One year later
This past week was quite a revelatory week for me.
I'm coming up on my year mark this week, and "coincidentally" enough this past week I was on exchanges with our Sister training leaders in the area that I was trained in. On Tuesday, we got on a train and headed to Hamburg for the next 24 hours. We pulled into the train station and it felt like I had never left. Things just continued to get even stranger from there! We took the U-bahn back to the apartment where I used to live. I spent the day with one of the Sisters there and we went by on a Spanish member from the congregation I served in for the time I was in Hamburg. It was amazing to be able to see her again, and within 5 minutes I found out that I'm losing my Spanish quite rapidly... yikes.
The biggest miracle that happened while I was back in Hamburg was that we came in contact with a man that was baptized in another area of Hamburg (that area now belongs to the area where the Sisters are serving). I remember meeting him about a year ago and seeing how happy he was as he learned from the Sisters, but after his baptism he experienced a lot of trials and decided to distance himself from the missionaries and the church. No one has had contact with him since January. I didn't serve in the area he lives in, but upon arrival into the area, his name was the only thing on my mind. We went by but weren't sure what to expect because he was really mad earlier in the year. We klingeled anyway and he answered. He said he didn't have much time but that we could speak for a little bit. He didn't look too happy to see us. We started talking and after a while he began to open up more to us. What he wanted to be a 5 minute talk, developed into a 20 minute conversation. By the time we left, he accepted our invitation for the Sisters to come back and visit him. Seeing him was a witness to me that God can heal the deepest wounds, and that he doesn't forget his children.
Later on, we returned to the church building for a meeting. While we were there, I was able to see another good friend of mine. She had just moved to Hamburg while I was there. She moved looking for opportunity to develop her artistic skills. I gave her a big hug, and we both shed a couple of tears. When I met her, she was experiencing some tough trials. Trials that can either help or break your faith. Seeing her and catching up with her was a testimony to me that faith in God and his power is worth holding on to.
The end of the day was my absolute favorite part because the elderly man I would play the violin for just light up upon seeing me. He remembered me. And I just love him.
One year later, and an area that struggled so much has now flourished with new friends of the church and stronger members. I just remember getting to Hamburg and working unbelievably hard and diligently with my trainer. And I remember the rough nights where we would plead to God to please help the area grow in faith so we could share the message of the restoration of the Church of JesusChrist. Being able to visit my first area again opened my eyes to see that God has a perfect plan, and that the impossible is indeed possible.
My emotions are all over the place. I received my release date and it all just feels so unreal. Every minute is a gift. I reflect back on this last year and I know that there is a God. I know He lives. I know He is always there. I look back at the darkest, trialing times, where I just wanted to give up. And I see where I am now, and I'm infinitely grateful that He helped me get here. I know that without the help of God I wouldn't be able to speak German at the level I'm able to now. I know He gives me the strength to be able to wake up and have the energy and desire to share His gospel with others. I know He comforts me after getting rejected so many times. I know He is my light when I don't know what to do to help the people I love. He has become my everything, and I'm grateful I have this time to know Him in a way I wouldn't have been able to if I hadn't listened and acted to his call for me.
See you in 6 months!