Saturday, February 21, 2015

7/2/13 "Culture Night" success in Koln!--And cool missionary gear...

So I found out that the problem with [trying to set up an account] was that I hadn't received my visa yet, and I can't create an account until I get it. However, I got a letter in the mail on Friday saying that it was sent to the foreigner office in Cologne, so hopefully I will be able to pick it up next week or so. We went there this morning anyway to apply for Elder Hawker's visa (He's from Las Vegas bytheway) and when I showed the person the letter, she checked and said unfortunately it hasn't actually arrived yet. Better Luck next time.
Yes, we finally did get to see the World Wide Leadership Broadcast on Sunday in Düsseldorf. It felt like something I'd be needing for a long time, simply through the general authorities counsel on there being no handbook to be a good parent or a good trainer. You must simply learn to do good by acting out of love. Also I had actually been thinking about exactly that just before Sister Neill Marriott (of the Relief Society Presidency) told her conversion story, about if, or how many, general authorities were converts and what their own experiences had been like. I guess I've been hearing so much about the changes with missionaries using iPads and more Internet utilities that that didn't seem at all like the focus of the broadcast to me. It was interesting though because it was broadcast here in German, so a lot of the missionaries were the ones wearing the funny translation earphones that hang down by your neck instead of resting on your head. I figured I should practice listening to and understanding German and so I didn't think I would need the translation device, but after thinking about it, I decided it was more important to understand more completely what was being said so I could help other more completely and also it would be a better overall experience since it would be the speaker's actual voice with the proper timing too.
This last week something really cool happened. The ward here in Köln had an activity for the first time in perhaps 5 years! It's been a really long time for one reason or another, but the point is that we're really pushing to get people interacting with one another and becoming better friends and more united as a ward family. With the help of the ward council, we as missionaries actually planned the activity. It was a Culture Night where we invited some families and individuals to bring dishes specific to their cultures or the countries they originally came from (or the ancestors) and we also played something very similar to Jeopardy with various facts about different countries and cultures, about the world in general. One question I specifically remember was about a type of "run" in Gloucestershire called a Cheese Run. Interesting. We decorated the "Cultural" Hall in the church and painted a mural of sorts and hung it up on the wall. It went really, really well I thought, because a decent amount of people from the ward showed up and they all looked like they had a lot of fun. It was hard for me at the beginning to tell people what was going on, but after we'd said an opening prayer/blessing on the food, and people had eaten and we were ready to start the game, the bishop got up and was the game host, which is definitely a good thing. He and his family came up with the questions for us, so he had a better idea about the content of the questions and what passed as an answer.

Also really quickly as a last note, if anybody really wanted to know what to get me for my next birthday, I've come to discover that missionary mall has some very very cool items to buy that I never thought possible. For instance, I went on a split with a Golden who basically bought everything he has from missionary mall, and among those things, he has 1. an umbrella with a rolly flashlight for a handle 2. a backpack that looks like a 3.point seat belt and 3. a ZIPPER belt (think zipper tie). So obviously I already have the coolest umbrella in the mission because it covers 5 people at once :) and my trusty swissgear backpack, and a couple belts, so I don't actually want them for my birthday, but those were just the strangest coolest things I've seen in a while, the zipper belt especially. I'll include a picture that I took of that.

Tell everyone that I love them and that I'm praying for them too.
~Elder Standring

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