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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Refugees and Grandma

Well, friends, our week was once again nuts. These past few weeks, I've felt such a pressing sense of urgency to work harder than ever, to push our companionship, to be more earnest in prayer, to talk to absolutely everyone, and to do as the spirit directs. And it has brought a lot of miracles: new people to teach, new referrals, new confidence for Sister Porter, new spiritual milestones reached by our investigators, and new strength. Let me tell you about some of these special moments.

I was trying not to be irritated by the incessant squeaking of the broken window on the 30 minute S-Bahn ride home after a long day. A cute woman in her mid-50s sat down across from us and Sister Porter immediately complimented her purple knit hat. She thanked us in a thick accent and I asked her where she was from. "Iran" she said. That initiated a 30-minute discussion about all of our Persian friends at church, why we were here, our families, and learning German. By the end of the bahn ride we were laughing like old friends. I asked her if she had family here in Germany, to which she responded that no, she was here totally alone. "Well," we said, "it's like a big Persian family at our church every
Monday and Wednesday night. You should come sometime!" "I would be like the Oma (grandma) - that would be perfect!" She laughed and we exchanged numbers with a promise to have our Persian translator Hadi call and invite her. She pinched our cheeks, said that she was excited, and assured us that we would see each other next week. Hadi reported the next day that they had talked on the phone for 45 minutes, that she would be coming to our "Persian pals" lesson next week with her boyfriend and that she was open to learn more about what we believe.

As we were visiting contacts in a random part of our area, I stopped a man to ask him for directions. 20 minutes later, we were still standing there, talking about his family. His four year-old daughter came up, promptly began to play a hand-clap game with Sister St.
John and told us that we were her new best friends. "She needs friends. She hasn't laughed like that in a long time," Qasim said. He told us everything that his family has gone through in the past two years: kicked out of their home in Iraq, everything stolen from them
but the clothes on their backs, and narrowly escaping Iraq with their lives. Then he smiled and motioned towards the "auslander heim" complex behind him. "This is our life now. And we are so grateful. I have my family, I have my health, and now we are safe. What more could I ever ask for?" We waved goodbye with an appointment to teach them about family home evening the next Tuesday.

You guys remember Farshid, right? Our Iranian investigator who lives in the refugee camp? On Monday, he told us that next week he will be getting his visa and that there is a 50-50 chance that he will get a 6 month visa. THE LONG AWAITED 6 MONTH VISA. This piece of paper has been the only thing preventing Farshid from getting baptized. At the end of our lesson, we kneeled in prayer together and called on divine assistance to help Farshid get his visa. While we were still on our knees, he said ''I have believed in Jesus Christ for two years now. This is my dream.'' 

Hadi, the Zone Leaders, Sister Porter and I fasted on Sunday for Farshid. After Skype Persian Sunday school, Farshid spun around in his chair and said ''I did not know that you were fasting for me! Please eat something! This is too much! You do not have to do this for me!'' He had tears in his eyes as we told him that it was more than okay and that this was our way of showing Heavenly Father that this meant a lot to us and to him and that by fasting, we were trying to exercise our faith. ''This is too big. Too big gift. Thank you. Thank you so much. I will never forget this.'' 

I am grateful to be surrounded by so many people who really understand the treasure that the gospel of Jesus Christ is. 

I am savoring every precious moment that I have here to serve, to find, to teach, and to lift others. Time is going really fast.

Love to each of you

Sister Hendricks

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