Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Guten Morgen! Haben Sie ein gute Tag gehabt?
It seems like yesterday that I was writing home! I didn't get many letters last week (from those I sent them too, anyway) but I did get one from Christina and a couple from Dad. I am going to write back to those after breakfast, and maybe reply to some earlier ones if I get the time. Yeah, so no mail on Memorial Day, which means that I have to wait till after lunch to get any letters I might have and then find time to reply! I will do my best. Brother Evans had his baby on Saturday/Sunday. They named him Beckham Spencer. He got an infection in his lungs from the amniotic fluid, so he is still on antibiotics at the hospital. But Brother Evans was so excited! He showed us a picture of him, and then Elder Birkinsha asked if we got to see his wife. So he showed us a picture, making sure that we knew she was taken, and that no matter how beautiful she was, she was so much more. I loved how respectful he was of her! And of course, all the Elders looked at the picture and went "WOW, she is beautiful!" and Brother Evans said "Hey now, she is so much better than beauty." I hope someday I can be as great as Brother Evans. And, our new teacher Brother Ehlen (a.k.a. Lucas) has been teaching us when Brother Evans wasn't. He is so cool too! His first lesson with us, he told each companionship what we did well and what we could work on while we were teaching. (By the way I have seen Elder Burton, Alex, a couple times. And he just walked into the computer lab haha.) Anyway, Brother Ehlen then went on to tell us an analogy about fleas. They put fleas in a jar and put a lid on them, and for a couple days the fleas will constantly jump to get out and hit their heads, over and over. Then, after 3 days, they take the lid off, and not a single flea jumps out, not even the babies. Just like an elephant tied to a tiny stake in the ground at a circus, their life experiences had put a psychological lid on them, and they had given up. He then said that we have all most likely heard something about European missions being hard, or we won't get many baptisms, or anything like that. He told us that those lids are no longer there! The only thing that affects the success of a missionary is their attitude! Brother Ehlen promised us that if we went forward in faith, and worked as hard as we could, we will find success; he told us to let go of all the negative things we have heard, to let go of all the lids. That was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever heard.
Last night when we had class with Brother Evans, we told him about the cream soda tree haha. So we took a quick break so he could smell it, and he was freaking out, thinking that we were messing with him. He finally smelled it for a second and then ran off haha. He is funny. We also brought him a little cup off ketchup from dinner, because Brother Ehlen told us that Evans LOVED ketchup (Ehlen and Evans were companions in the Zurich, Switzerland mission a couple years ago, I can''t remember if I have told you that yet. I can never remember the things I have only written in my journal and not to anyone in letters or such. Sorry). We met our new investigator with Brother Ehlen, we had to do a door approach. His name is Paul and he is a referral through the church. We set an appointment for Donnerstag (Thursday) at 11. Then we were told who we would be teaching with Brother Evans: Andreas, a former member and former missionary who had left the church. We are excited to get back into things. I felt like I have not progressed much in the last weekend because we never had anyone to teach. I'm happy to get back into things.
So our district turned out pretty well, because each companionship has one person with German experience and the other with either no experience or just a little. Elder Botcherby took two years but didn't learn anything he says. Elder Robins and Elder Barr are both really good at German! But the rest of us are pulling along rather well regardless.
So last Tuesday the devotional was Elder Rasband (Divine call of a missionary or whatever the talk was called). He talked to us about the necessity of teaching with the Spirit, and having it always. Sunday's fireside was Stephen H. Allen, Managing Director, Missionary department. He talked about navy pilots and aircraft-carrier landings. Talked about the necessity of precision and the importance of recognizing deviance early. They were both fantastic. Then after Allen we stayed and watched Legacy, the pioneer movie. It was very entertaining because it was rather cheesy, but it kept us happy. Whenever someone would kiss, all the Elders would "Shhhhhhhh!" until it was over. And I was so tired on Sunday because Elders Robins, Janis, and Botcherby stayed up talking til 11:50! I can fall asleep at first, but I wake up rather easily. So many elders were asleep during church, even the Branch President and his counselor! It was fun watching them. I love singing in German, even when I don't know what it is saying exactly. They actually have "Come Thou Fount" in the German Gesangbuch! I have sung that quite a few times already.
I want to answer all the questions, but I just never have a lot of time! Oh, the bookstore does sell some picture prints, but they are only 8x10's haha. Yet they are only a dollar! So I printed off/ordered four pictures that I can send home. Well my computer is freezing,so I am going to go to breakfast while I can. Love you all! Things are great here! Write me ;)
Elder Gibbons #1

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Hallo mein Familie (und Freunde)!
It is my 6th day here, and my very first Preparation day. We woke up and got all dressed up, because we were told to wear our missionary attire for study and such. Then we got to the classroom and NONE of the other districts were even there! We went back to the residence hall to get some letter writing stuff and saw everyone else hanging out in their regular clothes. But, we have to be dressed up to use the computer labs anyway, and we will also be able to get good breakfast in the cafeteria and not the sack breakfast. This "week" (it's not even been a full week) has seemed both fast and super slow. But we have learned so much already! We got here Wednesday and got all our stuff and then met everyone in the classroom. Out teacher is Brother Evans, and he is the coolest guy in the world! You can tell that he loves us and is excited for us to be here on our missions. His wife was due last Tuesday I think, so they are inducing her on Friday if the boy hasn't come yet. Everytime we see him we ask if he is a father, and he is so excited and nervous haha.
We have been thrown into German mode since that first day, and we learned on Wednesday that we would be teaching our first investigator, Lucas Mueller, on Friday!! How in the world were we supposed to do that? I have 3 years of German behind me, but I was scared out of my wits! My companion is Elder Botcherby, from Springville, UT. He is a soccer guy, and he plays really well. We are pretty similar, and our whole district has become good friends and companions. We go play soccer everyday with all the Germans, so I am really happy. When I see Tyson (and I usually do every day) he always says that he just goes and runs on the track or lifts weights, because his companion in a tall, blond, strong guy who swims and probably plays football. I feel bad for him. I take it as a blessing that I run into Tyson almost everyday, just to remind me that I am not completely cut off.
So we have actually taught Lucas 3 times already! It is fantastic that when we get here we are thrown right into it. The first "lesson" went well enough, except my companion and I came out realizing that we kind of just talked at him; and it probably wasn't very good German either. The second lesson was Saturday, the next day; we thought we would at least get a weekend to calm down and prepare more! Nope. But, we prepared and we had an excellent lesson, just trying to get across the point that Heavenly Father loves Lucas, and that Lucas can have a personal relationship with God. Lucas comes from Stuttgart (I told him I had been there) and he is here training as a fireman. He is Catholic, but he never really went to church (his mom was Lutheran, dad was Catholic). In his introduction video Lucas told us that he didn't really know what his purpose in life was, and he wondered why his LDS friend in Stuttgart (Peter) was always so happy even when bad things happened. My companion and I decided that we wanted to let Lucas know that his purpose on earth is to live, learn, and return to live with our Heavenly Father. Our 3rd lesson wasn't as great, and I didn't feel very prepared at all. So after that experience, I am going to work my butt off to never let that happen again! I am utterly amazed at how well the things I have already learned are coming back, and how well I am learning the new things (which includes almost all of the gospel things). I couldn't do any of it, none of it whatsoever, without the help of the Holy Ghost.
I hope Morgan enjoys her graduation today!! I am excited for her and the "beginning" of the rest of her life! School is almost over for everyone, so now you guys all have to figure out what you want to do for the summer! Lucky me, I know exactly what i will be doing for the next 2 years ;)
Sunday was pretty cool! The fireside was the Provo Temple President and his wife, and it was incredible! They talked about the temple, as you can guess. Then we went and watched a film; it was Elder Bednar's Christmas devotional in the MTC, and he talked about the cookie monster (with a pretty darn good impression too)! He talked about how the cookie monster wants his cookies now, and is only worried about himself. He told us to not do that, to get over ourselves, and remember that we are here to serve God and convert them unto Jesus Christ. We are just the medium through which the Holy Ghost can speak to those we teach, so we need to put off the natural man, the "I want cookie now!" or "I want baptism now!" (said in a perfect Cookie Monster voice of course). It was a fantastic day, and I hope I can feel the Spirit like that every day of the week.
It is so hard to think of what I need to say and what questions I need to ask, because I have to beat the time limit still haha. I have 2 minutes left. So, my disrtict has 10 people, Elders Botcherby, myself, Taylor, Barr, Pack, Birkinsha, Janis, Robins, Goodsell, and Hansen. They are all great guys! We get along quite well, but sometimes they get distracted. All is well though.
Have fun with whatever you do, and I hope you will always look for those things with which you have been blessed in life, and look every day for ways to serve others. As Nathan told me, Return With Honor!
Love you all,
Elder Jalen Gibbons