Stuttgart – Week 8

Week 8 - Stuttgart

(week 44)

Heeeeeyyyy everybody!!

What a week. Gotta be perfectly honest… it was a little bit of a rough week, but we’re starting to get back on track now so hopefully things will go better! Sometimes life gets really big for small reasons… and I’m working on that! Thank you for all your support! Even though it was hard, there’s still no place I’d rather be.

And guess what?! IVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR 10 MONTHS!!!!! DOUBLE DIGITS!!!! It’s crazy that I’ve only got 8 more to go! I remember when I first came out and was sooooo overwhelmed… well, I’m still overwhelmed but for different reasons! I actually have a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of missionary work. As many of you saw on my Instagram and Facebook stories, this week we got supplies and so I had the opportunity to do some major organizing of our apartment… IT WAS AWESOME. Both kind of lame and kind of fantastic that it was a highlight for me this week. Organizing projects like that are sooooo good for me, because they get me totally out of my head for a while and are just OH. SO. SATISFYING.

Anyway, this week! We did some stuff. That’s it. Sorry, I actually don’t have a lot of time to write sooooo…


Just kidding! That was the last 2 weeks. This week is different. I am taking some time to write today because I know I am loved and I have very few ways of reciprocating that right now. Here we go!

First, Iris. I believe I mentioned her in my last email. The Messianic Jew, remember? We are still mega verwirrt (confused) about her, but she’s doing great, LOVES talking to us, and we’re going to make a big trip out to see her this week because she lives weit Weg (far away).

Second, pray for Atha. He hasn’t come to church since he got baptized, and he also caught a cold sooooooo wir machen ein bisschen Sorgen (we’re a little worried). I’m sure he’ll be fine but, yeah!

Third, the gift of tongues is PRETTY REAL Y’ALL!  Goodness gracious. (Oh gosh, my comp served in Texas for a bit and I think it’s rubbing off on me)  The past couple weeks I’ve been mainly leading the area, and WITHOUT PRIDE I would acknowledge that my German ability/confidence is just slightly more than my comps. So I’ve been doing a lot of the talking and reading in our lessons. AND….. I can SPEAK and be understood and UNDERSTAND what I need to in order to respond. I taught the entire restoration cups 3-4 times. Almost by myself!  My peeps back in St Geezy know what I’m talking about, for the rest of you –  it’s an object lesson to teach about the Restoration of the Gospel and principles from the Gospel of Jesus Christ  The first time was rocky, but after that my comp and I got in a bit of a groove. We also taught the whole Plan of Salvation to a less active member, and I although I wasn’t able to say everything I WANTED to say, I could say everything I NEEDED to say I order to teach her the way I wanted to. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s a lot more than I could do even a few weeks ago so I’m extremely grateful. I speak enough German now that it makes absolutely no sense without divine help that I can speak this much German. Maybe someday it won’t take me 3 thousand years to think of a word though.

Fourth, priesthood blessings are awesome. As I struggled last week, I again got that impression to get another priesthood blessing. Just getting all the blessings up in here! Nah, but I really was feeling very low, and needed serious reminding about what the heck I’m supposed to be doing or feeling or thinking. Especially about God, because believe it or not, we as missionaries struggle with faith too! I have never struggled with my faith before the mission and on my mission I have struggled with it harder than I ever thought possible for me. Couple that with the loooooong days of missionary life and you’ve got a pretty interesting concoction called “stressed out Sister Miltimore”. Hence, it was time for a priesthood blessing. As I got the blessing, I didn’t feel much.  I honestly didn’t know what to do afterwards. But luckily, I my companion recorded the blessing for me (and before anyone gets on me about it, the decision was between me, my comp, and me and the lord and I won’t say more about it. No judgement please, that’s for Him to do). As I went back and transcribed it later… my mind cleared. I realized that everything the Lord said to me was positive, small, but clear. I got all fired up and motivated – a feeling I haven’t experienced in quite a while! Reading it yet again later had the same effect!! Ever since, and through my own personal introspection… I’ve been able to endure better and I feel lighter. The problems haven’t changed, and honestly I don’t feel like I’ve changed much either. But it gave me just a little push, a little nudge to keep trying. I’m still confused, I’m still worried… but I have the power to stop, take a breathe, and CHOOSE to go forward anyway. I echo the words of Nephi – “Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted”. (2 Nephi 4:19)

Sorry guys, that got really real for a second there! Sometimes it is really powerful to write out all the feels and see how the Lord has supported me. Thanks for reading my thought download today!

I love you all soooooo much aaaaaaand if you’re not getting on it, GO DO SOME MISSIONARY WORK RIGHT FREAKING NOW. Our stake wants every companionship to get 5 people on date for baptism which is basically impossible and completely impossible without member work. If your missionaries don’t have much work, it’s not their fault, it’s yours. Just gonna leave y’all with that chastisement  – mic drop!

Have a great week- I love you all!!!

Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 7

Week 7 - Stuttgart

(week 43)

Hallooooo Alle!!!!

Diese Woche war sehr schön!! Und auch ein bisschen lang 😅 aber nicht langweilig! Wir haben viele Arbeit gemacht, und Gespräche gehabt, und auch haben wir natürlich SEHR VIEL SPAß gemacht 💪💪

It was a great week! I was sooooo sad to say goodbye to Sister Smith 😭 she really has been one of my favorite companions. I couldn’t have asked for better. But, after saying goodbye on Wednesday, I got a new companion Sister Halterman!!! We knew it would be great from the very first night together: we went to young womens, watched Tangled in German (which is called Rapunzel, very original as you can tell) and ate packing peanuts. Or at least, that’s what they looked like. They didn’t taste like much of anything better either but they were free so we ate the whole bag and almost choked trying to contain our laughter. It was a good omen for the companionship, we’ve been nothing but best buds since. We even bought matching Winnie the Pooh pajama pants today sooooo…. Basically we love each other and it’s going to be a bomb transfer.
This week was a little weird, it being the beginning of the transfer and all, so we didn’t have a ton of appointments BUT we did end up with a ton of opportunities! We went through some of our records to see who hadn’t been contacted in a while, and ended up texting this lady named Iris. She called us about 20 minutes later and was basically like, “my life SUCKS right now, let me tell you ALL about it.” She proceeds to tell us all about why her life sucks right now and then about how she has read the Book of Mormon TWICE and knows its true!! So, we are starting to teach her. If anyone has any advice about how to talk to a messianic Judaism convert who’s also talking to the Baptists and the Jehovah’s witnesses… let me know 😅

Yet again, like last week I don’t have a ton of time to write a big weekly… so sorry about that!! I know everybody loves to hear from me, hehe, but enjoy some pics and keep praying for this sister! Sometimes life as a missionary can be really challenging, but I’m grateful to be figuring it out here with a lot of great people around me. One thing I’ve really thought about is how I’m changing in all the ways I don’t see… but are still good. I know that I’m doing good work, even if I get a little (lot) too hard on myself sometimes (too much).

Also, if you haven’t started studying the talks from General Conference, I invite you to do so!! One thing I want to start doing is looking for the patterns in what the Apostles and Prophet said this conference… if we look in the Bible and Book of Mormon, we can clearly see that what the prophets said was what the people needed to hear and focus on – they were always right! So what did the Apostles and Prophet say to us, right NOW?! What should we be focusing on, and what blessings will we see from that?

Just some thoughts of a missionary. Hope you all have a great week! Bis bald!

Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 6

Stuttgart, DE - Week 6

(week 42)

Hallo liebe Fruende!!

Guess what?! ATHA GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!

SO EXCITING. It was amazing. We were able to get a hold of the guy he had met who speaks Greek, and a bunch of ward members came to be there. The service was fantastic, and when he was baptized, the brother doing the baptism said the prayer first in Greek and then in German for the witnesses. When he said it in Greek, Atha got all choked up. He cried during his blessing later too, and so did I. We talked to him afterwards and he said “it was perfect.” That’s why we worked so hard.

We also had General Conference this weekend!!! For my non-member friends, General Conference is an event we have every 6 months where our Prophet, the 12 Apostles, and other authorities of our church speak to the members of the church as a whole. There are 5 sessions over the course of 2 days. And it’s EPIC. I still need to watch a lot of it… we watched 3 of the sessions in German sooooo I didn’t understand a lot. I am looking forward to re-watching it in English. BUT what I did get was really good. Saturday night we watched the 1st session as a zone and I made food for everyone! It was super awesome.

The BIG news from this week…..is that transfers are happening!! Sister Smith is going to Switzerland and I am getting Sister Halterman!! I love her so much – I am SO STOKED to be her companion. DEVASTATED about Sister Smith though. She has definitely been one of my favorite companions.

Honestly, this was a great week! I have zero time to write more, but I love you all and I will let some pics speak for themselves. I promise next weeks email will be more detailed. It’s been a crazy busy few days 😅😅😅

Tchüss!

Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 5

Stuttgart - Week 5

(week 41)

Wassup peeps!!

Gross I am not a gangster. Sorry about that.
This week was honestly like, a million years long. Talking to my parents this morning, even they agreed it felt longer than usual. I don’t know why.

First off!!! Atha!! We changed his date, so he is getting baptized on Saturday!! He is SO ready and SO excited. He wants to be clean and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – he understands now what a blessing that will be in his life and is anticipating it so much. He already has such a strong testimony of receiving revelation, it’s amazing. He gets dreams, soooo once he gets the Holy Ghost… he’s just never gonna sleep again. Mark my words.

What even happened this week?!

Last week my companion ditched me (just kidding!) and went to Munich for 2 days for MLC (Mission Leadership Conference). So I exchanged with the other abandoned companion Sister Lyon for 2 days. This time we were in my area. We went to Young Women’s together and painted our nails! So much fun. Then we taught our friend Nadia over the phone aaaaaaaand went to bed becaaaaaauuuse…..

We got up hecking früh (early) the next morning to go teach seminary on one of the military bases! We had to get up at 5:20 in order to get there by 7. Soooo we were tired that day. But the kids had me sing at 7 in the morning, so that was fun! It actually went really well. God is just helping my singing get better and better, even when I never get the chance to practice really. Yay for hymns on Sunday!

Later that night (this is now Thursday btw) we had Gemeinderat (ward council meeting). Sister Smith was still gone so I had to attend ALL BY MYSELF (over zoom). And tell them what’s going on and ask for help IN GERMAN. and, I totally schaffed it (literal: created it. Context: got it done, made it happen, achieved it). It went fine, our bishop is the bomb, and it was the longest meeting ever. They only do it once a month for some reason (??) And so it was VERY LONG. Aber, esch guet. That’s some Swiss German for ya. It means “it’s good”.

Finally back with my beloved companion (Sister Smith is leaving next week with transfers and I’m legit DEVASTATED but it’s fine :() and on Friday we got down to business and visited 2 of our less active families. Love them.

Saturday we went to a Taufe (baptism) in Waiblingen with Atha!! SO MANY MIRACLES OKAY??!! He wanted to see a German baptism before his this week, and there just happened to be one for a kid on Saturday. THEN the father of this child just happens to be brothers with the man that Atha met in the ward, who he really likes. And both just happen to speak some Greek, because they both served missions in Greece. And so Atha got to talk to his friend (who sadly has moved from the ward) for about 45 minutes, and then we had a lesson with him afterward. After hemming and hawing forever, we have finally decided he will get baptized into the Waiblingen ward, because he lives closer to it, is actually motivated to go to church there, and the people are just soooo welcoming to him. We know that there he’ll be okay and continue to progress even after us missionaries stop meeting with him.

Sunday was stake conference!! The meeting was really nice, and I got a priesthood blessing afterwards. It wasn’t what I expected, but it definitely got me thinking, which I needed. Last week was rough. My mental health took a big dip, and so did my faith. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – this mission thing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I know that I will value this time on my mission for the rest of eternity. God has promised me a lot of things. I’m just learning how to trust Him and His plan and His timing.

Something big I realized this week, as I asked God yet again why life seems so hard, and why I wasn’t improving the way I want to is that I’ve improved in SO MANY ways on my mission that I don’t even notice. When I sit down and evaluate who I am now versus the person who I was 9 and a half months ago… completely different. I thought I knew what empathy was before the mission, or Christlike love. I never knew how satisfying serving others could be, or how it felt to wish you could go hungry so someone else wouldn’t have to. To wish you could just sit and talk to a homeless person, get to know their story and make them feel like people again. That’s something I haven’t worked up the courage to do, but I know the Savior would and I want to do that for them. For Him! So, I’ve improved in many ways that I never expected, and in ways I’ll always be grateful for.

Later on Sunday we hung out with Bea Süss and Josefine Hoffmann! They are some of our FAVORITE less active ladies. They’re both young, and love anime and Pokémon… so we get along pretty well. Sister Smith braided Bea’s hair, I crocheted, and we all watched Book of Mormon videos together (if you haven’t seen them, HIGHLY RECOMMEND they are very engaging and tell the story of the Book of Mormon really well!!) I made a penguin for one of the elders, pics included below! I also made a pig for Sister Smith this week.

Monday was a big day! We had distriktsrat (district council) and then interviews with our Mission President, President Naatjes!! He is THE BEST ever, and I was able to get some things off my chest. He said I’m right on track and doing great things, so I feel a bit better about myself  🙂

And then today!! We went to Ulm today, and to this very amazing cathedral. It’s one of the tallest in Europe, and just beautiful. Super duper old too. Pics below!

I love you all!! My parents tell me every week about how everyone enjoys my emails… it means so much to me that people actually read and enjoy them!

Bis nächsten Mal! Tchüss!

Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 4

Week 4 - Stuttgart

(week 40)

Okay everyone, are you ready for some BIG NEWS?!?!?!?!

ATHA IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!
Atha is our dear Greek friend, who was found on the street about 3 months ago. He actually called the number on the pass along card he got, and started meeting with the sisters! Since I got into the area, we’ve been trying to help him see that he is soooo ready for baptism. Let me tell you the whole story though, because I think it would be really cool for all my non-missionary friends to see a little window into the epicness we sometimes experience being a missionary.

So, we were meeting with Atha on Thursday morning… and it was raining. We couldn’t meet in the park we normally meet at. He invited us to his house, but we had to scramble to get someone there with us (we aren’t allowed to meet with men alone). So, we called the Waiblingen elders and we’re like, “soooo… you wanna come to a lesson with us like, right now?” And they said “sure we’re on the way!”
So all four of us show up at his house, sit down at the table, and start with a prayer. We start talking about faith, and how it’s an action. We shared a few scriptures, and then talked some more about baptism, because we have asked him a few times now to pray about it. He said that he had finally prayed about it, but wasn’t sure about the answer!! I was excited, because getting him to pray about it was progress.
As I sat and listened, I felt prompted to start talking, and tell him something I’d been thinking about for a while. I shared with him roughly the following, “Atha, you believe this church is true right? You just said a few minutes ago that you feel like our church has the whole truth! I know you’ve said before, that you feel like when you pray about getting baptized, that God will help you feel and know that you’re ready, that you’ll feel it in your heart.” Then I looked at him really intently and said, “I think maybe, what you may need to do is act in faith, to decide to get baptized, and then God will help you get the feeling that it’s right and that you’re ready. Atha, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ, and be baptized?”
The spirit in the room was really strong. He knit his eyebrows together and asked “okay, I just have one question. The reason your baptism is different is because of the priesthood right? You have to have the right priesthood?” We told him yes, that’s how it works. And he said, really quietly, “okay then. I’ll get baptized.” We helped him set a date, and reassured him that he had made a great and important decision. Ever since I pray every day that he will stay true to his conviction to be baptized- and even though we had to move the date back a week, he has stayed true! He understands that he wants to be made clean and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. October 2nd will be an amazing day!!

It’s really special, because baptisms here are very rare. He has asked us multiple times, “am I really your first baptism in Germany? Really?” People just don’t accept the gospel as readily here, and are very stubborn to change. We often call ourselves seed Sowers rather than harvest reapers – this is not a harvesting mission. I don’t know exactly why I’ve been blessed to get to be here, and to take part in his baptism, why he needed me. But I’m glad to be doing the Lord’s work, and do my best to bring souls to Christ everyday. Sometimes, like with Atha, it’s a lot more obvious how our efforts are going. Other days, people look at the tag on my chest and stick their hand in my face, rejecting me and Jesus Christ. But I love them just as much. I love them all.

I wish I could tell you all the experiences I have on a daily basis. Everyday, something amazing happens! Often, I just am too focused on other things to see it, but I’m grateful the Lord keeps blessing me despite my imperfections. Missionary life is hard, not gonna lie. To be perfectly honest, I cry everyday, and question what the heck I’m doing a lot of the time! But it’s reflecting on people like Atha, and so many others, that helps me keep going. If they need this version of me, then so be it. Clearly the Lord has something for me to learn, and to do.

Hitting my halfway mark has really made me reflect on why I came. And why I stay. I came to help people get through the valleys in their lives. I know what the valley is like, and I don’t want them to be there! I realized this week that you can’t help someone through their valley, without walking through the valley too. I’m grateful for a Savior who can carry not just my load but everyone else’s too. I stay to find out how the Lord will help me through my own, and to find out who I’ll be when I come out the other side. I’ve changed a lot… I can only imagine who I’ll be at the end of these next 9 months!

Also, all of the exchange above with Atha was in German. Which is pretty crazy and very cool. I can like, sort of speak and understand this other language now??  It’s kind of the best thing ever. I’m starting to forget the English words for things I say in German all the time. It’s awesome.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 3

Week 3 - Stuttgart

(week 39)

Halloooo liebe Freunde!!
 
Wie geht es euch? Alles bei mir geht ganz gut!! 
 
Can I get a big 9 MONTHS?!?!?!??! it’s official, guys! I have been a missionary for 9 whole months. 🎶WOOOAAAHHH I’m halfway there, WO-OH livin’ on a prayer!🎶 literally though, I literally live everyday off of prayer. But yeah! Thank you to everyone who has helped me get this far. 9 more to go!
 
This week was looooooong but good. We had some good appointments, I tried some new foods, and we did a really cool service project! 
 
So, last week on Thursday we had exchanges! Sister Smith stayed in our area and welcomed Sister Forbush for the day… the other STL (Sister Training Leader).  Sister Neuendorf went to Ludwigsberg with Sister Rollins, and I joined Sister Lyon in the Stuttgart International Ward! Triple exchanges! We mostly hung out (most of their lessons canceled on us) but we did get to go onto one of the military bases that night for young womens! (church girls youth group).  It was really cool, and everyone was speaking English which was nice to hear. 
 
Friday we had a very short Austellung on Königstrasse, but I did get to go on splits (where you switch companions) with Sister Rollins, who came from the USGM (US Saint George Mission ) with me, so that was way fun. We stopped some girls to ask them “was bedeutet Frieden für euch?” (What does peace mean to you?) And they didn’t really have an answer! When we taught them that peace comes from Jesus Christ , they told us how they are Muslim but this one girl was like hmmmm well yeah but… so we gave them cards with our number on it so hopefully they check it out!
 
Saturday I felt like a pioneer cause we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, AAAAAAAA NNND WALKED. Did I mention we walked a lot?  ‘Cause we did. First we went on a little hike in the woods in the rain (R.I.P. my suede shoes) with our slightly Hindu friend Siva, but honestly he was a God-send, ’cause things he said corresponded EXACTLY with what I had been studying the day before, and I couldn’t help but just beam at him while he was confirming my faith in Jesus Christ while talking about how our soul has needs and wants to be disconnected from our bodies. Later that day we also walked around Königstrasse with our definitely-not-interested-in-the-gospel Muslim friend Waleed. We stopped for a Five Guys milkshake, a pretzel and piece of pizza, and for Sister Smith to buy the next 2 Harry Potter books auf Deutsch. Which she is reading as I write this. And probably will be when I’m sending it too. She’s a reader. 
 
Sunday was great! I got to take the sacrament, and that was just an absolute highlight. It’s a great time for me to ponder and pray. We sat up on the stand and as I looked out at the congregation as they took part in this sacred ordinance, it was sobering and touching to see almost all of them, even teens, bowing their heads in prayer and thinking about Christ and His sacrifice. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have every week to renew my baptismal covenants, and try again. 
 
We have 2 friends that are doing so well!! Atha cane to church on Sunday!!! We are hoping to put him on date for baptism soon so keep him in your prayers! We also had a lesson Sunday night with Gabi! This weekend we are going to go over to see Mannheim and help teach her how she can quit smoking. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, she can overcome anything! But please pray for her to have the strength to change! 
 
Monday we had Distriktsrat, and the Elders stayed behind so I could teach them how to crochet! It was SOOOOO funny. I taught them to crochet a heart, and at one point Elder Wandtke was about ready to strangle himself with his yarn. But by the end of it, they were both like “okay mom, what do I do next?” And I would tell them what to do. It was so much fun, and everyone successfully made a heart. Elder Altamirano also got his Koala. 
 
Now, you may be wondering why my email/blog is so late this week. That’s because we moved p-day for our awesome service project yesterday! We were asked by some of the religious services on one of the military bases to come and organize a few of their storage rooms. It was super fun, I swept some rooms while the others threw away tons of old junk. At one point, I was on the opposite side of the building, and no one really knew where I had gone. I’d just been sweeping… and I didn’t really think that anyone had noticed my contributions. It didn’t matter that much, but since I was away from the group, I wasn’t in some pictures or taking part in the group laughter. But as I came back to the group, they all thanked me for my work to make things clean, and made sure to support my efforts. It was small, but it really made me feel better! I realized that the situation was like the Savior – sometimes people feel like they are on the outskirts or margins of the church. Maybe they feel like their contributions don’t matter. But as Elder Holland said in his talk “Songs sung and unsung” – that everyone of us is needed in the choir and that ” the loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer” in the chorus. I’m so grateful for my friends who did not forget my contributions- let’s not forget our own, or our Saviors!
 
Also,  because it is P-day, we went to an art gallery, Ludwigsberg castle, and then I got to do some singing practice at the church. Which was soooo nice.
 
Longest email ever! I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Tchüssi!
 
Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 2

Week 2 - Stuttgart

(week 38)

HALLO ALLE!!!

This was the best week of my whole life. Not even joking.

Today’s been busy, so we’re gonna do a highlights reel!

MISSION CONF: Friday we had another mission wide conference in my new Gebiet! (Area) Everyone came to Stuttgart! I got to see some good friends, we did some epic mission street-finding, had some great zone chats, and the President Naatjes (the mission president) did a devotional in a little sunken amphitheater. I also got to sing! So that was super fun. We all stayed in a cool hostel together overnight.

ELDER BEDNAR: Elder Bednar came to our mission!!! We had a missionary devotional with him, his wife, and a couple other couples from the area church presidencies. It was AMAZING. He is a man who has put in the work to know God. I was reminded of how imperfect I am, and how not perfect I have to be. And that I am very young and still have a lot to learn in all the best ways!

I’d like to share an amazing experience. Actually 2. Hehe.

First, during the missionary devotional, Elder Bednar invited us to wrote wrote in 5 words or less what we had learned, or what we would do because of what we had learned. Mine was “I will choose to study.” I knew I needed to find a new focus for my studies… but I wasn’t sure how!
The next morning we had the opportunity to see Elder Bednar again, as he was speaking at church here in Stuttgart as a broadcast for the members within our mission boundaries. I decided to fast and pray, and asked the Lord to help me find topics to study during the sacrament meeting. I wrote down potential topics as I listened to Elder Bednar, but about halfway through, I felt my answer come very strongly about what and how I should study. It was small, but clear, and I KNEW my prayer had been honored and answered. That’s incredible enough in itself. What is more important to me, is the great lesson I learned.
I made a decision.
I prepared myself.
I made a plan.
I asked the Lord.
I exercised faith and hope.
And then… I waited patiently.
And the Lord answered my prayer.
I didn’t get an answer because I wanted it. I got an answer because I worked for it. I did my part, and the Lord made up the rest. It was an incredible lesson of how we can find answers to our prayers, and I can promise you that if you will apply the same type of principles in your life, to prepare and act on faith and then to wait patiently for the Lord’s promised blessings, you will also receive the coveted answers to your prayers.

My second amazing experience involves a woman I’ve never met in person, who is named Gabi. I LOVE GABI SO MUCH. We had a phone lesson with her Sunday night. She had watched the conference with Elder Bednar, and knew that he was a servant of the Lord! She loves the Book of Mormon, and she wants to know more. As we talked, we ended up teaching her a bit about the Word of Wisdom (for my non-member friends, it’s sort of a guideline for healthy living we as members follow, and is the reason we don’t drink coffee or alcohol, or smoke. If you’d like to know more, look up Doctrine and Covenants section 89!). She smokes, and I had the opportunity to ask her if she’d like to stop. She said, oh yes please! So we are going to help her stop smoking and come closer to Christ! I literally was jumping off the walls happy and excited for her, and almost started crying I was so incredibly overjoyed that she is gaining a relationship with Christ and wants to come closer to Him by quitting smoking. I’ve very rarely felt that way before, and if really showed me how freaking awesome being a missionary can be!!

I LOVE THIS EXPERIENCE. That I’m not getting paid for. Except with the riches of heaven. Way better than Geld (money) anyway.

Also, today for P-day we went to Tübingen! Super fun, see the pics below.

I love you all sooooo much!! One thing I’ve really learned on the mission is how to love everyone! Our mission president challenged us to make everything we do be done in and out of love – even going to bed on time! I know it will increase my ability to love even more like the Savior.

Have the best week everyone! I know I will!

Sister Miltimore

Stuttgart – Week 1

Stuttgart, DE - Week 1

(week 37)

HALLO von DEUTSCHLAND!!!!

Jetzt bin ich in Deutschland!! Es ist sehr schön hier, and ein bisschen anders als die Schweiz. Wir haben 13 Freunde der Kirche, mit denen wir sprechen, so wir sind immer beschäftigt! Mein deutsch kommt schneller, und das ist gut, weil ich es mehr reden muss! 
 
For those at home, I can translate:
 
Hello from Germany!
 
I am now in Germany! It’s very beautiful here, and a little different from Switzerland. We have 13 friends of the church that we are talking to, so we are always busy! My German is coming faster, and that’s good because I need to speak more of it!
 
It has been quite the week so strap in, buckle up, and hold on to the handlebars … Here we go!
 
Wednesday: The Big Move. Somehow, many thanks Sister Osguthorpe, we made it from my lovely tiny little fairy tale apartment in Richterswil to Zürich Hauptbahnhoff (Zürich main train station) in time to say goodbye to all the missionaries heading to Munich and ultimately home! It was nice to see familiar faces and get to say “see ya later” to some of my favorite people.  A little while later I got on a train and said goodbyes myself! Luckily, another Elder and I were able to travel to Stuttgart together, so I wasn’t totally alone.  Can anyone say JDubs tausch? Context, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a thing here, and they often go in pairs of a guy and girl together, so when that happens for traveling here we say we are exchanging as Jehovah’s Witnesses. (It’s a little funny because we make fun of them and they make fun of us!)
 
Anyway, I got to Stuttgart safely and all moved in. We live just outside of the biggest part of the city in a nice little neighborhood 40 min by U-bahn from the church building. (U-bahn: the underground train that also goes above ground hehe.)
 
I CAN ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND PEOPLE NOW! Holy cow!  Actual German is beautiful and it’s so amazing to understand what people are talking about and be able to respond. I’m not perfect, but it’s WAY better than before. Prayers answered.
 
Thursday: MY BIRTHDAY –  I am old,  21. Not that old, but also, old enough. It was a GREAT day:  we had a member appointment with a 90ish old grandma, saw some really cute German platz, splurged on dinner out for Weinerschnitzel, made BROWNIES (thank you Uncle Jay for carrying my presents across France –  your sacrifice was not in vain) and I got to call my family so it was just the best birthday ever. And being a missionary of course is the greatest gift!
 
Friday was also awesome! We did an Austellung as a zone in Schlossplatz in the center of Stuttgart and I got to see Sister Rollins who served with me in the Utah St George mission!!! We hugged for like, a solid minute and it was just amazing. I am so excited to be in the same zone. Finding friends went well, we gave out some cards and had a couple of really interesting Bible conversations with some Catholic nuns.
 
After the Austellung a good friend of my family from Frankfurt (Stephan Mueller) took us out for lunch! The Mueller family lived in my ward in Michigan for a couple years… I can’t believe it was 10 years ago now though (that’s crazy!) and we have all stayed in contact since then. He came to Stuttgart for a wedding and we got to see him!  He brought me some delicious treats and a very nice cookbook for my birthday from his family. It was such a nice surprise!
 
Later that night we also got to help at the above mentioned wedding!! It was beautiful.  We helped with the food (and got to eat some, natürlich) and washed TONS of dishes afterwards. We also tried to catch the bouquet!  Everyone got quite the kick out of the Sister missionaries going up to try and catch it, and it flew straight towards me sooooo yeah, I was nervous for sure! It was super fun, and we had a great time. We also didn’t get home until 11 which was less fun.
 
Saturday we headed back to the church and helped clean up some more wedding stuff and then practiced for a musical number that we sang in church on Sunday! This totally showed me that this is where I need to be, because the song they just HAPPENED to be doing, was “I’ll Find You There My Friend” and that just happens to be my favorite. We did a great job. We also had some appointments, with some very cool people.
 
Sunday! We sang in church and I also got asked to bear a short testimony. Luckily, Sister Smith warned me in advance that it might happen, so I was prepared. No hiccups were had, and no bothers given. I read what I wrote and they liked it. We had a bunch of people compliment us on our musical number afterwards which was nice. The rest of the day was mostly studies. 
 
Monday was awesome! We had distriktsrat and I got to see my FAVORITE lady Sister Horsley! The Horsely’s are the ehepaar (senior couple, literal translation is married couple) in our district. They work with the military relations in Stuttgart! We quarantined together in Croatia, and Sister Horsley really loved my singing, and grew to love me too. Naturally, I love her also – she’s a little bundle of joy!!  After distriktsrat I put my arm around her and told her she was my favorite person, and she just lit up like a candle and gave me the biggest, sweetest hug! I could literally go on for days about her. 
 
I also got a priesthood blessing from one of the elders. PSA: the priesthood is real! There is NO WAY that this Elder could have known what I’ve been thinking about and struggling with – I had literally met him 3 days before and talked to him for probably the total time of an hour. None of which was about things I struggle with. And he said everything I needed to hear and more, and very specific to my situation. And he’s not the only one that’s done that. He said things that I’ve heard in other blessings, from people he’s never even met. And the feelings I felt… mere words don’t just make your heart pound and your eyes tear up and give you all the feelings down in your soul that happen. If there is anything you are struggling with, or if you just want to know that God loves you, GET A PRIESTHOOD BLESSING. I’ve had more on my mission than I ever have had before, and they always give me the strength to keep going. 
 
Monday we also met with one of our potentials! She is from Italy, and came here to be a social worker. We walked around some of the older parts of the city and got ice cream! They do this thing here called spaghetti ice – they put the ice cream through a machine and make it look like noodles! Normally you have it with strawberry sauce so it really looks like spaghetti, but I like chocolate better. We talked a lot about religion (natürlich) and life in general. She was very surprised that I want to be an opera singer and that my companion wants to go into biomedical engineering! I love surprising people like that. This was all in English by the way… I think I’ve taught more in English here in Europe than in German! I’m sure that will change soon though
 
For P-day today we headed down to Ludwigsberg! My family actually came here when we went on a family trip to Germany, so it was really cool to be back! We went to the castle and to the gardens. Right now they are doing a pumpkin festival, with sculptures made from pumpkins and sand too. We walked around forever, and saw tons of amazing stuff. 
 
Alrighty folks, that’s the week! Thanks for subscribing and for all your support! 
 
Love, Sister Miltimore

Richterswil – Week 10

Swiss SVG

Richterswil, CH - Week 10

(week 36)

Hoi zäme!! 
 
Breaking news: I’m getting transferred!!! I head to Stuttgart Germany tomorrow, and I will be serving in the German ward. There is also an international ward, and we will be living in a quad (foursome) with those sisters!! So I will definitely have some fun times ahead… My new companion is Sister Smith, also an STL (sister training leader) and is great at German. So I should be well taken care of!!
 
It’s been a lot of packing, saying goodbyes and whatnot. I’m super sad to be leaving Switzerland – I’ve learned so much here, and gained so many wonderful friends! I bought my last pieces of Switzerland today – Halba salted caramel chocolate, and Ovalmatine chocolate sandwiches crackers. They are both literally to die for, and I will miss them dearly. Oh, and the members too. They’re pretty great. 
 
Anyway, this week! Yet again, it was a thousand years long. Let’s jump in and see what I remember!
 
Wednesday was a pretty normal day. We went to visit my favorite lady, Eva Landis! I found out she’s like, OLD old…. she remembers World War 2 and what it was like during that time! Crazy, crazy stuff. We also visited her this morning, and talked a little bit about the state of the world. She wished me all the best, and said that she’d remember me. Knowing that woman’s mind, I know she will! I hope I get the chance to come back and visit her… but if she joins her husband in heaven before I get the chance, I’ll be happy for her. Her music and the crazy catholic lady can only keep her busy for so long… she’s still kicking though so I’m pretty sure she’ll still be around!
 
Thursday began the 2 day tausch (exchange) with Sister Meyer! Sister Osguthorpe and Sister Muntinga took a (short!) 5 hour train trip to Munich for MLC (mission leadership conference). So we took over the Bonstetten international ward for a couple days! Thursday started with a long trip out to an appointment that never happened (sad) so we talked about our future weddings until the bus left without us (hehe, we missed a lot of travel plans that day. They always fell through, aber so ist das Leben! So is life!)
 
