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Monday, August 3, 2015

New Assignment: Freiberg

My dear loved ones,

I feel like my whole mission has consisted almost completely of being launched into new, unexpected situations and changes. Surprise after surprise, challenge after challenge, blessing after blessing, plea after plea... and here we go again!

Mom, your vision of me one day serving in a Temple Visitor's Center will sort of come true beginning this coming Tuesday. Sister Rückauer and I have been assigned to go together to open a Sister Training Leader program at the Freiberg Temple. Here's the story:

On Friday, we had Mission Leadership Conference. In this conference, President Fingerle announced some big changes: incoming missionaries will begin their mission in Freiberg at the Temple (not in Berlin) to remind them where they need to see each of their investigators and
less active members going, and missionaries will end their mission at the temple as well and will have the opportunity to go through the Temple with those they taught and baptized before going home. The Dresden Zone Leader program will be moved to Freiberg, and a new Sister Training Leader program will be opened and based at the temple. 

After the Conference, President Fingerle pulled me and Sister Rückauer into the bishop's office, sat us down, looked at us for a minute, took a deep breath, and told us how much he trusted us. He said that he was going to leave us together, but move us to Freiberg to open the program. He began to tell us some of the details (I probably missed some because at this point I was in a state of complete shock): the bishop was excited to have us come, that we will eventually be living in a really nice home that is divided into 3 apartments with 2 member families, that the temple is 30 minutes away by foot and 10 minutes by bike, that our "Visitor's Center" is a room with a couple of posters in it (one talks about the ancient temple in Jerusalem! Score!) and an orange couch,
that Freiberg has a university with 5,000 students, and that we would be exchanging with a LOT of sisters. Our program in Berlin will be taken over by the Lankwitz sisters and we have been given permission to stay in very close, regular contact with our investigators and recent converts in Berlin by phone, email, and exchanges to Berlin more than once a transfer.

My heart broke as I realized that I would be leaving this ward, the Spasovs, Vasilka, Bucky, Sandra, and so many others. I am sad to leave Berlin - 11 weeks doesn't feel like enough time. But, if this is what the Lord wants and expects from me, I already said yes. I said yes when I made my baptismal covenant and was confirmed at 8 years old - a promise to be a representative of Christ at all times.
I said yes when I accepted my call to serve in the Germany Berlin Mission and promise to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I said yes when I made my covenants in the temple. And as Bishop Gérald Caussé said in his address at the past New Mission President Seminar, "That yes was a yes forever - for all eternity. And nothing, no circumstances or challenges in our
lives, could ever change our promise to serve the Lord when asked."

A little piece of me will always be in Berlin. I have fallen in love with this city, with these people, and with the cool, humming, ever-changing energy that pumps through the heart of Berlin. The lessons I learned here about discipleship, complete consecration, humility, applying the enabling power of grace made possible through the Savior's Atonement, stretching my capacities and potential, and
learning how I receive answers to my prayers have been priceless and I will treasure my experiences and relationships here throughout eternity. I plan to continue to work on applying Paul's admonition to the Romans in chapter 12:

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Your prayers would be much appreciated as we make this big transition. I love you all and am grateful for your support. You'll never know how much a spontaneous email during the week, a note in the mail, or a prayer means to me. I add my voice to that of my Great Grandmother, Maren Hardy, as she wrote that "...blessings from the Lord are not just dropped on our heads. They are brought to pass through the hearts and hands of others." Thank you for being my blessings.

Liebe Grüße aus Berlin,
Sister Grace Hendricks 

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