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Monday, November 30, 2015

Love Grace

Hi all, 

On Tuesday night I knelt in prayer at the close of the day and as I prayed for our investigators and ward members, the thought entered into my head that now was the time for us to find someone who was really really prepared. I asked my Father in Heaven to help us be in the right place at the right time to meet someone that He had prepared. I also asked Him to help me feel His love the next day. I asked Him to help me feel like He was hugging me. 

The next day, Sister Davis and I were on exchange and decided to get a quick lunch at the tiny baked potato place I had found a few days ago. We sat down next to a bespectacled, beautiful Jordanian woman with unruly hair and began to chat as she finished her couscous-piled potato. 30 minutes later, we hugged our newfound friend Fida goodbye and quickly scribbled down our appointment to help her with her English that coming Saturday. There was something different about Fida; something that was just so genuine. Saturday at 15:00 by the potato kiosk couldn't come quickly enough.

On the way to visit an earlier investigator, I was totally buried in my typical thoughts of plans for appointments the coming week, exchanges, and worrying about our investigators. I was snapped out of it by the yell of a Turkish fruit stand guy yelling about the price of tomatoes. In that moment, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sticker on the light post a couple feet away. "No way. Absolutely no way." I walked closer and surely enough, it said what I thought it did. The bright yellow (slightly disintegrated) sticker said: "KEEP CALM GRACE I LOVE YOU". I gingerly peeled it off and could hardly believe my eyes. I quickly fastened it to my emergency sticky notes on the back of my planner. I was kind of in awe considering my prayer the night before, but I caught myself thinking "well, it's probably just coincidence." 

We made a left hand turn onto a teeny tiny little alleyway in the fancy part of Altona and lo and behold, there on a distant light pole was another sticker: "KEEP CALM AND LOVE GRACE." 
God can answer our prayers through other people, through dreams, through the scriptures, through a song, and apparently through street stickers. I now have in my possession two street stickers: one assuring me of God's love for me, and another one inviting me to love myself. Grace is not a name you will find in Germany, but even if these stickers were meant for someone else, Heavenly Father put me in the right position to find them and to know that He wanted me to see them. He loves me. 

I felt that love of God again as we sat in a hipster little cafe with Fida on Saturday afternoon. Over a totally overpriced and extremely delicious hot chocolate, we got to know her a lot better. Fida is a gynecologist from Amman, Jordan, loves art and religion, is getting ready to take an English proficiency test that would help her start up her own practice in London, and loves big big mugs of herbal tea with extra sugar. She's smiley and authentic and just plain awesome. Sister Wasden and I told her how we felt God's help in learning German and that we knew that He would help her refine her English skills. She got kind of quiet and said "I could listen to you two talk for hours. I think I need to tell you something." She then told us how the day before I met her at that potato place, she had a lot of stress and felt like she didn't know where to find peace. For the first time in a long time, she prayed to God that he would send her someone to help her and bring her what she needed. She started to tear up when she expressed how grateful she was that the next day, everything fell into place so that we could meet each other and how she knows that we met for a reason. Sister Wasden and I were beaming. I told her that the same day she asked God to send her someone, I had prayed and asked God to help us find someone that needed us. She squeezed our hands and ran her fingers over the gold title of the Arabic and English copies of the Book of Mormon we gave her. "He really does listen, doesn't He?" I thought of the stickers in the back of my planner. "He sure does, Fida." 

Other highlights of the week included finding two beautiful families to teach, a spaghetti thanksgiving dinner at Bishop's house for all of us Americans, the calling of an AMAZING new ward mission leader, awesome Filipino food at the Hansens for Deutsch class, seeing my favorite member of my first ward in Germany, and being the first missionaries to get in the door of an inactive family and getting a return appointment. 
The love of God is real, personal, powerful, and perfect. It is unconditional. It is individual. I am so incredibly thankful that I have felt it in my own life and can see it in the lives of everyone in this sacred slice of Germany.

Alma 26
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

He loves you too. 

Liebe Grüße, 
Sister Grace Hendricks

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