Liebe Familie und liebe Freunde,
What a wonderful week Sister Ahlm and I had!! Sister Ahlm is so great and such a fun and sweet companion. I'm so grateful for her! This week FLEW by and it doesn't even feel like Monday today, I am so happy to be here and to tell you about another special week here in Munich.
A little souvenir from Oktoberfest
We were able to help at the Refugee Home again in the "Kleider Kaemmer" and help give out clothes and basic need products to all the new refugees who came to Munich this past week. Each time is such a humbling experience, and the beautiful words of "Because of I Have Been Given Much" runs through my head. I feel so blessed to really be my brother's keeper, and to simply give aid to those who are in so much more of a need than I. I met a new friend, Madeleine, who also volunteers at the refugee home. We had a brief but good chat about the Gospel during one of our slower moments, and I was able to talk to her a little about what I do as a missionary. It was great! I look forward in the coming weeks to being able to talk with Madeleine a little more, and to share more about what we believe. I love being a missionary!
Sister Ahlm and I got to meet with our favorite Tibetan threesome again this week! Tenzin, Ngawang, and Namdul met us at a park near the Zoo and we got to sit and talk in the beauty of a warm autumn day. It has always been a challenge to try and teach the three of them together, because each one has a different understanding of the Gospel. Sister Ahlm and I thought it would be a good idea to talk about prayer, and the lesson went extremely well. Each learned what they needed to, and that for me was a testimony that the Spirit really is the Ultimate Teacher.
I went on Austausch with Sister McEwen this week, a fiesty, fiery, spirited Scottish sister serving in Passau. Passau is beautiful, by the way. On our Austausch, we attempted to find the address of one of our less actives to give her brownies, but because it was late and we couldn't find the address, so we went to turn home. We saw a man near the bus stop, who looked worn down and tired. Without even speaking to each other, Sister McEwen and I gave this man the brownies we had baked for the less actives. He was so happy!! (Maybe a little shocked too that total strangers would offer him food?) I'm still trying to learn Bayerisch, but his toothless grin from ear to ear let me know that he was happy for our small gift.
We met a really neat woman named Maggy this week, who was really interested in our black name tags. She's about 30 years old, was born and raised in Munich, and said she's never seen our missionaries before. When Maggy approached us, asked us where we were from and why we were here, and then for our Ubahn ride home, we talked to her about what we do as missionaries, that is, inviting others to come unto Christ. She is an incredibly faithful woman, who LOVES the Bible, and was really excited about the idea of Another Testament for Jesus Christ. We're meeting with her later this week to teach her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.
We met with Adrian and Adele this week, who are making leaps and bounds as far as their progress goes. Adrian shared what he quickly realized to be a testimony of God, and told us that it has been extremely difficult for their family to put God as their priority. They know that's what they need to do, and they are trying to do everything they can to make it possible to come to Church as a family. With conflicting work schedules, it's been hard, but they have the goal to come next Sunday. Please pray for them.
We got to finally sit down and have an official appointment with Sparks, who told us right off that he wants to know what to do in order to be baptized. And, well, we told him! Sparks has seen how happy the Gospel makes his friend Kai, and he wants that in his life as well. He told us he feels so much peace each time he comes to Church, and it makes his week go better. Also recognizing that as the Holy Ghost, Sparks said "I think that's what you call a testimony, right?" We're setting a baptismal date with Sparks on Wednesday!!
Yesterday we had a neat experience while going to an eating appointment with the Whatley's. A boy and a girl saw us walking on the street and asked us if we were the people who worked at a nearby mall, because of our black nametags. We told them we were missionaries, told them which Church we were from and what we do, and then this boy and the girl decided to walk with us to the Whatley's. We found out this young man, whose name we didn't catch, is 18 years old, and has already experienced a great deal of sadness in his life. He lost his little sister in a car accident exactly two years ago, and expressed that since that time he hasn't believed in God. We talked with this young man about the Plan of Salvation, and he stopped in his tracks. "Really?" he asked, and I'm sure he was contemplating how serious we were. We gave this boy our number, and completely acting on faith I said, "You give us a call. We know that you will see your sister again. We can help you learn that for yourself as well." The boy, obviously trying to be cool, said "I''ll think about it" and then he walked off. I've seen many miracles come from just handing out cards, because a good half the time the people call back, and with that ratio, I'm totally willing to act on my faith that they'll call back. I just feel really grateful that we ran into this young man, and that even if he doesn't call, we were able to share with him a comforting message on the anniversary of his sister's death. You just never know:)
This week we had Zone Conference. Awww, another wonderful one! Sister Ahlm and I had the opportunity to teach about diligence. President Kohler followed us, and taught us about the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He explained the tradition of "birthright", where when the master of an estate passes away, he divides his share into equal parts among his sons, except for the firstborn, who then receives a double portion. The double portion is used to provide for the daughters and mother of the deceased master. The eldest son, then, will use his own portion to care for his father's property, and raise his own family.
With that explanation, President Kohler asked how many of us missionaries, in our patriarchal blessings, were from the Tribe of Ephraim. (You can imagine a good 95% of us raised our hands). Part of the responsibilities and blessings the Tribe of Ephraim has is to be the first to bring the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto the WORLD. It is part of their duty as well, to be leaders and teachers and to help lead the gathering of Israel. Ephraim, as we know, was given the birthright from Israel. Ephraim received a double portion of his father's wealth.
Relating that to missionary work, and to myself personally, it was humbling and enlightening to recognize for the hundredth time the blessings given to me throughout my life. I have been given everything I need temporally, from parents who work so hard to provide for the family. I have had food on my plate, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head, as well as many comforts of life that have made my life much more enjoyable and plentiful. That's my hefty first portion, so to say. The second portion of this birthright I have been given is the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. With this double portion, it is my DUTY and right to take care of my father's estate. The Master of the Vineyard has called me to labor in a very particular part of His garden, to weed and sow and reap and harvest, until the day that He comes again and says "well done, thou good and faithful servant."
I am so grateful to be a missionary. My heart simply wants to burst with happiness at the very thought of this marvelous privilege I have each day to preach the Gospel. Yes I do have moments of discouragement, weariness and exhaustion, but it is in those moments, when the Lord sends someone or something to me in a very personal way which reminds me of His love and alls well. I love being a missionary. I love this work. I am blessed beyond measure.
I love you all so much!! Have an AMAZING week!!
Sister Natalie Motto