We stopped at a park and planned our next lesson. Then we made it but a little late to our appointment with Klaus! He is 11 and sooooo ready for the gospel. We taught about prophets and the Holy Ghost. We invited him to pray every night… and we made a little chart for him to fill out so he remembers! It was so cute – as we left, we watched him tape it up right next to his bed! I could have melted. I was so happy!
 
After meeting with Klaus we went home for a little bit, then headed back out into the world again for an appointment with a recently returned sister missionary who served in England! We had the BEST TIME talking up a storm, and they served us the most British meal ever – fish pie (white fish in white sauce covered in mashed potatoes and stuck in the oven) with peas and carrots, with ice cream for dessert. Because it was a fellow missionary, I helped myself to seconds and thirds, because I know she knows how it be sometimes. We be hungry. And it was super delicious.
 
Then we raced home to teach the Komm und Folge Mir nach (Come follow me) discussion for my ward in Rochterswil! Unfortunately, right after I asked the question… the area phone DIED and the Hotspot went out so we lost our connection!!! It took about 10 minutes to get back on, but they were so good and just kept going without us. It ended up being one of my favorite discussions I’ve been a part of, and I led most of it! Sister Meyer commented on my German after (she is fluent) but I’m still happy. It was nice to contribute. 
 
Then! We slept. 
 
And the next day began! From 8:45 am till 4:30 pm we were involved in a grand service project. We were putting together feminine hygiene kits with homemade materials for women in 3rd world countries!! It was a lot of fun, we talked to a lot of people. Sister Meyer and I spent a lot of time hand pressing snaps into the products… I was sore for a couple days after pushing on the stamper thing!
 
I’ll be honest, Friday was a hard day for me. My mental health took quite the dip… Sister Meyer was super understanding, and helped me talk through what I was feeling. It was hard, and I didn’t understand why it had to be so hard. But, one interesting thing that really really made a difference. That morning as I lay meditating on the floor instead of doing frühsport (morning exercise) I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to have an eternal perspective. To have patience. And as I had a meltdown later that day… Even in my darkest moments, I still felt that eternal perspective I had asked for a peek through the curtains of my worries, doubts, and fears. God taught me a lot about patience this week – 2 canceled counseling appointments, discovering I’d get transferred when I thought I would stay, feeling honestly pretty crappy for some time. I learned that… you’re not going to know what exactly to do. And that it takes time for blessings to be seen. But as we look for the blessings we already have, we will see the blessings we want a lot sooner. 
 
And for those of you who may worry, my mental health is improving over time, and I am seeking all the help that I can to support my situation. I’m grateful for companions, friends, leaders, and family members who have done everything they can to support me. I wouldn’t be here without you.
 
Anyway! Saturday we got transfer calls. Some more breaking news… Sister Osguthorpe and I will be singing for ELDER BEDNAR when he comes in a couple weeks!!!!!! We will be having another mission wide conference, in Stuttgart, my new home town. I couldn’t be more excited.
 
Saturday we also had an appointment with the Krähenbühl couple! (Pronounced krayen-bool) President K is one of the counselors of President Naatjes, and covers Switzerland. Since Sister Osguthorpe is an STL they’ve done a lot together, so they invited us over for dinner. New foods I tried (and my opinions) included:
  • -salad dressing on the salad. Still not a fan. Too much vinegar. 
  • -red bell peppers. I have had them before, but never loved them. The way she made them was delicious! I admit, they are now on the I will eat them when they are placed in front of me list. Someday they may make it on the, I will buy them in order to eat them but only time will tell.
  • -handpressed grape juice (not wine I promise) that was very expensive and meant a lot to them… I’m sorry, it tastes like cherry medicine to me. My taste buds just can’t appreciate it. I finished what was given to me out of fear… both of president K, and my companion
The rest of the meal was also fantastic.
 
Sunday was another good day! I got to say my goodbyes to a lot of people. I also sang with Sister Gysler in a sacrament meeting! She almost became an opera singer, so it was really good. Everyone really, really loved it. We sang Come Thou Fount and I took the harmony part which was super fun to figure out. We balanced really well and just had a great time!  After church we had a lunch appointment with the Koch family, who were my first meal appointments in Switzerland. We ended how we started. They are a great family, and they fed us really well. For the first time in my life I had to decline dessert because I was too full!! And no, my second stomach was also full. I was eating my first helping thinking “oh yeah, ill totally want/need seconds” and then I finished my plate and was like “shoot, I am FULL but this woman is warming up more stuff for me to eat.” So I had to eat it. I think I had rice for dinner? I honestly don’t remember I was too full. 
 
And then Monday! Long week! We had my last district council meeting in die Schweiz 😭. It was great, we shared testimonies, and had lunch together afterwards. We wrote bye bye notes to each other and just appreciated some time together.  Oh, and we took chair pics! I’m getting taller! It’s both good and scary! Scary from a height standpoint and from a oh no I’m ALMOST HALFWAY WHEN AND HOW DID THAT HAPPEN way.
 
After that we came home… discovered we had one of the other sisters’ phones in my bag (I swear a ghost or an elder did it cause it was NOT me) Went back down to bahnhof, and then finally got home and did studies. I wrote more bye bye notes. Then packing. And packing. And… packing. I think you get the picture.
 
Today has also been epic! As I mentioned we visited my fav lady Eva Landis, then we took to the streets of Luzern! That’s Lucerne for my American friends. Today was Elder Barker’s birthday (whoop whoop for all those who actually read my emails you will now discover that my birthday is on Thursday hehe. The day after the transfer. Sigh.) So we did all kinds of stuff! We visited a clock tower, and a park, and got yummy Swiss lunch, and played chess in the park! I’ve gotten to talk to my family a bit more, and now I just need to go to our apartment and…. can you guess it? Pack. Whoopdidoo! 😅
 
I’m also going to open my birthday package so anyone who in any way contributed… Thank you in advance!
 
