Monday, 24 February 2014

Week 19: Week 13 in the Field, in Stuttgart - 13 - Lucky For Some - Me and Sister Winters:):)

Hello, Hello :)

I'd just like to tell you how unbelievably happy I am :) 

I just got my NEW companion Sister Winters (from Lindon, UT) on Thursday. 

I've been praying for another best friend here in Stuttgart for weeks now because I had a feeling Sister Smith would be going, and I didn't feel like I had anything to lean on. I love the ward but I was really worried to take over.

But! The moment I hugged Sister Smith goodbye and hugged Sister Winters hello... I knew I had just met my new best friend :) The mission office had me drop Sister Smith off in Münchin.. weird... and then pick up Sister Winters. We (I) cried several times on the way home because I realized how uphappy I had been for the last few weeks thinking about taking over, and suddenly- I was myself again! Everything that I’d bottled up, I knew didn't need to be bottled up anymore. She is WONDERFUL!!! I haven't been stressed out once since she got here, and she's been so great!! We're figuring things out together, and from the moment she got here, it's been a team effort :) She loves me, and I LOVE her! She's going to be in my Sealing when I'm married, that's how much I love her. 

You were right Mom... you really do find people you will love forever on your mission, and already Sis Winters is one of them :) 
Also, she contacts like a beast!! She is so bold and I love it!! We love talking to people so much that we decided we were going to ride Bahns and buses tonight and just talk to as many people as we could.  This is a big deal!!! 

Mama Winters: You have a wonderful daughter :) And your family is great :) So... yeah. You'll hear more and more about Sister Winters and the love I have for her over the next 6-12 weeks (hopefully 12!)  Also, she has PERFECT German!! And Spanish! Looks like it's a good time to start learning those Romance Languages I’m supposed to. God can be a sneaky guy and works in mysterious ways ;)

So just some cool things from this week:

We had Stake/Regional Conference Saturday and Sunday. It was SO GOOD! The church is really focused on missionary work here in Germany. It was so amazing! I really hope the members were as excited about it as I was!! It was all about member missionary work and working with the missionaries. Everything is about that lately!! I hope you're all being member missionaries back home... do you know how easy you have it?! Seriously.. I'm so jealous! 

The coolest part of this conference was that President Bednar gave his talk in German!! Cool, huh?! And I could understand it because it wasn't proper hard German like the translator German. He is one of my favorite speakers... hands down. 

We had an adult session the night before. We, the missionaries in the whole zone, and the youth all sang the EFY Medley together. It was so powerful! I tried not to cry the whole time. The work is really hastening here in Deutschland. I'm so privileged to be a part of it! All the speakers were recent converts and asked to talk about their conversion stories. It was really cool cause we had Erin (our bestest friend here in Stuttgart) and Xioaya (our investigator) there! I think it was really cool for them to hear how different everyone's conversions are. I really hope it hit something in their heart cords. 

We then went out for Sushi with the Zone Leaders, Sister Wells and her daughter, Audrey (also one of my favorite people here in Stuttgart), Erin, and a recent convert, Kathrin (who I also love and adore..... I just love everyone here a lot ;)). It was so cool!!

I got to use the chopsticks Alex just sent me from Japan! That'S something else! Alex sent me a package with Japanese socks and chopsticks in it. He wrote me a nice long letter and also enclosed a chip of pictures... I just can't see any of them though:(:(. So.. I don't really know what's on it. He's wonderful. 

So over all...everything has been really good. One big whirlwind... and time is passing really quickly, but we're figuring things out. I really love the work... Really love it. I really love talking to people. 

Sounds like the family is doing so well!!

Dad, I got the picture of the FAT bike! My goodness.. Is our house a bike shop yet?;) I met with a less active family from the international ward (the grandma wants the sons to be baptized) and they are both Ironmans! Cool, huh? They're training for the Frankfurt full IM this summer, and she's training for the Budapest half IM. You both should look into some European ones... do they have any on Saturdays? But they have like... 10 bikes, I think I counted. I felt right at home with them :) That was the first full day with Sister Winters and I am so happy, she is so wonderful just like Sis Smith.  This’ll be my next chapter of my mission. I haven't even stressed out once since taking over the area... which is such a big thing!! So there's a quick preview of our companionship ;)

I can't wait to see the finishing pics of the new and improved home I'll be coming home to! Did you know this time next year; I'll be in my last transfer?! Weird to think.... It's going by so fast. I'm already in my 3 transfer... I hit 6 months in April. What??

It's also been really nice here! REALLY warm... we've gotten so lucky.  It's literally spring here. The trees are blossoming and the sun is out nice and early. The birds are chirping when we wake up in the morning... that's actually been happening since about January. The weather is really confused. I hope this doesn't mean we're in for a rough winter this year. I've got one more to brave! 
The Germans are watching the Olympics too. Sometimes I get to see how they're doing because they play updates at Bahnhof... and I'm always there. I've had some cool conversations with people about what's going on. I say cool cause I was actually able to talk about them! I'm learning German... and I can notice it. The first day of our companionship, I was in charge of the phone... I think I shocked Elder Moon a little because he didn't realize my German was so good... I have never spoken it like that for some reason.  So that was cool :) 
Running n’ Stuff:
Man, I really miss running! I have learned so so so much about what I want to study and how beautiful our bodies are, though! I appreciate physical fitness on a whole different level now. I can't wait to get home and study these things and apply them to all the things I’ve learned. I think I might end up being a little like KeenaJJ.  I’d like to put some personal touch of more emphasis on spirituality and stuff like that. I'm so obsessed with it! I've really noticed the difference between American food and German food- I feel A LOT less tired on my mission. Even though I'm going and going and I only get 8 hours of sleep, I feel more energized than I ever have before. I know that has to do with the fact that I'm a missionary, too, but I am convinced that the German food has a lot to do with it as well. We eat very clean here.. No preservatives, and I've really been able to keep sugar out of my diet, unless at eating appointments (and then I love every minute of it cause the Germans make such amazing Nachtisch!). The bread is made fresh every day. There's just such a difference. I don't think I ever want to move back and have to deal with American food that's packed with so many preservatives.. yuck. 
Could you tell me who has added me on FB and who you and dad have been accepting? I'm a little curious :) :)
Also, I have a challenge for you all:

Study the Articles of Faith and use them in your daily lives. Whether to share with people, or just to think on. The prophets have told us that when we study the principles of our faith, we are able to share what we believe. Pray for the chance to share the Gospel with something this week. God has made a promise to us that when we ask, He will give. When we ask to share the Gospel, He's going to make it possible.. fast! The time is now to work with the missionaries. We have all been called to share the Gospel as member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are all missionaries and the time is now to find that people ready to hear the message of the Restored Gospel. I have been called of God by a living-day Prophet to proclaim His word, but so have you. And you aren't wearing a nametag... people will listen to you. You are POWERFUL: So my challenge? SHARE THE GOSPEL! READ THE CONFERENCE TALKS! STUDY THE ARTICLES OF FAITH!

I love every single one of you :) I pray for all those I can remember and all those that are mentioned to me that are having a hard time. The Lord loves us, no matter what we do :)

Bis nächste Woche! 

Sister Gilmour xx

This was the night we went out on our first splits, so that's why I'm only in one of the pictures. This is the Gierschke Family… we LOVE them! Especially the two little girls. They love me so much :) And I love them! Enjoy, and know I'm being well taken care of xx

Brian G: I stole this picture because I think its awesome: Thursday the AGM  missionaries in Switzerland had a giant Finding Day in Zurich Can you imagine about 100 missionaries in the streets at the same time?? I hope Sister Gilmour gets to do this some time.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Week 18: Week 12 in the field, in Stuttgart: Sad GoodBye Sister Smith:(:( Hello Sister Winters:):) FAINTING, VALENTINES,

So it's been an eventful week so say the least! Lots has happened... some pretty funny, and some... not so funny. 

I'll start with the 'fainting' story:

So we went to Tübingen on Thursday, main reason was to visit a girl in the International ward who just got a 7 POUND TUMOR REMOVED. Yeah.. let's talk about it. Tübingen is not in our area boundaries, so we had to get permission. Everything that could have gone wrong in the time before catching our Bahn.. went wrong. Of course. So then we were freaking out because what if it wasn't what the Lord wanted us to do and now we're on a train headed out there... and we can't go back now. All the things we had planned to do fell out and the only thing that was going to work was visiting the girl with the tumor. We got news that she was getting released early and we might not even see her. So.. we were stressed out, to say the least. I was worrying about how we were going to make this a missionary moment and how we were going to spend the day and whatever else.

Anyways, we get to the hospital, talked to two wonderful people on the bus who happened to be going to the hospital too and they helped us find our way around. We get to the room, visit with our friend G, and hear all about her tumor and how it came about... it was just really graphic and I wasn't feeling too well. I didn't think too much about it because it was probably all out of stress, but then the doctor came in and said they needed more blood. I was like: I don't feel well, so I'm just gonna go over here while you do that. I got to the door, and the next thing I remember is laying on the floor with a circle of doctors around me slapping my face and asking me obscure questions in German. The only thing i could think of was that my feet were above my head on a chair and that my knees and.. underwear were showing:):(. I could hear them all just fine, I just needed someone to cover my knees! Some doctor even slapped me to get me to come to. I finally said something just to get them to stop smacking me, and all I hear is Sister Smith laughing cause it's usually her fainting, not me. 

All in all.. it was hilarious. They made me lay there in the hallway for 30 minutes and drink an entire thing of Gatorade. I didn't feel myself all day, but it wasn't as bad as when Smithie passes out, so that was a blessing. Sister M, the girls mom, was laughing so hard, too. Good thing I wasn't dying ;)

VALENTINES DAY!!! We all went out to an all you can eat Mongolian Buffet. Man.. it was good. There was this place where you pick all the raw meats and fresh veg that you want, put a number on it, set it at the grill, and then they grill it and give it back to you. Guys... when we come back here... we're going to this place. I have never been so happy to eat all the veg i wanted :) I tried Kangaroo, too. It's so good!!! I didn't eat too much, though. Just veg, fruit, and some meat. I loved it. So good. The Elders surprised all of the females with Gerber Dasies! How nice?! I say females  because we had Erin, our best friend with us, along with our Senior Couple, Sister Benson and Elder Benson :) We love our little District Family so much!! I'm really sad that we have to make changes to it :( But that's okay... cause it's mostly staying the same :) 

Which brings me to Transfer Calls... :( Sister Smith is headed back to Münich! A place called Augsburg. She's already served in Münich, so she already knows it. We were both really surprised because we thought for sure she was headed to Austra. Nope, Münich. I'm staying and getting Sister Winters! All I know about her is that she's from Pleasant Grove :) But her 'mom', or trainer, was Sister Smiths trainer too.  I have a really good feeling about Sister Winters. She's going to be just what I need next... that other best friend I really need here in Stuttgart :) She's leaving the area she opened, so she knows how to deal with things. I'm very excited for this new time together!! I know we'll get AT LEAST 6 weeks together... maybe more. I'm still really counting on going to Switzerland though, fingers crosssed ;)

I CAN'T BELIEVE IAN IS HOME!!! Has it really been 2 years?! My gosh.... I hit my 4 month mark yesterday... does that count for anything? ;)  Looks like I've got a lot more to do here ;)

Things are hard, I just want you to all know that. Really hard. But, Things are also really good :) I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement I receive and I feel all your prayers and they really are helping me :) Pray for the German people... they're the ones that really need the prayers. And pray for opportunities to do missionary work as a family. We've been called of God to do it. Just read the most recent Conference Ensign and you'll see what I mean :) 

So much love, and my testimony, that God knows us. We have a story to write here on earth. WE have our own talents, and our pieces to share, and we need to pray for the chances to share those things with those who need them. We can't make it back to our Father in Heaven without helping each other. That's why our church is set up the way it is...  to help each other grow. We won't make it back without one another. I've learned a lot about that lately. Think about it.. it's a lot more profound than just that.. as is EVERY principle in the gospel :) It's true.. no doubt. I know some things better than others, some things stronger, but I've got the faith that my knowledge will grow according to the Lords timing. I'll learn what I need to, and He'll help me the whole way :)

Much love,
Sister Gilmour xx

Monday, 10 February 2014

Week 17: Week 11 in the firled, in Stuttgart: Opera, New Clothes, Thanks for all the Positive Vibes

Hello Everyone,

No pics this week, such a busy p-day and a long way to go for an appointment.  I'll send pics from zone conference next week.

So our stake president spoke in the American ward yesterday, and he used a great analogy:

You know those rides in amusement parks that swing and gets higher and higher as they go and then soon you're all the way upside down and you're so scared and you're thinking "what on earth was I THINKING?!" Before we always get on those rides, and we always think they look cool and like a lot of fun. That's what I was like in heaven; we looked down at Earth and thought, That looks like fun, I wanna try that whole "earth" thing. Then we get here and we're upside down like in the ride and we;re uncomfortable and we think we're crazy for even THINKING this would be fun. But then we get off that ride, go home, and tell everyone how amazingly fun it was, even though we wanted to cry and scream the whole time we were on it. Isn't that how it always is? Yes :) The answer is Yes :) That's how it is with our lives... we all thought they'd be fun, we got here.. and they're really hard, but then we know that when we're done with this life, or for me, my mission, well go tell everyone how WONDERFUL it was and how they need to do it, too, even though in the middle of it we wanted to die. Right? right. 

He got the whole ward to laugh really hard cause he's really funny and has a great german accent :) 
But I just thought you'd like to hear that. We're upside down and thinking " what on earth have we gotten ourselves into", and then, BAM, our time is over and we are LOVING it!! 

I got the clothes mom! Thank you so much!! We're excited to get a good wear out of these clothes while we're still together. We got them just in time for the OPERA! Yes, we went to an Opera today :) How cool is that?! I'll send pics later :) We saw Peter Pan and my goodness..... It was very modern! But so so cool!! All in German, of course, and all for kids. So we were there with a bunch of 9 year olds. It was way awesome! I got to wear the new black dress and it looks awesome :) One of the guys in our ward works for the Opera house, so he got us free tickets and we got a tour of the whole stinking, massive building! It was SO AWESOME! 

Best ward award goes to: OURS. 

I"ll keep my eyes out for V-day gifts, too. you're all too too good to me! 

Speaking of being too good, could you please tell everyone thank you for all the kind words of encouragement I've been receiving! I don't have time to answer everyone, but let them know I love them! Especially Uncle Paul, Aunt Alison, Nana, Brooks, Leslie Maxfield, and of course my wonderful family! You were all what I needed. But no worries, I'm good for right now. I knew this was going to be hard, right?? I signed myself up for this, might as well take it all in ;)
Here's a few highlights from my week this past week:
1. We talked to a man on the Gleis who was a poet. He was slightly drunk, but said some really sweet things... if he hadn't been masked with creepiness and the odor of alcohol. He talked about how the young men that met us wouldn't be able to sleep because they'd be dreaming of Smith and mine - blue and brown eyes. He really had some pretty poems, actually. I love the Bahns.
2. Germans are very blunt. I was told by a member that she wouldn't come to our English class once Sister Smith leaves cause I'm not fun enough. K cool. Love you, too. It's just part of the culture. My feelings were only hurt for a few minutes. I was also told a few times this week that my German was really bad :):):):) Good, eh?? I could have told them that.  Gotta love the Germans! 
3. I was asked to bare my testimony in Zone Conference and Zone Training... lucky them! They got tears twice in one week. But it was nice. I love our Zone so much. They really are such amazing people and I learn so much from them every time we meet.
4. Church was another miracle. Our number success this week was... horrible. But then yesterday, we had over 20 people in our Investigators class, and 11 less actives at church. So.... You can see where we see our success. Plus our members love the Sisters, which was not the case before Sister Smith came, apparently. So that's good!!
5. We have the most golden investigator right now. Her name is Xiaoya.. she's from China, so don't even attempt that name. She doesn't believe in God, but wants to. She gets herself to church alone every week and the ward LOVES her! She is really the best ever. Wish I had more time to tell you all about her.
6. We get transfer calls on Saturday. I think I'm going to Switzerland. One of our new members, my favorite member, actually, Sherri Kelly, she said "I love you, but you're going" the first time we met her. So we'll see. She served her mission there and she learned French and Spanish.  Also, there's rumor that they're making Switzerland it's own mission, so if I go, I'll be in a different mission. Supposedly. Sister Smith thinks she's headed to Austria, though. Zone Leaders think we're both staying. I'll let you know on Monday.
So it's been a good week!!! 
And mom, no, I didn't pick up my second pair of glasses. They weren't ready. 
Love you all.

Sister Chloe Gilmour

Monday, 3 February 2014

Week 16: Week 10 in the Field: Stuttgart: A Great Week: We need a Missionary Couple in Stuttgart-Send names!

I'm going to be a little, All Over The Place with this email: 
My week has been MUCH better. You know how some weeks are good and others aren't so good? That was just a little phase. I sent a letter today explaining it a little better.

I'm hoping so for Sis Smith to stay but transfer calls are next week. she might go, she might stay another transfer and i go. Just depends. but either way, i'm not as stressed about it as I was, so that's good.
Man, the weather sounds NUTS there, your drive last Thursday that took over 6 hours to get to St. George, the snow, the police shooting (so sad) that closed down I-15 at Nephi, that caused you a huge diversion! It's literally like Spring here.  Yeah, I did the caves in snow canyon. they were sweet! we played glow in the dark hide and seek in them :)   I'm starting to think we'll just skip winter this year. I'm not complaining.. makes my life a little easier. I'll need new shoes if it starts to snow and get really cold. Probably another jacket, too. bummer.

Whether you pick me up from my mission or we come back during the summer or we come back to my mission area for Christmas in 2015 you'll love it here and I have so many people I want you to meet and places I want you to see\ places I want to see that I can't go on my mission ;)
Sounds like you've got a lot of success going on at work right now Dad. That's awesome. Hard work is paying off for the both of us :)
No, I don't miss any of it, FB, Twitter. I'll be excited to get back to it, but I don't miss it. I'm just fine without it and I love life without it :) I do really miss having google maps, though. That would be helpful. We're hoping for ipads soon. Fingers crossed!!
Some cool stuff about the way we're allowed to speak with elders now. It really is SO cool!!!! We had a district Pday for Sister Benson, our couple missionary. It was lovely. WE LOVE OUR DISTRICT!!  We're having zone conference and zone meeting this week. Should be interesting to see the new ideas the President has for us. We're really changing mission culture, it's awesome to be serving at this time.
We actually just got the MOST EXCITING NEWS TODAY! We can now use 'du' speach with the Elders instead of 'Sie' speech  In German, they have a formal and informal use of 'you', and we always had to use the formal with the Elders, but Pres Miles texted us today and told us that rule no longer exists! So we were so excited!!! I don't really even know how to use this kind of speech because I never use it. But it's happy nonetheless! We went our for Sister Benson, our couple missionaries birthday to a Schwabisch restaurant and we celebrated this new announcement. We all wore Dirndals and Lederhosen. 

Hahahahhaha, mom. EVERY missionary has a phone. The Zone Leaders have touch screen phones and we're working on ipads right now. Missionaries would DIE without phones. We are ALWAYS on our phones. Without a doubt. It's stricter than before missions, but we use them, and we rely on their use very heavily.

This is so important!! Ask anyone you know that wants to serve if they would serve in Stuttgart in the YSA position. Our couple just extended their mission 3 months cause there's no one to take their place. But they need someone desperately! It would be good if at least one of them can speak German, but it's not necessary. If you know anyone, send me their info so I can send it to the Bensosn, our Ehepaar (senior couple) and then to the Pres. PASS THE MESSAGE ALONG!!! 


I met the most darling girl yesterday at church. Her name is Lucy and she goes to school at the U, but she's from here. She's 22.  She's coming back to school in August, and wants to meet you all! 


Mom, this is from my new favorite member of our ward, she's from America. We had a lunch appointment with her this last week and she told us of the beautiful concept of sharing our story, and of guilt and shame. I thought it was beautiful because it fit perfectly with an investigator that we have.

The story that she talks about is one that we should only share with those who are worthy of hearing it. Those who work to hear every thing about us, and that person is our husband. He has to work to take us to the temple, because there is where he learns something about us we can tell no one else. We should only share our story with those who earn the trust to hear them. It was beautiful. It fits right in with everything else Sister Smith and I talk about within missionary life, and our lives that will continue after our missions. One day I'll share the rest of our talk about the topic, but for now, maybe you know someone this could help. If not, maybe try reading this book. It might be a good read for Book Club. Something women everywhere need to hear, even missionaries.

All is well, and I'm not feeling so sorry for myself anymore. COME AT ME, SATAN. I dare you ;)

Love you with all my heart,

Sister Gilmour xxx