Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 10, 2014

The view across the river

Can you believe it?  This week is the last week of the transfers.  I feel like I just got here in Heidelberg.  This Saturday will be transfer calls.  We will find out what will happen next in our lives.  I have a feeling Sister Petersen and I will stay together, but she has already been here for four transfers, so I really don’t know.  I could be taking over this area, and I still don't know where I am going or anything.  That is the way a mission is, though…you never really feel like you know what is going on.  But somehow, it is still great. 
It sounds like things are going pretty well back home.  Taryn, I am sorry to hear about your friend, though.  I can't imagine that happening, but I do know that I am so grateful for the plan of salvation and the comfort it brings.  That is my favorite lesson to teach people, because it really gives them hope, and a sense of purpose.  It is great to see their outlook on life completely change.  Mom, I am excited that you get to go on a mini vacation this week.  That should be fun.  I can’t wait until I can get in a hot tub again—haha. 
As for my week, it was another busy week in Heidelberg.  I felt like something clicked in my brain this week.  It is officially easier for me to talk in German than in Spanish.  I can understand pretty much every thing that the Spanish people say to me, but I just want to respond in German.  I am really starting to understand German.  Yesterday was a really weird day for me.  We were in a meeting after church.  One of the members of the area presidency was at church and met with the missionaries, the bishop, and our ward mission leader.  Damien was there for the Spanish group, and he couldn’t understand German, so I was trying to translate for him.  It was hard, but cool that I was able to go from one language to another, neither of which were my mother tongue.  Heavenly Vater has definitely blessed me.  
The university and the castle at dusk

This week was a really cool week, and wir haben so viele Wunders gesehen.  Seriously.  Miracles have been jumping out from nowhere.  On Tuesday, we met with a referral that we had been given.  Her name was Petra.  She met with us as a request of her friend.  At the beginning, she just wanted to be informed about our beliefs.  She was closed off, and didn’t want to meet again.  She just wanted a few questions answered.  However, by the end of the appointment, she had completely changed.  She was crying and telling how lost she was and how lonely she felt.  She wanted to know the truth, but just didn’t believe it was out there.  Sister Petersen and I just bore powerful testimony of how the gospel is true and how it has blessed our lives.  The spirit was so strong.  By the end, she had agreed to another meeting.  She wouldn’t make an appointment with us right there, but said we could call her.  It amazes me how powerful the Holy Ghost is.  He has the power to touch these people’s hearts.  I don’t do anything.  I am just the instrument and the mouthpiece.  He is the one changing these people. 
Something cool happened this week—Gianlucca came home from his mission.  He is a boss.  He had just got home—on his way home he called and asked us what we were doing.  We said that our appointment had just fallen through.  He asked us if we wanted to go do doors.  HE JUST GOT HOME AND HE WANTED TO GO DOORING.  And what more...HE LIKED IT.  In 45 minutes, we handed out two Books of Mormons and had a new investigator.  It was sweet. 

We also had a really great appointment with Kristin.  She is very factual, and really wants to know what the Bible has to say about the Restoration, the apostasy, and everything else, so we gave her a "homework assignment" that has references to everything.  She found it so interesting.  We ended up talking the whole time about who she believes God is.  I could see things clicking in her head while we met.  Beth gave powerful testimony that God is an actual being and our Father.  You could just tell that Kristin loved that idea.  She loved meeting with us and I can’t wait to teach her the Plan of Salvation on Thursday.

The old bridge
On Friday, we had two amazing appointments.  The first one was with Nirvana and her family.  They are less actives from Mexico, and such a sweet family.  Damien came with us, and it was a great lesson.  I can just tell that he was an amazing missionary.  There is so much I can learn from him.  He just immediately loved this family and made them feel comfortable, and the spirit was so strong.  It is a shame he can’t speak German. 

Danielle was another great appointment.  She is another less active, and she is making so much progress.  The spirit was so strong during our lesson, and then she asked us an amazing question.  "Ich will umkeren, aber wie kann ich das Sühnopfer nutzen?"  (I want to repent, but how do I use the atonement?)  What an amazing question.  Good thing the spirit was with us, because I couldn’t have answered that on my own.  On Sunday, her and her nonmember husband both came to church for all three hours.  It was so cool!
Coolest thing though.  We were at church as this woman came up to me.  We had been given a referral and we had been trying to contact her, but hadn’t been successful.  Finally I emailed her daughter, who referred her, to see what was up.  Her daughter is a new convert.  Well it turned out to be the daughter and her mom.  They both came to church and the mom, Erika, just loved it!  We are meeting with her this week and I am just so excited because this woman is prepared.  I have never seen someone so happy to be at church before. 

Another cool thing happened this week.  We were sitting on a straßenbahn and I had a Book of Mormon on my lap.  The woman across from me started talking to me.  She went off about how she just loved that book and then she asked me if she could have it and give it to her friend!  We were shocked, but said of course, and got her number.  We are going to call her up tonight.  
Sister Petersen

I have been so blessed here.  I was nervous coming to Germany because everyone said how the people were so closed off.  Sure…this isn’t South America.  I am not finding 10 people a day to teach, or having tons of baptisms, but people are prepared here.  These people need the truth just as badly, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to teach them.  If there is one thing that I have learned on my mission, it is that Heavenly Father used to be a German.  When I think about President Uchtdorf, or my bishop, or Präsident Schwartz, especially Präsident Schwartz, I think to myself that this is what Heavenly Father will be like.  These people here…they are amazing.  I am so grateful that I can serve here and work with these people.  There really is a great work to do here in Germany. 

I hope you all have a good week.  If there is one thing I have learned this week is that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life in so many ways.  As I’ve studied this week, I have been thinking of examples of Christ’s blessing that I can share in my weekly teaching.  The important points that I teach in my lessons have really helped me personally.  I have shared so many personal examples this week, and it has confirmed my own testimony even more that this is the true church.  This is Christ's gospel.
Ich liebe euch! 

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