Monday, June 30, 2014

“… It is never too late so long as the Master … says there is time. … Don’t delay.”

Servus! :)

This week waaaaas amazing! Sister McEwen and I are the best of friends. Seriously, we are constantly laughing and having a good time and doing some incredible work! We had a couple of appointments fall out and so we had some extra time to do some... you guessed it - finding!  We went out and just talked with everything that moved and found loads of people TOTALLY ready to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  We had set a goal to find 10 people this week and we found 18 in two hours! (And on a not too busy street!)  It's so incredible that as we just set our plans by the Spirit (we like to pray before we set goals and make plans for the coming day and week and then go on how we feel). It really works so well!

I loved this quote I read this morning from C.S. Lewis:

“I pray because I can’t help myself. … I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”3

M is one of our amazing investigators.. I think I've mentioned her before.. can't remember! Either way, she's a young student and has such a big heart. As we've been teaching her about God as our Heavenly Father, that she can be cleansed from her sins and start fresh, we've been able to see this light really just grow within her. She's received this brightness of hope in her life and is making huge changes in order to prepare herself for sacred covenants. Our lesson in Sunday School yesterday was about Baptism (I was translating for her), and at the very end of the class, she turned to me and said, 'Sister Harman, I think I am almost ready for my baptism. I think God wants me to be changed in Him' She was so sincere and so excited that all I could do was give her a big hug and tell her that God was so proud of the steps that she is making in her life.

''But truly our Father knows us and hears the pleadings of our hearts. He accomplishes His miracles one prayer at a time, one person at a time.'

I've found that as I take the time to help each person, one at a time. To reach out in love, to each Child of God that I meet - they respond in that same Spirit, that spirit of love, appreciation, the Spirit of God.

Spiritual experiences:

Last Sunday, a Bruder came up and talked to an investigator (17) and I. He promptly invited Sister McEwen and I over for dinner for the following Sunday aka yesterday. I didn't think anything of it. I had never met this Bruderl before but, members like inviting the new missionaries over so it wasn't too surprising. We got home after church and I realized this is Familie has 2 less active sons YSA aged, an 18 year old that isn't sure he wants to go on a mission, and an 11 year old that is still going strong. Their older 3 sons served missions, married in the temple and have cute little families. My first Sunday, I asked about the YSA program and everyone said it was pretty much dead. Loads of inactives and that I shouldn't bother reaching out because they were 'too far gone'.  So last week, I realized that this family was on the so called 'too far gone' list.  But, Sister McEwen and I are both go-getters so I thought. PFFFT. The Lord put the two of us together here in Linz so that we could reach people.
So we went to this appointment (and got our investigator invited as well) and worked like crazy! We hit it off with the sons.  We talked so much about missions, about how they've changed our lives and at the end of the lunch and then lesson, the sons agreed to come to the YSA activity today (they NEVER come!) and our investigator agreed to pray about a baptismal date! 

Then this morning I read this quote in the GC Liahona, which says:

It is not yet too late to repent. But it soon may be, because no one really knows when your four minutes will be over.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “I already blew it. My four minutesare already a disaster. I may as well give up.” If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again. The miracle of the Atonement can make up forimperfections in our performance. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught:

“To those of you … who may still be hanging back, … I testify of the renewing power of God’s love and the miracle of His grace. …

“… It is never too late so long as the Master … says there is time. … Don’t delay.”10

From Your Four Minutes by Bishop Gary L. Stevenson

I just have such a strong testimony that no one is ever too far gone. That there is always a way and we just need to throw away all our misconceptions and just love, and talk to people by the Spirit. When we do that, it doesn't matter who they are; active, inactive, boy, girl, rich, poor, clean or dirty! It just matters that we treat people with the respect and love due to an Heir in the kingdom of God! :)

We've started to work more with the ward and really accomplish the goals that they have set for missionary work. As we work with them, we're seeing this incredible miracles, just one person at a time! 

Thank you all for being my miracles! Every time I hear about your successes (baseball for Zach and Josh, jobs for Jeff and Jordan, school for Drew, Katie conquering wisdom teeth, Mom keeping house and home in order, and Dad leading the family all the way), I rejoice with you! I love you all bunches and bunches!

Love your favorite (insert whatever I am to you),

Sister Harman

Editor's note:  No pictures this week.  :(  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Transfers: Saying goodbye, saying hallo!


