Monday, October 20, 2008

Magic Mailbox, Duct Tape and scary CTR rings


Well, yes. It's that time of the week again. Time for me to spill my soul to the beings who gave me life. Consequently, those beings who gave me life are way too proud of me and will share this letter with loved ones via "The World Wide Web". So my greetings to all who may be reading the words of this, Elder Chad Jeffrey Arnett. Welcome to my life.

Well it was another week and they just don't slow down. Monday started out calling me to Hamburg for P-day. I went up there with my trusty sidekick, aka. companion, Elder Zachary Paul Turvey. The Zone Leaders also accompanied me. Why you ask? Well, I was to meet up with some people from my days in Kiel., and the Zone Leaders from Neümunster. Unfortunately, it turned out that way too many missionaries found out that we were going to be in Hamburg with this little posse. You see, the missionaries love both groups of ZL's. So companionship after companionship showed up. It became a big deal and just down right overwhelmed us. But, the small aforementioned small group snuck away and "did lunch". So all was well. Except for one small problem. My pants ripped. In the front left leg. Problem? Potentially, but I'm Chad Jeffrey Arnett, and being the son of a very crafty man, decided to get crafty myself and fix it with Duct-tape. But it only held for a while. So, being the son of a very Home Economical woman, I gave them to a girl to sew. A beautiful mix between craft and home economics. I'm so my parents child. Sadly, it only held until I got home. I now am dealing with the problem of not having jeans to wear on P-days.

Tuesday we had district meeting. That means for me that I have to plan and lead it. Kind of cool, but at the same time full of pressure. I'm always afraid that they are so boring or not spiritual enough. I try to address issues that the district needs addressed though and I try to get us to practice certain things about teaching as to get better. It's always refreshing to get together with the whole district, however. A nice little lift from the everday grind. After District Meeting, we went out to a restaurant to eat schnitzel! Woot! German food! Twas good, thank you for asking. Then Turvey and I mosie'd on back to B-town. We had another appointment with the Da Silveira Family. But they weren't at home! And we haven't been able to get in contact since... Yes, I am sad. I think devastated is a more accurate description. We have been working to get a baptismal date by the end of the month and they were the closest ones to being ready. President Thompson gave a challenge to have every companionship have a person on date by the end of October. Now it's literally going to take a miracle. Please, everyone in the reach of my words, pray for us. Pray that the Lord will soften someone's heart and that they'll be ready to accept the challenge of baptism. Pray that we find the ones who are ready. Pray that we get it before the end of October. Please. Just pray.

Wednesday was one of those days. We had nothing planned as far as appointments go, so we decided to visit a lot of former investigators and less-active members. Sometime the Formers are a gold mine, so I thought, "Yea, why not?" We didn't get in one door, and half the addresses were wrong. But we did find a contact, which breaks a 5 week streak of not getting anyone's information. Is that a depressing piece of info? Yes it is. It's so hard having a good outlook on life and your personal abilities as a missionary when you cannot get anyone's contact info. It has drained me and drained me and drained me some more. I dreaded hitting the streets. But finally, we got someone's info and set up an appointment for Saturday. He's been schooled by the J-Dub's for a while now, but whatever, we'll take it.

Thursday was pretty much the same thing as Wednesday. Just going by on people and trying to find someone to teach. This time around we actually got a door opened up to us and told to come back at a later time because the Notarzt was coming. The emergency doctor. Yea, hope everything is ok over there, cause we need someone to get baptized! But we found two more contacts on this day and were starting to have a good time. We also had an appointment with this semi-inactive member by the name of Henry Helmke. I love this man. He's actually has a Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy Clinic. Kinda cool considering he's blind. He's been in Turkey for the past 10 days or so, and we've missed him. But he spent over 60 Euro on Elder Turvey and I. He bought us some seriously killer shirts. I love that guy. We understand ourselves very well. That was a poorly constructed sentence because it was German. Sorry. I'm trying really hard to have good English when I write. It hurts my head...

Then Friday rolled around. Do you know what Friday means? It means I wake up in fear. Why? Because of a sweet little old lady by the name of Sister Burde. What is it about this lady that scares the CTR ring off of me? One little sentence, "Alles muss aufgegessen werden!" (Shudder) Translated meaning, "Everything must be eaten!" But here's the thing, in English it's kind of a joke. In German, its a command. And the problem is that this woman gives us so much food. I've never, ever, in my entire life been afraid of a meal time. I can honestly now say that I am. Every Friday morning we go shopping with this dear, sweet Sister. She also buys us a lot of food, for which we are grateful. But the problem is that before we get back to her house, we always stop by at a bakery. She buys us so many sweets. It's all just sweet. So much sugar. So much in fact that I am afraid that I might develop Diabetes. And I'm not lying, for it doesn't just stop at breakfast. Oh, no. Every other week, it extends to dinner. And that's even worse. We get stuffed to the point of exploding. And the worst part is that as soon as we have recovered from the sugar crash, it's time to go back to her house for food. Now what's a poor little boy to do? Good question. Some mornings I take a bag, and stuff it with half eaten bakery items that are on my plate. Sometimes I put them in my socks. Sometimes my pockets. Man, I thought people only joked about this part of the mission.
But another really cool thing happened on Friday. We talked to a lady on the street and here is how the conversation went:

Elder Arnett- Hi! Excuse me! My colleague and I are going around for our church today and asking people questions about Faith and God.

Lady- Uh-huh.

Elder Arnett- So...If I may ask, what are your thoughts about God?

Lady- My personal thoughts?

Elder Arnett- Yep, or your opinion.

Lady- He's my best-friend.

Elder Arnett- said nothing and looked confused.

Lady- Are you ok?

Elder Arnett- Yea. I'm sorry, it's just not everyday that I get an answer like that and I wanted to enjoy it...The conversation then continued on to talking about the Book of Mormon and how we can communicate with God. When she said God was her best friend I had no idea what to say. That is the best answer I have ever ever ever gotten. I was so taken aback. I've role played almost every other kind of situation, but I've never thought that I'd get that answer. I mean I'm in a place where when we ask if people if they believe in God, they say 'No! I'm Catholic!' No joke, that is the actual answer I and other Elders have gotten out here. But anyway, we have our first appointment with her tomorrow. I hope she shows up. It's at the church. But the moral of the story is this; God keeps putting people in our path! It's so cool. I've gone so long without this kind of success. We were having baptisms in Kiel, but talking to people on the street has always been really hard for me. Well the talking part is easy, getting information is hard. And a lot of the people just ignore us when we try to stop them. Ugh. But lately it's been getting better. So, HUZZAH!

Saturday I woke up feeling like sick. My stomach was so upset. I was dying. Thank you Sister Burde! But I got up and rolled outta bed and got ready for our appointment with the J-Dub guy. But he wasn't there and I was ticked. We have been getting a lot of good stuff done, but so much has been falling out. I don't write about it cause I get really frustrated, but just know that pretty much everything lately has been falling out. Grrr. But then Saturday just fell apart. The next appointment we had was at 18.00 and also fell out. Well kind of. We made a BoM drop and then got chased out. But whatevs.

Sunday I gave a talk. Again. I've been asked to speak so much here. It's flattering, but it also takes its toll. After church we didn't have an eating appointment so Turvey and I went home. I made my patented Cheesy Noodles. Man Germany has some crazy cheeses. I'm not kidding. America has no idea about it's mold. But then Turvey laid down for a sec because he was feeling a bit woozy. I then proceeded to play hymns on the guitar, something I've never tried before. After I got fed up with my horrible playing and singing, I put on some old fashioned BYU Choir who sang me some sweet sweet songs, "Be Still My Soul" being one of them. And man, that got me. Today was the first day in 3 weeks that I have had the chance to take the sacrament. Two weeks ago was General Conference, and last week we had Stake Conference. So, it's been a while. And, as a missionary I could feel it. I don't know how to explain it. But, the combo of the songs and just feeling alone. It was a good moment that I had alone in the living room. It's hard to describe that spiritual experience, but I had a really good Sunday.

Also, I should mention, it has been raining like crazy lately. It's Northern Germany. It's October. It's getting cold. Very cold. And I have no jacket! My one from last year is worn out. It was a piece of junk. Now, I'm trying to figure out what to do. A lot of the missionaries just have snowboarding/skiing jackets out here cause they are very warm, wind proof and water proof. But I don't know! Bah. But it's my problem and I'll deal with it. Maybe I can make it through winter with the one small jacket I have. Then I can feel like a man and can pull the ol' "Well when I was on my mission..." stuff with my grandkids.

Oh, you remember that one "Master of Galaxy" guy that Elder Ivans and I found in Bremen. Well Ivans and I had an appointment with him and he has had one crazy life. He is a really cool guy though and we love him. But, he had to fight a lot as a kid and he actually caused someone to die while fighting off 5 other kids. Here's a bit of the story. He used to get beat up almost everyday coming home from school by about 5 kids. One day they started beating him up in front of the school and his friend saw and ran to get the teacher. By the time they both got there, this guy had fought off all 5 of them and was banging one of their heads into the ground. He just snapped cause it had been going on for over a year. He started to see red in his eyes this time and it was getting bad. He was also in the hospital after this fight for a long time. It's weird cause this is the most loving guy. He was crying as he told the story. I cried as I heard it. He's been through a lot. We have the chance to help. I love this job.

To my family and friends I want you to know, I do love you. I love everyone who has played a role in my life. But please try to remember, we, the missionaries, are trying. We're not perfect, nor do we pretend to be. But we are trying. I am trying. I've been trying. I'll continue to try. Just love me back and be my friend.

As to your question Dad, I didn't confirm Kim Baumgärtel. She wanted me to, but I wasn't allowed to go back to Kiel. I did, however teach her, committed her to baptism, and was with her until 2 weeks before when I got transferred. Not to mention, she's like my little sister. I've never seen the Atonement change someone as much as it changed her. It was amazing. One of the best experiences of my life.

Mother, here is your question and answer session. First off, I was actually supposed to vote in this election, but my absentee ballet hasn't yet come. Nor do I think It will. So that's that. And why do you think that the country can't stand 4 years of Obama? All I hear is what the Europeans think of him. They love him. Absolutely love him. So ya. I'd like to know. I got a letter from you today with the ward newsletter. Mike Fox is a stud! But other than that I haven't gotten any packages or anything of the sort.

As for Christmas, don't send anything! I don't really need much. Just save the money and let me send stuff home. I need to start cause I only have one suitcase at the moment and way too much junk. I really don't need much. Save the money so I can send stuff home and buy a European suit before I come home. That'll be my Christmas, buying souvenirs and what not. Christmas time is the best time in Germany. It's so cold, but beautiful. And no, I don't know anyone serving in England. Great that Joe is going there though.

As for planning the future, I'll talk to you guy at Christmas and tell you what I'm thinking. Wow, I just looked over the email, I've written a lot. A lot happened last week. Crazy. Today we are heading to Bremen to check out a FreiMarkt. I'm stoked. It's going to be fun. And then me and Ivans are going on exchanges this week. And then District Meeting. Shoot, I have to plan that! It's on Thursday though, so I have a bit. Woot.

So Elder Turvey and I have this thing we call the magic mailbox. We think our mail box is magic. Because we know people are sending us letters. We are so loved, who wouldn't send me a letter? Or him for that matter? I mean he's English. Who doesn't love the British? So we know we are getting letters, but for some reason, every time we check the box, it's empty. We can't imagine that people wouldn't write us, so we think our mailbox is magic. It makes mail disappear! Crazy huh!?!

Well, I think that's about it for me. I'm all out of words. Hope you enjoyed. I love and miss you two. A lot. But the time goes faster and faster with each day. LOVES AND MISSES.

Elder Chadrey

PS. I'm going to try pictures in another email. This one is too big as it is...

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