Update from Colleen (the pictures are of the new missionaries - added to the our existing mission):
To paraphrase Jacob (Jacob 7:26), my life is passing away as if it were a dream. Each time I write I feel like the “last few weeks have been most incredible.” We have been serving just a year now and the “most incredible weeks continue!” For example:
I finally passed my written driving exam after hours of study. Miracle of miracles.
Love watching Jay conduct zone leader training. They have a round table discussion, teach each other and bear testimony. Each time I sit at these meetings I feel the Church is in good hands. These missionaries are exceptional and Jay is teaching them so many good skills.
Missionary returning home (to the Air Force Academy) taught 1,152 lessons over the past two years. He loves to teach. Members of the branch where he was serving showed up at the train station to see him off.
Elders called to say after a 3rd try to reach a lady they succeeded in finding her home. They were invited in and taught a Russian family of six. The Elders were thrilled with the experience.
Mike (our son) called us (we were at the airport putting a returning missionary on a plane) to say he was messing around and thinks he broke both of his feet. They were badly bruised but not broken, thank goodness (after renting a wheelchair and spending all afternoon in the ER).
We have been here long enough to follow the progress of certain investigators over many months. Recently they were baptized and we see that families are being strengthened through priesthood ordinances, habits and attitudes are changing for the better, part-member families are one by one finding the joy of the Gospel. It really is true that the world tries to change behavior from the outside in but the Gospel changes people from the inside out.
The missionaries themselves are growing in marvelous ways. They are learning about church leadership through their various assignments. Several Elders are serving as counselors in Branch presidencies. They have been privileged to baptize, confer the Holy Ghost, confer the priesthood and give blessings for the purpose of healing the sick. Miracles have taken place over and over again. They have blessed and given names to babies. They rejoice as they fulfill their priesthood responsibilities.
We said good-bye to 20 missionaries in the Erfurt Zone as the mission boundaries change. It was a bitter/sweet day. Three of Jay’s former Assistants are in that zone. I have attached a photo of the "Fabulous Five" assistants, past and present. They are terrific missionaries, just like the whole zone. For months now I have referred to the Erfurt Zone as the “little city of Enoch.” There is always peace and love felt there. I did not know the Lord was preparing me for this change.
With the combining of the two missions, we lost the 20 missionaries on one end and we received 86 new missionaries on the other end, bringing the total to 179. We met all of the new missionaries this past week. They are terrific. Our motto for now is “all the more to love.”
Our daughters have been richly blessed to find young men who will take them to the temple. We are grateful for that blessing.
If you want to take a quick look at our mission blog, you can find it at as a blogspot.com blog entitled germanyberlinmission.
We find tremendous joy in serving the Lord full time. We will do our best with the time we have been given. We love you and thank you and the Alameda Ward members for their prayers and support.