:D

Well, let me just start by telling you that Singen is by far the most interesting place I’ve ever served, visited, or heard of. When I first arrived the Elders said, “Welcome to the craziest ward” Little did I know they weren’t joking. 

Where to start?

The GML (I think that means ward mission leader in English…?), Benji, is a British man who tells us that he’s going to ‘convert’ us to speak proper English. He does different dialects of English from the British Isles and I copy him. He LOVES it. He is SUPER loud, and has terrible German, but he ranks in my top five favorite people on my mission. He is incredible! He plays in a church band and they play mostly Beatles songs and an assortment of other rock classics. He is just the funniest person alive!

The assistent GML, Stephan, greets you with five different greetings all at once, “Hallo, Gruß di, Servous, wie geht’s, Servous!” As he pulls you into a bear hug. Every Sunday he wears three ties at the same time, each one a little longer than the one before. And I’m told that he has a bright pink suit that he wears frequently. I have not had the pleasure of seeing this monstrosity…but…soon enough…

Kim Joy is the Branch President’s daughter and she has down syndrom, but at the Elder’s baptism on Saturday, she was holding my hand the whole time, dragging me around and introducing me to her mom and she had me sit next to her at the baptism. She was so sweet! I love her!

I don’t remember if I told you about Marina, the investigator that we’re really excited about, well, she came to church yesterday, with her sister and her sister’s husband. We had met with her sister, Irina (they’re twins) and we hadn’t expected her to bring her husband. But after the meetings they asked for blessings and Benji and the Elders did the blessings.

They were some of the most powerful blessings I have ever heard. The promises in them were incredible! They were so powerful and so unique. The Lord promised them things that I am amazed and very excited about. 

We’re planning on setting a baptismal date with Marina tomorrow and then we’re also going to set up an appointment with Irina and Akim for later this week and get them baptismal dates as well. Then we’re going to get Marina’s daughter a date too and Irina and Akim’s daughter.

We’re STOKED! They are the most incredibly prepared people ever!

I just love Singen! It’s so incredible! I love it so much!

Today we were playing basketball with our distrikt and I just decided I was going to get fully into it after I got a few elbows thrown at me (by elders mind you, I did not start this). So then I just went head in and was jumping all over the place, blocking with my body, doing everything I could to sabatoge the offence. I even managed to get a couple shots in there too. I fell a couple of times and my legs flew up in the air every time and everyone was sitting there looking at me like, “Oh no! Sister Hammock is dead!” And I just got up, brushed myself off and then accidentally smeared blood on my face and kept on playing. I am by no means the best player, but I was definitely better than the elder from Holland. But, you can’t really blame him, he’d never played basketball in his life. 

This week I’ve really been thinking about things in the past, the long past. When you have a new companion you tell them your whole life story and they tell you theirs, and even though Sister Smith and I had known each other before, we hadn’t had the chance to really talk about life with each other.

But as we were talking about life and the things that had happened, I was telling her a story that had a huge effect on my life. I was shocked as I sat there and told her the story and realized that I was still hurting because of what had happened. I was still holding on to the fact that someone had hurt me and I couldn’t let go of what they had done. It was strange, looking back a couple years and realizing that I wasn’t over what did more than just damage to my pride or to my hopes and wishes, instead, it seemed to scar my soul. 

But as I sat there, realizing that I had been letting this sit there, for more than two years, I had let it curdle and seethe just enough to keep myself angry. I was shocked at the still present hurt and anger that was there, things that I thought I had left behind. 

That night I took a bit of time in my personal prayers to do some self reflection. I came to the conclusion that I had felt okay keeping that little bit of anger tucked away for a rainy day because I had been hurt. Legitimatly hurt. And I had told myself that it was okay to hold on to that because I was justified in my anger. 

But the more I sat there and thought about what I had let myself do, I realized the brevity of my lack of bereitschaft to forgive. Whereas I had been hurt by this event, by this person, I had hurt myself all the more by holding on to it, but letting it live inside of me and wait till Satan could use it against me. And he did. 

I sat there and I asked the Lord what I could do to extend the forgiveness in my heart, even if I would never have the chance to forgive her in person. I was reminded of a couple of things that I believe were inspiration of remembrance from the Holy Ghost. 

The first was from a BYU devotional that Elder Holland gave in 2005 called Remember Lot’s Wife. (If you haven’t read this talk I suggest you stop reading this now and read that instead. You’ll be left in a puddle of the Holy Spirit like you always are after reading a talk by Holland.)

The part that stood out to me the most was this:

“When something is over and done with, when it has been repented of as fully as it can be repented of, when life has moved on as it should and a lot of other wonderfully good things have happened since then, it is not right to go back and open up some ancient wound that the Son of God Himself died trying to heal.

Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you remember this?” Splat”

I have struggled so much knowing that I would probably never have the closure of receiving an apology, or understand why, and I don’t know if this person ever repented, but I realized that I needed to give her the benefit of the doubt. How could I hold myself higher than her by refusing to forgive her?

Perhaps I hadn’t dug around in the sand and thrown it at her, but I seem to have dug it up and thrown it at myself. Which seems to be even more foolish!

The second thought I had was a quote from C.S. Lewis (who I am convinced has been baptized in the Geister Welt and is working to convert the entire population in Gefängnis!):

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you…This is hard. How can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.” 

How can I hold something against her when I have been forgiven of so many things? I had been just like the servant in Matthew 18:

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants

 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to bemade.

 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and tookhim by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt because thou desiredst me:

 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

The Lord took this time to humble me and to teach me a little lesson on forgiveness. Instead of just working as hard as I could to forgive this person I held on to it and let it poison me little by little. 

I sat down with the Lord and I told Him my troubles forgiving and moving on, and the Lord was there with me and through the power of the Atonement, I have been able to find the strength to begin to forgive. 

I don’t know if any of you have anyone you’ve been struggling to forgive, maybe it’s even yourself, but my commitment to all of you is to forgive someone this week. Truly forgive them. Whether it’s yourself, the next-door-neighbor whose dog pooped in your yard and let it sit there for you to step in, or someone who hurt you very badly, I challenge you to forgive him or her. The feeling of forgiveness is one of the most incredible feelings as you work to utilize the Atonement. 

 

I love you all!

Lillie

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