Monday, September 28, 2015

Dear family,

This week. Holy cow. I don't even know where to start. I wish Sister Johnson and I had cameras following us around so you could see for yourselves all the amazing things that we experience...these emails just don't do it justice! Please excuse the length of this one...I just have a bunch of exciting things to share!! 

The week before last, as Sister Parker and I were waiting for our Ubahn, I contacted two teenage boys sitting on a bench. I can't remember the details of what was discussed, but I ended up giving one of them, Marvin, a Book of Mormon. Before getting on the Ubahn, we exchanged numbers and I told him we'd text him so we could meet and talk more! We had our first lesson on Thursday at McDonald's...and it was AMAZING. We began by asking him about his religious background, and he said that he was raised catholic, but doesn't believe it's true at all. In fact, his negative feelings towards the church have grown into uncertainty that God even exists--much less that His son Jesus Christ was sent to earth to atone and die for us. He'd read some of the Book of Mormon since I'd given it to him at Bahnhoff, and after answering some of his questions about it, he asked "so what's the difference between you and the other religions?" We proceeded to talk with him about prophets and God’s use of them throughout history. We explained that they were given something called the priesthood—or the authority to act in God’s name—and that when people rejected the prophets, that authority was taken from the earth. We testified that when Christ came to the earth, he gave that authority to his apostles, but that the sad pattern of apostasy repeated itself and that that power died with Christ and his apostles after they were rejected and/or killed. But, with huge smiles on our faces, (I literally get giddy when I talk about Joseph Smith) we told him the good news! That, just like throughout history, God called another prophet to lead and guide His church and through him, that priesthood power was restored to the earth! The spirit was SO STRONG, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole restaurant could feel it! Marvin sure could—he was literally trembling! He prayed for the first time EVER at the end of the lesson and just sat there BEAMING afterwards. Haha, all he could say was, "I feel...really...weird right now" I asked him if it was a good weird and he said "yeah...actually. I feel...really good. I feel...Lighter." We explained that that was the Holy Ghost, which made him beam even BRIGHTER and, oh my gosh, it was just the greatest lesson EVER.

Later on in the week, we had another sweet lesson with a new investigator named Ben! Sister Johnson found him while I was on a split. He used to be a junkie, but turned his life around and found a career that allowed him to help those struggling with the same issues he once did. He was really awesome! He was in the same boat as Marvin—said he was unsure about the existence of God...but after talking with him, it was clear that deep down he KNEW God was there (Our brains may have forgotten that we once lived with, walked with and talked with God...but our spirits sure can't!). I've seen that SO much this week—people who claim they don't believe in God, but obviously do and are just confused about His nature and find it easier to say he just doesn't exist. You have no idea how exciting it is to be a missionary and get to help people FINALLY understand!!! There's nothing better than watching a person’s faith grow right before your very eyes!! Ben's sure did. 

The incredible experiences don't stop there, though! 

Last week, we dropped by Jorda (an investigator who has been sick for the past couple weeks) and set up and appointment for Monday night. We also set up a church tour appointment for later on in the week, but as we were walking up to her door, she was walking out saying "we're going to the church, right?" So off we went. We took her and her sister (who speaks a tiny bit of Deutsch and a lot a bit of Arabic) and her sister’s kids around the church and they really enjoyed it! They thought it was beautiful! We ended in the chapel and talked about sacrament meeting, then sat quietly as the ever-so-talented Sister Johnson played a song on the piano. Afterwards, we asked Jorda how she was feeling, and she said something along the lines of, "I feel...very peaceful. Really, really calm. Like everything in life is going to be okay!" The conversation shortly led to the topic of baptism, and we took her into the room with the baptismal font and explained that, through baptism, she could have that same feeling in her heart all the time. Her eyes literally LIT UP. We proceeded to talk about the covenant of baptism, and when we explained that all her sins and mistakes could be washed away through it her eyes lit up EVEN MORE and she responded, "when?” Sister Johnson and I looked at each other all confused and said "huh?” she repeated "when? When am I getting baptized?? This Saturday?!" 

Haha pretty awesome, right?! To make things even better, she turned to us after the lesson was over and said "I know this is true because you invited me to be baptized. Other churches just say 'yes, come join us' but no! Baptism is important!" 

She's a smart one. 
October 24th is the date we decided on!! 
We're pretty pumped!! 
Especially because… 

We had SUCH an amazing lesson with him On Saturday! We followed up on his scripture reading and prayers, and he said that he feels like he's been receiving answers from God over the past couple weeks, for sure! He said "God is there. I know He is." It's been so neat to see his testimony grow more and more every time we meet! Last week, we invited him to be baptized, and he said yes...but like, in a few years. He just laughed at us when we suggested next month. Today, however, we went over the plan of salvation, discussed the three degrees of glory and asked him which one he wanted to go to. Of course, he pointed to the celestial kingdom (where God and Christ live!!) and we explained that, in order to make it there, we needed to follow the commandments of God, one of which being baptized. Without saying anything else, Leyeo turned to us and said "October, right? You said I could be baptized in October?" We said yes, and asked him if he wanted to work towards to 24th of next month and he said YESSSSSSSS (: 

One thing that I've learned on my mission that I've been reminded of pretty frequently this week is that missionaries DON’T DO ANYTHING. Every little bit of success, every miracle, every changed heart and opened mind is ALL the Lord’s doing....He's just given me a front-row seat to the show and a computer to type up all the incredible things He lets me see. How grateful am I to get to watch as He pours His spirit and mercies out upon the people here in Germany and for the opportunity to see that it really truly is His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. 

I love y’all lots! 
Hope you have a great week! 

- Brookie 

P.S. I hope EVERYONE takes advantage of the opportunity we have this weekend to hear from prophets and apostles of Jesus Christ. I know the messages they will share with us are the words of the Lord and that the callings extended are inspired of God. 

LDS.ORG. Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss outttt!!!

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