Natalie's Week 10…..Teaching Queen….yep, her name is really Queen!
Grüßle von Göppingen! Liebe Familie und Freunde, Wow, so much has happened in the past five days since I last wrote that it seems like it's been two weeks! For starters, Wednesday was awesome. Sister Clark and I had the opportunity to go to Burg Hohenzollern with our recent convert, Sister Hausmann. The drive down south to Tübingen was beautiful; the landscaping here of Southwest Germany is breathtaking. The green rolling hills and wide open fields and meticulous farms and little dorfs (villages) scattered throughout has given this area of Germany it's quintessential charm. Burg Hohenzollern is built up on a big hill looking over the valley--truly majestic and breathtaking!! Not quite as stunning of an exterior as Neuschwanstein, Burg Hohenzollern is still very beautiful and almost elegant. It actually kind of reminds me of Hogwarts in Harry Potter. It was wonderful being able to do the tour (we did the German one and understood it!) and see the inside. It is simple but really pretty -- a wonderful example of the Prussian royal palace. Had it been allowed I would've taken pictures of the interior. A little bit of nostalgia hit as we did the tour: seems like yesterday I was at Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee with Mom and Dad!! As we were doing the tour a guy came up to me and Sister Clark. He's from Idaho, but lives in AF! He served his mission in the Ukraine and is in Germany for some jump-roping camp of some sort for youth. It was really neat talking with an American member of the Church; definitely something you don't get to experience every day out here in Göppingen. It's always nice to be recognized as a member of the Church, no matter where you are in the world. (Granted I think the nametags helped a little bit…)
Thursday.....well. As you can see the title of my email, we set a baptismal date with our investigator Destiny!!! Our lesson Thursday evening was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. Sister Clark and I have been praying to figure out what we could teach Destiny that would help the Gospel 'click' for him, and as we taught about the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, Destiny had a lot of questions about eternal life and living with God again. At the end of the lesson, Sister Clark and I both shared our testimonies of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how being baptized with the right authority and by the laying on of hands being given the gift of the Holy Ghost has changed our lives and been a source of great peace of comfort. After a moment of silence I turned to Destiny and asked, 'Destiny? Will you be baptized?' The invitation has been extended every time we've met, and every time he said he didn't know and wasn't ready. This time, after a moment of silence, anticipating a completely different reaction, Destiny smiled really big and quietly said, 'Yes. I would like that.' We were THRILLED! In my excitement, I turned to him again and said, 'So, will you be baptized?' Destiny laughed and said (in his really thick African accent) 'Sister Motto, you heard me. I said yes!' We have set his baptismal date for August 31. We are so happy for Destiny! I know prayers of strength and faith in his behalf will really help him avoid temptation as he prepares to be baptized. We are hopeful that one day Destiny can return to his native Africa and build up the kingdom of God there.
Saturday we met with our new investigator, Queen..yes, her name is really Queen. We met Queen last Sunday when she came to church with her member friend Sarah. Queen is also from Nigeria, and is living with Sarah with her two kids to avoid persecution from her abusive husband. She is a very neat lady and is incredibly receptive to everything we teach her. We read out of 2 Nephi 25, and read verse 26. We talked with Queen about who we are as missionaries, and gave the lesson of the First Vision. Queen was incredibly intent, and after we closed she asked 'Where can I have that book?' We told her we brought that particular copy for her, and she excitedly took it and told us she would begin reading that day. About three minutes later as we were talking with Sarah, Queen said, 'I want to be baptized into this Church.' At first confused but nontheless excited, we talked with Queen about how we were very pleased with her desire, and if we could continuet teaching her we would love to set a date for her baptism. Queen is a honest and enthusiastic example of those indivudals we seek to find: completely prepared, humble, and ready to follow their Savior Jesus Christ. We have another appointment with Queen on Saturday, and I will let you know how it goes!
Saturday evening we met with Ainhoa and her family. Our last visit we gave her her very own copy of the Book of Mormon and a personalized bookmark. This lesson Ainhoa showed us that she has been marking whenever it talks about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, being obedient, and so forth, in 1 Nephi. She was so excited to tell us she read the whole first chapter, all in German! (Ainhoa is bilingual and speaks Spanish with her mom and German with everyone else). We enjoy teaching her in German because she is very forgiving of our grammar but also corrects the mistakes we make. Such a cute 10 year old girl!
We talked about the Plan of Salvation and how it blesses our lives. Sister Clark and I even made visuals to help our cute 10 year old understand the Plan of Salvation. Ainhoa has earlier expressed a desire to join the Catholic church just like her friends, because she likes the concept of being able to feel God close to her. We talked a little about recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit was very heavy, but not in an uncomfortable way. As the golden, it's my job to extend the invitation of baptism. So I did! I asked Ainhoa if she wanted to be baptized, to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to have the gift of the Holy Ghost, so she and her family can live together forever? Ainhoa looked at me with her darling big brown eyes and whispered 'yes!' Ainhoa, too, will be getting baptized on the 31 of August. We are so excited for this sweet little girl to make such a big step!! I know prayers in her behalf, as well, will bless her family and Ainhoa as she prepares to get baptized.
We had so much success this past week here in Göppingen. We had THIRTEEN LESSONS. That's more than we had all my first transfer!! I can testify that the prayers in our behalf are being felt and the blessings thereof are coming to pass. Our prayers that our members would know how to work with us are finally being answered, as our ward gives us referrals and prays and fasts in our behalf. We are so grateful to be 'on fire' and to be simply power tools in the Lord's hands here in Göppingen. We are so lucky to be a part of the 'Taufgartt'/Stuttgart zone! Right now we are the most successful in our whole mission!! :)
On a different note, my prayers and thoughts go out to my beloved 21st ward members, particularly Sister Glenn and Grandma June, at this hard time with Brother Glenn's passing. He will be dearly missed, but what a magnificent example he is for all of us to follow! I know I'm thousands of miles away, but my heart is with everyone in my ward family at this time. I pray for you all, and know that I love you!
Congratulations to Alex Opfar and Tori on their weddings!! :) I am so happy for them!!!
Sending my love across the mountains, plains, and seas. Missionary work is the best, gel? (There's some Schwäbisch for you. Many people say 'gel' instead of 'oder' here in Schwabland.)
Thanks again for your letters, emails, and prayers. Keep it up :) I pray for you every day, and I love you!!