Thursday, March 28, 2013

Letter from President & Mission Blog Pictures

Dear Family, 
We are happy to report that Elder Mark Hunter Standring arrived safely last Wednesday.  Sister Schwartz and I met all the new missionaries at the Frankfurt airport and your son looked good and was happy to be here.  We are always grateful to have new missionaries come into the field as they bring a sense of excitement and a spirit of great faith.  It inspires and energizes the whole mission.   

After their arrival in Frankfurt, the missionaries visited the Frankfurt Stake Center where they completed paperwork so they could obtain their Visas to stay in Germany.  They also received their debit cards so they can access their missionary support funds and learned about mission transportation and apartments.   Sister Schwartz and I both spent some time getting acquainted with your son.  I also took a few minutes to conduct a brief interview with him.   He is a wonderful young man and we are so grateful to have him here.  After a light meal, the missionaries were taken to a nearby hotel for the night.  On Thursday, Elder Standring spent the morning in a meeting with the other new missionaries where they were introduced to their new companions.  The Spirit was strong and enthusiasm and excitement filled the room.  They had some more training and then headed off to their first areas of assignment.   

We are attaching a group picture.  There is a blogspot at Shortly photos will be posted and updated frequently.  Please refer to it frequently during the mission and feel free to distribute it to family and friends.   
The address where Elder Standring lives is: 
 Elder Mark Hunter Standring 
Kirche Jesu Christi 
Luxemburger Str. 124-136, Nr 912 
50939 Köln 

The mission office address is up above.  Please send ALL packages to the mission office address and allow 2-4 weeks delivery.  When sending Christmas packages, post before Thanksgiving. 

Letter mail can be sent to the address where your missionary is serving.  However, we recommend that you send letters and packages to the mission office and we will deliver them as soon as possible.  It is easier for the mailman to deliver packages to the office because there is always someone there to receive the mail.  The missionaries email their families on their Preparation Day which is Monday in our mission. Make sure when addressing envelopes or packages to your missionary to include “Elder” or “Sister”, their first name, and their last name, because sometimes we have multiple missionaries with the same last name. There are a lot of these at this time. 

Elder Standring entered this mission at an especially important time.  We pledge to do all we can to insure that he has a chance to grow spiritually and develop a strong testimony.  We feel confident that he will be effective in this important work of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have been prepared by our Father in Heaven.  We know that your family will be richly blessed for your sacrifice (D & C 31:3-7).  Thank you for sharing your son with us.  We will keep him constantly in our prayers and we promise to do all we can to help him fulfill a successful mission.
    ---President Lehi K. Schwartz   March 26, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1st EMAIL FROM GERMANY & picture with trainer/companion

So I feel really really bad about this, but I forgot my camera/memory card at home, and we're at an internet shop/cafe right now, and we don't have time to go back and get it. Man, this was going to be a super cool reveal of where I am right now too, because I have the perfect picture for it that a lot of people would probably recognize. Meh, I won't be selfish and I'll let y'all know anyway.
Ya, so I'm in Köln.
/Cologne (for you silly English speakers)
SO, it's super awesome that I've already been here before, even though it was only for a couple hours and that didn't help me to know the area AT ALL. Haha, I was totally thinking that it might, but no. Not even close. Köln has 2 million people in it, so it's definitely the biggest area in the mission. My Companion, who I was also previously acquainted with, actually, says that our Apartment Building, too, is the biggest/tallest in the Germany. Soooooo... Cool Beans :)
My trainer's name is Elder Davis, and he's from Utah (Turns out that most missonaries are), but more specifically, Provo. I don't think anybody back in Crescent City knows him, but we met breifly at BYU as he accompanied a girl in my German Class one day, which was actually just before he left on his mission. He's been out here about 18 weeks and in Köln about 6 weeks. He's a really awesome guy and super patient and loving, and his German is really really good. too. Cool story though, my first day here we didn't have any lessons, but we did have Priesthood Correllation Meeting, so I go to meet the Bishop right away! I didn't really say much at the meeting because I didn't have know what any of the plans were, but he said I have quite good German for being a Golden (what they call greenies here in the Frankfurt Mission). After the meeting there were two old women in the building probably working on genealogy or something, and they both agreed that I have no accent at all! And then a few more people at Sacrament Meeting said that I have really good German too, all of which is pretty surprising and a huge relief, and I know that Heavenly Father has really been good to me in Learning the Language Department. However, just being able to mumble without an accent doesn't get people baptised by itself! I learned that for sure on Saturday when we had a Strasseausstellung in a suburb called Bergisch-Gladbach, and it was SOOOOO COOOOLD. (Oh and bytheway, a Strasseausstellung is a Street Display) I'm definitely sure that it wasn't the coldest I've ever been in my life, but I just really, really do not enjoy windy weather, especially when it's already quite cold outside. It was in the negatives for temperature (Celsius that it), and we were out there for about three hours. The deal with it was, that yes, it was hard to understand people when they start talking about one of many, many, many things they don't teach you in the MTC, but definitely the hardest part was just starting. (Meaning that if someone were to look up the word 'starting' in a dictionary, it would say 'Starting ~ The hardest part of everything') It was exactly like when you're about to call somebody on the phone, and you've gone over the whole conversation in your head alraedy, so you've got it figured out, but then the moment someone answers, or the anwswering machine beeps... It's all gone... and not even 'gone' as in it left, more like 'never existed' is what I mean. Anyway, it's crazy, incredible, and a little bit frustrating. Ha, I talked to one guy and asked him about the purpose of life, and I'm pretty sure he was just doing it for a laugh, because he basically walked up to me and anwsered like, 'Ok, c'mon, tell me the meaning of life'. Didn't see that one coming.
Wow. Kids are super hard to talk to also, because.... ugh.. just everything, hah. I was trying to make up a story with the Bischof's kids who were at the Street Display and after the first round, I had like no idea where the story had gone. I know, tragedy. Tragedy that there had been four words put together as a story put together with no missionary to appreciate it because he didn't understand. After hours of mouling over, with consultation, I think the story went something like this:
An apple jumped and flew over a mountain.
the end. I guess.
One more awesome story:
So as a missionary, it's great to be friendly and talk to as many people as you can (easier imagined than done, especially about 10 seconds before you try), so I was trying to do that on a train the other day. Bytheway, let me just tell you, Germans have trains coming out of their ears, but in a good way. There's SO many trains, and they go EVERYWHERE, it super complicated, like it's a huge problem for my district right now because the missionaries can't figure out which ticket to buy to get where they want! Hahaha, anyway long story short, I told a lady on the train that I liked the color of her scarf and so she gave it to me.
What do you do, say 'no' after you just said you liked it? Bah, haha, so I have a very womenly-like knitted scarf in very fine shades of red, pink, and purple.
Anyways, I'm am so loving it here in Köln. Lovin' it, Lovin' it, Lovin' it. I had a Döner for the first time the other day, and it was way good. Also, Elder Davis says he's not much of a cook, so I get to subject him to all sorts of  the Culinary Experiments that I love doing! So far, I've made french toast, scrambled eggs with potato, tomato, and green-plant-that-I-found-in-the-fridge-ness bits, and mashed potatoes with onion, lots of butter, more green-leafy-stuff-that-resembles-spinach, and cheese! Lovin' it.
I can't quite remeber what else I'm supposed to tell y'all as far as answering questions go. I feel really silly that I left my camera home, especially on a P-Day. Oh, yep and we went to the Köln Cathedral today! Which is time #2 for me, although this time we also went up to the top of the steeple/tower, so that was new. My companion got pictures, but we'll both have to wait 'til next week I suppose.
I love you all so very very much. Thanks for your supporting prayers and letters! I've been praying for you too, so be awesome and feel the Savior's love in you life! I witness so, so strongly that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that he loves us more than we can fathom or understand. I know the Holy Ghost can help you to find solutions to those problems in your life that you've been thinking and worrying about. Let Heavenly Father bless you. Don't be afraid to be great. Don't be afraid to succeed. When there's something good you feel, do something with it. Act on that silly little thought you have to help someone. Be better than you were yesterday. I know through the atoning sacrifce, the Atonement, of Jesus Christ, all the bitterness, bad, and sorrow can be emptied out of us and we'll be filled back up with something happy, good, and loving. We will change when we do this, yes, but it's ok, because it's what you want deep down inside. I know there will be a way provided for us to do what Heavenly Father wants and needs us to do. Don't be afraid to succeed.
I love you more than little boys love cake and little girls love bunnies,
~Elder Standring :)

