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