So, I will NOT forget transfer news this time ;) however, it is accompanied by a story of frustration and anxiety, the likes of which you have yet to hear... haha not really, but we ourselves were pretty miffed (I love using that word, it´s from Calvin and Hobbes, right?). So, we usually get calls around 8. But we didn't, so we studied. Nothing until 9, even though everyone in our disrtict and the ZLs were asking where we were going! Nothing, at 10, or 11, or 12. What in the world?!! We were so excited/anxious/frustrated that we had no idea what we were doing! Finally, around 1:30, we figured out that they believed that we were staying together. Bwah! We didn't get a confirmation call until like 2. So, the not so new news is, we are both staying in Klagenfurt for Christmas!!! :) :) And like I said, the inner city is covered in lights and stuff that I haven't seen lit yet. Plus, they do have all the crazy Christmas market stuff going on (so I will look around, Mom). And, to add to the craziness of that, our entire district is the same! For 3 transfers, no changes. Elder Eaker has been in Klagenfurt for 5 transfers (7 1/2 months!!!). That is pretty crazy. But, it all may have a wise purpose in the Mission President (I would say the Lord, but He works through the President haha).
So, it is projected (not completely concrete yet) that our mission will have 90 new missionaries by the end of March! AND: Klagenfurt is projected to have two Sisters in Villach, and two more Elders in Klagenfurt (since our apartment is so big). THAT IS SO AWESOME!!! Then we wouldn't have to travel so much (because for real, we travel everywhere and we really DON'T have a ton of time in just our area, like Dad figured) and we would be our own little district! So cool!!!! We are excited. So, my address is the same, natürlich. I will be here till the New Year :)
Well, we did get to go do service in Lavamünd, and it was so much fun! Not cool that they were flooded, of course, but as Bruder Mauch put it (he is a civil engineer, Dad, and he is the boss of his own company) we were the FIRST missionaries ever in Lavamünd, Österreich :) They had no idea what the church was haha. We went with all the missionaries from our district, and the Halls went too, so there were 8 missionaries there to work! And they were SOOOO touched that we drove all the way from Klagenfurt to help (if you look on the map, Mom, find Wolfsberg east and north of Klagenfurt, then from Wolfsbereg go down and a little east, almost on the Slovenian border, and there is Lavamünd.) So, we worked at a Gasthaus (guest house or inn) and we totally cleaned out the garage and another wood-pile room. So, we stacked A TON of wood, and threw away a whole bunch of garbage. The fire department had it organized, and they fed us SO MUCH FOOD!!! It never ended!!!! The guy who lived at/owned the Gasthaus was thanking us profusely and apparently he was crying when Elder Riser was talking to him. (The thing was, I had NO IDEA about ANYTHING he was saying!) I don't know what he was speaking! It wasn't the language they taught me in the MTC ;) haha. So, we actually tried to go back on Saturday, but they were taking a break. So, no more work in Lavamünd. But I can say I have been there :)
Mom (or Dad, can't remember) asked if I had had a Best Two Years experience, where someone just came and talked to me and I talked right back at them: I do that everyday haha :) I am not perfect, and sometimes I have to have them repeat themelves, but I don't worry about not understanding anyone, really. It is a nice feeling.
Oh, so guess what I did this week? I gave my first blessing auf Deutsch! Boy, when the sister in the ward asked if we could give her a blessing, I was just thinking, "Shoot, this isn´t English! What do we do?" and I was kinda panicing (how do you spell that? :/ ) but, as she told us what was going on, I had a feeling of peace, and most significant just a love for her and her wellbeing. I know my German wasn't very good during the blessing, and I was kinda worrying about that afterwards, but she came to me on Sunday and thanked me again and told me she had written down things she had learned and it had strengthened her. I have a testimony that the Spirit works through servants of the Lord for the blessing of Heavenly Father´s children. It doesn't matter what language it is, or how well you can speak it; all you need is faith and to be worthy of the guidance of the Spirit, and you can see the blessings that come from your good works. That was a tremendous comfort to me.
I learned so much in church yesterday, and I loved something that Daniele said in his talk about "Hope for a glorious Resurrection." He did such a good job! He said that life is lesson (we know that). Then he talked about how kids will say that they don't want to go to school. And what he said was that it is so hard as parents to explain to the kids that they are sending them to school because they love their kids and they know it will help them. He said that kids think "Well if you love us, let us stay home and play!" Then, I was sitting there thinking about what he said, and I of course thought about our Heavenly Father, and how He must try so hard to tell His children why they need to do that, or why they need to go through that, experience this, und so weiter. (I mean, etc.) Then, after I finished writing that down in my planner, Daniele said the same thing I had just thought :) Cool how that happened, huh? Life is a lesson, and we don´t understand it sometimes. But we can't just say that I am going to stay home and not worry about that lesson. For the people who understand that and have faith in our purpose here on earth, namely why we are here and where we are going, the Plan of Happiness from God the Father, it is our duty to help those who are looking for answers. Talk to the missionaries if you have questions, eh? I know that we can find eternal, everlasting happiness through living the gospel of Jesus Christ, following His example. Try it out, and see if you don't feel something greater than you ever have before.
So, more business before I forget: we have already been invited for Christmas skyping with the Bishop (I want you to meet him, I will make him make an appearance, he is so funny :) ) but the question is on which day... Elder Eaker said that skyping on the 24th would be better for his family because he doesn't want to see all of his extended family and stuff, just talk with his immediate family. I don't even care if the whole family is there, it would be awesome regardless, and that's how we did it with Logan. So, it may, with permission from president which I am making Elder Eaker ask for, since it is his idea, be on the 24th (that is their Weihnachten here, after all). But I had to ask if that works for you? I don't know why we can't just do it on the 25th, but more information will be forthcoming. That is all.
Oh, I got a recipe from the Bishop's wife, Alice, on Saturday. Called Buchteln, and if you know McDonalds cinnabite things, it is basically that kind of dough, but filled with jam, and so much better. I am going to make some today. And I can make them when I get home, because I have German and English recipes. :) I will tell you how that goes.
Well, I want to write a short testimony, but I am doing it auf Deutsch :) Sorry you Google translators, it may not know many church words. Aber, ich weiß daß Jesus Christus unser Erretter ist. Er möchte daß wir wieder mit ihm leben, und er hat uns den Weg vorbereitet, damit wir für immer mit unseren Familien in Glücklichkeit und ohne Sorge und Bedrängnisse leben können. Sein Jok ist leicht, hat er uns verheißen. Wir haben so ein großes Zweck zu erfüllen. Und alles ist möglich durch Christus. Er liebt jeden von euch, daß weiß ich.
I too love each one of you! Always choose to be happy, and patient in your troubles. Never stop smiling :)
Gott sei mit euch bis Aufwiedersehen!
Elder Jalen L Gibbons