Friday, March 22, 2013


Here's Elder Standring's missionary group upon arrival in Frankfurt, Germany on March 20, 2013!  And there's Elder Standring, right in front (2nd from left) with his nice, big smile! :)  Their P-day will be Monday, so we should hear from him then!

FAREWELL MESSAGE from the MTC (day before flying to Germany)!

    I want to thank everyone back home for being so helpful for getting me on a mission and helping me to at least have some preparation before coming here. Thank you Mom for all your loving emails. Thanks Daniel and Kira for being awesome and for praying for me. Thanks Dad for helping me to be financially prepared for a mission.--
--Thank you David and all of my roommates for an awesome prep year at BYU. Thank you Garrett & Chels, and Jason & Kendra & Noella, and Jimmer & April & the boys for all you supporting and helpful advice. Thanks Michael Ahuna, and Theo, and Ben and all my other friends who played soccer with me so I wouldn't be fat and gross and chunky on my mission. :) Thanks all the awesome people in the Crescent City 1st and 2nd wards for being my teachers and friends at church, helping me to learn the gospel and be prepared to share it with the German Nation. Thanks to all the awesome students/misisonaries and leaders in my BYU Freshman ward (109th) and my Campus Plaza ward (32nd) also for preparing me better emotionally and mentally for what a mission would be like. Ah! So much love and thanks. Oh ya! and I want to give a shout out for all my Buds from 1200 Merrill Hall who are out on their missions right now, and working their tails off to help the people they are growing to love. You guys are my role models. I was watching an talk by Elder Holland yesterday and he briefly talked about how we as members of the church don't know what we have, and even we as the current inhabitants of the Earth don't know what we have. All the people in ancient times lived in all pretty dark ages, and all the prophets who saw and rejoiced at our day knew that their efforts would basically amount to nothing. Their people would fail and fall into apostasy. How blessed are we as a chosen generation in these days to KNOW that we are going to win. We know that as missionaries, our converts will not fail, and that this will be the one time that this work does not end in Apostasy.  I don't know what we must've or could've done in the premortal life to deserve that precious knowledge, but I am so grateful for it. I hope that my being a missionary has some influence not only in Germany, but also back home, that when family and friends read about my efforts on a mission that they will decide to try harder for just one more day, to stay firmly rooted in the miracle called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love all of you so, much, and there's about to be a whole lot more loving on my part. See you in two years from now. Aufwiederhoeren! (until we hear [from eachother] again!)
p.s. mummy, my companion is from Clearfield Utah

A Book of Mormon for the Pocket...or in the palm of the hand!

 A missionary always needs to have a Book of Mormon ready at HAND...or in the pocket!  Elder Standring found this very tiny one at the MTC bookstore and knew he had to take it along on the trip to Germany!

Elder Standring gets travel itinerary papers!

Sorry if these are upside and/or sideways--but here's the travel itinerary paperwork for going to Germany on March 19, 2013!

Missionaries with German Flag outside by the Provo Temple

Elder Standring and his missionary buddies hold a German flag near the Provo Temple, and missionaries playing some sore of  "Flag-Tag"?, and also lots of missionaries walking in groups up by the temple outside the MTC.

LIFE inside the MTC (especially LAUNDRY!)

These pictures show mostly the laundry areas of the MTC, and as you can see from the clock on the wall in the 2nd picture, it was VERY early in the morning for some of these photos!  Elder Standring said it was so rare to see the laundry areas so empty (they got special permission to get up WAY EARLY to do their laundry last time, because it was always way too crowded at the regular times--SO many new missionaries are in the MTC right now!  One Mom told me her new missionary daughter was actually put over at the Marriott hotel for a bit, since it was so crowded in the MTC!) that he just had to take pictures of the rare empty space!

Friday, March 15, 2013

In case anyone wants to write a letter to Germany for Elder Standring now, ahead of his travels there on Tuesday, March 19th, here is the German Mission Home address: 
Elder Mark H. Standring
Germany Frankfurt Mission
Corneliusstrasse 18
60325 Frankfurt am Main

Monday, March 11, 2013

Elder Standring meets up with another Allen family missionary!

A few weeks ago, Elder Standring met up with family friend Sister Terra Allen in the MTC before she left for her mission in Ohio...Now he has met up with Terra's brother Elder Drake Allen who just went into the MTC recently in preparation for his mission to Poland!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week 4

I haven't really told everyone about what goes on in the classroom, so I guess I can try to do that now in 15 or so minutes. So there are 5 companionships in my classroom which makes up a district. There's Elders Haskell & Brant who get along really, really well. Elder Brant ONLY speaks German now, even though he doesn't know very much and it's hard for him. Despite that though, he's always smiling and loves to tell storiesand make people feel great. Elder Haskell doesn't speak as much German, but he tries to. He doesn't really know how to go about the best way to learn it, so I think he gets kinda discouraged with that. He's a really funny character though, and he's always cracking jokes likes saying "Wie Bitte?" (Pardon/What did you say?) as if he's an old man when somebody says something quietly, or timidly, etc. There the Elders who share a room with Elder Gillette and me. Elder Brant loves how the hymns sound in German, so often he'll be singing before we go to sleep, while other times Elder Haskell starts rubber band wars. They're awesome.
The other Elders, Elder James and Elder Clark live caddy corner from us with some other Frankfurter Elders in a different district. That's Elder Smith from England and Elder Hatch. Elder James is a very classy kind of guy who has sweet glasses that somehow match his suit and shoes and always does his hair the same distinguished sort of way. He's had a lot influence in his life from Eastern teachings like Bhuddism, so he's a really relaxed, intelligent guy. However, he was a way with expressions and he's usually the one who exchanges "Wie Bitte?"s with Elder Haskell. Love that man. His companion Elder James is a bit shorter that I am, but he's got this presence about him that kinda lets you know size isn't an issue with him. I could imagine him as a really good Businessman. He's got a great smile and is really good with words and talking to people. When he gets the language, he'll be a super persuasive speaker. Like Elder Haskell, though, he doesn't know very well which is the best way to go about studying, so he struggles sometimes with the German. I really respect him though, because he's actually very sincere and let's you know when somethings going well or not.
There are two companionships of Sisters, Sister Hansen and Sister Breitweiser, and Sister Shipton and Sister Miller. Sister Hansen is tall and knows a lot of German already, I guess it makes sense to her more than others. She likes to tell stories about her Star Child sister, and how the spirit's helped her to strengthen their relationship. Sister Breitweiser is short and is very, very focused. Sometimes she gets a little stressed about ... pretty  much everything, and I think it's not good for her. Actually, she's been quite sick off and on since we got here, so I try to help her when I can. Sister Miller is kind of reserved most of the time, and at first we all thought she was super shy, which I guess she is a little, but it turns out that she can be very loud at times. It's crazy though, because she's turns it off like a switch at the most unexpected times, flat in the middle of a laughing fit. She also likes to run. Sister Shipton is Sister Miller's companion, and she kind of reminds me of Kira. She has pretty dark hair and loves music and Harry Potter, and a few other things. She also gets the language kind of well and enjoys telling stories.
I'm out of time in the computer lab, and my laundry in the dryer was probably done 10 minutes ago. I love you all, very, very much!
~Elder Standring