Dearest Family and Friends,
This week was by far one of my favorites here in Munich. It started off with an awesome Pday last week to Schloß Nymphenburg -- an elegant baroque summer palace for the many kings of Bavaria and guess what? It's in my own back yard!! Munich is unbelievably awesome! Later that evening we spent such a delightful Family Home Evening with Sister Kohler, Tanner, and Erika. Sister Kohler invited at last mintue a member named Svetlana, who brought her mother visiting from Moldova. Her mother, unbeknownst to Sister Peterson and I, decided she wants to be baptized, was being taught by the Zone Leaders, and at last notice was baptized on Sunday! Elder Vitel, one of the Romanian Elders who is one of our Zone Leaders, baptized her, and translated everything from German to Romanian and visa versa. It was a beautiful way to start off our Sunday yesterday!
Tuesday we met with the Muntean family one last time before they left for their 3 week trip to Romania. I am so thrilled to report that the two of them have been reading in the Book of Mormon regularly!! They've been praying, reading, and asked us where the missionaries are in Romania, or even if they had missionaries in their town. We sent their information through our Mission Office to the mission in Romania, and will soon be in contact with the missionaries there about the Muntean's progress. They are such a special and neat family! Herr Muntean was explaining that he enjoys reading the Book of Mormon, but that he doesn't always understand it, so he needs to read the passages two or three times. He said "I think it's because my faith is really small right now." And then, my friends, where did we missionaries then turn to in the Book of Mormon? ALMA 32! Adrian LOVED the analogy of a seed being planted, growing, being nourished, and one day blossoming into a strong and mighty tree. We explained to him and Adela the importance of going step by step, and how day after day they will add to their knowledge and understanding of the Gospel if they simply do what we commit them to do. They both committed, and promised to do it with Nikolina as well, to read and pray and meet with the missionaries while they are in Romania. The Muntean's are one incredible, faithful, devoted family. And they get a kick out of my name, and have given me the nickname "Sister Thema". (kind of another word similar to "Motto")
We were able to meet with both Tenzin and Nga Wang this week. It's been an interesting journey finding a balance between what to teach Tenzin--who already belives in Christ, knows the Book of Mormon to be true, and is preparing for baptism--, and then what to teach Nga Wang, who we are teaching that Jesus is the Christ -- starting at the beginning, so to speak. We were able to teach, in the most basic and simple terms, the Plan of Salvation to Nga Wang. At the end of the lesson, when Sis. Peterson and I weren't quite sure what/how much Nga Wang understood, and were about to leave, Nga Wang looked at us with the most childlike and eager expression, putting his hands together and said "pray?" Talk about a HUMBLING moment! This man, who was previously a Tibetian monk, asked US... if we could pray at the end of the lesson. His heart is in the right place, and Nga Wang said that if he comes to know that Christianity is true, he will do anything and everything to give his life up for it.
At last minute last week, the Elders invited us in behalf of the Haueter family, to go Thursday evening for a dinner appointment with the Haueter's, an American family in our ward. We weren't sure how far the appointment was, and when the Elders typed into the Navi where the Haueters lived, we were shocked that they lived over an hour away. While driving, we went more and more south, passing Starnberg, Tutzing (the most Southern areas I've been to in my zone so far).....then I began to notice road signs that said "Garmisch-Partenkirchen." I didn't want to get my hopes up, but after 30 minutes I couldn't help it once I saw the first glimpse of the majestic Bavarian Alps on the horizon. We drove for another 25 mintues or so, right into the heart of these mountains, to find ourselves in the middle of town in GARMISCH!!!!!!! Sister Peterson and I have been praying and figuring out a way to get to Garmisch, either for Pday or to go find, but with a 2 hour train ride, it was never super appealing. Through a simple dinner appointment, we were able to enjoy the breathtaking view from the Haueter's home, enjoy American burgers and rootbeer, and sit at the foot of the Zugspitze and talk about the Atonement. WHAT AN EVENING. My heart ached to be back in the mountains and I was so grateful for the tender mercy of the simple invite from the Haueter's to make my heart's wish come true :)
|Driving on our way to Garmish-Partenkirchen|
This week, more so after the Muntean's appointment, I began studying the importance of small and simple things in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have noticed the power and strength that comes from STEP by STEP, day by day, building upon and adding to our faith and our testimonies. As of late, I have been reading a favorite CES Fireside talk from Elder D. Todd Christofferson called "Give Us This Day our Daily Bread". Elder Christofferson shares the importance of partaking of our "daily bread", or the spiritual nourishment for our spirits. Just as the human body needs nourishment day by day, so does our Spirit, otherwise we become weak and susceptible to the elements of distraction, temptation, and the storms of the adversary. By this thought of "small and simple things", it isn't through drastic amounts of bread that we get the nutrition and nourishment we need. What good does it do to eat a giant loaf of bread on Monday, and expect to stay full until the following Sunday? By partaking of our spiritual daily bread--daily scripture reading, daily prayer, and weekly church attendance, all the primary answers!--will we receive the strength to go on and continue forward with faith. I love what Elder Christofferson says,
In reality, there aren’t very many things in a day that are totally without significance. Even the mundane and repetitious can be tiny but significant building blocks that in time establish the discipline and character and order needed to realize our plans and dreams. Therefore, as you ask in prayer for your daily bread, consider thoughtfully your needs—both what you may lack and what you must protect against. As you retire to bed, think about the successes and failures of the day and what will make the next day a little better. And thank your Heavenly Father for the manna He has placed along your path that sustained you through the day. Your reflections will increase your faith in Him as you see His hand helping you to endure some things and to change others. You will be able to rejoice in one more day, one more step toward eternal life.
It is my hope and prayer that we all take the time to partake of our daily substance. I know and have seen the blessings here of it here on my mission. Granted, I do have a wonderful whole 2 hours each day dedicated to this study, but even 10 minutes will suffice! Give the Lord just the smallest amount of time to shower the blessings of heaven upon you.
I love you all, and wish you the best of weeks!!
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto
Your Alpine Miss ;)