Saturday, January 31, 2015

Do You Even Lift? 1/26/15

Hey Mama and Pops!
I am doing great! This week has been really good - kind of busy, but it was still great! This week will be even busier. We just have so much to do with the Zone and stuff, but it has been really fun so far. But yeah, I figure you can't control who accepts the gospel, it is their free agency. You can only control if you keep on going with the right attitude. There are always people who are ready to accept the gospel. Our job is just to find those who are ready.

Today we are planning on playing basketball with the International elders at the church. We also have an eating appointment with members tonight, so we are also really excited for that. And yeah, the main attractions here are those two museums - Porsche and Mercedes Benz. Sadly, like you said, they are closed on Mondays.  We are hoping one day they will be open on a Monday.

Our apartment is pretty nice. It is a really good size for just two of us. It is probably about 30-40 minutes from church, and we take the train. The sisters are pretty far, but the other elders are pretty close to us so that is nice. The grocery store is in the area so we don’t have to walk too far with heavy groceries - yay!

We did teach some investigators this week. S is doing better. He really likes it when we come and visit him and talk about the gospel, but he is still going through a pretty hard time. Frau D is also doing well. She had friends over last time we were there so we taught all of them. "A" is really good. We met at his house this time and there were pictures of him all over the walls when he was a pro boxer. He also had a picture where he had 1 million Euro all over a room he was in. Haha - pretty funny guy. We actually asked him if he knew anyone else that we could teach and he referred us to an ex-Mr. Olympia, JW. Google him, he is considered the best bodybuilder from Germany. So we are now teaching an ex-Pro Boxer, and an ex-Pro Bodybuilder. JW had a girlfriend, B, with him as well. We taught them both the Plan of Salvation. They both loved it and committed to be baptised when they know it is true. So that was awesome! We are meeting them on Thursday this week. "A" also asked us what he has to do to join the church, so we will also set a date with him this next week. 

We had another eating appointment with Familie S. Actually, we had 2 more – haha! One of the times we were actually there to help them move one cabinet and also build another one, so I guess it wasn’t considered an eating appointment. 

That is way cool that Luke started at Ace Hardware. I bet that is a pretty cool job. That is awesome that the manager is getting baptised! Alright missionaries! That will be a really cool experience for her and for Lukas, too - to see someone he knows accept the gospel! Good stuff!

That is cool about the new suit, and the new experience that Hayden had blessing the Sacrament! Way to go Hayd! Sounds like some good stuff is going on down there!

There has been a decent amount of snow, but it hasn’t really been cold enough to stick. It is pretty as it is falling though! 

Haha, it is Australian day. And we are getting along great; Elder Sharp is already one of my favorite companions. We have been buddies since the first day. So I am loving life in Stuttgart. It is always easy when your companion and you understand each other.

We do not have to door a lot, because we are in a big city and there are people on the streets to talk to. So that is nice. The Zone is doing well. We had interviews with President in our Zone last week and that went good. We only had one exchange last week, with the Elders in Stuttgart. We went down to Ludwigsburg and had a finding day for their district. They invited the ZLs, so we attended. It was great! This week will be much busier. We will be exchanging twice. Tomorrow we are going to Göppingen’s district meeting, and then have a finding day with their district. Then I leave Elder Sharp in Göppingen and I come back with Elder Weight, who is in his third transfer. We also meet with the Stake President as ZLs, so I will be representing our Zone tomorrow as Elder Sharp won’t be there. Then the next day we have our district meeting, and afterwards we will exchanging back. Then the following day we have another exchange and I go down to Ellwangen. So we are doing a lot more as ZLs, haha. We are pretty dang busy! We also get calls from District Leaders every night. 

Go UTES! Poor BYU.

Thanks for the great email! Being positive is a choice. It is such a better choice than being negative! I hope that you have a great week! I have the best family ever.
Elder Ridd

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hello, Stuttgart! 1/19/15

New companions - Elder Ridd and Elder Sharp
Goodbye, Elder Caldwell!
Cool church in Stuttgart
Hey Mama and Pops!
I am doing well and flourishing in Stuttgart. Things went great this week and it has been pretty fun getting to know the new area and the Zone. It wasn’t too hard to pack. (I love how you wrote “Was it hard to pack everything up and nicely shove it into your luggage?” – haha). There were 12 missionaries that rode on the train with me to Munich, and then 14 to Stuttgart. It took around 4 and a half hours in total, with both rides. Not too bad!

Elder Sharp and I get along great and we are way good friends already! But yeah, Elder Sharp is 6 foot 5 and his (Aussie) accent is way cool. We did have a lot of appointments before I left Neumarkt. I will miss that ward for sure, but I am sure that Stuttgart ward will also be amazing!

I am in the German Stuttgart ward. We are there along with the Sisters, and the missionary couple kind of goes where they want to go. They were not in our ward on Sunday, but yes, Sisters Bushman and Threlkeld are in our ward. There are 5 districts in the Zone, but I think it is 9 areas. Some areas are included in one district. We have more people in our Zone than any other Zone - there are 38 missionaries in our Zone. I think Munich Zone is also a similar size. But it is really cool being with people from all over. You sure learn more about culture. I do love this area a ton. It is cool because I will be visiting areas everywhere in the Zone. We will have a ton of exchanges every transfer so that will be fun - almost 2 every week. And we have a leadership meeting every month in Munich. It is the first week of February and a member of the 70 will be there. I am not sure which one. 

Church was really good and I gave my testimony on Sunday. I also said the closing prayer. The ward is decently big, not Neumarkt big, but still a good size. There are a decent amount of kids as well, so that is fun. We had an investigator family show up today too, so that was great. We have a decent amount of investigators, new members and less-actives that we are working with. We ate with family S on Sunday after church and they are a really cool family!

We are working with a really awesome new convert, S. He is around our age and is a really cool guy. He is going through a hard time right now as he was diagnosed with diabetes and currently doesn't have a lot of energy. But he’s still awesome!

We are also working with a woman named Frau D. She is really cool and we are working on setting a baptismal date with her. We are also working with her friend, A, who used to be a boxer!

That is cool that Luke got accepted at the U. He hasn’t told me, haha, so thanks!

Thanks for the great emails! Stuttgart is going really well and I am really excited to get everything down. The city is pretty big and there are about 700,000 people who live here. That doesn’t seem a lot for America, but for Europe that is a really big city! But all is well, and I am loving it. 

I hope you have a great week! Thanks for all that you do for me.
Elder Ridd

Elder Ridd and Elder Caldwell with good friends (brothers) from Austria. Photo credit to JL.
Elder Hancey was transferred to Schwenningen, so I got to ride with him on the train
from Salzburg to Stuttgart. 
This photo is from an Austrian news article on the celebration of 150 years of missionary work in Austria!
Back Row: Elder Caldwell, Elder Plumb, Elder & Sister Smith, Elder Kingery, Elder Lyman
Front Row: Sister Winters, Sister Wilkes, Elder Ridd, Elder Cavin
Click here to read the article and watch the video! 

(The missionaries are also featured on the video at the bottom of the page).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Video - 150 Years of Missionary Work in Austria! 1/20/14

Here's a cool 3+ minute video which talks about 150 years of missionary work in Austria!
Elder Ridd happens to be in it (starting around minute 2:23 or so).
Check it out!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Farewell to Austria; On to Stuttgart! 1/12/15

Snowy Austria
Hey Mama! Hey Pops!
I’m doing pretty good today, but I’m not really an Austrian anymore. I will be headed to Stuttgart, Germany on Thursday to work as a zone leader with Elder Sharp from Australia! So that will be pretty cool. I have been wanting to work in a big city since I haven’t really yet in my mission, so it will definitely be pretty cool! 

This last week was great! We met with a good amount of people, and the week went really fast, as usual. I was actually on exchange this last week with Elder Lyman in Salzburg after the Zone training. It was an awesome exchange, as we found 3 really cool people who invited us in and we got to know them. They told us to come back with a Book of Mormon in Urdu, and 2 in German. So that was a really good experience. Besides that we also met with one of their less active members and started the "Stop Smoking" program with him.  Church was also really good; HT, L and T all came. I gave my farewell testimony, and said goodbye to a ton of members. Afterwards we met with a member family who invited their friend over. We answered a lot of her questions and it was really, really awesome. She is probably going to invite the missionaries to come and teach her and also her husband. They have tons of potential, so that will be way cool! Afterwards we also met and ate with L’s family, so we are getting fed a lot and saying a lot of goodbyes. We are actually booked every night until I leave with goodbye and eating appointments, so we didn’t have to buy a lot of groceries today - haha.

That is really cool about Luke’s manager/friend. It sounds like the missionaries are really putting in some work in The Woodlands! That is awesome that she is coming to church and stuff. Good prep for Lukas and his mission as well! 

It snowed yesterday but the day before that it was like 70 or 80 degrees. It was way warm! 

The Book of Mormon reading is going great! It has been way cool to go through it slowly and highlight everything that has to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ - Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. 

Thanks for the great email! Of course I love the quotes - haha.

Have a great week! I love you tons.
Elder Ridd
Hitler's birth town in Braunau am Inn
The stone says "For Peace, Freedom and Democracy.
Never Again Will Facism Kill Millions."
Rock in front of Hitler's house. The back of the rock says
"Stone out of the concentration camp - Matthausen." 
Great dessert we ate after lunch with the S family
Our living room

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! 1/5/15

Happy New Year! 
The start of 2015 has been great! I hope you also had a great start of 2015. It is really weird that it is 2015. The time doesn't stop! But that is awesome about Luke being 18. So weird though. I just remembered that I am not 18 anymore. Sounds like it was a really good day for him. Gotta love the chocolate Bundt cake!

We have just been moving on with the work the best that we can! It is going good, and we had the opportunity to teach a lot this last week. The meeting appointments went really well, besides a few that fell out. Sadly we won't be able to meet regularly with all of them. One is really cool and really promising, but he is always working and doesn't really have time to meet. So that is sad. The other just doesn't want to change his religion. But hey, you can't win them all - haha. During the first lesson with people we usually set out expectations and explain our purpose, as well as teach an overview of our message, so that is what we did for the new people that we met with. 

Church was great. Everyone made it today, meaning HT, HY, P and L! So that was awesome. P is officially the newest member of the ward here in Neumarkt and that is really awesome. 

It has been snowing, and driving in the snow is quite fun. I haven't really slid around a lot yet which is good. We did get stuck once but we got out pretty fast - haha. We have been shoveling other peoples walks for service but have yet to shovel ours. The boots work great, thanks though! 

All the Christmas stuff in Austria is still up. Elder Caldwell and I cleaned up our decorations today, so we now have everything put away, but tomorrow is Drei Könige Tag, which is also a holiday, so I am guessing they will start cleaning up after that. Some people do put lights on the outside of the homes and decorate, and yes, they put real candles on the trees. They only light them for like 6 seconds and then blow them out on the 24th though. 

This week we ate with the L family and with the M family. We ate Raclette at the M home for Silvester (New Year's Eve). Raclette is kind of similar to fondue... but not really. Haha, it is kind of difficult to explain. 

That is really cool about Luke's old manager coming to church. I didn't bear my testimony today, but HT did! That was really cool. He is such an amazing dude! 

And yes, we find out about transfers on Saturday. They're on Thursday the 15th I think... I have to double check. District meeting went really well. We talked about finding, as well as the Book of Mormon. I gave a part about finding, and then asked Sister Winters to talk about the Book of Mormon. 

Elder Caldwell is really a great missionary and a cool guy, so we get along fine! We are reading now in the Book of Mormon. We have a mission read for the new year, and we will be reading it in 6 months. We will finish the 1st of July. And I am only reading in German these days. 

Have an amazing week and thanks so much for all the support and love you send me! Thanks for being amazing parents and strengthening my testimony on how much the Gospel blesses families! If there is anything you want from Austria, let me know!
Love you,
Elder Ridd