Liebe Familie und Freunde,
I have always heard from returned missionaries about how fast the time goes on a mission. And I always believed them... partly. In my mind, I thought "How could 2 years feel like they go by faster than eny other two years?" And I thought of two years of high school and how long it took to go through those...mercy! But then I actually came out here to Germany, and am serving the Lord every day, and time does not even exist! Well, it exists, but in a very strange way: yesterday seems like months ago, but my first day here seems and feels like yesterday. This week is June, next week we find out where we are tranferring, and then we get our new mission president, and it's almost Christms! ...yes, I have begun to sing Christmas songs... It is truly amazing how time just flies by. That's probably why Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook put such an emphasis on time, and how it is our most precious resource, and how there is no time to waste time. I am beginning to see that now. The scriptures always say how Christ is coming "on the morrow" or "tomorrow I come" und so weiter. It's true! It's about time we used our time to the best that we can, in the way the Lord wants us to use it. For the time is almost here where how we have used our time will be accounted for. Elder Christofferson said, quoting Elder Richard L. Evans, that "Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will....Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing." I like that! It is especially pertenant to missionaries, as we really don't have a lot of time... 6, maybe 12, weeks in a city, with people to teach and invite to come to Christ, then on to others, and before time is up, we are back home continuing with school. That is why member missionary work is SO important- time is less of a factor. Members are always there, and when the missionaries help the members with their missionary work, and not the other way around, Zion can truly be established. For the members will make sure that the new members are of one heart and mind with them, they are not poor physically or spiritualls and dwell with them in righteousness. I fear sometimes that when missionaries bring people into the church, they go immediately inactive, because the missionaries leave, and so do the feelings of support, belonging, and friendship. But all these things need to be attended to sith much earnestness, for the time of Christ's coming is truly coming nearer each day. And all of us together, do the little things we can each day, help to prepare the world for that majestic event. President Ninow taught at our last Zone Konferenz that the best missionaries, and let me say 'Latter-day Saints', aren't the ones that can do the big things often- baptisms, re-activate families, set up a service program to eliminate hunger- but the best and most effective missionaries/Latter-day Saints are the ones that can master doing the little things consistently and well, for the duration of their mission/lives. That's what I am really focusing on. For small and simple things really do bring great things to pass!
And we have seen that this week. Our efforts were "small" last week, but consistent and heart-felt. In the middle of the week, we weren't quite sure what the end result of the week would look like, from an investigator standpoint. We truly were amazed! Rainer, Yvette, Br. Stephania and Roza (our gypsi couple), Martin, Br. Gahsi (who is working with a ward member to get a job!!!), and Rosa are all progressing and every one is within a few months of becoming members of the Church of Jesus Christ! Seven! The Lord is blessing this work so much! I don't know what we have done to deserve these great blessings, but I am so grateful for each of these individuals and their desires to repent and come unto Christ, and take upon them the commitment to serve Him for the rest of their lives. This is going to be a powerful and monumental Summer for Mönchengladbach! But this is just the beginning! Every ward and branch in Europe read a letter from the Area Presidency on Sunday about the focus of the June fast and every Sunday thereafter to be for growing the church here. Each family is asked to bring a friend, less active, a family und so weiter each Sunday in June to church. In the letter they said 'We are convinced and testify that it is time that the church in the Europe area grows". Just imagine what can happen... if each family in Europe brought one person to church for each Sunday in June, the work would exponentially increase- and not just because of more people coming to church. These individuals would see, feel, and know the goodness and truthfulness of Jesus Christ's Church and Gospel. They will recognize the feelings and teachings, for they learned them in our pre-mortal life. And miracles will happen. And joy will be full. And salvation will be offered to more children of our Father than ever before. This is going to be a powerful and monumnetal Sommer for Germany and all of Europe! It is so exciting to be serving here at this time, when the people are ready, when the Lord's promises are being fulfilled, and when the work of the Master is going forth "boldly, nobly and independent", penetrating ever continent, visiting every country, and sounding in every ear. It is true that no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing, egal the persecutions and efforts of men. For it is His work, and will be done in His way, with His timing, and with His power. That's why I am focusing my efforts to use my time and the Priesthood Power He has given me in the way He needs me to. What an exciting time to be a missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ!
Today is Memorial Day in America, and I am so grateful for those who have given their lives so that we might be able to enjoy freedoms, especially the freedom of religion. They did acts of service for us that we couldn't do for ourselves, but those that if were not done would eliminate all thoughts and opportunities for freedom. Thank you to all the service men and women who we remember this day. I think they and their families understand a little more than others about the Atonement and how important that was.
I am so grateful that I printed off picture of our family and put them in my wallet! It is always fun for me to look at them and remember all the good times we had together! But it is also a great blessing to many of our investigators. I will bring my wallet out and ask if I had alread shown them a picture of my family. I do so, and every time, they are SO excited!! They just light up with the biggest smiles! I am to pass on "schöne Grüßen" from Rainer and Maja :-) They love you, really! And their testimonies of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, and families, has been strengthened just because of a picture of our family. There is something very real and noticeable about the Light of Christ, noticeable even in a still picture. It is in all things and is that which gives all things life. The other day we were walking down the street, and this woman came up and asked us if we "had a light", referring to a cigarette lighter. We said no, and she walked away. A few seconds later, I was hoping I could re-do that whole scenario- We do have a light to give! Well, more of a way for each individual to find the light and recognize it in their own lives. That is what bring people to Christ- their internal, God-given, senses that recognize good from evil and respond positively to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This woman could have benefited from a light that won't go out, from a light that gives life and doesn't fuels a cigarette. For "He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death." Mosiah 16:9. What a statement, that Jesus Christ is One that is endless, can never be darkened, gives eternal life, and one without death. Is that true? Can there really be one individual that can offer that to every person who has been, is, and will live on the earth? Is it possible for one individual to claim to offer all that to all of us? I testify and bear witness that Jesus Christ is the actual Son of the Living Father. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He is the One who offers us life, but not just any life, a more abundant life; one that doesn't end or become dark, a life which is eternal and full of progress, and a life that is full of joy, peace, and hope; for that is who He is.
It's true. Every bit of it. From modern-day prophets to eternal families. From Priesthood Power to the gift of the Holy Ghost. From the Atonement to the Sacrament. From joy to eternal perspective. From Heavenly Father to eternal potential. From forgiveness to prayers. From the Book of Mormon to the Prophet Joseph Smith. I testify that it is true. Every single bit of it. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be spending two years of my life furthering a cause that wasn't worth anything. But it is. It is worth everything. Every bit of it.
Enjoy this week! There is absolutely nothing that cannot be enjoyed, for that is our purpose here on this earth, "...and men are that they might have joy". The sky is always blue, no matter how thick the layer of clouds. Remember who you are, remember the promises of who you can become.
All my love and best,
"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Doctrine and Covenants 128:22