Guten Morgen! I am still waiting on mom´s email at the moment, but I can answer some of dad´s questions while I am at it! Well, first of all, transfer calls aren't until this Friday, they are always the last week. So I have no idea what is going on yet, but I don't worry about it till it comes. I suppose I could explain the whole hierarchy of transfers a bit, for my mission at least, but here is what we look for: if the zone leaders call you then you know you are staying where you are at. If the APs call, someone is being transfered somewhere else, and President Miles only calls if you are training, or if you are being given a leadership role, like zone leader or district leader. So, we shall see who calls this week!
Yeah, it seems to be that every single church building over here has a ping pong table, and the Austrians are actually pretty good at it (Tischtennis). I have never been able to play anyone, because even though we have two tables in the kellar of the church, we don't have a key to the kellar, and there aren't even any balls. Dumb. That was the first ping pong I have played so far, in Bruck an der Mur that pday. Holy cow, this is week 6!!!! I have no idea where the last 5 weeks went :/ But it is crazy, and I am still not caught up in my journal (it is rather annoying to have to write about a day that was a few days past, trying to remember all the cool things that happened). But I am almost there! We are just always doing something, planning, studying, whatever. I don't know where the time goes. I appreciated all the time I had at night to write in my journal when Elder Eaker was here. Those days are, however, gone. No matter, we set another baptismal date this week! With MB___, the younger man from Egypt, for the 10th of march! It was cool, because we hadn't heard from him in a while, because he told us he was getting a new number, but he didn't, and everytime we went by, he wasn't there. Then on austausch, uh, exchange, Elder Orchard and Riser met a girl who was there who said he still had the same number. So we called him and he asked us where we had been! Haha so we finally met with him again and taught him the restoration. That is exciting. What is cool is that our ZL´s told us that just this last week alone we doubled the baptismal dates set with people, in our zone at least. They are pretty excited haha.
Well, Dad asked about the hockey game. Yes, we did get to go, we had to get permission from president but he just asked if we had already been to a game yet, so we said no, and he said he thought it was a wonderful idea to go and show our support to D___! So we went on Thursday, and it was really cool! Sadly, they lost 1-0, and B___ wasn't very happy because she said that it was one of the most disappointing games she has ever seen. But to top it all off, the refs called off 2 goals from VSV, and the fans were NOT happy at how ridiculous they were. But after the game we got to go back into a VIP room and we talked with B___ while we waited for D___. We also checked out the fan shop, but they didn't really have anything, but what we decided to get was even better :) We gave D___ and B___ money so that they could buy us D___ R___ jerseys, so now I will remember my time with D___ forever! We are super excited! Haha B___ told us that D___ was worried that we were going to spend our mission money (for food and stuff) on VSV gear. But no it was our personal money. What other cool reminder can you have from someone who has become a great friend on the mission, than to have his team uniform? Oh, we also ate with them last Monday, and guess what we had? Ribs!!!! Oh man it was heavenly. We realized that I have been the longest missionary D___ has ever had, we have been meeting almost weekly since August last year, and I have been to every single appointment, except for one! Like I said in my email last week, D___ has become a very good friend, and I am glad I was able to get to know him and that we could both grow through our interactions with each other. And no, his plan is now to just get baptized at home when the season is done here. I am not worried, he is great. B___ told us at the game that she thinks he is finally there, to the point where the gospel is something that he really wants for him and for his family. He did what was necessary to gain his testimony, we were just along for the ride :)
Well, that is super cool that our ward will have 11 missionaries out at the same time! I can't wait to see where they all are headed! We were talking (Elder Orchard and I) about how there are going to be WAY too many missionaries here in our mission for it to stay one mission for too long. One mission president for 230 or so missionaries, spread out so wide, it just wouldn't be sane. But, we hope that neither of us are still here if they decide to do that. Nothing of course that we say is set in stone, we were just thinking about it. So cool that there are so many missionaries!
Dad, your tradition every morning sounds pretty good, I hope it goes well for you! I realized early on in the mission how much strength and power came from the Book of Mormon, and I decided that I needed to read in it every single day. I have rarely missed the chance since then. What you said about our actions, the things we do showing our willingness to act on our faith, was cool because I believe Elder Orchard shared a similar thought about that verse a couple weeks back. We have to do something to strengthen our faith and return to Heavenly Father. We talked to some Evangelische Freichrist people last night, they are the people who say that they are saved through Christ´s grace. The lady even told us a couple times that "she hoped she would see us in heaven someday." She said she believed in Christ, that He suffered for us, and she would be able to go to heaven because of that. We were just flabbergasted (haha funny word) afterwards, just not understanding how someone would be satisfied with that, with just saying they believe and then not having to do anything else. How can they be satisfied without all the blessings that come from LIVING the gospel? Or a better question yet, where does their satisfaction come from when they don't necessarily follow the teachings of Christ? I don't think there is any satisfaction, lasting satisfaction that comes without the blessings of living the gospel. I am sure that they were really good people, but they just don't understand :/ das ist ja schade.
Hey, that is awesome that Christina is also headed to Korea! Man, that is so cool, I bet she is freaking out! I have three friends in 3 different Korean missions haha. You have to keep me updated on where everyone is heading, for sure. We´ll see who else can find their way over here across the pond! And thanks for the picture of Tyson, he looks alive and well, I look forward to reading the story in his email! Hopefully I can send him one back in a few weeks!
MA___, by the way, is just loving the gospel! He is eating it all up, it makes sense to him. He talked about how he had been looking for the true religion for a long time, and he pointed to the Book of Mormon and said that he had found it. Plus, we taught about the WoW the other day, and we got a totally different reaction than we expected--he said, well yeah, all of those things are unhealthy! He is already living the Word of Wisdom, except for coffee, and he said he was done with coffee now! Holy cow, that makes things easier :) so that was nice. Daniele was there with us, and it was great talking about the plan of salvation. And MA___ just kept saying that these were things he had thought about before in his life. He is truly prepared, and Daniele was also influenced by how prepared he was. He said that seeing someone on the same path that he took just made him so happy :) What a stud, both MA___ and Daniele! We also had a good member lesson with the Kaiser Sr.s, and we did the restoration with them, inviting them to pray and get another confirmation about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, because it is a wonderful gift that we can learn over and over through the Holy Ghost that something is true. And when we finished Sis. Kaiser asked when we were coming back for the next lesson! :) Perfect. I love these people!!!!
So, I can expect a package then, eh? From Jenn and from Hawaii? Awesome! I don't have your Hawaii postmarked letters yet, but for sure this week. And you calculated correctly mom, although transfers will be the 14th. Although it could be the 13th, but that would only be if I trained. But I don't guess or think about transfers, I will just take it when it comes. ;) Makes it easier.
It was a good week overall, we did an austausch with Elders Stapleton and Riser, and we had some good lessons. We are just working on being able to meet with all the new people we found, so that we can fulfill our purpose and invite them to come unto Christ. Elder Stapleton said something really cool at our district meeting on Tuesday, that the purpose of life is to gain access to the Atonement of Christ. And of course, through that, we do the things necessary to receive God´s greatest gift of all, eternal life with Him. Like Dad said, we have to do things. But doing things is much more fulfilling than sitting around, ge? Tuesday was actually filled with a bunch of scripture puns and laughter at district meeting, and I was just so grateful that I am able to know all of these wonderful people, who I would never have met if I weren't here. My favorite line was from Elder Hall, when we all got back to the church after finding, and he said "Many are cold, but few are frozen." Haha it makes me laugh as I type it. The mission is the greatest thing ever, the most efficient way of learning the things that Heavenly Father needs us to learn, all in preparation for the rest of our lives. And we build friendships here that will certainly last a long time, eternity even. You want real world experience? Be a missionary! You can never regret it if you do it willingly and you are ready. So how do we prepare ourselves? A quote I heard from Elder Stapleton again, from Elder Holland. Elder Holland, in response to many missionaries and people saying that Preach My Gospel was created to convert people, said this: "This book (PMG) was created to convert YOU!" So, my friends who are preparing for missions, and even those who are not, know PMG and the principles inside it like the back of your hand, it has everything needed to be truly converted to Christ. For those going on missions, make sure you know it better than I knew it! Don't waste time. The time on the Lord´s errand goes so fast, you want to use it all efficiently.
Well, the time ist wieder vorbei, und ich muß jetzt gehen. Ich hab vieles heute vor, und ich bin ganz begeistert für die nächste Woche. I know that the gospel brings happiness to everyone who will accept Christ and follow Him, and that true satisfaction comes with a clear conscience and a pure heart. Jeus Christ leads His people today, and He has prepared the way for us to overcome anything in our way. Just trust in Him, and come what may.
I love you all, have a fantastic week!
Elder Jalen Gibbons