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Monday, October 5, 2015

God Is So Good

Hi gang, 

What. A. Week. 

Sister Rückauer and I spent Monday through Tuesday night with some kind of stomach bug. I can't remember the last time I was so sick. But it was good that we had each other - we had a good "you hold my hair, I'll hold yours" system worked out. Sister Fingerle put us on house arrest until Thursday morning and it was absolutely maddening to be stuck at home - too weak to get from one side of the apartment to the other, too dizzy to read our scriptures, too tired to sleep well. Didn't the Lord know we had work to do? People to find? Lessons to teach? Exchanges to go on? After weeks of spiritual growing pains and finally the blessings of personal revelation, didn't He see my renewed devotion to be the best missionary and disciple I could be? Those were my fevered thoughts as I lay on our squeaky couch in my BYU Jerusalem sweatshirt for what seemed like an eternity. I was feeling physically and spiritually empty. 

But this week I learned that the Lord has a way of making us full again. 

On Thursday morning, Sister Rückauer and I managed to make the trip to Berlin for our Sister Training Leaders Training Evening at the mission home. As we rode the S-Bahn through my old area and passed Kleistpark, Julius-Leber-Brucke, and Lichterfelder Ost, I felt like I was home. After our meetings with President and Sister Fingerle, I caught up with Sister Walker, Sister Stacey, and other sisters whose friendship has been an anchor throughout my whole mission. There are some people whose spirits just shine in a way that is edifying and an answer to prayers. With Sister Walker's arm looped through mine as we crammed 8 sisters on two blow up mattresses in the Fingerle's basement, I felt healed by the love and unity of sisterhood. God is so good. 

I felt spiritually fed as I listened to Elder Gallacher, one of my best buds from before the mission and a current ZL in Hannover, bear his testimony of Christ's Atonement in Mission Leadership Training the next morning. Two years ago, I would have never thought that I would see my stretchy-gold-tights-wearing, melodica-playing, shenanigan-seeking Briggs bear his testimony in German with such power, conviction, and authenticity. At the end of their lesson, Elder Gallacher and his companion invited each of us to listen to a sound reel (is that the right vocab? Who even knows) of apostles and prophets testifying of the Savior and to write down in our study journals what the Atonement means for us personally, how we allow it to play an active role in our lives, and what we want to do to help those we teach feel that power. Simple, general questions, but it opened a door of incredible humility, love, and gratitude for the perfection of the Father's plan and Christ's willingness to do whatever it took to make it so that I, Grace Allison Hendricks, could make the most out of my experience in mortality, have real joy, and be worthy to return to live in the presence of my Father in Heaven with my eternal family. In that moment, I felt the reality of Paul's declaration in his letter to the Romans: 
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is so good. 

More drops of spiritual goodness were added to my now not-so-empty soul as I received very specific answers to my questions in General Conference. A few more came as I played a beautiful hundred year-old classical guitar owned by Schwester Hartzt's mother after her husband fed us a lovely dinner of spicy curry and gave us a tour of his award-winning garden and told us tales of his days as an athlete in "Orienteering Hiking competitions." A few more came as I got an unexpected package from a dear friend right when I needed it and a letter from a friend that I haven't heard from in a long time. I felt more as 2 year-old Finnley in our ward learned the word "missionaries," as Schwester Apel told Sister Rückauer and I that we weren't allowed to get transferred while she was on vacation,  as Schwester Schönherr blew us kisses from the church door as she told her husband "those two are like my daughters," and as a less-active sister randomly dropped Rittersport chocolate off at our apartment. God is so good. 

My heart is full as I'm writing this. I'm grateful. Really grateful. 

I hope you have a lovely week. Look for the good things God is filling you with.

Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

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