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