Some photos of the Lavamund cleanup service day, 11/13/12:
Flooded Lavamund, Austria, where the rivers Drau and Lavant converge, 11/6/12
Lavamund townhall, 11/6/12
Lavamund gasthaus (restaurant/hotel) that Jalen and his district helped clean up, 11/6/12
The gasthaus, after the floodwaters receded. The ground floor was flooded
to about halfway up the bottom row of windows--if you look closely you can see the
waterline. Just beyond the gasthaus is a big pile of debris waiting to be hauled away.
Salvaging and stacking firewood from the flooded gasthaus:
Bru. Mauch, Jalen, and Sis. Stapleton
LDS Missionary Cleanup Crew with gasthaus owners (far left and front center). You can see the flood waterline on the statue in the background--its bottom half was "cleaned" by the flood.
Elder Hall, who took most of the photos, standing in a room at the gasthaus
they'd cleaned out. You can see the flood waterline on the wall behind him.
When the floodwaters receded, there was a 4-inch layer of hardpacked residue left behind.
One of many Lavamund dumpsters filled with flood-damaged debris
The Red Cross provided lunch for the volunteers at a fire station.
Red Cross workers at the fire station
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND YEAGER!!!! Hope it is a great one!
So, I am very excited that Carissa is putting her papers in! That is so cool! Next August, that means that I will have only 9 months left, holy cow. Well, when the time comes, let me know where she is going! I have a friend, Rachel, from BYU who just wrote me and said that she too was working on her papers! It is so cool to see how the announcement from General Conference changed everything dramatically! All the best to them!
Um, Mom asked last time for the Mauch´s address, so I'll send it. And I will have to look up the Suppersbergers address for next time, and I may as well send you the Bishop´s too. Does that work? haha. Speaking of addresses, what are Tyson´and Chris´ addresses? I should write them.
Also, so about the Christmas package that I will send home to you, would it be acceptable if it is a little late for Christmas? Cuz the Post here only takes cash, and I don't have enough on me yet (plus, I haven't had enough time to go shopping for stuff). But, I figured I could wait till all the sales after Christmas and then I will get stuff sent home ASAP! But I will write Will and hopefully send him something too, since he may have to wait... does that work? I am hopefully going to get my packages at Zone Conference on the 13th, and then we have a ward Christmas party on the 15th (since you asked what we were doing in the ward).
Well, the Buchteln things were pretty successful last week, they weren't as heavenly as the ones I got from Alice Kaiser, but they were still good! I will get you the recipe next week.
Well, this week was much like others-namely, looking for new people to teach. We had a district finding day in Klagenfurt though, and we found about 10 potentials! Sadly, we have contacted all of them so far, and only have about 2 appointments out of it (and one we have already met with, and he isn't going to become an investigator as far as we can tell :/ ). People can get excited and hopefully feel the Spirit, or at least something "different" about us when we talk to them, but then you try and follow up and they are always busy. But, it is necessary to "weed out" those who aren't going to do anything (sorry, that term sounds rather negative, but I don't know how else to put it) and then work on finding sincere people. But it was lots of good work, and we are going to make the best of what we have! It was cool though, because I worked with Elder Stapleton again on finding day, and we went to a building that Elder Eaker and I have tried to get into about 3 or 4 times already (there is a former investigator or less active or someone in there, but they never answer) but then Elder Stapleton leaned on the door and it was open! So in we went-- into a building straight out of "Inception"! It was so crazy, whoever designed it had a lot of fun. The best way I can describe it is floors within floors and staircases everywhere in random places. I got one picture of it, but you can't see the whole craziness. We had lots of fun going through it all :)
Oh, so I just wanted to point out that with the European style of writing the date, so day month year, the 21 of November was a palindrome! That will not do anything for you really, but now you are aware. Remember my Mother´s day talk when I talked about palindromes? Haha that was ridiculous.
Ach so, Thanksgiving! I had no idea when Thanksgiving was, but then the Halls invited us to eat Thanksgiving with them and some other ward members, and it was so good!!! They had a cranberry sauce, but it was actually cranberry-strawberry-apple-
orange-raspberry (I know how to spell raspberry thanks to Shawna´s taffy :) haha)-delicious sauce! Homemade of course :) I think by the Bishop´s mother. So, my Thanksgiving wasn't the same, but it was better than the plan we had, which was nothing, because we didn't know when it was :)
Also, it made me think of mom this week when we found one of our minidisc things that has some Nickelcreek songs on it! I can't really see how they are not appropriate or anything, but they aren't exactly missionary-like. But we were going through the discs to see what we needed to get rid of, and we found it. So I went through to see the songs I knew, and then at the end, guess what I found? A German narration of the movie "The Emperor´s New Groove" :) That was pretty funny. I didn't know what was going on till it started talking about Llamas. So that was funny.
Well, I had a GREAT time in church gestern! Did you all? I realized that I should always have something to write on when I am at church (I´ve always done it in my planner since I have been here, but I never did it much before) because we learn so much! I mean, you probably knew that already, and I am just semi-slow, but I know now! Anyway, we had some great lessons gestern, and I got a lot out of it. So we first talked about Pres. Uchtdorf´s talk from October, "Of Regrets and Resolutions." We talked about three main points, namely looking back on life later and saying: I wish I had spent more time with those I love, I wish I had lived up to my potential, and I wish I had let myself be happier. (The last one is so true!!!!!!). So we kinda talked about what we can do in order to avoid those regrets later in life. So the teacher told us something. He said that every morning, at 7, you wake up and you have €86,400 in an account. HOWEVER, you CANNOT put it into a savings account, and you CANNOT spend it on anything for you yourself to keep. What in the world are you going to do with it then? Of course, some people got at the right answer, saying that they had nothing to do except help people! So, he explained the analogy to us. Every morning we wake up at 7, and we have 86,400 seconds in our day( I am just assuming that he is referring to a 24 hour period, from 7 to 7). Aha, does that start to click in your head? What do you do with your time? Are you going to look back later and have these regrets? Also, what brings you real happiness? Is it buying things? Because I am convinced that you don't have to be able to buy things to be happy, and we can experience a new kind of happiness in helping others find happiness. I like what Pres. Uchtdorf said in the same talk, he said, "Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts." We should be looking less at what our eyes take as happiness, and more at what the heart says. Stimmt, ge? Then I was reading the NT and came across Matthew 6:21. "For where your treasure is, there shalll your heart be also." What do we treasure in life? Is it those things that aren't going to last?Things that will assuredly bring regret? Go and read Pres. Uchtdorf´s talk, and make some resolutions as to what you can do better to see with your heart. (It´s coming up on New Year´s resolutions, eh?) I can testify that the things that bring us the most happiness, lasting happiness, are those things which make the heart burn, which invite the Spirit into our lives, which make others smile. In those moments, we get just a glimpse of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. I felt such feelings at church gestern, and I didn't want it to go away. So, we do those things which make us feel good, right? Hopefully that "good" is something that is constantly building us up, helping us become better. Otherwise, what worth does it have? And, as I heard in my class with Br. Mauch, he asked what one had to do in order to have the Spirit always by him? And one of the people said "He doesn't have to do anything. He has to BE something." Wow, I liked that! Be the best you can possibly be, and strive to be what your Heavenly Father knows you can be. And then you won't have regrets in life.
I know that life is hard, and it takes lots of effort to keep yourself excited and willing to learn more and become better. But I promise it is worth it. Don't lose a moment, because we don't want regrets later. Do what is worthwhile now, and you will have a multitude of happy memories to bask in later.
I love you all, and wish you all the best this Christmas season! It´s Christmas, so why should we ever not be smiling? :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons