Monday, 21 April 2014

Week 27: Week 21 in Stuttgart: "What were you thinking, Clo? You did this VOLUNTARILY?" I just feel really blessed to be a missionary right now. :)

Hello my wonderful family!!
"Oh how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet that bring good tidings"! And let me tell you, it is gorgeous here! What a wonderful Easter Monday and Easter weekend :)

There were a lot of good things this week :) We did a lot of family history with different members of our ward, we helped A LOT of members, we got to know members that we didn't really know very well a lot better, we had Easter, we took the Sacrament, we had a few really interesting conversations with a few people, visited part- member families, strengthened our companionship, spent time with some of our favorite people in Stuttgart, had a wonderful day at church, and, and, and :)
Life is just really good when you are a missionary :) It's also really hard. Like.. really hard. Somedays I still ask myself "what were you thinking, Clo? You did this VOLUNTARILY?" And then I remember, yeah, I did :) And then things happen that make me remember what I really came here to do. I see the people I get to help and it makes it all worth it. I probably won't see a baptism in Stuttgart, and we don't have a huge pool of investigators. But you know what? We help A LOT of people. Our ward? We have helped them in ways no one except us could see. And I really felt that yesterday.

 We went to the International Relief Society. It's weird being in a ward where almost nobody knows you and you only have a few relationships. But then we went to our ward. We have Relief Society first, and you feel the love of the women. And you see... wow, I really did make a difference here. I really did help "one soul" come unto Christ. Even if they were already a member, we could all be a little more converted. 

Something really cool yesterday (this is my personal miracle story from the week):
We were getting ready to start our investigator class for Sunday School. I was greeting and talking with a few women who were left over from FHV (RS). I looked out the door, and there was a women that we had had a really good relationship with while Sister Smith was still with me. I squeeled, and ran out the door to see her! We haven't seen her in about 6 weeks, which was really sad because she had just started to become active after 23 years of inactivity. But that was because they just spent 5 weeks of holiday in Brazil. Not only was she back, but she brought her none member husband, Thomas! He is way awesome and apparently looks exactly like a big football star here, Antonio something. So that's cool. I was talking to them before the class started, and Thomas says, "Doch, sie hat gut Deutsch!". Haha, he had just told his wife that I actually did have good German and didn't know what she was talking about. 

(You have to remember that she hasn't seen me in 6 weeks. I still scare myself with the progress my German has made in that time. She was surprised, to say the least :))
So that was nice! Then we came in and got ready for the lesson. Valeria, the women, turned to me and said that they, her AND her husband, had watched ALL of Confrence! While they were in Brazil on holiday! Whoo hoo!! I asked them what they thought, and they both LOVED it. Especially Thomas. That was REALLY cool. He said they all had really good things to say and he really felt the spirit. Man, what else more can a missionary ask for?

After the class, I asked him if he had any questions. We had just talked about the different offices in the Priesthood, so even I was a little confused ;) He said, "No, any question I have I know can be answered in this book", meaning the Gospel Principles book. I said, awesome! Then I asked him if he was a member, just to make sure I wasn't mixing his story up, and to see what level of interest he had. He said, "noch nicht", or, "not yet". WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I calmly kept myself collected, but still showed enough excitement to be happy for that answer. I asked him if he had a Buch Mormon, and he said he does and his wife has been helping him read it. I love less actives. They are the BEST missionaries. Literally.
After that, he told me that he particularily liked one of the women in the class, another less active who has a testimony the size of China, because she really spoke with her heart and he could really tell she loved this Gospel. I love less actives.
The Stake President pulled me aside after Sacrament and talked to me about his man, Thomas. He said that he really liked the services today and he really felt the Spirit. He told us to have fun teaching him :) I was so happy! Talking with the Stake President about our work always hypes me up-- he's the coolest German you'll ever meet.
That, mixed in with the fact that I just really loved my ward, the Sacrament, Easter, and the wonderful relationships that I have with the people here, was exactly what I needed. 

