Monday, December 28, 2015
It was such a blast getting to talk with y'all and see your beautiful faces one last time before getting to see them IN PERSON two months from now! I'm sorry if it was awkward for you...I don’t know how to person anymore...I'll work on it, hahaha.
This week was flawless. I'm gonna share with the rest of the world what I shared with y'all about Ralph! He was born here in the ruhrgebiet, but moved to Berlin at some point and spent most of his life there. While he could have stayed, he felt like he should move back here to Duisburg. He did so on the 2nd of November last year...which was two days after Sister Johnson and I landed here in Germany. We were all beside ourselves upon figuring that out—Ralph especially. He said he knew that there was no way that was a coincidence, and the spirit confirmed that he was correct—that our meeting has been a miracle years in the making, perfectly timed by a loving Father in heaven.
Fun fact: He came to church yesterday having prepared for the Sunday school lesson by not only having read the lesson, but by having written about a page of notes on it, as well...in other words: Ralph is perfect and I love him.
The Christmas miracles didn't stop there, though.
Back in November, Sister Johnson and I set a goal to find 150 potential investigators between Thanksgiving and Christmas as our gift to the Lord...AND WE REACHED IT!!
I must say, though, it couldn't have happened without divine intervention (as always). We had a lesson planned with Tony on Christmas Eve which fell out because bus times were outta whack, so we hit the streets for an hour and found 23 POTENTIAL INVESTIGATORS!!
KRASS, NA!!? We were pretty giddy.
After said street time, we had the Christmas andacht at the church, then went over to Constance & Andreas's for heilige abend!! (: We brought some friends with us, too—two Syrian refugees (one Muslim and one Christian—Sister Roderrer basically taught them every single lesson from chapter 3 of preach my gospel before the night ended) and Ralph!!! They all had a blast!! I asked Abdullah (one of our refugee friends) if he was homesick at one point during dinner and he responded "yeah...but this helps" and Ralph texted us afterwards saying it was the most beautiful heilige abend he'd ever been a part of!!
Christmas was incredible, too.
During comp study, Sister Johnson called Clifford (an investigator from Africa who has no family here in Germany) to see if we could bring him cookies, and he said yes! We headed over his way after lunch, and when we called him to let him know we'd gotten off and needed directions to his house, he was elated! "I didn't think you'd actually come!!!!" He said. We went inside (#DritPerks) and began singing Christmas songs. Shortly thereafter, a friend of his came in and joined us...however, he wasn't really interested in the music. He knew who we were because he'd been to our church in Berlin and really just wanted to banter back and forth. The sisters and I would answer a question then try to change the subject back to Christmas so we could help homeboy Clifford have an enjoyable day, but our attempts always failed and the friend kept piping up with more questions and comments and it was just so frustrating!!! Nothing we said or did was helping—in fact, every time we opened our mouths, it seemed to just make matters worse...and then Clifford opened his.
Let me tell you something about Clifford—he has the single worst stutter I've ever heard in my entire life.
But when he started talking, the spirit filled the room.
He went on for about five minutes about us and what we've taught him—about the Book of Mormon and about Joseph Smith, and most importantly: about the Savior. At one point he said, "if you listen to these girls, you'll see that their message isn't about Joseph or the book he found...it's about the Son of God—Jesus Christ." And then later went on to bear testimony that he believes what we say is, indeed, the truth.
His friend was literally speechless. Didn't open his mouth ONCE while his friend was speaking. And once Clifford finished, the friend shook his hand, got up, and excused himself.
I could just about hear the angels in heaven cheering...and you can bet I was mentally participating!!! I couldn't believe what I just witnessed—a modern day Ether!
23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
25 ...when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
While Clifford's problem was actually the exact opposite of Ether's, the same principle applies! By the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit. (D&C 133:59)...and when we have faith in him, he'll turn our weaknesses into strengths because we're relying on HIS power rather than our own...and His power is PERFECT. FLAWLESS. (It shuts the mouths of lions AND humans...and fills others with words straight from heaven). Literally one of the most memorable moments of my whole mission. Couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift than hearing a testimony like that!
Luckily for me, I'm serving in Germany where Christmas lasts THREE DAYS LONG. The 2nd Feier tag was also great...like the other days, we spent it with some members in our ward!! I'm so grateful for everyone who took us in this past week! I'm convinced the Duisburg Ward is the absolute best in all of Germany. I love the members here!!
I hope y'all had a wonderful week, too (:
Talk to you soon!
Love you lots!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
I'm gonna keep this one short this week BECAUSE I’M GOING TO BE SKYPING WITH YOU IN 4 DAYS (OH MY GOSH WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS HOW EXCITED I AM, I LOVE YOU PEOPLE SO MUCH YOU’RE MY FAVORITE HUMANS OF ALL TIME)...but I do want to share a couple miracle stories with you from this past week!!! (:
First off, Ralph is the most flawless person on earth (besides you, mom).
We set up an appointment with him and the Kobers (a young married couple he hit it off with at church) for this past Saturday. They actually invited us to come and meet with him at their house...which was PERFECT, by the way. The best sort of environment to have a lesson in, for sure. We went over the restoration, which Ralph already believes to be true! When we invited him to pray about it, he was basically like "sure, but I already know what the answer is". (Why do I feel like he's strengthening my testimony a lot more than I'm strengthening his?!) Anyway, the lesson went a little longer than planned and we had to book it out of there to catch a bus...and while we were fast walking to Bahnhoff, Sister Roderrer pulled me aside and was like "Sister Lyman (we were on a split) and I both feel really strongly that we need to set a baptismal date with him today" and I was like "Go! Go! Go!" so my champion companion walked up to him and invited him to be baptized right then and there on the street. He stated a few concerns, which we addressed, and then agreed to work towards baptism on the 16th of next month!!! We're incredibly, incredibly, incredibly excited!! He's definitely gonna make it! He's perfect! Don't believe me? Get this: He came to church yesterday and do you know what he told us?! He said he was looking up videos about seminary on the church website and thought "if 15 year olds can wake up at 5:30 and study the scriptures, so can I"...so he woke up at 5:30 and studied the scriptures in preparation for church yesterday!! I love this man!! His faith amazes me! I'm so grateful that we get to work with him (:
You know what else I'm grateful for? This next miracle story:
Yesterday during Sunday school, two young girls from China walked in and were like "we want to learn about Jesus Christ" ....like umm...okay? We can maybe probably DEFINITELY help you out with that one, you angels sent from heaven above.
Man. I just love Duisburg. This place is magical and I'm obsessed with it.
As we've introduced ourselves to people on the buses, trains and streets these past couple weeks, we keep getting asked questions along the lines of "why can't you go home for Christmas?!" and hearing comments like "that's so hard!" And "man that must be tough!"
And it is! It can be kind of sad being a zillion miles away from the people I love most in the whole world during the most special time of the year, so why do I do it?!
I'll let Richard C. Edgily answer that one:
"In the third chapter of John, verse 16, we read the familiar scripture, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16] Our missionaries go to all nations and all people because they have a firm, unshakable testimony that God still loves the world and that He has spoken again as an indication of that love. He has restored precious truths lost over the centuries of Christian persecution, dark ages, and years of confusion—truths that are essential to our peace and happiness. These are truths so essential to our eternal salvation that our loving Father restored them in their completeness. After Christ’s ministry and ascension to heaven, the Apostle Peter prophesied of a restitution of all things before Christ would return for His Second Coming. He said:
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:20–21; emphasis added).
“These missionaries go into all the world full of love and faith because they know of the fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy of a restitution of all things. They testify of a restoration that is so marvelous that only the hand of God could be its author--so miraculous that it can be believed only if one understands the powers of God and His love for all mankind--a story so divine that the truth of it can be truly accepted only through the personal manifestation of the Holy Ghost, which the Savior promised as His way of testifying of the truth to those who prayerfully seek it."
