Stuttgart – Week 4

Week 4 - Stuttgart

(week 40)

Okay everyone, are you ready for some BIG NEWS?!?!?!?!

ATHA IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!
Atha is our dear Greek friend, who was found on the street about 3 months ago. He actually called the number on the pass along card he got, and started meeting with the sisters! Since I got into the area, we’ve been trying to help him see that he is soooo ready for baptism. Let me tell you the whole story though, because I think it would be really cool for all my non-missionary friends to see a little window into the epicness we sometimes experience being a missionary.

So, we were meeting with Atha on Thursday morning… and it was raining. We couldn’t meet in the park we normally meet at. He invited us to his house, but we had to scramble to get someone there with us (we aren’t allowed to meet with men alone). So, we called the Waiblingen elders and we’re like, “soooo… you wanna come to a lesson with us like, right now?” And they said “sure we’re on the way!”
So all four of us show up at his house, sit down at the table, and start with a prayer. We start talking about faith, and how it’s an action. We shared a few scriptures, and then talked some more about baptism, because we have asked him a few times now to pray about it. He said that he had finally prayed about it, but wasn’t sure about the answer!! I was excited, because getting him to pray about it was progress.
As I sat and listened, I felt prompted to start talking, and tell him something I’d been thinking about for a while. I shared with him roughly the following, “Atha, you believe this church is true right? You just said a few minutes ago that you feel like our church has the whole truth! I know you’ve said before, that you feel like when you pray about getting baptized, that God will help you feel and know that you’re ready, that you’ll feel it in your heart.” Then I looked at him really intently and said, “I think maybe, what you may need to do is act in faith, to decide to get baptized, and then God will help you get the feeling that it’s right and that you’re ready. Atha, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ, and be baptized?”
The spirit in the room was really strong. He knit his eyebrows together and asked “okay, I just have one question. The reason your baptism is different is because of the priesthood right? You have to have the right priesthood?” We told him yes, that’s how it works. And he said, really quietly, “okay then. I’ll get baptized.” We helped him set a date, and reassured him that he had made a great and important decision. Ever since I pray every day that he will stay true to his conviction to be baptized- and even though we had to move the date back a week, he has stayed true! He understands that he wants to be made clean and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. October 2nd will be an amazing day!!

It’s really special, because baptisms here are very rare. He has asked us multiple times, “am I really your first baptism in Germany? Really?” People just don’t accept the gospel as readily here, and are very stubborn to change. We often call ourselves seed Sowers rather than harvest reapers – this is not a harvesting mission. I don’t know exactly why I’ve been blessed to get to be here, and to take part in his baptism, why he needed me. But I’m glad to be doing the Lord’s work, and do my best to bring souls to Christ everyday. Sometimes, like with Atha, it’s a lot more obvious how our efforts are going. Other days, people look at the tag on my chest and stick their hand in my face, rejecting me and Jesus Christ. But I love them just as much. I love them all.

I wish I could tell you all the experiences I have on a daily basis. Everyday, something amazing happens! Often, I just am too focused on other things to see it, but I’m grateful the Lord keeps blessing me despite my imperfections. Missionary life is hard, not gonna lie. To be perfectly honest, I cry everyday, and question what the heck I’m doing a lot of the time! But it’s reflecting on people like Atha, and so many others, that helps me keep going. If they need this version of me, then so be it. Clearly the Lord has something for me to learn, and to do.

Hitting my halfway mark has really made me reflect on why I came. And why I stay. I came to help people get through the valleys in their lives. I know what the valley is like, and I don’t want them to be there! I realized this week that you can’t help someone through their valley, without walking through the valley too. I’m grateful for a Savior who can carry not just my load but everyone else’s too. I stay to find out how the Lord will help me through my own, and to find out who I’ll be when I come out the other side. I’ve changed a lot… I can only imagine who I’ll be at the end of these next 9 months!

Also, all of the exchange above with Atha was in German. Which is pretty crazy and very cool. I can like, sort of speak and understand this other language now??  It’s kind of the best thing ever. I’m starting to forget the English words for things I say in German all the time. It’s awesome.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Miltimore

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