Tuesday, April 26, 2011
What a glorious week! Last night we saw the absolutely greatest sunset I have ever seen. We were walking down the Fußganger Zone and turned down this cobble-stone hill, and the sun was perfectly aligned with the road and was so big and orange! There were no clouds around, but the sky was the most brilliant pink and purple! Everything truly does witness of a Supreme Creator.
But over the week, we heard reports from investigators and members about a bit of uproar in the world... Japan, Liyba, North Africa, etc. They were so down-trodden with the terrors of the world, and many people on the street said is is very difficult to believe in a God any more because of all these terrible things that are happening. And it is difficult at times to understand why all these things happen, especially if we are personally affected. But let me tell you about a light amid all these terrible events- we call it 'The Miracle of Jürgen' oder 'Der Wudner Jürgens': This man, when we met him with Antonia, was dark, and cold, and had no life in his eyes or face. He was quiet, and almost always had a little bit of furrow to his eyebrows. When we met with him and Antonia the first few times, she did all the talking, blaming him for all their problems, and he coping with it by smoking a cigarette or arguing back. We were not quite sure how to handle it, but since Antonia had so much interest and was so excited, we kept coming over. One time, tensions were extrememly high, and we weren't sure if we should stay or leave. But that was when we read 3 Nephi 11, as I have shared before. The tension ceased, and the Spirit came. Over the next few appointments, I could see a change happening in Jürgen- and a very physical change at that. He began being even more friendly with us, and visibly loving towards Antonia. His ear ring came out without even mentioning it, and he shaved and cut his hair. His eyes literally changed from the black circles to color and light beaming out. His whole countenance was lightened. He has self-confidence that didn't exist before. He has an inner joy and a desire to do good and to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is what I think it meant when the Book of Mormon says the people became a white and delightsome people. As Jürgen has shown, that means they have light coming out of their eyes, their entire countenance radiates, they are an absolutely delight to be with, and they show the love of Christ in all that they do. Jürgen is such a great example to me of trusting in the Lord with all our hearts, for he is the one that will rally Antonia from a difficult time to pray and read. He reads and prays ever day, and really enjoys it! I could go on and on, but I think it sufficeth me to say, that it doesn't matter how terrible the world gets, how many countries go to war, and anything else that the people of the world or nature can do to destroy- the miracles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to happen, without end, and even with increasing speed. This is a time of rejoicing, a time of hope and faith!! Miracles are happening every day in all or our lives- I just feel very blessed and honored to be recognizing that in the life of Jürgen.
I loved Easter weekend! It was truly remarkable to walk to church among some old old churches and hear the bells ring like they have never rung before! It was as it they were proclaiming the resurrection of our Lord! It gave me chills and helped give a real sweet spirit to the day. During my study, I was focusing on Christ and how I can better serve Him. Through my thoughts and revlation, this thought came, of which I am using as my personal theme: Live the Faith! These three words and exclamaition point can mean so much, and have so many applications! I began be going through the 13th Article of Faith and thought about how I could better live each of the aspects of our faith in that article. And the study continues- it is one thing to say we believe in Christ, it is another thing to act and do things because we belive in Christ. But it is yet even a greater show of our disciplechip of Christ when we Live the Faith! I am excited to continue with this study and way of living!
Another great study I have been doing in memorizing two verses of two hymns each week. It is a lot of fun and has been such a great experience! Many of the hymns in German have such deeper and great meaning, to me, that the English words. For example: (sentance structure changed to English grammar!)
Praise to the Man, verse 4
Powerful, excited, diligent Elders preach the Gospel in every land
And the Hour is soon here when His name will be said with respect.
Hail to the Prophet, now fled to Heaven for victory over Satan and the World
All you elect, remember the Prophet, godly in Heaven, the hero on earth.
Now Let us Rejoice, verse 3
Let the thunder roll in and the waves crash
God leads us in life to a safe and sure port
Therefore, come all, so full of joy,
And trust in the Lord's given words.
Then all that was promised will surely be given
And Zion will be the living place of the saints.
And what is not from God will terribly go away
And Earth will be as beautiful as heaven.
And every hymn has these little gems that are just amazing- I love it! And it is fun to go on a bus with the hymn book and quietly sing and memorizy- it sure gets a lot of people looking! And the spirit comes, and you would be suprised at how fast a bunch of rowdy kids can be calmed down just by quietly singing 'The Spirit of God' on a bus!
A few side notes:
1. PuddingBretzel is my new favorite snack of the week. Imaginethe best big soft pretzel you have ever eaten, then multiply that goodness by at least 3. Then fill said pretzel with banana pudding that was not made from a box of powder.. manna from heaven? I think so!
2. I never was a huge fan of gummy bears before coming to Germany, but I think I am almost addicted now... Haribo Gummy Bears are the kind of gummy bears that Dad is talking about in his candyland stories... Pure amazement!
The work is going strong, and it is all due to the faith and hope of these wonderful people here in the Mönchengladbach-Reydt area. The Lord's hand is so involved with the work, it truly is a miracle to behold! Jesus Christ lives, He truly is the Son of the Living God. This faith and hope is all we really need to see us through difficult times in life, and bring us to a safe harbor. O sweet the joy this sentance gives: I know that my Redeemer lives! How grateful I am for the Spirit in giving me this testimony, where I cannot doubt, and where I cannot leave Him.
All my love and best,
Monday, April 18, 2011
Liebe Familie und Freudne,
There are a lot of emotions going through me now, and I'm not quite sure how to express them all through email! But first, let me just say that the work is going well here! Antonia and Jürgen are truly amazing! They came to church yesterday and felt 'filled' and at home. The greatest thing to see is in Jürgen, a complete 180 degree change from where his life was 4 weeks ago. He has hope, confidence, and an actual light coming out of him. He has some kind of sickness which affects his emotions and such, but the Book of Mormon has been his best medicine! That combined with prayer really is the cure all- especially 3 Nephi 11. We have read this chapter with more investigators than any other section in the Book of Mormon. Why? I'll show you: --
''And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them. And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven. And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come. And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.'' (3 Nephi 11:6-17)
What power!! This week, whenever I felt unsure of something, or down or anxious, or really any other feeling or emotion, I read this section. There is an actual power to the Book of Mormon, an actual power to reading of the resurrected Savior, and an actual power in seeing what happens when we come unto Him. How grateful I am for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, of whom the prophets truly did and do testify. He lives, all glory to His name! Because He lives, He invites us to come forth, and feel, see, and know. It is the goal of my life to come to the Savior and to feel the nailprints in His hands. Only then can we see: to a vision of who He truly is and who we can become. And when we come to Him and touch and feel the nailprints in His hands and the wounds in His side, we recognize the nail marks and the wounds; for they are ours! That feeling of the nailprints in His hands and the wounds in His side come as we turn to him in times of anguish, sorrow, or dissapointment. He knows exactly and perfectly what you are feeling, for He has felt the same. Not only did His suffering and death provide a way for us to be saved from physical death and spiritual anguish, but because of His infinite atonement, our grief, sorrows, heartache, anxieties, fears, faults, and shattered dreams become less; we gain an eternal perspective to see how all things truly are for our good and how everything has the fingerprint of the Lord on it. I love the Easter season. The greatest words in all of Christiandom were those given by the angels at the empty tomb: He is not here, but is risen! Because He is risen, that means He lives. Becuase He lives, it means He was able to overcome every single thing this world has to throw at us. And because He did that, the truth of that great hymn reigns true: ''Fear not, I am with you, oh be not dismayed. For I am your God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.''
Elder Forsyth and I were waiting for a bus, and we were talking about King Benjamin and how powerful of a speaker he was, and what it would be like to be mission companions with him. Then we though of what it would be like to teach the first lesson with The Prophet Joseph Smith, and getting to the part about the First Vision, and having him give really his own words. It was a fun thought of the extreme power that would accopmany and how everyone would feel of the truth! But then a few minutes later that really suprised me. It was extrememly clear and it was this: ''You wouldn't feel any different.'' What?! Of course I would feel different if the Prophet Joseph told of his experience! I was a little offended, actually, that I would have this thought! But then I got to thinking. Why would the Spirit bear more witness of truth at one time with a certain individual speaking that at or with another? It wouldn't. After contemplating on that idea on the bus, I am grateful for the words of the spirit that I wouldn't feel any different from when I recite the First Vision or if Brother Joseph did. It's because the spirit bears powerful witness to me every time I hear it that Joseph really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that same spirit would bear the same witness if the Prophet Joseph were to say it. How grateful I am for the confirming power of the Spirit, so that I know that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw, and that he truly is a prophet of God! He is a prophet of God as much as Abraham, Noah, and Moses, and his predecessors are as much prophets as the same. President Monson is a prophet. We have a prophet of the Lord on the earth today.. a PROPHET! I don't think we really understand what that means. It means we have the power and authority of God to seal families for time and for all eternity. We have the knowledge of who we are, and our relationship to our Heavenly Father. We know where we came from, why we are here and where we are going. It means that the heavens are opened, and revelation is flowing to the earth! A prophet; an actual, real, prophet of God is on the earth. What a great blessing!!
And the Book of Mormon stands center stage of the truthfulness of prophets, the authority, and the Church itself. I love the Book of Mormon. I have read it's pages. I have prayed about its message. I know it is the word of God. It contains the fullness of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored for our time so we can prepare the world for the second coming of the Savior. The greatest thing to see is to witness people 'try out' the Book of Mormon. When they decide to open it and just begin reading, the spirit comes, and I can see their lives change before our eyes! And that change comes, and is especially apparent, as we meet with people, and they have the Book of Mormon sitting on the table, with cigarette soot or beer drops on the cover. What a great sight! And it is a great sight to see, because it means this person is feeling the power of the Book of Mormon. He is feeling the truthfullness of the doctrines and the spirit is working on him, even though his life isn't exactly in order yet. Of course, we don't promote the Book of Mormon as a coaster or ash tray, but to see the Book of Mormon being applied into the lives of people who really need it is absolutely a miracle; even a marvelous work and a wonder! For everyone does need it. But I can't tell you why. I know why I need it, and it has forever changed me life. Just try it; come and see if it won't absolutely change your life. And sometimes, as I have seen here, it fills a hole in your life that you didn't even know what there.
One of the things I love about Germany is that throughout the day, we hear church bells ringing überall! I don't think I could ever get tired of them! It reminds me of the great religious tradition that has existed here for centuries. I like the churches more than the castles! They are monuments to the Lord, and mean the world to these people (granted, ever one has a little bit of constuction still going on the exterior, just so they don't have to pay taxes on a completed building!...and except the one being converted into an apartment...)
It is fun being a new-language missionary, because I get to learn the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ all over, from the ground up, back to square one. I get to learn how to pray, how to define faith, how to read, how to bear testimony, how the doctrines of the Gospel fit together, how to commit people to read, pray, and attend church, and so on. It actually is a lot of fun, but a lot of work. I know the Lord needed me to get a stronger foundation of the Gospel principles, which I feel is one of the reasons for going on a foreign-speaking mission: He needs me to learn it, from the basics. Herr Raisat: What a joy! He was in the hospital for the last two weeks, so we didn't have any contact with him, but then he called us and we went over. He told us of his time in the hospital and also of a near robbery experience with people taking his 'purse' (I guess he doesn't know that has a female english connotation...). It was a pretty involved story, and pretty exciting from what he said. He said he needed to go to the bathroom, so he stood up and said 'Here is my purse, you can steal it!' HA! It was super funny, just because of his long story and how he was so adamant that no one ever steal anything from him again, and also because of his accent. And he laughed at it too! Then he said 'I am funny, but you are sunny!' And we heard him chuckling down the hall. What great joy Raisat has in his life now because of the Book of Mormon! And we decided to go to the NATO base again and check on the referral. This time we took the correct bus, but got to the entrance to the NATO base, and this official police officer got on, and began checking each seat and each passanger for a visa... well, my visa is still being processed in Frankfurt, so when we explained, he was a little upset, but me copy of the passport was allowed this once, for which we were grateful. But then we realized that last week, me and Elder Mayle REALLY breached security in getting into the NATO base through the forest... So we were grateful everything went as it did, and that we aren't in an international prison or something.. because the NATO base is technicalle British soil... we don't even know if we are allowed to proselyte in Britain! So, needless to say, we won't be returning to the NATO base any time soon... whether on the bus, or from the illegal passage in the forest.... BUT then the story continues when we got lost walking out of the NATO base, trying to get to a small city to get a bus home, so we could get out with out the visa issues. Then we got lost, and ended up outside the Mönchengladbach limits, and had a great time walking through these HUGE fields of yellow flowers and farming fields. After walking west for a long while, we realized we should have been going east, so turned, and a few hours later, we got back to where we needed to, just in time for our appointment! This work is so much fun- every bit of it!! This work is true, Jesus Christ is the Master Planner of it. There is nothing else I would rather be doing for these two years of my life, than representing the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and helping others to come nearer to Him. Have a blessed Easter! And remember: He is Risen! As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?!
All my love and best,
p.s. SISTERGARLICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How exciting!!!!!! Canada. What a great place!!! It's a foreign country, BUT it's English, no chinese food, an you may be able to meet Elder Holland! I am so excited for you! What a great blessing! And You really have no idea how many blessings are about to come into your life. The people of Canada are going to be SO blessed!
Monday, April 11, 2011
What a great and blessed week! The highlight was Guo's baptism and confirmation! It was so great to see him change his life and follow the example of Jesus Christ. I was able to play the piano at the Taufegottesdienst and there was a great Spirit... but there was a definitely different feeling in me before the meeting when the conducting member of the bishopric came to me and confirmed that I was going to be doing the confirmation in church the next day- first time I got that news! I am very glad it was fast Sunday, because I really needed the extra spirit! But with Elder Forsyth helping me with the necessary words the night before, the confirmation and giving of the Holy Ghost completed Guo's entrance through the gate onto the straight and narrow path. I am now more a believer that Heavenly Father understands all languages, even Garlicksprach, as Elder Forsyth puts it, because even though it was definitely far from perfect and sometimes even understandable German, I felt a great feeling afterwards of the Spirit confirming to me that everything was in ordenung. What a great feeling! It was also a great experience, because it was my first time to confirm a person outside of work for the dead in the temple. It truly was a tender mercy from the Lord, and a witness of the miracles and divine help that are always waiting for us; just waiting there for us to ask and to accept them.
But I got some practice with German during church other than the confirmation- we had a man from Austrailian move in to the ward and will be here for a while, and doesn't know a lick of English! So we had to translate for him. Elder Forsyth (with 7 plus years of pre-mission German) did Sunday school and Priesthood, and did it perfectly. He helped pass the sacrament, so I was back with this man, and oh was it fun! Also my first time translating, there was a great feeling involved! It was pretty funny, because many members in the ward speak English as their second language, so during the testimonies, some of them would kind of look back at me and smile, because either I was translating completely wrong or just making stuff up... it was a ball! I got the basic gist of it, and know that my translating in the moment skills will improve as time goes on. And it is also fun to note that most people think I am from Holland! When I first talked with people, either in church or on the street, many asked if I was Hollandish- because of my accent. Apparently I have hard R's and wet CH's, but I take it as a compliment and am so grateful that the Lord is allowing me to develop a native accent... and Holland and Germany are neighbors, so I'm almost there!
We had Zone Conference on Tuesday in Dortmund, and that was a greatly wonderful time! We talked about teaching and how to do it better. President and Sister Ninow are such great people and so down to earth and loving (well, they are from Texas!). It was also great to see some Elders from the MTC that are in the Düsselforf/Dortmund Zones, including Elder Johson! All that we talked about really bolstered us up and gave me some direction for goal planning and revelation on things I need to do and be.
On Thursday I had a companion exchange with our district leader. He cam to Gladbach, and it was up to me to get us around town and visit some people. We had some goals of people to visit, etc., but my secret internal overall goal was to not get lost in the city! Well, my goal was soon broken as we got on bus 23 to go to the NATO base to contact a referral from Salt Lake. Apparently, bus 23 has an alternate route that runs like twice a day, and we happened to get that route, completely unknown to both os us. we kept going and going and going... and then reached the last stop of the route, and had to get out. Good thing we had the map, because we found out that we ended up about 2 miles north of where we wanted to go, and no busses! So we walked it! But we were out in this small farming Dorf with the picture-perfect missionary picture with a long, straight road, huge farming fields on the side and trees lining the way. Too bad we didn't have our cameras! So we walked a while and then reached this huge forest. It was faster to go through it, so that's what we did (Yes, we literally went Into the Woods... good thing we went out of the woods and got home before dark!), following some paths and trails. So we walked through the woods and actually were able to contact people along the trail! I still wonder what these people thought, about why these missionaries would be trying to talk about faith in Jesus Christ in the middle of the forest.. missions are so much fun! Then we came up to the back of the NATO base and saw the barracks and barbed wire fences and military vehicles (It felt like we had found the LOST bunkers........so that added to our excitement...and anxiety). As we got closer we had the thought that perhaps the trail would end and we would have to walk all the way back or all the way around the base. Then we thought about what the people in the buildings would think if they looked out and saw us.. 'What are these two young men wearing suits and carrying these side bags doing walking out of the forest and around the base??' Then we prayed real intently in our hearts that they wouldn't think we were trying to do anything horrible to the place, and we found a road that led into the base and all was good. The referral contact was not at home, but the adventure was still worth it! 1- I learned that we can contact people and bear witness of Jesus Christ at any time and at any place, even in a forest. 2- Attitude and optimism are key for any kind of success or progress. 3- This area of Germany is more beautiful than I thought before!
We have had a great opportunity to teach and meet with Antonia and Jürgen- they are so ready to come into the Church, but as we came to their house yesterday, we caught them in the middle of a relationship dispute (and a pretty big one). But they still wanted to meet with us, so we came in and after prayer, and some waiting for tears to dry and stories explained, we read from the Book of Mormon. My testimony of the peace and comfort the Book of Mormon brings has been exponentially increased. Over the course of our reading and discussing, they scooted closer to each other, and the Spirit greatly came into the home. We also gave Jürgen a blessing because of some serious health issues that have come up recently. We testified of the healing and helping power of Jesus Christ and gave them a picture to keep on the wall so they can always remember Him and feel His influence. Antonia always says it, but this day was even more special, when she said that we are angels sent from God to her and them, and feels we are her sons. She was actually about to leave right when we got there, her backs packed and by the door. Elder Forsyth and I really felt the love for these two, and felt their sorrow and desire for things to be right. Then we felt the divine assistance that literally flooded the room, and the uplifting and positive atmosphere that stayed. One of the most touching things was later that night, they called us and thanked us for visiting and that everything was in ordenung und updated us on some things they were working on. She started by saying 'Liebe Kinder!' So we now have an Italian mother who loves to cook for us! But even more important, we have a special bond with these two. The days of miracles have absolutely NOT ceased, and angels are still ministering unto the children of men... just sometimes, people see these angels in us. Let us be better at being ministering angels to those around us, and helping them to come closer to Christ.
President Uchtdorf said in conference that we need to be better at preaching the Gospel, and if necessary, use words to do so. This was shown to us as we got on the bus after meeting with Antonia and Jürgen, and over the course of the bus ride, literally everybody on that bus turned and looked at us, or smiled at us, and most couldn't help but keeping their gaye in our direction. It was absolutely not us, but the great spirit they felt as we brought with us the healing and comforting power of the spirit with us onto that bus- their spirits recognized it, and I know many of them longed to have it back as they went through their day. And that is why it is so important to always have His spirit with us. People notice. For most, they want it, but are not quite sure what 'it' is. That is why we have been placing more emphasis on sharing the Book of Mormon, because 'it' is in the Book of Mormon. We have found that when we show the Book of Mormon to those we talk about, the simple spirit of the Book and the doctrines contained flow out of it, and they accept it- whether it be a Deutsch or Spanish or Russian or Turkish copy.. all of which we have had the privilege of sharing with the wonderful people of Mönchengladbach.
What a great work this is! It truly is a miracle...every bit of it! Let us all be more sensitive to the Spirit and do better and acting on those promptings, for as President Monson has said, it is in the doing, not the dreaming that lives are blessed, memories are made, and Heaven is brought closer to hand.
Thank you for your prayers, love and support. It truly means the world, even though we are all half a world away.
All my best and love,
Monday, April 4, 2011
It's already been another week?! Wow, and what a week it was!
Herr Raisat has made some amazing progress, which is a great blessing from the Lord- he was only drinking water when we came over last! We were so excited! He kind of goes in and out of accepting the message and calling us brain-washed or false. But he is so much fun to talk to! We went over on Saturday, and he said he didn't want to talk at all about religion... so we slowly threw in a principle here and a doctrine there... and by the end we were reading from the Book of Mormon and having full-out gospel discussion! Before, he has been real broad with the messages we share and the commitments we give... meaning he says he'll read and that he likes the Book of Mormon. But at the end of this lesson, we really could see a change in him. The Spirit was so strong and he said he needs some time to read and to find out if what we are saying is true. And that is the wonderful thing about this Gospel- the Lord lets us take our time and experience things to build our testimonies. We are learning patience as we are teaching Herr Raisat, but more importantly, he is learning to trust the Lord and go straight to the source.