You all have had a CRAZY week. Man, and I thought missionary work made life crazy haha I hope that you all get feeling better soon and are able to conquer the next sporting event with ease!

This week has been. Well, great.  The beginning of the week was bittersweet, helping my dear Sister Pentz get ready to leave.  We had lots of member appointments, saying goodbye to all the good people. She took it like a champ, but as per normal it's sad getting transferred, especially with her only being able to stay for two transfers.  She's going to make an incredible Sister Training Leader and Germany is lucky to have her!

End of the week, Sister McEwen came!  Here's the story: born in Austrialia, raised in Scotland, and has served in Switzerland her whole mission. She's a loud, confident, and ready to work. When some missionaries found out, we would be working together, they told me that I would be serving with the Scottish version of myself. From day 1, we've just hit it off and are already doing some GREAT work here in Linz. We taught this lesson on Friday and, it was beautiful. We were teaching M and the Spirit was there so strong! We were able to both really teach by the Spirit (even to the point of finishing each others' sentences) It was so AMAZING. I've never been able to teach so in sync with someone, especially, not so quickly.

Oh. And we even are the same size and so we've been wearing each other's clothes all week because we've already been wearing our own clothes for a year and well, you just get bored after a while with them.  And EVERYONE has been asking us if we are twins. Do we look alike? Not really, but we both have brown hair and are the same size. Loud, confident, with big smiles and nametags haha :)  She's hilarious and loves telling stories, really excited about missionary work and ready to get down to work! I'm really excited to be working with her!

Investigators are doing great. Especially, M! He is progressing so much right now, reading every day in the Book of Mormon, and really pondering about what he's reading. We also just started teaching a young student, and she is just loooooving the Book of Mormon. She's studied with lots of faiths and really believes in Christ but, said she's never quite found the fit for her. The ward has just welcomed her with open arms and she said she's never felt more loved in her life.  I think that's really the key! We give people the tools to come closer to Christ and then stand there with our arms open, ready to help when they are ready to make the steps. It's that love that people feel, that help them recognize that what we're teaching about is special, that it really is from God!  

Anyways, I'm happy, healthy, working hard, and still enthusiastic about our work here. The area is already thriving and I'm just excited to see those we are teaching progress even more!

Thanks for all the support and love! Really. I can just feel all the love!

Speaking of love,

Liebe Grüße! 
Sister Harman

P.S. Wore my dirndl! Everyone stopped us and told us how beautiful we looked! (And then proceeded to ask about our name tags and many accepted our invitations to Church!) Sister Pentz, 'We should wear Dirndls everyday!'

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finding days, Zone Conferences, teaching lessons, doing service, all in the quaint country of Austria :)

Crazy week as always. Finding days, Zone Conferences, teaching lessons, doing service, all in the
quaint country of Austria :)
Miracle stories:
1.The work here is going fantastic, with new investigators jumping out of the woodworks.  Zum Beispiel, A, a recent convert, invited his friend, M to come to church. The Linz ward is huge and I'm still working on meeting them all so just on a whim I sat by this lady and it turns out.. she was the non-member brought by A!  haha it was quite the coincidence!
I translated the meeting for her (she just moved here and doesn't speak too much German yet) (In Austria, you can do University in English if you'd like - and that's what she is doing). After translating the meeting, and giving her a Book of Mormon, we went to our gospel principles class where Schwester Brandstätter proceeded to give one of the best lessons on Faith, I have ever seen! M loved it and said she wants to get baptized! WHAT! Sometimes people just really need to feel the Spirit and then then know.  
2. A, from story above, is blind. He recently received the Aaronic Priesthood (the lesser Priesthood authority from God, see here) was able to pass the Sacrament for the very first time yesterday. One might ask, how does a blind man pass the Sacrament? Walking around, with a tray of bread and water and holding it out to those worthy to partake of it, would be nearly impossible for one with an inability to see?  One of the young men in our ward, put one hand on A's shoulder and lead him around the chapel as he passed out the Sacrament to those in attendance.  Both A and the young boy were beaming the entire time and just watching the pure excitement and love for each other and for the excitement they had in serving the Lord brought many to tears. It was such an INCREDIBLE thing to watch.
Sister Pentz, Sister Miles and Sister Harman
3. Zone Conference. President and Sister Miles came to Salzburg for a final ZC and oh my gosh. It was glorious, and super heartbreaking. I love President and Sister Miles so very much! They were able to say some goodbyes and encourage us to love, respect, and carry on the great work that lays before us.  Highlight, we did a musical number - a medley of 'I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go and Gott Sei mit euch bis Aufs Wiederseh'n' it was absolutely beautiful and we all were a mess afterwards. I really am so grateful for President and Sister Miles and all the hours, blood, sweat, tears, and even more love, that they have put into this mission. They are some of the best people I have ever met!
4. Insert super amazing woman. Strong in the church, Mother of a little baby girl, and loves to help the missionaries out. Insert a loving father but, decided that he no longer believes in God. He supports his wife in her decision to come to church but, sees no need for it in his life.  What he doesn't realize, is that his decision is breaking his sweet wife's heart and will effect their sweet little girl as she grows up.  STAY TRUE TO YOUR COVENANTS. Hold true to what you know to be true and if you have doubts, take it to the Lord. Seriously. Watching this poor woman struggle and know that I can do nothing to help other than pray for her, breaks my heart. I know that it breaks God's heart WAY more than it breaks mine and ah. I just wish stories like this never happened :(
5. I read this quote and loved it! 

" To better understand prayer, I have listened to the counsel of others, pondered the scriptures, and studied the lives of prophets and others.    Yet what seems most helpful is seeing in my mind a child approaching trustingly a loving, kind, wise, understanding Father who wants us to suceed. 
Don't worry about your clumsily expressed feelings. Just talk to your Father.  He hears every prayer and answers it in His way.  
When we expain a problem and a proposed solution, sometimes He answers yes, sometimes no.  Often He withholds an answer, not for lack of concern, but because He loves us--perfectly.  He wants us to apply truths He has given us.  For us to grow, we need to trust our ability to make correct decisions.  We need to do what we feel is right.  In time, He will answer.  He will not fail us.
I have described the absolute reality of our relationship with our Father.  There is nothing about us He does not know.  He is conscious of our every need and could provide all the answers.  Yet, becasue His purpose is our eternal happiness, He encourages us to make the correct choices."

From June 2014, New Era (You can read the whole article here
Reading this whole article, really helped me put into perspective the answers I'm looking for in my life and feel more assurance in knowing that God really is always there to answer not only my prayers but, the answers of those people we're teaching! The work of God goes forward and I'm so grateful to be a part of it!

Transfer news! Sister Pentz is getting transferred (fastest six weeks of my life). I'll be working with Sister McEwen from Scotland. It's kindof funny, I know almost all the Sisters in the mission now, but she was one of the ONLY ones I don't know yet haha She's been out for almost as long as me and has been serving in Switzerland her whole mission. I'm going to miss working with Sister Pentz - she's an incredible missionary and a wonderful friend! I know she's going to love Tübigen and Sister Motto!
Well.. that was the longest email ever so I'll leave it at that! Know that I love you all and wish you the best of weeks!

Liebe Grüße!
Sister Harman

Editor's note:  The pictures are from the hike Sister Harman and Sister Pentz went on last week.  Gorgeous!  

Also notice Sister Harman is wearing a German national team jersey for the World Cup!   Nice win over Portugal!  :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I did my first ausstellung this week!

Liebe Familie!

Sorry that this email is so late!  It's been a crazy week already! We went on a beautiful hike! (Don't hate me but, I may have accidently left my camera at home today...) NEXT WEEK!  We taught some really great lessons (hence we're doing a quick email today!)  

To start, what a crazy week! Sadie is a mama! I hope the puppies are adorable.. (they look like cute little aliens in the picture haha)  I did my first ausstellung this week - where we set up a sign and just talk to anyone and everyone about whatever the sign says. Sister Pentz and I went to Ried (adorable little town in a neighboring area) and helped out Elders Kastendieck and Hancey (if you remember, this Elders were in my very first district in the MTC!)  We talked to so many people and it was just a blast.  Sure, it was ridiculously hot but! It was one of those Best Two Years moments, when you really just FEEL like a missionary! 

Crazy amazing lessons with B this week. This time we had J as a translator and it was incredible. We juuust got out of a lesson with B and J, where we talked about the Doctrine of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ lays out what we are asked to do in this life, in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of the world (including your's and mine!) but, there's somethings we need to do to access the power of his sacrifice. Namely, have faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, repent on the sins we have committed, be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood power of God, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost (as stated in Acts 2), and endure to the end (basically, continually living to be worthy of the blessings the Lord sees fit to give us).  It's incredible to see people exercise their faith in God. To pray and ask Him, what His plan for them is.  B prayed about Baptism and says he knows he needs to be baptized - biggest problem is: he cannot share this joy with his wife and son, who are still currently living in a country where Christianity is not allowed.  

It really hit me - I am so grateful that I was born in America, a place where we enjoy religious freedom.  I'm so grateful to be born into a wonderful family that loves and supports me in all my crazy adventures.  You all are a HUGE blessing in my life and I know I would have been lost without your influences in my life. Seriously.  Each and everyone of you are a treasure to me!  Throwing a little spotlight on Dad this week, Dad! I just want to say thank you so very much. Your love, support, and neverending faith in my ability to improve has been an unbelievable beacon to me.  I've always known where to turn when I started to feel a little uncertain or scared. Your love has been an echo of the love Heavenly Father has for me and man! I don't know what I would have done without your influences in my life. THANK YOU! 

In other words, missionary work goes forward and I'm loving my time here! Basking in the Austrian Sun (no sunburns yet!)

Know that I love you all and pray for you all! Keep on keeping on!

Sister Harman

Editor's note:  We should have lots of pictures next week.

Monday, June 2, 2014

This week was the fastest week ever!

Well shoot. This week was the fastest week ever!  I started trying to write some of the things that happened and realized that I was writing about the week prior! Oops!

Fun news:
Sister Pentz and I are scarily similar.   We both have a deep love for chocolate, peanut butter, rain, talking, sleeping, missionary work, and basically our outlooks on life.  Safe to say, it's a pleasure to work with a certain tall, giggly Sister Pentz!
Lesson successes! We taught an incredible lesson to a man named H on Wednesday. It was our first lesson with him. Watching him get so excited about the blessings that can come through Baptism and following the commandments of God was a wonderful experience! Insert him asking questions like, 'What can I do to follow the example of Jesus Christ?' 'How can I receive the blessings of coventants?' Simple answer: exercising the faith we do have!  Following all his commandments, repenting, and being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God. Sister Pentz, Sister Ajmi (a member from our congregation that came with us), and I just kept looking at each other in surprise.  People aren't usually so open and ready to make such big changes in their life and he was ASKING us from the start - just how he could make these changes! 

Wednesday after this appointment, we were on cloud nine. We had all really felt the Spirit and when you feel the Spirit, you just can't help but to be happy!  The plan for the rest of the day was packed with appointments and then BAM! Yep. Every appointment (5) and joint teach (members who would like to come with us) fell out. Bummer, right?  But, we, the Linz Sisters are troopers! We laughed it off, did our back up plans, BAM! Rejection with everyone we talked to. The day ends, still happy and chatting about how missionaries have to have days when everything falls out.  Thursday, another appointment with H. At 12:30, when we were supposed to meet and H didn't show up - I gave him a call to see why he was late.  He answered and confessed his undying love.  How he couldn't come to the appointment because he knew that I was a Sister missionary and couldn't bare to see me and know that we couldn't be together.  I calmly explained (still over the phone) that my purpose was to invite people to come onto Christ and that we could have the Elders teach him instead (if seeing me was too difficult). He then proposed to me, asking me to leave my time as a missionary and become his wife. 
We know how this story ends.  Sister Harman, explaining her purpose. H sadly accepting. The two parting as friends and his teaching will be continued by the Elders!  :) 
In other news, Sister Pentz and I sang before Sacrament meeting (scary but sounded great!).  And we had another lesson with B! Not as dramatic as the lesson with H, but, much more productive!  B is making tons of progress and is already half way through 1 Nephi! Using a translator can be tricky in lessons but, it's just amazing to see the Spirit work!   Sister Pentz and I decided to teach the Restoration of the Gospel in picture form.  So we just drew pictures as we taught so that nothing we taught would get lost in translation! 
Well, I love you all and wish you the happiest of weeks!

Sister Harman 

Editor's note:  I mentioned in Sister Harman's email "I get the sense that you, from the very beginning, have felt so lucky, blessed to have the chance to serve a mission!  It was an unexpected gift to you from Heavenly Father."  Her response was "Truth!"   Her attitude is such a blessing to me. :)