Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter & General Conference Week - 3/30/15

Elder Ridd and Elder Sharp
Photo credit: JPC

Hey Mom and Dad!
I had a great week. Sunday was really good and we had 5 people at church, so that was really cool - the Family B, as well as a lady investigator named H. Our other investigator, KD, didn’t make it because he overslept and forgot to set an alarm - haha. (We also had a time change for Daylight Saving Time this week; we went forward an hour). But we are meeting with KD tomorrow! We had a good talk with him and he is doing well. All the investigators are doing really good! We still haven’t gotten to meet with JW...he’s hard to meet with. H is also doing well; she is a neighbor of Frau D. 

Not too much is happening today for Pday. Elder Sharp is going to buy some things that he wants to get before he goes home, and then we are hanging out. We have an eating appointment with the Stake President tonight, so that will also be a lot of fun. Yeah, the weather doesn’t look too hot today. Gray and rainy! Haha, oh well. 

This last week we had 2 District meetings and 2 exchanges. Those were pretty fun! This week we have 2 District meetings and 1 exchange. And of course we have transfer calls and General Conference. We also have a baptism for the sisters and eating appointments for Elder Sharp’s leaving, as well as planning for Zone Training next week. Plus we need to fit time for our investigators and work in-between all of that. Haha, but it will be good. It always works out somehow! I will find out in an email on Friday what happens to the Zone, then I get to call them on Saturday.  :)

But yeah, we have been both teaching and finding a lot of people. The Zone broke a record for finding this week, so that is awesome!

The most spiritual experience this week would have to be meeting with a new guy named Z. He is from Hungary and speaks good German. He told us a lot about his story. He explained that he recognizes God’s hand in his life and that he knows that we are both sent from God to teach him. It was a good first lesson and we will commit him to baptism next time we meet with him. 

Thanks for the great email! Love you tons and I will work my hardest out here for sure.
Elder Ridd

Onward and upward! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Another Record Week! 3/23/15

On Killesberg for Pday
Interesting park at Killesberg
View from Killesberg
I have had a great week. The missionary work is going fabulous in our area and zone! This week Elder Sharp and I set 3 more baptismal dates, and now we are at a total of 5 so that is awesome. We have WG, JW, a lady we found this week named Frau H; also Frau D and a new guy named KD on board! So it was a really, really good week. WG is doing okay, he is kinda wishy-washy and questions and doubts things. We keep stressing how he needs to just ask God himself on different things, but he keeps over-thinking. Oh well, we hope he can still stay on track! Elder Sharp is doing well. It is starting to sink in that he only has 2 weeks left, but that isn’t affecting him and we are working harder than ever.

This week for Pday, haha, umm…well I need to cut my hair. When I pull it down in the front it goes past my eyes - haha. Woops. So I will do that for sure, and then we are not too sure. We might go to a chapel overlooking Stuttgart, but we will see. I did take some photos from last week. No worries. And yeah, the city is okay. It is kind of a big industrial city, but still European so that is cool. The weather looks pretty gray today so far.

Church was good. One of our new investigators, KD, came to church. He is really cool and has a baptismal date on the 10th of May right now. He is working hard. That is really cool that you were at the baby blessing. I bet that was nice to see. Olive looks so little and cute, haha. 

The investigators are doing good. We have a lot of new ones. I already wrote about WG, who’s doing pretty good. Sadly we didn’t get to meet with JW this week. He is a hard guy to get an appointment with, but we are still working with him and keeping good contact. Frau D is also doing well and has a baptismal date now - on the 18th of June.

I'm doing really well with allergy-wise. They seemed to go away after Pday. But it’s definitely good not to be stuffy. You sound really weird when you speak German with a stuffy nose, hahaha. 

I had an exchange with the other Stuttgart Elders this week. I worked with Elder Wiberg, who is in his 5th transfer. So that’s always fun. We were in his area, so I got to follow him around and he got to take the area over for a day. We ended up finding 9 people on that exchange! The Zone morale is really good - at least when we are with them it is. Our Zone also broke the 5-year record for the number of lessons we taught this week!

