Monday, April 28, 2014


April 28, 2014

Liebe Familie

This week I have continued my studying of Jesus Christ and the Atonement.  I just decided to start at the beginning of the New Testament and read through it from beginning to end.  I know I talked about my feelings last week that I had studying, and I can say that it has continued to be so.  I just feel so much peace while I read.  I am actually feeling sad and experiencing a little bit of regret that I haven't studied that much in the Bible up until now.  I have mostly read in the Book of Mormon, but wow, let us not forget that the Bible is also the word of God. 

I am so amazed by Jesus's character.  He was so selfless.  He had such compassion.  He healed people and he blessed people.  He just loved with a pure love--what we know is charity.  And all I want is to be more like that. 

In life it is true that we can't see everything.  There isn't solid evidence that we can hold and handle for every truth.  We learn to accept  truth , we learn to believe in things that we can't see.  And when we actually choose to ACT because of things that we believe, something really amazing happens.  Our ability to believe gets stronger, our inner awareness as well as awareness of the world gets stronger.  Faith!!  It can be kind of complicated, but really faith is simple.  Faith founded in Jesus Christ provides an anchor for the soul in a world of shifting values.   It brings hope, because we know through the influence of the Spirit that there is more to come.  It will all be okay.  And I do believe that it is by faith that miracles come about.

Just like how Jesus always asked the people if they had faith.  Once they made their faith manifested, Jesus healed them.  I know that God really is there.  I can't deny that.  It is the times that I really humble myself, realize my dependency on God, and learn to recognize the Spirit in my life, and make my faith MANIFEST, that I truly experience the power of God.  I experience miracles. 

This week I have continued along with my streak of happiness.  We had a ward activity on Saturday-- A "Kulturnachmittag" or "Culture Afternoon."  You know how much I love the diversity here in Berlin.  We had about six different groups from our ward present something.  Here we were meeting as a congregation of people from Germany, Austria, South Africa, Congo, China, Thailand, Peru, Russia, Finnland, America, and many more . . . It just simply doesn’t' matter where we are from or who the world makes us out to be.  It all comes down to the fact that we are all sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters.  We inhabit this world and we live, work, and love each other.  I love how the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power of connecting people of all nations, cultures, and tongues. 

…I seriously laughed non stop for the three hours we were together.  EVERYONE laughed and had a good time.  And the best part was that there was food represented from all the cultures as well . . . Om nom nom.  Really though, I love the aspect of gathering.  We gather on Sunday.  We gather during the week.  Whether it is for the purpose of praising God or playing games together, it just reminds us that we are loved and have a place together.  It strengthens my faith, and it brings me peace knowing that I am not alone.

As believers we will always face opposition.  We will be tried, tempted, and teased.  But guess what?  If we  build upon a foundation of FAITH, upon a foundation of JESUS CHRIST, we will have the strength we need to stand strong.  We will be able to do all things :)

We went to a baptism with J*** after the activity.  It was for another Chinese man….It really hit me how hard it really is for him and for all Chinese people to learn about God and Jesus Christ, to learn about baptism. …and I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be to be learning from the beginning…

Yesterday after church we met with J*** in a classroom briefly. .. In that moment I just felt so overcome with the most powerful sensation.  I testified of the existence of all things.  I testified of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost.  And I know that it is true.  There is power in faith.  There is power in prayer.  In obedience.  There is power in the Spirit.  I promised him as a missionary called of God, that he can know the truth of all things through the Holy Ghost.  I believe in the conversion process with my whole heart.  I apologized to him for my own weaknesses as a missionary, and as I did so my eyes started tearing up.

The last thing I want to do is be manipulative or convince someone to do something just because of me.  I want people to come to know the TRUTH for themselves.  And then ACT on that knowledge.  I told J*** that when he comes to know the truth, he will actually desire to be baptized.  It won't be a push and pull effort.  When he is ready he will know it.   

Today I had a little visit with President.  As I sat down at his desk I was a little bit uneasy, but then I looked at the  block sitting right there in the middle of his desk.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I almost started crying.  Because to be honest, I didn't really want to be there.  I was a little bit bitter because of misunderstandings that had come up for the second time on my mission and I knew that I needed to explain again. I was mad at Sister Darrington for loving me too much and going out of her way.  For suggesting that I talk with President and just trust him.  But as I sat there I just took a deep breath and I knew that it was okay.  And it really was.  I am happy on my mission, I am confident, and I feel like my “painting” is coming along.  But we all have weaknesses and problems, and unfortunately must experience temptations even though they even too are for our own good.  Because these things all give us opportunities to overcome what is hard in life, to learn and progress.  It was for an eating disorder scare for the second time.  Everything is okay, and I don't have an eating disorder.  But I know that I am tempted as to things pertaining to the world.  It is a battle living in the world, and for me I am sure it will continue that I worry about my image too much.  I worry too much about what I look like on the outside and I know that.  But what I know really is that, God loves us for who we are.  What is important is who we really are.  Who we are on the inside.  Who is to say what is beautiful?  What is perfect?  Especially in a world with such shifting values.  The world changes.  God is unchanging.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I choose to put my trust in HIM.  I am a disciple of Christ. More than anything, I want to become more like Jesus Christ.  And do you know what?  Christ is the real example of perfection.  He was perfect in nature.

I could go on and on about my mission experiences.  How pathetically easy it is to be selfish.  How easy it is to be the "natural man."  I am trying to battle my pride and selfishness and become someone better.  And I am determined that it is easier to follow God than not.  It is easier to be a daughter of God because that is who I am in divine nature.  It feels right to do what is right and to cleave unto all good things. 

I just have such a testimony that that God really does live.  He gives us our weaknesses to humble us.  And I can tell you, that I know that I need God.  I know that weaknesses can be overcome and become strengths.  Everything is possible through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.  He can strengthen all of us.  It comes when we choose to accept him, and to use his atonement.  When we choose to have faith even though we can't see.  When we choose to repent, even though it is hard.  Repenting, so coming to the point where we see ourselves, the world, and God differently.  We want to do what is right.   

I hope you all have a wonderful week.


Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley  

A few pictures J*** sent us. 

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