Week 48: Bielefeld

Working on the train!

Working on the train!

Greetings friends and family!

Wow! Exactly 11 months ago, I drove up to the Provo MTC with my Mom and Sister McGee and started this long, long, long journey called my mission. Eleven months? Yikes. That is ALMOST a year. The only comparison I can think of is maybe a dishwasher… or a washing machine. I feel cool and collected on the outside. But seeing that number FREAKS me out. What have I been doing with my mission? What will I do with the rest of my mission? Have I done enough? How do I do more? WHat is going to happen this next year? AH! But, this next year will go by just like these last eleven months have. And I know, because I will be in the service of God, I will be in good hands. I will be able to return home a different person. I am now starting to see that person.
To be completely honest, alot people commented before I left on my mission, “How can Randy change?” or “I just cannot wait to see how Randy’s mission will change him.” I had those questions as well. What is there to learn or do? It reminds me of when I was teaching a man in Berlin. He is baptized now. We started teaching him about the Temple and that we make sacred covenants there. “But we have already promised EVERYTHING when we are baptized! What more could there possibly be to promise?!” Well, my friends, ALOT! There is ALOT to learn, do, and promise. The road towards perfection and godliness is a very, very… VERY long road. And there are a few parts under construction. There are also a few traffic jams. Sometimes the road disappears; or maybe you just can’t see it because there is a huge snow storm or just a lot of that San Francisco fog. But the end result is worth it; I am not there yet. But I read about it every day in the scriptures and cannot wait until I am there!
On Tuesday we finally met with our blind investigator and invited him to be baptized! He does not have an answer quite yet; but he wants to start meeting more frequently and working on getting an answer. Our goal right now is the 27th of July. Church was super – for me and for Patrick! In Priesthood, the lesson was on baptism. Now, how do you teach baptism to a group of men who have alreadey been baptized? You teach them how to remember their baptisms!! It was really great for Patrick to see why we are baptized and what that personally means to so many of the members. Then, in Sacrament Meeting (which is at the end of the three hours in Germany), Bishop Wächter asked Elder Lawyer to give a short talk on the Resoration. Bishop is always on the ball when there investigators and he explains everything; afterwards he said, “thank you Elder Lawyer for your talk on the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, which is our central message and really what sets us apart from all the other Churches.” Then our Ward Mission Leader gave an AMAZING talk on the Book of Mormon. He talked about how his daily family study as a child and now as a parent has helped him. He shared testimonies from Prophets and Apostles. My favorite sentence that I think I will always remember was, “And don’t forget. Elder Holland knows it. President Kimball knows. And (some other apostle) knows it. But don’t forget that I also know it.” Each of our testimonies are all just as important. Regradless of what is going on in our lives, the Book of Mormon is there for us: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-03-08-testimony-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng
I think today though, I want everyone to think about their own baptism. And if you have not been baptized, think about why you have not been baptized. I don’t mean that crudely; just think. At baptism we promise to follow Christ, to take His name upon us and to be a disciple at all times and in all places. Baptism is a literal washing away of past sins and we bron again, given the chance to start a new life as a disciple of Christ.
So often we forget about our baptism. We acknowledge that we are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because we have been baptized. But do we truly think every now and then on that special day. The words said, the feelings, the impressions, and the amazing feeling of having so many burdens washed away. We renew this every Sunday with the Sacrament.
In the October General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf encouraged those who have gone astry and left, for whatever reasons, to “come” back and to “join with us:”
“To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here. 
Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.

I am reminded of a time in the Savior’s life when many abandoned Him.10Jesus asked His twelve disciples:

“Will ye also go away?

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”11

There are times when we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?

If you seek truth, meaning, and a way to transform faith into action; if you are looking for a place of belonging: Come, join with us!

If you have left the faith you once embraced: Come back again. Join with us!

If you are tempted to give up: Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.

I plead with all who hear or read these words: Come, join with us. Come heed the call of the gentle Christ. Take up your cross and follow Him.

Come, join with us! For here you will find what is precious beyond price.

I testify that here you will find the words of eternal life, the promise of blessed redemption, and the pathway to peace and happiness.

I earnestly pray that your own search for truth will impress upon your heart the desire to come and join with us.”

I add my testimony in the promised blessings of being a baptized and confirmed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are admonished to count our many blessings; but there are simply too many to even start. I also testify of staying true and returning to my baptismal covenants which we renew every Sunday. I join President Uchtdorf and ask those who have gone away, regardless of how painful it may be, to come back and to join with us in this work. Es lohn sich. It is worth it.

Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Elder Cook!

Elder Cook!

It was market day!!

It was market day!!


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