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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Servus :)

Haha yeah I already sent you a short one notifying you that I was still waiting for Mom´s email. Weird to think that we were on at the same time. You should be in bed over there!

Okay, yeah, I realized after I got home last week that I didn't say anything about transfers... haha. Sorry, I was caught up in the Spirit of conference. But that is not a bad thing, eh? Elder Eaker and I are staying in Klagenfurt, and we are both super happy! We love it here. I am glad you could still read between the lines that I was staying. I definitely would have told you if I was leaving.

You asked about service a couple weeks ago: we did some heavy duty yard work for Sis. Mauch, namely, ripping out plants and small trees, uprighting tipped over rocks, and then replanting the nicer trees/plants. I think it was her landscaping or something. Good hard work tho! Then we cleaned the church, like their semiannual church deep clean, for about 6 hours. There may have been something else, but it eludes me...

I am so glad that Logan´s farewell went well! I wish I could have been there :( He will be an awesome missionary, I have no doubts. Wish him the best of luck. Also, the "We will bring the World His Truth" song, is that the one with the "As Sisters in Zion" and "Army of Helaman"? I can't remember. But Elder Eaker has that song auf Deutsch! Which reminds me that I want it too...

I hope Kate recovers quickly from pneumonia! That can't be fun at all :/ I am sorry that she missed Districts and such, but her health is more important at the moment. And don´t let Nathan let these compliments about his choir Tux go to his head!!! Haha. All he needs to worry about looking good in is a suit in a few years ;) and then it really isn't that much of a worry. I am glad he enjoys choir. I can't believe there are only 11 people in Men´s Choir.

Anyway, as to Pday adventures, Dad, we haven't had much recently. I spent last Pday writing Becky and you and Mom. Oh yeah, so I kind of already talked about some Christmas stuff in that letter. You should get it soon. Ah, but I forgot to ask you to send my white and red, looks-like-a-candycane skinny tie from home! Should be in my closet. I don't know how I forgot it at home. So that would be wonderful! Danke schön.

I was almost jealous at Dad´s remark about driving a convertible Mustang around Hawaii, but then I realized that I have seen Ferraris, Aston Martins and Lamborghinis here, so it wore off (oh, even a Bentley!) ;) I really have, though. Enjoy the American Muscle car nevertheless!

It is getting colder! But it freaks me out because I go outside and the air I breathe and the atmosphere I feel with the wind-strewn leaves throws me right back to Grandma´s house with all the family. It´s just like I remember Autumn at home. It is a nice reminder, at least that my brain and memories still work, but it is nonetheless eerie. I have not broken out my cool trenchcoat yet. Soon though :)

This week was great! We finally got to meet with a woman who was contacted in August on our Ward Mission Saturday. We have tried a few times, but nothing until this week! We went and visited them on Thursday, and I basically ended up teaching most of the 1st lesson by myself, because she has 2 very young and energetic kids who Elder Eaker went and distracted. They were still in the same room, and still very loud, but they weren't running all around us. So Elder Hall and I had a very good lesson with her, and it was great to see how faithful she was. She is Catholic, but she has 4 kids at home, one of which is very disabled, and it makes it hard for her to go to church. She does want to come to church though, to see it, so we will get to get the ward involved, which is great because she is also a single mother. It is amazing that she takes care of these kids. And we want to help her any way we can. Especially when it comes to eternal salvation and living together forever with her family. She has an older, already married daughter as well, so maybe we can meet her and her husband too. We can't wait to meet again. Sadly, this week is CRAZY so we won't get to see her. Next week though, for sure.

We also had a great time with our investigator from Washington, and we are hoping to set a baptismal date this Thursday!! Last lesson was so spiritually uplifting and we really just told him that God has blessings for him, and there is no excuse to not get them NOW (he has just been thinking about doing it at home with some of his wife´s family, and also his family is not very kind about the whole Mormon thing, including his wife´s family...). But he said he was going to pray about it this whole week, and tell us his answer about November 3rd on Thursday. We can't wait. We are praying for him!

So, this week's schedule, just to explain the CRAZY: Wednesday morning, train to Vienna (my first time there!!) for a meeting, then stay overnight, have Interviews with President Thursday, then we HAVE to leave Vienna at 12.30 to make it all the way back to Villach by 4.45 in order to have this awesome appointment with Derek and Bonnie (Americans.) By the way, the Villach team (professional American football team Derek plays on) is number one in the league, but we also figured out that Derek is the TOP SCORER in the league. He is so dang humble about it, but his wife brags. So yeah, we are here Thursday night, then part of Friday, then we drive with the Halls to Salzburg Friday night, go to München and back Saturday to see President Monson!!!!, stay another night in Salzburg with the ZL´s, then Sunday we go to Wels for Stake Conference, and then from Wels to Klagenfurt. We are in our area for about 3 days, if even. It is ridiculous! But it should be exciting.

Also, we were in Salzburg on Saturday, rode there and back again (Hobbit haha, sorry...) and had a short meeting. Ate at a really nice Döner shop, and I wanted so badly to take pictures, but I still haven't seen the stuff I recognize. Maybe this weekend.

Anyway, something I liked from "Jesus the Christ" this week: "Misunderstanding is the prelude to offense." Sometimes it is hard not to take offense at things, but I know from personal experiences that we have to decide ourselves to get over such feelings. We can't just justify our annoyances and harsh feelings that come from being offended, because then we make ourselves miserable and more angry. That is something I am always working on.

To quote Elder Holland. "The crowning trait of love is loyalty." Remember to whom you are loyal, or to whom you should be, and remember as well the infinite love that you receive from Him. Be loyal and have integrity in all that you do. Don´t stop smiling. I love you all, and look forward to next week. Bis dann. Tschüß!
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, October 8, 2012

I love Conference!!!!

Oh my goodness, can you believe it?!!!! 18 year old young men are now able to go on missions!!! We were sitting in the chapel for that session, and the translation was a little slow (that was the only one I watched in German actually), so I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but Elder Eaker said to me, "There are changing the rule!" and I had no idea what rule he was talking about! Then I heard Pres. Monson say "We call every worthy and willing young man of age 18 to answer the call to serve." MEINE GÜTE, I have seldom heard anything more powerful than that!!! And for the young women too! And he wasn't even talking to me anymore haha. But I want to know what all those young men I know felt when he spoke that, because he was talking directly to them! Malcolm, Solomon, Tyler, Tony, Eric, all my friends, did they feel what I did?! What faith is being placed in the youth of the church!! And what tremendous faith is going to be required of them! My only question to them would be: Are you up to the task? I wish I could ask them that now personally, but I am across the pond. (By the way, I am so happy that someone is coming to join me over here :) congratulations Kody!). This work is not easy. I heard that so often, but you don't understand. You cannot understand how hard it is, both mentally and physically and emotionally. They don't have time to think about going or not going, we can't afford wavering. This is the work of the Lord, and we need, just as many said in conference, the best, the strongest in faith, in virtue, men and women who have been touched by the Lord Jesus Christ--just as Elder Holland said, when the Savior touches something or someone, they are NEVER meant to be the same. I am going to ask the same questions to myself for the rest of my life, the questions that he imagined the Savior asking his disciples: Did you think you could go back to what you were before? Did not my life and my love touch your hearts deeper?

Youth of Zion, has your life been touched by the Savior? My friends back home, has the Lord Jesus Christ touched your life? Have you experienced the mighty change of heart, as Elder Christofferson said? Those youth back home preparing to serve missions, Nathan, Yeager, Lindy, those young women I know who have ever thought about serving a mission, what say you now? You are next in line, and you need to be 100 times better than I am. Are you ready at this instant to give up everything and serve the Lord? You are the Hope of Israel, the next generation in God´s kingdom, and we have been called to action. As Robert C. Gay said, we go to the lost, the last, and the least. As Pres. Uchtdorf said, are we ready to commit the best in us to lifting others (sorry, that was Priesthood session)? Our duty is to lift those hands that hang hopelessly down, just as Elder Maxwell said in PMG. We must show righteous courage, be virtuous, and stand in hold places (Gary E. Stevenson). Once again, think on when the Savior has touched your heart, lifted burdens that seemed unbearable, brought peace to your troubled soul. If he hasnt, what is your pavilion hiding you from Him (Pres. Eyring)? When you listen with your heart, you will hear the Savior´s voice, as promised by Sis. Burton. Where are you now on the journey, and really consider where you want to be in the coming years. Do you think you can go back to what you were? Did not the Savior´s life and love touch your heart deeper?
Hope of Israel, rise in might! We cannot afford anything less. Do what you need to do to become who you need to be. Pres. Monson said that the Lord will make up the difference, and the cool thing is that I heard the exact same thing from Bruder Ehlen in the MTC. As Scott Whiting said, "Grit is not temple standard." Take care of things if you need to, show your faith in the Lord. People can change, as Pres. Monson said. You can change. Young men, Elder Christofferson said that we need to be men who women, children, and God can trust. As he also said, our duty in the Priesthood is this: "I stand to assist my brethren in need." Brethren, I am in need, my fellow missionaries are in need, the world is in need of SOLID, HONEST, PURE young men to wear the Lord´s nametag. Once again, my friends, are you up to the task?
Young women, we are of course in need of VIRTUOUS, FAITHFUL women to do the same. Young women who know their Savior, young women solid in testimony of Him and of His priesthood. It is not required of you to serve missions, but if you so wish, are you ready right now?
I can only give testimony to the words spoken by the living prophets and apostles of this church. It is different listening to them speak as a missionary, because we are in the same calling, to preach the gospel to the world. The Spirit bore testimony to everything that was said. We receive counsel from the Lord from a living prophet who speaks with Him. As repeated by many in conference, we must hearken unto Pres. Monson. I bear witness that this church is the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ on this earth, and His work will never be stopped. Jacob 5 promises those servants in the vineyard who labor with all diligence joy in their fruits. That is my duty, that is your duty, and the day comes soon when the Lord comes again. Then, as said by Elder Holland, He may ask us if we have loved Him. What is your answer?
Well, speaking of Pres. Monson, I get to go see him on the 20th of Oktober in München!!! It is a meeting for the members, but our zone was invited. I can't wait to hear the prophet speak again. I have standing room only haha but I don't care.
This last week we did lots of service! It was good to just work, but we look forward to finding more people. Sadly, Alex texted us this week and said that he has to do this by himself, so I just texted back in testimony that he doesn't have to do it alone. We will keep in contact if possible, but our duty is to find more people who have been prepared like him. No worries, the Lord will make up the difference.
Mom, I will find a picture for the plaque, but it will be next week ha. Sorry. Keep up the good work in school and any remaining sports Nathan and Kate! I'm sorry the curse of Middleton came again, but there is next year! Keep your head high.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors, meine liebe Famillie und Freunde. Remember who you are and be proud of it. Smile all the way :)
I love you all!
Elder Jalen L. Gibbons

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 12!!!

At the MTC: Jalen seeing Tyson off to Albuquerque at the crack of dawn,
July 16, 2012.  The next day it was Jalen's turn to head out!

Doctrine and Covenants, Section 4 (the missionary section),
with the German, Austrian, and Swiss flags superimposed on it!  :)


Austrian countryside, taken from train

Grüß euch wieder, es freut mich euch zu schreiben. :)

So, as you can tell by the previous two emails, I figured out how to get pictures onto the emails without downloading the whole App that is on my camera already. So, if I see any crazy cool things that I have to share, I will send more! Otherwise you will just have to wait for the next 20 months :)

So, this week was fantastic! I don't have a whole lot to talk about, except for the miracles and wonderful experiences that happened. So in actuality, I have LOTS to talk about!

So, we had a an appointment set up with Alex, the man we found in Villach, on Wednesday, and we were literally headed to the Bahnhof (train station) when he texted us and said he had to move it!!!!!:( He said we could move it off to next week sometime, and I told Elder Eaker, "Oh no, Mr. Devil is NOT keeping us away from this man until next week!" In consequence, we got an appointment on Friday, and got busy trying to make things work out so that we could visit the Grigorjan family from Armenia that same day and have someone to translate into Russian for us. So, we seemed to have everything worked out, but then the man who was going to take us to Villach AND translate for us AND be a joint teacher for Alex couldn't go!! Bwah!!! We were scrambling around, trying to figure out a way to get to Villach WITHOUT me using my personal money again, and so we asked the Halls (a senior missionary couple in Klagenfurt), who happened to be going to a dinner there that night!!! Miracle 1! So we got to Villach, and went with Elder Hall to Alex´s Wohnung (apartment) and we had THE GREATEST lesson ever! I think most of that is because we were NOT leading that lesson. I don't rememebr what I said, or what Elder Eaker said, or all of what Alex said, but we really got to just bear testimony that Heavenly Father is there for Alex. Alex has been having some rough times, and he told us he was just on the bottom of life right now. Rock bottom. But because of that, he is super humble, and he has been thinking about lots of stuff like the purpose of life. The coolest thing I have seen while teaching Alex (we taught him again at Br. Mauch's house yesterday, after we all ate together) is that we read a scripture, and Alex says, "That is me. That is exactly me." He sees himself in the scriptures! How hard do we try to really do that? I know I don't try hard enough a lot. We actually asked Alex if he had any friends who would like to learn about the gospel, and the answer shocked me. He said, "I am 38 years old and I can honestly say that I have no friends." No one texts or calls him to see how he is doing. He just has it rough. So I told him we are his friends, and he smiled. We have also resolved to get in touch with him every now and then and see how things are going.

We then visited the Grigorjan family, and we had a family from our ward come to translate. It was very good! I figured out that Sis. Grigorjan is a very good painter! She did all the paintings in her living room, which are gorgeous! I would love to buy any of them. So that is what she does most of the time at home, but sadly she can't sell them in Austria yet. We are going to help a little with German if we can, so she can pass her test. OH MAN, she gave us some real Baklava, which was super delicious, whether Russian or Armenian style. Also, we figured out the word for "good" in Armenian sounds just like the English "love." Can my Armenian experts see if that is correct? haha

Miracle 2: we got a ride home with the family who translated for us, which is more money saved from my personal account! (By the way, the reason I always have paid is because Elder Eaker is having troubles with his personal account). Miracle 3: we got another ride home from Villach with Vassili last night, which was also great. He is really funny haha. I love talking with him.

The coolest thing was that Alex came to church yesterday!!!!! I think this may actually be my first investigator who has visited church. He said he had a good time in sacrament. I was sitting and thinking to myself about how amazing it was to have someone who just doesn't know why he is going through these things come to the church, where everyone greeted him as a friend. I prayed the whole meeting that he would feel the love that the Lord has for him, and that he would really desire to learn more. I thought about him, my first self-found investigator ever, recognizing his potential, and the reality of the Plan of Salvation, and being baptized and getting married in the temple to his future wife. Obviously we have to teach him more, but I just thought about the fact that the process is beginning, and I had to hold back tears of joy. I know now this joy of which so many have talked about, the joy mentioned in D+C 18, a joy that is nothing I have ever felt before. This was just for ONE person, one son of God who has the potential to change and live his life in a way that allows him greater blessings and to achieve exaltation. Just one person. then vs 16 comes in in D+C 18, and I thought about the fact that I still have 20 months left to experience this joy! It must start now, this desire to feel that again, a desire which will fuel my work for the time I have left. Haha I heard the song "Wake me up when September ends" yesterday (on the Mauch´s car radio). What an appropriate awakening. It's now Oktober. Time to work harder.

So, my experiences this week were very dear to my heart. I will keep you updated on Alex for sure. He is such a great guy. We also have another appointment today with Edward, who had been on vacation for like the last month and a half! We will see if he is really serious or not. But that is about it so far, aside from our work trying to visit less actives and former investigators. Oh, we still meet with Derek and Bonnie (an American couple who are there because the husband plays in an American football league in Villach) every week, which is a lot of fun. Villach is #1 in the league right now! Pretty cool.

So, the last week of this transfer already! That is ridiculous!!!!! I don't know where I am going yet, not till Friday, so just bear with me!

If I have learned anything this week, it is that we need to be humble in everything we do. We are then more in tune to the Spirit, and it is easier for us to follow His promptings. So, be thou humble!

As for cool quotes, I can't think of any :/ tut mir leid (I'm sorry). But I must go, and I bid thee farewell. Love you!

Never stop smiling! :)

Elder Jalen Gibbons