Fröhliche Weihnachten!! It’s christmas time!!
This week Elder Breitenstein and I have really learned the importance of planning well. For the last two weeks, we have not been planning our days as well as we should have. Then when something falls out or goes awry, we both kind of go forward not knowing what we’re doing, hoping the other guy knows what is going on. But communication and really making a game plan so that we can be ready is our motto this next week. This week will be weird since the Germans will be celebrating Weihnachten from Tuesday until Thursday. And the days before and after that are pretty much a holiday, too.
I am excited for Tuesday. Tuesday and 4PM, the Gemeinde here is having their Christmas Service. A lot of the LDS Churches in Germany have a program on Heiliger Abend (Christmas Eve). All the other Churches have one and that is when they have their highest attendance rates. So why can’t we have one? I think it is perfect and I wish more Churches at home would do that. Great idea! It is another event to invite friends, families, and coworkers too.
Wednesday night we decided to go down south, almost to the end of the S-Bahn line, and go door-to-door in a neighborhood there. We had knocked on a few doors there and then… out of nowhere, a police car pulled around the corner and pulled over next to us. They came out, asked what we were doing, and asked to see our Ausweis. As missionaries, we have to carry paperwork saying that we are actually missionaries for our Church and that we have permission from the Government to preach here. I WAS SO NERVOUS! We tried giving the officer a Weihnachtsandacht Invitation for Heiliger Abend, but he wouldn’t take it. I guess there had been some break-ins in the area, someone saw two guys with foreign accents walking around the neighborhood, and called the cops on us. I understood a little more then. But, CRAZY! Someone called the cops on us! ha!
On Thursday we went to a members house. She is… she’s an older member. Not sure how old…. We had to bring one of the recent African converts with us to do Tea with her. EVery Sunday she tells him he needs to learn German. She has a different way of showing she cares. Anyways, she had gone to our Church a few times as a little girl. Then the Iron Curtain went up across Germany and there were no more missionaries. She had forgotten all about it. She told us stories of how she helped people – Saints, even – escape East Germany. It was so legit!!! (Elder Breitenstein’s language is rubbing off on me: she is such a baller!!) Then, fast forward, missionaries knocked on her door and she joined the Church over one year ago. She has now been baptized and confirmed, received her Patriarchal blessing two weeks later, and has gone to the Temple. I have so much respect for her. She waited a long time for this. I LOVE EAST GERMANS!
I even planned a General Conference Talk and a thought to share. But it is Christmas. I want to invite everyone to remember the true meaning of Christmas. My favorite scripture for this time of the year is Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Councillor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Christ has so many different names. What does Christ mean to you? What has he done for you? What can he do for you? What gift can you given (for) him, this year?
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission