The Reality: This Work is Truly the Errand of Angels
Dearest Family and Friends,
What a marvelous and magical week this was! We saw many, many miracles that truly led me to recognize and be more fully grateful for the importance of my calling as a missionary, that in all reality this work is truly the errand of angels.
We had a great appointment with a very sweet less active woman in our ward, Schwester Börner. We went with our Relief Society President Schwester Cyron, and had cheesecake (German cheesecake, that is....not American at all!), and talked about the blessings of the temple. Schwester Börner did not know Schwester Cyron, her long time friend, was coming along, and Schwester Börner began to weep with joy when she saw Schwester Cyron with us at her door! An even more addition to this story is that Schwester Börner came to church on Sunday! We will be visiting her every other week and helping her with various house help, and giving a lesson.
We met with Mirjam also this week. When we first met Mirjam she was so very hesitant to take a Book of Mormon, and this lesson Sister Wunderli and I really wanted to stress the importance to her about the Book of Mormon and how it is the "keystone" of our religion. We enjoyed lunch together by making homemade käse spätzle....much like our American Mac N Cheese but SO much better!! We wanted to talk to Mirjam about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the five steps of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End are all essential and a process that is continuously repeated, but the lesson through the beautiful guidance of the Holy Ghost switched to the Restoration. We talked about Joseph Smith, his journey for truth, and at the end we shared our testimonies of the First Vision. I even got emotional when I shared it with Mirjam!! Sister Wunderli and I both have the blessings of the Gospel in our lives, we know what the Gospel message entails, and it is with greatest desire we wish others to have it as well. I think that's why I felt the Spirit was so strong when we taught Mirjam the Restoration, because I could see her for who she really was, I could feel her aches and frustration in confusion, and I desired more than anything for her to understand what we are giving her. At the end we gave her a Book of Mormon with our testimonies written inside, and she graciously accepted it. We challenged her to read the introduction, to write down questions she has about anything, and then to read the first chapter. We hope all goes well this week when we meet again....
We also met with Lian and her mom Lisa. We enjoyed freshly pressed apple juice, a few rounds of the game "Blinde Kuh" (German version of Marco Polo) and then talked about the ten commandments. We even watched the way old Church cartoon film for it on the church website, but Lian loved it and ate it up. She now has the goal to memorize the commandments in order in German and in English. So proud of our little girl!!
One miracle we witnessed this week was that with Maria. Maria was an investigator found by Elders in her homeland of Portugal, but she lived here in Germany. After teaching her three lessons she came back and told the missionaries here she wanted to be baptized. Within a few short weeks something happened, and Maria was afraid, and still had the desire to be baptized, but had many questions. We decided to stop by on this former investigator and she how she was. Our guidance to her on Friday was completely led by the Spirit. After getting lost and taking the wrong bus, being late to GMK, and thirsty and needing to use the restroom, we were about to turn back, but we still felt the impression to visit Maria. After arriving (finally) we klingeled Maria and no one answered. "Well great" I thought. But I wasn't about to not leave at least a note.....we traveled the entire way to her so might as well leave something. We klingeled her neighbor and told them we were to visit Maria so they'd let us in, and they didn't. Then, right before we were about to leave, Maria answered the door and let us in.
Our meeting with Maria was quite unexpected. She told us she was sick, very sick, and it was not anything nobody could cure. She broke down into tears and told us how she has very serious depression. She has sought help and was in therapy for 2 months, but that didn't help. The day we dropped by was the day she was thinking about taking her life to rid herself of the pain. We spent one hour testifying and teaching and sharing testimony of the incredible healing of the Atonement, and that this cross that Maria said she was carrying could be lifted. Perhaps not right away, but it would be lifted. Maria sobbed and at the end grabbed me in the biggest and strongest hug I've ever felt a 75 year old woman give, and she thanked us and thanked Heavenly Father for sending her "her angels." Maria is leaving to Portugal for a few weeks at the end of June with her daughter, but she said that we should come see her often before then and reteach her everything. She says she wants to be baptized because she knows the Church is true.
We also met with Lu this week! Lu is from China, and was first taught by Sister Smith (whom I replaced here in TÜ) and Sister Wunderli. He's a student at the university and has no religious background, but wants to know who this "God" everyone talks about is, and how he can relate his perspective of God to that of the laws of nature. In his mind, everything has a purpose for existing. We used the Elders, Elder Badders and Elder Byers, as joint teaches. It. Was. AWESOME. We talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, read in Alma 32 about faith, and how developing faith is something that takes time but once there and we continue to nourish it, it will be strong and mighty. Lu loved the metaphor to a mustard seed. At the end of our lesson, we taught him how to pray, and Lu, this sweet Chinese student who has no previous knowledge of his Father in Heaven, said the most humble and sincere prayer I have ever heard anyone give. He said, "I don't have to ask for anything if I don't want to, right?" I found that cute/really sweet. Lu then said his prayer, which consisted of "Dear Heavenly Father......" opened his eyes and looked at us and said, "did I say that right?" and continued to thank Him for the fun he had with the missionaries and that he could learn more about who He is. The Spirit was SO STRONG. It was incredible.
Etwas lustiges(Something funny).....one time Sister W and I really, really needed to use the restroom while waiting for our train. We were in a teeny, tiny little dorf in the middle of nowhere, and the only available WC was the local gambling center. We got so many strange looks when we walked in!! Thankfully I had my handy dandy disinfectant spray!
Sister Wunderli, my cute little Hungarian companion, also asked me this week if they translated the Harry Potter movies from British English to American English. She's so funny and cute and we are having a wonderful experience together. Her German and English is coming along well!
We spent our Sunday dinner with Familie Dornhausen in the southern most part of our area of Albstadt. WHAT a GORGEOUS area! The Dornhausen's are our genealogy experts here in Tübingen, and have been doing genealogy for over 11 years. With the permission of President, we will be going every other Tuesday to help them with Genealogy. Schwester Dornhausen made delicious chicken and rice for dinner, and then played her accordion for us! Quite the German moment.....and it was heavenly. I LOVE GERMANY!!!!! So so blessed to be here.
This week I read a talk from Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson titled "Be Ye Converted" and studied a little bit more about the prophet-warrior Joshua in the Old Testament. I absolutely love what Sister Oscarson taught when she emphasized the importance of being converted NOW. NOW is the time to gain our testimonies, and not just that, but to share them and be steadfast and immovable in the Gospel. This week I watched carefully as God taught me just a little more how my mission is another step in the conversion process, how this life-changing experience is one that blesses, tests, strengthens, and solidifies our conversion, if we but consecrate ourselves. It is that with each of us! We do not need to be full missionaries to have the experiences that lead to conversion as Joshua the prophet warrior experienced. We simply need to apply the LITTLE things into our daily routine, as prayer and scripture study and weekly partaking of the sacrament, that give us the spiritual nourishment that in today's world we so desperately need. It has therefore become my resolution to be as Joshua of old, to be converted and be converted NOW, because the time is running short! We need to harvest that white field and get to work!!
I love you all so much. I feel your prayers strengthening me each and every day. How grateful and demütigt I feel to contribute if but even a small part to this great and marvelous work.