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
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission