Liebe Familie u. Freunde!
Another wonderful week has FLOWN by! I have to say this week’s highlight was our multi-zone conference for President Kosak’s “farewell.” It was very sweet and tender. It is strange to think that the next time I will see him will be in American Fork, UT in September – without suits, without name tags, and different callings. I’m not sad to see him go. It just won’t ever be the same.
I walked into the Wartenau church building just as the Kosak’s walked in from the other side in the chapel. Along with them were also the Adlers. Elder Adler is a member of the Third Quorum of the Seventy and his wife was accompanying him, too. They are from Bielefeld, one of my former areas. I was super excited to see them! And they even recognized me, too! Wednesday was Elder Adler’s birthday. I was able to save postage and gave him his birthday card by hand! (Good thing I had it with me!!) As we sang “Happy Birthday” to him in English and German, the Spirit was so strong. I thought it was peculiar to feel the spirit while singing such a song. I was sitting towards the front and looked back at the hundred-something missionaries smiling and singing. It then made sense why the Spirit was so strong. I will miss such meetings with so many great and powerful servants of the Lord. I still have one more similar to it left on my mission with the new mission president, Pr. Fingerle (a ZTM).
Elder Adler reminded us that we need the Savior in our work, in all that we do. We can erect giant billboards and put a picture of the Book of Mormon on it. But sharing the Gospel will never be more effective than when we open our mouths. If it is prophesied that everyone shall hear the Gospel, who shall open their mouths and explain it?
Sister Kosak read from Helaman 12 and taught about why we have trials. She said that at the beginning of her mission, she nailed a quote up on the wall in the mission home. It reads: “Today’s Test is Tomorrow’s Testimony.” God does not give us trials because He finds it humorous or He has nothing better to do. He knows what we need to do and learn in order to become like Him. He does it out of love and will never give us something that we cannot carry ourselves.
As usual, President Kosak talked about “going back to the basics.” I have followed his example in that whenever I am faced with a problem or question, I go to Joseph Smith History. There is always so much to learn. We can follow these steps, which were introduced to us almost two years ago by a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy:
Verse 8: “my mind was called up to… great uneasiness” = having a great problem/challenge
Verse 10: “What is to be done?” = Ask yourself questions, realization
Verse 11: “I was one day reading” = study the scriptures to find a solution
Verse 12: “I reflected on it again and again” = repetition brings conviction
Verse 13: “I came to the conclusion” = make a decision
Verse 14: “I retired to the woods to make the attempt” = follow your decision – do it and pray for it!
Verse 15: “I was seized upon by some power” = Satan will tempt you in your highlights
Verse 16: “But, exerting all my powers” = fight for it!!!
Verse 16: “pillar of light” = PERSONAL REVELATION
We have used this so much on my mission in our meetings and teaching. But, whether he did it purposefully or not, for me, President Kosak added yet one more important point. It has to do with returning to the basics.
In verses 28 and 29, Joseph was praying, asking for forgiveness one night before he retired to bed. “I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.” In returning to that which he knew once worked, Moroni appeared to him and showed him how to obtain the golden plates to translate the Book of Mormon. He was to return to that location where the plates were every year on the same date. He was taught each time for four years.
As we return to our spiritual experiences, previously obtained knowledge and testimonies, we too can be strengthened. We obtain knowledge so that we may use it and never lose it. It is to change us. (And I hope we return and reflect more than annually).
Life is full of problems and hardships. For every aching heart, every sinking hand and feeble knee, broken voice, and wet pillow, I admonish, or commend strongly, a study of the life of Joseph Smith and our Savior. No two people have ever suffered so much in their short lives. They are examples for us all, just as prophets should be.
POINT TWO OF HOW MY MISSION HAS PASSED THROUGH ME: An integral part of enduring to the end is sharing that which means so much to us. As we grow our faith and testimony, we will naturally desire this for others. This desire is natural that we see it when we eat at a really nice restaurant that we jut discovered or made a really fancy cake or had just such a fun trip with our family. We want to tell people about it all and even post in on Facebook or Instagram. The desire to share that which is good for body and soul is basic human nature. That which can help me so much can surely help others.
I have been collecting scriptures and quotes during my mission that talk about or exemplify this. I write them down on a notecards that I have in the back of my scriptures. My favorite is Alma 36:24. Here Alma the Younger is blessing his son Helaman before he dies. “Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”
When we experience good, in any form, it is our duty and obligation to then share it with this ever darkening, ever more confused world. He truly sends goodness to us as a reminder that He will succor His people (Mosiah 7:19).
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Deutschland Mission Berlin