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!