Week 67: Freiberg

District Freiberg

District Freiberg

 

Hello Friends and Family!

This week was a quiet week. I was sick… again! Still am a little bit. The cold weather came in a lot faster than I could keep up!
On Tuesday we went to the Temple for an endowment session. It was very special. I love doing it all in German and will miss that a lot. We have some new temple missionaries here in the ward and they shared their testimonies in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. They are from Colorado and talked about how much contention there was when the Denver Temple was being built in the 80’s. It looked like it wasn’t going to happen until someone wrote an article in the Denver Post that there was a temple being built in the Soviet Union. The article asked, “If the Soviets can build one of these temples, why can’t we?” And in that Temple in Denver, this man was able to be sealed to his wife and family for eternity and see his own children follow in the same pattern. What an opportunity it was for him to thank those who ACTUALLY built, and made countless sacrifices some 30 years later. Even behind an iron wall, the temple is a beacon to the world. I know this.
During my three sick days, I was able to finish my study of chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. Here is listed several Christlike attributes and how we can apply them and make them better. The one that struck me the most was PATIENCE. President Thomas S. Monson said about patience that it is the most important Christlike virtue.
Today I started rereading Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk, For Times of Trouble. It always gives me so much strength and reminds of all of the events that I have overcome in my life and that, with His help, I can overcome even more. Problems, trials, tests, and temptations are part of earth life. We should not be surprised when we receive them. We should, however, be surprised about what we learn. Elder Holland gave such a great talk and I encourage everyone to read it above! I will study another talk that has to do with PATIENCE from Elder Holland called An High Priest of Good Things to Come.
Patience is more than merely waiting. It is more than being able to withstand the wait at the doctor’s office or to simply “get through” a bad day. Patience involves showing our faith and hope. When we have trials of faith, they are times when the Father is testing us to see if we will truly stand by what we claimed to be when the ocean waters were calm.
As the Savior visited His “other sheep” in the Americas, He reassured them that hard times would come. But He told them that there was help and hope: “But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat upon them, they shall fall and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them.” 
 
This next week will be full of exchanges and getting Elder Schouten for his next transfer: AMERICA! That will be #4 sent home! Oh! And Thanksgiving with all the american temple missionaries!
 
Have a great week! Keep shining!
 
No pictures from this last week. Sorry!!
Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Freiberg
Advertisements

Week 66: Frieberg

SEVEN YEARS since my baptism!!!

SEVEN YEARS since my baptism!!!

 

ALOOOOOOOOOHA!!!

Greetings from chilly Germany! Highs for the next week are mid-40s and lows are… freezing. I can’t wait for California weather again! I keep thinking that we need to get appointments with people so that we can spend more time INSIDE! Ha!!
Well today is special day! Today, exactly seven years ago, I was BAPTIZED!
Saturday we had planned to do some finding with our ward missionary. We waited outside the church for a while. He had forgotten when I called 20 minutes later. But, in the meantime, we sat on the bench and I was able to stare at the beautiful Freiberg Temple. So many sacrifices went into building it and into establishing the church here as it was East Germany. I am amazed that I have now been a member of this church fo seven years – to the date today. The Gospel has brought me all the way here. I would never imagined it! I have made many sacrifices and many have even been invested in me. I have gone through much. Would I repeat the last seven years? Heavens no!!! But I am grateful for where they brought me. Like Christ still has the wounds in His hands, I still have my scars to remind of the paths I took and to show others that I know their pains as well.

