Munich could possibly be the headquarters for Miracles
Liebe Familie und Freunde,
As this city is slowly preparing for the onset of Oktoberfest, I can still hardly believe that I get to serve in this incredible and absolutely beautiful city! In the heart of Bavaria, the accents are thick, the food is lecker and the people have a strong sense of "gemütlichkeit" It is certainly wonderful to be a missionary here! I feel so blessed...and this is why:
Munich could be the headquarters for miracles! Sister Peterson and I seem to be running around with baskets above our heads trying to catch them all and right when we think we've got something cool going on, something more amazing happens and drops into the basket! In addition to getting "cornered" by Jehova's Witnesses while "heart attacking" the Munich 3 Sisters for Sister Smith's birthday, this week has been pretty eventful.
Our most exciting miracle is Adrian, the father of one of the Romanian families we are teaching. We began the Stop Smoking program with him the Friday I got into Munich, and on Monday we followed up on his progress. In the three days it had been since we introduced the program to him, Adrian had only smoked one cigarette! We were so proud of Adrian! We were able to teach him and his 16 year old daughter Adele about the Book of Mormon. Adrian was determined to find the stories related to the pictures in the front of his book, and wouldn't let us leave until we had shared everything with him. At the end of the appointment Adrian gave his very first verbal prayer. The Spirit filled the room like a hot air balloon. It. Was. Amazing. Adrian and Adele promised to read in the Book of Mormon, and on Friday when we had our party to celebrate that Adrian was done with smoking, they said they had read the whole first sections of the Book of Mormon before 1 Nephi! Adrian's wife, Niki, is a little more hesitant to accept the Book of Mormon, but with a little push from her daughter and husband, she also commited to begin reading. The Zone Leaders were at the appointment, Elder Spencer and Elder Vitel, and Elder Vitel is from Romania so he was able to communicate with the Muntean's a little better than we could. It was a very spiritual experience, and once again the Spirit of the Lord filled the room. The Spirit knows no language barrier!
We were able to have 2 last minute miracle appointments with Tenzin this week. He's progressing well, but the one thing that keeps him from progressing fully is his church attendance. He is always trying to help others with their various needs on Sundays and sometimes forgets to come to Church. He's reading in the Book of Mormon each day and is praying each day, and is preparing himself wonderfully for his baptism in December!
Sister Peterson and I had just finished visiting a sister from the international ward (we consider ourselves responsible for the old women in the international ward because they have no sisters) when we got a phonecall from our hilarious investigator Scott. Scott is often in Hamburg, but requested to meet with the missionaries there when he is up North. After our less active lesson we saw on our phone we had 5 missed calls, spacing within minutes of eachother. We called Scott back and he said "Hi Sisters! I'm with Elder Casper!" So slightly confused, we asked "You're with the missionaries?" Scott said "Yes! Here he is!" and promptly handed his phone over to this Elder Casper serving in the Berlin Mission. We had an awkward 3 minute conversation consiting of "How's your mission going? Do you like Hamburg? How's Scott doing?" before hearing the wonderful news that Scott is keeping all of his commitments and reading in his Book of Mormon each day. I look forward to meeting Scott finally in person when he comes back to Munich next week. :)
We had an appointment with Matthew, another African investigator, and wonderful Sister Kohler came along! Matthew's mother just passed away, and so he has been very busy with funeral arrangements back in Nigeria. However, he wanted to definitely meet with us this week, so we invited Sister Kohler as a joint teach so we could meet in the church. We gave Matthew a church tour and had our lesson in the chapel. Sister Kohler is a ROCKSTAR! We love her so much and she has so much wisdom and love. We read in Alma 40 about the Resurrection and were able to teach him the beautiful doctrine of the Plan of Salvation. It is always a humbling and wonderful experience feeling the Spirit and comfort that comes when we bear testimony of the truth of the Gospel. Matthew promised to read in the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. We're hoping and praying that he will want to partake of the great joy that the Lord offers and be baptized.
This week I have been studying an interesting topic, that being of Godly Sorrow. It's been on my mind a lot lately trying to understand the difference between guilt and of remorse. One thing stuck out to me today that added to my understanding. As found in Preach My Gospel in the Gospel of Jesus Christ under reptenance, it talks about how godly sorrow, or remorse, leads us to repentance and change in our hearts. I read in 2 Corinthians 7:10, which reads "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but sorrow of the world worketh death." Paul teaches in this verse that godly sorrow in repentance is necessary if we are going to truly repent. Guilt does in deed lead to action, but in a much more prideful way. I took some time to reflect on my repentance process, and I am grateful that the Lord was able to teach me it today. Remorse leads to a softer, more moldable, changable heart. Here on my mission as I have prayed for humility, or charity, or patience, the Lord has thrown me into the fire of test and trial. I made mistakes along that path of learning, but through repentance I can gratefully say that I was changed. When we repent with a sincere, broken, gentle, honest heart, we need not fear! Repentance is BEAUTIFUL, and I am so grateful that I have the chance to repent and be made better each and every time I get on my knees to pray. President Miles once said to repent like you pray....meaning, do it often!
I'm so grateful for the blessings of the Atonement! The Savior is there for each one of us... I know He is! I've seen Him bless my life in an uncountable amount of ways. Don't ever deny the blessings that await you.
I love you all! Thank you for your letters, emails, and pictures each week. It's always good to know that I am still loved :) (Sorry for the lack of pictures this week.....dropbox won't load. Next week there shall be an ÜBERFLUß! Sei bereit.)
Alles, alles liebe Your Alpine Miss Sister Natalie Motto