This week, as per usual, was incredible! We saw so many miracles!
Birko is a beautiful recent convert with whom we eat lunch once a
week. She will be moving to Utah soon, and we wanted to review the
lessons with her before her embarkment. When she was baptized, she
wore one of the temple dresses of a wonderful member of our ward. She
felt like a princess in it, and the member promised Birko that when
she went through the temple, she would give it to her. Well, Birko was
baptized almost a year ago, and she will hit her year mark while in
Utah. She was concerned that since almost a year had passed, and she
would have an ocean in between them, that the promise perhaps was no
longer valid. We talked to the member about it, and she excitedly
looked for the dress, wrapped it, and gave it to us to give to Birko.
We taught her last Monday afternoon about the Plan of Salvation. We
went really in-depth with a few points, and the spirit was just so
strong as we bore testimony of God's love. At the end of the lesson,
we told her about how going through the temple is her next step in
returning to live with her Father in Heaven. So we gave her the
present, and Sister Jaynes took pictures of her face as she opened one
of the greatest gifts she has ever received. She almost cried. It was
such a cool experience, and we are so excited for her and her new
adventure. Also, I will get to go through the temple with her!!
We had our zone training this last week, too. Sister Jaynes and I
taught the part about teaching, and we had a great discussion. We also
learned more about charity and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I just love
zone training meetings so much! I also got to see Sister Smith again,
and we had a sleepover with Augsburg the night before. :]
That night, we went on splits in order to teach Eugen and the English
class. Sister Jaynes taught the English class, and I taught Eugen. I
taught it with a wonderful woman named Svetlana. She is also a
convert, and apparently she had a lot of hardships when she was
investigating the church. She is an awesome joint teach and bears
sincere testimony. Guys. There is a power in the Book of Mormon. It's
changing him. He was all the way up to 2 Nephi 9 by the time we
started the lesson. We are going to have him read it in 60 days as
opposed to 30, though. He said the schedule we had him on was taking
TWO HOURS A DAY to complete! But, he was doing it! He was, however,
exhausted. Just the same, the Book of Mormon is working a change in
him. We mostly answered his questions - he had had a few:] He asked
about why Nephi would write on brass plates and in ancient Egyptian.
He proceeded to give a history lesson about how it is well documented
that paper products were available at that time. And ancient Egyptian
would not have been the language they would have spoken. I told him
about how brass plates would last longer than paper. And the Book of
Mormon is a priceless thing that the Lord wouldn't want to get
destroyed. Then a scripture popped into my head. I told Eugen we would
read a scripture in Moses. He asked which one, and I started to
explain the Pearl of Great Price when he excitedly pulled out his iPad
and explained that he had not only downloaded Preach My Gospel but the
Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in English and in
German. Who is this guy?? Anyway, we read in Moses 5:6 and talked a
little about it. I told him that it doesn't matter why Nephi wrote on
brass plates; it doesn't matter why it was written in ancient
Egyptian; it doesn't matter that Nephi quoted chapter after chapter of
Isaiah. What does matter is that the Lord commanded him to do that, so
he was obedient, and he did it. A few weeks ago, that would have
started a small discussion, but Eugen is becoming more and more
receptive to the Holy Ghost, and he knew that was right. He really is
so smart, though. A lot of investigators have questions about Nephi
killing Laban, but Eugen didn't! In fact, he used that as an example
to ask another question. He said, ''Nephi had to kill Laban, David had
to kill Goliath...'' Cool, huh?? I had never made that connection, but
Eugen went and made it. He is bomb. We concluded our lesson by talking
about the Holy Ghost. I had another prompting at the end to ask him
why he read the Book of Mormon. Eugen went and bore some testimony! A
few weeks ago, he told us that he wanted to read the Book of Mormon to
learn what it is that we believe, aka knowledge. But this night, he
said, without any hesitation, ''Joy!'' Eugen is so cool! He will make
a powerhouse member in the next little bit. He is changing so quickly.
We could also see evidence of the Lord hastening His work with another
investigator Thursday morning. This particular investigator has had
her husband throwing every anti-Mormon thing at her almost daily for
the past few months. She reported on Thursday that her husband has
stopped. The only thing that is keeping her from baptism now would be
that she still doesn't understand that it is for more than just
membership. But we talked a lot about the covenants, and I think she
has a much greater understanding now.
Then on Friday morning, we met with another cool woman who originally
met missionaries in 2005. She quickly loved it, but her husband was
very opposed to it. He verbally and physically abused her when she
talked to him about it. He said he never wanted to step foot in the
church again, and the children cried. Elena's love and concern for her
family influenced her to decide to stop meeting with the missionaries
for awhile. The missionaries got back in contact with her a few months
ago, and she said she has been praying for a solution. She wants to be
baptized so badly, but she doesn't want to break up her family. She is
Jewish, which is why they came to Germany. Perhaps that was why her
husband was so against it years ago? If she wasn't Jewish anymore, she
may have to leave the country and go back to the Ukraine. But since
they have been here for so long, and the youngest child was born in
Germany, it would probably be okay now. As we wait to here from the
legal department in Frankfurt, we started an English class, and she
called it an answer to her prayers. The whole family comes! We have a
spiritual thought and pray together, and the dad even teaches us some
things! He is very comfortable. He still hasn't been to the church
service, but the kids and mom have, and they LOVE it. Anyway, on
Friday, we watched President Monson's talk from the Relief Society
session of this last General Conference in Ukranian, and she loved it.
We talked to her about baptism at the end. She is still a little
nervous, but she thinks her husband will let her get baptized by the
beginning of February! We think it will happen sooner, but isn't that
wonderful?! What has taken years and years is finally starting to be a
reality for her! She is just so happy.
We also are doing a giant personal touch for our ward for Christmas.
We put baked goods and a note on two members' doorsteps. The note
explained that they had been wichtelt (there is a word for doing an
anonymous good deed in German) as someone in the ward loves them. We
then challenged them to do the same to two members of the ward within
the next 48 hours. We are excited to see the ward bond:]
''...deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a
second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation;
for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them
all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall
triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.
''Let all the saints rejoice, therefore, and be exceedingly glad; for
Israel’s God is their God, and he will mete out a just recompense of
reward upon the heads of all their oppressors.''
Sister Stephanie Reid
Thursday, December 12, 2013
''Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.''
A lot of good things happened this week! Last Monday night, we visited a less-active girl and her brother. They are in their 20s and are so cool! We brought Sister Mason with us (the woman-person in the married couple who works at the institute), and she was just so cute. They just loved her, and she is so good at making people feel loved.
We taught our first English class here in Munich on Tuesday night. We had one of our investigators bring her whole family. The kids were so cute, and the dad was cracking jokes and just so comfortable. She is so cool and has been investigating the church for almost 10 years. She wants to be baptized so badly, but her family is very important to her, and her husband isn't too big of a fan. She said these English classes were an answer to her prayers because it will get him in the church, and start softening his heart. It was so cool to see how quickly the Lord worked on him.
We also had Austausch this week, so that was good. I left this time, but we switch with the other sisters who work in Munich, so I went far:] Anyway, it was really good! Sister Jenson is very sweet and service-ready. All of our appointments fell out, so we went all around doing personal touches for so many people. That night, a girl in the ward who turned 8 had a birthday party. We went and helped cut vegetables and keep the girls slightly under control. I wore my glasses that day, and Sister Jenson wears glasses, so Simon (the 2(?)-year-old) kept trying to figure out who else wears glasses. He was sitting at his little table, and I was sitting next to him, and he was eating his carrots and pointing to the other guests and asking, ''Does she wear glasses?'' I would tell him, that, no, she does not wear glasses. He would ask about someone else. I would again reply in the negative. After a few of these, I would tell him that only Sister Jenson and I wore glasses. He would be satisfied with that for a few chews, then he would start asking again if the others wore glasses. Birthday parties are great:] But really, this was a way neat family. And they were also so loving. I did not know them at all before that night, but I just felt so at home.
Thursday morning, we met with the mom from the Englisch class, and it was so good! She reported that she had read all the of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. And she will start over. She loves it so much. Can you believe it?! She has read all of the triple combination!
That evening, we met with our 7th-day Adventist friend. We have been trying to teach the Plan of Salvation, and the other day it just hit us that these are just words on a page to him until he gets a testimony of the Book of Mormon. So we decided to commit him to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days! That is a bit of a struggle in English with 531 pages, but in German, it takes a little longer to say things. The German Book of Mormon has 702 pages, and that equals about 22 pages per day. We both laughed a little when the idea came - besides baptism, this was the largest commitment either of us has ever given. But we also both felt so excited. We knew that was what he needed. So we showed him a few Mormon Messages about the Book of Mormon (including testimony from Elder Holland) and committed him. And do you know what? We talked to him yesterday, and he is on schedule! He has already read through 1st Nephi! He said he is a little exhausted, but he loves the challenge:]
On Tuesday in our district meeting, we talked about the miracles of Jesus Christ. We were to all think of our favorite miracle in preparation for the discussion. I thought of the story of the lad who had the five loaves of bread and two fishes. The whole crowd needed to be fed. In verse 9 of John chapter 6, it says the following: ''There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?'' I think a lot of times, we want to help so badly. We look at what we have - our strengths, abilities, experiences - at it seems so inadequate to do the job asked of us. And without the Lord, it would be completely inadequate. But he gave all that he had to the Lord. What was barely a meal for him, when given to Him, was enough to feed five thousand - with twelve baskets of leftovers! We are reminded in Alma 37:6 that it is through the ''small and simple things'' that ''great things'' are brought to pass. Later in the chapter, in verses 40 and 41, we are reminded what small things we must do to ensure that miracles are part of our daily lives. There are many small things, but the two that Alma chooses to teach are faith and diligence. President Monson teaches, ''Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Each of us can be true for just one day—and then one more, and then one more after that, until we’ve lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deeds and righteousness.'' Just take each day a day at a time. Or by the hour when necessary. Life is hard sometimes. But it's always possible with Him. Whether His mode of helping us (Mosiah 21:15, Mosiah 24:13-15, Ether 6:7,8 to name a few), as long as we have faith in Him and diligently do our very best, the Lord will help us.
And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.''
Have a groovy week!
Sister Stephanie Reid
Saturday, December 7, 2013
I am in München! München is absolutely wonderful! Sister Jaynes and I are loving being together. She is a few transfers younger than I am, so it's also cool having two ''old'' missionaries together.
We have a lot of cool things happening here. On Thursday night (transfer day), we met with a guy named Eugen. He is a preacher in a 7th Day Adventist Church. He is way cool. And he kind of has a crush on the joint teach, haha! He is in his late 40s, I would guess. He wants to get baptized, but that would be a lot of changes for him. His entire congregation would be affected. His very livelihood may be affected. Sister Jaynes and I feel that if we strengthen his testimony of the Book of Mormon, he will recognize that his most important relationship is with his Heavenly Father. And when we put that first, everything else always falls into place.
Friday night, we met with the GML and his family for a Thanksgiving dinner. The Arnolds are Americans. They just have one four year old girl whose name is Camille. She is adorable! She was wearing her snow suit when we showed up because she liked the ''swishy'' sound it makes when she walks. She also was showing us her Lion King book. We asked her if she likes The Lion King. She said, ''No, but I like Simba.'' And I have not eaten mashed potatoes that delicious in such a long time! Brother and Sister Arnold are both converts to the church, so they told us their conversion stories. Sister Arnold was a baptist (can't remember which one...) and actually served a mission for that church. When she got back, she applied for a job at a particular company. Her boss asked why she wanted to work there. She told him that she was really impressed with what she had seen of him. She had noticed there was something special about his spirit, and she wanted to know why. He hired her, and it turns out she was a member of the church. She was his personal secretary, and she loved looking at his pictures of his family and such. In a short time, she was typing his sacrament meeting talks! After a few years, her boss was being transferred. He told her he wanted to take her with him, but he felt like she needed to stay. She told him that she actually wanted to start working in a different field. He gave her a Book of Mormon since she didn't work for him anymore and told her to visit his church. She looked it up and visited it. And loved it. She would go to her baptist church in the morning and then go visit the Mormon church right after that. By the time she got there, she was only there for Relief Society. But she still liked the way she felt. After THREE WEEKS, someone came up to her and asked if she was one of the dental students, and they learned that she was not a member. The rest, as they say, is history. She got baptized shortly thereafter, and she asked her bishop about going on a mission! He encouraged her to get married. She was frustrated because she was 27 and thought that was a silly thing to concentrate on, especially because the only single men in her ward were old enough to be her dad! So she moved to a single's ward and eventually met Brother Arnold.
Brother Arnold was a little more wild. He was raised near an army base in a town where shootings occured on a bi-weekly basis. He was the stereo-typical I think-I'm-invincible young man. He literally thought he would never die. He said he did drugs and other things that are not in line with the standards in the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet. He said that when he walked into a room, children would literally start crying. When he was 26, he was riding his mountain bike. He said he never wore a helmet, but he wanted to get into racing, and helmets were required for that. Anyway, he did a particular jump, and the back wheel didn't make it over the hill, causing him to see asphalt on top, then sky, then asphalt, then sky... He lay on the ground. Nothing hurt! That's either really good or really bad. He tried to move. It was bad. Another guy was casually observing and saw the crash. He ran over and asked him if he was okay. Brother Arnold managed to choke out, ''Call an ambulance!'' The guy ran off and after a little bit, he heard sirens. The fire brigade was across the street, and they had been dispatched. Then, he said it was almost like a Xerox machine, but from left to right, he suddenly was able to start moving. He stood up just as the fire fighters got there. They tried to take him to the hospital, but he was walking! So he walked home. The next day, he hurt from head to toe. So he went to the doctor. They did all sorts of x-rays and determined nothing was broken. He said that was the first moment he realized that he was mortal. He knew it was time to change things. He soon learned that one of his friends who used to be a drug dealer and another friend who used to be practicing an alternative lifestyle had recently turned their lives around. He asked what the change was. They answered that they had found Jesus Christ. He determined to see if Jesus could help him, too. He ended up being baptized into the New Apostolic Church, or something, and was a lot happier. He had carpentry and mechanic skills, and he started helping people. He would pull over on the side of the road when someone was broke down. The people would ask why he wanted to help. He would answer, ''I know what it feels like to need to be rescued. And the person who has helped me the most is Jesus Christ.'' He said some people would give him weird looks and just ask him to fix the car. Others, however, would find that fascinating, and he would have the chance to bring someone closer to Christ. After some time, he had the distinct instruction from the Lord to leave where he was living, go to a particular town in Texas, and to leave on a particular date. He was shocked by the specific instructions, but packed up his truck and left town on the indicated date. He arrived and passed out flyars for carpentry, but the going rate was at least a tenth of what he was used to working for, and, not wanting to live 15 to a house, he looked for work as a mechanic. He found work with... a Mormon boss:] He liked it there a lot. One day, he saw a flyar for a stake activity. It had the name of the church on the bottom, and after a few hours, he remembered why the name sounded familiar. This was the Mormon cult! THAT was why he had been sent to Texas - to save the Mormons. To fight your enemy, you need to understand your enemy. So he watched his boss like a hawk. And he went to the church and stole (:D) a Book of Mormon. He started reading it. And he started getting a testimony. He eventually approached his boss and told him he had read the Book of Mormon and was ready to be baptized. His boss said he would have to meet with the missionaries first. Brother Arnold thought that was dumb - he already knew he wanted to be baptized. So, he made the elders do push ups every time they were late. And he was baptized two weeks later.
Guys. The atonement is real. The atonement can change anyone. As President David O. McKay taught: "One purpose of the gospel is to make bad people good and good people better." I have seen so many times on my mission the change that comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ. This doesn't just apply to the one time to come. But all of us as members need the atonement everyday. I make mistakes everyday! In Doctrine and Covenants 117:13, it says: "...
And here is an awesome Mormon Message on the topic:]
We had Zone Thanksgiving today. We had turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, stuffing, everything that would make it a true American Thanksgiving dinner. It was so great to see everyone again and be thankful for fabulous food.
So on Wednesday night, we got a call from the Sister Training Leaders to see how we were doing. We caught up on life and the universe, and then they asked us if we were scared/nervous/excited for transfer calls the next day. Transfer calls usually come on Friday mornings, so we were a little confused as to why we would be excited for the next morning. She told us that they had been bumped a day early. We hurried and called the elders in our district to have a conference call for our Bible Prophecies. Then we went to bed and nervously awaited the call. The zone leaders receive a call from the assistants around 7 informing them who in the zone is staying. Then the zone leaders call all of those people and are done by about 7:15. Then the assistants call everyone who is leaving. President Miles calls those who will be receiving leadership positions. So, the later the call, the more ''exciting'' the news. And who is on the caller id tells us a little something about what is happening. The latest call I have ever gotten was at 8:30. Anyway, we brought the phone with us on Frühsport just in case we didn't get back in time for the call. We did. I took the world's fastest shower, and the call had still not come by the time it was time for Personal Study. We were so anxiously nervous to learn what was happening to us! We had a lesson at 10, so we had to head at 9, and we still hadn't gotten a call! What if we got the call while we were in the lesson? On the way there, the elders and the STLs called us to see what was happening to us. Every time the phone rang, we thought it was THE call, but it was not! We started thinking we were the recipients of a prank, but everyone else had gotten their calls... We contemplated turning the phone off during the lesson, but this was a call we needed to take. So we told the investigator and the two members what would be happening, and they all got anxiously excited, too. Now. Whenever you teach the restoration, if you do not turn off every phone, a phone will ring during the first vision. Every time. We even watched the Restoration movie, and I was so excited as I knew this would invite the phone call. It did not. So we left the appointment after two hours (because the two members we brought were becoming friends with our investigator for the first hour! I guess that's a good problem:]), and we still did not know! The elders called us again (again a momentary excitement at the gaining of knowledge), and they told us to call the zone leaders as they had probably forgotten to call us. We called them. They had no clue what was going on. They said they would call someone to call us. We waited for ANOTHER hour! The elders and the STLs called again (every time that phone rang...), but still no one who could tell us what was happening to us! We just knew that we were not both staying... We called President Miles around 1:15 as we were waiting at Bahnhof for our next bus to our next appointment. Sister Miles answered, and it was lovely speaking with her. Then she asked what she could do for us, and we asked if transfer calls were actually today. She said they were, and she asked if we had not received a call. We told her that we had not received a call. She tried to put the phone on speaker phone, or get it connected to the car phone so President Miles could speak with us, but nothing worked! She told us they would call us back. About ten minutes later, President Miles called us. He said he had found a place to pull over, and he apologized for forgetting to call us. He said that there are too many Sister Smiths (there are three - two in our zone - but neither of us is Sister Smith, so I don't know how that messed our call up...), and that we had gotten lost in the mix. Anyway, we weren't mad, so we forgave him immediately and excitedly waited for him to just tell us already where/if we were going! He then proceeded to tell us about how the last mission president would do it so that if you didn't get a call by noon, you assumed you were staying. You can see why that had to be changed! After he had gotten all of that taken care of, he was ready to announce the news. I am headed to Munich, and Sister Brinck is staying in Ludwigsburg. The elders are actually both leaving Ludwigsburg, too. Elder Morrill is coming with me to Munich, and zwar to the same ward! Elder Piepenstock is headed to the Switzerland.
This ward in Ludwigsburg is bomb. The members call us to see when we can use them on joint teaches. We have been introducing family mission plans to a lot of members this week, and it is so cool to see how a lot of members already have plans! And the ones who didn't, or didn't have it written down, were already coming up with ideas even as we were still there! I was so worried leaving Neumarkt because I knew a lot of investigators would get lost. But not one of us is worried about this whitewash. Why? Because every progressing investigator not only knows members, but they have FRIENDSHIPS with the members! In the elders' letter to the new elders, those are their instructions. For more information on this investigator, talk to this member. For information on this investigator, talk to that member. It's so cool to see how excited and wonderful Ludwigsburg is in hastening the work of salvation. We think that perhaps that is why Elder Morrill and I are being transferred together. To bring that excitement and knowledge to Munich.
You guys have no idea how much members do in missionary work. As we talk to almost every investigator, they are related to or working with or in some way acquainted to a member of the church. The Lord really is preparing the hearts of so many people. So, as Elder Holland says, ''...unbind your tongues and watch your words work wonders in the lives of those 'who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.'"
Sister Stephanie Reid
Sunday, November 24, 2013
On Tuesday, we had zone training meeting. But first, we had to take a train to get there. Our bus was way late, so we got to Bahnhof and had to run to our train. But, he drove away before we could make it to the platform, so we wound up having to take a different train. This was a miracle, though. First of all, I sat down next to an older gentleman who was holding a learning German text book and flipping through it. I asked where he was from. He looked up and said, ''Germany...'' I felt so bad for embarrassing/insulting this man as I tried to explain that he was holding a learning German book, so I assumed he came from somewhere else and was trying to learn German. He had a good laugh and explained that he taught German, and they had a new textbook, so he needed to study it. Then we were able to have a good conversation. Somehow we got to talking about family history, and he said that it is really hard to do it on his own computer at home. He wanted to look at films, and he has no machine to view them. Also, he said that a couple hundred years ago, all the girls were named Maria and all the boys were named Joseph. He said that it would sure be nice if there was someone who could help him. He told him about how we have a family history center in our church with machines to view the films and there are other visitors plus the family history consultant who could help him. He got so excited and asked for the number and address. He was just so excited to have a place to go! And then, we got out of the train and were working our way out of the Bahnhof when a young lady asked us (in English) if we knew where the U-Bahns were. We said we could show her where they were as we had to walk past it anyway. We helped her with her suitcases and chatted with her. She comes from India, but she is living in Spain. She is Germany to help promote her parent's travel agency, but she does something completely different in Spain. She just got more cultural with each sentence she spoke. But she was so sweet! Anyway, we got her to the U-Bahn tunnel and then she asked us if we knew the Metro at all, and we looked at our watches and noticed that we were somehow way early for our meeting, so we said we could try to help her. We helped her down the stairs and helped her read the maps and figure out which Gleis was hers. Then she asked us about tickets and we noticed again just how early we were. So we helped her buy her ticket and get to the Gleis. She kept saying that we were sent from heaven to help her and that we were her angels, and so forth. By this point we had to get going, but I had a feeling to give her a card. ''All of our cards are in German, and she isn't staying here, so our number wouldn't do much good...'' I thought. But the impression came again, so I wrote our names and number on a Jesus card and said, ''If you need any more help, here is our number. You can always call, and we would love to help more!'' Then she said, ''Oh! I should give you my card, too! You just never know.'' So that was cool. :]
Zone Training Meeting was awesome. As usual. I seriously cannot think of a not-awesome zone training meeting. Anyway, we had a really great discussion on hope. We talked about how hope is the motivation to take the steps of faith. President Uchtdorf said, ''Hope... is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.'' We also talked about how it doesn't matter how many times we fall down, but rather, how many times we get up. We also talked about trusting in the Lord. I think a lot of times we have a pinboard of tasks we want to accomplish and who we want to be, but the Lord has a bigger plan. He can see the end from the beginning. Back to my Nephi analogy from awhile ago, we may have a great idea of walking to America, but the Lord knows that a boat is a way better way to go.
Then yesterday in sacrament meeting, a guy told about how he had always wanted to go into retirement at 35 so he could spend more time with his family, doing temple/family history work, etc. A righteous desire! But yesterday he turned 36, and he just talked about how even though we have really good ideas sometimes, the Lord has another plan for us. We know what we want to do, who we want to be, what we want to say, and where we want to go, but the Lord can see the bigger picture. He can see that we can be so much more than we think we can become, and He, therefore, sometimes does not give us what we want. But He always give us what we need. I spent my whole personal study on this scripture yesterday after church:
''Trust in the with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'' ~Proverbs 3:5,6
I love what Preach My Gospel says: ''Humility is willingness to submit to the will of the Lord and to give the Lord the honor for what is accomplished. It includes gratitude for His blessings and acknowledgment of your constant need for His divine help. Humility is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of spiritual strength. When you humbly trust Him and acknowledge His power and mercy, you can have the assurance that His commandments are for your good. You are confident that you can do whatever the Lord requires of you if you rely on Him. You are also willing to trust His chosen servants and follow their counsel. Humility will help you as you strive to be obedient, to work hard, and serve selflessly.''
I definitely have all sorts of goals and ideas, and then sometimes they don't happen. And I get frustrated because I don't understand why this righteous desire couldn't be fulfilled. But the Lord has a way better idea. He knows what I need to help me reach my full potential.
In this last General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, ''Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.''
Anyway, to sum it all up, the Lord knows what's up. So trust Him. And remember that you can never fall farther than your knees.
Sister Stephanie Reid
Monday, November 11, 2013
I do not know why, but this keyboard is an American as opposed to German one. So if I mess up the y and z, no judging. Also, I cannot find the apostraphe and quotation marks, and I honestly do not remember where they to be found are. Anyway, I am really trying harder than usual to write this email.
We had an incredible zone conference this week! The next one is not until February, so I had to give my testimony... It made me so sad! I love zone conferences! They are seriously one of my favorite things! We learn so much and leave with such an excitement and motivation and knowledge for doing this work. We talked a lot about members in this one, and it was awesome. Members are where it is at! We definitely saw that this week.
On Wednesday, we were at the home of a less-active member with Monique again. It was just awesome as usual. Monique invited the other mother to bring her daughter to JumpIn the next day with her and her little boy - from the conversation, I am gathering it is a children playplace. Anyway, they are just becoming the best of friends. Monique drove us to our next spot afterwards, and she told us that she had never even met the other mom before she came on joint teaches with us, but that she really loves her and is so grateful for this friendship that she has established. It was also great because the other mom has really started progressing so much more since we started bringing Monique. She volunteered to say the closing prayer, and in it she said, Thank you for sending the sisters to me, and that they are helping me come closer to you.
The next evening, we were at the home of an older-ish couple in our ward. A former investigator of the elders (who had dropped them based on anti-Mormon material, but was well-established with this family) just showed up and cooked dinner for us all! It was so cool for us to see that they had remained friends, and hopefully he will still come back as he sees that our love is not conditional. But wait! It gets better! So Bari, the Persian guy that Sister Brinck and I found who is also an investigator of the elders, contacted the elders on Sunday to see about meeting next. They told him they were very busy and could not meet until Friday. He got very upset at the idea of having to wait until Friday. So Elder Morrill called this family and asked if we could bring this investigator. They, of course, agreed, and it was a lovely party. One thing our stake president encouraged us to do at zone conference was to leave the members alone with the investigators. We kind of did that during dinner (with a group of 10 people, it is very easy to get multiple conversations started), and it was so wonderful! The member couple really befriended Bari, and they were even more thrilled to greet him on Sunday at church.
Then Friday night, we visited the Dacksons with Judith. We asked if Frau Dackson had been reading in her Book of Mormon, and she confessed that she had had a hard time finding the time. So Judith (just like Monique had actually also done in her lesson) said that she was a mother, too, and suggested ideas for time. Frau Dackson recommitted herself to reading. She was the one who worked three Sundays a month from 9-12, ps. So we asked if this was a Sunday she had off. She told us that she actually does not work at that bakery anymore. God has a sense of humor, folks. You see, her job was to clean the floors. But this bakery randomly had no mops. She would come home so exhausted from cleaning bakery floors on her hands an knees for three hours. She also said she realized that she should not be in that much pain on a Sunday - Sunday is for worshipping God. So, she quit. Judith made all sorts of wonderful arrangements for Frau Dackson and her children to have an enjoyable experience in church. She could not come because she wound up having such a bad headache that she could not walk! She was so apologetic when she called usSunday morning - she said she wanted to come so badly, but she could barely speak! She is so cool, and she was so excited about church next week!
Then, on Sunday, Maria C. came to church!! We were beyond excited! She was a little late - she came during the sacrament. But she really liked what she saw. Again, the members were awesome. The young mother who was sitting kind of by us - they were on our row, but a few seats away - scooted right over next to her and quietly talked to her answering her questions and simply making her feel welcome and comfortable. Maria really liked it and said that she should bring her boys next week - they would definitely fit in! We stood to sing the intermediate hymn, Come, Come, Ye Saints. Maria started crying. She later told me why. She said that not only was the music powerful, but she could see that even when we sing, one can see that the family is of upmost importance to the church. The husband will hold the hand of the wife, or put his arm around her. The children all come close to help each other share the books. I had never noticed that before, but it moved Maria to tears.
After sacrament meeting, I thanked the member for being a great fellowshipper. She excitedly told me how it was not a problem at all. Then she also offered to come on joint teaches with us to her! Seriously, these members are awesome!
Well, that should sum up this week. I love you all and hope that you never forget how much you are loved. (Romans 8:35,37)
Sister Stephanie Reid
Friday, November 8, 2013
We continue to see miracles. This is good, because miracles are an essential part in the work of the Lord. And as President Miles teaches, the ONLY way in which the Lord works.
So, the two biggest miracles this week were of Cris and then Frank and Stevie.
Cris. So Cris is simply a really good friend of some members in our ward, and has been for about 30 years. She is so cool, and on Saturday, we came to visit her. We played Rummikub with her (I won:]), and then she asked, ''Did you bring something beautiful to share with me?'' We opened our scriptures and started trying to share a thought about Nephi, and then she interrupted us to tell us about our deciduous tree. She said she had been thinking about this analogy all week, and just how true it is. She absolutely loved it, and asked to know where the verses were that we shared with her. She marked almost all of Alma 32. She then proceeded to tell us about how she used to think, and how that is all changing. It was so cool that she is noticing this change in her. We are meeting with her again next week, and we are just so excited for all of the progress that she is making!
The other one started because we were heading to dinner with a part-member family. We were on the train, and I sat down in front of a man from Nigeria. We started talking, and he was so cool! He asked us if we had a church anywhere, as he wanted to visit it. We gave him the address, exchanged phone numbers, and parted ways. He called us a few days later (Saturday) to confirm where the church was, and we told him to meet us at Bahnhof at 8:30, and we would show him where the church was. He was so excited, and bid us farewell. The next morning, we got to Bahnhof, and he was simply not there. But the elders had one of their investigators with them, so that was nice:] Anyway, about halfway through Sacrament Meeting, I looked out the window, and I saw him, and who we assumed was his friend, along with a member couple walking through the parking lot! It turned out that this member couple (a young married couple who lives across the street from us) was at the busstop on time, but the bus never came! (We were five minutes early, and had to sprint to catch it.) This caused them to miss the train, and have to take a later bus altogether (we take a bus, a train, then another bus). Apparently Frank and Stevie missed their trains this morning, but they kept coming anyway. Sunday mornings, there are not a lot of people on public transportation. So, these four were the only people in the final bus. The bus driver asked if they knew each other, and they all denied it. Then they asked each other where they were going. Frank said, ''To a church in the Riedstraße... number 20?'' ''We are, too!!!'' exclaimed the members excitedly! It was such a miracle that the Hebbens missed their bus, otherwise there was no way Frank and Stevie could have figured out how to get to church. Then, we had our investigator class in Sunday School. They were the only two (the elders' investigator is 134, so he went to a different class), so we just taught the first lesson. They loved the whole thing and were actively participating. At the end of the lesson, we committed them to praying about the Book of Mormon. Stevie paused for a second then said, ''The way I see it, scripture is the word of God. I can see that this book is the word of God. All that we have read invites man to come closer to Christ. How can that not be the word of God? If it wasn't the word of God, it would be talking about other things. But it talks of Christ. I know this book is true.'' Miracles all around!!
Sorry this is a little shorter, but know that miracles still happen everyday. We write a miracle everyday in our planners, and it is incredible to see even the little things that the Lord does for us. I know He is there, and that He hears and answers our prayers. All we must do is ask, and have faith that He will answer. Because He will.
Sister Stephanie Reid
Friday, November 1, 2013
We had Austausch this week. This was the first time since I came to Ludwigsburg that I stayed. Sister Drury came here, and we had a blast working together again!
But first... on Tuesday, we had a really great District Meeting. We talked about miracles and how they happen everyday. I found a lot of cool scriptures on what we need to do to have miracles happen during my personal study. I forgot the list at home, so you will have to wait until next week! Anyway, we just talked about how miracles don't just happen in perfect little American wards in the Liahona, nor do miracles in missionary work only happen in Brazil. They happen in Germany, too. The Lord is hastening His work. We are familiar with the promise: ''The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” We are living in a fulfillment of a prophecy! We talked about how everyone deserves to know that miracles happen everyday. And why shouldn't they? Something that I started doing a couple transfers ago was recording one miracle everyday in my planner. Looking back on the day, week, transfer has been so cool, especially on those days of frustration. If the Lord helped us then, I think, He can certainly help us today!
Sister Brinck and I have been struggling as of late finding people. We made a goal the night before that we would find 4 potential investigators that next day, and that we would not go home until we found them. We left the district meeting and headed to our first vorbei. It was successful, and we got a potential investigator! But then we realized that our next plan involved a map that was at home. We had promised that we would not go home until we found 3 more potential investigators! We needed a miracle. And we got one! People, we found our four potentials! And we were able to come home! I called the district leader that night around 9:45 to tell him of our miracle. As I started, I explained how we had made this goal and said we wouldn't come home until we acheived it. He cut me off and said, ''Oh, no. Where are you guys???'' But we got home early enough to eat dinner at home. So we were definitely home in time:]
The next day, we went to Karlsruhe to meet up with the sisters from Lahr for the Tausch. It was Sister Brinck's birthday, so that was nice:]
Anyway, that night, we had GMK, and it was an especially hilarious/wonderful one.
The next day, we had a wonderful Frühsport, study session, then we headed out to start being part of more miracles. We had an eating appointment with some members at 1:30, so we had a little time to do some finding before heading over there. We found four people just in that time between 11 and 1:30. The eating appointment was delicious and glorious, and we received a potential/referral while we were there. Then we headed out to Benningen to visit Obehi. We found some more people on the way (there are usually no people on the streets of this village, ps). Obehi wasn't home. So, we started to head back out of town to go to a new place. After a few minutes, Sister Drury asked if I knew the neighbor of Obehi's that I greeted. I said that I had simply been friendly. She said we should probably go back and contact him. So we did. No one in the building was interested, but at least we gave them the chance. Then we decided we should door the neighbor building. There had to be a reason why we felt we needed to come back... We did, and we found a potential! We were so excited, and then Obehi came around the corner, so we got to meet with her, too! We learned that she has been wanting to go to the temple because she knows it's something she should do. But when she tried to inspire her husband to work on goals, she had no idea what to tell him about why the temple was so important. We made plans to come back this week when he is there so that we can help them understand the importance of the temple and be sealed finally! Huge progress - now we know what the problem is! We eventually left Benningen, and as we were almost to Bahnhof, Sister Drury noticed a house that had a large ''Welcome'' sign and the word ''Family'' on it. I am not sure what made me stare at the house, but I did a double take at it as we walked past. Sister Drury saw and said, ''Hey, if we are both looking, we should probably see what's up!'' We we rang the doorbell... and then realized it was the dinner time. Klang! A fork being set down on the plate. Ooops!! A young man came to the door, and we told him about how we had a message about the family. We asked if they were at dinner, he said they were, and we asked if we could come back to share this message. He was very excited to hear about it, and we wished him a lovely evening. We got back to the Bahnhof in Ludwigsburg, and as we were walking, a young woman in front of us tripped on nothing. She turned around to see what she had tripped on, saw us, and laughed at herself. I asked her if she had tripped. She turned back, laughed a little, and said, ''Yeah, but I'm not sure what on!'' We talked to her all the way back to Bahnhof, and she took a Book of Mormon and was so excited to meet up with us again. We ended the night by doing some klingeling in our neighborhood. We got 12 potentials in one day! And last time Sister Drury and I worked together, we found 14 in one day. We decided we should probably work together full time. We could help so many children of God reach their potential! Anyway, a day of miracles. For sure.
We have a tree in our living room that was losing its leaves. At the start, I recognized it was because I was being negligent in my watering duties. After awhile, it started losing so many leaves that we thought we had a deciduous tree in our living room. We thought that was an incredibly stupid idea, but we nevertheless swept the leaves in our living room. Then onTuesday morning, I realized that I needed to pull the dead leaves out of the tree. First of all, they would start rotting, eventually killing the tree even more, and second of all, it just looked bad. I discovered something interesting as I started de-leafing. Only one side of the tree was actually dead. The other half had its full foliage. I realized that the dead side was the side turned away from the window. Although the entire tree had been receiving dirt and water, only half had been getting sun, and that half was dying. We took this analogy to our lesson with Chris on Saturday. We had the opportunity to do some gardening with her for a few hours, and afterwards she asked, ''Have you brought a spiritual upliftment for me?'' Chris is a way cool investigator who has been friends with members in our ward for years. As of late, she is showing more and more interest in investigating this for herself. Anyway, we thought it was appropriate, based on our previous activities, to use a gardening analogy. We talked about how we have faith, works, and grace. We need all three to be saved. It does no good to have faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement if we aren't willing to do something about it. She loved the analogy and started teaching us more aspects of it, using plants in her house for further examples. She talked about a tree she had that was dying. She cut it way down to a stub and had it start growing again from the start, but this time with good nutrients. We talked about how sometimes we start growing into something nice, but God has to cut us down so we can grow into what He knows we can become. Anyway, we don't have a deciduous tree in our living room. Just an object lesson.
Well, have a great week! And read this talk from Elder Ballard: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/the-truth-of-god-shall-go-forth?lang=eng
We really are all needed in order for the gospel to be sounded in every ear. Pray for missionary opportunities. Elder Neil L. Andersen has promised us that if we do, names and faces will come to our minds and hearts. (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/its-a-miracle)
Sister Stephanie Reid
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A lot of wonderful miracles happened this week! I, unfortunately, only have the time to speak of a few. However, miracles big and small happen everyday. And they especially were all around this week.
On Wednesday, for example, we were visiting a less-active woman in the ward. We have been meeting with her since the beginning of my time here in Ludwigsburg, and she never wanted to talk very much; she was always willing to let us come, and she was very attentive during the lessons. We just didn't know how to pull her out of her shell. Then we started bringing a member a few weeks ago. We were very nervous because the less-active had informed us that there was a member in the ward who had offended her, and that was why she didn't want to come to church. We asked her who it was so we wouldn't accidentally bring this member, but she politely declined. Anyway, we brought a wonderful member named Monique, a young mother also, and they bonded within the first few minutes of that first meeting. The less-active started talking and laughing, and it was awesome! This week, we came, and we had decided to follow the advice in Jacob 4:12, ''...why not speak of the atonement of Christ[?]'' We hadn't had a ton of time that morning to prepare a lesson, so we were running 100% on the spirit to guide us. The spirit always guides, but the lessons in which we truly recognize our dependance on Him are always miraculous, as was this one. We started out by talking about the blessings available through the atonement, resurrection, forgiveness of sins... I mentioned a talk I had read in the recent past from Elder Holland, ''Amazed at the Love Jesus Offers Me.'' He talks about that since Jesus could forgive us, how much more do we need to forgive others? As reading, I thought about how silly it is to expect Jesus to forgive us when we can't forgive ourselves. I mentioned this article to her. I told her a story that I don't like telling, but I felt I needed to share. It involves me forgiving, even though it was really hard. I bore testimony that it was hard, but possible. She broke into tears and started telling us exactly what went down years ago. It was pretty serious what happened, almost as though this person had tried to offend her. She told us how she was so mad at God when her husband died, and then this happened on top of that. She didn't want to talk to anyone who had anything to do with the church for years. She told us that she knows she messed up a lot, but she is on the road back. It's a long one, full of tiny steps, but she knows what she needs to do. The very fact that she lets us come is progress. We told her that it wouldn't happen in a day, a week, and maybe not even a year. But we also bore our testimonies that it was possible and worth it for her to forgive and forget. I shared the verse in Jacob 4:7 with her, and the spirit was just so strong. I can't describe (both to protect privacy and also because there are no words) how powerful and progressive the lesson was. But it was incredible.
On Thursday, we had dinner with a member, and it came up that Sister Brinck is Gluten-intolerant. This member used to be Gluten-intolerant and offered to take us to Kaufland to show us where to find food for her. So not only did she take us there after dinner, but she paid for our groceries! We could not believe the charity! We have no idea how to thank her. A note is just not adequate, and baking something for her would be silly. I suppose it's like the atonement. There is truly no way to fully pay Him back for what He did for us out of love. The only way to truly show our gratitude is to pray and use the gift He gave us.
The next morning, we had an incredible lesson with Maria. Maria comes from Italy, but she moved here when she was 7, so she speaks excellent German. Her biggest problem is why there is so much wickedness and evil in the world - how can God put up with that? We taught the Plan of Salvation all the way through. We spent a lot of time on every step, even the pre-earth life. It was so incredible to see her understanding expounding as each new puzzle-piece was laid down. At the end, she told us that she has been praying a lot this last month, and she just feels peace. She also told us that she feels such peace when she meets with us. Once we finished presenting the Plan, she just stared at it and said, ''This is just beautiful. This is such a beautiful plan.'' She stared at it some more and then asked if she could take a picture of it. We also gave her The Family: A Proclamation to the World. She loves her sons so much and wants what's best for them. She had a total change from the beginning of the lesson to the end of the lesson. This plan really is so beautiful. Every little part of it shows God's love for us so much. Another investigator a little while ago said that is was wonderful how simple it is. It IS so simple! And doesn't that also show God's love, that He wouldn't give us something too complicated? We can totally do this. And the thing is, we have already beat Satan once.
Elder James J. Hamula said, ''Understand, my young friends, that there is only one way to win the war against Satan, and that is to win it in the same way it was won in the beginning. When victory was finally achieved in the War in Heaven, a loud voice was heard to declare: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. ...For they [referring to Michael and his angels] have overcome him [referring to the devil] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death.” (Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 12:9, 11) Do not miss the significance of this declaration. Satan was overcome in the beginning by (1) faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, (2) testimony of Him that was steadfastly kept to the very end, and (3) consecration of oneself to the Lord and His work. If this was the means for defeating him in the beginning, you can be sure that this is the one sure way to defeat him now.''
Sunday was the Primary Program. I love the Primary Program. It is so incredible to see the faith and understanding that children have. Isaiah's prophesy that someday ''a little child shall lead them'' does not just apply to the Millenium. We can be led by children now. The gospel is so simple. We don't need to be afraid to open our mouths and talk to our friends. The daughter of the less-active member previously mentioned was there (as were her step-kids (who are investigators of ours)), and for her part in the primary program she just bore her testimony of how badly she wants to baptized. Well, we can help there:] The teenage daughter sat by us, and started crying as the children sang ''A Child's Prayer.'' Do you realize the wonderful message in this song? This knowledge I have always taken such for granted. But it has so many wonderful gospel truths.
Sister Stephanie Reid