"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, April 16, 2012

...And it just keeps getting better!

Liebe Familie und Freunde:

...and it just keeps getting better! Amo was baptized last night! It was such a great evening! I remember back to the first day we met Amo- he found the sisters back in November and we have been working with him since. He truly has changed. He still has his fun personality, but he knows this gospel is true, and he has changed over the last 5 months. In November, he didn't want to join the church until he got some things in order with his house and Syrian refugee status, etc. and was without hope in life. Last week, he taught a lesson with the sisters, to a woman who is in a similar situation as Amo, and he testified of hope and how the gospel can change you, and how when we trust in the Lord and work as hard as we can, things work out. Amo is awesome! He wants to serve a mission! I wonder when the middle east will be open for missionary work... he will be such a great missionary! He has a lot of friends and family who are in the same situation as him, and he wants to teach them the gospel, give them a Book of Mormon and bring them to church. He was a Christian growing up in Syria, in a small denomination that speaks Kurdish. He has moved around a lot, and can now speak Turkish, Russian, German, and English, too! I have really come to love the people from the Middle East. They are so centered on the family and basic ideals of love and morality and service. And the work goes on!

This week came the Family Gürlet back from their month long vacation with his family to Brazil. She is a member and from Brazil, but has had a hard time coming to church. He come to church nearly every week, and has been waiting for the right time to be baptized. They were all at church yesterday! He told me that he wants to meet with us this week and set a date for his baptism before summer! ...and it just keeps getting better!

Bertram Maus is so close to baptism as well! Everyone in the ward loves him and always asks us when he is getting beptized and becomes an official member of the church- he is basically a member right now! He even pays fast offerings! Elder Sheppard was down for the baptism yesterday and talked to him about baptism, and said "So, Br. Maus, I heard you are super close to being baptized!" Don't worry, we can be that open and direct with him! Br. Maus responded "Yeah, I'm almost there!" Br. Maus saying this is a big deal! ...and it just keeps getting better!

We taught Suellen with the sisters this week about the Plan of Salvation. It was different from every other time we have taught Suellen. She was focused and rivited on what we were saying and about what we were testifying. She felt the spirit of all the parts of the Plan of Salvation, feeling comforted knowing who she is, why she is here, and where she is going. At church yesterday, we watched the German Übertragung of the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference, and all those talks were just perfect for her! After the meeting, we were preparing for Amo's Baptism, and she said, "Well, maye I will just jump in the water with him tonight and be baptized, too!" She is right on her way! ...and it just jeeps getting better!

I love all these people so much! It is such a blessing to get to know them and share my testimony with them. Any learning they do won't be because of anything we could say or read. All that learning comes from the Spirit. We just testify and invite them to do those things that will develop a testimony- incubate it until they can say for themselves, "I know Jesus Christ lives. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true." It is so neat to see this development and change in them. I feel it in myself, too, every day we meet and teach and testify. Yesterday, someone asked me how many people I have converted since being here in Germany. I smiled, and I replied with "No one, I have just been blessed to help many come closer to Christ and prepare for baptism." That's true, but not comletely. I have converted someone out here- Myself. I know better today than I did a year and a half ago, that Jesus Christ lives, that His atonement changes us. I know better today that God has again called prophets to lead us and direct us, Joseph Smith down to President Monson. I know with more surety today that the Book of Mormon is true and the word of God, and also that we need both the Bible and the Book of Mormon to know the full truth. I know the Church of Jesus Christ is again on the earth- set up for us to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to become more like Him, whose name this chruch bears. I am more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His church than ever before. I guess a big part of that is seeing it in action- seeing people change, seeing a ward rally together to help and serve, to see the miracles and blessings every day that the Lord gives us. And it all began with a prayer of faith. And, in all honesty, the best is yet to come!

I sure love you all! Keep on keeping on!

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