his week’s General Conference talk is Elder Perry’s talk about the Articles of Faith. My email is long this week. I want everyone to read it or listen to it – members and nonmembers – and tell me what you learn. I’m a missionary. And this is my commitment. I will be following up next week.
“… I encourage you to use your bright minds to study and learn the Articles of Faith and the doctrines they teach. They are among the most important and certainly the most concise statements of doctrine in the Church. If you will use them as a guide to direct your studies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will find yourself prepared to declare your witness of the restored truth to the world. You will be able to declare in simple, straightforward, and profound ways the core beliefs you hold dear as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Well. This is it folks. My last week in Neukölln. I am finally being transferred. I am being transferred to Schwarzenberg – which is almost at the bottom of our mission. And, it is somewhat close to the Freiberg Temple! I asked the Schwarzenberg Sisters if we are allowed to go. We are allowed to go once per Transfer on a P-Day if the trip is within 4 hours. They said that would could probably do it if a member drove us there. So we will see.
My new companion is currently serving in the North in Schwerin. He will meet me at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, then we will travel together (for a long time) to Schwarzenberg, and then we will start up the new Elders Program there. The two of us are going in there with any idea of what is up and what is down. I am excited! But that isn’t entirely true… Schwarzenberg was Elder Larsen’s first area. So he knows the area.
More about the transfer later!
Tuesday was New Year’s Eve. In Germany it is called Silvester. We spent Silvester at a member’s house. He is a counselor in the Bishopric. We ate dinner, played games, and then ate traditional Berliners (or Pfannkuchen). It is tradition to eat Pfannkuchen on Silvester. We had an imvestigator there as well. It was really great having him there and get to know the missionaries and some members in a fun, relaxed environment. It helped. Plus he is by himself and we helped him to celebrate a little too. I am sad that I won’t get to teach him anymore.
Our neighbors from upstairs, naturally, brought us some more Berliners once were home. I probably ate like 4 or 5 Berliners that night. Eh… When in Rome… er… um… Berlin, do as the Berliners. That night we had to be in our apartment by 6PM. I understand why now. The Germans go crazy buying Fireworks… like real fireworks. Not those little ones we light of in the street. It was so loud! We could barely sleep. And then when midnight came, I got woken up again by all the fireworks. We spent the night cleaning the apartment…. which is how I have usually spent New Year’s… cleaning and in bed by 11PM. Ha! So nothing new!
The next day the city looked like a war zone. There was firework trash everwhere and there was NO ONE on the street!
I actually found out the I would be transferred on Thursday. We were asked to come to the Mission Office to pick up an Elder waiting to go to the Scotland-Ireland Mission. He is from Southern Germany. We went into President Kosak’s office, hugged the new missionary, and then President Kosak said, “Elder Neideck (the new missionary). You do not need to get to know Elder Hoffman. He is being transferred soon. Right, Elder Hoffman? I would not lie to you. You are being transferred. Say your goodbyes on Sunday.” ……………………………. Not really how I wanted to find out!
But yesterday was hard. But I had been praying for strength and a desire to leave. Earlier, I had asked the Ward for their help. We are foreigners and do not have friends, they have friends and need to talk about the Gospel with them. The Ward Members are my friends! But yesterday I corrected that. They mean so much more to me than that. They are more like family: ein Stück meines Herzens.
On Saturday we played Football one more time. I realized that since September, I have become really good at playing soccer. I actually know what is going on! Still a lot to learn. And then (get ready Dave Blair. Here comes a soccer analogy!), it is the same with my mission. Since I started in September, I
had no idea what was going on. But now, President is having me start up a new Elder Program in Scwarzenberg.
One of my favorite members gave her testimony at the end of our Testimony Meeting yesterday. She said that goodbyes are hard. But we have hard things for a reason. She said her favorite saying (and my LEAST favorite) is “It is what it is.” Things comeup and we have to go forward. But wha touched me the most: she said how honored she was to be apar of our families (meine und Sister Clarks) and how honored she is too to have two missionaries in her family now that she can support and love and write. I have a German family everyone!! 😀 Neukölln wird immer besonders mir.
After Church we ate an eating appointment at the same family’s house where I ate on my first Sunday here in Berlin!! Everything has come to a close, but yet remains open. Everything here (for my time here ) seems to have come full round, like coming to same point in a circle. My time here is done. I have more work to do in another Stück von Zion to do.
My favorite John Muir quote: “Leave only footprints. Take only memories.” I have done that here and cannot wait to come back.
Off to Schwarzenberg now!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission