The last couple of weeks we’ve been pretty much RUNNING to and from appointments trying to make everything on time, which is really great. The work gehts tapfer vorwärts! (The work goes bravely forward!)
This last week I was in Munich on Austausch so time was even more confused for me this week. But it was good in Munich, we wandered around, got a little lost, and had an awesome experience!
Sister Ackerman (my Austaush partnerin) and I had a theme for the Tausch, it was “Salvation on a Bike” We were committed to contacting people on bikes and bringing them to salvation. Well, we did it! We found a man from Senegal who gave us his information and is anxious to hear from the Sisters again. It was a very exciting time!
Otherwise, Augsburg is hopping! We had a blast working with so many people this week, we’ve been working with Less Actives as well as investigators and it’s been GREAT!
Unfortunately, my shoes have completely fallen apart. On Thursday the sole of my boots separated itself from the shoe and was flappy freely and happily like the crazy hippy it was all the day long. Then an investigator couple we had a lesson with taped it together again, which helped it to survive for another couple of days until yesterday the tape disitegrated and my shoes are beyond repair. And, of course, it had to snow four inches overnight. I’m currently wearing my Toms…we’ll see how long this works out… 😀
But it’s just been really great, Sister Armstrong and I get along really well, and as we’re coming to the middle of our third transfer together we are working harder and more efficiently than ever. Which is probably why we’ve been having so many lessons.
I’m really sad, because it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’m leaving at the end of this transfer. I’m not sure where, somewhere in the Freiburg zone probably. My Austrian visa expires at the beginning of April and I don’t think they’re gonna put me in there for only one transfer and I doubt they’re gonna wanna pay 150 euro for a new visa, so I will likely remain in Germany for the rest of my mission. Which is fine.
The highlight of the week came on Saturday, when we were teaching Kamanda.
We gave him the Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read because he pretty much accepts anything in writing as truth, and it makes more sense to him when we read with him. But after the lesson, we gave him the Restoration pamphlet, which has Jesus cradling a lamb in His arms.
Kamanda looked at it and said, “Why does Jesus like sheep so much?”
Sister Armstrong and I could NOT stop laughing! It was just the funniest thing of my life! He said it so matter of factly and in such a serious manner that it was impossible not to laugh.
Completely unconcerned with our laughter, Kamanda merely said, “I think it’s probably because He was born in a stable and the shepherds came and talked to Him.”
Oh, it was just SO FUNNY!
But it really got me thinking. Jesus does talk A LOT about sheep, but as I went through and looked at the examples of sheep in the scriptures, and it gives us a really great answer to WHY Jesus loves sheep.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
The Shepherd knows each of His sheep by name. And when we realize that we, His children, are His sheep, then we realize that He knows all of us by name. How many times in the scriptures has the Lord or one of His messangers called individuals by name? Adam, Abraham, Sarah, Samuel, Daniel, Mary, Zachariah, Joseph, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdry, Martin Harris, you, me.
Perhaps our experiences with the Lord are not published scripture, but our patriarchal blessings and our personal interactions with the Spirit are individual evidences that the Lord DOES know us personally and He loves us. And when we are His sheep then we realize that we know His voice.
One of my favorite quotes by President Eyring says something to the effect that we will be surprised how well we know our savior when we stand before Him.
I would personally like to know the Lord well at that final day.
There is also a story I found recently, given at Conference in 1980:
Sometime ago a great actor in the city of New York gave a wonderful performance in a large theatre, at the close of which there were rounds of applause. He was called back again and again. Finally someone called to him, “Would you do for us the Twenty-third Psalm?”
“Why, yes. I know the Twenty-third Psalm.”
He recited it as an actor would, perfectly, with nothing left to be desired as far as a performance was concerned. When he was finished, again there was thunderous applause. Then the actor came to the front of the stage and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, there is an old man sitting here on the front row whom I happen to know. I am going to ask him without any notice if he will come and repeat the Twenty-third Psalm.”
The elderly gentleman, of course, was frightened. Trembling, he came to the stage. Fearfully he looked out over the vast audience. Then, as though he were at home only with one, he closed his eyes against the audience, bowed his head, and talked to God, and said:
“The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Then changing to address the Savior directly and intimately:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
When the old man finished, there was no applause, but there was not a dry eye in that house. The actor came to the front of the stage. He, too, was wiping his eyes. And he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I know the words of the Twenty-third Psalm, but this man knows the Shepherd.”
Jesus loves sheep because WE are His sheep. Whether we’re His sheep in the pasture or the lost sheep in the mountains, the Lord loves all of us. And because He loves all of us, we know His voice, it is familiar to us.
I do not know where we all stand, in green pastures in the comfort of our Lord’s presence, or in rocky slopes because we’ve decided we know a better way, the Lord loves us. And He will ALWAYS bring us back.
I love you all, and I hope you all trust in the good Shepherd.