Week 93: Wilhelmsburg – Pictures

Elders Morley and Enenkel.

Elders Morley and Enenkel.

iPads!

iPads!

Setting up and configuring....

Setting up and configuring….

in da' bus.

in da’ bus.

Studying in the apartment in the evening! #PrettyNeat!

Studying in the apartment in the evening! #PrettyNeat!

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Week 93: Wilhelmsburg

The Zone!!

The Zone!!

Hello everyone!!
MENSCH!! What a week! So much to talk about and report. And yes. I am writing this from my iPad. Our mission finally received them and we have lots of training and setting up to do! We had a special Zone Training Meeting in the Wartenau chapel. At the end we signed our lives away saying that we received the iPad, we puts cases on them, and then – the next day – we had to configure them, download everything, and start working with them. We are not on Facebook quite yet. It is all step-by-step and there is a lot of training that come along with it all.
Coming down from Neumümster to Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg was the shortest and cheapest transfer I have ever had! My companion bought a group ticket for between NMS and Hamburg and took me down and brought his new companion up. So I didn’t even have to buy a ticket! And the whole trip took less than an hour.
Leaving Neumünster was actually quite bittersweet. We had one our (well… my) last appointments with an investigators of ours. She said the closing prayer and everything was so perfect about it. She finally prayed to know if what we are teaching is true and did so in the name of Jesus Christ. During the prayer it was so hard not to cry. I sucked it up big time so Frau O. wouldn’t see. I will miss helping her apply the Atonement more fully in her life, and all those who, we were teaching in NMS.
When I got to Hamburg-Hauptbahnhof on Tuesday, Elder Enenkel was already there. We went and put my stuff away and then picked up Elder Morley. We had a super cool activity that evening with the youth. They had a cooking competition. The Young Men and Young Women both made three course meals for us. The three of us had to judge them and pick a winner. It was THE BEST!!! We just ate one course, rated it on a piece of paper, and then they brought the next one. The YM ended up winning.
In all honesty, at first I was a little apprehensive about being in a trio. But, as I have worked with Elders Morley and Enenkel, I have seen that is actually the opposite of all my fears. I would recommend it for anyone. Before I left for Wilhelmsburg, a member gave a talk that Sunday before. He said,

“Geteilte Freude ist doppelte Freude. Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid.”

“Shared joy is doubled Jo. Shared pain is half the pain.”

As I said my evening prayers and thanked Heavenly Father for ALL my companions in Wilhelmsburg, I thought, “Now I have triple to fun, triple the Spirit, and triple the joy of serving the Lord. It’s one more testimony to be borne in appointments. It’s one more helpful comment during planning. It’s one more pillar of safety.”
This whole week I have been “erkältet.” I got a little cold from all the stress of being in a such a big city again and, because I am in another big city, I need to be more careful about what I touch and washing my hands more often.
In Sunday School yesterday we just met alone with one of the Young Men. All the youth and the youth leaders are gone on a trip for the holiday weekend. So we just read in the Book of Mormon with him. And, where else does one start than in 1 Nephi 1?! It impressed me so much that I took my iPad home and studied it some more at home that evening! #IsntThatNeat?!
Nephi, the son of Lehi, speaks of the hardships that his father faced as he preached repentance to those in Jerusalem. Many mocked him, fasted him into prison, and wanted to stone him even because of his faith. Nephi, without going into any great detail, accounts that God always watched over Lehi and guided him out of harm’s way and spared his life many a time. Here is the verse I love at the very end. It reads:

“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

I remembered a talk that Elder Bednar gave when he was first called as an Apostle. At his first General Conference one of his favorite hymns was sung. It was selected long before his call to the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. No one would have known what his favorite hymn was. Elder Bednar said in that talk,

“My mind was drawn immediately to Nephi’s phrase “the tender mercies of the Lord,” and I knew in that very moment I was experiencing just such a tender mercy. A loving Savior was sending me a most personal and timely message of comfort and reassurance through a hymn selected weeks previously.”

I emphasize what we then said:

“Some may count this experience as simply a nice coincidence, but I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.”

 
I see His hand daily. He sends His love, attention, knowledge, even His messengers to us. He wants us to know that He is there. Sometimes, such a small reminder of a scripture, an experience, or just message telling us that He is there can make the biggest difference. His hand and purposes are not coincidental. They are a direct result of a loving Father in Heaven who wants us to come back to Him. But our return is conditional upon earthly performance.
 

“We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

I am grateful for His tender mercies and know the He lives!
See you in ten weeks!
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tag
Deutschland Mission Berlin
Wilhelmsburg-Hamburg

Week 91: Neumunster

Schwester Nwadilim. "Say Cheezzeeeeee!!"

Schwester Nwadilim.
“Say Cheezzeeeeee!!”

I went through my contacts and updated my groups. Some may be getting my email for the first time. Something I have been meaning to do since FOREVER.

Well. I am being transferred, again! I will be leaving Neumünster and taking the very LONG journey down to Hamburg. (The train ride will take 45 minutes and then maybe 20 minutes my assigned area there). I will be serving in the Wilhelmsburg Ward. And my companion… excuse me… my companionSSSSSSS will be Elders Morely and Enenkel. The former an American, the latter an Austrian. How this will work, I don’t know. Ask me in a few weeks. I am in for something new.
As of a few months in our mission we have been reciting “Our Purpose” (found on page one of Preach My Gospel) and Doctrine and Covenants, section 4 – both in German. While it is boring to say these every single morning, I am so glad to have a purpose, a goal, and a direction as a servant. It’s about so much more than WHY am I here on a mission. It’s more about the fact that I am here and need to know what to do now. the HOW.
So many people may wonder why we are here as missionaries. I have mentioned this in previous posts. I have found that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are much more than a church who comes together on Sundays. The revealed organization of the Church as it is now develops a community – a worldwide one at that – that allows every man, woman, and child to become like their Savior. God has revealed how His kingdom is to be organized again through a prophet. He continues to guide us through a prophet.
But today I want to share my testimony of having a purpose.
In the last General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf asked the brethren of the Church, “What is your ministry?” Granted, it was indirect. But I took this question to heart. What is MY ministry? Christ had a ministry. Every leading political figure had a ministry. I studied this and came to the conclusion that I, as a missionary, am to become a “teacher come from God.”
But in the larger picture, as a person, as a saint and disciple, I want to become like Jesus. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
As a missionary, I can think like those of the “mainstream” world. I can see these two years as a burden. As a load, that I for some reason, took upon myself. For two years I wake up on 6:30 AM, study, talk to people on the street (which goes against EVERYTHING my mom taught me), help people understand the scriptures and even something stranger – that there is more than just the Bible, but the Book of Mormon and prophets today. And all in a land that seems rather “unfriendly” to such news. Oh, and let’s not forget all that I gave up to be here.
Something I have seen as I invited others to follow Christ is that the Gospel, what Christ taught, is not easy. It requires change. Hard work. Giving things up. And even growing up. Words that people don’t like to hear. As we move forward in a process of change, we tend to look back, like Lot’s wife. In the process of change, what lies ahead is the medicine we need; in front we can see the outstretched hand of the Savior. We must reach forward into the future as we sit down and make out a plan for when we feel vulnerable and tempted, as we study the scriptures for answers and added wisdom, and pray on our knees and beg for His helping power to overcome what it is that challenges us. Behind us lies sorrow, regret, tears, and sadness. We cannot live in yesterday because it is already today.
Elder David A Bednar’s sentence rings in my ears: “It was the load.” When we take on a load, Christ’s load namely, it pushes us forward. We hunker down and focus only on that was is important. When we take HIS yoke upon our shoulders, we get so much further in the world than we possibly could with any professional sport coach, expert therapist, or skilled politician.
These thoughts have been in my head as I study in the Book of Mormon and Holy Bible, talk to people on the streets of Neumünster, and teach people of the Restored Gospel. We can all have driving forces. I find mine here and know that God wants this one force for all. Just as we should strive for success in our career, we should also strive towards that perfect example of the Savior so that we can obtain all the virtues we can in this life.
I have seen all this last weekend. As I found out that I had been transferred, I reflected (but did not turn back) upon what I had actually accomplished here. I am so grateful for that the Lord showed me what to do, day-by-day. He takes the load with me. He strengthened me along the way. I know that when we go forward with faith in Christ (maybe even a desire to believe), our burdens and loads, our pains and struggles, our worries and doubts, can be turned into magnificent strengths. Then we can turn to others and tell them how great they are and what we can reach.
I find this film to be so inspiring. Please watch.
I know that my redeemer lives. He is my comforter when I am in distress. And I serve Him. I wear His name everyday. What a privilege.
I hope what I wrote makes sense. I love knowing why I am here and hope to help more find their purpose here on earth.

Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Neumünster
Oma & Opa Grühn.

Oma & Opa Grühn.

Bishopric Selfie

Bishopric Selfie

Week 90: Nuemunster

Pretty pond we found in Kellinghusen this week! I think this is where I got that mosquito bite on my ear....

Pretty pond we found in Kellinghusen this week! I think this is where I got that mosquito bite on my ear….

It is so hard to believe that another week has gone by. The time flies too fast!

The sun is starting to come up so early here that the sun shining through our windows wakes me up before our alarm clock does. I find it much more pleasant.
Monday evening we had a really nice family hone evening a member’s house. They are doing a month-long vegan cleanse. We ate a hearty soup with chickpeas and sweet potato and other stuff. I asked Sister N to copy a few good “missionary” recipes for me. (For those who don’t know, I was basically vegetarian before my mission). My body lately has been saying, “NO MORE BEEF! NO MORE PORK!” Three more months than my diet will be back in control!!! I just decided to be content and live while I am here. I know that focusing on the work at hand and taking in the energy I need for that is most important.
Tuesday we did a service project at a member’s home out in Großenaspe. We moved a big stack of wood. We were stacking the old stack on top of the new stack when Bruder L walked by and said, “Oh. That’s all just going to go back over there again….” Apparently we were building a little schack for ALL the wood so it stays dry during the winter. He has A LOT of wood. I should’ve taken a picture! A lot of Germany have ovens that get really hot. And the pipe runs through the house and warms it up during the Winter.
When we came home, Elder Fisher and I were KAPUTT (broken…). We laid down for like 10 minutes and then changed into missionary clothes. We headed down to Gadeland (a section of Neumünster) and TRIED so very hard to stay awake on the bus! We went by on a few less active members who were not home. As we were leaving one house there was a really loud and long clap of thunder. It just rolled through sky. And, then, like it only happens in movies, it started to rain. But not just; it started POURING down rain. And the rain wasn’t warm; it was cold. So we went to the bus stop and saw that the bus came again in 20 minutes. We tried waiting for a little bit under Elder Fisher’s umbrella, but it didn’t work. We saw the house across the street had a car port and that there was space for us there. So we walked over a just stood there for a while until the bus came. No one asked why we were there or anything. :/ Ha!
Wednesday we had a very special district meeting in Kiel. It was the last district meeting for Sister Harris (who is serving in Kiel) and Elder Lloyd and Elder Thorley (who closed the Rendburg program this last week). They gave some of there “last words” and shared some wisdom and advice. It was really cool. No one ever believes that day will come. Elder Lloyd told us to be obedient and to develop a Christlike love through obedience and to never stop progressing/using the Atonement. Sister Harris gave testimony that we were all individually called on a mission to our various areas. But she also then added that, “there are no successful missionaries, just successful companionships.” 
 
On Saturday we taught D from Eritrea. He lives in Bad Segeberg. We ended up teaching him and his roommates, who do not speak German or English. He had to translate the first lesson for us – something he hasn’t even quite understood for himself. It took a while until he understood the apostasy. We explained multiple ways and didn’t know how else to explain it to him so he could understand. I just took a moment and said a mental prayer as I stared at my English scriptures ( I am more familiar with my German scriptures now). The Spirit led me, and my companion as well, to say what we needed. What came out my mouth were my thoughts, but not my words. If they were mine, I would remember what I said and explained. He finally then understood and we could carry on forward with the lesson. It was definitely a fulfillment of Doctrine and Covenants 100 (among many others). 
 
