This week was crazy and good, and we learned a lot.
So, on Monday, we went to Tübingen with Anna. We invited Lena and Denise, but they didn't show up. We were sad, but we still went and had a great time. Tübingen is just gorgeous. It looks like the Germany that was in my textbooks, the Germany that one pictures when one about Germany thoughts makes. I took lots of pictures, but I unfortunately forgot my camera cord. Next week:]
Friday evening, we had an appointment with the Nespers, and the Zimmers came along, too. Mandy just LOVED Sister Zimmer, and Brother Zimmer was also awesome. We talked about the importance of church attendance. Tina expressed her frustration in not being able to quit smoking, and Brother Zimmer told her that he used to smoke I can't remember how many cigarettes every day, but it was chain-smoking for sure. He told her that she could do it if she really committed to herself that she wanted to quit. Lena and Denise were also both there the whole time, and really liked the lesson. Sister Zimmer talked about how they never really used to go to church, but then oneSunday morning, she just knew that was what they needed to do. So she got the kids ready, piled them into the car, and they went to church. And it was awesome. She bore such powerful testimony of the spirit that is at church and the strength that we receive from it. I think the Nespers were even convinced that they were coming to church at the end of that lesson!
We came back on Saturday night to help move some furniture with the elders. The elders had gone by on them earlier that morning with our GML. They just talked, and the Nespers really opened up. We had talked about the priesthood and blessings on Monday evening, and we had asked Tina if she would want a blessing to help her quit smoking. She said she did, and for one reason or another, we couldn't get priesthood over there until that time. They gave her a blessing, and apparently it was incredible. It talked all about how much her Heavenly Father loves her, and what a wonderful daughter she is, and so forth. Apparently it was like a talk in the Relief Society session, which is just what Tina needed to hear. When we were there that night, Tina was frustrated again because she had smoked in the meantime. We told her to not give up, and that she needed to come to church to get that added strength. She told us she couldn't, because who would watch the dog? We started giving out suggestions, and she had excuses (they were, albeit, legit excuses) for everything. Then she thought of a friend who could watch the dog, and she said she would call the friend after she woke up.
They didn't come to church yesterday. I did a lot of thinking during sacrament meeting about why in the world we couldn't get them to come to church. We invited. We found a ride for them. We brought members to the lessons. We left for church a half hour earlier for the past month so that we could be at their door to take them to the Bahnhof. That was when I realized it. Was it Einstein or John Wayne who said that that was the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? During Sister Brinck's personal study that morning, she had read the scripture in 1 Nephi 17:50 and was bearing her testimony about how if Nephi had that much faith to perform miracles, then she could, too. I told her that something else we can learn from that verse is that sometimes we have really good ideas. Nephi thought it was a really good idea to turn the water into dirt and walk to America. But the Lord knows everything from the beginning (1 Nephi 9:6), and He knew that that would just be silly to walk across the Atlantic Ocean. It would be better if they took a boat. Look how much Nephi (and his whole family) learned from all that transpired during the boat-building. Look how much simpler it is to sail across the Atlantic Ocean than walk across it. I think that's also what Nephi is saying in that verse, that if God had commanded him to turn that water into dirt and walk to America, he could do it. But God didn't ask him to do that. God asked Nephi to build a boat. I think that's what Sister Brinck and I have been trying to do with the Nespers - we have been trying to walk across the Atlantic Ocean. But the Lord knows that it's better if we build a boat. So, we need to come up with more ideas. Then we can go to the Lord and ask Him if that is the best idea. If it is not, then we keep coming up with more ideas until our will and mind are aligned with the Lord's. I don't think the Brother of Jared thought of gathering rocks and having the Lord touch them all so that they would illuminate right away. I think he had to study in the scriptures, pray, and perhaps even come up with some other solutions first. But the Lord eventually helped him think of rocks, and He saw the finger of the Lord (taking us back to that quote from Elder Holland: ''We must believe in miracles... until we wind up to the level when our heart is up in our throat and if we opened our eyes, we would expect to see angels.''). Well, that is what Sister Brinck and I need to do. We need to build a boat. And the only way we can learn just how to do that is to trust in Him.
''Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.''
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Sister Stephanie Reid