gave them the designs to print the wraps out for the taxis cars. Like I said, big things are happenings. Over the course of the next two weeks Elder Lex and I will be traveling to each stake center in the mission and will hold a meeting with all stake presidencies, bishops, Ward mission leaders and all other interested members. Every night we will be revealing the video to these members and talking about what we can do to make this initiative the best initiative ever.
What else happened this week? Well, we went out to Hannover for a day! In Hannover there are six Iranian people who are set to be baptized. We drove out to Hannover to support these missionaries and we brought Ali (who we baptized four weeks ago) to teach in Persian. And man did Ali perform! None of us non Iranians understood what was going on but it was super obvious and clear that Ali was teaching amazingly well. The Iranians where soooo stoked and Ali was teaching perfectly to their understanding. He committed all of them to keep the commandments and committed all of them to be baptized next weekend. It was suuuuper spiritual and the people loved him–he’s a big people’s person. I can’t think of anything more ideal than a new convert teaching others and helping them to baptism. Really really good stuff.
We also had new missionaries come into the mission! Since the Freiberg temple is closed due to cleaning, we picked missionaries up from Tegel Airport in Berlin and had orientation in the mission office. Usually for us, the first week of the transfer is spent in Freiberg…so this was new. One of the new elders “Elder Nweze” is from Nigeria. He was born on the street and grew up like that. Nobody (even he himself) has any idea how old he is. He also doesn’t know how to read or write. But man the guy is amazing. He has an amazing story, powerful testimony and we are super excited for him to work in this mission. Soooo freaking cool! We have a lot of really special missionaries in this mission.
We spent a little time out of Berlin (but in our area) In a city just outside of Berlin city limits called Jüterbog where we met with Joseph, a new member who moved here to play professional soccer. He’s been a member for just over a year but he’s never been to temple. We are changing that and will go to the temple next week together. We will also be taking Ali, Rose and Silvester and get any of our other Berlin converts who can come.
This weekend is my fourth stake conference in Berlin. As you know I’ve been in Berlin for pretty much my whole mission. I looooove this place with all my heart. The members, the non members, the sights, the sounds, etc. This is place is home. And I’m so so so grateful for every day I have serve here. You know that feeling in baseball when you take a step off of the pitchers mound or out of the batters box and you look around, take a deep breath and think to yourself “I’m living the dream!” ? That’s exactly how I feel. I love the place.
And I love all of you! Have a great week!
1) U-S E-M-B-A-S-S-Y –private tour. The Quadriga from the Brandenburg gate on the right, Reichstag in the back
2) goodbye Elder Somma
3) hello Elder Lex
4) the Dahlem Crew
5) never a dull day
Friends and Family,
Hi. Well, I’ll start you off with transfers. As you know I’m heading into the final transfer of my mission-it’ll be a quick 5 weeks transfer. With Elder Somma going home, my new companion will be Elder Lex (from Linz, Austria 🇦🇹 ). Elder Lex has been out for almost year and he’s just a total stud. I can’t wait to work with him and see what we can do in these next five weeks.
Monday we had an all access private tour of the United States embassy here in Berlin. It was really amazing. I have pictures but not with me….next week!
This week was pretty unusual. I guess none of my weeks are “usual weeks” but this one had a lot of different type of work. We are preparing for a huuuuge easter initiate called #PrinceOfPeace or in German #FürstDesFriedens We made a loooot of plans to make this initiative huge! All across northern Germany-especially in Berlin. We will have huge signs, banners, advertisements in major train stations, in public transportation, on taxi cars, posters everywhere all over the city, etc. The city of Berlin will be completely decked out. We really believe that this massive campaign will reach a lot of people and spark a curiosity to learn more about the savior and His atonement. We are going totally all out doing way more than what we’ve ever done in the past. A lot of my week has been spent trying to find ways to work with advertising agencies as well as the church to try to make all of this come to life. We’ve been really grinding and doing everything we can. Really, really big things are coming.
In the coming weeks we will lead presentations for missionaries, stake presidencies, and other ward members all across northern Germany who have interest in helping to contribute to making this initiative come to life. Den Deutschen die meine Emails lesen: ich hoffe dass ihr alle kommen könnt! Die Missionare die in euren Gebieten dienen, werden euch Bescheid geben! Echt spannend! Im really excited- we have unlimited possibilities here.
We are busy, busy, busy here. I gotta run. Sorry I couldn’t write a more exciting email. A lot happened but I just don’t have the time. We are sprinting!! Stay tuned!
Love you guys! Thanks for your love and support!
2) Pretty Berlin day–my favorite shopping over to the right 😉
3) ran into some friends at the Temple yesterday
Well, it was Mission Tour week! That means we had a lot to do. Lots to plan, prepare and execute and it went really well. Elder Gary B. Sabin from the seventy came to our mission and I gotta say, the guy is just a total stud.
We had a conference with the west side of the mission on Wednesday in Hamburg and it was just terrific. Thursday we were with the eastern half in Berlin and then of course on Friday it all came to an end with MLC in Berlin. 18 hours worth of meetings- not counting the much preparation. The mission Tour was a total home run. Elder Sabin would go up to the podium without notes or scripts or anything and he would teach according to the spirit. It was interesting to see as both the western and the eastern conferences were very different based off of the spiritual impressions that Elder Sabin got. They were emotional meetings; spiritually intense and really a lot was learned. At MLC we reconvened with the leaders of the mission to set goals and make plans of action for what we can do to bring things to an even higher level. Before both conferences we got the leaders together minutes before the conference and Elder Sabin encouraged us to think of the question “therefore, what?” To say the least, the spirit was very very present at the conference. I got so much out of this past week, it’s crazy! I wish I could share it all.
Today for pday we went around and saw all of the various sights of Berlin along with one of my best friends and biggest role models, Marcus. We had a great time. Pic at the bottom.
Being with a general authority the past week, I’ve heard really a lot of wisdom. One of the rather simple things he shared with us is that he gave us the reminder to never ever forget who we are. That we should always remember our true identity. Let me also say that when we understand true doctrine, we will then understand our true identity. When we forget who we really are, we lose good habits and then become somebody we aren’t supposed to become or to say it in a different way- we don’t live up to our true potential. If we remember who we are, we will always know that we are children of God and that we are on the path to get back to Him and will be able to progress forever. Guys, President Eyring says that “most of heavens messages are unheeded…we don’t get them. Because we are ‘too busy.”‘ That’s powerful and something to always keep in mind.
Sorry that i didn’t give you a whole lot of stores or experiences this past week. A lot happened and it’s really really hard to summarize. Life is good! Back on the grind this upcoming week! I love this work.
Love you all!
1) Elder Somma and I with Elder Sabin
2) west side of mission
3) east side of mission
4) with Elder Sterri
5) Some friends
6) with our guy Marcus!!!–I love this guy
My past week was very exciting. I couldn’t get this email out on Saturday as we had a full slate of work to do rather than pday, but I have a couple of minutes today to fire this off. As I always say- good things are happening here in Berlin.
I’ll start with the highlight which was our good friend Ali getting baptized. Ali has been investigating the church for a year. He comes to church every week, participates in activities and pray/reads in the scriptures every day. He decided back when he was in Iran that he was a Christian. He came to the conclusion that Christ is his Savior. So…he took off, he left. He fled to Germany as a refugee not only to get away from war, but mainly so that he could live as a Christian and not be killed for it. It’s been a grind for him to reach a point where he is safe enough to be baptized. Due to his situation and for his own safety, he’s had to wait a long time to be baptized. With no support from his family or really from anyone back home, he stepped into the water today and made a covenant with the Lord. As we were changing our clothes he looks at me and goes “I was born today!” Does it get any better than that?? It was priceless. The ward was absolutely thrilled. It was miracle, it was a historic day and I’m very very excited for what is to come. The guy is very missionary minded and will be the future to many Middle Eastern christians who will join the church. Very, very good stuff. The picture of course, is below.
On Wednesday we went out to Stadthagen, a city northwest of Hannover. We met with a man preparing for baptism as well as helped the program there find a few new investigators. The lesson with the investigator was a total highlight as the guy has been keeping commitments, coming to church and praying. The guy even totally changed his work schedule so he could attend church. But he gave us that same old “I haven’t gotten my answer yet.” He knows it’s true, but doesn’t know if he has his answer to be baptized. We reminded him of the experiences he’s had with missionaries and what he’s felt in church. We asked him how it’s all felt. And he said it’s been “great! I feel good”…well…there’s you’re answer. We told him God wouldn’t just walk into the room and tell him it’s the right thing to do. No, it doesn’t work like that. It’s a still small voice and one you really need to look out for. Then, you make a decision. God doesn’t decide for you, doesn’t work like that. Sisters Busche and Ahlers were with us at the lesson and they totally killed it-as did the joint teach who was with us. It was one of those priceless lessons where you straight preach! Everyone was just going hard. Isn’t that the best? He should be getting baptized on March 11 if things continue to go well.
We have also been working a lot with younger people the past few days. For lunch we have been going into the university cafeterias and have been talking to students. They generally have an interest and curiosity for religion. It’s fun and refreshing talking to people about religion who are my age.
We are also really making a push on family history. Not only do we want new members to do their temple work, but family history is a way in which we find more happiness. It helps us connect with our families even better and learn new things about where we came from. All good stuff. At the bottom of this email I have a picture of my great grandfather trespassing onto the Golden Gate Bridge during the early construction of it.
I love you all. Be a role model to everyone! President Eyring says “You can be a great model, an average one, or a bad model. You may think it doesn’t matter to you, but it does to the Lord.” Go out and serve other people 🙂
Big big big shouts to my brother Weston Nearon–called to serve in the Chile, Osorno Mission! Kill it my friend!!
1) Ali’s Baptism
2-3) Adventures in Stadthagen w/ Elder Heywood and the Stadthagen crew
4) Burgermeister after a district meeting last week with elders Ringger, Mika and Tischner
5) great grandfather Nearon trespassing on the Golden Gate Bridge during early construction stages
This week we did quite a bit of traveling as we bounced around the country–the great thing is that we did a bunch of teaching and training that all went really well. Very good things are happening.
Quick update on Ali–he wasn’t baptized this week because he hasn’t moved into the apartment yet. We can do that after 28 February.
Monday we had our meetings. Following our office meetings we taught an investigator named Sandesh, a student who was referred to us from President Fingerle. He is a stud. Speaks German, English and a bunch of other languages. He also brought his best friend, a guy that studies with him who is super curious about religion. They were loving the lesson and just wanted more and more. When they find out that it’s true, they will be baptized. It was a great time!
On Tuesday we had a street display with the district. It was Valentines Day and we had the idea to make a theme along the lines of God loving His children. The good news is that we had really really good weather. The bad news is that nobody wanted to talk to us. We attempted to talk to a couple hundred people before we had to leave and we only had a couple of conversations. A lot of cold shoulders, but we kept working, we kept grinding! We then got on our train across the county to Hamburg to exchange with the zone leaders there.
Wednesday was a great exchange with Elder Pruett, a new zone leader there in Hamburg. We had a great time teaching together as well as coming up with new ideas to help the Zone.
Thursday we were in Berlin. We went to district meeting in Marzahn and then taught a couple of lesson before heading off to Leipzig. We overnighted with Elder Day (my last companion) and Elder Smith and geared up for a big day in Leipzig. We woke up the next day, had a video conference with all of the Zone leaders in the mission and then participated in the Zone meeting in which the Leipzig stake presidency presided. We loved it. President Schütze talked about working with members. Working with members can become a very “tired topic” as a missionary as we constantly try to see how we can improve it. The Leipzig stake presidency is telling their missionaries to ONLY work with members in the stake who have the desire to do missionary work. Just as it states in D&C 4, those who have the desire are called to the work. We shouldn’t waste time forcing members to do missionary work who have no desire. We should find our team of members who are ready to work with us, our “Dream Team” and go all out with them. I liked this message.
We also taught all of the district leaders via video conference! They are all such studs.
Today was district pday. We went to the legendary Berlin zoo and had a great time. It was my third time being at the zoo in the last three months, but it was fun being with the district. This stuff builds unity.
We are gearing up for Elder Gary B. Sabin from the quorum of the seventy to visit us in a couple of weeks here. We are intensively preparing so that our missionaries here are fully prepared to get as much out of the visit as possible. Can’t wait for that.
A scripture from D&C touched me this week. D&C 58:3 “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.” The message is clear. God loves all of His children. He also really loves when His children keep the commandments no matter what they are going through. We have no idea what is in store for us because of this perfect plan!
I hope you all have a spannende Woche!
Alles liebe und gute,
1) Distrikt Straßenaustellung
2) “Unser Hamburger”
3) mit dem guten Elder Hsu
4) Distrikt Pday beim Zoo
5) Der Distrikt “am Tisch”
Hey friends and fam!
Guys it’s so darn cold outside. And we never see the sun anymore.
Also we played soccer today for pday with a bunch of guys from the Berlin stake. You can probably imagine…when you’re the only American there you kinda get your butt kicked, but it’s ok. Maybe someday we can play baseball?
My week was solid! Why not start off with something exciting and that is that Ali should be getting baptized this upcoming week. Ali is from Iran and he’s been coming to church every week for many many months. Due to the fact that he’s from Iran (a Muslim county) it would be extremely dangerous for him to go back to his county. He would get killed. Anyway, we’ve been working hard to help him out…he got German citizenship as well as a nice apartment it it looks like we will be able to baptize him this upcoming week. Finally. Ali is just the best. He speaks Persian, Turkish, English and German and once he’s baptized he will likely starting teaching and translating for Persian investigators across the mission. And you know what he does in his free time? He translates for people in hospitals. The guy is just a stud. We are thrilled.
Other good news, I had the opportunity to go on exchanges this past week with one of my best friends Elder Ausobsky who is serving in East Berlin (where I served for 10 months). We visited the Collewe family, who we baptized several months ago. The mom, dad and three kids (with a forth on the way). They are doing well. It brought me back on all of the good times we had during the whole stinking teaching process, the good and the bad. I recall many priceless lessons with them! Definitely some of my favorite people in the world. We are preparing for them all to go to the temple and hope that they can be sealed in the temple this upcoming summer when I will return with my family.
Speaking of the temple, it looks like we will be taking Rose and Silvester to the temple this week for them to do baptisms for the first time!
Aside from Berlin we did some traveling. We went out to the Hannover region of the mission to visit some investigators and support our missionaries out there. I always enjoy being in the western side of the mission. It has a really nice feel. We even got to pass through Göttingen, the city I was trained in!
As for new people on the teaching pool. We are working with a man named Hugo who spoke to us as we were eating lunch in a restaurant. Really nice, cool, successful guy. Born and raised in Berlin also speaks Spanish and English. We are very optimistic–the guy has a lot of potential and we can’t wait to see what comes from it!
Here in closing… the mission is cool, man. I realize that this past week I have been in the city of Berlin for 18 months. That’s a long time in one city. Every day you run into crazy things. Funky situations, and a whole lot of “life” is just thrown at you. And it’s just totally unpredictable. As I’ve done my best to help others, I’ve been pretty observant of these “life” things. I have watched strong people become weak, but I’ve watched really a lot of people go from weak to very, very strong. I’ve had the chance to work with people, with converts who have had to go against the dominant thinking of best friends, families, loved ones, etc. Perhaps the most difficult act of courage I have ever seen. I learned that it’s really a faith thing. We learn in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon that we should become as a kid. And in a lot of new converts, that’s what I notice. You see, it is these converts that get so stoked on the smallest of things. And they have the new knowledge that God really truly is there. And that Christ is with us step by step helping us along every day. Together we are strong!!
I love you all, have a great week!
Pics pics pics
1) the crew
2-5) Quedlinburg sights and sounds
6-7) a couple of my favorite Collewe kids 🙂