"Nicht durch das Ohr, nicht durch das Auge, sondern zu meinem Geist, zu dem, was in mir lebendig und ewig ist. "
So here I am in a new city in Germany. Bremerhafen in case you forgot. And when I say Bremerhaven I don't exactly mean the city itself but rather the area. Because I believe so far I have spent more time in Cuxhaven proselyting than I have in Bremerhafen. They are both port cities which you may have already known if you knew that Der Hafen in German means port or harbor. Even though as of right now I can't say that I know too much about this area or that I really feel like that I am right by the sea. Despite having seen big ships in the distance while being in neighborhoods. But thankfully it has been actually a little bit warmer here than it was when I was in Hannover. That or I am just getting used to the weather already. The Weather has ranged between 6 to -2 degrees Celsius, even though the sun is completely down before 4:30, but it’s not too bad as of yet and probably won't snow until the middle of January or at least according to those who live in this area.
And so to tell you a little bit about where I am living now. I actually don't live in Bremerhafen but in a village called Nordholz which is really quite the hindrance sometimes. I mean we literally have to bike through a forest every day to go proselyting and get back home, and that is if you want to take the short way. Haha The trains to leave where we live or get back to where we live only come around once every hour so if you miss your train you are basically stuck wherever you are for another hour (already happened). However there is good news in light of that. Next Monday we should be moving into an apartment in Bremerhafen, unfortunately that means there is no point in me sending you a new address. But so when we are actually in the small cities of Bremerhafen and Cuxhafen we don't have bikes those are only used for getting to the train station in Nordholz. So we use our feet and the buses. Not nearly quite as convenient as the Bahn system in Hannover and I have already had to walk some distances to get to lessons (always worth getting to an appointment though). There are four missionaries in our area a set of Elders, so my new companion (Elder Garner from the U.S. "basically" because his dad was in the military) and I and then the Sister companionship, which has someone from my district when I was in the MTC.
Okay now to talk about the Branch itself. So of course we don't have a real church building but instead meet in an old mansion, believe me, it’s not as fancy as you may be thinking right now. And we have about 30 or so active members that come to Church every Sunday. It is quite a bit different from being in Hannover where there is a full functioning ward and stake. Whereas a branch can disappear from one or two families moving or from one generation passing by. It is kind of funny too because there used to be 3 wards in Bremerhafen because there used to be an American military base in the area before they shut it down. Of course though we still have like 60 inactive members in the area. If anything I only hope I can help build a strong foundation for this branch, one that is excited and aware of the importance of missionary work. It truly is missionary work and that spirit of that work that keeps your own testimony growing. When you lose the spirit of the work in which we are engaged, you become infidel in your feelings. You say that you do not know whether the Bible is true, or whether the Book of Mormon is true, neither about new revelations, and neither whether there is a God or not. When you lose the spirit of this work, you lose the knowledge of the things of God in time and in eternity. It seems to me that many receive the Gospel because they know it is true. They are convinced in strong judgment and strong argument overpowers them, they are rationally compelled to admit the Gospel is true based upon fair reasoning. They try to follow and obey the first principles but they never try to seek to be enlightened by the power of the Holy Ghost. One of the grand keys to success in this life and eternal reward in the life to come is to cultivate the gift and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately it took me so long to figure that out. That rather than being led by man or by my own actions and thoughts, I could be led by the very light itself.
A mission is certainly not easy but it is worth every minute of your time when you put your heart and soul into it. It is much more than an opportunity for me but a divine responsibility. Even though there are days when you wake up and you don't want to go out in the cold and talk to people who don't want to listen and the holidays come around and your thoughts drift back to home and the warm experiences in your mind are firmly set in place. I am truly grateful to be here and I only hope my faith and devotion will be there when everything else in this world seems to fight against me from getting out there and opening my mouth. Even then I cannot describe the joy and thankfulness for the knowledge that I do have and the eternal hope that accompanies with it. I know that my Redeemer lives. And I know what I must do.
I am grateful for all those who send me letters, emails, and packages. And all those of you who may find some kind of enjoyment out of these letters. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season and that you truly get into the spirit of the season rather than the commercialism hype. I love you all.