Hello from Augsburg, Germany
Wow has it been a week. I guess I should start from the beginning. We woke up at the MTC at 3:45 and were gone to the airport by 5:00. As we got there we were all in good spirits and we all were excited to get to our mission and get to work even though it is still really early. We got on the plane and we were on our way to München. It was only about an hour flight and we were in München. I was nervous. New language another culture and I was about to have to cook on my own. But I was moving forward. We stepped off the plane and something happened or changed. The thought came into my mind that I was in the country that I have been dreaming about for all of my life. Fear left and excitement took over. Germany! Here on my mission. I was excited to get to work. We met the President and Sister Miles, we also met the AP's. We got straight to work. We got on the u-bahn and we began to contact in German. It was Elder Graver and I, a missionary from Mass, and we both spoke little German, but we kept moving forward and talking to people. On that train was where I put out my first German Das Buch Mormon. It was an older lady and she didn’t believe that God could love her. In school she was told that God did not exist and to not rely on him for help. But by the time that we finished talking with her, the last question she asked us before we had to get off the train was “how do I pray like you Elders?” It was amazing. I was pumped to keep moving. We did but no success like that. By about 12 we went to this park. I didn’t know it, but it was my first WWII site that I would visit in my mission. The park was basically a giant hill it had a pond at the bottom but the actual part that you could play and sit on the grass you had to hike to. Being so tired and in a shirt and tie I really didn’t want to hike but I did. We got to the top and there we met the President again. There he told us that the hill that we were standing on was a pile of rubble and war weapons that was gathered after the war. I couldn’t believe it. The hill was massive and it was all from WWII. I was in Germany. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t take any pictures because when we left to tract, all we had was our Book of Mormons. Schade!
After that we left for the mission office and for our information about where we were to go. We had a great meal and we all sat in a circle and President Miles was telling us one by one where we were all going. I was the last one to be told. Talk about suspense ya? Everyone except for about three of us was going to Switzerland. I didn’t know what to think. He said my name and he told me that I was going to Augsburg, Germany. I was so happy. I was staying in Germany.
That night was a bitter sweet night, that was the last night that I was going to see my entire district that I had spent 6 weeks in the MTC with. It was fun but sad all at the same time. We woke up in the morning and we left for the train station. We were all sad to see everyone leave and go their separate ways. Maybe in two years we can see each other again. Maybe. That was where I met my companion, Elder Evans. He was funny and great to talk to there is actually a set of sister missionary’s that also in our area that rode with us on our train. Augsburg is only about 50 minutes away from Munich, so it was not that long of a train ride. Right when we got off the train we had to get on another train and go to Dillingen. There we had another lesson. I was nervous, only been in my area for about an hour and I was about to give a lesson. We got to Dillingen and it turns out that the lesson was with a man named Moses and had just been baptized about five days before I had gotten there. He is from Nigeria, and he speaks English, but not like my English it is so different. We taught him about the priesthood. Elder Evans told me that I did really well for just doing it without any prep beforehand. We ended and had a few more contacts to meet before we got home. All went well. We got to the apartment, my first time all day and I was ready to sleep. We went inside, and let me tell you, it is not MTC. It is not bad but it is definitely different then what I was used to. We had a really good meal and I went to bed. I was awake in my bed for about, 1 minute.
Let’s fast forward to Sunday. The church that we got to is brand new; it is only about four years old. It is the nicest church that I have ever seen. The ward that we have is also very nice. We have about 100 active members and about half of them have kids under the age of 5. It is a very young ward. As I went there they all wanted to talk to me and ask me about my last name. They could not believe that a Mexican was in their ward as a missionary. The only problem was that they all spoke really fast so I had a hard time understanding what they were saying. But they understood I was from Mexico. I keep a photo of my family in my German scriptures on the front page and as I was reading from them the photo fell out. One of the members picked it up for me and they saw that only me and my dad looked Hispanic. Word spread that my mom and my sisters looked German and everyone wanted to know where my mom’s side of the family came from. I think they all really like me just because of my last name. As church ended and we were about to head to member’s house for dinner, the Bischoff pulled us aside and guess what Mexican gets to give a talk on the 22nd of this month? This one does. Wish me luck that my German gets a little better by then.
Besides church and study, we have been out contacting and giving lessons. There have been days like yesterday that all of our potential contacts fall through and they don’t want anything to do with us. It’s a little hard, but it’s better because when they yell at us I can’t understand so I don’t really get mad or offended. It’s kind of nice. as we went to one other potential contact we rang the buzzer and a man answered, we said, " wer sind missionara auf die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage." and he told us to come in. We could not believe it, we walked in and it was a man named Clause, he is from Germany and he is about 64 years old. He lives really close to the church and he wanted to know about the really pretty chapel. We told him about it and we ended up having a really good lesson with him. He was excited to read about the book of Mormon and we were about to set up another appointment but then he told us that he was going on vacation for a month. But he gave us his number and email address for where he was going to stay so that we could stay in contact with him. Talk about golden investigator. I only hope that I am still here to teach him. He could be my first baptism.
The small city of Augsburg is actually one of the oldest in Germany. It is really pretty and I love laboring here. (pictures will come, I just forgot my adapter at the apartment.) Everybody smokes and loves to drink. You can get cigs like candy here. Oh well you just have to get used to it. The city has all kinds of old fountains and old statues and cathedrals. I can’t get enough of it. There are hardly any cars because of the public transportation. It is better than I have ever seen.
I love the food. Alot of meat and pasta, and hardly any potatoes. hahahahahaha. My favorite drink is Apfel Drinken. This is basically carbonated apple juice. I can’t get enough of it.
The people are all nice and they love to talk about everything else but religion. Hopefully that will change.
Well that is about all the time I have for this week. I can’t tell you how much I love the people and this country. I love doing the lords work. Only blessings come from it. I love my companion. He is helping me do the best I can for a greenie. keep emailing me and writing to me. I do have a new address but I forgot that back at the apartment as well. Next time I will have my address and pictures.
I can’t wait to hear from you and read your emails next week,
Love Elder Martinez