"Toto I don't think we are in Kansas anymore""Sister Nilson, I don't think we are in Germany anymore"
We had a lesson with E*** this past week and we taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. This lesson was incredible! ... E*** is so spiritual, so sincere, and so ready for the gospel. In this lesson we were able to gain his trust even more than we have and understand what his needs really were. He opened up to us with some of his questions and we were able to resolve many of his concerns. From the outside you wouldn't think he had any, but that's why WE MUST RELY ON THE SPIRIT! We must ask inspired questions. We ended up focusing on repentance "die Umkehr" and testifying of Jesus Christ and the infinite Atonement. He pointed out that repentance for him means something different than what it means to us. In his eyes he sees us as perfect. He explained that his sins were bigger and worse than anything that we would ever be capable of doing. And that it was harder for him. What was really touching was how he defined repentance though. "Repentance isn't just when you stop doing something. That is for the world to see. What really matters is what is in your mind and in your heart. God knows our true desires." We were able to help him understand that it was possible to repent, no matter how big or small his sins are. We felt impressed to share Ether on how God can turn our weaknesses into strengths as we come unto Him. We were also able to read in Alma 7 the verses of Christ's personal sufferings for US. The Spirit was so strong in this lesson.
He also had some questions about baptism.. about what to expect, why we are baptized, and what difference it would have on his life. My favorite way to explain baptism is as "das Tor". Baptism is the gate that lets us enter along the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father. We were able to address all of his questions with scriptures and with personal testimony. One thing he said was so sweet. "Well, when Christ got baptized two doves came down from heaven . . . so what's going to happen to me?!" Haha...it was so sweet. We were able to read in John -27 about the Holy Ghost. After we are baptized we get the gift of the Holy Ghost as our peace and comfort. That really touched him because he has had so many hard things in his life lately . . .He had taken our baptism invitation very seriously and brought up that he didn't think he could repent completely and be ready by the 26th. "That's exactly ONE MONTH from today!" ... Sister Nilson spoke up and bore her testimony that he could do it. If he really wants to be ready, he could do it. We both bore testimony on the power of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. If he prays, reads, and obeys every day he can do it. We invited him to repent from his sins, to read, pray, and continue in this path and he agreed. It was amazing! We will be meeting with him twice this week and we are praying that he will still be baptized on O. It is perfect that General conference is this weekend because it goes along perfectly with what we are planning on teaching him.
Af*** also showed up to church yesterday wearing a new suit, and with a renewed desire to return to the church and learn more about the gospel. We are meeting with him and we are going to talk about the possibility of him retaking the lessons and then being re-baptized. We are very happy for him. He got baptized right before I came here . . . but then a lot of hard things came up and he never was able to get the gift of the Holy Ghost. He relapsed. Started smoking again, and only just barely returned.
We have had a mold problem in our apartment since I came here and I think it has been making me sick. But the ward members are helping us take care of it so we are hoping that we get it cleared up soon. . . . It is one of the reasons this week was so bad is because we had to spend a lot of time cleaning up our apartment, rearranging stuff, so that we could take care of the mold problem.
Also, do you have any more information about our family coming from Zwickau? Do we still have family living there? A man visited our ward yesterday from the Zwickau ward and I was able to talk to him. Pretty fun!
This work is incredible. The work of salvation! I am so excited for the coming two weeks of this transfer. We are going to make it our best weeks ever. 150 baptisms here we come!!!
Thanks for everything!
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley
Heidi and Mirja... whom she has grown to love dearly!! Mirja recently moved in upstairs from Heidi and is a member of the church.
( ***I did a little research on google. The German dish is actually Labskaus. It is is a one-dish meal made with mashed potatoes, corned beef and beets. It’s bright red from the beet juice and served with a fried egg, pickles and pickled, rolled herring (Rollmops).)
Sister Nilson and me making African fufu with Abel ( The member from the Ivory Coast that I have become good friends with.) What a tasty lunch !!! It was delicious and extremely filling.