What a blessing and wonderful gift it was to talk with you yesterday for Mother's Day!! I honestly thought I would come away homesick, but rather it was the opposite. I came away feeling so incredibly GRATEFUL for the family and support I have at home. Missionary work is hard, but knowing that there are prayers and support all in my behalf is very, very humbling and helps me resolve to work that much harder. I know I am über-blessed to have the kind of family I have...I know for a fact that there are quite a few missionaries who I serve with who really have no one championing them from home. Your sweet words of encouragement and your tears of joy are going to continue to carry me when the days get a little long. It is with the knowledge of eternal families that this point really hits home. We are eternal with no limits on our love. Isn't that overwhelming to comprehend? Wow, I sure love the Lord.
Sister Motto and her horses…..never too far apart
This week was wonderful!!! Sister Wunderli and I are seeing our hard work begin to pay off as we had a week full of lessons! We saw the miracle yesterday at church when 3 less active families we have tried to contact came to church, along with 2 of our investigators!! It was so rewarding to see those people sitting in Sacrament and attending the seperate classes, and then to tell us later of how special it was for them to come and to see so much peace and happiness in their faces. It truly was a Mother's Day Miracle!!
One investigator in particular, Patricia, loved her first experience at church. Her daughter passed away 3 years ago to Lukemia, and since then Patricia has felt that there is something more to life, that her daughter isn't gone forever. Patricia is about 53 years old, and does facepaint for a living. She dresses like I did when I was 15, with flower headbands and skinny jeans and ballet flats. She is proud of the fact she cannot speak High German. Patricia believes in God and Jesus Christ, but also believes in angels....she's a character for sure, but has a heart of gold. We met last Monday at McDonald's, and outside of that being a little bit awkward, it was a wonderful appointment as we explained the entire Plan of Salvation. When we taught Patricia about the Spirit World and Resurrection, she slammed her hand down on the table and in crazy Schwäbisch said "I knew it!! I knew it!!" Patricia then promised us "mit meine' ganze' Herze'" that she would attend church Sunday. She was late, but made it for Relief Soceity, where Sister Wunderli and I taught the lesson. Patricia met Bischof Dobin, our Relief Society president, and many other wonderful members. Sunday night around 10pm Patricia texted us and said "I think this is a new beginning for me. Thank you for a wonderful and uplifiting time at your church. I love you both." She's coming again next Sunday and we have a meeting following with our Relief Society President. Isn't that great?! Our members in Austria and Germany are just the best.
Tuesday we met with Carina, our very sweet Neu Apostelische investigator. Her husband Oliver was baptized a member of our church last summer. Carina knows our church is true, but due to unrest in her family with her parents being completely against the Church (her father is one of the Anti-Mormon ringleaders in this area......), she has decided not to be baptized until a little bit later. We meet with her weekly at a member's house to crochet and eat and talk. Carina asked us how we came to know the church was true, because she had a concern that because she didn't have a big, angelic type of experience, she wanted to be sure that she could still recieve answers in smaller ways. We said OF COURSE!!!! Our awesome joint teach Samira (whose family is in Vienna stake and I know them well!) said something that ended up being an answer to MY own prayers. She said "It was all the little tesitmonies along the way that let me know it was true, instead of the individual moment."
This week I have really focused on how I personally recieve answers to prayers. As I go about my mission and teach people how to recieve answers to their prayers, I recognize more and more the way I find answers to mine. Heavenly Father is a God of Order. He is organized and perfect. In my little-bit-oldest-child/OCD female tendencies to want to know every little detail, and oftentimes immediately, I have been humbled as a missionary to learn that answers often come with TIME. Time is precious, and the greatest but most sparse here on a mission. As I begin to understand the divine nature of our Heavenly Father, I learn that He gives us understanding little by little because we (hopefully) learn to apply what we are given and use that, and then He will give us more. It's like a chocolate cake! Heavenly Father is wise in giving us only one slice at a time, rather than the entire cake, because He understands that we can only eat so much and if we ate the entire cake in one sitting, we just wouldn't appreciate it.
I am so grateful for the answers to my prayers I have recieved, and for the personal revelation I have been able to enjoy and treasure. God loves us and will give us the righteous desires of our hearts. In Matthew 7:7-11 it reads Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock,and it shall be opened unto you...For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seekethfindeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will hegive him a stone Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto yourchildren, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven givegood things to them that ask him?
It is my testimony that Heavenly Father treasures each of us so dearly, more than anyone in our Earthly life could even fathom to love us (and that being said, trying to comprehend the love of a mother is even too much!!). As we truly, deeply, and earnestly seek for Him, just as in D&C 88, when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. I testify that He hears us! I know He hears me, even when we feel as small and forgotten as a fallen sparrow. And because of His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement, They understand with perfection what we endure in this life, whether it be joys or sorrows and everything in between. I know He is there. Do you??
And, to end, a wonderful poem I found this morning during personal study. When God makes a promise, It remains forever true. For everything God promises He will unaterably do. When you're disillusioned and every hope is blighted Recall the promises of God and your faith will be relighted.
Let us always remember that because He will always give us His best, let us return the favor and give Him all we have, all we are, and all we will become. I promise it makes for a happier life!!