Bielefeld Fun Fact: When Google Maps was first created, Bielefeld did not show up on the map. So Bielefeld is now known as the city that doesn’t really exist.
What a week! We had a lot of member appointments this week and a lot of fallen out investigator appointments. Our relationship with the Ward is already really strong. I am so glad that it is not something we have to work super hard on anymore.
On Monday, we met with Familie P. It was so cool. Right away they started going through all their friends with whom they have already shared the Gospel and how we could probably help them. “Well, maybe we could invite you and them to dinner next week. No. I would rather meet with them first and see where they are at. Then I will let you know.” And dinner was not even on the table at that point! They went on talking and talking about them sharing the Gospel with people all the time. They even started using the work “Teaching Pool” in the middle of their German sentences. We asked the Sisters later if they had taught that word to them earlier and they said that had not; the Familie just came up with it on their own! ha! (In our mission, we added one more Key Indicator called a “Teaching Pool” which consists of everyone e teach: Friends of the Church, Less Active Members, Members, etc….).
Since we had several appointments with members this week, I was not able to see them in their church calling at Church, but also as normal people at home who just came home from work, who had to take care of the kids, and all that stuff. My respect grew even more for people who balance all of these different parts of their lives. We walked by the house of our Assitant Ward Misson Leader and he saw us, waved at us to come in, and then invited us to dinner before our meeting that evening. We ate dinner with his family and then traveled to Church and talked about the various people we are teaching and working with. It was great to see the dedication he has.
Thursday was our Zone Training Meeting! I think my most favorite part of the mission are meetings and conferences just seeing all the missionaries and catching up. It is so exciting! And the spirit is so strong. I was so impressed by this last meeting in Hannover; I could truly feel and see everyone’s testimony. I have no idea what happened or what they did to become such strong members and missionaries; but I can feel it! A few missionaries are going home this transfer from the Hannover West Zone, including Elder B Larson. The Zone leaders gave them a chance at the end of our meeting to share their testimonies. It was really great and I could feel the Spirit confrm what they were saying.
Afterwards, we went to this AMAZING burger restaurant. I may or may not have eaten two (expensive) burgers. SO good! And it was so much fun; like I said earlier. We all rode on the same train back to our respective working areas and could not find any seats; so we all stood together and sat on some stairs and on the ground of a train for about an hour. I got to know Sister Schöpf – a Sister Training Leader – who was exchanging with the Bielefeld Sisters. Her and her companion, Sister Lartey, are really great inspirations for me. Both of them just EXUDE the Gospel! Like I said, you can feel their testimonies and excitement to share the Gospel.
As a mission, we are reading the Book of Mormon again. This time, we are studying about “discipleship.” I am reading the Book of Mormon and tryng to understand how all the different people and peoples recorded were converted to the Gospel. Then I apply it to myself. I really felt impressed to share what I wrote this morning in my study journal as I read Mosiah, chapter 19:
“The Nephites were a righteous people. They were God’s chosen group. But they were led away and fell into unbelief. This happens with us. We make commitmenets and we also sin. This story of the Nephites freeing themselves from a wicked leadership and shows us that we can also escape our past. We can overcome the poor decisions of yesterday and set up a new foundation of faith, repentance, covenant keeping, and virtue for tomorrow.
“Sometimes we have to get rid of bad or evil influences in our own lives; this can be hard, but still must be done. When we know who we are, who we were, and what our potentail as children of God truls is, it is easier to change these things and we can see the need. The Nephites killed the wicked King Noah in order to live with a more righteous king – Limhi, his son. We can get new friends, read in the scriptures to distract us from temptations, serve others rather than ourselves, and replace bad habits with better and more productive ones.”
As I wrote this, I remembered what Elder Packer of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles said in 1989 to the youth of the Church. It still applies to all of us today:
“You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offsping of the King in Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!
“You are a dual being, a spirit clothed in a mortal body. Your body is the instrument of your mind and the foundation of your character. Take nothing into your body which may harm it or disturb the functions of your mind and spirit. Anything that is addictive is dangerous.
“Within your body is the power to beget life, to share in creation. The only legitimate expression of that power is within the covenant of marriage. The worthy use of it is very key to your happiness. Do not use that power prematurely, not with anyone. The misuse of it cannot be made right by making it popular.
Your spirit operates through your mind, but cultivating your intellect is not enough. Reason alone will neither protect nor redeem you. Reason nourished by faith can do both” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/to-young-women-and-men?lang=eng).
I love you all! Thank you for all you love and support. Keep reading in “Preach My Gospel” and building up your OWN Teaching Pools. The Lord will bless you only as you act and perform. Plant the desire and harvest the fruits!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission