The last two days at the MTC were great. On Sunday we had a district meeting, and at the end we had a testimony meeting where those who were leaving that week bore their testimonies. It was amazing. The things that were said were all awesome, and it was kind of a sad time too because we were all leaving for different missions. That’s a big difference between the International Branch and the rest of the MTC. All the other branches were made up of missionaries all going to the same mission, or at least missions that were very close (i.e. the Berlin mission and the Frankfurt mission were together). However, in the IB, everyone was going someplace different and were there only because they already knew their mission language, or at least enough to not have to be there for nine weeks. Anyway, the testimony meeting was sweet and then we did our temple walk. Pictures were being taken left and right. Tons o’ fun. And that was pretty much the end of my MTC experience. It ended a lot sooner than I anticipated. But I learned a lot. My faith grew dramatically in the 18 days I was there. I had so many experiences that it would take a week of P-days to write them all. However, as much as I loved the MTC, I’m glad to be out here in Germany.
Which brings us to this side of the world. Almost. While we were in Dallas, Elders Forsyth and Damstedt (both of whom were my companions in the IB) and I walked around the airport. We were just walking, talking about whatever missionaries talk about, and enjoying ourselves. We ran into a few members, which was cool because they’d see us and get excited and then yell “Hey Elders!” across the airport. We’d go and talk to them. I love being a missionary. Members always want to talk with you and it’s just awesome to be known, but not be known at the same time, if that makes sense. Anyway, we walked around for awhile then went and sat with our other missionary buddies. Suddenly Elder Forsyth says, “Hey, do you two want to go place a Book of Mormon?” Elder Damstedt and I looked at each other, then at Elder Forsyth and said, “Heck yeah!” So we walked around some more looking for someone who might need a Book of Mormon, which is technically everybody, but you know what I mean. As we were walking around we saw a chocolate shop, which is one of my favorite things in the world. And to make it even better, an African lady was running it. Everybody knows how much I love black people. So we go for it. We asked her if she believed in God, and she said yes. We asked her if she believed in Christ, and she said yes. We asked if she went to church and read the Bible, and she said “I sure do, and I read it on my own and then have a Bible study class every Tuesday night. I love my Bible.” Sweet. So we gave her a Book of Mormon and said that when she studied the Bible, the Book of Mormon would help her out and it would be great for her to read it. She took it happily and said she’d read it. PMA. So that was Dallas.
Now after the long plane ride over here we went on a street preach where a bunch of missionaries got together and half of them sang hymns on the street while the other missionaries talked to passers-by and tried to get interest. I sang, naturally. Afterward we went to President Ninow’s house (sidenote, President Ninow was/is on Forbes…whoa) and Sister Ninow cooked us an incredible pasta dinner. While we were waiting there was an elder (Elder Vail) who kept falling asleep – since we hadn’t had a good night’s sleep yet. So, to keep him awake, we made him hold his tie up above his head. If his hand fell, we’d punch in the arm to wake him up. It was a brutal day. The Ninow’s are great. Fastforward to the next day and we all got our companions and areas. By the way, we’re called goldens not greenies, which I find odd but it works. So my first area is…Coburg! It’s in northern Bavaria, about three hours southeast of Frankfurt. It’s a richer city, with a branch of 40 members and 40,000 people. We are also lucky enough to have a stake center despite the size of the congregation. President Keil and his family are amazing and his kids are hilarious. We had dinner with them on Sunday afternoon. I loved it. Their kids are Sebastian (10), Hanna (7-ish) Enos (4) and…Rova, I think, she’s two. But she’s probably one of the coolest 2-year-olds ever. So that was fun. The members were all glad to see me and they guessed that I had been in the field for six-months because of my German. They were surprised to hear I hadn’t been here a week. Also, nobody in the ward plays the piano or organ. Surprise surprise. So I am the ward pianist, of course. They have a condensed Hymn book here, but they don’t sing the songs we usually do, so I had to sight read on Sunday, and I probably will do that again in a couple days. So, I’m in Coburg and my first companion and trainer is Elder Anderson from California. This is his first time as senior companion and he’s been out for a little over a year. He’s a great guy and we get along spectacularly. He loves music too and plays the cello and is a fantastic singer. I’ve really enjoyed it here. We have a couple investigators, one of whom will be getting baptized on the 19th, and a couple of Africans who are Ethiopian refugees. Their English is hard to understand but one of them seems to be really interested. It’s hilarious because when we committ him to read, and pray, and come to church, he says, “Yes, of course, but I’m doing it for me, not you!” We laughed and told him that was perfect. That’s exactly what we want for him. I just hope he recognizes the Holy Ghost when it hits him. From Monday to Wednesday, Elder Anderson had to go to Frankfurt for some training, so I went to Bamburg on an exchange with Elder Cosentino. He’s French. He’s also hilarious. And, he’s a great cook. So those three days I was well fed. Lots of experiences there too but no time to write. I love it and teaching these receptive investigators makes up for all the street and door rejections.
Address for Coburg:
Elder Tyler Mayle
Kleine Rosengasse 1