As I was sitting here, getting ready to write my weekly email to ya’ll I got a phone call from the mission office and I got the biggest surprise of my life. Elder Carlson asked me, “Hey, Sister Hammock, can I have your dad’s email address?”
I gave him the email address and then he asked me, “Do you want to know why I need it?”
I admit, I was curious, but I wasn’t sure if they just needed the information for their own records. But I asked him why and he said, “Well, we’re sending your parents your release forms and travel information so they can make travel plans.”
I almost fell out of my seat! Didn’t I just come to Germany a couple months ago? Didn’t I just get off the train in Wels with Sister Judd to find the Weidmans waiting at Bahnhof for me? But holy crap! It turns out that time does fly like a banana! I’m still a little bit in schock that this is already happening.
But I guess it’s the craziest times in your life when you don’t think about time.
This week we had an AMAZING experience with Marina. Probably one of the BIGGEST miracles I’ve ever seen in my life! And it all happened in one believing woman’s heart.
We met with Marina on Tuesday and we talked to her about the Plan of Salvation. Marina told us that she believes in reincarnation and that she had lived many different lives before this one and would continue to live them still. But as we talked we showed her a diagram of the plan with little arrows pointing to where we got after each step. After we had laid out the whole plan and had explained it she looked at it and told us she had to pray about it.
So she began to pray, in the middle of the lesson. She asked God if this was His plan, that she wanted to know if it was the truth and she began to pray. She rearranged the arrows so that it was in a cycle that would be representative of reincarnation. She sat there and prayed saying, “Liebe Gott, I want to know if this is your plan, is this your plan?” And she sat there and prayed to ask God if reincarnation was actually His plan.
She stopped praying for a second and then said, “Nein!” and turned the arrows back around so they were representative of the Plan of Salvation. When she put it correctly she started beaming. You could see on her face the moment she realized that it was actually the plan of God. That what we were telling her was the truth. And then, once she had realized it was the truth, called her ten year old daughter and her ex-husband over and showed them the plan and then began explaining all of the steps to them. She understood the plan so perfectly it was unbelievable! Then she pulled out her phone and took a picture of the plan so she could send it to her sister who we are also teaching.
It was incredible to see that Marina went through all four steps in Verkündet Mein Evangelium! in just twenty minutes.
1. She listened and learned.
2. She prayed with real intent to know if what we were teaching her was true.
3. Once she received an answer she wanted to share it with the people that she loved.
4. She taught the plan to the people she loved.
This work is incredible! I just can’t tell you all how glad that I am to be a part of it. No matter how small and blundering that part is.
But, at the same time, maybe that’s the key to this life. C.S. Lewis articulated this much better than I would ever be capable, so I’ll let his words speak for this part:
“For [God] seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to one of His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly that which He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye. He allows us to neglect what He would have us do, or to fail. Perhaps we do not fully realize the problem, so to call it, of enabling finite wills to co-exist with Omnipotence. It seems to involve at every moment almost a sort of divine abdication. We are not mere recipients or spectators. We are either privileged to share the game or to collaborate in the work, ‘to wield our little tridents’.
Is this amazing process simply Creation going on before our eyes? This is how (no light matter) God makes something-indeed makes gods- out of nothing.”
I often feel that I am merely hindering the work because I can’t do it perfectly. If I had said this to this person, then they would have gotten baptized. If I had said this to this person they would have given us their information on the street. etc. etc. But the fact of the matter is, we have to fall down a few times to be made something great. God could have built Rome in a day, but instead, He let the Romans build it into a might empire over the course of many many years. And I think it’s the same with us.
He’s going to let us do it, even though it’ll go faster, be better, and prettier, and fancier, and more than anything else that we could do, but that’s not His glory. After all, what did He say?
“Behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)
The glory of the Lord is not to have a perfect world with perfect people who never make mistakes and never learn. Instead, in order to fulfill the Lord’s shoes, we have to fall down a few times. After all, it is a commandment to repent.
Every day is a miracle. We have the opportunity to work a little bit with God, to wield our tridents, no matter how small they might be. But I promise you, as a representative of Jesus Christ that we are on this earth to learn and to grow. And the Lord will not leave us alone in that task. He has never left us alone and He has ALWAYS promised us that He will be on our right hand and on our left to help us return back to Him.
We do not walk the path of discipleship that leads to godhood alone. We have a Savior and a loving Father in heaven that are holding us up the whole way.
I love you all, but my love for you is incredibly insignificant compared to the love our Lord and Savior and our Heavenly Father have for us.