Monday, February 29, 2016
OKAY. I KNOW I START OUT ALL MY EMAILS THIS WAY BUT THIS WEEK WAS INCREDIBLY MIRACULOUS AND I LOVED IT. GET THIS. The week before last, we talked with a couple from Iraq on the ubahn and had about a minute-long conversation with them before they had to hop off. In those 60 seconds we found out that they were actually Christians who fled from the Middle East for religious freedom, and I explained very briefly what we do as missionaries—help those who don't believe in Christ develop faith, and help those who have faith develop an even stronger relationship with him! We were able to switch numbers just before their stop and when I called on Monday night we set up an appointment Wednesday afternoon!
They are perfect.
First off, they made us a feast and it was delicious so wow thank you.
Second off, THEY ARE PREPARED BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS.
We brought them a Book of Mormon in Arabic and began explaining the background to the Mays (the 21 year-old daughter) and she was like "Joseph Smith! Yeah! I've heard about him!" And we were kind of like "okay yeah actually probably not because you're from IRAQ but that's cool" ...but then her mother came in from the kitchen and, in her broken English, said "I know this book! Mormon! Yes! About 10 years ago, I turned on the TV and I watched something about your church. It was about the boy who translated this book. His father was a...Gardner..." (She couldn't remember the word for farmer). She went on to describe a film that sounded a whole lot like The Restoration, and we were literally BAFFLED because, at the time, she was living in Iraq! She continued, "You won't meet very many people from my country who know much about him. Besides me. And my friend. After I saw that film, I asked my friend about Him and he had never heard of him either...so we tried to research him more."
AND THEN (BRACE YOURSELVES) SHE SAID:
"After learning about Joseph Smith, I said that if I ever moved to America, I would be part of that church. And? Well, here you three are!"
Our jaws were literally touching the floor.
And I don't think our eyes have ever been bigger, either.
Eventually, words started to come out of one of our mouths, and we testified that God was aware of her, that the Lord knew of her righteous desires and her INCREDIBLE faith, and that they had led us to one another so that she could accept the gospel that she's waited so long to learn more about. "You didn't need to move to America! The Lord has brought His church to YOU!" we said. I don't even know what commentary to provide. It was another one of those "oh my heavens, I NEVER want to stop being a missionary" moments. There is nothing more exciting, more fulfilling, more joyful than this work!! The hand of God in the details of our lives has never been so apparent to me! This family fled from Iraq to Syria and from Syria to DUISBURG GERMANY of all places. I know, whether they realize it or not, they were being led by the spirit. And so were we when we talked to them the other week on the bahn! (:
On Friday, we met with someone named Nadar! Sister Roderer contacted him the other week on the train. He said he couldn't meet because he was headed to Berlin, but that he'd call when he was back in town...and he did! And he brought his brother along for the appointment, too! (: They were really special. Syrian refugees—from Damascus, actually! That's right. DAMASCUS. Anyway, the brother couldn't understand too much, but Nadar could...and he was SO accepting! Of everything! Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon—you name it, he loved it!(: I'm so excited to meet with them again next week! They're going to progress really quickly.
We also had a neat experience with Henry this week—one of our African investigators. We scheduled a lesson with him on Saturday, but he showed up to the church on Friday night thinking we were supposed to meet then. We had a lesson planned with Richard, but figured we could use him to our advantage since they're buddies! And as if the evening had been executed by God himself (haha), the lesson went perfectly! Henry had lots of issues with the restoration message we shared with him, but at one point, we turned to Richard and were like "hey, you're getting baptized into this church next weekend! How did you come to know that this is true?" Richard shared the most beautiful testimony about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith...and it touched his friend’s heart so deeply! He was way more open to accepting our message once he heard his friend testify of its truthfulness (:
Needless to say, Richard is doing great!! (: We're looking forward to his baptism on Saturday!! This week is going to be absolute MADNESS trying to get everything together because we're on a split until tomorrow night, have MLC all day Friday AND have tons appointments with members who want to say their last goodbyes...so send some prayers out way, would ya?!(:
Speaking of baptisms, we were able to set a couple dates with some new investigators on Saturday night! We had a lesson with a man we nicknamed Chubaca (Sister Roderer contacted him a little while ago, but couldn't remember his name). Anyway, he brought a friend with him, and we were able to teach them both about the restoration! It went super well! They'll be getting baptized in about a month from this upcoming weekend!
I think it goes without saying...but the Lord really loves Duisburg. He rains miracles down on this place. Between us and the Elders, we had over 10 investigators (plus a few other non-members) at church yesterday! I'm so lucky to have gotten to serve in one of the most happenin' places in the Frankfurt Germany mission. It's going to be really hard to leave :(
See y'all NEXT WEEK.
Love you (:
- Sister Terry