.widget.Profile .widget-content>a img.profile-img { min-width: 80px!important; min-height: 80px!important; max-width: 80px; border-radius: 100px; } .widget.Profile .widget-content>a img.profile-img { float: center; } .widget.Profile { text-align: center; float: center; margin: auto; }

Monday, July 27, 2015

More Happiness

This was the most wonderful week - truly the highlight of my time as a full-time missionary. At 10:00 on Saturday morning, the entire Spasov family was baptized - the culmination of months of lessons, Family Home Evenings, family scripture study, fasting for their grandfather, battling the crowds on the U Bahn to get the whole family to church, and hours spent on our knees.
Plamen came home from a month in Bulgaria and he was distracted, sad, and feeling guilty about leaving his father behind. On Tuesday, we brought Bruder and Christopher Reiner with us so that they could give Plamen, Albena, and Ivana Priesthood blessings of comfort. The Spirit in that room was unbelievably strong as each of these blessings contained counsel and revelation that clearly came from the Lord, not from the mouths of two men who had only met this family once or twice. We had planned to invite them to be baptized on the 22nd of August, but after the blessings, Sister Rückauer and I both knew that it needed to be sooner. We invited them to be baptized on August 8th, but immediately they said "Gott weiß das wir schon bereit sind. Diese Samstag." --- "God knows that we are already ready. This Saturday." Even if it seemed like there was no way that we could organize everything and have them be ready by Saturday, we knew that it was right. And thus began the happiest blur of chaos. 

The next few days were full of lessons, prayers, scripture study, and preparation for the baptismal interviews. Never before have I found myself so often on my knees begging for strength, guidance, direction, and energy. My favorite answer to prayer came through 13 year-old Ivana. We were so nervous that Albena wouldn't be able to totally give up coffee in time and as we sat in our lesson, and I prayed that Albena would be blessed with understanding that all of this hung on her willingness to give up coffee. As soon as I finished, Ivana burst out "MAMA. Kaffee gibt dir keine kraft - GOTT gibt dir kraft!" Albena looked at her daughter with gratitude and pride and she hasn't had a coffee since.
On Saturday morning, President Fingerle, our Mission President, stood with us and Familie Spasov in the changing room behind the baptismal font. They were all in white and couldn't stop smiling. His voice choking with emotion, he grabbed Plamen's shoulder and Ivan's hand and said "This is only the first time that we will be with each other in white. The next time will be a year from now in the Temple." President Fingerle baptized Plamen first, then Albena, then Ivana, Ivan, and Zlatomir. I can't even describe the feeling. My heart was ready to burst, I was crying, and I felt like I couldn't hug this soaking wet Bulgarian family tightly enough. I really did feel the promise of the First Presidency in Preach My Gospel fulfilled: "More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children."
They were confirmed the next day in Sacrament meeting by our wonderful Bishop and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the chapel. That night, we talked with Albena and Plamen for a long time and they couldn't say enough how grateful they were, how peaceful they felt, and how they felt like they really were new people. Albena showed us Ivana's first Personal Progress journal entry:
"My testimony of Jesus Christ: I know that our loving God and Jesus Christ live and that God sacrificed His son to die for our mistakes. That is why I believe in Him - that is really the least that we can do for Him. That is why I say that we should all pray to God as often as we can. I know that God sent me and my family Sister Hendricks and Sister Rückauer and we are so thankful for them. The Sisters opened our eyes - we had alway believed in God, but not as strongly as now. And I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
My time is up, but let me leave you with my testimony. I know that God lives. I know that He knows us perfectly, that He loves us, and that He wants us to be happy. He has given us a way to become all that He wants us to be through His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that through His Atonement, we can be made clean of every mistake, we can be made whole of any wound, and we can be given strength beyond our own. I know that families can be together forever as we follow the plan the God has given us. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to help people know what that plan is. I love the Spasov family, I love my family, I love my Savior, and I love my God.
Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

No comments:

Post a Comment