Saturday, December 21, 2013

Liebe Familie,
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would have an ocean in between them, that the promise perhaps was no
longer valid.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.''
               -D&C 127:2,3

Sister Stephanie Reid

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