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,