Monday, April 14, 2014

"If we just look….miracles are everywhere!"

"Forget Me Not"…..Thank you Elder Uchtdorf

Dearest Family and Friends,

This week was surely a week of many, many miracles!  If we just look and recognize...miracles are everywhere!

Tübingen is really showing off her "spring-y-ness" to us....all sorts of glorious flowers are in bloom, baby ducks everywhere, everything is a vibrant shade of green and the smell of freshness permeates the air.  I love Spring in Germany!  Breathtaking beauty abounds.  After a incredible General Conference we felt so motivated and energized and our efforts to find people to teach were blessed! This week Sister Wunderli and I focused a lot on meeting with the less active sisters in our ward, and updating our very large less active list. As we traveled out to many small dorfs/villages to go by on these less actives, we didn't see any success.  Almost no one was home, and if they were, we were yelled at or ignored. It was super discouraging. Then, to make matters just that much more stressful, Sister Wunderli left her bus and train pass at home one day, and we both had left our emergency travel money at home. Having to pay with personal money we were finally able to get around, but it was still a frustrating experience. Nonetheless...having been proven time and time again...especially with His missionaries,  the Lord blessed us in our "afflictions" and truly expressed His love as we met Michael, Mirjam, and Claudia!

After emails and grocery shopping on Monday, we saw a man on the bus. I complimented his HUGE ring on his hand, and he laughed and in English replied and told me it was from America. We got talking and this man had seen us board the bus earlier on our way to shopping but shook off the impression to say hello. He asked us who we were, and we talked for about 20 minutes telling him about our role as missionaries and about our message of the Book of Mormon. His name is Michael and he is from Sierra Leone. He has a wife and son in Stuttgart, and his mother lives in Virginia. After explaining to him the "tripod" (prayer, scriptures, church), Michael asked what our ultimate goal was, and what would happen after we taught him everything he needed to know. Sister Wunderli then shared a very simple and powerful testimony about baptism, and how that is the first step and first covenant we make in returning back to Heavenly Father. Michael was very quiet and then after a pause said "You know Sistas? I was thinking about baptism. But I jus' didn't know where to go to do it. I wan' it to be all proper with God and all, you know?" WELL......... One doesn't hear that very often as a missionary. :) We then talked about the Restoration of the Priesthood!! Our lesson with Michael was kind of everywhere, but we managed to stick to the basics in all our excitement, and we will be meeting with him again this week for further teachings.  He was excited and so are we. Miracle #1.

Later in the week we were coming home from the city of Rottenburg, a quaint little place, we were once again discouraged after being denied by everyone we had talked to. Our train stopped way down the platform, and tired and hungry we trugged home. Halfway down the platform a woman stopped us and asked if we dropped our ticket (which we didn't have tickets) and excitedly she began talking with us once she saw we were missionaries. Her name is Mirjam, and she grew up very Christian with very very strict parents. We walked together to the bus stop, and continued talking for another 15-20 minutes. The sweetest Spirit seemed to envelop the three of us with the sunshine as Mirjam told us some concerns and questions she has about life: where we were, why we are here, and where we go. Right on the spot we taught her about the Plan of Salvation and read from Alma 34:32. We are meeting again with Mirjam on Wednesday! Miracle #2.

Great story.....was when we met Claudia. We were on a train, and Sister Wunderli began talking to her about the book she was reading. Somewhere in the conversation Claudia mentioned she was from Vienna, and that's when I butted in and with probably more enthusiasm than needed, told Claudia how I just moved from Vienna. We talked about the city and places I had been, and that lead to Claudia asking "so what are you doing here, exactly?" LOVE that question!! We shared our testimony that, we are as it says in 3 Nephi 5:13, "We are disciples of Jesus Christ" and that we are called of a prophet of God. Claudia did not have much time, but asked that we could meet this week with her and her two sons. She was curious and wants to talk more.  Yep....Miracle #3.

These three stories of Michael, Mirjam, and Claudia are real miracles.  if you only knew how many people don't want to talk about God here -- you would be pretty impressed.  God blesses us when we put forth our best work! As Sister Wunderli and I try to built our sweet little ward and find those less actives, God has blessed us with opportunities to teach. These less actives are lost sheep, and God will not bless us with more sheep when we do not already take care of the ones He has given us to watch over. As He sees we are trying and seeking to find that lost one of the ninety and nine, He sends those who are prepared to hear our message.

This week, especially after thinking about Elder Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude, I simply want to be more grateful. I feel like I express my gratitude to Him often enough, but then He blesses me with more blessings than I could even count. I am so grateful to be a missionary. My wonderful friends and dearest family, I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! This work is the most rewarding. I have never been so happy in my entire life!! Quoted by Neil L. Anderson in a talk he gave in April 2011 conference, "The blessing of bringing others into the gospel far outweighs anything you will ever sacrifice." And surely, one gives a lot to serve a mission. But when I really think about it, I really haven't given up that much in comparison to what I have gained. Sure I gave up precious family time, schooling, friends and dating, work and money, and who knows what else, but the Lord has COMPENSATED it with blessings. The best word to describe my emotions and thoughts is that I am WHOLE. Here on my mission I have had some experiences that have broken me, but through them and through this incredible opportunity to share the Gospel, I have been made whole. The very Carpenter of Nazareth takes our broken things and makes them whole again. I have seen these blessings of the Gospel not only shape and change my life, but also the lives of those I have been blessed to teach. The Gospel changes people and makes us better. Of this I have a testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the very church Jesus Christ HIMSELF established on the Earth. We have a prophet, who as Moses and Abraham and Nephi and King Benjamin speaks to this people today. We have the precious word of the Book of Mormon, which is a testimony for the Bible and by reading I have come to know for myself it is true.

Our apartment balcony…spoiled much?

Beautiful Tübingen along the Neckar River

Small but mighty.  Our little Tübingen chapel

Love this little ward building and this ward is wonderful!

I am so grateful to be be His servant, His full-time missionary and follower.  I am eternally grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and for the priceless gift of His Atonement.

Have a great week my dear ones!! Until next week!!

Sister Natalie Motto

Surely we must all bloom where we are planted

"Your Missionaries Love Tübingen Ward!


  1. Faith/persistence first, followed by miracles! Loved this post and the beautiful photos!

  2. Very sweet...what wonderful experiences! And I did love the lesson of seeking after the one and being blessed in the process.