Elder Aaron Baxter
Germany Frankfurt Mission
Kirche Jesu Christi
Corneliusstrasse 18
60325 Frankfurt am Main

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

Christmas came around again, and a lot of cool stuff went down!  For P-day we went to Frankfurt to check out the Weihnachtsmarkt.  It was cool, despite the rain that was falling throughout most of the day.  At the end of the day we visited a member in a hospital, and the bishop showed up at the same time, so we were able to visit this member together.  Tuesday we stopped by a family from Syria that my companion met on a split the week before, and we were able to sit down and talk with the family.  They were very open to meeting with us, which was pretty exciting, and we are hoping for the best with this family.  We also met with another investigator and talked about prayer and at the end of the lesson he gave the closing prayer.  To finish the day we met with a less active member and talked about the Plan of Salvation.  It has been great to see the steps this member has been taking to return to the Church!

Wednesday we met with a lady who lives across the street from us.  She met missionaries in the the past, and now we are back in contact with her.  We had a member help us out and talked about the nature of God.  At the end of the day we helped the member we were with create CDs for Christmas presents.  We also learned that the member we visited in the hospital passed away.

Now, on to Christmas!  For Christmas Eve, we helped the member we were with the day before a little bit more, then spent some decent time baking brownies and cookies for an appointment in the evening.  We visited our Ward Mission Leader and his family for Christmas Eve, where we had a nice dinner, talked about the reason of Christmas, opened presents (socks and Lightsaber themed pens for the Elders!) and upon returning back to our apartment we opened our Christmas Eve presents (Star Wars Episode VII pajamas for this Elder!). Christmas day we woke up, opened the rest of our presents and our stockings, had breakfast with the other Hanau Elders and played a card game, and then we went out to visit a member family.  We started by calling family via Skype, which was really nice, and then having dinner.  The family we were with invited a man they met at a grocery store to dinner as well that evening, and we ended up talking about the Book of Mormon with this man and more or less teaching a first lesson.  It was cool to see the family involved in missionary work!  On the second day of Christmas we picked up the other Elders and drove an hour to visit a family and have dinner together.

Finally, on Sunday, we didn´t have any investigators make it to church, but it was a good day none the less.  The members talked about helping less active members return to church, and it was great to see them talking about it.  Well, that´s how I spent my last Christmas on the mission!

Christmas in Germany

Ulton checking Aaron's stocking

Monday, December 21, 2015

Project: Christmas Party

The Christmas tree is up, so Christmas day is pretty much around the corner now!

A lot of the week was spent preparing for the ward Christmas party in Hanau, which made for some really cool experiences.  Monday I got to visit the Hanau Weihnachtsmarkt and pick up a few souvenirs.  The Rathaus in Hanau had a advent calendar in the windows, like the Rathaus in Paderborn last year, and this one, from what I hear, is the largest advent calendar in Germany.  The images they put in the windows are of scenes from the stories of the Brothers Grimm.  That night my companion and I met with a man who years ago had contact with missionaries, and was very open to meet with us again.  We also invited him to church and the Christmas party (both of which he ended up showing too!).

Tuesday we traveled around delivering party invitations to less active members, and along the way, I found some pretty geeky graffiti which of course Ultron got a picture with.  In the evening I went on a split to the city of Giessen.  Wednesday on my split we went out to a town to talk with people, and in the evening we had dinner with a member family.  After that the split ended.

Thursday we had zone conference in my first area, Offenbach.  Elder Johnson of the Seventy was there, and Christlike Attributes was the theme of the conference.  What was unique to me about this conference was that when we closed by singing "Called to Serve" (in German, of course) it hit me that this was my last time in a zone conference, and I would never have an experience like that ever again.  It was a powerful little moment, for me.  Friday we met with a man who lost contact with the missionaries, and set expectations with him.  We invited him to the Christmas party as well, and he ended up bringing his entire family the next day to the party!  Outside of that, we continued to give out invitations, and then set up tables in the church.

Saturday was the day of the party, which we helped set up, and then practiced with the ward choir before the program started.  We had a lot of people show up that we invited, which was really cool to see.  With having a large ward, it was a little overwhelming to get to know those around me, but I survived.  We ended the day cleaning up after the party.  To close, in church we had two investigators come for sacrament meeting, which was themed for Christmas.  Us Elders sang with the ward choir for the program and we ended the day attempting to visit the member in the hospital we visited last week, but she was moved to another hospital.  So, instead, we talked with people on the streets.

Now let Christmas begin!

Aaron's Christmas tree

Advent Calendar

Utlron' approves this message

Monday, December 14, 2015

Back to Hanau

Transfer 15 has begun, and it started with a new area for me: Hanau.  What´s cool about Hanau is that this area was a part of my first district, and I had a few splits in Hanau back in the day.  So, it´s pretty cool that l'll likely wrap up my mission here.  It´s the place where the Brothers Grimm come from.

The week started with wrapping up in Siegen by doing last minute shopping for P-day, and then saying goodbye to a member in the evening.  The next morning I packed up everything I had, and then drove down to Frankfurt.  Upon reaching Frankfurt, I met my new companion, Elder Merkley, and another Elder in Hanau, Elder Niebergall.  We then took the car that belongs to the Hanau area (which I am responsible for) and traveled to Hanau.  I got to unpack, get to know the other Elders a bit better, and then we did a joint home teaching visit and attended choir practice for an upcoming Christmas party in the ward.  Wednesday we all had a member appointment together, and then Elder Niebergall left us to go to Frankfurt to pick up his new missionary/golden that he would be training.  That evening, Elder Merkley and I met with less active member, who, surprisingly enough, turns out to be related to my old stake president back home.  Small world.  

Thursday we met the new missionary in Hanau, Elder Domingues.  He comes from Brazil and can speak pretty good German and English already, plus he´s way funny.  We then had district meeting and got to know our new district.  An Elder I was in the MTC with, Elder Brande, is in my district, and the missionary who was trained by my trainer immediately after me, Elder Arneson, is our district leader.  So, in summary, I have connections in my new district.  Friday was of course weekly planning and also a correlation meeting with the other Hanau Elders.  We also tried to visit another less active member.

Saturday was yet another move for me on my mission, but this one was much more organized and supported by other members than the last one I had.  Rather than taking a week, it only took half a day.  Elder Merkley and I then took a train to Fulda, a city that years ago had a branch, and met with a potential investigator.  We taught about the Restoration and it was a good appointment, but sadly, the man we were visiting didn´t want us to continue to meet with him.  Despite that, Fulda was a pretty cool place, including an impressive Weihnachtsmarkt, a Catholic Dom, and a castle across the street from the Dom.  Sunday was stake conference, which was centered on Christ and Christmas, and then we visited an older member in a hospital and read a scripture with her.  We ended the day meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, something I haven't had since my first area.  He´s way cool, plus he loves all things Star Wars and Marvel, an added bonus.

It´s cool to be back in Hanau!

The Hanau Elders

Christmas market

Seeing the sights

Monday, December 7, 2015

Farewell to Siegen

Well, it turned out to be my last week in Siegen, and what a hectic week it was!

Monday, otherwise known as P-day, was spent almost entirely helping some members move from one apartment in Siegen, to another.  What was fun about this move was that my companion and I were really the only ones who could help, the only ones who could lift heavy stuff, we did it all in the rain, we spent 11 hours in total that day helping, and our car got hit by another car when it was parked.  It wasn´t that bad of a fender bender we got, but still, it was a long, long day.

Tuesday was district meeting in Dortmund, and immediately afterwards we went back to the members we helped the day before, only this time with the senior missionary couple, to do renovations in their new apartment. Later that night, I started my Milka advent calendar.   Wednesday we were able to catch a breather, take care of P-day tasks such as grocery shopping, and we were able to visit our American investigators and talk about the Priesthood and had a really good appointment.  Thursday was a bit of a blur, but I know we did one hour of moving, and in the evening we visited the international family, and introduced them to the game "Simon Says" as we were teaching English.  They absolutely loved it.  Friday we had to run around doing different errands such as getting the lights on our car replaced.  Both my companion and I felt like we had no idea what we were getting into walking into a car dealership in Germany to fix our lights, but we survived somehow.

Saturday we had lunch with the senior couple, and then it was back to the move.  It was the final day, and we were able to get everything done, and we also got to know the less active son of the members we helped and build a relationship with him.  That evening however, during the move, I got a call from the mission saying I would be transferred to Hanau.  The next day at church, I got to say goodbye, bear my testimony, and then we visited three different member families in a row, all of which we were fed meals.  That left Elder Sollis and I at the end of the week with really full stomachs.

It was a great time serving in Siegen, a time that went by too fast, but now I´m looking forward to serve in Hanau for my final two transfers in Germany.

Aaron and Ultron enjoying an advent calendar

Saying goodbye to Siegen