(From Sister Motto's mom: This is Sister Natalie Motto's last missionary letter! Thank you all for your incredible support and love for her and for our family throughout this unbelievably special 18 month journey. We are humbled by her service to the Lord and we are eternally grateful for the work she has brought to pass while serving in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Thank you dear family and friends -- we love you all! We will be picking her up on Dec 5 and traveling with her for a few weeks. We can't wait to hear about all her amazing missionary stories!)
Liebe Familie und Freunde,
What an incredible week.
We met with the Torkos family yesterday for the first time in MONTHS. Laszlow found an apartment, and his family recently moved from Romania. We taught them last night, and found that they've been reading in the Book of Mormon. They have many questions, but agree with what they've read so far, and are eager to learn more. They want to be sure they are on the right path back to their Father in Heaven.
The Scholz family came to church yesterday, and have been the past several weeks. It has been a neat opportunity to work with this sweet couple and help them find their testimonies in the Gospel again.
We went bowling with Mathias Goeb for his birthday, which was super fun! Sister Ahlm and I got to talk to Baigal and Juergen separately one on one as each of us took turns bowling and watching the 11 year olds score triple the points I did. We'll be visiting the Goeb's on Wednesday this week so I can say goodbye.
We had a very special Thanksgiving weekend!! We were invited to our Relief Soceity president's house, and along with the Whatley family enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner. Sister Ahlm and I had the chance to talk to nonmembers that Schwester Duckert invited, and teach them about Joseph Smith! Saturday we had a second Thanksgiving with the Sneddon and Bowlden families, along with President Auras and his family, and nonmember friends the Sneddon's and Bowlden's invited. The Elders provided a very moving spiritual thought, and during the dinner the four of us missionaries had the unique chance to talk to many of these people about the Gospel. This week I was particularly grateful to be a missionary!
The most marvelous event of them all this week was on Saturday, the 29th of November. Not only was it my official "18 month mark", but most exciting is that Spacs was baptized!! On Sunday the 30th he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is looking forward to, hopefully, serving a full-time mission, and still has his special goal of entering the House of the Lord in one year.
This moment alone was worth each and every second of my mission.
Over the past 18 months I have had the opportunity to teach people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the unique and special message that the Church that Jesus Christ established while He walked the earth is here once again in it's fullness. It's been an opportunity to come to better understand the Gospel, and to recognize the importance of applying it into my life, to LIVE the things that I learn.
|Christmas Gifts for the Missionaries at the mission office|
My mission is the best gift given to me. Though there have been many times of incredible joys, the mission has also been a time of testing and proving. However, I am grateful for the experiences I have been given to test my faith, and to become more refined. The Lord has taken a rough edged, uneven stone, placed me in deep rushing water, and gave me the opportunity and gift of becoming smooth in His care. I have continually learned how to apply the Atonement in my life in learning that the Lord has made up for all my shortcomings. As I look back, I see that He has provided for me all along. Ether 12:27 says,
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble;and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble
themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me,
then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
He has indeed made me strong. I am a different individual than when I left on my mission 18 months ago. I am thankful that the Lord placed enough trust in an inexperienced, inadequate, young 19 year old girl, and helped make her into one of His instruments.
One of my favorite scriptures in 2 Timothy 4:7 goes as such,
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
The greatest blessing of being a missionary, even after the name tag comes off, is in our baptismal covenant, when we promise to take upon ourselves Christ's name. We are ALWAYS and thereafter His disciple. Jesus Is the Christ and we have a living Prophet on the earth who will never lead us astray. I am so grateful for my knowledge and testimony of His beautiful, perfect Gospel plan.
My dearest friends and my family, I want to thank you for your support you have given me each and every week throughout these past 18 months. Whether it was through emails, letters, or little notes of "thinking of you", I felt your love and your numerous prayers on my behalf, for I know the Lord has heard and answered them. I love you all dearly. I want you to also know how much I LOVE the people of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The Lord placed me EXACTLY where I was needed, and with those whom I needed. It had been made clear to me over and over again that as I have tried to pay back the Lord my debt by serving Him, He has only given me so much more back. Sister Bonnie L Oscarson once said that "Where much is required, much more will be given." How right she is.
Until we meet, Bis Auf Wiedersehen!
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto