Monday, February 23, 2015

Letter #83 - Transfer week and the realization of Change

This week is short and sweet, and a whole lot of in-between, so get ready for the next 3 minutes of greatness... :)

Tranfers happened: Elder Brown is leaving, got transferred to Bonn, and is a District Leader there. My new comp... is Elder von Wallwitz :) WE ARE SO PUMPED. Im super sad that Elder Brown is leaving, and also super excited that Elder von Wallwitz is coming. It's a crazy whirlwind of emotions. But hey, also great. :)

So this week, I was in my area... for like 2 days... Saturday and Sunday. I was on splits all during the week. And since elder brown is the designated driver for now, I went to other missionary's areas. :)

I got to serve with Elder Coombs in Mannheim, and then Elder Banks in Karlsruhe! They are both solid elders, and are just barely finishing their golden cycles. As I served with them, I was able to see how they were doing, how much of "Mission Life" they have ahead of them, and remember back on my good ol' days of being a golden. I just tried to remember who I was back then and who I am now. It was so FUN.

In one area, we had scheduled 4 hours of contacting. I was so excited. :) I was so EXHAUSTED by the time we were done, because I was just talking to everyone I saw. I remember when I was a golden and went on splits with leaders. The thought came to me that I just needed to give a great example to them, and I just was so HAPPY when I got rejected for like the 40th time. It felt great. We didn't find anyone. But, we handed out some stuff. The Spirit was strong, and I felt that I had pleased the Lord.

That's the biggest change I realized in me. Sure, my German has gotten better. Sure, I've become better at doing missionary things. But I realized the biggest change, has come from within - my heart. I have given my heart to the Lord, and He has made me something that I never imagined. I have learned from the Book of Mormon, that the Spirit only comes to those that have a willing heart. So, by having a willing heart that is open to CHANGE - we become something that the Lord wants us to become, He needs us to become. As we trust in Him, we trust that what He wants us to become is the best.

As for the area and investigators, I'll give a richtig [proper] update next week. This week remember, I love you all. Heidelberg is fantastic, and I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! Mucho lovo!!

Elder Mayne


Monday, February 16, 2015

Letter #82 - "Will you be my Valentine?" says the TRUFF

This week, was just the typical missionary "Humble Week." We felt like we had a lot planned and it was going to be great. Then, one after another, almost everything fell through. It's times like these where you start to wonder "What am I doing wrong? What is it that I have to improve?" The funny thing is, you can find some of the most touching spiritual moments, in these so called, "Hard times."

I'll give you a little blip of why it was hard. We had District meeting on Thursday, and President came to do interviews. It was great to see him. Just as Elder Brown was going into his interview, he says to me that our investigator, Hamed, just canceled on us and "Tschüss-ed" us. Which is like, he said he doesn't want to meet with us again. Hamed was an investigator for 2 weeks. We met with him 4 times, and had the most amazing spiritual lessons. He was planning on just learning English with us, but instead, learned about Heavenly Father's plan for himself on this earth. He knew what we were saying was true. He told us. If you were put right into these lessons, you could feel and see that thing that we call "real intent." But there was a problem because of his religion. If he were to change and then go back into his country, he would be killed and is wife would leave him. So, he made his choice, he chose the safe one. But he knew, that he had found the right way, and all we can do now is pray that he finds a different way to get to the path that God has for him.

That's the biggest heart wrencher, I believe, of a mission. It's when you have been teaching someone for a while, and gotten close to them. You have grown to love them.  Then, you offer them this piece of the puzzle that they have been missing their entire life, and they reach out and grab it. Then the next day they say, never mind. :) Rough eh? But on the other side of the spectrum....

We have a good friend in the ward, Emmanuel, who is from France. He texts us on Saturday night, and says that he is bringing a friend to church and to the appointment we were having after church in his dorm at the Uni. As we met with her and talked, she had a lot of questions. She had been raised in the Catholic church her entire life. In the past, when she had questions, people would chastise her or tell her that she should just do it and not question it. She really didn't like that, and so has just been going about life, living really a religion that she didn't really believe in. As we talked about the doctrines of the church and how anything we have questions with, we can ask God, and study, and He will give us the answers. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and our personal stories of what made us realize that Christ was really there. It was amazing. You could just see it in her face. When we would tell her something and it's like a light bulb that hadn't been turned on, but was there, was suddenly turned on - and she loved it. She said out loud when we were closing: "Why couldn't someone explain these things to me earlier?" :) It was such a humbling experience, and great to see someone finally reaching what they've always wanted.

The lesson that I learned this week, was from the Book of Mormon. There are SO many examples of where the people are distraught, have times of trial and sickness, and the list goes on and on. But what is important, is they call upon God, ask for HIS strength, and HIS power. I've realized that I'm nothing without that. I realized, that the great stumbling block of men, is Pride. Pride is absolutely the foundation for all evil. I hate it. Ha ha. So, as I read the Book of Mormon, it's amazing how the process follows: pride, fall away from God, realizing the pit they created for themselves, struggle, the repentance process, and then the climb back up. I love the scriptures.

One more thought, with that in my mind, was really an experience I hold so closely to my heart. It meant so much to me at the very moment it happened, and was exactly what I needed. We were coming into the chapel for sacrament, and everyone was busily running around, finding places to sit and chatting it up. As we found a seat and were about to sit down, I notice a man, sitting in the back row, all by himself. You could tell that he was absolutely drunk. He had the strong stench of alcohol and cigarette smoke. I looked at him in worry and thought to myself, "Should I go sit by him? Why isn't anyone else sitting by him?" At that moment, a member, I don't even know his name, went and sat right next to him and smiled. The drunk man proceeded to rock back and forth and do his own thing. But that member, the look in his eye, you could see his intention. He just wanted to give this man some company. He stayed with him the whole sacrament meeting until he left right before the closing song. It touched me so much, and made me really feel that pure love of Christ. That love that He has, for everyone of His children.

I love the gospel, and I love teaching about it. This week, was a big stepping stone for me. I'm so eternally grateful, for the chance to be out here. :) Life is at it's best when you're having fun!

Mucho Lovo

Elder Mayne

 Me and my homie Elder von Wallwitz on V-Day eating our choco. :)

I was so tempted (still am) to buy these shoes.

 When you're on splits and only have one set of keys, kinda sucks. :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Letter #81 - The Only True Path to God

This week, was FILLED with spiritual highs and spiritual lows. But, it was one of my favorite weeks on the mission. It's amazing how often these occur. The biggest highlight of them all, was the wonderful opportunity of giving a theme [thought?] (idk how to best say it in English) at a camp/fireside for those who are preparing to go on missions. We talked about having a testimony and really preparing yourself spiritually. I talked about the Book of Mormon and shared my testimony of it. Then, we asked them to just take 5 minutes to pray and ask God where they are at, and ask the questions of their hearts. Well, after that and after the APs gave their theme, we had a testimony meeting. One of the boys said that he had been praying for so long to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He had gone on some wrong paths and as he did that. He said that he got a confirming answer that it was true, that he is forgiven, and that God loves him. It has changed his life. The Spirit there was incredibly strong. To top that off, another boy bore testimony that the gospel is what is perfect, not the people, and that the Spirit told him that. It was really just one of the most amazing experiences.

I had my own experience with the Spirit. I had a lot of thoughts this week about life, and what not. Then, in my mind came a thought. I woke up into a dark room, and as I looked around, there was no light other then the light seeping through the cracks of the door across the room. I stood and up and immediately noticed the shape and conditions of my hands, feet and arms. I was a yellow, bright clay figure. I touched my square head and wondered in awe at what I was.

After I examined myself completely, my curiosity came back to me and I walked to the door and opened it. As I opened it, whatever expectations that I had, were in vain. I walked into an absolutely gray world - gray skies, gray buildings, gray grass, everything was gray. As I started to walk about, I felt cold, and a little afraid. Then, a drop of gray appeared on my toe. I was astonished. I tried to wipe it off, but couldn't. So I finally accepted it, and decided to explore more of the new gray world. I walked for a while, and then started to see other clay figures. I ran to them, hoping that I would get information of where I was, and who/what I was. But, I noticed something different about them. I could tell there pace was slow, dragging their feet. Their features were plain, and the only distinctions that I noticed were 2 slits for eyes and one for a mouth. They had their heads down, and walked with pitiful pain in their eyes. They were the same shade of gray as everything else around us. I came up to one and touched him on the shoulder. His countenance immediately sprung backward, and he looked upon me with sheer terror. As we stood there staring at each other, I noticed that where I had touched him, was now a spot of yellow. He became furious and starting yelling, but no words came out. His countenance had said enough, and I felt ashamed, as if I had done something terribly wrong. He left with no breath, and also with no more yellow on his shoulder. I looked down and had a bad feeling in my heart. I saw to my surprise that my legs were now splattered with gray. Again as I tried to furiously wash away the marks, they wouldn't come off. I couldn't help but ask myself, "Why am I here?" And, "why am I yellow, and everyone else is gray?"

These thoughts occupied my mind until a large bell, that I hadn't noticed before, rang in the middle of the square. Immediately, from every different angle, these clay people would appear, with there heads down and moving at a slow paced walk. They walked into one building, one after the other. After I watched these people pass by, I noticed that some would look up occasionally, and see me. Each would have different reactions. Some would turn to the other and laugh or say something. Others would immediately look away. But, the reaction I saw the most, would be the ones that looked at me longingly, as if I looked familiar to them.

I watched them all walk into this building, and as the last ones piled in, my curiosity got the best of me, and I walked in too.

The building was a Mess Hall- a cafeteria. Everyone was sitting down and eating. It looked like people were talking to each other, but I couldn't hear anything. As I walked over and down each isle, I kept feeling more and more uncomfortable. I just felt like I didn't fit in. I felt uneasy. I felt like I shouldn't be there. I turned to go back, and then found myself face to face with one of the gray figures. His strong stance said he didn't want to move. I tried to go around him, but He moved to block me. I felt trapped. I turned around and walked down another isle and tried to go up a different way. Again, another figure stood up to block my path. I felt lost. I looked down and noticed that more than half of my body was now gray. I began to worry. I didn't want to lose all of the yellow. I looked around at the other figures hoping that they could offer me help. I reached out and grabbed one of them by the shoulder. He froze. His body slowly began to turn yellow. I was amazed. And then suddenly, everyone surrounding him started yelling their silent screams. Almost immediately, like the flip of a switch, he turned gray again, and shook my hand off his shoulder. I couldn't comprehend what I saw. I was in agony, but I didn't understand why. I wished I could help him. But then my thoughts turned to back to me. I saw that people were getting up from their tables and were walking towards me. I didn't want to be in there anymore. So, I started running. I only got so far, before another figure blocked my path, and then another, and another. I was suddenly completely surrounded. I couldn't see an opening, much less the door where I had entered. It seemed like there was a thousand of them, just standing there, watching me. What could I do? What should I do? Then, they moved in on me. I crumbled to the floor and put my face over my head, and started to cry. They were all around me. In silence, I was left to my desolate self. I looked at myself, and notice that almost my entire body had become gray. Only a small part remained, on the left side of my chest. It felt like it was the only life left inside of me. I cried out for help, as if someone in this world of gray would be there, to help me keep this small part of yellow inside of me.

As soon as I cried out, a light came, as if it was from the sky. The Light filled the room and was brighter than anything I had ever seen.  All of the figures around me fled away, except for a few who were so enticed by the new appearance. In the Light came a figure, one that was not of clay, but still familiar. He came down right next to me and knelt down and, as he looked at me, my first thought was to run away. I was scared. I felt unworthy, as if every part of my being was not worthy to look upon this man. My thoughts raced back and forth, and just before I decided to get up and run, the angel spoke: "Fear not my child. Come unto me, and be clean." I pushed all thoughts out of my mind, and made a sudden movement. It felt like I leaped into his open arms. I felt the overwhelming feeling that I knew I had felt before. I just did not remember where. I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I looked into His eyes, and I knew He felt the feelings I had just experienced as well. As I took in the moments of His embrace, I opened my eyes. I saw my hands. They were yellow again. I looked down at my body, and it had returned to it's perfect yellow. I straight away looked around me and saw that the other clay figures, who stayed behind, were also yellow. They had turned back to the way they had been before.

I love this Gospel, and I know that the Atonement is real. I know that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ. The Atonement is the ultimate example of charity, and it is for everyone, no matter what state you are in. I invite you all, to take a step back and see if what you are doing, is really what you think you can do, or is it what the world has told you to do. As you read my story, I hope you will follow whatever impressions you had.

Love you and have a great week!!! :)

Elder Mayne

 Beautiful Heidelberg, and me stickin' my head out the car. :)

The "Homies": Joe Murphy and Christian Allred, 
who both are recently returned missionaries (Christian this week). 
They literally are the tightest homies. :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Letter #80 - Following the Spirit, with an open heart, is a life long goal

Wonderful people. The first thought of my heart, I have to say is, I love ya'll.

Sharing the Love.

Second off, I was told by a German member that he really loves my weekly letters and reads them too (on FB). So hey, that makes me feel swell :)

So pressure is on right? :)

This week was fantastic. The miracles here in Heidelberg are just popping up like daisies. I feel like I use this phrase a lot. It's, I swear, the best way to describe what happening because honestly, the Lord does His work according to His own timing. I'm just happy to see it progress, and be His servant.

This week, we met with Prakash, and we LOVE the guy. We had a very intense lesson with him on Saturday. We taught about tithing and the blessings that come from it. Then, of course talked about baptism. The spirit there was so STRONG. When we were giving testimony, the spirit bore it and you could feel the honest truth behind it. Also, we went over the questions for baptism. Everything he answered was perfect. But just like the scriptures say, the spirit can only come "unto" the heart, not "into" it. In the middle of the lesson, I had a thought to ask Prakash if he asks questions when he prays. He said no. So, we committed Him to ask God, just ask, and He will answer. So hopefully he gets an answer. :) Prayers for Him would be great.

Ooh, another wonderful experience this past week was meeting with our new investigator Hamed. He came to the church, and wants to be a professor at BYU. He wanted to start practicing English with us. So naturally, we started teaching him the lessons. :) He is such a humble guy, and we learned more about his religion. Then as we taught the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit again testified so strongly. He KNEW that this is the way for Him. But then he immediately retreated to something that He had before, his past. We told him that what he is feeling, is truth and light. That this path has been revealed to him. We just hope that he also prays and receives an answer that this is the way his Father in Heaven wants him to go.

That's my overwhelming thought this week, my friends. That when we want direction in our lives, and want to know our role in His divine plan, we must ask the Lord.

I was talking to someone awesome this week and this is the random thought that I had: Is it sometimes daunting that the future is so BIG and such a gray area?? Then, BECAUSE of that thought/vision, we go to the past, to our mistakes, because it's comfortable? The result is that our future becomes dimmer and dimmer and dimmer...

Is that Faith? Is that looking forward to what's ahead, or is that becoming complacent to what has already happened? I don't want to settle, to feel comfortable. I want to keep jumping out of that so called "comfort zone." I feel like when I get into a comfort zone, then that means I am becoming something that the world wants me to be. The Lord knows my fate. I want to be His servant. In order to be the best servant possible, I have to keep always growing. That is my ultimate goal.

I love the Lord. I love the daily miracles that happen, and the signs of His love I see every day. I LOVE seeing in the faces and feeling in the hearts of people, after they have felt the love of God. The greatest, greatest feeling is when I come to realize that I was the answer to someone's heartfelt prayer. :)

LOVE YOU ALL!!! Have a great week. Ya'll are rock-stars.

Mit großere Liebe,

Elder Mayne

Another email included später [later]. :)