This week has been a thought provoking week. I have done much reflection, and then conference took it to a whole new level. Being on a mission is cool. This week I read Faust's "What I want my Son to know before he goes on his Mission." Way good! I would HIGHLY recommend it to every missionary! On Tuesday, during our district meeting, Elder Anderson talked about the Law of Consecration. What has really stuck out to me is that this is the time that I am consecrating more that any other. There is no point to waist any of this precious time. I need to constantly ask myself if I am doing all that I can do to fully fulfill my purpose as a missionary. One thing I LOVE about having a companion 24x7 is the interesting conversations we often have. This week, we were talking about the success that our friends who are serving missions in other places throughout the world are experiencing, and how the work can be so different. Obviously, there are a lot differences. Especially when you compare to the experiences of missionaries in South American and in US. But one thing I absolutely LOVE about my mission is the relationship the missionaries have with the members. Back home, we have the ward members and then there are the missionaries. There the missionaries aren’t as integrated into the day-to-day happenings of the ward. Here the missionaries are a huge PART of the ward (and I don’t only mean because Passau Missionaries make up a third of the congregation :) ), and not just IN the ward. Our relationship with the ward members is completely different. We are really able to help the members as they tell us their trials and we participate in many facets of the ward. And this, I LOVE.
This week, we had a wonderful miracle. We had an appointment in Pocking, with our new investigator. However, when we got there, no one answered. Feeling a little sad after taking the effort to get there (an hour-long train ride) we finally concluded that out appointment wasn’t going to happen (I even knocked on the door.... I don't think they do that here....). Well, we had an hour to wait for the next train, so we decided to visit our other investigator who lives in Pocking and who we haven’t seen for a long time. I have made many trips to Pocking, and I have only reached phoneless Frau M____ once before. So my faith wasn't where it should have been. However, God decided to bless us anyway. She was there! It was amazing. She let us in and we were finally able to teach her how to pray. It was wonderful. She asked us to start are lesson with a song, "like the ones they sing in church." We didn't have our German hymnbooks on us, and didn't have any memorized. So we asked if an English would be ok. She happily agreed and said she would probably understand most of it. She loved it. She then asked us what “I am a child of God” meant. Her English is about as good as my Spanish. This elderly woman is so incredible and so cute. I can't believe how self-sufficient she is. When we were leaving she told us that our visit was the "crowning moment of her day." Good thing the Book Of Mormon uses that in the introduction or I would have been completely lost because I wouldn’t know those types of German words :)
The other lesson we had this week was with the Chinese family. Always interesting. I have SO much respect for those who give talks with a translator. It is so hard to keep your train of thought. However, the spirit was very, very strong in this lesson. It was amazing. She told us that she had prayed with her husband and explained how the spirit talks to her. She told us about how she feels when we come to visit. She compared it to how different it is from when the Jdubs visited.... :) The things she said were amazing. She already has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and she loved what we told her about the Plan of Salvation. She lives far away, and I don't know how she will get much out of church. She has a lot of faith and hopes that one day she will be able to come to church. Keep her in your prayers.
After teaching the Chinese family, there is something else I pondered. The respect and love that I have developed for this Chinese family, and even the Chinese people, its through the roof. I see a Chinese lady on the street, and I bond and I feel a Christ-like love for her. With all my exposure to Africans as a missionary, you better believe that when I see someone from Africa, I have an instant bond and love for them. It is hard to explain, but as a missionary, it has been really interesting how much my love for the people, specifically the types of people I teach, not only the German people, has grown. I seriously love people before I get to know them. I see people differently and that is something I have never really experienced prior to being a missionary. It's dang cool. I hope that makes sense.
This weekend was SO MUCH FUN!
Saturday, we left early in the morning to go to Munchen. There we had a RS conference. We had a couple of speakers, we had lunch, did a service project, and watched the RS conference session. It was so much fun. For the service project, we put together Christmas care packages. We included necessities and a toy and wrapped them up. It was AMAZING how many packages were put together. I wish I had a number, the pile was huge. We then watched the first session of conference. My favorite part was from Carole Stephens who talked ever so briefly about getting to your goals, but not missing the beautiful flowers along the way. I LOVE that. Then we slept over at the Munchen sister’s apartment. In the morning, we headed to Landshut to meet our district for a pre-conference lunch. We intended to help make lunch, while the elders were at the Priesthood session, however, our train went really really slow, and we got there over an hour late..... It was ridiculous. But Sister Anderson is the greatest and made a delicious lunch for us all. We then watched the Saturday night session and then we watched the Sunday sessions live. S___ came. he absolutely loved it. I can't count how many times he said it was such a privilege to hear from such inspired men who know just what we need to hear. He was ecstatic when we told him that it happens twice a year. haha. He really liked Holland’s talk. He is just so powerful. I really appreciated the topic he picked. I think that would be really, really helpful in some people situations and opened eyes of people in other situations. I really like that he said if we understand His love, our problems seem easier. That is the truth.
Uchtdorf's was a classic. That was wonderful. and really answered the question why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints (BZW. Kirche Jesu Christi der heiligen der letzen tage) is so great.
Another thing I really enjoyed was Maynes's talk, about how our ability to endure is parallel to our testimonies and our strength of conversion. This conversion, as Oscarson stated, is received by exercising our faith.
For sure, the "crowning moment" of conference was Ballard’s talk. I don't know how many times we will be told about hastening the work, before we, as members, realize the importance of doing missionary work! We had a meeting with our Stake President between sessions. He is the best stake president ever. He was FIRED up! We talked about how if every member could just talk to one of their hundreds of friends about the gospel, what a difference it would make.
Is inviting the missionaries over for dinner missionary work? Absolutely not, no matter how much we missionaries love it, it is not what we really want to see. Members really need to get in there and start harvesting the field. I am so pumped for the progress that I am sure our church is seeing and I hope everyone takes it upon themselves to paint the nametag on their heart. Ballard promised us as we pray, our fear will be replaced with confidence. You can even do it in your mother tongue! It is so simple, we need only to pray for help and guidance. I think the best thing you could do is this. Next time the missionaries ask if you have thought of anyone you can share the gospel with, and just reply with no we will think harder this week. Ask the missionaries to kneel down and pray with you on the spot. Ask them to pray throughout the week that you will have a missionary experience. But you yourself have to pray as well. It is so simple, to put in Ballard’s words, Go and do as the Spirit directs. WOW. If you are not as pumped as I am, go watch that video from the broadcast again, where the woman’s grocery bag breaks, and the son invites his friend to his baptism. Man oh man, yes I sound like a preacher, but this has eternal consequences! Be willing to share the gospel with those around you, and the lord WILL PREPARE A WAY because like Nephi says, "denn Ich weiss den Herr gibt den menschen kinder keine gebote ohne ihnen einen weg zu bereiten." (Nephi 3:7)
And that is all I have to say about that :) Told you this week was thought provoking.
Have a great week! Love you tons.