A Strong Testimony of Missionary Work

Hey hey hey,
Sorry for the delay on this letter.  Monday was a…um…Feiertag…except in English…ummm, right, a holiday.  It was a holiday and it celebrated the dead.  It would have been very bad if we had gone out and tried talking to people.  We had district meeting instead, in Schweinfurt, thereby moving our P-day back.  On Tuesday we did a TON of service for a couple members.  One lady needed her wall painted so she called us up and asked if we could help.  That was a couple hours.  And the other family we helped was the Schlittmaiers.  Eva is in 9th grade, and her class was doing a service project.  They’re building a playground.  That’s quite a project.  So they asked if we would come and help for a couple hours.  No problem.  Add those onto a couple lessons, and Tuesday was over. So, we couldn’t send emails.  We came up to the church yesterday and the Internet wasn’t working. And, of course, all of the public Internet places were closed.  We took that as a sign that we weren’t supposed to write letters yesterday.  That brings us to today.  Obviously the Internet is working again.
We had Zone  last week, on Thursday.  I love missionaries.  They’re so cool. (Oh wait, I guess that includes me too…and I mean that in the humblest way possible.)  It’s so fun to meet with about 50 other missionaries and just talk in between the instruction that we get from the AP’s and President.  We learned a bunch about planning and obedience.  As President Ninow went through his speech – talk, lesson, address, whatever you call it – Elder Anderson and I realized a couple things that we could do better.  So we’re working on those.  It’s incredible the difference it makes whether a missionary is 90% obedient, or 100%.  No, Elder Anderson and I are not bad missionaries, and no, we’re not doing anything evil or stupid, but there are little things that turn out to mean a lot.  I’ve seen a difference in the way we work when we try hard to obey all the rules versus letting a couple small things slide.
We also had Stake Conference this past Sunday.  It was weird.  There are a few English-speaking wards in the Nürnberg stake, so all of the speakers had translators standing right next to them, speaking into a different microphone after each sentence.  The speakers always had to pause after everything they said so that the other person could talk.  It was a cool experience though.  There were many good talks.  The theme seemed to be trusting in the Lord.  Which I’ve personally found is extremely important and I can see the difference between saying prayers and really asking for help.  It’s noticeable to me, especially since I’ve been here.
I can’t think of much to say, so I’ll outline a typical day for us.  We wake up at 6:30 and drag ourselves out of bed.  (I used the word “drag” for a reason.)  We kind of stumble around the apartment for a little bit trying to wake up, listen to a John Bytheway talk or something, eat a hearty breakfast of Corn Flakes or whatever cereal we decide to eat for breakfast, and shower.  Luckily our apartment doesn’t run out of hot water.  Then we have personal study for an hour, companionship study for an hour, German study for an hour, and after that our days differ.  Sometimes we eat lunch after that, sometimes we get on a train or a bus or ride our bikes to an area to work.  The furthest we ride the train is about 30 minutes north, to Sonneberg.  I have no idea how many kilometers or miles that is.  I just ride the train.  But we’ve gone on a few epic bike-rides that have lasted all day and we are exhausted by the time we get home.  And by bike-rides I mean riding the bikes to the village where we’ll be working that day.      There are so many different variables that could change our day.  Fallen out appointments, weather, missing a train or a bus, unexpected appointments, stuff like that.  But we go at full-steam almost everyday.  We prefer to eat dinner at 8 at night.  They tell us to finish dinner by six because night is a better time to find people since everyone is usually home with their families.  We tried that, and we’ve found that people just get angry here if you knock on their door at 8:30 at night. So, we eat later, which is nice, and we don’t have to get back into “missionary gear” after eating a good meal.
This past week has been full of lessons for me.  From Stake Conference, to Zone Conference, to teaching lessons, to personal scripture study.  I feel like I have grown substantially in the last week, and I have seen many of my short-comings and what I need to do to improve myself in several areas.  I can’t see the changes, because they are so small, and they happen slowly overtime, but I can guarantee that I am a different person than the Elder Mayle that entered the MTC exactly three months ago today.  The scriptures can change a person’s life.  Focusing on Christ continually and casting all other meaningless things aside and striving to be in similitude with our Savior alters one’s perspective immensely.  This is not a question nor a theory, but a fact.  Anyone who disagrees needs to serve a mission, righteously, and they will come to the same conclusion.  I have no doubts about the Church, nor the Book of Mormon.  People may be shocked that I’m willing to give up two years of my life to go to a foreign land, speak a language that I am nowhere close to fluent in, and dress up nice everyday.  But for me, I am shocked that other people don’t want to do the same thing for so great a cause. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, namely faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end is the greatest thing that any human being can receive on this earth.  If only everyone would try it, would experiment, and let the word “set root in their heart,” they would see that “the fruit thereof is good.”  While I’m on the streets, and someone rejects us, it’s not a big deal to me.  But at the end of the day, I look back on what we have done and I don’t understand why they don’t want to hear these “good tidings of great joy.”  I take this as a sign that I am finally beginning to realize what the purpose of missionary work is and how many prophets in the Book of Mormon were sorrowful because of the wickedness of their people.
Okay, my rant is over.  Sometimes I just get going.  I’m excited to be here.  I’m excited about the Gospel.  I’m excited to read the scriptures every morning.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I love the Church.  It’s so awesome.  We pretty much have the coolest church ever…because of it’s leader.  Share the message of the Gospel with everyone…you never know who will accept, or who has been waiting for someone to come along and give them the happiness for which they’ve been searching for.

With the best of regards possible,
Elder Mayle

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