I want to start by sharing my favorite scripture! It is in the
Doctrine and Covenants, a book of revelations given to the prophet
Joseph Smith that come from God and are for us to learn from. This
particular section is also a part of Christ’s teachings, it talks
about the lilies of the field. This verse is just after the other
section of verses but has given me a lot of comfort and strength
throughout my mission.
“88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go
before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and
my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to
bear you up.”
I have felt these angels as I have served the Lord full time out here
in Europe. There are hard times, there are slow times, but for each of
those there are equal and oppositely beautiful times. In addition,
throughout these hard times I know that He is there, and I know
throughout my life whether or not I feel I deserve His support, it is
The best part of the mission, though, might just be the moments when I
share that with others in one way or another and the idea takes root
in their hearts and they are able to feel His love and accordingly
change. This change comes slowly for some, but it comes and with it
comes a new kind of everlasting peace. It is truly an amazing thing to
seeing it is an honor to take part in it. What’s cool, too, is at
whether or not we asked for it, it happens on other levels to us all
as missionaries as well. As we share and learn, we are changed and
just make room for even more love, light and peace.
We had a great couple of weeks, talking with people from all walks of
life, learning new things and working with the lovely people who are
currently in Graz. There is a program here for a few more weeks, AIMS.
A few of these students from America have been visiting our church,
some are members, some not, but they bring with them a special vibe of
fun and love. Every time we see them they are so excited to see us. A
few of them are returned missionaries themselves and seeing their
ongoing enthusiasm for the work is uplifting and inspiring. It means a
lot to me that they reach out the way they do and just love us so
much. They probably don’t even understand what a big deal it is that
they are real friends to us and just bring us so much joy! You never
know when you’re being the angel. 🙂
Another one of those angels for me here is a sister in our ward,
Sister Mühlberger. We stopped by her just to say hello. She is
married and her husband is very sick a and not all there, but she
takes care of him most of the time. He is always very joyful ,but
doesn’t quite understand what he’s doing always. She just loves him
like she does us, fully. When we walked over, I rang their apartment
doorbell expecting to try and not be a burden, but to build a
relationship and serve her somehow. Instead,Che very act of us
thinking of her gave her so much joy, she lit up as we walked in the
door. She was thrilled at her chance to visit with us sisters and tell
us how she joined the church years ago in Austria and shower us with
treats and advice. We were able to share things with her and help her
out as well, but it was nice to be genuinely loved by a stranger. I
hope I can take others in like her!
She had been hearing from the missionaries, who back then had 12
lessons, for 12 weeks when one day one elder demanded that she be
baptised. Shocked, she threw him out and asked him to never come back.
His companion shyly turned and asked if he could return. She smiled
and said yes. After that, she thought about why they wanted her to be
baptised and this other elder was able to describe to her the
importance of the eternal promise with our Father. Through his loving
patience and kindness, she was able to learn for herself and
ultimately chose to join the church and be baptised. She is now very
happy and says she owes much to her membership of the church.
We also met with one of our Egyptian friends and talked to him about
the restoration of the gospel and of Christ’s church. He told us he is
Muslim but is interested to learn ,ore and see where it goes because
he feels that God has always protected him, even when he did politics
in Egypt. He tried to go against the norm and was shot at a few times,
but always safe because of his prayers. Even if he is not interested
in seriously learning from us it is great to hear more testimonies and
to build his testimony of prayer even more so that he will continue to
use that throughout his life.
As I talk with everyone, I realize how important God is as a loving
Father to us here who need Him. I know I need Him and I know others do
too. Drawing near to Him lightens lives. I know that! I am so
grateful for the deepened testimony I have gained through the
thousands of experiences I have had out here.
As an endnote, we got transfer calls again! I cannot believe how fast
time flies when you are working out here! I will be training another
missionary here in Graz! Sister Gardner will go about 2 hours north to
Wiener Neustadt and work with one of my old companions! Im sure we
have many good things in store for us as we follow our call and I am
thankful for all I have learned here this transfer!
Have a fabulous week!