This is my email from last week that I guess you didn't get...
February 2, 2015
Hey Everybody it's Family Night!
(Like the song Mom always used to sing. I've been wanting to put that as my opening line for a couple months now...)
Well, first things first, it looks like I'll be staying here in Luxembourg for one more transfer! That'll make 4 here, 6 weeks longer than any of my previous villes. It's something that I really consider to be a great blessing for me. I've loved my time here in Luxembourg, and I really don't feel ready to leave yet, although that's what I expected based on my history in the mission. But I really feel like these last 6 weeks will be a huge blessing. I feel like I can do so much more for this ward, and I plan to do as much as I possibly can during the time I have left.
Overall though, this week was wonderful! I totally forgot to tell you about our trip to the American Cemetery last P-day, which was really cool! As you can see, it's a pretty big place. The closest bus stop is about a mile away from there, and there are really only backwoods-type roads to walk on to get there, so Elder Jenness and I made the nice trip through a few inches of really wet snow (slush, basically) to get there. It was a really cool place, and a really peaceful one, especially with the snow. You can't really see it from the pictures, but it was kind of a foggy day as well, and you could see the fog slowly drifting across the array of crosses, which, combined with the snow, gave it an almost ghostly but sacred feeling. It was really a magical place, and worth the cold feet.
As our week went on, we were really able to see some amazing things. Rigal, our ami who came from that one brief contact a few weeks ago, was able to clearly explain the Plan of Salvation to us after reading the pamphlet, something that most missionaries will tell you is a pretty impressive feat, and we were able to give him a baptismal date! He's really excited to learn more about the gospel, and he's really picking things up quickly.
Later on, we had another lesson with a part member family that we're teaching. We had decided to share the Restoration video with them and talk about how each of us gained our own personal knowledge of Joseph Smith. While the wife is still not baptized, she knows that it's true, and loves the Gospel. As we finished the video we started to talk about prayer and how much that can help us and lead to blessings from our Heavenly Father. I felt prompted to ask her specifically how she had seen God answer her prayers in her life. She gave a pretty general answer, but it was clear that she was thinking of something specific in her life, so I asked again. She started to cry and told us of how prayer had helped her mother in such a way that she, the wife, has always known that there is a God. At the point the Spirit was so strong and both of us, Elder Jenness and I, started to tell them how much we love them and how much we want them to be able to receive the blessing of being an eternal family. Like you said Dad, the simple fact of telling those that we were teaching that we love them helped open them up enough to agree to come to church, a commitment that they kept yesterday. It was the first time in months that the husband has come, and the first time in many more months that they've come together. We were able to feel so much of the Spirit being poured out upon us. It's just such a great blessing.
Overall, it was a wonderful week, and I'm glad it wasn't my last. It's such a beautiful time to be here with all the snow we've been getting, and I look forward to what's ahead.
Until next week,
P.S. I'll try to get more pictures with my face in them this week...
February 9, 2015
I hope that you finally got the email from last week, I'm not quite sure why it didn't get sent...if not, let me know and I can try to send it again.
Well, since last week, we got a lot of good things done here! I'm really enjoying (what I kind of consider) my extra time here in Luxembourg. I really consider it a blessing and an opportunity to really dig in and do a little more for the people here. We started doing just that this week on Monday evening, right after I finished writing to you guys.
We had an awesome evening with Ramiro and Rosa at a Spanish-speaking member family's house, and he ended up bearing his testimony about how much better of a person he has become since he started meeting with us. The next evening we did the same thing with another ami named Arash and this time at the Gilstrap's home. And then this Saturday we were able to have Diana and Du Wei with us at the Turner's home, where we played UNO extreme, and just had a good time together. They've now come to church together, as a family, twice in a row, which is a big deal for them, and Diana herself has come 4 times in a row! They're really making some big steps forward.
Other than that, we had quite a few things set up that fell through. It was a weird second half of the week where we felt kind of out of control with our schedule just changing every time we blinked. But we were able to work things out, and we had a couple really good lessons with Rigal. We felt prompted to teach him the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity in one visit, which is really quite a lot for a person to digest all at once, but we did it anyway. :) As we sat down at his place for our lesson, he offered us, of all things considering the lesson we were about to give, a beer. What a nice lead into the lesson that was!
Teaching these commandments, although usually one of the more "difficult" lessons, one could say, considering how much potential there is for a negative effect, is always one of the most spiritual for me. I feel like a lot missionaries might disagree, but for me, these commandments are such wonderful opportunities for us to choose to be happy, to decide to overcome our natural man and make ourselves who God wants us to be. I guess, to me, it's the practical and immediate usage of these principles that makes them powerful.
I don't really remember specifically what words were said, but I remember the feeling between us and him, the Spirit that was there with us as we resolved his concerns and testified to him of the blessings of living these laws. In the end, he accepted to do it, and I believe that that only came because of the Spirit that was with us and the love that we have for him.
I feel like I say it all the time, but I really love Luxembourg and all of the people that I have the opportunity to serve here. I miss you guys a lot, but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. Have a good week and keep up the good work with all those crazy projects! :)
This Week's Photos with Adam's Captions
|Just a giant red deer thing we found near the church|
|The view of Longwy, France that we visited this week. It's kind of a sad place...|
|The seal of longwy, taken in the gare (train station)|
|The Tahi family who moved back to Tahiti this week|
|Just a sign we found pointing out how close it really is....|
Translated - "The Last Days" (of a sale)
|A fountain in the middle of town on a really cold day|