Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Update from Germany

Merry Christmas to all of you! We rejoice in this time of year to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The last few months have been filled with joyous experiences and opportunities. A few highlights include attending several stake conferences. Both the Berlin and Hamburg Stake celebrated their 50th anniversary and the Neumünster Stake celebrated its 30th anniversary. They were special meetings to attend as we were able to see the numerous Saints gathered together in buildings that were filled to overflowing. We felt their warmth and love and heard stories and testimonies of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have been working hard to raise the awareness of the Church in Germany. Updates on the German website have been made, new pass along cards with the Church website in large print have been and continue to be distributed, now over ½ million. People are finding the cards and calling the missionaries. Most recently, we had a new street display made that is “a banner unfurled” and will “wave to all the world”. It has a picture of Christ on it and draws people to know more. We hear miracle stories on a regular basis. The street displays have been such a hit that many stake presidents are buying them for each of the ward/branch buildings. In the first week a young man saw it, met with the Elders and is progressing towards baptism. Our street displays are also set up in the lobby of the Church building when not in use so people are walking in off the street, into the building and asking for information. We love it. The missionaries love to teach and are doing a great job.

There are currently 200 missionaries in our mission and we love them dearly. It is a joy to receive their phone calls and hear the excitement in their voices when they set a baptism date. With the missionaries that come and those that go, trips to the airport, zone conferences, interviews and training, we keep plenty busy. There is nothing like being on a full time mission and taking part as the invitation to “Come Unto Christ” is extended. We witness the miracle of seeing lives changed, families joined together and know that it is because of their testimony of Christ. We too testify that God lives, Jesus is the Christ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today. We love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas!

Love, Jay & Colleen & Mike

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Germany Berlin Mission

Dear Family:

Sorry for the long post, but it has been an eventful few months. We would like to give you a few updates of our activities:

In May we began to focus the missionaries on following the example of Christ and “fish with a net,” including the internet. New pass along card were printed with www.kirche-jesu-christi.org in large, bold letters and the missionaries have been diligent in spreading them, 300,000 plus. Here are a few of the miracles of the first few days after distribution (and the miracles continue):

· Elders got a phone call from a lady, "I got your card on my door. I would like to meet with you."

· Elders in the east part of Berlin were passing out cards to everyone they could. One grumpy man would not take the card so the Elder put it on the park bench next to him. Later the Elder got a phone call, "I found one of your cards on a park bench. I would like to talk to you." They have already had two discussions.

· Elders got a call from a lady who said, "Why did you put a card on my door?" Elders responded, "We prayed about it and felt it would be a good thing." She said she knew members of the Church and would check it out on the Internet.

· Sisters on a bus gave one of the new cards to someone. The person next to them said, "Can I get one of those too?"

· Elders placed pass along cards at an apartment complex and then went back later knocking on doors. At one of the door, they heard, "I got your card, come in." They had a walk-in appointment.

· Elders were teaching a golden family and all of a sudden they wanted no more contact. Elders ran into them on the street and asked them about it. The family had found inaccurate information about the Church on the Internet. The Elders asked them to check out the official site on the new card. They did, and liked what they saw. The Elders are once again teaching them.

At the end of June the first missionaries that we greeted two years ago returned home. It was a bitter sweet occasion. We have such a great love for them all.

July 3 was a historic Sunday spent in Plauen as the branch was divided and the new Hof Branch was formed. The forming of the Hof Branch has special meaning for Jay. He served in the Hof Branch as a young missionary in 1972 when it was part of the Germany South Mission. As the branch was closed in 2002 a sister said, "I don't know how or when, but we will have church services here in Hof again." As missionaries felt a great desire to work there, and worked diligently, (previously no missionaries assigned) the miracles began. A group was formed in December with about 15 attending culminating with the Hof Branch being formed. It was a day of rejoicing!

The distance we have travelled, in a van, with the assistants, has been near brutal, 4,323 km over a 3 week period completing interviews, Sunday visit to a branch and a Mission Tour as well. That is like driving from the West Coast to the East Coast in the U.S. Looking back, it was well worth the journey.

July 4 - 7 was an enriching few days spent with Elder Caussé. He is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church, coming from France. We were richly blessed, not only by his instruction but by the outstanding musical abilities of the missionaries who preformed. Here are a few principles that were taught:

· All of the callings in the Church have the same Purpose, which is to invite others to come unto Christ.

