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!