Better……Than This Dazzling Plot
How fitting that I should start my new adventure in Germany with the story of Jo March and her German Professor. I know that this place is the new chapter of my story and this story will be a good one. Filled with exciting people and places and new experience and a forecast of fall leaves and smiles.
I cannot lie, I shed a few tears as I left Vienna, but more importantly my Sister Pratt, but Sister Ahlm was there with a hug and an excitement for my new area. She has served there and during the ride she told me about people I needed to take care of and people in the ward. She gave me finding tips and ideas and left me with a stack of envelopes to give to her old friends and a Chinese bible that needed a new specially selected home.
I was pleased to meet a lot of new friends and lots of old ones. My birth brother from Graz (Elder McArthur) was also talking the trek across country to Deutschland and Elder Call with his guitar slung across his back. I rode among friends and laughed and said goodbye and marveled at how the time is passing. I was with many of my MTC brothers. We can’t believe that we are already as far as we are now on our missions. It is good to know they are all doing well and off to continue this fantastic work.
Tübingen is a college town; seriously, there are so, so many young people here. There is a beautiful river and brightly colored houses. Sister Wilkes and I go running in the morning through a leaf-covered path in a streetlight lit park. Sister Wilkes and I have actually know each other for a long time, we played on a soccer team together when we where small and she is in my stake at home. It was funny to surprise members with that fact when they asked where I was from. She knows my home, I can describe exactly where the places are that I tell her about and she lets me know about those who I have not heard from in a long time. It is nice, we now have he chance to get to know each other better. She is an awesome missionary, I am just going to try and soak up all of her missionary knowledge that I can.
On Saturday we went with our GML (Ward Mission Leader) and two ward members to go do an Austellung in…. Reutlingen! It was my first Austellung. We set up a table and a display and were able to give out 13 copies of the Book of Mormon in one day. I met a girl named C who I really hope calls us back, she was very hesitant, but we had such a quick connection and even friendship. At the end of my discussion with this young Romanian, English and German speaking student with the snowflake earrings and the long black hair, I asked if I could hug her. She smiled saying she had been just about to ask me that too. She is someone I wish and I could get to know, because I am sure that in some sort of incomprehensible way, I was able to meet an old friend in the middle of a crowded street market atop the great cobble stones in a land in which my Grandfather served.
I felt a sort of energy and drive when I realized that Reutlingen was the place my grandfather started his mission 56 years ago. It helped me feel that I am indeed supposed to be here.
I am also excited to start building my new family. Elder Maw and Elder Petty, Sister Wilkes, Elder Erickson and Elder McDaniel are my new district- New family and a good mix of family reunion.
The first Sunday went all right, I taught lesson number 27 in the gospel principles class. It was an interesting one to do in German, but I feel like it went pretty well. I am excited for this new challenge. I am going to keep things rolling in this ward, working to take care of everyone.
I just wanted to share a lovely experience from my first Sunday eating appointment.
There is a family in this ward that recently lost their daughter. We were able to help comfort them. The father wanted me to sing for him once he found out I sang. He sat down at his old piano and after playing a selection of Bach for us, started playing Christmas hymns, which I sang gladly in German. The last song he played was ” Be still my Soul” the song that was played at their daughters funeral. He wanted me to sing it in English. As I sang, tears filled the eyes of the mother and her husband and the spirit entered as a warm strong feeling of comfort and longing. I finished, he played the last few chords and we all pondered in silence. I hope you know that breathless quiet the spirit can bring. He wiped his tears from his eyes and closed the music book on the piano; we were able to give them comfort on this day when they missed her greatly. We bore testimony about the plan of happiness and they finished by saying that they know they will see her again. I wish that all pains and sorrows and worries could go away when we want them too, but the fact that we have them helps us to rely on the saving grace and love of our Redeemer, and the Atonement.
Be still my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below…
Well, we are going to go catch a train to chocolate heaven now, so I will catch you next week.
All my love,