Monday, December 31, 2012

Ein gutes schönes Neujahr!

Ach so, wie ich euch lieb habe! :)
Happy birthday Nathan :) (Hope you liked your song that I sang on skype!)
So the big news eh?!!! Elder Eaker is going to Munich, serving in the 3rd ward, as Zone Leader! Haha let me just say this, that if I had a baptism for every time that Elder Eaker talked about never wanting to be a Zone Leader, then Klagenfurt would be its own mission :) He will do great there, no doubt, but he is so sad to leave Austria haha. He doesn't know Deutsch, he says, only Österriechisch, so he will have lots of fun in Bayern :) He has been here in Klagenfurt for so long, since May, 5 transfers, and the ward loves him. ANNND... I will also be here for 5 transfers, because I am staying :) Yay!!! Let me intoduce my new companion...
It was afternoon on a typical spring day, I was laying on the couch at home (Mountain Home home, I mean ;) ) and amid my many just-got-my-wisdom-teeth-removed-and-now-I-am-on-painkillers dreams, I received many text messages from various people, saying, "Hey, they just mentioned someone going to your mission in the General Conference talk!" So yeah, my companion, fresh out of the Italian area of the mission, is Elder Orchard, who was in the MTC with me!!! I am so excited!!!!! So we are going on Thursday to Innsbruck to pick him up, and Elder Eaker will continue on to Munich, and I have the chance to see Elder Robins too, if he is in Innsbruck when I get there! (I hope he is, I miss him haha). But yeah, Elder Robins is going to be serving in Innsbruck, in my Zone, but I may never see him, because interviews this transfer are in Wien for we Klagenfurters. :( welcome to the craziest district in the mission! Haha. It was a long, good time working with Elder Eaker, and I will miss him. But the work goes on, and to spend time with someone as old as I am, that should be fun :)
By the way, I have not yet received the Draper´s package yet, but there is a good chance that it may come today, and if not, because of holidays maybe, then sometime this week. But that is okay, because we received SO MANY cookies for Christmas from the members! We will never finish them! Dad asked if I had eaten all of my candy, and there is no way I have haha. It will last me a while, I believe. No worries there.
As for New Years, I have no idea what they do haha. Nothing different, I don't think. We are going to the Familie Korak´s today, and if the weather isn't too bad they said we are going to watch the fireworks on the Wörthersee. That would be so beautiful! But it is always so foggy here, so only time will tell tonight. Also, tell Easton that Elder Eaker and I have thoroughly enjoyed the table soccer that he gave me :) I am amazed that it is possible to put spin on the ball when flicking it (obviously it is physically possible, but I didn't think it would do as much as it did). So that was great. Plus the Tootsie Pops! Best Christmas ever, eh? :) Each year gets better haha.
So I can't for the life of me think of what it was that I said that you thought was so funny. You said I spoke like Jack, but I can't remember what it was. And the plaid/plaayed, what did I say there? I just speak and have no idea what happens or how I sound, not in English anymore. Haha it is fun.
I can't believe Dad busted out his patella! He has played Fußball with us for so long and never got that seriously wounded. Hopefully it decides to stay in place, but be careful, Father! haha.
So, this week was so great, so much time with the members, and then the weekend was just the opposite, out on the street, doing some doors, for HOURS! Talking to the few people on the street, walking the whole day. Good stuff, since we were fed so much the first three days haha. So Monday you know, we went to the Kaisers', the Bishop's family, and we had a good time there, and like I may have mentioned, they gave us pancake mix and real syrup!! It was so great! Back to the Future was also fun, we watched it in English, sorry Mom. That was our first late night, today will be the second. Tuesday we went to the Bishop´s parents´ house, (the bishop was there again, haha) and had a wonderful dinner. I love the Kaiser Family :) and then we went to the Halls' and watched Silent Night, which was great! And she made (Sis. Hall) chocolate chip cookies!!!! It has been so long!
Wednesday we were invited to a single adult activity, where we ate and sang and had fun. We ate at the Mauchs' gestern, Elder Eaker´s goodbye, and we had a long discussion about missionary work, which was very cool. And actually, before we came here today to do emails, we were at F___´s house for lunch, the man from Iran. He is so nice, and I don't ever think I have talked so much or heard him talk that much with anyone except a few members. But apparently we were nice enough, and he made us lunch and we had a nice discussion :) I love this place. I will probably only be here one more transfer, but we´ll see.
Sadly we didn't meet with anyone this week. M___ dropped both of our appointments :( so we have no idea how things are going. He just calls and says that something came up, and then we don't know anything else. Frusutrating. So sorry, no news there.
Oh yeah, guess what? When we went to the Halls' Tuesday, they were skyping with Sis. Hall´s daughter´s family, and Sis. Hall introduced us to them. And she said "here is Elder Gibbons" and they said, "hey wait, we have already had an Elder Gibbons come through here. Have you served in Albuquerque?" HOLY COW! They are the Merrill family from the ward where Tyson served before going to Argentina! Tyson knows my Senior Couple´s child´s family! Crazy how small the world is, there is a connection between our missions. Wow.
I enjoyed the Skyping a lot, glad I could entertain unknowingly, and it was great to see everyone. I hope you have a great new year, and have fun when the schedule gets up and running again. :)
But let me conclude with a thought, actually, it is someting that struck me from the testimony of the man who spoke last at church yesterday. He said, "I do not want to live ONE SECOND without having the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world." (Auf Deutsch, natürlich). He said the same thing about the gospel, didn't want to live one second without the gospel. I have thought it already in my life, as I am sure many have, where would I be and what would I be doing if I were not a member? What if I didn't know the Book of Mormon is true? Have you thought that ever? I have, but then it always comes back to "Hey Elder Gibbons, you know the Book of Mormon is true. What more do you need? You wouldn't be here without that, don´t worry about what-if´s." And indeed, you know exactly why you are a member, why you live the way you do, why you do the things you do right now. But sometimes we all need help remembering. Somthing that Br. Mauch said in class yesterday was a quote from Lion King, from the baboon (sorry, don't remember his name...). He told Simba (Symba, however you spell it), "It is time to remember." And how true that is! Remember who you are, where you come from, and where you are going. If you have already remembered, great. If you need to remember something, then I hope you do. If you get nothing out of this, then at least I did. It´s time for me to remember. Remember how much the Lord loves you. Remember when you first knew what the Holy Ghost felt like, remember when you first felt clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Remember that you are never alone.
I love you all, and wish you the best. Remember to smile. :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, December 24, 2012

Schönen Guten Tag!
Well, what a weird feeling typing this email, since we will be talking on skype in about...4 hour´s time. So weird :) I thought about the day occasionally throughout the summer, and since that day in the middle of May (haha, rhymed :) ) but never really thought it would come. So, I am bringing all of my presents over to the Kaiser´s so that it feels a little bit more like a normal Christmas surrounded by family (haha, a family is a family, oder?). I haven't opened anything yet :) I´ve behaved. haha.
Um, I have no idea what to type really. I am just very happy :) and excited! Thanks so much by the way for sending the letter to Eshjaia (wow it was hard to spell her name without Germanizing it with the "sch" haha). Uh... well, last week was interesting, as are most weeks, therefore they all just blend together now. I can't even think of anything we did. So while I think, I will just go back and look at questions you posted and answer them! Yeah, I can do that.... wait, Dad got an iPhone? Is it the iPhone 5, because that one is cool! I knew he would get one eventually! Those pictures in Salt Lake were great as well, thanks. My first thought when I saw Nathan though was "what in the world, he reminds me of me!" Idk if it was just that picture, but it was weird. But I can't believe that he got his braces off already!! But I would love some pictures of him in his mouthguard ;) you are welcome Nathan!
Also, the Müller family (by the way, to type an umlaut letter, with the two dots, it just literally means the vowel followed by an "e", so you could type Mueller") was a family that was visiting around General Conference time, I thought I may have mentioned them to you, because their son is the one I talked about last week. They don't live in our mission, they are up by Hamburg in Deutschland, and were vacationing in Klagenfurt for a little bit. So yeah, that is them... they are so nice!!
By the way Nathan, it was NOT my fault that I knew how to brake the Segwey and that you and Tyson didn't! Thank you very much :)
Oh, yeah, transfer calls are this week! What in the world? I don't even know what to think, or what is going to happen, although Elder Eaker is very certain that he will be leaving Klagenfurt this transfer. We´ll let you know!
So, last week, we had district meeting in Graz, followed by the finding day, which went well. Then Wednesday we met with H. M___ and had steak and fries. The problem is just that we don't ever get to really talk about anything! Except this time, he brought up some things that he had read, mostly about Africans getting the Priesthood and the classic plural marriage, stuff like that. First of all, we were a little miffed that he was definitely reading things that were put out by people NOT friendly to the church. Second, after he said all of these things, he said he just wanted to see what we had to say about them. Call it what you will, his motives I mean, but I was just relieved to not have to try and answer all those things in the 1 minute time frame he allows us before interrupting haha. Anyway, we are grateful for his hospitality, but we do not accomplish our purpose as missionaries there, and we are going to tell him that. Thankfully we have a busy celebration this week and have some time to think about how to go about doing so tactfully.
Also, we had our lesson with M___ this last Saturday, and it went great! He dropped our appointment on Wednesday, we set it up for Thursday, that fell out too, and so we had to do it Saturday, otherwise we would have just been pretty down. We watched the Restoration film and then talked about the 3 things he needs to do to find an answer about the truth: read the Book of Mormon everyday, pray everyday, and go to church. We committed him to do those things, and so we will see how he does! The great thing was that after we watched the film, we asked what he thought about it, and he said he felt something good, and felt that there was truth in it. Well, we will take that anyday :) so we told him it was the Holy Ghost, and that the Holy Ghost would continue to touch his heart and feelings as he did those 3 things, and then he would have the opportunity to have the Holy Ghost by him always after he was baptized. We mentioned baptism to him, and he understood it pretty well, but the only thing we would do, and what we will do next time for sure, is get a baptismal date. It just didn't come up on Saturday, so we will focus on it next time. So that was great, he is so cool and ready to learn and recognize truth.
We had two eating appointments this week, Thursday with the Bishop and then the next day with the Bishop´s parents :) I love the Kaisers. We went caroling with the ward choir in Villach on friday, and that was fun! Our last song we sang was Silent Night. I know you watched the film about that, but I don't know if it talked about how seriously they take that song here! Lisa, the granddaughter of the Kaisers' (Sr.), was so scared to sing it, she was freaking out, because she thought everyone would get mad at us, since you ONLY sing it on the 24th, Heiligabend. (Which is funny, because in church we sang it, and we have sung it already before too.) But apparently it´s a serious business!
Otherwise, we walked around A LOT! through an almost-dead city, the only people are in the Weihnachtsmarkt, and no one talks to you when they are shopping. We still found a few potentials, so things are always going.
We ate at the Suppersbergers last night, which was a lot of fun. We google earthed Mountain Home and I showed them my car in the backyard :) How is the Nissan doing by the way? I miss it.
Anyway, I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and many good memories with loved ones!
Family, I will see you tonight :) Till then, though, stay safe, work hard, be obedient and loving, and always smile. :)
Bis später :)
Elder Jalen L. Gibbons

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Ja, hallo! Wie geht´s euch?
So, first off. We are going to Bishop Kaiser´s house and we plan on skyping at 7 pm here, which I would say is 11 am there. That is our plan! Thank you also for all the packages and letters and such that I got at Zone Conference! I got a letter from Sis. Eagley (actually I got two!), from Adriana Garcia, from the Halls and from Chris Hall, from Mom, from the Burgesses, and so on. And I am writing Sis. Eagley back today, so she can expect that sometime :) It makes my day to get notes from the ward, and mail in general! Today will probably be devoted to writing a ton of letters, because I have fallen behind. All of my presents are sitting on our table surrounding a little nativity scene that we have, I have some pictures of them :) My first missionary Christmas, it should be lots of fun!
Well, all of your Christmas activities sound exciting and exhausting! I am glad to hear that the ward party went well! Ours did too! :) Michael and Herr Marschnig came, and we just sang lots of songs, had musical numbers from the kids, had the Weihnachtsmann show up and give the kids goodies, and watched a film about the ward´s 2005 Christmas Party. Then afterward, Br. Mauch came over to us and we sang some Austrian Christmas songs, and we got to practice our Salzburgerisch accents, which was tough, but so much fun! That will always be such a fun memory, two American Elders trying to sound like they are from Salzburg, singing along with members of the ward, but all in the spirit of Christmas. And it was even better because Br. Mauch was playing the guitar along with us! I want to be able to play guitar :/ It would be so fun to sing those songs when I get home, because I kept the packet of songs! :) Prepare yourselves for Christmas 2014 ;) so that was a great time, and Herr Marschnig told us that he had lots of great impressions from his first time spent with the ward. Michael also enjoyed it as far as I know. The cool thing was that Michael introduced himself and said he was studying with us :) So he knows what the purpose of meeting with us is then! We can't wait to keep meeting with him and help him understand how much God loves him and to understand what God wants for him. Sadly, neither of the two came to church yesterday :( we just need them to come to church and then things will be that much better! It´s one of the hardest things for us, getting them to come. But luckily Michael lives like 5 minutes away from the church! We will get him next week. Herr Marschnig was able to come to the party because Br. Mauch is awesome and picked him up :) I love br. Mauch :) Yesterday we ate with his family after church and he and I were kicking a soccer ball back and forth, quick, precise, one-touch passes. He is amazed that I am American and can do that haha. Too bad he can't play because of his knee :/ Oh, we sang some more with him last night too, after dinner :) great times!
So, this last week.... on pday we walked around the shopping area of the city, and I was looking for stuff that I wanted for christmas, for the money you have allowed me :) thanks for that by the way. Thing is, I have NO IDEA what I want! We looked at so many stores and I have no idea. Elder Orchard told me to get Lederhosen at Zone conference, and that is something I have been pondering, but I don't know a good place for that in Klagengurt. So I have no idea.
Tuesday was a lot of fun, we went to Sis. Schaunig´s house and painted for her :) She fed us VERY well too, it was so good! That was our day Tuesday, a big service project. Then English class. Wednesday was spent passing out invitations to the ward party for Saturday, and then we traveled to Salzburg. And guess what????!!! I got to walk around the Altestadt, and I finally found where we were two years ago!!!! :) Mozartplatz, where we rented the segways, and then we walked along the river to the apartment later, and I found the spot where Nathan and Tyson crashed :) it was so cool seeing it again. I have pictures! But it was dark, so they aren't great. We spent Wednesday evening to Friday evening in Salzburg, because we did exchanges there. Zone Conference was very good, and I love seeing all the other missionaries, and President Miles. I learned a lot from it, but the biggest thing was a reminder to me about maintaining my freindship with the Savior. We played the chimes too, the pipe/bell things mom has, as a pause for conference. That was fun :) Plus, I have a place to stay when we come back to Europe whenever :) Rememebr the Müller family I told you about, who gave me their card and invited me to have Thanksgiving with them sometime, or just to stay with them? Well their son is in Brixen (italy) with Elder Orchard right now, and he is so cool! We had a lot of fun together, I think maybe because I told him I had seen his family ;) and he said he hadn't for awhile haha. So, he wants me to come hang out with him after the mission.
I also saw during my Salzburg adventures, a lake that apparently is filmed in The Sound of Music :) got pictures of that too. It was very pretty, it had snowed a lot. But now, like here in Kalgenfurt, it is way warm for no reason :( so ridiculous. Sorry the weather isn't fantastic there either. But just think of Tyson frying in Argentina and then it is better. Sorry brother! :)
I am glad Nathan and Kate are enjoying all the stuff they are doing. I don't know why other schools are so dang good at their sports, but welcome to Mountain Home, where you get a lot of experience playing against such schools. I am still proud of it, no matter what success or lack thereof I saw. Keep playing hard Nathan, and Kate, just keep enjoying what is left of dance. Do well in school! That is very important.
Anyway, I have had a good week, a week full of experiences that have made me excited to go and just work, despite the tough situations and rough experiences with people who aren't ready to change yet. The people are there, for sure. What is it, when the going gets tough, the tough get going? I'm trying to be like that haha. Heck, I am trying to be like Jesus, nothing was ever all bright and dandy for Him. but He knew His purpose, and He knew that He loved us, and He gave His life for you and for me. There is no better time to feel that than now. A cool quote I heard in church yesterday, from Johann von Göethe: "Das, was du tief im Herzen hast, kann niemals verloren gehen." If you have the Savior and His love in your heart, deep enough that it cannot be removed, then ponder what you can do to help others receive that. Remember how His love came to be there, how you felt that first time you KNEW that He was there and He calmed your troubled heart. Don't ever forget that feeling. Think on it often, because "oh how quick to forget are the children of men." Don't let anything so precious be taken from you, or better put, don't let yourself give such stuff away, or treat it lightly. Because we all make our own choices.
I know that Christ loves each and every one of you, and if you can't feel that, or if maybe you never have, kneel down now and ask to feel it. It will come if you do so faithfully and sincerely. I, too, love you all, and if you can't feel my love, than you will just have to write me and tell me what to do better, eh? ;) I´ll be here.
Say Käse and smile :)
Elder Jalen Lawrence Gibbons

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let´s talk about snow...

What walking all over everyday does to shoes
Hallo :)
Well, Dad seems to be pretty accurate with my weather, because it has been very cold! Don't worry, I have been decently warm, and on Monday I bought a hat and some gloves, and also a dictionary! If you are wondering how the dictionary keeps me warm, then you are trying too hard--it doesn't haha. Sorry for the bad sentence structure. Yeah, it was -8 this week, and hung out around there, but on Tuesday it snowed!! A bunch! Well, it was a couple inches, but it was our first real snow. Elder Eaker has never seen so much snow in his life, and he was super excited haha. We got to shovel the Halls driveway for them, and we did her neighbors too as well. I´ve missed shoveling snow, it's good work. Forgive my lack of possesive apostrophes, bitte. But then that snow semi-melted, and most of it turned to hard packed ice/slush. Kinda like home. But it snowed again on Saturday, and much of it is still here. It is so pretty! On Saturday we rode the bus to a little dorf and ended up walking through big fields covered in snow, and hardly any traffic. It was really a Silent Night, that's what I thought of. Still, dark, cold, very peaceful. Figured that I would look back on my experiences later in life and appreciate that walk through such pretty scenery. It´s the classic idea of what I would be doing as a missionary over here across the pond.
So yeah, I love my trenchcoat! It keeps me very warm, and I have no complaints. We have also been taking more advantage of the wonderful bakeries around here, and it makes me sad that I didn't go buy more huge oatmeal cookies from Mom´s Meals on Wheels friend's place. And I also decided that every week we are each going to try out a new kind of chocolate, because we have been sticking with Rittersport and Milka (cool picture by the way, Mom, from Elder Janis´ blog). I had a limited edition 100 years rittersport this last week (I taped the package into my journal). I have finished two whole journals now! Aren´t you proud of me? Not a single day without something written. I need to start looking for more. A lot of their notebook things are like grid paper, and I don't like writing on that, so I have to look harder.
Back to snow, I must ask something: What is your standing on me buying boots? I will send an email with some pictures, including a picture of my Men´s Warehouse shoes, which are ridiculous. But yeah, my shoes aren't exactly grippy, both of the bottoms are relatively flat, so I had a really good time walking around everywhere in the uneven snow. I even fell once, and yesterday my left knee was a little swollen and my lower leg hurt in general. We have been to the Ecco store here in Klagenfurt, and they have some goretex boots for about € 160, but I don't know how much insulation they have. We also saw some boots in another shop downtown that have insulation and are also goretex, and only € 149. That is what we have seen, and for me the biggest thing is keeping my feet warm, dry, and having traction. You will have to tell me what you think.
Anyway, last week was lots of fun! With the snow and stuff of course, but on Monday we met with D___ and B___. Dad wondered how a pro athlete could have WoW problems, and I thought that was funny. He doesn't have any problems with smoking for sure, but we asked him to try going without black teas and coffee and such. He is doing great too! We finished the Plan of Salvation with him on Monday. But now we have no idea if their parents are coming over here or not :( so that is still the same.
We met with Herr M___ as well, the one who is in the wheelchair who Elder Stapleton and I found. He had a surprise for us, he had told us, and we got there and it was two whole pork roasts! That is expensive here, we heard haha. He really loves meeting with us. It is still difficult to actually teach anything, but we do our normal thing, answer questions and bear testimony, and now he wants to come visit the church! We are shooting for this week! He is great, and such a nice guy. He also told us that everytime we come over, he is going to have something for us to eat that is even better than the time before will have been. So, we shall see where it goes. It was funny, he complimented my teeth, saying that my dad must be a dentist, not an eye doctor. So Elder Eaker and I laughed and then looked at each other and Elder Eaker told me to tell him ;) So, I told him about my nice fake teeth :) and he said many compliments to the Doctor! Thanks Dr. Vogl! haha.
We did an Ausstellung on Thursday, and I can't think of the word in English. like display or stand or something... Anyway, we do it in the middle of downtown, where everyone is shopping and NO ONE wants to talk to you haha. It´s almost like anti-missionary work! Not really, I had a good time, but everything I had heard about ausstellungs beforehand was pretty negative. I got to walk around a lot, and talked to some cool people! It was also freezing then. And after that we went to Frau K___´s with Sis. Schaunig and Daniele Casella, and had a very good time. We gave her handicapped daughter a blessing, because R___ asked her to let us, and it was a good experience. Olive Kaiser, the bishop's son, got baptized on Saturday, and that was a fun time. Too many sweets to try at all of these European potlucks... I felt kinda sick afterwards.
Oh, I saw lots of pictures from the Temple Rededication, with Joey and Jared and Christian and Malcolm, Tyler, Solomon, Justin, Aubree, Willow, Austin, the Crockett girls, and all sorts of people I know from the stake! That was pretty cool. Tell Malcolm I laughed at his haircut ;) he looks like his dad!
I had the opportunity to speak yesterday on how I discover and renew the spirit of Christmas. I think it went well enough, it was better to have things written down, then I don't screw up German as much. I love being here and being able to spend this time with these people I love, in the ward and with investigators. There is always a special spirit at this time, and even though I am so far away, it is the same feeling. I hope you are enjoying it too, and most importantly thinking about what Christ means to you in your lives.
Sorry if this is somewhat shorter, but I have mentioned the highlights. I have all sorts of stuff in my journals, so you´ll have to wait for all the good stuff. ;) Oh, I forgot to mention that we finally met with the young M___ guy we found at the end of November last night, and it was really good! We are going to meet him Saturday and then go to the ward Christmas party. Should be good. I will keep you updated. He is very nice and open and had many good questions.
I know that Christ was born to free us from sin and from death. He did it because He loves each of us. He is the greatest gift of all, for each of us, and what can we do in return? Follow Him, live like Him, love like Him, learn of Him. Seine Geburt feiern wir, sein Leben ehren wir, und seinem Beispiel für uns bleiben wir immer treu. He is the reason we have hope and joy, faith in a life after death. And He lives today, to continue to love and bless us. What can you give in return for such a gift? You´ll have to reason that out within yourself.
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and he was called of them to establish this church. Because of God´s love for His children, we can live together in families, we can learn and grow on our journey to become as He is. The Book of Mormon can prove that to anyone who is seeking sincerely. And NOTHING can stop the Lord´s work from moving forward.
Be happy, and rejoice in this season of celebration, and don´t stop smiling. :)
I love you all!
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, December 3, 2012

Liebe Grüß!

Hallo liebe Freunde und Familie!
Well, I am sorry to hear that Great-Grandma passed away. President called me on Saturday night to tell me that you had emailed him, and like he said, we had a good conversation. He asked me about her, and then he asked if Great-Grandpa had already passed away. When I told him he had, then President said, "Oh, can you imagine that wonderful reunion?" I appreciated the love he expressed, and the testimony he bore about the Plan of Salvation and our purpose here. It wasn´t unexpected news, but I was grateful to have him tell it to me personally (as personal as over the phone is, I suppose). He told me to just think about the knowledge that we have that night as I contemplated the meaning of Grandma passing on, and I did. It was a very interesting experience. I was lying in bed thinking about it, and somehow my thoughts turned to my remaining family and all of my friends, and I thought back on great memories with so many people. And in this situation, as usual (speaking of her death), one can get a little sad, and those emotions started creeping into my wandering thoughts, and I started to just feel sad about the fact that so many memories are just that--namely, memories-- and I also had glimpses of opportunities gone by and mistakes made. What was interesting was that my natural instinct in the midst of these emotions was to just bask in the sorrow, like some people so readily do. And honestly, I tried for a second. But I couldn't. Instead, a hope for the future, memories to be made, opportunities to take, faith in the reality that we can live forever with our loved ones, came into my mind instead. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have, and the opportunity to share it with others. I am grateful for the comfort that night, the reassurance that things will be okay. That there is a plan for us. But most importantly, that when we give up everything, give it to the Savior, then it is really impossible to let yourself be drowned in sorrow or regret. It´s funny to say, but the best way to describe my experience was that the Savior DID NOT let me be sad. Haha He forbid it! And so are the workings of the Atonement in our lives. Each of our lives. That was my impression from Saturday night, and I am grateful for such a wonderful Mission President. He is truly an inspired man, and he is exactly what this mission needs, just what these missionaries need. And all you can summarize from that is that God speaks through living prophets, and Jesus Christ really guides His church today.
Well, I shall report on the rest of the week, eh? Moment, ich muß zuerst etwas erledigen. So, thanks for the addresses from Tyson and Chris, and now I have more favors to ask: can I get addresses for Ossie and Logan Olaso and Stephen Bush, if possible? That would be super. And yeah, I don't know how much it would cost to send Tyson something. I can figure out. I also want to give you the address from Sch. Schaunig, who took us to lunch a couple weeks ago and who has basically just been treating us as her sons. She is so nice! Anyway, that's all the address stuff I believe!
Also, it was funny in Dad´s email, because he was talking to me, but then occasionally you mix us up, and in this case Dad talked about his study in the NT and said he had thought of "you and jalen." haha i always just laugh :) no worries. Sorry that there are two of us.
Also, I have some information on the package stuff. So a package has to be less than 1 kilogram (just the cheapest one, from what I have heard) and that is still € 20!!! Wow, it´s pretty ridiculous. So I don't exactly know what I am sending yet (don't worry I am going to Villach today to shop and get haircuts and such, so I will look around for Nathan and Kate and Will), but it may be rather expensive. Plus, the Post only takes cash, so I am thinking that I will convert the $100 I have from the bike fund and use that for the packages. Otherwise, you would have to put money into my debit account and I would have to withdraw it. Only cash, so annoying! But yeah, that´s some news on that.
Also Mom, I am going to send a letter home today, but it will be a letter for Will, something for just the family, but then a letter to a friend as well. And I am going to just write the Buchteln recipe in there. And actually, no need to worrry about conversions, I have it all already, that is how Sis. Kaiser gave it to me, thankfully :) so, ich freute mich!
Plus, you talked about singing in the choir about Christ, and I had a similar experience in the MTC, where we were singing "I Believe in Christ" in a meeting, and the whole meaning hit me. Actually, everytime we sang that, it did so. My favorite version of that is MoTab, and my favorite lines are in the last verse, where it says "And while I strive through grief and pain His voice is heard,´Ýe shall obtain!´" and then, "I believe in Christ, so come what may." These have really struck me as a missionary, and I know how you felt when you told me about that. It is incomprehensible joy, there is no other description. And I find it much easier to feel such love in this Christmas season. Dad asked if people were more open to us, and I don't know if I can say that many more people are, but I can say that we have been blessed to find those people who are willing to talk to us. We found lots of potentials this last week, and we did A LOT of dooring! Haha one klingel that we hit DIDN'T STOP!!! And it just kept buzzing and we pressed other buttons and then banged on the door and then we just looked at each other and said, "And it is time to walk away..." which we promptly did :o that was fun. Also, it is really cold now, it SNOWED GESTERN!! But the sun is out today and it is melting. But it was beautiful!
Well, I got to walk around the whole market that Dad told me he saw online, and that was cool. It´s because Sis. Schaunig invited us spontaneously to lunch, and so we wanted to go talk with her and see how things were going since she is having a rough time. I was really glad we went, because we figured out that that day was probably her toughest yet, in terms of her situation, and so we got to comfort her, since we are basically her sons! When we said goodbye she hugged us again!! Haha and then she said, "you aren't supposed to do that, huh?" and we said, nope, not really haha. But she just said that she imagined her sons on missions and knew how much she wished that someone would be motherly to them. So, that's why I want you to send her a Christmas card, if possible. She is so nice.
Also, I figured I should be better on investigator reports! Sorry for my lacking, but nothing much was happening I guess. Anyway, D___ has been trying out the Word of Wisdom this last week or so, and we just told him to pray and see if it was right. And, gestern, B___ texted us and said "Guess who got a hat trick tonight? :)" plus they won their game 11-2. So we told her that he better be thanking Heavenly Father and that he better recongnize the blessings of the WoW. So, we are meeting with them today, like I said :) Um, V___ isn't doing anything, and he cancels appointments, so we had to drop him, and then besides that we have the man that I found a few weeks ago in the wheelchair, who made the appointment without us having to ask. He loves us haha. We basically just go and listen to his ideas, many of which are true, and when we can we just answer his questions and bear testimony. We just let him talk and try to be there for him. We count him as an investigator just on principle. But yeah, that´s how things are going. I will do better on updating you.
Well, as always, I get up to bear my testimony on Fast Sundays, and as soon as I stand up, no matter how much I have formulated things in my head, it all goes away, and I feel like my German is just terrible and all I can hope is that the Spirit talks through me. I guess it is my monthly "be thou humble" experience haha. So, I am going to do what I do better, and write out what I tried to say yesterday. And sorry, it is in German, but I heard that Bro. Sell must have liked translating it :) Hi Brother Sell! And everyone else.
So, fange ich jetzt an. ein paar Tage vor habe ich eine Ansprache vom Elder Holland gehört. Er hat darin eine Geschichte über den Vater des Präsident David O. Mckays erzählt. Der Vater hat ihm ihm (David) gesagt, als er auf Mission ging, daß er sich mit allen Lehren des Evangeliums beschäftigen wird, mit allen Heiligen Handlungen, mit den Heiligen Schriften. Aber wenn er vor Menschen steht, er wird finden daß sein Sinn ganz leer wird. In diesem Moment, sagte der Vater, er soll sein Zeugnis über den Propheten Joseph Smith und das, was Joseph Smith sah, ablegen. Dann hat der Elder Holland über die Wiederherstellung der Kirche Jesu Christi durch Joseph Smith gesprochen. Er sagte, daß diese Kirche nichts wäre, sie wäre wie jede andere Kirche, wenn sie die Wiederherstellung und die Erste Vision nicht hätte. Und ich (elder Gibbons) hatte mich gewünscht, daß ich wie Elder Holland sprechen könnte, daß ich Zeugnis von der Wiederherstellung mit solcher Macht wie er ablegen könnte. Doch kann der Geist so sprechen. Ich weiß, daß der Prophet Joseph Smith Jesus Christus und Himmlishen Vater gesehen hat. ich weiß, daß diese Kirche die wahre Kirche Christi auf der Erde ist. Durch Joseph smith war das Priestertum Gottes wieder dem Menschen gegeben, zum Segen der Mitglieder der Kirche, und zum Segen der Kinder Gottes. Dank Jesus Christus, können wir zusammen mit unseren Familien für immer und ewigkeit leben. Und was bringt uns größer Freude als dies?
I hope you all have a great week! Nathan, good luck with basketball, keep playing tough and keep your head high. Good luck in school and with everything else. Also, a happy birthday today to Eshjaia Gervais! Don´t know if she will ever see this, but just in case.
I love you all :) Choose to be happy, smile! :) It´s contagious.
bis nächste Woche!
Elder Jalen L Gibbons

Monday, November 26, 2012


Some photos of the Lavamund cleanup service day, 11/13/12:
Flooded Lavamund, Austria, where the rivers Drau and Lavant converge, 11/6/12
Lavamund townhall, 11/6/12
Lavamund gasthaus (restaurant/hotel) that Jalen and his district helped clean up, 11/6/12
The gasthaus, after the floodwaters receded.  The ground floor was flooded
to about halfway up the bottom row of windows--if you look closely you can see the
waterline.  Just beyond the gasthaus is a big pile of debris waiting to be hauled away.
Salvaging and stacking firewood from the flooded gasthaus:
Bru. Mauch, Jalen, and Sis. Stapleton
LDS Missionary Cleanup Crew with gasthaus owners (far left and front center).  You can see the flood waterline on the statue in the background--its bottom half was "cleaned" by the flood.
Elder Hall, who took most of the photos, standing in a room at the gasthaus
they'd cleaned out.  You can see the flood waterline on the wall behind him.
When the floodwaters receded, there was a 4-inch layer of  hardpacked residue left behind.
One of many Lavamund dumpsters filled with flood-damaged debris
The Red Cross provided lunch for the volunteers at a fire station.
Red Cross workers at the fire station

Grüß euch!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND YEAGER!!!! Hope it is a great one!
So, I am very excited that Carissa is putting her papers in! That is so cool! Next August, that means that I will have only 9 months left, holy cow. Well, when the time comes, let me know where she is going! I have a friend, Rachel, from BYU who just wrote me and said that she too was working on her papers! It is so cool to see how the announcement from General Conference changed everything dramatically! All the best to them!
Um, Mom asked last time for the Mauch´s address, so I'll send it. And I will have to look up the Suppersbergers address for next time, and I may as well send you the Bishop´s too. Does that work? haha. Speaking of addresses, what are Tyson´and Chris´ addresses? I should write them.
Also, so about the Christmas package that I will send home to you, would it be acceptable if it is a little late for Christmas? Cuz the Post here only takes cash, and I don't have enough on me yet (plus, I haven't had enough time to go shopping for stuff). But, I figured I could wait till all the sales after Christmas and then I will get stuff sent home ASAP! But I will write Will and hopefully send him something too, since he may have to wait... does that work? I am hopefully going to get my packages at Zone Conference on the 13th, and then we have a ward Christmas party on the 15th (since you asked what we were doing in the ward).
Well, the Buchteln things were pretty successful last week, they weren't as heavenly as the ones I got from Alice Kaiser, but they were still good! I will get you the recipe next week.
Well, this week was much like others-namely, looking for new people to teach. We had a district finding day in Klagenfurt though, and we found about 10 potentials! Sadly, we have contacted all of them so far, and only have about 2 appointments out of it (and one we have already met with, and he isn't going to become an investigator as far as we can tell :/ ). People can get excited and hopefully feel the Spirit, or at least something "different" about us when we talk to them, but then you try and follow up and they are always busy. But, it is necessary to "weed out" those who aren't going to do anything (sorry, that term sounds rather negative, but I don't know how else to put it) and then work on finding sincere people. But it was lots of good work, and we are going to make the best of what we have! It was cool though, because I worked with Elder Stapleton again on finding day, and we went to a building that Elder Eaker and I have tried to get into about 3 or 4 times already (there is a former investigator or less active or someone in there, but they never answer) but then Elder Stapleton leaned on the door and it was open! So in we went-- into a building straight out of "Inception"! It was so crazy, whoever designed it had a lot of fun. The best way I can describe it is floors within floors and staircases everywhere in random places. I got one picture of it, but you can't see the whole craziness. We had lots of fun going through it all :)
Oh, so I just wanted to point out that with the European style of writing the date, so day month year, the 21 of November was a palindrome! That will not do anything for you really, but now you are aware. Remember my Mother´s day talk when I talked about palindromes? Haha that was ridiculous.
Ach so, Thanksgiving! I had no idea when Thanksgiving was, but then the Halls invited us to eat Thanksgiving with them and some other ward members, and it was so good!!! They had a cranberry sauce, but it was actually cranberry-strawberry-apple-orange-raspberry (I know how to spell raspberry thanks to Shawna´s taffy :) haha)-delicious sauce! Homemade of course :) I think by the Bishop´s mother. So, my Thanksgiving wasn't the same, but it was better than the plan we had, which was nothing, because we didn't know when it was :)
Also, it made me think of mom this week when we found one of our minidisc things that has some Nickelcreek songs on it! I can't really see how they are not appropriate or anything, but they aren't exactly missionary-like. But we were going through the discs to see what we needed to get rid of, and we found it. So I went through to see the songs I knew, and then at the end, guess what I found? A German narration of the movie "The Emperor´s New Groove" :) That was pretty funny. I didn't know what was going on till it started talking about Llamas. So that was funny.
Well, I had a GREAT time in church gestern! Did you all? I realized that I should always have something to write on when I am at church (I´ve always done it in my planner since I have been here, but I never did it much before) because we learn so much! I mean, you probably knew that already, and I am just semi-slow, but I know now! Anyway, we had some great lessons gestern, and I got a lot out of it. So we first talked about Pres. Uchtdorf´s talk from October, "Of Regrets and Resolutions." We talked about three main points, namely looking back on life later and saying: I wish I had spent more time with those I love, I wish I had lived up to my potential, and I wish I had let myself be happier. (The last one is so true!!!!!!). So we kinda talked about what we can do in order to avoid those regrets later in life. So the teacher told us something. He said that every morning, at 7, you wake up and you have €86,400 in an account. HOWEVER, you CANNOT put it into a savings account, and you CANNOT spend it on anything for you yourself to keep. What in the world are you going to do with it then? Of course, some people got at the right answer, saying that they had nothing to do except help people! So, he explained the analogy to us. Every morning we wake up at 7, and we have 86,400 seconds in our day( I am just assuming that he is referring to a 24 hour period, from 7 to 7). Aha, does that start to click in your head? What do you do with your time? Are you going to look back later and have these regrets? Also, what brings you real happiness? Is it buying things? Because I am convinced that you don't have to be able to buy things to be happy, and we can experience a new kind of happiness in helping others find happiness. I like what Pres. Uchtdorf said in the same talk, he said, "Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts." We should be looking less at what our eyes take as happiness, and more at what the heart says. Stimmt, ge? Then I was reading the NT and came across Matthew 6:21. "For where your treasure is, there shalll your heart be also." What do we treasure in life? Is it those things that aren't going to last?Things that will assuredly bring regret? Go and read Pres. Uchtdorf´s talk, and make some resolutions as to what you can do better to see with your heart. (It´s coming up on New Year´s resolutions, eh?) I can testify that the things that bring us the most happiness, lasting happiness, are those things which make the heart burn, which invite the Spirit into our lives, which make others smile. In those moments, we get just a glimpse of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. I felt such feelings at church gestern, and I didn't want it to go away. So, we do those things which make us feel good, right? Hopefully that "good" is something that is constantly building us up, helping us become better. Otherwise, what worth does it have? And, as I heard in my class with Br. Mauch, he asked what one had to do in order to have the Spirit always by him? And one of the people said "He doesn't have to do anything. He has to BE something." Wow, I liked that! Be the best you can possibly be, and strive to be what your Heavenly Father knows you can be. And then you won't have regrets in life.
I know that life is hard, and it takes lots of effort to keep yourself excited and willing to learn more and become better. But I promise it is worth it. Don't lose a moment, because we don't want regrets later. Do what is worthwhile now, and you will have a multitude of happy memories to bask in later.
I love you all, and wish you all the best this Christmas season! It´s Christmas, so why should we ever not be smiling? :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hallo :)

Hallo everyone :)
So, I will NOT forget transfer news this time ;) however, it is accompanied by a story of frustration and anxiety, the likes of which you have yet to hear... haha not really, but we ourselves were pretty miffed (I love using that word, it´s from Calvin and Hobbes, right?). So, we usually get calls around 8. But we didn't, so we studied. Nothing until 9, even though everyone in our disrtict and the ZLs were asking where we were going! Nothing, at 10, or 11, or 12. What in the world?!! We were so excited/anxious/frustrated that we had no idea what we were doing! Finally, around 1:30, we figured out that they believed that we were staying together. Bwah! We didn't get a confirmation call until like 2. So, the not so new news is, we are both staying in Klagenfurt for Christmas!!! :) :) And like I said, the inner city is covered in lights and stuff that I haven't seen lit yet. Plus, they do have all the crazy Christmas market stuff going on (so I will look around, Mom). And, to add to the craziness of that, our entire district is the same! For 3 transfers, no changes. Elder Eaker has been in Klagenfurt for 5 transfers (7 1/2 months!!!). That is pretty crazy. But, it all may have a wise purpose in the Mission President (I would say the Lord, but He works through the President haha).
So, it is projected (not completely concrete yet) that our mission will have 90 new missionaries by the end of March! AND: Klagenfurt is projected to have two Sisters in Villach, and two more Elders in Klagenfurt (since our apartment is so big). THAT IS SO AWESOME!!! Then we wouldn't have to travel so much (because for real, we travel everywhere and we really DON'T have a ton of time in just our area, like Dad figured) and we would be our own little district! So cool!!!! We are excited. So, my address is the same, natürlich. I will be here till the New Year :)
Well, we did get to go do service in Lavamünd, and it was so much fun! Not cool that they were flooded, of course, but as Bruder Mauch put it (he is a civil engineer, Dad, and he is the boss of his own company) we were the FIRST missionaries ever in Lavamünd, Österreich :) They had no idea what the church was haha. We went with all the missionaries from our district, and the Halls went too, so there were 8 missionaries there to work! And they were SOOOO touched that we drove all the way from Klagenfurt to help (if you look on the map, Mom, find Wolfsberg east and north of Klagenfurt, then from Wolfsbereg go down and a little east, almost on the Slovenian border, and there is Lavamünd.) So, we worked at a Gasthaus (guest house or inn) and we totally cleaned out the garage and another wood-pile room. So, we stacked A TON of wood, and threw away a whole bunch of garbage. The fire department had it organized, and they fed us SO MUCH FOOD!!! It never ended!!!! The guy who lived at/owned the Gasthaus was thanking us profusely and apparently he was crying when Elder Riser was talking to him. (The thing was, I had NO IDEA about ANYTHING he was saying!) I don't know what he was speaking! It wasn't the language they taught me in the MTC ;) haha. So, we actually tried to go back on Saturday, but they were taking a break. So, no more work in Lavamünd. But I can say I have been there :)
Mom (or Dad, can't remember) asked if I had had a Best Two Years experience, where someone just came and talked to me and I talked right back at them: I do that everyday haha :) I am not perfect, and sometimes I have to have them repeat themelves, but I don't worry about not understanding anyone, really. It is a nice feeling.
Oh, so guess what I did this week? I gave my first blessing auf Deutsch! Boy, when the sister in the ward asked if we could give her a blessing, I was just thinking, "Shoot, this isn´t English! What do we do?" and I was kinda panicing (how do you spell that? :/ ) but, as she told us what was going on, I had a feeling of peace, and most significant just a love for her and her wellbeing. I know my German wasn't very good during the blessing, and I was kinda worrying about that afterwards, but she came to me on Sunday and thanked me again and told me she had written down things she had learned and it had strengthened her. I have a testimony that the Spirit works through servants of the Lord for the blessing of Heavenly Father´s children. It doesn't matter what language it is, or how well you can speak it; all you need is faith and to be worthy of the guidance of the Spirit, and you can see the blessings that come from your good works. That was a tremendous comfort to me.
I learned so much in church yesterday, and I loved something that Daniele said in his talk about "Hope for a glorious Resurrection." He did such a good job! He said that life is lesson (we know that). Then he talked about how kids will say that they don't want to go to school. And what he said was that it is so hard as parents to explain to the kids that they are sending them to school because they love their kids and they know it will help them. He said that kids think "Well if you love us, let us stay home and play!" Then, I was sitting there thinking about what he said, and I of course thought about our Heavenly Father, and how He must try so hard to tell His children why they need to do that, or why they need to go through that, experience this, und so weiter. (I mean, etc.) Then, after I finished writing that down in my planner, Daniele said the same thing I had just thought :) Cool how that happened, huh? Life is a lesson, and we don´t understand it sometimes. But we can't just say that I am going to stay home and not worry about that lesson. For the people who understand that and have faith in our purpose here on earth, namely why we are here and where we are going, the Plan of Happiness from God the Father, it is our duty to help those who are looking for answers. Talk to the missionaries if you have questions, eh? I know that we can find eternal, everlasting happiness through living the gospel of Jesus Christ, following His example. Try it out, and see if you don't feel something greater than you ever have before.
So, more business before I forget: we have already been invited for Christmas skyping with the Bishop (I want you to meet him, I will make him make an appearance, he is so funny :) ) but the question is on which day... Elder Eaker said that skyping on the 24th would be better for his family because he doesn't want to see all of his extended family and stuff, just talk with his immediate family. I don't even care if the whole family is there, it would be awesome regardless, and that's how we did it with Logan. So, it may, with permission from president which I am making Elder Eaker ask for, since it is his idea, be on the 24th (that is their Weihnachten here, after all). But I had to ask if that works for you? I don't know why we can't just do it on the 25th, but more information will be forthcoming. That is all.
Oh, I got a recipe from the Bishop's wife, Alice, on Saturday. Called Buchteln, and if you know McDonalds cinnabite things, it is basically that kind of dough, but filled with jam, and so much better. I am going to make some today. And I can make them when I get home, because I have German and English recipes. :) I will tell you how that goes.
Well, I want to write a short testimony, but I am doing it auf Deutsch :) Sorry you Google translators, it may not know many church words. Aber, ich weiß daß Jesus Christus unser Erretter ist. Er möchte daß wir wieder mit ihm leben, und er hat uns den Weg vorbereitet, damit wir für immer mit unseren Familien in Glücklichkeit und ohne Sorge und Bedrängnisse leben können. Sein Jok ist leicht, hat er uns verheißen. Wir haben so ein großes Zweck zu erfüllen. Und alles ist möglich durch Christus. Er liebt jeden von euch, daß weiß ich.
I too love each one of you! Always choose to be happy, and patient in your troubles. Never stop smiling :)
Gott sei mit euch bis Aufwiedersehen!
Elder Jalen L Gibbons

Monday, November 12, 2012

Liebe Grüß :)

Grüß euch! Wie geht´s alles in Amerika?
So, there were lots of questions about Christmas and whether or not it looks much like it or feels much like it-- it has just rained A LOT! There was a little dorf called Lavamünd or something that totally got flooded! So we may actually go there and help clean up as a big service project tomorrow. We are still waiting to get ahold of president so he can approve it. But yeah, it´s actually warmer than it was a while ago, but not really any complaints. I always worry about our mail getting soaked tho, because our mailbox stinks...ach so, staying with the topic of Christmas, I will get all of my packages at the next Zone Conference in Dezember. Speaking of which, I may not even be in this zone by then, because transfer calls are on Friday!! What the heck has happened to my sense of time?? Dad talked about me being ready to show the new guy around if I needed to, and yeah, I feel totally fine doing that. But I will let you know next week what the transfer news is.
So, sorry Mom, but I have to correct you in that Daniele is a ward missionary, not the ward mission leader. That is still Bruder Mauch :) who is still the bomb!! I love him. It was actually his idea that we try to go do service in Lavamünd tomorrow. And he would probably be there too. Also, Bonnie, Derek´s wife, is the one who cuts our hair. And she does it for free! I will have to have her do it again soon. And I will probably get it about as short as Tyson´s (I loved all the pictures by the way.).
And yes, I have a CD player in the apartment. Most of them do. And I was actually going to ask about some CD´s because I wish I had some Disney music. Like the song in Hercules, "I can go the distance," which is one of my favorite songs. Anyway, just a random thought. I don't listen to tons of music, but mostly because we don't spend that much time at home. But new music would still help.
Well, it was funny this week, because Mom sent me a copy of my own email, instead of Tyson's :) I just laughed haha. So, hope Tyson is doing okay!
So, the last week..... we did basically nothing in Klagenfurt, because we were never here again. We were in Graz for district meeting, and that was Monday too because we had to do a baptismal interview for a man in Graz. That was cool tho. So I did nothing for Pday. Then we made fried chicken and biscuits for a less active girl and her boyfriend, but didn't get to teach anything.. And Wednesday we went with the Halls to a big furniture store called Kika and bought me a new wardrobe (meaning a stand-alone closet, not a new set of clothes--they don't have many built-in closets in Europe like we do here), which we then had to assemble (and it looks good too ;) ) Thursday I was sent to Wien because Elder Eaker ended up going to the District leader meeting in Munich. I worked with an Elder in his first transfer, and we still didn't do much missionary work besides me talking to some people on the street. And, I have a testimony of the wonderfulness of cleanliness. The Wien apartment I stayed in was a mess (it is four people there, to some of their defense). So, I love being neat and in order, and that just made me want to do it even more! (I also thought back on the nightmare that was 3103 Heritage Halls when things got out of hand, which they did seemingly often...). So, being cleanly and neat is GOOD!! It keeps a load off of my mind. Our apartment is very nice, and I even got a sugar cookie candle from Kika for my desk :) It´s great here in Klagenfurt.
So yeah, it was cool in Wien though to have to be the one who understood all the people speaking German, because the Elder I worked with couldn't. So I went to a ward missionary meeting in a ward that I don't belong to, with a missionary who DID live there but had no idea what was going on. But I had lots of fun regardless :) I know Heavenly Father answers prayers, because I prayed to be able to understand what I needed to. He answers prayers! But remember that we only receive blessings according to our faith. So do what you need to everyday to strengthen your faith.
So we were in Wien until Saturday, and when we got back home we had to plan our coming week! Which we didn't finish until this morning actually.... and then Sunday we drove to Graz again to do another bapstismal interview with A___, the Egyptian man in Bruck an Der Mur who Elders Stapleton and Riser teach :) He is being baptized next Sunday! The cool thing was that I was there for the first lesson with him (and one other) :) So I feel like I got to take a part in it. We met at the house of a translator who spoke Arabic, who said all the things that A___ just can't say in German (which is actually everything.. haha). A___ talked about how he learns something new everytime the Elders meet with him, and they can't really even understand each other! The Spirit is certainly the real teacher. Now he is on his way, the "right way" as he puts it, to living in joy with his Father in Heaven. Language barriers can't do anything to stop children of God from coming to Him. The coolest thing was that G___, the translator, kept talking about "his missionary." The Leoben Elders will always be A___'s missionaries, and I am so happy for them. I just need to find the one who lets me be their missionary haha. I work every day to do that.
Annnnd, the news with W___... Dad talked about things being too good to be true, and he is right, in that we don't know what exactly W___´s motives are anymore. We are certain he is smoking again, even though we met with him Monday and Wednesday this last week, and told him he really had to convince himself to do this while we weren't there. But we no longer have a date because he told us he wants to do it on his own time, how he wants. Plus, we have realized this last week that he just thinks we are friends. He sends us random text messages about anything, and if we answer we try to see how he is doing Spiritually. But yeah, he isn't making any progress spiritually. He sent us a text the other day and told us to study up on "game theory" so that we could talk about it when we met together. We told him that we would not do that, that we CANNOT do that, and that we have no desire to do anything save it be to bring the Children of God closer to Him. So we haven't met with him since Wednesday, because of lack of time. And when we do meet with him, we are telling him straight out that we are Representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, The Living God. We have NO PURPOSE except for building others up and preparing them for baptism and to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It´s going to be interesting when we meet with him tonight. We have to see what he wants from us.
Anyway, it is such a great feeling to be that representative of Christ, because I can literally look anyone right in the eyes and say the Savior of all mankind has called me here to teach them about God´s plan for us. And I know that with faith, we really can reach people´s hearts and make their lives better. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that He is always there with us. He has the power to do anything for the blessing of His people, and we just have to exercise faith in that. He loves each one of us, and will never leave us. And that I can say as His disciple on this earth.
Till next week, alles Güte und viel Erfolg bei allem, was ihr macht. Hört niemals auf zu lächeln. :)
Ich habe euch Lieb! :)
Elder Jalen Lawrence Gibbons

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hallo wieder!

Well hallo again! This week we are once again at our internet cafe doing emails, because the internet wasn't working at the church. So, now I feel all rushed again haha. No matter. Plus, it´s pouring buckets outside and I have had to carry my little carry-on all the way to the church, because I didn't want it getting all wet. Now my arm is tired haha.
Anyway, we have a baptismal date for the 17th of November!!! But, now that you are wondering where the heck that came from, let me tell you about the rest of the week ;) haha
Actually, changed my mind, I will start with all the business. First of all, Nathan´s solo sounded hilarious! I can see him doing it well haha. Plus, my shirt that he is wearing in those pictures makes him look even better ;) Yeah, Nathan and Kate both look like they are doing fantastically! I'm glad the musical stuff was figured out and all of that. So, first off, it was suggested to me by Elder Eaker that when you send a package to Tyson you tape a picture of Jesus on the side so that people don't mess with it. At least that is what they did for his brother in Brazil. Superstitious people haha. But he said it worked, and I was just thinking about that with all that good stuff for Christmas. Also, another item for me, if possible, Just like Tyson, it would be awesome to have Zebra pens and pencils! I'm still using the mechanical pencil I bought at BYU and I love it (it is 0.5, small, which I like better). But yeah, if that is possible, then I would love you forever ;) (I kinda already do, no worries.)
Auch, you should make a new Skype account for me and send me the username and password, because I can't remember my own. Plus if you do it at home, then you can make sure we are both already contacts and then I don't have to do that here when the time comes. Danke schön :)
So, the week. We bought some American stuff on Monday, I got a vanilla Coke and a wild cherry Pepsi (so basically I was honoring JD and then the rest of the Gibbons family ;) ) plus some Raspberry poptarts. And some honey flavored gummy bears. Then I wrote Allie I think, annnnd that was bascially it. Tuesday was district meeting and finding day in Bruck an der Mur, and I got to work with Elder Riser. We didn't find anyone :( but we only had like 2 hours of actual work. So, it looked basically like we were in for another rough week. (They did find other potentials, with all the other missionaries; I don't know why, maybe I am just bad luck haha). Then Wednesday we rode home on a train with NO seats, so we sat in the space in between cars, by the WC. Fun. I got some cool pictures tho. Then we got home and we had another referral from Church Headquarters! So we went by on her, but she wasn't there. Then we went to the church after some more finding and helped with the Primary Halloween party. We put on a fun dry ice show, so water, dry ice, fog, and then you add dish soap and you can pop the bubbles and then fog comes out! We had way too much fun with it haha. And the kids loved it.
Thursday is when things started turning around! We got to go visit Frau K___, the single mother, and it was a good visit. Mensch (which means "man" as in "oh man!", Dad) I got to tell the First Vision for the first time out here, for some reason Elder Eaker has just done all the rest. But for real, if you want excitement and adrenaline, forget roller coasters and come on a mission and then bear testimony about the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Every single time it happens, and it´s something you may never have felt before. I just got excited and I probably started blabbering, but then Elder Hall (who was our joint teach) got excited too and started talking about the priesthood. So, it was awesome! But, sadly, now just isn't her time. But we are certain it will come. She is just too busy to come to church or worry about changing religions. Schade :(
But then we went by on the referral again, and she was there! She was surprised to have three (Post men, mail men) come and deliver the Book of Mormon. She had expected a package haha. She let us in and we introduced the Book of Mormon. She was in Iowa and did a tour of Winter Quarters in Omaha, but they had just run out of German Books of Mormon! She was SOOO excited to get it too! Then Elder Hall asked for a Bible so he could show her the whole "other sheep I have which are not of this fold" thing. And when he did, I saw her fold the page down like she wanted to go back and read it! So, I showed her in 3 Nephi 15 where Jesus says "you are the other sheep" and then she folded that corner down too :) Plus, she made us all sign her Book of Mormon! So we signed under Elder Hall´s testimony. Pretty cool. Sadly, she just got busy with work, so we couldn't make a return appointment, but we have her info and we are confident we will get a call from her soon ;)
Then we went to Villach and visited with Bonnie and Derek, who told us that one of his teammates from Canada wants to come join our lessons! SWEET!! Plus I got one of Derek´s hockey cards. It´s in my journal.
Well, Friday was the big day! We helped the Casellas move into their new place (by the way, we got to help give Daniele the Melchizedek priesthood yesterday, and set him apart as Ward Missionary, which he is so excited about!!! :) It was awesome, and he is the greatest guy ever) and we got a text from a man we don't know, saying he wanted to meet with us. So, when the ZL´s got here for our exchange, Elder McClellan and I went by on him to see what was up. Turns out he was a former investigator, from a year ago, and he had had a baptismal date but never went through. We haven't heard anything of him or from him. But we learned that he wants to change his life, in large part stop smoking, and he was thinking about how to do that when his thoughts turned to us! So, there we were. We were able to bear testimony about the Atonement and how it would help him, and we talked a little bit about the stop smoking program. Then, when we learned that he had had a baptismal date, meaning he had already learned about everything at least once from the missionaries, we decided to set a new goal for him! I was thinking maybe the 24th of November, but then he said that we could meet once, twice, three times a day, and that we could call anytime and he would be there in 30 minutes; so, I decided he could be ready by the 17th. The thing is, I feel like Captain Moroni, because I don't remember what was said by either me or Elder McClellan. But we knew it was right, and that if this man (name is V___) would seriously prepare himself, it will happen. So, we have thrown away all of his tobacco and lighters and ashtrays and we are going to help him clean some of the smoke smell out Wednesday. We have had a couple setbacks from Friday till Sunday, namely him smoking a "couple of cigarettes that we forgot" haha. But he started yesterday, when he came to church with us and even bore his testimony! (he just said he was glad to be back in the ward-- he knows some members already from a year ago). So, he contacted us. After a couple weeks of us working hard and not seeing anything, we got this miracle without doing anything, no effort on our parts. Haha the Lord was probably testing our faith. But yeah, that is the story of the baptismal date. However, if he has had a setback since yesterday, we will probably have to push the date back a week. But, I have faith. We have also given him a blessing with the ZL´s, and it was a great experience. I will keep you up to date of course!
Well, if you can learn anything from this last week, it is that bringing others closer to Christ gives you a happiness that you have never felt before, and it is lasting happiness! I don't remember thinking about myself once this last weekend. I was focused solely on helping others. And I WAS happy, joyful. The Gospel brings such joy, when you follow its teachings and try to be like Jesus Christ.
To answer dad´s question, which I just remembered, yes, I am the first up there after the bishopric member to bear my testimony every time. If Klagenfurt rememebrs me for anything, then maybe it will be that :) haha. but really, bearing testimony to anyone about things you know to be true is just exciting, thrilling! And I get plenty of chances.
So a quote that I got on the church program gestern: Jeder Mensch hat die Chance, mindestens einen Teil der Welt zu verbessern, nämlich sich selbst. (Every man has the chance to make at least one part of the world better, namely, themselves.)
Are you being the person you want to be? Are you being the person that God wants? Hopefully that person is the same, so do whatever you can to make it so.
The world is a beautiful place, and each day brings miracles, so never stop smiling and thanking God :)
I love you, til next week! :)
Elder Jalen Lawrence Gibbons

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hallo meine Geliebte Familie und Freunde :) :) :)

Ach du liebe Zeit! It sounds as if everything at home is going fantastically!! (Sorry if that isn't a word... I can't speak English anymore). First off, Father, Servus is just a greeting they say over here--it´s actually Latin! Haha and it is one of the words that D___ knows well. It´s an informal greeting, Du-Sprach. You should say it to people ;)

For Mother, that € 30 will be sent in with the rest of my reimbursements, so no worries there. But yeah, I am not going to be spending my personal money on tickets or whatnot. We will just be keeping better track of the money we need to get places (the biggest use of our money is buying tickets to go to anywhere but Klagenfurt--aside from groceries I mean.) So yeah, on that topic, I spent another € 15,60 on a ticket to Villach last week for our lesson with D___ and B___ :/ The lesson was not too good...we got our haircuts first (danke Güte!) but then they told us they only had 20 minutes left. So we didn't get to talk about a lot :( no worries. As for when B___´s parents are coming over to baptize D___, I have no idea. They said it would probably be December or January, which gives me the potential of not being here anymore...But I would come to it anyway! So other than no time at that lesson, they are doing great!

So, the missionaries will be making an appearance at the Temple rededication ceremony??!!! (I told Jalen the cultural celebration committee for the temple rededication had requested pictures of every missionary serving from our temple district, to be shown at some point during the celebration.) What picture are they using??!! It needs to be a good one haha. Do they broadcast the ceremony or anything, or is it just the people who have tickets? That is pretty exciting. I am excited that Nathan gets to be in it. Also that he may have the opportunity to have Chris as his basketball coach! That is so cool. Chris knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to sports, so expect to work hard and learn a lot Nathan! Good luck with the play and whatnot too, Nathan and Kate.

Mamma Mia, (I can say that because I know an Italian family ;) haha Federica says it all the time, and I want to as well). Oh, they found a place finally, not far from the church at all! So close to us too. Now we can finally meet with them again, hopefully. We are helping them move this weekend :) so wie so, this last week was pretty crazy! It got cold enough for me to break out my trench coat! It certainly keeps me warm, for which I am thankful :) then gestern...wait let me start from Monday.

Monday: nothing crazy adventurous for Pday, just wrote Shawna, Sis. Eagley, and Becky (so they can be expecting those). Then we went to Villach like I said, got haricuts, talked for 20 minutes, then came back home, after which we went contacting for a little while. Nothing from that though :/

Tuesday: District meeting. And we have been asked by the President to do a finding day everytime after district meeting--so we go out in whatever area we are in (which for us means switching between Klagenfurt, Graz, and Bruck an der Mur every week) and we just contact and knock doors until 6. So that is what Elder Stapleton and I did! Mensch, we knocked doors forever, and we just heard no after no. We talked to one lady from Slovenia for a while, but nothing. We did go by to say happy birthday to Sis. Kaiser, the bischof´s wife, who invited us in to have crepes. That was great. But missionary work-wise, nothing. :/

Wednesday: Elder Eaker and I rode to Ebental (suburb of Klagenfurt) and froze while doing doors and such. Elder Eaker does not like the cold haha. But mensch, there was one lady who just stared at us like we were dirt. She said that no one wanted to listen to us Americans, that we were dumb for coming over here because no one wanted anything to do with us. She was downright mean! We got rejected some more, but thankfully Heavenly Father let someone let us into a building, so we weren't just on the klingels outside. Then we rode home and did some more contacting and such--in short, two days of straight finding, with nothing out of it :/

Thursday: This was another day devoted to finding! We also went by on a couple less actives, but no luck. Anyway, when I was studying that morning, I was just depressed. We teach no one! No one! We have Derek, yes, but we don't have anyone else who is reliable and willing to meet with us. No one! I was seriously just depressed. Not excited at all, which I recognized and wanted to change, but it was rough. We have been doing nothing but finding for the last week, and we have nothing. So I was really trying to just show my faith and be excited, but it didn't work out too well... So we decided to go give that woman from Tuesday a Book of Mormon in Slovenian, which we did. That was a start. Then we contacted some potentials that Elder Eaker found on Tuesday. And we got an appointment with one of them for later in the day! Mensch, I was so happy that I just took off on my bike--we had something to do, someone to teach and help. And, at that moment, the sun came out :) no lie. That started changing my attitude. So we met with this girl and gave her a Book of Mormon, and set an appointment for today (the 29th) but it fell out this morning :( No matter, her sickness won't last forever! Then the Halls made us dinner, and we went back out to find more people. Well, we were just walking and talking, not getting much attention at all, and then an Italian family walks up to us and wants us to help them find their parking garage. They couldnt speak ANY German, so we decided to just walk with them :) I led us along the streets as Elder Eaker attempted to speak with them, to no avail. We eventually called Daniele haha so he talked with the father and we heard the word "Mormone" a lot. We learned later from Daniele that they were just on vacation--Daniele also made fun of them for leaving Italy and not knowing the language of their destination country, but he also told him about the missionaries! Well, we found the spot, and the family was just saying "Here here, that is it!" and they were so HAPPY!! And thankful! They kept saying Grazie, grazie--and then the best part: the mom grabbed our hands and hugged us, and kissed us each on the cheeks 3 times :O :) hahaha. We were caught off guard, yes haha. But it was a highlight of the week :) seeing these people so happy, just because we were willing to help them, it made me happy myself. Now, who knows, they will go back and find missionaries in Italy, and be baptized and receive eternal life and savlation :) If it started with finding a lost car, then so be it. At least I got to serve. I will find out one day.

So, to interrupt, why am I telling you about all of the depression and lows I had this week? Well, just like anything else in life, some of the biggest miracles and joys are found after the storm. Plus, I got a letter from Nikki this week, where she told me about teaching no one her first few months as a missionary. Just 10 hour days of finding. What am I complaining about, eh? Anyway, it goes along with this quote from Pres. Uchtdorf: "No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something each day to embrace and to cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy IF ONLY WE WILL SEE AND APPRECIATE IT." Boy, I can testify that that is true! I still will have fun memories of my time with Elder Stapleton on Tuesday, despite the lack of success in finding. There will still be lots to learn from every other day, despite how low I may feel. But it is certainly true, that as missionaries we experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. But the biggest miracle is that the missionaries all across the world wake up at 6.30 AM and go out and do it again. Every single day. This work can't be anything other than the work of the Lord!

Oh, so I saw in one of Elder Hall´s (Chris) emails that his mom said some girls were putting in their papers? Do you know anyone I do who is doing that? That would be awesome to know. Just thought of that...
Well, Friday: I was pretty stuffed up, and our weekly planning took like 4 1/2 hours, and we went out for just a little bit. But man, the coolest thing to me was that I don't get scared trying to talk to people. There aren't a ton of people out and about later at night, so we go wherever we see someone, and we talk to them. That was a tender mercy for me to see.

Saturday: we spent Saturday at the Mauch´s house, where we built ourselves some beds!! We are calling them Basement Designs, by Bruder Mauch haha. But the Lord answers prayers, because Br. Mauch kept telling me to pray so we could find something, That was my duty then, to pray, and we always found it! That was basically our day, because it rained all day long--no one was outside. We also rearranged our whole apartment, so it is more roomy :)

Sunday: SNOW!!!!!!!!!! It was a big surprise to us, since Oktober is apparently early for them. Well we got invited to the Suppersbergers for dinner, which was delicious! Then we played Jenga and watched the film "On the Lord´s Errand" about Pres. Monson. Then came home.

So that was my week. It was pretty rough early on. But the Lord knows our works, and our attitude, and when we just focus on trying to be like Him, then we will be blessed. Maybe not on our time, but it will come. Oh, I was singing that Primary song while walking down the street the other day :) (Trying to be like Jesus). I looked at Elder Eaker and said "look what they did to us in Primary! All we have to do is get the first line and then it just comes out :) I like singing unterwegs (on the way.)
I would like to end with some quotes that I found this week (yes, it has been too long haha). They are from something Br. Evans gave us in the MTC.

Elder Ballard: "Become a creator of circumstances instead of a creature of circumstances." Also: "Ability means nothing to a missionary if it is not used." I liked these ones because it made me think of abilities that I have, or that I want to have, and also that it is up to ME to get things done, such as developing these abilities. It is something we all do throughout our lives, improve our abilities to love, to learn, to forgive, to accept, etc. I´m working on a lot of those haha. But we have help :)

Elder Holland (this is just the end of a very powerful section of a talk): "Go to the edge where miracles happen. Move into the realm of the miraculous. Have full faith. Believe in angels. With the power of the Priesthood, push the envelope. Welcome to the apostolic work." Bwah, that put me into place! Whenever I want to get excited again, I just have to read that talk that I got from the MTC. (It also has a picture with super buff missionaries mixed with super buff Stripling warriors, something I could only dream of haha.) But yeah, find those things everyday that will get you excited to do stuff! Don't take a moment for granted, because it will come back to haunt you eventually. Make everything exciting, and then you will have more memories that you love. Remember who you are and who you want to become.

Never stop smiling :)
I love you all :)
Elder Jalen L. Gibbons

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grüß euch!!

Jalen's Austria jersey
The long-sought-after-Barcelona jersey
On the way to Salzburg
Meeting in Munich with President Monson (he's not in the photo,
but Jalen thought this buiding was beautiful)
Vienna Rathaus (courthouse)
Hallo wieder!

How was everyone´s week? I hope it was fanastic and that you got to see the friends and family and people you are familiar with! Because I did and also didn't.... It was a great week full of beautiful train rides and seeing old friends, but we were only in Klagenfurt for 2 days, if even. And we didn't even do a whole lot of missionary work because it was Monday, Pday (more of which I will talk about in a second) and then Friday, where we volunteered at a blood drive at the church, and then had some potentials fall out, and then had to plan the next week. So yeah, there is lots to do and see when traveling all over Austria and to Munich and such, but it is great being home.

So, let me tell you about our adventure Monday!! We did all our stuff through the day, walked around downtown, went to the mall where I bought my Barcelona and Austria jerseys and my scarf, and then we went to Villach to visit a potential/referral. Well, it started raining and we bought cheap € 3 umbrellas, and we set off to a place we had never been before. We had almost no idea where we were going, and when we finally found it, the name wasn't there :( so we walked through wind and heavy rain with umbrellas that kept folding inside out and we had to jog with bags and everything for about 15 minutes to catch our train. I have not been that soaked before! We took everything out of our backpacks and pockets and let it dry out in the train. BWah, it was really fun! All that tracting in such beautiful weather, at least I know I am going to find a wonderful wife. I've talked about bad weather before, but this last Monday was the worst yet. Haha I love it here!

Well, we had to do an emergency exchange with the Leoben Elders on Tuesday, because they couldn't be in two places at once. That was fun, and then we headed to Wien (Vienna) on Wednesday for a Zone training meeting, where I got to meet new people and we had a good time. We stayed the night there after going to Elder Eaker´s old area and eating. I had some drink called Aloe Vera King, and it was SO GOOD!!! Yeah, it was aloe vera. We got home Thursday night and went straight to Villach to meet with Derek And Bonnie. We didn't get the baptismal date we wanted :( but it is cool to sit back and see how many excuses we have helped him overcome as we have met with him. It is no longer wanting to be baptized in the US, next summer, with a lot of family, and everything else. We have told him that he needs blessings now. He just wants Bonnie´s dad to baptize him, which makes complete sense, and they said they would talk to Bonnie's parents and see when they are going to come visit them before the end of the year!!! So, it is now just a matter of getting the father-in-law here. So, that was cool to look back at. We love meeting with them.

We went to München on Saturday morning, and saw President Monson, as well as a ton of other missionaries I haven't seen for a while, like Elder Janis and Root and George. Elder Janis and I just talked for a long time about how things were going, it was great. Pres. Monson talked about our duty of rescuing those who have strayed from church activity. And the meeting was for the members of the Salzburg stake, as well as Munich and Nürnberg. So it wasn't a missionary meeting, we were just EXTREMELY lucky and blessed to go. I can walk all day haha but standing still for an hour and a half is rough :/ We also had the chance to go to Wels for stake conference, which was just a broadcast of President Monson´s meeting in Frankfurt. He talked about the same thing basically, but I liked a poem he quoted: "God gives us memories so we may enjoy June roses in the Decembers of our lives." I liked it a lot because my memories are my most prized possessions. He just talked about loving those around us, and how we can reach people when we follow the example of Jesus Christ and love others. "Mind full of truth, life full of service, heart full of love." That´s what I am shooting for, in fully forsaking myself, as President Miles said in my interview in Wien. IT IS SO HARD!!! To forget yourself, I mean, when you see yourself everyday in the mirror, when you worry about being fit enough for the work, and so on. But I want to just worry about others, not myself. When I figure that out, how I can best forsake myself, then I know I will be much more filled with the love of God, and that's what I want and need. So I am working hard.

Well, it was a busy week! When I was home for a day, though, I got that letter from Becky haha. It was funny since I just sent her one about 3 days before she sent hers. Now I am confused as to who is supposed to reply... I suppose I just will haha. Tell her thanks for the stickers if you see her :)

I hope Kate is recovering and that all of the auditions and such go well! I would love to come surprise Nathan and Kate at their musical, but yeah, I rather like it here ;) sorry. I'm glad Mom didn't have to be on that trial for jury duty so she can be a temple tour guide. I agree with what Tyson said, just keep smiling and tell them all the things you know and love about the gospel. It is easy to tell people what you know. That´s what I do best in German! By the way, how in the world does Tyson write so much in his emails!!!??? They are so long haha. Just wondering. Tell Dad to have fun in Arizona!

Oh, interesting fact. So, Elder Orchard, from Utah, the one who was with me in the MTC and is currently serving in the Italy area of our mission, who was mentioned in conference, and so on, remember him? I learned this weekend that his house was the house in all 3 High School Musical films. Yeah, his TV room was Zac Efron´s bedroom. Isn't that crazy?! He said that Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens just made out on the couch in front of him everyday.... poor guy :/ He is like "famous" in so many ways haha. It´s cool that I know him and know the good missionary and man that he is. He doesn't like the attention haha. That was funny to hear from him.

To end with a quote that Becky sent me: "The closer you get to the light, the bigger your shadow becomes." She liked it, and I do too; but it is pretty daunting, oder? I suppose it is totally true for the Nephite dissenters in the Book of Mormon who are more wicked when they fall away. But as with everything in the Book of Mormon, it applies to us! The light is what we are striving for. But when we let Satan tempt us into becoming offended at something, or get angry with someone or something, then we turn away from the light. Thank goodness for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the means by which we can always face the light. I know that He lives and will bless us more than we can understand, as long as we do what He has commanded. Follow Him. He has invited us so many times "Come follow me." He is there for everyone. And we will never be happier than when we follow Him. I testify that that is true.

Never stop smiling, even if you don't feel like it. :) Maybe you will convince yourself eventually that you ARE happy, if that is the case.

I love you all! Best of luck in all endeavors.
Elder Jalen Gibbons