· Missionaries, members and the Lord work together so there can be a harvest. (1 Cor. 3:6)

· The Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi 11, 3 Nephi 27) is what we must know and what we must teach.

· There are many people in Germany being prepared to accept the Gospel. Germany is a sleeping giant to be awakened. There is urgency in this work. Even if the percentage of those who accept the message now is small, a small percentage adds up to thousands of people, so we need to talk to everyone in order to find those who are truly seeking the truth.

· Our family members are in the hands of the Lord as we go out to serve and they will be blessed an hundredfold for your service. (Mark 10:29-30)

We were happy our leader reported that the Germany Berlin Mission is doing well. The missionaries are dedicated, hard working and have a sense of esprit de corp.

Serving a full time mission is one of the most rewarding experiences we have had thus far in our lives. Our family has been blessed beyond measure. We see the hand of the Lord daily in his work. We know he lives and loves us and wants ALL people to come unto him. We are grateful for your love and support.

Lots of Love,

Jay and Colleen

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Germany Berlin Mission

Colleen (aka Sister Pimentel) made some changes to the layout of her blog so don't be surprised when you see it: http://germanyberlinmission.blogspot.com

Here is a short story about Elder Smith, whose parents live a short distance from Colleen's parents in Idaho. A lady talked to missionaries three different times but when Elder Matthew Smith and Elder Tanner talked to her, the third attempt, she felt she should listen. She had been attending a Bible study class in another church but as she read the Book of Mormon, she felt its warmth. It was four weeks from the time she started lessons to her baptism. It was a miracle for Elder Smith because he had previously decided to extend his mission for a few weeks and, in that time, was privileged to baptize her.

Here is one of the recent weekly messages, typical of the message we sent to our missionaries every week:

From Sister Pimentel: "Your needs are great and varied. Each of you is a unique child of God. God knows you individually." Trust in Him...then go and do! President Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, November 2010

From President: I have been impressed again this week how much knowing German helps me understand English scriptures better. Many of the words in the English scriptures come from words that are also German words.

In Philippians 1:14 we read that many were “waxing confident” to be “more bold to speak the word without fear.” In this case, “waxing” comes from the same origin as the German word “wachsen” – to grow. It has nothing to do with candle wax. In verse 27 of the same chapter, Paul praises those who “stand fast” in being of one mind “striving together for the faith of the gospel.” In this case “fast” comes from the same origin as the German word “fest” – solid, firm. It is talking about stability, not speed.

So, as missionaries, we grow confident in boldly preaching the gospel and stand firmly together in our work to spread the faith of the gospel – to fulfill our Purpose. God lives, Jesus is the Christ and this is the true Church of Christ on the earth today. I know it.

Vielen Dank und alles Gute. Präsident u. Sister Pimentel

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Year End in Berlin

We have had a whirlwind of activities the last several months running from one thing to the next with little time inbetween: We have made numerous trips to the airport, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day to drop off and pick-up missionaries. There have been leadership training all over the mission, zone conferences and interviews. We had a 4 day Mission President training with the Europe Area Presidency in Dresden, in October and a Mission Tour with Elder & Sister Teixeira for 3 days in December. The last two months we have had many visitors and enjoyed the time we had with them - Grandma, Gary, Ty, Liz, Dale, Nancy, Neli, Dave, Annette, Sam, Ruth, Edward, Emma Lucy, Isaac, Eleanor, Megan & Collin.

Christmas Zone Conferences were a highlight because they carry a special, sweet spirit. It was well worth the hours upon hours of travel to visit the missionaries! We enjoyed the time with them and took the opportunity to show a Pimentel family tradition, playing the hand bells together. The missionaries took part and did a great job. At two of the conferences we played inside due to the storm outside. At the other two conferences we stood outside and sang and rang the bells to those walking by, and to those who opened their window to listen. It really is sweet to hear testimonies of the birth of our Savior through song.

It is interesting to note that for the first time since 1981, ALL of Germany experienced a snowy "White Christmas"! Germany is also experiencing the coldest winter in more than 40 years!

Miracles in the mission:

  • Elder Ott said, after learningn of his first assignment, that he really wanted to serve his mission in Berlin, Germany, and he was called there. When at the MTC someone said how great the city of Kiel is and what a great missionary Elder Badger is. As we worked on the assignments of companionships and cities, it just wasn't working out. Finally, when the new Elder Ott was teamed up with Elder Badger, in Keil, the transfer plan worked.
  • Sister Wakefield arrived in the mission unable to have the balance to ride a bike. Her Trainer, Sister Kocharyan from Armenia had also arrived in the mission originally unable to ride a bike. Both sister missionaries not only can ride bikes now but like doing it.
  • Elder & Sister Christian in Prenzlau have started holding Sacrament Meeting for a group of members in Schwedt who have found it difficult to travel to attend church in Prenzlau. The first meeting they held, 8 members came.
  • Church meetings have started in Hof as members have worked with Elder Tjaden & Elder Christensen from Plauen. The first Sacrament meeting held had 20 members in attendance.
  • There were many baptisms during Nov. and Dec., people who have been searching for the Gospel and finally found it. Many were baptisms of part-member families. What joyous events.

"When filled with God’s love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us. John H. Groberg, Ensign, Nov 2004

May you all feel the love God has for you. We know He lives! Love, Jay & Colleen & Mike

Thursday, July 22, 2010

from Kent 7/19

¡Hola Familia!‏

Yesterday Jorge Soto (father) was baptized and it was a most glorious day. Two of his sons that don't live with him came for the service, Sergio and Luis. We gave the address of Sergio to the Assistants, as he lives in their sector. It turns out that Luis (who has a wife and two kids) will be living here in Quillón for work. He came to Church and really liked it! He'd done a fair deal of church hopping but never found anything that really filled him, he said. Officially he's Catholic, he was one of the teachers/missionaries for them, but told us how he really liked the feeling that was had of mutuality and equality in the Church when he came for the baptism. He's excited to learn what there is, because he's seen the change in his brothers and in his father, and has agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! I believe we'll be seeing another baptism in a month or so. Jorge the younger also received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday, and is taking the ordination of Teacher seriously, in that he is to teach his family those things he learns.
Here's the story of Elder Jaar. He played soccer professionally for Ecuador, and began his mission here in Quillón. The fewest baptisms he's had in a sector is 18, (I had 5 in Tierra Bella) and he had before seen just about all sides of life. Currently he is one of the Assistants to the president, and has a strong connection with those here of Quillón. A few months ago his father was killed while on the way to the Temple, but he's staying in the mission. So he volunteered to do the baptismal interview for Jorge (father) considering the recent loss.
I haven't really had the opportunity to give a great report on my investigators. Here it comes. First off we've been working with the Soto family for a long time. We came into contact through them by a member who worked with Jorge (father) for a while. He shared a bit about the Church with thim and invited him to Conference. After attending conference, he said that he really likes it and wanted to be baptized, but reading scripture will be difficult because he didn't know how to read. About a month later the family (Jorge, his wife Jeanet, and two sons Edgardo and Jorge) all came to Church and liked it. So we began to teach them. At the beginning it was an informational learning process, but after a few lessons everything changed and a light and joy entered their countenances. Edgardo told us about the first time he took the Sacrament. He said that he always felt it was something sacred and that one should be worthy to partake of it. The first day at Church he took it and told us that the bread burned him, and that he couldn't swallow the water. He said that at that moment he knew that he needed to repent and get baptized to enjoy the blessings of the Sacrament. The week following the baptism of Edgardo the entire family came into town for Jeanet's funeral. Jorge (father) took the opportunity to exhort all seven of his children to get to know the Church, and that it was through the Restored Gospel that he and Edgardo had such peace in so hard a trial. So far, we know that two of the sons, Sergio and Luis are investigating the Church, as well as a sister of Jeanet.
A week or two ago we found some new investigators. Knocking doors we came across Paola who had once talked with Missionaries of the Church when she was 14 years old. Turns out she didn't understand a lot, we clarified a few questions and she invited us in to teach her kids Franco and Esteban (17 and 15). She had taken the decision to let them decide what Church they would like to join, and therefore hadn't really taught them much anything other than that God exists, which they believe. So we've begun to teach them and they're pretty interested. She used to be Catholic but then spoke of how much she had "seen the light" when she became Evangelical. So far she's liked everything we've shared.
Katherine Cartes was found by the missionaries about nine months ago. She's read the Book of Mormon a few times, and knows quite strongly that it is true, but has a very set Catholic family (not so much that they're active at all but just that they don't want to change) and so they don't give her permission to attend the actual Church services, but she comes to Institute. She's 19 years old.
We haven't been able to meet with these friends of Hector yet, but he says they're still interested so we're going to keep trying. Hector (super convert from March, going on a mission in March) has convinced Oscar (Branch secretary and three year convert, the both 19-20 years old) to go on a mission! Oscar was about to go on a mission several months earlier but then lost enthusiasm and the branch had been worried, and he'd always kind of dodge the subject, but now he's decided to go again! He's got just a little bit more money to get together and the three (Hector, Oscar, Edgardo) will be leaving on their missions all about the same time.
The Fernandez family was here in Quillón for the weekend! I was riding by on my bike and they pulled up next to us in a car. (The Fernandez family were our neighbors in Tierra Bella). Turns out things are awesome in Tierra Bella still, Elder Law has been baptizing a lot of great people according to them!
The winter's not too ridiculous here actually, we've had almost an entire week and a half without rain! (We had before experienced two and a half weeks of pure rain). The thermals and cornbags etc. are holding up lovely.

The new President wants to work more with us, so we won't be having as many conferences, but rather he's going to be coming out and teaching with us. If there is another package to be soon sent (though it seems I just barely got the other one) I think there's a CD of Church/EFY type music somewhere in my room called "When All is Said and Done." If a copy of that could be made and sent t'would be most appreciated. The Almond Joys seem to have changed into fantastically delicious items, a contrast to what they were when I was of trick-or-treating age.
Much love, happy summer!

Elder Kent Pimentel

Monday, July 12, 2010

From Kent 7/12


I'ma running late so here's the abridged version! The legendary Assistant Elder Jaar (legends will be told next week, I hopes for time) came and gave the interview for Jorge Soto, who is to be baptized this upcoming Sunday. Amazing man. Both of them.

Hector (super recent convert) found and taught three new friends last night, two of which are eager to know what clothes they need for baptism. Hooray member work!

There was a partial eclipse of the sun yesterday. We saw many people looking through welding masks at the sun and then when we asked somebody, they showed us and the sun was a crescent, as though it were the moon. Very very neat.

The Church is true, God loves you so do I!

Elder Kent Pimentel

Monday, July 5, 2010

From Kent 7/5

Dulce y amargo‏

¡Hola Familia!
This has been a week to remember, a week of surprises and change. We got a call Tuesday night from Hno. Lopez, the member who introduced the Soto family (Jorge, Jeanet, Edgardo, Jorge) to the gospel, telling us that Jeanet, the mom of the family, was in the hospital, so we called the Elders in that sector to go by and give a blessing. We're still not really sure what it was, a stroke or what have you, but Wednesday morning she passed away.
Sadly their baptismal date was for the end of the month as they still needed to get married through the municipality, but the good news is that she had fully accepted the Gospel to the greatest of her ability at that point. We stayed in the Church almost all of Wednesday and Thursday for the viewing as family from the neighboring cities streamed in. We learned that there are a total of 7 children that they have, not just Jorge and Edgardo. Jorge Sr. set the goal of July next year to go with all his family to be sealed and to the temple work for her. The thing that amazes me still is how well the family took it, especially Jorge Sr. Having come to know the Restored Gospel only two months earlier, he was at peace knowing exactly where she is, what needs to be done, and that she had done her part in giving her sons to The Lord. Others of the children that did not know of the Gospel didn't handle the blow as well, it was apparent.
Jorge Sr. bore his testimony yesterday in a very spiritual Fast & Testimony meeting. His daughter-in-law and granddaughter that were still in town accompanied them to Church, having seen the drastic change in Edgardo since getting to know the Gospel. We met with her last night and having talked a little bit expressed desire to know more and have the missionaries visit them in Concepción. Jorge Sr. suggested the possibility of her doing the necessary Temple work for Jeanet, and she liked the idea.
Unfortunately we couldn't go to the actual Funeral service as we were called to a conference in Concepción to meet President and Sister Humphrey. They come with a great and powerful Spirit, and as of yet we know of but a few changes. Conferences and Interviews with the President are going to be more sparse. Instead of every 6 weeks, it's moving to twelve. (Yes, that means it will probably take three months for me to get any packages, etc. Unless something else changes) Also, Preach My Gospel got revitalized and renewed. I didn't fully understand, but it seems they're taking the 4 lessons that exist and chopping them down into 8. I'm not really sure what other changes, but there's also going to be a new program of how to teach the lessons.
I hope all enjoyed a splendid 4th of July, I did sing a good many patriotic songs, and came to the realization that every patriotic song I know I can only sing with Barbershop tones. There seem to be many patriotic barbershop songs.
Much love,
Elder Kent Pimentel