Together with all the other things we have written about in the blog, there is also great missionary work being done. We have met many young missionaries both Elders and Sisters. They are truly messengers from the Lord. They work hard. They are dedicated and each day, they are inviting people to repent and be baptized. Every morning abound 7:00 a.m., I will hear our “Handy” (German for cell phone) buzz signaling that we have received a message. It is always President Pimentel sending a notice to all missionaries. In German he expresses his joy and excitement over the work that is going on. The previous evening between 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. he has received numerous phone calls, each from any missionary who has given a baptism invitation (called a “tauftermine”) to an investigator that day. Nancy and I have been in the President’s car driving home from Eisenhüttenstadt in the evening, and listened over his speaker phone as one missionary after another called him about the day’s activities and the people who have accepted an invitation to be baptized. I asked how many would follow through. Some, but not enough he said.
Today is our fourth Sunday in Berliin. Our first Sunday was with the Mission President at the Lankwitz Gemeinde (ward). The second was in the Tiergarten Stake Center in the middle area of the city. The third and fourth Sunday’s we attended the Dahlem Gemeinde near our apartment in the Zehlendorf district of Berlin. The map below shows the entire mission and the different districts. It also shows Berlin and the eight wards included in that Stake. Though we didn’t go to church in Spandau, we did go there for a service project mentioned in a previous ward. In each ward we have visited, members have welcomed us warmly and helped us with our German. All the wards are much smaller than at home. Only one ward had close to a hundred at Sacrament meeting, and as you may be able to see by the map, the ward boundries in Berlin include huge amounts of territory. It must be a little difficult for young people to find companions especially in some of the older wards. From what we can gather, the overall LDS population in Germany is probably around 35 to 40 thousand. Not many in such a large country.
Even with the difficulties, the missionaries keep working to find those prepared to hear the gospel and there are those here. We have already had opportunities to share our testimony of the gospel to those in the Young Adult Center in Tiergarten. During our last English class, we talked to an inactive member named Michael, who has attended the class for some time. After I heard that he had not been coming to church for a long time, I decided to broach the subject with him. He confided a bit about his concerns. We walked with him to the bus stop and Nancy and I both invited him to join us at church. We both testified of things we knew would help his life. We expressed our concern and love for him. He mentioned how difficult it is in the church if you are over thirty and single. We agreed, but we told him of our conviction that the Lord will guide him. We know we won’t be with him long, but we also know that Elder and Sister Johnson who are at the center will help him and others just as we hope to help a few young people in the area where we are finally assigned.
We give pass along cards to those with whom we chat during the course of the day. They have the church’s website printed on them. The German church site is almost identical to the English version and has great videos of young people talking about their struggles and testimonies. We hope to be able to check out the site ourselves in the not too distant future.