Another wonderful email from Heidi!! :)August 26, 2013
Moin moin Familie! Wie geht's?
I feel like this week I have stepped into so many different worlds. I have met with such a variety of people! It has been SUCH AN INCREDIBLE WEEK....
We have been working a lot with less active and new convert members of our ward. One young man in particular, “A”, has grown so much in the time that I have come here. He was baptized last September but has had a hard time the last several months with his faith and church attendance. It is really cool that I connect well with him because his native language is French. He has become a good friend. It's really incredible seeing how much scripture reading, praying, and obedience work in a person's life to bring them strength and happiness. I have a personal testimony of this and I have seen it work in “A” as well. This past week we met with him and talked with him about the commandments. He had said in our last meeting that he felt like he was in a cage, and he didn't understand why we had such "rules" in the Christian way of life. This week though he was different. He told us that he had been trying hard to wake up and pray every morning before starting his day. Unfortunately with his work schedule he hadn't been able to read in the scriptures very often though. He did say that he had read our texts that we had sent him though, and that they had really helped him and brought him comfort. (I had sent him a text each night, part in French, part in English, with a scripture, my personal application, and testimony). After we had been meeting for a while, he brought up a specific message I had sent to him. It was when I had shared the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 78:18. This was the scripture that Bruder Alston shared with me the day before I left for Germany when I was so scared. “A” asked me to share this experience with him, and how I knew God was there and how I knew He cared. We read this verse together. 18: And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours." It was a really sweet experience. There was a really good experience in the room. After we read this verse, I picked up Sister Nilson's hand and I explained that God was there, that we can't see Him, but that he is there, leading us along. Something really changed in "A". We have become good friends, and I know that he trusts me. He had a look of hope in his eyes. Sister Nilson and I felt like we should share a certain video with him so we went into the computer room and pulled up a video from mormonchannel.org. It is called "Mountains to Climb". After meeting with us, "A" was so happy! We walked out with him and laughed and talked about our families and life.
We had an amazing breakthrough with our investigator, Angie this last week! She has been very anti-Book of Mormon ever since the missionaries first came to her. But she LOVES God and Jesus Christ. She is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. I have developed a special connection with her too, especially in our last visit. We felt inspired to sing with her, which resulted in her teaching us one of her favorite songs (from Ghana) and us singing to her after. Her song was very up beat, with clapping and praises. It was so incredible as we all stood up in her little one room apartment, with so much energy and song, jumping up and down and clapping. Angie was so HAPPY. She had such a smile on her face. I looked from her to Sister Nilson and there was such happiness in the air. I just kept on thinking, "I love this woman so much. I know God loves this woman so much." I asked her if we could sing a song for her after. Our song was a little bit different. Sister NIlson and I sat down and reverently sang "Nearer My God to Thee". We only had our small German hymn books so it was in German, "Näher, mein Gott, zu dir." It was such a neat experience. Angie listened with her eyes closed, then put her face in her hands, then looked at us. Angie could barely contain herself! After the third verse she called out, almost in tears, saying, "There are Holy spirits in this room right now!" The Spirit was so strong, and there was such a feeling of peace and comfort in the room. We all could feel it. We proceeded to kneel down and pray, and she said that she felt the same thing as I prayed. "I feel Holy Spirits when you pray." I was able to connect her responses to the Book of Mormon, telling her that I felt the same peace and the same good feeling as I read from the Book of Mormon. I showed her the line just underneath the title (in her native language) and asked her to read it. "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and told her that the Book of Mormon has helped me better understand and get to know my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. After my testimony I pretty much plead with her to read the book so she could experience the same thing, and she agreed. It was really amazing. I have worked hard to gain her trust since I came here, and I know that she trusts both Sister Nilson and me. We are her friends. I really have faith that as she honestly reads she will soften her heart to what we have to say.
We had a miracle with our investigator “L” this week. She never never never reads in the Book of Mormon or in the Bible because she says she never has time. She has been investigating the church for over a year, had a couple baptism dates, but she just hasn't made a lot of progress. (Really quick interjection: the day before meeting with her we had district meeting and Sister Nilson and I taught a lesson. As we were preparing for our lesson and as we gave it there was a line that kept coming into our heads, "Specific prayers bring specific answers." So that night we said a prayer and prayed specifically for the needs of every one of our investigators, the members of the church here, and others that we have met. I already like saying long prayers as it is, but our companionship prayer ended up being 20 minutes long!!! There are just so many specific things that we have promised people we would pray about for them, and we just needed to remember it all and follow through! So in this prayer I prayed very specifically for “L”, that she would have the time to read in the Book of Mormon, and that she would feel the Spirit as she did so. I prayed for other things as well, all very specifically). The very next day we had an appointment with her, and when we asked “L” if she had read in the Book of Mormon, she explained that she had woken up that very day and felt like she needed to read. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. We all have our agency, but we can choose to follow the promptings of the Spirit when they come. “L” was so excited when we came, and she had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon. We read with her some more, and she told us that she would continue to read that week. We were meeting at the park, and we just sat there on the park bench and read more together. Pretty cool! When she heard my birthday was next month she was so excited! She told me that she wants Sister Nilson and I to come by and we can make lots of food together (mmmmm Filipino dishes!:D). So we will probably do that.
We also have a new investigator named "H "who we have already met with two times. He is the one who came up to us after we were on the bus. He always asks really good questions, and many of them are hard for us to answer with our German abilities. Really though, German is not the tool, the Spirit is the tool! There is always a peace when we meet. He has prayed at every lesson which is really neat since he hasn't prayed since he left the Evangelical church a couple years ago. He said that as he opened up the Book of Mormon for the first time and read the introduction that it was very, "spiritual". The Book of Mormon is incredible!!!
Also, I met with this less active member in our ward this past week and she is the cutest thing ever. She is in her sixties and from Armenia, and I LOVE HER. Every other sentence she says, "Meine Liebling! . . . Oh meine Liebling! . . . Oh meine Liebling!" Meine Liebling in German means "My darling". She is so wonderful and has the biggest heart. She fed us apple slices and these little chocolate marshmallow things (that everybody eats here). She is coming with us to a dinner appointment tonight which I am really excited about.
So . . . I'm feeling a little bit like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes in one day . . . Not that I was "grinchy" or "grouchy" before, but I just feel like I love so many more people this week than I did last week!!!! A couple of days ago I came home from a hard days work and I just had to announce to myself (and my LOVELY companion :)) everything and everyone I love here in Deutschland. Some of the things I said were pretty funny and random that I was exclaiming . . . but in reality, I am in heaven here. We find out soon if either one of us will be transferred this coming week. I have prayed so hard every night that I won't leave Langenhorn. I love it here so much. I love being a Hamburger! :D Really though, I know that my mission President is an inspired man, and that his judgment is always best. Perhaps my work is already done here, but I hope it's not.
Have a great week, stay strong, and I hope to hear from you soon! I love you all! Ich liebe euch! Bisous bisous!
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley