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
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!