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Monday, December 23, 2013

Hugs from a pickpocket and testimony of Jesus Christ.





The weather has been beautiful and spring-like!


The Carson family visited Sherry in Freiburg!
Visiting the weihnachtsmarkt and singing carols 


Lots of love for Sister Carson!

Sister Carson said "these girls made me so happy! They are so sweet and cheerful and it just lifted up my heart to just be with them for a couple of hours! You have a beautiful daughter!!!"

Photos from 
Schelingen:


The scaffolding is off the cemetery chapel in Freiburg!  Beautiful!








The past two weeks we have been taking a couple of days and caroling up in Lahr.  It's actually been a really cool experience, the people here love music and they love to just stand and listen when you get them in the right mood.  There are definitely a few tweaks we need to make so that it can be an optimal contacting situation, but music really has a special place in the heart of this country.

Sometimes while we're singing the hymns I am just reminded of D&C 25, I have always loved that section.  One, because it is the only one addressed to a woman, and 2, it's all about music and the song of the righteous being a prayer.  I truly think that the use of music to share our testimony is underutilized.  Sister Woods and I have been brain storming ways to get me out in the town and singing some hymns, and then maybe having her talk to the people that stop.  We'll see what happens.

We were up in Lahr singing when a really sweet looking, kinda sad, old homeless man came up.  He had this big grin on his face when we were singing the songs and after we finished, he came up to us.  He was really difficult to understand, as he had no teeth.  He started doing a little coin trick with all of us, but when he was telling me instructions, I couldn't understand one bit, holy cow!  I was so confused, slightly embarrassed, and mostly flat out lost.

I think out of this confusion, he developed a sort of endearing love to me.  Because after he finished all of his little tricks, he shook everyone's hand.  I was last, and when he shook mine, he just pulled me in and gave me a huge hug.

Don't worry, I checked for my wallet afterwards and it was still there.

I have never hugged so many strangers on my life as I have here.

But I love it.

Man, so it has been a tough little while.  Like pretty tough.  There's a funny phrase that goes around missionaries that tells you basically, "When things get hard just remember Noah.  God made him build a ship and then drowned all of his investigators."  That's sort of how we have been feeling.  Like all of the work is going, shloop, down the pipe.

Numbers aren't everything, but there is a reason we call them KEY indicators.  Our's haven't been so hot and so we were really excited the other day to have a lesson with N and P.  We were looking forward to getting back on the horse, having just a super uplifting and spiritual time.  M was planning on coming with us, but it turned out she couldn't as she had to help out with an activity at the church.  It was pretty last minute, so we were sad we couldn't have a member with us, (It makes lessons so much better when a member is there), but we set off for the lesson anyways.

We got to N's house and he let us in, sat us down, and then went to get some apple juice.  He filled our glasses and then apologized that P couldn't come today as she had work.  My stomach just drops.  You have got to be kidding me.  We didn't know P wasn't going to be there!  We aren't allowed to have the lesson with just N.  He goes back into the kitchen, Sister Woods and I look at each other like, "What are we going to do?" even though we both knew the answer.  I said what both of us were thinking, the spirit would not be there if we were being disobedient.  Especially with N, we can't teach him without the spirit.

He came back in and we tried to explain that we need a woman present while we teach, just as rules for safety as missionaries.  He then went on a tangent about, do we follow Man's rules or God's rules?  God would protect you if you are doing his work.

Let's just say he wasn't understanding.

He reluctantly let us go and we left, said a thank you prayer for the help to be obedient, and then just tried not to look like babies and start bawling.  If only he understood!  If only these people understood!  It's just so frustrating and so difficult some times.  If they only opened their ears and listened.  I can't tell them all that I know, it's impossible, they wouldn't get it.  But if they opened their hearts to the spirit, they would understand.

But, God has had so much patience with me in my life, I can't blame them.  It just makes me sad sometimes that I am only human and can't do this work perfectly to bring this perfect happiness into their lives more swiftly.  But I am grateful that the Spirit can, and that I have the opportunity to watch the spirit work in the lives of others.  It really is beautiful.

Patience Sister Henry, Patience.  I used to have a hard time remembering the word for Patience in German.  So what I would do is march around saying, Geduld, Geduld, Geduld Geduld Geduld.



Oh, and I want you to know that even though it is tough, and even though some times I want to shake my fist and go, "Why the flap aren't these people getting it?!" I am so grateful for this time to serve.  I know I was supposed to come to this specific mission for a reason.  I am perfectly okay not knowing the reason, even though it would totally stink if I didn't get to know it at least in the life after this.

But even if God never let me see why I am here, or how this work I am doing is helping some one else, I have faith he knows every thing.  I truly do.  I know God knows us, he knows what we can accomplish, and he wants to give us good gifts.  He loves us perfectly.

Now, as it is Christmas season I just want to share my thoughts about Jesus Christ.  I love Jesus Christ with all of the heart I can muster.  He is truly our savior and our Lord.  I know that Christ lives, there is no doubt in my mind.  Our Savior truly performed the atonement and redeemed all man kind from the fall.  He is everything.  If one doesn't have a testimony of Jesus Christ, then they have not read the Book of Mormon.  Therefore, the fault for their sadness lays with them.  I testify that if one reads the Book of Mormon, wishing to become acquainted with the Lord, they will.  It is as simple as that.

I am so grateful for Christ.  Words simply cannot muster how grateful I am for Him and His atonement.  I don't think one truly understands until they open their eyes to what the atonement has done for them in their lives.  I have seen it change me.  I have seen him take me from a pathetic little snot nosed teenager and turn me into who I am today.  Jesus Christ is real, he can change you.  He wants to help us, his arms are continually outstretched to help us.  We just need to reach out in faith.

It is not insignificant that Christ chose, in all of his glory and majesty, to come to this earth as an infant.  He truly has descended below them all, all so he could be acquainted with our griefs, succor us, and advocate our cause as we return to our Father in Heaven.

Christ truly lives.  I can not say it enough.  My testimony of Jesus Christ is my most treasured possession and not only do I wish to share it with every one who has ears to hear, my greatest wish is that those I love have this fire burn within their hearts as well.

I am so grateful for the mission.  Words cannot describe what a mission does for you.  This work is so beautiful and so important.  What a tender mercy that God is letting a goofy, giggly, 20 year old American girl take a part in it.  He truly wants to bless us!

I love you all so much.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you.  I loved reading all of the letters.  I haven't forgotten about any of you.  I love you all so much. Please study the scriptures more, pray more, and become more active in your church calling, your service opportunities, or the good in your life.  You will only be happier I promise.

Merry Christmas.  I love you.  Eat lots of cookies for me!  You've gotta love good ol' American Christmas treats and some Josh Groban Christmas music!  Love you!

Love,
Sister Henry

With a favorite friend at church on Sunday


Christmas decorations (maybe Bremen Town fable donkey?)






 The Elders bought nerf guns for the sisters, and even the senior couple joined in the epic battle!



Ready for Fiesta District Meeting!



OKAY so to continue on the story from last week.  The man from the straßenbahn texted me.  The first text is," How are you doing? I found you very nice" I texted back, (we didn't know who it was at first) and asked "With who am I speaking?" then he texted back "with R." "I would really like to invite you to dinner."  I said, "That is very nice, but I can't.  If you would like to come to church, you are always welcome."  (That's all I have texted or will text back) "But, why can't you? Maybe we can go together, man won't know, right?"  "I really want to get to know you.  Religion isn't all in life. Really, it is to find love and to be together and happy.  Let us meet."  "Since I have seen you, you haven't gone from my head.  Maybe we are soulmates.  Let us meet."  So yes, it was hilarious, and I feel like I am truly a sister missionary, as I have been declared as a soul mate of a man i contacted.  (Don't forget, Sister Henry isn't a small wimpy woman, she can take good care of herself! And the elders and senior couple are always close by.) 

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