District Bielefeld at Kaiser Wilhelm Denkmal (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial)
Na?! (This is a German greeting)
This last week was the week when everyone came back from vacation. In Europe, nothing gets done during the summer. For like two our three Sundays in a row, our bishop led the meeting, gave a talk, and played the organ for the sacrament hymns. But everyone is back and our Ward looks like it did when i first came here!
For Pday last Monday we had a district Pday and went to Minden to go visit the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial. It is this HUGE portico at the top of this hill. It is really cool looking. I saw it from the train when I was first traveling to Bielefeld from Schwarzenberg and thought, “WOAH! I am in THE coolest city now!” And so… when I say “we…” I mean WE found our own way up the hill somehow. The Minden Elders joined us later. Then we waited for the Sisters and waited… and waited. Then we just called them and asked when they were going to get there. Sister Wilson (the Aussie) answered and said, “Well, we’ve kind of just been going uphill the whole time. SO we figured we should get there eventually….” They finally made it and I was impressed. Sister Wilson didn’t want to change, so she hiked up that beast hill in a dress and sneakers. On our way back, we got on the wrong train and were in a random city – still in our area (keep in mind european areas are MUCH larger). The next train didn’t come until later. We had time planned to go home, change into missionary clothes, and then go to our eating appointment, but that got shot. We all ended up at this member’s house in our Pday clothes – except for Sister Wilson who seems to always be prepared for the most random events. That was a chaotic Pday!
At District Meeting, Sister Wilson had the spiritual thought. She shared a section of President Monson’s talk Come Ye Sons of God. She shared the story of an Elder serving his mission in Australia and hoping that his father would join the church. Long story short, the father and mother traveled to Australia to pick their son up so that the Elder’s father could be his last baptism on his mission. As hard as the work can be here at times, I had the thought come so distinctly in my mind:
unsere Arbeit ist nicht nur gebraucht hier, aber ist auch zu Hause wichtig.
Our work is not only needed here, but is also important at home.
As frustrating as it can be, I know there are unseen blessings. Some blessings really cannot be seen with mortal eyes, some we must look a little deeper, and some have not even come yet. I know that my mission as a whole will stand for something even greater; a mission means more than a statistical number of baptisms; it means service rendered, testimony shared, and hearts touched and moved. At the beginning of ALL our missionary meetings, we recite two things (1) unser Zweck (Our Purpose) and (2) Lehre und Bundnisse 4 (Doctrine and Covenants 4). The former reads (auf Englisch, of course): “Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to end. That is the lifeblood of what we do. So, when we write ZERO baptisms for weeks on end, it’s hard. It’s like being a baker for profession and you just cannot seem to make a good cake – it always comes out flat, lumpy, or you forgot an egg or a cup of sugar. BUT! What did the baker learn in making those mistakes?! Maybe go through the steps in the recipes a little slower? More prep time to get all the ingredients ready? Maybe it would even help to double measure the ingredients in the prep-phase? It is likewise in missionary work. We set goals and do all that we possibly can to reach those goals for new investigators, baptisms, or less active member lessons. In Denglisch, sometimes we just don’t schaff it – we just don’t make it. But it is my firm testimony that, in as much as we set goals with the Spirit, Heavenly Father will guide us to set goals that will help us learn and grow. HIS goal is that we become more like him; like a toddler learning to walk, we fall and He lifts us up. And then one day, walking becomes second nature. Some people never learn to whistles or snap or to play a tune on the piano. We understand the process and the analogies. In the goals I set and do not reach, it is something that I learn along the journey in striving to meet that goal that strengthens my testimony in a loving Heavenly Father who is caring and loving and has our best interest at heart. He prepares us.
Well! August 14th has come and gone!! I have officially been a missionary for more than one year now. I am a little more used to it. Heavenly Father has been – somehow – sending quotes from missionaries that they make copies of for me and people who say things that help understand more of how to handle this next year. We were in a city far away (Detmold) and I bought a slice of cake for me and Elder Lawyer to celebrate when we got home.
The weather has been getting pretty cool. Hopefully fall isn’t coming early…. The days are getting noticeably shorter now and I am have “nightmares” of last December when the sun goes down at like 3PM. Those were hard days! But, I did it once and can do it again! 😀
We went through our Member Directory and just called people we did not know. So we have lots of random appointments this week. And progress with our blind investigator has started again! October 12th baptismal date…? We will see!!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Elder O’Keefe’s berries!
Package from Mom and Mimi arrived!!! A belated bday party for Elder Lawyer. Treats for all!!
Sister Wilson is a POWER missionary!!!