Locked Trash

This week, while we were in Zürich for Stake Conference, we stayed in Schwammendingen with the Sisters there because it took too long to take the train there and back. Both sessions were nice, and it was interesting to hear the Swizer Dütsch. Whent they speak Hoch Deutsch it sounds like a melody. But then on Sunday we were back in the Stake Center for the broadcast from Salt Lake City.
We sat in the English session of the broadcast, thinking it would be in English translated into German, but once it started going, there was a man with a heavy german accent translating into English. Everyone in the room started asking, “Are they going to translate it back from the German and into English?” We were all very confused. But soon we realized that the man was simply speaking in German! He was American, but had been born in Germany, but his parents had fled during the war when he was young, but he had been able to return back as a missionary to Northern Germany.
Soon enough, once the conducting was done, he began speaking in English for his talk, and spoke a lot about families.
Carol M. Stephens, I think she´s´from the General Relief Society presidency and she spoke because her middle name is German and she has German ancestry.
Then, Elder Bednar got up to speak, and HE STARTED SPEAKING IN GERMAN!
We knew he had served his mission in Germany, but we hadn´t realized that he would start speaking in German! We left the English translation room and went to listen to Elder Bednar´s German. And for someone who has been off his mission for over forty years, he can speak really well. Better than some missionaries.
His talk was excellent and it was so great to hear him speak German!
The final speaker was Elder Robert D. Hales and one of the first things he said when he got up to speak was, “Today, I represent Heavenly Father to thank you for your faith.”
I just thought that was such a nice gesture. I feel that a lot of the people around the world, all the members of the church, feel as though their faith is not enough. And it was simply incredible to sit there and to hear those words, that the faith of the people in Germany, Austria, and Swizerland was known by the greatest Omnipotent Being in the universe. And it was just incredible.
These last few days I´ve really been thinking about faith and the effect it has on our lives. I know I´ve talked a lot about it before, I know that I´ve said a lot of things about how my faith has grown because of intense spiritual experiences that I´ve had on my mission, but if there´s one thing I´ve learned on my mission it´s that the Lord is VERY aware of our small acts of faith and our small testimony growth spurts.
As I was reading “Lord I Believe” the amazing talk by Elder Holland today, from my first conference on my mission, I discovered a few things that I had never really thought of before.
I have often thought of faith as something measurable, something that you can really see. But the more I´ve thought about it, the more I realize that ít´s the exact opposite. If you were able to measure faith it would be found in chuch attendance, consistent scripture study, prayer, dedication to your belief, etc. Our faith is measured in simple and sometimes silly moments. z.B. Today, we were taking our trash out. And trash in Europe is a DISASTER you have to separate every type of trash into different bins and they have to be in the correct type of bag and-ugh, it´s an on-going trial in my life. But many apartment complexes will lock up their big trash cans so that the trash won´t be disturbed and then random people can´t dump their trash where they shouldn´t.
So, this morning, Sister Smith and I were outside at 6:50 in the morning, in our pajamas (in my slippers, cat socks, underarmor, and superman t-shirt) trying to get the key into the trash can, trying to keep my hands from freezing to the bin I was twisting the key back and forth, screaming at it and resisting the temptation to kick it out into the street when I took a moment to be calm and started praying. In a very frustrating tone I said, “Okay, I´m cold and I can´t get this stupid trash can to open, but, it seems you have some experience with helping people solve their problems. I guess if you can part the red sea for Moses, you can open this trash can.”
And sure enough, the trash can opened.
This little moment of opening a locked trash can (as ridiculous as the principle seems) was actually a testimony strengthening experience for me.
We have the opportunity to speak directly to the Creator of the universe. To address Him and ask Him for help with even the most mundane of tasks. Sometimes I find myself thinking that my problems are too small for the Lord to worry about, and that prayer would be just too easy. It´s in those moments that I realize how foolish I am because the Lord will help me if I just ask Him.
I think of the children of Israel when they were led through the wilderness and many of them had been bitten by poisonous snakes. To be healed they had to simply look up at the brass snake Moses fashioned. There were many that died because they thought the task too easy. But those that looked were healed.
Sometimes I think we put ourselves in the same position with our own little poisonous snakes, be they homework, bratty teenagers, a bad day at work, a fight with a spouse, or even somethings as silly as locked trash. The healing, or the solution, comes with a simple act of faith, prayer.
I find that sometimes it´s the hardest thing to do because it seems so simple. But I am just incredibly grateful that I have the knowledge that the Lord cares about me in all aspects of my life. Even when I try to take out the trash.
 
I love you all!
Love,
Lillie
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SINGEN in the Rain, just SINGEN in the Rain‏

Well, this week, we got our transfer calls and I have been transferred to the beautiful land of Schwaben Land! I will be serving in the Singen Branch in Germany with Sister Rachel Smith (who I was in the MTC with and who is my ever loving best friend!)

My address in Singen will be:

Kirche Jesu Christi HTL

Sister Lillie Hammock

Bruderhofstraße 50

78224 Singen

Deutschland

I am INCREDIBLY excited and I think that it will be a great experience. I know very little about the area, but we’ll be sharing the area with the Zone Leaders and I will be in the Frieburg Zone, but in a Swiss stake. Which also means that I will be able to go to the Bern, Switzerland temple once a transfer!!!!!!

Elder Robert D. Hales once said, “Sometimes we become the lightning rod and we must ‘take the heat’ for holding fast to God’s standards and doing His work. I testify that we need to be afraid if we are grounded in His doctrine.”
I was really struck by this. I have found many times on my mission that I’ve been a lightning rod of sorts. For many different things. I’ve been yelled at, had doors slammed in my face, been chased out of buildings, been spat at, laughed at, cursed at (in a plethera of languages), been told that my religion was useless, been called a servant of the devil, physically acosted, and had multiple people tell me to go back to America. All of these moments have been really hard on my mission and I’ve realized that I had a really difficult mission. But it’s been one of the best, perhaps the best experience of my life.
Yes, it’s been hard, and yes I’ve taken a lot of heat, but I’ve grown so much in the process. There have been so many moments in my mission when someone was yelling at me, blowing cigarrette smoke in my face just to annoy me, or throwing a Book of Mormon back at me I knew in those moments, more than I ever realized I’d known before, that these things were true.
It’s a strange experience to have someone yell at you about your ‘Teufel Kirche’ and just know with such a firm conviction that this church is the true church. I have felt the spirit very strongly in those moments, times when it did feel like there were angels on my right and and on my left, protecting me, holding me up, and it was almost as if I could feel them there.
The knowledge that, even though I’ve stood as a lightning rod and attracted a lot of unwanted attention from unruly characters, I am so eternally grateful for the fact that I stayed true.
I will admit, before my mission there were times when I should have stood up and taken the heat. Because then I wouldn’t feel so guilty years down the road.
It was always difficult for me as a teenager to know how much I was truly commited to this gospel. I always asked myself if I would be willing to die for this gospel. If I could do that. I felt as thought that was the  measure of true conversion, if you were willing to die for this gospel. But I realized over the years that it wasn’t about my commitment to die for the gospel, because, let’s be honest, how many people are faced with that decision?
The problem isn’t knowing if you’re willing to die for what you believe, but if you’re willing to live what you believe. And that includes standing up and saying that you’re not okay with something that’s going on. Telling someone to stop talking about what you know isn’t appropriate. It means standing up to your friends-which takes more courage than standing up to a complete stranger who you will never see.
I would say that one of the greatest challenges that we will all experience in this life will be staying true to the things that we know are true.
But I would also suggest that we never really know how commited we are until we have to make the decision to stand up and say, “Hey, I believe.”
I love you all so much! Your prayers are so wonderful and I’m so grateful that you think of me! I love you!
Lillie

Light of Eye

This week was an interesting one, it started out with an adventure to the top of Germany, Zugspitze, where we proclaimed the word from the mountaintops:

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We also passed down the other side of the mountain briefly for a quick trip into my beloved Austria! Oh, how I missed it so much! 😀

But it was a great trip, one of the BEST P-days I’ve ever had. And it was all made possible by the wonderful Schwester M who drove us there AND paid for the way up, which we never would have been able to do without her. She really has done so much for us. It was because of her that we were able to go to Oktoberfest, and she had us over on Christmas and Silvester. She’s really an amazing person and is so generous and kind. We printed out a giant picture of the four of us on Zugspitze and put it in a frame to give to her. Hopefully she likes it. 😀

Tuesday we went to Munich for Zone Training, Wednesday we met with one of our Neu Bekehrts, Thursday was the day of fallen out appointments, Friday we were back in Munich for Zone Conference:

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(from left to right) Sister Christianson, Sister Kutschke, Sister Freimann, Sister Hammock, Sister Jaynes, Sister Armstrong, Sister Holman, Sister Ackerman.

Saturday we went off to Kaufbeuren to have a finding day and found the Elders several potentials, including a kid who took a book and who will meet with the Elders Tuesday night.

Sunday we got a new bishop, which was interesting to translate for. Especially with all of the sustainings. It was ward conference, so they did all of the sustainings of the church officers and such. Sister Armstrong was up when President Auras was offering the 12 apostles and she started repeating the names of the people and Brother Scott, aus Utah, turned back and gave us a funny look, because he could understand the names, which then sent us into a fit of laughter at the back of the chapel while they were sustaining the Lord’s special witnesses….

I’m sure God found some humor in it as well.

It was a difficult week, especially since we were only in our area for two days. We only got one lesson, and a lesson with a NB, but we did find 17 potentials. Our distrikt leader, when he called to get our numbers yesterday asked, “How’d you do that?”

This week in my Book of Mormon reading I’ve finally made it to Jesus! I reached 3rd Nephi (Let me tell you, the Book of Alma, in German, is over 200 pages long!) and I read about when Christ begins to teach the people and one scripture in particular struck me this past week:

“The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” -3rd Nephi 13:22

I contemplated this scripture a bit, and I thought about moments in my mission when someone has told me to my face that my eyes are ‘bright’ or that they strahlen. I never understood why people felt this way, why they chose it say it, but I realized that when you are focused on Christ then the Light of Christ can work within you and it grows so large, that it’s impossible to contain it.
It wasn’t until then that I realized what everyone meant when they asked, “Have you received His image in your countenance?”
People realize that we’re different, even if you’re not a missionary, people recognize that you are something special because you have that light in your soul and it beams from within and touches those around you.
This light of Christ is the light of hope, peace, love, joy, & knowledge of God.
And as the scripture in 1 Peter says, “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you…”
We all have something special inside of us, and we should be ready to share it with others. After all, a candle that shares it’s light with another loses nothing, but gains a friend.
I love you all and I am so grateful for your support! I feel your prayers and your love and I am so grateful for it!
Love, Lillie

1+1=2

I don´t have a lot of time today because we´re going to be climbing to the tallest point in Germany today, but I still have a little time. 

This week I have been thinking a lot about the commandments and the things that they require of us. Sometimes they seem a little restrictive, but in reality they give us freedom. 

It seems a little funny to think about, that freedom comes from rules and things that tell you what you can and cannot do, but, in reality, the rules give us freedom to go to new heights and to accomplish feats we never thought were possible before.

In math, everyone knows (in a 10 base number system) that 1+1 equals 2. Which seems really restrictive, but in the words of Hal B. Heaton, “If you want to build a rocket to the moon you better believe that one plus one equals two.”

The restriction actually helps us to realize higher things that NEVER would have been possible if you didn´t follow that simple equation.

So this week, maybe, instead of trying to hold on to the little things, like denying that 1+1 is 2, then embrace them so you can reach the moon.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“Don´t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

Don´t limit yourself by breaking the small rules.

I love you all!
Lillie