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Monday, April 11, 2016

"It's all true. That's the best part."

My very last lesson as a full-time missionary was spent in the home of perfect strangers, starting at the very beginning - explaining that God was their Father and that He had a plan and a message for them that would bless and change their family for eternity. "We invited you over because our son has just been married in the Frankfurt temple," they explained. "We decided that's something that we want too - to be sealed to each other forever." I smiled and once again began to teach and bear my now unshakable witness of the eternal truths that I have spent the past 18 months studying, pondering and sharing. As I hugged Frau Wilde goodbye, I left her with the words that my father shared with me right before I was set apart as a missionary: "The best part of the whole thing is that it's true. It really is true." I thought of how good it was going to feel to be in his arms again in a few short days and to be able to tell him "Dad, you were right. It's all true. That's the best part."

My last week as a missionary has been chock-full of miracles. After discovering that an earlier investigator had moved, we klingeled her neighbor to see if she knew where he had moved to and the woman asked us if we would come back and teach her. We talked with two Turkish men at a café in the hipster/grungy part of Hannover and talked about faith, God, and eternal families and were asked to come teach them and their children. We had our first appointment with a member referral named Britta - a 28 year-old who has been confined to a wheelchair her entire life and who, after loosing her father last year, wants to know if she will ever see him again. We stopped a man on the street named Souleyman from Camaroon who wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon, talked about what it means to be "converted to something" with two guys on an S-Bahn who afterwords asked us if we had any books or brochures or anything, helped complete strangers move into their new home and committed them to come to church this Sunday, and talked to everyone that we possibly could. It was great.

Friday night at the Metzigs found me right back where I started in Hannover: sitting at the dinner table with homemade abendbrot, laughing with their twins, and feeling like I could stay there forever. At this point, I hadn't seen the Sunday Afternoon session of General Conference and Annie had us watch Elder Holland's talk together. At the end of his talk, Annie looked at me and told me that she knew that my 'tomorrow' was going to be hard to face but, as Elder Holland said, "Don't be afraid of tomorrow, but remember the uplifting experiences you had on the mountain.'' In my teary state I could hardly do more than nod and say "I know."

Week after week I have written home about all that I have seen, learned, felt, and witnessed in my time here. I have given all that I have and all that I am. I am changed. In an email shortly after receiving my mission call, my dad wrote me, "the time will come when it will be hard for you to
express your gratitude for your mission without shedding a few tears of gratitude." I'm there. The thankfulness that fills every fiber of my being is overwhelming. "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16)

I leave you with the simple truths that I know for myself:

1. God lives. He knows us by name, loves us, and is intimately involved in our lives.

2. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world - the very Son of God. He loves us more than we can ever imagine and it is through His infinite Atonement that we can make progress, that we can be healed, that we can fix that which has been broken, and that we need never stand alone.

3. Joseph Smith was called as a prophet of the Lord to restore Christ's church to the earth. His humble seeking and asking stands as an example to each of us. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It, along with the Bible, nurtures my soul and is a means of receiving answers to my prayers.

4. Families can be together for eternity. I once again raise my voice with that of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have
put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. ...O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

5. Every single person is given the opportunity and the means to find out for themselves that the above statements are true. God won't leave anyone in the dark when we search for light.

I know it. And I know that I know it.

"Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." 2 John 1:12

See you soon.

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Grace Hendricks