Because we meet soooo many people who speak so many different languages here in Germany, we have Books of Mormon in basically every language possible. A couple of weeks ago, we brought one of the Italians an Italian Book of Mormon in hopes he would read it and have some interest. But we weren't necessarily expecting much to come of it. We've followed up on him last week and he had only read a few pages. You know, the norm. He owns the shop so he doesn't have much time unless it's a slow day, when he will read in his off time.
Then this last Wednesday, we asked him where he was in the Book and opened a German one to see where he was. We opened up to Nephi expecting him to not have had much time, when we told us he was HALF WAY THROUGH ALMA!!!! No big deal, he is more than half way finished with a 630 page book (in Italian)! He said he had been reading it because it had been raining so much and business was slow. THANK GOODNESS FOR RAIN!! So now is the challenge of communicating he needs to pray about its truthfulness with his not completely fabulous German (and basically no religious vocabulary). Cause reading is one thing, praying is the most important step!
That same night we were headed to visit a less active and we're just riding the Bahn and we sat across from a man. We started a conversation about the weather (cause it had rained all day, once gain the rain was good that day). He then asked us if we were Mormons and of course we responded with a yes. He told us he was Protestant but he was currently angry at God. His wife has Breast Cancer and he has been angry with God since then.
That morning before, in my personal study, I read Mosiah 24:13-16 which says,
"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
I shared that scripture with him and had him read it right there in the Bahn.
We bore simple testimony of the truthfulness of that scripture. Even though burdens, trails, hardships, afflictions, whatever it may be, are very difficult and can feel impossible, God only gives us these challenges so our testimonies will be stronger. We will gain a stronger knowledge that the Lord does visit His people in their afflictions. But the Lord God will NEVER leave us alone in our trials. The Lord does strengthen us so we can overcome our burdens and trials. Even though we only ever want these trails to be taken away, the Lord knows how important they are for us to learn from. So He strengths is to be able to overcome our trials. He WILL strengthen us.
Even though the less-active we were trying to visit was not home, I KNOW we were supposed to be on that Bahn at that exact time for that exact man. The Lord is guiding our work to share the hope of the Gospel with his children. He doesn't want us to feel alone during our trials. That man was mad at God, but he did take the time to listen to us just a little. God is guiding our paths even if it is to share one simple scripture with his son who is struggling. I know that when we have trials in our lives God will send us little miracles to help us get through. For me, this Gospel is a huge miracle and blessing in my life to be able to get through trials and hardships. I know this Church is true and is the ray of sunshine on the dark rainy days.
Ice cream from the Italian Ice Cream parlor
The sunrise from our apartment kitchen. Weilimdorf is the cutest.
Also, we did an Austellung(presentation) this week on Königstraße (the main street in Stuttgart) and this is me. And Elder Donald in the background...