I am way excited for General Conference. It is always so uplifting and there are always amazing insights. Those leaders truly are inspired! I get to see it a little after it happens but on the same weekend. Last time we did get to watch a few of the other sessions, but not all of them. That is okay though, because we read them in the Ensign/Liahona. 

Haha. so Dad is still the Speed Scrabble champ! I am afraid he will beat me when I get home. My English vocabulary isn’t what it used to be.  

I am eating well! I had steak twice this week, which was awesome.  We probably get fed once or twice a week. But this last week was pretty good! We ate some good Gulasch yesterday.

Thanks for all that you do. You are the best! Hope you have an amazing week!
Elder Ridd
Chilling by a mall in Stuttgart
Apple pie that the W family fed us
JPC took us out to dinner and bought us steak!
We met with an American family on exchange and they fed us steak as well! Week of steak! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy! 3/16/15

Elder Sharp and Elder Ridd.
*Photos courtesy of JPC, new friend & investigator - thanks!
These photos are taken in a sweet Chinese garden, near the Young Adult Center (Institute of Religion)

Hey Mom and Dad!
I am doing pretty good today! I am glad I am having a Pday after a pretty long, crazy week. This week was really good! Really, really busy but also really good. From Zone training to exchanges to finding goals and conference calls with the District leaders - we have been doing a lot!

It is way beautiful out there today. We are excited to go have some fun as a district - we are heading to a pretty cool park on a hill above Stuttgart called Killesberg. (Click here for more info and for some gorgeous photos of this park). I’m bringing my frisbee. Looks like the seasons are changing - plus my nose is starting to get stuffed. I guess allergies are a sign that spring is here, haha. We did get to play some basketball last week so that was fun, and there were about 8 of us or so. 

The Zone meeting went really well. It was way good and went really smoothly. We are focusing on finding people in the zone. We had great participation and everyone had really good ideas. We set a goal of 70 potentials last week, which means people who give us contact info and say they want to learn more. We ended up finding 108, which is double what the Zone found the week before. So we kind of smashed it. That was with an excellent Finding Day after Zone Training, where we found 45 of those 108 people. But yeah, we are all really excited about that! It was also good to work with some of the young guns in the mission. Our goal for this week is 90, and there won’t be a big Zone Finding Day, so I hope we can hit it and keep everyone motivated! We are sending out success stories every night as well, just to keep everyone optimistic!

But JW is doing pretty solid. We didn’t meet with him last week, but we have an appointment scheduled for this week. Hottest potential for baptism? I would say WG. I wasn’t there when they taught him this week but they showed him the Restoration video and he said, “Joseph Smith is just like me! He had the same questions I have.” So we are really excited about how he is doing. The Familie B came to church yesterday, so we had 4 investigators there! We also met with another Chinese guy named L, and he is pretty cool. He is Christian and wants to meet again when he comes back from India in 2 weeks. We met with a new lady named M. She is also way awesome. She has 2 kids and she asked us a lot of questions about our church. She seemed interested and promised she will read in the Book of Mormon, so we will see how that goes. 

Yeah, we had a lot of birthdays in the Zone this last week. We made the Sisters brownies and sang happy birthday. But besides that nothing too special - haha. Birthdays out here are kind of just like normal days.

Transfer day is April 9th. That means Transfer calls are the 4th, and Elder Sharp flies home the 10th. Yeah, I will be really sad to see him go. I hope I get another stud for a companion. If not it would be way hard! 

(In answer to Mom’s question about what Scriptures he is studying): I am starting to read Proverbs. I have been reading through the Old Testament in English, and I’m reading the Book of Mormon in German. At the moment I am reading in Mosiah. 

Sounds like a busy week! That will be good, spending time with the grandparents in Utah. I am sure they will love to see you all again! Ah man, I will for sure pray for Grandpa Ray. It sounds like he is pretty positive and confident that he can overcome whatever it is. That is really good! I've heard a lot of times that positivity really helps with cancer and other things. I will for sure keep him in my prayers.

Thanks for the great email! I would also say that I was blessed in the parent department! Have an amazing week! And thanks again for all you do!
Elder Ridd
Elder Ridd and Elder Sharp - good buddies! 
Elder Ridd and Elder Ward on exchange

Monday, March 9, 2015

"There's No Growth in the Comfort Zone" - 3/9/15

Elder Ridd and Elder Sharp with "C,"  a new friend who found the elders from the blog
JW's book!
JW is a Double Bodybuilding World Champion, Mr. Universe and 3rd place Mr. Olympia
JW's autograph and personal message to Elder Ridd!
Meine liebe Mutter and Pops!
My day so far has been really good. We basically prepared for our Zone Meeting this morning during studies. I'm glad all of you are doing well too. For Pday today we are gonna be playing some basketball outside on a chain hoop, so we are all excited about that.

This week was really good and really busy like all the other weeks. It is weird to see that we are already in week 3 of this transfer. The investigators are doing okay; we had a lot of less-active lessons this week. We didn’t get to meet a ton with the investigators, as we were in Munich from Thursday to Friday, and we also had Stake Conference all weekend. But they are doing well and we are keeping as much contact as we can. Yeah, it is really good to be busy. If we were not so busy, I would be just hanging around in the comfort zone, haha, and there is no growth in the comfort zone! 

That is awesome about Luke’s friend getting baptized on Saturday. She did it - yay! Sounds like it went great and Lukas slayed his talk! That is way cool. What a stud! That is also awesome about all the missionaries who came and also way cool that the Mission President came! Way good for Lukie as well, that he could see that process happen with a friend!

I worked with Elder Sardoni on the exchange this week. That was one of the best parts of the week for sure. He is way cool and we are really good buddies. He is in the same group as Elder Cavin, so he came out on the mission around 4½ months before I did. So that means that he only has 1½ transfers left before he heads home! He is currently the District Leader in Ludwigsburg, and he is just a great guy and missionary, so we had a lot of fun on exchange and found a lot of people as well. We had 3 lessons and found 5 people on the exchange, and that was actually our goal. We also went dooring a little bit (dooring = knocking on doors). If there is no one on the street to talk to, we will door. So I doored a tad bit on exchange with both Elder Sardoni and the member who was with us. That was a great experience!

We have our Zone Meeting tomorrow. We will be talking about various things - we have some business that we will go over with the Zone and we’ll also have some people share success stories and talk about Christ-like attributes. Also, Elder Sharp and I have put together a finding vision to unite our Zone and shoot for a number goal. We planned it all last night and this morning so we are excited for it. We will also be having a Finding Day in Stuttgart afterwards, so all the missionaries in the Zone will be staying here and finding for 2 hours. So we are pretty stoked!

We did meet with JW at Frau D’s home. And A. And B. Haha - we showed up and thought it was just going to be Frau D; turns out 3 of our other investigators were there! So we ended up teaching everyone at once, which was cool. I think it’s better when we can focus on one person at a time, but still it was a really funny experience. While visiting with JW this week, he signed his book. He wrote a very personal signature and signed it to my name – Mitchell! Haha, so that is awesome. W is also doing pretty good. We talked to him more about both the scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ in greater detail. He is progressing at his own pace. S showed up to Family Home Evening on Monday, and that was so cool! He is doing a ton better. No contact with G, sadly. I don’t know where he went off to. 

Stake Conference went really well. President Kohler spoke in the Saturday session, and he is an amazing speaker! The Presiding Authority was Elder Axel H. Leimer of the 3rd Quorum of the 70. It was a good meeting with a lot of people there. I also got to see a ton of people from Tübingen ward so that was awesome!

And - funny story about C. He met Elder Sharp in Klagenfurt, Austria, when he visited a missionary that had been transferred there from Stuttgart. They had a Pday together and then C came back here to Stuttgart, where he lives. So, it turns out that he sees two missionaries 2 days ago and he remembers all the good times he had with missionaries, and googles “missionaries in Stuttgart.” And then....he finds my blog. He sees Elder Sharp’s picture, and sees that we are serving together, takes the address and shows up at our house last night. We had a great conversation and he brought us pizza as well. So we ate pizza with him - haha. C wants to meet with us again. But yeah, he reads the blog now and knows a ton of all the stuff I have done on the mission. So that was a way funny story! 

Thanks for the great email! You are the best! I love you tons!
Elder Ridd
Marius Cyron (from Tübingen) and me
Sister Anders (from Tübingen) and me
Sleepover. The Ellwangen Elders slept over from Saturday to Sunday for
Stake Conference. That is Elder Mickelson in the Spiderman Suit.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Zone Logistics & "The Plague" - 3/2/15

Stuttgart Train Station - we spent the day here on Transfer Day
"An Army of Elders" - Mission Tour, 2/2015
photo credit: Shelley Bushman
Hey Mom and Dad!
I am doing really well today! This week was pretty good. And yeah, it was a pretty busy week. That will be the story of my life until I am done being a Zone Leader, haha. We had Transfer Day on Thursday, so I was at the train station in Stuttgart all day, making sure that all was flowing smoothly and people were making their trains. We got everyone where they were supposed to be on time, so that was awesome. Nobody missed a train!

I had a pretty humbling experience this week. Everything was going great and I was way excited to have some lessons on Saturday when I went to bed on Friday. Then out of nowhere I contracted the plague. And every 20 minutes the whole night I was sick. So that wasn’t fun, and on Saturday we had to rest the whole day and had to cancel all our lessons planned for the day. But of course I prayed really hard when I was sick that I would get better fast, and hey, I was able to go to church on Sunday and also eat! And now I feel like a million bucks, way better than I did before the sickness. (Meaning I appreciate health a ton more - haha ). So that was an interesting experience!

We met with a lot of people this week. Not as many as we wanted to, since a lot of people were busy - but that is okay, because this week we have every available minute planned.  We have MLC in Munich on Friday; we will be taking a train down there on Thursday. Then we have Stake Conference in Stuttgart on Saturday and Sunday. We will also be attending two different District Meetings this week and having an exchange this week. So yeah, it will be fun - haha. And of course we have to plan for my first Zone Meeting, which will be next week on Tuesday. Busy, busy, busy! 

We did have some brand new missionaries come into our Zone. We have 3 new ones - 2 elders and one sister. So that is pretty awesome as well. You gotta love the new guys! 

The investigators are doing well. We haven’t met with JW this week, but I did pick up his book. He said this next week he will be at Frau D’s when we are there, so we will teach them both, give Frau D a blessing, and I will have him autograph his book :) His girlfriend is taking the lessons as well. We didn’t get to meet with him this week, but we have had a lot of phone contact. Sometimes it is hard to get contact with him, but we will keep trying! And yeah, A and Frau D are friends. We met Frau D through A. We also met JW through A, as they are friends and they are both investigators. (A is still referring us to a lot of his friends so that is great!)

We are not sure what is going on with S; he hasn’t been in contact this week.  W is doing okay. He is kind of confused with the world – nothing the Gospel can’t fix!  We are trying to help him progress the best we can. JW’s baptismal date is actually in May and W’s date is in April. Elder Sharp might miss both their dates, as he goes home on April 10th. Sadly, we didn’t get to meet with GH this week. We are trying to get contact, but he is pretty busy with a job search. We are hoping he comes out tonight for Family Home Evening.

That is way cool about the lesson that you two taught from the New Testament. Glad the kids were well-behaved. And that is also amazing about Luke making it in at BYU! Good stuff! I am sure he is way excited. He actually sent me an email and he sounds pretty stoked about it. 

Dr. S is in China. He told me that last time I talked to him about 2 months ago. Since then I haven’t heard much. And nothing from the other two investigators back there in Tübingen. I am sure I will see Sister A at Stake conference this week in Stuttgart, and I can ask! Tübingen is only a 45 minute train ride from where we are.

That is cool about Luke’s friend getting baptized this Saturday. That will be awesome. 

Thanks for the amazing email! I hope that you have an excellent week! I love you all tons.
Elder Ridd