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Monday, May 11, 2015

I Have My "Why."

Hello all! Hope that you had a wonderful Mother's Day! I was so lucky to be able to Skype my family yesterday and wish my beautiful, talented, incredible Mother a happy Mother's Day with my own voice. I am so grateful for all of the 'mothers' in my life - Mom, Grandma, Grana, loving Aunts, and dear friends (Melanie, Anne, Michelle, Kim). My love and gratitude to you all. 

Our week was pretty normal. Most of our appointments fell through and Sister Ballard was sick on and off, but we were still able to have some really wonderful experiences strengthening our relationships with ward members and preparing Martin for his baptism this next Sunday. 

We were invited to Familie Sievers for Family Home Evening on Monday and we directed our lesson more towards Martin, their 11 year old son. We talked about the message of the Restoration and how he can be an example of the believers. I watched Schwester Siever's face carefully during the lesson. I think that for the first time, she recognized what we do as missionaries: that we are teachers and we are here to help people. She saw that we know how to teach, how to bear to testimony, how to ask good questions, and how to speak German :) She wants to invite us over again next Monday and try to have some of her friends come over. Progress? I think so. As you know, I have spent much of my time here trying to help get our ward excited about missionary work. After this lesson, I really came to realize that maybe the best way to gain members' trust is to simply show them. I think that there is a difference between being invited to an eating appointment and sharing a nice spiritual thought, and actually using the appointment as a teaching opportunity. We need to show them that we know what we are doing. If they won't let us show them through coming to joint teaches, fine. We will show them in their own homes with their own families. 

We put this into practice at our dinner appointment with the Knabes, a darling elderly couple in the ward, on Thursday. After choking down an obscene amount of boiled white asparagus drowned in some deathly mayo sauce and hearing sweet Bruder Knabe's story of his time serving in the mission office in 1952 for the 8th time, we sat down in their living room for our lesson.  I felt a special reverence come into the room as we shared our message and, just as we would with any investigator, took time to hear their experiences, study in the scriptures together, bear testimony, extend commitments, and made plans to follow up on our commitments. I could really feel their respect for our calling as representatives of the Lord. We made plans to return in three weeks and committed them in the mean time to study and ponder Alma 26 together, to pray about and pick out a street or neighborhood that we should go finding on/in in three weeks, and to pray for a missionary experience for themselves.

Our investigator, Martin, has been making so much progress. We have been maintaining daily contact with him, prayerfully picking out chapters for him to study in the Book of Mormon, and just preparing him for his baptism this Sunday. Since his baptism has fallen out twice before, there is a little bit of worry that it won't go through this time but I am optimistic. This time, he has been open with his family about meeting with us, going to church and committing to be baptized. He says he is so excited that he doesn't know how he will be able to wait through all of the meetings next week :)  I think that my favorite part of missionary work is seeing how the gospel has the power to change a person's nature. Martin has been investigating the church for 4 years. At first, he didn't believe in God or anything outside of his own tangible world. He was shy, quiet, and stubborn. In these past few months he has gained a testimony that God lives, that Christ lived, atoned, died, and was resurrected for us, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, and that the Book of Mormon is true scripture. I really do have faith that he will be baptized on Sunday.

I loved President Kosak's weekly email this week. He quoted "Man's Search for Meaning" (one of my favorite books) as he reminded us that "Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear almost any 'how.'" I have had this quote on the inside of my planner this past transfer, along with notes that remind me to smile, to not only identify what I need to work on, but what I do well, and to trust in the Lord and His way and timing. I have my "why." I have my family. I have the gospel. I have my testimony. I have the knowledge of my divine nature as a daughter of a God who knows me perfectly. And with that "why" in mind, I can choose how I live - how I serve, teach, love, and grow. 

I love you all. Thank you for everything that you do and are. 

Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

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