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Monday, March 16, 2015

Twists and Turns

Well, this week was full of all sorts of twists and turns. But like all things when we are in the service of our Lord, everything works out. 

We started out the week with a lesson with Irina. The spirit was strong and she actually asked to be put back on baptismal date. We knelt in prayer together and she asked Heavenly Father if this was what He wanted her to do - she had tears in her eyes as she told us that she knew it was right and what she and God wanted her to do. That night, Sister Ballard and I made her a calendar to help her understand exactly what needed to  happen for her to be baptized and how we were going to help her reach that goal (Sister Ballard and I have been talking a lot about Elder Kopiscke's visit and how we can apply what he taught about helping people keep commitments in our work - Revelation doesn't expire!). We went over the plan with Irina the next day and she was so excited. Then, at 10:30 that night, we got a text from her saying that she didn't want to meet anymore and that she wanted to find God on her own. We asked if we could meet and talk about it and she said no. I don't know what else we could have done to help her. I wouldn't change how we taught her - we taught her with loving boldness and with the Spirit, fostering her own spiritual growth. But people have their agency, and as Preach My Gospel explains, some people won't accept the gospel even after they've had a spiritual witness that it is true. This principle proved to be important to keep in mind the next day as well.

We went to visit Ulrike (our other investigator with a baptismal date) because we hadn't heard back from her in a few days.  We rang the bell and she didn't answer. Right as we were about to leave, she walked out and seemed surprised to see us. It was clear that she didn't really want to talk to us and as she walked away, she told us that she would send us a text. About 30 minutes later, we got a text saying that she decided to attend the African church instead, so we didn't need to come by anymore. I racked my brain, trying to figure out if there was anything that we should have done differently ... if there was any way that we weren't being exactly obedient. I came up with nothing. Obviously, we are not perfect teachers and sometimes we make mistakes, but we worked so hard to do everything we could to help these people. 

Friday to Saturday, we had tausch with Sister Stacey and Sister Demolder. It was so wonderful. Sister Stacey came here to Bremen and I am so grateful for the time that we had together. We talked about each of our programs and different ideas for building/rebuilding our teaching pools. We have a very similar mindset about the mission - that it is work, but that it isn't something to suffer through. This message is one of joy and meaning for each individual. And so we, as missionaries, should be full of joy and be ourselves (granted our best, most obedient and diligent selves).

I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting on my decision to serve a mission. It was really amazing for me to reflect on the years of preparation, prayers and seeking confirmation.Thinking about WHY I wanted to come on a mission in the first place and what I did to get here allowed me to really think about how grateful I am to be here. Even though our program might be going through a rough patch, I knew then and I know now that the Lord will always help us. He promised us that and He will alway fulfill His promises. And speaking of promises, I forgot the last pages of my talk on my seat when I got up to speak! But the gift of tongues came in full swing as I winged the last part of my talk. I think that my German was actually better in the unplanned part! 

Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

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