So this email is a little late. Today I will send my email from last Monday about Week 71. Monday is again another normal Pday, so I will talk about this last Christmas week then. Christmas is three days here (24.12.-26.12.) and it was more effective (work-wise) to take our Pday today (the 26th) rather than on Monday, which was the 22nd.
Monday, for our Pday we went into Dresden and hiked up a hill outside of the city (in Radebeul) to where President Thomas S. Monson as an apostle dedicated the Dresden Mission and East Germany for mission work. It is such a powerful prayer and I am grateful that it was recorded. In the prayer, President Monson promised that the members would be blessed for their many sacrifices and great faith and that they would be able to experience the fullness of the church just as those members on the other side of the iron curtain. In his biography he later wrote that he went to his hotel afterwards and prayed so much to God. He didn’t know why he said that. He had promised something to the Saints that they could not have. But, through the years, it was all made possible. What impressed me the most was this:
“Shower down upon us, Heavenly Father, The bounteous blessings. Bring to this land Zion is all of its glory. Bring to the heart of each member a firm testimony of the gospel and grant that from this day forth, the way may be opened for Thy word to go forward in greater power. Grant that the way may be cleared for the program of the Church in its fulness to come to this people, for they, through their faith, have merited such blessings.”
As I read that prayer aloud for me and my companion that evening, the Spirit told me so loud and clear, “That’s you. You are all apart of this sentence.” I now the Lord is hastening His work and the blessing from Prophets and Apostles for Germany will come true and are coming true.Here is the full prayer. There is a God who loves each and every one of his children; He wants us all to come back, even the East Germans. 😛
On Tuesday we met with our investigators from Mozambique. We watched President Monson’s talk from last conference: Guided Safely Home. After we watched it in Portuguese and read along in German, I asked them what they thought. I asked them if they believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. They thought for a few seconds… and then said. “Ja.” I was a little taken back and then, naturally, my question was, “What do you think a prophet is…?” And they explained prophets exactly as I would explain it to them! So that made the lesson a lot shorter than planned! ha! They haven’t been coming to church, but we are working on that. I was really frustrated on Sunday when no one showed up.
Thursday I had the opportunity to travel up to Berlin for a Leadership Training Meeting. It was so great! The whole focus was going back to the basics: the scriptures, Preach My Gospel!, and the Missionary Handbook, even the First 12 Weeks Program. We went through a whole multitude of problems that we face as leaders in the mission and then found solutions in the scriptures, in PMG, and so on. It really helped show me how I can become more independent in my leadership and rely on the tools which I have already been carrying around these 17 months now. I went on an exchange that very evening when we got back to Sachsen and I was able to use that.
My greatest desire for the missionaries I serve currently is that they understand how much I love and support them. Sometimes we, as leaders, have to correct and it’s not fun, especially when the receiving end does not accept what you are trying to help them with. It all really comes from my love for them and this sacred work.
Our train did not leave Berlin for a long time, so we waited for a while at the Tiergarten Chapel in Berlin and chatted. President Kosak asked why we were still there and then said, “Then go to the Christmas Market!” “… Really?!” “Yes. Of course!” So we went and I FINALLY got my roasted chestnuts. So great! ha!
Friday we had an amazing appointment with another investigator. He is from Nigeria. We talked about baptism as a step which we need to perform here on earth in order to return to our Father in Heaven once more. I asked if he would like to be baptized and he said YES! But not now, next year. We are praying about a date and then we will see what happens at our next appointment.
On Sunday I learned something new – like usual…. The second counselor in our bishopric, Bruder Schiebold – gave such a great talk about light and christmas. He said that even though with the war all the lights across Europe went out, we can still be a light in a dark world. We can be the LIGHT, not the CANDLES. That is an important difference.
I have been reading Luke 2 lately and putting myself in the different character’s shoes: one day I am Maria, one day I am Joseph, or the angel who brings glad tidings to the shepherds. Brother Schiebold mentioned someone else from whom we can learn in this part of our Savior’s life: the angels who rejoice and sing and shout as the one angel returns back into Heaven. He said that maybe, just maybe, we were some of those angels; he asked us, “Were you one of those who rejoiced and sang songs when your Savior was born?” For the longest time I have had the greatest desire to be one of the shepherds who saw the Christ child that night. Even better yet, the Spirit confirmed that I, and all of us, shouted and yelled and sang and maybe even danced or did a jig as the Savior of the World was born, as the means of becoming like God and obtaining a body was initiated.
We can still do that today. We can raise our voices and “bring glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,” just liked we did before!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission