This week has been one of those weeks that seems like they approximately two-and-a-half celestial marriages long. After this week, I feel so old, I make Methuselah look like a spring chicken.
But that’s not because it was bad. Quite the opposite. It was a pretty darn good week. But so much has happened between P-days, it’s like trying to remember what I wore to the first day of kindergarten when I try to remember who it was we found then. (Frau Weiß. I’m no dummy.)
So I’ll try to make it quick. Maybe I could…. DO IT IN ONE SENTENCE!
We found 3 investigators, 1 whose appointment fell out because of miscommunication, 1 who already believes in foreordination and pre-earth existence (is that the sweet sweet gurgling of a half-filled baptismal font?), and 1 of whom a member brought to church after basically street contacting him the week before, and who is very old, just like our other investigator at church who is progressing but also has a hard time understanding everything, unlike the investigator with whom we just set a baptismal date; he is the father of a family of four, and hopefully this week we can set another one with his wife – both of them live in the same city as another man, who we will Tchüss next week unless or until he magically comes to church meetings – and speaking of meetings, we got to go to Leipzig, where I was very sweaty because I had to wear my coat to disguise the fact I forgot my suit jacket, and where I had an interview with the Mission President, of course, and got to say hello to other missionaries.
Well that wasn’t so hard, was it.
Elder Riddle and I are doing fine. I’m interested to see what will happen with transfers. I could stay, I could go. (As always, it’s just slightly less predictable this transfer). Anyway. Hopefully we can start baptizing some people around here soon. One baptismal date isn’t fun enough yet. And by “fun”, I mean I’m happy they are coming unto Christ. I can say “fun”. Don’t judge me.
Really though. The family with whom we set a baptismal date is named Petro (as always, names are changed). They are gypsies from Serbia. They had problems with people because of their heritage, and had to seek asylum in Germany. They have two kids, one a year old, and one 4 weeks old. I can’t even describe how cute those two are. I hope it works out for them!
We now have 2 really old Germans as investigators, a Herr Mark and a Herr Fen. They are both old, have a mentioned that? We found Herr Mark on the street, met with him a few times, and he came to church! He is old. It’s hard to teach him. But not as hard as Herr Fenzl, who is very old. A member started to talking to him and invited him to come on Sunday, and he did. He’s super, super old. We had 2 very old (have I mentioned that?) Germans and our new convert Brd. John at church, and they each needed specific things (translator, to be in Sunday School, to have a investigator class) so Elder Riddle translated for John and sat next to Herr Mark (who is, in fact, old) while Brd. Schütze (the big cheese or Ward Mission Leader) and I took Herr Fen into another room to explain to him about how, like, we wanted to baptize him. He’s old.
Well, an hour later, we all three stumbled out into the daylight.
Herr Fen had learned in an hour that there are 3 people in the Godhead, something about families, and prophets are a thing.
Brd. Shütze (who is also old, coincidentally) and I learned that he used to be Catholic, he had had a stroke, lost some money a while ago at the grocery store, had three sons, now only has one son, had a son with diabetes, can’t write very well anymore, likes ham and potatoes, gets off subject easily, and can’t remember that there are 3 people in the Godhead. So that will be a hoot. Because he’s so OLD.
We’re eating ham and potatoes at his place Thursday.
We found a woman the other day who told us all about foreordination and the pre-existence, and how she just feels some sort of almost god-like potential, and can almost but not really remember somehow preparing to come to this Earth, where she thinks we came to learn more and help others as our Brothers and Sisters. So, it was relatively easy to teach her the Plan of Salvation.
Speaking of which, when I teach the Plan of Slavation, I focus on 2 things: the family, and, of course, the Atonement. If I were to give a really short Plan lesson, I would say something like:
At first, I started to just write the entire thing out, but I’m pretty sure you know the Plan of Salvation, so I will just talk about families and the Atonement.
For me personally, it means a lot to me that I can know that God is my Father in Heaven, the father of my spirit. before we came to this Earth, we lived with him as his spirit children. He loved us all so very much, and, as he was our Dad, he was our absolute hero. There was absolutely no one cooler or stronger or smarter than our Dad. And we wanted to be just like him. He wanted us to grow up like him too. But we couldn’t. To be like our Heavenly Father, we needed a body. Father had a body – a perfect one, a glorified one. Without a body, we couldn’t be like him. He couldn’t really learn or progress any more than we already had. And just like what happens here on Earth, Heavenly Father knew the only way for us to really learn and grow to become like Him would be to go out on our own for a while. So he set up this plan, where we could get bodies and grow and learn. It would be really hard. We would have lots of problems, make lots of mistakes. And Heavenly Father would miss us. Because he loved us.
He needed someone to show us the way. So after a vote, we all chose Jesus Christ, our biggest brother, the one most like Dad, to lead us and help us. It would be impossible to do it alone, but we would never be alone.
Adam and Eve
Like little children, couldn’t choose right and wrong. They had 2 commandments: Have a family, and don’t eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. As God wanted, they chose families, and they were able to learn and progress, but that meant death and sin as well. We can’t live with Heavenly Father unless we are perfect, body and spirit.
God knew it wasn’t possible to do it alone. Christ knew it too. He willingly suffered and died for us, out of love for his family, both father and siblings. Because of that, we will all be resurrected, and we can all repent, if we choose to follow him.
We are here in families for a reason. There is no way we could understand the love of God without them. The love we have for our families is the closest we can get on this Earth for the love God and Christ have for us. We can live the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel to repent and be clean.
Christ visited there after he died. It is a place of further learning and growth, where all families will have a chance through Christ to be forever sealed in Temples.
Here is where we can live with our families forever, not only physical but also our spiritual families. In the end, death hath no sting in Christ.
Families are an integral part of our growth here on Earth.
I still remember Brett showing 8 year old me how to pop pecs and how to woo the ladies by kissing my biceps. I miss him, but I’m glad that he is a little closer to God and Christ now.