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Monday, July 20, 2015

"Fear Not"

Yet another great week here in Berlin.

We had the opportunity to serve two young mothers in our ward. Maya, Schwester Fischer's 3 year old daughter, declared that she wants to be Sister Hendricks when she grows up. That's exactly how my missionary plans began - looking up to the Sister missionaries in our ward in Zurich. One day, Maya!
Except Sterling and Ellie Colton, there is no cuter elderly couple than Berlin Patriarch Bruder Gensch and his wife. Bruder Gensch has an extra shiny bald head with disorderly tufts of hair on the sides. Schwester Gensch always dresses like Maria from "The Sound of Music" and bustles around showing us her latest knitting projects for her future grandchildren. We had a meeting at their apartment with a less-active schwester and Peter, one of Bruder Gensch's work friends. Our lesson focused on the first principle that we teach people: God lives, He loves us, and we are His children. The thought had never crossed Peter's mind that the special connection that we feel to this supreme and omniscient Being comes from a Father-Child relationship. This less-active sister said that she thought she had forgotten that relationship and she thinks that her prayers would be a lot better if she kept that in mind. She agreed, for the first time in years, to allow the missionaries to come into her home and reteach her. We hope to start teaching Peter regularly soon. 

Shaq is the most social guy at church. After Sunday school, there was a whole circle of people trying to talk to him. I'm so proud of him and of the ward. 

What I really wanted to share with you this week is not so much what happened as what I learned. I was reminded yet again of our Father in Heaven's perfect awareness of our character, perfect understanding of our prayers and hopes, perfect ability to answer those prayers, and perfect timing. I got back from exchange with the Dresden 2 sisters, and while I knew that the sister I was exchanging with learned something and that we had a good experience together, I felt  like somehow I was falling short of expectations. When I finally got home, I found a letter from my mother in the mail box. Included was an article from the Church News about President Uchtdorf's address at the New Mission Presidents Seminar. It was entitled "Become Like Peter and 'fear not, for God is with you'" and it was an answer to so many of my pleas for guidance, comfort, and direction. President Uchtdorf directed the Mission Presidents' attention to Luke's account of Matthew being called to the apostleship. Luke tells of the Savior calling out to these struggling fishermen to let down their nets one more time. Peter says that he has been trying all night to catch fish, but that at His word, he would try again. Their nets broke with the multitude of fish that they caught. 
 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

I am learning that despite my flaws, weaknesses, and mistakes, the Lord doesn't want me to 'fear' or stop functioning. I don't think that my weaknesses and shortcomings have ever been so clear to me in my whole life and sometimes it is hard to figure out how to get over them and give my best and be the kind of servant that He wants me to be. But to me, and indeed each of us, He extends the same hand of love and gentle command: Fear not.
Thank you for your love, support, and prayers.
Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

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