Monday, December 28, 2015

Dear family,

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 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'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 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!! 

- Brookie

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