Wow, I have no idea where this week went! Yeah, the first two weeks were rather slow, trying to get adjusted and whatnot, but then this one just took off. Okay, Mom had like a whole paragraph of questions and I really try to remember them all, but I always miss some haha.
Okay, Klagenfurt is the only ward in the whole state of Kärnten. There used to be a ward in Villach (you should look Villach up, it is beautiful) and the building is still there, but it belongs to a company now. They sold it and combined the wards. But ours is now the only ward, with about 80 members or so. Not very many! They are great though. Our Bishop invited us for dinner, and we talked for a while and played with the kids. It really bugged me at first, because we learn in the MTC that appointments should only be max 45 minutes. Then my first appointment in the field, with the Cassela family (yes, Federica is Mrs. Cassela) went 3 hours! So I asked my trainer and he said that it is actually rude to not stay... so, I am still trying not to go 3 hours, but I can stay a while. I actually saw the old building in Villach yesterday, we went there to visit our Ward mission leader, Bruder Mauch, and also stop by a family he wanted us to visit, a less active family. So we were riding our bikes through beautiful little dorfs, with pretty mountains. It was basically the bike ride I had imagined before the mission lol. Next to a river, tiny road, even rode through a little neighborhood that had cattle or goats or something. I actually enjoyed the smell, coupled with the sights. Saw a big castle up on the hill, but didn´t have my camera :( oh well, we will go back.
So, Salzburg was great! I got to see Elder Orchard, who is in Innsbruck, and who gets to go to Italy once a week! He is the only other golden in our zone, so I loved getting to talk to him. It was comforting to see that I wasn't the only one struggling with dialects and whatnot. But we had to leave the leadership meeting early to catch a bus to catch a train. The church building is way out in nowhere, so we drove through a lot of town getting to the train staion. But, I didn't recognize anything :( I tried to see stuff, but oh well. We stayed with the ZL´s and then went right back home the next morning. On Wednesday we just went contacting and such, and on the way to our lesson with Sonja, who just got baptized, we walked past an African man on a bench, and we just said " Hello!" well, "hallo" I mean. Then he asked "Wie geht´s?" so we stopped and talked to him. But, he didn´t speak German! He said hello in German so we stopped, then we spoke English. And, we met with him on Saturday at the church, gave him a tour, and did the first lesson with him. He is already Christian, and he is from Niger. He is so nice, and wanted a Book of Mormon, but we didn´t have an English one with us on Wednesday, so we gave it to him Saturday. We thought he would come to church, and I was excited to translate for him (or try to haha) but he didn´t come :/ schade... But we will keep meeting with him and keep inviting him to come. His name is Mosa, and he is probably around 21 I think. Super nice guy.
We met with the Cassela family on Thursday and Friday, and those were great lessons. Man, they are so cool! And Daniele (the dad) is totally the next Bishop! He is so strong in his faith in Christ and it always strengthens me to meet with him. And Federica is just as awesome. She is getting baptized in 2 weeks! We also met with a young man named Edward, who is really funny and open to what we teach, and he also has a funny giggle that he does all the time. So, we gave him the first lesson, and he said he would be baptized once he knew the Book of Mormon was true! So great! Oh, Mosa said the same thing too. We call that the soft baptismal commitment. Next time with both we will set a date hopefully.
Yeah, we walk a lot, and now we ride a lot, and my legs hurt haha. And my rear end also hurts from riding the bike. It has been a while.
Oh, I saw a sweet KTM mountain bike at the bike shop, and it was orange, black, and white, so I thought of Mountain Home! DOn´t know how much it cost, but I just liked looking at it. It was so cool! So, Malcolm always wanted me to go to the KTM factory, but I don't know where in my mission it is. But tell him there are lots of cool KTM bikes around, and I think of him! It's so cool that Bro. Freer is the new YM president! Good for him! That will be great for the guys. Also, Bro. Ogaard in Elders quorum! That will be good too!
I'm glad the reunion was so fun! It sounds like there was lots to do, and I look forward to getting together in the future, wherever it is.
So last week dad told me about talking with Elder Perry, and how he said to the leaders "Don't lose a single one of these boys!" and dad expressed his regrets in the boys he had "lost" from his group he was over. I was reading in Mormon a day or two later, and Mormon knows how dad felt. Or maybe it's the other way around haha. But Mormon 3:12 talks about how Mormon had led and loved all the people in his army, despite their wickedness. He loved them and wept for them. So I thought that it was cool that Mormon, from BoM times, knew how it felt, just like you do dad. But you can always take pride in the men and boys you influence now, because everyone who knows you wants to be a better person. And maybe someday I will be as great an example as you. Don´t worry about anything.
Hey, does anyone know how to contact Matthew Webber? I need to talk to him haha. If possible, could someone who gets this email, who has his number, text him and get his address and then get ahold of my parents so they can send it in my email. Mom, Dad, watch out for that for me please. I want to see what he is up to! So I am calling him out ;) love ya Matt!
I finally got mail from leadership training. Got 2 new nametags, I don't know why, and then mom's letter with the SD card. So I have it. Also got Jessica Tindalls letter, and she has my reply on the way home since Saturday, I think.
Today we are going to Graz, where our Distrcit leader lives. They have the Arnold Schwarzenegger museum there haha. I don't know if we are going today, but sometime.
Okay, I have to email president now. But, a quote from President Heber J. Grant: A man´s wealth consists of the number of people he loves and blesses, and who love and bless him." I am so extrememly wealthy, according to that, and I am so blessed to have all of my wonderful family and friends supporting me. Maybe sometimes even thinking of me ;) but really, I wouldn´t be here without you.
Be safe, always smile, and make the most of every moment!
I love you,
Elder Jalen L. Gibbons