Saturday, April 7, 2012

Week of April 7 from Berlin

What more can I say- all is well in Berlin!

It was a great week for us here in Dahlem! Full of little miracles and lots of good memories. Yesterday was probably one of the most memorable days of my mission, but we´ll get to that later! First off, how about conference, wasn´t that just great? We took so many good things away from that for ourselves personally, but also for our investigators! Conference is always great for investigators I think because the brethren focus so much on the basic key points in the doctrine which they explain beatifully and simply. It really does take the word edify to a whole new meaning. I´ve decided the definition of edification is personalizing the understanding of a doctrine to someone, and when you have so many brilliant inspired men explaining beautiful plain doctrine in so many different ways, edification is bound to take place. It used to really frustrate me to hear so many of the same themes because I was always looking for something new, but I´ve realized on my mission how important it is to never stop studying the most important things. The Gospel is like a pond, and the deepest part of a pond is the center, so that´s really where we can always dive more deeply... so ya, I think I´m cured of my selfish desires to want to hear our prophets talk about "new and exciting" things... who knows what kind of confusion we´d have in the church if they did that haha. So ya, conference was great, it is always refreshing to hear the words of a modern prophet!

Well the first couple days of the week we were really able to focus on the missionary work in our area. We were blessed to be able to take up some contact with investigators who we hadn´t been able to reach while being so busy the past couple weeks. Our baptismal date is still doing well, but won't make it to baptism before she leaves to Miami in a week, so that´s kind of a bummer, but she´s commited to getting baptised. We taught her the word of wisdom and she just lit up and said, "I´ve been living this already for years now and didn't even know it!" She´s great. Others are making slower strides. We sacrificed a few cushy evening eating appointments to do some solid door to door missionary work, and the sacrifice was SOO worth it. We´ve turned our focus to students and university housing here in Berlin during this easter season because we think it may be the perfect time to lift and build up some lonely students, many of whom are far from their mother land. The universities in our areas are super diverse, and it makes it a lot of fun. We get to use a lot of English, and I get to pull out a bit of my rusty Polish as well as some broken Spanish and stuff, so it´s a good time. We had an amazing walk in lesson with a girl from Indonesia who converted to become a Christian because of the Bible. She was super receptive to our message, and we´ll meet with her next week. We also found a way cool young guy from Poland who´s getting his Phd in International Law. We´ve met with him a couple times and had a super spiritual lesson with him at church. He´s a little stubborn when he feels the Spirit but he´ll come around I think. Lots and lots of first lessons taught though, and it was just a joy to be teaching again and knocking on doors. Now we just have to sift through what we´ve found for some gold.

So the latter part of the week was filled with lots of preperations for zone conference, which we held in Dresden yesterday. The ward there needed us to move it a week earlier so they could have the building available, so we did. I´ll probably fill you in more on exactly what we did next week, but our presentation went well. It´s weird standing up and teaching the entire mission for the last time. I was looking out on the faces of all 68 missionaries there and there were so many friends (Paco) and it was kind of sad to know I may not see many of them again for the rest of my mission. The day isn't too far off now where I´ll be tucked away again in some little corner of the mission, and even though I´m stoked for it, it still remains weird to me.

So yesterday was a very, very emotional day for me, and it turned out to be a rollercoaster. First off, it was fun to celebrate the 182nd birthday of the church here on Good Friday. We got off to an early 6 am start from presidentes house where we said our morning prayer together and ate a quick bowl of cereal to hit the road. We left a bit early to make room for an early morning visit to the St. Pauli cemetery in my beloved city of Dresden. President and his wife had always wanted to visit the Joseph A. Ott grave, so I got to take them there and visit it for the second time myself. It was great to drive into that city again, but the tear ducts were swelling a bit knowing that this may be my last time there in a LONG time. We found the grave, a lot more simple than the first time, took some pictures and just took in the sweet spirit of the morning. We then went to the stake center were we had ZoCo, which went really well. I got to be in a workshop where Paco and I did a role play together and I put on the character of one of our mutual friends back home, and it made it really fun. After the Zone Conference, all of the missionaries were gathered upstairs getting mail and stuff, when one of them suddenly collapsed and started shaking uncontrollably. One of the missionaries ran and got me and I ran over and grabbed his hand and got his pulse while the other missionary ran for President. My companion cleared the auditorium, and pretty soon President was right there next to me. The Elder was crying and in a lot of pain, but mumbled through it that he would like a blessing. I annointed quickly, and then President laid his hands on his head, sealed the annointing and began giving the blessing. I kid you not, there was a reverence there as I have seldom felt in my life, and as he rebuked the shaking and commanded him to be still and calm down, you could feel a calmness come over him and the entire room that was just like a blanket of comfort. I´ve been part of many priesthood blessings in my life, but I can tell you this- this experience sealed my testimony and I will never be able to say that there wasn't power in that room from God without lying through my teeth the rest of my life... it was amazing. He calmed down, I elevated his feet, tucked his arms in to his chest and got him covered with a blanket and held on to him and talked to him until we got a car freed to get him to the ER. He´s doing fine now, and they still aren't sure what it was, but it was a blessing to see the priesthood in action, and to see the importance of sanctifying yourself so that at a moment's notice you can call down the powers of heaven to help others.

Well after that we headed on the road again down to Freiberg to attend an evening temple session, for what may be my last time on the mission, and my last time in German for a long, long time... like I said, this was an emotional day for me. It was a BEAUTIFUL session, and the calm and peace and Spirit was so welcoming. I felt a lot of things there, worked some questions out in my head, but the overiding feeling for me was overwhelming gratitude. As I sat in a room, surrounded my people I love, it was hard to hold back the tears as I was able to say thank you to my Father in Heaven for the opportunity he gave me to serve in this great land, and to speak this beautiful language, and to help him find his lost sheep. It was simply a beautiful experience never to be forgotten. I LOVE that little Freiberg temple. We then headed back to Berlin and got in just past midnight at the end of what was truly on of the best days of my mission. What a blessing it is to serve here in Berlin in this mission, with this mission president, and with these great missionaries. It makes me shudder to think that it will eventually come to an end.

Well that´s about it for this week I suppose. Love you all tons! Have a great week!


  1. Dear Elder Ott,
    I am also an ott and have a loved one exiting the MTC in 2 weeks ago to go Berlin. Her goal is to take pictures of the Joseph A. Ott grave stone for my family and I. Is it hard to locate? Where should she look? I have read some of your blog and it sounds like you had a fantastic experience. Way to go! Anyway, I know that you don't know me but I do appreciate your last posting. It was great for me to see. Thank you!
    Chris Allen

  2. Another amazing letter from Elder Ott. What a great experience he has had! Thanks for sharing.