Herr Reiner decided for April 23 for his baptism!! It is so exciting! He needs to keeps working on stopping to smoke, which we know he will be able to do. We asked him if he had any family or friends that we could share the Gospel with, and he thought for a moment, and said "All the people out there on the street- they all need it!" What a perfect answer! All the people here really do need the Gospel of Jesus Christ- and it is tough when we street contact and people say they don't have time or that they have no interest or that they already have their faith and that is all. It is disheartening, but it just shows that they are not yet ready for the commitment of being a Latter-day Saint. Like President Packer said in conference, it is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint! So we don't get discouraged and we go on to the next person, finding the people that are ready to accept the Gospel. And that's the fun part! Asking, Seeking, and Knocking... who knew that gospel principle explained so often in the scriptures can have a great application for missionary work?! I love it- All we have to do is ask people and invite them to come unto Christ, we have to seek out the ready, always following the Spirit, and sometimes we have to go knocking, or klingeling, on some doors, and when it is opened, the Spirit testifies that this message is true. I love this work!
But sometimes, the people that are ready come to us; like Antonia. We were wakling down the street and heard "Die Mormonen!" Elder Forsyth and I looked at each other and turned around and walked back to this woman and her boyfriend. She was a previous investigator from a neighboring city and was so happy to see us! She talked about how much she admired us for what we were doing and how she noticed some things in her church that just couldn't be correct or flat out wrong. She said she feels like we are her sons and that we should call her Mama--her family is from Italy-- and this was all on the street in the initial contact! So we got their contact information and have been by twice to help them unpack and get some furniture put together. They love us! And we love them! Antonia says that after they get the house cleaned up, then she will cook and great big meal and we can talk all about the Book of Mormon and the Gospel. Elder Forsyth and I feel so great about these two, and were so grateful for their excitement when we gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon and made return appointments. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Absolutely amazing!
But I was talking with Elder Forsyth about how I feel kind of bad... we feel like we really haven't done a whole lot, and the Lord is blessing us so much! It is humbling to be on the receiving end of so many great blessings and tender mercies. I know that God loves His missionaries and wants us to feel that love, so He shows it- all day, every day, in the sun and in the rain.
So it's only rained really two days since being here; and we were biking in both! What great fun! It truly is a thrill to bike in the rain, singing Called to Serve auf Deutsch! And mom, the coat is fantastic! Everything a great coat should be; warm when it needs to be, keeps the water out when it rains, and Makell will be glad to know that is very stylish! I really do love that coat! And it is a little bit like the Gospel; it is everything we need it to be, right when we need it.
And we always need food... remember in the Old Testament when the Children of Israel received Manna from Heaven every morning to gather? Well I decided that they must have wandered up to Germany during those 40 years, because the food here is manna from Heaven!! The greatest is the bread with meats and cheese... so fantastic! And they aren't very filling, so we can eat a lot of them! We went to an older Sister's house for a lesson, and she made some cake. Now, the desserts here aren't too sweet, but it was all compensated when I could taste all the butter in this frosting.. Alison, you would die! It was so fantastic! After the second large piece, I was feeling pretty sick... but it was SO worth it! Now, along with the law of opposition in all things, there is mineral water. It is very... cleansing. That is all.
General Konferenz!! What an amazing weekend! We had the Saturday morning session-live- and 6pm on Saturday, the Priesthood session at 10am on Sunday, Saturday evening session at 2pm, and the Sunday morning session-live- at 6pm Sunday... so I will need to watch the Sunday afternoon session sometime! They had it in English and German, so we watched it all in English, except for the last session, when we had an investigator with us... then we watched it in German. That was fun! I definitely didn't have all the notes that I normally do, but it was great to see how much I could understand and get the basic gist of the topic. My favorite talk was Elder Anderson in Priesthood. If we are allowed to have favorite Apostles, he is definitely mine! I love how powerful his testimony is of Jesus Christ. I loved his thoughts on missionary work and on preparing the world for the Second Coming. Fantastic! I also really liked President Uchtdorf's Priesthood session talk, and having the "Do-it" switch always in the "now" position! I made a pretty good list of things I need to "Be More" of and "Do Better" at. And I look forward to working on those to become a disciple of Christ, who has been called to preach His Gospel to the wonderful people of Mönchengladbach, that they might have eternal life. Sollen wir in einer so großen Sache nicht vorwärtsgehen? Geht vorwärts und nicht rückwärts! Mut...und auf, auf zum Sieg!
God lives. His hand is stretched out still, especially to the wonderful people here in Germany. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This work is His and it is an eternal work; eternally rewarding, eternally satisfying, and eternally significant. This work is work, but it is so much fun! So much fun!
With much love and all my best,