My time in Kiel is full of blessings. When my professor asked if I would be an intern at the state chancellery, my husband and I had no idea how we would pay for it. The plane ticket, the rent for two apartments, our expensive tuition—it’s impossible, I thought. One night I kneeled next to my bed and prayed with remembrance of the scripture in Mark chapter 11 verse 24, which says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The next day I received an email from my professor who said I received a 1500 dollar scholarship. The next week I received another email with another scholarship. Later my husband and I received grants for our tuition. God answered my prayer. He answered with a storm of blessings.
The blessings didn’t stop. My husband and I prayed for my safety and protection, for nice co-workers, and peace in my heart. On the first day in Kiel my co-worker Sunna was immediately my friend. She asked me how I felt and that I must tell her if I need anything. On the first Sunday at church Brother Zickler asked who I was and invited me to dinner that night. My co-worker Petra showed me Kiel and took me grocery shopping. The Margetts gave me their number and said I should call even in the middle of the night if anything happens.
Although I was so surprised by how fast God answered my prayers, I am even more surprised by how many people showed me and charity and served me. We always read in the scriptures and hear from our prophet that service and charity are unbelievably important. In Luke chapter 6 verse 35 it says, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be children of the Highest.”
I can’t say that service is easy. We are busy. We have kids, spouses, jobs, callings, and sometime we have to find time for ourselves. I often feel that I can’t serve in Kiel because German isn’t my native language, I don’t have enough money to help others, and I always burn the cookies I bake. How can I serve in Kiel?
One day Sister Rimmasch called me. “We have an appointment in a half hour and we need a third person. Can you come with?” I met the sisters at the RIZ and was surprised by their reactions. “You are SERIOUSLY the answer to our prayers!” Sister Rimmasch said. “We had no idea how we were going to make it.”
We are all blessings for others when we serve, just like the Zicklers, the Margetts, and my co-workers are blessings for me. In Moroni chapter 7 verse 47 it says that charity is “the pure love of Christ.”
I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows my desires and answers my prayers. I am thankful for our church that teaches us as children how important serving and loving others is. I know we will be blessed if we serve others. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. For more talk ideas for sacrament meeting, check out my father’s day talk and my talk on gratitude.
Meine Zeit in Kiel ist voller Segnungen. Wenn meine Professorin mich gefragt hat, ob ich eine Praktikantin bei der Staatskanzlei sein wurde, hatten mein Mann und ich keine Ahnung wie wir das bezahlen könnten—das Flugticket, die Miete für zwei Wohnungen, unsere teure Studiengebühr. Es ist unmöglich, dachte ich. Eine Nacht habe ich neben meinem Bett gesessen und habe mit der Erinnerung von Markus Kapitel 11 Vers 24 gebetet: „Darum sage ich euch: Alles, worum ihr betet und bittet—glaubt nur, dass ihr es schon erhalten habt, dann wird es euch tu teil.“ Am nächsten Tag habe ich eine E-Mail von meiner Professorin bekommen, die sagt, dass ich ein 1500 Dollar Stipendium bekommen habe. Die nächste Woche habe ich eine andere E-Mail mit noch einen Stipendium bekommen. Später haben mein Mann und ich Geld von der Uni bekommen, damit unsere Studiengebühr nicht so teuer wurde. Gott hat mein Gebet gehört. Er hat mit einem Sturm von Segnungen geantwortet.
Die Segnungen haben nicht aufgehört. Mein Mann und ich haben für meinen Schutz und meine Sicherheit gebetet, und auch für gute Mitarbeiter und Frieden in meinem Herz. Am ersten Tag in Kiel war meine Mitarbeiterin Sunna sofort meine Freundin. Sie hat mich gefragt, ob ich mich wohl fühlte und dass ich ihr sagen muss, wenn ich was brauche. An den ersten Sonntag bei der Kirche hat Bruder Zickler mich gefragt, wer ich bin und hat mich zum Abendessen eingeladen. Meine andere Mitarbeiterin Petra hat mir Kiel gezeigt und nahm mich zum Einkaufen mit. Die Margetts haben mir ihre Nummer gegeben und sagte, ich soll anrufen, auch in der Mitte der Nacht, wenn etwas passiert.
Obwohl ich immer überrascht war, von wie oft und schnell Gott meine Gebete geantwortet hat, bin ich mehr überrascht wie viele Leute mir Dienen und Nächstenliebe gezeigt haben. Wie lesen immer in den Schriften und hören immer von unserem Prophet, dass Liebe, Dienen, und Nächstenliebe unglaublich wichtig sind. In Lukas Kapitel 6 Verse 35, steht es, „Ihr aber sollt eure Feinde lieben und sollt Gutes tun und leihen, auch wo ihr nichts dafür erhoffen könnt. Dann wird euer Lohn groß sein und ihr werdet Söhne des Höchsten sein.“
Ich kann aber nicht sagen, dass Dienen einfach ist. Wir sind sehr beschäftigt. Wie haben Kinder, Ehegatten, Berufe, Berufungen in der Kirche, und irgendwann müssen wir Zeit für uns selbst finden. Ich fühle mich oft, dass ich in Kiel nicht gut dienen kann, weil Deutsch nicht meine Muttersprache ist, weil ich nicht genug Geld habe, anderen zu helfen, oder weil meine Kekse immer verbrannt sind und ich kann sie überhaupt nicht zu anderen geben. Wie kann ich in Kiel dienen?
Ein Tag hat Sister Rimmasch mich angerufen. „Wir haben einen Termin in eine halbe Stunde und brauche eine dritte Person“ sagte sie. „Können Sie mit uns kommen?“ Ich habe die Sisters beim RIZ getroffen. Ich war überrascht von ihren Reaktionen als sie mich gesehen haben. „Sie sind SERIOUSLY die Antwort von unserem Gebet“ sagte Sister Rimmasch. „Wir hatten keine Ahnung, wie wir zu dem Termin kommen könnten.“
Wir sind alle Segnungen für anderen, wenn wir dienen, genau wie die Zicklers, die Margetts, und meine Mitarbeiter, Segnungen für mich sind. In Moroni Kapitel 7 Vers 47, steht es, dass Nächstenliebe „die reine Christusliebe“ ist.
Ich bin dankbar für ein liebevoller Vater im Himmel, der meine Wunsche kennt und meine Gebete antwortet. Ich bin dankbar für unsere Kirche, die uns schon als Kinder lehrt, die Wichtigkeit anderen zu lieben und dienen. Ich weiß, dass wir gesegnet werden, wenn wir für anderen dienen. Ich sage das in Name Jesus Christus. Amen.
My name is Anne. My husband Spencer and I have been married for three months. We met in German class last fall—I went on a foreign exchange to Germany in High School at the same time Spencer was serving in the Berlin mission. On our first date, I told Spencer I was not planning on getting married anytime soon and he said he had pretended to be gay at the singles wards so people would stop trying to line him up. But a year later, here we are. Spencer is majoring in mining engineering. I write for the U’s newspaper and am majoring in German.
I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my mom, who let me sit on the end of her bed at night so I could reenact every funny moment that happened at school. I am grateful for my dad who gave me blessings at odd hours when my thoughts turned into anxiety attacks. I am grateful for my brother Harrison, who accepts others, for Maxwell, who constantly makes me laugh, and for baby sister Mira, who at 10 years old, is already counting down the days until she can go on a mission. I am grateful for my husband, who loves me unconditionally even when I’m irrational, who listens, who brings me hot chocolate in bed, who makes me laugh, who brings the spirit into our home, along with the famous Star Wars collection. I am grateful for our ward, for Heidi and Devon inviting us over, for Alyssa who squeezes my arm when she walks by, for Mckaye texting me, asking if I need a ride to the grocery store, for Theresa offering her washing machine to me. I am grateful for Heavenly Father. I am grateful that he knows my stubbornness, that he roots me on, and that he constantly reminds me that he loves me.
