Monday, June 23, 2014

"New Beginnings…a Lesson in Starting Over"

Dearest Family and Friends,

I love new grateful for them. And this new transfer will be another great beginning!

With the beginning of summer, comes lots of birds chirping, green rolling hills, picturesque and quaint warm evenings on cobblestone streets in small Swabian villages, a few bugs here and there, the air feeling sometimes so heavy with humidity that you want to wring the clouds out for a good shower....less clothing for the locals, ah hem...and eating a bit of gelato now and then. 

This transfer, I have the privilege of working with Sister Pentz from Colorado. She is 5 foot 10, blonde (another tall companion with 5'3" Sister Motto), blue-eyed, half Swiss, and super fun!! She's on her 3rd transfer, fresh from training, and I feel so lucky to work with such an enthusiastic missionary.  Already we have really connected well, haven't stopped laughing and are off to a fabulous start!  

This week was wonderful!!  We had a really inspiring district meeting Tuesday with the theme "Today We Do It the Lord's Way", and had time to reflect inwardly with "how often do I do missionary work HIS way?" Am I spending each and every second I breathe here on the mission, going about each act and saying each word with the exactness and precision in which He commands me? My new motto and mindset for my mission is simply that: Today (and each day for the rest of my life) I will do it His way. I will do things the Lord's way. I need to continually repent and try harder and give more. I cannot afford to NOT do things His way.

Avo, (our investigator Maria), will be leaving for Portugal tomorrow for the next two to three months. It was really hard saying goodbye, for both me and Sister Wunderli, and it's even harder to explain how hard it was for Avo. She waved from her front door step in the apartment building as we walked away from our appointment Wednesday evening. We were able to share one last lesson on the Plan of Salvation, and bear our testimonies to Maria about the blessings of the Gospel. She promised us to continue to pray and read in the Book of Mormon, and that she would visit church while in Portugal. She said if missionaries come to see her, she wanted them to be sisters. WELL.... since missionaries are pretty well connected ;) ;)...we figured we'd contact the Lisbon mission and found sister missionaries in her exact area to continue teaching her the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!  We can't wait to follow up with them and see how it goes with Avo.

Thursday I picked up my awesome new companion from Stuttgart Bahnhof after spending the afternoon with the Ludwigsburg sister missionaries. It was way fun spending the day in Ludwigsburg and working with both Sister Powell and SIster Smiley at once, not just one of them from an Austausch :) They are great and fired up and we did some wonderful contacting and appointment gathering while waiting for Sister Pentz to arrive. 

Saturday we spent the afternoon teaching Lian with the Elders, her family, and some other members of our ward in a beautiful place near Nagold in the BLACK FOREST. We enjoyed some delicious German/Filipino style BBQ.  It was important for us to keep busy and working that day so we incorporated some valuable contacting and preaching in the area.  We ran into an older couple hiking and we had the prompting to stop and talk to them. We talked for about 20 minutes, and nothing much came out of it.  But you never know:)  We walked back to the BBQ platz when Bruder Rudloff, Lian's dad, came over to us and said, "Sisters, I have to say I am very impressed. Thank you so much for your small yet powerful example of missionary work just now." That was great.  Maybe by simply acting on the prompting to talk with the couple, we were an answer to Bruder Rudloff's prayers.

I have gained such a testimony of new beginnings. When I speak of new beginnings I, of course, think of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I most recently studied the talk Elder Bednar gave from this last conference, "Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease". I love what he says as he explains the Atonement. 

"Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities....It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to the earth to die for us. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enliven us not only to guide but also to strengthen and heal us."

I leave my testimony with Elder Bednar. It is through the Atonement that we find sweet, unbelievable, heavenly relief from the pains of the world, and where we are quickened and encouraged and inspired to grow and become better individuals. How eternally grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that I can, in small and simple words, BE MADE BETTER.

I love you all so much. Thank you again for your incredible support and encouragement.  Now I got to get off this computer and get back to finding ALL the Lord's wonderful sheep!

All my love,
Your little Alpine Missionary
Sister Natalie Motto

Sister Natalie Hannah Motto

I learned to make Zopf!

1 comment:

  1. Oh the Zopf looks beautiful! I just love this letter so much, her joy and the goals she has set for herself and the standard of her work just flows out through her words. Great story about following a prompting and instead of having the result she was after (a potential investigator), she instead was a blessing to the member. We may not understand the purpose of a prompting, but as long as we follow them, the Lord blesses us and others through them!