Monday, January 20, 2014

The Last Melon: the Pursuit of Happiness

Liebe Familie,
New Year's Eve brought a miracle for us! We were watching the Hobbit with a bunch of YSAs at the YSA Center, and this one guy, Khan, walks in with a friend - who wants a tour! His name was Mike. Sister Ackerman and I were summoned, and we started showing him around. We started with the chapel and explained a simple church service. Guys. Mike has been through the discussions with the 7th-Day Adventists, and J-Dubs, and a few others. But he always quit because something wasn't right.  We got in the elevator to go look at some classrooms, and Khan said, ''I'm sure you have noticed there are no crosses in our church. This is because we celebrate the resurrected Lord, not the dead one.'' Sister Ackerman and I just looked at each other with excited smiles - Khan was such an awesome little missionary! But wait! It gets better. At the opening of the next floor is a picture of Jesus in the Americas, so I pointed to it and also added my testimony to that of Khan. Then I asked Khan if he had talked to Mike about the Book of Mormon before. That was when I noticed that Khan had a Book of Mormon in his hand, ready to give to his friend!! So ready, in fact, that he had written his testimony in it! He handed it to Mike, and we explained what the Book of Mormon was. Mike was very curious and very excited. We shared Moroni's promise. Then Mike asked us how we had learned if theses things were true. So we went in a circle and shared our stories. Mike has investigated a lot. So he already knew what to do. He knew that by reading, praying, and studying, one DOES receive answers that way. So when we all testified that that is what we had done, he said he knew we knew. We seriously talked for about an hour. Mike told us that he was new to the city, that he had no friends outside of work friend, Khan. He had asked Khan what he was doing for New Year's. Mike said, ''I'm going to my church! Do you want to come?'' Mike explained that he was wary - he had had a lot of bad experiences.  Khan told him, ''You don't need to worry. My church is warm and welcoming, like a home. And the people there are like a family.'' Mike said, ''I can see what Khan is talking about.''  We taught the tripod lesson - that you have to read, pray, and come to church in order to find answers to questions and keep a firm foundation on Jesus Christ. I asked Mike if he would come to church on Sunday with Khan. Mike said he would absolutely come. Khan said he didn't know if he could come; he had to work. Mike lit into Khan for about five minutes about how he needed to reorganize his priorities, that Sunday is the Lord's day, and he should, therefore, go to church. He told Khan to talk to his boss and do what was necessary to get Sundays off. After this, we decided it was time to head back down. Sister Ackerman asked if we could pray before we went back down. Mike confessed that it had been a long time since he had prayed. I asked Khan to pray. Khan thanked God for the wonderful day, for Mike, for the spirit, and other wonderful bold things. After Khan said, ''Amen,'' Sister Ackerman and I thanked Khan for his beautiful prayer. It had not been five seconds after the amen, and Mike started praying!! He said, ''Heavenly Father, It has been a long time since I have spoken to you. I am so sorry. But, I hope you can tell me what to do. I need to know. Is this church thy church? Should I join?'' He closed in the name of Jesus Christ. We went back downstairs to finish the Hobbit. Mike read his Book of Mormon for the last hour of the movie. Can you believe that miracle? Khan just invited his friend from work to a get-together at the church, and it turns out his friend is this golden investigator who had been searching for so long, he had almost given up hope. 
We went to Theresienwiese (where Oktoberfest is held) at midnight, and it was like a war zone! Sister Ackerman got hit in the back by a firework, and it cinged her coat! But it was so loud and so cool! These people take their holidays very seriously. And Mike clutched his Book of Mormon the entire time:]
Yesterday in church, half of the kids in primary were investigators/kids of investigators. It was so crazy and so good at church! I couldn't believe how blessed we were. 
A few weeks ago, we sat in a bus. We were en route an appointment, and a little boy sat across from us. We asked him: ''What do you want for Christmas?'' He was hardly ten years old, but he nevertheless said, ''I want my family to stay together.'' That was it. Above all else, he wanted his family to stay together. We asked him if he liked to read. ''Absolutely!'' he said. ''We have a book about Jesus Christ. It's priceless. Would you like it?'' ''I love books about God! Yes, of course!'' We showed him 3 Nephi 11, where Jesus Christ comes. ''I will start reading there tonight! Thank you so much!'' Then he got out of the bus.
I have been thinking about desires. I thought about a less active in Neumarkt, and how her heart's desire was that her family all to church come, and eventually in the temple go. In Mosiah 18:8-11, we read about the desires of the people of Alma on the Waters of Mormon, and how they clapped in the hands because of their joy. I made a lot of thoughts about that, about desires and motivation and the biggest desire of mankind is. At the end, I came to happiness. We do what we do, because we believe that it will bring happiness. The only true happiness is only to be found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when one lives by and applies the principles and doctrines from the Master.  We were at the Arnold's home this week. It was a bit of a girl's night (sorry, Brother Arnold), but he said something very wonderful.  He said, ''You can't have a good relationship with anyone until you have a good relationship with God.'' So how do we develop this relationship?
President Thomas S. Monson said the following: ''To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves.  No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellowman. Service to others is akin to duty - the fulfillment of which brings true joy.''  
He also said: ''You can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.''
Everyone is searching for happiness in one way or another.
''[But] this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.''   -John 17:3
When one does that, one will be happy everyday. 
''We are all searching for happiness; we hope for it, we think we live for it, it is our aim in this life. But do we live so as to enjoy the happiness we so much desire?''   -Brigham Young

''But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.''  -Luke 22:32
''We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world.''  -D&C 134:12
''After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.''                              -Joseph Smith

My mission didn't go anything like I planned. But as I served the Lord, and learned to trust in His plan and His timing, I found the greatest happiness.

Bis bald!
Sister Stephanie Reid

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