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