Monday, February 9, 2015

Wegen Des Felsens

--Oldenburg Zone Training Mtg with Interviews--

Aaaw yes another letter written from off the coast of good ol' Bremerhaven. I have to find out a way to start these letters a little bit more naturally. Well I can't wait for it to be summer again or at least not winter anymore. Missionary work is a lot more fun and also seemingly a lot more effective. We were recently told us an experience by President Kosak that he had while doing finding with some missionaries. In which during a snowstorm a missionary approached someone and said "Haben Sie Hoffnung?" (Literally: Have you hope?) Safe to say it wasn't an effective question although sometimes when looking at people on the streets during winter you want to ask them that yourself sometimes. So it will be a nice change when the weather takes a turn for the better.
Speaking of interesting missionary experiences, the other day while we were in our apartment and getting ready to head to Cuxhaven for an event that the members in the branch where putting on. Suddenly our doorbell rings and my companion goes to answer the phone by the door to talk to whoever is outside the apartment. And the first thing that the people outside say to him is "Sprechen Sie Englisch?", which naturally he responds to as "yeah I can speak perfect English." Which they then reply with,"Oh well we are missionaries from our church and we are talking to the people about God and the Bible." So already we are thinking that this is some kind of joke by the sisters or one of the members in the branch. So my companion responds with "Echt?!" (For real?!) and then they say yeah. And then he says "well come on in!" In the meantime I am only hearing this from the other room and so I get up and go to the door with him. And of course as you already may have been expecting was the Jehovah's Witnesses, literally the bane of our existence. So we talked with them for a little bit and they were nice and invited us to their meeting the following Sunday and gave us a brochure that was really actually odd when I looked in it later. But really the most surprising thing was is that these two guys were from Nigeria and Kazhakstan or however you spell it. Why are the Jehovah's Witnesses so successful?! And they are copying us in everything that we do! Haha now I know why random people on the streets will talk to us in English for no reason because of these guys who are going around asking people if they can speak English. Even Evangelist (Protestant) missionaries ruin our image. Haha just the other day my companion told me a story about one of his investigators. His investigator lived somewhere in Africa and went to our church for six months and then came here to Germany and then some Evangelist missionaries found him and told him that there were no Mormons in Germany and then took away his book of Mormon and then proceeded to try and perform an exorcism on him.....and people say that we are weird! haha anyways just wanted to give you another glimpse of some of the interesting occurrences around here and that it was kind of funny to be on the other side of the doorway for once. We were nice to them of course because of course we can sympathize with them.
We put another person on baptismal date this week. It was the Indian man that I talked about in last week’s letter. Who also ended up being the first investigator to show up to church since I got here in Bremerhaven. It really made me appreciate the kind of environment I had in Hannover because it was a rare thing to not have an investigator at church. But yeah it was really cool to have him there and I am really excited to see him make progress and hopefully make his baptismal date of March 7th. Unfortunately we have not been able to get a hold of the Serbian family that we put on baptismal date a couple weeks ago. Hopefully this coming week we can see them again.
Another event that we had this week was zone training meeting and interviews as well. This was actually my first zone training meeting in the Oldenburg zone. Which was a bit different compared to zone training meetings in Hannover because Hannover is the biggest zone in the mission. There are about half as many missionaries in the Oldenburg zone. So at this training meeting my companion and I had the great privilege of giving one of the lessons. Just another fascinating experience to have while on my mission that I never would have thought I would ever do in my life. To add even more to it, during my interview with the President, he told me to prepare for leadership. And that I would probably stay in Bremerhaven for one more transfer and then I am assuming after that I will become a District Leader. So if there is anything that you guys could pray for back home it would be that I can prepare efficiently and that I will be able to properly fulfill my role as district leader or whatever role I am needed in.
There is not a whole lot more I can say about this week other than the Fasching Fest that the Branch put on at the school in Cuxhaven, one of the members is a Schoolmaster. That was fun we had it in the gym of the school. The gym had gymnastic rings, ladders and other padded stuff that we set up for the kids. The whole experience really just reminded me of family parties back home except everyone is speaking German.....including children. Haha…always odd to think about in retrospect.
I guess I will finish off with a little something that I found during my personal study recently. It is a quote from President J. Reuben Clark Jr. about faith.

"As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know....We have had this great power given unto us, this power of faith. What are we doing about it? Can you, can we, do the mighty things that the Savior did? Yes. They have been done by the members of the Church who had the faith and the righteousness so to do. Think of what is within your power if you but live the Gospel, if you but live so that you may invoke the power which is within you."
As I have been a missionary it really has been a period where I could really test my faith, where I could really try to learn how to receive revelation in all things because without faith and also without revelation there is no religion. There is nothing binding you back to Heavenly Father. So I am glad to be here and to really be able to find a way to obtain this divine power that President Clark Jr. was talking about and to really apply it in my missionary work and then into the rest of my life. There are truly many great gifts and blessings that a missionary can receive while he is on his mission. I only hope that I can use them properly now for the Lord and his work and keep them for the future.
Ich vermisse euch!
Elder Foster

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