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Monday, February 23, 2015

Hannah the hairstylist

 Favorite Things
I'm a giant.

The only people on the street who really listen to me.

Training time!

This week was absolutely AMAZING and I have some really big news!!! On Friday, our dinner was interrupted by a phone call from PRESIDENT KOSAK - Sister Moffet's face went bright red and then sheet white... President never ever calls unless its really serious. Sister Moffet answered and got the news that she will be a Sister Training Leader in Chemnitz! Then he asked to speak to me and said "Sister Hendricks... I trust you... As you know, there is only one sister coming into our mission this transfer. You will be training her. You will be the only Sister training in our whole mission. Her name is Sister Ballard. I trust you, Sister Hendricks. I will see you in Berlin at 9:30 on Thursday morning. Goodbye." and that was it. UHH.... I AM TRAINING! I technically won't even be done being trained until tomorrow morning! I am so excited. I'm nervous that I'm a little underqualified, but I feel so determined to do everything I can to train her to be bold, obedient, and hardworking. I know that the Lord will help us. I AM SO EXCITED!!! 

We have been able to make progress in the Bremen ward. Members are much more receptive to the missionaries and are finally starting to get excited about missionary work and participating! Truly our prayers are being answered right before our eyes. 

We got to meet with both Michaela and Irina. Michaela wants to start learning again and loves reading in the Book of Mormon and drawing strength from the examples of Enos, Alma, and Nephi. Irina actually decided to enroll in an acting school in Berlin, so I will be able to turn her over to the Tiergarten Sisters when I go to Berlin on Wednesday! Both of these meetings were very special as they were reminded of the Spirit they feel around the missionaries and as they learn about the gospel. 

On Thursday, we were on our way from a member's home to an appointment with an investigator when an old man asked us if we needed help getting somewhere. We said that we were fine, but thanked him and started just talking to him. He then saw our nametags and just LIT UP. He told us that he met the missionaries in Oldenburg 10 years ago, that he had a Book of Mormon, that he read it cover to cover, and that he knew that it was the true word of God! AHH! It was amazing! His name is Rudolph and we will be meeting in the next week or so. 

On another train, Sister Moffet and I struck up conversation with a Polish lady and by the middle of the conversation, the whole area of our train was involved in the conversation talking about their families, where they come from, and how they felt about Bremen. It was awesome! We exchanged numbers with a few of them and we will see how things turn out! 

Marcella's baptism on Saturday was beautiful. The talks were wonderful, Elder Horrocks and I performed "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul," and a lot of Marcella's nonmember friends and family were there. The Spirit was strong and we think that we will have further contact with Marcella's best friend, Kirsten. 

I was rereading a few chapters in 2 Nephi yesterday and thought a lot about two verses in Chapter 7. I was a little confused, but after studying the crossreference in Isaiah, these verses are new favorites. Isaiah 50:10-11 (2 Nephi 7:10-11) tells us:  
10 ¶Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
 11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

I pondered a lot about how each of us will walk in darkness. It is a part of life; it is part of Heavenly Father's plan for us to learn and grow. But if we are OBEDIENT and trust in the Lord, we will have light to help guide us through the darkness. Everyone will go through different types and times of darkness: work, family, school, health, self-confidence, testimony, feelings of inadequacy. But this light that will guide us is the same. It is our Redeemer Jesus Christ. We cannot expect to be guided safely through darkness by our own efforts. Our own meager sparks will not illuminate the path, they will not give us warmth, and they will not last. Christ's Atonement does. I have the feeling that I will spending a lot of time on my knees these next two transfers. But I have full confidence in the Savior that He will support me and my companion and guide us. 

I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve with Sister Moffet - she will be perfect as the Sister Training Leader in Chemnitz. I love Bremen, I love being a missionary, and I love feeling my Savior supporting me each step of the way. I know that He will continue to do so as Sister Ballard and I will learn and grow together. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. They mean the world.  

Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

Monday, February 16, 2015

Burritos/Roses For Strangers

This was a great week!

Last P-Day, we found an absolute GEM in this bleak wilderness of boiled potatoes, rotcol, and chunky gravy... drumroll please... A BURRITO JOINT!!! It's cheap and it's tiny and it's a dream come true. "Burrito Rossali" - whoever Rossali is, I love her.

One of the Elders' investigators brought two of his friends to soccer: Hector and Ninett Saucedo. They are a newlywed couple from Bolivia ... hello SPANISH! My Spanish is very rusty, but I started getting back in the swing of things. They were so sweet - we exchanged numbers and are hoping that some progress will be made with them. Our investigator, Musa, also came to soccer for the first time!
Friday did not go as planned at all BUT it turned out to be really really fun. We went over to Familie Barufe for a Midtagsessen Termin and that turned into a quick adventure to Bremen Nord. We went to a bombed out WWII U-Boat Bunker called "Valentin" and it was so incredibly cool. 

On Valentine's Day, after Sister Moffet and I finished all of our appointments, we bought 2 dozen roses for 2 Euro and handed them out to random people on the street. They were confused, then surprised, then grateful, and then impressed that two young women were spending their Valentine's evening handing out flowers to complete strangers. It led to some pretty great discussions about why were were here and Sister Moffet and I decided it was our best Valentine's day ever. 

Church was great. For the first time I actually felt like I understood everything that was going on and everything that people said to me - PROGRESS! Scary Bruder Hardel came up to me and told me that my German is getting really good. I was so happy!

Last night as we got a surprise phone call from our old investigator Irina. Irina had been our golden investigator - we loved her with our whole hearts and she seemed to be progressing toward her February 1st baptismal date with enthusiasm and with spiritual passion. One day she dropped us with no warning and as I wrote you a few weeks ago, and we were heartbroken. So when Irina's name popped up on the screen of our tiny little phone ... adrenaline rush! She apologized profusely for dropping us and said that she wanted to meet again. We have an appointment on Friday. Sister Moffet and are praying to know how we can best prepare for this meeting with her.

This week I was really impressed by a verse in Jacob 4. Verse 7 says:
"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things."

I thought about why I have weaknesses. This led to a lot of self-reflection and analysis and I found that every single one of my weaknesses is a very specific invitation to lean on the Lord to become better. I thought about how the best way that I can use this gift of grace is to come to Him in prayer with my weaknesses. To kneel in humility and tell Him the shortcomings that I have recognized in myself. To ask Him specifically to help me understand how I can make those weaknesses strengths, and to ask to be refined in His hands. The best way to find out who I should be is to ask my Heavenly Father. I have total confidence that through the Atonement of my Redeemer and best friend, Jesus Christ, I can be refined. I can have my weaknesses become strengths and I can become the missionary that He wants me to be.

This is my last week with my trainer so it will be CRAZY, but we are going to make it one great last week.

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Grace Hendricks

Monday, February 9, 2015

We built a fort to make our Area Book work less dreary.

Dying Sister Moffet's hair.  

Eureka!/Hairstylin'/Middle Eastern Eats/Forts

It was a really interesting week of disappointments, prayers answered and weird food. 

The Elders’ investigator, Marcella Kromer, has a 17 year-old daughter, Sunny. As Marcella has investigated the church and eventually accepted the invitation to be baptized (2 weeks; I have been asked to sing “Savior, Redeemer Of My Soul”), Sunny has loved having the missionaries around but has not wanted to be a part of any lessons.  BUT on Tuesday, Sister Moffet and I had an amazing discussion with her and explained the 2nd lesson and she later expressed to her mother how much she appreciated the conversation and how Sister Moffet and I responded not as lecturers but as friends.  You never know!

Zone Conference was great!  The point that we are “creators of circumstance” has really stuck with me.  As Sister Moffet and I have been trying to rebuild our program, I’ve been trying to be even more bold, to create situations where we can serve, show kindness, share our message and rely on the Lord to guide us. We also had interviews with President Kosak – I can really feel how much he loves us. He told me that my German is coming along extremely well – SCORE!  He also said that I will definitely lose Sister Moffet next transfer – NOT score!

A few highlights: We were able to get back in contact with Frau Schlalos and she is back on for her baptismal date of March 15. Yesterday at church, Fred (an amazing African who was baptized in October) brought a friend from work to church with him.  Her name is Ulrike (sounds like Eureka) and she just moved to Bremen to “start a new life.”  I got to talk to her a lot and learned that she is incredibly spiritual and wants to follow what God’s plan is for her.  During Sacrament Meeting, she leaned over to me with tears in her eyes and whispered “I am so happy.  This feeling is too big for my heart.”  She wants to learn everything and we have an appointment on Tuesday!

I DYED SISTER MOFFET’S HAIR. It looks surprisingly great.  German hair products for the win. 

I GOT PALESTINIAN FOOD FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT! We went to visit a member of the ward and her nonmember husband and he cooked us the best meal I’ve had on my mission.  I felt right at home.  The 1 ½ hour travel each way was totally worth it.  Plus, the husband wants us to come back so he can make us fish.  Progress?  Potential investigator?  Fingers crossed.

I am savoring my last few weeks with my lovely companion.  We really are so different, but I have learned so much from her.  I feel blessed to be with someone so motivated to work and who is happy while we work. I know the Savior isn’t waiting for me at the finish line of my mission or even at the end of this life.  He is right here with me every day.  Something that has really helped me get through the hard days is writing down little blessings that I see throughout the day – anything from hearing Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them” in a sandwich shop to finding a scripture that I really liked.  I know that the Lord hears our prayers and knows what is best for us – it’s all about trusting Him.

 Liebe Grüße,

Sister Grace Hendricks