Heimabendmalsversammlung‏ (translation- Family Home Evening meeting time)

Due to the short amount of time that I have today, due to Oktober Fest, I will  be writing a short email today. 

Yesterday we received quite a shock when the bishop read a letter signed by the First Presidency in the combined Relief Society Priesthood session in church.The letter stated that due to the financial difficulties in some areas of the world to come to church, the Church is implementing a pilot program in certain wards where they can do sacrament meeting at home. 

The shock in the room was palpable. Bishop said that the program was freiwillig (you can choose? Not sure what the direct translation of that would be…) (voluntarily)

Then he said that the stake president had asked our ward if we would be willing to try it out. He pulled out a box that the First Presidency had sent to him that contained a sacrament cup holder, a packet of pre-blessed bread, and a bottle of pre-blessed water. 

Sister Christianson leaned over to me and asked me, ‘Do you think that they’re expecting an apocalypse?’

Everyone in the meeting was confused. They all sacrifice so much to come to church every week, some driving two and a half hours to come to church and everything they thought they knew was being torn away.

The members began to defend their right to come to church and their right to come to be with the other saints. 

After a long discussion the bishop took the paper that had been read and tore it in half. All of us sat there in shock, unsure what to think. ‘This isn’t real.’ He said. 

He had made it up so that everyone would realize the importance of coming to church this next Saturday and Sunday because of General conference. 

Oh, it was crazy! It made me respect the bishop so much more! But I was so confused and depressed and I didn’t like this idea at all! 
Crazy!

Love you!

Lillie

 

 

Open Doors, Prepared Italian

This week Sister Christianson had this great idea that we should eat lunch at the church so that we can leave the doors open. We’d been having random experiences with people walking into the church when the doors were open and so we decided that an hour, or two when we do language study, would be a good idea. 

So, starting last Wednesday we went to the church and cooked pasta. It took the water FOREVER to boil and so it was really frustrating because we were running out of time. But FINALLY the water was hot enough for us to put the pasta in and we made our lunch and we finished eating and were cleaning up and washing the dishes when we saw a man walking to the church.

The Augsburg church is huge and has two floors and is big and white and a small gate around it. There’s a big yard that’s been torn up by all of the creepy crows that are here in Southern Germany (I’m trying to convince myself that they’re fulfilling the measure of their creation in some way, even if it’s just to provide fear and entertainment to millions in the form of an Alfred Hitchcock film)

As we were standing in the kitchen and saw this man I ran out and called after him because he was walking away. He came back and I discovered that he was Italian and that he speaks very little German and even less English.
Thankfully, he speaks Spanish and Sister Christianson lived in Guatemala for a summer. I’m just really glad that the word for prostate is the same in every language, because now I know that this poor man has a prostate problem in a country far from home and his wife got mad at him and shut off all of his bank cards and he won’t have any money till Wednesday. 
We gave him the left over pasta (there was A LOT) and we had a member talk to him in Italian. He seems unashamed to tell EVERYONE that his prostate is bigger than it should be. 
Poor Elder M is new and can’t understand very much German and he said the other day, “Poor guy, he’s got a prostate.”
And I, being myself said, “You have one too, Elder.”
Poor kid.
But, needless to say, A, from Italy has been eating with us every day and knows A LOT about our church and the temple in Rome. He knows a lot about chapels in random places and he’s awesome! We’re hoping that when he goes back to Italy on Wednesday that we can send the missionaries to him. We’ve given him a book of Mormon and he told us today that he thinks of it as a very good book. He really likes it and he’s read a little.

I’m going to miss this little Italian man with the prostate problem. 

This week we met with K again, he’s awesome. The only problem is that the Zeuge Jehovas got to him first and all of his ideas of the bible are gemisched! I just think that the most logical explanation is that we were SUPPOSED to come out of the garden, otherwise we would still be stuck in heaven twiddling our thumbs, waiting for them to eat of the fruit. 
But the crazy thing is that, if you look at the bible passage it says:

17 But of the atree of the bknowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the cday that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely ddie.

God doesn’t say, I command you to eat of the fruit. He just says, when you eat that, you’re going to die.
And he doesn’t say, IF in the day that thou eastest thereof, he says, FOR IN. God knew that it was going to happen because it was supposed to. It makes perfect sense. 

This week was we went to a less active member’s house, Schwester H. When she was sixteen she and her friend saw this missionaries walking around their town and were curious, but were too nervous to do anything on the street so they followed the missionaries home and klingled them and told them they wanted to learn about the gospel. 
Can you imagine that!? It would be crazy!
She got married when she was nineteen to a man that was twelve or thirteen years older than she was and then she divorced him because he wasn’t a very good man, and then she married the missionary that baptized her. He was also not a very good man-unfortunately. 
So, she basically hates men. but LOVES America and loves English. But she’s Austrian and she asked me where I served in Austria. When I told her I served in Wels she sat down and said, “You’re kidding me.”
She grew up in Wels, on a street I know very well. She was so EXCITED!!!!
She’s awesome. She’s going to move to America in the next month or so to be with her kids and grandkids in North Carolina. We gave her a copy of Jesus the Christ in English because her English is perfect. She’s so great!

Okay, spiritual thoughts:
This week, Sister Christianson and I were talking about other religions and she said something really interesting. “It’s like a bunch of people with blindfolds on trying to convince us that there’s no sun!”
And it’s so true! There is a Son, and it’s so easy to see, but people block themselves away from it!
“Some people try to use the bible to support what they’re saying, but we use what we’re saying to support the bible.”-Elder Hansen (district Leader)
“It doesn’t matter how right you are, if they feel unloved, then you’ve failed.” -Sister Christianson’s Mom

Love you all so much!
Lillie

They Don’t Baptize in China

Well, last week, after emails, was jump started by some serious excitement. Sister Christianson and I went to the church to drop a couple of things off at the church so that we could go do our proselyting hours in a place that we call Africa City (there are a lot of Africans there). We dropped the things off in the church and heard voices. We walked through to try and determine who the Elders were teaching, especially when we heard Chinese. 

Our footsteps were heard and the Elders came out and invited us into the lesson they’d been having. 

There’s a woman in our ward, Schwester Gebauer, who is from Taiwan and she is an awesome missionary. She always finds Chinese people that are interested in the gospel. This man had heard her talking about the church and had told her that he wanted to learn more. So she called the Elders up and brought him to the lesson. He speaks NO English and NO German. 

He’s from Mainland China and going back in two weeks. He wants to be baptized. 

But they don’t Baptize in China. 

We took over teaching the lesson from the Elders and taught him for another two hours or so. We covered the first three lessons and Schwester Gebauer translated for us. 

He was very excited about learning and he talked about how he felt the spirit and how he had always wanted to know where he could find the Book of Mormon because he’d seen it before. He wants so badly to be baptized!

But they don’t baptize in China. 

And so, Sister Christianson and I called President Miles to try and decide what we should do. This man, Herr Ding, is sincere, he prayed at the end of the lesson and Schwester Gebauer said it was an awesome prayer. She translated and it was so beautifully simple. 

President Miles said that he would get back to us and let us know how we should proceed.

Cause they don’t baptize in China. 

On Thursday, after an Austaush in Augburg (I stayed here and got lost) with President Packer’s granddaughter, the phone started ringing. 

Miles, President it said when I opened the phone. 

“Hallo, hier spricht die Sister Hammock.” I said, feeling nervous and excited at the same time. 

“Hallo, Sister Hammock, hier ist der Präsident Miles.” He said, “I just got done speaking with the Mission President in France, and he told me that they have lots of Chinese speaking missionaries who are teaching students from China in their mission. They don’t baptize in China. So teach him and baptize him and quick as you can.”

They don’t baptize in China.

But they baptize in Augsburg!

Herr Ding will probably be baptized on the 28th of September and confirmed the following day!

The excitement is great! 

Kamanda came to church yesterday and it was awesome! He LOVES it and he stayed after for a couple hours to play kicker with the kids and with Br. Gunther, who is IMPOSSIBLE to beat! I don’ t know how this man does it! He just beats out everyone!

John and Moses (the Brothers), where baptized a couple of weeks ago and they were playing basketball with the kids and it was awesome. No one even seemed to remember my talk that I gave. 😀 Yay!

But you know, it’s all good and dandy! Gotta love giving talks in Sacrament meeting. In another language. 

But my German has gotten a lot better than when I was new. People understand me, I understand them, the people are REALLY easy to understand here, so that’s great. 

I’ve just seen so many miracles this past week it’s just crazy! I’m just so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to be here and to serve! I’m learning so much!

Sister Christianson (aus Orem) and I have a great time together, and our companionship studies are so cool! We’re both reading in Jesus the Christ and we’ve found so many interesting things that seemed to have been hidden before. 

But today I read the most heartbreaking (literally) thing ever. 

Christ died on the cross of a broken heart. 

He suffered a painful agony that goes beyond mortal comprehension and he suffered so much for the people because of all the things that we’ve done and will have done. I was just struck with the simple desire to make His heartbreak a little lighter. He already suffered for my sins, but I just hope they weren’t so great that they caused a large burden on Him as He suffered in Gethsemane and on Calvary. 

But how grateful I am that He died for me. And because He died and rose again, I too can rise from the dead, a glorified resurrected being, clean from sin because of His infinite Atonement. 

Remember what He did for you, His heart literally broke for you. Make your life worthy of that sacrifice. 

Lillie

 

 

Being a Man Is Not a Day Job

WOW! This last week has been crazy!!! Last week, Sister Jaynes and I went with the Weidmans to the Haribo store in Linz and got the craziest awesome candy jitters ever! We were SO EXCITED!!! it was this crazy child-like high and then it crashed and burned because of Mauthausen. 

Mauthausen is a Concentration camp outside of Linz and I have never felt so depressed in my entire life. 

We watched this awful video before we we went around and the video was all about the camp and the things that had happened to start it up. It had this awful sarcastic narration that spoke from the Soldiers perspective and it was just awful the things that they did to those poor people. It’s just that you hear about these things that happened and everything that those poor people went through in school and you think it’s horrible and you’re terribly disgusted by it, but it still is just a film, just a few pages in a history book.

But that all changes when you step into a stone-walled hell comprised of terrifying images and a knowledge of every terrible thing that was done in this fortress of hatred. Never in my life have I felt so horrible or distraught. 
Mauthausen was the last Concentration Camp to be liberated by the Americans. The people who had been in the camp were stoic, but the American soldiers who liberated the people were crying. 
I am scarred for life.

On a happier note:
On Thursday I got on a train and said goodbye to Wels. You don’t realize how much stuff you accumulate when you stay in one place for six months, but you end up with a lot. I traveled to Salzburg and from Salzburg to Munich where I met Sister Christianson (not Christeanson, but Christenson).  From there we went from Munich to Augsburg. Augsburg is A LOT bigger than Wels. It’s bigger than Salzburg. We have Straßenbahns and buses and they run regularly and on Sundays. 
There’s one ward here, and there are Elders. Ones a Golden (he’s new). The ward is great, they were all really welcoming and they were all really awesome. There were several members that asked if I was new on my mission considering that Sister Powell, the missionary who was with Sister Christianson before me, was trained here, by Sister Chris. They talk a lot faster and a lot more to you when they realize that you’ve been on your mission for over seven months. It was really great. 
I talked to a lot of people and got a lot of great relationships started and I’m really excited to work here with this ward. 
Sister Christianson is great, we get a long really well and we just have a blast. We’re constantly being weird and talking to people on the street and it’s great. People are a lot easier to understand here than they are in Austria. But here they have a Bayerisch dialect. I do believe in English this is Bavaria. In German it’s called Bayern. But there are still lots of Dirndls and other such things, so it’s great!  😀
We’re teaching this man from Sierra Leone, his name is Kammanda and he’s great. He’s in an Asylheim (I have no idea what that is in English) but he’s trying to get his Visa. He’s so short! He’s about a head shorter than I am and he’s just this cool little African man who was kidnapped and forced to be a child soldier when he was little. But he’s great and he’s a good person. 
He said something really cool the other day, he said, “Being a man is not a day job.” 
He was talking about how often people aren’t good people. There are things like pornography, immorality, murder, etc. in this world, and men need to step up into their roll and be men. All the time.
I was just so struck by that. More than just that he was calling men to be men, but that it was almost a call to all of us. We really need to be the best people that we can be and to step up and ALWAYS be servants of the Lord. We should always be people that the Lord would be confident to call to righteousness. 
I just love that the Lord has called good people to this work and that there will always be good people called to this work. There will NEVER come a time again on the earth when this gospel isn’t here, doesn’t have the joy and the beauty of the gospel. 
There are hard times ahead, but that doesn’t mean that the Lord isn’t watching out for his righteous servants. If the Lord be for us, then who can prevail against us? Romans 8:33 (JST). Trust the Lord, love Him, obey His commandments and all will be well in Zion.
Love, Lillie

Augsburg

 

[Ow’ksborg] 

Augsburg, Germany is a large ward in the northern part of the Munich stake and is the new home of Sister Lillie Hammock. 

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Lillie Hammock
Josef-Piller Straß
e 30 

Augsburg, Deutschland
86159 

Friday morning when I got the call, I definitely wasn’t expecting to go to Germany. Nor was I expecting to feel the level of sadness that I felt. I’ve spent four transfers, the equivalent of six months, in Wels. That means there were a lot of friendships made, a lot of people found, and a lot of people I’m really going to miss.

I’ve been trying to say good-bye to all of our investigators, the ones that I’m really going to miss. And I managed to get a picture with Toster and his wife Gunda:Inline image 1 

Toster is a character.  His wife is awesome.

I also had to say goodbye to the Lehmanns yesterday. (The Bishop’s family):Inline image 2
Inline image 5
Inline image 6
 Top: Simon, Tobias, Bishop, Sara, ich.
Middle: Sara und ich.
Bottom: ‘American Excited Face’ picture

Sara is going to be an awesome missionary one day. She’s got a couple of years, but she’s gonna be fantastic! She comes on splits with us all the time and she’s going to be one of the people from Wels that I miss the most. But we’ll keep in contact. 

But I know that Augsburg is going to be great, there’s a reason that I’m going there, the Lord knows everything. He’s putting me where I need to be, but I will never forget Wels. 

“Those who diligently labor, knowing that the Master will give them whatever is right, and, with thought for the work rather than the wage, shall find themselves more bountifully enriched.” -James E. Talmage Jesus the Christ

Talmage wrote this little line after referencing a discussion with the Disciples over their reward that they would receive from their service as Apostles of the Lord. The Lord made it clear that the reward would be greater when they did the work without the thought of the reward. 
This week I’ve been thinking about that, thinking about how much the work has affected me. Not because I’m on a mission, but because of the work that I’ve put into serving the people around me. The work that I’ve put into learning the gospel and helping people to understand the gospel. I will be eternally (literally) grateful for this opportunity to come on my mission. 
I know that the Lord called me to be in Wels for the last six months for a reason, and I don’t think that reason was for the investigators. I realized yesterday, after church, that maybe I was called on my mission to help the members. Which in some ways, makes leaving that much harder. 

Lillie