ICH GRÜßE EUCH!!
365 days left as of today!
Wow…! I never thought today would come. I remember sitting in my apartment in Berlin, in the cold of Winter, thinking I would NEVER live to make it until today. This next transfer is THE transfer with my “One Year To Go” date, my “One Year In Germany,” and my “One Year Since Entering the MTC” date.
Speaking of this transfer! We received our Transfer Phone Call on Saturday morning and found out that Elder Lawyer and I will be staying together for another transfer. YAY! I am so excited to be staying here in Bielefeld. It makes such a huge difference when the members in the Ward do their own missionary work, know you and the people you are teaching really well, and have strong testimonies of missionary work. (Members… did ya get the hint?!?!)
Monday we were scheduled for a quick, last-minute appointment with a member to look at a possible apartment nearby the church. Looks like we will be getting it any moving in sometime next month – hopefully! It takes a VERY long time to get to our current apartment and have been asking the Mission Office in Berlin and the members here to help us get a new one. We waste a lot of time on buses and trains and walking when there are no buses or trains. It is also big enough for 4 Elders… who will come later. But that also means we will not see all of our bus friends anymore (people who talk to us for no reason at all or people we see almost everyday at the bus stops).
To quote a lot of mom’s weekly emails to me, “This week was pretty quiet.” From Wednesday evening to Thursday evening, I was on Tausch (exchanges) with our Zone Leaders in Hannover. I went to Hannover with Elder Smith. We had a good study hour together. It was really great to talk with Elder Smith and feel how much he truly does care. Most missionaries ask all the standard questions to get to know people. But we already knew one another fairly well. I just haven’t really had that returned – that feeling of someone caring about your answers to questions and your past. Later, we went to a member’s home and did some yard work for a few hours. We somehow ended up talking about East and West Germany with her in her yard towards the end. I just love talking of this little chapter of history with the Germans. They get so happy and nostalgic when they talk about it – words that typically do not describe Germans. She told us about taking an American exchange student (when they lived in the West) to the East side of Berlin – which one could visit for a day. And then she told about how she heard the news late a night on TV. I always get goose bumps when people talk about the Berlin Wall coming down and am always so thankful for that. Otherwise, my future (or present moment) in Germany would be drastically different!
I have been working hard in my personal, and sometimes my langauge, study to read my Book of Mormon in German. The “Buch Mormon” that we received in the MTC for some reason did not come with marking and notes in them. So I have to read it all and mark it up and translate the hard words for later usage. I am finally done with Alma now. I have a greater understanding now of these “War Chapters.” After fighting and recapturing cities and defending their faith and freedoms, the Nephites were finally able to reclaim their lands and freedoms. Peace and reward come to those who endure and fight. I also learned, through our mission-wide study of discipleship in the Book of Mormon, that even disciples of Christ have problems and need to work on that: doubts, a need for stronger prayer, or forgetting essential principles. But when we defend those basic rights, freedoms, and principles, we will always know what to do in times of distress – small or large.
Saturday we were also able to eat a member’s home. This family is from a little island near the Dominican Republic. They tried making something similar to what they eat at home: namely…rice and beans. I was so excited. Mostly to tell all my missionary-friends in South America that I got to rice a beans and chicken like them. We ate it with a fork and knife though. Does that count? Na ja! They are such a great family. I realized something that I think I have learned the most on the mission is how to raise a family in the Church. Before, admittedly, I was not the best with kids – wasn’t really sure what to do with them…. But I feel like I am HEEPS better (like our Australian Sister Wilson would say…). I also understand better the dynamics of a Gospel-centered family and am excited to start my own… whenever that will happen. NOT within the next year, FOR SURE!
Sunday we ate an American member’s home. Like I said, I think I am getting better with kids… the picture expalins enough…! 😀 Sister Megan Child was also there. She was a missionary when the program here was SUPER successful (about a year ago) and was asking us about a bunch of people we still work with. We asked her who was in her group when she came to the mission and she said that Elder Fuller was in her group (my Trainer)! It was weird because I had just been in Hannover and looked through their Area Book and his handwriting was AAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL over it. It weirded me out! Especially because almost A YEAR has gone by now!
I am so grateful for this past year and for all the amazing experiences I have had here. To all my companions now home (or almost home… Elder Ustach…), EIN TAUSEND MAL DANKE für alles was ihr für mich gemacht habt. Ihr bedeutet so viel mir und ich schätze unsere ewige Freundschaften. Wir sehen und in einem Jahr! To all my family and friends at home, thank you so for your support – in whatever for I received it: prayers, temple work, packages, or letters. I appreciate it all… and ask that you keep it up for one more year! Always have a missionray whom you are supporting. We need it. There are always missionaries who need a little more help than others – who get a little forgotten at home.
“… bis zum nächsten Mal!”
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission