Will all the Missionaries Please Stand Up
Have you ever had your heart swollen of so many different feelings at the same time? So many things going so right amid the bits going horribly wrong. Miracles amid the Maladies and hope despite the Hurt. The thing is, as a missionary you are dealing with the lives of so many people. Your own life is really just defined about how the others you care for and love and support are doing, their lives are living and changing, yours is a sort of fixed point amid the chaos that we call human life. Chaos, from one point of view a perfectly crafted poem from the other side.
One of our dear members, the newest convert here in the ward, just lost his best friends. We met with him today to go on a walk, he did not speak much about it, just that he will be now taking care of the friends children. He told us about it last night. It was the moment of silence not knowing what to do, it seems almost fake. When you know how much someone means to someone else and then just knowing that they are gone. The most comforting part is than he now is hoping and wanting to take his name to the temple to do his work for him.
I felt a little angry. A little sad as well. My fists curled and I just sort of had to stare at the wall for a second. Angry that those who find the gospel have to face so much after. That they are tested and tempted so after making this important step. It comes in many different ways. That is sad because then they think, what have I done wrong, but in reality then have done nothing wrong, and if they can just hold on then this trial can bring them closer to their God and Savior. That is why they need true friends. Everyone needs them, but especially new converts.
And the other end of the spectrum, you get a message that someone has decided finally that they will go to the temple, and you just start yelling with joy with your companions in the apartment, because that was the topic of conversation for the last three appointments almost.
R came to the conference and sang in the choir. It is funny you would look at her and think that she has been a member for so long, but in reality she hasn’t. She just fits right in, I hope the gospel continues to bring her joy.
Goodness S is so cool. We will be teaching something and then J (daughter) will have a question and then S jumps In and clarifies. Like baptisms for the dead. She jumps in and clarifies that. She is a super woman.
M was so sweet we get into the appointment, we are about all sitting down and then he just gets this very serious sweet face and stands up walks to the middle of the room and then turns around. ” I have something I need to say, I have decided to get baptized, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father, and I got an answer.” Of course Sister Strihavka and I are up on our feet and we go join in the group hug that little J has already started, her arms around the neck of her older brother. It was a beautiful moment. We had made invitations for J, cute little flowered handmade paper invitations. M said he would want some to give T’s friends too, but hopefully with Pokemon balls on them instead of flowers. We shall see. His date is for the 10th of April
We now have four baptismal dates.
There is D, we have been working with his friends, but through the friends we were able to find him, now his friend lost interest, but D got the number from his friend and asked us to please
come back and keep teaching to him. He has already been baptized before, but he says if it is God’ss plan then he will do it again. He has slowly gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and always reads the little pamphlets we give him. He looks like a total hip gangster. He is so great. The flat brim hat and the sort of low pants, but not so bad, ha ha, he is a classy gangster. Before we knew his name we always called him “cool hat guy”
The we have W a student from China. She is studying breast cancer research. She is so sweet we met her by contacting at Bahnhof waiting for a train in a totally different city. It turns out she lives about ten minutes with bike away from the church. She is doing great, also she scored some more brownie points from me when she cut her hair herself. I asked her why she did, ” I cut it when it starts to be uncomfortable.” I feel you sister. Also she loves it when we call her
Sister J so that is what we do, she always prays that got will bless his daughters.
F came to help for a lesson with, both, D and W, and he did such a good job. It was wonderful to hear his testimony. Often he makes jokes so you can’t tell how much it really means to him, but hearing him talk about his conversion process makes me realize just how important and life changing the gospel was for him. He always starts it with, “Elder Maw and Howard tackled me on the street and started to talk to me about sports, and then the next day we met at the church, and then he gave me this book. After every chapter I read, I would pray and ask God if it was true, and then I felt peace and that it was true.”
Simple as that folks.
We went an took care of a very old woman for a little while her sister went with the elders and Bruder H to visit a very less active person. The daughter of the very old woman is one of the only ward members who still has contact with this other woman. We played the German equivalent of “Sorry” and sang some songs for her, that was until she started to lose then she got a little tired and just got up without a word and climbed the stairs to lay down. She was trying to tell us a story but she forgets everything every few minutes and got very scared by her cat when she went into her bedroom. We tried to calm her, it was an interesting un-planned service, but I am glad we were able to help, in the little cottage in the middle of snowing Schwarzwald. (Black Forest)
We thought we would never see J again. So needless to say I got a bit excited when I saw him from the back coming out of the Internet cafe. Kind of like the shouting his name and running and then having to stop yourself from hugging him sort of way. So he has not been deported yet, but it is going to happen possibly any day, he is ok, but really so, so, so stressed. He just wants it to be over. He has more white hairs now than when I met him. He has been trying to solve the problem, and his phone stopped working and he did not know because he has two others. So now we secured his email and other phone number. We are not going to lose him again now at least if I never see him again. I got to say good bye and bear my testimony one last time.
We had a great stake conference. You, you reading this email, you are a missionary. that was really the message for the whole conference. It is what these German people needed. “Tell the missionaries my house is open for you, my oven is baking a cake for you.” Then he shared his conversion story. He was a bearded guitar playing roamer who saw the missionaries in the park, felt practically shoved by the Holy Ghost to talk with them and changed his whole life around in two weeks when he was baptized. There was a member who helped at every lesson. Now, today, he and the member are both still friends, and their son and daughter married each other. I was privileged to volunteer to share my testimony when he asked for any sister missionary to come up.
I think he thought I was funny because we were on the front row and I just agreed with so much of what he was saying that I was smiling like an idiot, and then on Sunday we were able to sing in the choir. Good old EFY medley. over done? A little cheesy? Yeah. But I think we can forgive it for the spirit it brings. If it brings the spirit. I am ok with certain amounts of Käse.
Brief overview of our district:
Elder Erickson: Superman the Musical
Elder Young: Deep in the Heart of Texas
Elder Petty: Technology Merlin
Elder Elwell: The Hunter
Sister Strihavka: Austria
Sister Whiting: The Fruits of the Valley
Sister Gardner: I don’t know what to call me… Any suggestions?
Ah there we go.
Some last points:
* Good times with our dritt (trio), lots of running around as usual
* We are excited for Easter
* Our apartment is pretty cozy for three
* We are always looking to improve
* The world needs to judge a whole lot less.
Lots of love,