Morgen Freunde und Familie!
This week didn’t quite go as planned. Fallen out appointments. Changed plans, and so on. It was weird having to register for classes at BYUI this week, too! On the mission you really only know what is happening for the next two weeks at a time. And I just planned my whole life practically — from mid-September to mid-December. Talk about CHANGE! Ha!
We will also start teaching a boy in the ward. He is nine years old and counts as a convert baptism. In the Church, children are not baptized as babies, but are baptized at eight years old, when they are able to understand an decide for themselves. At eight, it is in the hands of the parents and the local bishop. If they are nine or older, then the missionaries and the mission president are responsible. So that is what we will be doing! It’ll be fun helping him in the next four weeks to prepare for his baptism! I’m excited.
On Saturday I had the opportunity to meet with the Elder’s Quorum Presidency and help with translation. The President and his counselors understand one another pretty well, but need a little bit of help at times understanding. It was so cool to be apart of their coordination meeting. As I sat in and saw the two of them planning with one another, I could see them laying those stones and slowly building the kingdom of God in the Wilhelmsburg Ward. It was an honor to be there. As I got to know them a little bit, I learned that they are both converts to the church. One a native German and the other from a far-off, distant country who joined the church three years ago in yet another European country. And me, an American who joined the church seven years ago. And yet, somehow, the Lord led us and our talents together to do this work in this city. How great is God?!
As I sat with them I thought of a scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants 95:4-5 (a compilation of revelations given to Joseph Smith from the Lord):
“For the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my strange act, that I may pour out my Spirit upon all flesh– But behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are chosen.”
My testimony of this “strange” work was strengthened then. God gathers out of every corner of the world His children and brings them to where they are needed. Our acts may seem small or they may not make much sense. But as we continually seek after the Spirit and the will of God in our lives we can know, with an utmost assurance, that what we are doing is right. And isn’t that something we all need, an inner confirmation that what we think and do – according to some almighty, final source – is correct?
Our life is a string which goes on and on, collecting experiences and going through mile markers, good and bad. At times we come across knots or tangled messes. We are to find our way out of these. Sometimes we forget what is on our string and we are forced to go or to look back and remember. These reminders come from God, through the Holy Ghost in the form of scriptures, prophets. church leaders, temple ordinances, and personal prayer.
(Which brings me to another point that I learned as I allowed my mission to flow through me) On my mission I have seen that the God who counts baby fingers and toes and the fall of sparrows knows even more so His own children. He sees them in the West, as well as the East. He knows more than just their name and home address and between which hours He can reach them on their land line. He knows more than just our stresses and problems. He knows how to atone for and supplicate all His spirit sons and daughters, regardless what they are facing. He saw me long before I was even born when Elder Monson dedicated East Germany and prophesied of my missionary service here: “We look forward to the day when Thy missionaries may again be permitted to preach the everlasting gospel in this area, for we know there is much of the blood of Israel here….” (Alma 26:37).
I am grateful to know God and to help others experience His goodness, too.
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Deutschland Mission Berlin