We then had a really, really good eating appointment with the Familie Benitz. I didn't know them too well, but I really like them :) The parents both served missions in Switzerland and that is where they met. We spent a good solid hour talking with Bruder Bentiz about everything. It was awesome- I understood everthing :) And I talked. I really am SO  amazed every week by how much my Heavenly Father has blessed me in learning this language. (BG: At last- she's feeling this way) I know it is NOT me, and it's cool to feel Him working through me :) We shared a great spiritual thought about the story of the Last Supper all the way to the Auferstehung. They had a lot to share and we had a lot of good discussion :) And plus, we had the best brownies I think I have ever had. They were made with applesauce and almonds. Wowie.. so good. So good I had to say no to a second ;)
I just feel really blessed to be a missionary right now. I feel so blessed to be in Stuttgart with all these wonderful people, to have my AMAZING companion to helps me and puts up with me and works WITH me to be by my side through the good and the bad :) To have the support of my family and friends, even though we are miles apart. And especially for the chance I have to grow so much closer to my Father in Heaven and to build a better and lasting relationship with Christ. And to think... I'm only 19 years old. Look at that. I've been through the temple, I have made sacred and BEAUTIFUL covenants, and I'm speaking German to these people and telling them how much God loves them. Wow.

Just an update on my studies:
Pilate. Pilate the Pagan, or the Heathen, a person who doesn't believe in the God of the bible. Man, oh man. I have been reading the story of Christs death, from the Last Supper, to the Resurrection, from Jesus the Christ (my favorite book of all time. Hands down). Today I was at the part where Pilate washes his hands of responsibility. 
But I can't figure him out. He truly didn't want the poeple to crucify Christ. He genuinely didn't want to do it. He found NO fault in Him, and neither did King Herod. He publically announced 3 times, publically, too, that he found no fault in Christ. He was fully aware of the fault that the high priests were at. He couldn't understand why the people would let Barbaras go, and not Christ, a man who was actually guilty of the things Christ was being falsly accused of PLUS the murder of a man. And here was Christ, someone that Pilate could clearly see was a man of Kingship. But he washes his hands of the responsibility of Christ. All because his wife said that she had dreamed of Him, and knew of His works, and she was afraid. Well yeah, of course she's going to be terrified of Him; those who don't know God are terrified of Him. But even after Pilate has given the priests the okay to crucify Christ, in hopes that the Jews will soften their hearts, he shows the pitiful Christ, in robes and being spat upon. But they don't soften their hearts. They say, "crucify Him!"
I think at this point Pilate had had enough. He gave the people Christ once and for all, but not without saying, for the 3rd time, that he found no guilt in this Man.
Pilate knew he wasn't and ordinary man. There is much, much more to this story, but that's all I can recount from memory.

What I can't figure out is why Pilate did it. He had power, he could have stopped these men. But he didn't.

But what would have happened if he had saved Christ? Christ HAD to die or the Atonement wouldn't have been complete. So what would have happened had he saved Him? 

A prolonged trial and even more suffering for Christ, who was already bearing all the sins of the entirety of mankind? Another innocent man hung on a cross? I don't know. I like Pilate, and I hope there is mercy for him in the end. I don't know if that's awful for me to say, but I can see that he really didn't want to let the people have Christ.
He leaves me really confused. I guess I'll learn more about him/ the story tomorrow morning.
Well family. That's what's going on with Sister Gilmour here in Stuttgart :) I get to see Ali and Neil and Nana and the boys today, so I'm really excited :)  ( BG: we are so jealous back here in Utah but looking forward to some personal reports from family as to the welfare of these two great sisters) 
I love you so much. Don't ever forget it. I don't get a ton of time to think about my family, but when I do get the time at night to pray for my family and those I love, I always plead with the Lord to watch over you; to bless you with enough strength to overcome Satan. He is so strong. I really saw that this week. He is a tricky guy and he knows exactly how to win us over. He's doing it. He has always done it. But stay strong! It will be worth it if we stay on the straight and narrow path. We choose what Kingdom we are exalted to. We choose what Judgment Day will look like. We choose how much of the Atonement we are willing to take part in. We choose the mercy the Lord will show us. There is ALWAYS another chance to start over; a second, a third, and a hundredth.

I know that my Savior lives :) I can't wait for the day when He comes again, bathed in His glory and saving us from this awful, yet glorgious place. I imagine it being the sweetest moment... I get emotional just thinking about seeing Him again! Don't you?? 
I love you :)
Until next week,

Sister Chloe Gilmour

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