Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 15 -- From Schwester MOTTO in the ALPS!

Grüßle meine liebe Familie und Freunde!

This week was one full of change and exciting new things! Sister Clark and I bid farewell, she being transferred to Wien to work in the international ward there, and her MTC companion Sister Woods came to work with me in Göppingen! It was sad saying goodbye to Sister Clark, but one of the most beautiful things about a mission is that you make lifelong friends!  My new companion, Sister Woods, is AWESOME! I love her so much already. She's energetic, funny, sweet, insightful girl from Springville/Mapleton, who loves soccer, biomedical engineering, the U, and being a missionary. I think we are going to get along great! (So glad my Cougs beat Texas and the U won we are BOTH happy as clams...uh, when does the Y play the U???)

This past week on Tuesday, before transfers, we were able to have Zone Training. One of our biggest focuses as a zone right now is the less actives, and helping find these lost sheep and help them return to the fold. The way we can better know how to work with our investigators, less actives, and ward members in general is through personal preparation. We've been doing so by learning to obtain the Christlike Attributes, as found in Preach My Gospel Chapter 6. I LOVE Preach My Gospel!! It is a MAGNIFICENT tool, and I am so grateful to be able to use it as a missionary. I would encourage everyone to begin reading PMG, specifically chapter 6, and focus on the Christlike attributes. For me, as a sister missionary, if I study each of the 9 attributes once each month for my mission, I will have been able to study them twice each. It's something that Präsident Miles has encouraged us to do, and I'm so grateful that he has!

This month I'm focusing on humility, and what a beautiful experience it has been! As I have put my faith and trust in the Lord that He will teach me what I need to, in order to accomplish that goal of becoming more humble, He has given me experiences to indeed humble me, give me patience, and strengthen my faith in Him. As I have studied the various Christlike attributes, I've recognized how interconnected they are, and you really cannot learn just one of them without learning about the others. I gave the analogy a while ago of a mission being like the refiner's fire.  That's when the Atonement comes in, and if, as Elder Holland says, 'we only have the DESIRE to believe, it is enough.' The desire to have faith leads to believing, and believing leads to faith. Faith grows as we exercise it. A mustard seed, Sanftkorn as they say in German, is very very small. However, once it is planted and nourished and fed, it expands and grows into a very large plant.  

Right now in Germany, the leaves are starting to change and at the edge of the Black Forest, there are many signs of autumn.  Its wonderful to go street contacting and walk from appointment to appointment in cooler weather. I have loved the summer but bring on the fall!

Last night, we met with Sister Böhm, an older lady in our branch who cannot attend church because of her health. We meet with her weekly: she enjoys the company and we love talking with her. Schwester Böhm is a really neat lady who loves the Bible and Book of Mormon. Every time we meet and teach her, I get more out of what she teaches us rather than we could have ever taught her! Schwester Böhm said something that goes along beautifully with the Christlike attribute of faith. She said, "Beten ist ein Werk des Glaubens. Nächstenliebe ist ein Werk des Glaubens. Und zu glauben ist eine bitte von dem Herz." Translation: "Prayer is an act of faith. Charity is an act of faith. To have faith is a plea from the heart."  God DOES answer that heartfelt plea! It is through Him and His Son that we find faith and joy in this life. The older German saints have so much faith and despite many of their tragic histories, they maintain their belief that they went through that for a reason and because of the Savior, they will never give in or give up.  I love these wonderful Germans!!!

Yesterday, in Sacrament Meeting, Ainhoa was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  It was awesome. The Spirit was so powerful as Bruder Kindermann, the Giraldo's home teacher and paternal-figure, gave Ainhoa the blessing. Everyone I know felt the power of that moment in sacrament meeting, and especially Sister Giraldo, as Ainhoa recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful Sister Clark and I followed that simple prompting after Gemeinderat (ward council) that night in July to take some brownies and a conference talk to Sister Giraldo, where we were able to have a conversation and build a friendship, and to hear her mother's desire for her daughter to be a member of the Church. It's these special moments, as we see God's beloved children make the steps to come unto Him, that make my work as a missionary completely worth the sacrifice.  Ainhoa is still glowing from her recent baptism and yesterdays confirmation and excited to attend primary, learn the articles of faith, and she has already been talking to her school friends about her baptism and the Church!

Teaching has been challenging this past week. Sadly things with Queen, Destiny, and Barbara have slowed down. It's been hard getting appointments due to busy schedules. We've been so grateful for the work we have been able to do with Ainhoa, but it makes our desire that much more to work with our other investigators. We have appointments with Barbara and Queen this week: just waiting upon return calls.  We are committed to find, teach and commit -- I haven't forgotten that is why I am here.  I am happy to make new friendships and build those relationships but ultimately those friendships and fellowshipping need to be made more by the members.  It is really disheartening when investigators stop progressing, but that is when our FAITH comes into play, and we keep working just as hard, if not harder, than before. I have a testimony of it! The Lord blesses us when we have faith. Proof? Saturday Sister Woods and I recieved a referral from Church headquarters for an 18 year old girl named Ana Berger. She lives in Sontheim-Brenz, a cute little dorf about 20 minutes south of Heidenheim, and about 1.5 hours away from Göppingen. Regardless of the trek, we made the next train we could to get there and contact Ana. Ana had the first lesson with Moroni's promise at the Washington Temple Visitor's Center. Ana did not have time to meet Saturday, but we got her phone number, challenged her to begin reading in the Book of Mormon, and now we have an appointment for later this week on Thursday. We are so excited and are going to remain optimistic :)

This week on Saturday and Sunday we have the opportunity to go to Stuttgart for Pfahl Konferenz: Stake Conference! SUPER EXCITED!  Sorry that this letter is a little shorter...I've got to get going and there is work to be done.

Thank you for all your uplifting and loving letters and packages!!  Have a wonderful week, my dear friends and family. Let me know how your challenge with reading Chapter 6 of PMG goes!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Natalie H Motto

In Ellwangen

Our matching hoodies from H&M (parting gifts to each other…ha ha)

1 comment:

  1. I think if they made a "model Sister Missionary," Natalie would be exactly what was crafted. She is the complete package, her applied spirituality is just inspiring. It's so fun to read her letters (and re-read them!).