Landshut – Week 17

Landshut - Week 17

(week 71)

Hello everyone!

Sorry I haven’t written in literally “am ewigkeit”!!! (in eternity) I’ve been having too much fun enjoying my last p-days as a missionary. I come home in 35 days!! AAAAAAHHHH!!!!  Got some big updates and stories for you so buckle up!

Sister Gramsch: Sister Gramsch is a very sweet and well meaning older woman of our ward, who has really been dealt every short stick in life. She has multiple chronic health issues, including depression and epilepsy to name a couple. Her husband died a few years ago, and had been a smoker and alcoholic before his death. She has two elderly cats, lives on the 4th floor with no elevator and every time I go over there she has a new bruise or cut somewhere, usually on her face. She can’t lift her arm so high as even to shake a persons hand, so there’s just a lot of things she needs help with. We visit her once a week to do service, listen to her babbling stories, and give a little inspirational thought.  So……. Sister McArthur and I show up at her apartment building one day, and there’s no answer when we ring the doorbell. No answer to her phone either. Normally, I would have just walked away, thinking she’d probably forgotten about the appointment. But that day we just both felt like we needed to check and make sure she was okay. So we ringed all her neighbors until someone let us in the building. We go up to her apartment and knock on the door. No answer, but we hear a banging coming from inside the apartment. We call to her from the door. Then more banging “BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!” And I realize what’s happened – she’s fallen and she can’t get up, and she’s trying to get the attention of someone to come help her. So we start panicking a little and make an action plan.

First, we go to every neighbor who is home, asking if anyone has a key to her apartment. No one. We find out where the owner lives, go to her – she doesn’t have a key either!! After about 10 minutes of running around, we head back up to her apartment and call through the door to see if she needs an ambulance – all I could imagine was Sister Gramsch, lying in a growing pool of her own blood or something awful like that. I couldn’t understand her through the door. Sister McArthur then suggests that we say a prayer. She says it, and as soon as it’s done, I look down at the mat underneath our feet. I reach down, pull it aside, and there was the spare key. We grab it, go into the apartment, and find Sister Gramsch, unharmed but lying on the floor next
 to her bed. We sit her up and get her on the bed and the poor lady is just shaking like a leaf. We get her some water and then try to get the story of what happened. She was totally in shock, making no sense, but I gathered that she had been laying there about an hour trying to get someone’s attention. We spent the next 2 hours with her, making her drink some soup, feeding the cats, and cleaning things up around the apartment. Finally, we put her back to bed, and left.

An important note about the story.  We told her about the key we found. She said that there was no key, that she had never put one there. A week later she fell again, and when people tried to help her… there was no key under the mat. By small and simple means are great things brought to pass.  I can’t explain where that key came from or where it disappeared to… but I’m grateful for the immediate answer to our fervent prayer.

So, if you thought I’d stop at one long story, you’ve got another thing coming! Pull down your lap bar cause this Rollercoaster is taking off once again!

Mohammed: we made a new friend!  Sort of!  Sister McArthur in true greenie enthusiasm could not be stopped from doing service wherever she saw a need for it. One morning we were at the train station very early, and the man working at the Subway was setting up his tables and chairs. She decided to go help him, and he accepted her offer giving her a couple free cookies in return. The story could have ended there but no!  The next day, the same situation occurs – Sister McArthur helps set things up while I am planning our route for the day. This time though, he’s trying to talk to her, but she can’t understand him. They come over to me for translation, and I just stammer through it because I am so surprised!! He said that he told his wife about us and our service, and they want to invite us to dinner to have real Kurdish food. We, of course, accepted and exchanged information and set a time to come.

Fast forward to Sunday evening…..We come to this small apartment filled with people. That night we met Mohammed, his wife, their 4 kids, his brother and sister in law, their daughter, and the brother of the sister in law. Plus a few others who came in and out of the apartment. At this time, Ramadan was still going and in their religion Ramadan is a time when everyone fasts during the daylight hours, from about 6 in the morning until 8 pm at night…. we got there at 5:30 😅😅😅 so of course, we felt very awkward trying to come up with things to talk about for almost 3 hours. When the meal was prepared, we helped set out a blanket on the floor, and by the end of the preparations the whole thing was covered with plates of food. We all sat together on the floor and ate. Mohammed was so sweet and taught us what each food item was and how to eat it. His family came from Syria, went through Lebanon and was able to come to Germany because of their daughter’s special needs. They have lost everything they once knew, and can’t even see some of their family because they live in other countries that they aren’t allowed to go to. They have been here for 7 years. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve met such a happy, close family or community on my mission. They loved and supported one another, and were willing to share literally everything they have with us, two complete strangers from America who just decided to be nice to them. We now have a weekly appointment with the family, to enjoy eating traditional Kurdish food together and sharing the similarities in our
belief systems. It’s been amazing to get to know them.  And I now have a love of stuffed grape leaves if you can believe that!

