While we were waiting at the bus we were getting a little antsy because the bus was a little late (as usual) but we both kept feeling like we were forgetting something. And so, we ran through a mental list of all the things we needed, checking it against each other, but couldn’t think of anything.
It was while we were going through the list that we saw the bus come up and then pass the street it was supposed to turn onto. It was then that we realized that instead of the number three it was the number two and wasn’t our bus, the only problem was that the number two wasn’t supposed to run at that time.
Sister Smith and I looked at each other and we both knew it. It was a holiday.
In Germany, forty days after Easter is Christi Himmelfahrt (Christ’s return to heaven) and therefore, the buses run at different times. So, knowing we had just missed the only bus that would take us to Bahnhof in time, we started to run to catch our train. We left our apartment at 10:47 and arrived at Bahnhof at 11:05, a trip that usually, when we walk, takes us about forty minutes. We must have looked ridiculous running with two suitcases (one of them completely empty), in skirts down the street.
Earlier in the week the sole had come off my good walking shoes and I was wearing a pair of worn out ballet flats that are too big for my feet (imagine that). it was quite an adventure, but we made it in more than enough time for our train which left at 11:19.
The trains to Munich were relatively uneventful, we found a woman from France who is living in Augsburg on the train and we gave her a card with the number from the Sisters there. It was so nice to drive through that city again. Just thinking about it makes me happy.
Once we were in Munich we headed down the the S-bahns and rushed onto the S7 to get to Solln. I hopped on, Elder Garrett came right after me, and so did Elder Mickelson, but those darn doors shut on Sister Smith’s face and left her there on the Bahnsteig. And I had the phone.
The only thing was that we had to make that S-bahn to make it to our meeting in time. When we got to the next station I said, “We should get off here.” Elder Garrett wanted to leave Sister Smith back on that Bahnsteig without her companion. “Sister Smith is going to be waiting on the Gleis” I said, getting off the train. The Elders would have left me there alone to go back to get Sister Smith, but they ended up getting off the train and it left without them so they decided to come back with me and get Sister Smith. And just like I promised Elder Garrett (even though he didn’t believe me) Sister Smith was sitting there waiting for me to come back.
We were about a half our late to our meeting, but we got a ride from the S-Bahn station to the church.
On Friday President Miles pleaded with us, weeping, that we would talk to people on the street, in trains, in buses. He was begging us to do it, not because of numbers, but because of love. Because this is the Lord’s work and because this is what He wants us to do, to bring souls unto Christ. It was one of the biggest slaps to the face for all of the missionaries there. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers as a missionary, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to bring people unto Christ, to baptize people and to help people get to the temple so they can live with their families forever. It certainly changed my perspective on my work.
Then it was back on the train to Ulm, which we were all thankful was an ICE. ICE trains are really nice and fast and look like the clones from Star Wars. We got all of our stuff into one cabin, our once empty suitcases filled with packages of heavy Books of Mormon and we settled in for the nice long trip. As we were on the train a man came and sat in the cabin and started working on his computer and kept to himself. Once we hit Gessertshausen (a place in Augsburg’s area) the train stopped and policemen started going up and down the aisle outside of our cabin. We’re still not sure what was going on. But as we were stopped in Gessertshausen the man turned to us and, in perfect English asked us what we did here in Germany.
This started an interesting talk about the First Vision and Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. This man, Karim was from Tunisia and had seen a documentary about the Mormons on television. He said that the documentary hadn’t been so nice, but that he was excited to hear the information from the actual sources. He asked us so many questions and many of them were deep insightful questions and we were able to provide answers that left him wanting more.
By the time we pulled into Ulm Bahnhof we had been talking to him for a considerable amount of time. We got his information and the missionaries in Munich will be visiting him in the next few days and as soon as we all got off the train we knew that the train’s unexpected delay was just for Karim.
Unfortunately, because of the delay we missed our connection, and the other two trains we took to get to Singen were both delayed ten to twenty minutes each. We got home around 11:30 that night.
The next morning we got up so we could go to Schwenningen, a branch in our Zone so we could be a part of a finding day that their Relief Society put on. We split up with the members of the Relief Society and talked to people on the street for a couple of hours. It was so good for the members that came and they were all so exicted to share their missionary experiences with everyone afterward.
But Sunday was the best. Every Fast and Testimony meeting Kim Joy, a girl in our branch with Down Syndrome, is always the first to give her testimony. She walks up from the front row, her arms full of books, scriptures and manuals, and opens them all up and then says the same thing every time. “My talk today is about the temple and I know that the Lord loves all of you. I know the Lord loves all of you. It says in the scriptures that the Lord loves all of you. And I give testimony that the Lord loves all of you.” And then she closes all of her books and then goes and sits down.
Kim Joy has a very special calling in this life and I believe that we can all learn a lot from her. She gives affection freely and every Sunday I either get a running hug accompanied by the sound of “HAMMOCK!” or I hear from the Branch President or his wife that Kim Joy is waiting for me in the other room. And during Relief Society she cuddles with me and scratches my back and gives me hugs for no reason.
Kim Joy is the epitome of pure unselfish love.
I would say that we all need to learn a little bit about loving people like she does. She doesn’t care who you are, what you look like, how well or how poorly you speak German, she doesn’t care if you’re beautiful, rich, handsome, or well educated because she understands something that I think we all forget a little too easily. She knows so deeply and so internally that we are all children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us. And because He loves us we should love others. And Kim Joy is a fantastic example of that.
I would challenge all of you this week to see people as children of God. Try to see them as God sees them. And maybe tell a few people that. Because it never hurts to hear that someone loves you.
“Ich weiß der Herr euch liebt”
I love you all!