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Monday, April 4, 2016

I Do Not Fear The End.

First things first: let it be noted that President a Dieter F. Uchtdorf - the second counselor in the First Presidency - has identified German as the celestial language! Was habe ich denn für Glück! I have yet to see the Sunday afternoon session, but General Conference has been wonderful thus far. I am in awe of how poignantly the Lord gives us answers to our prepared questions through the words of those who speak. 

You know, I wanted to avoid writing about the fact that my mission is coming to a rapid close and just focus on the happy fact that here I am, serving in Germany.  But when I think about this past week and what I've learned, I realize that that it all has to do with the end. At the end of this week, I could say something that I could not say two weeks ago: I do not fear the end. 

It had already been an emotional day; I watched my trainee trust herself enough to give an answer in German at the trainer-trainee conference, I couldn't help but tear up as Elder Morton sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" - "O wie lieblich war der Morgen" in the language that I have come to love with all of my heart, one of the assistants asked me to share the story of the Spasovs and how the gospel healed their family, Sister Fingerle got emotional as she recalled her first experience in the mission field on that hot July evening with Sister Rückauer and me during her testimony at the close of the meeting, and I could hardly get through reciting Doctrine and Covenants section 4 as we stood all together - missionaries old and new. "Nun siehe, ein wunderbares Werk ist im Begriff..."  Everything seemed to scream in my face 'you won't have this for much longer.' 

My sweet former companion, Sister Rückauer, came up to me during one of the breaks during the trainer-trainee conference and asked me how I felt about everything. "How are you really doing?" I told her how I didn't know how I was going to leave all of this behind me. She hugged me, and for the next ten minutes, she helped me talk through everything and slowly start to see how just because something good is ending, doesn't mean that other good things aren't waiting to begin on the other side. 

A few days later, we sat down in a classroom at the church to begin our second appointment with Herr Pagel. We talked again about the purpose of our meetings and what kind of light, answers, and changes would come into his life if he listened and earnestly sought to know the truth of what we shared with him. A lifelong atheist, Herr Pagel was worried about his capacity to believe in what we shared, even if he wanted to. "You know, I am absolutely terrified of death. The idea that one day I will not exist anymore, will not be conscious of my surroundings and mind, that I will leave my family here alone scares me more than I can say. But I simply cannot believe in it being any other way."  We bore witness that, as Alma said "...all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and it's motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." We promised him that the Supreme Creator was not an absent and indifferent God, but rather our Father in Heaven who knew him, who loved him, and who wanted more than anything for him to know that He had a plan for him and wanted a relationship with him. "It takes trust and walking into the dark," said Sister Darton. "When we know who He is, we do not need to be afraid. So start there." 

In that moment, I realized how blessed I am to know and believe in a Father in Heaven who really is everything we had just testified of. I realized that in my fear about the end of my mission, I - like Herr Pagel - was failing to put my trust in something I could not see. I have spent the last year and a half telling everyone I can that God lives, that He knows and loves them, and that He has a plan for them. I said it because I believe it. I really truly do. So why should I fear? This Father has given me, and indeed each of us, the perfect light to guide us through whatever darkness and uncertainty may lie ahead: the Savior. As the Savior said to the prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery in the a revelation now found in the 6th section of the Doctrine and Covenants,

"21 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God... I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

My fear stemmed from a failure to apply the faith that I have. I know who my light is. I know that light will always conquer darkness. I know who I need to look to in order to handle this transition. I do not need to fear the end because He who has been by side these past 18 months is not going away - He will stay by me. 

I do not fear the end. I'm excited to see you, my dear ones. I'll write you next week for the last time. 

All my confidence and love, 
Sister G Hendricks

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