We had another all mission conference….WITH ELDER UCHTDORF!!!!!  And I got to sing Pie Jesu with Sister Swenson!  It went very well. It was very moving to be in the presence of an apostle and I learned many things from him.  Mostly it was about how I felt – which was so good!  At the end we sang our mission song and he joined in!  He got “verklempt” (teary) and it was very emotional ❤❤❤  It was such a great day!

Transfers: drumroll please 🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁  I’m staying in Landshut till the end!!! 6 months in this area, let’s go! But, big sad, THEY STOLE MY GREENIE FROM ME!!! She got sent to Wien (Vienna)!! Crazy, crazy times, we were soooooo sad to leave one another. I will be ending my mission with Sister Middleton, who goes home just a month after me.

God had A LOT for me to learn last transfer. The biggest takeaway was that I can do hard things. My greenie, and the crazy situations we got into really taught me to be more adaptable. It was an amazing transfer, and I’m really proud of all we accomplished. I hope I don’t ruin it now that she’s gone!!

In other news, I got a haircut and have bangs for my last transfer and I really love them! I jumped on the curtain bangs bandwagon and I am a fan. We also had a beautiful drive through the mountains and lakes and almost too cute to be true little towns for Pday.  I love you all and I’ll see you soon!!

Sister Miltimore

Landshut – Week 14

Landshut - Week 14

(week 68)

Hallooooo Alle!
What a wonderful couple weeks!! I still haven’t seen all of General Conference yet (it’s hard since we can’t watch it live with the time difference)… but 17 temples!! None of them in Utah, wow!

This week was good! Last Wednesday we went on quite the adventure! We decided that even though it would be a challenge, we would somehow get to Bruder Bachmann without a car… so:
First, we rode a bus. Then, a train. THEN. We rode bikes for about 15 minutes. Then we ate lots of food. And then we repeated the process, backwards and forwards, 2 more times for other appointments. It was actually a really great day! I really enjoyed it.

The last 2 Saturdays we went and helped at a refugee center in Landshut (btw this is pronounced lants·hoot) where they have been collecting items since the war in Ukraine started. As part of it, they also set up a small “shop” where refugees can come in and take whatever they need. We got to meet some of them, as we helped organize things and hang up clothes. We worked so hard, all the people running it wanted to know who we are and when we could come again! The next time we went, they remembered our names and were so happy to see us. Who knew service could be such a great potential finding tool?!

Then we had GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! I loved it, but more important to me is a total MIRACLE we saw. So, we got a list of names from our Relief Society of women to check in on and reach out to. We went and visited one, but she couldn’t let us in then. She told us to come again and then texted us later that day! She said that she felt like us coming was a sign from God and that she would come to the broadcast of General Conference the ward put on Sunday evening. She came AND brought her grandson!! This woman has been less active for 40 YEARS. We asked her when we could come again, and she said “tomorrow?” So we went the next day! We talked about conference with her, her non-member daughter and grandson. It was AWESOME and it was a total reminder to me of why I am here and that God is in the details. So, so cool.

This past week was also amazing!! I got to do exchanges with my Home MTC companion Sister Parker!! It’s the first time we’ve ever gotten to serve together IN PERSON! We have never served in the same zone, or even the same country and we are just thriving now that we are finally together again. We had the best exchange, talking through everything we’ve gone through during the last 16 months and honestly, it was like the most ultimate venting session I have ever had, and boy did we NEED that exchange!!

Sunday was the best day!! JOSEPH GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! The ward helped us set everything up to support him and it was wonderful. He looked glowing in white, and his testimony at the end was so sweet! He loves Jesus Christ and His church, and is so excited to be a member of it. He is learning so much by reading from the Book of Mormon daily, and it has been so wonderful to watch him grow! It was also awesome my parents could participate via zoom and took some screenshots I will post below.

Okay, now a really funny moment we had yesterday. We got on a train and when the ticket people came, we realized that the tickets we had were not for that type of train. So, I paid the ticket agent with a 50 euro bill. He gave me my change back, and walked away. Came back like, 3 seconds later and was like “I’m so sorry, according to some policy I actually can’t give you the money I did, but here, let me give you a voucher to get your money back at the station” and I was like “OK fine we actually have time to do that today”. So, he takes back the change and gives me a voucher. Leaves again. COMES BACK AGAIN another 3 seconds later and is like “oops, almost forgot!” and HANDS ME BACK THE 50 EURO BILL I GAVE HIM…….. Let’s just walk through this again:
I give 50 euros.
He gives me change.
I give him back the change.
He gives back a voucher for said change.
He gave me back my 50 euros.
So, I walked away with my original 50 euros and a 30 euro voucher ticket. So, not only did we end up riding that train for free… we technically also got paid to do so. We were dying laughing, we had to repeat the situation to ourselves like15 times to make sense of what the heck had just occurred. We did not cash in the voucher even though DB keeps ripping me off by making me pay for tickets for my bikes to ride the trains!

Anyway, this was a great couple weeks!! The transfer is already more than halfway over and the next one is my last!! 😳😳😳

See you all next week!

Sister Miltimore

Landshut – Week 12

Landshut - Week 12

(week 66)

Hallllloooo alle!

Guess who’s still in Germany?! Me. Still here, and glad to be.

1st week of training has been accomplished! Man has it been a Rollercoaster 😅😅 as usual, I did not give myself enough credit for what I was accomplishing and for the amount of STRESS I was under and kinda beat myself up about how things went. But it’s starting to get a little easier and we are figuring things out together. She’s like, the most capable greenie I’ve ever met, so yeah. Literally the only thing she cannot do is German. And sitting still. It’s been a busy week 😅🤣

So my greenie is Sister McArthur from St. George, Utah. Coincidence? I think not. God knows so much. (For those of you who may not remember, my stateside reassignment was St George. I spent the first 4 months of my mission in Cedar City, about 45 minutes north of St George!)

As previously mentioned, we have been busy, busy bees!! Honestly, it’s been super stressful, as I’ve tried to navigate having a gung-ho greenie with the fact that our car just got taken away and the public transportation in this area is like… super sucky. We haven’t accomplished everything that should have gotten done, but we were able to do some very important things. We coordinated with all of our leadership members, made goals and planned for everything we want to focus on this transfer. We organized a bunch of transportation options, and started planning the day before so we would know which tickets we need the office to buy.  We made list after list and we executed things one by one. I’m tired but energized at the same time. It’s weird.

I will say though, Saturday was a doozy even for me. We now have bikes. Let me paint a picture here. Imagine, you are trying to get on a bike. First, you must stretch your whole body in order to get your leg high enough to go over the “boy bar” of the frame. This bar is so tall that in order to not be sitting on it (not even the seat yet, just the bar) that you must stand on your tiptoes. Then imagine, you wish to ride the bike. But, seeing as the seat is above your waist level, you must jump backwards onto it, as you begin to push the pedal and move forward very wobbly. You achieve it, your arms completely straight out in front of you in order to hold on to the handle bars. You are wearing your expensive 50 euro bike helmet, flared pants, and your backpack, as you begin the one way 14 km ride of the day. Oh and BTW… this is your first time on a bike in 5 years. End scene.

So, Saturday kinda sucked and I may or may not have broken down crying on the side of the road….And hit another biker at one point. My body now has more bruises than skin. JK, but kneeling to pray is a bit more painful than usual. My knees are fun colors.

Trainers and those who have trained : advice and affirmation are requested 😅 my greenie and I are pretty different people, and we’ve had to do a lot of compromising. That being said, she had her first Schnitzel and Gelato yesterday and that was a blessing to behold.

Awesome news: Joseph gets baptized on the 10th!! 10 days people! We are trying to get everything planned out and we are sooooo excited for him, he is so ready!! Last week I also had the chance to reach out to a convert I taught in Cedar City, which was super cool because it was his year anniversary of being baptized!!

Also, a little funny tidbit of what it is to be a European missionary: we have a friend named Cristian, who is from Romania, but grew up in Italy. We teach him in German but we speak in English. 4 languages, 1 gospel. Pretty crazy awesome.

Alright-y, I love you guys!! Thank you for all the amazing things you do! (Also, I would love to get emails from people if you ever have a moment and think of me! You really make a difference, and it helps me stay off Facebook when I have emails to read!)

Sis Miltimore