And like the Freiberg Temple, where there once was very little, I can now bless so many more people. The Freiberg Temple grounds were once an open field. Now members from Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and many more come here to come closer to their Heavenly Father.
We have the opportunity to go tomorrow for an endowment session. As missionaries, we are allowed to go every two transfers if we live close enough. Elder Schouten and I are very excited – and very grateful – to be able to go tomorrow.
On Sunday, we decided to sit in on the english sunday school class for the american temple missionaries and visitors. Elder Lehnhardt, a temple missionary, taught it this Sunday. It was about Isaiah 52:1-2, 7-10. We talked about how Christ is truly the center of the Atonement – or our way of repenting through Christ, to our Heavenly Father. There is power in the ordinances we perform. For every ordinance we perform in the church (baptism, confirmation, receiving the Priesthood, etc.) there are covenants we make with God. It is promised to us that as we keep these covenants (or promises), He can bless us.
I thought of Doctrine and Covenants 84:20-21, “Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;” We experience God in as much as we participate in His work, His ordinances, His Priesthood, and His sacred process of repentance – which brings us closer to Him. Even seven years later, this “power of godliness” is made manifest in my life still, because I have renewed my baptismal covenants every Sunday through the sacrament. I remember them because they are so important to me – yes, more than chocolate, even! We have the opportunity to have God in our lives. He wants to be a part of our lives; He is knocking. We must only open the door in as much as we read His sacred words written through prophets, pray to know His will and that these scriptures are true, and attend our meetings at Church – where we receive guidance from leaders and revelation to our own, personal prayers and concerns. I cannot count how many times I have repeated this process. It works and I invite everyone to try it.
What makes me so happy? So different? So effective and efficient? What helps me on a daily basis? THIS AND THIS ONLY. I see the Gospel everywhere for God’s hand is everywhere.
This week I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Schmalz (which means “lard” or “fat drippings” in German :P). He is brand new and is being trained in Meißen (Meissen). He is a super strong elder and knows why he is here! I was really impressed by him. I really enjoyed getting to know him better.
On Wednesday, we saw a lady crossing the street from the other side of us. She was pushing an older man in a wheelchair and was having a hard time. The wheelchair didn’t have any feet rests, so he had to keep his feet up in the air. As they got to our side of the busy street, they came up to us and asked if we could help them for a little bit. We walked them back to the man’s care home. The lady is being 82 years old and just wanted to take him into the downtown to buy a few things fo him. But her legs weren’t able to push him back up the hill. They had been praying for help because they had absolutely no idea how they would get back. Elder Schouten spoke english with the elderly man as he pushed him up the hill and I talked to the older lady as she held onto my arm. We went into their apartment for a little bit and talked. They had met with Elders before and know about the Book of Mormon. He lost his copy, so we left another with him. He wanted to give us something but did not have much in his apartment in the care home. So he gave a vanilla-cinnamon candle and a box of half-eaten cookies. And we just found out a few days ago that there is no open fire allowed in the apartments. It felt good to be in the right place at the right time and to be answer to someone’s prayers. That is always the best part about prayer: being the answer.
I wish everyone a great week!
Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Freiberg
November 17, 2007

November 17, 2007

 

Elder Schouten and Elder Hoffman

Elder Schouten and Elder Hoffman

 

Elder Schouten made a German lunch for us. Potatoes. Wurst, Rotkohl (cooked red cabbage). And a sauce all over it!!! :P

Elder Schouten made a German lunch for us. Potatoes. Wurst, Rotkohl (cooked red cabbage). And a sauce all over it!!! 😛

Week 66: Freiberg

Fall in Sachsen!!

Fall in Sachsen!!

FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS: I love you all. And appreciate all the many great things that have been sent to me. It is great to know that I am being thought of. But President Kosak, our Mission President, would like that we ask all those at home to NOT send things in the mail which we can buy here in Germany. Germany is a very developed country. They may lack good peanut butter or anything “Tollhouse Cookie” related, but we live. The members in East Germany went through much worse! They have ties and white shirts here and everything else. If you want to get something for me, talk to a member of my family and they can guide to how you can put money in my account. You can tell me what you want me to get with the money and I will do that! This will save time and money. Thanks for all that you do!
– – –
This last week has been CHOP-FULL of great things!
I want to copy and translate something my Mission Presidet, President Kosak, wrote to us in his weekly email to all the missionaries here. (He normally writes in english…):
 
“Heute ist ein wunderbarer Tag. Am 9. November 1989 öffneten sich die Grenzen, die Mauer um unser Land fiel. Endlich konnten wir unsere Verwandten sehen und kennenlernen. Ein Grossteil unserer Mission liegt heute in Westdeutschland, das ich vor 1989 nicht hätte besuchen können. Welch großer Segen, dass Sie alle nun in einem geeinten Deutschland dienen dürfen. Sie erleben jeden Tag die Früchte der Beharrlichkeit und des Durchhaltevermögens der Heiligen der Vergangenheit.
 
“Today is a wonderful day. On November 9, 1989 the borders (of the German Democratic Republic) were opened, the wall of our country fell. Finally we could see and meet our family members. A vast majority of our mission today is now in West Germany, which, before 1989, I could not visit. What a great blessing it is that you all can now serve in a united Germany. You experience everyday the fruits of the tenacity and resilience and the saints of the past.”
My highlight of this last week was our Stake Conference here in the Dresden Stake. Words cannot describe how much I love this stake. There is so much excitement and build-up for Stake Conference here. It truly is a big deal. Everyone here knows everyone and is so happy to come together, twice a year, to hear from their local leaders. I was frustrated because I realized that, yes, my heart is now here in Germany among the people. But, to be more specific, it is actually here is Sachsen! It will be hard to leave not only Germany, but the state of “Saxony.” It was also great to se my Schwarzenberg family once more. Schwester Ebsich brought some chocolate for me and my companion. To be honest, they love their missionaries. Almost a year later, they still remember the names of all their missionaries.
We had to opportunity to be the choir for the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference. Which meant that we had to be in Dresden at10:30 for our interviews with President Kosak and also choir practice for what seemed like a lifetime!
We sang a medley called “A Marvelous Work,” which had been translated into German: “Ein großes Werk.” I highly recomend it! The members were talking about it a lot afterwards. It was very powerful. But my favorite what the very simple arrangement of “Abide With Me.” The last three lines of the second verse were so powerful as we sang them in front of our members:
‘Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away. Change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me!’ 
 
So much in my own, personal life is changing right now. I remember as I was at college and was having a difficult time communicating with God. I recognized these feelings again this last week. The bar has been raised on me once more. So it is back to jumping up to reach that bar again. Although, while everything may be changing – myself included, somethings remain stagnant and constant: my testimony, my covenants and promises to God, and even Christ himself remains my Savior and Redeemer.
 
The fall season is so beautiful here. We take a train at least once a week to and from Dresden for District Meeting. This week THREE times! The trees on the hillsides are spectacular with their changing colors. In the hymn, “Abide With Me,” it says, “change and decay in all around I see….” Things decay for a reason. The leaves on the tree are no longer what they used to be. So the tree let’s go of them so that he can make room for new ones. The old leaves fall to the ground and become compost for the tree – energy for the tree to make the new leaves. 
 
Change in our lives in inevitable, normal, and sometimes simply unwanted. But it comes with time whether we like it or not! (so suck it up!!!) I looked at myself and thought, “I need to change. But what was wrong with who I was and what I was doing?” The answer that came to me was, “Nothing.” I knew what I had been doing was correct. I prayed everyday for the last 365 days, and then some more now, about where to go, what to teach, what to say, how to say it, and for the help to say and do and teach it all! I now, 100%, that I was fulfilling my purpose as a missionary, “to bring others unto Christ.” But now, things are different. God needs me to step things up a notch, like He does with all of us at different times. I need to let go o my own old leaves and grow new ones now. How great are new beginnings! How merciful is our God for giving us chances to try again and to become better. Such invitations are open to all.
 
Change. repentance. Recovering. Healing. And Reconciliation. All words which make me think of the german word for “to repent.” It isumkehren (oom-care-en). It literally means to turn around. What was done in the past does not matter. So long as you ae coming back, taking the important steps, and turning around
 
Thanks for all you do! 
Live in crescendo!
Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Freiberg
Br. Brummer fom Schwarzenberg! I love my SZB family!!

Br. Brummer fom Schwarzenberg! I love my SZB family!!

More SZB! (Sister Turner was just in Schwarzenberg)

More SZB! (Sister Turner was just in Schwarzenberg)

Elder Schouten's cinnamon roll dough exploding! (with apple chucks in it)

Elder Schouten’s cinnamon roll dough exploding! (with apple chucks in it)

Week 66: Freiberg

Me and my city!! FREIBERG!!!

Me and my city!! FREIBERG!!!

 

 

 

Greetings family and friends!

This week was a lot of fun and a lot of stress!
Monday we had two eating appointments back-to-back and on complete opposite sides of the city! We met with a few, new chinese members. They started making food for us and put peanut butter in something which is pretty much cyanide for Elder Gerberding. That was a close one! Then we went to ANOTHER eating appointment at 8 o’clock at a member’s home. We had a good time there though and it was worth it.
I spent the day in Dresden waiting for Elder Schouten to come all the way over from Hamburg. I was very happy to be back in Freiberg once more!
We have been working very hard and talking to a lot of people. We have some good potential investigators now. We talked to one man on Friday. He didn’t have time, but said he would take our card and come to church on Sunday. AND HE CAME!! He has been in Germany for a few months now and is from Africa. He wants to meet again. We are excited, naturally!
Saturday we had our district meeting in Dresden. We normally have it on Wednesdays, but Elder Bretzing is training and did not get back from Berlin until Thursday. We found out that the train we normally take only runs on weekdays. So we had to wait another hour to get to Dresden. And then the metro train in Dresden, which went to the church, was delayed 20 minutes. I was so nervous that out 1-1/2 hour long meeting was going to turn into a spiritual thought. The first two meetings I have had as district leader have not worked out too well. But, this one ended up turning out really well!
No one could play piano and I was worried. It’s always nice to have a piano to accompany – especially when our district is made up of four elders! But we sounded great even without! That was a huge tender mercy for me.
This next week we have our Zone Training Meeting in Dresden (Dresden Zone…). The Zone Leaders asked my companion to give a lesson and not me. I guess I can just doodle in my coloring book in the back of the chapel…. 😛 Then we have interviews with President Kosak on saturday. We have been asked to sing in the Stake Conference (the saturday evening session). That will be really cool! I guess last time was only because a member of the Area Seventy was in the area and wanted to meet with the Stake. Now we are actually having our semi-annual Stake Coference. Weird…. I get to see all the Schwarzenberg members again though!! AND I get to sing in the missionary choir!!
Well. I hope everyone has a great week!
How will you be better at sharing the gospel THIS week? Make goals and set plans for your goals! http://ldsmag.com/article-1-15057/
LIVE IN CRESCENDO!!!
Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Freiberg
New Companion!! Elder Schouten

New Companion!!
Elder Schouten

HERBST! FALL!

HERBST! FALL!

Waiting at the train station

Waiting at the train station