For a spiritual thought, I would ask everyone to please read a short chapter from the Book of Mormon. It is Helaman 5. There is so much in this little chapter. I read it this morning and loved every bit of it! You can read it online by clicking on the highlighted link. Let me know what you see in there!

Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Neumünster
 Love birds at the Kalkberg in Bad Segeberg.

Love birds at the Kalkberg in Bad Segeberg.

Elder Fisher.

Elder Fisher.

<3

#DistrictKiel

#DistrictKiel

Week 90: Neuwmunster

Ward Mission: Neumünster!!! Workin' hard, or what?!

Ward Mission: Neumünster!!! Workin’ hard, or what?!

Moin! Moin!
 

This week wasn’t filled with quite as many appointments as I would have preferred. We tried meeting with a few people, but our schedules just never matched up. I don’t feel bad though. We tried and have plans or appointments for next week.

I really like the plan for our goals that Elder Fisher (my companion/district leader) developed for us. Our lessons are completely centered on the commitment. It’s not just something we slap on the end or insert in the middle so our lessons have purpose. The lesson is the commitment and the commitment is the lesson. I am excited to “execute” the new lesson plans we have this week with our investigators and less active members.

Everything here is just so spread out. Normally the members are all located in one city in the area. But here, everyone is everywhere. And it is hard to find time to get out to these places with the trains and buses that leave every one or two hours. But this week we have been better at planning and making sure we make those train times a priority. I feel good just going out to an area (like Wrist and Kellinghusen on Saturday) and just “exploring.” We talk to people, do doors here or there, go by on contacts or less active members. Even going by on active members! 

 
As for iPads… we don’t have them yet…. They were supposed to be at our training in Berlin. But they weren’t, apparently. SLC told President Kosak that they would come “on a Tuesday….” So we are just playing a waiting game now. 
 
On Wednesday I was studying in the morning (like ALWAYS) and turned to my Book of Mormon study guide. I have a picture inserted on a special page from the dedicatory site in Dresden, where President Monson dedicated East Germany. I realized that the date on the plaque was 27 April 1975. It was just about 40 years ago that he did that. And now we are receiving iPads to further the work ALL OVER GERMANY – in the east as well! The Lord’s hand is all over this country preparing hearts and sending His servants. I read a few paragraphs in our District Meeting in Kiel that day. Much has been fulfilled in that prayer, including the fullness of the Church and the missionaries returning to the country. I get goose bumps and get so emotional when I read that dedicatory prayer and think, “I am one of those missionaries who has come back.” Someone was thinking of me, even in 1975. 
 
In or mission-wide study of the Book of Mormon, we read last week, in the so-called, “war chapters.” Here we see great tension between those who are faithful and those who have decided to go astray. Captain Moroni is such a great example of diligence and obedience in fortifying and defending the cities where the faithful Nephites lived. His work in building great walls around these cities and ditches around them is an example for us. In order to withstand the blows and temptations of the world, we must build our own filter systems. Moroni even put more of his soldiers in some of the weaker parts of the land so that they could be defended better. We, too, should focus on our weaknesses, for the Lord has promised: 
 
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
The problem with so many of us human beings is that we cannot always see the whole picture. We cannot know everything. But as we continually do those little things that are right, we can build up our own defense systems against addictions, guilt, shame, regret, and filthiness.
We sometimes refer to the voice of the Holy Ghost as a prompting. Sometimes we receive multiple promptings. In the beginning, it may be hard to follow such thoughts. There is not always a clear, audible voice. Those who have experience with the Spirit sometimes say that they were “moved” to do something or say something. We are all capable of feeling this. As children of God, He will guide us through Holy Ghost back to Him.
Some steps are big (i.e. baptism, reading in the scriptures, going to the temple, etc.) Some steps are even smaller, but yet build our faith little by little (i.e. daily prayer, controlling thoughts and urges, battling addictions, or even answering a prompting to serve your neighbor).
One of my favorite analogies of the scriptures is Manna. Elder Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, illustrates this principle:view here.
Can’t wait to see everyone in EXACTLY three months time!!!
Also! Happy Mother’s day to all the mom’s out there, especially mine! #TimeForMom
Elder RR Hoffman
Missionary
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission
Neumünster
My burger in Kiel!

My burger in Kiel!