I want to extend to everyone the same invitation he extended at the conclusion of his remarks in the October 1996 general conference:
"To all of you who are not of our faith, when two young men dressed in white shirts and ties, two lovely young women, or a noble couple knock at your door and introduce themselves as representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, may I invite you to let them in. Listen to their message and evaluate for yourself. May I suggest that you not just accept their message but that you inquire fervently of our Father in Heaven as to its truthfulness and its value to you and your family, for He is the author of all truth and has promised His witness to those who earnestly seek it."
I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve him! I'm grateful for this church- His church- and for the changes (like inner peace and deep joy) I've seen in the lives of so many people as they've accepted and relied on Him and His gospel. I'm grateful for Heavenly Father- who loves us SO MUCH that he sent Christ to earth and I'm grateful the spirit who prepares the hearts of man to hear and accept the message of the savior- the redeemer of mankind—and this His everlasting gospel.
Love y'all so so much (:
- Sister Terry
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
This week was mind. blowingly. WONDERFUL.
I don't even know where to begin!
Adil. We'll start with him (this is the guy who walked five hours to get to church last Sunday). We met with him three times last week, and during our appointment on Tuesday, he shared a really incredible experience with us! He said, "I went to church on Sunday, as you know...and that night, I couldn't sleep at all. I finally fell asleep Monday morning sometime. While I was asleep, I had a dream. I was back on that street where we met, and a man appeared and pointed me to the two of you." The dream continued on similarly to what had actually happened (we stopped him, talked about prayer and so on)...cool, nah?! One of the neatest things about serving in such a culturally diverse place is getting to see the different means Heavenly Father uses to communicate with His children hear on earth!! Anyway yeah! At the end of that same lesson, we invited him to pray and he just sat there quietly for a solid minute afterwards. We asked him how he was feeling and he was like "strange...warm...I need to go lay on my bed." Haha. We assured him that the feelings that he was having were assurances from God that that which we'd shared with him was true! He's perfect, y'all. HE TAKES NOTES WHILE WE TEACH. NOTES. And he just wants answers and help and guidance and the truth SO BAD. He walked all the way from rheinhausen AGAIN to meet with us!! The kid is amazing!! I'm blown away with his willingness to do whatever it takes to learn wisdom and understand truth! Love him!!
After our appointment on Saturday, he stayed for the ward Christmas party AKA Christmas miracle night. I'm about to go on a really long rant about the events that took place that evening so take a seat. Sister Roderrer sat by him and basically had a two hour conversation about all sorts of gospel related topics.
I sat by a member's less active daughter, nonmember son-in-law (Christian) and their nonmember friend (Sara)!! She was so cute!! She's going through lots of really hard things right now—separated from her husband, can't see her three little boys too often, doesn't have much contact with her other family members...and she doesn't have a home, either (She's actually living with Christian & his wife at the moment). Despite all the crazy challenges life has thrown her way, she still manages to keep smiling and stay optimistic! I was so impressed by her attitude. To make matters even more exciting, she came to church on Sunday!!! Christian and his wife have been coming for the last month or so...so hopefully she starts joining them regularly! The gospel is JUST what she needs—especially with all the stress and sorrow she's feeling right now!
Sister Johnson sat by Ralph. Oh my gosh. Ralph. He's flawless. Golden. Literally could get baptized like right now if he wanted. We contacted him while waiting for our ubahn in sittardsburg on Tuesday using the Christmas initiative cards!! He was familiar with our church—said that about 20 years ago he visited our building in Düsseldorf upon invitation by missionaries! We asked him what he thought, shared with him the very basics of what we believe, exchanged numbers so we could meet and chat more, and invited him to our Christmas party! AND HE CAME!! Sister Johnson sat by him and had THE NEATEST CONVERSATION. EVER. I got to talk with him for a while afterwards and wow. Just wow. Growing up, his mom was incredibly religious and had more faith than just about anyone. She was constantly battling cancer, and at one point, was told she was going to die for sure. She stayed up all night praying...and woke up the next morning completely healed!! He ended up marrying an alcoholic woman, having two kids with her then getting a divorce. He raised his two kids by himself...and despite this HUGE trial...his faith remained! Largely in part to his incredible mother. He studied with the JWs for a while but just didn't feel right about their church. He realized there HAD to be a church out there with authority from God. On Tuesday morning, he felt prompted to visit the doctor...and on his way home, ran into us!! Though we didn't think too much of him, and at the moment, he didn't think too much about us, he went home and spent hours upon hours researching everything he could about our church. He even chatted with missionaries online (for about 2 hours, might I add)!!
In just a few short days, he's developed an incredible love for the Ensigns (this is literally what he said to me at one point "December’s was good this year, but December 2014’s was better" I was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME I DON’T EVEN READ THOSE THINGS, YOU’RE PERFECT). He's obsessed with the commandments and has resolved to quit smoking, he believes Jospeh Smith is a prophet of God (I asked him if he found Jospeh Smith’s experiences unbelievable or weird at first and he was like no! I didn't! Not at all!). The guy even asked us if he could see the baptismal font during the Christmas party! We had pretty asked him all the baptismal interview questions before the night ended...and he's literally perfect. He came to church on Sunday and LOVED it.
This whole week has been SUCH a testimony strengthener that the hearts of the people here in Germany really are prepared to hear and accept the gospel...it’s just one big treasure hunt to find those humble seekers of truth!!
Zone conference and MLC were amazing. Elder Johnson from the 70 came and spoke at both, which was a super neat experience. He and his wife are not only way sweet, but wonderful speakers and teachers, too!! It's been a great week thus far (:
Hope y’alls has been great, too!! Can't wait to skype with you next week...and then SEE YOU IN PERSON IN ABOUT 11. Keep it real (:
P.S. we had ANOTHER encounter with the police this week!!! They rang our doorbell at about 7:30 a couple mornings ago, and said they needed to be let in the building. Then they knocked on our door, showed us their badges, pulled out a picture and asked "have you seen this man?" Sister Johnson and I recognized him as someone we'd contacted a few days ago. Homegirl gasped really loud and was like "Dennis!" And the cops were like "no...Mike". Hahahahaha we need to get better at working well under pressure...especially when the police are involved.
P.P.S. The drit life is great. An adjustment for sure, but Sister Roderrer is the angel everyone said she was, so things are going well (:
Monday, December 7, 2015
I don't think this week could have possibly been more eventful. We went on a spontaneous trip to köln on Monday with the zone (I already sent y'all pics of that one) and towards the end of the day we called the Bonn Sisters to see if they were gonna be coming. Sister Gardner was sick on Sunday, so we asked how she was doing...which actually turned out to be a pretty inspired question because she was literally at her breaking point. She said she just felt like she was holding her companions back and really wanted to rest but couldn't because Bonn is booming and there's no time to do so. We suggested a split and called President and asked him if we could spend Tuesday in Bonn so she could stay inside while her companions got to work, and he readily agreed. Sister Johnson and I couldn't have been more excited. Here were our new-and-improved goals for the day: Lessons with a member present (hours of productivity)...2 Sonstige lessons (sonstige activities)...5 hours Referrals (hugs)...6 given & 4 received New investigators (tea parties)...2 Less actives (hours of less active activity aka naps)...3 ACTive lessons (plays)...1
Needless to say, we had a blast.
On Wednesday, we had a lesson with Safe & Mona!!!! I'm pretty much obsessed with them. You remember when Sister Johnson and I did that "wofür sind sie dankbar" thanksgiving paper? They we're two of the people who wrote on it! I saw Safe on the bus a couple days later (totally didn't recognize him—my memory is SO BAD), but he called out to me and was like "hey! Are you okay?! You're not smiling right now! Every time I see you you're smiling! What's wrong? What happened??" Haha we got to talking and turns out, he and his wife and kids had woken up way early to come to church on Sunday! We invited them when we met them on the street on thanksgiving, and they were there at 7:00 sharp! I apologized and let them know when church started, then asked if we could come by sometime and he said yes! Our schedule was way busy, though, and we never got a chance...so the Lord sent them to us AGAIN. We were in the grocery store and ran into them once more!!! He got on us for not coming over, and we promised him we would. He said "oh good, I just get so happy every time you are around! I always feel so good!" How sweet, right?! ANYWAY, we were finally able to meet with him and his cute fam, and it went wonderfully! They might go down as some of my favorite investigators of all time. They're Muslim, but SUPER open! (: We showed them the Christmas video and talked about Christ—and they agreed to meet with us and continue to learn more! We went back over on Thursday and taught them about the plan of salvation—which went just as well! It was actually really neat—before the lesson started, Mona told us that when we came over on Tuesday, her baby (she's super preggers) was kicking like crazy!! I was like "he was just so excited because he knew what we were saying is true!!! You'll see! He'll get just as excited today!" And she was kind of like "haha nahh, he hasn't been moving much", but sure enough, the second we started teaching about the pre-earth life and the fact that we all lived together with God before we came to earth, that little guy went crazy! Mona was bewildered!! It was such a cool little experience!! Babies know what's up!
