(mom note: We usually get e-mails from Elder Fisher on Monday mornings, which is his preparation day--p-day for short--but twice a year we get to talk to him by phone or Skype--depending on their area and personal choice. This Christmas we were able to Skype with Elder Fisher at 7 am our time and we were all able to be here for the experience. We are thankful to the member family in Germany that opened their home to the missionaries for dinner and for Skyping. Below are some of the questions & answers from our conversation.)
December 25, 2015
What is Braunschweig like? It’s very flat, in the middle of Germany. It doesn’t rain as much as my last area but it is very green. How do you like your new area? There’s a lot of people compared to my last area. I like it a lot. It is a very Americanized city. However, the days are really short right now because there is only about 7 hours of daylight so it gets light later and sun set is really early.
What is Christmas like in Germany? There are Christmas markets in every town, everyone has Christmas trees, they hang stockings for decorating but they don’t fill them, and they have the chocolate-a-day advent calendars. They also have a group of scriptures they read for the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. As they read the scriptures, they burn the candle for that Sunday, then on Christmas day, then on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, they burn all four candles at the same time. What are some things they sell at the Christmas market? Food, nutcrackers.
How often do you speak English (compare to German)? Not very often…just when we meet Americans or people who have immigrated from Africa. I still have an American accent when I speak German. Do you see any of the refugees from Syria? We do see them everywhere.
We see a lot of American here because the biggest VW plant is in Braunschwieg. What types of cars do you usually see in Germany—VW, Audi, and BMW. Have you been on the Autobahn? Yes. How fast was the car going? 190 kilometers per hour (110 miles per hour).
What do you usually eat? For breakfast we usually eat cereal—Germany has its own brand of foods and we eat the cereal we like. For lunch we do different things. For dinner, we usually eat at members’ homes 2 times a week and when we make it we eat a lot of open faced sandwiches on bread from the bakery. Are you sick of sauerkraut yet? Yes!
How is the German different between areas? When people travel to different parts of Germany they usually speak High German—because the German between the different areas is very different and they might not understand the dialect.
What is your schedule? Awake at 6:30 am, Bed at 10:30 pm I’m usually tired and ready for bed after being out and working all day. We are in at night by 9 pm unless there is a teaching appointment and then it is 9:30 pm. What are you studying during personal study? Bible—New Testament in Germany and the Book of Mormon in English and German.
How many are in your zone? In this zone there are 20 missionaries. We usually have a zone meeting once a month.How is the difference between mission presidents? They are totally different in how they do things but both are really strict. Our new president has several types of missionaries beside the regular proselyting missionaries. We have service missionaries, temple visitor missionaries, Chinese language & Spanish language missionaries, and media missionaries.
Where do you e-mail now? We e-mail from the church because it has wi-fi access. If I get an e-mail during the week, I can download it to read later in the day. Funny story: for a while I was getting lots of e-mails for Elder Fisher…but they were for an Elder Fisher who is on a mission in Alaska. I was getting wedding announcements, family reunion updates, and letters for the other Elder Fisher. I finally got an e-mail from him with his actual e-mail and a letter to please forward the info to him. Moral of that story--be sure you have your e-mail address correct for the missionary you are writing to!
mom note: we loved seeing how happy Elder Fisher is serving his mission and we cherished spending some time with him. We are so blessed to live in an age when we are able to span a distance across the world to see our loved ones.