Week 86: Neumunster

Germany Elders ready for  General Conference!!!

Germany Elders ready for General Conference!!!

Ahoy!

I just needed a new greeting….
This week was fun. I had an awesome exchange with the one and only Elder Hogan! He’s really great. Very “east coast.” From Boston.
Wednesday we had a great Zone Training Meeting up in Kiel. We then has to hurry down to Neumünster via train, change trains, and make it to our appointment in Wahstedt, and then hurry back to NMS for our weekly meeting with our Ward Mission Leader.
Oh! And transfers! I am staying here in Neumünster. Elder Fisher, in Rostock now, is coming here. He was in Cottbus when I was in Freiberg. I am really excited.
My companion is actually headed to the Frankfurt Mission now…. We are absorbing the Erfurt district (as in a group of Branches). Seven Elders are headed down there tomorrow and will be companions with Elders from the Frankfurt Mission. And then the next transfer, even more Berlin missionaries will be sent in. Erfurt District will be added to the Leipzig Stake. I thought our mission was already big enough. I guess we need more! But I think all of the former German Democratic Republic belongs to us – including Werdau, our mission president’s hometwon!
So…? How was conference…? 😀 I really enjoyed this last one. For me, I felt like it was so extremely personal. I think the best example was Elder Ballard’s talk to the men of the Priesthood in the whole world.
In the early days of the Church, he noted, missionaries were interviewed by a General Authority before going into the mission field. While that is not possible today, “the Lord has provided ways for us to reach out to you.”

A member of the Quorum of the Twelve assigns every missionary to his or her mission, Elder Ballard said. “Although this is done without a traditional face-to-face interview, technology and revelation combine to provide an experience that is remarkably intimate and personal.”
Explaining the process, he said the prospective missionary’s photograph comes up on a computer screen together with key information provided by the bishop and stake president.
“When your picture appears, we look into your eyes and review your answers to the missionary recommendation questions. For that brief moment, it seems as if you are present and responding to us directly.

“As we look at your photograph, we trust that you have cleared in every way the ‘raised bar’ required to be a faithful, successful missionary. Then, by the power of the Lord’s Spirit and under the direction of President Thomas S. Monson, we assign you to one of the Church’s 406 worldwide missions.”

Elder Ballard said it’s time to raise the bar not only for missionaries but for the entire generation. He asked them to ponder these questions:

1. Do you search the scriptures regularly?
2. Do you kneel in prayer to talk with your Heavenly Father each morning and each night?
3. Do you fast and donate a fast offering each month? …
4. Do you think deeply about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice for you when you are asked to prepare, bless, pass or partake of the sacrament?
5. Do you attend your meetings and strive to keep the Sabbath day holy?
6. Are you honest at home, school, church and work?
7. Are you mentally and spiritually clean? …
8. Are you careful with your time?
9. And is there anything in your life you need to change and fix, beginning tonight?”
 
If you missed General Conference, you can click on the link to print out the written addresses or view them. Each is about 8-10 minutes long. (The typed versions will be available soon). 
Today is a special day. Today is the day on which Christ was born and the day on which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized.
 
After listening to a living Prophet and Apostles, I cannot help but give my own, special testimony and witness that this is true. As you and I breathe air, this here is what our souls need. We lived with God before this life. In order to become like Him, He sent us here to obtain bodies, learn how to use and control them, and to learn valuable experiences. Family life is a part of this. Elder Nelson, I believe, said, “something are good, others are important. But there are few things that are essential.” 
 
I wrote in my journal: “My testimony has been strengthened so much today. I am so grateful to know what I know and to be a representative of the Lord right now. As I hear the words come out these servants’ voices, a voice says unto me that it doesn’t matter if President uchtdorf says something or even if Sister Esplin of the Primary says it in a different way. The Spirit will always confirm what they say as truth, as doctrine, and as the answers to my prayers and questions.” I know that there is a God, for this weekend I posed many question which were disturbing my soul. If there be a God, He would take them and provide me with answers. That is what is promised in Moroni 10:3-5. And I received answers to all of these.
 
But I am not done. I guess a better word would be “starts.” I received many “starts” this General Conference. Ways to begin new journeys. We are never done and never will be until it is all done. I feel more determined than ever to do all that I can in these next six months (until I watch the next General Conference in Rexburg, Idaho). I want to do all that I can to apply the words which I heard this weekend; for I know the are the words of God. 
 
One last thought for my “epistle.” 
 
Much was spoken of the Family this General Conference. I encourage everyone to study what these men and women said about the family. I found it all very interesting. President Henry B. Eyring of the First presidency (essentailly a Vice-President of the Church) was invited to attend a three-day long convention on the family with other religious leaders and scholars from all over the world. What he found was that, despite much of what is portrayed in television and politics, many still defend and believe in the essential role of marriage and the family. Many still hold these as goals. I found it so great to speak of the similarities of our theologies and nations. 
 
But I cannot help but add this: as a representative of Christ Himself, holding His authority, I testify that this Church has the full authority to seal families together for the eternities, not just until death. This sealing involves God in our daily, familial lives and ensures that we will have divine help in raising our children, supporting our spouse, and making wise decisions. We still have to do our part. 
 
Emphasizing similarities strengthens our communities and nations like nothing else. There is enough war and terror in the world. Let us emphasize that which is good in ALL men. For truth lies everywhere.

Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Neumünster
 Transfer Day breakfast tradition

Transfer Day breakfast tradition

Easter Brunch today at the Church. (Easter Monday is a holiday in Germany)

Easter Brunch today at the Church. (Easter Monday is a holiday in Germany)

DSC04897

Elder Hogan helping to clean the bathroom.

Elder Hogan helping to clean the bathroom.

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