3 March, 2014
Liebe Familie,I hope you all had a great fast yesterday! These last two times I have fasted have been extra special for me. Quite honestly, I think it is because I am fasting because I WANT to. I have such a testimony that when we fast (sacrifice food and water for a time) and PRAY, we can really feel of the peace of the Spirit in our lives and receive the help and inspiration that we need in our lives. I came across a scripture in my little blue Book of Mormon earlier this week (LOVE MY LITTLE BLUE BOOK :D) and I wanted to share it.
We met with our dear Serbian family this week. Once again we sat in the small room and gathered around the table there. Everybody was actually there this time, and another woman who lives upstairs was there as well. That made eight of us . . There was a small candle lit in the center of the table and everybody seemed to leaning forward a little bit, eager to hear the words being spoken. Miroslav was able to translate for us, and share his own words and experiences. (He joined the church a few years ago. I love that about the church ... that we have the opportunity to learn for ourselves and then we can share our knowledge and testimony with others.)
Later in the week we met with the Mother of the family and the younger of the two sons. We found out that she can't read in her mother language, and neither could her son (He is 14). She said though, that her husband has been reading a little bit from the Book of Mormon aloud each day and sharing it with the family. When we invited her to pray over the Book of Mormon, she looked at us incredulously, and responded that she didn't need to pray about it. She already knows the Book of Mormon is true. She said that often when her husband is reading aloud she has the feeling that she knows what words he will speak next, and then to her amazement he does speak those words. As we taught them about Christ and his visit to the Americas I felt a special peace in the room. Miroslav read from the scriptures in their language since they couldn't read themselves. The Mother looked at us and told us that she feels like everything we have taught her is all familiar to her, like she learned it somewhere but now she is just remembering it. At that point again I just felt so full of the Spirit, so happy. We told her briefly about how we lived with God before coming to earth, and that at that time we had a knowledge of God's plan. Now, as we are on the earth we are to walk by faith, but our loving Heavenly Father gives us the resources to learn and come to a remembrance of the precious truths we once knew.
This week was wonderful, and once again I was a witness of miracles. But even so I have felt a little bit hollow and empty. Why????? Sometimes I feel like it is when I reach my highest points that I take the hardest fall. I broke down in tears and as I did so, I thought about my mission from the beginning until now. Again, last night Sister Hansen and I were talking, and we talked about how unique a mission experience is, and especially here in Germany. She looked at me with tears on her cheeks, vocally asking, "Why am I here? Why am I here?" What if we don't ever see somebody enter the waters of baptism? What if we don't succeed at our mission? Our mission is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them. Faith. repentance. Baptism. Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Endure to the end. I want so bad to help people. I want to invite people to come unto Christ. Sometimes agency is such a pain in the butt. But at the same time, it is the most wonderful gift God has given us. That's how we learn and grow. That's how we have the potential of moving forward. Or backward. Or just staying where we are.
Yesterday two men walked into sacrament meeting once it was already started. They sat right in front of us, and immediately my nostrils were filled with the most pungent stink. They were obviously homeless and you could tell from the way they were dressed and groomed that their circumstances were very humble. The moment these two men walked in, my heart just felt so much love for them. My heart hurt as I watched so many members stick up their noses at them and give them discriminating stares. They are children of God, and I know that God loves them. I know I have talked a lot about love and what I have learned about love as a missionary, but I just have to say again, that love is a gift from God. When we can learn to love with Christ like love, we have learned something great. I am grateful for how I have been changed in this way, that I accept people regardless of who they appear to be on the outside, whether they hate me or love me. I am just grateful that I can be. I am grateful for what I have.
Thank you for your prayers, and for everything that you are doing back home. You are incredible examples for me.
I love you!
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley