Happy Spring, everyone! IT’S HERE!!!
The spring weather has come! And it is sunny one day and dark, dreary, and rainy the other. Great German days! 😀
So, something I TOTALLY forgot to mention last week was that I got my old journal from the MTC back!!! On Tuesday (two weeks ago) we were in Hamburg for a Leadership Training Meeting. There we got some packages. I received one from an “Elder Pratt” in Ramstein. No address, just a city. (And my last name was spelled with two N’s). I was SUPER puzzled. It had to be for me. I am the only “Elder Hoffman” in this mission. But I don’t know an Elder Pratt, let alone where Ramstein actually is. I know it’s NOT in our mission! So I opened it.
When I was in the MTC, I had finished filling up an old journal and started a new one. I was on the top bunk, right next to a tall wardrobe that reached the top of the bunk. It was convenient because I could use it as a nightstand way up on the top bunk… and it was also convenient to forget stuff on when you fly to the other side of the continent! Apparently one elder found it and had been carrying it around with him. He would tell others about it and everyone would unanimously tell him that he really didn’t need to send it to me. Except for Elder Pratt.
Elder Pratt is now finished with his mission. So I couldn’t send a thank you note. I was really touched by the act of kindness. He wrote a short note inside and said, “If I were you, I would want this.” That is something we could all emulate from “Elder Pratt.” I’m even not good at it at times. “If I were ________, what would I want or need right now?” Through prayer, we might even be able to know more specifically how we can be the Savior’s hands here on earth.
We have been meeting with one lady. She is so great. This last week we met in the park and talked about how we can get answers to our prayers. We talked about Oliver Cowdery
and how, when he wanted to translate the golden plates, the Lord said:
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
Between when we first met her and now, I have seen such a difference in her life. It was the same difference I saw in MY life. When we read in the scriptures (namely the Book of Mormon), pray to our Father in Heaven, and obey, an overwhelming feeling of happiness enters our lives and immense blessings begin to shower us. It all starts with ASKING and STUDYING and PONDERING. Hard, right?
Today we went to a funeral for a member of the ward. The whole clan was in town yesterday and they ate at the church. They invited us since we weren’t invited anywhere on Sunday. I helped set up the chairs for today and vacuumed the chapel. While we ate, we got to chat with the daughter of this elderly lady who passed away. I really marvel at her strength and how the whole family was able to organize the whole week.
A scripture I read this last week has been rolling around in my head, especially at this funeral service honoring this lady’s life. Alma 9:7-13really spoke to me. In these verses, we see how important it is to remember those who were before us. As an American, I think of the many people who, from Jamestown to the purchase of Hawaii, fought, crawled, scrimped and saved, hungered, walked, and maybe even broke a few laws for what we have now. My father and grandfather fought for it. One of my ancestors on my dad’s side fought and survived the Revolutionary War. How could I deny the traditions for which they fought and lived? This has been well-preserved in my family. (We are one of the few who hangs the declaration of independence in our living room).
But what of our religious traditions? Do we remember WHAT brought these people originally to the “New Land?” They wanted to worship their one and true god according to their own dictates and interpretations. I think we busy ourselves so much with fighting for this right, that we have come to forget what it is that we are actually defending. We stand outside, on the perimeters of a large fortress and within is this treasure from those before us. It’s time we “turn our hearts to our father’s” and find out what made THEM tick. Could what was so important to them also be of such value to us?
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission