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)
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