Alrighty! I love you all soooooooooo much and I hope you have the best week! See you all next time from Stuttgart!!
 
Sister Miltimore

Richterswil – Week 9

Swiss SVG

Richterswil, CH - Week 9

(week 35)

GRÜEZI WOHL MEINE FREUNDE!!!!

Ich hoffe, dass alles gut ist!

I’m learning a ton. Super ton. Fun times.

What a long week! I feel like I say that every week! I think it’s just the p-days are somehow slower than normal days, which is weird because that was never the case in Cedar. But, Esch Guet! (That is Swiss German for es ist gut for my other German speaking friends. Just… Just try to say it. I’m almost tempted to include a little voice memo of it for kicks and giggles)

Anyways, some people we visited this week included:
Eva Landis, our favorite old lady. Seriously, an angel
The Schlucter family! They are so great. Sister Shlucter is from America, so she made us burgers with cheddar cheese and homemade brownies 😍😍😍😍 I was in heaven. It is Switzerland after all.
The Hiemer couple! They are just so funny. We ended up talking a lot about the temple, which was pretty special. They also made us Indian yellow curry and it was delicious. My taste buds have SERIOUSLY been expanded. I still don’t like sauces though. Condiments just aren’t the schmeck (taste, flavor. We use that word for EVERYTHING. black shirt? Not the schmeck. Rain? Not the schmeck. Literally anything that doesn’t seem so great, Not the schmeck)

We also did exchanges with Sister Karin and Jäkkö from Friday to Saturday! It was PERFECT because my comp, Sister Osguthorpe, had her birthday on Saturday! So while she was away with Sister Jäkkö, Sister Karin and I decorated the house. Balloons, streamers, banners, the whole shibang. When we got home Saturday night she was so surprised! Best ever.

Saturday we also went to a stake activity at a lake in the mountains! We caught a ride, and hung out by the water for a few hours. I dipped my feet in (don’t worry I only got about ankle deep and only cause people kept losing toy balls and I wasn’t wearing shoes and socks so…. I was the best water wading candidate. Not complaining though). We had some fun and then got McDonald’s with some other missionaries afterwards. Man, American food is a salt BOMB. More on salt bombs later.

Sunday was great too! Church went over time… one of our service missionaries and our patriarch were asked to speak, AND we had an intermediate hymn soooo it was kind of a recipe for disastrous punctuality. Sunday school with the young men and women afterwards was a schmeck aka, great, and I actually understood some of the Swiss German!!! Crazy!!!

That night it was sooooooo hot in our apartment, so we opened the door and the windows and just let the house air out ( they have blinds on the outside of windows and door here, so we were safe leaving the door open). But then we woke up at 3:30 in the morning to a freaking HURRICANE outside. The whole sky was brown, couldn’t see anything but the trees right outside our windows just being bashed around. I’m honestly surprised there wasn’t more damage. So I had to get up in the middle of the night and close everything. But, it was SUCH a blessing, cause we literally were melting and now it’s cool again. Not great for the Swiss vacationers. Great for missionaries in suits and skirts. Einfach schön (simple beautiful)

Monday was quite the day. We had district council meeting which is always a schmeck, aka great, so we love that. Afterwards though, we all went down to Coop (which is like, a Kroger/Smiths but with target or whole foods prices lol) and got Ramen packages to make for lunch. oh my gosh. It schmecked (it actually did taste really good) but boy did it WRECK Sister Osguthorpe and I. We had a zoom lesson with Ruban right after and I nodded off!! We were both so dead. Laid on the couch in the young womens room at our church for like, half an hour after just staring into space. Side note though, Ruban is doing great! When we first started, one chapter was enough for him, but now we are getting into the complicated chapters in the end of 2 Nephi and I honestly think he would have read more if we hadn’t been so Tod (German for Death). Very proud of him.

And that brings us to today! We had to get up at 5:30 this morning to catch a train to the TEMPLE!!! We did endowments today!! I got to take a few family names so that was pretty cool. The session was in German, but I had a little translation device. It was very cool to hear the difference, and we actually had the service missionary, Tom, from our ward lead the session! He is also a temple worker, and did a great job. It was pretty much just missionaries which was so cool. Just being in the temple was great, as soon as I stepped foot inside I could feel it was holy ground.

Afterwards, we hung out with the other missionaries for a bit and I got a calzone kebap! A calzone… with donor kebap meat inside. It quite literally schmecked but as you can see from the pic below he was a big boy and I had to let a couple elders finish him for me cause I just couldn’t. Shout-out to them.

Also!!! Miracle time!! A couple weeks ago, when I went on exchanges with Sister Muntinga I lost one of my missionary tags. I thought it was lost forever. Last night, one of the elders messaged a picture of himself WITH my tag!! Of course I asked how, and apparently one of the members of their ward is a bus driver, and just happened to do a route in the city where those sisters live and just happened to see it lying somewhere at a bus stop. They talked to him and he was like “do you know a Sister m\Miltimore?” And they were like “oh, you mean Sister Muntinga?” (They are double covering the same wards) and he replied “no Sister Miltimore.” So obviously they were like whaaaat??? But yeah. I got my tag back yay!!!!

Also, also, also. There is a little store outside of the temple for temple/member things and I may or may not have spent more money there than I did on groceries. Hehe. My backpack is now very holy, because it has 2 temple pins and a temple key chain. Hehehehehe. I was sooo excited!!! You know you’re a missionary when…..lol!

I love you all sooooo much!!! Have a fantastisch week!!

Sister Miltimore