Monday, December 31, 2012

Ein gutes schönes Neujahr!

Ach so, wie ich euch lieb habe! :)
Happy birthday Nathan :) (Hope you liked your song that I sang on skype!)
So the big news eh?!!! Elder Eaker is going to Munich, serving in the 3rd ward, as Zone Leader! Haha let me just say this, that if I had a baptism for every time that Elder Eaker talked about never wanting to be a Zone Leader, then Klagenfurt would be its own mission :) He will do great there, no doubt, but he is so sad to leave Austria haha. He doesn't know Deutsch, he says, only Österriechisch, so he will have lots of fun in Bayern :) He has been here in Klagenfurt for so long, since May, 5 transfers, and the ward loves him. ANNND... I will also be here for 5 transfers, because I am staying :) Yay!!! Let me intoduce my new companion...
It was afternoon on a typical spring day, I was laying on the couch at home (Mountain Home home, I mean ;) ) and amid my many just-got-my-wisdom-teeth-removed-and-now-I-am-on-painkillers dreams, I received many text messages from various people, saying, "Hey, they just mentioned someone going to your mission in the General Conference talk!" So yeah, my companion, fresh out of the Italian area of the mission, is Elder Orchard, who was in the MTC with me!!! I am so excited!!!!! So we are going on Thursday to Innsbruck to pick him up, and Elder Eaker will continue on to Munich, and I have the chance to see Elder Robins too, if he is in Innsbruck when I get there! (I hope he is, I miss him haha). But yeah, Elder Robins is going to be serving in Innsbruck, in my Zone, but I may never see him, because interviews this transfer are in Wien for we Klagenfurters. :( welcome to the craziest district in the mission! Haha. It was a long, good time working with Elder Eaker, and I will miss him. But the work goes on, and to spend time with someone as old as I am, that should be fun :)
By the way, I have not yet received the Draper´s package yet, but there is a good chance that it may come today, and if not, because of holidays maybe, then sometime this week. But that is okay, because we received SO MANY cookies for Christmas from the members! We will never finish them! Dad asked if I had eaten all of my candy, and there is no way I have haha. It will last me a while, I believe. No worries there.
As for New Years, I have no idea what they do haha. Nothing different, I don't think. We are going to the Familie Korak´s today, and if the weather isn't too bad they said we are going to watch the fireworks on the Wörthersee. That would be so beautiful! But it is always so foggy here, so only time will tell tonight. Also, tell Easton that Elder Eaker and I have thoroughly enjoyed the table soccer that he gave me :) I am amazed that it is possible to put spin on the ball when flicking it (obviously it is physically possible, but I didn't think it would do as much as it did). So that was great. Plus the Tootsie Pops! Best Christmas ever, eh? :) Each year gets better haha.
So I can't for the life of me think of what it was that I said that you thought was so funny. You said I spoke like Jack, but I can't remember what it was. And the plaid/plaayed, what did I say there? I just speak and have no idea what happens or how I sound, not in English anymore. Haha it is fun.
I can't believe Dad busted out his patella! He has played Fußball with us for so long and never got that seriously wounded. Hopefully it decides to stay in place, but be careful, Father! haha.
So, this week was so great, so much time with the members, and then the weekend was just the opposite, out on the street, doing some doors, for HOURS! Talking to the few people on the street, walking the whole day. Good stuff, since we were fed so much the first three days haha. So Monday you know, we went to the Kaisers', the Bishop's family, and we had a good time there, and like I may have mentioned, they gave us pancake mix and real syrup!! It was so great! Back to the Future was also fun, we watched it in English, sorry Mom. That was our first late night, today will be the second. Tuesday we went to the Bishop´s parents´ house, (the bishop was there again, haha) and had a wonderful dinner. I love the Kaiser Family :) and then we went to the Halls' and watched Silent Night, which was great! And she made (Sis. Hall) chocolate chip cookies!!!! It has been so long!
Wednesday we were invited to a single adult activity, where we ate and sang and had fun. We ate at the Mauchs' gestern, Elder Eaker´s goodbye, and we had a long discussion about missionary work, which was very cool. And actually, before we came here today to do emails, we were at F___´s house for lunch, the man from Iran. He is so nice, and I don't ever think I have talked so much or heard him talk that much with anyone except a few members. But apparently we were nice enough, and he made us lunch and we had a nice discussion :) I love this place. I will probably only be here one more transfer, but we´ll see.
Sadly we didn't meet with anyone this week. M___ dropped both of our appointments :( so we have no idea how things are going. He just calls and says that something came up, and then we don't know anything else. Frusutrating. So sorry, no news there.
Oh yeah, guess what? When we went to the Halls' Tuesday, they were skyping with Sis. Hall´s daughter´s family, and Sis. Hall introduced us to them. And she said "here is Elder Gibbons" and they said, "hey wait, we have already had an Elder Gibbons come through here. Have you served in Albuquerque?" HOLY COW! They are the Merrill family from the ward where Tyson served before going to Argentina! Tyson knows my Senior Couple´s child´s family! Crazy how small the world is, there is a connection between our missions. Wow.
I enjoyed the Skyping a lot, glad I could entertain unknowingly, and it was great to see everyone. I hope you have a great new year, and have fun when the schedule gets up and running again. :)
But let me conclude with a thought, actually, it is someting that struck me from the testimony of the man who spoke last at church yesterday. He said, "I do not want to live ONE SECOND without having the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world." (Auf Deutsch, natürlich). He said the same thing about the gospel, didn't want to live one second without the gospel. I have thought it already in my life, as I am sure many have, where would I be and what would I be doing if I were not a member? What if I didn't know the Book of Mormon is true? Have you thought that ever? I have, but then it always comes back to "Hey Elder Gibbons, you know the Book of Mormon is true. What more do you need? You wouldn't be here without that, don´t worry about what-if´s." And indeed, you know exactly why you are a member, why you live the way you do, why you do the things you do right now. But sometimes we all need help remembering. Somthing that Br. Mauch said in class yesterday was a quote from Lion King, from the baboon (sorry, don't remember his name...). He told Simba (Symba, however you spell it), "It is time to remember." And how true that is! Remember who you are, where you come from, and where you are going. If you have already remembered, great. If you need to remember something, then I hope you do. If you get nothing out of this, then at least I did. It´s time for me to remember. Remember how much the Lord loves you. Remember when you first knew what the Holy Ghost felt like, remember when you first felt clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Remember that you are never alone.
I love you all, and wish you the best. Remember to smile. :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, December 24, 2012

Schönen Guten Tag!
Well, what a weird feeling typing this email, since we will be talking on skype in about...4 hour´s time. So weird :) I thought about the day occasionally throughout the summer, and since that day in the middle of May (haha, rhymed :) ) but never really thought it would come. So, I am bringing all of my presents over to the Kaiser´s so that it feels a little bit more like a normal Christmas surrounded by family (haha, a family is a family, oder?). I haven't opened anything yet :) I´ve behaved. haha.
Um, I have no idea what to type really. I am just very happy :) and excited! Thanks so much by the way for sending the letter to Eshjaia (wow it was hard to spell her name without Germanizing it with the "sch" haha). Uh... well, last week was interesting, as are most weeks, therefore they all just blend together now. I can't even think of anything we did. So while I think, I will just go back and look at questions you posted and answer them! Yeah, I can do that.... wait, Dad got an iPhone? Is it the iPhone 5, because that one is cool! I knew he would get one eventually! Those pictures in Salt Lake were great as well, thanks. My first thought when I saw Nathan though was "what in the world, he reminds me of me!" Idk if it was just that picture, but it was weird. But I can't believe that he got his braces off already!! But I would love some pictures of him in his mouthguard ;) you are welcome Nathan!
Also, the Müller family (by the way, to type an umlaut letter, with the two dots, it just literally means the vowel followed by an "e", so you could type Mueller") was a family that was visiting around General Conference time, I thought I may have mentioned them to you, because their son is the one I talked about last week. They don't live in our mission, they are up by Hamburg in Deutschland, and were vacationing in Klagenfurt for a little bit. So yeah, that is them... they are so nice!!
By the way Nathan, it was NOT my fault that I knew how to brake the Segwey and that you and Tyson didn't! Thank you very much :)
Oh, yeah, transfer calls are this week! What in the world? I don't even know what to think, or what is going to happen, although Elder Eaker is very certain that he will be leaving Klagenfurt this transfer. We´ll let you know!
So, last week, we had district meeting in Graz, followed by the finding day, which went well. Then Wednesday we met with H. M___ and had steak and fries. The problem is just that we don't ever get to really talk about anything! Except this time, he brought up some things that he had read, mostly about Africans getting the Priesthood and the classic plural marriage, stuff like that. First of all, we were a little miffed that he was definitely reading things that were put out by people NOT friendly to the church. Second, after he said all of these things, he said he just wanted to see what we had to say about them. Call it what you will, his motives I mean, but I was just relieved to not have to try and answer all those things in the 1 minute time frame he allows us before interrupting haha. Anyway, we are grateful for his hospitality, but we do not accomplish our purpose as missionaries there, and we are going to tell him that. Thankfully we have a busy celebration this week and have some time to think about how to go about doing so tactfully.
Also, we had our lesson with M___ this last Saturday, and it went great! He dropped our appointment on Wednesday, we set it up for Thursday, that fell out too, and so we had to do it Saturday, otherwise we would have just been pretty down. We watched the Restoration film and then talked about the 3 things he needs to do to find an answer about the truth: read the Book of Mormon everyday, pray everyday, and go to church. We committed him to do those things, and so we will see how he does! The great thing was that after we watched the film, we asked what he thought about it, and he said he felt something good, and felt that there was truth in it. Well, we will take that anyday :) so we told him it was the Holy Ghost, and that the Holy Ghost would continue to touch his heart and feelings as he did those 3 things, and then he would have the opportunity to have the Holy Ghost by him always after he was baptized. We mentioned baptism to him, and he understood it pretty well, but the only thing we would do, and what we will do next time for sure, is get a baptismal date. It just didn't come up on Saturday, so we will focus on it next time. So that was great, he is so cool and ready to learn and recognize truth.
We had two eating appointments this week, Thursday with the Bishop and then the next day with the Bishop´s parents :) I love the Kaisers. We went caroling with the ward choir in Villach on friday, and that was fun! Our last song we sang was Silent Night. I know you watched the film about that, but I don't know if it talked about how seriously they take that song here! Lisa, the granddaughter of the Kaisers' (Sr.), was so scared to sing it, she was freaking out, because she thought everyone would get mad at us, since you ONLY sing it on the 24th, Heiligabend. (Which is funny, because in church we sang it, and we have sung it already before too.) But apparently it´s a serious business!
Otherwise, we walked around A LOT! through an almost-dead city, the only people are in the Weihnachtsmarkt, and no one talks to you when they are shopping. We still found a few potentials, so things are always going.
We ate at the Suppersbergers last night, which was a lot of fun. We google earthed Mountain Home and I showed them my car in the backyard :) How is the Nissan doing by the way? I miss it.
Anyway, I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and many good memories with loved ones!
Family, I will see you tonight :) Till then, though, stay safe, work hard, be obedient and loving, and always smile. :)
Bis später :)
Elder Jalen L. Gibbons

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Ja, hallo! Wie geht´s euch?
So, first off. We are going to Bishop Kaiser´s house and we plan on skyping at 7 pm here, which I would say is 11 am there. That is our plan! Thank you also for all the packages and letters and such that I got at Zone Conference! I got a letter from Sis. Eagley (actually I got two!), from Adriana Garcia, from the Halls and from Chris Hall, from Mom, from the Burgesses, and so on. And I am writing Sis. Eagley back today, so she can expect that sometime :) It makes my day to get notes from the ward, and mail in general! Today will probably be devoted to writing a ton of letters, because I have fallen behind. All of my presents are sitting on our table surrounding a little nativity scene that we have, I have some pictures of them :) My first missionary Christmas, it should be lots of fun!
Well, all of your Christmas activities sound exciting and exhausting! I am glad to hear that the ward party went well! Ours did too! :) Michael and Herr Marschnig came, and we just sang lots of songs, had musical numbers from the kids, had the Weihnachtsmann show up and give the kids goodies, and watched a film about the ward´s 2005 Christmas Party. Then afterward, Br. Mauch came over to us and we sang some Austrian Christmas songs, and we got to practice our Salzburgerisch accents, which was tough, but so much fun! That will always be such a fun memory, two American Elders trying to sound like they are from Salzburg, singing along with members of the ward, but all in the spirit of Christmas. And it was even better because Br. Mauch was playing the guitar along with us! I want to be able to play guitar :/ It would be so fun to sing those songs when I get home, because I kept the packet of songs! :) Prepare yourselves for Christmas 2014 ;) so that was a great time, and Herr Marschnig told us that he had lots of great impressions from his first time spent with the ward. Michael also enjoyed it as far as I know. The cool thing was that Michael introduced himself and said he was studying with us :) So he knows what the purpose of meeting with us is then! We can't wait to keep meeting with him and help him understand how much God loves him and to understand what God wants for him. Sadly, neither of the two came to church yesterday :( we just need them to come to church and then things will be that much better! It´s one of the hardest things for us, getting them to come. But luckily Michael lives like 5 minutes away from the church! We will get him next week. Herr Marschnig was able to come to the party because Br. Mauch is awesome and picked him up :) I love br. Mauch :) Yesterday we ate with his family after church and he and I were kicking a soccer ball back and forth, quick, precise, one-touch passes. He is amazed that I am American and can do that haha. Too bad he can't play because of his knee :/ Oh, we sang some more with him last night too, after dinner :) great times!
So, this last week.... on pday we walked around the shopping area of the city, and I was looking for stuff that I wanted for christmas, for the money you have allowed me :) thanks for that by the way. Thing is, I have NO IDEA what I want! We looked at so many stores and I have no idea. Elder Orchard told me to get Lederhosen at Zone conference, and that is something I have been pondering, but I don't know a good place for that in Klagengurt. So I have no idea.
Tuesday was a lot of fun, we went to Sis. Schaunig´s house and painted for her :) She fed us VERY well too, it was so good! That was our day Tuesday, a big service project. Then English class. Wednesday was spent passing out invitations to the ward party for Saturday, and then we traveled to Salzburg. And guess what????!!! I got to walk around the Altestadt, and I finally found where we were two years ago!!!! :) Mozartplatz, where we rented the segways, and then we walked along the river to the apartment later, and I found the spot where Nathan and Tyson crashed :) it was so cool seeing it again. I have pictures! But it was dark, so they aren't great. We spent Wednesday evening to Friday evening in Salzburg, because we did exchanges there. Zone Conference was very good, and I love seeing all the other missionaries, and President Miles. I learned a lot from it, but the biggest thing was a reminder to me about maintaining my freindship with the Savior. We played the chimes too, the pipe/bell things mom has, as a pause for conference. That was fun :) Plus, I have a place to stay when we come back to Europe whenever :) Rememebr the Müller family I told you about, who gave me their card and invited me to have Thanksgiving with them sometime, or just to stay with them? Well their son is in Brixen (italy) with Elder Orchard right now, and he is so cool! We had a lot of fun together, I think maybe because I told him I had seen his family ;) and he said he hadn't for awhile haha. So, he wants me to come hang out with him after the mission.
I also saw during my Salzburg adventures, a lake that apparently is filmed in The Sound of Music :) got pictures of that too. It was very pretty, it had snowed a lot. But now, like here in Kalgenfurt, it is way warm for no reason :( so ridiculous. Sorry the weather isn't fantastic there either. But just think of Tyson frying in Argentina and then it is better. Sorry brother! :)
I am glad Nathan and Kate are enjoying all the stuff they are doing. I don't know why other schools are so dang good at their sports, but welcome to Mountain Home, where you get a lot of experience playing against such schools. I am still proud of it, no matter what success or lack thereof I saw. Keep playing hard Nathan, and Kate, just keep enjoying what is left of dance. Do well in school! That is very important.
Anyway, I have had a good week, a week full of experiences that have made me excited to go and just work, despite the tough situations and rough experiences with people who aren't ready to change yet. The people are there, for sure. What is it, when the going gets tough, the tough get going? I'm trying to be like that haha. Heck, I am trying to be like Jesus, nothing was ever all bright and dandy for Him. but He knew His purpose, and He knew that He loved us, and He gave His life for you and for me. There is no better time to feel that than now. A cool quote I heard in church yesterday, from Johann von Göethe: "Das, was du tief im Herzen hast, kann niemals verloren gehen." If you have the Savior and His love in your heart, deep enough that it cannot be removed, then ponder what you can do to help others receive that. Remember how His love came to be there, how you felt that first time you KNEW that He was there and He calmed your troubled heart. Don't ever forget that feeling. Think on it often, because "oh how quick to forget are the children of men." Don't let anything so precious be taken from you, or better put, don't let yourself give such stuff away, or treat it lightly. Because we all make our own choices.
I know that Christ loves each and every one of you, and if you can't feel that, or if maybe you never have, kneel down now and ask to feel it. It will come if you do so faithfully and sincerely. I, too, love you all, and if you can't feel my love, than you will just have to write me and tell me what to do better, eh? ;) I´ll be here.
Say Käse and smile :)
Elder Jalen Lawrence Gibbons

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let´s talk about snow...

What walking all over everyday does to shoes
Hallo :)
Well, Dad seems to be pretty accurate with my weather, because it has been very cold! Don't worry, I have been decently warm, and on Monday I bought a hat and some gloves, and also a dictionary! If you are wondering how the dictionary keeps me warm, then you are trying too hard--it doesn't haha. Sorry for the bad sentence structure. Yeah, it was -8 this week, and hung out around there, but on Tuesday it snowed!! A bunch! Well, it was a couple inches, but it was our first real snow. Elder Eaker has never seen so much snow in his life, and he was super excited haha. We got to shovel the Halls driveway for them, and we did her neighbors too as well. I´ve missed shoveling snow, it's good work. Forgive my lack of possesive apostrophes, bitte. But then that snow semi-melted, and most of it turned to hard packed ice/slush. Kinda like home. But it snowed again on Saturday, and much of it is still here. It is so pretty! On Saturday we rode the bus to a little dorf and ended up walking through big fields covered in snow, and hardly any traffic. It was really a Silent Night, that's what I thought of. Still, dark, cold, very peaceful. Figured that I would look back on my experiences later in life and appreciate that walk through such pretty scenery. It´s the classic idea of what I would be doing as a missionary over here across the pond.
So yeah, I love my trenchcoat! It keeps me very warm, and I have no complaints. We have also been taking more advantage of the wonderful bakeries around here, and it makes me sad that I didn't go buy more huge oatmeal cookies from Mom´s Meals on Wheels friend's place. And I also decided that every week we are each going to try out a new kind of chocolate, because we have been sticking with Rittersport and Milka (cool picture by the way, Mom, from Elder Janis´ blog). I had a limited edition 100 years rittersport this last week (I taped the package into my journal). I have finished two whole journals now! Aren´t you proud of me? Not a single day without something written. I need to start looking for more. A lot of their notebook things are like grid paper, and I don't like writing on that, so I have to look harder.
Back to snow, I must ask something: What is your standing on me buying boots? I will send an email with some pictures, including a picture of my Men´s Warehouse shoes, which are ridiculous. But yeah, my shoes aren't exactly grippy, both of the bottoms are relatively flat, so I had a really good time walking around everywhere in the uneven snow. I even fell once, and yesterday my left knee was a little swollen and my lower leg hurt in general. We have been to the Ecco store here in Klagenfurt, and they have some goretex boots for about € 160, but I don't know how much insulation they have. We also saw some boots in another shop downtown that have insulation and are also goretex, and only € 149. That is what we have seen, and for me the biggest thing is keeping my feet warm, dry, and having traction. You will have to tell me what you think.
Anyway, last week was lots of fun! With the snow and stuff of course, but on Monday we met with D___ and B___. Dad wondered how a pro athlete could have WoW problems, and I thought that was funny. He doesn't have any problems with smoking for sure, but we asked him to try going without black teas and coffee and such. He is doing great too! We finished the Plan of Salvation with him on Monday. But now we have no idea if their parents are coming over here or not :( so that is still the same.
We met with Herr M___ as well, the one who is in the wheelchair who Elder Stapleton and I found. He had a surprise for us, he had told us, and we got there and it was two whole pork roasts! That is expensive here, we heard haha. He really loves meeting with us. It is still difficult to actually teach anything, but we do our normal thing, answer questions and bear testimony, and now he wants to come visit the church! We are shooting for this week! He is great, and such a nice guy. He also told us that everytime we come over, he is going to have something for us to eat that is even better than the time before will have been. So, we shall see where it goes. It was funny, he complimented my teeth, saying that my dad must be a dentist, not an eye doctor. So Elder Eaker and I laughed and then looked at each other and Elder Eaker told me to tell him ;) So, I told him about my nice fake teeth :) and he said many compliments to the Doctor! Thanks Dr. Vogl! haha.
We did an Ausstellung on Thursday, and I can't think of the word in English. like display or stand or something... Anyway, we do it in the middle of downtown, where everyone is shopping and NO ONE wants to talk to you haha. It´s almost like anti-missionary work! Not really, I had a good time, but everything I had heard about ausstellungs beforehand was pretty negative. I got to walk around a lot, and talked to some cool people! It was also freezing then. And after that we went to Frau K___´s with Sis. Schaunig and Daniele Casella, and had a very good time. We gave her handicapped daughter a blessing, because R___ asked her to let us, and it was a good experience. Olive Kaiser, the bishop's son, got baptized on Saturday, and that was a fun time. Too many sweets to try at all of these European potlucks... I felt kinda sick afterwards.
Oh, I saw lots of pictures from the Temple Rededication, with Joey and Jared and Christian and Malcolm, Tyler, Solomon, Justin, Aubree, Willow, Austin, the Crockett girls, and all sorts of people I know from the stake! That was pretty cool. Tell Malcolm I laughed at his haircut ;) he looks like his dad!
I had the opportunity to speak yesterday on how I discover and renew the spirit of Christmas. I think it went well enough, it was better to have things written down, then I don't screw up German as much. I love being here and being able to spend this time with these people I love, in the ward and with investigators. There is always a special spirit at this time, and even though I am so far away, it is the same feeling. I hope you are enjoying it too, and most importantly thinking about what Christ means to you in your lives.
Sorry if this is somewhat shorter, but I have mentioned the highlights. I have all sorts of stuff in my journals, so you´ll have to wait for all the good stuff. ;) Oh, I forgot to mention that we finally met with the young M___ guy we found at the end of November last night, and it was really good! We are going to meet him Saturday and then go to the ward Christmas party. Should be good. I will keep you updated. He is very nice and open and had many good questions.
I know that Christ was born to free us from sin and from death. He did it because He loves each of us. He is the greatest gift of all, for each of us, and what can we do in return? Follow Him, live like Him, love like Him, learn of Him. Seine Geburt feiern wir, sein Leben ehren wir, und seinem Beispiel für uns bleiben wir immer treu. He is the reason we have hope and joy, faith in a life after death. And He lives today, to continue to love and bless us. What can you give in return for such a gift? You´ll have to reason that out within yourself.
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and he was called of them to establish this church. Because of God´s love for His children, we can live together in families, we can learn and grow on our journey to become as He is. The Book of Mormon can prove that to anyone who is seeking sincerely. And NOTHING can stop the Lord´s work from moving forward.
Be happy, and rejoice in this season of celebration, and don´t stop smiling. :)
I love you all!
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, December 3, 2012

Liebe Grüß!

Hallo liebe Freunde und Familie!
Well, I am sorry to hear that Great-Grandma passed away. President called me on Saturday night to tell me that you had emailed him, and like he said, we had a good conversation. He asked me about her, and then he asked if Great-Grandpa had already passed away. When I told him he had, then President said, "Oh, can you imagine that wonderful reunion?" I appreciated the love he expressed, and the testimony he bore about the Plan of Salvation and our purpose here. It wasn´t unexpected news, but I was grateful to have him tell it to me personally (as personal as over the phone is, I suppose). He told me to just think about the knowledge that we have that night as I contemplated the meaning of Grandma passing on, and I did. It was a very interesting experience. I was lying in bed thinking about it, and somehow my thoughts turned to my remaining family and all of my friends, and I thought back on great memories with so many people. And in this situation, as usual (speaking of her death), one can get a little sad, and those emotions started creeping into my wandering thoughts, and I started to just feel sad about the fact that so many memories are just that--namely, memories-- and I also had glimpses of opportunities gone by and mistakes made. What was interesting was that my natural instinct in the midst of these emotions was to just bask in the sorrow, like some people so readily do. And honestly, I tried for a second. But I couldn't. Instead, a hope for the future, memories to be made, opportunities to take, faith in the reality that we can live forever with our loved ones, came into my mind instead. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have, and the opportunity to share it with others. I am grateful for the comfort that night, the reassurance that things will be okay. That there is a plan for us. But most importantly, that when we give up everything, give it to the Savior, then it is really impossible to let yourself be drowned in sorrow or regret. It´s funny to say, but the best way to describe my experience was that the Savior DID NOT let me be sad. Haha He forbid it! And so are the workings of the Atonement in our lives. Each of our lives. That was my impression from Saturday night, and I am grateful for such a wonderful Mission President. He is truly an inspired man, and he is exactly what this mission needs, just what these missionaries need. And all you can summarize from that is that God speaks through living prophets, and Jesus Christ really guides His church today.
Well, I shall report on the rest of the week, eh? Moment, ich muß zuerst etwas erledigen. So, thanks for the addresses from Tyson and Chris, and now I have more favors to ask: can I get addresses for Ossie and Logan Olaso and Stephen Bush, if possible? That would be super. And yeah, I don't know how much it would cost to send Tyson something. I can figure out. I also want to give you the address from Sch. Schaunig, who took us to lunch a couple weeks ago and who has basically just been treating us as her sons. She is so nice! Anyway, that's all the address stuff I believe!
Also, it was funny in Dad´s email, because he was talking to me, but then occasionally you mix us up, and in this case Dad talked about his study in the NT and said he had thought of "you and jalen." haha i always just laugh :) no worries. Sorry that there are two of us.
Also, I have some information on the package stuff. So a package has to be less than 1 kilogram (just the cheapest one, from what I have heard) and that is still € 20!!! Wow, it´s pretty ridiculous. So I don't exactly know what I am sending yet (don't worry I am going to Villach today to shop and get haircuts and such, so I will look around for Nathan and Kate and Will), but it may be rather expensive. Plus, the Post only takes cash, so I am thinking that I will convert the $100 I have from the bike fund and use that for the packages. Otherwise, you would have to put money into my debit account and I would have to withdraw it. Only cash, so annoying! But yeah, that´s some news on that.
Also Mom, I am going to send a letter home today, but it will be a letter for Will, something for just the family, but then a letter to a friend as well. And I am going to just write the Buchteln recipe in there. And actually, no need to worrry about conversions, I have it all already, that is how Sis. Kaiser gave it to me, thankfully :) so, ich freute mich!
Plus, you talked about singing in the choir about Christ, and I had a similar experience in the MTC, where we were singing "I Believe in Christ" in a meeting, and the whole meaning hit me. Actually, everytime we sang that, it did so. My favorite version of that is MoTab, and my favorite lines are in the last verse, where it says "And while I strive through grief and pain His voice is heard,´Ýe shall obtain!´" and then, "I believe in Christ, so come what may." These have really struck me as a missionary, and I know how you felt when you told me about that. It is incomprehensible joy, there is no other description. And I find it much easier to feel such love in this Christmas season. Dad asked if people were more open to us, and I don't know if I can say that many more people are, but I can say that we have been blessed to find those people who are willing to talk to us. We found lots of potentials this last week, and we did A LOT of dooring! Haha one klingel that we hit DIDN'T STOP!!! And it just kept buzzing and we pressed other buttons and then banged on the door and then we just looked at each other and said, "And it is time to walk away..." which we promptly did :o that was fun. Also, it is really cold now, it SNOWED GESTERN!! But the sun is out today and it is melting. But it was beautiful!
Well, I got to walk around the whole market that Dad told me he saw online, and that was cool. It´s because Sis. Schaunig invited us spontaneously to lunch, and so we wanted to go talk with her and see how things were going since she is having a rough time. I was really glad we went, because we figured out that that day was probably her toughest yet, in terms of her situation, and so we got to comfort her, since we are basically her sons! When we said goodbye she hugged us again!! Haha and then she said, "you aren't supposed to do that, huh?" and we said, nope, not really haha. But she just said that she imagined her sons on missions and knew how much she wished that someone would be motherly to them. So, that's why I want you to send her a Christmas card, if possible. She is so nice.
Also, I figured I should be better on investigator reports! Sorry for my lacking, but nothing much was happening I guess. Anyway, D___ has been trying out the Word of Wisdom this last week or so, and we just told him to pray and see if it was right. And, gestern, B___ texted us and said "Guess who got a hat trick tonight? :)" plus they won their game 11-2. So we told her that he better be thanking Heavenly Father and that he better recongnize the blessings of the WoW. So, we are meeting with them today, like I said :) Um, V___ isn't doing anything, and he cancels appointments, so we had to drop him, and then besides that we have the man that I found a few weeks ago in the wheelchair, who made the appointment without us having to ask. He loves us haha. We basically just go and listen to his ideas, many of which are true, and when we can we just answer his questions and bear testimony. We just let him talk and try to be there for him. We count him as an investigator just on principle. But yeah, that´s how things are going. I will do better on updating you.
Well, as always, I get up to bear my testimony on Fast Sundays, and as soon as I stand up, no matter how much I have formulated things in my head, it all goes away, and I feel like my German is just terrible and all I can hope is that the Spirit talks through me. I guess it is my monthly "be thou humble" experience haha. So, I am going to do what I do better, and write out what I tried to say yesterday. And sorry, it is in German, but I heard that Bro. Sell must have liked translating it :) Hi Brother Sell! And everyone else.
So, fange ich jetzt an. ein paar Tage vor habe ich eine Ansprache vom Elder Holland gehört. Er hat darin eine Geschichte über den Vater des Präsident David O. Mckays erzählt. Der Vater hat ihm ihm (David) gesagt, als er auf Mission ging, daß er sich mit allen Lehren des Evangeliums beschäftigen wird, mit allen Heiligen Handlungen, mit den Heiligen Schriften. Aber wenn er vor Menschen steht, er wird finden daß sein Sinn ganz leer wird. In diesem Moment, sagte der Vater, er soll sein Zeugnis über den Propheten Joseph Smith und das, was Joseph Smith sah, ablegen. Dann hat der Elder Holland über die Wiederherstellung der Kirche Jesu Christi durch Joseph Smith gesprochen. Er sagte, daß diese Kirche nichts wäre, sie wäre wie jede andere Kirche, wenn sie die Wiederherstellung und die Erste Vision nicht hätte. Und ich (elder Gibbons) hatte mich gewünscht, daß ich wie Elder Holland sprechen könnte, daß ich Zeugnis von der Wiederherstellung mit solcher Macht wie er ablegen könnte. Doch kann der Geist so sprechen. Ich weiß, daß der Prophet Joseph Smith Jesus Christus und Himmlishen Vater gesehen hat. ich weiß, daß diese Kirche die wahre Kirche Christi auf der Erde ist. Durch Joseph smith war das Priestertum Gottes wieder dem Menschen gegeben, zum Segen der Mitglieder der Kirche, und zum Segen der Kinder Gottes. Dank Jesus Christus, können wir zusammen mit unseren Familien für immer und ewigkeit leben. Und was bringt uns größer Freude als dies?
I hope you all have a great week! Nathan, good luck with basketball, keep playing tough and keep your head high. Good luck in school and with everything else. Also, a happy birthday today to Eshjaia Gervais! Don´t know if she will ever see this, but just in case.
I love you all :) Choose to be happy, smile! :) It´s contagious.
bis nächste Woche!
Elder Jalen L Gibbons