Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Great Stake Conference - 2/24/14


Pretty cool tower/building in Reutlingen!
Mama & Pops!
I am doing great! This week has been pretty good.  Time just flies doesn't it? Weird to think that I am in my third transfer now in Tübingen. I am feeling great! And yeah, I get my 8 hours of sleep every night, so that is good. However, sometimes 6:30am feels like it comes awfully fast, haha. I am having fun!

I love Mondays too! Church was really good. We actually had Stake Conference on Saturday and on Sunday. On Saturday we went to Stuttgart to hear the speakers there. There were a lot of young couples who shared their conversion stories and it was a really cool and neat meeting. At the end, the Stake Presidency all bore their testimonies, which was really cool as well. Then on Sunday, we actually went to our church building in Tübingen because they were having an Übertragung (Broadcast) there as well as in Stuttgart, so we didn't need to travel. It was really cool on Sunday, because we got to hear Elder Bednar give his whole talk in German without a translator. But yeah, that was basically our Church experience this week. Plus, it was so awesome that Bruder A was at church on Sunday and we got to set up an appointment with him. We are thinking that he may be ready for baptism and will try to set a date with him in our next appointment on Wednesday! 

That is some really cool information about Hermann Damminger (Elder Ridd's great-great grandpa was christened in Bayern, Germany). Bayern is a big area; Münich is actually included in the Bayern area, so it is in my mission! But woah, that is pretty cool that Parker found out who Hermann's parents are and where he was christened!

P is doing well, however we haven't really had too much contact with her this last week. She is really bad with her phone! Or at least when we call - haha. And M (our new Young Adult) is doing great! We are going with him to Ritter Sport (a chocolate factory, store and museum) on Friday. We are also bringing one of the young men in our ward along. We are really excited for Friday!  We didn't have the opportunity of going by again on that headquarter referral, but we are going to go by this week hopefully! 

Dr. S is doing great. We had another lesson with him last Friday and he is understanding a lot more of what we are teaching him. He also felt that the fast that we did helped him a lot. He is so cool and we love meeting with him.

We had a dinner appointment with the T family on Sunday. It was really good; they are American and he works on the Army base. It is always nice to speak English with a family at the dinner table - haha. The mom is also way into eating healthy, and we talked for a long time about health. It was pretty funny. We also celebrated one of their kids' birthdays. He was turning 14, so we sang to him and she made a really healthy cake. (As healthy as cakes get - apparently she didn't use any flour). I forgot to get pics...Woops!

This week we have a few appointments already made, as well as we are planning on helping a family move! That will be fun! That is really cool about our ward winning the Stake Basketball trophy. Alright! Do we still have the dodgeball trophy as well? 

Hope that you have an awesome week. I love you lots!
Mit Liebe,
Elder Ridd

Monday, February 17, 2014

First Baptism! 2/17/14

M (2nd from right) was baptized! It was sooo cool
Really interesting house we found
Tübingen District (Elder Ridd - top row, 2nd from right; Elder Badders - top right)
Hey Mama! 
This week has been pretty good! I don't have a ton of photos though, sorry! That is not fun having to give talks! I know how Dad feels - haha. I didn't have to give one this week, but we did teach the priesthood lesson in German. and I also blessed the Sacrament in German. Then we had the baptism of our 18-year old friend, M, so it was a really busy Sunday for us. 

Gotta love sushi and chocolate-chocolate chip Bundt cake! Wow. (Dad's birthday).  I am actually fasting right now and reading that made me really hungry! 

Not too much has been going on with me! Just the usual missionary work! And the baptism went great! M is now a member. Pretty cool! Tons of people came out for his baptism. There were more people at the baptism than at the Sacrament meeting, haha. He is a pretty cool dude, so a lot of people came to support him. The font is in our ward building, so we just had it right after all the meetings. Oh, and I am not longer in training. Yay! Basically all that means is that I get 1 less hour of study.

Transfer calls were on Saturday! We were not too sure if one of us was leaving, but then we got the call and they said we were staying - which is pretty cool! No one in Tübingen district is leaving, but a lot of people in our Stuttgart Zone are being transferred. 

We have some appointments this week. We are actually planning on calling a lot of people to set up more, as we don't have as many as we would like to have this week. But I am sure we will get more. The doctor is doing great! We are actually fasting with him today! It will be pretty cool. He is submitting his final paper for his doctorate today, so we are fasting for that, plus that he will know the Book of Mormon is true, and for our families' safety and that they will be blessed! So that is pretty cool! He is really excited for it. 

Our Church headquarters prospect turned out pretty good! We showed up and she was so nice.  She wanted us to come in, but we couldn't because there was no man home, but we are planning on going by later this week with members and teaching her.  She has a husband and 3 kids, and they seem like a really nice family. 

Alright - Primary!  That will be really cool, Mom! And you only teach the girls? I didn't know it was separate. Lauren is really cool so that will be fun to teach with her as well! Tell her I said hi!

Cool about the newer family speaking in your Sacrament! And woah, that story is really great about her friend giving her a copy of the Book of Mormon in the university dorms! We have been doing something similar to that missionary challenge! We set up family mission plans for all of our members when we go over to their homes and share little things they can do to help the Gospel grow and to bring others closer to Christ!

Ah what?! We got a Golden sister in our ward?! That is so cool. It is going to be way cool seeing missionaries in our ward when I come back, as I will see them from a totally different perspective - as I actually know how they feel all the time, haha. 

Oh, that is cool! Thanks to Grandma Roz & Grandpa Ray for the $10. I might take out some money today. That is also really cool that Grandpa got Lasik along with his cataract surgery. Hopefully they can correct both eyes, haha. 

And I did get the package that Grandma Lucia sent me in January! It was great! I totally forgot to thank her - woops! I think I have her email. 

Thanks for the awesome letter, Mama! Our week was pretty good; the thing that was the coolest was our lesson with P.  So we went over to P's home, because we hadn't seen her in a long time or heard from her either. She told us she was meaning to call us, and asked if we could come over the following day. So we went by the next day (on Thursday) for cake and tea (herbal tea, of course). And her husband and her son were there. So we taught all of them and it was way cool. Her son wants to hear more - which is awesome! - and her husband actually listened, which is really good because he is one of her concerns. They still can't  wrap their heads around the fact on how Apostles and the Prophet were called...I think that is their biggest concern. They need a testimony of prayer so they can kind of grasp it. But it went well and she wants to come to church this next Sunday!

Anyways our week was pretty good! And I am looking forward to having another great transfer in Tübingen! I love you tons, Mama, you the best!
Mit Liebe,
Elder Ridd
Stuttgart Zone Conference last week - photo credit to the Alpine Mission Blog (Elder Ridd - top row, 5th from right)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Aus-Tausch, Zone Training & Zone Conference - 2/10/14

Elder Ridd with his investigator/friend
Nagold, a town in the Black Forest
I am doing pretty good! I hope you are, as well. My week went pretty good, it was just busy. Dang, you have some crazy trust in Hayden to drive on the road! That sounds really scary. But it sounds like he is doing pretty good. I bet you had some back seat driving going on. 

Glad that Lukas is doing well after his finger incident. Pretty cool about the authentic Chinese food as well. I am getting a lot of that over here in Germany, too. That's cool that Lukas and Hayden are registering for a few of the same classes. German will be pretty einfach (simple) for them. I am totally going to start writing their emails next year only in German and we will see if they can translate them. 

The investigators are doing well! We had S's kids at church this last Sunday. And after church we actually went to their home to teach them again. Pretty cool! They are pretty hard to get a hold of usually, but they have been loving us to come by which has been nice. They are the family that lives in the Black Forest, in Nagold. They are doing really well and progressing quickly! We shared the Restoration DVD with them in German and it went good. She had a few questions which we answered, and then we bore testimony that she can find out whether our church and the Book of Mormon is true, like we have. I felt the Spirit a lot during the lesson and I am hoping that she did as well.

One of the things we stress a lot on gaining a testimony through the Book of Mormon is that once you come to find the Book of Mormon is true, you know that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God - and once you know that, you know that this really is the restored Church of Jesus Christ.  We always try to help people to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon first, because once they have that, everything else falls into place. We have a Chinese investigator who comes from a Buddhist background, and he didn't really believe in Christ or anything.  We have been working with him and he has been gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon as he reads the stories and applies them to his life. He says he really has noticed a change and it has helped him a lot.  We are working with his small testimony right now, but it is definitely the starting point of building a testimony.  "Moroni's promise" is one of the famous scriptures we share. It's Moroni 10:3-5, and that is always a powerful one on gaining a testimony. (To read Moroni's promise, click on the following link: Moroni 10:3-5). The Book of Mormon truly is amazing. There is no doubt it is Holy Scripture. We just need to get more people to realize it. I didn't know it mentions the Atonement so many more times than it does in the Bible. Interesting.

Anyways, this week was pretty busy, as Tuesday was our Zone Training (meaning that we were in Stuttgart). I actually got to bear my testimony in front of the whole zone at the end of the training, because I am a "Golden." (Newer missionary). They made all the Goldens do it. So it was Sister Gilmore, Elder W Smith and me. It went well!  The next day was actually Aus-Tausch, so I went to Esslingen to work with Elder Hancey and Elder Spencer. It was pretty fun! Then the next day I came back to Elder Badders, and we met with M, the 18-year old getting baptized this Sunday. After this, we had an appointment fall through. The next day we met with Dr. S, and had weekly planning. Saturday was our Zone Conference and we went back to Stuttgart. So it was a pretty busy week.

This next week we will have to teach the lesson in Elders Quorum in German. We are excited for that...Hah. That will be interesting, but hopefully pretty good. Our baptism is this next Sunday the 16th. Meaning that it will be the last day that I am still being trained. Pretty cool!  We did get some potentials this week - we received one from church headquarters! We have some pretty cool appointments planned that we are excited about. On Friday we find out whether we stay together or are leaving (transfers are next week). I probably will stay here another transfer, although a lot of people are thinking I will leave.  But the companionship is going good! I don't want to leave E. Badders, but I kinda do want to go and see what Austria is like.  I definitely would be happy with staying for sure though. 

Love you tons  - thanks for all you do. 
Mit Liebe,
Elder Ridd
Lots of trees are way mossy in the Black Forest
The Black Forest, in Nagold

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Finding Day in Riederich - February 3, 2014

       Hey! Hope you had an awesome week!
Church this week went really good! We had so many members go up and bear their testimonies about missionary work, which is so cool. I love our members here so much. We have a young man, M, from a part-member family who has set a date to be baptized. His dad didn't let him get baptized 'til he was 18, so he could have more time to decide if it was something he wanted to do.  He wants to, and his baptismal date is February 16. We will be bringing him on a lot of Mitbelehrungs, or member lessons, and we will teach with him to prepare him for the mission he wants to go on pretty soon. We are going to have a baptism, so that is pretty cool!

We did not really have any investigators at church - besides M, the guy who is going to get baptized. Bruder A is still out of town, and P has been hard to contact lately, sadly. But we are hopefully meeting with P this coming week. 

We do get to use the Family Search site on our missions and it is pretty cool! We need to get your side filled in, Mama! On mine, yours isn't filled in at all for some reason. 

That is so funny that Lukas and Hayden had another snow day (in Houston, with no snow!).... I think that the teachers get lazy and just are like, "Let's have another day off; it is gonna be cold tomorrow!" Haha. I mean - seriously, what is a little ice gonna do to keep them from school? Oh well, I always enjoyed having an extra day off - haha. 

That is so weird about Hayden getting his driving permit....There's no way that he can drive already. That seems so unreal....Dang, my brothers are growing up! What is going on? Good idea about the "We will stick to parking lots for now." 

We have not taught the R family again, but we will teach them on Sunday. The video was so good for having their kids' attention. Only the husband is a member; he is less active and has not come in a long time. They have 3 kids!  We have not been to see the S family again since Christmas. They are on the ward eating schedule, however, and every week a family in the ward takes the missionaries home to share their dinner with us. It is pretty sweet, because we get to know the ward members so much better. 
No big plans for this Pday besides work, work, work. We have 3 appointments today. The first two went well, and we have a third with a family (Church members), so that will be fun. They are way cool and are from Spain. They are moving to Frankfurt soon though, which is sad! 

Parker wrote me a little bit about his interview (summer internship) and that sounds like a sweet gig if he can land it. The company makes F16s - that is pretty cool. Congrats to him for a good interview. 

Thanks for sending another package! Man, you spoil me over here - thanks!! I will remember to let you know which day it arrives! 

We get money on the first of every month. Then we usually withdraw the whole thing and use it for the month. Usually it is pretty good to buy what we need. Sometimes I run out before the end of the month, but its not that bad. I am eating fine, no worries haha. Yeah, the Euro is like 1.4 US dollars so it's not that hard to calculate. 

The German is going well. I am speaking a lot more and understanding almost all. It is weird that I have only been here the amount of time I have and am starting to understand so well and speak pretty good. But it is definitely nice!

This week was pretty fun. The main thing that really stands out to me was the "finding day" that we had on Saturday. What a finding day is is basically your district comes together in one of the Areas, and goes around in organized groups and "finds," or does missionary work. We were having it in Tübingen this time, so I got to organize a ton of it. We have a lot of names on our member list who nobody knows, so we decided that cleaning up that list would be a good idea. We split the names into groups of 4 based on location, and then we split up into 4 groups. Elder Badders and I made cookies that morning that we could bring to all of these less active members, so hopefully we could talk to them and see how they were doing. I actually went with Elder Hancey in a town called Riederich, and it was a lot of fun. We actually ran into an active member and his friends, which was way awesome because we got to talk to his friend about why we were on missions. Turns out that he wants to learn more and he said it is his biggest dream to get baptized into our church. The member (friend) that was with him bore testimony on Sunday about missionary work, and shared that experience- it was so cool.

That's neat about the Lone Peak High School basketball team in Utah (2013 National Champions - 4 of their teammates are currently on missions, and 2 more are planning to go on missions this summer). Are they still an awesome basketball team now that they have a new lineup? I definitely agree that the mission field is the best and fastest place to grow as a 19 to 20-year old. Definitely learning more than I would if I were at home still, and I know I will learn so many more valuable things that will help me later in life. 

Anyways, this week has been awesome and I love you so much. Hope you have a good week! Thanks for all you do. You da best!
Elder Ridd