These are things I am grateful for every day. In Alma 34 verse 30, it says “humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily.”
I wish this scripture were easier to follow. I wish I could remember to live in thanksgiving daily and be humble—to remember to be grateful for the home I have and forget about the plastered hair on the linoleum floor or the sink that squirts out my neighbor’s shavings. I have a roof above my head, a wonderful husband, money to buy groceries, and still everyday I find reasons to complain.
But through my experiences, I have found ways to remember to be grateful every day.
My patriarchal blessing says, “When you start your home, make it a home of calmness and peace, where gentle words are spoken, where scriptures are read, prayers are offered and testimonies are born.” It tells me to make our home a refuge from the storms of life. I have found that having a house of peace and calmness has given me more gratitude. A month ago, Spencer decided to make a Swear Jar. Every time we swear or say something bad about another person, we have to put a nickel in the jar. There is nothing more satisfying than telling your spouse that they need to put a nickel into the jar. We even have a couple of IOU’s from friends and family.
As silly as it sounds, this swear jar has changed the feeling in our house. We are more aware of the words we say. We know others are hearing us. We can talk about things without being upset. We humble ourselves by remembering that we aren’t better than other people. We have a distinct feeling in our home that is welcoming and loving and peaceful because we make a conscious effort every day to say good things about others and to speak gentle words. When I am at home, I feel grateful for the love that is around me.
When Spencer and I were engaged, our bishops and stake presidents gave us advice on ways to have a successful marriage. All of them said the same thing—read scriptures together daily, pray together, have Family Home Evening. They all said that doing these things daily would hold our marriage together. But there are days when we don’t get home until 10 from school or when we have too much homework and we forget to read scriptures or pray. Sometimes we’d rather watch The Walking Dead or play a couple rounds of Connect 4. But when we have a week of constant scripture reading, our weeks run better. We are less anxious about homework. We have faith that our monthly income will hold us over. We rarely argue. When we go for long periods without reading the scriptures, we tend to get in disagreements or become defensive. I know that taking the time to humble myself by reading scriptures and praying daily makes me a better person. I am more grateful for the blessings that are around me.
When Spencer and I decided to get married in the summer, we were both scared to death. I knew I loved Spencer, but I wanted Heavenly Father to give me a big burning answer that I was supposed to marry him. I never received a burning feeling, but I felt calm. Every time I prayed I felt as if God was saying, “Calm down, Anne. Everything is going to be alright.” I would go to bed feeling at peace, but then wake up to feel nervous again. What did He mean everything was going to be alright? I’d think. Should I marry Spencer or not? It took me a couple of weeks to learn that God was not going to tell me whether or not to marry him, but he was certainly not telling me no. Once we made the decision to get married, Spencer and I were overwhelmed by all of the blessings. We both felt once we made the decision to marry that it was the right thing to do. I realized that God did not want to tell me who to marry, but rather he was on our side in whatever decision we made. I’m grateful He believed in me to make that choice.
Still, we worried about not finding a place to live and everywhere we looked, it was too expensive. But a month before we were married, we got a spot in the village. We were ecstatic. After being told three times that we would have to wait until December to be in the village, they emailed us with our new apartment address. I jumped up and down with happiness and kept hugging Spencer, saying, We have a place to live! We have an apartment! We have a home!
I told Spencer it would be so nice to have a sectional couch that could fit plenty of people. We began to think about our money and how we’d be able to pay for a couch. Nothing seemed to work, especially since we’d be paying for tuition in the fall. I kneeled and prayed one night, asking Heavenly Father to help things work out, even if it meant living a couple months without a couch. A few days later, during a wedding shower at my ward, one of the women simply asked me if I needed a couch. I told her we were in desperate need of one. She told me her sister lived a few blocks away and had been trying to get rid of a couch for a long time. Within 10 minutes, we were at her sister’s house hauling a green, leather couch out of a garage with Spencer and his dad who were coincidentally in the neighborhood with a trailer. I went back to the wedding shower again, yelling We got a couch, we got a couch! I am grateful for ward members and answers to prayers.
Other than the green sectional, we had no other furniture. Spencer and I had no furniture for our house. But within weeks of the wedding, our family opened up their storage units to give us a night stand, a leaf table, and a king size bed. Another ward member told me that her work was giving away furniture for a cheap price—we took a trailer over there one day and found a beautiful armoire and a glass coffee table. I am extremely grateful for these loving family and ward members.
We went over our budgeting and both of us thought it’d be good to have a weekend job along with our job during the week. I had been working at Zupas full-time, but wanted to try working full time with the newspaper at the U. But I knew Zupas had a rule that you weren’t allowed to work less than three shifts, and I hoped to only work two. I had the feeling to just go in and ask, and sure enough my manager made an exception.
These were miracles. For two broke students who had no money to buy things for the house or plan a wedding reception, we only prayed and prayed that things would work out. They did.
Our decision to get married is one of the happiest and wonderful things in my life. We were blessed by a million of miracles, by people serving, by the Lord answering our prayers. I learned the importance of gratitude during the few months before Spencer and I married. I learned the joy that comes from giving thanks to the Lord and humbling myself by praying when we were in need of help.
Although the pre-wedding miracles have calmed down and we’re no longer receiving a random couch or coffee table during the week, we are blessed every day with small things, whether it’s a neighbor waving hello from the playground when you had a bad day, a teacher extending their deadline, or watching the sunset in winter. I know that God is watching over me and is taking time to bless me every day. I know that if I notice these things every day and thank the Lord for them, I will be blessed. In D&C Section 78 verse 19 it says, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Did you like this post? For more talk ideas in sacrament meeting, click here for prayer and blessings and click here for a father’s day talk.
On December 23rd, 2007, I wrote in my journal, “My dad. Chocolate lover.” On August 23rd, 2007, I said, “My dad is hilarious. And everyone loves him.” Then, on June 5th 2008, “Dad. What a dork. He is my hero.” It is June 21st, 2009 and all of these things are still true. My dad is a chocolate lover. During the school days, Dad’s cookies filled with chocolate chips sit on the oven counter, even if we are bloated from Mom’s dinner. My dad is hilarious. At my fourteenth birthday, Dad sang the song “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen in front of me and ten other girls. He danced and shook his hips and held that microphone like he was singing on stage in front of thousands. My friends couldn’t stop laughing, even after he had finished his solo and gone upstairs. A couple of summers ago, Dad helped my two best friends and I fill up water balloons so we could throw them at our guy friends. When they came over that night, my dad and the girls chucked giant balloons from the side of the house until most of the guys were screaming like little girls. My dad is a dork, and he is my hero.
In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” it says, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” My dad shows his love in many different ways. With Mira, Dad holds her for a long time and kisses her cheeks. With Maxwell, Dad talks to him for hours on end about World War II, mathematics, and things I’ve never even heard about! With Harrison, Dad listens to him play the drums and wrestles him in the family room. And with me, Dad lets me sit on the end of the bed every night and talk about my day, even when Mom starts snoring.
My dad provides the necessities of life and protection for my family. He. Works. Hard. My dad made the choice to be self-employed so that he can provide for the family and still be able to spend a lot of time with his children. He supports me in the dreams I have for myself. In August, I am leaving to Germany for almost a year. Even though he cries when we talk about it, Dad is willing to send me off to a foreign exchange and pay hundreds of dollars a month for me to have the necessities I need while I’m there. My dad is a big influence to everyone in my family.
I am grateful for the role of fathers in the church. When I am stressed about school, having a hard time with friends, or just having a bad day, I know I can ask my dad at any time to give me a blessing. There have been countless times when I have asked my dad for a blessing the day before a musical audition or to help me sleep and be calm before an upcoming test.
My mom told me that on the day I was born my father went into the bathroom at the hospital and cried his eyes out. He instantly loved me and was so scared that he wouldn’t be up to the task of being my father. Dad has always been a loving father. He is devoted. He spends time with each of us. He is fun and understanding. I am glad to have him as a father. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.