Yikes! Well, I am guessing that the sister missionaries with whom I was in the MTC are now home. Weird. Time flies by. The next 6 months will also go by fast.
The weather has been unseasonable warm. Barely any snow! Last year I was wearing TWO pairs of thermal underwear. Now just one – sometimes. I really like Neumünster. We have been riding our bikes quite a bit. It makes me feel like a real missionary since I have not been able to ride bikes too much on my mission. Mostly walking and using local transportation. Although, I have to say, riding bikes on cobblestone is NOT very comfortable….
Monday was my last full day in Freiberg. I will miss seeing the temple everyday. Next time I see it, whenever that will be, it will be much larger and different.
After emails we went over to Bruder Adolf’s apartment (that’s his last name…). He doesn’t know how to cook, so he always defrost meals for us. I love it because he sets the table so nice for us… and then we eat TV-Dinners. Na ja! We then went over to visit an elderly sister who lives in a care home. I always had a good time visiting her and hearing her stories.
Then we went about doing some last-minute things for me before I left. Then we had one last dinner with the Woolsey’s. They are a Temple Missionary Couple and are just so much fun! They are FULL of adventures and stories and great things. Check out their blog: http://woolseywillkommen.blogspot.de/ I look forward to visiting them in Utah after the mission. They are being transferred to the Frankfurt Mission to work with the Young Single Adults there. They’ll be great! They are both great examples to me. They were both teachers in the public school system. If I ever had my pick, regardless of income or hours or anything else, I would want to be a teacher. I love becoming a “teacher sent from God” here on the mission and wish to develop it further afterwards. They showed me that you can be a public school teacher and still have a great life filled with adventure, trips, and growth.
Then Tuesday came. Transfer day. I was able to actually travel with other elders this time! I traveled to Leipzig with Elders Peterson, Bretzing, and Timmerman. That was fun. Elders Bretzing and Timmerman went their separate ways in Leipzig. I traveled on to Hamburg with Elder Peterson. Then I changed trains AGAIN and went up to Neumünster with… me and my luggage…. I was scared I was on the wrong train. But I made it! 😀
My companion is Elder Thompson. He is from Mericopa, Arizona and has never seen the ocean. That will change when we have a P-day on the beach up in Kiel in a few weeks. This is my first companion who is actually substantially younger than me. He has been on his mission for about 1 year. This week we have already talked to several great people and made contact with others as well. He and the Zone Leaders were approached by lady while they were waiting for me on Tuesday. We have an appointment for tomorrow.
The first member I was able to meet from the Neumünster Ward was our Ward Mission Leader. We had our weekly meeting with him and the ward missionaries and I was really impressed. First of all, the ward missionaries usually never come to our weekly meetings. SO, well done there! And, secondly, because we have basically NO ONE with whom we can work, they started giving us names of people they knew who had potential and interest. These were all people who were already in our Area Book and whom these members had met before. I was astonished that these members knew the missionaries work so well. I have never seen that here in Germany. I am very grateful for their help and encouragement… even if they miss the sister missionaries and talk about them all the time… 😛
Thursday we went up to Kiel for our district meeting and met in Institute room. We went there again on Friday for a District Leader Training from the Zone Leaders. Kiel and the surrounding area – including Neumünster – were completely bombed and flattened during the war. Since we are right on the North Sea, this area was a major port area and had a lot of naval ships and submarines. Everything, almost, was built after the war.
My first Sunday was… interesting. We got there early. The West Germans are more like the Americans and get to church a little closer (or even after) it actually starts. The first person to get there was an elderly lady. I said hello, introduced myself, and asked what her name was. She told me her name and then told that her husband died nine years ago. I wasn’t quite expecting that and tried to roll with it. But we talked for a while. I saw she was sitting alone at church and sat with her. The Ward here reminds me of Neukölln.
I think our best experience this week happened Sunday evening. After our eating appointment, the husband brought us back to the church and we worked in the area. Elder Thompson has been leading the way lately since he knows everything a little better than me. We went by on one man who had met previously with the missionaries. He said he would never become a member of our church. He likes the cross and we don’t have a cross. He invited us in. But I said we needed to get going; he said he wasn’t interested. Long story short, he ended up showing us ALL his American stuff. He showed us some of his model cars and motorcycle collection. Then we went into his living room and it looked like my dad’s apartment: pictures of John Wayne and other western movie stars, revolvers, pistols, leather and wood. Then, the coux-de-gras of it all, he led us to another room and showed us this MASSIVE model train he had been working on for three-year. Complete with a little western settlement, bridge, and everything. Really well made. He was really excited to show us everything.
We ended up talking about the Gospel. He reads in the Bible and has an amazing understanding of the scriptures! He is so prepared! He said that Jesus said to come and follow Him. His question was HOW?! He believes in Christ and prays. But what else can he do? We explained the restored Gospel and what else there is to do: namely baptism, confirmation, and then living true to the end of your life. He wouldn’t read in the Book of Mormon because he didn’t want to confuse himself by seeing it’s true or just something history book or something else. I really felt the Spirit being with him and felt good about the time we spent there.
Like I said, I am excited to be here and to work here. Lots to do! Just like all my other areas, there is a lot cleaning up to do – in all senses of the term.
And whatever you do, don’t forget the Lord in all that undertake. Joshua 1:9
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission