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!
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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
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission