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:]