Haha Hallo liebe Leute! Did you like my Bayerisch subject line? I saw that on a sign the other day, and remember what I told you about Bayerisch being okay? Well, I hadn't heard people speak their REAL Bayerisch haha. It is insane! But it is just like Kärntnerisch I suppose, I had to really concentrate when they spoke that, but most of the people don't speak serious dialect very often. Although, there are at least two men in our ward here who speak so. One is just crazy Bayerisch and Elder Stokes told me that no one knows what the other guy speaks haha. Lustig lustig, tra lalalala... (that's part of an Austrian song Jalen sang for us when we skyped with him at Christmas) (Sidenote: I wish I had a guitar. I practiced the chord fingerings on that broken guitar in our apartment last night, the guitar without any strings. Just not the same effect for some reason... :/) Anyway, what I think is cool/interesting about Bayerisch is that they say "mir" for "wir" (we). And "mir" is a real 1st person pronoun, so it is just weird. It makes me laugh.
Anway, how are you all? A wunderschöner Monntag Morgen, oder? It certainly isn't here, everyday had been cloudy and I swear it has snowed almost every single day. But it is like the usual Mountain Home snow, it doesn't last. We had one day with clear skies, and it was FREEZING! Haha I hate how that works.
Oh, hey, I have to say happy birthday to Richard! Well, it was the 21st, I am a little late, but it comes with the only-writing-once-a-week contract. Hope he had a good one. Also, in other developments, do we have a member of the Gibbons Family who served in Fresno, California with an Elder Ferraz-Leite? The young girl who got baptized gestern, her father saw my name and told me he had a companion in Fresno named Elder Gibbons, and I said "Oh, cool!" then he said he was from Idaho! Well, that significantly increased the probability of me knowing him! Haha. So yeah, that would be cool if I could make that connection with him, because sadly, this girl's father is inactive. Man that makes me so sad that returned missionaries fall away! It is NOT supposed to be like that! It was sad not being able to see her father baptize her and confirm her. But it was great to see the support of her mom´s family there, and some of her dad´s family. What else do I have now...oh yeah, if you want to see a picture of the Landshut branch president, recently turned Stake president (that is why the stake president was at the service project, he was the branch president a little before I got here, so he knows all of these people pretty well, it is a pretty tight-knit community), then look at the Oktober 2007 Ensign, the article entitled "For the strength of You," and you notice that all of the youth are German! Like German pamphlets and sitting in front of the Frankfurt Temple, etc. Then the picture of the family on the walking path, under all the trees, is him! That was of course 5 years ago, but I know them! Haha. Pretty cool :)
So, I believe you asked about ward boundaries and what stake we are in, and who is in the district.. So yes, Elder Eaker is now my Zone Leader, we are part of the München Zone, therefore part of the München Stake. Our district is Elder Stokes and I in Landshut, and for the most part I believe we stay in Landshut, although the area is bigger; just like the situation in Klagenfurt, Kärnten, but not as big, If I am correct. And we do have bikes apparently, but they are broken and in the kellar, and we just use public transportation for the most part. Although we may have to just fix them up when it gets warmer. Sister Pingree and Sis Lin are in Passau, which is right on the border of Austria, literally right on the border of Salzburg Zone. They also have a bigger area. Elders Niedens and Nicoll are in Neuötting, same situation with the area, basically every area in the mission is rather large in comparison with the size of the area in which we actually spend time working. So ist es, with only 145-some-odd missionaries. But not for long, of course ;) That is cool that Shannon was called to the Adriatic, she would be a neighbor to Klagenfurt in Slovenia and such. And she would probably see Derek and Bonnie on some of their travels haha. But yeah, she will do what she needs to do, and what the Lord wants her to do, I am confident in that. That is life, eh?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mentino the Andersons, but we haven't seen much of them because he has been sick the entire time I have been here! Apparently he has never been so sick in his life. but it is just a bad cough. He has medicine now. And you know what never even clicked in my head? That Elder and Sister Zaugg were Ethan´s grandparents! I met them at the single adult center my first time in Wien! How did that not get into my brain? Haha. But yeah, they just left. Crazy "coincidence."
So, we have Zone Conference tomorrow! I am excited. I am really excited to see Elder Harris again, I love that guy. He was my Zone Leader in Salzburg for 4 of our 5 transfers as I was in Klagenfurt. Now he is AP. Plus I get to see the rest of the Zone, that is always fun. Sister Miles will definitely take pictures, and Elder Stokes has made sure that we will look good for the meeting. So we are wearing our Trachten suits to zone konferenz. That will be fun.
Sounds like Nathan and Kate´s musical is pretty fun! I don't know where they got the courage to do stuff like that, but I guess I never really tried, or it never interested me (that is my excuse anyway ;) haha). Although I feel like I would be able to do anything if I could still pop my teeth out and laugh at how ridiculous that whole situation was. I should have whacked myself in the face much earlier perhaps! Hahaha. If I could speak at graduation in my toothless listhp, I could dance around in a musical, oder? Imagine that :) I am glad that they are branching out and doing cool stuff, enjoying their time at school. We have a cool family if you ask me! Well done Mom and Dad :) I love you guys.
I must ask, do you have any requests for your package that I will be sending to Justin? I already decided that I will probably send some of my multitude of letters over there, in which case I may send two packages. But it is so much cheaper in Germany, meine güte! I could send you chocolate and Nimm2s and whatever else you want, in one of the boxes we get that has 20 Books of Mormon in it, and 5-10 kilos is only €22 to the EU! Which England is a part of, so it better count for them too. So that is 5-10 kilos of things you want, and maybe I will just send a shoebox of letters. Geht das? So, tell me what you want by next week, so I can see what I can do and get the package sent. Ja? And Mom and Dad, you should talk together about the German CTR ring, since Mom said she found some cool ones and Dad hasn't found anything. Alles in Einsamkeit, ge? ;)
Elder Stokes and I had some really good experiences this week, where we actually had time to go finding and I was able to work with him in bearing testimony to these people. Plus we had two lessons wthis week, with investigators who they had a hard time getting ahold of, and they were both really nice and friendly! And the lesson with the girlfriend of a less active member was really cool, we talked about repentance because she didn't know how "confessions" worked with us :) haha. And Elder Stokes and I were just working off of each other and the Spirit, and afterwards I was just satisfied with how it went, and I knew that this has the potential to be an awesome transfer! I am thankful for the reassurance and peace the Spirit gives us, and I know that we all can feel that, regardless of where we are in our lives.
So far, finding potentials hasn't been as successful as my transfer with Elder Orchard in Klagenfurt. But we are working hard to find these people and to give them the chance to become better, to have their burdens made lighter. We found a really interested younger man who asked if we were Catholic or Evangelisch, and we said neither, and he was just interested to hear about this new religion, especially after we summarized the Restoration, that God has restored His true church on the earth and that He speaks through porphets once again. See, people are being prepared! No one can say otherwise! I love Alma 13:24, about angels preparing people in the land. And who knows, maybe YOU are someone´s angel? Is everything that you are doing and saying and thinking going to help someone recognize Heavenly Father´s love and make them want to come closer to Him, to know what YOU know? I hope so. It is our sacred responsibility to prepare ourselves first, and then we can lift others higher.
I have been studying in PMG chapter 10 the last few days, and that is exactly what I have learned, that we have to do things first before we can invite others to do likewise. It says, under one of the sections (sorry, can't remember which, they are all too good) that by doing these things ourselves, being examples for those we teach, we have more power in our invitations and commitments. Oh, it is under inviting people to make and keep commitments. Makes sense. It doesn't say exactly that, but that is what I remember and how it stuck out to me. Study it yourself! But my studies have reinforced the importance of our own progress and learning as a strengthening factor in helping others.
Also, we have been asked to think about love when we read in the BoM every day, since we are doing that as a mission. And I have noticed a recurring factor in the last few days. I am reading in the Isaiah chapters in 2 nephi, and I hate to admit, sometimes I still read a chapter and get to the end and then think, "What in the heck did I just read?" Mensch, I hate how I do that. But having a theme to think about overall at the end of your reading has really helped me, I look back and ask what I learned about love from these chapters. But, what I have noticed in the last few days is a relationship between fear and love. I kept writing my summary about what I learned and I always wrote something about how proof that the Savior loves us is that He takes away our fear. In the chapters from Isaiah it talks a lot about what will happen to the wicked, and yet we don't fear any of those things, or we don't need to, if we partake of the love of the Lord and do what is right. So my thought was this, that love and fear cannot coexist. But then I thought, well, what about when the scriptures always say that we need to fear God? What I figured is that we fear the justice of God, knowing that we are imperfect and make mistakes. But once again, that is only something we have to fear if we AREN'T doing the right things, if we aren't repenting. On the other hand, we can find happiness and love in following the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, just show your love by keeping the commandments, stated pretty simply and straightforward in John 14:15, and you will feel the love of the Savior lifting your burdens and constantly reassuring you that He is there. Just be happy :) Here is a quote from my calendar: Glücklich zu sein ist eines der besten Mittel, ein guter Mensch zu werden." so, "Being happy is one of the best methods to becoming a better person." (from Eugene O´Neill). It is so simple! Be happy. Everyone is looking for happiness, so show them that it is to be found! It is real. I know it is.
Oh, guess what? I bought a German Calvin and Hobbes book last week, I finally found it! And I read it all last week for German study haha. Learned some new conversational words. But, I realize how Calvin actually talks about a lot of the questions answered by the gospel of Jesus Christ, like existence. I never noticed when I was younger, probably because I wasn't trying to give said answers to people haha. But I want to end with a quote from Calvin: "Ich finde, wer am Ende des Tages keine grünen Knie hat, sollte sein Leben ernsthaft überdenken." So, "I find that those who don't have green knees at the end of the day should seriously rethink their lives." In the situation, Calvin just finished a bath but still had grass stains all over him. So, take his advice, and enjoy life! Be adventurous and make things exciting. Don't wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect. It is worth it. :) Keep on smiling.
I hope your week goes wonderfully, and that you learn lots and that you come closer to your Savior.
I love you!
Elder Jalen L. Gibbons