16th Stone Miracle Day

With this excitement for trying to baptize 290 people before the end of the year, there have been miracles popping up all over the place!

Last Sunday, in Ingolstadt, a branch in my district, the Elder’s investigator Victor was at church. They had met Victor in the summer while street contacting and he had come to church fairly regularly, but had made progress on and off but never really consistently. 

The Elders had been trying to set a baptismal date with him, but it never happened. He told the missionaries that when he was ready, he would tell them. I don’t think any of them expected that it would happen any time soon. 

But, on Sunday, Victor, in the middle of the sacrament, turned to Elder Niedens and pointed at Elder Wright (the Ehepaar) and said, “I want him to baptize me on Saturday. 
And so, on Saturday November 23rd, Victor was getauft in the Augsburg chapel to a small gathering of mostly missionaries. 

This was an amazing show of the faith that we had exercised to get these people baptized. 

But the miracles are not just restricted to others.

Last Sunday, during the fast, I asked the Lord to help us know who was ready by who came to church.
I was very disappointed because Frau Hasenauer had called us the night before and told us that she was sick, and I was traurig because I was convinced that she was ready, and she might still be, but this miracle doesn’t concern her. 
Because our investigator class is right before Sacrament meeting it’s not uncommon for us to head into Sacrament right before the bishop gets up to speak and to conduct the meeting. This week was that case. We came in late and sat down next to the Elder’s investigators and listened to the beginning of the meeting. The choir was singing for the intermediate hymn and Sister Armstrong and I participate in the choir.
And so, we got up to sing “Für der Berge Kraft” number 21 in the German hymn book. 
I stood next to Schwester B, the GML’s wife, and once the song was done and we were coming down from the podium she whispered to me out of the corner of her mouth, “Danielle ist heute gekommen!”
I was shocked! I don’t know if you remember me ever talking about Danielle, but she is a arbeitskolleigin from Schwester B. My very first Fireside (we have fireside every single Friday here in Augsburg) Danielle had been brought by Schwester B. Then we saw her twice in one day a week later, then she came with us to Munich with Schwester Bertele for a service project slash conference anschauen. Then, we didn’t hear much from her or about her for a couple of months.
BUT THEN SHE SPONTANEOUSLY CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY!!!!
I was so excited! Especially when she was excited to see me, and when the Bertele’s invited us all over for dinner after church the next Sunday!
So then, Saturday night, I said to Sister Armstrong, tomorrow is going to be a 16th stone Miracle day! 
When she was confused I erklärt that it was like the Brother of Jared, he had sixteen stones and he didn’t see the literally hand of the Lord till the 16th. And I had seen 9 stone miracles, or maybe  14 stone miracles, but I didn’t feel like I had seen a 16th stone miracle on my mission. 
And so, I was determined to see that happen!
I was OVER THE MOON! when I realized that Danielle was sitting right up there in Sacrament meeting, the second week in a row, right next to Bruder B with Schwester B sitting up on the stand ready to give her talk. 
After the Sacrament meeting we went to Choir and Danielle came with!
Then we went to the wonderful Bertele’s home to eat and talk about…Bruder B’s craftiness with glass…
The conversation didn’t have any sort of opening for Gospel topics. No way that we could start to talk about the besonderes message that we have! We ate and talked about the rules of missionaries because that always seems to be a hot topic for people who don’t know what we do. And after we finished eating we headed back into the living room. 
I ran into the bathroom and while I was in there I started praying, “Heavenly Father, PLEASE! We need to make this into a spiritual thing! I think Danielle is ready to hear this gospel and to watch the Wiederherstellung! You just have to help me know when to say that we should watch the DVD!”
 I went back and sat down on the couch and Sister Armstrong took my place atop the porcelain throne and as she later told me, prayed her little curly headed heart out that we would be able to naturally transition into the gospel. She came back and sat on the couch and Schwester B sat down too!
That was where our opening came in! 
The B’s had been at the temple that week and they were talking about the besonderes experience that they’d had. We took that chance and ran with it like a little dog with a chicken wing. We talked about the restoration and Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and when we had the chance (the Bs are both very wonderfully talented individuals at talking) I pulled out the Wiederherstellung and said, “We actually have this DVD and it explains it ganz deutlich. Do you mind if we watch it?”
And we DID! AND IT WAS AWESOME!
The spirit was SO STRONG and the testimonies that we all gave convinced her that she wanted to hear more! It was so fantastic and I have never been more excited in my life! 
Ever since I met Danielle I could always imagine her in white, getting baptized, now I can see her and Bruder B in white, and him baptizing her! 
It was just so incredible and I definitely saw the Lord’s hand in on the 16th stone.
I know that this church is true and I KNOW that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as two separate RESURRECTED beings. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that through him the Church of Jesus Christ was restored in these latter days. It is the same church that was on the earth when Adam, Abraham, Moses, Joseph of Egypt, and Christ were on the earth in their respective lives. I know that Joseph Smith believed in these things and that he died because he remained so steadfast in that belief. I add my testimony to his and to countless others, be they small children, fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers, Sisters, Prophets or apostles, living or long dead, new converts or long time converts, born in the church, or no, I stand with them. 
My testimony is one of millions, and on the other side of the veil, billions. 
I stand here, in this small corner of Germany with my testimony to proclaim the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ to these people so they can experience the same joy that I have felt. 
I love you all, and I can feel your prayers of love and support. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary for the Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen-tage, and I am proud to wear the black name shield that boldy declares that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. 
In the name of Jesus Christ Amen
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110/290

At the beginning of my mission I was given a card that said Um 290 in Jahr 2013 zu taufen werden wir: Aus dem Boot steigen.

Translated?

To baptize 290 in the year 2013 we will: Step out of the Boat.

This goal of 290 baptisms didn’t really mean that much to me and I didn’t think overly much about it. It was exciting to know that there were baptisms happening in the mission, but I didn’t really care about counting or thinking about what that meant. I wasn’t thinking about the goal altogether. 

But this past week, at Zone Training in Munich we received quite a shock when the Zone Leaders announced the December Fast:

290 Baptisms before the end of 2013.

On Sunday we fasted for this goal, to baptize the 180 people that we need to baptize to reach this goal. It seems impossible, it seems incredible and it sounds erroneous, but I felt this great possiblity of YES! We can do this.

But the more and more that I’ve been thinking about this I felt more and more doubt creep in to my heart. Our mission has only had 110 baptisms in eleven months, how are we supposed to baptize 180 MORE in less than eight weeks?

The feat seemed too high, to great for my finite mind. 

I caught myself in the middle of this distressing thought and instead of focusing on all the reasons that we couldn’t achieve this VERY high goal, I decided to focus on the reasons that we COULD accomplish it. 

My faith has never been so tested in my life. I realized this last week that I don’t know HOW to exercise my faith to the working of miracles. When I sat down to make a list of all the things I could do to exercise my faith into the working of miracles I came up blank. Not even my magic solve-every-problem list making could help me here. 

I was completely at a loss, I’ve heard so many stories of miraclous moments and I’ve seen them wrought in the lives of others, but never have I seen so great of miracles worked in my life! At least, that’s what I thought. 

I sat there, bemoaning my negative attitude, trying to ignore the list of things that were all against me, every reason, every possiblity, still not really seeing a way that I could fight through the idea that this goal was the goal of a dreamer. Someone who really didn’t know what it meant to be realistic. Because everyone knows that Germany is a really hard area. It’s a really hard place, and no one likes to listen to you, and no one likes to hear about the gospel because they’re all really really Catholic, even if the last time they set foot in a Catholic church was Easter. Maybe.

I thought of all of our investigators and how we can’t get appointments with half of them because they’re so busy, or won’t answer their phones, or are never home. And the other half, that we meet with, aren’t progressing, aren’t ready to take that step and be baptized. 

And in the midst of this disaster, this disaster of a mind almost overthrown by doubt, all faith had jumped ship with fear of going apostate, only to have drowned in the depths of a war torn belief. I remembered a scripture that has carried me through many other seas of doubt. Luke promises us in chapter one that the “Things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

And it seemed that the storm that waged around me stilled as I heard the Master’s voice whisper to my heart, “Peace, be still”.

Once I made this realization that it WAS possible and that it WOULD happen because the Lord and the faith of over 200 missionaries was in play, He would calm the storm and bring His children to the truth because this is THE TRUE CHURCH! If I could scream that from the roof-tops then I would. But the Lord is not going to leave His children in the dark with as many missionaries as there are. He did not send this wave of missionaries here, to this mission for nothing, He sent us here because He needs us to bring His beloved children to this gospel, to the beautiful things of this knowledge that He’s given us. 

I consider myself blessed that I’ve been given this opportunity to exercise my faith and to get people baptized here in this mission. I’ve seen miracles already, from an investigator spontaneously showing up at church, to another accepting the invitation to baptism and to the using of my magic black person powers to find people. 
This Church is true and ALL Things are possible with the Lord. I know that this goal of 180 baptisms in eight weeks is huge, but Alma baptized more in less time that that. I know that we can accomplish this and I will not loose faith. I will be strong and trust in the Lord. He is on our side and with Him, we cannot lose.

I love you all, I feel your prayers and I feel your love. Thank you so much.

Lillie

Reincarnation

Well, we do not believe in reincarnation. Thank goodness! I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I believed that I would live life again and again and again and mensch…

Okay, rewind, I’ll start from the beginning:

On Saturday we were in a quaint little town called Landsberg am Lech. It was very beautiful, very old, and it had a fairy tale castle in the middle of it. Pretty awesome! 😀 In the middle of going by and klingling people we received an interesting call from the Mehmedov’s, a family in our ward. 

Bruder Mehmedov wanted us to come to his house to talk to a friend of his about the gospel. So we got back on the train with the elders and then we headed out to the Mehmedov’s.

When we arrived the man was very honest and said that he had found the ‘path that was right’ for him and he had no interest in changing his beliefs. We told him that was fine and we tried to explain what was different about our religion.

He was rather set on his mix of Christian/Buddhist views. it was rather interesting to hear him say that once we live this life out then we’ll go back to the spirit world and then we’ll realize that we failed in this life and we can’t pass what he calls “The Meisterschaft”. I’m not entirely sure what that means…some sort of test of some kind. But he just believed that once we were able to pass the meisterschaft then we would be absorbed back into God….

I’m still left with question marks. 

But needless to say, I am very grateful that we believe that we lived with our Heavenly Father before we came to this earth, and that He sent us here because He loves us so much and He wanted us to have a chance to become like Him. We came to this earth to receive bodies and we came to learn and to grow, and to make mistakes and to make good decisions and learn to love Christ and to follow His example and return to live with him. I’m so grateful that we believe in Eternal Progression and that we don’t believe that we’ll be living a boring life for eternity. 

I don’t know what eternity will be like, but I imagine that it will NOT be boring. 

Love you All!
Lillie

The Scriptures Are Before You

Alma 13:20 “The Scriptures are before you.” 

I have made it a goal to read the standards works in their entirety on my mission. I have managed to read the Book of Mormon once and again, the Doctrine and Covenants, and I have read the gospels and I have finished the five books of Moses (that was a long process of banging my head against the table.) and the book of Joshua. 

I have come to realize what a great blessing it is, truly, to be able to read the scriptures, the letters the Lord has sent to us through His prophets. I may not understand everything that I read, nor do I understand why this information, of all the information compliled for thousands of years, that it was what survived, but I know that it is important. 

I do not understand all things, but I do know that the Lord loves His children. 

He loves us so much that He gave us the opportunity to live here, at this time, so that we can read those words, hear the words of a prophet today, live. What a blessing and a great opportunity that is. Think of how wonderfully blessed we are to live at this time. 

I imagine that we all did something rather besonderes to come here at this time when we were in the presence of God, to know that we would be able to live in a time when the fullness of the gospel and the priesthood authority were restored to the earth, yes, this is a special time indeed.

So, my challenge to you is this:

When you read your scriptures tonight, think about what the Lord is trying to tell you. Think about what He already has told you, and maybe email me/write me a letter, with your favorite scripture in it. ANd tell me why. 

I have too many to claim as a favorite, but two are these:

 James 2:19 “You believe in one God, and that is good, the devils believe also, and tremble.”

 Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 “Look unto Me in everythout, doubt not, fear not.”

I love you all, and I have not forgotten about anyone. I love you so much, and I’ll see you all in NINE MONTHS!!!

Love, LillieImage