This last week was full learning things that I have been wanting to learn for a long time.
Tuesday was our Zone Training Meeting. We met in Stadthagen this time. Before we left our apartment early that morning, I thought briefly, “I should probably carry my umbrella with me.” But we needed to catch our bus and I didn’t give it much thought. So, of course, as we are traveling to Stadthagen in the train, we see rain drops landing on the window as we zip through Nordrhein-Westfallen. We were a little worried, but thought, “It isn’t that far to the Church. It won’t rain for a while anyways.” As soon as we get out of the train, it is pouring down rain. And the walk to the Stadthagen Chapel was a little longer than last time we were there. I was not a happy camper, as we would say. I think the best part was showing up the church with a drenching wet suit and backpack with Sister Kosak – the mission President’s wife there. But a lot of other missionaries showed up wet as well and our Training Meeting was help without suit coats. I dried off pretty quickly. My interview with President Kosak, all though still partially damp, went great. He always says exactly what I need to hear.
I really appreciated his lesson on responding to Anti-Mormonism material. He showed us how to use the Church websites and that there are really no hidden secrets that Church hides or claims not to know. I am excited when we can use the Internet as more of a tool.
The Sister Training Leaders from Hannover gave a great lesson on Prayer. They started out with the question: “Do you feel close to God when you pray?” The found several examples of prayer in the scriptures. All of them showed what we need to do in order to have a more effective “prayer time.”
It’s all in the approach.
The people in the scriptural examples needed to speak with God and gave their whole souls out in order to pray to Him. They prepared themselves to be worthy of that line of communication.
Afterwards, while my companion was in a meeting, I had a good opportunity to chat with Sister Wilson and see how she is doing in the beginning of her second transfer. We talked a lot about how one can still be themself and also be a missionary. God gave us so many talents and we need to use them! I love learning fun things from people and simply getting to know their stories; life is full of characters! Sister Wilson is an amazing photographer and has the CRAZIEST camera I have EVER seen! She is always offering to take family portraits and nice photos of people. I even got an email from my mom who likes to go on walks through old cemeteries. She found a couple who needed a little cheering up (Romeo can help with that!). God gives us traits, and interests and talents so that we can help build up the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes, we apply these talents according to how the Spirit tells us to use them. Sometimes, we do hear that voice wrong and act falsely. But sometimes, we use our God-given talents and traits and others will mock, make fun, or even attempt to correct. They’re just jealous or don’t understand. Accomplish YOUR mission. We all made promises before this earthly life; figure out for yourselves what exactly YOU promised and then set out a plan to bring those things to pass. I learned that especially in reading Helamen 5:35-41 about Aminadad – a Nephite who went to the Lamanites and later was able to help the Lamanites convert to the Lord and thrive in the land – one of the greatest conversions in the Book of Mormon.
Thursday was our Austausch (exchanges) day with the Minden Elders. Elder Garrett is training right now. Elder Lawyer went with him to Minden, which meant that I was able to be with Elder O’Keefe for his first Tausch! (Yes… he IS a distant relative of Georgia O’Keefe! I knew that question would come up.) I learned so much about the importance of training and loved being with a new missionary. It made me also realize the personal progress that I have made on my own mission in the last year.
Sunday was, as is always, a crazy day of learning and received answers. In Sacrament Meeting a member gave a talk that quite possibly changed a great deal of the rest of my life. I am doing a photo project for the nest few weeks and will talk more about that later. We didn’t have an eating appointment for Sunday, so Sister Adler came up to us and invited us to come over – the Sisters, too. As we walked to the train to head home to study a little bit before our appointment with the Adlers, we were thinking of what kind of spiritual thought we should share. Then the question came to us, “What kind f spiritual thought to you share at the house of a member of the Quorum of the Seventy…?” (Sounds like a good book, right…?) Nevertheless, Elder Adler pretty much provided the spiritual thought for us and we talked about the work in the area and what we can be doing better with the ward and less active members. It was really great to meet them and to talk.
Always, when we go to member’s homes, I expect something so odd. Then we go, and they are completely normal people. I am always humbled and learn so much. Before the mission, I always thought that I needed to be crazy successful in my career in order to have a happy family – so that I could provide for them. But the homes I go into and the families we visit are as normal and every day as can be. I have learned in Bielefeld that the most important work one can do is within the walls of his own home.
I hope everyone at home enjoys their last few weeks of summer. Keep me updated on what is going in your lives!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
A card delivered from my mom WITHOUT post!
One year ago. #Yikes #Already?!
Sisters McBride and Wilson coming from Stadhagen