On Saturday night, we contacted a man named Adil from Pakistan. We chatted on the street for about 15 minutes and ended up inviting him to come to church! He said we wasn't sure because he lives so far away, but we told him we'd send the address anyway, just in case. We were sitting in Relief Society during third hour, and Elder Evans peeked his head in and whispered my name. Sister Johnson and I hopped outside, and there was Adil!!! Get this: he lives in Rheinhausen (which is an hour bus ride away)...and he walked THE WHOLE WAY because he couldn't figure out which bus to take. Started his trek at 7:30 and got there at 11:30 with the Book of Mormon in his hand that we'd given him the night before. What a beast, right?! He said "I have no idea how I found it. I was walking around for a really long time and somehow ended up here". We assured him that it was no coincidence—that God had led him right to us. (: We met together after church and had an incredible little lesson. We asked him what his religious affiliation was and he said he was once Muslim, but doesn't actually believe the teachings of that faith. He said it just "wasn't fulfilling". We explained that the reason it wasn't fulfilling was because it was lacking Jesus Christ, then proceeded to show him the Christmas initiative video. After a couple seconds of silence once the movie ended, he said "yes. Yes, it's true. Jesus is the savior. I don't know how I know that. I just do. He is the savior". We bore our testimonies to him that he, indeed, was (and is!) the savior, and that nothing brings more joy or fulfillment in life than following Him. He asked us what he had to do in order to experiences those feelings, because he's had such a hard life and wants nothing more than peace and happiness. After discussing exactly what he had to do, he looked at us with a big smile and said "you promise?!" And we did! We'll be meeting with him again on Wednesday! (: I'm so excited to begin working with him. Jesus Christ and His gospel are going to change his life!! I'm looking forward to watching those changes take place! (:
Other crazy things that took place this week:
- A young single adult in our ward said he was going on a date and invited Sister Johnson and I to come with. It was our first double (; (yes, Sister Johnson and I were each other's dates).
- After said date, a random old man on the street proposed to me so that was fun.
- And last but certainly not least: the AP's called on Saturday night for transfers and... SISTER JOHNSON AND I ARE SERVING IN A DRIT.
Sister Roderrer (who came in back when I trained Sister Hallmann) will be joining us tomorrow afternoon! I've been pretty worried the past couple days, but I'm feeling better today. There lots of weird logistics to work out, plus Sister Johnson and I have this really beautiful mojo thing going on...but Sister Roderrer is a sweetheart! I've heard incredible things about her, so that's good! Ah it's just super unnerving. Haha the AP's, though. They saved us for the very last call so we thought we were in the clear!! I talked to President this morning and he was basically like yeahhhh they were looking forward to messing with you! Rude, right?
It'll be great.
The more the merrier, right...?
Pray for us, haha
Love you lots!
- Sister Terry
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Hey everyone, I try to just post Brooke's letters and not intercede too much. However, Christmas is coming and I want to make sure that you have Brooke's address in Germany to send letters and well wishes. Here it is:
Sister Brooke Ann Terry
Kirche Jesu Christi
Frankfurt am Main, Hessen 60325
I know she will love hearing from all of you!
Sister Brooke Ann Terry
Kirche Jesu Christi
Frankfurt am Main, Hessen 60325
I know she will love hearing from all of you!