Day 33.

After work on Friday, I rode my bike up the hill and called Sister Rimmasch, who had a key to the RIZ.

“Hello?” she said, somewhat depressed.

“Hey! If I go shopping now for the movie night, could you let me in to the RIZ in like a half hour? Will you be around?’

“Wait, are you off work!” she shouted.

“Um, yes?”

“Oh my gosh!” she said into the phone. “Sister Veselka, Anne is off work!”

I rode my bike up the hill and wonder why me getting off work is so exciting.

“Anne, could you please come with us to an appointment?”

“…With an investigator?” I said, shyly.

“Yes, please, we can’t find anyone else who can go with us!”

When you’re a sister missionary, you always have someone else with you when you teach a male investigator. Safety precautions and all.

I hadn’t ever gone to a meeting with an investigator. Ooooooog.

“Okay, I’m on my way,” I said. “Give me 5 minutes.”

We met at the RIZ and rode our bikes on streets I’d never seen before. The sisters zoomed. I huffed and puffed. Sheesh, they’re fast.

They waited for me to catch up after they have locked their bikes. I’m out of breath.

“Jeez, you guys!” I said, about to fall onto the cobblestones. “Not like anyone’s in a hurry to preach the gospel or anything.”

“That’s called missionary legs,” Sister Rimmasch said, kicking her foot up in the air to show off her calves. My legs wobbled up the stairs to the apartment.

We knocked on the door. There was a small pause before the door was wide open and a man greeted us with a bright smile. He was my height, lanky, dried grassy hair sticking out on the sides, and brown glasses.

“Ah, you brought another one,” he said looking at me.

“I’m Anne,” I said. In my head I said my last name, but it didn’t come out. I keep forgetting with the Sieand Du’s that it’s important to say the last name. Funny how in America, even in the business world, it’s often just the first name.
We walked into his home and sit on the couch where all three of us wonder if we’ll fit. We squished. There are books everywhere. Piles of books. On the ground. On the bookshelf, on the table, coffee table, books books books.

We asked him how he is. He talked for ten minutes or so about his recovering knee and arm. He caught  me up.

After sometime, Sister Veselka finally asked, “What did you think about the baptism that we went to last Saturday?” (They went to a baptism last Saturday.  J )

“Well, it was interesting, but I would never do that.” He looked at us plainly. Then he started talking about why and somewhere in there he said, “I’m atheist.”

But the missionaries didn’t catch that… somewhat major detail. Which is why it was strange when Sister V said later, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world?”

I leaned over her shoulder and whispered, “He’s atheist” and she went “Oh.”

Preaching the gospel is one thing, but preaching the gospel to someone you can’t fully understand is another.

Sister Rimmasch, who, although is doing pretty darn good for only being here for a couple months, was not understanding things. But she heard “atheist,” “I don’t see myself getting baptized” and “I don’t really want to go to church.”

In German she said, “So, my question is, um, why did you make this meeting with us? Um, I mean, what do you want to get out of this meeting with us?”

He talked, but I heard no answer. He looked at me and asked me if I was interested in politics. And off we were again, away from religion, to other things, to life and hobbies and the weather.

At the end we asked to make him another meeting and he said of course. I wondered where that would go. I wondered when it would be called off. I wondered if he would ever say he wanted to go to church. I mean, they are missionaries. They have things they have to do. At some point they have to let it go and find someone who will listen to them, not just talk. When would they call it off with him?

“You were our blessing today, Anne,” Sister Rimmasch said to me. “We really had no idea how we would get to this appointment.”

I nodded and said “anytime,” even though to me it was just a regular day. Although it does feel good to be a blessing for someone. Cha-ching! Haha!

As we biked down the hill, I couldn’t stop thinking about his piles of books, his almost furniture-less apartment, and the smell of coffee that he would drink by himself after we left. I couldn’t stop thinking about how quick he was to say he would never get baptized, but how quick he was to have us come again.

He’s lonely. He’s really lonely.

The sisters went shopping with me to help me carry the things back to the RIZ. We bought Döners at the Hauptbahnhof and quickly ate before it was time for their other appointments. Sister Rimmasch watched the music video. She can recite every word and starts moving her shoulders. Sister Veselka is offended by the dancing. I laugh at them both and wonder what crap they have to deal with each other when they’re by themselves all day.

I say goodbye to the sisters and ride home to grab Svenja before we head back down to the RIZ. If you’ve seen the video I made, you know it was a good time with a few technical difficulties.

Julia and her parents were there. Julia, who is blind and autistic. She hugs me and later gets mad at me for trying to move the couch up the stairs.

“It doesn’t go upstairs, it goes right here, what are you doing!?” she yells at me.

Her mom comes down the stairs and everything is fine.

I see this family take the train each Wednesday with Julia to go to institute and meet friends. I see them coming early to help with the movie night and staying late to clean up. I see them riding home in the dark. I see them taking care of Julia, because they know she needs friends because she is lonely. And I realize how many people need the gospel. Not just, oh, yeah, it makes me happy, but they need it. They really need it.

I need it too. I need every bit of it. 

1 Comment

  1. Love this post.

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