Well… I sent home my third companion now. Ha! I know too many old missionaries; a lot of them aren’t even missionaries anymore!
I had a great transfer with Elder B Larson here in Bielefeld. It was sad to send him off to Berlin. But it had to be done. Someone had to do it! ;P I am now looking forward to a great transfer with Elder Lawyer here. The work in this area is starting to pick up and I am excited to see what the Lord has in store!
Monday we had a family home evening at out favorite (and only) Russian family’s house. I love how all the foreigners always give us normal food portions and do not send us rolling out the door. We left pleasantly satisfied for our missionaries purposes. We shared the “Work of Salvation” broadcast from last year and talked about they can all share the Gospel more. We encouraged them to develop a Teaching Pool simply live the Gospel. We challenged Sister Kalinin to make some Russian cookies and give them to her neighbor so the know who she is and that she is very nice.
The next day was Transfer Day (Tuesday). I helped Elder Larson onto his train to Berlin and then got on mine right afterwards to Minden. Elder Koch (from Switzerland) had arranged a service project for us to do while we both waited for our new companions. Elder Lawyer came earlier than the other Elder. So we left early. Elder Lawyer’s suitcases were both broken and we had carry/drag them onto a train from Minden to Bielefeld, go to the subway station underground, then take a bus to our apartment, and carry them up four flights of stairs. YIKES! I am glad they will be staying there for a while… I hope…. It is nice to have a companion now that does not have an infected toe nail and can walk around; we have been walking around a lot and going finding.
I tried to make a few appointments last Sunday with members so Elder Lawyer could meet the Gemeinde (Ward/Congregation) a little better. Our first appointment was with the family from the Dominican republic. They have so much faith and are super strong in the Gospel. Bruder Paredes was a pretty big guy at home; he was a Branch President and very involved. Then they wanted to give their kids a better chance at being successful and came here. They pretty much started at rock bottom. I think that takes a lot fo faith. And to come to Church where no one speaks a language that you understand. He was showing us pictures of mission from 1997-1999 in the DR. They were so funny! I can’t wait for my photos to be funny to other missionaries – or even my kids! His wife’s parents are visiting for about a month. A member came up to me and asked if I could translate for the parents in Sunday School. Knowing that they are studying the Old testament now, I hesitated. So I sat next to them and realized that I forgot my Bible at home. And luckily, the topic of the day was 1 Samuel, chapters 17 and 18. It took me forever to figure what was even going on! I understood the German. But I didn’t know any of the context or background and found it hard to tell the couple what was happening. I sat next to them for a minute and then the husband started elbowing me, “You can speak Yerman, right? (with his accent). GAH! But! After saying many silent prayers, I was able to understand the relationships between the people they were talking about and I could communicate that and the spiritual application in english!
On Thursday, there was a belated wedding celebration at the Church. A member’s wife was finally able to come over from Russia and join him. They were sealed in the Kiev Temple in January. But the Gemeinde wanted to do something special. I am not sure how this got organized, but our blind investigator (Patrick) came with us. It was so great! As we traveled with him to the Church, he asked us what we normally during the day. I started telling him the different people with whom we visit. Then I added, “We also visit the members and help them.” Then he said, “Yeah. I am actually thinking of becoming a member myself.” And then I said, “That’s great! Keep reading and praying about the Book of Mormon!” And then he said, “Oh! I am! It is very hard to understand!” ha! We did not get to meet with him this week; he wa busy. But we have a joint teach appointment set up for tomorrow. We will invite him to be baptized after Church on the 13th of July.
When he came to the wedding and Church, all the members were so supportive of him. I love this Gemeide. They see a new face, albeit a new missionary, an investigator, already a member, or even a face they haven’t seen for a while, they are so quick to say hello and get to know them and offer their support. Patrick loves the support he feels and has already met several members. He really wants to get to know them, too.
This next week will also be a little odd. We don’t have any member appointments. So we will be filling a lot more of our time with Area Book work and tracking.
Oh! It is finally summer and we have passed the longest day of the year! The sun wakes us up so early here since we are so far north (not as bad as Elder Ankeman in Norway, though). Now the days will only get shorter! Watch, we will get to December and I will be excited for June again when the days are longer and we can work with more Daylight!) The World Cup also makes things a little interesting when we are going door-to-door. We got permission to watch the Germany-USA game if were think it is appropriate and the final match next month as well. Mal schauen!!
As we study as a mission in the Book of Mormon about Disciples, I keep reading again and again how true disciples of Christ are always first converted to the Lord or the Gospel and, then, their joy is so great that cannot even help but share it with others. As I read of King Lamoni, who was in a deep sleep for several days, I am amazed as what happens when he awakens. As he “slept” he sae Christ and came to knowledge of his Savior. He immediately testified of his Savior and of the Plan of Salvation and felt sorry for those whom he had led astray. It is so important for to measure our own conversion, our own disciples, in connection with how much with share the Gospel with others.
“Well, the danger may be hard to see, but it’s real, both for them and for us. For instance, as some moment in the world to come, everyone you will ever meet will know what you know now. They will know that the only way to live forever in association with our families and in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, was to choose to enter into the gate of baptism at the hands of those who with authority of God. They will know that the way we can be together forever is to accept and keep sacred covenants offered in the Temple of God on this earth. And they will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you.” Elder Henry B Eyring, October 1998 General Conference, “A Voice of Warning”
Share what you have. Help others know the joy, love, peace, and eternal happiness that could also be their’s. Someone gave it you – a mom, a missionary, a friend, or a neighbor. Pass it on. It’s least we can do help make the world a better place (Esther 12:4).
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission