September 16, 2013
Liebe Familie :)
This week was so GREAT! So guess what! Yesterday I was given the opportunity to speak in church. When Bruder Diener asked Sister Nilson and I a couple weeks ago if one of us would be open for the opportunity I was so thrilled. I was so excited for this invitation and I exclaimed that of course we would be up for it. It would be a wonderful growing experience. Haha, I think he asked Sister Nilson to speak first (2 sundays ago) because she wasn't as excited as I was. So the last two weeks now the ward has had the opportunity of hearing from US. :D. My experience was so incredible. I loved being able to stand before the ward here and share my testimony with them. I chose to share my testimony and thoughts on Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer. I have thought very much about this this past week. Often times I ask people, "Wer ist Jesus Christus für Sie?" Who is Jesus Christ to you? And this week I've really had the same question going through my own head. I have Christ's name printed on my nametag: The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. I am his representative here on the earth. It has really become my testimony that he really is the head of this church. This is His true church on the earth. I held up my missionary planner that I have decorated with pictures and scriptures about Christ. It's my reminder. I read the scripture that I had hand-written there. A scripture that always just touches me everytime I read it. 1 Johannes 4:9, "Liebe Brüder, wir wollen einander lieben; den die Liebe ist aus Gott und jeder, der liebt stammt von Gott und erkennt Gott, wer nicht, hat Gott nicht erkennt; denn Gott ist Liebe. Die Liebe Gottes wurde unter uns dadurch offenbart, dass Gott, seinen einzigen Sohn in die Welt gesandt hat, damit wir durch ihn Leben." As I was bearing my testimony on Jesus Christ I got a little emotional. I also read off the second verse of "Ich Brauch dich Allezeit" (I Need Thee Every Hour). That song has a special place in my heart. I could barely make it through those words without bawling. So much meaning in those words. I need Jesus Christ. Even though I knew my words were very simple as I spoke, and my grammar was not 100 percent correct, it didn't even matter. I was speaking completely from my heart and I felt like I was able to testify with a power that I had never had before.
This week we watched one of our investigators change right before our eyes. Dear H***. It has been difficult at times as he has had so many complicated questions . . . but this lesson was quite different. Sister Nilson and I started off by singing for him. We sang, "Ich Brauch dich Allezeit" and it really brought the Spirit. He still had questions but I could sense a new sincerity and I could tell that he could feel something throughout our lesson (the Spirit!!!!). As we bore our testimonies of Jesus Christ and God at the end of our lesson he began to cry. I have never experienced this before. It was so powerful. Up until this point he hasn't believed in Jesus Christ as God's son. But he felt something as we spoke. Sister Nilson asked him outright if he would be baptized into Christ's church as he came to have his own testimony that what we said was true. He didn't answer directly, but in between quiet tears he said that he would after he prayed about it and received his personal answer. We invited him to say the closing prayer and he humbly bowed his head with a new reverence. Most importantly is that he closed in the name of Jesus Christ. (Normally he just closes by saying, 'amen.') Wow. It's incredible watching people respond to the promptings and the influences of the Spirit. It's incredible watching people ACT on knowledge they receive. I actually gave my talk yesterday in church inspired by this visit. Sadly he walked into the church right after I sat down (the trains run very irregularand he had to wait a long time for it to come). He was at church though and he stayed for all three hours and loved it.
We are keeping Af*** in our prayers, but I feel like he still needs time to sort out the complicated affairs of his life before he is ready to recommit himself to baptism and progress in the gospel. From the times that I have met with him, I do sense a sincere desire in him to come unto Christ and lead a life after His example. Unfortunately, all of the trials in his life currently are keeping him from that now.
We are still meeting with E*** and should be extending him a specific baptism date this week. He had stuff come up with work during our last appointment so we had to cancel. Sister Nilson and I really feel like he is prepared for the baptismal covenant. We hope that he can repent and make changes in his life so that he can be baptized by the end of October or beginning of November. Wow, and I am still so touched by this man's personal relationship with God. He is so meek and humble. He lives a very successful lifestyle which isn't always a common thing in this area (especially for foreigners). But even with his success he still realizes his dependency on God. He is not prideful, but grateful.
I also wanted to share an experience that happened last week that I forgot to include. We had adinner appointment at a woman's house in our ward. After church it was super crazy and we all crammed into her small car with all her children. ... As we arrived at her home I quickly learned that her husband was not a member of the church, and that this Sister in our ward had her hands very full with working full time and managing her home life. She was so embarrassed that we had to see the messes all over her house but at the same time she was so grateful to have us there. She hadn't even started the dinner so we ended up helping her prepare it which took quite a while...... It was so hard to see this wonderful woman in our ward (that I have never seen complain about anything) deal with so much stress...... We always share a spiritual thought before leaving and I was a little bit apprehensive as to how it would be. Sister Nilson turned to me after the meal and asked me very directly if I would give the spiritual thought. I hesitantly agreed that I would and I said a silent prayer that I could share something that this family needed, specifically this sister in our ward. Right then I had a specific scripture come to my mind. Doctrine and Covenants 78:18. (Once again, thanks so much to Bruder Alston who shared this with me before I left the MTC). I kind of fought with the thought a little bit thinking that if I shared this scripture with this family, or the husband they would show disrespect and that it would not help them at all. But the thought came to me again, No, it is not being shared for the husband or for the family, it is being shared for Sister C. It turned out that sister Nilson and I just met alone with this woman in an upstairs room. The one place that it was quiet. She tried inviting her children and husband but they didn't care and didn't want to come. (A sweet young deacon in our ward was there taking care of her kids, as I guess he always does and he ended up coming in for the spiritual thought). I opened up to this scripture and introduced my own experience of when this scripture was shared with me. When I was in the MTC, so scared of leaving everything behind and coming to Germany. As I placed the scriptures in front of her I could see her beginning to tremble. She began reading the verse, "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. . ." She just broke down in tears and couldn't finish it. She passed the book over to this young man (only 12 years old) and asked him to finish it for her. He read it so sweetly and she just continued to sob. She really needed the reminder that God is there in her life. She has had such a hard life and continues to have so many trials. I reminded her that she was not alone. It was such a sweet moment where Sister Nilson and I were able to bear our testimonies and share our love for her. This woman is incredible. I have so much love for her.
This entire week has been great. So many new experiences. I look forward to hearing from you all soon. I LOVE YOU ALL. ICH LIEBE EUCH :)
Sister Heidi Shelley
My favorite place in the whole world. Die Familie Mensen. Schwester Mensen is an incredible artist :). She made us a complete feast for our lunch appointment and had the table set so beautifully with candles and everything. I just had to take a photo. Lunch was so yummy. We listened to classical music all during the meal. And before the meal I was looking through some of their books, so many art history books, classical literature, and history books. I LOVE IT.
Me standing in the coolest archway. Scarves have pretty much become a necessity. love love love scarves.
Om nom nom. Tofu frikadellins and all natural hair. Now I'm eating all natural and looking all natural. Haha ;). Really though, tofu prepared properly is so delicious!!
Also, I bought a box of hair bleach/color from the grocery store last week. I still can't believe I did that. And then had Sister Nilson apply it to my hair (Wow, I must really trust her with my baby . . . ). It was pretty much the scariest experience of my life but my hair looks great! Perfect hair color for only 8 dollars! I'm feeling pretty lucky :). . . It was super funny though because we totally didn't know what we were doing :P
My missionary planner :)