Winter finally decided to show up in Freiberg! I kept hoping that I could have my first white christmas on the 25th. But it didn’t start snowing until the 26th. But I will still count it since the 26th is still Christmas in Germany!
Let’s just say that I will be taking it easy with the food this next week. Never in my life have I eaten rabbit and I ate it twice at two different eating appointments. It’s not bad.
So on Tuesday we met with one of our investigators. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and really emphasized the importance of following Jesus Christ here in this life. The whole lesson went super well. My companion and I had practiced it beforehand in our companionship study time. At the end of the lesson I asked him if he would like to be baptized in this church. He said that he would like to, but not right now. Maybe in February. We all decided to pray about that and to set a date the next time we meet. We have an appointment for this week! 😀
Wednesday was CRAZY busy! District Meeting in Dresden. Travel as quick as possible back to Freiberg for an eating appointment. There were so many arrangement being made as we were traveling. Incredibly stressful! But, we made it and it at worked out for the best. Heavenly Father answered my small, short prayer in the train. We ate at one member’s home with all of the Temple Missionaries who were here. It was really fun getting to know them all better and to spend time with them all; they are all Americans as well!
Then we all migrated over to the church for the Christmas Devotional. A lot of the LDS Churches here doing something on the 24th (Heiliger Abend, Holy Evening). It was really nice and full of beautiful music and spoken words. The best part was that our investigators from Mozambique came! They enjoyed it. I was really happy to see them there because they never come to church. But now they have done it before and know the way! They didn’t come yesterday. We need to help them more and maybe actually walk with them to church.
That evening we went to the Schlüter’s home for dinner. She is from a region of Poland that used to belong to Germany. So we got to see all of her traditions. And there were a lot. The woman does everything and the man has to sit and do nothing. There is a loaf of bread on the table to symbolize the Savior as the “bread of life.” There is also a place reserved at the table in case a guest or a wanderer should come, even Christ himself. And while we ate, we were not allowed to talk. And if we had to talk, we whispered. It was supposed to help us concentrate more on the Savior and His birth. Very interesting. There was another temple missionary couple there as well with us.
Thursday, the 25th, we ate with Familie Schmidt. They are so great! They helped a lot with the construction and organization of the Freiberg Temple back in the 80’s. He had filmed everything going on at the first renovation of the temple in the early 2000’s and then sent it all to Church HQ, who then put it all together in an hour-long film. What struck me the most was when they erected the Angel Moroni statue on the top of the Temple. The Temple President at the time spoke of its symbolism. His trump symbolizes the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and that it will preached unto every nation, kindred, and tongue. The song, “High On The Mountain Top” was playing.
As I asked more questions about the construction of the Temple and the first renovation, Bruder Schmidt said (in German…), “Hold one. Let me go get my journal from 1985!” I thought, “That’s a sentence you don’t hear to many people say. I hope I can say that in 60 years as well!” Turns out that this man does not let ANYTHING in his life go unrecorded. He writes everyday about every thought, action, event, feeling, etc. Incredible. His job was to count how many members were in the Temple at the dedication ceremony. He had saved the little card he used. Church HQ called a few years ago and had lost this data and needed it for their records in America. Luckily Br. Schmidt still had it all! He took a picture of us so he could paste into his journal. He taught us a lot about keeping a journal and I took my own personal notes!
Personally, my favorite eating appointment this last week was on the 27th with the Woolseys. (Obviously not a German name…) They are a temple missionary couple from Utah. They are so great!
This last week I returned to the Old Testament to read Joshua. Wow! Joshua is so great. He is a great example of learning something from the Lord and then applying it to his life: be strong and of good courage, fear not. I like in chapter 14 how he reviews when Moses asked him to go spy on the new, promised land after their wandering in the desert. He said that he was one of those who was faithful and wanted to take the land. I want to be able to look back on my life and say, “I stood firm in the faith. I did what was expected of me.” I’m not perfect and I am (still…) trying to become a more consecrated missionary and child of God.
Einen guten Rutsch wünsch ich euch!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission