This has to have been one of my favorite weeks on my entire Mission! We saw some cool miracles, real ones. And I personally grew as a missionary.
The theme of this week was less-active work.
It started, as weeks usually do, on Monday.
We had a Little bit of work time left, so we stopped by one of “those” left actives, the ones that are super famous in the ward. Herr S. went inactive over 20 years ago, after serving a Mission and as branch president (at the Age of 26).
I wanted to meet him – I’m always arrogant enough to think that I’m the one that can help them – and for the 5th time, he wasn’t home.
We were walking back to our apartment when a man on a bench said
“Hey, how are you doing?” in English.
We walked back over to him, and he said,
“Oh, do you not know who I am? I know who you are. I once served a Mission too.”
We both knew who it was then, but with that comp-telepathy thing you get after a transfer, we both played dumb, pretended like it was no big deal.
“Oh cool. where?” etc.
Finally he said,
“Yeah, I’m Herr S.”
In a AHA! kinda voice, expecting a “bomb drop” moment.
I replied, “Hey, nice to meet you. I’m Elder Greaves.”-
Drove him nuts.
Eventually said, “Surely you’ve heard about me!”
“I’ve read it somewhere, but I don’t know much.”
Then, things got weird. Another less active we re-contacted the day before showed up. It turns out they were really good friends.
H, the other one, is middle eastern. He rode away, and Herr S said,
“He’s Christian you know!”
And we said,
“Better than that, he’s a mormon too!”
Haha. I like keeping this guy on his toes. He works in a street market, so we’ll stop by and work through H to get more contact.
Better than that, we tried walking a different way to the Train Station one day. It was longer, but there were different people. We saw this lady and her son struggling up the hill with bags of groceries, so we naturally offered to help. She gratefully agreed, and as we walked up the hill, she admitted that she was a member. She said it was honestly a miracle, because due to injuries, this was the first time in 3 years she had tried to walk up this hill, and with crutches and bags and a son, it was just too much. Her son, 11, was playing up ahead of us, and she mentioned that he had autism, and that for the first 4 years of his life, he would only say 3 words: Light, Book, and Moon. I said that was amazing, and noted how much progress he has made. She said that how that happened was a really cool story, and that we could come in and hear it if we wanted.
Okay, if we have to. 🙂
What followed is one of the most incredible conversion stories I’ve ever heard. It is a little too personal to share over the Internet, but the point is, her son was miraculously blessed with the ability to speak overnight, and then she randomly opened the Book of Mormon and the first verse she read was how “men, yea, and woman also” will prophesy, and children’s mouths will be opened so they can speak.
She was baptized two weeks later, received her endowment, and then was badly injured and unable to come to church, as well as had problems with the members. She felt like a lost sheep, she said. Then we found out later that a member in our ward used to be best friends with her, then when she went inactive she cut off all contact, and then after years of prayer she also miraculously recontacted her – maybe a month ago. This woman was so excited to meet with us, and her son was even more so. They made out an appointment for next week without us even asking. We invited them to church, but she said she wasn’t quite ready yet. Her son piped up “DOCH! Wir kommen!” [Something like “On the contrary! We’re coming!”]
Haha, he’s great. We’ll need permission, but I think a major factor in her return to church will be that her son is almost definitely in need of baptism.
Lots of other great things happened this week, such as getting Mike and Ali AND THEIR KIDS TO CHURCH! As well as Frau R and Rose! but my last thing was a lesson we had with Junior, a law student who went to a year of bible school. He’s been really struggling to progress, and we’ve been struggling to teach, because we inherited a very friendly, almost lackadaisical relationship with the missionaries. This Sunday, we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with him. It was in a member’s home, first of all. that’s always prime. Last time, we used the Bible a lot. He asked me yesterday if I ask my mom the lawyer for tips. 🙂
But I started off the lesson by apologizing, because it isn’t our words at all. they don’t matter. And it doesn’t matter who “wins” with the Bible. Either it is true, or it is not. We talked a little about the Book of Mormon, and then we read Matthew 3 and 2nd Nephi 31 – an example of the book of Mormon supporting and clarifying what is shared in the Bible. Then we asked members O and A the blessings they received from this church. We really wanted to focus on the blessings he would get if this is true.
At the end, Elder Casperson bore an incredibly powerful, personal testimony about eternal families, and then I followed with one of temples. We gave a missionary promise that if he accepted this Gospel, his family would have that chance too. The Spirit was incredibly strong, and by the end, he committed to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, which is something he has never sincerely done before.
Marion G. Romney once said, “I always know when I’ve spoken under the influence of the Spirit because I learned something I didn’t know.”
That is what I felt last night. I really felt this week that I’ve needed to repent of how I was teaching, which was much too focused on me, and much too lacking in the Spirit. So we tried it differently this weekend, and we’ve seen miracles. I think the Lord was waiting until I figured that out, because we are doing much better with getting appointments too. Something I said in that lesson hit home for me as I said it. If the Lord wanted the most doctrinally sound, charismatic, powerful, learned orators to go on a mission, the mission age would not be 18. We are sent at this age to highlight that this message must come from God, and to make sure that we give the Spirit room to do what he is there to do. The Lord said to Paul, “my glory is in weakness,” and that is true. By allowing all these terribly imperfect people to run this church, he gives a stark contrast to work with. I’m grateful for that, and for the lesson I learned.
I almost forgot – Transfer calls! Elder Casperson is going to Lübeck, and I’m getting a brand new missionary! I’ll be training. That was great, but it also meant problems with appointments with everything since I will be in Berlin for a few days.
Have a great week! Love ya!