Happy 2nd Advent!
This last week was really great, again! It is great to be out on a mission at this special time of year.
Somehow all of our appointments got moved to Saturday. So we were super busy on Saturday! We had two really great appointments on that day.
One of those appointments was with a less active member. He hasn’t been to church is about a year and has really wanted to come back for a while now. He just hasn’t been able to. I think he has slipped into some old habits. But his life is starting to get back into order now. When we met with him, I was pretty much going to redo my training from our District Meeting on making goals and plans for the next year. I asked him what some of his goals are and what he wants to achieve when he comes back to church. He started talking about C.P.R. (Church, Pray, Read). Which was super cool because that was also something I told the members of our district to work on: that our investigators learn how to do these three things on their own. He told us somethings he wants to study and that he will come back to church now because he really needs it.
And then he said, “And something that I really want to do is get the Melchizedek Priesthood. Maybe in about a year I can do that.” I was so impressed! He knows what he wants and, through our lessons, he was able to set up a few plans to obtain those goals. It really strengthened my testimony of setting GOALS and making PLANS TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS. I didn’t do anything; the Spirit was working with him and he received his own answers there. It was so great.
What was even better was seeing him at church on Sunday, with a white shirt, suit coat, and a tie. He was happy to be back here and so were the other members. They missed him and would always ask us about him. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father that we came in contact with him when we found out where he was working!
Then, in the evening, we met with our investigators from Mozambique. That was such a great lesson! That morning I had studied the Plan of Salvation, because that is what we planned to teach them. I drew out the whole map – from the pre-existence to the three degrees of glory. I looked through the Portuguese pamphlets we have and all the material we have and found all the Portuguese words and phrases that we would need. The lesson went super well. I don’ know how they understood everything; it must have been the Spirit again.
They also came to church…. Well, two of the three did. The other one slept in. That is the second sunday he missed. I taught them a German word: einschlafen. It means “to sleep in.” So whenever I say, “Ach! Wir haben Sie am Sonntag vermisst! Sind Sie eingeschlafen?!” And they look down, smile, and say, “ja…” haha!! We have fun together. I can do a better job at being a little moe serious and inviting the spirit. The language barrier is a big problem though. I am so thankful for the pamphlets, though!
Earlier in the week we also met with one the recent chinese converts. He just got a chinese bible and loves it! He shows it off. It’s really great. We started reading it so he could learn more about the Bible. We skipped a little bit ahead and read the Luke 1-2, where the story of Christ’s birth is written so beautifully. I try to read these two chapters every Christmas season alone. This time, after SEVEN YEARS, I read something I had never read before! Maybe it was because I was reading “auf Deutsch.”
Christ and his family went to Jerusalem for the Passover every year. They had been doing this for twelve years already. And they traveled with a large group to Jerusalem. As they were leaving Jerusalem with this large group, they realized that Jesus was missing. With the Elder Hoffman Translation of the Bible, I am sure they thought, “Oh! Jesus is probably just off with his friends! Or, he is off with another family, I bet. He’s fine.” But it wasn’t fine. He was still in Jerusalem. They traveled for three days without him. Then they had to go all the way back and search the whole city. They found Him at the temple. When they found him, again in my words, they said, “What the heck? Why did you do that?! Do you have any idea what we have been through to find you?!”
Christ, being the Son of God, which Mary may have forgotten in that moment, replied, “Why were you even looking for me? Shouldn’t you have known that I would have been at the Temple?”
So often we think we are sailing on calm waters. We may think that our train in still in Germany. But the train we are on is traveling so fast, it is almost to southern coast of South Africa now. We need to open the windows and check where we are.
We may think that Christ approves of we do and say and how we act. We may think, “The Spirit is with me!” But it is in such a moment that we should think, “Is everything really as kosher as I think it is…?”
Obedience is better than sacrifice. It is better to make sure we are doing all that we can to have the Savior in our lives now, so that we do not have to hurry back to Jerusalem and try to find Him.
Set goals. And then make plans for this next year. Start and end with a prayer. Sing a song. Get ideas from others. What do you need more in your life? There is no magical survey or checklist for us. We have the almighty scriptures and the wonderful gift of prayer. Use them to their fullest capacities. I promise blessings, growth, and an added measure of strength.
President Kosak wrote to us in his weekly letter: “Measure your success wisely. Have your eyes and ears, your mind and heart open. Feel the guidance of the Spirit. Here is a little secret that I believe too many who have been called to labor in the kingdom have not yet learned: one of the grand keys to success in this life and eternal reward in the life to come is to cultivate the gift and gifts of the Holy Ghost. In this sense, we may be compared to a fish who discovers water last. Sometimes without recognizing it, we are immersed in a dispensation of revelation, surrounded by light and truth and understanding and priesthood power, so immersed that we occasionally become indifferent or desensitized to the magnificent light within our reach. To be effective servants, holders of the priesthood of Almighty God should have a righteous obsession with cultivating the Spirit in their lives by maintaining a determined resolve to avoid places and situations and, yes, even people whose influence is degrading and spiritually deflating. You will feel it, I promise you. Seek the light – be one of the THREE WISE MEN. Seeking is still what we teach ourselves and others in drawing nearer to God.”
Thank you for your emails and Christmas messages. I appreciate them. I will do my best to reply. I have been CRAZY busy lately, but want so badly to stay in touch with everyone. God bless!
Have a great week!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission