So on Monday, we had a zone P. Day. It was so fun seeing so many old friends again with our belated 4th of July Celebration. We grilled hamburgers, chatted, and played soccer. Apparently, they made Elder Escher say the Pledge of Allegiance. I inquired as to the truth of this story, and he told me that he did, hand on his heart and everything. But then he told me he had his fingers crossed behind his back, so all was well:] I remembered how in on of my German classes in high school, we had to say the Pledge of Allegiance in German. I had always wondered why that was translated into German in the first place. I feel like if any German-speaking person would like to pledge allegiance to the US, they probably speak English. Oh well.
That night, we taught Bernie at a member's home. We met Bernie at Bahnhof and walked with him to the member's home. He loves to walk. The members were incredible joint teaches. They were awesome fellowshippers, told wonderful stories, and bore powerful testimony. They are a couple around 60, and their youngest son who just got back from his mission almost a year ago. We used Doctrine and Covenants sections 8 and 9 to teach how we receive answers to prayers. We talked about how you have to have a specific question, not just, ''Lord, tell me what to do.'' We then told Bernie one way to make his question more specific would be to set a goal of when he would like to receive his answer. So we set a baptismal date for the 4th of August, and all was well! The Burgers all bore testimony that he could receive an answer by that date. Bernie was a little nervous, as he is concerned that he won't have any more friends after he gets baptized, but on the way home, he got more and more excited about the idea. Bernie and Bruder Burger also really bonded.
The next day, we had zone training, which I always enjoy. I always learn so much, and again, it is fun to see other missionaries.
The next day, we met with a less-active in our ward. She was super nice and has the cutest baby! We discovered that her other three children are former investigators, so we are excited to start teaching them. Apparently just six months ago, they said that they believed that they could receive answers to prayers, and the missionaries almost set baptismal dates, but they wanted to talk to the mom first. And then nothing on the progress record! So, Sister Smith and I will be taking care of that.
Thursday, we had Austausch. I went to Stuttgart and worked with Sister Stewart and Sister Green, and Sister Jencks came to Ludwigsburg and worked with Sister Smith. It was so good to work with my mama one last time. We had such a fun time, reminiscing of our time in Wien. We accidentally had a lengthy pillow talk, but it was so good! We met with a few less actives that day, and it was an awesome day:]
However, Sister Smith and I discussed that if Bernie was going to be baptized by the fourth of August, he was going to need to be taught the Word of Wisdom soon so he can stop smoking. Their joint teach was Elder Morrill, and Johann, an incredible member of our ward who came from a super rough background. He grew up in foster care and got into a lot of drugs and trouble. However, he found the church and turned his whole life around. The church is his family now. He was an incredible joint teach as he testified that it was possible to quit smoking, as he had quit that and so many other things. Unfortunately, Bernie wasn't too receptive to the spirit that night. He got very angry. Luckily, Elder Morrill started joking with him at the end of the lesson and pulled him out of his bad mood. They couldn't commit him to live the Word of Wisdom, but he promised he would read the pamphlet and pray about it.
The next day, we sent Bernie an SMS wishing him a great day. He sent us an SMS saying that he didn't deserve our friendship or the nice day well-wishes. We sent another SMS, negating what he had said. After a little while, he sent us another SMS. This one said that he wanted to be polite, but (and then he switched to all-caps) to please cross him out of our planners as he wants no more to meet with us. He explained that it was too hard for him to change, and that he wanted no more of this. Sister Smith and I did not know what to do. We discussed leaving it for a few days, as he was obviously in a bad mood, to wait for him to calm down. We discussed calling him right then to try to help him calm down and realize that he wasn't serious. We kept going back and forth of the pros and cons. We eventually decided that we would need to pray, as we could not figure this out on our own. After the prayer, we sat back on our couch to ponder. I kept thinking of a scene in the District (yup, the District) in which the elders visited their investigator when she called and said, ''No more.'' Then Sister Smith said, ''I almost wonder if we should visit him...'' I told her that I had been thinking the same thing. So we quickly put on our shoes and headed to Bernie's house. He opened the door and told us to come in. He then told us, ''I, uh, I sent you an SMS...'' I told him that was why we were there. After talking to him for a little while, we got him to agree to continue to meet with us. He also agreed to come to church on Sunday. He would not, however, agree to meet with us on Saturday night if we wanted to bring more people with us - Bernie does better in smaller groups. Unfortunately, we can't meet just the three of us. So, we called the elders and told them that they would need to take over teaching him. They have already been there a few times, so it should be an easy enough transition.
Bernie came to church yesterday, and he just loved it. He said it was a lot of information, but it was really great. He was really excited all day, and was a very different person from the Thursday night/Friday Bernie.
The biggest change we noticed, though, was that Bernie was that in the second-to-last lesson, he reported that he hadn't been reading in his Book of Mormon. We observed the drastic change when this one link was removed. My testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon has really been strengthened this transfer. It is as President Benson says, ''It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.''
Have a great week!
Sister Stephanie Reid
Sister Stephanie Reid