"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20)

Monday, May 2, 2011

'Tis a Simple Gift to Be

Liebe Familie und Freunde:
This week ended the first transfer cycle! What a great six weeks it has been- new investigators, progressing investigators, and helping people develop faith in Jesus Christ- what better cause can we be involved in?! Transfer calls came Saturday night, and both Elder Forsyth and I are staying in Mönchengladbach, and he is the new district leader! We are very excited for this next transfer cycle, and look forward to seeing what miracles the Lord is waiting for us to uncover!

This week, we were able to set a baptism date with Herr Gashi. He is from Albania, but speaks very good German. He met with the missionaries several years ago, and loved the Book of Mormon. He wanted one in Albanian, so he called the office in Frankfurt, and they called us. When we met with him, he said he loved the Book and wanted to be a member of whatever religion it was that promotes it. He is such an amazing person! He is so willing to learn and is understanding and accepting more and more. He actually gave his copies of the Book of Mormon away to his friends, so we brought him some more! He was in church yesterday, and loved it! The Lord is truly blessing this work- for it is His!

On the topic of amazing people, Brother Fowler became a member in 2004 and is such an amazing help to us- he said he promised the Lord that he would never say 'No' when we asked him to come teach with us. He also likes taking us to eat and shopping- for which we are very appreciative! Also, he is a verxy serious chess-player. We were at his house for lunch this week and he showed us some of his chess books... hundreds of them! I had no idea that there was a science to chess- theory books and methods, procedure and strategy...and it basically has it's own language. That is probably why I have never been too good at playing chess! He memorizes and learns games of the best chess players in the world, and he has become one of the best in Europe. So I asked him if he wanted to see how fast he could beat me... so we played, and I was 'check-mated' in about 5 moves... incredible! And then he set the board back, and replayed every single move we did and analyzed it, saying what I should have done and strategy to get out and so forth... it totally blew my mind away! That's kind of the way it is with us. Heavenly Father knows each and every move we make in life, and is willing to help us with the strategy and method to come out victorious. Granted, we don't have to study hundreds of strategy books to become masters of a foreign languages. All we need to master is how to follow the proptings of the Master, and He will guide every move we make. That's the language of the Spirit- as my German becomes more fluent, so does my fluency in the Spirit- there is absolutely a strong correllation between the two!

So this week is Mother's Day! With that, I have been thinking a lot about my wonderful mother, and I am so excited to talk on Sunday! I do not doubt, my mother knows it: she knows that Jesus is the Christ, she knows that faith and prayer bring hope and miracles, she knows that families can be together forever, and she knows how to follow the Spirit. Thanks, mom- your example truly blesses my life every day. And of course I think of my wonderful grandmothers- the other day I was listening to my Mormon Tabernacle Choir music and the song 'I Often Go Walking in Meadows of Clover' came on, and it made me really appreciate my grandmothers. This song, talking about the beauties of nature, made me reflect on how my grandmothers have shown me how to appreciate nature- the flowers and the trees, and the grass and the water. "I learned how to love them, dear Grandma, from you." So, thanks to my Grandmothers, for teaching me to appreciate the beautiful creations of this earth!

And with these feelings of appreciation, I feel so greatly blessed! The blessings are gifts from God, and it really is a gift to be here on the earth at this time, with knowledge about eternal families, with the peace and strength that the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives, and with the assurance that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. "Tis a gift to be joyful, tis a gift to be free. Tis a gift, tis a gift, tis a simple gift to be." It truly is a simple gift, so mercifully given to us by our Father, to be here, to be in families, to simply be.

I am so grateful to be a missionary- a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. And the greatest thing is that people notice! It is fun to see how many people look at us when we walk down the Fußganger Zone or get on a bus. The best is when we are walking and people give the non-subtle "nametag stare" where their heads extend a little bit and their eyebrows furrow a bit- and they don't even try to hide the fact that they are staring at our nametags trying to figure out what is is about us. I love it, because it shows they feel something different. Their spirits are connected to ours- to Christ and the Church and the truth- they just don't know it yet. It shows in the curiosity to do a nametag stare. They feel something different and they like it. It is so true that so many people are looking for the truth, but they just don't know where to find it. And many, when they do find it, realize that it is filling a hole they didn't even know they had. So nametag stares are good- it shows that spirits are connecting, to further prepare that person to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ lives! His Father is our Father too. Our Father created us and gave us the blessing, gift, and privilege to be; and not just to be, but to enjoy being!
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

As Always,

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