Liebe Familie und Freunde!
I love the time I get to spend each week writing to you! This week the mission leaders had training on Monday and Tuesday, so I get to write today, and then this coming Monday as normal. What a blessing to write two times so close together!
The work has been going well here, but just in a different way than the last few weeks. Antonia and Jürgen have had some real difficulties in their relationship and in life with places to live, jobs, and cars. Antonia decided to stay and live in Solingen, which is definitely a wise choice. We gave her information to the Elders in Solingen, but neither they or us have been able to get in contact with her. Jürgen pulled up out of a low rut he was in, but a couple of days later, he texted us and said that he didn't want anything to do with us anymore. We pray that as things settle down, that he will remember the times we met and read and prayed together. There is power in remembering; that's one reason I believe the prophets in the Bible and Book of Mormon recount stories and events from other prophets so much. Remembering the past gives strength for the future. Simple as that! That strength comes, most often, in the form of Hope. It is the idea that the Lord has done so great and marvelous things before, that why wouldn't he do so now and in the future? He truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He freed the Israelites from bondage, he led them through the Red Sea, He provided manna for them in the wilderness, he allowed them to triumph over their enemies and inherit the land of promise: these events gave Nephi and his family strength to leave Jerusalem and travel in the wilderness, only to come to the ocean and have to build a ship to cross it. Through their faith and the hope gained be remembering their Fathers with Moses, they were able to do so and sail accross the sea and settle into Central America, and the rest of the civilizations of the Book of Mormon came forth.
"Now ye know that the children of Israel were in bondage; and ye know that they were laden with tasks, which were grievous to be borne; wherefore, ye know that it must needs be a good thing for them, that they should be brought out of bondage. Now ye know that Moses was commanded of the Lord to do that great work; and ye know that by his word the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither, and they passed through on dry ground....And ye also know that they were fed with manna in the wilderness.Yea, and ye also know that Moses, by his word according to the power of God which was in him, smote the rock, and there came forth water, that the children of Israel might quench their thirst....If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?" (1 Nephi 17: 25-51)
I love this scripture! Remembering brings strength, power, and hope. I think that is why it is so important that one of the covenants we make at baptism is to always remember Jesus Christ. For in the remembering of His love, His Atonement, His death and resurrection, and the promises and prophecies of His Second Coming, I feel a hope of better things to come, and power and strength to perservere and endure what terrible things are happening in the world. President Monson has said "Fear not; Be of Good Cheer. The Future is as bright as your faith." And that faith is greatly strengthened by remembering the mercies and miracles of the Lord in the past, giving assurance that He will be there just the same in the future. Jürgen will remember. I know he will.
Herr Gashi is still in a difficult situation without a job. His baptism date is 28.Mai and he really wants it to work out. From our first lesson with him, he said that he was given the Book of Mormon a few years ago, read through it, and wants to be a member of whichever religion has it. And that is still his intention. He loves the Book of Mormon. He love the purity and simpleness of the doctrine of Jesus Christ found in it. He loves the adventure of the prophets and the groups of people as the account of their wars and history are given. He loves the account of Joseph Smith and can feel the power and truthfullness of it as we talk about the First Vision, the appearances of Moroni and other messangers. He loves it because his Spirit remembers it. He learned all this in the pre-earth life. His spirit has remembered the truthfulness of it all, and wants it. We are praying and hoping that he finds a job. He has such a good heart, and knows that if it puts his family in danger, than he won't be allowed to be baptized. So we hope. We have faith. And we smile.
The biggest change between this transfer cycle and last, is that Elder Forsyth is our District Leader. That means he goes on companion exchanges with all the elders in our District (6 others).. and that means I go on exchanges with the other one! I love companion exchanges! This last week, we went on three! I stayed in Mönchengladbach all three times, so that really helped me to solidify my knowledge and understanding of this city! But the over-arching thing I took away from these exchanges is this: As long as you are obedient, there is no one right way to do missionary work. From working with 6 other elders, I have found 6 different ways of doing the same work: and guess what? They all work! It is truly a blessing to learn from so many great missionaries and work on becomming a better servant of God myself. Obedience is so important. Following the commandments is one way that we are obedient. We are also obedient as we follow promtings from the Holy Spirit, recognize a need and help to fill it, and love others. "If you love me, keep my commandments." We love Him, so we are obedient. And as we are obedient, we receive the blessings. Therefore allowing us to help others more, increasing our love for them, allthewhile increasing our love for the Savior. I like that!
This last Training Meeting exchange was especially fun, because some elders were late at meeting in Düsseldorf, so we had to go to Duisburg and meet up. So I got off the train with my exchange companion and walked down the Gleiss. Then I felt my pocket and realized I didn't have the cell phone! So we ran back on the train, got the phone and went to the door. The lady at the door couldn't open it, because the train was leaving, so we had to stay on... without tickets... but she was super nice and let us get off in Essen without buying a ticket or paying a fine. So now these two very new Missionaries are alone in Essen! It was a lot of fun! We eventually got back to Düsseldorf and met the other missionaries and were able to get back to Gladbach without getting lost in any other large city- Every day is just so much fun!!
We have heard a lot about the prophecies for Germany and the growth of the Church over here recently: "Germany will be the next Brazil," "Temples will dot the Rhine, and there will be hundreds of stakes and thousands of wards," und so weiter. Well, I think it's about time these prophecies are fulfilled! Please pray for the people here in Germany- pray that we will find the elect that are ready to accept the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and live by it's teachings, pray that people will be accepting of the truths that they already learned as Spirits in the presence of the Father in the Pre-Earth life, and pray that they will feel the Love of God and want to find out how they can have it more. And that's the message and purpose for missionary work: Remind those of truths they already know, teach how to use and apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in life, and to allow everyone the opportunity to feel the Love of God in a greater measure. In our efforts to fulfill these prophecies from prophets of God, we have increased our efforts in talking to people. On the way back from Düsseldorf, we talked to this woman who had great interest in the message of the Gospel and Plan of Salvation. We got her address and came the next day to bring her a Book of Mormon. We biked through the rain, which was a lot of fun!, and got to her door. The first few floors were a Catholic Indian Nun Convent, and she apparently lived on on of the upper floors. We klingled, but nothing happened. We came back a little bit later, and klingled, and this nun answered the door... we weren't exactly sure what to do... whether to start talking and teaching and testifying, or just ask if Simbolon was in the building. She said she didn't know her, and said good bye... we were walking away, and Elder Forsyth said, "Um, I think your contact is a nun...I don't even know if we are allowed to teach nuns...at a convent..." It was so funny! We decided to come back some other time and contact Simbolon. This work is so much fun! It is not hard, it is not difficult, for it is the Lord's. If it was up to us to do this work, then it would be the most difficult and greuling thing anyone could do; but it's not. The Lord puts people in our way, those who are ready, we talk to them, teach them, and prepare them to make and keep sacred covenants. And even if we are unable to contact one of those, like Simbolon, it is still so rewarding, and overall... fun! Keep us in your prayers, keep these people in your prayers, and let's all do a little more to help the Lord in peparing the world for His triumphant and majestic return!
Jesus of Nazareth, Jehovah, the Messiah, Christ, The Lamb of God: many names belong to Him who was born in a humble stable in Bethlehem, and walked the streets of Gallilee and Jerusalem and on top of the water; He who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead; He who suffered everything for everybody, and gave Himself as a sacrifice so that we might live and have life more abundantly; He whose name has been praised by the hosts of Heaven and the multitudes of people as He, as a resurrected Being, appeared to the Apostles in Jerusalem and to the people of the American Continent. Many names belong to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, whithout whom there is no hope, no peace, no joy, no eternal salvation. Praise, honor, and glory be to Him whose name we take upon ourselves at the waters of baptism and commit to serve our whole lives through. How great He is and how blessed I am to serve Him; He whose name is the name of His Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and who is its cornerstone and sits at its head. He lives- all glory to His name! Let us never take it in vain, trample it under our feet, or not be appreciative for it. Let us always hold in respect the name of Him who did all He did to fulfill the will of the Father, and allow us the chance to be heirs of all that the Father has to offer.
This work is amazing, fantastic, and wonderful. It is truly the only work on earth that affects both past, present, and future generations of families and individuals, for the eternities to come. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?!
All my love and best,
Thank you for the package! Es war wirchlich wunderbar, um Amerikanishe Shockolade zu essen...und auch euer Liebe zu spüren!