Liebe Freunde und Familie!
Another week has FLOWN by and it is ALREADY the first of June!
Getting to know this area has been very stressful. This last week I was trying to take things a little easy since I was sick. I really couldn’t afford anymore stress. But I am healthy now and really want to start expanding our finding efforts as we visit new areas and also improve our efforts themselves. I find it difficult to get to know such a big city. But I am determined to do it!
Being in a trio definitely has its pros and cons. Having to deal with the many opinions and stories that have to be told during the day is a lot to deal with… for me, at least. But I really do enjoy serving with these two. They are a lot of fun and excited for the work!
This week we did not get so much finding in. We are so grateful to have iPads. But they are so new to us. We have to take a good amount of time to get to know them. A half hour activity may turn into two hours flown by trying to figure out how it all actually works! We don’t have 3G and only have wifi when we are at the church. So all the films, pamphlets, brochures, talks, an so on that we may spontaneously want to use need to be downloaded. And there is a lot. It just takes some time now. Later it will get better.
We have seen how much this technology truly benefits our work and helps us invite the Spirit. As we met with a member and read in the book of Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, we read of Lehi’s dream. It was difficult for her to imagine it all; so we were able to pull up the picture-rendition of Lehi’s dream (see the picture: https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/lehis-dream-jerry-thompson-82746?lang=eng&category=) and explain it better. We also met with a member-family for dinner and shared a spiritual thought about charity and forgiveness. We used the Mormon Message called “Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light.” (See the short film: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-07-14-forgiveness-my-burden-was-made-light?lang=eng)The Spirit was very strong and made a huge difference. It is really nice to bring in someone else’s words and experiences into our lessons.
This week we also went up to the Wartenau chapel again. This time for interviews. The Neumünster Zone was having their Interviews with President Kosak. And since I was transferred down to the Hamburg Zone, which already had their quarterly interviews, I went up with my companions to meet with Presidnet Kosak. It was my last interview with him. My exit interview is my next one and that will be with the new mission president. These are also President Kosak’s last set of interviews with his missionaries before he goes home this month.
President has been asking us how we have allowed our missions to go through us (the opposite being us simply “going through” our mission). I find this question extremely difficult to answer. It is one that I have been thinking about already as I near the end of my mission. In the next few weeks to come, I will share a few points that I write down of how I allowed my own mission to pass through me.
About a year ago my mom sent a few quotes from A.A. Milne to me – the author of “Winnie the Pooh.” One of those quotes I have adapted as part of my ministry: “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”I have seen this in every aspect of my mission.
As I focus completely on the needs of those I am teaching, my missionary purpose, and how they can come closer to the Savior and His teachings, I often find myself “caring too much” in comparison to others. But it is through “caring too much” that I often find a solution. I begin to understand their problems and individual situations and can show them what they can do to gain a stronger testimony of the Gospel. Doing roll plays, be obedient, and nurturing our testimonies is even a way of showing that we “care too much.”
I have seen this in my many companionships. They too are my investigators. I think it is so much easier for the Father to help us and show us what we need when we love Him back. When my companions have returned the love that I have for them, it makes it so much easier. And the work is more fun, for you are doing it with a friend and brother. When both parties work upon becoming more Christlike, they benefit each other. (D&C 50:17-22). Both are guided in a dark world in the direction of their Savior. At times I even had very little love for companions. But as I saw that some cared about me and wanted to fix things, love me, and when I saw that they genuinely cared about my salvation and happiness, I then could develop an equal love for them.
When on a mission one learns to love a lot of things and people who one does not know or understand at first. A mission is a time to gain lifelong friends and invaluable knowledge and experience. A mission brings great joy to the life of the missionary and all those whose lives they touch. I “care an awful lot” for the people of northern and eastern Germany. I, therefore, love them greatly and do not look forward to ending my service among them… as frustrating as they may be at times….
One example: so often we have these swelling and powerful feelings of love and charity for our neighbor. But it is nothing if we do not do anything. In my interview I reminded President Kosak of when I go home and my plans for after the mission. I told him that, because of a change of plans, I will be arriving in SLC instead. He looked up on his calendar to see if he could be at the airport with my mom when I arrive. (He ends his mission a month before I do). I was super impressed by that and realized the immense love that this man has for his missionaries. It is in the act of service that we express our love. That is how we care too much.
Love you all! Have a great week!
Peace and blessin’s.
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Deutschland Mission Berlin